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Happy Birthday Grandma!

1893 was a great year to be born.

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Today marks the 123rd birthday of my Grandma Shaw. She was a dear person in my life growing up, alongside Grandpa Shaw, they led our extended family. Aunts, Uncles and Cousins shared the holiday tables as we celebrated Christmas together when we could.

Grandma and Grandpa led by example. They shared their values and opinions and weren’t always politically correct by todays standards. But we loved them. We respected them and honored their beliefs and values, in the choices we made as grandchildren. You knew you didn’t want them to disapprove of your choices! It was fun to make them proud of you.

Their generation saw us go from horse and buggy, to the man on the moon. They came from agriculture and farming backgrounds, to live the city life of convenience. They were a talented generation who could do many things, and had! Grandma could make the wood cook stove fire and make a fabulous breakfast for the family at the beach cabin. I depended on her knowledge and marveled when she created homemade soap. Why make it when you can buy it?

gm2She was an ecologist in her every behavior, before it was a word we all adopted as a way of life. She was a gardener, and valued the Earth with respect and honor. She could play the piano and sing, and knew it was important for all the grandkids to play the piano too. Or at least attempt to learn to read music and play the keys. If you practiced, you could get out of doing the dishes!

Growing up as a child in a big family was the best. We all shared resources and traditions and could learn from the mistakes of others, so we didn’t have to make them all ourselves. I’m so grateful to have grown up in America when our pride and commitment to Capitalism and the Entrepreneurial Spirit of America drove us to be better people, not bitter people. Are we willing to thrive in 2025? We better be! Working together in our communities, and our States we can address the issues much better as 50 United States than one big Federal System. Let’s remember that as we look forward to a Sweet 2016!

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A Sweet 2016!

Life centers around We The People

Life centers around We The People

16 years ago, we were worried that all the computer programs with a two digit date field might crash as we entered the year 2000. We called it Y2K, and it was a strategy across America to fix the glitches in any and all systems, so we would glide into the new Century with style. We were all a little anxious, but we sailed into the New Year with barely a bobble.

Americans love a challenge, to pull together for the common good of our community, our teams, and our States! We are 50 United States, and some territories too, with flavors and character that make us unique. We didn’t want one big Federal System driving us, except where we need help as a Country to take on the big issues and infrastructure. We all pull together for the cause of the whole. It was Abraham Lincoln who fought for the United States, that we would all pull together for economic good of the Country. The 1864 battles, and the 1964 battles only remind me how slowly mankind became kind.

In 1764 things were pretty tumultuous too. I can only imagine that 2064 will be facing tough issues if we don’t work together now to create the future we want our children to live in.

Happy New Year 2016! Let’s pull together with Integrity and Character as Americans to lead this world to a kinder future. We bring knowledge, science and compassion to the people with healthcare for everyone, even if we can’t afford it.

I lost faith when Congress couldn’t pass a budget for 4 straight years, and Nancy Pelosi said “Pass the law, and you can read it.” It was just un-American, and not the way we do things in this Country.

I’ve spent years learning the PPACA and I’ve seen it be helpful to many people. I just don’t like the tax credits, and the way the system leans toward MediCaid as a means for Universal Care. Every State must address their needy – with housing, health care and compassion. How can we let people live cheaper? There are so many ways. We need to stop writing regulations and laws, and let the six degrees of separation work as Capitalism and Entrepreneurial Spirit abounds in America. When you throw up a brick wall, it can disrupt the natural flow of the money. Things dry up.

Where do values come from? Your grandparents! Christmas is a perfect example of “who you are” and what your traditions mean to you and your DNA. You pass on your traditions to your children.

Let’s ring in the New Year of 2016 with a commitment to work together, with a “can do” attitude, and a willingness to stop yelling. Let’s make it a Sweet 16!

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Willing to Thrive in 2025!

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AMERICA represented dreams and opportunity, where a man and a woman could succeed together, regardless of who their parents were. Prejudice existed, but it was set aside as capitalism and opportunity abounded. We connected the country with States, each with a Governor and a set of values and beliefs. We overcame slavery, and empowered every man and woman with the right to vote, and have representation.

Our brave fore fathers laid a foundation upon which we built. Not a Monarchy with a King, but a democracy, with a President, and three branches of power, to help balance the power. Federal powers and State powers were part of the design.

We expanded transportation, communication, sanitation and helped mankind thrive and grow. One of our core values of America is freedom of religion, to raise up our family with integrity and character fit for our DNA. We continue the birth line and carry the flag for those that came before us. We live with purpose and a relationship with God, and his son Jesus. A freedom to believe, have faith, and carry on. Each one of us mattered. This was the American Dream.

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We the People need to speak up.

value-wheel-2009-500When did Congress stop looking out for “We the People?” When did they remove themselves from social security and build out their own retirement system? We still need 50 United States that come together with their different flavors and characters to make up the fabric of the United States of America. What made America great was the fact that anyone could rise up and do better. Work ethic was as important, and maybe even more than just your blood line.

Society is made up of many people and many groups, and our strength is in the variety. It’s only when we try to legislate “integrity” that we forget that values come from within. Character is taught by the family, and a lack of character is a problem.

No man really knows what he believes in until he begins to instruct and raise up his children. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything! The beauty of being a “parent” is taking the opportunity to be vulnerable and love someone more than yourself. You get to learn life all over again as you raise up your children and help them learn. That’s the real gift in life. Being a family.

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Affordable Care Act…Are your income taxes up to date?

I can help you figure out the U.S. health insurance maze.  There are a lot of changes happening right now, as we implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Let me first say that health care is expensive.  One way to make it more affordable is to keep everyone well so they don’t get sick!  We try to do more with preventive measures now, so that you are inspired to take better care of yourself and maybe need less care in the long run.

It is scary to think that a typical health insurance premium for a family of 4 is $1300 a month.  With the new mandated benefits for “free preventive services” as well as other essential coverage, it is safe to say that healthcare is more expensive, not more affordable, but hopefully we all care more and are healthier.

The government attempt to make it more affordable comes in the form of expanded services for those in low income and poverty through our Medi-Cal program, or the Federal Medicaid in many states.  Everyone who should be in those programs needs to be in them.

If you have affordable group insurance offered through your employer, you should take advantage of it.  If the employer requires you to pay more than 9.5% of your household income toward insurance premiums, then you may be eligible for financial assistance through Covered California.

To evaluate your needs for health insurance, we need to address these issues.

  1. How old are you and where do you live?  We look at your Date of Birth and zip code as part of the pricing structure.

  2. Do you have a family?  Who else needs insurance?

  3. What do you have now for coverage and how much does it cost?

  4. How do you like to get your health care services?

  5. Tell me a little about your health history and any diagnosis or ongoing conditions…

  6. Are you current with your Income Taxes, and without tax liens or back child support obligations?

  7. Pull out your tax return so we can review your past income figures and current income.

With those answers we can determine which direction you might want to go for coverage.

However, if you are behind in your income taxes or child support, this may not be for you.  Do you love the IRS now?  Just wait until they are the heavy in the enforcement of this new law.  If they give you a Tax Credit now, and then take it back later, how will you feel?  They didn’t make health care more affordable.  Just more of a challenge to understand.  Next time, let Congress read it before you pass it.  That’ s my take on it!

 

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The Secret History of the Birth of the Nation

I found this the other day, and it reminded me why I was so passionate about 1976 and the bicentennial celebration. Everyone went back to the basics of our country, and learned their history again. Here was an article I found written by an attorney from York, PA. We need to remain 50 United States of America, not one big Federal State.

Mr. J. F. Rauhauser, Jr. Esq., President of the York County Bicentennial Commission, Inc. tells the story in his discourse, “The Secret History of the Birth of the Nation.”

“The facts are unassailable and the law irrefutable. In fact, and by law, the United States of America was created, – born, if you will – on November 15, 1777, in Yorktown, Pennsylvania. Not in Boston; nor even in Philadelphia. Not on July 4, 1776 by the Declaration of Independence; nor yet by the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787. But instead, the United States of America first came into being, as a sovereign independent nation, by action of the Continental Congress, duly convened in the colony of Pennsylvania, and in the town of York, which thus became the nation’s first capital.

It happened this way. Representatives of the thirteen colonies, sitting in the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, received news that a great force under British General Howe was approaching that city. Bundling their public papers into guarded wagons, the representatives agreed, on September 18, 1777, to move to the town of Lancaster just east of the Susquehanna River. A brief entry in the Journals of the Continental Congress indicates some members of Congress did stop in Lancaster on September 27, but it was then quickly decided “to repair to the town of York, in Pennsylvania,” thus affording to the Congress the added protection of the broad expanses of that river. Congress thereafter convened in York from September 30, 1777 until June 27, 1778, when it returned to Philadelphia, only then evacuated by the British.

Among the Resolutions adopted by the Congress on July 2, 1776, before it left Philadelphia, was one which proposed that a plan for the permanent binding together or confederation of the 13 newly independent colonies should be prepared. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, as Chairman, and delegates from each of the other colonies served the committee to carry out this resolve. A draft of the Articles of Confederation was shortly submitted to the delegates, but only limited consideration was given to the matter until it was taken up in almost daily debate after the Congress convened in York.

Then it was, on November 15, 1777 that the Articles of Confederation were officially adopted. Then it was that the participating colonies agreed ‘…hereby severally (to) enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for …common defense, the security of …liberty and…mutual and general welfare…’

By Articles I it was established that “The stile of this confederacy shall be ‘The United States of America.’
Until that moment The United States of America did not exist.

True it is that the 13 colonies declared their separate independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776 in Philadelphia, but in that same Declaration of Independence they solemnly declared themselves to be “free and independent states” with the right retained by each to do “all acts and things which independent states may of right do.” That Declaration did not create a union of any sort. It created 13 independent states.

True it is that each independent state or colony thereafter had to ratify the act of its authorized delegates in the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, but, by definition, the term ratification gives assent as of the time of the original event. The original event was the adoption of the Articles on November 15, 1777, in York, Pennsylvania, which created The United States of America.

True it is, also, that the present Constitution of the United States of America was adopted in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787, but its preamble states the purpose for its adoption to have been ‘to form a more perfect union,’ or, in other words, to improve on the union that therefore existed.

In brief, the United States of America was officially created on November 15, 1777 and thereafter, upon ratification, operated throughout the American Revolution under the Articles as its First Constitution. The experience gained under the first charter dictated the necessity of having a government with more centralized power. And although the delegates met in Philadelphia for the avowed purpose of improving, by amendment, The Articles of Confederation, they did in fact adopt an entirely new and second Constitution.
It is perhaps a little known, infrequently told, almost secret history. But it is true, – in fact and in law. It happened in Pennsylvania. In the Capital City of Yorktown. On November 15, 1777. Then and there The United States of America was born. (11)”

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The American Long Term View…

If “we the people” need to remind Congress what a long term view of America should look like, we can. It starts with families, and homes, communities and local economies. Our States each have a flavor and a specific style that makes it unique. America is a melting pot of many flavors and character. That’s a good thing.

Federal issues need to be the big things. Our Educational Institutions are an asset of our cities, states and country. We know that clean water and sanitation was key to health and wellness. We learned that a long time ago.

Out of NASA came everything good that made America great. All the space science brought us technology and useful things that help us on a daily basis. We are a creative bunch in America, and we work with critical thinking in a good way!

We built America on Freedom of Religion and freedom to own land and become someone! We were not a Monarchy, and we had a President, not a King.

If Congress was made up of Financial Planners with long range thinking, we would not be in the mess we find ourselves in. The fact no budget has been passed, and the fiscal cliff is looming makes our whole economy come to a slow down that was not necessary. Business owners have no confidence in the “bright men” we left in charge. We won’t hire more. Healthcare has put a huge ball and chain around the ankels of business. It is a weight we cannot believe. $1400 a month for a family of 4 is a huge number, even for the Affordable Care Act. I love preventive medicine and wellness, but Americans are too smart to let themselves go the way we have. Personal responsibility is still in order.

America felt safe until 9/11/2001 when they attacked us from within. We should have sealed our borders at that time and used all our technology to create safety once again.  We have been in Post Traumatic Syndrome since.

Spending all this money to try and fix things, and losing focus on the long term goal has not been good for America.  We must be reminded that Americans really put the kind in mankind, because have been good for the world with our kindness and leadership.  We need to all come together just now, with all our learning and knowledge to see another 200 years into the future with a positive faith that it can all continue.  It is our responsiblity as citizens to challenge our leaders.  They have let us down, and we need to acknowledge it.

The Values Wheel

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Obama Scare in one sentence…

I can’t be proud of a Congress that doesn’t read any law before they pass it.  The Senate and the House have a job to do for the American people.  They let us down in 2010 when they kicked the can further down the road on the Bush Tax Cuts.  The 12/31/2012 time frame looms in front of us, and again, Congress cannot get anything done.  I’m watching families fail on a daily basis, while congress waits until November.  The American People are not stupid.  Stop treating us like we are.

With all the technology we have now, why was the 2010 census less valuable for important data, than what I can get from an 1880’s census?  Because these days it’s all about voting, and districting, and redistricting.  Enough already.  We cannot afford the politics when good business practices abound.  We are a lot of smart people that follow on the footsteps of good people.  We can do this.

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I couldn’t be more pleased…

In 2005 I took the boys on the Southwest Chief from Fullerton, CA to Kansas City, MO.  They were 12 and 10 at the time.  What mom wouldn’t think a sleeper car, a dining car and 2 days on a train doesn’t sound like fun?

My husband flew from Orange County, CA to Kansas City and rented a van so he could pick us up at Union Station.  We were on an adventure to find the Oregon Trail, and a little area known as Marshall County, KS where his family had been from in the 1860’s…  It was an exciting adventure in genealogy and history, and it was our own!

We found cousins we had never met, and dead relatives with headstones as tall as the boys!  We loved the adventure, and found not only the Oregon Trail complete with the ruts and old campsites, but the Pony Express trail as well.

We had such a great trip, we did it again later in the year, driving from Portland, OR where I was raised, backwards on the trail through Baker City, OR and into Idaho, then across Wyoming, Nebraska and into Kansas.  I had always known I had Mormon roots through my mom’s side, but we had been raised Methodist, and our EuroAmerican grandparents were my influence and values.

I had joined the daughters of the Utah Pioneers, and found the English Great Great Grandmother that had come to America in 1855, and left economic conditions that were not good in England.  She walked the trail from Council Bluffs, IA in 1856 with the famed Willie Handcart Company and knew hardships and challenges.  I visited her headstone in Ogden, UT where she died in 1920.  It was such a stroke of luck to find someone so amazing that it gave me courage and inspiration to do more with my own life, and the fact that I had so many comforts and had never known such “cold” as my pioneer ancestors.

I shared it with my own mother, and it brought us closer and helped her deal with her own faith, and pride in who her ancestors were.  It was important to our own family and faith, that we shared this ancestor and the lines of her own DNA.  I honored her and her line.

When my own family nurtured http://www.TheTaleoftheTrail.org it brought us together to share history, trains, genealogy, American faith and courage with our own sons.  I hope that America can come together just now, and recognize that our President should hold the faith for our future, and our Country in their hearts.  They should believe that we are One Nation Under God.  The faith to lead our Nation and the World, because these days the goal is for all Mankind to know that Man should be Kind.  That was the message of Jesus.  We see him as the son of God, because man was not very kind, and we needed a teacher.  I’m good with that.

Let us not tell others what to believe, but to have faith in our own family, our DNA, and a willingness to work together towards a common goal, at the community level.  Let the Mayors work locally, the Governors work with the States, and the Federal Government help with the big stuff.  Corruption is not allowed, integrity does matter, and we’re watching now!  Pay attention to your thoughts and your actions.  It’s good to be awake!

 

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Ode to Wisconsin!

My DNA was in Wisconsin during the late 1880’s when my great grandparents left Europe and made their way to America. My own grandmother was born in Wassau in 1893 and grew up speaking German before English.

I think back to all the opinions my grandparents had, and even how narrow their minds appear now. My grandfather was never interested in being politically correct, and he felt confident we should all know what he thought. His lifetime had taught him many lessons, and as an old man he knew some things!

He knew that freedom meant others could not tell him what to think, what to do or how to do it. Independence meant he was in control. Stubborn? I think so.

As I watch Wisconsin from a distance, it is clear to me that those stubborn people still live there, and they aren’t interested in others telling them what to do or how to do it! Even if the smart business people who pay attention to the numbers and the books tell them the old ways just won’t work.

Unions played an important role in establishing fairness for the working man. Somewhere along the lines under funded pensions and over stated expectations created a perfect storm that blew into a big blow up!

Thomas Jefferson said that “Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle.” I hope that people don’t just shout and be mad, but that real progress comes from understanding the problems and working together to find solutions that can work.

 

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