Leadership Lessons I Learned from Peanuts-Charlie Brown

charlie brownIn my final installment of Leadership Lessons I learned from Peanuts I thought it only fitting that I end with Charlie Brown since of all the Peanuts characters he is without a doubt the real leader in the Peanuts universe despite his plethora of self doubts and self deprecating remarks.

I like the way Wikipedia describes Charlie Brown as “the central protagonist of the long-running comic strip     Peanuts … who is a “lovable loser…one of the great American archetypes and a popular and widely recognized cartoon character. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown).  The site’s writer further states that “Charlie Brown is characterized as a person who frequently suffers, and as a result is usually nervous and lacks self-confidence. He shows both pessimistic and optimistic attitudes: on some days, he is reluctant to go out because his day might just be spoiled, but on others, he hopes for the best and tries as much as he can to accomplish things.”

The character’s creator, Charles M. Schulz, has said of the character that “[He] must be the one who suffers because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much more acquainted with losing than winning.” Despite this, Charlie Brown does not always suffer, as he has experienced some happy moments and victories through the years, and he has sometimes uncharacteristically shown self-assertiveness despite his frequent nervousness. (Wikipedia 2017)

Yes, I did quote a lot from Wikipedia.  The reason being is that they did  such a great job describing Charlie Brown so, let’s keep it real, why rack my brain trying to figure out how to say it better. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Brown)

I will only add that it is these very characteristics that actually make him a leader.  Perhaps one of the greatest leaders of all time.

John Maxwell, an experts on leadership describes the roles of the positional leader and the permissional leader.  The positional leader is appointed and his or her power only lies within the appointment. People follow them because they have to not because they want to.  Whereas a permission leader is one others willingly follow because they trust that person. (https://powermindscommunity.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/the-4-levels-of-leadership-john-c-maxwell/)

REAL LEADERS LEAD OTHER LEADERS

Virtually everyone on the Peanuts universe is a leader in their own right, and Charlie Brown leads all of them.

Think about it, despite how much the neighborhood kids might rag on Charlie Brown, every spring (dog included) they willingly follow him out to that baseball field.  They know they are going to lose, but they go anyway!  Go figure.  Charlie Brown may lose, but he is certainly not a loser.

Charlie Brown teaches us all the importance of seeking help when we need it and that he price of therapy is never too high-although I do question his choice of doctors.

charlie brown doctor

Nevertheless it cannot be argued that he is willing to see his faults and overcome them.  He looks out for his little sister, he protects those who are smaller, he fights for the underdog, and he is a hardworking, responsible kid.  He’s like the perfect boy you’d want your daughter to date.  If that little red haired girl knows what’s good for her she’d be getting her dibs in right now.

REAL LEADERS MODEL TENACITY. They KEEP ON TRYING Despite the setbacks

What I like about him is that he NEVER gives up right? Not on baseball, not on kicking that football, not on kite flying, and definitely not on winning the love of that little red haired girl. he openly acknowledges his low grade depression (and I use the word loosely because what Charlie Brown calls depression is really the stuff that gets all of us down from day to day isn’t it?) but he does not let it stop him from living.

He might go to sleep worried, but he wakes up ready to face another day! That’s what’s up Charlie Brown.  You taught me, and millions just like me the importance of tenacity. In the end he does kick the football (albeit only once), wins a baseball game, and actually gets the little red haired girl! You go Charlie Brown! You keep us all believing in ourselves.

Charlie-Brown with red haired girl

I Dreamed of Being White

by Lena Arnold

Last night I had a dream.

i have a dreamIt was nothing like Martin Luther King’s Dream.  Mine was more rooted in today’s current reality.  See because last night I dreamed I was white.  In this dream my family and I drove to the park via a rural township and we weren’t almost run off the road because the person driving in the truck with the giant tires and confederate flag noticed brown arms in the window.

In my dream I walked through life never being called a nigger.  My children were never called spic, wetback, or sand nigger because people couldn’t figure out their nationality so they just called them whatever they thought they were.

We were never told to “Go back to Africa, or Puerto Rico” or debated against when we tried to say “We’ve never been to Africa and we aren’t from Puerto Rico, but even if we were, why should it matter since your ancestors came here from someplace else and Puerto Rico is a US Colony.”  But in my dream I never had to argue against stupidity.

In my dream I never had to explain to my Darwinist believing friends that Darwinism by its very nature of being an “ism” is divisive and more importantly it is a pillar of racism because it supports the erroneous notion that man evolves to a higher order of man and at the top of this evolutionist food chain is the white male.  In my dream I was okay with that because I was now the one living at the top of this chain and as such I never had to:

  1. Fear being lost in a rural area and not breathing a sigh of relief until I saw at least one living face who looked like mine…
  2. Worry that in the blink of an eye my world could be turned upside down by one person saying, “I just saw a black guy with a gun…”
  3. Live with the constant uneasiness of sending my sons off to college wondering if they will make it back home alive…
  4. Struggle with the automatic anxiety that kicks in whenever a police car is behind me, wondering if I will be pulled over, and if I am, will this be the time…
  5. Panic and run when a police officer says “Stop” because the fight or flight mechanism has been encoded into my DNA from slavery, the Jim Crow era, and institutional racism…
  6. Be apprehensive about taking the medicine my white physician has just prescribed because of the routine practice of experimenting on my ancestors both recent and long ago…
  7. Watch the news BOLO bulletins and say, “please don’t be black, please don’t be black.”
  8. Wonder why the KKK is not labeled a terrorist organization and allowed to exist on American soil.

This dream was so liberating because in it I never had to check a box asking my race or ethnicity and when I did I could check white and I always got called in for the interview and even if I didn’t get the job I never had to wonder if it was because I was black.  My family could go on vacation and not be stared at like Zoo animals, with people thinking in their heads “An intact black family! OMG They do exist!”

In my dream OJ was guilty! Emphatically and automatically! G-U-I-L-T-Y!

This was not Martin’s dream and in it I did not care if little white boys and girls could play with little black boys and girls could play together. The mountaintop was all mine and I did not have to care whether or not other people made it up there with me.  I could say and believe that in America anyone could make it if they just “pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps,” and I didn’t have to care whether or not they even actually had boots.

I had the luxury of saying things like,

“Most people are not racist and I’m tired of hearing about it!”

“All lives matter!”

“What are these people angry about? That cop was afraid for his life even if the guy was running away, his back turned, and he had no weapon.”

“Well, black people kill more of each other than cops do.”

“I’m not racist.  I didn’t own a slave.  Why are you looking at me like it’s my fault?”

“My (one) black friend agrees with me and they said…”

silentOh to be able to ignore institutionalized racism and all its myriad complexities! (Contented Sigh!)

In my dream I could go anywhere and breathe free.  Walk where I wanted without fear of reprisal.  I could dream big! No matter how mediocre or evil I was I could be PRESIDENT!

Then I woke up!

Then I cried!

Then I rejoiced!

I rejoiced because God reminded me that I am not an accident.   My family and I are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image despite what some small minds think.  I was reminded that I am a member of a CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, and A HOLY NATION.

God reminded me that evil does not escape His eye and He will punish evil and reward righteousness.  In the end, the only question that really remains is whether or not the non-oppressed parties will remain silent, or will they stand up for righteousness and fulfill Martin’s dream, for despite my dream, his really is the one ordained by God.

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership Lessons I Learned from Peanuts: Peppermint Patty

PEPPERMINT PATTY AND MARCIE-If there are two people in the world who have taught us the meaning of true sisterhood it is these two quirky girls.  I have heard many adulpeppermint patty and marciets today try to use their relationship to teach LGBTQ tolerance. While I don’t presume to speak for Charles Schultz, I am not sure that was his intent.  Rather I think in all his characters he was simply showing us a fundamental truth that the world is full of strange, quirky people-and these very quirks are things that makes life interesting.  I think his intent was to help us understand that we should not put people in boxes and decide for them who they are.  See, ‘cause on the surface Peppermint Patty was a tomboy, and Marcie was not “super feminine” in the classic sense but they both loved them some Charlie Brown didn’t they?

They weren’t ashamed of that and they often openly competed against each other for his unreturned affections that he appeared to be completely oblivious to. Despite this unrequited love, there was a confidence found in these two, that wasn’t found in any of the other girls in Peanuts.  I like the fact that Peppermint Patty was constantly worried about her looks (haven’t we all been there at one time or another?), while Marcie balanced Patty’s neurosis by never worrying about hers.  My favorite strip is when they were talking under a tree one day and Peppermint Patty asked Marcie if she thinks they will be pretty in the future.  (Forgive me if I am messing up the strip-it’s been a long time since I read it.) Marcie in a nutshell replies that in the future Patty is pretty and she is a supermodel.  That’s what I’m talking about Marcie! That is some straight up confidence right there.

My favorite thing about these two is that no matter what they stuck together.  They embodied the true spirit of the Best Friend FOREVER.  They said what was on their minds, they openly and honestly communicated with each other, they looked out for each other, and they accepted one another unconditionally-both leaders in their own right, yet faithfully following the other’s lead. Every Peppermint Patty needs a Marcie and every Marcie should have a Peppermint Patty-how much better life would be.

Lesson Number 7.1-LEADERS ARE FUTURE ORIENTED-ALWAYS LOOKING PAST THE TROUBLES OF TODAY TOWARDS A GLORIOUS TOMORROW

Lesson Number 7.2-LEADERS FIND A GOOD BFF AND STICK BY THEMfriends

If you have a good BFF I encourage you to share this post with them and thank them for being a friend and accepting you with all your faults, frailties, and quirks.

Photo Credits: https://www.pinterest.com/jenner44/peppermint-patty/

Read more Lessons on Leadership I learned from Peanuts.

Happy Star Wars Day!

wallup.netToday is Star Wars Day.

Yes, by the very fact that I am writing this post I confirm I am a Star Wars Geek.

I own that.  I’m cool with it.

Initially I thought I was the only one, but over the years it has been confirmed-I am not alone.

I will never forget the first time I saw the movie.  Mind you, at 11 years old, I’d been to movies before, but this was different. This was magical! Majestic! Grand!

It was the first film to make me feel like I was there. I still get goosebumps thinking about those words scrolling up the screen into the black void, then seeing that starship creeping across the sky like it was right above me. It wasn’t 3D but it felt like it!

So in honor of Star Wars Day I want to acknowledge some of the coolest things I loved about Star Wars.

star wars

Awesome Intro’s-in bringing back the 21rst Century intro just before John Williams musical intro was BRILLIANT and totally set the stage for what was coming next.

A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away-Move over tired fairy tale story introductions, you are played out.  When those words came on the screen George Lucas effectively dropped the mic when it came to setting the stage for the story to come.

Giant Words Scrolling Up  A Screen-Seriously, who would have ever thought that could be so exciting.  It’s a good thing most kids had 3rd grade reading skills back then, or you would have been messed up.  Sure words scrolling on a screen had been done before-BUT NOT LIKE THAT.

2nd mic drop in less than a minute.

BAM!

landoLando Calrissian-As if the original cast of characters wasn’t enough, they had to go and cast one of the coolest black men to ever grace the screen and effectively make him the black version of Han Solo!  Do you understand how amazing that moment was for every black female on the planet?  I promise you, if I was the only black Star Wars fan before the Empire Strikes Back movie (and trust me I wasn’t) I knew I was no longer alone.  This was confirmed when my cousin and I went to see the movie THREE TIMES IN A ROW! FYI, I have since seen it several more times alone, with my BFF, hubby, kids, dog…You get the picture. It is rumored that Donald Glover is to play him in a standalone film. If so-WHAT!  Who the heck decided that? Certainly, no one asked me, my cousin, my BFF, or any other black woman on the planet.  Donald, you are a good actor and I like you, but no offense, you are no Billy Dee Williams.

A Bad Ass Space Princess in the form of Leia Organa.  Disney didn’t want to make a princess doll of you because you didn’t fit their image.  BOO Disney! Forget those other wimpy, whiny damsels in distress with their dainty skin and perfect hair. Give me that blaster shooting, smart mouthed, bad hair day having, tough cookie, who wasn’t afraid to get dirty and still get her man princess any day.  That’s a princess I can identify with.

Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader-Get an A+ for having three of the eight coolest names in movie Dom-EVER!  If there were an academy award for coolest names in a movie these would definitely be nominated for best names possibly only losing to Indiana Jones, James Bond, Hannibal Lector, Lex Luthor, or Keyser Söze. Hmm, I just noticed four of my top eight are bad guys.  Bad guys have some cool names.

Characters, Plot, Visual Imagery, and Family Friendly-Star Wars has it all! I like the fact that the franchise has stayed true to being a movie the whole family can enjoy.  It is great to know that to this day I can take my kids to any Star Wars movie and don’t have to yell-CLOSE YOUR EYES QUICKLY.  Just wish I could say the same about those annoying previews.

A Hairy Walking Giant Dog-who can fly a spaceship, fight, shoot, and have people understand his grunts and gestures.  Hey, I’d be happy if my dog would just stay when I say stay!

Okay, I am going to stop right now because I could write all day about what makes Star Wars and all the subsequent movies AWESOME, but I will give other fan-atics a chance.  I’m sure they are all blogging their favorite memories as well.

So here’s to you George Lucas! Thank you for not giving up on your dream of bringing Star Wars to the big screen.  You brought excitement to the screen in a way no one had ever done before and I, along with millions of others appreciate that.  Thank you 21rst Century Fox.  Because of Star Wars we will forgive you for also owning Fox News. Thank you to the cast and crew of Star Wars, even to those of you who thought it was going to be a stupid, trite piece of celluloid because in spite of your feelings, you performed splendidly, a testament to your never ending professionalism.

Finally, thank you to all the fans-who keep the spirit of Star Wars alive allowing new generations to enjoy the A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far, Away.

Leadership Lessons I Learned from Princess Leia and Tanka Challenge

Non-Profit Salaries: Who Determines The Value of an Employee?

I have worked in non-profit since graduating from college.  It wasn’t so bad when I was in my 20’s. I had no kids, no mortgage, no car payment and was still living at home.  Working for peanuts then wasn’t that big of a deal.  I convinced myself that it was for a greater good and so the low pay was a trade-off for the good feeling I got from “giving back.”

That changed when I got screwed. I was promised a raise for all my hard work if a specific grant was received because of the extra work implementing it would entail.  When the funds were awarded I got the extra duties, but not the promised pay increase.  Since the additional monies were written into the grant I did not think it would be a problem, when six months into working on the project I inquired about the raise.  To my shock not only I was told there wasn’t money for a raise but that I was being greedy for even asking about it.  When I reminded my boss that the additional money for the raise was written into the grant I received the following response. “You shouldn’t be in non-profit if you are trying to make money. No one should expect to get rich working for a non-profit.”

RICH! I wasn’t trying to get rich!  I just wanted the organization to honor its word.  No I wasn’t expecting silver and gold, but is it too much to ask to be able to make a decent living.  My expenses were growing as well as my job duties.  Why was I being made to feel guilty about asking for the decent and fair wage I was promised?

FAST FORWARD 20+ years and a vast amount of experience later and I am still hearing the same stupid statements.  They usually come out of the mouths of Executive Directors (incidentally the highest paid members of the non-profit staff,) or board members who can’t imagine a non-profit staff member earning as much as they do.

Who the (expletive in my head not typed ’cause I don’t want to offend any one-feel free to add your own though) made up this stupid rule?

When asked about their greatest staff retention challenges, the top two issues cited were “inability to pay competitively” (27 percent) and “inability to promote” (20 percent). Unfortunately, the use of the word “inability” only reinforces the impression that this is how the sector must operate. Organizations do have a choice in whether they prioritize staffing and retention, and ignoring these issues is already costing nonprofits money and impact.-ALLISON GAUSS 2016

Low salaries made sense in the early days when non-profits were founded by small religious groups who worked as the staff, or wives of wealthy tycoons.  As these organizations grew they had to hire staff to tend to the day to day affairs.  These days many non-profits are as large as big corporations and take in as much money.  They require more and more educated staff in order to operate, yet organizations still insist on dealing with human resources as if it is 1903.

Gauss also states that “The sector cannot attract and retain the talent it needs to solve huge social problems without investing in nonprofit salaries.” She references major league baseball teams who are willing to pay their standout talent millions of dollars in order to retain the best of the best.  They understand that the investment they make will reap them even greater rewards.

“BUT LENA-WE CAN’T PAY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO ONE EMPLOYEE.” I hear an Executive Director screaming.

Nor am I suggesting you should, but I am saying that by not investing in non-profit talent burnout is created, many of the best and brightest leave the non-profit world, or forego it altogether. As a result, you are losing out on major talent that can actually help your organization grow. It’s so bad that many adults are warning young people to avoid non-profit work altogether.

“BUT LENA-OUR DONORS WILL STOP GIVING IF OUR SALARIES ARE TOO HIGH.”

Maybe. Maybe not.  Most likely not.  Your donors work for a living.  They understand far more than they are given credit for.  CEO’s who run companies understand the importance of recruiting and retaining talent and the importance a good employee can bring to a bottom line.

BUT LENA, WE DON’T MAKE ANYTHING.  WE DON’T SELL ANYTHING!

Yes, you do.  1) You make people’s lives better. 2) You are selling yourself.  You are the product.  If the product is good people will buy it. But only if you have the right people in place to sell it.  Why are you not willing to pay the price to get the right “sales”people on your team?

I’m not the only one who thinks this.  More and more people are starting to rethink this whole “non profit employees should not worry about salary thing…”  That’s some straight up shiggity BS!  Don’t believe me.  Check out all the links below.

I love how Vu Le (“voo lay”) puts it down about this subject.  Vu Le is a writer, speaker, and Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle with the mission of developing and supporting leaders of color. In his article for the blog Non-Profit With Balls, he states “…society has the wacky and damaging notion that nonprofit staff should martyr ourselves. It’s perfectly OK for celebrities, athletes, and CEOs of companies producing soft drinks or gory video games or yoga pants to be paid millions, but God forbid anyone pay a nonprofit professional 100K to help end homelessness or cancer or whatever…Our field loses too many talented staff because we are mired in this mentality of scrappiness

RIGHT! Well said Vu Le.

JONATHAN TIMM’s in his article for the Atlantic acknowledges the challenges that non-profits face with regard to funding their organizations, while at the same time confronting the notion that these challenges are an excuse to low ball employees in the area of wages.  In his article Timm’s cites  Stuart Mitchell, the CEO of a human-services nonprofit called PathStone, who wrote that “paying a livable wage is the right thing to do not only for our deeply committed employees, but also for the participants that rely on our services.”  He ends his article with this statement from the representatives of 150 social-justice organizations who, signed a letter in support of former President Obama’s overtime rules writing, “It is time to revisit the idea that working for the public good should somehow mean requiring the lowest-paid among us to support these efforts by working long hours, many of which are unpaid.

I have way more to say on this subject, but not enough time.  I will say that the smart non-profits.  The ones that really want to be competitive in the 21st century will be the ones that are willing to challenge this notion that their employees should not be paid a competitive wage in line with public and private sector wages. Non-profit employees work as hard, and in many cases harder than their for-profit counterparts.They deserve to be adequately compensated for their work.  They fight for good causes everyday.  It’s time someone fought for them.

Resources

Low Nonprofit Salaries Are Costing You Money. (n.d.). Retrieved March 04, 2017, from https://www.classy.org/blog/low-nonprofit-salaries-costing-you-money/

Transgender Bathrooms and the Common Sense of Kids

It’s in the news again!

So I took a poll.

It’s not official or anything like that.

But I just wanted to know what kids thought about the whole transgendered bathroom thing.

It makes sense to ask them right? I mean they stand to be the most affected by these rules or wanna be rules so I thought it pertinent to ask them what they thought.

So I started by asking my own brood, then their friends, and then their friends friends.

I thought it would get real deep you know?

Surprisingly it didn’t.

In a nutshell, here are their responses in no particular order.

Who cares?

I don’t know why people are making such a big deal of this anyway. I don’t know any transgendered people. As far as I know there are none at my school.

Why do they need a special bathroom? If you have a penis go to the boys and if you have a vagina go to the girls.

Don’t they have unisex and family bathrooms? Go to those.

In science class they taught us that xx=girl and xy=boys.  Did that change?

One particularly brilliant girl asked me to define transgender because as she stated: “if they have transcended gender, then wouldn’t they have had the surgery and body parts altered, and therefore would actually be of the opposite sex, which means they wouldn’t need a special bathroom because they would be either a girl or a boy.  In which case they would go to the stall that is currently appropriate based on the current body parts they now possessed.

DANG! That was pretty deep.  But that’s as deep as it got.

I loved one young man’s response.

I think I’m pretty special; can I have my own bathroom?

I hear you dude. I want my own too.  And I want it to be decorated in a Star Wars theme with the Millennium Falcon as my own personal throne, and Lando Calrissian as my personal attendant.

millenium-falcon

Now that’s worth marching on Washington for!

Jesus May Be Lord of Your Life…But is the State Lord of Your Church?

Counterpoint to Ellen Rescinds Kim Burrell’s Invitation to Appear on Show

By Marion Witcher

Pastor Kim Burrell’s sermon left the church’s walls and spread like wildfire throughout the internet and into the ears of talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres.  Like dominoes falling—engagement after engagement tumbled away from her schedule.  Burrell was uninvited to the Ellen DeGeneres show and Houston-KTSU announced that it dropped her radio program.  Her television show was also cancelled and she was uninvited to BMI’s Trailblazer of Gospel Music annual celebration. Basically, these engagements were canceled because Burrell spoke against the homosexual lifestyle.

However, as stated in my last post, “Whether we approve of Ellen’s lifestyle or not, she is justified in exercising “her” conscience as it relates to Burrell’s controversial appearance on “her” show. In the same token, Burrell is justified in holding on to her beliefs whether someone agrees with her or not.

Reflecting upon the conflict of interest between Burrell and DeGeneres, I decided to focus on what I believe is a critically important topic.  That is, the freedom and right of clergy to speak.  Do pastors really have a right to preach, speak and teach about any topic?

According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Legal Counsel, Christiana Holcomb, “Churches should be free to teach their religious beliefs and operate their houses of worship according to their faith.  That is a foundational First Amendment principle.”

I wholeheartedly agree with Holcomb. It only makes sense that pastors be given the right to provide moral leadership while helping lay persons develop their faith in God.  After all, this is what they are called by God to do. As they walk in their divine calling,  “all” people should take note and recognize that not only have clergy been issued authority by God to speak truth, but our government reinforces that right within the first Amendment. This right was passed by Congress on September 25th, 1789 and ratified on December 15,1791, which reads:

Amendment I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Under the First Amendment Rights, the pastor determines what is said from the pulpit, not the IRS. Free in spirit and walking in truth the Pastor can preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as led by the Holy Spirit.  On the other hand, when a church chooses to become a 501 3 (c) incorporation the religious freedom clause of the first amendment ceases to apply. In other words, pastors and evangelists who sign their church on to become 501 3 (c) incorporated, lose their constitutional rights.

slide1

By law, the church is considered created by the State for the benefit of the public (not the benefit of the Lord Jesus Christ).  If the IRS says you cannot say something from the pulpit, then you DO NOT have any constitutional rights to argue against them.  As far as the church becoming a 501 3 (c) in to order to become tax exempt for the purpose of receiving tithes and offering, a little research will reveal that the church just by nature of being a church is already tax exempt.   And just the fact that the church is a church, under the First Amendment Rights, the preacher has the right to preach the Gospel in power and in might.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy 3:16-17

However, the rules changes when a church becomes a 501 3 (c), The preacher may not be able to preach sound doctrine regarding some topics.  Doing so may mean breaking the church’s covenant with the government. One could easily say that the minister’s voice is silenced because he has remarried.  The new partner is not as attractive, but must be respected.  The new partner’s name is Uncle Sam.  Married to Uncle Sam, the preacher or evangelist must hush his voice.  He must walk in the integrity of his prenuptial agreement or lose his tax-exempt status.

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  II Corinthians 6:14

Folks, it is a serious matter when the church voluntarily submits its freedom to the  government.  In fact, Dave Hodges host of the Common Sense show says “Any church that encourages complete obedience to a corrupt government has taken a big step towards accepting the Mark of the Beast. This is a very dangerous precedent, and this could potentially imperil the salvation of millions if Christians allow this false doctrine to expand across our nation’s churches. “

Whoa!  I am flabbergasted—but the truth is no man can serve two masters!

Resources:

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/7647840/kim-burrell-not-take-part-bmi-gospel-music-honors-anti-gay

http://davidfiorazo.com/2015/05/the-johnson-amendment-and-the-agenda-to-silence-christians/

http://www.creationliberty.com/articles/501c3.php

http://www.hushmoney.org

About Marion Ferguson Witcher

An eloquent and gifted speaker, Marion Ferguson Witcher has taken her past experiences and used them to help others through a non-profit she founded, New Hope for Special Needs.  With her husband, Veroman and others working alongside her, NHFSN is committed to encouraging families of children with special needs and the professionals that support them. They have also invested their own funds and with the help of other philanthropists created the philanthropic hand of New Hope for Special Needs.  This enabled NHFSN to provide numerous scholarships to college students majoring in special education.

Marion and her husband, Veroman  are the parents of two adult children, Ashley and Verano.  Their daughter is challenged with autism and epilepsy, and alternates between a wheelchair and walker.  As a result, the couple knows firsthand the joys, challenges, and struggles of raising a child with a disability within the context of the family, faith community, public school system, and society in general. 

Many people in and outside of the church’s walls have been touched by Marion’s faith-inspiring messages.  She also appropriately delivers thought-provoking messages to main stream audiences as a keynote speaker and workshop leader. 

Marion is an award-winning magazine writer, motivational speaker, and founder of New Hope for Special Needs.The mission provides faith-based support to  persons with intellectual challenges, their families and support systems. She has received numerous awards for her work related to advocating for children with special needs and their families including Community Advocate.   Inspired by her experience of being a mother of a child challenged with autism, in 2004, she wrote, Sowing My Tears, Reaping His Joy.  She is the founder of Autism: A Language Worth Knowing and the His Ability Over Disability Celebration.

Ode to Spandex: A FUN Ranting on the Way Women Dress Today

RED ALERT-“PLEASE DON’T Get all pissy on me people.  I want to state before you read that I am a plus size girl poking fun at myself.  So don’t march in front of my house and send me a bunch of hate mail.  If you don’t have a sense of humor, please stop reading right now.”-Lena

I just can’t take it anymore!  Women, please-LEARN HOW TO DRESS and CARRY YOURSELF LIKE A WOMAN! 

Please take note of the following:

Spandex is not your friend! Alright, so look, if you are a size 14 and up ( as I myself am)-stop trying to squeeze your behind into a pair of spandex. I do not care what the horny thing that passes for a man says who is sitting next to you right now is saying: spandex on a plus size woman is not a good look!  Please don’t email me telling me I don’t understand.  I am a full figured girl.  I get it.  But some things we just shouldn’t do!

Just ‘cause they make it, don’t mean you’ve got to wear it!-Seriously, just because it is hanging on the rack does not mean it is for you! Put it back!  I mean it-RIGHT NOW!

Now-you can make it work, but it’s got to be done right. Wearing them with long shirts, under skirt or dresses works as in.  See photo below.

See queen Latifah.  Now that’s a plus size girl rockin’ itplus-size-dresses-to-wear-with-leggings-5-queen-latifah

For more examples of what works visit: http://cleida.com/album/plus-size-tops-for-leggings.html

Two piece bathing suits are for skinny teens, really fit adults, and supermodels! Everybody else, please, do the world a favor and stick to one pieces, skirted one pieces, and tankini’s. FYI-If your fat rolls cannot fit inside the tankini-IT AIN”T FOR YOU!  Put it back!

Donuts are for the donut shop.  If the rolls cannot fit inside the jeans-MAYBE THEY ARE TOO SMALL!  Stop it.

Nobody wants to see your boobs! Okay, so maybe your man, some hot in the pants teenage boys, and the pervert next door; but for the rest of us, would you mind putting them back in the cage! It might have passed for sexy when you were 20, but at 45-Lets all repeat after me, “IT’S NOT A GOOD LOOK.”  Oh, and if your breast are bearing tattoos-for the record can I just say “OUCH!” You are one tough cookie.

Belly Buttons-Again, tolerable on women in their 20’s and those with flat abs; everyone else dagnabit wear a longer shirt!

Painted on Tight Jeans-We left them behind in 1984.  Send them back to the future.

Pajamas and slippers-People, these are for the bedroom; but keep on and they are going to be for BEDBUGS! There is a reason why you take your clothes off at night and take a shower.  Why don’t you just announce to the world, “I’m NASTY and I don’t bathe!”

Doo Rags, Scarves, and Bandanas– Okay, a decorative head wrap is a fashion statement. A hat or cap is cool. Everything else is just trifling! Either comb your head or stay home.  Say it with me, “NOT A GOOD LOOK!”

Thongs aren’t for me because I feel that body parts need a buffer zone, but as long as you don’t wear a bright thong under light pants it’s all good.

Women, I’m just saying to quote a phrase from Fat Albert and the Cosby kids let’s not be like school in the summertime,” NO CLASS!”

Okay So I am going to end with the following poem I wrote entitled, Ode to Spandex.  If you are angry by the time you finish reading it, then all it means is that you have some some spandex you need to throw away.

Ode to Spandex

By Lena Arnold

Spandex o’ spandex,

thou wert once my friend

But now t’is time for the

love affair to end.

My rolls are too rolly

for me to pretend;

that I will ever look good

in spandex again.

Why I still try to fit in them,

I will never know.

Should have known it was over

when the fat started to show.

My thighs are too thick!

My belly too jelly!

It’s done lapped over my waist!

My butt is too big!

My waist is too wide!

Spilling up and over the place!

So spandex I’m sorry,

though I do wish you well.

But I can no longer put you

Over my fleshly shell.

If your portly friend is in spandex

even if those clothes fit;

tell her just cause they make it

don’t mean you must wear it.

Some material, well

it just ain’t for us.

Leave spandex to skinny girls

‘cause they ain’t for size plus.

T’is no shame in admittance,

for some things just be so.

No need for repentance,

spandex just gots to go!

So spandex

O’ spandex

I bid you adieu.

I pass you on to a bony chick,

who I hope will be good to you.

Not pair you with a t-shirt

and pretend it’s a dress.

With a belt and high heels,

‘cause that’s just a hot mess.

I just hope and pray

she’ll be better to you.

And look better in spandex

Than a big girl like me do!

FYI-I do rock in some leggings and spandex-BUT I DOES IT RIGHT!!!!!!! smiley

Homeschooling and Socialization: Are the Myths True?

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mskinderwikispaces.com

 

By Lena Arnold

Many years ago, when we first contemplated homeschooling, our family and many friends were aghast!

“You have to be really disciplined!” My aunt said.  “I know I could never be that disciplined.”  What she really meant was, “I know YOU can never be that disciplined.”

To be fair, I can be a little on the disorganized side, however, despite this I still managed to graduate from high school at the top of my class, graduate from college (twice), and manage a successful professional career. I reminded her, that in order to accomplish these feats, I must be able to be ORGANIZED when it counts.

Okay, so I won that argument against homeschooling, but then she countered with, “What about SOCIALIZATION…?” She stated, drawing out the dreaded S word like it was a curse.  “Aren’t you worried your kids will be weird, or not have any friends.  They will never learn to socialize or make friends for life. There are no other black people homeschooling around her, so you are on your own.”

Well, I have to admit, on that count she’d tapped into my fears. Then I thought about it, “How many friends have I had for “life.” Hmm, out of all the “friends” I’d made over the years, with the exception of two, (one my childhood best friend, and the other from high school) all of my true friends had been made during adulthood. Plus, I knew if we were considering it, others were either homeschooling or considering it.

So how would we deal with this “socialization” thing?

Step One began with prayer.  I said to God, “Lord YOU made these children and YOU know what is best for them.  Steer us in the right direction and help them make friends.

Step Two began with creating opportunities for them to make friends based on similar interests. In some cases they joined group clubs such as Girl/Boy Scouts and 4-H, Church groups, etc. Where clubs didn’t exist we created them, or became leaders and coaches.

Step Three-We actively sought out other parents with similar goals and values.  This is how the local Black Homeschoolers movement began in our community. When on homeschool outings, if I met other blacks with their children I would ask them if they homeschooled as well.  If they did, they were invited to be part of the group.  If not, I’d still connected with a parent whose child had similar interest.  Oh, and we did not limit our connections to exclusively black groups, since learning how to connect with people of other cultures was and is just as important as connecting with your own.

Step Four consisted of volunteering in places where our kids would have an opportunity to connect with other kids.

Step Five-Participation in co-ops.  Many communities have homeschool groups and co-ops families can be a part of.  Some are based on religious values, some cultural.  But the vast majorities are open and available to participation without consideration of race, religion, etc.  The common denominator of most is simply homeschooling.

Here’s the beauty of all these connections, we are making friends too. And since the parents are connecting, that means these children are more likely to stay connected as well, unlike school where the connections often end at the end of a school day, year, or graduation.

So not only have were socialization fears been unfounded, they didn’t even exist.

But for those of you who are still not convinced and need empirical data, let me drop this on you.

hdsla
To Learn More About Homeschooling Visit Homeschool Legal Defense Association

http://www.hslda.org/

In 2003, the Home School Legal Defense Association commissioned the largest research survey to date of adults who were home educated. Conducted by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute, the study surveyed over 7,300 adults who were homeschooled. Over 5,000 of these had been home educated at least seven years, and the statistics in this synopsis are based on their responses. The results confirm what homeschoolers have thought for years: No problem…

Value of Higher Education

The report, which can be found in it’s entirety on their webstite clearly shows that Over 74% of home-educated adults ages 18 to 24 have taken college-level courses, compared to 46% of the general United States population. Note that nearly half (49%) of the respondents in this study were still full-time students at the time of the survey.

Involved in their communities

Homeschool graduates are more active and involved in their communities than traditionally school students. Seventy-one percent participate in an ongoing community service activity compared to 37% of U.S. adults of similar ages. Eighty-eight percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed were members of an organization (e.g., such as a community group, church or synagogue, union, homeschool group, or professional organization), compared to 50% of U.S. adults.

Civic affairs: engaged citizens

Only 4.2% of the homeschool graduates surveyed consider politics and government too complicated to understand, compared to 35% of U.S. adults. For example, 76% of homeschool graduates surveyed between the ages of 18 to 24 voted within the last five years, compared to only 29% of the relevant U.S. population.

Appreciating their alma mater (and pater)

Ninety-Five percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed are glad that they were homeschooled and 82% would homeschool their own children. Of the 812 study participants who had children age 5 or older, 74% were already homeschooling..

Conclusion of Research

The results of Dr. Ray’s cutting-edge research defuses long-held false criticisms of homeschooling and seem to indicate that homeschooling produces successful adults who are actively involved in their communities and who continue to value education for themselves and their children.

On a side note, all our kids are now in school and socializing quite nicely!

For the sake of brevity, I will conclude this week’s article with the above data, but come back next week, when I will add part 2 of this blog with additional data from other sources. For more information on homeschooling visit Dayton Black Homeschool Network