...the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. Geo. Washington Feb. 22, 1732
Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert Kennedy, South Africa 1966.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Right now I am "stuck" in the house. Yesterday I noticed Temporary No Parking signs on the street. I did not even think anything of it. They have had these signs up previously and nothing happened.
I got up early and took Bailey to the groomer and there was no problem. 6:45 AM and then at 10:00 when I went to get him - no problem. So I got busy developing a York Rite pocket petition and new version of my brochure with a petition on it and paid no attention to things happening outside.
When I went out to get the mail I discovered in the mail box a yellow notice designed to go on a door knob telling me about a temporary street closing. I looked outside and sure enough the street was closed and there was new Tar on the street. Such fun. Needless to say I called and complained. In the first place the notice in the mailbox is illegal. They aren't supposed to put things in the US mail box, Second there are two doorknobs on the front of the house. As it turns out, the supervisor came by, (a nice guy) and he said that by the time I want to leave I should be able to get out. Then they called and told me I left my planner at the Groomers so I have to go get it.
I am looking forward to the corn feed. Plus I developed a pocket petition for the York Rite and we will see what happens with that. Remember you are loved. J
I was in Wal-Mart buying a large bag of Purina dog chow and
was in line to check out. A woman behind me asked if I had a
I was feeling a bit crabby so on impulse, I told her no, I was starting the Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care unit with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IV's in both arms.
Her eyes about bugged out of her head.
I went on and on with the bogus diet story and she was
totally buying it.
I told her that it was an easy, inexpensive diet and that
the way it works is to load your pockets or purse with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The package said the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.
I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line
was by now enthralled with my story, particularly a tall guy behind
Horrified, she asked if something in the dog food had
poisoned me and was that why I ended up in the hospital.
I said no.....I'd been sitting in the street licking my butt when
a car hit me.
I thought the tall guy was going to have to be carried out
Just before his son's sixth birthday, the Sultan said to him, "Son, I love you very much. Your birthday is coming soon. What would you like?"
His son replied, "Daddy, I would like to have my own airplane." His father bought him American Airlines.
Just before his son's seventh birthday, the Sultan said, "Son, you are my pride and joy. Ask what you want for your birthday. Whatever it is, it's yours." His son replied, "Daddy, I would like a boat." His father bought him the Princess Cruise Line.
Just before his son's eighth birthday, the Sultan said, "Son, you bring much happiness into my life Anything you want, I shall get for you.."
His son replied, "Daddy, I would like to be able to watch cartoons." His father bought him Disney Studios.
Just before his son's ninth birthday, the Sultan said, "Son, you are my life. Your birthday is coming soon. Ask what you wish, I will get it for you." His son, who had grown to love Disney, replied, "Daddy, I would like a Mickey Mouse outfit and a Goofy outfit."
His father bought him the Republican Party and Fox News.
Monday, July 30, 2007
No they aren't from Nebraska. These are the guys from Acanthus Lodge husking corn. I went down about 4:00 pm and they were already working. Tomorrow night is a big Corn Feed at the Lodge. I think it runs from 4:30 to 7:00. tickets are $7.00 each (Kids are cheaper) We husked a lot of corn and there are sliced tomatoes and there will be chicken also. It should be fun.
After working on the corn we had our usual dinner and then a Third degree. It was a good degree. I am looking forward to going down tomorrow to eat sweet corn. it really looks like good corn. One thing the boys at Acanthus know how to do is put on a good meal. Speaking of "boys" One of the fellow there took to calling me "Boy" It is rather funny because I am three years older than he is. He and I have a fun thing going. When he usually sees me he says "NO" in a loud voice and then I don't have to ask him to join the York Rite.
I took five pairs of pants to Hensleys to be taken in. She may not be able to do the jeans so I have a pair of jeans size 52 or 54 if anyone wants them.
Remember you are loved. Hugs. jcs
A very successful lawyer parked his brand new Lexus in front of the office, ready to show it off to his colleagues.
As he got out, a truck came along too close to the curb and completely tore off the driver's door.
Fortunately, a cop in a police car was close enough to see the accident and pulled up behind the Lexus, his lights flashing. But before the cop had a chance to ask any questions, the lawyer started screaming hysterically about how his Lexus, which he had just picked up the day before, was now completely ruined and would never be the same, no matter how the body shop tried to make it new again.
After the lawyer finally wound down from his rant, the cop shook his head in disgust and disbelief. "I can't believe how materialistic you lawyers are," he said. "You are so focused on your possessions that you neglect the most important things in life."
"How can you say such a thing?" asked the lawyer.
The cop replied, "Don't you even realize that your left arm is missing? It got ripped off when the truck hit you!!!"
"OH, MY GOD!" screamed the lawyer........................"MY ROLEX!"
Captains and Kings was definitely one of my favorite of her books.
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Among other things she created a most fascinating world of Darkover. In doing so she commented on many contemporary problems in our world and offered many solutions. She also wrote The Mists of Avalon books. (Warning there is annoying music on the site so turn your speakers off if that bothers you.)
Ms. Bradley is also, at least partly responsible for the Society for Creative Anachronism.
A prolific author from Australia. Among her other books is the Masters of Rome Series and wonder of wonders I just found out that in September there is another one coming out. Anthony and Cleopatra. I have enjoyed these books a lot as I did her other books.
I have enjoyed his books for years. Especially the Xanth series which are full of puns which are interspersed all through his books. Gradually his books became more "adult" and I didn't keep them in the classroom library but I still enjoyed them a lot.
J. R. R. Tolkien
The Hobbit alone would make him one of my favorite authors but the Lord of the rings puts him right up there. Oddly enough the first time I tried reading them I could not get into them at all. Later I picked them up again and sat for days reading them straight through. This was in a converted chicken coop at my grandfather's place north of Ames which I used as a room when I came home from college.
His series about Callahan's Crosstime Saloon has some of my favorite books in it.
Her books with Amelia Peabody set in Egypt are always a good read and I look forward to each one that comes out.
I always enjoy his books. Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club are always enjoyable to read.
Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb
(Again a warning on the sound - Annoying commercial on the web site)
There are a lot of other authors I find enjoyable. I will add them from time to time but that is enough for today. I am going to Acanthus today to help shuck corn for the corn feed tomorrow.
Remeber you are loved, Love someone in return. Hugs, jcs
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Yesterday afternoon I went to see the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was well done and true to the story. To be very honest I was prepared not to like the movie as I did not much care for the book. I found it dark and disturbing. The movie, however, did not bother me and I did enjoy it.
The Harry Potter phenomenon is interesting. Now that she has completed the series and given us the entire story I must say that, while some may claim that it is not great literature and others may criticize it for religious reasons (Of course they are dead wrong and don't understand the meaning behind the story - Look deeper folks.) it has performed a great service for this generation of readers. It has turned them on to reading.
They won't let it on the New York Times Best seller list and that is just ridiculous. It is (they say) a children's book. Well, they let other children's books on the list and besides I know a lot of adults who couldn't wait to get their hands on it.It should have been allowed on. It sold 8.3 million copies in the 24 hours after it was released.
The bookstores made a big thing about not selling the book until the right time and held big parties starting at midnight for those who wanted to get their copies before anyone else. I, being a reasonable person, reserved my copy and then spent a day and a half reading it. I would have finished it sooner but wasn't able to spend the entire week-end reading it.
Back when I was teaching I used to get so busy that I didn't have time to read novels or other books. So, every once in awhile, I would just put everything on the shelf and read. The entire day or sometimes the entire week-end. I loved it.
Reading is perhaps, my greatest pleasure. I enjoy most types of literature. I went through a phase when I read a lot of science fiction and then mysteries/ sometimes I just read novels. Yes, once in awhile I read a book for improvement. I also have read a lot on Masonry.
I grew up in a reading family. I watched my mother read, my grandmother read my aunts all read. I was given books at an early age and of course, there was access to a lot of comic books (now called graphic novels) which would hold my attention so well I would not hear anyone call me to supper and they would have to scream to get through to me. I will always be grateful for the love of reading which was instilled in me at an early age.
For me reading is a pleasure and anytime I can share a book with someone I get pleasure from that sharing. I especially enjoyed sharing books with my students. We build in at least fifteen minutes a day for the teachers to read to their students and we also built in a structured time for students to read their own choice literature.
That was another enjoyable thing about teaching I had an excuse to read great children's books - silently with the students and aloud to them. It was great and the greatest thing was when I would see a student "turn on" to reading. Most students who got to fifth and sixth grade had basic reading skills (not all but most) and they could read. Not all of them would read. I remember one of my students Austin P. who had never read a book before he came to my classroom. I had some pretty good science fiction (adult) mixed in with the other books and he began by reading these Piers Anthony Xanth novels. He was hooked and by the end of the year I had to physically take his book away in order to get him to come to math class. I watched him progress through High School and he was a reader until he graduated. in fact, I would bet that he is still a reader.
I used to give an award to students who read 100 books during the course of a year. they were designated "Century Readers" and received a special certificate and privileges. I even had students who read in excess of 200 books. Part of the reading program required them to meet with me and answer open ended questions about their books. I didn't do that every year but it was a way of checking on them and what they were reading. They read more and grew more in reading under my program than they would have by reading stories (watered down) from their basic readers designed by the books companies for the masses.
I think that my favorite book to read to the students was "The Hobbit" and for about the last ten years of my teaching I read that book to the students as the first book of the year. I had many other favorites and If I were to list them all this entry would be too long. Perhaps I shall list them (or some of them anyway) for a future entry.
Now I am going to close this entry and go back to my book. Remember you are loved, Love someone, Hugs! jcs
Saturday, July 28, 2007
The little old man looked at the pastor and calmly said, "Well, she's
After Quasimodo's death, the bishop of the Cathedral of Notre Dame sent word through the streets of Paris that a new bell ringer was needed. The bishop decided that he would conduct the interviews personally and went up into the belfry to begin the screening process.
After observing several applicants demonstrate their skills, he had decided to call it a day. Just then, an armless man approached him and announced that he was there to apply for the bell ringer's job.
The bishop was incredulous. "You have no arms!"
"No matter," said the man "Observe!" And he began striking the bells with his face, producing a beautiful melody on the carillon.
The bishop listened in astonishment; convinced he had finally found a replacement for Quasimodo. But suddenly, rushing forward to strike a bell, the armless man tripped and plunged headlong out of the belfry window to his death in the street below.
The stunned bishop rushed to his side. When he reached the street, a crowd had gathered around the fallen figure, drawn by the beautiful music they had heard only moments before. As they silently parted to let the bishop through, one of them asked, "Bishop, who was this man?"
"I don't know his name," the bishop sadly replied, "but his face rings a bell."
The following day, despite the sadness that weighed heavily on his heart due to the unfortunate death of the armless campanologist, the bishop continued his interviews for the bell ringer of Notre Dame. The first man to approach him said, "Your Excellency, I am the brother of the poor armless wretch that fell to his death from this very belfry yesterday. I pray that you honor his life by allowing me to replace him in this duty."
The bishop agreed to give the man an audition, and, as the armless man's brother stooped to pick up a mallet to strike the first bell, he groaned, clutched at his chest, twirled around, and died on the spot.
Two monks, hearing the bishop's cries of grief at this second tragedy, rushed up the stairs to his side. "What has happened? Who is this man?" the first monk asked breathlessly.
"I don't know his name," sighed the distraught bishop, "but..
he's a dead ringer for his brother!!!"
Friday, July 27, 2007
I was hoping to get my friend Janet to write this entry but she is too busy right now but she did refer me to a site where I can get some help.
I received a comment on one of the posts on the blog which said, "Mason Society bothers the stuffing out of me with their, "No Girls allowed because you're not good enough." approach."
Grand Master M. W. Bro Halsey, Initiated in Lodge Golden Rule No 1 on 29th April, 1909, remained in office until 1927
I responded "I don't believe that is the reasons that women are not allowed in the Masonic Lodge. it is not because you are not "good enough" - Why are there no men in PEO?"
Joseph Fort Newton writing in The Men's House says:
"was called the Men’s House, a secret lodge in which every young man, when he came to maturity, wasIn the same spirit the women had their secret meeting house where they met and learned how to become women. I believe that Masonry is the successor of the Men's House of primitive man. I also am aware of women who are Freemasons. They do not belong to my lodge nor may we visit each others lodges.
initiated into the law, legend and tradition of his people. ..it was really the center of early tribal life, council chamber, the guest house, the place of meeting for men, where laws were made and courts were held, and where the trophies of war were treasured” “It is not easy to exaggerate the importance of these secret lodges in the formative period of society in promoting that sense of kinship, sanctity, and loyalty which lies at the roots of law, order and religion.”
There are today and have been for decades (centuries, even) females who know themselves to be 'Masons'. They belong to 'lodges' that are composed of either single-sex female lodges or mixed-sex lodges.
THE PRINCIPLES OF CO-FREEMASONRY
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ENGLAND
THE BUILDER, February 1921
1. Co-Freemasonry asserts, in accordance with the ancient declarations of Freemasonry, the existence of a Creative Principle, or Supreme Being, under the title of "The Great Architect of the Universe."
2. It maintains an open "Volume of the Sacred Law" in every lodge, when duly formed for Masonic purposes.
3. It maintains the ancient landmarks of Freemasonry.
4. It withholds recognition from all irregular and clandestine meetings, or lodges not holding proper charter.
5. It imposes no restrictions on the free search for Truth, and to secure that freedom exacts tolerance from all its members.
6. It is open to men and women, without distinction of race or religion, who are free, of good report, and abide by strict morals.
7. It pledges its members to obedience to the laws of the country, loyalty to their nation or national sovreign, silence with regard to Masonic secrets, a high standard of honour, and ceaseless endeavour to promote the welfare of humanity.
8. Every Freemason is bound faithfully to observe the decisions of the Supreme Council to which he or she owes allegiance.
An announcement in the 'Grand Lodge News' of the United Grand Lodge of England that followed the March 10, 1999 Quarterly Communication of UGLE says"
"There exist in England and Wales at least two Grand Lodges solely for women. Except that these bodies admit women, they are, so far as can be ascertained, otherwise regular in their practice (emphasis added!). There is also one which admits both men and women to membership. They are not recognised by this Grand Lodge and intervisitaion may not take place. There are, however, informal discussions from time to time with the women's Grand Lodges on matters of mutual concern. Brethren are therefore free to explain to non-Masons, if asked, that Freemasonry is not confined to men (even though this Grand Lodge does not itself admit women). Further information about these bodies may be obtained by writing to the Grand Secretary."
The Grand Lodge of British Columbia has this to say about Women in Masonry.
The Grand Lodge of British Columbia does not recognize as regular Freemasonry any self-styled body that initiates women. That said, there are several organizations calling themselves Freemasonry that do initiate women.After saying that they publish several excellent short papers on the subject which may be found here.
There is also an historical record of women’s participation in stonemasonry prior to the formation of the Grand Lodge of England; known examples—or legends— of women who were initiated into Freemasonry and remained active in their lodges; and the development of Co-Masonry, a mixed-gender order using the rituals of Freemasonry.
Co-Masonry came to the United States in 1907. By 1922, there were more than 450 Co-Masonic lodges around the world, according to Arthur Edward Waite’s The New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.
There are at present Co-Masonic lodges in at least fifty nations, including the USA, Canada, Britain, Australia, Greece, Holland, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Belgium, and Venezuela.
There are many "Masonic" groups which do not recognize each other as "regular." The Grand Lodge to which I owe obedience does not initiate women nor would they let a woman become a member. Whether or not you agree with this it is their right to do things as they do. It does not mean that they do not respect women. Indeed, Masons value and honor women. It is not because they are not "good enough" that they are not members. It is because of a time honored tradition of a men-only society and that is valid. At least as far as I am concerned and this position has been upheld by the Courts. With that said I am a member of a Yahoo group called called "Masonic Light." It is described thus:
For open-minded Men and Women Freemasons only, the busy 'masoniclight' YahooGroup discusses all aspects of Freemasonry from the personal perspectives of its member Freemasons from around the globe in a fast-paced respectful manner. Topics range from Masonic history, philosophies, origins, archaeology and spirituality to important local lodge issues like candidate instruction, masonic education programs, special events and ways to improve our lodges and its members, at an individual and institutional level, in knowledge of all aspects of the Craft, its appendant bodies and other recognized and non-recognized Orders.I met Janet through this forum and she wrote that she was visiting in Ames. We had dinner together and I took her out and gave her a tour of our Temple. Past Master Doug came out to her Motel and had coffee with us. We had a great conversation and without describing or discussing the "secrets" of our respective orders we exchanged enough information that, for me at least, Janet is a Master Mason. In fact, I think her initiatic experience is every bit as profound as the one I went through if not more so.
Men and Women Freemasons from all Masonic Jurisdictions around the earth are welcome to participate in this forum.
Visit http://www.masoniclight.org/subscribe.html to enroll!
Janet sponsors a luncheon during "Masonic Week" in Washington DC. It is well received.
(I went to Masonic Week once and that is actually how I happened to join a lot of the organizations to which I belong. It was great fun and I am hoping to go again this year to receive the Charter for the new Green Degrees Council of Knight Masons (that is if we can get our by-laws adopted and out membership increased.) I hope to go to Janet's luncheon.)
So yes there are Women Masons, they go through similar, if not the same, ritualistic experience that we do. They study the symbols of Freemasonry and write papers on it and grow and learn. It is perfectly all right with me if my Lodge does not admit women and their Lodge does not admit men or if they choose to admit both women and men. It is still Masonry and each can be satisfied with their own experience. You may not agree with me that they are Masons and that is your right but I hope this entry has explained the situation a little and will lead you to more reading on the matter.
The Web of Hiram has this site devoted to Women Freemasons.
Le Droit Humain site is also called the Order of International Co-Freemasonry
You are always loved. Hugs! jcs
I went down to Michael's in Des Moines for a "Fellowship Lunch" with some of the Brothers from Acanthus.
Then I went out to Costco to purchase gas.
It is a little far out there but as long as I am in Des Moines anyway it was 13 cents a gallon cheaper than it is in Ames. I don't often go inside the store because I do live alone and you usually have to purchase larger amounts.
After that I went out to Hensley's Big and Tall. I wanted to see if they still had their sales going on and of course, they did, I got three pairs of pants and one shirt and the pants were very inexpensive even though they were very nice pants. The best thing about them is that they were SIZE 48 - YEAH! I am going to work to lose eight more inches. This has taken since August 29.
I have not been this small for years. (Congratulate me :~))
I stopped at the Gateway Market and got some crackers and ice tea. See I figure that I may have to eat yogurt and drink Slimfast for lunch I can treat myself with a few gourmet crackers and maybe even a nice piece of candy once in awhile. Then I went out to Egyptian Treasures and said hello to the fellows who work there. I got a candle warmer so hopefully it begin to smell nicer here. While I was at the Mall I stopped into David's Briar shop and purchased a couple of cigars for two friends of mine.
Now I am going to settle in and relax and watch TV. Be Loved Hugs, jcs
Thursday, July 26, 2007
This has been a very frustrating day. First of all the Internet went down and I could not access my e-mail or the Internet. I was told that I would receive a call when it was back up. I waited patiently all day. No call. I wrote a couple of (dumb) poems. I was finally able to access my e-mail on my neighbor's unsecured line. Not very satisfactory but I was able to post the poems and check my e-mail.
I went to lodge and the candidates did not show up even though they had both received letters informing them of the dates of their initiations. So I came home. Decided this had gone on long enough and called Qwest again. This time I spoke with a young lady in India and she informed me that the outge had been repaired. And they had not called me. I was able to restore the connection and here I am.
Unfortunately I don't have much to say that I want to talk about. I think I need a break from things. I am going to Des Moines tomorrow for a Fellowship Lunch at Acanthus and to visit with a candidate. that should be nice. I may stop out to Hensley's to see about getting some new pants. The ones I have are currently not staying up on my hips. That is the disadvantage to losing weight. I don't have much else on my agenda - I will probably go out to Costco to get gas as long as I am down there. Last time I got gas there it was 15 cents a gallon cheaper than here in Ames. Always worth the jaunt out there and I may go in to get some things also.
My coffee came today so tomorrow I can have good coffee again. There is nothing wrong with the Starbucks I got to grind but I just like my Gevalia coffee better.
I hope your days went better than mine. Be loved and love someone. Hugs, jcs
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
There was a dinner at the Consistory tonight and there were a lot of people there. We had a wonderful steak dinner and good fellowship. The pictures of the event are on the unofficial Des Moines Consistory blog.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Glenn Close has a new TV show. It's on fx and is called Damages. You can read about it here.
I found it to be an intriguing show and look forward to future episodes. Glenn Close is one of the absolute best actresses in our world today and she does a masterful job with this character.
I had lunch with my friend Dallas this noon and mostly caught up on things around the house. I am reading "Sworn On The Altar of God. A Religious Biography of Thomas Jefferson". I am learning a lot about this fascinating man and his religious ideas. Surprisingly some of his ideas and mine coincide. I particularly like these thoughts.
How rational could it possibly be for the God of the whole universe to reveal himself solely to one small nation in the eastern Mediterranean and to leave the rest of the world in utter ignorance of his existence? It seemed even more irrational to believe that the Supreme Being of the cosmos had "sent his only begotten son who had not offended him, to be sacrificed by men, who had offended him, that he might expiate their sins, and satisfy his own anger."
These were not Jefferson's thoughts but those of Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke who had a great influence on Jefferson and the American Revolution.
Be Loved and Love Someone - Hugs jcs
Monday, July 23, 2007
I went to Acanthus tonight for the dinner honoring their 50-year members. Most Worshipful Grand Master Dennis Zahrt and his wife Janet were there. It was good to see them. There were four of the twelve new fifty-year members there as well as one member who is 100 years old (He didn't look a day over 65). He is one of 19 people over 100 in Iowa who are licensed to drive. The Grand Master presented the certificates and made a few remarks and we ate a good meal fixed by the Order of the Eastern Star. It was a very nice event and marked an important event in the Masonic life of these Brothers. I get mine in 9 years (If I make it that long.)
My car also passed a milestone. At 5:09 PM as I passed through Ankeny the odometer passed the 100,000 mile mark. so I have started on the second 100,000 miles. It is a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee so I fully expect it to make it. (Unless I get the convertible that I want. Yeah, right that is likely)
We are also fast approaching the 5,000 mark on the Blog counter. Of course that is a little unrealistic because I have about 300 posts and probably at least two visits to the Blog each time I post. But it is still impressive.
Love someone and be loved in return. Hugs, jcs
An officer stops a man for running a red light. The guy is a real jerk and comes running back to the officer demanding to know why he is being harassed by the Gestapo! So the officer calmly tells him of the red light violation.
The "Motorist" instantly goes on a tirade, questioning the officer's ancestry, sexual orientation, etc., in rather explicit terms. The officer, being a professional, takes it all in stride. The tirade goes on without the cop saying anything.
When he gets done with writing the citation he puts an "AH" in the lower right corner of the narrative portion of the citation. He then hands it to the "Violator" for his signature.
The guy signs the cite angrily, tearing the paper, and when presented his copy points to the "AH" and demands to know what it stands for. The officer then removes his mirror sunglasses, gets in the middle of the guys face and says, "That's so when we go to court, I'll remember you're an Ass hole!" Three months later they are in court. The "Violator" has such a bad record he is about to lose his license and has hired an attorney to represent him.
On the stand the officer testifies to seeing the man run the red light.
Under cross examination the defense attorney asks; "Officer is this a reasonable facsimile of the citation you issued my client?"
The Officer responds, "Yes sir, this is the defendant's copy, his signature and mine, same number at the top."
Attorney: "Officer , is there any particular marking or notation on this citation you don't normally make?"
Officer: "Yes sir, in the lower right corner of the narrative there is an AH, underlined."
Attorney: "What does the AH stand for, officer?"
Officer: "Aggressive and Hostile Sir"
Attorney: "Aggressive and hostile"
Officer: "Yes Sir?"
Attorney: "Officer,,,, Are you sure it doesn't stand for Ass Hole?"
Officer: "Well Sir, You know your client better than I do!"
Years ago there was a comedy record which I loved in which I first heard this little ditty.
You have all heard the saying that is true as well as witty,
That a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee!
Now I like camels. I used to take my nephew to the state fair (OK only once or twice but I still took him) and he rode a camel there. I rode one at the Great Pyramid in Egypt in 1976. They are useful (if nasty) animals and I find them fascinating. Bu this post is about Committees.
I was looking at one of "my" blogs this morning and he has the Senate Committee meetings listed for the week. (Note if you read this tomorrow you may have to scroll down on his blog to see the schedule but that is all right. He usually has something interesting to read.) It got me to thinking about how much work we put onto committees.
We really can't do everything ourselves and the larger the group we have the more we have to so we create committees to do things. They (being smaller) are supposed to be able to communicate more directly and be representative of all the various viewpoints in the larger group. Therefore they can design something (such as by-laws) and bring it back to the larger group and with some fine-tuning get something approve that will be satisfactory to all.
I have been on many committees in my life. Some of them accomplished what they were designed for and others did not. I have chaired some committees (Of course they always accomplished their goals (tongue firmly planted in cheek) and developed great programs. I have also been a part of committees that didn't do much.
The appointment of committees is very important. If you want your goals accomplished you need to be very careful to appoint committees that will have the necessary viewpoints represented and will also have the expertise to work together to acheive that goal. Sometimes that is a difficult balancing task.
Masonic Committees also visit a prospective member to begin the process of "enrollment" into our fraternity. They are not really there to see if the man is worthy to be a Mason (although that is a part of it) They are there to let him know that we are careful about who is allowed into our group and to begin to build the friendships that are essential to our brotherhood.
We also are accused of appointing committees to change light bulbs. In my lodge we have two committees to accomplish this task. The Property Management Committee and the Trustees. (Sometimes we sit in the dark.)
Generally it works well. (I just had to find a use for the NSS picture Sam sent me.)
So I want you to think about committees on which you have served. Then in the comments (Yes, I expect comments) I want you to write a note or two about why they worked or did not work. This is called a "committee of the whole" You see I want to get some ideas on my blog today but I really want to point out that this blog just became participatory. So far Larry is the only one who regularly writes comments. So, just for today, I am letting you, my loyal readers, write the important part of my blog. Just click on Comments below and when the form comes up put in a note or two about committees you have been on and tell about how they worked. I have readers from every continent except Africa (Come on Africa) and would love to get feedback from all over. Thanks. Love someone, Be loved and Hugs.
P.S. Hope this gets my Green Degrees Committees thinking about their tasks and that they will meet soon :~) j
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
She caught me up on her family and it was good to hear about them. One story that still bothers me, however, was about her grandson who just finished kindergarten. You see he came to kindergarten already able to read and write. That was a challenge to his teacher and she did not handle it well.
It always makes me sad to hear of a teacher like that. Most teachers care about their students and want to do their best for them. They will take the student where they get them and move them through the learning process so that the student can get the most growth during the time they are under their tutelage.
My nephew Jonathan, unfortunately, had two teachers like this kindergarten teacher. One was a teacher in Story City and I personally observed the interaction between my loving little nephew and his teacher. He came up to ask her a question and she physically pushed him away and ignored him.
Later in Ames he went to Fellows school and his remark to his parents was "I think I am doing OK but my teacher doesn't think so." This woman communicated her negativity to a little second grade boy and made him feel less than he should have felt. She suggested he be held back.
Fortunately, I had a friend who was a learning disabilities teacher and we talked about him. Turns out he was less in need of being held back and more in need of some, temporary, assistance. He was in that program for about 4 or 5 years and was helped tremendously. He graduated with distinction from Iowa State University last year.
The learning disabilities student is a student who can achieve normally. If you expect it of them and if they have some help and guidance with their difficulty. Generally they grow out of the program due to the ability of these dedicated teachers.
That is not to say that all of the LD teachers are tremendous. Parents need to investigate and see that the teacher is a good one. I taught with one who was more focused on what her children couldn't do than what they could do.
I have had all types of students in my classes over the years. One student was so advanced that we decided that she needed to skip sixth grade as she was never challenged. Today she is a lawyer out east. One student had to be held back. He went on to success.
Students like Gwen's grandson who are talented can be harmed if parents aren't advocates for their special needs. Students like my nephew can be harmed if parent's aren't advocates for their special needs.
When those needs are met the student can soar and can accomplish much. I had one boy in my class who was in the LD program. When it came time for the project of planning his trip to Europe (my own invention) and the Medieval project he jumped in with both feet and (sure there were one or two misspelled words) his work was outstanding. I think the fact that I expected him to perform turned him around and made a big difference in his life.
I made my students memorize a poem. Not only is the memory work good for you but the philosophy in the poem is pretty outstanding. I have had them come back as seniors in High School and recite it to me.
If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you are beaten, you are;
if you think you dare not, you don't;
if you like to win, but you think you can't
it's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost;
for out in the world we find
success begins with a person's Will~
it's all in your state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are;
you've got to think high to rise.
You've just got to be sure of yourself
before you can ever win the prize.
Life's battles don't always go
to the stronger or faster one,
but sooner or later the ones who wins
are the ones who thinks they can.
I found the poem in an old Masonic magazine and rewrote it a little because it said the MAN who wins, etc. and I wanted the girls to realize it was for them also. I don't know that I was able to reach every student in my class but I enjoyed working with them, I appreciated the partnership with the other teachers and liked it when the administrators either helped out or got out of the way so we could teach but mostly, I appreciated the parents who viewed their child's education as a partnership and worked with me to achieve the maximum success for their child.
Friday, July 20, 2007
This was the seventh annual Table Lodge for Arcadia Lodge. I think a good time was had by all and over $200 was raised for the Charity Fund. I am sure Larry will bolg about it on his Boring Life in Iowa Blog. I would venture to guess that he wasn't bored tonight. If you weren't there we missed you.
Things that bring me joy
Finding a new word.
resipiscent (re-si-PIS-uhnt) adjective
The teacher in me says you have to find out the meaning yourself.
A baby's smile
Checking my name on Google - If you put in Jay Cole Simser you get three pages with my name on it. Makes me feel important (Even though I know I'm not.)
Thinking about my blog readers.
I have a little program on my Blog that tells me that my Blog is read by people from all over the world. Every continent except Africa. I have had readers in the last month from Japan, Indonesia, India, Turkey, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Canada, Brazil, and of course the United States. I am read from coast to coast. That is awesome. Of course I have no idea what my readers look like but to me they are all young, attractive, intelligent, personable and use computers.
Finding a new Recipe. This is from Paula Dean and it was fun to make and went over well with those who ate it.
1 head iceberg lettuce, washed, patted dry, and torn into pieces
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed, uncooked
2 (8-ounce) cans sliced water chestnuts
3 bananas, sliced, tossed in 1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, or salted peanuts)
1 cup grated Cheddar
3/4 cup chopped green onions, green part only
10 to 12 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, chopped
Dressing: _2 cups mayonnaise _1/4 cup sugar _1 tablespoon white vinegar
In a large rectangular dish, layer salad ingredients in the order listed, stopping after the nuts. Mix dressing ingredients and let stand for 5 minutes. Spread dressing over entire top of salad, covering it completely. Sprinkle cheese, green onions, and bacon over salad. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Making a new friend
Making up with an old friend.
A good night's sleep
I know you have seen this picture before but he is so cute.
Yes, Max and Cassie make me happy also.
A good joke.
Doing something nice for someone or giving them something that they appreciate.
The smile on a person's face when they are glad to see me.
Hugs...given and received.
Knowing that my efforts are appreciated.
Knowing that someone I love has had a success.
A good joke.
Writing a new poem (You can read my poetry by clicking on My Poetry in the list on the left.)
Lodge (Most of the time)
Writing an entry for my blog.
Knowing that God loves all of his children. Even those of us who mess up occasionally.
Finding something I agree with in a book I am reading.
Reading a good book.
Going to a good movie.
There are so many that I couldn't begin to list them all. I am mostly blessed. I ain't even gonna think about the downers.
I am currently awaiting the latest (last) Harry Potter book but I am not going down at midnight to get my copy. It is reserved so I'll get it in the morning.
The Commandry of Knights Templar has three religious events during the year which it celebrates. Christmas, Easter and Ascension. The Ascension Service is essentially a memorial service. Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus. To me the most important religious holiday is Easter. It celebrates the place of the Christ in our lives and the example which He left to us.
When I was Commander I gave the following message for the Easter Service. I think it still has some merit and I share it with you (edited) here.
Do We Recognize The Christ?
Luke 24: 16 “But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” “They should not know him.” I wonder if we would recognize Christ if we were to meet him in today’s world.
The scripture I chose relates to another example where, after the resurrection Jesus appeared to his followers and was not recognized by them.
Think of that – The disciples, hand picked by Jesus to be with Him and travel with Him during the years of His ministry . . . the men who sat at His feet and learned the lessons which He taught from His mouth, and they did not recognize Him on the shore of the sea of Galilee.
Mary Magdalene, at the tomb took him for a gardener – was He so changed? He was able to show a doubting Thomas the hole in His side and the imprint of the nails so he must have been recognizable – and yet they did not recognize him!
All of us, I am sure, have had the experience of running into an acquaintance or someone we know in some place where we would not expect to see them and momentarily not recognizing them, and yet surely we would recognize a member of our family whom we had shared a meal with three or four days earlier, if we would meet them on the street or on the street and in places with which we would be familiar.
As a teacher of elementary students ages 10, 11, or 12 I have often been asked the question, “Do you remember me?” by a former student now grown to the age of 16 or 17. Of course I have the excuse that they have grown older and have changed, but even then I am often able to recognize them. And yet these men and women who were closer to Jesus than anyone else were unable to recognize Him at first.
In a Bible Commentary I found that some scholars believe that he was not recognized because He had undergone some change at resurrection. Yet before each encounter was over they were able to recognize him.
I have a visual aid. Teachers like to use visual aids. Look at the wood carving picture and tell me what it says.
It illustrates what I am talking about. Most people when they look at this small sign do not see the name on it. Just stare at it and relax your eyes a little. You will see that the word Jesus is there as plain as can be. in fact, once you identify that it says Jesus, you will have a hard time not seeing it.
When Jesus conquered death and arose from the tomb He was changed but he was not changed so as to be unrecognizable.
The Grand Commandery Message (for that year) stated in part, “Christ is Risen! Everything about Christianity depends on that.” We look for Him to come again because he has risen, and we all know that Ascension took place . . . and yet that other fact of Christianity, Ascension, does not mean that He has left the world. He promised “Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
He also promised that wherever “two or three are gathered in His name – there He would be also.”
I believe those promises are being kept today – right here – right ow.
Christ is a work in the world today and the works which He does today are, as Jon says, “so many that if they were written, everyone, I supposed that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”
These works are after the Resurrection and after the Ascension.
My question today is simple – Do we recognize the Christ? If not, will we begin to look for Him in today’s world?
Today’s world does not always paint a pretty picture for us to look at. We can’t always make sense of what seems to be happening around us. However, once we begin to recognize the Christ and look for Him daily, we will find it hard not to see Him.
One of my favorite stories is A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. I read it every year to my class. In that story, about the author as a young boy and his “friend” a rather simple minded cousin there is one instance which I would like to relate at this time. This cousin is an elderly lady who, along with the author, is just tolerated by their relatives. They are each others “best friend” and spend a lot of time together. In this instance they are sitting on a hillside flying their Christmas presents to each other – a pair of kites. As they sit on the grass Capote’s friend cries,
“suddenly alert like a woman remembering too late she has biscuits in the oven. ‘You know what I’ve always thought?’ she asks in a tone of discovery, and not smiling at me but at a point beyond, ‘I’ve always thought a body would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And I imagined that when He came it would be like looking at the Baptist window: pretty as colored glass with the sun pouring through, such a shine you don’t know it’s getting dark. And it’s been a comfort; to think of that shine taking away all the spooky feeling. But I’ll wager it never happens. I’ll wager that at the very end a body realizes the Lord has already shown Himself. That things as they are’ – her hand circles in a gesture that gathers clouds and kites and grass and Queenie pawing earth over her bone – ‘just as they’ve always been was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes.’”
“Just what they’ve always seen, was seeing Him.” Think of that – this child-like mind had the wisdom to recognize the Christ. And what a blessing that she was able to communicate that faith, that wisdom, to another child so that years later he would remember and write about it to share with us today.
I feel that it is our job as Christians to look constantly for the Christ – to invite “that Mind to be in us that was also in Christ Jesus.” into our lives. to see Him and to invite Him to work through us to make the world ready for Him – to recognize and exemplify the Christ..
Christ is with us today and He is recognizable to those who ar ewilling to enter into the spirit and look beyond material things to find Him.
Remember that visual aid? Remember that you at first you had to work to see the name, Jesus. Now that you have seen it you can’t see anything else. And yet nothing about the sign has changed – only our way of seeing it. Recognizing the Christ is sort of like that, At first you have to work to see Him, but once you begin you will find it hard to see anything else.
You will recognize him in the smile of a child – in the love of parents for their children; even in the halls of government when a step is made towards compassion or world peace; in the comforting touch given to those who mourn in every single facet of your everyday life once you begin to recognize him. He is there!
Someone recently wrote a question about the Second Coming to Bishop John Shelby Spong (who is one of my heroes) His response was, in part:
“On an even deeper level I think Christ comes each day in me when I live fully, love wastefully and dare to be all that I can be. When I assist others in the task of living loving and being, I think Christ comes to them. I commend that pattern to you.” I agree.
- John Shelby Spong
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Today I want to talk about Leadership. Particularly Masonic Leadership. I used to work with the Rainbow Girls - I was on the Rainbow Board, Chairman of Rainbow Grand Assembly, a Grand Executive and helped start the Rainbow Foundation and was President of it for awhile. Rainbow says that it teaches leadership (among other things) and it does. When I watched the girls begin in the order as shy little 12 year olds and then blossom (yes that is the right word) into poised young leaders it made all the effort that went into Rainbow worth it. (Unfortunately Rainbow has declined over the years to the point where they can hardly fill a big room at a motel for Grand Assembly whereas they used to fill half the Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University - That is due more to a lack of adult leadership than anything else)
The girls were taught several basics of good leaders. They had to plan, preside, cooperate and push to accomplish their goals.
In Masonry, unfortunately, the leadership gets the idea that they do not have to cooperate and push. Sometimes they don't even plan. A basic fallicy of the Lodge system of leadership is that a man can hold office for seven years through a progressive line and never learn how to be a leader.
The gavel s the emblem of the Master and some of them think that all they have to do is learn how to rap the gavel one, two or three times and that is all that is required of them (Aside from the basic ritual which I have discussed earlier.
In Iowa we have several programs in place to help an officer learn to become a leader. In Texas, when I was down there this summer, I heard of "Warden's Retreats where they hold meetings with Wardens and try to give them training to become effective Masters. All well and good.
Unfortunately there is a fly in the ointment.
"You are the Master, It is up to you."
In other words, the man gets the idea that as Master he is a dictator and folks that just isn't the way to accomplish much. Even some Grand Master's have that idea.
I have seen all types over the past 41 years in Masonry. When I first came back to Ames we had a Master who would walk into the Lodge Room from the West - Go straight through the room to his station neither looking right or left and open and preside at the business meeting. I spent most of my time that year in Eastern Star and the York Rite.
Some Masters were "Hail fellow, well met, types of guys but they did not accomplish much during their year. Others made plans for activities but never followed through on them and did not even try to do them. When it came time for the scheduled event they just dropped it because it was too much trouble to get people involve. Others allowed degree work to take over and become the only thing that was done during the year. Degree work is a good thing but it won't (by itself) keep a Lodge active and viable.
When my mother was Worthy Matron of Eastern Star she sat the 17 officers down and told them that after the meeting they were to spread themselves out around the dining room and be hostesses and hosts to the members. After the members left the officers wold often go to a local restaurant to continue their fellowship and we had a good feeling that year. Things have changed.
Grand Lodge is that way also. I was visiting with a Past Grand Master last week-end and mentioned that one group of Grand Officers always seemed to "hang out" together. They were always off in a corner or sitting around a table together and never mingled with the Craft. Not really exhibiting the leadership we would like to see. He tole me that he was aware of that and he, like my mother, had told his officers to mingle.
Men go though the world in one of two ways according to a poem I once read and wish I still had a copy of it. You either look forward observing and planning and acting or you go through life looking backward and the only feeling you have is a "tingle in your ass" as events pass you by. Crude but true!
Some Masters have gone through the line and when they get to be Master do not have a clue as to what they are suppose to do. They are in a perpetual fog. to them the honor and glory of being Master is enough. They are not interested in making the Lodge (or Grand Lodge) better and stronger. They are not interested in cooperating and training the other officers to be the best they can be. For them doing the ritual is enough. They don't really have a clue.
I remember one of my officers complaining that as an officer he had never been involved in the decision making process of the Lodge. He was correct. Up until my year (1980) the Master did everything. And not much was done. Having been involved in York Rite and Eastern Star offices I wanted to change some things. The first thing I did with my officers was to sit them all down and plan the year. We set goals and ways to accomplish them. I came up with a tool for planning which I called Matrix planning. Later I wrote an article about it for the Knights Templar magazine called: Seven Steps for Success. The next thing we did was a complete revision of the By-laws most of which are still in force today. (One thing we put in them was a provision for an Annual Review of the By-laws - However, if you don't read the By-laws you don't follow them) We also planned and carried out a lot of activities.
The officer who complained went on to become Master and he did things as a dictator- just what he wanted with no help or input from officers or members. So, what do you do? Fortunately some of the others who followed him were better.
On a side note I have always said that the most important task of a Master is deciding who he will "start through the line." He doesn't want to just pick a good ritualist. He needs to pick a good leader and hopefully one (or more) who, when their time comes, will be better than he. Someone who will do the best job he can for the Lodge (or the Grand Lodge) and keep it growing stronger and better each year. unfortunately it doesn't always work that way.
I have always found that democracy takes time and effort. As a school teacher of fifth and sixth grade level I decided that I did not want the parents (or me) deciding everything for my students. I saw that the kids could plan and carry our and evaluate their own parties during the year so I worked to teach them. First we wrote a Constitution. I had them look over a simplified copy of the US Constitution (Thanks to the Scottish Rite for making it available in a nice little book). We
talked about what the parts of the Constitution were and they worked to write a Preamble stating the reasons for having their constitution. Then they worked on By-laws and rules of order and when they got done they elected class officers, held regular business meetings, Made and seconded motions (I move that NEVER I make a motion that) and planned activities and carried them out.
They were gems.
We also had sessions after the event where we evaluated the party and discussed (one at a time - please stand to make your comments) what we could do differently. Parents could provide the treats that the students decided on but they never planned the parties. My room mothers did not have a lot to do. The kids did it all and I think (hope) they learned from it. (I did exercise VETO power sometimes just because they wanted to watch a certain movie I was the one who was going to get in trouble for it if anyone complained - I learned that one the hard way)
So in conclusion I think there are several things a good leader must do - including, but not limited to:
PLAN - Think your ideas through and then bounce them off from some people who you respect. Then take them to the next step.
INVOLVE - Get as many people involved in the planning and carry out as you can.
ORGANIZE - Put your plans down in a systematic way so that they can be carried out with the maximum involvement with your membership.
PUSH - AKA - Follow through. You can't expect things to just happen You must stay engaged and keep on top of those responsible for accomplishing whatever task is agreed upon.
EVALUATE - After the event do a "Postmortem" with those involved. It will help in setting in their minds the pitfalls for the next event and will give everyone a sense of accomplishment.
This does not even address the all important issue of remembering that the Lodge is a big business. As such there is a fiscal responsibility necessary. You receive a lot of money from the members. (My Lodge dues are $80. a year and likely to go up.) You have to pay for the running of the lodge (lights, gas, telephone, garbage pick-up, routine maintenance, supplies, etc.) and the activities of the lodge. All of this costs money and dues (at the current level) aren't going to pay for all of it. So the Master, officers and members need to plan a budget and then follow through on expenditures to make sure that the Lodge stays within the budget.
All of this involves work and major balancing act for the leader. Plus the fact that he MUST keep the membership interested and active and be a gentleman at all times. You may want to call some of the Past Masters (and others) old poops but ou had better not. They will give you more support than any other group in the Lodge besides your officers. They've "been there and done that" and they know what you are going through. good Luck.
Enough of that. No Larry I did not have writer's block. Just didn't feel much like blogging. Be satisfied with what you get. I appreciate the puns you dedicated to me on you blog so here is one for you.
Two Catholic Boys
There were two Catholic boys, Timothy Murphy and Antonio
Secola, whose lives parallel each other in amazing ways. In the same
year Timothy was born in Ireland , Antonio was born in Italy . Faithfully
they attended parochial School from kindergarten through their senior
year in high school. They took their vows to enter the priesthood early
in college, and upon Graduation, became priests.
Their careers had come to amaze the world, but it was
generally acknowledged that Antonio Secola was just a cut above
Timothy Murphy in all respects. Their rise through the ranks of Bishop,
Archbishop and finally Cardinal was swift to say the least, and the
Catholic world knew that when the present Pope died, it would be one of
the two who would become the Next Pope.
In time the Pope did die, and the College of Cardinals
went to work. In less time than anyone had expected, white smoke rose
from the chimney and the world waited to see whom they had chosen.
The world, Catholic, Protestant and secular, was surprised
to learn that Timothy Murphy had been elected Pope!
Antonio Secola was beyond surprise. He was devastated,
because even with all of Timothy's gifts, Antonio knew he was the
With gall that shocked the Cardinals, Antonio Secola asked
for a private session with them in which he candidly asked, "Why Timothy?"
After a long silence, an old Cardinal took pity on the
bewildered man and rose to reply. "We knew you were the better of the
two, but we just could not bear the thought of the leader of the Roman
Catholic Church being called Pope Secola."