Tag Archives: California

Entertaining Angels – Part One

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  

Hebrews 13:2 KJV

I have a long and, well, colorful, if you will, “relationship” with hitchhikers.  I was not brought up to pick up random people off the street, but I learned at a youngish sort of age that my path would often lead me to places where I would do just that.

My driver’s license was not even dry yet before I had my first experience with a hitchhiker.  It was dusk and I was driving alone down a long stretch of road.  The road was chain link fenced on both sides and I was the only car on it.  I passed a young man going the same way as I with his thumb out.  Without a thought I drove right past him.  Women alone in cars don’t pick up strangers, right?  But I immediately felt the Lord prompt me that I should have offered the man a ride.  I made a U-turn as soon as I could to go back, but the man had disappeared.  To where?  There was no one else on the road, and there was no way to get off the road.  I had thoroughly missed an opportunity.  And I decided that in the future, if I could help it, I would not let that happen again.  Over the years I practiced listening to that prompting and picking up people that I felt I was in the right place at the right time to render aid to.  I never felt much in the way of hesitation.  Until eight years or so ago…

Instead of flying on my annual September pilgrimage from Colorado to California to visit my people, I was driving this time.  The sun was just rising as I crossed from Colorado into Utah.  I found myself alone on the vast expanse of the freeway winding my way through the high desert.  Off in the distance I saw a figure walking along the edge of the road.  “Please Jesus”, I begged, “please don’t make me pick up someone out here in the middle of nowhere.”  I slowed down as I drove past him.  He looked pretty rough, was unshaven, and was barefoot.  I kept him in my rear view mirror so I wouldn’t lose sight of him as I briefly argued with God, ultimately pulling over and stopping about 200 yards in front of him.  He walked up to my window as I was tossing things into the back seat from the passenger seat next to me.  He was rather incredulous as I told him to get in and asked where he was going.  I knew full well this guy might be in my car all the way to Los Angeles.  Offering him a ride stretched even my usual calm reserve about picking up hitchhikers.

No, I don’t remember his name.  He was on his way to Phoenix and I told him I wasn’t on a schedule and offered to take him there.  He declined that offer.  We decided on Moab.  A big detour, but what the heck.  As we talked I learned that he’d been trying to get to Phoenix from the East Coast for months.  It had been a huge struggle.  He’d walked most of the way as few had been willing to stop and pick him up for more than a few miles at best.  His shoes wore out some time ago.  He hadn’t bathed in weeks.  He was hungry.  He had absolutely no money.  His little kids were in Phoenix and it had been years since he’d seen them.  We ate breakfast out of my cooler.  When we got to Moab, we went shoe shopping.  I gave him money, offered one more time to take him to Phoenix, and prayed with him.

But none of that was all that important.  After he first got into my car, he told me why he almost couldn’t believe that I’d stopped for him, and it’s truly amazing…

“I slept out in the desert last night.  I was cold and I was wet.  It was the worst night of my life.  I was feeling desperate, and I was feeling so angry.  This morning I stood up and raised my fist to the sky and shouted at God at the top of my lungs…WHY WON’T YOU SEND SOMEONE TO HELP ME?????  That was fifteen minutes ago.”

This man learned that God sometimes answers prayers immediately, even ones that weren’t asked in the nicest way.  And I learned that I never want to forget what it felt like to know that had I not listened to that voice I would have missed out on the opportunity to be the almost instantaneous answer to that desperate shouted prayer.  Now, instead of waiting to hear the voice, I ask God if I’m supposed to pick up this or that person.  I even offer rides to some people who are not asking for one.  Part Two of this particular story takes place on the way back to Colorado on this same trip.  Stay tuned.  (Click HERE for Part Two)

But don’t tell my dad.

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Coach

This coming Saturday the life of John Stevenson, Coach Stevenson, will be remembered and celebrated.

I grew up in a sleepy little town in Southern California.  A town called El Segundo.  A town sort of lost in time, a regular Mayberry.  The main street through town is called Main Street.  Flanked by the Pacific Ocean on the west, LAX on the north, aerospace industry on the east, and a Chevron refinery on the south, El Segundo is an enclave of relative safety just miles from Los Angeles.  When I lived there the population was somewhere around 12,000.  There is still only one high school and when I attended El Segundo High School it had less than a thousand students.  Not the kind of town that you’d expect would routinely turn out brilliant baseball players and winning baseball teams.  But that’s exactly what has happened there…and it happened for decades.  And that was because of the leadership of one man who loved the game…Coach John Stevenson.

Coach Stevenson dedicated his life to the youth of El Segundo for 50 years.  He was never my coach, but he was my teacher.  I took freshman social studies/history from him.  However, the biggest lesson I learned from him wasn’t learned in the classroom.  Have you ever heard of Scott McGregor?  George Brett?  They are just two of the Gundo boys who went on to play professional baseball.  There have been six of Coach’s players who have gone on to play in the major leagues.  Many more played in the minors.  The lesson I learned because of these players was that if I worked hard, and played well, I could be as successful as anyone else…that being from a small town and not being particularly privileged was not something that should hold me back.  This lesson was one of two great gifts he gave to me.

I’m not gonna lie…Coach kinda scared me.  He was intense out on the field and he wanted his players to play good baseball.  I don’t know if it’s true to say this or not, but it seemed to me that he’d rather his players play good baseball and lose than to play lousy baseball and win.  The game mattered to him.  Sometimes I would cringe when he would yell at the players that made mistakes.  Everyone in the stands knew when Coach wasn’t happy.  But if he felt that his players were on the receiving end of bad baseball, like a bad call from an umpire, he was out there in the face of the offender to make sure that the same standards applied to everyone on the field, not just to his players.  Coach is California’s winningest baseball coach of all time.  A record that is likely to stand for a long time.

The other great gift that Coach gave to me was the gift of baseball itself.  My favorite high school memories revolve around baseball.  I loved going to those Friday night games at rec park.  I still love a really good game of baseball.  I don’t even care who is playing.  To me, the sound of a wooden bat squarely contacting a baseball is one of the most thrilling sounds in sportsdom.  I was privileged to have two brothers play Eagle baseball for Coach.  To this day I am proud of the kind of ball they both played.

Thank you Coach, for investing your life into the lives of other people’s children and for helping them, helping me, learn that in life, as in baseball, you get out of it what you put into it.

El Segundo, and baseball, will miss you…


Trail Canyon Trail

A redunant name for a beautiful hiking trail in the foothills of Los Angeles.  “A place so beautiful, they named it twice”.  I went back “home” to the L.A. area for the Easter weekend.  Phil and the kids and I headed out on Monday morning to find the trailhead.  The trail we were seeking leads to a waterfall, as all of the hikes I go on with them do.  This waterfall was along the Gold Creek.

The book we were using as our guide was published in the 80’s, so sometimes the directions are hit or miss.  This one was a HIT!  The only “glitch” was that the sign we were looking for which would lead to the trailhead was missing on the way.  When we turned around to look from the other direction, there it was, and once we found it the directions were spot on.

We hiked in about 2 1/2 miles up (and 2 1/2 miles back, which is good, it’s always good to hike out as far as you’ve hiked in!) on a well maintained trail which completely lacked any evidence of human presence…no trash, no graffiti, no dog poop….barely even shoeprints in the softer areas.

We forded the stream a number of the times on the way there, but didn’t even get our feet wet.  I was a bit worried to be hiking since I jacked my right knee up back in December, but it held up nicely.  I was very careful about foot placement and avoiding any pivoting on it.  I tell you this just to show that the hike, though not totally easy, was doable even for the gimp in the group.  (So you could do it, too!)  The hike took us through lush green woods along paths liberally decorated with itty bitty wildflowers.  This purple beauty measured less than an inch across.  Didn’t even see the teensy weensy red bugs crawling around until I uploaded my pictures!

Purple Flower, Red Bugs by you.

And it took us through more poison oak than any of us had ever seen in our lives!  Phil and at least a couple of his kids are really prone to getting horrific rashes from it and warnings rang out frequently about avoiding touching it!  (And upon arriving home, all clothes were stripped and washed, and showers were taken, it was that bad!)  I haven’t heard if any of them broke out or not, but Richard was already sporting some nasty rashes from his LAST excursion into the wilderness.

Back to the hike.  We came around one bend and found ourselves in a manzanita forest.  Manzanita is a bush that is found in the chaparrel biome.  Manzanita is spanish for “little apple”, I guess because the seeds look alot like little apples.  The trunk and branches are a deep rosey red, and they are smooooooooth and satiny.  Any way, these were huge TREES!  Never seen anything like it.  Phil shows how tall the bushes usually are.  The trunks were so thick you couldn’t get your arms around them.

Phil and the Manzanitas by you.

The trail led us to something I can only describe as a CLIFF.  Rocks jutting out high over a small canyon.  Richard loves to rock climb.  I am afraid of heights.  He decided to pick his way down to the canyon.  I wanted to take a picture of him doing it, but couldn’t get close enough to the edge to do that, so I took a picture of him disappearing through a crack in the CLIFF.  Bye Richard.  I hope I see you again!

Richard Gives Me the Heebies By Rock Climbing... by you.

He took the short way down, we took the long way down, and we met back up at the bottom.

The last bit of the hike was a little steep and the dirt a bit loose, but when when we rounded the last corner before the waterfall, we entered a little bitty paradise!  The cataract measured about 50 feet tall and tumbled into a small, clear pool.

The Gold Creek Falls (Real name?  Dunno!) by you.

There was a large sycamore tree at the edge of the pool which had a high green and lacy canopy.  The canopy provided shade and showed off a brilliant blue sky above it.  Off came shoes and socks!  The bottom of the pool was firm and sandy/pebbly.  But boy oh, the water was cold!  Of course I orchestrated one of my famous foot pictures, but I couldn’t stand being in the water for more than a minute or so.

Foot Picture in the Basin Pool by you.

My feet are wimpy because they have spent all winter in shoes (and I just got a pedicure further removing any protective toughened skin!).  But Jonathan’s feet suffered no such wimpiness.  This kid was swimming in that cold water!

Jonathan Braves the Cold Water and Gets Soaked Through! by you.

Head to toe wet.  Brrrrr.

Alaska and Avie Get Cold by you.

We played and laughed for a time and decided this would be a great place for a picnic.  Plenty of large flat rocks to serve as a picnic table. I don’t know if we got lucky that day having the place to ourselves, or if it is a little visited place.  I wonder if we went back in the summer for that picnic if there would be a horde of people vying for the best seats on the rocks!

Time to put our shoes back on and go.

Playing in the Basin by you.

A hidden place which seemed to have been created, at least for that day, just for us!

For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills…Deuteronomy 8:7 (NIV)

Some of the best times of my life are spent exploring God’s creation with my big brother and his kids.


Help Me Choose!

I am thinking of entering a photo in a local photography contest.  The subject matter is “Pollenators” and we are to show them in the process of doing their thing.

I have a few pictures I am considering and would love your feedback!

There are three.  The third picture is simply a “brighter” version of the second.

Which do I enter?  Help me choose!!!!  🙂

Or are none of them even good enough to enter.  Dunno!

Your thoughts?

(I took these pictures in my brother’s yard this past week in California…he has a most wonderful garden.  The entire southern wall of his home sports rose bushes — many taller than I — simply loaded with roses of many colors.  The bees on this day seemed partial to these vermillon blooms)


“Religion” – Photo Friday

Today’s Photo Friday is entitled: “Religion″

I have lots of pictures for this particular entry. Why? Not because I had my choice of so many great photos and just couldn’t pick, or anything like that AT ALL! 🙂 Nope. My pictures are a set of photos taken on a little walkabout I took through my old neighborhood in California this past week while visiting my family.

I had decided that I wanted to see if I could get a good picture of St. Matthew Greek Orthodox church which is about a half a mile from my brother’s house. We, my niece Avalon and I, set off one afternoon with our cameras in hand…she’s nine. My original plan was simply to take a picture of that particular church. About a tenth of a mile into our journey we walked past St. Andrew Episcopal Church:

and the idea hit me that I should share ALL of the churches I came across in our walkabout! Across from the Episcopal church is Nativity Catholic Church:

which is a particular neighborhood favorite of mine.

Almost to our intended destination I came across these lovely flowers which (to steal from last week’s challenge!) grew in lovely and unexpected juxtaposition to a fire hydrant:

And these fantastic morning glories winding their way up a telephone pole:

Finally we reach St. Matthew. It, like the other churches we’ve past, is situated in between homes on these old city streets:

We walked some more. Avalon, despite her youth, began to flag and wished to return home, so we headed off that direction, but before we reached the house, we passed the United Methodist Church:

the First Baptist Church:

AND finally, the First Samoan United Methodist Church:

Finally tally? SIX churches tucked into one small neighborhood, all passed while walking just a little bit over a mile…and only one of them has a parking lot!

Let’s just say this little part of town has got religion!

But where DOES everyone park??

It was a beeeeuuuuuutiful day!

Please take the time to visit the other participants’ entries!  I will post additional links as they come in

Sky Windows

A Curious State of Affairs 

Just For Fun

Looking in the Mirror

Idea jump!

Next week’s challenge comes to us from Jan of “A Curious State of Affairs” and it is “Self-Portrait”.  Click HERE to see the particulars!  It’s another FUN one!

One more picture, because what is a mini-adventure without one of my foot pictures?  Incomplete!  So, then, here it is!  A curb picture with a friendly reminder of where it ends up when you dump it!


My Old House

No pictures to share. But I used to live in the cutest little yellow and white cottage with a picket fence. The house was built in 1917 and I was only the third owner. There were dozens of types of flowers and an equal number of types of bushes and shrubs in the large garden situated in and surrounded by a very lush and long and soft green lawn. The steps and paths and front porch were slate. The undulating fence was capped off with copper finials which mellowed with a verdigris patina. My house was, for sure, THE cutest house on the block. I had a gardener who came regularly and always had the place looking bright and cheery and kept. The sprinkler system insured that all stayed green and in bloom. In the back yard was a peach tree, a plum tree, a loquat tree, some other trees I can’t remember the names of, and a fenced off garden filled with with blackberry bushes. The front yard sported a profusely flowering Jacaranda tree and another tree with flashy peachy-orangey-red blossoms. In the spring the whole 7,000 square feet of my garden and yard was a riot of colors. Even in the winter it was a beautiful collection of evergreens and grasses and winter blooms.

It is spring now. My brother’s yard is exploding with roses and hibiscus and, well, you’d have to ask him the names of all his plants and flowers!

I sold the house and moved to Colorado going on three years ago.

I am visiting my family this week back in Southern California. My brother lives but five blocks or so from my old house. I drove by it yesterday. I wondered what beautiful things were happening in MY old gardens!

The man who bought my house is a well known local real estate developer. There is a for sale sign in the front yard with his name on it. I guess his plans for the property didn’t pan out.

The lawn is dead.

The plants are dead.

The flower beds are dead or dying and overgrown with weeds.

The roses bushes are shriveled and brown.

Even the trees are brown, and drooping.

The property looks pitiful.

It doesn’t look or feel at all like I ever lived there.

It doesn’t appear that anyone at all is living there.

Why would someone let a place go like that?


California In Danger of Falling Into the Ocean – Part II

I’m on the e-mail distribution list of L.A. Mayoral hopeful, Walter Moore.  I doubt he’ll ever win.  But he’s the most straight-talking, realistic-goal-setting, voice-of-reason to enter into politics in my lifetime.  When I lived in Southern California, though not in L.A. proper, I financially supported his first campaign.  He lost to Villaraigosa, unfortunately.  However, I have stayed on Mr. Moore’s e-mail distribution list just so I could make sure that my ulcer never completely heals!  🙂  Here’s one of his latest offerings.  I doubt he’ll mind that I have taken the liberty of reposting it here in its entirety.

Up In Smoke:  Common Sense
By Walter Moore, Candidate for Mayor of Los Angeles, www.WalterMooreForMayor.com

Use a fireplace, go to jail.

The Philosopher Kings of the South Coast Air Quality Management
District (AQMD) have decided that government must stop you from
burning wood in your fireplace.

The AQMD — which is funded with $125 million of your money each year
— just made it illegal to install wood-burning fireplaces in new
homes, and adopted regulations to stop you from using your existing
fireplace on days they deem too polluted.

In a region where massive wildfires are as routine as televised car
chases, these kill-joys want to stop you from burning logs?  Are you
kidding me?

We’ve got ten jillion cars and trucks stuck in traffic, idling, for
about 18 out of every 24 hours.  We’ve got a governor who fires up the
Gulfstream twice a day to commute from L.A. to Sacramento.  We’ve got
kids getting shot while minding their own business.  And yet we need a
new law to ban the burning of logs in fireplaces?  Really?

Maybe I’ve led a sheltered life, but I don’t remember ever hearing
about a coroner listing, as the cause of death, “lived in a city with
wood-burning fireplaces.”

Laws like this make you wonder what they’re smoking at the AQMD.
Wonder no more:  our city’s representative on the AQMD’s board is Jan
Perry.  That’s right:  the same City Council Member who wants to
“protect” you from fast food in South L.A. because you’re too fat and
stupid to decide what to eat and where.

Remember common sense?  I really miss it, especially when it comes to
people who have the power to tax and regulate.

People used to understand the concept of “priorities” and
“reasonableness.”  Now we’ve created so many agencies that they need
to manufacture new problems to justify their continuing existence and
ever-increasing funding.

The AQMD will never issue a press release saying, “The federal and
state Environmental Protection Agencies, along with county and city
agencies, have pretty much taken care of everything, and since we’ve
gotten to the point of regulating wood-burning fireplaces, we
recommend that our agency be disbanded.”

Okay, enough ranting from me for one day.  I’ll think I’ll go buy a
McBreakfast and light up a cigar just to spite the Philosopher Kings.

I don’t even think I have anything pithy I can add to this well-crafted and succinct masterpiece.

More idiocy in bureaucracy at its finest…

A brief follow-up note:

Looks like Mr. Moore has someone searching LexisNexis!  I got an e-mail from him today!  Love the internet!  Here’s the nice note I got from him:

L.A. needs you!  Come back!

It is so crazy here.  I’m glad to see you stayed on my e-mail list.

And hey, I may win this time.  I’ve raised nearly $80,000, and 
Villaraigosa is SO bad that I think he’s going to increase turnout 
among people who would ordinarily ignore the election.

We’ll see.

Bye for now.

Walter Moore

I have decided to make “California In Danger of Falling Into the Ocean” a regular feature as I come across items that make me shake my head.  I’m sure I’ll be posting more from Mr. Moore in the future!


California In Danger of Falling Into the Ocean – Part I

I grew up in Southern California and spent the majority of my life living there.  It is a BEAUTIFUL place.  And the weather is near-perfection.  You have oceans and mountains and deserts and valleys all within an easy driving distance.  Despite all that California has going for it, including being the home of most of my family, I pretty much fled from there back in 2005, in part as I was increasingly sickened by “the state of the state”.  California will soon fall into the ocean, but not because of some powerful earthquake.  No, it will fall into the water under the weight of all the stupid that is building up there.  Case in point:

Homeschoolers’ setback sends shock waves through state

Friday, March 7, 2008

Debbie Schwarzer of Los Altos homeschools her two boys, W... Debbie Schwarzer (left) runs Oak Hill Academy, a private ...

(03-07) 04:00 PST LOS ANGELES

A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.
The homeschooling movement never saw the case coming.
“At first, there was a sense of, ‘No way,’ ” said homeschool parent Loren Mavromati, a resident of Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County) who is active with a homeschool association. “Then there was a little bit of fear. I think it has moved now into indignation.”
The ruling arose from a child welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who have been homeschooling their eight children. Mary Long is their teacher, but holds no teaching credential.
The parents said they also enrolled their children in Sunland Christian School, a private religious academy in Sylmar (Los Angeles County), which considers the Long children part of its independent study program and visits the home about four times a year.
The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home.
Some homeschoolers are affiliated with private or charter schools, like the Longs, but others fly under the radar completely. Many homeschooling families avoid truancy laws by registering with the state as a private school and then enroll only their own children.
Yet the appeals court said state law has been clear since at least 1953, when another appellate court rejected a challenge by homeschooling parents to California’s compulsory education statutes. Those statutes require children ages 6 to 18 to attend a full-time day school, either public or private, or to be instructed by a tutor who holds a state credential for the child’s grade level.
“California courts have held that … parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children,” Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28. “Parents have a legal duty to see to their children’s schooling under the provisions of these laws.”
Parents can be criminally prosecuted for failing to comply, Croskey said.
“A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare,” (emphasis mine) the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.

Union pleased with ruling

The ruling was applauded by a director for the state’s largest teachers union.
“We’re happy,” said Lloyd Porter, who is on the California Teachers Association board of directors. “We always think students should be taught by credentialed teachers, no matter what the setting.”
A spokesman for the state Department of Education said the agency is reviewing the decision to determine its impact on current policies and procedures. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell issued a statement saying he supports “parental choice when it comes to homeschooling.”
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, which agreed earlier this week to represent Sunland Christian School and legally advise the Long family on a likely appeal to the state Supreme Court, said the appellate court ruling has set a precedent that can now be used to go after homeschoolers. “With this case law, anyone in California who is homeschooling without a teaching credential is subject to prosecution for truancy violation, which could require community service, heavy fines and possibly removal of their children under allegations of educational neglect,” Dacus said.
Parents say they choose homeschooling for a variety of reasons, from religious beliefs to disillusionment with the local public schools.
Homeschooling parent Debbie Schwarzer of Los Altos said she’s ready for a fight.
Schwarzer runs Oak Hill Academy out of her Santa Clara County home. It is a state-registered private school with two students, she said, noting they are her own children, ages 10 and 12. She does not have a teaching credential, but she does have a law degree.
“I’m kind of hoping some truancy officer shows up on my doorstep,” she said. “I’m ready. I have damn good arguments.”
She opted to teach her children at home to better meet their needs.
The ruling, Schwarzer said, “stinks.”

Began as child welfare case

The Long family legal battle didn’t start out as a test case on the validity of homeschooling. It was a child welfare case.
A juvenile court judge looking into one child’s complaint of mistreatment by Philip Long found that the children were being poorly educated but refused to order two of the children, ages 7 and 9, to be enrolled in a full-time school. He said parents in California have a right to educate their children at home.
The appeals court told the juvenile court judge to require the parents to comply with the law by enrolling their children in a school, but excluded the Sunland Christian School from enrolling the children because that institution “was willing to participate in the deprivation of the children’s right to a legal education.”
The decision could also affect other kinds of homeschooled children, including those enrolled in independent study or distance learning through public charter schools – a setup similar to the one the Longs have, Dacus said.
Charter school advocates disagreed, saying Thursday that charter schools are public and are required to employ only credentialed teachers to supervise students – whether in class or through independent study.

Ruling will apply statewide

Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said the ruling would effectively ban homeschooling in the state.
“California is now on the path to being the only state to deny the vast majority of homeschooling parents their fundamental right to teach their own children at home,” he said in a statement.
But Leslie Heimov, executive director of the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles, which represented the Longs’ two children in the case, said the ruling did not change the law.
“They just affirmed that the current California law, which has been unchanged since the last time it was ruled on in the 1950s, is that children have to be educated in a public school, an accredited private school, or with an accredited tutor,” she said. “If they want to send them to a private Christian school, they can, but they have to actually go to the school and be taught by teachers.”
Heimov said her organization’s chief concern was not the quality of the children’s education, but their “being in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety.” (again, emphasis mine)

More regulations, more restrictions, more ridiculous impositions by the state into the lives of American citizenry, and a couple of THE MOST ridiculous statements I’ve ever heard from anyone anywhere…

 

To Justice H. Walter Croskey…you truly sound like someone who toes the Communist party line, or like a character from “Animal Farm”.

 

To Leslie Heimov…how arrogant can you be to imply that a child in their own home being taught by their own parents aren’t being observed by people who have a duty to ensure their ongoing safety and that this observation can only be carried out by the state in the public school arena.  Shame on you.  Watch the news.  Hear about the bullying, the shootings, the assaults on buses, the fraud (holy cow, the fraud in the LAUSD is fathomless but I won’t go into THAT debacle here), and the teachers who are luring their young charges into sexual relationships, and then come back with a straight face and tell me that our children’s ongoing safety is being adequately ensured in our schools!  And you don’t even hide behind the agenda of assuring a quality education!  You just come right out and say that across the board, the state does a better job caring for children than parents do.

 

Where have we heard these sorts of statements before about the state being the only entity truly qualified to raise children, educate them, and make good citizens out of them?  It’s kind of scary!!! 

 

And finally, should all these homeschooling parents decided to get their teaching certificates, just to get those bozos off their backs, will they then be forced into joining the all powerful teacher’s union?  Will they be forced into using “state approved” curriculum???  I bet the answer is yes.  And then what??  This is only the beginning.  Homeschooling parents (and others like myself who don’t even have children) everywhere are gearing up to fight this decision.  It’s an assault on the family and on PARENTAL rights.  I don’t think that the establishment is quite aware of just what sort of hornets’ nest they’ve blasted their shotgun into…


“Joy!” – Photo Friday

PHOTO FRIDAY

(click above for more information)

Photo Friday

Today’s Photo Friday entry is entitled: Joy! © Jan Marshall 

My computer has been out of commission for a week.  I have it back, and it seems to be working just fine.  I missed having it GREATLY!  Seems it was “killing” AC adapter/chargers.  The connection inside had come loose fromt the mother board and so it was arcing electricity and causing power spikes.  The man who fixed it checked my two adapters and confirmed that they were completely dead.  I put an order in from Dell for a new one and was anxiously awaiting its delivery, but when I tried my old adapters one last time before throwing them away, I found that one of them, despite having been declared legally dead, worked!  I wasn’t sure I’d have my laptop back and in working in order in time to post something for this Friday’s Photo Friday.  But I do.  Happy happy joy joy!  🙂

Despite my morose, loner, pessimistic leanings, ;-), I manage to find much to be joyful about in life.  It has taken practice and work, let me tell you!  I have made it part of my personal life plan to find joy where it can be found, and to embrace it as fully as I know how to do so.  There’s a verse in the Bible that says “do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).  If I enjoy the things that bring joy to the Lord, I find strength to endure the things that cause grief.  I think children are one of those things.

One of my brothers and two of my sisters have given to me the gift of nieces and nephews.  Children inately find joy in unexpected places.  We can learn much about joy just by watching children.  On one of my visits to California to visit my family, I took one of my nieces and two of my nephews to the park.  We happened upon pigeons while we were there and the chase began.  I know this is a photo meme, but I’m posting a video this week.  The quality is horrible as my old digital camera had limited video capabilities.  When I played it back, it shocked me a little to hear my own voice and laughter…I enjoyed their chasing the birds more than they enjoyed their own chasing of the birds. 

Now, although the whole point of chasing pigeons would be to catch one, when my nephew Mitchell actually did, it stunned him!  The lesson I took away from this pigeon chasing escapade?  Don’t chase what you aren’t prepared to catch!  🙂  And if laughter is the best medicine, then this little trip to the park cured what might have ailed me.

I had to make a choice between the nurse in me that screamed “PIGEONS ARE FILTHY, DON’T TOUCH THEM!!!” and the person in me who wanted to experience the potential joy of the moment.  I guess you can see and hear that I picked the joy option…

Please visit Lady Luck’s blog “A Curious State of Affairs” to see her entry, and for links to the other entries for this week.

Next week’s topic?  Friends.


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