Monday, November 21, 2016

Home School Mom: Keep Fighting the Good Fight

If you're a home school mom like me, and you're reading this, I hope this blog post encourages you.  I am a home school mom to three lovely boys.  My husband and I decided as a married couple years before we had children to home school them, one reason was because my husband was home schooled his entire school career.  We also wanted to direct the path our children's education; something we knew was more difficult to do if we chose public school.  We decided and made our plans for career choices accordingly. 

I love being a mom.  I was made for being a mom and the children God gave to me to take care of are perfect for me and their dad to parent; all part of God's design.  I also love being a teacher.  I like it when my kids ask for my help and we get through a lesson.  Yes, there are tears and struggles during the day, heck, sometimes my kids cry, too.

There are a million things going on in our house on any given day. We have chores to do and meals to cook and dishes to clean.  There is coffee to brew and drink and snacks to make and eat.  Sometimes one kid is up doing a chore like running the vacuum and the others are trying to study for a test.  Other days, mostly Wednesdays, we wash our sheets and the kids pile up the mattresses at the end of the stairs and jump off the landing on top of the pile of mattresses.  So THAT could also be happening.

Some days are GREAT at school because no one has a test to worry about or a paper to write.  We might even finish school before lunch sometimes and that's when you feel like a success.  You feel successful because you know that if they were in public school, they'd still be sitting at a desk dying to get up and release some of that bottled up energy.  Then, some days it feels like HOUSE ARREST!!!!  Lessons DRAAAAAG out because no one, including the teacher, wants to be there.  Everyone would rather be zoned out in front of the television or blogging on the computer.  Hmmmm.....

As I'm writing this, it's one of the days that seem to drag on and on.  I'm feeling frustrated and so is one of my boys, so  I wrapped my arm around his shoulder and said, "Are you upset because the day is seeming to take so long?"  He nodded his head yes.  Then I told him, "Honey, it's only one day.  Some days are smoother than others.  It's okay to have a day that takes a little longer than others."  And then I taught myself something while talking to him.  Don't you love it when God does that?  

I say all of that to say this; homeschooling and life is best when handled on a day by day basis.  While doing family devotion the other night, we came across this scripture in 2Timothy 4:7-8 that has helped me, and I'll share it with you now: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

You can take that to the bank, moms and dads.  When you feel like giving up, think on Paul's reminder to Timothy about fighting the good fight and keeping the faith.  We're all going to get that crown of glory.  Take things one day at a time.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Congress Has Never Met An Earmark They Didn't Like

Hello, my pretties!  Welcome back to TPC on the flip side of quite possibly the craziest election season EVAH!  I worked this election harder than I have ever worked one before.  I knocked on doors and phone banked and placed yard signs all throughout my precinct.  I was even able to recruit volunteers to work the election in my spare time.  Whew!

That said, I was thoroughly disappointed in the results of the county wide races here in Harris County.  We lost three very important positions, the utmost, in my opinion, was the Tax-Assessor Collector which was held by Republican incumbent Mike Sullivan.  Mike's office is in charge of keeping the voter rolls clean in Harris County and with the Democrats at the ready to steal elections, the fact that a Democrat won that seat makes it even easier for them to do so.

I know that I made no secret about not being a Trump supporter, however, I was personally thankful to see Hillary go down in flames.  With a Republican majority in Congress, we should be able to right the wrongs of an out of control leftist agenda, right?  Think again, kids.

I want to ask you a multiple choice question.  Not one week after the 2016 general election, Republicans in Congress are itching to:
a.)Reign in the federal government
b.)Repeal and replace Obamacare
c.)Repeal redundant laws and sunset government agencies
d.) Lift the ban on earmarks.
If you chose 'd', you're correct.  

Club for Growth doesn't think we should.  According to their president, David McIntosh, " “This is a test of whether Republicans are listening to the American people,” said Club for Growth president David McIntosh. “It’s been barely a week since voters sent a resounding rejection of Washington insider politics, and yet House Republicans are already on the verge of proving they’re tone deaf. Earmarks represent the worst of inside-the-beltway gamesmanship, by enticing Members to vote for big-government bills with the lure of getting tax dollars for big projects back in their districts. House Republicans banned earmarks in 2011, but some have been trying to get back their spending power ever since. Voters believed that Republicans would ‘drain the swamp,’ not redirect it for their own benefit."

Hmm, so you know me, I can't leave well enough alone, so I called Congressman Culberson's office to check with them the reason why they filed such a bill.  According to his office, "Line item appropriations would provide greater transparency and efficiency because the request would identify the congressperson and the project said money would be going financing."

Follow that with news that Speaker Ryan "...persuaded Republicans to postpone votes on bringing back legislative earmarks until 2017 after reminding members of President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington."  So, we can breathe a sigh of relief, right?  Not so fast.  Read on down the article from thehill.com and find this: "But while the votes have been delayed for now, it’s far from certain that Republicans will keep the earmark ban in place when a public vote is held next year."

So, if you're of the mind that lifting the ban on earmarks is not a good idea, then feel free to contact your Congressman.  If you happen to think that by using this tactic that it will help expedite the freeing up federal dollars for special requests and you like that idea, then also feel free to call your Congressman.  John Culberson can be reached at 713-682-8828.  Let him know how you feel about the issue, because he represents YOU and that is YOUR money they're spending.


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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Shop Local Businesses Because Evil CEO's or Something...

Do you see anything wrong with this sign?  It's a sign encouraging folks to shop local or shop small businesses.  Normally, I wouldn't either, because I think that shopping local and supporting small businesses is a good idea.

I am personally all about capitalism because, contrary to what the leftists say, capitalism does work.  

I also believe in the entrepreneur and the small business man or woman.  I believe it's the innovation of small businesses that has made America great.  The process of an idea taking shape into a product or service is amazing.  

However, what I do have a problem with is found within the first line of this sign.  "..you're not helping a CEO buy a third holiday home.."  Really?  This to me is saying that at some point, there is a thought that you've made enough money.  This also reminds me of the saying, "pay your fair share."  To those two comments, I have to ask, who says when you've made enough and who determines what a fair share is?  If your answer is 'the government', then you're reading the wrong blog.  


Now, I'd like to know what is so wrong with enough funds to buy a third vacation home?  Hell, I'd like to have enough funds to buy ONE vacation home!  What if the big corporation person has budgeted and saved and run the company efficiently enough to afford all of that real estate?  

Something else that folks seem to forget, the economy thrives because CEO's and corporate bosses have the money to buy vacation homes.  They create jobs by the purchases they are able to make and infuse the market with more cash because the people that they put to work are also able to have their own purchasing power.  It just makes sense.  

This reminds me of another blog I wrote titled, Keynes vs. Hayek: Round Two.  In it, I describe and share a video of the two dueling economists F.A. Hayek and John Maynard Keynes.  One quote that I love and that fits in with the theme of the economy and spending is this, "The economy's not a car, there's no engine to stall.  No expert can fix it, there's no 'it' at all.  The economy's us, we don't need a mechanic.  Put away the wrenches, the economy's organic."

So, yes, by all means, support local and small businesses if you so choose, but don't, as my friend Sean Murphy says, "Shop shame, the liberal way."  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Harris County Works Because of....YOU!

State Rep. Mike Schofield
"Texas' prosperity depends on Harris County Working."-State Representative Mike Schofield.  Great quote, but what does that mean to you and me?  How do we keep Harris County 'working'?

I'm glad you asked because I have written and written and written some more about this very thing.  I think it's a two part answer, but the first part is by getting involved. I have also talked and shared with others about getting involved in politics.  I'm sure I've reached saturation level with some of the people I know, but somehow, I'm not sure that's enough talking OR writing, for that matter.  Not enough of them have been moved to action by it, so I'm going to try once more.
 

Even for my activist brethren, arguing with one another on Facebook or Twitter about things is NOT going to change anything.  We can all talk about how screwed up things are for the United States.  Sure, that's true, things ARE screwed up.  However, it's going to take ACTION on the part of the activist and voter to make a difference.  Not just by informing themselves about the candidates and voting, although that IS an important step.  I'm talking about lacing up tennis shoes, slathering on sunscreen and knocking on a door, or two, or ten!

If block walking isn't your game, then find something that is.  Phone banking, while I find it to be as boring as can be, is easy and effective.  You can call from home or from your local party headquarters.  I'll even go one step further and give you a link to the schedule of phone banks and block walks here.  See?  That wasn't so bad, was it?

You can also become an election worker and devote one whole day to it.  There is some preparatory work involved, but it's easy and accessible.  Be a poll watcher.  Again, some work involved, but worth the effort to ensure that elections are free and fair.


The second part of the answer is that in order to keep Harris County 'working' we need to elect Republicans to local offices.  Did you know that the office of the president is less likely to affect your life than is your local judge?  Think about that for a minute.  Now, having said that, do you want a judge who's going to 'legislate from the bench' by being an activist judge, or do you want someone who's going to follow the law?  I know which one I want, and that's why I'm urging you to go to the polls this November and vote Republican all the way down to the bottom of the ballot.

So, why have I lumped these two things together, the two things that I personally feel will make Harris County 'work'?  Well, because during the 2008 presidential election, Harris County lost the judicial races by a razor thin margin.  I'll quote State Representative Mike Schofield again when he says that, "If Republicans had turned out just three more voters per precinct, we wouldn't have seen Republican judges swept out of office in 2008."   If there are three people registered in one household, that could just be ONE door to knock on!  I have personally decided that since I am able bodied, I'm going to try to make sure that doesn't happen again this election cycle.
Republican Judicial Candidates

You know, none of us are ever going to be 100% happy with the way things are in our government.  I'd be lying if I said we would ever by completely satisfied.  I'd also be lying if I said I didn't wish things were different.  I wish for a lot of things that won't ever happen:


Since sitting around and 'wishing' isn't going to change anything, past, present, or future, I'm doing what I can to change what's going on.
I hope you'll join me. Start by block walking or phone banking or working your polling place on election day. I can't stress enough how important it is to be involved locally. Local government 'works' because of you, the involved citizen.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Back To Home School

I should probably title this blog, "Buzzkill", because that's what I'm going to do to you; I'm going to kill your summer vacation buzz.  It's that time of year that all children plan to head back to school.  Since I am a home school mom, it's time to go back to home school.  That can raise anyone's anxiety level for sure, but if you're anything like me, you've been planning your return to home school for quite sometime.  I have a few tips and ideas for those home school moms who are planning on going back to school.

That might sound like an oxymoron since you do school at your house generally, and you're not technically going 'back' anywhere, but hear me out.  You are going back to a mindset and an action, although not necessarily a place.  So aside from the physicality of the return, let's talk about back to homeschooling.

I have been homeschooling for a while now, about eight years or so and for the me, the following have been successful in helping us to get through the school year.

-Designate a space in your house for school work.  If you can, I find that it works best if you have a room that you can designate to teach in.

-Decorate your space with appropriate items; maps, globes, instructional posters, etc.  That helps make it feel more like an actual classroom.

-Set a schedule and try to stick to it.  This one is hard, especially for me since I tend to be creative and want to wander off a bit.  Keep it loose, if that works better for you, but kids do need structure.

-Welcome your kids back to school with a welcome back note situated at their desk or place at the table for the first day at school.  I did this last year, and my middle son asked me if we would do that again.  I took that as a sign that it meant something special to him and I'm always looking for things to do to make my kids feel special.

-Recognize their achievements.  I have lots of awards certificates and I hand them out somewhat randomly so that they are unexpected little rewards and surprises for my kiddos.  They love them!

-Celebrate milestones like graduation!  We didn't celebrate a kindergarten graduation for any of my boys, but we decided to commemorate the end of fifth grade with a graduation.  We invited grandparents and a few neighbor kids over and had cake. We even read a speech to our son about his accomplishments and what made us proud of him.  It was a special day for not only him, but for the family as well.

-Give your home school a name.  We chose our name and even have a mascot.   Although we will never have an organized sports team, we are a team as a family and that is even more important than being on a soccer team or football team any day.


This is something that we haven't done yet, but I've seen before on Pinterest (ahem) that lots of public schools commemorate the fiftieth day of education by dressing up as the 50's; poodle skirts for girls and leather jackets and jeans for boys.   Also, when the 100th day of instruction passes, the school staff and students celebrate by dressing up as old people with wigs and mustaches and walkers, etc.  It looks like a lot of fun!

I hope I've helped to make your transition from summer time to school time just a bit easier!  Happy Teaching!


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Uptown/Galleria TIRZ Terrorizes Traffic

Some time ago, I wrote an article in an effort to inform readers about how their tax dollars are being spent on improvement projects in and around the Galleria area.  Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones, or TIRZ were the target of my article titled, So What Is a TIRZ Anyway??.  Now it seems that there are more players involved in this game, and they're all too eager to spend MORE of your tax dollars on seemingly unnecessary projects, all seemingly in an effort to line their own pockets. 

Rewind to Monday, June 20th when a group of folks, the Uptown Property Owners PAC, who are in opposition to the project held a press conference.  The project is one in which the Uptown Management District has decided to widen Post Oak Boulevard by two lanes to build a dedicated bus lane.  It came to my attention yesterday (about an hour out) that there was going to be a press conference held outside of one of the affected properties to feel the impact of the proposed project, The Cosmopolitan at 1600 Post Oak Blvd.  I rushed down to film the presser to gather some more information in order to share it with you.  To save you from watching the video in its entirety, I have picked out a few highlights to help let you know what the folks opposing this project are hoping to accomplish.

According to a spokesperson for the group, former Channel 13 investigative reporter, Wayne Dolcefino that this group of citizens have some goals they hope to accomplish.  They are asking: 1) that the "project not go forward, first and foremost; and 2) that there be a temporary ban on permits for new high rise construction until a truly independent study is done of traffic and Emergency Response Times. There are plans to add 11 million square feet of property without doing anything to make the traffic better.  One other quick thing, the Uptown has announced that this bus project, which will run down the middle of the road here, is going to eliminate right turn lanes on Westheimer and San Felipe from Post Oak  This is going to make traffic worse, not better.  This is a tremendous waste of money and a project that is stained epically from the get-go."

The group represented at the press conference has also stated that they would like to take a survey of the residents living in the Uptown Galleria area to see if they will even take the bus, and they're challenging Mayor Turner to do this study.  The Uptown TIRZ...has raised (or taxed) over one hundred million dollars to build this bus project.  Jim Scarbourough of the Uptown Property Owners PAC is advocating that the money that was taxed or raised could be better used to fix flooding issues in Meyerland, etc.

The group has raised safety concerns that could arise with the bus lane addition, Emergency Response issues and the possibility of increased flooding in the area.  That's not all, though.  Here's where it gets juicy.

According to Dolcefino, "One other thing, my office filed a criminal complaint claiming that Uptown violated the Texas Open Meetings Act.  The DA is conducting a criminal investigation, I've spoken to them as late as Friday and they are reviewing the real estate contracts that have already been done.  One of the bizarre things about this project, besides the absolute idiocy of it, is that Uptown doesn't own the right of ways.  They own some, but most of the property they don't even own yet."

Oh, and one more thing, "Kendall Miller, the chairman of Uptown, is making millions of dollars on this deal; he's probably making it legally.  He should not be a guy that is involved.  Kendall Miller lobbied for the money from the feds and the state.  He was involved in executive meetings on this project.  He's on the Uptown Management District, he's on the TIRZ and the UVA.  It is a classic example of these kinds of conflicts.  The only company that's done a study on whether this bus project will work at all was Walter P. Moore.  That was the big so-called independent study.  Walter P. Moore is a contractor for Uptown, involved in making money if this project goes forward.  That's not independent, that's getting the answer you want to get.  A real independent study should be done, and in this case, by an out of town firm, I would suggest."

So, there you have it.  What can you do to help, you might be asking.  Call Mayor Turner's office at 713.837.0311 to ask him to put a stop to the project.  You can also go to their website, Save Uptown Houston and donate to their legal fund.  Not only that, but you can sign the online petition to help stop the project from going forward.  It's time to hold these un elected bureaucrats accountable, starting with the TIRZ and the Uptown Management District. 


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Simpson Wins Bid for Re-election: Proves to be a Referendum on Slates

Tuesday, May 24th, Paul Simpson, Harris County Republican Party Chairman won his bid for re-election after being forced into a run-off by slate mailer endorsed candidate Rick Ramos.  Simpson went into this race a bit behind the eight ball, if you will, coming in just slightly behind Ramos who garnered 39.81% of the vote during the March 1st primary.

Ramos was a virtual no-show prior to, during and after the primary election held on March 1st.  Never having been involved within the party structure prior to filing to run for the county chairman position, one of the few things he campaigned on was his ability to 'diversify' the Harris County GOP.  He also traveled around the county sharing the story of his Cuban-born father and the struggles he endured to make it to the United States to pursue the American dream.

During the run-off election, he was again, a no-show to ALL of the events held by various clubs and organizations.   No interviews, no forums and not a single yard sign or push card that I saw.  He seemed to be relying only on the power of the slate mailers.  Bad news for Ramos was that they just didn't come through for him this time.

The screen capture featured above is the election results from Harrisvotes.org.  This has to be one of my favorite pictures of all time.  Why, you ask?  It shows that Paul Simpson beat slate endorsed Rick Ramos in ALL three categories; Absentee, Early Voting AND Election Day!  This is a YUUUUGE blow to the momentum of the slates, and it proves that the slates CAN be beaten at their own game!

Steven Hotze's strategy, one of the more significant players in the slate mailer game, is generally to prey upon the absentee voters; the over 65-crowd who receive their ballot by mail, usually attached to a 'slate' of his recommendations.  Well, as you can see by the results, Hotze did not receive the desired effect.  Ramos was beaten almost two to one on absentee ballots.

So what can we attribute the Simpson win to, exactly?  The power of the grass roots army that rallied around Simpson, that's what!  He had teams organized at every meeting and every event.   Not only that, but Simpson had  phone bankers and block walkers going out during the week and every weekend leading up to election day.

The race had been virtually 'called' before even one precinct reported their results.  As County Judge Ed Emmet said at the Simpson victory party, "This is really unusual.  Normally, we don't declare a winner and introduce him before the first precinct reports.  But in this case, the voters have overwhelmingly said that Paul Simpson is the greatest Harris County Republican Party Chairman of all time."



So as you can see, the slates appear to be on life support.  I hope that across Harris County and the state of Texas that the grass roots will keep working together to deprive the slates of the influence they have had for such a long time.   Encourage voters to do their own research!  Remember, the people choose, not the slates!  Slam the door on the slates!