Labor Day 2019 – Lessons of Hard Work

Labor Day each year brings many memories, but it also comes with many questions. The conversations and programs often are confusing. Are they speaking of labor, the noun, or are they discussing labor, the verb? There are a lot of synonyms for each. This day I prefer to speak of the labor that creates, that gives birth to something special, that is difficult, joyous, fulfilling, exhausting, exhilarating, and full of anticipation, expectation, wonderment, and even fear and pain. All of these can co-exist in the planting of a garden and even more so in the labor of birth.

Whatever synonym one chooses, it  seems to be tied to the word “work.”    We even tie the education of our children and youth to the word. “Honey, just remember you’re going to work just like mommy and daddy,” we say. And so they go off to “work” in this place called school. They labor in a place that should be filled with enchantment and joy, but is often filled with tedium, repetition, being told what to do all day, and often filled with few opportunities for choice and real problem solving. Monopolies breed these attitudes, and public schools are monopolies.

While the children labor in the vineyard of the school, the adults labor in the “workplace.” My first one was my home. I can’t remember when I didn’t have chores. Neither can I remember any time in my life when I wasn’t tagging someone around trying to learn how to do something. When would I be big enough to run the tractor? When could I knead the bread? I could dry the dishes if I stood on a chair, or feed the chickens if mother carried the feed.

I was fascinated with how things worked–the windmill, the incubator, water in its various states, and the diversity of the snowflakes. Examination was not a test in my life, it was an opportunity to examine, to observe, and to ask the questions that filled my environment. My unpaid workplaces fit the old Confucius saying: Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

My first paid job was working for my eighth grade teacher cleaning her apartment. What faith she had in giving an eleven year old kid a job. But I was grateful for the fifteen cents an hour I earned. Opportunity knocked early on my door. And it’s been knocking regularly since then. I ushered in the little theater in town; that allowed me to see movies.

At about this same time, my grandfather, the master of thrift, hard work, and personal responsibility,  was also the master teacher. He would never give us (I had many cousins) money, but he would always provide opportunities for us to earn it. He provided the seed potatoes, the plot of ground ready to plant, and taught us how to do the rest by his example. I planted those potatoes, I hoed those potatoes in the hot Iowa sun, and learned how to look to nature for the rain and occasional cloudy day when I could abandon that straw hat he insisted I wear. I was so proud of that paycheck when I sold those potatoes.

But the lessons were the priceless parts of the process. Maya Angelou has said it well: Nothing will work unless you do. I found out in that potato field the truth in the statement of Thomas Edison: Opportunity is often missed by most people because it is dressed up in overalls and looks like work.

Grandpa offered the same opportunity to all, but others saw only opportunity dressed up in overalls and looking like work. I could only learn the lessons of hard work by working hard. Margaret Mead knew this. Even the home-spun advice of Ann Landers informed us: Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work so most people don’t recognize them. I am thankful for the early lessons of recognition.

Labor Day’s Past and Present- Critical Questions Remain the Same

This is a blog I wrote in 2012. As I reread the blog today, the critical ideas involved are still so pertinent that I want to republish it; my granddaughter has survived college, is in her second year of employment that she enjoys, and fortunately lives in a country where she is making her own yellow brick road. But the questions I asked are still pertinent to our culture of today. In many cases, they are more important then when I asked them these years ago. Will some of these be answered by her next birthday?

My message for Labor Day is well stated in this blog:

It is Labor Day 2012. And it is my granddaughter’s 16th birthday.

I celebrate labor. I want to blow the trumpets and announce again the importance of the work ethics of our founders, our grandfathers and grandmothers. My German grandfather was a master at teaching the value of honest labor. He never gave us a fish; he gave us a fishing pole. He never gave us money; he gave us the opportunity to earn money. Then he taught us how to keep some for that rainy day. He was grateful to his new country for the opportunity to own land, to build a multi-family home for his large family, to work from sun-up to sun-set; and to ride in the caboose of the long freight train that was taking his cattle and hogs to the markets in the stockyards of bustling Chicago.

As an immigrant, he seemed to understand better than many who are born in this country, how important it is for government to help you keep what you earn, rather than to figure out how to take more of a citizen’s earnings. He helped his children get their starts. He was an entrepreneur and a tough negotiator when it came to venture capital–the money he and his family had earned.

I sat at the end of the driveway this morning and contemplated the significance for me today of the double celebration. What do the next Labor Days hold for my 16 year old granddaughter? Will they be a celebration of hard work, of ethical behavior in the workplace,and of policies that will allow her to keep what she earns in the future? She works hard at her present endeavors; no one shoots the three-point shots for her; no one spends the hours doing her homework; no one takes her tests or writes her papers.

When she finishes her school work and heads out into her work world, what will she find? Will she find business, industry, and the professions prosperous and free, or will she find them further transformed to be controlled and largely owned by an ever-expanding government?

As I sat pondering the meaning of Labor Day and the future of my granddaughter, I thought about what college holds for her. Will those wonderful years be filled with opportunity to become all she was created to be, or will they be filled with an ever-increasing culture of entitlement, of subversion of our founding principles, of biases that re-write our history, of assassination of our founders, and one that belittles our founding documents that guarantee her freedoms?  Or will she encounter those bastions of truth that honor the exceptionality of this land and who instill the responsibility and humility that come with being a citizen of this Great Republic? Will she come out of college understanding and defending the Constitution rather than thinking it is a document that is outdated?

I ask these questions because I have spent a great portion of my professional career at the university level. And I see President Obama spending a great deal of time on college campuses. Why? Is the transformation not yet complete? I have seen all sides of the questions I ask. I have conducted classes during student strikes and I have walked by students occupying administrative offices. I have given diplomas and as a dean, recommended hundreds of students for degrees at all levels. What have the great private and state universities lost of their heritage that I should even be able to ask these questions?

Read the founding histories of education at all levels. You will be astonished as I have been even though I thought I knew the history. I lived on the inside of these institutions for many years. But the transformation has happened over time, and it has been intentional and clever. Our insistence on religious freedom has been a strength used against us. Our Christian foundings have been diminished or subverted; self-reliance has been replaced with entitlement all in the name of compassion and equality; equality of opportunity has been replaced with demand for equity; and self-reliance and responsibility have been replaced with demands for rights.

But I’m betting on my country and my Creator. I’m betting on the truth, innate desire for freedom, personal responsibility of our people, integrity, and hard work. And I’m betting on friends and neighbors to give people fish who really need help, but I’m hoping that the rest of us will take the fishing pole we are handed and learn how to fish.

Yes, I’m betting on future Labor Days to be celebrations of hard work, of self-determined enterprise, and an appreciation of all labor wherever it may be.

Yes, and I’m betting on a great future for my granddaughter. She is an American, born in this special land of opportunity, this one-of-a-kind place where she is guaranteed (if we keep these guarantees) life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Happy Birthday, dear one, on this 2012 Labor Day.

My Field of Dreams (Memories for National Senior Day)

I want to republish a post from several years ago in honor of National Senior Day on August 21st. These are some special memories from my early high school sport years about one of my great loves: Basketball. It’s some of those life lessons learned early that allowed me to have the incredible ‘yellow brick road’ I’ve been able to follow. Enjoy the history, the passion and the love.

Watching a WNBA basketball game the other day brought back all kinds of memories. What fun it would have been when I was playing basketball in my high school and college days to have known that there was a career possible in the sport that I loved so much. And of course, my mind wander back to those early days in that small high school gymnasium in the basement of my high school in Lansing, Iowa.

My first games were played with the floor divided into three parts. Two players played guard in the back third, two played running center in the middle third, and two played forward in the front third. While I was still in high school, the rules changed and the court was divided into two parts. Three played guard in the back court, and three played forward in the front court. I tried to play with the boys sometimes because I loved having the whole court for play. And I loved being able to dribble on the whole court. We could only take one dribble. It was a challenge to see how far you could make that one dribble take you. But we played our one-dribble-two-court game with passion. We felt lucky in Iowa because not many states had girls basketball at all.

I loved basketball; I still do. I love to watch my granddaughters play. I loved playing enough to sneak out of the house for school the morning I woke up with a rash on my face and, of course, in other areas of my body. I knew something was amiss, but we had a game to play that Tuesday night, and I wasn’t going to miss it. Of course, I got no further than the first teacher I met at school, my coach. He saw me and recognized that I had measles. I really didn’t feel ill, but I obviously was sent home. My mother was not happy. I think probably she was more embarrassed because the teachers might think she sent me to school with the measles. She was pretty strict about right and wrong. Going to school with measles was wrong, but sneaking out was like lying. That was really bad.

The girls played the first game of the evening and the boys games followed. We were always pleased when we could draw the crowd to our game. We had tournaments just like the boys. Boys and girls in our school had the same coach. Eddie Albertson was a special guy. He was not only my coach; he was a mentor, my math teacher who gave me advanced math books for the summer because we didn’t have the classes in our small high school, and he was my friend. We played “HORSE” after we finished practice. He believed in me; he never “let” me win. When I did, it was pure accomplishment. He helped me to understand my athletic and academic gifts. He pushed me to find my own “yellow brick road.”

So many memories. Harpers Ferry had the biggest pot-belly stove I have ever seen to heat their barn-like gym. It was nice and warm within fifteen or twenty feet of the stove. The rest of the gym was freezing as was the classroom where we changed our clothes. Wow. I can still feel that cold. Sometimes we would stop on our way home after games out of town to have a snack. Mother always managed to have a little change for me. We never ate out so these little restaurant visits were pretty special. Waterville had sisters who were amazing shooters; Gronna sisters, I think. I envied them because they had a basket on the side of their barn and they practiced all summer. I didn’t have a barn nor could I afford a basket or a basketball.

The coach helped me buy a pair of leather basketball shoes; it was such an amazing luxury. Do you know how proud a little girl can be of a pair of leather basketball shoes? We had a little shower in our locker room; some places we went did not. I earned letters all four years in basketball and kittenball (softball). Those letters meant I earned a great deal of respect from my peers, but more importantly, I knew I had been given great physical and mental gifts. In my small town, those gifts often languished into submission to mediocrity. As each year has passed, I realize how fortunate I was to have Eddie Albertson as my coach and to work for the Superintendent who had a sign in his office that read: There’s always room at the top.

Those were the days of three-court basketball, short basketball pants, cold gyms, cold showers, getting to the game with very cold hands and feet after walking to the game and wondering if they would ever warm up. They were times of listening to the cheers, seeing the pride on your parents’ faces, getting the accolades of the teachers the next day, being elected captain of the team, and loving the coach. They were times of walking into a market and having the owner say, “Great game, Sylvia,” when normally they didn’t know I existed. And they were times when I had to walk home after practice and sometimes it was pretty scary. I could choose to walk through a pasture where there was a bull, or I could walk the road past the city dump. But my dad always told me I could run faster than anything chasing me.

They were times of expectation and happiness. I was very good at this game I loved. I learned there how to excel. I learned how to outthink my opponent. I learned the value of every minute; a game has only so many minutes. The importance of one minute on the outcome of the next, taught me life lessons. I would try to live my life like I played basketball. Give it my all, play fair, solve the problems at hand, listen to advice from those who cared about me, discard the criticism of those who envied or were trying to hurt me, play with passion, and learn from each experience. I learned that I  had been given by my Creator everything that I needed to play the game. Yes, I had been given gifts, but I knew that gifts unopened were of no value. They needed to be used, expanded, shared, and utilized to serve others.

Basketball was a field of dreams whether it was three or two courts. I was quick and very fast; I can only imagine the fun I would have had playing the whole court. But believe me, I play full court in all that I do at 92.

 

What Can We Do? What Can We Do? Saving Our Republic

A little obscurity elicits interesting behaviors and observations.

As I sat at the end of the driveway this morning, I could still see the hills in the distance. But they were far from chiseled images against a clear blue sky. They were still very visible, but the details were a little obscure.

Wow! Kind of like my nation and my church. One practices situational constitutionality and the other practices situational Bibliocity, obscuring the truths that lie in these two great, timeless documents. Oh, Yes! The pundits say these times require an update on these two timeless documents. These same people, the transformers, preach you have to consider the time in which they were written. How could you possibly impose the same standards, values, and ideas of those times on us in these modern times? They ask.

For us to try to understand the current mass murders and terrible things that are happening in our culture, we must understand that the teaching of biblical values and constitutional truths, our history, have been largely eliminated from our schools. Even the current terrible happenings, and this is true in most cases, there are warnings in school records. If one were to search diligently at lower levels of the social and emotional climate for these young people, we would find triggers there. Perhaps even as early as when they first appear at our school door. In my almost century of observation as an educator, I have watched the erosion of the teaching of our founding documents, our real history, and the removal of moral and ethical stories that carried the biblical values that made us so great.

As my mind wanders through the past many years, and I recognize in the annals of my memory of political and legal debate here and there, the foggy “modernizing” of our precious founding documents. A little fog here, a little fog there. Here a little fog, there a little fog, and everywhere a little fog.  The fog comes generally in the form of subtle attacks on the great freedoms built into our founding documents. The hope and change artists can’t change the words so they change the perceptions of the words. They put words into the mouths of our founders. The fog of perception is easy to add a little at a time. A drop at a time works. A constant drip can ultimately erode cement.

I plead with us to remove the obscurity and lift the fog from the two areas that were evident in our founding and not evident in our schools now. In my book, Refounding Education, I have talked extensively about the environment we need. In my book, America First Again second edition, I have tried to recreate the road that the transformers, those who would destroy our constitution and Christian values, have taken. We must close that road so no obscurity or fog exists to cloud the truth and rebuild a new road.

Yes, I believe we need to refound education. We need to refound an educational system that will produce an informed citizenry that understands and works to save our Republic.

 

 

Youth Reaching for the Horizon of Hope Rather than Accepting the Scraps of Despair

After watching the exciting dynamics of the youth summit in Washington D.C. on July 23rd, I was drawn again to the Jonathan Livingston Seagull story. This amazing seagull was flying toward the horizon with new ideas and new hope to find more than the other seagulls who were picking up scraps behind cruise ships. Like Jonathon who believed there was more beauty and excitement in the realm in which he was flying, these young people love their Republic and want to seek the horizon of opportunity. Like Jonathon they believe in themselves and understand that in their beloved country they are free to become everything they were born to be.

This seagull defied the orders of the Supreme Council to be like all the other seagulls on the beach. Be happy with your lot in life to pick up the scraps. Stay along the shore where you won’t encounter the storms beyond the shoreline. Just look at the setting sun on the horizon; it’s not yours to follow, they admonished.

But Jonathan wasn’t an ordinary seagull. He wasn’t like the other seagulls who conformed to the restrictions and limitations of mediocrity that prohibited his freedom. He tried new things. He ventured out beyond the horizon and found much beyond the scraps on the beach. He found beauty, excitement, and fulfillment as he dared to do all that he was created to do. But the Supreme Council of Seagulls was displeased with this horrible behavior. How could he shame them so much?

A Supreme Council of Transformers, those trying to change our beloved Republic, is asking us to stay on the beach and pick up the scraps. These folks are quick to encourage us to stay on unemployment insurance; if we went beyond that horizon we might find something exciting and want to work. They are quick to encourage us to apply for food stamps; once we accept food stamps when we don’t really need them, we will become accustomed to expecting someone else to feed us. It becomes our right. When students can borrow several hundred thousand dollars to get an education, they have lost the joy and satisfaction of their first job, their feeling of self-reliance. They owe so much; how can they be grateful? They can only hope “someone will rescue them from this terrible burden.” This slide into the culture of entitlement has not brought them hope. It has bought them dependence and a lack of self-worth.

Where are the Jonathans who will say no to the scraps? Where are the Jonathans who will fly loops of self-reliance and who will fly toward the horizons of opportunity? Where are the Jonathans  who will appear before the Supreme Council of Transformers and declare their right and responsibility to fly in the open skies created for them?  Where are the Jonathans who will dare to teach their young about the free skies and teach them to reject the scraps on the beach of no hope and change? I know they exist; I saw them in the Teen Student Action Summit.

I know the Jonathans exist. But we must encourage the Jonathans to come together in the Jonathan fly-over. If I am still flying toward the horizon at 98, there must be millions of Jonathans out there who can fly circles around me and even land at night. The scraps on the beach have never satisfied me, and I refuse to be satisfied now. I still have a voice and I will use it to convince, to teach, to cajole, to promote the horizons given to us in our founding documents. I will continue to model in the best way I know how the tenets of self-reliance, independence, integrity, compassion, truth, love, frugality, joy, and humility. I am fortunate to live in a nation that was founded on these great principles.

Dr. Ben Franklin, I will do all I can to restore our exceptional heritage to its former greatness. Only then can we continue to be the force for good in the world that freedom brings. We cannot do it as partially free people. We cannot do it when we have replaced the word responsibility with rights.

We can do it when we work, act, and think, with the faith of the birds of the air who sing in the dark before the first light arrives. We can do it with the courage of our Founders who faced death and loss of everything they had to assemble and write our great founding documents. We can do it by teaching our people to fish instead of throwing them a fish. We can do it with love, humility, and the presence of the Divine Guidance that gave us this great, one-of-a-kind nation.

We must insist that the rivers of hope and change flow toward freedom, not toward servitude of spirit and being. We must insist that only streams of self-reliance, independence, thrift, and political integrity are allowed to flow into the rivers of hope of a free nation.

To all you Jonathans. If you haven’t flown toward the horizon lately, the air is fresher out there. If you have been satisfied with one scrap on the beach of entitlement and servitude, throw it down and know that you were created to be much more.

Dear President Trump – We Need More Youth Rallies

I have watched with great interest your ability get work done, move forward, and most of all, your ability to present your ideas at your rallies. It is the strength of the success of it all that causes the opposition to be concerned to the point of hate.

I’d like to suggest that a series of rallies with our young people would be the most productive way to instill a sense of patriotism in our young. I watched the Teen Student Action Summit on July 23rd where you were speaking.The enthusiasm of the young people was equal to that of the people at your regular rallies. I’m sure many of the other wonderful speakers had similar exciting responses. We need more such commanding opportunities for our young. Our young people need an opportunity to be excited about their heritage, their founders, their great founding documents and the blessings they have from their Creator to live in this most unique place, the United States of America.

There needs to be a counter to what the schools have done to the students relative to our values, our documents, our founders, and even to their opportunities. It occurred to me as I watched the interaction between you and the young people at this youth rally that we could bypass the indoctrination and transformation of our educational system and go directly with an injection of truth to our young. In my book, America First Again, I tried desperately to transmit the necessity for a new brand of patriotism in our country. During my nearly century of observation and my many decades as a professional educator including 22 years on a local school board, I have found that the wheels of change in our institution are glacially slow. Believe me I know, I have been a part of it for decades.

Mr. President, we need to move more like a tsunami. We need to be bold, big and energetic to recapture our youth. I have written a book titled, Reclaiming Education, but that does not capture what you can produce in a few rallies and youth action summits. The excitement, energy, spirit and soul that would come from these rallies and action summits would instill truth and patriotism to help remove the years of negative indoctrination from our educational system, the media and general bias in our culture. We need that special spirit of 76 again. Believe me, I know how difficult it is to change education. The transformers have done it over years; they knew that they had to own education and eliminate religion. They have been far too successful with both. I believe a series of rallies with our youth would be a most amazing and a productive way to help us recapture a new generation.

With the acknowledgement of Divine Guidance still available to us, I believe it can happen.

With great respect and gratitude for all that you are doing,

Sylvia

Grandma Tucker

Discrimination Exists in Areas Other Than Color

Today’s news is full of thoughts and comments about “discrimination.” The current squad, for instance, uses freely “women of color,” the term “racist,” “white privilege,” etc. It is all full of hate. No effort is made to build bridges to each other. The rhetoric is designed to gain power or privilege, not understanding. From almost a century perspective, let me share some of my experiences. Discrimination feels the same no matter what the species, but it doesn’t make it necessarily racist.

Let me tell you what my heart has endured…

I was called a “hayseed,” a kid from the country, which was meant to be a put down from town kids. Yet, I excelled in sports and academics in high school.

I was just 21 when I was told that I was too young to be an officer in the U.S. Navy. I proudly served as a Naval officer in World War II.

I was told that I was too honest to be a politician when I ran for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in California in 1970.

I was told that I was “too old” to start a doctoral program in psychology at UCLA when I was just 40. I finished my Doctorate in education in 1964.

I was told that I couldn’t be a Dean of Students at UC Riverside (I was only allowed to be Dean of Women) in the mid-sixties because I was a woman. 

I was told that I couldn’t be a Director of Upward Bound and work with black students because, “I was not only a woman but also white.”  I was then the Director at UC Riverside.

I was told, sometimes subtly and sometimes blatantly, that I could not be a Dean of Graduate Studies in response to several applications that I made for that job because I was a woman. At the time, I was Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies at the University of Cincinnati.

At a school board meeting I was told, “You are old. You forget things, and can’t talk.” I served on a local school board for 22 years until I was 97. It was a pure, unadulterated case of age discrimination. It had all the earmarks of discrimination.

I am so blessed to be able to write, speak, read, and most of all think. For their own reasons, the person tries to put you in their mind-box. When you refuse to crawl in with them, their anger and efforts to make you fit the stereotype they have assigned is palpable.

I have been fortunate to live in USA where arrows to the heart do not have to destroy who you have been created to be. Yes, even at 98, discriminatory arrows of being Old in Age still feel the same as any other discrimination I’ve experienced.

In spite of arrows of discrimination, I can look at the rainbows on my ceiling and see the promise of tomorrow. I can walk by the orange trees and cherish the fragrance and know what those blossoms will become. I can check out the dome of blue above, the songs of the birds, the breezes in the palms and go on serving and trying to make a difference in someone’s life. I am grateful for it all. 

 

Is the U.S. Exceptional?

Yes! Definitely! You Bet! Absolutely! Without Question!

Start by asking yourself a question. How could so young a nation have become what we have become, and how could such an upstart do all that we have done in such a short period of time if we were not exceptional? Our history is minute in time in comparison with some other countries, yet we have done so much. Being exceptional doesn’t make you better than others; it makes you different with different gifts and different responsibilities. And we are different, or at least we were at our inception. So what makes us so different?

Our Founders were very special people. They created a new nation that would have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Many leaders and nations claim this, but our Founders did it. They created founding documents that could correct the evils they had experienced with government interactions with its people, and documents that would assure the  “of, by, and for.” They understood the nature of human beings and the temptations and foibles that accompany power. They understood the corruption that often follows power. They created a system of checks and balances. They meant to have a citizen government; unfortunately, we have nearly come to have a government of political professionals.

They created a Bill of Rights, a set of guarantees that would assure liberty and freedom for all its citizens then and now. They could not possibly have created what they created if they had not been futurists as well as realists. They did everything that they could to secure for the generations to follow what they fought and died for. These founding documents were not fashioned from thin air. A look at the governments of the various colonial states tell much about the breeding ground for the thoughts, deliberations, and actions of these incredible men. And they did all of this at their own peril and the peril of their families.

Think about this. Our founding is unique. It is exceptional. No nation before or since our founding has been given governing documents like those  that created our republic. Our Founders knew this was a job bigger than all of them. That’s why they acknowledged the presence of Divine Guidance. They knew that they had to have their God in the middle of the circle. So many of the principles and values found in early governing documents came from their strong Christian heritage, from their Bible. That’s how we became “the shining city on the hill.”

The light of that “city” is what makes us exceptional. We are willing to share that light. That’s why we try to shine the light of freedom, even in the most difficult of circumstances. We fight and die for our freedom and the freedom of others. We believe our rights come from our Creator, not our government. We believe in small, citizen government. We believe in limited government. We believe in hard work, self-responsibility, honesty and integrity, in serving and helping those in need, in being frugal, and in individual rights. And so much more.

We are exceptional. Not better than, but exceptional. Others saying it is not so does not change that. Only we can make us not exceptional by forgetting what makes us exceptional or destroying what keeps us exceptional.

“Send Her Back”

I don’t want to “send her back.” I want her to appreciate the many opportunities that this great country, which I love, has provided to her. I want her to love this country that has allowed her to become a congresswoman. For 98 years I have enjoyed the fruits of my founders; I have enjoyed the freedom given to me by the constitution and our founding documents. I was born wrapped in the red, white, and blue of our magnificent flag.

Perhaps a return visit to the two places she left would be a stark reminder of why she became an refugee. As an educator for decades, I wonder how someone who has achieved what she has can seemingly hate this country so much. Behavior and words need to match in this respect. Wanting to transform this country to a place for “opportunities that exist for all” denies recognition of the opportunities that she has been given and used freely.

What other country in the world would this be possible? To rise from refugee status to a member of one of our deliberative bodies, the “House of Representatives.” What other country in the world would allow her make the comments she is making about her new land? No, I don’t want to “send her back,” I want her to appreciate one of the reasons for our founding, religious freedom. I want her to appreciate her ability to follow her faith as I have been able to do. I want her to feel wrapped in the flag. No, I don’t want to “send her back,” I want her to share all the positive things that have happened to her in this great land. Surely she must know deep inside that this divinely guided experiment, this awesome Republic, is one of a kind. It is unique. I want her to tell the world, including the countries from which she fled, what this great land provides for all of its citizens and so many others. Most certainly it has been provided to her in a short period of time. No, I don’t want to “send her back,” I just want her to be as grateful as I am for all this country means, all it represents and all of its values.

I have been questioning how someone can become so absolute and sure of her philosophical base in such a short amount of time. What other country does freedom ring to the extent that this would be possible?

My almost-century perspective has allowed me to experience all the positive things and also things I have worked extremely hard to change. I know that unless we retain the principles and practices of our founding and live through our founding documents that our country will be something quite different. Unless we remain one nation indivisible under God with liberty and justice for all, we will our lose freedom.

God’s Creations Revisited

I want to share with you a document I wrote when I had nearly-full sight and had the mobility to walk greater distances. Now I cannot see some of the things I talk about in the article below; I do not take the extensive walks I used to take, but as I reread about God’s creations and the magic palate, I found that I was just as grateful now with the memories as I was when I first experienced them. Now let me share with you what I experienced in May 2014. The beauty is the same; I see it differently.

What a beautiful day. The walk to the end of the driveway is always an adventure. It is one I take everyday in my trek around the house. While it is the same driveway, the walk is always different. The blossoms are at a different state in their journey. The birds and their songs are different at different hours; their flight patterns vary with the tasks of the hour. The palm fronds are greeting the sky in different ways as they meet the morning breezes. The sun greets me at a different angle. The shadows cast their magic with the path of the sun. The breezes say hello with a gentle brush across my face.

            The sky is its own study each morning. This morning it is a blue dome with white, fleecy clouds covering it like a white lace covering a blue tablecloth. Yesterday it was a beautiful, clear, blue dome. The silhouette of the palm fronds against the blue is an impressive piece of nature’s artistry. The mountains across the valley stand majestically as they lend their beauty to the horizon.

            The yellow iris proudly present themselves as they add their beauty to the scene; it seems each is proclaiming it is the perfect blossom. The  bronze day lilies vie for attention as they stand among the iris. Nature mixes in the red, pink, and rose colors of the geraniums that trail along the driveway and sometimes climb the palm trees. God’s artistry creates amazing pieces of art in nature.

            As I proceed around the house, I can smell the last vestiges of the perfume of the orange blossoms; they are rapidly pursuing their journey. In a few days there will be little green nubbins, the first sign of the next piece of their destiny. They, too, will soon mirror the mature fruit left on the trees. An orange tree, like so much of nature, is a beauty to behold. And how magical when you can see the evolution day by day. How can one not be grateful?

            I never cease to be amazed as I turn the corner. I leave the fragrance of the orange blossoms; I know in just a few feet the roses will start  to share their varied perfumes. They have to share their beauty with the vastness of the view across the valley. As I look across the valley, the avocado trees in the foreground add the incredible greenness of their foliage to the scene. But in a few more steps, the roses send out their calling cards. A rose is something special. And each of the many that I have sends its individual greeting card. The beauty of the buds, the fullness of the blossom, the attempt of each petal to last as long as possible–all magic. The colors an variety are unbelievable.

            And that’s just some of the plants. Now add the glory of a hawk, the pride pace of a road-runner, the scamper of a ground squirrel. or the tail of a rabbit scurrying away. The sound of the music from the many birds that love their nests in my palm trees, add the symphony to the scene. Even the crows add their base notes to the sound.

                 How could I not be grateful enough to understand that tomorrow my walk will be looking at another artistic rendering of God’s magnificent creations? I hope your grateful walk today was as beautiful as mine.