You Want to End Islamic Terrorism? Don’t Have Another Republican President

Republican convention speakers were screaming about how Democrats won’t stop radial Islamic terrorists. Well, at least they didn’t put their organizers on jets and send them safely back to Saudi Arabia like George W. Bush did. At least they didn’t shake hands with Saddam Hussein like Donald Rumsfeld did. At least they didn’t sell arms to the Ayatollah like Ronald Reagan did. Maybe the best cure for radical Islamic terrorists is to *not* have a Republican president… I mean, didn’t Black September attack during the Nixon administration?

And before any Republicans get high and mighty and try to twist the truth to convince themselves that, somehow, a blowhard like Trump will make any difference over the status quo, the failure of intelligence and leadership in Benghazi was peanuts compared to the colossal failure of intelligence and leadership in 9/11. I agree that Syria is a huge mess, but it’s an extension of the neocon thinking that penetrated the US bureaucracy under Bush – the same thinking that brought on the nightmares of Iraq.

Trump is promising easy solutions that are also non-existent. To truly end Islamic terrorism, end US adventures overseas. To truly end racial unrest, stop engaging in practices that disenfranchise and marginalize minorities. To truly end violence against police, end the militarization of police that has some departments acting in a way that was unthinkable 20 years ago.

Even if Trump says he’s in favor of any of the above, he’s also a guy that will say anything to get what he wants. This is well known. He is everything that the Republican commentators have laid at the feet of Barack Obama, except while the accusations against Obama were overblown propaganda, this guy Trump delivers the goods. And the conservative media have done a full about-face to laud a man who is in every way like the Barack Obama they described.

I’m not going to give Clinton a pass, either. Face it, GOP, she’s so neocon, the Koch Brothers are backing her campaign. As in the Koch Brothers that bankroll everything that is holy and sacred to the Republican party. They are backing Clinton.

Either way, Trump or Clinton, we’re going to see a continuation of neocon policies. Either way, Trump or Clinton, we’re going to have a Republican president, who will do horrible things to people in the Middle East and continue to fuel radical Islamic terrorism with the twin policies of killing innocents at weddings and ignoring everything Saudi Arabia does to stoke the radicals.

This is why I support Gary Johnson and a full Libertarian ticket. Libertarians still have their ethics and principles and have the best chance of getting America on the path towards true peace. You want someone like a founding father that believes serving in government is a duty, not a chance to build a power base and then charge massive speaker fees after such service? You elect a Libertarian – it’s not a 100% guarantee, but the odds are in favor of a guy that will serve a few terms and then go home again, back to the people.

If I DON’T vote Libertarian, I’m throwing away my vote.

New Web Host

Just moved to a new web host after many great years with my friend, Dave Rolling at Infovue. The seasons change, and he is discontinuing his services. It’s sad that I won’t be getting tech support from a good friend, but life – and the Internet – goes on. Best of luck to Dave and his work, and I know I’ll always fondly remember my 17+ years with his hosting.My new host is bluehost and i got a nice deal from them trough a BlueHost Black Friday Deal.

Health: Physical and Spiritual Elements

As a Mormon, I have a health code to follow, known as “The Word of Wisdom.” It basically stipulates no consumption of tobacco, coffee, tea, and alcohol while encouraging one to be sparing in eating meat and not eating fruits out of season. While there are discussions in our community about whether or not anything should be added to the list, like caffeinated drinks or chocolate, the only official additions have been in regards to drug abuse, both illegal drugs as well as prescription medications. Still, Mormons will go on about the physical benefit of not ingesting one or more of the substances which we are told not to ingest. But what if the uniting characteristics of these forbidden substances is not their physical health implications, but their spiritual health effects?

At the time, tobacco, coffee, and tea were products of slave or forced labor. Being commanded to not partake of them may have been God’s way of initiating a “fair trade” boycott of those products. I know there’s nothing written to that effect, and I would never put this forward as official doctrine, but it’s a thought I had as I toured an exhibit on slavery in the National Underground Railroad Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. While, to me, the physical health benefits of not ingesting tobacco are readily apparent, those of coffee and tea seem to be a bit of a reach for me. But refusing to eat of the products of slave labor? That unites them all. It unites them, and causes me to think about what I’m eating.

While I will continue to observe The Word of Wisdom regardless of a rationalization justifying it – it is a commandment from God to my faith, and that is enough for me to observe it – it makes me ponder what things do I eat that involve the exploitation of my fellow man. The list, sadly, is long and torturous. It weighs on my soul that chocolate is frequently the product of the exploited. Cashew nuts and other luxuries tend to be provided via slavish conditions. Shrimp platters come to us from enslaved families in Thailand. The list marches on and is more a comment on modern capitalism driving the cost of inputs as close to zero as possible than it is a commentary on the health benefits of the foods described.

But, spiritually speaking, I don’t want to eat the things that have been made by slaves because of the evil that went into their manufacture. I know that I can’t avoid it entirely, but I don’t like it when it happens. And although I’ll never lecture someone else on how God would ban something that He hasn’t banned – if it needs banning, He will do it when the time is right for us – I will think about what I eat and drink and what the spiritual effects on me attendant with that consumption.

To me, The Word of Wisdom is still the same proscription against certain things and encouragement towards others. But now that I’ve considered a different way of interpreting it as a means of maintaining spiritual health, I have to ask what else is in my spiritual diet that needs addressing? What do I have not enough of? What do I have too much of? What do I need to do to increase my spiritual health? Answering these questions involves a journey, and if I wish to have the following benefits…

Doctrine and Covenants, 89:18-20 (Section titled “The Word of Wisdom”)

18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;

19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;

20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.

… then I must start with keeping The Word of Wisdom. For, truly, as I walk on my spiritual journey, I do not want to faint, lest I be denied finding wisdom and knowledge. Spiritual health is every bit as important as is physical health.

Segregation and Computing

Having seen just how rabid the segregation laws were all through the USA – not just the South – I wondered what would happen if segregation were still in effect today? I couldn’t imagine bigots being comfortable with the very thought of black data and white data intermingling. Bigotry is a form of mental insanity, and this insanity is typified by an obsessive compulsion to keep everything that touches or involves one kind of person totally separate from another class of person. These people segregated radio broadcasts and movies, for pete’s sake.

Data networks would have to be separate, with state communications safety commissions specifying which parts of the spectrum were for colored wireless networks and which ones were for white wireless networks. Wireless specifications would have to stipulate that the networks were separate but equal… even if the ones serving colored people had substandard equipment.

Wired networks, as well, would be separate but “equal”, with firewalls keeping the rules on what traffic should go where. This would naturally lead to different storage networks, different logon servers, different databases… all in the name of keeping things separate. Why should the records of a colored person be stored on the same hard drive as those of a white person? If they do not mingle in society, they surely should not mingle in the datacenter, or so the reasoning would go.

As an economist, this brings up the economic lunacy of segregation – why should a business be burdened with parallel systems, or deny a segment of the customer base services? It makes no economic sense, whatsoever. The same people that throw a fit about how Washington is meddling in their affairs are not above doing that very same sort of meddling on their own, even if it is more burdensome than the stuff coming out of DC.

As a network engineer, it would have been a nightmare trying to keep and prove all the data bits were truly separate from each other. Networks are designed to serve everyone. In networking, we give preference to services and types of traffic, not people.

But as a historian, I am sure that had segregation not been defeated and brought to an end, we would have such unwieldy rules in place. Their impact would be more than just economic and technical: they would be a further extension of the brutality of bigotry.

We cannot allow the rules of our world to be dictated by those who are mentally insane. Bigotry is insanity, and the cure for it certainly does not lie in holding a position of power.

Are We the Bad Guys?

This is always a good question to ask. There’s a very wry bit by the British comedy duo Mitchell and Webb (no close relation, I think) in which they portray German SS officers on the Russian Front. One asks, “Are we the baddies?” and then notes how they have skulls on their uniforms, and how that’s never a good sign.

I’m currently touring Civil Rights sites in the USA, and although not all the horrors visited upon those who fought for their rights were done by men with skulls on their uniforms, there were clear signs of “bad guy” behaviors that should have been reviewed and then abandoned by those who did not want to be actual bad guys. Keep in mind that merely fighting other bad guys alone is not sufficient evidence of being a good guy. There are lots of times that bad guys fight other bad guys.

So, here’s a checklist of things that bad guys do. If you are doing them, please stop. If people on your political side are doing them, please get them to stop or, failing that, disavow their extremism vocally and oppose it at every turn, so as not to have your own political position undermined by its association with bad guys. Now, the list:

1. INTIMIDATION… this is a big one. When, in response to a reasoned argument or appeal to mercy, one chooses instead to emphasize one’s power of one form or another, that is intimidation. Bad guys are always doing this thing, and it underlines the lack of justification for a particular position.

2. VIOLENCE… this one is frequently employed when the intimidation fails. If one has to initiate aggression in order to maintain one’s views and preferences, one likely has views and preferences that are wrong. At any rate, concessions won through violence are either tainted, temporary, or both. Winning through violence does not imply that one is right: it merely indicates one is perhaps better-armed and/or more desperate and inhuman in the application of that violence.

3. MISREPRESENTATION… this is insidious, as one appears to be offering one thing, but instead proffers another and then uses that confusion to entrap another person. If this happens accidentally, good people resolve the confusion and apologize sincerely without using the language of the contract or agreement to extract unwilling concessions from the other party. Bad guys do this stuff intentionally most of the time and, should they find a bonus area for entrapment, seize upon that, as well.

Individuals are, of course, capable of much more bad stuff. These three things, however, exemplify what groups of bad guys will do in order to further their agenda and increase their power over others. Take a possible scenario with individuals out of the picture and consider instead a group conflict. Good guys can disagree on a political point of view: they do so without resorting to intimidation, violence, or misrepresentation. An opponent is not necessarily a bad guy.

However, as I noted earlier, if one’s side is doing any of the above things, one may be on the same side as the bad guys. If this is not desirable, consider either a gradual or abrupt shift away from supporting that side. In a recent example, both Trump supporters that initiate violence with protesters and protesters that initiate violence with Trump supporters are bad guys. Protesters and Trump supporters can both be good guys, provided they abstain from intimidation, violence, and misrepresentation.

Why does this make a difference? Well, I hold the view that a person’s actions determine a path that person will follow beyond this mortal existence. There is a value to being a “good guy”, no matter what suffering one endures in this life. For those who built up their power through intimidation, violence, and/or misrepresentation, shame, regret, and sorrow await them in the eternity to come. In that sense, there is great value, nobility, and dignity in heeding the words of those who said that mercifulness, nonviolence, and honesty were principles by which to live one’s life.

So, take some time and ask the question, “Are we the bad guys?” If not, hooray, you’re on the path towards light, love, and joy. If you are, then you have a crisis of the soul ahead of you, either now, later in your life, or when you’re dead and can’t do much about it.

Choose this day whom you will serve.

The Path to America

I am on a tour of Civil Rights history sites in the USA. What strikes me deepest is the degree to which fascism had a hold on the American South during the period of Jim Crow and Segregation. The language I hear today from many Trump supporters is an echo of the words said not very long ago to oppress fellow Americans. Lots of times, those words are preceded by, “I’m not a racist, but…” It is my experience that racists tend to start a lot of their sentences that way, so it’s best to avoid that phrase if one is not a racist. Racism is the brother of fascism, in which the government is hand-in-hand with businessmen to create pyramids of power. Someone has to be on the bottom, and racism supplies those slaves, prisoners, and second-class citizens quite easily.

Alongside the racism, fascism also involves networks of informers and people willing to commit extrajudicial killings. Sometimes the networks are formal, sometimes informal. In the South not too long ago, those networks existed, and they oppressed good people of all kinds.

More than anything else, this trip is helping me to see the ugliness of racial hate and the deep nobility of the men and women who struggled against it. If America is not a place, but an ideal we seek to attain, then it was the bravery of the Civil Rights Movement that showed us the path we should follow in order to attain that ideal.

Minitruth to Clinton’s Rescue

1984 was not supposed to be an instruction manual… all the same, the news headlines trumpeting that Clinton was the presumptive Democrat Party nominee like so many Buzzfeed links was a disgusting sight to see. There are some major primaries today, primaries that Clinton could lose, and this kind of news is the kind of propaganda that can sway some voters to “vote with the winner,” even though she’s not actually the winner. The reporting was completely orchestrated. There’s a Ministry of Truth out there, maybe part of the government, maybe not, and it’s working on behalf of Clinton.

To me, the “why” is clear: there are strong forces that fear the prospect of a president that would reset the rules they’ve so carefully constructed to favor themselves. Trump has a strong chance of upsetting a number of apple carts, Sanders would definitely upset even more of them. Clinton? Well, those $250,000 speech fees from Goldman Sachs don’t tell no lies: she’s the choice of the status quo. At a time when America desperately needs a safety valve to release a great deal of anger, frustration, and potential violence, Clinton represents keeping a lid on all that explosive pressure.

There were times when the USA was about to blow apart in its past. In 1860, it actually did when a no-compromise Lincoln got elected. But in 1900 and 1932, the nation was about to face tremendous upheavals if something wasn’t done to make it possible for average working families to get by. Socialism and even Communism loomed large as possible solutions for America’s problems, but Roosevelts in both those elections were elected on trust-busting and New Deal platforms that they largely carried out. Leftist agitation subsided with those victories, and the far right was placated enough to not launch a coup.

But this time around? We really should have had our reset in 2001. Instead, we got a Bush and the status quo. We were promised a reset in 2008, but Obama delivered more of the same. Clinton in 2016 is not going to be good for most Americans, but her backers are too blind to history to see that their best chances for survival lie in letting go of the throttle a bit and allowing things to get back to where they were 50-60 years ago.

What happens if they don’t let up? Simple. Other countries have shown the pattern. Either the peasants with nothing to lose rise up and put their mansions to the torch while they rend the rich limb from limb, or the authoritarian government put in place to keep the peasant uprising from happening turns on the rich and uses their profits for “the good of the state.” Democracy doesn’t survive in a world where the media blatantly lines up to lie on behalf of a candidate, not for long.

Muhammad Ali

Ponder well his words… There is a deep connection between sports and the Civil Rights movement. Muhammad Ali spoke for millions when he said these words. But for changing where the war is, these words could be said today and ring as truly as they did in the 1960s. He has passed on, but his spirit inspires me…

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?

No, I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.

This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here.

I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow.

I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

About Those School Bathrooms…

My thoughts on the school bathroom issue… it shouldn’t be an issue. Kids know which bathroom they need to use, particularly at a high school age. When we take time to understand one another, there’s no need for a law, one way or another. But if we’re going to have a law – and I speak directly to the conservatives here – one that respects property rights and individual freedoms is the law to support. We must support nondiscrimination in housing, employment, and access to government-owned facilities.

As for restaurants, bars, gas stations, and other small venues, most of those are one person per bathroom affairs, regardless of gender. They are essentially private, so it makes as no difference who goes into which one, unless there’s a line.

A few years ago, this wasn’t a federal, state, or local decision. It was a personal decision. It should remain that way and the law should protect that personal decision.

The Blessings of Mothers

In the song, “Mama Tried”, Merle Haggard wrote this chorus:

“I turned twenty-one in prison, doing life without parole
No one could steer me right, but mama tried, mama tried
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied
That leaves only me to blame, ’cause mama tried.”

He wrote this partly-autobiographical verse in reflection of his time in San Quentin prison. Although he was not doing life without parole, he did turn 21 in prison because he hadn’t respected his mother’s lessons. And even though Merle Haggard ran a few illegal operations in prison at first, it was when he saw a fellow inmate on death row making preparations for his execution that made him want to change his life and return to living the way that would honor his mother.

He was dead right, as well, when he accepted responsibility for his actions. His mama tried, and his awful state was his own fault. If he had accepted the blessings of his mother’s teachings, his life may have been just as hard, but it would be with the knowledge that he was living honorably, honestly, and doing what was right.

While both mothers and fathers teach their children right from wrong, they don’t always do it in the same way. Their message may be unified, but their delivery will be different. When a mother speaks from her heart, there is a spiritual force that accompanies those words. That force can embed her words in the hearts and minds of her children, and will whisper to them for the rest of their lives. Those words serve as yardsticks by which her children will measure their lives ever after. We’ll know if we’ve done right or wrong by how well we’ve kept the words of our mothers.

Even when a mother may be absent in a home, children will seek that motherly influence elsewhere. An aunt, a grandmother, even an older sister can provide that kind of influence. Left on their own, wise men may take wayward members of their group aside and repeat to them words that they learned from their mothers – that perhaps their errant brothers may not have heard, or respected. When we are living right, we know so because we don’t feel a twinge of guilt when we think of our moms.

Moms have the capability to bind children to their words. I choose that word because, in Hebrew, the word used for “bands” can also mean labor pains. Not only do moms know what is right, they carried us for many months and went through all the trials of childbirth, that we might live. It is not for nothing that baptism is described as being born again, having broken through the bands of death. Adopted children do not have an easy out here, by the way. The legal process of adoption is quite involved, which can cause much pain and suffering and travail. Your moms have equal authority, so see that you mind them.

We only have two mentions of the interaction between Mary and Jesus, both found in the Gospel of John. The first, at the wedding in Cana, is quite telling. In John 2:1-5, we read:

1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

Mary tells Jesus that there is no wine. Why? She knows what he can do and expects him to do it. A father would likely have just asked him to make some wine, but a mother wants her children to learn to take a hint of persuasion and think to do the right thing on their own. Jesus responded tenderly to his mother – “Woman” in the Greek dialect John wrote in is an endearing term – and hinted of his own that it was not yet time for him to start doing miracles. No matter: Mary had spoken to Jesus and was already making arrangements, telling the servants to follow his every instruction. He was going to do the miracle because his mom said so.

A lesser person would have complained or refused. A teenager would have groaned about being embarrassed. Jesus, however, set the perfect example and honored his mother straightaway by performing a miracle of turning water into wine. Such a good boy, this Jesus. Why can’t you be more like him?

And if you heard those last few words with the voice of your mother, that only underlines my point even more. Our mothers want what’s best for us, and they know that if they have to nag a little… or a lot… it’s for our own good. Who tells us to take the medicine, even if it’s nasty? Who tells us it’s better to rip off the band-aid all at once? Who tells us to take a nap because we’re cranky? And who has to deal with with our tantrums, outbursts, and willful disobedience?

I’d like to take this time right now to publicly thank my mom for making me take medicine, yanking off my bandaids, and putting me down for my naps. I would furthermore like to apologize for my tantrums, outbursts, and willful disobedience. I know I did a lot less of those things, once I had children of my own.

In raising my own children, by the way, that’s where my mom’s words and deeds come into powerful action. If I can justify a course of action with, “My mom made me do that!”, it’s as good as done. When I invoke the authority of my mom, my words transcend to a new level of might.

That stuff can cut both ways, though. One time, me and my family were visiting my parents. Malia was about 2 or 3 and I was running the “I got your nose!” scam. This was making Malia angry. So, she turned to my mom and said, “Grandma! Your son is teasing me!” Young as she was, Malia knew the power of a mom. I was quickly compelled not only to cease and desist, but to apologize. Lawyers should be so effective. Malia knew that I had to mind my mom and that there was no appeal beyond her. If I had tried to go to my dad, he would have just shaken his head and pointed at his wife, my mother, as the final authority in this matter.

As a former child, I can say that my life was blessed by listening to my mother. My life was cursed when I didn’t. Even so, she was there to take me to the hospital when I cut my finger after horsing around with my Cub Scout pocket knife. She wasn’t about to let me bleed out on the patio. Likewise, she was also there in my life to make me conjugate Latin verbs every time when my grade in that class took a dive. She wasn’t going to let me just fail and be done with it. Because with a good mother, those rules that she gives are intertwined with deep, incomprehensible love.

Often, the rules themselves were imperatives to love my neighbor, to do unto others as I would have them do unto me, and to seek after things that were praiseworthy and of good report. Moms are not only the givers of law, but the enrichers of lives. Each mom has her own set of specialties. There is no “perfect mother” capable of delivering exposure to all things to all her children. My mom was not perfect. Then again, neither am I. But my mom did have an affinity for the arts, and she brought music, art, and literature into my life. Other moms would have done other things: all I know is what my mom did with me.

Music was the easiest. She put the records on and played what she liked. I just ran around in constant circles as I listened. Apparently, running around in circles is the best way to learn because, to this day, I remember every word and every note of those songs. I don’t remember the naps I had after running those marathons, but I have a love for the Irish folk songs, golden oldies of rock and roll, and the Bach concertos she played. I didn’t ask for them: mom just shared them with me and that was that.

Art was next. As I became interested in books, I preferred picture books at first. So, she picked up volumes of art prints and placed them on shelves that I could reach. I stared for hours at those masterpieces, but I just thought of them as some neato pictures. Later on, she was able to talk with me about those artworks and develop a sense of art history that deepened my appreciation.

Literature followed suit. We had a million books in our house, growing up. People asked my mom if she had read them all and she said, “yes.” I hadn’t read them all, so I guess that made an impression upon me. Books were meant to be read. We didn’t buy them to keep dust off the shelves. Some I read for fun, others I read because a teacher had assigned the title and we just happened to have a copy at home. I haven’t read all those books, but I’ve since read plenty others. The things she loved, I learned to love.

The second time we see Jesus interact with his mother is at his crucifixion. From John, 19:25-27, we read:

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

He was leaving the world, and his mother was at his side. Where others had abandoned and denied knowing the Savior, Mary was there to claim her son as her own. Jesus was equally devoted, as he made sure that she would be cared for in his absence, and that John would understand that the care would not be for just anyone: John was to care for Mary as he would his own mother. Mark that – John was to care for Mary as Jesus would have done so.

But the inverse of that was also true: Mary would now also care for John as she would her own son. They would grow old together and enjoy each others’ company. That is a third, great blessing of a mother – the ability to share moments all through one’s life. We honor our fathers and our mothers, it is a commandment with a promise. I’ve seen enough borscht-belt comedy to know that a mother left alone too long is prone to say, “What, you can’t even take two minutes to pick up a phone and give me a call?” They like to know what’s going on. Yes, they also like to meddle, but that’s what a mom does. If a child isn’t saying “Mooooooom” every now and then, there’s not enough communication, I say. Be there with her. That time is a gift from heaven when it’s good. The times when it’s not so good are for your own good, so be there, all the same.

I am fortunate that I live near my mom and I’m able to be with her almost every week on her radio show. OK, again, not all moms have a radio show. Do what you’re good at, not what someone else is good at. I never sang opera with my mom and the world is a better place for it, trust me. But I do love spinning those stacks of wax on the air with her every time I’m able to make it in to the station. I love them because that was the music she played as I grew up. I also love it because it’s what my mom likes to do, and I like to join in the fun. I also also love it because we can bring some fun into the lives of our listeners, whoever they may be, and my mom taught me how important it is to be kind and friendly to everyone.

Things my mother taught me… She taught me to never make fun of anyone’s culture or beliefs, and that I should never turn away a potential friend if he was someone that other people were mocking. I had some friends whose moms weren’t always there for them. I suppose that when they were over at my house, my mom was able to help out, in a way. She told me that, when she was a Den Mother in the Cub Scouts, she took all the kids that nobody else wanted into her den. Somehow, we seemed to have the most fun as a Cub Scout den. That, in turn, made me not only take all the kids nobody else wanted into my patrol when I was a patrol leader in Boy Scouts, but there were times when I was a teacher that I went to other teachers and asked them for all the kids they didn’t want in their classes.

I have had great blessings in my life from what my mother gave me. I’ve had other blessings from other motherly types, as well. Each time I have been with a caring woman that had strict rules and love for the children in her care, I have benefited from the lessons in subject matter and life itself that that woman had to offer me. My life is not a wreck only because I have chosen to heed the mothers in my life. If you want your life to be better, listen with care to the mothers in your life and follow their examples.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.