Sharing the Housework

Let me set the record straight. I am aware that my children (and husband) are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. I don’t have to be the only one to do the dishes, laundry, and dusting. I could pass off the housework I do every day as many parents and wives do. They do it under the auspices of “training the children” or “I’m not the only one around here that can do the dishes or make a sandwich!”

I enjoy taking care of my family. I take pride in my “work”. I love having a clean house to my specifications without having to cajole another into doing what I want done.

I’ve never trained my children to do anything. I’ve only treated them the way I would want to be treated. I want the dishes done, so I do them. I want the beds made, so I make them. I want the house fairly tidy, so I tidy it. I don’t harass others to do it for me under the guise of training them to do it for themselves. When I do need help, I ask politely for it and they usually jump in to assist. Everyone has their own tolerance for cleanliness and order. When it is their house, I’m fairly certain they will do for themselves. And when they are married and parents themselves, they will treat others the way they were treated.

Recently, I’ve seen proof that this system is working. A couple months ago, I was very sick. My family took care of me, making me soup, getting me water, doing the dishes and laundry. They have started to notice when I’m feeling a tad overwhelmed and ask what they can do to help. A few weeks ago, I had to leave home for several days to care for my own mother who was very sick. It was the longest I had ever been gone. My family kept up the house, the animals, and themselves very well. When I got home, it looked like I had never left. They were very relieved not to have to do it anymore when I got home, maybe a little grateful for what I do. They feel the love I put into everything I do for them.

They are not spoiled brats. They are not incapable of doing for themselves. They are loved and cared for and they know it. My home is usually peaceful, although I do have my own tantrums at times. It’s not perfect but it is good enough for us.

St. Augustine’s Confessions?!

I sighed when I saw what my “assigned” reading from Harvard Classics was today. St. Augustine is not my favorite, not for what he says but the language is hard for me to follow and I read it so slowly. But today I got a couple pretty good lines!

“Yea, the very pleasures of human life men acquire by difficulties, not those only which fall upon us unlooked for, and against our wills, but even by self-chosen, and pleasure seeking trouble. Eating and drinking have no pleasure, unless there precede the pinching of hunger and thirst.”

How’s that for truth? No matter how much we have, we always seek more. We don’t appreciate what we have until it is gone. When we seek and work to find something, whatever it may be, the reward is sweeter when we have worked hard to get there.

“Thus with the baggage of this present world was I held down pleasantly, as in sleep; and the thoughts wherein I meditated on Thee were like the efforts of such as would awake, who yet overcome with a heavy drowsiness, are again drenched therein. And as no one would sleep for ever, and in all men’s sober judgment waking is better, yet a man for the most part, feeling a heavy lethargy in all his limbs, defers to shake off sleep, and, though half displeased, yet even, after it is time to rise, with pleasure yields to it, so was I assured that much better were it for me to give myself up to Thy charity,”

Two things here. The first one is that I love analogies, especially when they were written hundreds of years ago and would be written about the same way today. It reminds me that humanity is really no different than it ever was. The details of life may have changed but the principles will always be the same. How many of us don’t want to wake up from a pleasant and comfortable sleep? Even though a gorgeous day filled with happy activities and loving faces looms before us, the transition is never pleasant. He’s saying it’s the same as following Christ. The pleasures of this world may be warm and comfortable but they can’t last forever and we shouldn’t want them to. Jesus Christ is beckoning for us to follow Him and it will be so much more wonderful, but the transition from one to the next can be a huge barrier to cross and it can be uncomfortable. We must use our will to move from one to the next even greater thing!

What If?

I was reading from Milton’s Paradise Lost today. Talk about a book you could get sucked into. I only read about ten pages as part of my Harvard Classics reading list but I think I’ll go to reading the whole thing in the future. This part described Satan looking over the garden of Eden and the new creatures God had made and his envy of them. Then I had a thought. What if Eden is still here? What if it’s like one of those time or space folds, like the tesseract? The garden was surrounded by four rivers. What if it seems today that you are crossing one river but you may actually be crossing right through Eden without even being aware of it?

Doctors and the Feudal System

Today’s reading from my Harvard Classics list was Ambroise Pare’s “Journeys in Diverse Places”. I’m falling in love with these old science and medical books the more I read them. Pascal was fascinating to me and I really thought it would be so boring. This one made me think of something. This man was describing more than how he cured someone from a terrible knee injury. He was describing how the cultural and economic system worked in 1580. Noblemen had employees; bakers, cooks, farmers, maids, and doctors. This doctor was loaned out to another nobleman and while he was there curing him, he was asked to help the commoners, people that also relied on that nobleman. His needs were cared for. He wasn’t paid. And all the people were happy to see their benefactor, the person they all relied on and cared for, was cured.

Many people today believe we should go back to this type of system for doctors, but you can’t just pick and choose parts of a system. This only worked because they lived in a feudal system. The nobleman or lord of the area owned the land or city. His job was to take care of those that lived and worked on his land and they, in turn, supplied him with his needs as well. Your only hope was that the lord of the area was kind and generous. And it did make things easier for him if he was. But he didn’t have to be. And just because he was, didn’t mean his son would be, or his grandson. And you owned nothing as a commoner. You had little choice of career, or the possibility of leaving that area and choosing another. You were at the mercy of that lord.

Would we really want to go back to that?

What is everyone freaking out about?

We were talking at the dinner table about salt. We started using Himalayan Salt instead of table salt last year at the recommendation of a friend that is really into natural foods and oils. The benefit is supposed to be a lower sodium content and trace minerals that have been processed out of table salt. My husband questioned that and I had no real answers, so I had to do some research this morning.

The first thing I did was look for articles that were negative about Himalayan Salt. I found this one.

The point I got was that the trace amounts of minerals were just that, “trace”, and could never amount to anything. And that the trace amounts that they say are good for you are the same trace amounts the same people say at bad for you in the water. So I had to go try to prove him wrong about that and I remembered a recent post from a friend about the new Chromium-6 levels they found in their water.

I looked up the “spectral analysis” of Himalayan Salt.

In this it says there are .05ppm of Chromium (that’s Chromium 6 and 3 combined from what I could find), or 50 ppb, in Himalayan Salt.

So what was that letter about Chromium-6? I found mention of that here, but couldn’t find a public copy of the letter.

From this letter it seems that they are only telling residents that California has lowered it’s acceptable levels of Chromium (3 and 6 combined) and that the water may be over that limit at the next testing. It isn’t that the levels are rising. It’s that the limit has been lowered. So I had to look to find what the tested levels were. I found that here.

This notice says that the highest it has tested at was 42ppb and recently tested at 26ppb. So what is the limit? I found that here.

The EPA says acceptable levels are 100ppb as of 2010 but they may change that due to recent studies. Why limit it? Because “Some people who drink water containing chromium (total) in excess of the MCL over many years could experience allergic dermatitis.” And now they are trying to lower the limit because new studies (which I haven’t found yet) have linked it to some cancers.

So, it seems we are way under the limit set by the EPA. What’s the problem? The letter said something about California Standards, so I looked that up too.

California used to have a 50ppb limit (like the EPA used to have but they raised theirs in 1991) but this year has changed the limit to 25ppb. So now Joshua Tree’s water is over the limit. You’re still drinking the same water you’ve been drinking for the past 20 years. Nothing has changed.

AND that Himalayan salt has twice California’s acceptable limit as well, although I admit you’re probably eating a lot less salt that you are drinking water.

I’m really fascinated by all this. My conclusion is that just about everything will kill you somehow. Eat and drink what you like and can afford comfortably without neglecting other financial responsibilities and just relax. Be happy! A happier person eating lunch at Carl’s Jr. is much healthier than a miserable organic vegan worried that her glass of water is going to kill her.

Who’s Best Interests?

Listening to the radio this morning and I thought, you know, I don’t believe anyone has “your best interests at heart”. And it would be better for all of us, especially going into a Presidential Election Cycle, to remember that.

Only you have your best interests at heart, no one else. And that’s how it should be. It doesn’t mean everyone is out to get you or to take advantage of you. Much of the time my best interests may benefit you as well. I’m just saying if you hear someone say to you that they are making you do something because they have your best interests at heart and you don’t agree with or want to do that something, that’s a warning and it should be heeded.

It may be in the senators best interest to pass this legislation, but he isn’t making it in yours. You may benefit from it or not. It isn’t evil to follow up on what you feel is in your best interest but it is evil to force upon others what you believe is.

I’m thinking of a case in my life right now. I’m offering a free workshop on how to get started homeschooling in our area. I’m not doing it because it is good for my neighbor. I’m being honest with myself. It is good for me! I want to share my knowledge about a subject. I feel better when I have this creative outlet. I feel like I’m helping create the world I hope my children have children in. Those that hear about my workshop need to decide if coming and hearing my talk will benefit them somehow. And once they hear it, whether or not they should or should not use that information. They will decide if it is a benefit to them, not me.

Am I getting my point across? Doesn’t it make more sense than thinking that anyone writing an article or running for office does or does not have my best interested at heart and therefore I should go along with what they are saying?

“Criticism and The Essay”

This month I’ve been reading from the “Lectures” book of my Harvard Classics set and I came across this gem.

“It is a very variable, highly personalized literary form: resembling now a dinner-table monologue or a dialogue, and now a letter to a friend. Here it is a mere sparkling fragment of some solid mass of philosophical theory, and there it is a tiny jewel of paradox, interrogation, or fancy; here an echo of some great historical debate over tragedy or comedy, and there the first faint stirring of some new, living idea, which by and by will be tossed about with all the winds of doctrine.”

The lecture is “Criticism and The Essay” and I about fell over thinking about how much it reminds be of blogging. Sometimes I wonder what blogging is all about. Is it just some fad that will pass away and all the writing out there will be forgotten in time? Or is it something new and exciting that will change the way we think? I know the idea has so many people excited and there is so much out there to read now that it is so very easy to publish your ideas to the world. And you can’t read any of it passively. You are compelled to cross check and research just about everything you come across. But it’s so worth it. I hope that some of those words will live on into the future as so many authors of the past have come to us.

Here’s another one that will blow your mind, speaking of the Renaissance.

“There was a new “weighing,” “assaying” of all things. The actual world was changing before men’s eyes, and the inner world changed no less. There was universal curiosity about individual capacities and opinions, experiences and tastes. The whole “undulating and various” scheme of things – to use a favorite expression of Montaigne – was a direct provocative of the essay state of mind; and the essay form, in turn, in its looseness, vagueness, and range, was singularly adapted to the intellectual spirit of the period.”

Right?! Does that not sound just like today? Did you know, dear blogging friend, that you were writing among the greats? That your words may project into the future and change the world like the Renaissance did?

“But the critical essay advances, albeit by zigzag lines. It is obliged to tack, ad the winds of doctrine shift and the tides of opinion ebb and flow, yet it is always steering, and not merely drifting.”

Speaking of Caxton, “Edification was assumed by him as by his age as the prime, if not the only, justification for writing and publishing.” That’s exactly why I write! To gather my thoughts into one place, make a point, and learn from what I’ve read or experienced, is why I’m here. I reach out in writing in the hopes of finding another person to bounce ideas off of and expand my own world. While doing that I would also hope someone might read what I’ve wrote and use it to expand their own ideas.

Here’s a link to the rest of the lecture if you’d like to read it for yourself. I’ve learned SO much by reading these books!

Harvard Classics – Criticism and The Essay

Why Innovation Beats Politics in Reforming Higher Education

Here’s an inspiring read for a Wednesday morning! I realized as I was reading this that this is what my eldest son is doing, “building a better signal” and he’s figuring it out on his own. He’s finding it by reading, studying, and experimenting on his own without force or assignments.

He (and his younger brother) ride motocross. Last year they came across a website called Hookit and made racer profiles. They’ve been slowly gathering sponsors and followers as they’ve entered race after race but recently he figured something out by reading other amateur and professional profiles. They had more personal information. He had only put up thing related to his racing career. But sponsors want representatives of their brand. He needed to create his brand. He added his workout schedule, where he found it, places he’s been, and that he is homeschooled/unschooled and learning Spanish and why. He’s looking for other things to add to his life and learning, things that will make him a more rounded person and more interesting. I love it. I wouldn’t even have noticed what was happening if it weren’t for articles like this one from Isaac Morehouse.

Why Innovation Beats Politics in Reforming Higher Education.

American Theme Park – The Creation of Silverwood by Gary Norton

When our family goes on a road trip I always try to pick up a book about the area, by an author from the area, or some sort of first hand history about a local attraction. This time we traveled to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. My son found a theme park that had the original Corkscrew roller coaster from Knott’s Berry Farm and said we had to go there while we were up in the area. How could we disagree? It ended up being one of the highlights of the trip and we spent two days at the park. While gathering souvenirs on the way out of the park, I saw this book and had to have it.

While the writing isn’t first class, the story is worth the time to read it. The title is a bit misleading. It sounds like the book is about how Silverwood was created but he doesn’t get to that part until two-thirds in. Most of the book is about Gary Norton and his adventures. That turned out to be pretty cool too. I’m glad it’s there. I just think the title should have been different.

Gary Norton seems to be a pretty interesting guy. He sure likes to toot his own horn. It’s probably part of what got him where he is today. His life wasn’t always easy and he had some pretty big let downs. That’s what I like about the book. It’s written by a real person, doing real things, leading an above average life. He followed his passions and got what he wanted. He worked hard. He innovated. He wasn’t born into a bunch of money. He didn’t go to a lot of college. He didn’t do what what expected of him or safe. He’s everyone. Normal. And he has created something amazing that will probably last for generations.

I highly recommend this book even if you never plan on going to the park. It’s inspiring. It may even make you want to go there for a visit!