• religion,  the ethical life

    William Morris and Jane Austen: Lens for Literature

    I’m reading about William Morris, the 19th century designer and socialist. His company rejected the assembly line in favor of treating every creation like a work of art to be done by one person from start to finish. Morris learned old techniques and reinvented lost techniques. He hoped that as people saw the great quality products they would shun the cheaper mass-produced goods, but of course this didn’t happen and instead other companies produced cheap knock-offs of his work. I first heard of him years ago at university, when I was busy fingerweaving Metis-style sashes, which gave me at least a bit of a feel for the time involved in…

  • books

    My Name is Blessing, and the organization behind the book

    The book My Name is Blessing by Eric Walters bears a lot in similarity to the book I Come from the Water. Both tell of a child finding a home in a children’s house (orphanage) and both are based on real stories. I Came From the Water takes place in Haiti. My Name is Blessing takes place in Kenya. The boy, Blessing, was not named that by his mother. Instead she named him after suffering. He was raised by his grandmother until she thought it best to take him to the children’s house. There he is told there will not be room for a boy named suffering. He thinks it…

  • books,  history

    Christina Rossetti – philosophical questions within her poetry & life

     This is a follow-up post to the my previous post about lesson ideas based on Christina Rossetti. These are the deeper topics I found while reading about Christina, and I felt the deserved a separate page rather than be mixed in with the previous posts ideas. These are things I’ve been discussing and will continue to discuss with my children, and they are questions I wonder about in my every day life. Feminism Christina Rossetti lived during a time when politicians were concerned about the number of single women (according to William Rathbone Greg in 1851 only 57% of women over 20 were married, 12% were widows and 30% spinsters).…

  • books,  politics

    I Came From the Water – a children’s book about Haiti.

    I always like to share what I’m reading with the kids, so after reading The Big Truck That Went By, I borrowed from the library I Came From the Water by Vanita Oelschlager. I Came From the Water uses very simple language and few sentences per page to describe a story of a Haiti boy, a baby during the 2004 flooding and a young child during the 2010 earthquake. The boy received his name, Moses, after being pulled from a basket in the water and he lives at the St. Helene Children’s Village. The book describes a second wave of orphans arriving after the earthquake and of the damage of…

  • books,  politics

    Haiti – Thoughts about The Big Truck That Went By by Jonathan Katz

    Sometimes it seems the problems of the world are too ingrained, too built into the structure of how things have been, so one of the things that stands out for me in the book The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster is the idea that there are times when good changes could be made, and there are bad changes being made just a few years ago, when people really ought to have known better and decided otherwise. Yes, Haiti has a whole pile of back-story making some things harder but none of that is an excuse for the way…

  • culture,  politics,  religion,  the ethical life

    Reasons to NOT Support Operation Christmas Child

    Schools and individuals are already taking advantage of back-to-school sales to gather supplies for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. While I think it is great to try to give extra joy to others, I want to write to urge people not to support this program. I have a whole list of reasons (see below), but right now (November 2015) I am editing this to add the most important reason at the top. Franklin Graham, the head of the group that runs OCC, promotes fear and hatred. Here is an example of a post from his facebook page. You can check his page out and see that there are more like this.…

  • books,  communication,  money,  Occupy,  politics,  the ethical life

    my thoughts on Paved With Good Intentions: Canada’s development NGOs from idealism to imperialism

    I’m getting ready to return the book Paved With Good Intentions: Canada’s development NGOs from idealism to imperialism by Kikolas Barry-Shaw and Dru Oja Jay back to the friend who lent it to me, but I want to make a few notes about ideas I found interesting. I know a different friend who blogged about the same book, so I want to include a link to his blog here too, though I’ve been careful not to read his assessment of the book till I finished writing mine. The book outlines several ways in which development NGOs actually assist imperialistic motives. It talks about the history of NGOs and how they sprang up partly…