A Walk to Remind us of Our Christian Heritage – Jefferson Memorial

The stark reality of the Lincoln years do not fade away; the statue of the man decreases with the distance as we walk away. But the magnitude of his contributions to our nation do not. We approach the Jefferson Memorial.

Again our conversation moves to how we honor the past and recognize the lessons the past holds for us in the fast-moving-digital present, let alone the future.

When the cherry trees that surround the Tidal Basin are in bloom, it is a magnificent sight. The Jefferson Memorial rests on the south bank of the Basin. The neo-classical structure of the Memorial adds to the  beauty of the place.  As we climb the broad steps to the portico, we turn to marvel again at the reflections of the cherry blossoms on the water. We enter the dome of the monument to find ourselves surrounded by the words of Thomas Jefferson, the president, the architect, inventor, musician, and writer.

We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So avows our Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson was 33 when he authored this document.

We read on. Though there has been much effort to minimize the Christian beliefs of Thomas Jefferson, we see much evidence to the contrary. He was a strong advocate for religious freedom. He took great pride in authorship of The Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom passed in January, 1786. The Memorial reminds us: Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free, that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishment or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to…

As we stand in the memorial, the words of the third President are etched in the marble. Jefferson’s words need to ring out again in our nation each year the cherry blossoms return to adorn the Tidal Basin and add extraordinary elegance to the beautiful edifice, the Jefferson Memorial.

May the return of the cherry blossoms each spring be a visible reminder of Jefferson’s words: we hold these truths to be self evident…

We descend the wide steps from the portico and breathe in the beauty of the cherry-blossom-lined Tidal Basin. Jefferson would approve of the site. His home, his beloved Monticello, was a beautiful result of his architectural skills. But his real passion was to give shape, substance, and essence to freedom for all in the new nation he was helping to bring into existence–this one-of-a-kind experiment known as our United States of America.

A Walk to Remind Us of Our Christian Heritage – Lincoln Memorial

The Washington D.C. sky is blue and as we leave the Washington Monument the monuments of the mall stand in relief against their background. The Washington Monument sends its tall, grand shadow across the water of the reflection pool. As you take a peek back to make certain that this obelisk is as significant as its reflection indicates, you are struck again with the majesty of the structure.

We turn our eyes toward our next stop–The Lincoln Memorial. Even from the distance the figure of Abraham Lincoln is as imposing in marble as it was in life. This tall man is seated in the sculpture, but remains large and impressive. As you approach the scene, the serenity of the place is in sharp contrast to memories of the horrible sights and sounds of the strife and struggles during Lincoln’s Presidency. We climb the expansive steps to the man and his words. The man sits surrounded by many of his most memorable words–statements and expressions of his fanatic search for justice and guidance.

Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address in 1861, was given when he was facing the secession of the South and the mammoth divide in the nation he loved. Inscribed is: Intelligence, patience, Christianity, and firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are yet competent to adjust in the best way all our present difficultiesIn God we Trust is all around us in the Capitol. Lincoln’s statement confirms his trust.

As we feel the solemnity of this place, we read on. The Gettysburg Address carved in the wall speaks; one cannot read the words without remembering the images of the battle and the terrible toll, the field of dead bodies. Lincoln’s words are not only etched in the walls, they ring in our ears and the tears sting our eyes…that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom…  Yes, under God. This same God that our Founders knew provided the Divine Guidance for their deliberations. And it’s the same God we know from our Bible, the Book that has guided our Christian Heritage since its founding. It is the God in our national anthem and our Pledge of Allegiance. Its the God in our national DNA.

When anyone proclaims that we are no longer a Christian nation, they are saying what we see and know of our Christian Heritage is gone, fading away, a myth, or replaced. Has our tolerance for other religions and our unshakable belief in religious freedom made it easy to take our strength, our tolerance, and use it to erase our founding, our Christian beginnings?”

We finish reading the inscriptions on the walls; we stand beside the mammoth statue of Lincoln. The words of this great President fill the air of the chamber; they are carved in stone but they are alive in this place. The Emancipation President knew this nation could only survive the tidal wave of secession and the Civil War that followed with the help of continuing Divine Guidance.

We leave the sculpture of the giant behind us as we walk down the many steps, but we can never leave the teachings and the influence on us and our country of this man. It was during his Presidency that In God we Trust was placed on our currency. How many times a day do we touch a coin or bill that reminds us of that motto?

We take one look back at the enormity and significance of this American President as he looks out across the Capitol. We turn our eyes to the next stop in our journey and conversation about who we are. We make our way toward the Jefferson Memorial. Silence exists for most of the way; the Lincoln Memorial has that effect on its visitors.

A Walk to Remind Us of Our Christian Heritage – Washington Monument

There are constant reminders all around us that try to convince us that we are no longer a Christian nation. There is incessant denial of any Christian heritage to say that we had Divine Guidance at our beginning is ridiculed. Some of our national heroes are declared to be atheists or agnostics. Let’s just take a little walk around some Washington D.C., monuments to see what they still tell us.

As we make our way to the Washington Monument, our first stop, we discuss the spirit in a Christian White House. The many prayers and supplications of the first occupant of the White House, George Washington, must surely live in the walls of the rooms that heard those prayers.

We arrive at the Washington Monument. The magnificent obelisk stands tall against the morning sky. We touch the cornerstone; there the sacred Bible of the first President of these United States has been placed. Prayer was a cornerstone of the life of George Washington. And at the top of the monument is an aluminum cap that proudly bears the words Laus Deo. Those are the first words the sun touches as it shines on our Capitol. Praise be to God, those words say as they attest the presence of God to the sun, the raindrops, the fog, or snow that sometimes grace the monument grounds. But there they are, this declaration of our Christian heritage. If we were still allowed to climb the many stairs, we would witness Scripture. But we can feel the presence of our Creator in the majesty of this tall structure as it reaches toward heaven.

The Monument is a fitting reminder of the man, George Washington. This man was so popular following the Revolutionary War that he could have been King. Thankfully, he was the kind of man who just wanted to return to his plantation and be a farmer. But that was not to be; he became our first President.

From the time that his mother sent him off to war and commended him to the Providence of God and reminded him to private prayer, Washington continued to give testimony to his belief in the Providence of God. He became a legend as a warrior, even to the Indians; it seemed impossible to kill him. He believed that he ” was protected beyond all human probability and expectation, for I had four bullets through my coat and two horses shot under me, yet I escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me.”

George Washington was a most remarkable man. He was a noble and pious gentleman. But there are many who have rewritten history, and our children may not even know what his birthday is. They have vacation “celebrating” presidents’ day. Yes, there are many efforts to deny, distort, or minimize our Christian heritage.

As we gaze at the beauty of the Washington Monument, I wonder if the president notices the Monument as Air Force One takes off or lands in his nation’s capitol. And if he could read the aluminum cap from the sky, what would it say?

We turn and walk toward the Lincoln Memorial. That will be our next stop on our walk. The cherry blossoms are gorgeous and the sky is blue; the Monument stands erect, proud and maintains its mastery of the sky. And at the top, the aluminum cap still says Laus Deo, Praise be to God.

We never have been anything but a Christian nation. That does not mean that we are all Christians; it means we have welcomed all other religions. We were founded because people sought and fought for religious freedom. Our Republic was established to secure and maintain freedom for all. May Providence forever protect our Christian heritage that was designed to keep us free.

Freedom Requires Vigilance, Courage, and Action–Lessons from Pioneer Ladies

Watching the political happenings lately, I was drawn back to some very courageous pioneer ladies who lived in Yoncalla, Oregon.

In 1920, the gentlemen of Yoncalla had a “gentlemen’s agreement” tnat the incumbents would not hold an election for any of the town offices. They would just skip the formality of an election.

The women of the town decided, “No, No.” They took matters into their own hands and produced a an all-female slate for all the city offices. The slate included Jennie Lasswell who was the wife of the mayor. Can you imagine the conversations at the breakfast table and other places in the Lasswell household when the mayor became aware of the election?

It seems that enough folks in the town agreed with the ladies. The entire slate was elected. Mary Goodall Burt became the town’s first female mayor. Mary was a Pacific University graduate and a former teacher. Teachers played a prominent part. Council members were: Jennie Lasswell, also a former teacher; Bernice Wilson, a teacher; Nettie Hanan, a community activist; and Edith Thompson, active in women’s organizations and community work.

I wanted to name them for you because so many pioneer women remain nameless in the history books. I’m hoping someone who reads this  will carry a name or know someone who might know the area or a name. These ladies stepped forward just a year before I was born. And it was a big step. But they knew it was not right not to have an election. They were living in the struggle for equal rights and the difficult movement to gain the vote. This was just not a Yoncalla Affair. These wonderful women were ordinary women living a pioneer life in Eastern Oregon who stepped up to do what was right.

I am grateful that the baby girl born in New Albin, Iowa a year after this successful campaign is able to tell the story. It is one of the wonderful stories of pioneer women of the northwest that I honor in “Pioneer Women of the Northwest.”

When I think of these women, I don’t dare say or think that I cannot make a difference. I am one, but I am one who has had the opportunity to follow incredibly brave, courageous, and strong women. I hope that I have helped to clear some brambles from the path of those following me. It is still a journey that requires courage. But I am determined to do what I can to make it better for my granddaughters and my grandsons. Freedom always has and always will require vigilance, courage, and action.

Memories of the Garden

A better title might be: Questions my Granddaughter Asks.

When my granddaughter asked me whether or not I had helped my mother can, I was surprised. But not nearly as surprised as I was with the next question. Did I know how to make watermelon pickles?

“I have been reading some material written by a lady who went through the depression,” she said, “and she talked about canning and making watermelon pickles.”

I told her that I canned a lot of fruit and vegetables myself for many years, and of course, I helped my mother can from the time I could remember. The queries started  a flood of memories. Most of what we canned came from our garden.

The Farmer’s Almanac was a family friend in most Midwest households. And when the apple blossoms came in the spring, they were so welcome; a bouquet of apple blossoms brightened every home. The first pink signs were signals; maybe the weather would change, but you knew that it was time–time to start thinking about the early plantings. It was time to get the seeds out that you had ordered during the winter months. I loved those seed catalogs. They were almost like a travelogue.

The Almanac, although consulted all year, in the spring it was always left in a handy place for quick reference; it just stayed on the kitchen table. The suggestions for planting were carefully checked. And of course, some seeds were planted during the winter so plants would be ready to “set out” when the weather was warm enough. Tomato, cabbage, parsley, and kale seeds were planted and carefully monitored during the winter months. They occupied an honored place by a sunny window.

When the time was right and the garden soil was carefully prepared, the planting started. Peas and lettuce were an early planting soon followed by carrots, beets, beans of several varieties, another planting of lettuce and peas, and hills of cucumbers, squash, watermelons, cantaloupes, and a first planting of corn. Several plantings of some vegetables were made throughout the summer to make certain they could be harvested all summer long. Mother and Dad were particular about how the garden looked. The rows were straight and the seeds were carefully sown. This was serious business. These crops were not only for fresh produce during the summer, but also to be canned and stored for the winter months.

Now the plants that were grown in the house during the winter were planted. The tomatoes were planted with sufficient space so they had room to grow, and so the sun could reach all sides of the plant as needed to produce the amazing red, luscious vegetables to eat fresh all summer and the boxes and boxes that would be canned during the summer. In the fall when the frost was due, the green ones would be kept to ripen or made into relish. The memory of taking a salt shaker and visiting the tomato patch, picking a warm red tomato, and eating it in the garden was wonderful. A tomato never tasted better. I guess they were as organic and fresh as anything can be.

Potatoes were stored for the winter, and it was from that supply that the plantings for the next year were taken. The potatoes were cut making certain that there was an “eye” on every piece; it was from that eye that the growth would start. The potato vines were faithfully watched during the summer; as soon as they matured sufficiently, we would dig a hill or two to harvest those “new potatoes” to have with fresh peas in a cream sauce or to put with all the other fresh vegetables in soup.

And of course, my mother had to have her flower gardens and her flowers in the garden. There were packages of mixed flower seeds, larkspur, zinnias, and any others that she could afford to buy. Neighbors shared seeds that had been kept from the year before. The dahlia bulbs were dug, separated in the fall and stored for the winter and planted in the spring. These beautiful flowers were shared in huge bouquets at church services in the summer. These bouquets often were the source of varieties shared with those present. People shared because often they could not afford to buy them. Mother always took ”slips” (cuttings) of geraniums from the plants grown inside and outside to share and to make new plants. Iris, glads, tulips, peonies, and anything that was admired and could be propagated was shared. The depression did not mean that beauty could not be available because you were poor. Our Creator made it easy to share.  Even the fields and hills were full of free plants and shrubs.

The garden was a place of family pride. When I was a little girl, I tagged along as mother or daddy took friends and family to show what was new, how to deal with bugs, or talk about planting tips, and to share the bounty of a beautiful garden.

Kera as we plant, I will share with you “what it was like when I was a little girl.” That’s the question you always ask me.

The Iris and the Hawk – Lessons from Nature

My walk to the end of the driveway always is amazing. The lessons abound with every step. The mysteries of faith pop out at me. Or perhaps they aren’t so mysterious. Perhaps they are so simple we just don’t bother with them.

As I looked across the valley, the foggy sky obscured the twin peaks and the hills they occupy. My first lesson on faith. Even though I could not see them, I knew that they were there. I knew that the houses on the hills that I see on those hills every clear morning were still there. I had faith.

I looked for the iris blossom that was partially open yesterday. I knew that it would be open more today. That’s what flowers do unless eaten by bugs or otherwise destroyed. They are on a mission to grow and become what they were meant to be. I knew there wouldn’t be a daffodil or a rose on an iris plant. I have faith in that process. Sure enough. When I came to the plant in question, it had two fully opened blooms. The path of the iris is a model of faith expressed.

There was another lesson on the way. About halfway down the driveway was a fully-opened iris blossom even bigger than those I had so diligently been watching. There it stood–a single gorgeous, large blossom that reminded me of the great diversity of growth and development within one species. Such an obvious encounter should help me understand the human conditions surrounding the everlasting premise that the Creator is the ultimate purveyor of faith in the created–whether iris or person.

As I sat to ponder the lessons of faith I had experienced on my walk to the end of the driveway, I was treated to a special scene. I have watched the red-tailed hawks swoop to the earth to catch their prey with deadly accuracy. I have watched them soar to heights against a clear blue sky or duck behind a low-hanging cloud. When they just glide across the sky they are especially fascinating and beautiful. Just a little tip of a wing or the tail and the change of direction or altitude is accomplished. Amazing birds, these red-tailed hawks.

But about the treat. As I was piecing together my lesson on faith from the walk, a red-tailed hawk flew into the tall palm nearest me. Wow!! Of course. It had to have a home somewhere. Now I felt I had a different relationship with one hawk. I knew where it lived. As I sat with a big smile on my face and gratitude for the special moment, the hawk flew away and pursued its diving and soaring and doing what hawks do. It too, was being fully faithful to its place in the universal patterns of being a red-tailed hawk.

As I continued my walk, I knew that what the fog obscured in the west, or east, or south would be there when it cleared. Surely I can have as much faith as the bird that sings before the dawn breaks because it knows that the dawn is coming. By the time I continued around the house and back to the end of the driveway, I could see the outlines of the twin peaks. In just another few minutes, the hills and the peaks were clearly visible, outlined by the fleecy white clouds and the blue sky behind them.

Thank you nature. And special thanks to the iris and the red-tailed hawk. Surely I can take the timelessness of their lessons and be grateful that they are present to teach me. Yes, I will use the talents that I have been given to me to make a difference, to serve and grow. Almost 98 years of living should be a good place for new beginnings. New measures of faith should grow well in a soil of gratitude, love, curiosity, and joy.

The Able-Disabled Enabled

The news is full of the frightening increase in the numbers of people in the United States claiming disability. The increases are really staggering. There has been no physical disaster or national happening to create these vast numbers of disabled. The crisis has to be a cultural epidemic. Millions have declared themselves disabled. It is inconceivable that the large numbers collecting disability checks are truly disabled physically.

How then can we possibly explain why so many would be willing to enter the realm of disability entitlement? Why have we been so willing to accept such a diagnosis in our nation? Each one of us needs to ask what s(he) can do to help combat the culture of entitled disabilities. The culture of entitlement keeps spawning new species of “free stuff.” Part of the political correctness of our day is to make people feel comfortable about accepting things they haven’t earned. Part of the lie is that they are entitled to take from those who are the most successful. These attitudes suck the blood of energy, drive, hard work, and desire for excellence and replace it with an anemia of lethargy, lack of desire, and pride in not having to work. The joy of achievement, the love of earning and learning, the respect for the rights of others have been replaced with a smugness of gaming the system and anger when the system does not provide enough to feed the greed of unearned entitlement.

I have watched people strive to receive disability payments. For those who have real disabilities, there should not be the battle that  sometimes occurs. For those who are feigning disability, I have a feeling of profound sadness, because they are throwing away so much of what they have been given by their Creator and as citizens of this great nation–freedom to become all that they could be . They have to change their thoughts of accomplishment and wellness to thoughts of being disabled, to thoughts of inability to achieve. Soon their thoughts of gratefulness for being able to work, their thoughts of joy of accomplishment, must change to thoughts of I can’t do this.

As a counselor and a teacher, I have had students try to convince me that they were unable to do the work, or they were just not given the tools that would allow them to achieve. They would be happy to pick up the scraps on the beach and never even look to the horizon of opportunity. I never accepted their feigned disability; I have always felt I could serve them best by making certain that they could experience success. Expecting them to work, to achieve, to feel competent were necessary from me. I could not join their pity march to nowhere.

It is not rocket science; it is the brain. It has been said in many places in many ways that we are not what we think we are; what we think, we are.It is so true. Seeing is not believing as many would have us believe. Believing is seeing. What we believe is what we see.

This is the way of the mind. What  we think, we become. Whether it’s Biblical, philosophical, our mother and father or our coach–all tenets and instructions are to think on good things. All would want us to be healthy, productive, self-reliant, and happy. All would want us to think wellness rather than to think about ways we can get disability.

To know the science of the brain, the way of the thought processes of the brain, and the plasticity of the brain, is to know that if you think enough about how you can become disabled, you will win that battle. All the neurons in the brain that were occupied with positive thoughts of wellness can quite easily be occupied with different thoughts–thoughts of disability.

We must do everything we can to discourage phony disability. It is a total disservice to a human being, a child of God. No one can ever convince me that we have the number of disabled people in this nation who are currently collecting disability. If our government really cared, it would not battle with those who are really disabled by war, accident, or circumstances; it would do everything that it could to help those who are not truly disabled to reject their thinking road to disability. The job of government should be to help people live independent, free, and productive lives.

When the politicians and  our government have secured another entitlement vote by creating an able-disabled person making him/her believe that it is an available entitlement, they truly are robbers of the worst sort. They have taken the freedom that our Creator has given us to become all that we can be and substituted a government check and dependency.

It is evil for those who are free to gain political advantage or philosophical control of others by leading them down the primrose path of “free stuff” to a life of dependency and one that lacks the sparkle of the diamonds of self-respect, self-reliance, independence and freedom.

Every citizen should help those who are truly disabled, and enable the able- disabled to send their checks back to their government with the proud announcement: NO THANK YOU; I WANT TO BE FREE.

Memorial Day Memories Past – What Does the Future Hold?

So many Memorial Days; so many memories. Today is number 97. Of course, I don’t remember them all, but even when I was a very small child, I know I was participating in a parade, decorating the graves of not only those we honored, but those we loved, respected and wanted to remember. But I knew very early that some graves had flags. I learned very early that these were those special people who went off to war to protect us. I wasn’t very old when my Uncle John filled me in on what that meant. I don’t know exactly what year it was when I started to recognize the horrors of war as he related experiences in the Spanish-American conflict.

As a child I remember eagerly awaiting and watching for the peony, snowball, and bridal wreath bushes to bloom. Mother would check occasionally to see how they were progressing; would they be ready for “Decoration Day”? We had no greenhouse to force the blooms. We just had to wait. Our other possible supply was nature; we would sometimes take a stroll just to see what the fields and hills around us might be able to fill in. There were those very special occasions when mother would nurse plants all through the winter to have a geranium to fill in.

From the time I started playing an instrument in a school band, marching to the cemetery to participate in Memorial Day was on the calendar. In high school, we marched from the high school to the cemetery. Of course, we complained a lot. The walk was too long; it was too hot; it was cold and where was summer. But we knew that was what we would do on Memorial Day. That’s where most of the town would be–singing the National Anthem, listening to speeches, listening quietly as names were read, looking at the men in uniform, and there was always an invocation and a benediction. And we always hoped we could find a ride back to the high school. You can never forget the pride with which those men wore their uniform every Memorial Day even when it got a little tight. You absorbed that kind of pride and love when you heard them say how proud they were to serve this country that they loved. You learned early what it meant when they cried as they talked about the bravest of all, those who didn’t make it back alive, or how fortunate they were to make it back safe and sound.

During college years, I was able to be home by Memorial Day. I didn’t have to march to the cemetery nor worry about the state of the flowers, but I knew that Memorial Day was still a day to remember. And then Pearl Harbor happened. I was still in college, but graduated the next spring in 1942. I got home for Memorial Day and already some of my former classmates had joined the service. They were already fighting and dying in places that I had never heard of before. Just a short four years before we had marched to Oak Hill Cemetery and sat listening to the names of those who had sacrificed their lives for their country, for me and the citizens around me. And now some of their names had been added to that list. We had carried instruments to play music together and now they were carrying instruments of war or serving aboard ship, or driving a jeep or truck or tank in a land with unfamiliar terrain, climate, or name.

The 1942 Memorial Day was not only a few days after my graduation from college, it was a staggering entrance into new meaning to me for any Memorial Day to follow. Before the next Memorial Day would come, I had raised my right hand and pledged myself to serve in the United States Navy. It is something I could not have dreamed of a few short months earlier. But War changes lives rapidly. When Pearl Harbor was struck, a tsunami of national pride, anger, patriotism, and anxiety rolled over the land.

The next two Memorial Days were spent in the Navy. At the huge base where I was stationed in Tennessee, I watched daily as the men trained. I knew they would soon be in harm’s way. They were from every corner of our great country; Memorial Day in their hometown would never be the same. Their families would be sitting or standing at a Memorial Day ceremony with pride in their service, or tears in their eyes as their name was read in remembrance of those who gave their lives for their country.

World War II was a war that ended. You became a veteran; your husband was a veteran, and you both hoped that your two sons would never have to be veterans because they saw military service in a war; you prayed for peace.

I grew up believing that Memorial Day meant just that: a day to remember those who scarified their lives for the country that they loved. When you pledge to serve your country and you put on the uniform of any branch of the military, you give up a lot of freedoms you pledge to fight and die for. Yet we do it because we want freedom for our children and grandchildren, for friends and neighbors, and as a model for the world.

When I took off the uniform, I didn’t  lose the values that I held when I put it on, nor did I lose my oath to uphold the Constitution. Nor did I forget the words, “so help me God” that I spoke. My job is no less now than it was then; it just may be a little more clear. I will always fight to remain free.

The Figures in the Clouds

As I view the beautiful California sky, it’s easy to be a little girl in Iowa again.The clouds that grace the blue sky are perfect for me to recognize shapes and figures. The clouds are so accommodating; the lion gradually morphs into a giraffe that becomes a ship with sails.   And I can travel to far places where the animals live.  Clouds are wonderful reminders that they move and change and follow the path they were created to follow. I’m so glad I haven’t forgotten how to see more in the clouds than people tried to teach me to see. Just think, if I could remember only what I learned in science about clouds, how much less I would enjoy my skies.

As I see my hawks, hummingbirds, the white heron, and all the others, I’m so glad I believe they are like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. They are all seeking to be the most that they were created to be. Jonathan was never happy with the scraps on the beach; he could see the horizon and the ships. He would risk the wrath of those who tried to make him just like all the other seagulls to fly toward the horizon.

And so it is with me as I sit at the end of the driveway. I have another day to become all I was created to be. I have been so blessed to have so many who have helped me on my journey. They have allowed me to grow. They have challenged me. They have questioned my path and sometimes suggested detours. Yes, there were those who tried to tell me that they knew more about my path than I did. But there was always that third ear, that sound of the silent soul, the still small voice of self, and the rudder of faith to guide me. I would even risk the wrath of those who tried to keep me on the beach eating scraps.  

I have never been satisfied with the scraps on the beach. I can still see the horizon and the ships in the clouds to get me there. I hope I never lose my capacity to see what I could see as a little girl in Iowa, born with everything that she needed to become all that she could be.

That’s why I take a grateful walk everyday. I cannot appreciate the next step until I am grateful for the one that I have just taken. I cannot see the horizon if I do not look in that direction. I want my grandchildren (and all children) to see me looking toward the horizon each day that God gives me breath. Go Colin, Kera, Hailey, and Cassidy. You have everything that you need to be all that you can be.

The Other Half Spoke – Rights, Responsibilities and the Republic

What had happened to the three R’s–RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITIES in a REPUBLIC?

Understanding about them appears to be something lacking in many of our people. As I watch the protests/riots on my television screen in the places that I spent many of my years, the college and university campuses, I am so sad. These young people seem to have little knowledge of the gift they were given when they were born in a republic, nor do they appear to have any sense of what a republic is. Because I spent so much of my career in that environment, I do understand the ever-growing change from true educational institutions where our young are able to explore their world and all sides of a question or idea, to political and cultural indoctrination factories.

Why have students been taught that their view of the world of self-indulgence is the only one? Why do they feel they have a right to infringe on the rights of others who don’t hold their views? Why have so many such disdain for their flag, and why do they believe that patriotism is for the uneducated? Why do they believe that their country is racist in spite of a black president serving two terms? Why are they allowed to think that it is OK to skip class, not take a test because they don’t like the results of an election? Why????

Because the transformation of America and the destruction of our republic could not be completed or maintained without owning our young. It is the young that become the next generation of believers. There are few colleges and universities left that truly deserve the name of fair and open learning institutions, safe for our young people’s creative, growing, inquisitive, formative minds. Fortunately, we find some strong, vibrant, young historians who honestly know the documents of their America, and whose souls are not for sale.

We have created our own political landscapes. Our colleges are no longer those wonderful places of debate, differing opinions, honest intellectual discussion of all sides of an issue or idea, or true dialogue. The riots that we see on our campuses and in our cities, and the unrelenting negative responses by citizens and the press, are the results of the monolithic, elitist, universal, non-debatable view of the world and the way half of our people would like to see our Republic become.

The other half spoke, folks. Try listening to them. So students, get back to your classes, dry up your tears, and demand the freedom to think.  

Original posting: Nov. 16, 2016

Still pertinent and valid today