In the mail today

A slick flyer with beautiful children (stock photos?) in happy pictures of getting on school buses, writing on chalkboards (with a very low-cut shirt) and wearing caps and gowns arrived in the mail today along with several toy catalogs(?!).

The flyer is from an outfit called Citizens for Kids who wants me to vote yes on a bond issue for the OKC public schools. I don't know who the citizens are or if they have children in this school district but the group shares the same address with chamber. So definitely, yes, they are for the kids, I mean, for "education."

I just had to stop and reflect on who I've become and all that's changed in our hearts, practices and beliefs since we left public school. Not long ago, I'd have a Vote Yes for the Kids sign in my yard. Now I feel like my parents or neighbor who have never met a bond issue/tax increase they liked.

Citizens for Kids says they've "seen the progress of Maps for Kids and have every reason to be proud."

Really? I'm still waiting to see the progress. My only reference is for our neighborhood school. We remember being thrilled when Maps for Kids passed because our school was going to have a five million dollar renovation (that's what the slick flyer said anyway) and would change to a PK-8 school from PK - 5. This was back before our son started school ... so I thought certainly all of that construction would happen well before he entered sixth grade thereby taking care of the fear of sending our kids to middle school in OKC.

He's in fourth grade now. And not a shovel has been turned.

But there have been architectural plans drawn. And redrawn.

They were drawn to make this one school a K-8 facility. Then the former supt didn't like that voter approved model, so the plans were redrawn for a K-6 facility. Then the plans were redrawn when money was taken away from our school to accommodate growth in other parts of the district. It was redrawn when the gym was taken away.

This all happened before we left our school three years ago. (For different reasons than construction ... mostly God's perfect timing!)

Did I mention not one shovel has been turned yet? I still drive by the place.

How much Maps for Kids money has been spent on architectural plans that have been drawn and drawn again. Just for one school. There are about 50 more elementary schools in the district. No one will ever know because no one cares. There are no legitimate watchdogs to this program. All of the news media applauds it, the newspaper prints nauseating editorials endorsing it. Who watches the money? Where's the accountability?

This slick flyer also says that if I vote yes, "we can build new classrooms for all-day kindergarten, improve safety and security, ensure our students have the technology they need, replace buses and build 47 gymnasiums."

Okay. This makes me excited to send my five year old child to school all-day in a building that will be able to be on lockdown with safety and security to protect him from bad people who will come in with guns?

At least he'll have a gym!

Then again, no thanks. We'll learn to read at home.

I know I sound very judgmental and probably hypocritical.

Our home school is dependent on God's will, and we could be back in a school setting, even in OKC, someday. It's his deal. And to be sure, I ask Him about it all of the time! If we went back, I guess I'd ask questions again. It's just my nature. The former supt dismissed me when I asked a question. Quite rudely. The principal scolded me for asking questions. Enough.

It is easier to be home. And I love it. And praise God for erasing that distraction from my number one priority of raising our kids to love God. That could not happen for us at school. It wasn't very long ago that Giles told me something he remembered hearing on the playground back when he was in first grade. It was naughty and involved dill pickles. FIRST GRADE. And I bagged those stinking pickles every single week and sold them for a quarter! FIRST GRADE.

I don't know about this vote. I don't believe all day kindergarten equals better schools. I don't believe this added money (even without raising taxes) is the answer. I believe they could have done it and done it well with the money they had. And could have been DONE with it by now.

I'm finding it pretty easy to not vote. Go apathy.

Which reminds me, I recently read Barack Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope. I just love that title, and finally checked the book out at the library. Interesting read. He is an excellent writer with a beautiful style. Great vocabulary. Great insight into the founding of our country. Excellent analysis of history concerning the Senate, the presidency and Americans. Neat stories about meeting "W" and other important people.

He had an interesting upbringing living for a few years in Indonesia. I agree on some points regarding his worldview and what part America plays and should play in it. Including the observation that most of us don't know where Indonesia is (I do thanks to our world map shower curtain!)

He does a good bit of whining about being absent from his wife and children. But thinks he has a higher calling that will make their world a better place.

Not saying I'm going to get an "O" bumper sticker or anything. But I think I like him. Giles doesn't approve of my opinion! But he's not HER. No doubt he would run off to the Catskills if I brought home one of Hillary's books.

Has Fred Thompson written any books? Or will Law & Order reruns do? (I like him too.)


We just finished reading On the Far Side of the Mountain by Jean Graighead George. It's the second in the three-book series that started with My Side of the Mountain.

To say these are books made for Giles would be an understatement. Boy runs away to live on mountain by himself. Lives entirely off the land. After we finished the book, we dashed to the computer to answer Giles questions on whether there really are Catskill Mountains, if there is a Delhi, New York, or if Sam Gribley is real!

The answers are yes, yes and no. But looking up Delhi (Dell-high) led me to look up my hometown, Fennville, MI. The wikipedia description sounded pretty accurate, though I was surprised neither my name nor the names of anyone I knew were listed in the "famous residents: past and present!" ha.

Wikipedia had a link that led to Fennville: Haven for the Creative Class .

What a click! Who knew? Our trips home generally revolve around lounging at my parents home and exploring their woods, and trips to Lake Michigan, and to the nearby tourist town for over-priced ice cream and million dollar yacht gawking.

I thought this town, where my mom and dad struggled for years to make it in their flower shop and lumber yard ... was dying. It was dying when I got out of there 21 years ago. Seemed everyone went to the big town up the road for groceries, flowers, lumber, gas, entertainment. Glad to see things have changed ... according to this one article. And that big boxes aren't drying up every town in America. That really is a relief (and such a sunny thought after all of this pondering about trails of tears, slavery and border control).

Our family back home isn't the type to run in the circles of the "creative class" ... but I sure would love to slip into that Journeyman Cafe next time we're home!

Go Fennville!

Trail of Tears

Not to be confused with the Chisholm Trail of the last post, we saw part of the Choctaw Trail of Tears last weekend. We were at a family reunion that was held at the "Choctaw Family Investment Center" in Broken Bow. It was a very nice place, adjoined by a Boys & Girls Club, new Headstart building and sports fields. Behind the buildings, local lore says, is a little paved road that is supposed to be part of the Choctaw Trail of Tears. Of course my home school mom ears perked up at that bit of info.

This trail is not very far from the "End of Trail" motel where Stan's parents spent their wedding night in 1954! It didn't occur to any of us until this weekend that it really was the End of Trail for the Choctaws who "resettled" in this part of the country after being forced out of their homes in Mississippi.

Here's some info that I found online tonight about that specific trail (not to be confused with the other Trails of Tears that afflicted the Cherokees and other tribes) ...

The signing of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830 between the Choctaw people of Mississippi and the United States government signified the removal of the Choctaw people from their land. The removal was orchestrated through a series of five-hundred mile walks to reservation lands in Oklahoma.

The suffering caused by the mistakes and inefficiency of the War Department, combined with one of the region’s worst blizzards in history, was indescribable. Transportation problems became critical; wagons were in short supply and many roads became impassable except by foot.

The walks resulted in the loss of a substantial number of the participants and are now known as the Choctaw Trail of Tears. Thus, the Trail of Tears carries with it a strong reminder of the perseverance of the Choctaw people--both those who walked the trail, and those who remained behind in defiance of the removal treaties.

Can you imagine? I want to start railing about the past sins of our country but I don't have adequate words. What can we say about such greed, mercilessness, prejudice and murder? We have seen it played out again and again in our country.

What can we do? Pray for guidance as we train up God's future leaders ...

Chisholm Trail

We hitched up and drove out to meet the Chisholm Trail last night in Okarche. We found them about midway of their month long reenactment of driving 250 (real) steer across the state up the Chisholm trail as part of one of our state's Centennial events. Modern conveniences sure are slowing them down. They have to go around fences, highways, box stores and other obstacles of the 21st century. We got there too late to see them come in, but we visited the camp, saw the tired steer, tired cowboys and tired horses.

We also saw that the re-enactors (I read somewhere that one is a priest who took his vacation to do this, much to the concern of the members of his parish) CHEATED. We spotted store bought bread on the chuck wagon, cattle trucks ... and a travelling port-a-potty. Can't blame them.

It was a great adventure for our family, and the kind we like best. Country. Free. No expensive concessions. And no tshirts to buy.

After, we found a park in Okarche and had a picnic, watched the sun set below a wheat field. And discussed again whether we could survive out in the country if we had a farm. The pull is strong!

Now, maybe I've seen it all

Posted on the light poles at a nearby busy intersection.


$200 Reward

Lost Beretta at McDonalds

Call Guido at ???->>>>
No questions asked

Only the Guido part is made up. Seriously.

I have several thoughts and questions, and envision several scenarios of who might have picked up that gun? Someone eating a Happy Meal?

But all of my thoughts are obvious, so why bother.

Speaking of another example of how this world is not our own, and how we are here to live in it and not of it, read Chandy's UndergroundOKC last post about her Bible study last night.

That's some heavy stuff. And I can't even imagine, any of it - deportation of family members, moms in jail, siblings in boot camp ... man. My life is so charmed.
Please pray for the Rock Groups. I would have named mine Air Supply back in da day!

Prayer lessons and heritage

I checked out a book at our church library over the summer. Celebration of Discipline, The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard J. Foster. He first wrote it in the late 70s, and it's one of those books that I always hear that we should read but I never have.

This particular copy was donated to the library by an elderly couple from our church who have now passed away from this life. It was very sweet to see their names hand-written on the inside cover, and also to see that either she or he had underlined several points in the book. It was so neat to see what this precious son or daughter of our Lord, who were lifelong followers of Christ, thought was important as they read through the book. And it led to wondering how they might have grown as a result even though this copy was a "Special 20th Anniversary Edition" printed in 1998, when this couple might have been content to live out the rest of their years practicing what they already knew. Instead, they were seeking even closer relationships with God.

When my own Grandmother, Virginia Giles (isn't that a beautiful name?), died a few years ago, the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren participated in the sad exercise of choosing what things of hers we wanted. I requested her Bible. It is a King James version, soft cover that I can still picture spread across her lap on those mornings when I would wake up on her couch after spending the night when I was a little girl. There she'd be reading it. The book is full of her notes written in her hand-writing that resembles my mother and sister's printing. I don't read that Bible very often, however. I just can't do King James very well, preferring my New Living Translation or even the New International version of the Bible. Still, looking at that Bible reminds of how much it was the rock and the sword that guided her through a very long life with lots of heartache, hard work ... and joy.

So back to the Foster book. Here are some of the underlines in the beginning chapter about prayer.

We can determine if we are praying correctly if the requests come to pass.

One of the most critical aspects in learning to pray for others is to get in contact with God so that his life and power can flow through us into others.

We begin praying for others by first quieting our fleshly activity and listening to the silent thunder of the Lord of hosts.

Listening to the Lord is the first thing, the second thing, and the third thing necessary for successful intercession.

We must hear, know and obey the will of God before we pray it into the lives of others.

Great miracles are possible through faith the size of a tiny mustard seed.

If we have God-given compassion and concern for others, our faith will grow and strengthen as we pray.

There are many more underlined points throughout the book on the chapters on fasting, simplicity and study.

It's high time I return this book to the library (I'm thankful for extended grace on overdue books) but I wanted to write this post first. I've since bought my own copy of Foster's important book.

And let us pray.

It was only a suggestion

but it was met with a statement that is now the quote of the day.

"I am not doing school work while I am on the pot."

And in other memorable quotes of the last couple of days ...

Grant: "May I have some more fish?"(it was baked with veggies and herbs. YES! YES! YES!)

and to the question to Lydia while she typed an email to her Daddy letting him know she "read a whole book." ... What does the word "whole" start with?

Lydia: "W" ... (YES. YES. YES!)

The wells we did not dig

Here's a link to one of my favorite blogs, from a local veteran homeschooler. I say favorite, even though her recent posts about scheduling gives me a stomach-ache.

Get up at 5:30?
Spend three hours on Sunday preparing school lessons for the upcoming week?

Ack. It was good for me to hear though and an encouragement to work harder. And I love the idea of making the kids do laps around the neighborhood (if it was safe) when they disrespect, or give attitude about math!

Check out her post about The Invisible Woman.

I know all moms will relate, as well as those who also serve in many other ways to bless their families, friends and fellow humans.

A-B-C Easy as 1-2-3

The Jackson Five got back together for a one-time only reunion appearance recently. There are no other pictures, and the performance sadly won't make it to you tube. And we didn't make the idol cut either.