I was watching the news and once again, a government official was misquoting the US Constitution regarding the “church and state” issue. I wish people would take 5 minutes to really read the Constitution and not just try to make it say what they want it to say in order to keep God out of government. Nowhere in the Constitution are the words “separation of church and state” mentioned, they are however, written in Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. Many people think it came from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson which said he would “keep the government out of the church” not the church out of the government. The amendment to the Constitution that everyone so often misquotes is below.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


This does NOT say that we are to keep religion out of the government, it says we are to keep the government out of religion, just as Thomas Jefferson wrote in his letter. There is really no way to keep our faith out of government, since the government is made up of people…of many faiths. But government, being a mix of people of many faiths, an entity, should not and really, cannot mix with religion. It is impossible, because the faiths are too different, and government cannot make them agree. Nor should it try. The main reason our founding fathers left England is that they did not want to be forced to attend the Church of England, which is what was going on. Government ruling over religion.

In my opinion, the religious beliefs of the people in our government have had some of the most positive effects on our laws, and it is only as we push God further and further out that our laws begin to be as corrupt as those of the communist countries. And isn’t it funny that the churches have no problem displaying the American flag, the constitution, etc, but the 10 Commandments, nativity scenes, etc can’t be on public property. I say put the Bibles back in school, and even read from the Quran. At least then, everyone will know what it really says.

And an addition from my friend Jim – One more thing, since all the founders kept diaries and almost all of them wrote in them what they said in the meaning of the constitution, and each related phrase to mean. None of them wanted anything outlawed as far as religion goes. The FIRST thing the new congress did was to pray a prayer “IN JESUS NAME!!”. If they didn’t mean for that to happen, they would have stopped it. I believe they all applauded?

As I watched the memorial service for the Tucson shooting victims, my thoughts went back to all of the political blame rhetoric that has gone on since this shooting. This shooting was tragic in every way, and the loss of life unthinkable, but I think that the need to blame people other than those who committed the act is simply wrong. We all hear negative things said about ourselves and others in this life. Unfortunately, we don’t all agree on who is beautiful and who is not, or who is doing a good job and who is not, or who has the right idea and who has the wrong idea, but we must agree that once we reach the age of accountability, we each know what is right and what is wrong according to the laws of this land and moral (God’s) law, and the accountability for our actions lies with each one of us…and only there. It’s like we are trying to transfer the blame upward, trying to find a final person who must say, “the buck stops here” in the hope of finding some way to make someone pay for this monstrous person’s existence.

So often, we turn first to the parents. How could they not have known of the monster they had created? And perhaps they did, but people are made into what they are by many different factors, and this was, after all a man of 22, not a child, who could be spanked by his parents or sent to his room! Once a child has started school, the complete input control of the parents is over. They meet friends, who might be the type to get into trouble, they listen to the ideas of teachers, politicians, and many others. They watch television, play video games, and see the actions of others, but while most of us see and hear negative things, we still turn out ok. We would never commit the acts we saw in Tucson. So, how can we blame others for the acts of one? I don’t think we can. And to try to blame a statement made 8 months earlier for something that happened now, is simply wrong. We have all heard negative remarks, from both sides, but when we make the choice to commit acts of violence against other people, we alone must carry the blame.

And while I’m at it, I would also like to comment on the way the memorial service was handled. I think most of it was a disgrace. This is not a campaign rally or a great photo opportunity. This wasn’t a great chance to meet the president and his gang. And then to have a big reception line for the president and his gang was ridiculous, you are supposed to be giving condolences to the family, not the speaker!! This was to mourn those lost in this terrible tragedy. Cheering and whistling…really, and we call this killer calloused. There were families whose lives will never be the same and they came to this memorial service expecting to be comforted, not to have everyone around them screaming and cheering, because they got to hear the president speak. It was a disgusting display in my opinion and if I were the family of one of those poor victims, I would have walked out.

I think that they should have held a separate ceremony to honor the heroes of that day, who very much deserved the honor, to be sure, but not at the memorial service. That should have been a solemn service, and if the president wanted to attend, he should have attended in silence, showing his understanding (if he had any) and not his so called “great” speaking ability.

Recently I had the misfortune to deal with a couple of situations in which a person in authority lied to cover their own backside. I know that the natural instinct in life is to do whatever it takes to protect yourself, but when a person in authority lies, it is really inexcusable. People need to be able to trust those in authority. It is especially deplorable when a person in authority lies to our children. Children are looking for someone to model themselves after, to look up to, and when a person they trust lies and the child knows they lied, they begin to think that all adults are the same.

There were two recent situations whereby teachers/coaches lied to their students, and that especially angers me. We tell our children to listen to their teachers and be obedient in class, and when the teacher/coach is the liar, and our children are the ones who take the fall on it, or don’t receive what they were told they would receive…well, it is wrong in every way. The children lose faith in the teacher/coach, the school system, authority figures, and adults in general. They begin to feel that they are not important, so adults don’t feel the need to be honest. And to top it off, the same authority figure will “punish” in one way or another, the student for lying. If you are going to lie to the students, at least have the decency to expect the same treatment, and be big enough to let it go when they do lie to you. After all, what have you taught them? As a teacher, you have taught them not to lie as children, but when you reach adulthood…well, then it’s ok.

The one thing we can take with us, no matter where we go, is our good name, or bad name, if that is what you choose to cultivate. If you destroy your good name by lying, you must work awfully hard to get it back, if it is possible to do so. The best thing to do is to protect your good name by never telling lies, and keeping your word even when it costs you more than you had hoped.

My husband and I were at the mall last night for our evening walk, when I saw a teen aged girl wearing a t-shirt that said, “Discipline or Disappointment, Take Your Pick” on the back of it. My first thought was, “Well, how profound.” But after thinking about it for a little while I began to wonder what our kids really want. I don’t think you would see a teenager wearing a shirt like that one if they weren’t trying to make a serious statement. This girl truly understood that without discipline in our lives, we are not going achieve our best self.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that most teenagers won’t admit that they need and really, want limits, but I believe that most kids do want to be good kids. I don’t think that any child dreams of being in constant trouble, but without limits, rules and regulations, and discipline, kids will get into trouble. Now I know that many people don’t like spanking, but there are many ways to discipline your child. I don’t believe that “time out” is an effective method, but I think grounding works quite well.

In this world of bad influences, it is hard enough to keep kids out of the kind of trouble that comes from time spent with the wrong kind of friends, but when you add a lack of discipline at home to that mix, you are headed for trouble.

Was this girl a one in a million, I don’t really think so, unless you are talking one in a million who tell it like it is. No, I think she is speaking for many other teenagers who are saying, help me be better. Make me behave. Help me achieve. Keep me out of trouble. Give me limits, rules, regulations, discipline, because all of these things, even though I might hate them at times, tell me you LOVE me.

Dad 1978I was having a conversation with my cousin and his daughter on Facebook yesterday and my cousin told her part of that old story I’m sure everyone has heard, about how tough he had it when he went to school. You know the one about walking barefoot in the snow ten miles to school everyday…uphill both ways. It got me thinking about the funny things my Dad used to say. My Dad was always making us laugh with his goofy little sayings, and I have planned for some time to write them down so we wouldn’t forget.

Dad was always a fan of big cars, and when I chose a much smaller one, he called it a Putt Putt. He would try to convince me that it would never last long because it was small. Every time I was over, he would ask, “Well, is that Putt Putt still running?” And then act shocked when I said it was. And yes Dad, it is still running, even now.

One of Dad’s biggest delights was teasing his kids and grandkids. He used to chase us around and when caught you knew you were going to get his famous “whisker rub” because that was his threat during the chase. Now for those of you who don’t know what that is, it is when he rubs his whiskered face due to the famed 5 o’clock shadow on your face. Now you might think that we would hate that, but once you got a whisker rub, every one of us would say, do it again…do it again!!! Silly I know, but he just made it fun.

Many of the girls (and we were a family of few boys) had long hair. Dad would try to tug on our hair without having us see who did it. Of course, we always knew, and would usually “retaliate” by flicking him with our finger. Then as if in totally innocent shock, he would say, “You struck me!” I wonder why, Dad.

My Dad was not a man to cuss. His main saying for things that many people would cuss about was, “Dad burn it” and was used for many different things. Anything, in fact from something that annoyed him to something he was teasing us about. It was a phrase we grew to know well, mostly because he used it often to embellish funny things. Dad wasn’t a man to be angry often, so “dad burn it” he had to have another way to use a favorite phrase.

My Dad was a very happy person. He couldn’t see the sense in being mad all the time. Grudges simply have no useful purpose in life. I hope I can learn from his examples, to be perpetually happy too. And by the way, Dad also told us the story about walking ten miles in the snow, barefoot and uphill both ways, but he added that they used to hop a train so they didn’t have to walk…but I’m told this part was true.

Just MeWhen you are gone, what will people remember about you? Most people don’t want to think about dying, and I don’t either, but I do think about what memories people might have of me when I am gone. I think about the loved ones and friends who have gone before me, and the memories I have of them, and how I would compare. My Dad was a person who never carried a grudge and taught his children never to “let the sun go down on your wrath” which he got from the Bible, as God was the most important thing in his life, above even family, as I also believe God should be. My grandparents who were always giving to those in need and showing kindness to all, also come to mind. My friend Char, who would defend a friend to the very end, is another. So, what will people think of me?

I want to be a giver to those in need, because I have been blessed in so many ways. I have a good job with a wonderful boss, though he hates that word. I have a wonderful family who I love dearly, and I have the great blessing of knowing that I am loved back. I have a sharp mind, and I know the value of that, because my mother-in-law and my uncle both have Alzheimer’s. I have been richly blessed, and if I can pass that along in charitable acts or other ways of helping people, than I will have maybe shown my gratitude to a small degree.

I have the ability to be sharp tongued sometimes, and that is something I don’t think I want to be remembered for. I think I would rather be remembered for my sharp mind and maybe the ability to use it to benefit others. Maybe to be some kind of advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves on some things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a different job, but if I can help others within my job and my daily life, then maybe I will have a legacy to leave.

I do have the ability to be a caregiver, and I can only hope that in the future I may be able to do it with kindness and patience. Care giving can be very wearing on the caregiver, and there are times we lose our patience. I am very thankful that I have never physically lashed out, but here again, remember that I can be sharp tongued, so I would have to say that there are many ways to lash out, forgive me Lord. I am learning patience, but the lessons can take time to learn. I don’t want to be remembered as an impatient, screaming daughter, who made the remaining years of her parents or in-laws miserable. Please help me to never let that happen Father. Rather I want to be remembered as a daughter who helped her parents and in-laws through their elder years by giving them respect and kindness and dignity.

And most importantly I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren, the Christian values I was taught as a child and continue to learn as an adult. There is nothing greater that I could pass on to them than the knowledge and wisdom that is contained in the Bible, and the importance of daily study and church attendance. I want them to know that the single most important thing they can do and teach their children to do, is to have a personal relationship with God and to personally know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. There is nothing more important.

These are some of the things I hope people will remember about me when I go home to be with the Lord. What do you want to be remembered for?

Yesterday, another mass shooting took place in our country. Six people are dead, including a Federal Judge and a nine year old girl, and Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head and remains in critical condition. No, this is not a news bulletin, but rather, a question. Why? So many of these shootings take place in this country every day, that it hardly seems like news. My question is why? If you want to protest, must you do it violently and why if you want to kill yourself, must you take others with you. Now I know that in today’s shooting, the gunman was not planning to kill himself, just others, but why? Because he didn’t like how he had been treated or to show that he didn’t like God…why?

I know that there are many things that go on in our country that people don’t like, and we each have our own ideas of what is right and wrong, and what is important and not important, but I would think that we can all agree, that…life, is important. And taking a life, is something you can’t ever take back! Why do people do this!

It doesn’t matter what your political views are, and I’m sure that many of you know that I am not a Democrat, but no one deserves to be shot at, except in war, and this isn’t war. I pray for those injured and the families of all those injured or killed in today’s tragedy.

Stress…a dirty word in every day life, and a very real health concern for many people today. Our lives are so busy, and often we don’t have any real control over our day or what happens in it. So how do we avoid stress?

One way to avoid stress to do work as it comes along as much as possible. Procrastination brings stress, because at some point you run out of time and that usually happens with many projects at the same time. When you have people calling to see if their project is finished, your blood pressure starts to rise. Before you know it you have a headache and a neck ache. Doing the job as soon as it is given whenever possible eliminates this problem, and gives you more time to do it correctly, since most mistakes are made when we rush through things.

Another way to avoid stress is to watch what you volunteer for. All too often we over-extend ourselves because we hate to say, “No.” There is nothing wrong with volunteering, but you can’t be 10 places at once. Pick your volunteer work carefully, whether it is for a charity or family. Having your priorities straight will lower your stress levels.

Exercise is a very important stress reducer. You don’t have to join a gym or do calisthenics either. Go for a walk, especially if you can get outside. Just getting closer to nature has a way of bring peace to your mind, and that is definately a stress reducer. Not everyone likes the same type of exercise, and if you haven’t exercised in a long time, I recommend that you try several different types, start slowly, and of course, check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise. I find that exercise is a great stress reducer and a great way to look better too.

And the final stress reducer I’m going to talk about is getting enough sleep. When you are tired, your mind can’t cope with everyday obligations as well. Adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily to look and feel their best, so make sure you get your daily zzz’s.

And there you have it. My best stress reducers for the person living in today’s busy world. I hope this new year is a great one for all of you.

My Dad passed away 3 years ago, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him terribly. So much so, that many times it is hard to speak or think of him without tears. He was like the main trunk of a tree, and we, his family the branches. While the tree can come back from the roots if the trunk is cut down, it takes a long time to do so. Yes, we have all gone on with life, just as Dad would have wanted us to do, taking care of our Mom, and hoping that we do so in such a way as to make Dad proud, but there is something missing, and a huge gaping hole in the middle of our lives that we can’t seem to fill. My Dad is irreplaceable.

Dad was a World War II veteran, and like many of those men, he rarely talked about those years, choosing instead to move on with life. He was the Top Turret Gunner and Flight Engineer on a B-17 Bomber. He was credited with shooting down 2 Japanese planes, and he saved the men on his plane when he hung upside down in the open bomb bay to hand crank the landing gear down when it was stuck and they couldn’t land. But, these were things he didn’t tell us about. My Mom would tell us later. It just wasn’t Dad’s way. To him, he just did his duty.

One of my Dad’s greatest loves, other than family, was the great outdoors. Dad wanted us to be able to see as much of our great country as possible. We have camped out in many places, and seen almost every state. There have been funny times, like making my Dad get up to put another log on the fire, because we thought there might be bears in the area, one of the joys of camping with 5 daughters, I guess. My Dad was a brave man. And of course, he had to get every moth away from us, because they might be “deadly” or something. He was so patient. He just took our craziness is stride. When I think back on those years, I can’t help but laugh at how goofy my sisters and I were. Dad just had a way of making things fun, no matter what came up.

One of Dad’s all time favorite travel destinations was the Black Hills. Because it was close to Wyoming, and there was so much to do there, we went often. I’m sure that is where my love of the Black Hills came from. He showed us many fun things to do there, and well, from there my love for it just grew. When I am in the Black Hills, I always feel like I can hear “echos” of my Dad, because there are so many wonderful memories there.

Another thing my Dad was very good at is problem solving. Whenever any of us needed help with something, Dad could always be counted on come up with a solution. He was the strength of our family, no matter what. I can still hear him saying, “This is what we are going to do.” And you just knew everything was going to be alright.

Dad, you taught us many lessons of life through the years, and you made life fun. Your words and laughter will always echo in my memory. I will miss you until the day I see you again in Heaven. Thank you Daddy for being the greatest Dad ever!! I love you so much…and Forever!!

How do you relax? There are as many ways to “get away from it all” as there are people, but for me, the answer is hiking. I love to get out in the forest following a trail, just to see where it will take me. It is so quiet and peaceful. The birds chirping and the occasional butterfly flitting by, just serve to enhance the beauty of the moment. I’m not really a winter person, though I live in a state that sure gets it, but I live for late spring through early fall, when I can get out on the trail with my husband and just enjoy nature at its finest.

We have hiked many trails over the years, but by far our favorite is the trail to Harney Peak in the Black Hills. This is not an easy trail, and definitely not for those who aren’t in good shape, but it is so worth it. On this trail, you will find yourself deep in the forest of the Black Elk Wilderness Area of the Black Hills. It is a well traveled trail, but there are many times that you are by yourselves. And the views along the way are breathtaking. When you get to the top, there is a fire tower that used to be manned, but after it was struck by lightning, resulting in fires, several times, they decided it wasn’t the best place for a fire tower. So it became a favorite destination for hikers and horse back riders. The top of the peak is 7242 feet above sea level, which is the highest point East of the Rocky Mountains until you get to the Swiss Alps. The climb takes you up 1142 feet and is 6.8 miles round trip. It takes us 4 hours to make the whole trip, however we always spend at least an hour on top having lunch. The view from up there is completely amazing. You can see 5 states from the top. It is a trip I can never take too many times. We have taken the hike 6 times, and plan to continue to go once a year. Now that is my idea of relaxation.

Hiking has not only been good for me physically, and I have to stay in shape to be able to continue to hike, so it is a really good motivator, but sometimes I think it has saved my sanity. In such a busy world, it is nice to get back to nature so that you can unwind. I highly recommend it.

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