Archive for the ‘Quaker’ Category

Parenting Books – What do you suggest?

One thing I do when I’m pregnant that I don’t do at any other time is read books on parenting.  I’m not sure why, but there is something about being pregnant that makes me want to know what other people think.

I read widely but I can’t say I follow one specific “approach” or “method”.  I like to experiment with different ideas and see what works for us (after all, there is no bigger biology experiment than your children!).  I think I’m a bit of an idea junkie, I like collecting ideas and theories I also really like practical suggestions, real life anecdotes, sample conversations and tips.  I also prefer that some of these fashionable theories (and most of these books are just that, fashionable theories) to be backed up by some research other than the  “well I tried it on my kids and they’re perfect”.

What I would really, REALLY like to find is a book on Quaker parenting, obviously no one quaker parent is going to have all the answers, but something like Quaker Faith and Practice that has lots of different views would be REALLY useful.  Of course there are passages on parenting in Quaker Faith and Practice, but I’d like something more in depth, something more specific to different age ranges and preferably something practical that you can dip in and out of.

I have never believed my children are part of me, they have always had their own unique spirit and I find it really odd when parenting books go to great lengths to point this out as if it’s “news”.  I wouldn’t want a Quaker  book on parenting to focus entirely on the spiritual, on a day to day basis, dealing with behaviour and learning to get on with others is what takes up most of my time and the more ideas I have then the more options are at my disposal when things go wrong,

Books I’ve read and like!

Quaker Faith and Practice

Mommy Mantras

The Pocket Parent

How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk

Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children

Plain Living – A Quaker Path to Simplicity

Books I’ve got some ideas from but wouldn’t necessarily read again

What mothers do (especially when it looks like nothing)

The contented little baby book

Baby proofing your marriage


On my “to read” list (if every day was 48 hours long and I had time to sit and read!)

Positive parenting for a peaceful world

Phases of childhood – Growing in Body Soul and Spirit

Buddhism for mothers with lingering questions.

Parenting and Arthritis

So what about the other part of my life?  How do you combine being a parent and having arthritis.  There are very few books on this.  Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis DO affect women of child bearing age.  As well as preparing for a baby you also have to prepare for a flare of your disease. It raises the whole “should you breast feed or take medication questions” and everybody and their dog seems to have an opinion on this.  The one book I’ve read (you need to order it from Australia) is called “Arthritis, Pregnancy and the Path to Parenthood” by Suzie Edward May.  I’ll write a separate post on it, the book was useful but for me I’m still looking for something that describes the emotional side of being a parent AND dealing with arthritis at the same time.

So. do you have ANY books you can recommend on parenting (I don’t care if they are general, quakerly or arthritic, I’ll read pretty much anything!)


Twelve Quakers and Faith

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I am currently reading “Twelve Quakers and Faith”. I like it and want to read more in the series.

Apparently it is Pamphlet 8, makes it sound like some arcane government document from the 1950’s.  Pamphlet is good, pamphlet means short, it is only 36 pages long.  This means it was cheap (£2.50 plus £1 postatage from the Quaker bookshop) and it is easy to read if you have kids running around.

Having said it is short and easy to read is perhaps doing it a disservice. Many of the ideas take time to digest and I rather think the point is to read and consider each point of view rather than race to the end like an express train.

I read it in a oner and raced to the end like an express train. Oh well.

When reading about other peoples personal experiences, I find I am always comparing them to mine, do I agree with their views? Is their world viewpoint the same as mine?  Do they use language I like or does it turn me off? I’m not necessarily sure this is a good thing, but it is what I do.

Personally I find too much mention of God, Jesus and long quotes from the bible just don’t do it for me. I turn off. I feel like I am being preached at.

So as always I found myself comparing my views to those in the book and unusually, I found myself agreeing with  “1”.

“so much of my belief was cultural as much as theological; implicit in it was church architecture, music and literature.”

This is true for me, I was brought up in the Church of Scotland. I love church music, the architecture. When I first heard of Quakers, I dismissed them out of hand as there was “no music”.

I now realise that I can enjoy religious music in all it’s forms but this does not have to be an integral part of meeting for worship. Anyway the whole Quaker idea is that your whole life speaks, not just the bit you do in church, so I can still enjoy religious music.  All this is a wordy way of saying is that my early belief was as much cultural as it was religious.

It was a great relief to become a Quaker and not have to say things like “he descended into hell…”

I agree. How can you recite the Apostles Creed if you don’t believe in it? Surely that is the worst form of hypocrisy? I have never taken Communion as I do not believe I am eating the body of Christ. I also fail to see how doing so would make me a better person.

I was a regular attender at a meeting in England. One week, a lady explained how she had been at a Church of England church. They were having communion and she had not taken part. She had been encouraged to go forward to the altar for a blessing. Again she had refused. I felt such relief when I heard this.  Here was a woman who I admired and seemed to share my same uneasiness at taking part in communion. Maybe my views aren’t so heretical after all.

In meeting, not all vocal ministry is directed specifically at me. So when someone speaks and it doesn’t hold any meaning for me, I remember the relief I felt when, one sunday the ministry did speak to me and I hope that someone else in the meeting is gaining the same benefit from the ministry that had no meaning for me. For me, that is the essence of how a Quaker meeting works.

Anyway, I have enjoyed reading this booklet and I will probably consider some of the other views in more depth. After all, how else do you learn?

Categories: Quaker Tags: , , , ,

More books I’d like to read

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Poem …life could get this small…

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

This poem haunts me, maybe haunt is not the right word, one phrase in particular sticks in my mind;

I never thought that life could get this small

It is from a poem called “Chemotherapy” by Julia Darling. It ends saying

I’m not unhappy. I have learnt to drift

and sip. The smallest things are gifts.

You can read more about her work in this article in the Guardian.

I like the description

My joints are like rusty cranes

My spine is frozen


Categories: Quaker Tags: , , , ,


November 14, 2009 Leave a comment

This random person walking the other direction said to me ‘I’ll pray for the Lord to heal you!’

I said, “Well, He made my genetic disorder, so I think I’m stuck this way.”

LOL!  This was in the comments section and really made me laugh!  I think that’s why I like quakers, you can be a quaker without having to go round and “inflict” your faith on all and sundry. I’d be so insulted if someone called out to me in the street.  Evangelicalism is not for me.

Categories: Quaker Tags: , ,

Academic giving to charity

November 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Very generous! This university of Oxford scholar plans to give to charity anything he earns over £20,000. A very noble idea.

When I read it I just kept thinking, what happens when he has kids? Admittedly, he is a man, so he is unlikely to give up work to look after his children (I mean, I WISH I earned £20,000 a year!). But kids like things like horseriding lessons and music lessons and school trips. You can do all these things on £20, 000 but I’m not sure you can do that AND live in Oxford!!

Good luck to him though.

Categories: Quaker Tags: , ,

Science and Faith

November 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Nicely written blog post discussing science and faith

if God had granted us abundant evidence for his existence, we wouldn’t need faith.

Categories: Quaker Tags: , ,