• depression

    Living and Homeschooling with Depression

    The past month has been really hard here, as I know it has for a lot of people. For about almost two weeks I could feel myself sinking into tunnel vision. I could go through my routines, help the kids with their schoolwork and teach my classes, but I couldn’t do anything more than that. I barely even read anything. I napped lots. Mental health problems are like weather conditions for me. It used to scare me, when after a period of time doing well mentally, I would feel myself sinking back into depression. Now it doesn’t bother me as much. I know how to handle things. I know I…

  • Picture of a statue of the God Nabu
    Biblical history,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  religion

    When Gods Made of Wood and Gold Came Alive

    Think of all the stories where we know the end before we get there. There are stories where we know the underdog will win. We know which couple will become ‘an item.’ Try for a moment to picture one of those stories, and imagine what it would look like to someone from a cultural context that told them the opposite results should happen. Maybe the woman should stick to her boring fiancé instead of leaving him for the funny more caring person. Maybe the underdog should come in last because really, he’s an underdog for a reason, right? Some stories are so predictable and prewritten that it is hard to…

  • 19th century illustration of Joseph before the Pharaoh.
    Biblical history,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  politics

    A Biblical Story of the Concentration of Wealth During a Disaster

    Today I find myself thinking about a story in Genesis 47:13 – 26. It is the story of a famine in Egypt. I’ll share the text from the Bible, and then I’ll write my commentary underneath it. 13There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. 14Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food.…

  • activism,  Biblical history,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  meaning of life,  seasons

    Thanksgiving and the Wandering Aramean Text

    As we approach American Thanksgiving, and my Facebook feed ends up filled with posts expressing a mix of views about the holiday – some objecting to the mythology attached, the occasional post in favour of the mythology, and many more concerned about Covid-19 spread – I find myself thinking about a Biblical thanksgiving mention. Deuteronomy 26 tells that when people enter the land “the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance” they are to take the first fruits of their harvest and give it to God in a basket, reciting to the priest a specific creed: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a…

  • Houseful of Chaos Press,  religion

    Witchcraft?!

    The very word “witchcraft” scares some people. I acknowledge that fact in my upcoming book The Edge of the Circle. The book includes a teenage girl exploring witchcraft and that might be upsetting to some. So, I want to talk a bit about what that means. Why does witchcraft scare people and what does it mean anyway? In general, the rejection of witchcraft comes down to two things – a belief that religious practices should be standardized and a belief that there are alternative dangerous sources of supernatural power that people might tap into. I’ll look at those one at a time. The criticism of witchcraft has been part of…

  • culture,  history,  meaning of life

    What to remember on Remembrance Day?

    Remembrance Day and its American counterpart, Veterans’ Day, are coming up soon. November 11th is a tricky holiday where on one hand I’m not comfortable with the idea of glorifying war and on the other hand I want to acknowledge the risk soldiers have taken and the sacrifices they, and their families, have made. This year my thoughts are shaped largely by the book  A War of Individuals: Bloomsbury Attitudes to the Great War by Jonathan Atkin. The picture of the war I gain through that book is of a war that whole countries felt drawn into. It wasn’t sending off their soldiers, it was sending off their young. Sacrifices were made by…

  • history,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  meaning of life

    A Paradise Without the Need to Work?

    I love following wisps of ideas as they lead me through different times and works of literature. Today I’m thinking about how different writers questioned the possibility of a paradise without labour. Start with the Gonzalo’s speech in The Tempest about how he would run an island, if he could: I’th’ commonwealth I would by contrariesExecute all things, for no kind of trafficWould I admit; no name of magistrate;Letters should not be known; riches, poverty, (165)And use of service, none; contract, succession,Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;No occupation; all men idle, all;And women too, but innocent and pure; (170)No sovereignty—…All things…

  • Picture of the book Fever 1793, and the text "Learning through Literature: a guest blog post"
    books,  homeschooling

    Learning Through Literature: Epidemics in World History with Fever 1793, by Laurie Halse Anderson

    This guest post has been written by Yvie, who blogs at Homeschool On the Range. World history has been shaped by its epidemics…cholera, smallpox, influenza, yellow fever, the plague, and now coronavirus are just a few diseases that have swept entire nations.  What exactly is a pandemic, and how does it differ from an epidemic? In this literature-based unit study, Yvie Field, author at Homeschool On the Range, is taking middle and high schoolers on a thrilling ride through the major epidemics in world history.  You can assign the reading and classwork to one student, or read the book aloud and learn together as a family! Vocabulary Words miasma, bilious,…

  • Cover picture from A Flight of Angels
    Biblical history,  books

    Book Review: A Flight of Angels

    When you hear the word “angel” what do you find yourself thinking? Guardian angel? Angel of death? Messengers of God? Fallen angels? Heavenly beings? In the graphic novel A Flight of Angels the fate of an unconscious angel is in the hands of a young enslaved fawn. A variety of other magical creatures gather and share stories about who they believe angels are, before the angel’s fate is decided. It is a strange mix of stories, each representing something of the person who tells it and exploring one aspect of how people have envisioned angels. Unfortunately the book has tons of unnecessary nudity, as one of the story tellers is…

  • Picture shows a cat climbing out of a drawer, representative of my feeling of needing to get back to some type of activism.
    activism,  Houseful of Chaos Press,  politics

    Actions Matter

    I am fascinated by this short poem by Piet Hein: CONSOLATION GROOK Losing one gloveis certainly painful,but nothingcompared to the painof losing one,throwing away the other,and findingthe first one again. Apparently the poem was written as part of the Danish resistance during WWII, encouraging people not to throw away their patriotism and self respect just because Denmark had been captured by Germans. In many ways, it is a more poetic subtle way of saying that no matter how hard a situation is, what matters is what the individual chooses to do in response to it. The response is the more painful, important thing. I’ve been thinking about that the last…