Monday, January 28, 2008

Ian's Face


Ian takes an art class as part of his Home School regiment each week. It is taught by another Home School mom at the Cultural Center in the downtown area. As most people know, the Democratic Primary was this past weekend in South Carolina. What we didn't know was that there was a function scheduled at the Cultural Center in anticipation of this.

When Tisha and the kids arrived at the center there were police everywhere getting ready for the event. What stood out most to Ian were the Bomb Sniffing Dogs. Ian's assignment for that day was to bring in a picture of himself and his favorite pet. They would be drawing self portraits. So what was Ian's response to seeing the Bomb Sniffing Dogs?

"Great! I came here to draw my face and now I'm going to get it blown off!"

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mores Votes in SC


The Republican Primary is over and now the Democratic Primary is this weekend. In the shadow of all this I came across this post. If you remember some of my concerns about Huckabee and the IBO, you remember that I'm not a fan of the one world government idea. This post I found smacks of the reasons why international government frightens me. Read it and let me know what you think.

Image: rst.gsfc.nasa.gov

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gorilla


"Dad. Can I have some gorilla on my cereal?"

"Excuse me?"

"Daaad! Some gorilla!"

"Aidan. What are you talking about?"

"DAD!! You know GORILLA!"

"Oh! You mean GRANOLA!"

And everyone wonders why I always look so confused.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Letter from HSLDA

To my family: Forgive the long post again. I'm trying to get some feedback for tomorrow!

My post:

In my continued turmoil over who to vote for tomorrow, I've found this letter helpful; so I'm passing it along. This is to contrast to what Spunky Home School has been writing about Huckabee. Both make good points! What I'm struggling with is whether I should follow the advice of Mike Farris, a man that teaches constitutional law and is involved daily with Washington concerning Home School Issues, or a mom in Michigan that can dig through the news and separate the meat from the bones. Both share my convictions, and both have proven valuable resources over time. Either way, Mike's letter makes some good points. Read it and let me know what you think. I have to decide by tomorrow!


A Letter from Mike Farris:


I write in the hope that you will consider my analysis on two critical issues:

  • Why you should vote for Governor Huckabe on the 19th.
  • Why I have decided personally to support Governor Mike Huckabee for President in 2008.

Let's start with the second issue and then return to the Primary.

In fairness, let me reveal the factors I used for deciding who to support for President. Many of you will recognize scriptural themes in my analysis. Let me emphasize, this is how I made my decision. I believe that every American has the total freedom and right to use their own value system to reach their own conclusions.

  • Our president should be a man of a consistent philosophy proven over time. In Deuteronomy 17, kings of Israel were to be those who did not deviate from the right way either to the right or the left. I simply do not trust those who have not been consistent over time--especially those who finally "discover" that they are social conservatives at the very time they are running for president.
  • Our president must be a man of consistent character.
  • Our president should have that rare combination of leadership, tenacity, and humility that is commended in that same passage. Leaders of Israel were to be strong to be sure, but they were, ". . .not to consider themselves better than their brothers."
  • Our president should not be a neophyte in serious leadership positions. The New Testaments tells us that church leaders should be "tested" and that we are to avoid "laying hands" suddenly on someone. Although this does not apply directly to political leaders, I believe that there is wisdom in this standard that is broadly applicable.
  • Our president must be an unwavering supporter of the right to life--period.
  • Our president must understand the original intent of our Constitution and insist that both his administration and his judicial appointments faithfully follow its provisions.
  • Our president must believe in American self-government. I will never support someone who believes that it is proper for any branch of government--other than an elected legislature--to make our laws. The UN should not be allowed to make laws for America. The Supreme Court should not be allowed to make law. No agency of government should be allowed to use international law to override the law of this country.
  • Our president must believe in liberty--religious liberty for all is a first principle--but all principles of the First Amendment--and the Second (and the rest of the Bill of Rights) are essential. But, our president must understand that liberty under law allows for moral standards, not the amorality and decadence that is the byproduct of libertarianism.

After a thorough review of all candidates, I believe that Mike Huckabee fully embraces all of these principles, qualities and possesses all of the relevant experience so that he is fully qualified to be our President.

Importantly, I believe that he has the best ability I have ever witnessed to communicate these values in a winsome and articulate fashion. His ability to communicate with such ease and quickness is not just a speaking gift, but it arises from a heart of deep conviction so that he never has to first stop and ask himself, "What am I supposed to say about this issue?"

On a pragmatic note, Americans elect Governors, not Senators, not members of the House and certainly not mayors. And Americans DO NOT elect moderate Republicans.

In 1976--Ford (a moderate) lost.
In 1980--Reagan ("too conservative for America") won a landslide.
In 1984--Reagan won another landslide.
In 1988--Bush (41) won because America thought he was Reagan, Jr.
In 1992--Bush lost after he violated his pledge on taxes and America knew he was a moderate.
In 1996--Dole (a moderate) lost.
In 2000--Bush (43) ran as a pro-life conservative and won.
In 2004--Bush won again.

The lessons to be learned are that when the GOP nominates a Senator we lose, and when we nominate a moderate we lose. We need a conservative Governor who is pro-life, pro-family and pro-Constitution. That is the pragmatic formula for victory.

Many of you know that my wife and I have homeschooled our children for 25 years. I have nine grandchildren being homeschooled. I am absolutely committed to the protection of the freedom for home education.

I believe that the biggest threat on the horizon to home education specifically and to parental rights in general is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Hillary Clinton will make this one of her highest priorities if she is elected president.

We need a president who is absolutely committed to the sovereignty of America and the sanctity of the family and is ready, willing and able to stop the UN from usurping the role of moms and dads who want to raise their children in a decent and honorable fashion.

Hillary makes her "pro-child" message sound so deceptively appealing. If we are going to win the presidency, the GOP candidate must stand for what is right, but also have the communication ability to make every one in America understand what a danger the UN Convention on children's rights poses to the American way of life for all of us.

Mike Huckabee has the convictions, the ability to communicate, and the ability to beat Hillary in debate after debate on this and any other issue she raises. I do not want to trust the future of my family to any person lacking the ability to truly best her in debate.

I have coached legal debate teams to repeated college national championships. I think I can spot a good debater. Mike Huckabee stands head and shoulders above all others in his ability to best any Democrat--Hillary, Obama, or Edwards.

In short,

  • Mike Huckabee has proven his convictions over time.
  • Mike Huckabee has the highest level of preparation and experience.
  • Mike Huckabee has the right character.
  • Mike Huckabee has the best ability of any candidate in either party to communicate a winsome and articulate message.
  • Mike Huckabee is probably the only Republican who can win.

Here is the rub:

The media has decided for us who the frontrunners are, and big money Republicans have decided that they will only bet on frontrunners.

January 19th is a critical moment in this campaign. It is an opportunity that the American public--not the media--gets to select the frontrunner.

I have had hundreds of people say to me, “Yes, Mike Huckabee is probably the best candidate--but how is he going to break out of the pack?”

The answer is, January 19th! If he can gain a very strong showing on the 19th, he will be a frontrunner. And then, the money will flow, and his ability to communicate will be noticed, and I believe he will fly to the top and win the nomination.

I have no doubt that if he wins the nomination, he will win the presidency. I cannot say that about any other Republican because winning requires that special combination of life experience (Governors), conservatism, and communication skill.

I know that this has been a little long. But choosing a president is a big deal. If my analysis seems sound to you, then I ask you to for Governor Huckabee on the 19th.
It is no exaggeration to say that the future of our country may well be riding on this event.

Let's show the media that we know how to pick a frontrunner that truly shares our values and can defend them against all comers with a humble spirit, unshakeable convictions and courageous leadership.

Come support Mike!

Blessings,

Michael Farris

The Snowman



Aidan always gets left behind. He is after all the smallest and can't go where his sister and brother are allowed to go all the time. He's a trooper though! Most kids would mope. Not him! He made himself a friend.

Meet Tacky-Whacky! I LOVE THE NOSE! I asked Aidian, "Why Tacky-Whacky?" Aidan said, "Dad, look at him. Doesn't he look like a Tacky-Whacky?"

Thursday, January 17, 2008

SNOW! Hey, This is the South!




Woke up this morning to a winter wonder land! The kids have been having a blast! Hot chocolate for everyone! Yeee-Haaaa!

I've Found My Candidate!!!!!


OK! Here's the thing. I have been back and forth so many times trying to decide who to vote for on Saturday that my eyes are starting to cross. I put a post up that I was going to vote for Huckabee after talking to some of his staff and watching a few videos, but then deleted it after more research. I've been going back and forth with the other candidates, and I still can't decide!

Well, after much debate I've thrown up my hands and decided to write in my Standard Poodle Pippin. Just take a look. He's stylish! (Nice hair doo huh!) He listens more than he talks. He can leap over just about any obstacle! What more could we ask for in a President? How 'bout it? Pippin 2008?

PS - This is not real. I still have to make a decision and it's driving me nuts!
PPS - I would never REALLY vote for Pippin, he's from France! :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How DO I Feel?

How am I feeling right now about making a decision on Saturdays election. Wweeellllll! Pretty much like this... Click here!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Are You Researching the Candidates?


This is rather long, but please read it because there IS a point! For those of you that may not know this, my wife Tisha and I Home School, so education is a big issue for us (just like small business is too). As part of my job, I spend a lot of time researching blogs to keep my readers on my business blogs, Jim Sharp and Learning 2 Network, up to date on new ideas about growing their businesses and increasing their sales. But I also read a number of Home School blogs as well. One of my favorites is Spunky Home School! I've found her to be one of the most veracious diggers I've ever seen when it comes to researching information; so when she wrote a few posts about Huckabee, she got my attention.

If you take the time to read over some of her blog, you'll find that she has some concerns about Huckabee's support for Home Schoolers in Arkansas. Here is a quick excerpt:

"Mike Huckabee was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1996. In 1997, he helped ease restrictive homeschool laws in Arkansas. While governor, Huckabee also appointed the first homeschooler to the Arkansas state school board. As a homeschooler, I give Mike Huckabee credit for these achievement. It looked like he was off to a great start in Arkansas. That success, however, was short lived. Just two years later, in 1999, Mike Huckabee signed into law House Bill 1724 that undid many of those initial gains." Click here to read all of this post.

Well, as a Home Schooler I wanted to know more! So I asked around to see who I might be able to meet with to ask some questions. I live in South Carolina and Huckabee has been around town. This lead to the discovery that JoNell Caldwell (the Home Schooler appointed to the Arkansas state school board Spunky mentioned above) would be speaking to Home Schoolers at a restaurant down the street from my home. So off I went!

While at the meeting I asked Mrs. Caldwell about House Bill 1724. She explained that while this Bill WAS a compromise, Huckabee signed the law because the alternative was the greater of two evils. My understanding is that the legislature was trying to push for stricter testing, and if a Home Schooler could pass the test, they'd be forced back into Public School. Huckabee was very much against this testing and had beaten it back, but if he hadn't signed this Bill, he would be back to square one and would have had to fight the same battle again. There was some concern that he may not be able to defeat the stricter testing again. Understand also that even though he was elected as Governor at this time, he was still viewed by the legislature as the accidental Governor because of his assent to office after the resignation of Jim Guy Tucker. He was also on the wrong side of the party line.

I also asked about the IBO. See what Spunky had to say about this:

"With the approval of SB 1024 now Public Act 2152, Mike Huckabee officially brought the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to Arkansas high schools and gave control of the education of many Arkansas school children to an international entity based in Geneva, Switzerland." Click here to read all of this post.

Mrs. Caldwell didn't have an answer for this one, but asked for my e-mail and told me she'd look into it. I gave her my card, we spoke for a little while and said our good byes. A couple of days later she sent me an e-mail. This is what it said:

"I spoke with Dr. Terri Hardy, Governor Mike Huckabee's liaison to education concerning some of your concerns.

In Arkansas the local school districts choose the curriculum, not the state. Gov. Huckabee is a proponent of local control. A very large district, North Little Rock had chosen the IBO route instead of the AP route for high school. There was a law suit Gov. Huckabee inherited from the Clinton years that said the schools in AR were not equal in their course offering and the courts demanded equity and adequacy that brought about much change in our state. One of the outcomes of the lawsuit was that all schools had to offer AP courses. North Little Rock was already using the IBO, which was not approved at the time and the legislature passed the bill allowing IBO to be used in place of AP if a district so chose in order to accommodate North Little Rock."

She went on to suggest that if I comment on Spunky's Blog to encourage her and others to call Jerry Cox with the Arkansas Family Council in Little Rock, AR. He is not affiliated with the campaign and is the leading advocate for home schoolers in Arkansas.

I've learned two things from all of this. The first is that you have to read all blogs with your eyes open. Just like Spunky said in one of her posts about Mike Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association:

"I didn't just accept what they [HSLDA] said as the truth [about Huckabee]. That's tempting, but it's too easy."

I couldn't just accept what she said either, I needed to learn more and I did. I don't like that there was a compromise on House Bill 1724, but life is full compromises. I understand why he did it. I also don't like the IBO being used in place of the AP in North Little Rock, but that was a local issue. Each decision had a reason good or bad. It's our job to find out the reason and then judge whether it was appropriate.

The other thing I learned is just how little interest we have in what we say we are passionate about! I was one of only five Home Schoolers at this meeting. FIVE!!!! Spunky, if you're reading this, doesn't that just boil your blood?!! If we want to make a difference, we need to be involved! If you're passionate about something and you have questions, go find some answers! Whether you're a business person like me, or a Home Schooler like Spunky, we have a responsibility to be as informed as we can!

So what should we do? Read blogs! Read mine and Spunky's! Read a lot of them! Read the news! Watch the news! Go hear the candidates! Talk with the candidates if you can! Don't be afraid to ask questions! Vote! I don't care if your Republican or Democrat. VOTE!! Regardless of what you hear some people saying, your voice still counts!

If you'd like to receive e-mail updates for Jim Sharp or Learning 2 Network, just drop me a note at Jim@wolffind.com and I'll put you on my list. Thanks for letting me rant! I'll go back to blogging about my family now. :)

Image: Wikipedia.com

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Busy but Fun Weekend


This weekend we were privileged to host Andrew and Jennifer Gretzinger and their lovely daughter Kathleen. They were here for a 3 day interview for the Assistant Pastor position at Trinity.

We started on Friday night with a casual dinner and a time to get to know the Gretzingers. The shared they're testimonies and we asked a few questions about how they would minister to Trinity's youth if they came.

On Saturday morning, a number of the ladies cooked breakfast for them and the session (which was outstanding by the way) and then they interviewed with the session. The session spent some time explaining the mission of Trinity and asked a number of theological and scenario questions of the couple.

Saturday evening, Bill put together a jam up meal and game time for the youth. This was designed to allow the kids to get to know Andrew and Jennifer and it gave the Gretzingers a chance to share they testimony with them. Bill should be commended for this event, he made it a stellar success!

On Sunday morning Andrew taught Sunday School to the youth. I haven't heard all of the particulars of how that went, but I did here the content was great and a number of the kids liked both Andrew and Jennifer personally. Sunday afternoon we took them out for lunch with the Chapman's and then sadly said good by.

I can't speak for the rest of the people at Trinity, but Tisha and I can honestly said the Gretzingers were a joy to have in our home and that they took a genuine interest in our kids. Even if it turns out that they are not a good fit for Trinity, they will be a blessing where ever they land. Here's to hoping the response will be favorable.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ian the Artist!


Ian is a Webelo and right now he is working on getting his Webelo Badge. As part of his Webelos badge work, he needs to earn three activity badges, each one from a different activity badge group. One of the badges must be Fitness, from the Physical Skills Group. The other two badges may be from the Mental Skills, Community, Technology, or Outdoor Group. In this second group Ian has chosen Citizenship and Art. He's just about done with both!

One of my favorite pieces he's done is the picture included in this post. He merged a picture of his brother into a picture of a forest. This was to make a Link scene. The neatest part was the work he did on Aidan's ears. He stretched them into elf ears. Brilliant!! He did all this in PhotoShop. I am soooo proud of him! Click on the picture to get a better view!

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Last Few Days

It's been quiet around the O'Donnell Clan this week. A nice change I must say!

We ate our Collards (dollars) and Black-Eyed-Peas (cents) for New Years! We expect it will be a prosperous year because of it. :) Charles (one of Ian's best friends) had the chance to join the West's and the O'Donnell Clan in this southern tradition.




Another exciting thing is Aidan has "unofficially" started Kindergarten this week. (His official start is this next year) He is thrilled!! He's been working on learning his letter sounds. We've been using some of the Sing, Spell, Read and Write Program.

The O'Donnell Clan went out for a date to Thai Taste again tonight. They were busier than usual! When they finally brought our food to us, Aidan said, "I've been waiting soooo long for my rice!" Problem Bear (Remind me to tell you the Problem Bear story sometime) answered, "I'm sorry it took so long." Aidan's response:

"Well..... next time could you pleeeease bring it a little bit faster!"

Don't you just love kids!!!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!!!!!!!!

WELCOME 2008!!!!!

The O'Donnell Clan had a big time on New Years Eve! Ian invited his friend Charles over for the night and all the kids played as they awaited the mid-night hour!

Tisha served us a great spaghetti dinner and afterwards we snacked on cheese and crackers!











When the ball came down, we all congregated in the living room to shout our Happy New Years to each other!









After this, everyone took off like a shot!










Tisha celebrated with one of her best buddies!










And the kids started to party!










Mom and Dad wished each other a Happy New Year!










And we eventually all crashed!









It's going to be a GREAT NEW YEAR!!!!!