Friday, November 5, 2010

"How the sting of poverty, or small means, is gone when one keeps house for one's own comfort and not for the comfort of one's neighbors."

~ Dinah Maria Mulock

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Woman's Beauty

"A woman's beauty is only a reflection of the love poured into her soul by the man who holds her heart."
Ygraine, Fall 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Out of clutter, find simplicity.
From discord, find harmony.
In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Declaration of Indpendence, Revisited 2008

Each July 4th, these United States of America celebrates its independence from Great Britain with flag raisings, fireworks, barbeques, and parades. It is a time for family, fun, cherry pie in George, and a moment of remembrance, just a brief pause to ponder the Declaration of Independence before the distractions of the day. Mostly we think about the Introduction—“When in the Course of Human Events…” or the Preamble—“We hold these truths to be self-evident…” But rarely do we consider the causes, why it was necessary to “dissolve the political bands which have connected” one people to another.
The King is listed as the culprit, but by extension it included Parliament as well. After discussing the attempt to establish “an absolute Tyranny” over the colonies by making mandatory his assent to any laws that were passed before they could be enforced, then withholding that assent, the Founding Fathers enumerated some specific reasons for overthrowing the status quo and establishing a new government. This was done by unelected or corruptly elected representatives chosen by the King, who then passed the king’s agenda into laws not considered valid by the people in the colonies.
The colonies were effectively under martial law and the People were forced to house the military in their homes. These troops had immunity from prosecution in the civil courts for any crimes they might commit while in the Colonies.
The colonies were off from any international trade by the British navy.
Taxes were imposed without the consent of the governed.
Colonists were deprived of a jury trial, and defendants were often sent to England to stand trial.
Canada had been placed under absolute rule, abolishing English Common Law, with an appointed government and a land grab to enlarge British jurisdiction. The colonists feared this would be the pattern the King would follow in America. Rightfully so, since the King had taken away Colonial charters, abolished their laws and altered their form of government by suspending the lawfully elected legislatures and replacing them with puppet legislatures. The Colonies were declared “outlaw” and the King commenced warring against them by plundering the seas, ravaging the coastal communities, burned towns, and destroyed people’s lives. Mercenaries were being transported to America to complete the task of subjecting the colonists to the King. Sailors were kidnapped from ships at sea and forced to bear Arms against their fellow countrymen. Civil disturbances were instigated by the King’s agents, and some native tribes were encouraged to attack outlying settlements.
The colonist’s response had been one of patient resolve to solve the problems through diplomatic and political means. In their own words “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
What would life have been like without the American Revolution? What would the world have been like? What will it be like if we lose our Constitutional bearings and the Bill of Rights? At this time of year, and in this unprecedented election year, we should consider these questions most carefully as we decide the fate of our Nation. Who is the most constitutionally correct candidate before us? Which piece of legislation, which referendum, or which initiative is the most constitutionally correct? Blood was spilt, lives lost, fortunes spent, and families were destroyed over these issues. Respect and reverence demands that we spend time to learn what we have been given and to act accordingly when a choice is placed before us. Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Education Should Be Local, Not Federal

This was published as a response to a letter to the editor of the Quincy Valley Post-Register.

I want to thank Victor Didra for his bold and passionate assessment of the state of American education in the 26 July 2007 edition of the Quincy Valley Post-Register. As the mother of six, grandmother of ten, the education of children is a priority for me. We have lived in California, Virginia, Colorado, Japan, and Washington. We have experienced public, private, and home schools. We have experienced schooling in small logging and farming communities, in cities such as Los Angeles and Denver, in military and civilian environments. One son and his wife are teachers in Idaho. Other family members and friends have been or currently are teachers. I have worked as an Instructional Assistant, parent volunteer, accreditation committee member, etc. Once I believed that there needed to be a basic unified curriculum that the more transient among us could count on, that would meet the needs of all children but I was wrong. The more unification and federalization, the less freedom good teachers have in the classroom to meet the needs of their individual students, the less time for “practical education” as Victor puts it.
The United States Constitution makes no provision for federalized education. The 10th 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.” In other words, the first step towards improving American education is to abolish the federal Department of Education.
The Washington State Constitution provides for a uniform system of public schools under Article IX, most of which was enacted after 1965, twelve years after the federal Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was established through the presidential reorganization authority (which power was never granted by Congress and has since been removed, but the Department remains and is now known as the Education Department).
Article XXVI, Compact with the United States, includes Washington State’s first federal mandate that a public school system free of sectarian influence must be established as a condition of statehood, another violation of the Tenth Amendment.
I would submit that the smallest unit of society, the family, is ultimately responsible for the education of its children. It is in the economic interest of the family to provide education for their own children.
The freedom to choose whether to educate or the method of education must be returned to them. The family must no longer be coerced to pay for two educations, public through forced taxation, and private/home education through tuition.
Next, the local school board should be free to assess the needs of their community and the children who are sent to the public schools. What is best for Seattle, is not always what is best for Quincy. The board should be free to hire and fire teachers without fear of reprisal from unions whose main objective is to gain and hold money and power, not educate children. Scholarships and subscriptions could be set up to help finance children whose families cannot afford the basic public school tuition. Volunteer mentors would have a place and any concerned citizen could contribute funds or time to help.
I don’t believe that the state has any role in educating children other that to insure that no child who wants to attend public school is denied that privilege because of race, creed, color, etc. The city and county could insure the public health and safety of any public building, including schools, and local law enforcement can provide background checks on potential staff, but this would be the extent of their involvement. The state should also stay out of private/home education situations.
The school district that is courageous enough to revamp its philosophy of education to meet the needs of the child rather than the needs of the system will be the successful school district of the future. A return to the classics in the humanities and sciences along with technological advances in virtual reality, computer technology, 3-D modeling software, and the Internet is the synergy needed to enter the 21st century and beyond.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Universal Golden Rule

Recently I overheard a discussion at a patriotic event concerning the idea that principles would be a better way to measure the potential of political leaders and legislation in which a certain gentleman asked, “Whose principles?—a most discerning question and perhaps the most important one to ask during the upcoming election year. Are we to be governed by the principles of global corporations who seek to institute a form of economic slavery subjected to the greed of their shareholders? Or are we to be governed by those who would seek to politically enslave us in the name of safety and the common good? Either way we loose our liberty.
I ask the reader to consider that there are common principles, principles that all mankind can easily understand. It is in the understanding and living of these principles that leads to the path of peace among individuals, tribes, peoples, and nations. These principles are not new, nor are they the intellectual property of any particular creed.
The most basic principle is known in the Christian world as The Golden Rule, that is, "Whatsoever you desire that men should do to you, do you even so to them." (New Testament, Matthew 7:12). If you expect your opinion and lifestyle to be respected, you are obligated to first respect the lifestyles and opinions of others whether you agree with them or not. This principle requires that each individual allow every other individual the liberty to choose his or her own path in life. If every individual and nation actually lived by this simple principle, how the world would change. Here is a list of several other traditions that espouse this same value.

Vedic Tradition (3000 BC) - "This is the sum of duty. Do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you."

Judaism - Talmud, Shabbat 31a (1300 BC) "What is hateful to you, do not to our fellow man. That is entire Law, all the rest is commentary."

Zoroastrianism - Avesta, Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5 (600 BC) "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself."

Buddhism - Tripitaka, Udanga-varga 5,18 (525 BC) "Hurt not others in ways that you find hurtful."

Confucianism - Analects, Lun-yu XV,23 (500 BC) "Surely it is the maxim of loving kindness, do not unto others that which you would not have done unto you."

Jainism - Agamas, Sutrakrtanga 1.10, 1-3 (500 BC) "One should treat all beings as he himself would be treated."

Taoism - Tai-shang Kang-ying P'ien (500 BC) "Regard your neighbor's gain as your gain and your neighbor's loss as your loss."

Socrates (470-399 BC) "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you."

Seneca - Epistle XLVII,11 (5-65 AD) "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors."

Shinto - Ko-ji-ki, Hachiman Kasuga (500 AD) "Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God."

Islam - Koran, Sunnah (620 AD) "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself."
Sikhism - Granth, Japji XXI (1500 AD) "We obtain salvation by loving our fellow man and God."

It really is that simple.

(originally published in the Quincy Valley Post-Register: 19 July 2007)

Declaration of Independence

In this patriotic season, Memorial Day-Flag Day-the Fourth of July, the hearts and minds of the residents of the Quincy Valley reflect upon the sacrifices made for the cause of liberty. But, I wonder, do we pause to remember the “deeper magic from before the Dawn of Time” [C.S. Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”], the magic of liberty that stirs our souls to make such sacrifices, that inspired the Founding Fathers to forge the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? These principles are forever engraved in the hearts of all peoples-past, present, and future, all those who have been so blessed to know them.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident (even a little child will know when these are violated), that all Men are created equal (this includes you, male and female, rich and poor, without regard for creed, nationality, race, or ethnicity); that they are endowed by their Creator (by who? God, Nature, Allah, whatever you conceive that higher power to be) with certain unalienable rights (rights that neither individuals nor governments can deprive you of because these rights exist independent of anyone or anything); that among these are: life (the ability to move, to think, to grow, to learn), liberty (the power to act as one sees fit, without any restraint or control except by the laws of nature and the natural consequences of violating the liberty of others, whether they be good or whether they be bad, whether right or wrong), and the pursuit of happiness (the agreeable sensations which spring from the enjoyment of good, not evil).”
It seems to me that we have forgotten the simplicity of the way in the complexity of our modern government. We must begin to remember what we have forgotten, that government exists to PROTECT life, liberty, and property, not to deprive us of these rights, but to protect one individual or group from intrusion by another individual or group in these three areas only. We must use this knowledge to restore our government to its proper place in our lives. In this upcoming election year, exercise your patriotism all year as you ponder the issues and candidates that will be placed before you. Does a particular piece of legislation or candidate advocate the protection of life, liberty, or property, or does it advocate something that would interfere with it? Does a legislation or candidate seek to take something from one individual or group to give it to another? If so, it violates principles of true liberty and the reason for which governments are established, and each individual voter must decide for himself what secures liberty or what destroys liberty.
As Sherlock Holmes would say, “the game is afoot”, but the stakes are high and our very lives may depend upon it, in this age of globalization, terrorism, and climate changes. Let not our faithful dead have died in vain, rather let them live in our memories as we breathe the rarefied air we call liberty.

(originally published in the Quincy Valley Post-Register: 21 June 2007)