Sunday, August 31, 2014

Does God's Kindness Lead Us?

Kindness as defined by Webster's is  a state or quality of being kind; specifically beneficence, kind feeling; affection.

"You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things.  Now we know that God's judgement against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgement?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"-Romans 2:1-4

That was a mouthful, I realize.  I really just wanted to share that last sentence of the scripture, "..not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance."  It needed the whole verse to give you the context, I think.  I shared with you a scripture verse last week and it made my day to do that, so I'm doing it again.

I have been a Christian for about seventeen years now, but about eight years ago, I came across this scripture verse and it changed my point of view about a great many things.  I guess you could say, life and people in general.  When I came to Christ, there was a motivation to give my life to Christ; an urgency, if you will.  The pastor made such a compelling argument for my soul and others there, I just felt naturally compelled to go down to the altar and accept Christ.  I then began my journey into the Bible and learned as much as I could immediately.  Just like many other new believers and those others to come, I soaked up the word and loved spending time with those who had been Christians for many years and asked lots of questions.

We all have probably made the same mistake I did.  I assumed that most others had come to Christ in that same way; felt the need or urgency to give my life to the Lord.  Or that there was a conviction that they felt in their spirit to confess wrong doing and to get right with the Lord.   

After I read that scripture verse though, it changed my mind.  I came to the realization that not everyone has the same story of salvation.  I'm glad of that fact, to be honest.  We are all unique individuals, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Christ.  I personally LOVE the fact that it's God's kindness that leads us to repentance.  So when we replace one of the words in the definition of, 'kindness' within the scripture verse, it makes even more sense; because of God's affection, we are led to repentance.  Let that sink in for a moment.

It also led me to another realization about people, like I mentioned. I think it gave me a greater understanding of what it means to extend grace.  Not everyone has the same likes and dislikes, and that's okay.  Not only that, but my way of doing things isn't the only way of doing things.  I think that is a hugely important thing for people to realize.  That doesn't mean I'm preaching tolerance here by any means.  Sin should still be called sin.  I think though, that grace helps us to be respectful of others' preferences and their life decisions they may make. 

I'm thankful that God fulfilled the law with his son Jesus and that we are now living under grace which defined is unmerited favor.  If there's just one take away from this blog or scripture verse, I pray that the words grace and kindness are two that you store up for yourselves this week.  Although we may feel a conviction in our spirit or a stirring in our souls, or desire that others would feel convicted to change, I pray that it is ultimately because God is kind and loving that we choose to give ourselves to Him.    

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Come to Me Before You Go Back to School

Does it ever seem to you that God sort of gives you a scripture verse?  Something pops into your head and you immediately know that it was from God.  Well, that happens to me from time to time and I'm always so thankful when it does.  It happened to me again today and I wanted to share it with you to help others who might need this same verse.

We find this verse in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  I'm pretty sure that you've heard that verse before, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you look at each word or word phrase individually.

"Come to me".  That just shows us God's gentle nature.  It doesn't say, "Hey, you, get over here now!"  So many times we do that to our own children.  I pray the next time I find myself being tempted to do that, I'll call this scripture to mind.

How about the part that says, .."all you who are weary and burdened?"  I love that part, almost as much as Jesus giving us rest.  It doesn't say, "all you who are perfect and free from sin."  We would never get to come near Jesus if that were the case.  He created us to need him, to follow him and to trust him; for everything.  This also brought to my mind the verse in Romans 5:8 that says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  Proves even more that we don't need to be perfect to approach the throne of God.  That we can lay our problems and our struggles at his feet and he will take care of them.

We live in a culture that doesn't always go to God first.  It's easy to get caught up in the 'world' and for us to become easy targets for Satan.  The devil is really good at planting seeds of doubt in our minds about everything that we should be trusting God for.  (I won't list them all because this blog would never end.) 

Moving on to the part that says "..I will give you rest."  I love His kind of rest, don't you?  It doesn't mean sleep or free time to sit on your posterior all day long.  No, it means real rest; rest from your burden of sin or whatever you may be wrestling with. 

I think we all wrestle with sin from time to time; how about daily?  This is a great scripture verse to keep in mind the next time you find yourself struggling; with anything.  As a matter of fact, this is our family scripture memory verse for the week. This also may be the perfect scripture for this coming week when most of us find ourselves sending our kids back to school. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Is John Culberson A Jeffersonian-Republican...Or Not?

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie down the second with chains of the constitution so the second will not become legalized versions of the first."-Thomas Jefferson.

I share that with you because the person I'm writing about espouses on his website to BE a Jeffersonian-Republican.  This is a direct quote from his website, "As a fiscally conservative “Jeffersonian Republican,” Congressman John Culberson is committed to Thomas Jefferson’s vision of limited government, individual liberty, and states’ rights. Simply put, John Culberson believes in “Letting Texans Run Texas.” 

All of that sounds really good, doesn't it?  Well, friends, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.  Let's look at some of the voting action on the part of our fair Congressman Culberson.

I'm a Freedomworks follower and they have a Scorecard that they use to keep up with all of the House and Senate members voting records, both good and bad.  So, here's the first vote on the list in which Congressman Culberson voted against the Freedomworks recommendations.

On H.R. 3457-Omnibus Appropriations for Fiscal year 2014,  Culberson was a 'yea' vote.  This bill funded the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2014. It spends $45 billion more than the budget caps established in 2011, and perpetuates a vast amount of wasteful spending from previous years. Lawmakers were also given almost no time to read this 1,500 page spending bill.  Reminds me of Democrat Jeff Conyers and his quote about actually reading a bill before passing it.  "What good is it to read a bill that's 1,000 pages when you don't have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you've read the bill?"  Sounds like it might be more than just a Conyers philosophy. 

On the FARM Bill, Culberson was also a 'yea' vote.   This final version of the Farm Bill, reconciled between the House and Senate, actually undoes some of the already modest reforms to crop insurance and food stamps that were previously in the bill. This five-year reauthorization of the Farm Bill will spend nearly a trillion dollars over ten years, and remains loaded with corporate welfare and special carve-outs for well-connected agricultural corporations.

His Jeffersonian-Republican framework could be destroyed within the guise of the FARM bill.  Think about it; it expanded government, it spends more money, a trillion over ten years and keeps people on the government dole through food stamps, which is ultimately about the dependency on a hand out.

How about the amendment to House Resolution 4870, to cut Transportation and HUD spending by 1%?  Surely a Jeffersonian Republican would want to cut spending.  Sorry to say, not this time.  He voted NOT to cut spending.

I'll share one more key vote with you and it is on the Highway and Transportation Funding Act.  This bill bails out the nearly depleted Highway Trust Fund through May of 2015, using revenue gimmicks to supposedly offset most of the cost. The Highway Trust fund desperately needs reform instead of merely continuing to receive periodic taxpayer bailouts.  Congressman Culberson was a 'yea' vote on this one, too.  Read my lips, "No more bailouts!"  

Okay, since I've been playing bad cop all this time, maybe it's time for a little good cop.  One of the votes that he got right was to restrict agencies from accessing U.S. citizens' communications metadata.  I guess he felt compelled to do that after he voted for the patriot act, not once, but twice.

These are only four of the votes that earned him a 50% rating on the Freedomworks Scorecard.  To be fair, I went and checked out some of the other really well known scorecards, Eagle Forum and Heritage Action.  He rated a 75% with Eagle Forum and a 68% with heritage Action.  All three scorecards report on much of the same bills, with the exception of a few.  Both Heritage Action and Eagle Forum reported on a bill that Freedomworks did not, which was a bill to establish the Commission to study the potential creation of a National Women's History Museum, a bill that BOTH organizations recommended voting against.  John Culberson voted FOR the bill and it passed.

There's just one more bill I'd like to draw your attention to that he voted against that blows his Jeffersonian-Republican thought process out of the water; a bill to reform the Federal Sugar Program.  From Heritage Action's Website:

Amendment #98 offered by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) reforms the Federal sugar program: 1) repeals unnecessary trade restrictions; 2) eliminates higher price support levels; 3) reforms domestic supply restrictions to provide more flexibility to USDA; and 4) provides flexibility to USDA in administering quotas.

Heritage Action Position

In 2006, the Department of Commerce found that for every job “saved” by the program, the sugar program kills three manufacturing jobs. Despite claims that it is “zero cost” to taxpayers, the current sugar program distorts prices for sugar products for consumers. It also inflates sugar prices by capping the amount that manufacturers and consumers in the U.S. can import from foreign producers.

Again, this increases the role of government in the private sector, kills jobs and no pun intended, artificially inflates the price of sugar.  What was that about letting Texans run Texas?  I fail to see how any of the votes I've listed here and others he's cast over his tenure as a Congressman line up with his own ideology. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Time for a Culberson Birthday Bash, No Time for a Town Hall During August Recess

Happy August recess, Congress!  You know it's that time of year again, Congress is on a 'break' from work, that time of year when they finally have a chance to spend time with their constituents and discuss their voting record.  Wait, what?  What that should read is that Congress will be coming home to fill their coffers with more campaign donations by doling out more empty promises.

That is sadly the case more often than not, and it is the case for my Congressman, John Culberson.  If you've been reading any of my posts over the past few years, you know I'm not shy when it comes to sharing Congressman Culberson's voting record, since I have done so several times.  Now, what has me most upset is so far I have yet to hear of a town hall meeting to be scheduled for his constituents.  What I did get was an invite to a birthday party...wait for it...for HIM.  It gets better, I promise.  In order to attend this birthday bash, as it's called, you have to PAY to get in.  Really?  We live in a bass ackward kind of country when you have to PAY to see your very own congresscritter.

It is supposed to be a really well attended event and it's held every year and we only have to pay $25 to get in.  I don't care!  I don't care how exciting the party might be, or how good the cake is (there's a Marie Antoinette joke in there somewhere, I just know it). There's something wrong with this picture.

I have reached out to his office twice now, once to him personally on his Twitter feed and once in  an email to his assistant, to no avail.  Just today, however, I got an invitation to a Meet and Greet for the Congressman.  What do you think of when you hear the words 'Meet and Greet'?  Right, fundraiser.  You can draw whatever conclusion you like, but to me that says that you and I are not important enough to meet with unless we have some money to contribute.

So, what do we want?  A town hall!  When do we want it?  NOW!  Call his office and demand a town hall.  You can reach him at his Memorial Office here in Houston at 713-682-8828 or at and go to the contact form.

Lawmakers need to remember who they work for!  It's We The People who employ them, not the other way around.  Remind him who he represents and who he reports to!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

2014 RedState Gathering Held August 7th-10th

Attention!  Attention all RedState and Freedomworks fans!  There is a very exciting event coming to Ft. Worth, Texas next weekend!  It's none other than the RedState Gathering which proves to be a very exciting event with a great line up of speakers.  

You may be asking, "What IS RedState Gathering?"  Glad you asked!  From their event website: "In August 2009, RedState hosted the first RedState Gathering. Held annually, the Gathering has quickly become a leading grassroots event and has featured notable speakers such as Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Nikki Haley, Gov. Bobby Jindal, to name but a few. In 2011, the Gathering served as the launch pad for Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential bid. The Sixth Annual RedState Gathering will be held in Forth Worth, August 7-10, 2014."

It starts next Thursday, August 7th with Registration and a Governor's Reception with Governor Rick Perry.

The fun continues on Friday, August 8th, with a list of fantastic speakers: Governor Rick Perry, Former US Senator from North Carolina, Jim DeMint, Former VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Ben Sasse, US Senate Candidate-NEbraska, and John Ratcliffe, Candidate for US House District 4.  Now for the line up from the great state of Texas!  State Representative and Speaker of the House Candidate, Scott Turner, Konni Burton, State Senate Candidate for District 10 and our very own US Senator Ted Cruz from Houston!  Not to be missed is the reception following the event on Friday evening with Senator Ted Cruz at Joe T. Garcias in the Stockyards District.

More excitement, (if you can stand it) on Saturday, August 9th with the following list of speakers: Governor Nikki Haley, Congressman, Jim Bridenstine, Republican National Committee Chair, Reince Priebus, our own Attorney General and candidate for Governor, Greg Abbott.  Also, Ken Buck, Candidate for US House in Colorado's District 4, Paul Dietzel, Candidate for US House in Louisiana's District 6 and last but not least Drew Ryun from Madison Project.

RedState Gathering will also feature the following:

Panel Discussions on Obama Scandals, an Elections Preview and more featuring guests from Towhnhall and our very own RedState Contributing Editors.
    • Saturday Evening Reception with Attorney General Greg Abbott
    • Texas Motor Speedway – Food, Drink and a special surprise
    • Ends with Sunday Brunch at 10 AM
  • Freedomworks, who is no stranger to grass roots efforts is partnering with RedState to put this event together.  I'm a huge fan of both organizations.  

  • I had a chance to meet Erik Erickson at a Grass roots Boot camp back in 2011, also in Ft. Worth. and I'm so happy to see them working together.  

    • "The 2014 RedState Gathering Agenda has come together nicely and is sure to please. Thanks to the speakers, sponsors, and of course the activists who have registered to attend, the 2014 RedState Gathering will be the best yet. Don’t miss your chance to attend."-RedState

    • Just to review: RedState Gathering is happening next weekend, beginning on August 7th at 5:00 PM and going until Saturday, August 10th.  The event is to be held at The Worthington Renaissance Ft. Worth Hotel, 200 Main Street.  For more information for tickets and lodging, click on this link.  I'll be helping out at the Freedomworks booth on Saturday!  See you there!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

We Will Not Conform: Portrait of a Home School Family

We will not conform.  We will not conform.  We will not conform.  No, it isn't a chant or a mantra.  It's a statement of fact.  Something that we as grass roots activists should be used to by now.  How about another group of folks who could be considered full-time protesters?  Another group of people who might be used to not conforming for even longer than the tea party groups have been around.  How about a group of dedicated home schoolers?  This is the portrait of a home school mom and dad.

The home school mom and dad are those parents who decided to throw off the yolk of traditional education and have already chosen not to conform.  They decided to keep their children at home, for whatever reason, but  no matter if you publicly educate your children or privately educate them, we all ultimately want a well educated child.

A home school family consists of parents who decided to go against the grain and took their child's education in their own hands, quite literally. I should know, I'm one of them.

I am fortunate enough to live in the great state of Texas, where home schooling is still legal.  Home schools are considered a private school, and we aren't regulated by the state or required to take standardized testing.  We are free to purchase our own curriculum or to design our own.  Then, we are free to choose our own path to graduation.  In other words, home schoolers have freedom in Texas!  Cool, right?

So, what am I getting at?  I'm saying that all of that could change.  Not through state standards, but through the introduction of Common Core.  Since its introduction into mainstream schools the move has begun to change ACT and SAT tests to meet the Common Core standards.  This means that home schools may be forced to teach according to those same standards.  Here is proof from one of my previous blog posts that this can and will happen:

The Common Core will impact home schools and private schools in at least three ways. First, designers of the expanded statewide longitudinal databases fully intend to collect data about home school and private school students. Second, college admissions standards will be affected: Common Core standards for college readiness will be used by institutions of higher learning to determine whether a student is ready to enroll in a postsecondary course.10 Third, curriculum and standardized tests are being rewritten to conform to the Common Core.   

Unless we act.  Home schoolers, like grass roots activists are usually at the ready when called to action.  I was fortunate enough to be one of five bloggers that were invited to attend the Glenn Beck event called We Will Not Conform: LIVE Making Common Core History that was held last night in theaters across America.  

We Will Not Conform was put together by the Glenn Beck team and hosted with other big names in politics and national grass roots leaders, who are no strangers to not conforming.  Names  such as Michelle Malkin, Dana Loesch, David Barton and Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks.  The event was held in an effort to taking one of many 'first steps' to raise awareness and ultimately defeat Common Core.  

So what now?  The Glenn Beck folks put together a plan for any activist to initiate and employ in their respective communities.  For the link, click hereWe need to start a discussion with your neighbors and friends and your families for that matter so we can stop the march towards common kids and Common Core.  We need to recognize the strength of our own voices and our own actions.  Listen to Matt Kibbe's words of encouragement for us all when he said, "Parents represent a voting block that is unstoppable."  To be unstoppable, though, we have to get started.  As one of the grass roots leaders said last night, "How to defeat Common Core, get the facts, get organized, show up."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Common Core FAQ's-Your Questions Answered

The Common Core.  Now that we've established that you have heard of it before, let's go a little deeper into the topic.  We've all heard that our education system is broken, right?  Then, one would assume that Common Core would attempt to be the solution to the problem.

Since we're talking about solutions here, we would also assume that the Common Core would help improve critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Both of these are something that is so desperately needed in our world that seems to be lacking a whole lot of independent thinkers.  I'll be honest, lately we seem to be all about the collective; the greater good, if you will.  Well, surely something such as Common Core, the alleged solution wouldn't have a socialist or statist agenda.  Read on....  

I have mentioned in numerous posts before that I'm a home school mom, so it shouldn't be surprising to some of you that the article that I'm citing for this particular blog comes from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).  They came up with their own set of FAQ's for Common Core and my intention for this blog was to do that same thing, but I thought, why reinvent the wheel?  I'm going to share it with you.

Good place to start:
What is Common Core?
The Common Core State Standards (“the Common Core”) are two sets of K–12 academic standards that outline what students are expected to learn in English language arts and mathematics each year from kindergarten through high school. The goal of this checklist is not literacy, proficiency, or increased graduation rates but to make students “college- and career-ready.”1 The Common Core was written by the National Governors Association (NGA)—an organization of governors, their head staff members, and policy makers—and the Council of Chief State School Officials (CCSSO). States receive Race to the Top (RTTT) federal funding for committing to adopt and implement the Common Core and to collect student data from preschool through the workforce.

Hmm. "..States receive Race to the Top (RTTT) federal funding for committing to adopt and implement the Common Core and to collect student data from preschool through the workforce."  Sounds like a bribe to me.

 Is the Common Core already being implemented?
The NGA released the Common Core standards on June 2, 2010. Since then, 45 states, four territories, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Minnesota only adopted the English language arts standards. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia have refused to adopt the Common Core.
As the pedagogical weakness and ballooning implementation cost of the standards becomes evident, many adopting states are scrambling to delay or defund implementation.

So, then you may ask, how is it possible to have the feds involved in this?  Federal Funding for Race to the Top is handed out for states whose schools adopt Common Core Standards.  See the next question.

How is the Federal Government involved in the Common Core?
Three sets of laws prohibit the federal government from prescribing the content of state curricula and assessments, yet the United States Department of Education has propelled the Common Core more than any other organization and is funding the creation of standardized assessments.2 First, the department conditioned education grants on states’ commitment to implement the Common Core.
Second, the department offered waivers from the most burdensome portions of the No Child Left Behind Act in return for states’ promising to adopt the Common Core’s college- and career-readiness standards and corresponding assessments.
Third, the department awarded millions of dollars to consortia of states to craft the assessments based on the Common Core.

Now, the next question probably addresses the biggest concerns of most moms and dads and news outlets like Fox and talk show hosts such as Glenn Beck, who is addressing the issue with his event to be held next Tuesday, We Will Not Conform LIVE: Making Common Core History.

Does the Common Core have a philosophical bias?
Three philosophical threads weave through the Common Core—statism, moral relativism, and progressivism. The statist goals of the Common Core are implicit in the lockstep uniformity that is the central thesis of the program. Relativism’s influence on the Common Core is evident in the open-ended and research-based assessment questions and the expansive new student tracking systems, ideas which have been strongly promoted by relativist Howard Gardner. Progressive educator John Dewey argued for standardized curriculum to prevent one student from becoming superior to others and envisioned a workforce filled with people of “politically and socially correct attitudes” who would respond to orders without question.3 Workforce readiness is one of the Common Core’s main goals.

 Here is an example of the philosophical bias as seen on Fox News with Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  This is a segment describing a fifth grade English class and exhibits the statist goals of the Common Core.  Take a look.

Let's look at the next question.  It's a question that I've been concerned about given my personal choice on how to educate my children and the affect that Common Core (if any) will have on them going forward.  Sadly, it looks like there might be an impact.

Will the Common Core impact private schools and home schools?
The Common Core will impact home schools and private schools in at least three ways. First, designers of the expanded statewide longitudinal databases fully intend to collect data about home school and private school students. Second, college admissions standards will be affected: Common Core standards for college readiness will be used by institutions of higher learning to determine whether a student is ready to enroll in a postsecondary course.10 Third, curriculum and standardized tests are being rewritten to conform to the Common Core. 

Next question:

Does the Common Core lead to a national curriculum?

Implementation instructions for the states written by the authors of the Common Core suggest that a national curriculum is the goal of the standards. NGA recommends that “States and districts…share the costs of developing new curricula and instructional tools and not each develop their own at greater expense for each.”13 The groundwork for a national curriculum is also being laid by groups of states and private organizations—such as the Gates Foundation and Achieve—collaborating to develop common curricula.

Not only has the Common Core not been tested or proven to do what the government and it's creators say that Common Core will do, it's proving to be a means of data collection.  Goodness knows we need MORE data collection, amirite?  See the next question and its answer in its entirety here:

Does the Common Core include a national database?
All 50 states have had statewide longitudinal databases in place to track their students’ scores on assessments for the past decade. Yet the authors of the Common Core are clear: the success of the standards hinges on the increased collection of student data—including demographics and postsecondary education performance—from preschool through the workforce.16 

Massive new databases are already being built. In 2012, the Gates Foundation used $17 million to launch inBloom, a company that has built a $100 million database to track students from kindergarten through college.19 The databases identify students by name, address, and sometimes Social Security number. Combined with the changes to FERPA, the implementation of the Common Core is unleashing what is arguably the most comprehensive tracking of citizens that America has ever seen.

If that doesn't give you pause, then I'm not sure what will.  Sometimes identified by Social Security number???  Remember, the Social Security Card was something that the government assured us would never be used for identification purposes.  See question 8 and it's answer.  Why else would they need all of the data they are collecting?  For a national curriculum and to further their agendas and for financial gain!!

The article by HSLDA also addresses those who support Common Core and who opposes Common Core and why.

What I have found is that the Common Core is NOT about fixing our broken education system.  This is not about improving our children's critical thinking or problem solving skills.  This is just another way to control we the people, to brainwash our children into believing that socialism is the best economic system and maybe the most egregious thing is that they would have our children's information data mined and sold to the highest bidder.  Let me remind you of a quote that I think sums this issue up nicely, "Let me control the textbooks, and I will control the state."-Adolf Hitler