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.

Gratitude is a Gift where Hope Dwells

It has been a long time since I posted a blog–December 1, 2017. So much has happened. On  December 7, I was evacuated from my home to escape the path of the Lilac fire. As the fire was at the end of my driveway, I did not expect my home to survive. By the grace of God, I was able to return to my home. Several houses near me were in the path of the fire. These fires really do create their own climate, their own path. They are truly wild. They are a terror. I am grateful that our children were all evacuated safely and our schools escaped.


Christmas followed with the celebration of the greatest gift–the birth of Jesus Christ and the wonderful sounds and sights that herald Emmanuel. The knowledge that God is always with us. 


Hope and gratitude filled my heart when I saw Dr. Carson say a prayer at the beginning of President’s Trump’s Cabinet meeting. God and the idea of Divine Guidance at our founding and the necessity for it now are back in our public discourse. I am hopeful when I see more and more people willing to promote the values inherent in our Christian Heritage.


I am grateful and hopeful when I see and hear more support for our founding principles and founding documents. I am sad that disdain remains in the hearts and behavior of some. As a veteran and proud citizen patriot, I hope to see total respect for my flag and my national anthem, your flag and your national anthem. 


It is with great hope for my republic and the world that we are willing to talk about the exceptionality of America . In that exceptionality lies great good.


If you find an error that I missed editing in the blog, know that my macular degeneration continues to progress. Know too, that I am grateful for what I can see, rather than miserable about what I can’t. There is great hope in gratitude.   



The Discrimination of Privilege

Every day there’s a new scandal. The news is so scintillating because it is about sex. Now sexual harassment is on the front edge of texts and tongues. It is horrendous. It is evil. It is prevalent and it certainly is not new. Much of it is new to our ears now. But it has been going on in large and small circles. It is dominant in the news now, and we ask ourselves the question: Why didn’t these women come forward before?

I believe the answer is a simple one: Privilege possesses power. The price to expose power and privilege is  often a price too high to pay. For many who have worked years, sometimes their lifetime, to acquire jobs, achieve positions of prominence, or perhaps have achieved their dreams or goals, to stand alone against power and privilege may seem futile. How does a young woman rebuff the advances of the most powerful in their industry or institution? How does a career woman rebuff a Senator or President? Name any uneven relationship relative to power and privilege and the price of exposure of harassment and sexual abuse is often turned on the abused. When women see what has happened to other women who have said “no, they are reluctant to enter that dominion.

When you witness discrimination without privilege and secrecy it is heartbreaking. When you have been witness to blatant gender discrimination and you have experienced it yourself, it is much easier to understand what the addition of privilege and power add to the situation.

Power and privilege are like a secret club; they have their own protectors and protection.

What Is a Veteran?

I have been answering that question for 73 years. It seems that each November 11 has a different answer.

In 1944, I was a veteran, the wife of a Navy flyer, and a spouse whose husband was deploying for duty in the Pacific. Yes, those feelings of loneliness and panic at that separation were deep; the war in the Pacific was horrifying. Until you have experienced it, deployment is just a word,

In 1950, I was fortunate to have two sons. I prayed that they would never be veterans of a World War or any large conflict. I watched them grow, attend school, play sports and each Veteran’s Day was thankful for Peace. Living through the draft period was hell. Would they be called; would their number be the lottery call?

As the years [assed, I observed November 11 praying for the safety of my brother who served three tours in Korea. I observed the Veteran’s Days during and after the Vietnam War were treated in shameful and degrading ways when they returned home.

Several Veteran’s Days during the Cold War were spent praying that the conflicts would never become “hot.” Each November 11th was different. The speeches continued to remind us about our veterans and their sacrifices, but there were those that were political.

All these years I have watched our veterans squeeze into their military uniforms on November ll, or often admit that they had them made larger. I have watched them be recognized in ceremonies on their day and be promptly forgotten on November 12 as they struggled for health care, benefits and things promised them for their service.

As I have done so many times, this morning I watched the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. How often during the years I have seen the disregard and disrespect for the military; how soon some forget the rows of crosses in places like Arlington and Normandy. I have listened to elites and others claim their superiority; They forget that the military are special and elite; only 27 per cent of the people in our nation are qualified to serve in the military. They forget that those elite volunteers wearing the uniforms of our various branches of the military are those who secure their freedoms and ensure their liberty.

At age96 and a witness to 73 Veteran’s Days, I feel their is more commitment, more understanding, and more willingness to fulfill the promises our nation makes to our veterans. I believe there is more respect for those who serve, those who face the separations, for those whose lives face such uncertainty and disruption.

My granddaughter in Boulder, Colorado called me this morning to thank me for my service. She shared my military experience with friends. She didn’t forget. She shared her pride.

Yes, every November 11 is different on the outside, but it is not different on the inside of the observance. The crosses remain row on row and under each one is a special person who stepped up to wear the uniform, raise his/her right hand and pledge it all. Many more returned home and remain an integral part of the community the

y left, particularly on this day.  

(This was intended for Veteran’s Day. Things don’t always go as planned when you’re 96)

So What Do You Think Heaven Has to Do with Today?

What you think about the future determines your behavior today.

 If you think there is a heaven, do you think your Spiritual Life will be different than if you don’t?

If you think you have ability, talent, purpose, energy and desire, do you think you will be more successful in school, at work, at home, and in your career?

If you think wellness, physical well-being, and health, will your physical behavior be different than if you dwell on the opposite?

If you use your mental gifts, the power of your brain and see a bright future, will your behavior be different than if you watch television all day or just sit around?

If you believe in heaven, will your mental, spiritual, physical behavior be different than if you don’t?


Trumped (2)

It will get increasingly difficult to restore our country; resistance from the transformers will increase. They have gained too much. They have shown that they are well funded by those who would destroy who we are and what we stand for. As we fight to help people become more independent and self-reliant, they will fight for more free things and entitlement rights. As we fight to live by the rule of law, they will fight to create chaos, even violence.

 As we fight to return power to the people, the transformers will fight for bigger government on all levels. As we fight for an educational system that is locally controlled  and is awe inspiring and creatively individualistic, they will fight for federal control, especially through the money channels.

As we continue to restore the manger scenes to our Christmas pageants and city and community displays, the  who disagree will find company with the transformers.  As we fight to make certain that the pulpits in our churches and synagogues stand as beacons of religious freedom and not become bastions for “social justice”– code words for so many intolerant attitudes about marriage, gender, race, ethnicity, abortion, and so many others. But perhaps, most of all, they hate Christian attitudes about real social justice.

 I have watched all of these happenings. I still serve on a local school board, believe it or not. I live in a small rural community; it’s not unlike small towns where I have lived most of my life. My early years were spent in a small town–Lansing, Iowa. The mighty Mississippi still rolls by Lansing unaware of Moore’s Law and the tremendous advances in technology. So much is the same; so much has changed.   

When I did my doctoral work at UCLA, the computer I was privileged to use filled the room. Now all of that and much more is on a smart phone. The source of all of this information is in the “cloud.” Will our humanity be able to change enough to “catch up” to the pace of technological change. Will robots be making decisions for us or  will we be telling the robots what to do?

Our choice !!!!!!





The election of Trump was not possible, the transformers thought. This political novice could not win. He was not schooled in the political process.

This television celebrity and New York businessman was clearly outmatched by the Clinton and Obama schooled and well-funded machines. They pretended to  be of the people and for the people. The astounding and unexpected outcomes proved otherwise. Donald Trump was elected as the man who really cared about the people . He cared about their lost jobs, their declining life style, the fewer dollars they had in their pockets, the drugs on their streets and the lack of assimilation of new immigrants. The people believed that he cared about our military people and our veterans. They believed that he cared about our laws and those who enforce them. He talked directly to the people. He turned out to be the candidate most willing and most skilled with new technology. He used the social media. He fooled all the pundits; successful predictors of elections were not even off track; they were in the bushes.


President Trump speaks of our Heritage. He speaks of our Founders and their founding principles and their belief in Divine Guidance in the founding of our republic. +He openly invokes the blessings of our Creator. He believes that our rights come from that Creator and not from our government.


He believes in smaller government; he wants to drain the swamp in Washington D.C. He has signed executive orders to assure ‘veterans  of better care, to create greater energy dependence, and reduced regulations that have been intruding in our personal and professional lives. His actions continue to give more power back to the people; that is what our Founders intended; it is what they pledged their all to create. Their very lives were in jeopardy when they gathered on that hot Philadelphia day to sign our Declaration of Independence. So many of our young and old do not know when it was signed, or certainly they have no idea of the fifty-six brave men who risked it all to give us the freedom we enjoy. Our fight and  founding for religious tolerance havened upside down.  Our quest for religious tolerance has  been used to create “tolerance” for all other religions and a lack of tolerance and respect for our Christian Heritage. Our country was founded on tolerance of various Christian differences. We still have vestiges of those difference in our various states.


The transformers have been eminently successful up to    now. I have hope that we have not slipped over into the abyss of diminishing freedoms. I see our President invoking the blessing of our Creator. I see him fighting again for many of our founding values and principles. I see the work to make America First, Again.  I see a President who is proud of our Heritage and potential. I see a President acting with strength and energy to return our country to We the People.


The Signers–56 Brave Men

It was on July 4, 1776, that the church bells finally started to ring over Philadelphia. The Declaration of Independence had been adopted. There had been much secrecy surrounding the meetings of the brave souls who risked everything, including the charge of treason, to be in that room that day.

The 56 men were lawyers, pastors, merchants, physicians, and farmers. There was a printer, a musician, an inventor, and more. They were men going about their lives, fulfilling their dreams, and playing with their children. Then, as now, lawyers made up the largest group; there were 24.Pennsylvania had the most signers with nine. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest; he was 70. John Rutherford was the youngest; he was 26. Eight were born in Europe.

John Hancock’s signature is the largest and most prominent. He was the first to sign and the signature rests in its own white space. The name became synonymous with “signature.” “Give me your John Hancock,” or “Put your John Hancock here,” means your signature. His signature was as flamboyant as was his reported life style.

Have you ever wondered what the derivation of “gerrymandering” is? I have, but I never have taken the time to find out. When I read the short biographies of the signers this week, I learned so many interesting things. Among the signers was Eldridge Gerry, a man from Massachusetts. Eldridge was a graduate of Harvard College, a merchant, governor, he opposed the federal constitution, and taught us about redistricting. He was soundly criticized for redistricting to advantage his political party for re-election. “Gerrymandering” has been with us for awhile.

All these men were so very interesting; but they were much more. They were extraordinary patriots. They pledged everything to the cause of freedom, and they risked everything. And most of them gave everything. They saw their land and homes destroyed, and the men with fleets of ships and merchants with successful businesses saw it all destroyed. Their families as well were targets.

The bells rang in Philadelphia and our freedom was born. We got up this morning in this free land. Conversations and the news quickly turned to the celebrations of the day. Fireworks displays, band concerts, parties, patriotic parades, flags waving, and families and friends gathering. Hot dogs at the baseball game and barbecues at the park, or maybe a swim party. This is our fourth of July.

When I took my grateful walk this morning, I took a little extra time to be grateful for my freedom. It was foggy at 6 o’clock, and I could see very little just a short distance from me or just the shadows of the buildings below me by the stream at the bottom of the slopes. In a short hour or so, all would be visible. When the fog cleared, it would all be there as it was yesterday when the sun broke through. All this to be grateful for in a free land.

When the signers woke up on the morning of July 4, 1776, they still had work to do. It would be well into the afternoon before the bells could ring over Philadelphia.

We still have work to do; freedom is not free nor is it sustained with fireworks and holiday parties, picnics, and parades.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Sylvia. Bookmark the permalink. Editv

What Happens When the “Cloud” Goes Dark


The ultra-sound scheduled for today was cancelled just as I was getting ready to go to Murietta for the test. Certainly happy that Bob and I didn’t get all the way there to find that “the machine wasn’t working.”  

  What happens when the machine isn’t working? I asked that question at the School Board Meeting when we weralmscussing technology for our kis. What happens when the computers go down? That means no access to all the technology we re teaching them to use. Will they even know how to check a book out of the great libraries we have almost abandoned? Will they know how to spell, to write, to speculate, to continue to discuss the topic at hand? Will they know the telephone number of their best friend or even their parents? Perhaps not even their own. I wonder most of all about their ability to carry on a verbal conversation about anything when their head is out of their smart phone.  

What if someone or something screws up the “cloud,”  the Supernova, and all the technology that operates by Moore’s Law? Wow!!!!! I have no idea. No access to medical records. No  instructions to the power grids. No student  records in  our schools unless we are fortunate enough to have paper trails.  No personnel records. No digital this, no that . What happens when nothing is available if the “cloud” that is the magical storehouse of all the magic of our smart phones, etc. becomes dark?

Will the human brain find its “cloud”?  

The Gift of Another “Decoration” Day

When I was young and celebrating Decoration Day, I never realized the gift I had been given. School had just ended, but our high school band would still play on Decoration Day. We would march to the cemetery from the high school to participate in the Day’s activities. It was hot, and we complained a lot. But when we entered the cemetery we knew reverence was expected of us. We knew the flags represented special people from our community who had ” gone to war.” It never occurred to me that one day I would proudly wear the uniform of the United States Navy. I left my first teaching job in 1942 in Aberdeen, South Dakota, to “go to war.

I would not experience the horrors of the battle fields, the solemnness of burying a comrade at sea, the horrible sight of a kamikaze pilot diving on my ship, or the unknown future from one day to the next. I never experienced being aboard a ship when all I knew was that I was somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

Women were not allowed to “go over seas.” Only nurses wee allowed to do that. The women with whom I served would have been willing to do so; it was a topic of conversation often with us. So we served where we could. We certainly were on the front lines of information about War. We heard first hand what was happening to our shipmates. We would hear about the Pacific Island battles. Yes, we heard about the terrible casualties and always the successes.

I watched the ceremony today at Arlington National Cemetery. The laying of the wreath at the tomb of the Unknown, the prayers, the music, taps, and the remarks of the President and others. It was indeed a Memorial Day celebration. It truly was about all who have died protecting our precious freedoms, but it was more. It was about every single one, a person with a name, a home town, a mother and father, siblings, dreams, and courage beyond most of us. It was about the loved one, the athlete, the sparkling eyes, the letters home, and the knock on the door telling those who remained at home that their loved one wasn’t coming home. Every single one had the same flag next to their individuality on their grave marker–private or general, seaman or admiral, young and mature, and now women or men. Each heard again the Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, the President, their military bosses, the prayers for peace, pand finally,Taps.