About birddroppings

I am a College instructor part time, formerly retired Special Education high school teacher in Georgia now back in class room. I have been teaching most recently for twenty years. I have an extensive graphic arts background and industrial management training experience. My education includes undergraduate work in psychology, graduate degrees in behavior disorders, curriculum, education and theology.

I am pondering about Dr. Carl G. Jung and “school reform”. I find the answer is simple, CARING.

Bird Droppings March 1, 2021
I am pondering about Dr. Carl G. Jung and “school reform”. I find the answer is simple, CARING.

“If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” Carl G. Jung

Over the years I have seen this with myself, so often those attributes we see and are upset with we too have within ourselves. It is like a mirror, we are seeing them in others what we have within ourselves. I designed a few years back a student referral slip to refer teachers when they are inappropriate. I recall a detention I was supervising a year back as we now do our detention teacher by teacher.  I asked students why they were in detention somehow, I have a problem with sending kids to another teacher for after school punishment, several days after they had issue and I know Dr. Jung would argue with me on this point. It goes against quite a bit of my training and education but was school policy. Sadly, it is not consistent as to why students are in detention.


In that detention ninety percent were in detention for being late to first period. I always love it when the excuses come up. “Well I pick up a friend and they are always late” as this person strolls in with a Quick Trip coffee cup or Burger king bagel, you want to say to them in that teenage vernacular we all know, whatever. So, I went to my duty and nearly twenty kids were in detention. The idea is to sit do your work and no talking. Of course, a few wise kids who want to make cute little noises mimicking bodily functions are always there. The students soon settle in and most are reading or studying relatively quickly.


With ten minutes left I offer a ticket out the door always a great Learning Focused Schools period ender and learning tool. My ticket out the door was a question. What is the life expectancy of the pygmy shrew? There were blank looks across the room. Ok I offered some help how about within two months. Fourteen, a student asks and is in his way. Five minutes left in detention and they ask for another question. I was sort of amazed soon twenty or so questions later and fifteen minutes after detention is over I tell them time is up when kids are interested even in detention they want to learn. Yes, there is a point to this story.

“It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.” Carl G. Jung

Is seems far too often we as teachers take the easy route the path of least resistance and settle into a groove often far too deep. The idea of sharing detention duty is one such easy route. Being one who actually looks at meaningful data I do crazy things like see which teachers have the most detentions. It always amazes me how six or seven teachers in a given period consistently have the most students in detention. Conversely the same fifty or so do not use the detention system as a means of punishment. I do my research every year when it is time for me to do detention and write a report offering simple psychological truths. Punishment works best when in conjunction with behavior not days later and not in a totally different environment.


Several years back for my capstone in my Piedmont Master’s program I had a slide and used a quote about students have to want to be there to truly learn. It is interesting how learning occurs in AP classes and Honors classes and seems to be less in those classes where we expect failure.

Yesterday and in the past week in the news several large school districts nationwide closed hundreds of schools opting for school reform. Teachers are blamed, chastised, fired, and in some cases loose certification. Where these schools are closing they are offering as a replacement programs designed by businessmen who are oriented around a profit mode, private run charter schools. I will admit there are some charter schools that are very successful and I look at why. Charter schools can limit enrollment to students they choose, are not subject to massive standardized testing schools being closed have been subjected. I might add meaningless tests. Learning is what occurs from point A to point B not what occurred at point B which is what these schools have been measured on.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Carl G. Jung

I suggest that we are looking at the word reform incorrectly. We should be looking at why schools are not successful first as Jung points out looking at ourselves. In the American Journal of Education, November issue 2006 an there is an article entitled “’Drop-Outs” and ‘Push-Outs”, finding hope at a school that actualizes the ethic of care” by Wanda Cassidy and Anita Bates. The school in the article is focusing on high risk kids but providing an atmosphere of a caring environment and is being successful. During my tenure at Piedmont College I participated in a Foxfire course, entitled Foxfire teaching techniques. In one exercise the students list attributes of good teachers and good students. In the responses now over twelve years the same words are used. A good teacher listens and amazingly enough so do good students. At the Whytecliff Education Center, the school this article was based on, students in interviews said the number one attribute of a good teacher is someone who will listen.

“The shoe that fits one-person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” Carl G. Jung

For teachers often and for students trying to see and understand the other can be difficult. I watch this every day. Students have come to me and complained about this teacher or that and the teacher complains about this student or that and the complaints are the same. Sadly, many times listening is a factor but perception is one as well. As adults we see a child’s world in adult terms. I picked up several booklets from the guidance office months ago almost sarcastically. Adolescences and Understanding teenagers, was the title of one. In the brochure there were several cartoons and explanations of why kids do what they do.

“Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.” Carl G. Jung

There are few people in history I would want to meet. Generally, I start my list with Ralph Waldo Emerson. He is a fellow existentialist and the more I read the more I wonder about everything which is perhaps why I enjoy Emerson. Henry David Thoreau another I would like to meet and his philosophy so closely ties to Emerson. In the realms of modern folks my list includes a few Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Grandpa Niper (my great, great grandfather), William Savidge, my grandfather who passed away before I was born and Dr. Carl G. Jung. I have always been impressed with Jung’s approach to dealing with people. It has always intrigued me. He split from Freud because he saw another realm so to say. He saw a spiritual aspect not necessarily religion but something that we have beyond physical rationalizations.

“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl G. Jung

I turned a young man away yesterday even though his line was good. Coming by my room on a bathroom pass to ask what we were doing in class. He was just interested the same young man who was in my room just before the bell and then left and then walked around the entire school to get to his class in the room next door history had caught up to him.

“The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured that turn into torturers.” Carl G. Jung

There are reasons why kids do what they do. It could be mimicking bodily functions or giggling out loud when something strikes them funny even though it disrupts the class. We accuse them of this or that and never really look or listen to why.

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” Carl G. Jung

I do believe that acceptance unlocks the door and trying to understand and see beyond the symptoms can provide answers.

“Children love and want to be loved and they very much prefer the joy of accomplishment to the triumph of hateful failure. Do not mistake a child for his symptom.” Erik Erikson

I am also a big fan or child psychologist Erik Erikson. I used this as a quote for the day a few days back and included in numerous Bird Droppings over the years, it is a powerful thought. I spoke with a dear friend yesterday about the current state of affairs in Special education around d the country and her response was we may be farther back then we were in 1973 when we finally had mandatory education for all children with IDEA. To me that is most interesting. Colleges are dropping Special Education as a major. Charter schools will not in many cases take problem children and or special education children be it from a learning or behavior standpoint.


I look back at the article in the November 2006 American Journal of Education about a caring school and difference it made. That sort of encourages my philosophy of caring about students. I wonder if we can or was that in legislation too, no caring under section 234.23 on page 569 in the very small print. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

All of life is connected and intertwined.

Bird Droppings February 27, 2021
All of life is connected and intertwined.

As I thought about the Sydney J. Harris passage below, I recall a walk last Saturday morning out to a quiet spot where I meditate, and something hit me. As I faced east towards the rising sun the gossamer threads of life interconnected with everything. They were iridescent and softly moving with the wind. Occasionally one thread would disconnect and float effortlessly upwards sparkling and dancing as it went ever so slow. Each twig, each plant and branch seemed to be connected. Each rock and branch a tiny thread weaving through the entire visage before me.

Most people would read this and scoff yet in the early morning as the sun rises and begins to move across the sky spiders have been at work all night moving between plants and rocks trees and leaves leaving threads of silk. If you were standing in the midst of them, they would be invisible yet with the sun behind sparkling in the light a beautiful scene. Occasionally one thread disconnects and floats off sparkling along the way. As I sat pondering as to an old man sitting looking towards the east in the early morning many years ago and coming in to tell his grandchildren as I started the passage. On the back of my t-shirt, it reads all things are connected and rightly so by a thin gossamer strand of silk.

“Our task is to make our children into disciples of the good life, by our own actions toward them and toward other people. This is the only effective discipline in the long run. But it is more arduous, and takes longer, than simply “laying down the law.” Before a child (or a nation) can accept the law, it has to learn why the law has been created for its own welfare.” Sydney J. Harris

Today I am faced with dealing with how to accomplish all that needs to be finished by over the next few weeks. There is a house to clean, goodwill run, groceries, papers to write and so much more. Often in teaching of special education we use the term manifestation, is it a manifestation of their disability or are they choosing to do whatever it is they are doing that got them in trouble. I find myself needing a manifestation. Am I lazy or is my back really keeping from getting my yard work done?

“What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.” Aristotle

“Self-command is the main discipline.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many years ago, I spent six months involved in counseling on a psychiatric unit in a state mental facility. There was never a question about why something happened being that they were considered combative psychotic adolescents which was the term used to describe the unit. When someone got upset it was solitary confinement and rather large doses of drugs and a few strait jackets were employed. Little was occurring to change the behavior and or rationalize those behaviors and or find why that behavior even had occurred simply deal with the moment.

“Anybody who gets away with something will come back to get away with a little bit more.” Harold Schoenberg

“Better to be pruned to grow than cut up to burn.” John Trapp

Often as I find a quote the person behind those words has more to offer as if the situation with Schoenberg who is a scholar of music. He is also a very prolific writer about great musicians and their music. John Trapp was a bible scholar with several biblical commentaries to his credit both men were writers who themselves were very self-disciplined.

“THE STUDY OF WORDS is useless unless it leads to the study of the ideas that the words stand for. When I am concerned about the proper use of words it is not because of snobbism or superiority, but because their improper use leads to poor ways of thinking. Take the word ‘discipline’ that we hear so much about nowadays in connection with the rearing of children. If know something about word derivations, you know that ‘discipline’ and ‘disciple’ come from the same Latin root discipulus, which means ‘to learn, to follow.’” Sydney J. Harris, Strictly speaking

Sitting here looking up references and quotes related to discipline and ending up with the example, to learn and to follow this is semantics as we go. In order to operate a public school, we have to have standards to operate by, so we have rules. Looking at this from a behaviorist standpoint it is easy to say ABC, Antecedent, Behavior and Consequence. First you have an antecedent that stimulus is what causes the behavior. Then you have the behavior which is the event or action that we see, feel, or hear about. Finally, we have consequence which can be what we do in response or what the students or person issuing the behavior receives for eliciting that behavior.

“What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood?” Leonard Cohen

“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.” George W. Crane

“To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say.” Rene Descartes

It is always about what we do. Over the past few days, I have with several teachers and friends been discussing perception that is how we see events and happenings. One of the categories in writing a behavioral plan for a student is planned ignoring that is often simply tuning out a behavior. Often with no stimulus to keep it going a behavior will disappear. So often it is getting attention that is the desired consequence.

“People don’t change their behavior unless it makes a difference for them to do so.” Fran Tarkenton

“Physics does not change the nature of the world it studies, and no science of behavior can change the essential nature of man, even though both sciences yield technologies with a vast power to manipulate the subject matters.” B. F. Skinner

These lines from a football hall of fame quarterback and the father of behaviorism are intriguing as these two men from distinctly different arenas yet have come to remarkably similar conclusions in their thoughts. Tarkenton has built an internationally known management consulting firm based on his thought. It has to make a difference to the person for them to change. Skinner sees we can manipulate the subject matters we as we can offer alternative consequences to hopefully change the behaviors to ones we can accept. A Sydney J. Harris line caught my attention this morning as I started on discipline as I prepare for several IEP’s later this week some related to behavior.

“…by our own actions toward them and toward other people.” Sydney J. Harris

So often it is not the consequences that deter or change a behavior but our actions towards the person and those around them. It is the example we set and not what we say that matters. Please today as we venture out keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and to always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Dissipating embers can rekindle a fire

Bird Droppings February 26, 2021
Dissipating embers can rekindle a fire

Most mornings weather permitting I will sit out and spend a few moments meditating in the corner of our back yard currently over grown with local plant life and in bad need of a mowing. For several years I have used a bit of white sage and sweet grass in a bowl as incense. The aroma and watching embers glow in the darkness can be very relaxing. As I was watching as the last of the embers hold on to its red glow dissipating as a slow column of smoke wisped off the last of the ember, circling about in the stillness.


My mind was wandering to car payments, needing more dirt for my herb garden, helping with, and finishing papers, fixing dinner, and heading to Kroger later this afternoon. Looking out into the drizzle I was thinking the sun was about to rise. I looked up circling over my head I could barely make out the pines to my right in the drizzle. There is something about the early morning even on the most dismal of days perhaps the newness and silence. As I thought fanning the last spark from the one small piece of sage leave an ember jumped from my bowl and landed on my arm for a second I watched till the burning sensation had to be dealt with. Maybe another day  a streak of orange may appear clouds permitting across the eastern sky.

“There are things you cannot say in words — feelings you have, heights and depths you cannot articulate — and the only way they can come out is through your art form. It may not be direct — usually it is not. But what happens is that as you create, this emotion pushes through from some deep place and informs the way you see, feel, choose, and express. What was an unutterable emotion changes into an emotional charge that runs through your heart and mind and into your work. It is a magical thing, and you must embrace it as one of the true gifts of the difficult and sometimes lonely creative life.” Kent Nerburn, email to his son

I started thinking about parallels in life working with teenagers and teenage relationships and it is much akin to watching embers as they are dissipating. Each day a student will be complaining about a boyfriend or girlfriend and then right back to them or to another similar relationship. The embers are strong and a bit of air and bright again glowing. For some this is enough to carry on into adult hood and maybe a serious relationship. For others fuel is needed some would call it substance and eventually those folks look for something more meaningful than just an ember glowing. Occasionally an ember jumps out and burns us. Some wanting to maintain will allow that ember to sit and smolder burning on their skin not wanting to lose the glow for fear of never being able to relight the fire.

As I found this morning when my super-duper gas fire starter was empty from too many starts of charcoal and candles. Amazingly in this world of technology an old kitchen match works just great and there is always another source of fire to rekindle. Briefly we will wander stumbling in the dark looking and some will sit pining waiting for light to come on. We exist in a world of paradox or flux there is always light for every darkness. Perhaps philosophically and theologically we could argue but experience will also show it will get light and while darkness may seem like a long time but it will get light eventually.

So I remind myself every morning going out before the light to sit and enjoy the stillness and sensations of early morning. The silence and calm provide a peaceful start to the day.

“In the midst of sorrow, sickness, and death, or misfortune of any kind and in the presence of the notable and great silence was the mark of respect. More powerful than words was silence with the Lakota.” Standing Bear, Ogallala Lakota

Many the moment I sat listening to a CD of Carlos Nakai, seven note cedar wooden flute master. As I sit today thinking and pondering listening to the melodies and sounds reading words of wisdom of days gone by. Writing words often only for one person to read even if it is myself. As today unsure of whom that person is I am writing for, trying to convey a moment of silence of peace in a world jumbled and riddled with so much turbulence. I have focused most of the weekend on my own undertakings reading writing for my graduate work and my herb gardens. When I walk in the doors of our school that changes I am now paid to deal with others issues and education. The strength of my morning of my few moments sitting in silence watching the embers dissipate will sustain me through the day and perhaps offer to another a few words of comfort and perhaps a few moments of silence. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts Namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

It is only a dropped feather?

Bird Droppings February 25, 2021

It is only a dropped feather?

“If we consider the eagle feather with its light and dark colors, we could argue that ‘the dark colors are more beautiful and, therefore, naturally more valuable,’ or vice versa. Regardless of which colors are more beautiful, or necessary, or valuable, the truth is the bottom line: Both colors come from the same feather, both are true, they are connected, and it takes both to fly.” Dr. Michael Garrett, Medicine of the Cherokee

A seemingly inconsequential event that of a bird dropping a feather only to be found along the way by someone like me or you. I am always amazed at how special that moment becomes. Maybe back when I started this morning venture of rising early to journal, read and write for me it was a way of dropping feathers and it seems nearly every day one or two emails reinforce my thoughts.

“All birds, even those of the same species, are not alike, and it is the same with animals and with human beings. The reason WakanTanka does not make two birds, or animals, or human beings exactly alike is because each is placed here by WakanTanka to be an independent individuality and to rely upon itself.” Shooter, Teton Sioux

It has been several years ago we had several large ferns on our front porch, and I was checking the fern and forgot about the nest of purple finches who had adapted our ferns and front porch, three babies sat there looking at me as I checked the fern for moisture surprising me as much as I them. There were three tiny babies sitting huddled in a fern basket all expecting breakfast and it was only me. As I think back, I am not sure who was the most scared, me by the shock of three hungry mouths gaping or those tiny birds with a big hand poking in checking the moisture of the fern.

“We learned to be patient observers like the owl. We learned cleverness from the crow, and courage from the jay, who will attack an owl ten times its size to drive it off its territory. But above all of them ranked the chickadee because of its indomitable spirit.” Tom Brown, Jr., The Tracker

It has been a few years since my first trip to Piedmont college and I am sure there will be many more to come as I am working on my doctorate in conjunction with several faculty members at Piedmont. However, that first trip was one of meeting the Dean of Education for acceptance into the School of Education when I was working on my master’s degree. It seems I had forgotten getting accepted in the education department required an interview. That aspect of my journey, something you are to do first rather than last, to be accepted into the education school. As I left the education building walking to the parking lot a flock of geese met me walking along weeding as they do across lawns at Piedmont back before the lake was drained, fifty or so Canadian geese scurrying about looking for tender shoots in the morning coolness. As I walked a bit of down crossed my path a tiny feather. I picked it up and my immediate thought was of Forrest Gump sitting on a bench waiting for a bus and the feather that starts and ends the movie.


I thought deeper as I saved the feather and still have it pressed in a book on my shelf. So often that little bit that tiny piece of fluff that we often miss it does not have to be a feather it could be a kind word, a handshake, or a certificate from first grade for spelling everything right and it can provide the catalyst for the next day and for some a lifetime. As a teacher, parent friend many times we are the ones who have to drop a feather now and again a tiny piece of fluff to keep another person going. Many years back I ran a Day Camp program in my back yard, Camp Ringtail. I share quotes daily and yesterday I shared one that struck a note with a good friend. He was named principal of the year several years back by the Washington Post. “I had this quote on my office wall for many years. I sat next to Mrs. Graham at a dinner many years ago. She was a big supporter of public education. She encouraged me to be a principal. Many years later I received the Washington Post Distinguished Education Leadership Award (Principal of the Year). Mrs. Graham had passed by then, but I gave her lots of credit at the Washington Post ceremony for motivating me to be a principal. I also told the audience I received two important awards in my life that served as bookends to my career. The first was Camper of the Year at Camp Ringtail and the second was the Post Award!” Rob Hindman

“We must protect the forests for our children, grandchildren and children yet to be born. We must protect the forests for those who can’t speak for themselves such as the birds, animals, fish and trees.” Qwatsinas (Hereditary Chief Edward Moody), Nuxalk Nation

In primitive societies a feather can be a very sacred and holy thing. The Aztecs made the cloak for the king from Quetzal feathers emerald green iridescent and no one else could even own one of these feathers under penalty of death. Native Americans would use feathers as signs of bravery and honor awarding an eagle feather for counting coop which is not killing your enemy simply touching and riding away and other great acts of bravery. I am intrigued as we now wage war often from an office with drones and smart bombs. What a battle that must have been back in the day to see a brave ride in touch a few people and ride out.

We have come so far in today’s world we “nuke em” no need to touch no need for honor for a bit of fluff blowing along the ground. As I walked about my yard a few nights back getting some exercise along with my wife who was checking her plants to see if any bulbs were sprouting and a feather caught my attention. It was a black tail feather from a crow. My day was made as I placed it on my desk with a hawk feather and owl feather from previous walks. It is the tiny pieces that count on our journeys. So, for today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Doing what you love is not really work

Bird Droppings February 24, 2021
Doing what you love is not really work

“To love what you do and feel that it matters, how could anything be more fun?” Katharine Graham

It seems I learn something every day as I wander about the internet and books I find along the way. My life’s journey the past twenty-two years has been one of excitement and constant challenges. Back when I closed my business of twenty-three years and left publishing, I first tried to stay in that industry but very few companies hire older folks in sales. I had been away from production far too long and computers had replaced most of what I had done when I started out doing graphics arts by hand. I had been talking with our graphics teacher at the high school and literally the graphics industry is now almost totally on the screen in front of you. No more negatives and paste ups even plates for presses are generated by computer direct to press. Publishing is literally in the palm of your hand.

As I write each day, I enjoy sharing the words and thoughts of great thinkers. One note of interest is as I find quotes, I tend to either save or use directly in my writing however today the starting quote is from my father’s book of quotes that he had saved over the years which is a three-ring binder full of quotes he had used or was pondering using. This quote caught my attention as it is how I see teaching for me. I love teaching and each day I am working with students I feel it matters maybe not today but one day. As I looked up Katharine Graham, I found that in her time she was one of the most powerful women in Washington. She was the publisher of the Washington Post and it was with her permission the Watergate scandal was reported and published. She was on the elite social list in Washington and personal friends with John and Jackie Kennedy, Jimmy and Roselyn Carter, Ronald, and Nancy Reagan. She never had to sneak into White House functions which seem to be the fad these days.

As I looked further into her life and very interesting as her husband was for many years’ CEO and publisher of The Washington Post however it came to be known that he suffered from Manic Depression and after a series of nervous breakdowns and residential psychiatric treatment took his own life in 1963. Upon her husband’s death Katharine took over the company and through careful planning built it into the company it is today. I found the following quote that hit me as I read further.

“We live in a dirty and dangerous world…There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.” KG, speaking at the CIA Headquarters in 1988

As I watch our news and media sources banter about half-truths and often totally misleading stories I wonder as to is there material even in our high-speed world that needs to be withheld. So often in apocalyptic movies the president hesitates from telling everyone the earth is in line to be hit by a planet size asteroid and destroyed, or that the sunspots are flaring up and we will be crispy critters soon. Is it better to panic and get crushed in the milieu or simply not know and fry at some point in time? I come back to my original quote and for me it is finding that place in the circle of life that makes sense to you and that you enjoy doing. For me it is teaching. I recall when I was down about not finding work in the publishing world and my wife kept saying go back to teaching you really enjoy that. I was at the right place at the right time. Synchronicity as Karl Jung would say. A very progressive principal had just had a teacher resigned due to a nervous breakdown and a job opening was there working with Emotionally Disturbed High School students. Next thing I knew I started back to teaching September 11, 2001.

“I teach because, for me, it’s the most effective and most enjoyable way to change the world. That is the bottom line: We need to change this world, and this is the way I’m choosing to do it. Teaching allows me to work on hearts and minds, to guide people in becoming empowered, literate, engaged, creative, liberated human beings who want to join in this effort to change the world.” From the blog of Elena Aguilar School Improvement coach from Oakland, California, 2008

I am talking with former students and teachers of the Foxfire Program in Rabun County and in other Foxfire teaching settings around the country. I am finding that so many former students were influenced beyond the academics of the classes. They had each a different story but as I gather the words together each was influenced in a positive manner and each has used what they learned as the go about their journeys in life. I happened to find a site discussing a book based on the idea of why I teach. Each section of the book draws from teachers around the country and their feelings towards teaching. I like this concept of a life-toucher.

“As a teacher, I want children to leave school with a social conscience, an appreciation for diversity and life, a thirst for learning, and an understanding of how knowledge can allow them to achieve their dreams. I also want them to leave the classroom with good memories because, since teachers are life-touchers, we want to be a part of children’s childhood memories. Other teachers might not admit this, but I will: Even if I might never get to hear it from their lips, I want my former students to recall their time in my class. I want them to remember something worthwhile, great, or small that happened there. I hope that my students will remember my class not because it was perfect, but because of its unique flaws. Hopefully, they also will remember that I was a teacher who truly cared and strived to teach them. This is my definition of a life-toucher.” Kerri Warfield, Visual Arts teacher, Westfield, MA

As an active teacher I hope in my own way I am influencing kids positively so they can better manage the journey ahead. Perhaps my own rationale that it is equally about that life journey as well as academics learned along the way is in contrast to the current teach to the test idea that is driving education now. Sadly, it is a long time later that the daily life touches as Kerri Warfield states are seen. It might be ten years after you have a student, and you see on Facebook a father holding a little boy and discussing how much something meant to him back in high school. That something just happened to be a small gesture you made giving a book or a word of advice in time of need. I guess I had too many directions to go today and as I wind down, as always please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Wandering about while I am waiting.

Bird Droppings February 23, 2021
Wandering about while I am waiting.

Sitting listening to Crosby, Stills, and Nash acoustic while I write today. I have been saving my pennies to get a new camera hopefully to be ready for spring. There are so many possibilities with various flowers blooming all about and baby ducks and geese soon at local lakes and ponds. I have been making do with phone for over two years now and actually do get some good shots.

Back to my writing I recall a paper I had been working on that frustrated me and yet was remarkably interesting; how did the denominalization in the antebellum period in the history of the United States effect higher education? After writing about faith and religion a few days back this thought came back to me. I had been pouring through books for nearly a week and knew what I wanted to say but it was a research paper and I had to site sources and use others views not my own. With the new cabinet members pushing religion and a new word, deconstruction being s thrown out about in terms of education department Jefferson’s quote might fit.

“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” First amendment to the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson

It has been several months back a student was using this amendment to justify mandatory school lead prayer in public school. As is for me a violation, as are so many of the efforts to teach Christianity or any religion in public school. Yesterday in a blog discussion various views on afterlife and or no afterlife went in numerous directions and even a challenge as to George Washington’s faith that I had mentioned in a previous writing. As I read and thought back in the day actually the first six presidents were college graduates then a trend towards doers and not education starting with Andrew Jackson. As higher education progressed in the United States there was a period just prior to the Civil war where churches were splitting and forming new denominations literally daily and in doing so to justify existence formed colleges for educating their clergy and members.

This is not a history lesson but as I read and looked through the hell blog it really became apparent how many different believers and in how many different things they believe. All going back to our First amendment we can believe what we want. What is so interesting is when belief is based on traditions and innuendos and less on fact not to push science versus faith but not that long ago people were burned at the stake for saying the world is round and not flat as advocated by the church. I wonder sometimes and well it has been said that ignorance is bliss and maybe that is why people are so gosh darn happy. A very scary thought in the news a few years back. A powerful representative is stepping down for improprieties and is publicly saying he will be more powerful out of the house than in that is a scary thought in other words he will be doing what he is being punished for, lobbying votes for various entities. Interesting one of his friends has just been found guilty of various illegal issues dealing with lobbying and we still elect these guys.

It is so amazing how we do find these people electable. It started back in 1820’s or so when intelligent people were not as important as what you could do for me became the trend. A major effort of Andrew Jackson was displacing eastern Native Americans to Oklahoma and giving their lands to his friends. Isn’t it wonderful how this system works? But quickly back to faith and belief, it should be a personal thing something in your heart and soul if you consider soul an entity.

“Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun. Care for those around you. Look past your differences. Their dreams are no less than yours, their choices no more easily made. And give, give in any way you can, of whatever you possess. To give is to love. To withhold is to wither. Care less for your harvest than for how it is shared and your life will have meaning and your heart will have peace.” Kent Nerburn

As I close I thought of something this morning reading a note from a single mother. Children who are from broken homes, we always tend to think divorce equals a broken home but in reality a broken home is one “needin fixin” that could be many reasons other than divorce and can often be kids with both parents. Sometimes I wish Elmer’s glue made an adhesive for broken homes a simple fix for a complex problem so as always please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Life is about random acts of kindness.

Bird Droppings February 22, 2021

Life is about random acts of kindness.

I was a bit later than I planned to get started today have a long day of writing for graduate school and personally to complete. I get up with my wife each morning to fix her lunch and see her on her way to work. I fixed a couple eggs and sat down to watch the news. I like to get out and about before the sunrise and it was near seven o’clock that I went ahead even though cloudy went for a drive. My early morning drives and sunrise photos help get me going for the day.

Back when I was teaching, I had what I called the great skittles challenge. I would do up a rubric, word search, cross word puzzle something with vocabulary or material we have been going over and the first five or so would win a pack of skittles. One I liked a lot was a Secretariat skittle quiz.  I am a big fan of the great chestnut horse two times, American Jockey Club Horse of the year and with also a very good movie to his credit. It still brings tears to my eyes watching Big Red round that last turn all alone for what seems am eternity. Sometimes I would use a teachable moment and this one I went over some horse facts, it was 1948 when Citation won the previous Triple Crown and with Secretariat’s win at the Belmont, in a track record, that still stands Secretariat made his way into history.

Over the years the challenge changed and in order to support our FFA I would get Chik Fila sandwiches from FFA club on Fridays. I do make the challenge harder each week. One of my last challenges was a president challenge and each student had a different president to find information about. I recall I had a student get upset and that was the day teachers were evaluated by students and I am sure that fellow was my outlier. One thing that has amazed me in our hectic world is how many people forget there are others around. I read an earlier Facebook post from a student and the main theme was, how “does this help me”. I hear and feel that from many people, a very self-centered view of reality.

So a crazy day for me late getting started, retired, no driving for another day, errands to run and thinking about Secretariat again. Last evening as I was getting ready to call it a night I went out on the back porch and listened in the dark. A pack of coyotes was having a concert. Actually it was beautiful listening to one take a lead and others join in. I made sure and turn on spot lights since it was maybe a hundred yards behind the house in a vacant field. But the underlying thought doing something nice for someone else continued to run through my thoughts.

“When you carry out acts of kindness you get a wonderful feeling inside. It is as though something inside your body responds and says, yes, this is how I ought to feel.” Rabbi Harold Kushner

When I first read this earlier I passed over it and read some from the Dalai Lama and a bit from Emerson. It has been some time since our hometown high school class website had started into the political realm, arguing and presenting issues and rationales for various and sundry campaigns and politicians. Looking back on former presidential candidates as I scanned through Yahoo news both sides hammered on the same nail in different directions perhaps. It was Maslow that said, “If all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.”  I am amazed at how much material our politicians provide for late night comedy. They are literally providing material for Saturday night live and other satirists. A couple of years ago the mayor of Dearborn Michigan emailed Senate candidate Sharon Angle about her remarks that Muslims had taken over Dearborn and that it had been put under Shari Law and asked where was she getting her information.

“It is my belief that whereas the twentieth century has been a century of war and untold suffering, the twenty-first century should be one of peace and dialogue. As the continued advances in information technology make our world a truly global village, I believe there will come a time when war and armed conflict will be considered an outdated and obsolete method of settling differences among nations and             communities.” His holiness the Dalai Lama

As I sit this morning aside reading news stories each more horrific than previous I got thinking back as I do. Many years ago I was a youth leader in Macon Georgia and one of the youth, a red haired young lady, gave me a Bible for my twenty third birthday gift. I still have that book and the handmade felt cover that is tattered and worn. I thought a few years back of calling the number in the back of that Bible and I called getting her mother. After a few minutes, nearly an hour of conversation, I found out my former student was living in Africa, her new adopted home working in the mission field not converting heathens but providing daily care. We so often pass over the good deeds for the more news worthy stories of war and violence. Millions have died in civil war and famine in Africa funny we do not hear about it maybe there is not enough of what we want there.

“The United States is not a nation to which peace is a necessity.” Grover Cleveland

“If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” Moshe Dayan

These two quotes present a contrast of sorts with a United States former president and an Israeli hero of war and also of peace.

“Think not forever of yourselves, O Chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground.” T. S. Eliot

So often we tend to be caught up in the now and forget one day all we do will be reflected in the faces and lives of our grandchildren. Perhaps as I get closer to retirement and old age although most of my students would say I am old it is hitting more close to home.  We get too immersed in today in selfish pursuits of wealth and power, wiping out an entire species, for profit, is fine. It is about destroying wilderness, to make a quick buck; it is fine leveling a country for fun and money.

“Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police.” Albert Einstein

“When you’re finally up on the moon, looking back at the earth, all these differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend and you’re going to get a concept that maybe this is really one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people?” Frank Borman

It has been many years since I was privileged to visit a high school 45 miles from here we always have preconceptions about what the children will be like, teachers and such as I talked to the journalism class, one of the girls made a statement that stuck with me, “What did you think we would be like”. A loaded question I really had not said a word and already being put in a corner, had someone already poisoned me to who they were or weren’t.  I had been to the same school a few days earlier for a band competition and was impressed. So I was very positive walking through the front door the band program had been very successful so maybe I was biased positively although from the tone of the girl’s voice, I think she was expecting a negative response. Now I had heard horror stories about this school. Interesting fact was, I used to know several administrators there and all I have heard was where they were going, not about where they had been. There were no previous administrators dragged through the mud, no excuses just here is where we will be. Positive goals and building up rather than tearing down. There was a lot of taking down walls and removing barriers between students and teachers, administration and teachers, and parents and the school. There is little difference in making peace in a high school and in the world the playing field is different but directions are similar.

“There never was a good war or a bad peace.” Benjamin Franklin

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I am sitting here thinking this morning after watching a beautiful sunset yesterday and a possible a glorious sunrise today and wondering where tomorrow will lead. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and remember to always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Is it saying goodbye or is it hello?

Bird Droppings February 21, 2021
Is it saying goodbye or is it hello?

I had seldom pull out my Eagle Scout card from 1967, by chance I was cleaning up my dresser and held it a few minutes thinking back. I was putting all of my Boy Scout patches and paraphernalia in a box. While mired in controversy nationally the Boy Scouts of America have contributed greatly to our culture and country. However in today’s hurried and rushed society it seems fewer children are involved in Scouting. By chance two former students in one block at school were both active in troops in the area and asked me if I had ever been and it was a chance to talk Boy Scouts and I pull out my worn and tattered Eagle Scout card from my wallet. It seemed almost yesterday it took me back about thirteen years  preparing for my father’s funeral July 1, 2007. It was exactly seventy years ago that day the first National Boy Scout Jamboree started in Washington D.C. and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an official invitation to Boys Scouts’ nationwide. My dad was the Boy Scout of the year in New Jersey that particular year and of course going to the Jamboree. I had pulled out dad’s 1937 Jamboree neckerchief and his merit badge sash for my mother to put out at his service.

I have written so much on curriculum the past ten years as I work on my doctorate in curriculum studies. William Pinar is a leader in the field and addresses curriculum from its root “curre” which he loosely translates as to run the course. I have written on curriculum several times that it is our life, piece by piece, much more than simply a track of lesson plans as so many teachers have been told. My grandfather was an engineer in New Jersey and in one paper I even used the analogy of a train track for curriculum. We stop here and there visit a bit a move on to the next station. Curriculum is life even more so when you add the daily experiences that build our ability to learn and retain. My father all through his life would borrow from Native American lore and mythology. We grew up listening to stories of the great chief Little Strong-arm and numerous other stories from his experiences and imagination. In my own search in life I too have been drawn to a culture and faith in life that permeates Native American thought, one of sacredness in all. Many years ago a Sioux Holy Man had a vision which was recorded in the book by John Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks.

“You have noticed that everything as Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round….. The Sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nest in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours…. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.” Black Elk Oglala Sioux Holy Man 1863-1950

I wonder as I sit this evening pondering that day nearly seven years back and celebration of my father’s life. My father’s friends literally came from around the world to say their goodbyes. As a family we looked through thousands of old photos the night before sitting around remembering stories and events that had significance to each of us. I recalled my dad wanting buffalo which fascinated him and how when presented one Christmas with a buffalo robe he sat wrapped up watching TV for several days warm and cozy inside of his robe. We eventually had buffalo on the farm and so many fond memories of my father taking bread out to feed his buffalo. Living deep in the farm at the time Crowfoot’s message and thought was real for myself and my family growing up as we had buffalo grazing in our yard and during the night you could hear the great bull walk about guarding his cows and calves sniffing and snorting till he felt safe to rest.

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

On that day in July eight years back we gathered as a family and with our friends to say our goodbyes but I truly believe it is only a minor station in my father’s journey. For many weeks after stories and memories flooded the mail, email and phone lines from his friends and our families as they recall trips and lectures and articles all of which made him who he was. Just yesterday as I did a web search I found an author arguing one of the mainstays of my father’s thinking an accident pyramid. He had first seen the idea in a German author’s work and then being with an insurance company at the time gathered data. Nearly one million incidents were covered in the research. The author stating my father’s idea was a myth said no research was used. In writing saying the pyramid of accidental effects was fiction he seemed to ignore the fact it was based on data accumulated from actual accidents. What struck me even more was he had no alternative. Basically accidents are an act of nature.

I am sidetracked slightly thinking, wandering and pondering, while we say goodbye on one hand we embraced a hello to a new journey. Sitting here in the later ours of evening it is amazing what thoughts a tattered Eagle Scout card will invoke. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Life is a journey only made difficult if there is no learning involved

Bird Droppings February 20, 2021
Life is a journey only made difficult if there is no learning involved

“Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.” Henry Van Dyke

It has been a few days since I visited my mothers, fathers and brothers’ grave site or I should say stood by them. I was recalling the day I was called from work almost twenty-five years ago, my brother had passed away during the night. I looked about the hillside where he was buried and now my father and mother are buried there as well. The farm had been home to many families over the years. Most recently a family of share croppers who for nearly sixty years tilled the land planting cotton and also running a dairy farm for a local land baron and financier. He too has passed away and left his name on a local church gym and road signs around the county.

As I looked out at now soccer fields and houses where not too many years ago boll weevils were poisoned with arsenic and mules driven along furrows plowing terraces in an effort to keep what remaining top soil was there in place. I saw a crow land in an old cedar tree. I walked over and watched the crow for a few minutes and recalled that when you see cedar trees six or so in a row; traditionally in Georgia there was once an old fence line. This particular row I knew well for I had taken done the old rusty barbed wire myself many years ago that ran along through them.

I wanted to sit a moment at my brother’s grave site as I thought back several years to a similar time when I was waiting for my father to come home from the hospital sitting in this exact spot. I was sitting and I was wondering at all that had happened in the twenty years since. What journeys had I been on? As I thought I glanced over at several burial markers from before the civil war from a family that had lived on this land so many years ago. Little granite houses literally fashioned from slabs of rock into body sized houses. There are four that can still be seen through the thicket of old honey suckle vines and sumac stalks.

I was thinking back to days when my children, nieces and nephews made the mosaics tiles to lay on my brother’s grave. There is one for each of my mother’s grandchildren. Each is a piece fashioning their ideas in to a mosaic of individual tiles and pieces of glass. There were several music notes on one, an ibis on another, flowers on several, an art design with a heart and arrows coming from it on another. I thought it would be great to have a guide book explaining each piece each color and tile to know why and where and who placed each one.

On a different thought I received an email from a dear friend in Pennsylvania many days back responding to a dropping from a few days or so ago. She added a thought, “The past cannot be changed but the future is whatever you want it to be”. She was not sure where it came from I did a search this morning and came up with, unknown author. But as I looked and wondered about our own mosaics in life my own in particular, what road was I on where was I going. Would one day I look back and see the tiles in place in my own life and try and recall why and where and how a most difficult journey it has been.


I recall days I would have wished on no one and am sorry I myself lived but I wonder. I went out earlier and watched the moon faint behind a bank of clouds slowly moving across the morning darkness. It was so quiet nearly silent as I walked around this morning with only a car in the distance to mark civilizations intrusion on my peace.

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.” Buddha

I wonder about this as I look back on a day or two. It was the last few moments joking with nurses and the doctor before the sedative took effect while I was having surgery. What if we wander from our thoughts drift astray for a moment or two does our world change manipulated by where we are at the time?

“Things do not change; we change.” Henry David Thoreau

It has been a week of questions of trying to seek answers within questions within absolutes that are obsolete wondering if and trying to find which pathway is easier to tread. I am changing my life in order to live. I will be watching what I eat rather than simply eating anything in sight. Additionally I need to lose weight and start a regular exercise program. Most significant to me is a return to my morning meditation and interaction with all that is.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Through my life I have made choices in despair many times rather than from exhilaration and on some occasions made a mistake. As I sat thinking wondering reading Twain’s words it caught me so often complacency ties us in, cast off the bowlines, and explore, dream, and discover as Twain so eloquently stated. I have always been a searcher traveling through this life exploring the myriads of trails and pathways. I am always looking, always exploring, wondering, talking, asking questions, and seeking answers to questions without any answers, wearing out shoes as I travel. Many are the times I would walk bare foot rather than stop.

I recall a brief journey where literally I had to take off my shoes and in doing so learned several lessons. Number one you cannot break in new boots on a weeklong hike. Number two is that mole skin is a wonderful invention and third it will protect your feet. Your feet can be the difference between another journey and sitting down waiting. I have wandered today trying to resolve for myself issues that may never be resolved ideas that will perpetuate my soul for some time I have yet it is as Mark Twain stated, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do”. So everyone as you go take another step, search down another pathway, find a new trail in life, but just do not try and break in new boots as you go. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your heart and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,

Mitakuye Oyasin

(We are all related)

bird

Thinking for a minute of what to write

Bird Droppings February 19, 2021

Thinking for a minute of what to write

Over the past few weeks, I have read several blogs and emails about counting sheep and last night as I lay down to get some sleep after a long day, and a long week of doctor appointments, reading, and writing, I was a whooped puppy. Long about eight o’clock last night which for me usually is time for me to just zone out I lay there thinking for a bit. Of course, just as I fell asleep it hit me how much we miss our grandbabies. Just as I thought of this we got a photo or two on the phone. I almost felt like no need to go back to sleep since I get up at four in the morning during the work week anyhow to get Pat off to work. Then it really hit me it was still night time I crashed again.

When I got to my computer and started in I sat here thinking for a second about how each of us builds our routine around who and what we are at the moment. Thinking back to my sons and how when they would come home from college and take a three-hour nap, play some video games, eat voracious quantities of food and then chill. It has changed now that that they are married and have babies and work full time one in pediatric cardiac intensive care, one in environmental engineering and the oldest an advanced science teacher that makes a big shift in their lives. After I finally got up I went to fix Pats lunch watched the news and fixed my morning eggs.

I went back outside only to find it slightly warmer than last couple mornings where it was below freezing. Rain and cloud cover are covering the moon. I thought back to my earlier trying to go back to sleep and when my son’s photos woke me up I lay there making up blog lines each more whimsical then the last. Unfortunately thinking doesn’t put you to sleep and it dawned on me why counting sheep would. For most people a sheep is a sheep they all look the same sound the same and act the same. If I was counting sheep depending on my mood and if I were looking for show lambs or breeding sheep or sheep to work herding dogs they would be different. The muscle mass or breed characteristics and then what breed am I counting and the history would come up of that breed counting sheep would never work for me after so many years of raising and showing sheep and lambs.

My oldest son and I had Southdown sheep for some years including an Oklahoma Black and White show champion ram. Southdown’s go back a few hundred years in England famous for their meaty carcasses and for their small size. Why I do not count sheep because I might start on Jacob four horns which do not act like other breeds they scatter when a predator arrives each ewe taking their lambs and running in different direction. This is a little different twist on herding instinct. Perhaps I think too much, pondering each particular aspect and then going deeper and never getting bored enough to fall asleep and usually becoming more awake. So many years ago, I found if I think of a relaxing spot calm and peaceful within seconds I am asleep, not from boredom but from relaxing.

“Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may grow.” Louise Driscoll

So often we lose sight of dreams of quiet times and get caught up in the issues of the day. Back a few months I overheard several students complaining about panic attacks, anxiety attacks and stress issues. How can it be that fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen-year old’s are having stress related issues? It boggles my mind to see such young people caught in adult situations simply things like leaving home, being pregnant and trying to make adult related choices as a child and not being allowed to play with Lego at school. I actually reintroduced Lego to my class room. Lego maniacs rule, it is an excellent eye hand and imagination builder.  

“Life is like a ten-speed bike. Most of us have gears we never use.” Charles M. Schultz

How do we tap into those extra gears and show kids there is more to life and so much more than what is at home or around the next corner? Over the past few days I have wondered about why and how we do to kids what we do.

“Have compassion for your parents’ childhoods. Know that you chose them because they were perfect for what you had to learn. Forgive them and set them free.” Louise L. Hay

As children complain about parents it is only what your parents have learned and had to work with as to how they deal with their children. Some have had powerful mentors and successful family experiences others have had trials and tribulations and for some no families or no parental support. We as teachers often become surrogate parents filling voids left by absentee parents and guardians.

“We have contributed; each in the time allotted us, our endeavors to render… a permanent blessing to our country.” Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, Third American President

I wonder how as days go by we will be perceived as a nation.  Will it be as savior or war monger, freedom provider or imperialist I have so many questions? I was reading a note earlier from another teacher who is currently caught up in immigration issues as our many people. People come to work to have a chance at life and here we are most powerful nation in the world trying to decide what to do with them. I hear “they” are getting benefits and not paying I can understand this. Yet businesses all over the nation are utilizing “their” labor and not paying taxes on it or workman’s compensation on that labor yet we target the people who want to work and not the people who are employing them. Why not tax and take out workmen comp and or why not provide some semblance of temporary or some sort of documentation.

I started a conversation several days ago with how much do you want to pay for chicken which is often produced and processed by illegal labor. Chicken is now as low as two dollars a pound and on the high side five or so dollars a pound for free range organic. How about seven or eight dollars a pound? We can unionize chicken processing and such how about vegetable pickers and landscaping and construction workers? How much more for a head of lettuce are we willing to pay or for a house? I find it amusing that commodities based on often illegal labor somehow maintain their prices if when tough immigration laws are promoted yet gasoline which we are in maximum production and exporting fluctuates based on speculation.  I am not condoning illegal immigration but where should we focus efforts, on people wanting jobs or on industries willing to hire them illegally. To me this seems a paradox.  Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird