Make Amend with Your Father or Mother

I have been up since 6 this morning after waking up by Sam and Peter, our friends' children; whom have spent the night here with our treasures. It was another weird day...the ground was covered in snow when we awoke. Throughout the day, it was sunny...snowy...sunny...gloomy...snowy or if it couldn't make up its mind. Was God between? Or was God empathetic towards you...your relationship with an impressionable 16-year-old daughter and your seemingly unsupportive husband, Jewls?

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Like many baby boomers, I grew up with my father whose primary role was as provider.

The lyrics to Cat in the Cradle by Harry Chapin have always haunted me because my own father was just the father in the song. Sadly, so is my father-in-law. I am absolutely horrified that this type of relationship between father and son even existed and continues in its existence. Call me naive. I don't want even one father and one son to suffer through a relationship like this.

The words to the first few verses are: A child arrived just the other day, He came to the world in the usual way. But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay. He learned to walk while I was away. And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew, He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad. You know I'm gonna be like you." It goes on: My son turned ten just the other day. He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play. Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today I got a lot to do", he said, "That's ok" And he walked away but his smile never dimmed. And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah You know I'm gonna be like him." And the cycle continues...

The presence of a male figure in the home does impact children. I believe It affected hubby's relationship with our daughters and son. His father made his and his sister's lives hell as they saw it. My FIL wasn't there for his children or his ex-wife. While millions of men celebrate their manhood, others try to conceal the broken relationships with their fathers and its consequences. Obviously, fathers are imperfect and this has been amplified in our society. Personally, I blame postmodern culture for fueling this negativism.

Clearly, we are being bombarded with negative concepts of fathers. We do not live in an era of Leave It to Beaver where dad knows best and we have a caricature of Superman. My experience is that many fathers of our era are trying to do the right things; however, this gets lost in the day-to-day drama of life. I love how engaged my husband is with each of our children's lives. There isn't a thing he wouldn't or haven't done...changing and washing cloth diapers, giving them bath, bottle-feed them breast-milk, doing laundry, cooking for the family, cleaning, scrubbing toilets, housekeeping, chauffeuring the kids to social activities, Martial Art, gymnastic, soccer, musical theater performances/rehearsals...whatever learning adventures take us...while I climbed the Corporate Ladder in my 17 plus years of an ambitious career path.

Personally, I live with the regret of not reconciling with my father before his passing in early 80s. I don't want to see my husband or friends (like my friend Stephanie here) having the same regret I carry for past 25 years. I pray for all fathers in the world to rekindle the fire in their bellies and allow them to live life more vibrantly, as a positive influence on their children/their grandchildren, and encourage their children to grow their dreams even if they don't see things eye-to-eye. What a wonderful by-product of getting closer to your children and father! Same goes for mothers and daughters/sons. Begin the journey of giving you and your children all that they deserve. I guarantee you will never, ever have the sort of relationship as described in Cats in the Cradle. I am thankful to see hubby is beginning to make amend with his father. First time in his life, my FIL is finally showing respect to hubby as a being, for what he knows, and as the person he has become.

Fathers are essential for a healthy family balance even though they are not celebrated as such. Obviously, there are numerous examples of deadbeat dads, abusers, and downright losers. But, if society buys into the notion that fathers are useless, how do we give our children a sense of hope for the future? We must showcase the positive things fathers are doing in the community while counseling the misguided ones. Our world cannot survive without real fathers and real men. Opportunities to communicate openly and build the father-son, father-daughter relationship have to be created. It's worth whatever it takes to achieve. I would give anything to see with a lifetime of love passing between a father and a son or daughter!

Do me a the words and take the time to act on how you feel.

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Snowy Days Confirm Winter Is Still Here In March!

I'm exhausted but had a great weekend. DD#1 and hubby masterminded a terrific Easter feast and egg hunt (more magical moments captured here.)

How was your Easter?

Winter is back in Central Oregon again--happens every year--just when we have to take the studded tires off our cars! On Tuesay morning, I woke up to a fresh coating of snow flurry in our yard...before I can even get the shovel out, snow has melted away in the walk way.

We managed to venture out to Sawyer Park for a nature walk in the afternoon. The girls thought it was funny to fish out 5 flip-flops (one didn't make it in the picture) from the river.

As a bonus, we located one of three letter boxes. Besides the normal guestbook, there was a traveling stamp accompanying by a journal of its origin, where it has been, and owner's contact information. Our friend Jenn M will contact the owner by email and drop off the traveling set at her next stop perhaps in Portland later this week.

Yesterday, it was a snow blizzard while the kids were rollerblading outside FIL home in Sunriver--sorry, no photos...silly me, I left the memory card in the computer! The kids didn't care how cold and wet it was. They had a blast while I tried to stay warm, knitting away my Oriel socks.

Did you know it's Spring Break? I didn't notice it until I realized there was no Campfire meeting, Kid's Club, 4H Sewing, Gymnastic practice...As of now, only one family responded to my nature walk suggestion for our weekly Friday gathering. Not much going on here as everyone in our homeschooling circle of friends seems to be wanting a break.

Temperature continued to plummet in the night. It was down to 18 or 19°. I went to my Knitting Group last night and, as usual, had a swell time...not only because of the knitting, it was my santuary. The group is a great mix of young and old, experienced and learning knitters. We enjoyed a glass of wine and shared our projects--WOW, I was very impressed with beautiful, creative, inspiring Jackie Sario scarves, Shawna's Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket, Cindy's spectacular knit-along Mystery Shawl, Hildy's self-designed Swing Coat, Barb's cute baby hat, Mel's scarve with recycled silk, Judi's baby sweater with hidden pockets...ooooh, did I mention a bunch of nice ladies! I got to see some latest sock and yarn from the STR sock club--OMG, they are beautifully yummy! I don't know the color name--but it's a must have if they ever make it available. All in all, I enjoyed another great evening out and can't wait to go to Friday's morning meet-up. My new knitting buddy, Hildy, and I are going to PLAY with her undersized Swing Coat--she didn't do a gauge test; now, it is too small for her (but not for me...heehee.) Instead of frogging it, I suggest adding some cable knit around armholes...let see if it works (I actually know it will.)

Hubby and kids are playing basketball in the cul-de-sac while I continue in my prayer marathon, catching up on reading, playing with yarn and techniques...I do hope we will slip out of the freeze and get a few days of decent weather--at least for tomorrow nature walk and the fiber show in Prineville on Saturday!
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Is God in Control?

"A real god doesn't care about control. A real god already has control of everything that needs controlling."~~Orson Scott Card

A few thought-provoking threads on RCU lately have heightened my reflection and awareness to my belief system and my way of mostly rambling and not sure where I am going with it at this point. I wind up on the receiving end of flames from time to time for my aversion toward carnival rides. My acumen concerning them is simply this: if you're so bored that you're willing to risk uncertain death or dismemberment for the sake of entertainment, you either fit the profile for a sociopath, or maybe, just need to get a pet.

Ah, but "God is in control" they say. I think for a minute...I know full well God certainly has the ability to be in control. He doesn't seem to take that liberty all the time. If God's Will were always done, then I'd have no reason to pray for it to be done--which I do daily as a part of on Earth as it is in Heaven--it'd just be done all the time and I'd have nothing to pray about or hope for. If God's Will were always done on earth, everyone would be living a lot more spiritually--afterall, the Bible does say, "It's not my will that any should perish, but that all should have eternal life." It's very evident by looking at society that God's Will most certainly isn't always done--if God micro-managed earth, it wouldn't be inadequate nearly as much. It seems more the likely that God is not in control--at least, He doesn't seem to want to be in control of every little detail that happens on this planet. If He were, free will would disappear, and the world would be more like a giant ant farm. So what is God's role? God's in control of the things that matter.

Granted, I can invoke God to act on my behalf through prayer. It seems, though, that those whose lives seem to be a chain of bad events are more likely the type to, rather than pray, throw their arms up and confess that "God is in control" of everything. When God is not petitioned through prayer, however, it's very obvious that God lets much of the world run itself. Rather than try and rationalize the idea of things like terrorist attacks being God's Will, it makes much more sense to understand that we live in a fallen world and the sins of one affect the many--even good people. The excuse is often made that bad things happen to me when I choose not to walk in God's Will. The catch is this: my choosing not to walk in God's Will at some point negate someone else's ability to make that same decision. I could, for example, choose to walk obediently in God's Will daily and so I pray every morning with the wind in my hair on a roller coaster because it clears my mind--but if I decide to ignore the brakes on that roller coaster I'm about to get on, that pretty much negates my own plan to let God be in control of my life unless, of course, I get an instant message telling me not to get on that coaster. Again, the only way I'm going to change the events of the world running itself is if I've been praying and invoking God on my behalf. Doing something stupid and simply trusting that God will protect me is naive in the same way that praying before jumping off a building is naive. Sure, it'd be easy to accept the idea that "it was my time" and that God really wanted me to die in say--that roller coaster accident--but do I really want to believe that God uses carnival rides to stage assassinations of God-fearing Christians? Doesn't the Bible include "Life" and "Life more Abundant" as a part of Christ's purpose? Where does a premature death come into the picture?

And this is the piece missing from most discussions about God. Rather than have my body severed by a ride run amok, God's Will is more the likely for me to use the brain He gave me. If God were in control of everything, then there's no room for wisdom and I know that I'm supposed to have that. God, in His Divine plan, somehow had to account for free will to exist and propagate on Earth and, in order to accomplish such a feat, had to disavow himself of some control in order to truly create this free will. In other words, had God not made a conscious decision to not tinker with the planet all the time and, instead, put into play a set of spiritual principles, the random events of this world would merely be a script I'd be doomed to act out, exactly as it were created. And if this were the case, there would be no need for wisdom--either natural or supernatural--because everything would play out and my dumb decisions would affect only me. Philosophically speaking, God had to blindfold Himself to push me onto the slide--otherwise, I'm just a series of predetermined events playing themselves out and there's no wisdom, no accountability, and no free will--only programming. I know that's not the case, of course, and when God took the blindfold off, He decided to help kick me in the right direction on occasion. What He didn't do was bubble wrap the planet (he left that up to Massachusetts.)

The idea of realizing God isn't occupied with every pair of socks in the bedroom drawer somehow always gets twisted to suggest that God's not watching out for me. Quite the contrary, He certainly has got my back, if I'm living right and asking for Him to intervene in my life. While God doesn't usually get caught up in making sure my tires are inflated to the proper PSI, I can certainly trust that if I ask Him to protect me and to watch over me, He'll be faithful in doing so. It's only when I become too lazy to check the tires for myself that I depend on God to be my butler instead of my savior. The same holds true when I don't take care of the environment I live in and my body.

This is where those other gifts from God come into play--like the gift of a sound mind--allowing me to think and be practical. I have a mind that tells me it's a good idea to look both ways before crossing the street. Even the ones who dance with venomous snakes do this--it would certainly be too ironic for one of them to die from a hit-and-run. God would be disappointed if He didn't get to ask them "Why in the world were you playing with snakes to begin with--don't you know they're dangerous?"

Obviously, God does protect me and is looking out for me. That's why sometimes He wants me to pray, and other times, to simply use my brain. It's not a matter of my practical mind trumping faith; it's a matter of faith without works being dead. My daily walk with God involves Him sending boats. I jump in the boat if I were smart. In one of the not-so-smart days, I end up asking God why He didn't save me from drowning.

Often times, we Christians are so focused on the supernatural that we seem to purposely ignore the natural. I conveniently forget that everything tangible is also from God--that God Himself invented physics and mathematics I consider to be mundane school subjects--or that this superior mind I've got exists because God ordained it to exist. When I take a look at the lost part of society today, I can quickly see just what a gift from God rational thought can be.

If I were to summarize my philosophy on letting God direct my life, I suppose it would go something like this: Seek the kingdom of God. If I get a word directly from God, by all means listen to it. Until that happens, I have a brain--God gave it to me--use that brain to process decisions and pray God protects me from the dumb ones. If I can't function without a prophetic word to take mustard on my hot dog, I'm not any more spiritual than the rest, I've merely lost my individuality; which is the opposite of what the true church looks like.

If I had to guess as to why some Christians fail to grasp this concept, I'd surmise it's probably got something to do with the fear most people have of taking responsibility for their lives. It's much easier to simply attribute everything in our life to God's tinkering than the idea that perhaps some of the trials we live through were unnecessarily brought on ourselves by bad decisions. I am of the breed that recognizes the present life as not only a test, but a gift--there's a life, albeit short, to enjoy while on this planet. It seems like it'd be a throw-away to spend it wondering if God wants me to step outside and do anything with it.

I find that at least some people who rely on God being in control are actually confused about their own purpose on earth. Since they don't know what that is, they go into the mode of doing nothing until they get tasked by God. Quite the contrary, my purpose has already been spelled out--I'm here to love others, to exercise good will, and to walk out my life with God--not as a puppet on strings--but as sentient creature who makes conscious decision to use the gift of life I have to live and not merely become zombie waiting for an instruction set. Until I come to identify with my specific calling in Christ, I should be keeping busy with the instructions I have.

God in Control is a place I want to be--and it certainly sounds like the safest, most ideal place to live life...but my individuality suffers when I go to the extreme and give up my own free will for the expectation that God wants to rule over every fine grain detail in my life. He created me to think--but many Christians seem to believe we have to commit intellectual suicide to remain a Christian. Perhaps the basis for their original faith might warrant some self-inspection? God is in control of the things that matter and He's left the finer details in my life a box for me to open up and discover on my own.

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Happy Easter!

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

You can read the Easter story from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

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So, what are Easter eggs all about? They represent Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and God’s gift to us — salvation from sin. I’m not sure what purpose the bunnies serve though.

I hope we are all able to find some quiet time today to reflect on the magnificent event we celebrate this Sabbath. It is truly a wondrous gift. Thank you for sacrificing Your Son, God.

Happy Easter, everyone.
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Keep God Out of Public School with an Vengance

Sharing is an interesting article from our local newspaper this morning. How many people have looked at these teddy bears and didn't see the tags? It goes to show you can't stop God's plan. One of those children needed to see the message!

Every day children are in public school, their mind are molded more to conform to the group, and they are trained to defend their new family. There is no such thing as individuality in public schools; everyone is a part of the herd. Most teachers would tell you that they strive to help children to be independent thinkers, but eventually, with their conformation complete on students, individuality gives way into what is called the community or group experience.

A process called critical thinking accomplishes this. In every lesson, and in every subject, we had critical thinking questions in public school. According to Berit Kjos' Brave New Schools: "At the core of psychological strategies such as critical thinking….this formula undermines rational resistance to the new social philosophy." Critical thinking helps to bridge the gap between what students are taught at home and what public school teaches them: oneness with the community.

My paradigm or worldview was not the same as what is being taught in public school. The things modeled for children at home like Christian values and faith were mocked. Their beliefs were challenged. They were made to think what their parents were teaching was wrong, old fashioned, and couldn't possibly have a clue. There were slogans plastered on the classroom walls Think for yourself and The Power of Learning is Within your Reach.

I tell my children constantly to think for themselves. I love them and want only the best for them. In the classroom setting and when the students receive challenges to their belief systems, the message comes across loud and clear: Your parents have nothing of value to say to you; leave their world behind; you don't need them. The result is ill-mannered, smart-mouthed behavior at home and in public places. Public school is the frying pan where your children's brains are scrambled. Think about it. It's no longer about the facts, i.e., two plus two equals four, but about the manipulations of feelings and guided imagery. Of course, many people will never freely admit this because that group experience is terribly hard to shake off.

Synthesis is dialogue to consensus, or coming to an agreement by sharing differences, focusing compromise to achieve group solution. The teacher, now sometimes referred to as facilitator, accomplishes this process. It's everyone coming together, realizing their differences, and putting them aside for the sake of the group. It's agreeing to disagree. When this happens, all individuality, patriotism, and faith disappear. You can't be part of the consensus process and keep your faith in God. Suddenly, what is important to you is okay for you, and what you believe and live by is just your opinion. The group is paramount.

As I reflected back my years in school, such group exercises were often used in many of my classes. In one exercise, each student was given a card with the name of a country on it along with a few of its exports; every student was made to stand in a circle. Then, yarn was strung from student to student, connecting the countries and showing where their exports went. The entire class agreed that people around the world needed each other to function. See how subtle this is? On the surface, this seemed like a fun exercise involving the whole class; it demonstrated interdependency and how all the world is already connected, how systems work, and how we're all supposed to collaborate together: a common message used by United Nations.

Mrs. Kjos defines consensus building as: The process by which students, schools, communities, or groups of people learn to compromise individual beliefs and ideas in order to work for 'common goals. These may be dictated from the top down (national to local), yet be promoted as grassroots ideologies. It changes beliefs through pressure to conform to group thinking.

Working together as a team, (soon) using the same currency, having the same leader(s), the same ideals, and the same minds, all over the world, is all a part of global government that United Nations proposes. This is a hard pill to swallow considering United States, as Patrick Henry declared, was founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

However, social engineers have utilized a concept known as conditioning. When people are fed little bits of propaganda a bite at a time, global government and other outrageous ideas would eventually sound good. In public school, the team concept (sometimes known as group work) is widely used. They also receive group grades. When they grow older, they are taught to apply that same process to everyday problems and even world problems, thus making suitable one-world citizens, a group of mindless workers. After they become adults, the things their parents may have taught them will no longer have impact on their lives because school taught them that complete tolerance and acceptance is a good thing.

This progresses further and further until eventually, they are taught that not only should all things be tolerated, but it is even desirable. Diversity, it's called. This includes the belief systems and pagan cultures from around the world. So, instead of singing the National Anthem, students will be singing the Earth Anthem (which is already sung in public schools in the U.S. and the world), celebrating man and worshiping the earth.

If it doesn't seem possible from our standpoint now, ask yourself where United States' morality was one hundred years ago, even fifty. School shootings, gang rape, and the open worship of demonic powers were virtually unheard of, as witnessed by my parents and grandparents. Today, all these things are everyday events. Teen pregnancy and violent crime have skyrocketed since 1962 when God was removed from the classroom. It's all progressive, incremental, and meant to massage the minds of America a little at a time, until the goal is reached: One World Government. This unnerved me because I knew it was true.

There is a real-life story in Mrs. Kjos' book about a girl named Ashley who was given a writing assignment to describe killing her best friend. When the teacher was confronted by Ashley's mother, opting not to do the assignment, the teacher replied, "No one has ever complained about this before." Can anyone verify that this is a favorite tactic used by teachers and administrators? I heard many. I experienced this when opting not to do an assignment in 9th grade which required listing my family tree, household belongings, annual income, and most treasured possessions. I relate to the Ashley in the story because I too was made to feel uncomfortable and left out of the class because I did not want to conform to the classroom ideologies.

Mrs. Kjos goes on to explain that this is a common argument by teachers, attempting to intimidate the parent and/or student into submission of doing the assignment given. I'm so thankful that I was not easily intimidated. Though I was ostracized for it, I didn't do the assignment, and my grades were not affected.

Also in Brave New Schools, Mrs. Kjos tells of the relationship between pantheism or the concept that "all is God, and God is all" and the public education system. She says that she, like many other parents, simply thought a multicultural education meant it simply "helps students understand other cultures and people. In reality, it trains students to view the world and its people from a global and pantheistic perspective rather than from a national and Jud├Žo-Christian perspective."

Mrs. Kjos could not have been more correct in that statement. It happens everyday when children go to school: they read books that refer to Gaia or mother earth, they are taught to treat everyone fairly and not to hurt anyone's feelings. They are told that everyone's lifestyle is to be tolerated, even accepted. It makes no difference to them what parents have taught their children; when they are in public school, they play by the government's rules, not yours. Anything that stands in the group's way is looked upon as a threat and will be dealt with one way or another.

I am reminded of what happened in high school when the nine weeks ceremonies came up. Many awards were given to students who weren't on the honor roll because they were trying. They didn't give out many awards to academically advanced students because they didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Since advanced students in public schools are ridiculed for being smart, they need someone to ridicule so they won't feel left out.

The advanced students in public school look down their noses at homeschoolers and private school students. But consistently, the homeschoolers and private schoolers have left publicly schooled students in the dust in various competitions and nation-wide tests. This leaves government officials little else to do but damage control. With the government in control over the schools, and the schools over countless students, is it any wonder that students all over United States are generally all behaving in the same manner? "Kids will be kids," some people say, but how can so many act exactly the same? Although they are still individual in a sense, they are all in the same scheme. Someday, they will all be one group, as they have been taught, and persecute those few who are not one of them. That's what the proponents of world government are doing and that's how they like it.

In "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America," Charlotte Iserbyt explains how educators today believe that humans are expendable. Have you ever wondered why companies have a "Human Resources" department? In Outcome-Based Education, or OBE people are treated as nothing more than a job, a utility, or a source of service. The social engineers think ahead a period of time and ask themselves how many people they will need for a certain job. These are people at either the county or state level Workforce Education board. Then, they back map to present day, deciding how the human resources would best serve the community.

I was asked as early as first grader to decide what I wanted to do when I grew up and stick with it. The answer I gave would place me into the desired slot where I would best fit according to my ability (see Karl Marx's "Communist Manifesto"), and I would follow that path and be tracked for the rest of my life. This is the planned economy rather than a free market economy based on the system of supply and demand.

That's what the system wants to do: turn a student into a lettuce chopper or baggage handler or tour guide, or what have you, based on these "assessment tests" they are so fond of giving. What if I wanted to go to college? What if I wanted to become a chemical engineer or get my Ph.D. in math or physics? The fact is most students are not chosen to go on to higher learning. In fact, they are, and will continue to be, discouraged. They will blend in to the background of mediocrity and live out their lives as "useless eaters."

Most of the people in the system have no idea what is happening to them or why. Many teachers, administrators, and counselors have been trained to believe that what they do is the best for the children they do their best to "nurture." I know I am stepping on a lot of toes with my meandering thoughts whom I call friends. You may turn your back on me and/or openly display your displeasure with me. I am sincerely sorry...but this is my voice.

My sole intention is to encourage by the knowledge that there is one from my generation who sees the big picture. May I further encourage you? There are many more who know the truth and see things the way I do. I am not alone in my viewpoints. I try to stay informed, face throughout the day issues dealing with the way things are in the media, society, and public school, keep learning about the foundation documents of our country such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, their meanings, the rights we have, and enjoy from God which are protected by them.

Many of you have written, confirming what I have stated. It is imperative to fight for what is right. The only way to ultimately protect our children from the mind-altering mess in public schools is to remove them and place them in a place where government does not reign supreme: home school or private school. It is also important that the school receives no money whatsoever. Wherever the government is involved, so is their agenda. If you take their money, you have to take their priorities and goals too.

There are other people who also know about this dumbing down. I am not the only one! We may certainly be in the minority, but I am reminded of a certain quote attributed to Samuel Adams: "...It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." As much as people don't want to hear it, this message that we're deliberately being dumbed down is exactly what we need to hear. Greed and arrogance drive this machine.

After being in public school for 12+ years, I defended the system. Because of a certain chain of events, I became aware that the right thing to do was to get out. I was persecuted for my actions when I rocked the boat by my own mother. In her eyes, I was a troublemaker, a black sheep who had nothing better to do than to interfere with my life. The supposed friends I had turned on me for the sake of the group when I agreed with her. Score another point for team building.

Thank you, Sally Allphin of Tri-Valley Explorers (wherever you are--Nashville or Boston,) for showing me how important it is to do the right thing, no matter what.
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Thank God for My Son!

No, I am not going to write a book. So, just relax.

For my son, a Wonderful son
Your birthday brings back memories of your infant days
It's natural on your birthday, my son, to look back and recall
The special happiness you've brought
Since you were very, very small
And though the years bring changes
There's one thing they'll never do
And that's to change
the loving pride in every thought of you.
Happy Birthday with Love!~~Me

I can't believe my little boy is seven yesterday!!! It was just yesterday that my daughters were seven years old--hard to believe that our precious son is seven. Time passes way too fast. His birth brought an amazing revelation to my life. It is the relationship between a mother and her son. Now, don't get me wrong. I love and adore my girls; we have a special relationship too. Let's face it; they will always be their daddy's girls. And I love that for them and their daddy.

I was hospitalized for ten days in first trimester, pregnant with him due to spotting. My OBGYN was ultra conservative and played it SAFE. In fact, she wasn’t going to release me from the hospital for the remaining term until I convinced her I would have 24-hour help at home while I stayed bed rest for following six months. Just imagine…me bed rest with two active toddlers, four and two. I was lucky not re-admitting to the hospital for working on husband and his partner’s business plan to potential investors, days after days, nights after nights. Weeks after weeks, the doctor told me unkindly how she might have to deliver him prematurely. I endured such mental torture and physical strain for six months! My reward was a beautiful, healthy, very peaceful and sweet baby. I was full of mixed emotions…fears and excitement.

I will never forget the day we found out we were having a boy. Hubby was adamantly in denial. He was very sure of himself that we were expecting another girl. For unknown reason, he was not thrilled about a boy. His perception of a boy is a stereo-type…someone who beats on things with a stick or kick anything in sight just for the sake of doing so. Plus, he got the routines down with the girls. He did not like the unexpected. It took him a few months for the adjustment after our son was born. Then, hubby took a job assignment in Naples, Florida for three months when our son was only six months old. It gave me a chance for bonding I would not have otherwise with my children.

My son is a great kid and I am very proud of him. I thank God every day for him and my girls. He is not perfect, any more than I am. Sure, he has his selfish moments like most people (including me;) but he shares almost everything he gets even if it means he gives away the last of what he has.

I love that about my son and the girls. He is full of energy and life. He is creative, remarkably witty, charming, and fun to be around. He loves to dig for creatures—frogs, reptiles, snakes (yes, snakes!) and whatever else he may spot--in every corner of our yard and in nature. He loves to learn new things, play with his friends, play video games with his sisters, ride his bike, and be a comedian.

One of the most unique things about him is his generous, gentle, and kind spirit. Just last week, unbeknownst to me, he gave his sister five dollars he got from the tooth fairy (which was his sister!) so she could send money in registering for a horse camp this summer. What a sweet boy! I pray that God will continue to bless him, use that in him as he grows, and that he will always keep that generous spirit and help this world out in mighty ways. Thank God for my son!
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I'm a Victim of HOA NAZIS!

It’s been a week since my silence. There is a very good reason for that. I didn’t even know there was a name for my neighbors—HOA Nazis! I am not kidding you. I have grown up and lived in very affluent communities in the Bay Area, California, for twenty-five plus years. What I experience and have to put up with in my neighborhood in the past two years change my perception of snobbish, busy-body neighbors forever.

In the first year, we were written up for 1) excessive decoration in general and during holidays (and not removing them timely,) excessive potted plants, parking our Mercedes station wagon and Custom Express Van on our own driveway parked overnight, leaving Christmas tree on our side yard. Last year, we were written up for not removing patriotic decors after Fourth of July. For us, it wasn’t about Flag Day, Memorial, Fourth of July, Labor’s Day, or Veteran’s Day. It was purely our mindset—proud of being an American and in support of our country men/women. I drive through main road of our golf-course community every day. There are flags out for past two months. There are cars in driveways parked overnight, garbage cans, yard waste bags, construction debris, lawnmower, rundown 10-foot ladder, yellow propane tank, adult bicycles…left in the open where neighbors can see. They have been there for months. None of the above bother us. Only it validates the fact that we are being picked on. Or, it makes a difference whom your next-door neighbors are.

Few months ago, two board members paid us a visit because the neighbors were concerned that we were running a childcare operation because we had many kids running around, playing regularly in our cul-de-sac shared by two TYPE-A neighbors.

Last week, when our local homeschooling friends were here. A "neighbor" called the police. The officer said the neighbors have written us about their concerns with children out unsupervised, running into neighbors’ properties, teasing two dogs (I found out later it involved one dog, one child not even mine,) and on that particular day riding on bikes/scooters without helmets--all with no avail. I was baffled about being written up on these said concerns because at that time there wasn't any. Only thing the police officer could have done was written me a citation for kids not having their helmets. He didn't. He knew there were more to it than meet the eyes. He did go around and visited my two neighbors. I am sure what he heard was unfavorable towards us. Again, nothing further came out from that since.

Two days after the incident, we did receive a letter from one of the two next-door neighbors. It was dated February 25, post-marked February 28—I didn’t receive it until last week, March 7. The letter asked that

our children and their friends stayed off her property--I am sure they might have…meaning they might have stepped over the gravel in front of her property when the snow mound accumulated since February.

not leaving Christmas trees (plural) and stands (plural) where
everyone can see
—One tree and one stand were left in our side yard. I didn’t even notice it until the letter. Husband intended to remove them but honestly has forgotten about them when he was rushed to leave for a 3-week trip the night before his departure. No, these people are very unforgiving. Things have been brought out repeatedly from years past!

not leaving cars (plural) with flat tires (plural again) where **again** everyone can see—**one** right front tire in husband’s car was flat where one and only one neighbor could and **would** see. I didn't see it simply because I didn't go through every spot of my yard with a microscope or fine-tooth comb. I really do have a busy life.

last but not least, we keep up our overall home appearance because she and her husband would be doing some home improvement and lighting to "improve" their enjoyment in spring and summer this year? Based on the written letter and that you haven't visited our home, you must get the impression that our property is a run-down dump and site-for-sore-eyes. Honestly, it is NOT. I thought of uploading a panoramic view of our property for you to JUDGE. I am only one I know in the neighbor that sweeps my porch, driveway, and even the cul-de-sac. We powered washed our house all in November. My front and back porches have been scrubbed and stained last summer, by hands, on my knees in 100° days for two months. I pick up pine cones and pine needles regularly (if not daily when we are not out of town.)

Each time we come home, I wonder if I would find a letter by the door or in the mail after being gone for a week or so at a time. We haven't for a long time until last Wednesday. I couldn't sleep or put my mind to ease since last Wednesday. I was very troubled the next few days. Finally, I spoke to the neighbor who has written the letter and addressed all her concerns. It was my quest to make peace with her and other neighbor before my husband's return. She acted civilized and appeared to be satisfied with my pleads. She said she didn’t have problems with our respectful children. Our children didn’t tease her dog. She however was concerned our 7-year-old looking for frogs in the creek in her front yarn (boy—this happened last summer and our son hasn’t stepped foot in her “property” since then!) I invited her over at her convenience and point out "things” that bother her in our backyard and I will discard that we don't have to deal with her or our other next-door neighbor again! I have had it! We didn't live to irritate our neighbors. We really love to be neighborly and be godly "love thy neighbors."

We are singled out and picked on because we are different. We are not "THEM." Our kids don't go to school like others. They are not accustomed to see kids playing during the days other than in playgrounds and school grounds. It's not that they are anti-homeschooling. It's about us not fitting in the "norm," "mold"...We have infringed upon their "customs," their lifestyles. We will never fit in. We don’t live for our house. I know only solution is to sell our house and move to a non-HOA community. Unfortunately, we are in no position to move right now. The market is soft and our town is flooded with new, vacant homes. Cost-of-living is on a rise fast. We pay anywhere from $3.30 to $3.60 a gallon for regular unleaded. Last week, I paid $75 to fill up our van. People in the country are unsettled and cautious with big expenditures/commitments. Maybe, just maybe, our neighbors would buy us out if they "hate" us so much--won't that sweet!

"In a nutshell, people whose lives are hard, boring, painful, meaningless-people who suffer-tend to resent those who seem to suffer less than they do, and will make them suffer if they can. People who feel themselves in chains, with no hope of ever getting them off, want to put chains on everyone else."

Well, husband did return home on Monday night and did not receive the news well one little bit as I anticipated. I tried hard to smooth things out and reasoning with neighbors' perception. He said if one next-door neighbor ever steps foot in our property, he would call the police! I finally gave up talking because he is furious. Tuesday morning, he changed one flat tire out of his car (not tires in cars as written in the neighbor's letter with copies to her insurance agent and our HOA.) While I struggled with hostile neighbors and being ill with flu followed by nasty cold, I heard a good homeschooling friend's mom is suffering with terminal illness and another homeschooling mom will be having an open-heart surgery next month in Mayo Clinic. I am the type of person who feels and absorbs all negative energies. I managed to meditate, stayed focus, and maintained peace last Thursday and Friday for a short time. Since then, it has been down hill.

On Tuesday, I heard from my daughter that her good friend won't come to Kid's Club anymore because her dad doesn't want her to. This is as a result of last week's incident when the police was called upon. Next day, he called our local homeschooling group moderator to remove his family from the roster! I respect his desire to stay off the radar (due to recent ruling involving homeschoolers in California.) However, it would have been much better if he told me himself rather than I heard from my daughter through her daughter! I know it's sinful, ungodly for me to think and feel ill thoughts of this family. I can't help but think about how I go out my way to help his family, taking his daughter in as our own, driving her to group activities more often than I can count so she wouldn't miss out—while he is busy attending his business, educates his two children, and his wife works full-time outside of their home. I saw him on Thursday and Friday. I have been keeping a distance. This morning after gymnastic practice, my husband announced that our daughter is over their house spending time with their daughter. I was rattled, anger overcomes me once again. I don’t know how to heal from their “betrayal.” I know, in my heart, that this is very uncharacteristic of my nature and that I must address it with them in person. I am not ready. Satan is working me.

I HATE to drill on negative thoughts. I find myself incapable of letting go the hurtful, inner feelings dispite meditation and prayers. I cannot focus on HERE and NOW. I have been struggling with feeling guilty for carrying such anger in me, over the past week, that it is affecting me in ways I am not functioning. I cannot give and love fully when I have anger. Thankfully, my joyful sensible children are keeping me from a nervous breakdown. I’m blind, helpless, and limited. I have been praying for His Mercy on me, for a soften heart by the Holy Spirit, and Him leading me out of this dark time knowing my desire. "Lord, I am sensing that You are calling me to be a good witness. If this is Your Will for me, then please make it clear along the way...please keep confirming it. I want to do what will most bless everyone in the family---please prepare me to both hear and respond to Your Voice. Thank You for loving me enough to guide me! I trust, help my un-trust!"
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Governor Vows to Protect Homeschooling

No, the sky is not falling...not in California, Oregon, or anywhere else. A California state court has recently declared homeschooling by anyone without state-sanctioned teaching credentials in front of the child each day to be illegal. Naturally, mayhem, speculation, and doomsaying commenced. Tammy really summed it up nicely:

Right now, the best course of action is to know that we are strong here. We aren’t afraid that everything will fall apart and we don’t need to spread panic in order to feel better about something we don’t know a whole lot about…If we panic now, how is that any different than being sucked in by sensationalist news on TV? Let’s rise above and be calm, wise and ready.

We are quite used to teachers' unions fighting homeschooling and even charter schools. We realize their opposition is pure greed. But what elite, authoritarian mind-set (rather than one carries a personal vendetta against homsechooling) could cause a state judge to decree that only government-credentialed instructors may teach a child?
• 1 of 3 California students attends an overcrowded, underfunded school.
• California has more students per class than any state except Utah.
• Overcrowded California schools enroll up to 5 times the number of students they were built to serve. 4200 students attend South Gate Middle School in Los Angeles—a school designed for 800.
• Most students in overcrowded schools are Latino and still learning English; most overcrowded schools are in poor neighborhoods.
• By 2009, California will need schools for 1 million more students.

While our government is not always for our best interest, even they would not set up such a scenario. Don't consume yourself with waves of fear, but do stay close-watch on upcoming legislature. Personally speaking, HSLDA is driving the panic in a sort of mid-season recruitment drive. Apparently it’s working too.

Granted, the ruling is alarming. Next up: only registered dieticians may feed your kids and don't you dare even think about cutting their toenails without a license.

On Friday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued this statement regarding the ruling. I am not always a fan of the “Governator;” in this particular instance, I am delighted for his support:

Every California child deserves a quality education and parents should have the right to decide what’s best for their children. Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children’s education. This outrageous ruling must be overturned by the courts and if the courts don’t protect parents’ rights then, as elected officials, we will.

Phew! Thank goodness someone in the Golden State is thinking clearly.

In sum: fellow homeschoolers, TAKE A BREATH. You are not about to be criminally charged for choosinng to educate your children at home, as SF Chronicles, L.A. Times, and various commentators imply. You can still homeschool your children, assuming you pass a criminal background check and aren't totally incompetent. The lawyers for these parents and homeschool advocates all over the state are gleefully watching all the outrage this has stirred up. They should be ashamed of themselves for terrifying the devoting parents of homeschooled children.

I hope I did not offend you by expressing my personal view. This is very much a part of my and my family life. My blog is my unconscious is where I discover my voice. PEACE.
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True learning-learning that is permanent and useful,that leads to intelligent action and further learning, can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.
John Holt
Real heroes are men who fall, fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they stayed true to their ideals, beliefs and commitments.
Actor Kevin Costner

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