Sunday, May 14, 2017

An Alphabet Book and a Project

One of our favorite alphabet books is Alphabet Under Construction by Denise Fleming. It features a manic mouse constructing the letters of the alphabet. The mouse quilts the Q and tiles the T, for example. This weekend we decided to make our own action-oriented alphabet. The project took two days. We spent lots of time brainstorming ideas, and everyone made suggestions and helped create the letters. Here it is:

The Adventures of A (the movie)


Bag the B


Color the C


Coronate the C


Deal the D


Eat the E


Far away F


Give the G


Hop over the H


Invite the I


J in Jam (being eaten by Olivia)


Kick the K


Look for the L


Mold the M


Near N


Ogle the O


Put together the P puzzle


Queue the Qs


Rip the R


Sit on the S


Tape the T (and get tangled)


Under the U umbrella


Vote for the V


Water the W


eXtrude the X


Yap at the Y


Zap the Z


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Clouds in My Head and Sun in My Cup

I know people who get seasonal affective disorder in December when the days get shorter and people who get it in late spring when the temperatures really start to warm up. I get it right about..... now. It has been cloudy and rainy for days and the clouds feel like they are in my brain and the rain feels like it is in my bones.

"My blood is Mediterranean," I rant at my husband this time of year. "I NEED the sun."

A few weeks ago I read Love Letter to the Earth by Thich Nhat Hanh. He writes of truly being present for a cup of tea. So a couple of days ago, head full of clouds and bones full of cold damp, I sat down with a cup of tea and I tried it. I looked at the tea and held the warm cup and smelled the steam and thought of all the people from the grocery store clerk to the truck driver to the line worker at the factory to the people who prepared and picked the tea leaves. I thought of the dirt that nourished the tea plants and the rain that washed them and gave them water to drink and the sun, oh the glorious sun that shone down on the plants and now came rising up out of my steaming cup of tea, and I smiled and I drank of the sun and the water and the earth and the efforts of all those people there in my cup.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Why I Wore the Hijab Today

Today, I went out into the world wearing a hijab, a Muslim headscarf. A few years ago a Bangladeshi-American woman started World Hijab Day. I first heard about it through the Council on American-Islamic Relations which encouraged non-Muslim women to wear the hijab for one day, both to share in the experience and as an act of solidarity.

I decided to participate in World Hijab Day for two reasons. First, I believe in freedom of religion. I believe that Muslims have every right to practice their religion in this country and should not be discriminated against, because of their religion. Let me be clear what I mean by freedom of religion. I believe the constitution gives Americans the rights to practice their religion as individuals and as groups. I do not believe that the constitution gives anyone the right to try and impose their religious beliefs on people outside their group. If a particular religious group does not believe in marriage equality, it is their right to not marry members of their religious group who are of the same gender. It is not their right though to tell other religious groups and individuals outside their group that they can not or should not do so. If a particular religious group believes that abortion is a sin, it is their right to tell the members of their group not to have an abortion. It is not their right to force people outside of their group to not have an abortion. We live in a pluralistic society with people of many faiths and nonbelievers, freedom of religion does not give members of one religion the right to impose their views on people outside their group. It does however give Muslim women the right to wear a hijab in public without being harassed.

Second, I wore a hijab today, because I believe women have the right to care for their bodies and present their bodies in whatever way they feel best as individuals. Control over female bodies, either through law or social pressure, is a major issue in this country. It happens on a spectrum, with seemingly minor issues like plucking eyebrows and shaving at one end and abortion on the other end, and a whole ton of issues, including wearing the hijab, in between.

More than anything, I wore the hijab today to show my solidarity with my Muslim sisters and brothers in our faith in God. The more I learn about Islam, the more I believe it is a beautiful religion, encouraging people to live lives of faith and prayer and charity, and I want to thank them for inviting me to share in their tradition.