Saturday, October 23, 2004

How is this election important to families?

Over the next 9 days I will be commenting on the importance of this vote and what it means to families. I am continually amazed by strong believing Christians I meet who do not even bother to take a few minutes of time in their day to vote for people as important as our President, our senators, our judges, our assemblymen and women. The gift God has given us in this country is huge. Let me restate this it is HUGE. We have been given many gifts here.

There are people I have spoken with who seem to have the opinion our votes don't really matter. They believe our freedom is in name only. They believe we are so messed up that regardless of what they say or do, nothing new will happen. I have news for them. New things happen daily because of the leadership we appoint or by neglect those who are appointed for us. Laws are passed which decide our liberties and how far they will expand. Judges are appointed who either let those laws speak for themselves or add to their meanings by additional rulings. Money is allocated for a variety of purposes based on that which is deemed important by those in charge.

All of these things affect families in our state and others every moment of every day. To deny it doesn't change it's impact.

HOW????

Please allow me to explain....
1.
Previous presidents and their presiding congresses have had the responsibility of appointing judges to the supreme court. This same supreme court was accused of choosing our last president. This supreme court decides if pregnant women are carrying babies or fetuses, which can or cannot be disposed of at the wish of the mother. This court decides if God is considered relevant to the forming and continual existance of our country and whether or not our currency, courthouses, and public properties may display such a view.

These things are taught to our children who believe, due to the importance of the supreme court body, they are correct. Unless, we somehow manage to take daily time to check what they have been taught and possibly try to correct their views.

2.
The leaders of our state, city and country have the responsibility of allocating the taxes we pay to places they deem important. Under various leaders money can be spent to replace a county seal which has stood for many years because there is a miniscule cross on it.
3.
Our governors can weild their power to influence voters to spend money where they think it is important (ie. stem cell research and Governor Schwartzeneggar).
4.
Mayors can influence and entire country to allow gay marriages even if at the time they are still illegal in their area.(Example: San Francisco)
5.
Through voter propositions, a state can determine if gambling will be allowed throughout the state or simply relogated to distinct places.
6.
Voters can decide if our government needs to be accountable to us or to no one in particular.


You see, there is so much money put forth in many directions that one must realize. This is a real battle. A real struggle in our otherwise peaceful homeland. We are deciding what kind of country we want to be. We saw one type of leadership under Clinton and another under Bush. Now we must decide where we want our country to go.

Realize this three Supreme Court justices are ready to retire. In fact, they are past the normal retirement age. This next president will definitely appoint one if not all three positions. This congress and president will either help us to fight a vital war or leave it, with the desire to treat it as a nuisance, in the hands of others who are clearly not as motivated as we are to see good be done.

For these next 9 days, you will see a more detailed account of what our state and our families need to think about during this election season.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Flu season is coming!

It seems with all the media hype, many people are much more stressed about the flu than usual. As we try to be good citizens and only let those who are considered "high risk" receive the shot, what do the rest of us do?

Funny thing, just a few short years back, there wasn't a flu shot and many of us weathered the season just fine. But now we have children and it's become a different experience for us. How can we keep them safe?

I was reading in November's "Parenting" magazine some ideas and one stood out so simply.

WASH YOUR HANDS!

It's too simple one might think, but many of us just don't do it. Wash after changing a baby's diaper. Wash before eating. Wash after eating. Of course you know to wash after going to the bathroom. WASH, WASH, WASH!

Teach your kids to spend enough time rubbing in that all important soap by singing the ABC's. Scientists tell us a good wash takes about 15 seconds, the time it takes to sing the ABC's. No need for antibacterial soap, flu is a virus it isn't caused by bacteria. Just regular soap will do.

So, instead of sitting back and feeling helpless while politicians play the blame game, take pre-emptive action and act wisely.

Other suggestions of note:

  • Sneeze into the crook of your elbow instead of your hands.
  • If your sick, or your kids are sick, REST and stay away from others if possible, no point in spreading it.
  • Drink plenty of water, your body needs it anyway.
  • Be sure not to rub your eyes or put your hand to your mouth if you have come in contact with another's sneeze or tissue.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Theresa vs. Laura

Theresa Heinz Kerry made a vocal mistake today as she indicated First Lady Laura Bush didn't have a real job. If you don't realize, Mrs. Bush was a teacher and a librarian and then a stay at home mom. Now of course, she has a huge job a first lady, one she does amazingly well.

Why do we have to do this to ourselves over and over? I thought we had finally gotten to a place as a society where we could honor women who work outside the home as well as women who work in it. I thought we were able to recognize, at last, the fact that one is not better than the other. There are choices we make for ourselves and for our families which no one can really make for us.
I was in the work force full-time until my first daughter came. Then I became "technically" part-time. Though there were certainly some full-time weeks or months. I also know not everyone has the type of job or skills that make such a choice possible. I never looked down on those who stayed home, because I knew they were pouring themselves into their family in a way I couldn't imagine. I also never looked down on those who worked full-time because of whatever situation they were in.
Why then would someone, who is excessively wealthy, dare to attack the difficult choices women across our country make? When my husband and I decided I should try to stay home it was extraordinarily difficult. We had to decide to not experience some entertainment options to which we had become accustomed for the sake of our girls. Now each day the girls, the house, my husband and all those combined needs encompass every moment of my day. I really don't know how I was working previously. Yet everything is flourishing better as a result.
Perhaps Mrs. Kerry needs to get out of her rich environment and visit some real people who actually do "work" as homemakers. Then she will have a better regard for Mrs. Bush and all they experienced as well.

From Pastor to Stay at Home Mom?

A woman has to do what a woman has to do.....right?

What on earth does that mean? Actively ministering for 15 years in various forms, I became an ordained pastor 4 years ago. I had already been serving as associate pastor at a church in southern California when I went through the somewhat long and interesting process to become an "ordained" pastor. I had just given birth to my first daughter and I stepped back a bit from fulltime ministry with youth to be sure she received the attention to which she was entitled.

Over the next couple of years the ministry God had led me into altered to become children's and jr. high ministry. Still I balanced time carefully between my wonderful husband, my daughter and the church. I kept perspective because of something simple a friend told me. When my daughter was born he said, "Congratulations on your new ministry". I have remembered that statement always when deciding time values.

Then, I gave birth to my second daughter. Time was now on shorter supply and the two girls had much greater needs than one alone. I reflected on scripture that taught me. When speaking of the qualifications of an overseer it states, "he must be one who manages his own household well...". I believe it applies to me as well. The two girls and my husband have to come first before the church, though no one comes before Christ himself.

My husband and I agreed. Through prayer, God revealed our choice, it was time for me to stay home with the girls. I will minister in whatever ways God opens to me, but I will always be careful to put the needs of our family first.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Children's behavior in school

How often have you wondered about how well your child is doing in school? Then, you receive the dreaded letter informing you that he or she had to be disciplined.
In Newhall, California, McGrath Elementary had experienced an excessive problem with bad behavior. As a part of the Santa Clarita Valley, many schools are accused of being too easy. Certainly not as difficult to teach as say, inner city Los Angeles or San Fernando Valley. This one year old school recorded 84 suspensions for 2003-2004. Though many were repeat offenders, it was of great concern to the faculty.
McGrath is not a rich Valencia school. Of it's 700 students, 80% qualified for free and reduced-priced lunches. The faculty decided to treat this as a serious issue. While they do still discipline those who show disrespect to teachers, they also developed an incentive program to encourage good behavior.
The result - school, which began in August, has issued only 3 suspensions and students sent to the office for violations was dropped from 6 per day to 2 per week. See http://Dailytimes. article by Eugene Tong "Behavior problems tackled".

I think this is fantastic. It goes to show something I have always believed to be true. Kids want and need attention. They will settle for negative attention (i.e. discipline) if they cannot receive positive attention (i.e. incentive rewards). For this reason, we has parents need to constantly seek honest ways to praise our children. If they think that all we want to do is punish them, they will seek that type of attention from us. But if they know we want to praise them, they will seek ways to receive praise. It must be honest praise, because artificial praise means nothing to us and nothing to them.
I heard an analogy once that I really liked. Think of building a child, or for that matter any person, as a check book. Each harsh or disciplinary word is like writing a check. In order, order to be able to write checks and have them work we must continually deposit money into the account. With children, the deposit is composed of encouragement words, praise words, or success celebrations. If we want our children to know that they are truly loved, we must deposit more encouragement than we take out. Our children are worth it. The result is a child with real self esteem not just an inflated ego.

--Paula Whidden

Monday, October 18, 2004

Why re-elect President Bush

To begin my blogging experience I must give credit where credit is due. I heard about and read various blogs because of Hugh Hewitt's radio show. Therefore, my first weblog posting is a response to his question.

Why should we re-elect President Bush?

I think I have a unique take on this issue. As a youth pastor and then children's pastor, I have a confession I must make. Unknowingly, I was one of those who helped to elect President Clinton. I was young and it was my first vote for president. I believed him and his many statements. Then I sat back and watched. I saw how our country changed in response to his leadership. I experienced the change in respect boys gave to girls following the Monica Lewinsky experience. I watched a disregard for leadership emerge as we chanted the mantra of "it's about the economy stupid".
Children are a reflection of our teachings. They parrot what was taught to them from various points: parents, T.V., radio, internet, etc. The children changed under President Clinton's leadership, and not for the better.
As a result, I became a republican. Again I voted. I believed that President Bush was far better for our country than Gore ever could be. I believed that "No Child Left Behind" was a fantastic idea, especially because I saw teenagers advance in grades after repeatedly failing courses. As a native Californian, I remember and experienced when California was truly the best place to receive an education. We needed help.
Now, I have seen Los Angeles Unified School District fight as hard as they could against NCLB. Yet they can't hide from children who cannot pass. They are finally beginning to recognize that perhaps they need to work on how they educate. It's hard but absolutely necessary.
The clincher for me was watching the final debate. Repeatedly having accused President Bush of not funding NCLB, Kerry finally made the statement to his face. In response, President Bush calmly stated they had increased funding in education 49% (I had no idea it was so much - had to look it up $24.7 billion in 2001 to $36.9 billion in 2005) Kerry's response told much about who he is. He said, "a percentage is not and increase".
If it isn't, I certainly don't know what is.
I like a President who cares about our children and does something about it, even when others are not really paying attention. That is why I am voting for President Bush.
Thanks Hugh for the inspiration.
Check out his blog at http://hughhewitt.com