Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year Joy and Challenges

  As the New Year starts I am having a lot of fun reviewing the greatness of 2013 with family members and getting excited about what 2014 will bring. We always take any bad things that happened and write them down on a piece of paper then bury the paper in a snow drift. As the snow melts in the spring the paper will disintegrate emphasizing that we need to discard the bad and carry forward the good.

  The new year is a time for planning the future. What are we going to accomplish and learn?  I was taught an important lesson at Christmas time. Never underestimate the learning curve on a young child. My granddaughter is just 3 years old and most of the family thought she was not going to be able to operate a computer, even though she has played on the iPad for several years. I bought her the internet course ABCMouse. She was a little confused when I set my computer in front of her and handed her the mouse. The very first lesson was in how to use the mouse and she flew through it. For the next hour she played and learned at a rate that I was in awe of.  My first worry was that she would become glued to the screen but that proved groundless as her natural desire to play physical games had her jumping out of the chair. No, I do not earn anything from the program, just desire to share a positive fairly inexpensive resource with all of you. Will be interesting to see what she does with it in the next few months.

  What are your educational challenges this year? Mine have traditionally been to stay out of my children's way and just try to help them find resources as they became interested. As a parent and grandparent I continue to stretch my brain by taking computer programing classes, even though I am not very good yet. Are you continuing to stretch your mind?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Celebrating the Season

  I have many friends of different faiths and I find it fun to learn about how they celebrate the season.  Have your children explored their views? Take some time to encourage an understanding and it will benefit them for many years to come!

  Exploring others point of views can foster the ability to value people for who they are. Jesus said to forgive.  He valued people for who they were, not for what color of skin they wore. He welcomed people to learn and love. What have you done? Have you reached out to others in a nonjudgmental way?  Are you teaching your children to know people?

  I find it sad that many people will ignore or actively work against others because they look or believe differently.  We are in the season of love. Are you sharing the love with others? Do our children understand that physical differences are not what we are judged on when we leave this life?  Time for all of us to take a look at our daily lives and decide how we want to answer questions when we pass on.

 I hope that your Season is sprinkled with laughter and love. May you have a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Perfect Christmas

  Many years ago I was blessed by knowing a very awesome family. Thirteen children in one family and a wonderful mother and father celebrated Christmas time in a very unusual way. The father worked on the fishing boats and during the winter months money was short. They enjoyed the Christmas season more than any family I have ever known.  Each person in the family reached out to someone in need and did a unanimous chore or gift for them. Side walks were miraculous cleared of ice and snow. Cookies showed up on doorsteps and handmade toys were placed where children could find them always from Santa and Jesus. Homeless people found warm clothing and sleeping bags.  The giving was endless and cost very little money however, the joy in that family was boundless!  Giggles and laughter were in constant supply as they planned each gift.

  How do most of us celebrate Christmas? Do we buy expensive useless gifts that will be put on a shelf and never used?  One of the Christmas's that my children remember the most is when the whole family was going through a rough time and no one was able to buy things. So we made them. Cookies, scarfs, toys all appeared under the tree with very little  money being spent. My daughter still has the wooden doll her father made for her, and that was 25 years ago.

  That very blessed family from the past also had a time of sharing gifts. On the 4th of July the father was working full time and was able to supply gifts. However, I think they enjoyed the Christmas season more.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blessings and Miracles

  Over the Thanksgiving weekend I actually had time to think in a quiet atmosphere for a few minutes. The Blessing of having a daughter and grandchild with us plus her friends made me contemplate the idea that others are not so fortunate.  Our sons were only a phone call away and while we missed them it was good to hear them and know that all was right in their lives.

  For so many people this season is filled with pain and depression. Look around you. Are there people you know who have lost loved ones this year? Have they lost jobs and are having problems keeping food on the table and a roof over their heads? This is the season of giving. Not the giving of diamonds and expensive toys but the true gift should be the gift of self.  Bake a few extra cookies to give to a grandmother who cannot buy flour and sugar she can share them with her grandchildren. Cut and deliver some firewood to a family that has no heat. Slip a $20 bill into an envelope and leave it in a mail box. Those are not big expensive things, but they are gifts of the heart to someone in need.

  Does your food bank have enough supplies to last through the winter? A few bags of noodles and cans of soup will feed a family for several days. An inexpensive doll, coloring books and crayons, a train set, all of these may be the only toys a child receives, you can make their Christmas morning wonderful.

  It is time that we all step up. Be part of the Miracle of the season!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What are You Thankful For?

  Thanksgiving is a time of gathering family and friends together. For joining with others in activities that help those who are less fortunate.  The first Thanksgiving was celebrated with the pilgrims. They would have starved to death that first winter if the Indians had not shared the foods that they had harvested and stored. What a great time to look at the original dinner.

  I find myself looking back through the years and being so very grateful for all of the people who have come through my life. The lessons that they have shared with me. For my children who have been a blessing! For a Husband who has stayed through all of the tough times and continues to find humor at odd moments in our crazy life.  What are you thankful for?

  I am thankful for living in a country that encourages children to learn and gives us the ability to guide them in the process. Our choices can range from public school to free school. We can have them sitting at the kitchen table for hours writing in workbooks or give them access to the computer and ask them to solve a problem. It is our responsibility as adults to make sure those same choices remain for the future generations.

  Take time to look around you this year and be truly delighted with what life has brought us!

  May your Thanksgiving be full of joy and love!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bill of Rights 7th, 8th,9th &10th Amendments

The Seventh amendment deals with the idea that if you are in a lawsuit in a common law case then you are entitled to a jury if the amount concerns more than $20.

The Eighth amendment states that excessive bail will not be required or unreasonable fines, nor cruel or unusual punishments be allowed.

The Ninth amendment "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The Tenth amendment states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

  It is extremely important that we remind ourselves and teach our children what those rights stand for. These are the laws that our forefathers thought were the most important. Many people gave up their lives to give us these freedoms.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bill of Rights Amendments # 5 & 6

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

  These two amendments are very important in the view that they protect us from hidden prosecution by the law enforcement agencies. They protect us from being made to testify against ourselves. The section stating "due process of law" is under attack by various individuals. Are our emails, phone calls, or blogging activity private property? Does the government have the right to take them and use them as justification to spy on us? Does reading a blog article classify you as a danger to society?

  These are thoughts that we need to consider and discuss with others.  Will our desire to teach our children how to think and discover on their own be classified as dangerous activity? Will we be labeled and prosecuted without any due justice? I believe that the pilgrims fled England because they were being prosecuted for their beliefs. How long until we are suffering from the same?