Education


Helen Keller was one of the first heros of my life.  As a young bibliophile, I read every Helen Keller book I could lay my hands on.  By age 10, I had exhausted the modest supply of our local libraries and had seen The Miracle Worker performed locally.

I wrote my favorite Helen Keller quotes in a diary I kept at the time. One of those I recorded as a child, now hangs in our laundry room, above the family bulletin board:

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.   Helen Keller

It is there as a reminder for me and my children that we must do what we can do in our work, families and communities.

Another hero from my childhood was Clara Barton. Clara was every inch the quintessential, maverick feminist before the term feminist was even coined. I still imagine she would have gotten around to burning her bra (or corset, I guess) had she not been so busy dodging bullets and tending to Civil War soldiers on active battlefields. Oh, yeah, that and founding the American Red Cross kept her busy.

Like Helen Keller, Clara Barton had much to say. Clara did not hesitate to pepper her comments with iconoclastic sass. Her boldness made people of her day uncomfortable and guaranteed that I fell in love with her. She made the favorite quotes section of my diary too of course:

I have an almost complete disregard of precedent, and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent. I go for anything new that might improve the past.     Clara Barton

To this day, when I seek humanitarian inspiration, I remember these two quotes and fine women.

They came to mind again today as I considered what I might do for G’s family. For those of you who are not regular readers, G was a husband, father of four, custodial guardian of three nieces, Christian, physician, local philanthropist and community church member who quit his life and died by his own hand two and a half weeks ago.

In situations like these, when the need is so great, and the situation so charged with loss, people may want to do something and feel uncertain what would be helpful or appropriate. Upon contemplation, some people respond to the scope of a circumstance and shut down, knowing that nothing they do will improve the quality of every part of the dynamic. Being only one person, knowing they can not do everything, they instead do nothing, not because they don’t want to help, but don’t know how to offer what they can do.

In regard to service, I am with Clara Barton. She doesn’t want to hear about what I don’t know or can’t do, she has complete faith of something better.

In regard to service, something is better than nothing.

And it’s ok to go outside the box in how you offer help. Defy the tyranny of precedent and trust what you offer might improve the situation of another.

Here then, is a list of things you might do to offer help or support to a person or family in time of need:

Somethings I Can Do Go-To List:

_Prayer_

1. Bring a meal or organize the deliver of a meal from a local restaurant.

2. Clean a room or floor of the person’s home.

3. Bring paper products: napkins, plates, cups, silverware, paper towels, bleach wipes, toliet paper etc. (In times of loss, families often have extra people in and out of their homes.)

4. Bring a bag of board games, art supplies, craft supplies, jewelry kits, etc. for kids and young adults to enjoy.

5. Lend favorite movies, wii games, and computer games for kids and young adults to enjoy.

6. Organize outings and playmates for children of the family.

7. Gas up the family’s vehicles.

8. Detail the family’s vehicles.

9. Bring a guest book for people to sign.

10. Post a chore list that people may sign-up for when they visit.

_Prayer_

11. Order books from Amazon and have them delivered directly to the house.

12. Make a CD of favorite songs and mail to house with card.

13.  Share any photos you have of deceased person. Consider making a Shutterfly book or photo albumn.

14. Write a poem, song or tribute of deceased person.

15. Pedicure gift card.

16. Take family member out for hair cut.

17. Take family member out for lunch or coffee.

18. Bring family member their favorite Starbucks beverage.

19. Drop off ice-cream, toppers, whipped cream and sundae dishes.

20. Restaurant gift cards to family’s favorite place(s).

_Prayer_

21. Whole Foods, Giant, Harris Teeter or Kroger gift cards.

22. Yard Work.

23. Clean gutters.

24. Plant a tree to honor deceased or seed hope.

25. Send scripture, quotes, positive notes via email daily/bi-weekly/weekly.

26. Bring children’s class cupcakes.

27. (If family has young children) Purchase supply of diapers, wipes, ointments, etc.

28. Do family’s laundry.

29. Bring stamps and stationary.

30. Offer to write thank-you notes or acknowledgements.

_Prayer_

31. Weekends are often hardest, visit or plan an outing and/or invite family to spend the weekend in your home.

32. Make or purchase a plaque with a message that would encourage family member.

33. Bring an assortment of teas, juices, sodas. (Drinks are often in shorter supply than food, and often the only thing people in pain consume.)

34. Make a coffee basket with assorted flavored coffees, creamers, sweeteners, and maybe even biscotti.

35. Bring a pamper basket of favorite beauty supplies:  make-up, shampoo, lotion, etc.

36. Find a beautiful bowl or platter and fill it with fresh fruit, cheeses or flowers and deliver to home.

37. Send flowers to home via florist or wire service.

38. Leave notes of encouragement on Post-Its around house or on mirrors in home.

39. Water plants.

_Prayer_

40. Bring over a fix-it box of household stuff.  Change light bulbs, oil door hinges, caulk tub tiles.

41. Lay in a supply of garbage bags and or cleaning supplies.

42. Run errands:  pick up cleaning, return library books, take mail to post office, sort mail.

43. Purchase cinema gift cards and give with movie candy and card.

44. Take kids of family bowling.

45. Go for a hike with family member.

46. Call. Listen.

47. Leave prayer on answering machine.

48. Bring new work-out clothes, free weights, or exercise DVD to family member.

49. Create a blog or web site for updates, communication of needs and messages of encouragement.

50. Tend to the family pets. Bring food, walk dogs, clean litter boxes.

_Prayer_

51. Create your own.

It’s natural and easy not to know what to do when people we love are in need.

These are simply examples of things you might choose to do for others.

I’ll bet you have even better ideas.

I imagine you  have stories about something someone once did for you _something that so filled your heart or served you where you were_ that you remember it to this day.

I would love, love, love if you would leave a comment with you ideas and stories.

It’s something you can do _give another an idea to help them identify what they can do to nurture comfort and offer hope_

I believe a main mission in life is to love one another, develop our talents and share our resources.

Let’s do what we can do.

Let’s deny the tyranny of precedent and give the unexpected.

Let’s love one another intentionally.

And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen in the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!



Hey, my name is jael, and it’s been 3 days since my last post.

Hi, jael.

Hello friends.

I am glad you’re here.

As you know, I’ve been in treatment for over six months now for a broken hallelujah, but since I got the phone call, I’ve been playing hide-and-go seek.

Or maybe dodgeball.

It used to be that what I thought about most, I wrote about least.

brokenhallelujah reframed that for me.  bh carved a space for me to record my process _regardless how raw_ with reverence. It is a place that calls my obedience and lifts my voice in Praise.

Recent events entice recidivism.

I don’t really feel like writing about my process or lifting my voice in hallelujah.

I’ve hidden behind sick kids and dodged the pink elephant in the room.

And that five-toed, pastel pachyderm is suicide.

Suicide tops the long list of things we are socialized not to talk about in mixed company. Suicide is about as taboo as any topic I know. For example, our local paper will not report incidents of suicide as a matter of public policy. Obituaries don’t publish that someone quit their life at the end of a rope or tried to fill the hole in his broken heart with a gun. Often, people fear suicide like a contagion more horrible than the awful flu that’s been going around, and even though most understand that suicidal ideation is neither airborne nor transmittable, fear clings to the topic like static electricity. People worry its very discussion might jump start the idea in another like two evil cables connecting batteries.  As such, suicide is shrouded in myths, misconceptions and shame. Shame is the naughty mistress of all things we are taught not to discuss. What is even more unfortunate is that shame is like the black widow of mistresses. She lures her mate into the shadows and eats it.  Shame shackles Hope.

It is only natural, then, that since I got the phone call about G’s suicide I’ve battled grief and shame. This shame pours bitter dregs from two cups.  The first splashes my own history on today’s canvas as the second makes me feel selfish. The second cup distills more guilt than Worship.

But for the Grace of God, go I.

Shame and myths aside, there are warning signs for suicide.  There are reasons people commit suicide. It’s not only helpful to talk about these warning signs and reasons, it’s preventative.  Talking to a person you fear might be considering suicide does not compel him to take his life, it offers him the relief of being able to be honest about his experience. People who have survived suicide attempts often report that it was not so much that they wanted to die, but that they no longer wanted to continue living their life as it was.  In other words, talking to a person who may be considering suicide invites him to reflect on how he might be able to live his life differently.  And that’s it in a nutshell, if there were an in-between place, a I-don’t-want-to-suffer-like-this-anymore-but-I’m-not-dead-space, I think people would choose it.

That’s the space we need to create in discussions, healthcare, families, treatment, and ideology.  We need to hold that space for people to pause, breathe and heal enough that they can bear their circumstance without lethal measures.

I know it’s not a feel good topic, friends.

But I plan to write a series of posts about suicide.

The focus will be on education, treatment and prevention.

My face will look up to my Portion Deliverer as I research and type.

While I consider hopelessness deep enough to prompt good people to quit life, I will cling unto my Rock.

I will be still, and know that He is God, and His plans are to prosper and not to harm.

There is nothing too big or scary for my God.

I reject the outgrown chains of my history and shame.

Darkness will have no victory in this circumstance or over G’s community.

Nothing will turn me away from the Face of Love.

Well it goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah


According to plan, my daughter went to school yesterday committed to a new kind of behavior count.  She resolved to expect and to record every smile, laugh, greeting, high-five, comment, kind look, and miscellaneous, positive, social gesture.

I can’t measure how much hope actually filled her heart, but she was willing to play the believing game.

I drove into the pick-up line with her day on my heart like body armor.

The Boy walked up to the car and says, “The Girl’s not coming.”

“What do you mean she’s not coming,” I challenged him like a field medic in triage mode, “What happened to her?”

“Uh,” he hesitated, catching the peril in the air, “She’s going home with B?”

“I thought she said last night she didn’t want to go home with B,” I pressed.

“Dunno,” The Boy grunted in adolescent dismissal.

I pulled the car out of line so I could walk over to my daughter.

She was like one, big, chillaxed grin.

“Mamma!” she gushed, “My day in MATH was great!. I really, really want to go home with B.”

That girl has always been quick, quick, quick with math.

My heart soars to hope that new Math won’t trip her up like it did me.

Her path will undoubtedly be uneven as her teenage years ahead call like a Siren.

She will fall again, but she will also rise and lift her own voice in Hallelujah.

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Halleluja
h

One of my daughters and I have been having some intense conversations about Math.

Not the Order of Operations, equivalent fractions, long division kind of Math.

This new Math is way harder and the solutions more elusive.

In fact, this Math rarely divides evenly, and the greatest common factor eats esteem for kicks.

This Math intersects my girl with mean girl dynamics.

My daughter struggles with computation errors.

It doesn’t add up to her that girls who were kind to her yesterday are mean today.

She doesn’t understand why the group has divided and how uncertain she feels about her social position.

She can’t simplify the equation without feeling less than.

She subtracts confidence in her own power when endless study leads to more confusion.

My daughter cannot see the exponential strength of her character that evidences itself through these growing pains.

Tonight we vowed our common denominator would be to count the good stuff and cover the rest in prayer.

Tonight we plotted a new graph with the closed set expectation of joyful relationships.

She looked at me with such adult weariness as I tucked her in, as if she sensed, but did not want to articulate, that there’s no answer key in the back of this textbook.

I have been a Language Arts girl all my life and have had Math struggles of my own.

You know the inevitable watershed assignment when you have to admit to one of your kids you can’t help them with their homework?

I can still help her with her math assignments, but this new Math?  I had to tell her that I kind of suck at new Math.

All I can promise her is that we will work out each problem together as it arises and pray for our daily bread as we cleave unto the Rock.

Well Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
she tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Well baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

My heart and Valentine’s Day were not in sync this year.
Our body lost one of its Faithful to depression.  He quit his life Thursday.

That news reduced everything to the bone. It also distilled how important it is to move forward in Unity, especially when it feels arduous or immaterial.

The children handmade their Valentine’s.

The Baby was very serious about her penmanship.  As a kindergartener, it was her first, official class-set of Valentines.

It evolved into a whole family endeavor. The Oldest Girl, The Middle Girl and The Baby chose the design.

The Papa shopped at four stores to secure all the necessary supplies.

We made candy rockets.  The tube of the rocket is a roll of Life Savers; the blast off flame is a red feather (that was The Oldest Girl’s brilliant adaptation as the original plan was to cut construction paper, blast-off flames), and the capsule module is a Hershey’s kiss.

Glued on one side of the rocket in red card stock their message shouts, “Happy Valentine’s Day!  You’re a Blast”

There is a yellow, To/From snippet each child filled out and decorated for their classmates.

The Boy unwrapped 82 rolls of LIfe Savers.

The Mamma was captain of the glue gun.

The girls manned the assembly line.

Our family worked together to create something beautiful together.

Doing so unified us by sharing gestures of love and affection for our family and friends.

I never wanted to make Valentine’s less, nor thought they were more worthwhile.

The activity magnified the heart.

Well baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Well there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you?
And remember when I moved in you?
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

The following Field Trip Release Form from my daughter’s school did little to inspire my confidence:

Translation:

THE SCHOOL

000 Ways You Can Sue Avenue
City, State, Zip
109.940.0242

FIELD TRIP RELASE FORM

I, the parent/guardian of ____________________________________, wish for my
son/daughter to avoid the social ostrichization of being the only student in his/her class NOT able to attend this field trip unless I sign this snarky, prophylactic document that permits him/her to go to _____________________ on the following date ________________________.

I am aware that we live in the Land of Lawsuits, and potential plaintiffs, em hm, I mean, parents, have been known to sue in response to the wayward goings-on that must have occurred at previous school’s field trips, or we wouldn’t need this form to protect you from further litigation.  I understand that this may well be another one of those off campus excursions wherein a student, potentially my son/daughter, may be injured, maimed, run-over, or fall victim to some other kind of bloody, painful and unexpected bodily harm.  I do hereby expressly promise not to blame your school or peeps if my child is physically or emotionally traumatized as a result of his/her participation on this trip.  I understand that it is entirely possible my son/daughter will experience harm, up to and including apocalyptic doom, during this school sanctioned sojourn, but you’re telling me upfront that were that to happen, it is my problem alone and that you are not to blame, nor will you accept the legal responsibility for the care and protection of my child in your custody.  Furthermore, I understand that if I don’t sign this form written exclusively for the legal protection of you and your school, not my son/daughter or family, you will not permit my son/daughter to travel with her classmates on this trip.

_______________________________________
Signature

________________________________________
Date

_______________________________________
Relationship to Student

*********************************************************************************************

I, the parent/guardian of _________________________________________, submit to the my son/daughter’s participation in this school activity/trip to ______________________________
on the following date ______________________________________.

I consent to any and all emergency medical treatment, as deemed necessary by by the school’s staff or authorized agent being provided for the above child without notice to me and without any further requests for permission from me, because as I was told, this calamity was entirely possible as a result of the school trip, and it’s still not your fault. Furthermore, as you do not take legal responsibility for the parental locus you extend to my child while in your custody, of course you will not guarantee that in the event of an emergency you will contact me in a timely manner to participate in the treatment plan of my injured/slain/comatose son/daughter, neither do you even promise to contact me at all.

You feel no obligation to state that you will make every effort to secure the safety of my child during school related trips, and instead alert me that is it not your job to call me when things to go bad, but I must sign-off on this too, or my kid still can’t go on the class outing, and it makes you mellow to know you’re legally protected before you embark on this endeavor.

And yes, there are better ways to write these forms that might cause less trouble and parental anxiety, but my piece of mind is no more your problem than if my son/daughter gets hurt.

_______________________________________
Signature

________________________________________
Date

_______________________________________
Relationship to Student

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Halleluja
h

the Onion makes me cry again today with their post New parenting Books Sparks Outrage:  (Their satirically brilliant post below.)

New Parenting Book Sparks Outrage

Last week, Penguin Press published Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother, which criticizes “Western” parenting and advocates an “Asian” approach that includes forbidding playdates and being highly critical of children in order to make them more successful. Here are some other tips from the book:

  • Take your children to Chuck E. Cheese’s and let them play any game they choose, then make them watch as you burn their tickets
  • Ice cream is a great motivator for kids; promise them that if they do everything you ask, they can have some when they turn 18
  • Inform your child that televisions receive all of their power from flawless renditions of Brahms’ Violin Concerto in D
  • Only let your children have a pet dog if they can tame the most rabid dog at the pound
  • Should your child express interest in spending more time with his or her friends, simply pack up and move several hundred miles away
  • To ensure academic excellence, inform your children that there is a mark higher than an A-plus and then shame them for failing to attain it
  • Replace their frail little limbs with less fragile prosthetics
  • Remember, you may have to put up with one or two suicides before you finally craft that perfect child you’ve always wanted

I love the clipped tonal quality of these outrageous suggestions. I imagine a stiff-lipped, speaker with the impeccable posture only genuine, Zen control can erect from the human spine. Her words intone this clearly elucidated smack from the diaphragm, like a Cambridge neurologist enunciates a prognosis. The tension is delicious, and unsavory enough to make  readers worry if they can get to the potty on time.

Anyone with a finger on the pulse of the media cycle knows Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother did more than strike a vein of controversy, it severed an artery. The blood spray has stained even the coolest of shirts. People are well beyond offended by Chua’s book, commentators are rabid and hysterical.  High pitched and raving, these percussive utterances spit from the throat though loose, moist lips that splatter saliva as rapidly as they shoot words of outrage like machine gun fire.

What exactly has our American, parental panties in such a bundle over this one? Why is everyone so offended?

Why Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother Sparks Such Outrage

Penguin Press opened Pandora’s box last week with their release of Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother, by Yale University law professor, Amy Chua.  Certainly, Chau unapologetically details how she and her husband chose to raise their two daughters in “the Chinese way,” that emphasizes academic excellence and individual superiority over social engagements and extra curricular activities. However, the backlash of controversy in response to her book exposes the very insecure fish bellies of modern parents.  Here are some possible reasons our American, parental panties are in a bundle:

  • We’re more like Ron White than Sartre.  Like yesterday we were snuggling on a beanbag chair naked, eating Cheetos, and we said, “Yeah.  We could make a baby.  How hard could it be?”
  • My daughter is the Props Manager of her high school’s Drama Club.
  • My daughter plays concert Kazoo.
  • My 187 pound, 12 year-old daughter goes to the bathroom whenever she wants, usually during Oprah commercials.
  • We wanted our 15 year-old daughter to play Carnegie Hall too, but she had to drop out of school to go to rehab before her baby is born.
  • We’re going to get around to teaching our daughter Mandarin Chinese once she brings up her F in English.
  • I don’t know which friend’s sleepover my daughter’s attending; she hasn’t been home since Friday morning.

I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

Part of the rhythm of my daily behaviors include email, texting, Google, cnn.com, interacting with blogs and phone conversations.  I admit being more plugged in than some users, and far less than others.  Compared to The Husband, who also tweets, Facebooks and develops iPhone apps, I am a lightweight.  Round about Thursday last week, I wondered if I have become desensitized by my exposure to news stories.

Note that in my list of things I typically engage in during the day, TV was not among them.  I don’t watch local or national news broadcasts.  I realized years ago I had neither the schedule nor stomach for the pundits of media.  I hadn’t realized how little I had insulated myself from the dismal tone of national coverage. Like radiation mutates cells, has my attitude slowly distorted into ugly shades over time?

I’ve captured headlines since Thursday for your consideration:

31 Dead in Moscow Suicide Airport Bombing

31 confirmed dead and over 200 injured in a terrorist suicide booming in Moscow.

Steelers Versus Packer Super Bowl

NFL predicts record breaking sales for these two rival teams with zealously loyal fans.

You Know You’re An Extreme Parent If…

More information about Tiger moms, includes something of a check list to see if you are an extreme parent.  I failed. I think.  Help out on this one.  “You know you’re a great guide to your child if…”

Why do we care Julie Bowen, of the hit TV comedy Modern Family, shared a picture of herself breastfeeding her infant twins on Lopez Tonight?

Julie Bowen… Hot body on a hot show?  Certainly.  Her breastfeeding jugs (however lovely and life-giving to her suckling babies) worthy of a news story?  Not.

Why do Ugg boots cost $140-200 dollars?

These are boots that market ugly.  I don’t understand.

How can Don’t Ask, Don’t tell military expulsions cost $50,000 per expulsion.

Clearly, this begs the even more obvious puzzler, why are we still expelling soldiers, sailors, marines, and guards men on the grounds of homosexuality?

Woman versus Police Horse

Really?  Really?

What exactly makes Kat Von D a celebrity again?

Leather, body art and Reality TV, right?  Or is it the men on her arm?

Even if you like junk food, this year’s review of school lunches will trigger your gag reflex and convert you to wheat germ.

Tough Times for Men and Women in Blue

Please God, let it not be, we’ve become desensitized to cop killings.

I do not understand, but accept acts of unspeakable violence are part of our social fabric.

I do not like football, but concede millions of people are ardent fans.

I can not, however, understand why we’ve become a nation of celebrity-peeping Toms.

I do not believe our fiber has so dissolved that slapping police horses and killing cops is ubiquitous.

I reject this cynical bias.

_Stop_

I know the world is messy.

_Stop_

I know there are horrors enough in the dark to keep me up a lifetime of nights.

_Stop_

I know reports of such sells fear and ads.

_Stop_

I know nothing seems special compared to these suicidal-homicidal-psychotic-chicken-paste oozing-Packer-under-dogging-ugly-boot-lactating-horse-slapping-inked-out- nymphs-headlines.

_Stop_

I get that the neighborhood 7th grader who stuffed mail boxes and plans to collect old blankets and towels for SPCA animals this Saturday morning doesn’t play with the same panache .

I see why a surprise bridal shower for a soon-to-be-deployed-Army-doctor doesn’t compare to a hip check list that let’s you know if your helicopter parenting has escalated into extreme parenting that races your kids down a highway to nowhere.

I know, too, however that the only eternal commodity of this world is relationships.

Community service matters.
Surprise showers matter.
Calling your mom matters. Especially when you don’t want to and do anyway, because she really wants to connect with you.
Showing up matters.
More walking, less talking matters.

I don’t find recent headlines inaccurate as much as I suspect their motives.

They seek to incite, not to edify.

This is a bittersweet world, however, our potential to be of good use to each other bests our capacity to get it horribly wrong, and is less often the stuff of headlines.

As for me and my house, we look for reasons to believe that this is true.

Faith does not impair reason, it imbues Mercy.

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

Terms Definitions
archy government
ard always
cide kill
ician specialist
itis infection
aqua water
audi hear
bell war
cap take
cise cut
bio life
auto self
port carry
scrib write
logy science
dict say
cred believe
cent one hundred
neo new
ad to
cede go
miss send
centri center
biblio book
anthropo man

The Boy brought home this delicious vocabulary chart this afternoon.

It has sat next to my work station in the kitchen all night, and I have picked it up several times to simply admire its subtle eloquence.

I have had more interactive, geek fun with this simple chart than I care to confess here.

You all know about my sink fetish now, (see Verdicality Grooming if you don’t know what I mean and track down the references) and I had wanted to go at least a week before further discrediting myself. However, isn’t this chart simply elegant?

Ask me.
Come on,
ask me;
I know you want to know.

What  kind of twisted, geek gaming is to be had with a diagram of such subtle grace?

Ah, me… so much fun:

1. First, and obviously, a Mamma’s gotta see if she doesn’t know more of the definitions than the kid, right? Game on! Who cares if he’s in the seventh grade, and I am supposedly better educated, it’s competition hour, Baby!

__No. It’s not important. I am not going to tell you who won or how many I knew the first time. And unlike my son, I didn’t have time to preview the list before we fenced terms__

2. Aren’t you just drawn like a magnet seeks North, to write down as many words you know that fit the terms’ patterns? Challenge level players must recite lists alphabetically for points to count.

3. Submissions!  Certainly there are some juicy, grand terms not included in the chart!  List as many as you can.

4.  Emendations!  Clearly there are terms that made the cut that are just too on the chin.  Which such obvious bricks would you toss from the load?  Justify each answer with a Haiku.

5. Make word-chains sentences.  The only words in sentences must be terms in the same order as the graph and the sentences must make contextual sense.

What’s sad about my idea of fun this week, is that I have done each of these activities.

At least once,
if not more,
and others not listed,
and People,  I enjoyed it.

Words simply fascinate me.  I love their consistent flexibility.

I love their liquid and transformative natures.

I see words in a chart, and I don’t see bars, I greet freedom.

Words invite us to wander around Purple, regal fields of intentional Creation and render possibilities.

Language liberates captive ideas to bridge discovery and miraculous healings.

Well I heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do ya?
Well it goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

BlogHer is an awesome space.  It’s like one big, cozy den in a real girlfriend’s house.  It makes me think of my friend, TJ’s, house.  Her place slings hash and parties more than any NYC bistro. Everybody feels happy and heard in her bright, citrus kitchen… children, couples, adults, girlfriends, and in-laws alike.  TJ knows her crowd, speaks the truth, and lives in a land where polka dots meet sass.  So when I’m stuck at home with a sick kid, or actively avoiding laundry, or coming down off work, or checking the pulse of recent headline buzz, I show up on BlogHer like I often wander over to TJ’s house.  I love places where I don’t have to worry what I wear, Starbucks is always welcome, and make-up is entirely optional.

I plugged into some BlogHer voices like passive-agressive earbuds more than usual last week, in bold procrastination of my urgent need to plan and host a weekend event.  I had one big case of Mamma- Performance-Anxiety, and believed I couldn’t consummate.  While there, I read “One Chinese Mother’s Voice,” The post is not only provocative and profound, but it challenged me to Surrender on a new level.

The post speaks for itself, and I encourage you to read it.  Though its entirety compels, an Hallelujah rose like a phoenix from the ashes when she sang:

Sure, the little voice produces an adult who knows how to work hard, achieve, and get into an Ivy League school. She believes she can accomplish anything if she puts her mind to it.

But that little voice also produces a person who worries about not accomplishing enough and frets about the next accolade.

The little voice produces a person who cannot accept the fact that there are actually things hard work alone cannot accomplish.

The little voice produces a person who can’t accept the fact that her competence comes in Christ alone.

The little voice produces a person who can’t accept the fact that she needs a Rescuer.

The truth is, all the hard work, grittiness, and achievement in the world cannot make you right with God.

That comes from admitting to Jesus that you can’t work hard enough, that you don’t know all the answers, and that you really can’t be confident of anything in life except Him.

When you let God’s grace invade every part of your life, it’s not so easy to suddenly turn that little voice off.  Thankfully, God’s grace, embodied in Jesus’ love, speaks a whole lot louder than the little voice.

Ester Feng, http://www.blogher.com/frame.php?url=http://www.estherfeng.com,  unglued me like bad 80′s hair on a too humid day.  The Holy Dove moves through her to minister to my heart.  Her premises about “the little voice,” are not to be denied.  In a cathartic spasm of PTSD, I realize how my own little voice still sometimes deafens me from the Still, Calm Voice of Peace.  I wish to plant no such little voices in my children’s intellectual maps.  Have I constructed a family culture wherein anxious children measure accomplishments with fretting fingers, strumming ever-shifting emotional abacuses in search of the next accolade?  Have I embedded the message that they need a rescuer like an in-grown toe nail to falter their steps in Faith?  As I intone the mantra, “Quality matters,” have I diminished their reality that true competence comes in Christ alone, and that there are things their hard work cannot independently orchestrate?  Is my own heart a place that Grace invades so that I may lead them toward Godly relationships and Love?

I walked away from the screen the first time I read Feng’s post, and knew she’s struck a secret chord, and like David pleased the Lord.

This Mamma needs be still, and know that God will be God to my children.   Only His voice may speak clearly enough to consistently mute the noise of this percussive world, so that my children may turn to him as their Him as their Portion Deliverer.

I need to be inside-out on Message with this Truth… My children belong to Him, and all the interactive book reports, music lessons, soccer tournaments, and healthy lunches in the universe don’t compare to the Glory of the Provision He brings to the lives of my children through Love.

Surrender.

Love wins.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah!

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