1984 Arrives Thirty Years Late: Say Goodby to Privacy Forever if This Bill Passes

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Legislation called “The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act” has been introduced in both houses of Congress. Nice name, no? Don’t you think you should have “the right to know before you go” to a college or university?

What it really means is that the federal government will:

authorize the creation of a federal database of all college students, complete with their personally identifiable information, tracking them through college and into the workforce, including their earnings, Social Security numbers, and more. The ostensible purpose of the bill? To provide better consumer information to parents and students so they can make “smart higher education investments.”

Big Data, the answer to all problems. All you need do is surrender your privacy and become someone’s data point, perhaps the point of sales.

Barmak Nassirian, writing on the blog of Studentprivacymatters, warns about the dangers this legislation poses. He wrote originally…

View original 536 more words

Gullible citizens and prudent citizens

Proverbs 14:15  “The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.”

As the first session of our 29th state legislative session comes to an end, I wanted to share some of my thoughts.  This is not intended to come close to a comprehensive review of every bill presented over the past few months, or every legislator’s move.  What I do intend to address are the bills which were most important to me and the communications I had with legislators concerning those bills.

First up is Senate Bill 89, now being called CSSB89.  Below, you can read the sponsor statement on this committee substitute bill, and following that is a video of Senator Dunleavy which puts into words my own thoughts and findings.

SB89 Sponsor Statement for CS(EDC) Version

It is my firm belief that education of one’s child(ren) is not only a parental right, but also their obligation.  While some parents choose to hire out that responsibility to a public/private/charter school for one reason or another (I’m not judging individual situations here), others choose to take the lead and educate their children based out of their home.  In the end, it is parents who are held responsible for the education and direction of their child, regardless of who they chose to raise their child.  SB 89 reinforces this idea, while at the same time ensuring that the most involved parents are not penalized in some way for their awareness and sobriety in raising their future adults.  Also included in this bill is direction to keep abortion service providers and their materials out of schools.  I’m all for a qualified science teacher addressing the biology of human procreation and answering questions raised by their students.  I’m even for these teachers addressing the risks involved in physical intimacy, especially before marriage, and especially with multiple partners.  I am not for outside organizations who make money from the murder of infants and the destruction of families entering into the schools under the guise of educating the high-risk youth population.  Abortion service providers are attempting to put a band-aid (albeit one that causes more damage) on a problem that runs far too deep for them to come close to touching.

Now for Senate Bill 80, also sponsored by Senator Mike Dunleavy…

SB 80 Sponsor Statement

For many people, it may seem that education reform snuck up on us overnight.  I contend that the greatest atrocities to public education in the United States have been implemented within my own generation.  Standards have dropped, been adjusted, re-worded, slid up and down scales, and who knows what else.  Test have been created in order to collect data on school and teacher performance, thereby placing children into little boxes that must perform accordingly.  The jobs of teachers and administrators are now on the backs of our children, and schools that fail to perform according to varying formulas must create ridiculous plans in which they outline how they will fix whatever they perceive to be the problem.  Madness.  All madness.  How much better would it be to apply the absurd amount of funds currently applied to teaching teachers how to teach every new set of standards, implementing new tests and exams, and conforming to the federal government’s latest programs, to the paychecks of those educators on the front lines?  How much better off would we all be, if we were to go cold turkey from the strings-attached cash flow from the federal government, and take care of our own darn selves?  How much better off would our schools be – can you imagine?! – if we were to jump off the “latest and greatest curriculum” train and educate our children using *gasp* traditional texts and classic literature?  What if…?

What I appreciate about SB 80 is that AK DEED would no longer be allowed to quietly implement new standards and tests, nor accept federal monies, without being questioned about it and having the legislature approve the decisions.

On the house side, from the bold and courageous Representative Lora Reinbold, comes House Bill 85, and from Representative Gattis, House Bill 80.  I’m running out of time today that I can spend here on the computer, but I strongly urge you to read about these bills for yourself.  Here are the sponsor statements for each:

HB85 Sponsor Statement

HB80_Sponsor Statement

Perhaps education isn’t on your radar, but sport fishing is.  Is the oil industry important to you?  Whatever issues face our state and Alaskans as a people are likely being addressed to some degree in our state legislature.  Familiarize yourself with this website, which holds all working documents and has many archived documents, contact information for legislative members, and much more.  As the Proverb heading above attests to, those who are simple are easy to persuade – gullible.  Those who are prudent take time to consider the different sides of an issue and think through their words and actions.  May we all be found prudent in our lives, and not gullible, believing anything that tickles our ears.


The Liebster Award


Check that out.  Isn’t she a beaut?  This is my first blog award nomination, so excuse me if I make a big, goofy deal out of it.  The Liebster Award is given to blogs/bloggers who are new-ish and are still developing a strong following.  I was nominated by the witty authoress of Balancing Bedlam.  Thank you, Lisa!

Without further ado, here are the rules that  accompany acceptance of this nomination:


I was asked to answer the questions that follow, so prepare yourself to be amazed!

  1. What’s your favorite movie?  I have many, but the first that comes to mind is The Odd Couple 2.  I can recite most of it from memory.
  2. What do you do for fun?  In my dreams, I spend a lot of time solo in the mountains.  In reality, I watch a lot of Hulu and read a lot of books far too quickly.
  3. If you could choose any profession in the world, what would you do?  I would be a librarian in a privately-owned library.
  4. Where would you move with your family if you could go anywhere?  We would move off the road system, but stay in Alaska, aka the greatest land on earth.
  5. What’s one thing you wish you had done before kids or when you were younger?  I would have loved to have traveled out of country for a year or so.  Seeing as my husband and I started out so young, we still have lots of time left to see the world, and we get to include our amazing young people in some of our adventures.
  6. What’s something you look forward to later in life?  I’m most looking forward to shifting priorities one day, from wife and homeschool mama, to wife and full-time community volunteer.  If I could work part-time and volunteer part-time once we are empty-nesters, I’d be grateful for that, too.  I’m excited for the future that I can’t see, but that I know God has waiting for me.
  7. What’s one of your favorite books?  Aside from the Bible, Pride and Prejudice could satisfy my literary desires for the rest of my life.
  8. What’s one goal you have for your blog?  One?  Just one?!  Okay, I’ll play along.  One of the goals I have for my blog is to develop my written communication skills in a rapidly advancing, tech-driven world.
  9. Why did you begin blogging?  I began blogging as a creative outlet, sort of a public corkboard where I could semi-anonymously smash my written thoughts up whenever I took the time to jot them down.
  10. Who is one person, living or dead, you’d love to meet?  Thomas Savage!  He is an ancestor of mine who came to North America in 1607.
  11. What’s your absolute ideal weather?  72 degrees F, partly cloudy, with evening rain as we fall asleep.

On to eleven random facts about yours truly!

  • I have super-tiny toenails on my baby toes.
  • I’m not a fan of massages.
  • I had braces for about four years.
  • I have a hard time taking people seriously if they are provocatively dressed.
  • I would love to have long, thick, curly hair.
  • I take deep pride in being a natural blonde.
  • I knew my husband (before he became my husband) roughly four months before we decided to get married.
  • I want to throw a wet sponge at anyone who says they “don’t read”.
  • As a toddler, I winked at men in uniforms.
  • I wish I’d had more confidence in myself growing up.
  • I rejoice daily that all three of my children thoroughly enjoy reading.

I nominate:

As for questions for MY nominees to answer, I really like the ones I was given, and will paste them below:

  1. What’s your favorite movie?
  2. What do you do for fun?
  3. If you could choose any profession in the world, what would you do?
  4. Where would you move with your family if you could go anywhere?
  5. What’s one thing you wish you had done before kids or when you were younger?   
  6. What’s something you look forward to later in life?  
  7. What’s one of your favorite books?
  8. What’s one goal you have for your blog?
  9. Why did you begin blogging?
  10. Who is one person, living or dead, you’d love to meet?
  11. What’s your absolute ideal weather?

Hold That Thought. . .If You Can

AK Rambler:

I have what the author of this blog calls a “Sizzler”. This entry called, “Hold That Thought…If You Can” applies SO PERFECTLY in our home that I wanted to share it with you. After you read it, and perhaps other entries at Sizzle Bop, come on back here and tell me about a Sizzler in your life!

Originally posted on Sizzle Bop Blog:

Sizzlers often miss what’s going on around them. This can be a problem in many ways. Read this mom’s letter to learn about one of them.

I have a sizzler who is a great talker. The challenge is creating boundaries.  For instance if I need to change little sister’s diaper and little sister is busy playing catch me if you can, it may not be the best moment to ask to play a video game or tell me about a favorite event from 2 weeks ago. Is it even worth trying to set that boundary?  Or is it a futile cause in your opinion/experience?

Thanks for your wisdom!


Dear Sara,

What pleases me most is that you’ve assumed I had wisdom. A thousand blessings on your day.

I have experience. I have headaches. And I even have Sizzler stories I…

View original 750 more words

That old adage about more being caught than taught

AK Rambler:

Because this is so important, every single day, I’d like to share this again. I’d be grateful if you’d spread it around the web, as I hope these ideas – which are not original to me – will positively impact other families, as well as my own.

Originally posted on Dabblings and Ramblings:

There’s a poem written by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D., titled “Children Learn What They Live”.  You can find the book with the original work here, and a slightly different version of the poem follows below, shown on a lovely afghan:


A disclaimer belongs here – this poem is often viewed as being somewhat humanistic.  I cannot wholly disagree with any part of it, though.  Too often our pride causes us to lash out in anger at the deficiencies we think we see in our children.  What will others think, right?  What will others say about us when we aren’t around?  Our insecurities about what we see wrong in ourselves causes us to overreact when trying to shape our children into what we wish we could be.  Our criticism of any child – ours or others’ – could come from any number of things, few (if any) of them…

View original 263 more words

S.O.A.K.ing up the Word, Colossians 3:19-20

Read your Bible.  Read it every day, in any order.  Just open it and read it.  

What I’m sharing here is my Bible study from this morning.  I like the SOAK method, which is also referred to as SOAP.  The “S” stand for scripture, the “O” for observation, the “A” for application, and the “K” for kneeling in prayer (or “P” for prayer).  If you want to learn more about this method, or color-coding what you read, a good place to visit is the Women Living Well site.

SOAK Colossians 3:19-20

Colossians 3:19-20

S:  Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.  Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

O:  Why must husbands be reminded to “love…and do not be bitter” toward their wives?  What form of love is being referenced here?  It is natural – though unacceptable – for a wife to take the lead over her husband or for a child to disobey.  Is the implication then that it is natural for a husband to be bitter, harsh, resentful, and/or unloving toward his wife?

A:  Being neither husband nor child, these verses don’t seem to apply directly to me at first read.  However, seeing what my husband and children are being instructed to do, I can support and encourage them.  I can encourage my husband in being loving by being generally lovable.  I cannot control his thoughts or feelings, but I can control my end and not make things difficult on his end.  I can also model discretion and gentleness in my speech as often as possible.  By being a consistent example in our home, I can set the tone for all of us to avoid being harsh toward one another.  As for bitterness, I suppose I can, in conversation and prayer, work through any feelings I have that might lead to bitterness, regardless of where or to whom they are directed.  That practice could lay the groundwork for my husband to feel safe doing the same.  Concerning the children and their obedience, I should always be a clear communicator, and make sure that expectations are age and ability-appropriate.  I should also be as consistent as possible, and ask for forgiveness when I make mistakes.

K:  My God, you are an awesome God!  You reign over Heaven above with wisdom, power, and love.  You are an awesome God!  I ask that you forgive my slip-ups and willful sins.  Forgive me for my impatience, for the times when I have considered taking the lead over my husband, in any form.  Please, forgive my lackadaisical and inconsistent manner of training my children to biblically obey.  I thank you for your daily providence, for your grace, and for your perfect example of what real love looks like.  According to your Word, I can ask you for your wisdom, and I pray you will grant it to me according to your Will that I may bring you honor and glory in all I do.  I pray for your protection over the hearts of my family, especially my husband’s at work, and my children’s as they spend more time among those who don’t follow you.  In the name of your beautiful Son, Amen.

Music that makes you feel good

Short post this morning to share what may be old hat to some of you.  I recently discovered the talented Lennon & Maisy duo, sisters who perform on the TV show “Nashville”.  I’ve never watched the show and have no intention of doing so, which is likely why I’m just now learning about these two.  Check them out folks, aren’t they something?  I could listen to them ALL day.  Their covers are like sunshine to me.

Another blog caught my mind

Yeah, the blog didn’t catch my eye so much as my mind.  I must have scrolled past a repost of the Facebook post of the blog or something, I don’t recall exactly where I found it.  I still have the page up in one of my browser tabs though, and I want to share it with the couple hundred of you who are so kind as to have my ramblings pop up in your reader.  So this guy, a Mr. Dazet, says that we – everyone – should stop telling hurting people that they should let us know if they need anything.  I was intrigued and read through his points.  I was not expecting the points he shared.  In fact, my little world stopped for a moment while I resolved to do the same thing that he resolved to do.  Read about it for yourself, and please share your thoughts with one or both of us.

Next, I began navigating through the site, and found another post which piqued my interest.  At one time or another many of us reflect on how we order our days.  When did you last contemplate your priorities?  Another way of phrasing this would be to choose your “life themes”.  (Last year I spent some time thinking over and writing out my life themes, at least for my current season of life.  One of these days I’ll get around to putting together a post on all of that.)  Dazet poses some questions to himself, then concludes in part with the following, “Look at your schedule:  What you see is what you value.  And what you don’t see isn’t getting your attention.”

So what do you say?  Will you try something new in you relationships?  Will you give your daily tasks a hard look and see what they are telling you?  Let me know if you do.  I’d like to hear how it goes. :-)


While trying out a funnel cake recipe (see below) in my cast iron this evening, I was thinking to myself (as I often do) about the whys and hows of being a unique mama to my unique children. Every human being is just a bit different from all the others, and no matter how much we tend to group and re-group ourselves for the purposes of belonging or collecting data, we will always be amazingly unique individuals with our own special journeys. The recipe that follows is something I created while standing at the stove tonight. While it may not apply to all, I feel it follows certain patterns that if we pay attention, are fairly common amongst families.

Recipe for encouraging rebellion in your children’s hearts:
1 part rules (hold the reason)
2 parts hypocrisy
1/2 a slice of disrespecting their personal space
1 part passive disapproval of their changing personality
Sprinkle on responsibilities, making sure to withhold the appropriate privileges.
Pour quickly into a hot (hormonal) pan, and hold over the fire until it breaks or causes damage to your home.

Have you seen this in your life? Perhaps there are other “recipes” you are familiar with, maybe even ones that produce something more positive. I’d be ever so grateful if you would share them with me in the comments below.  Last, but not least, here is the funnel cake recipe I pulled from the Food Network website, which lists Robert Irvine as its author.

Funnel Cake with Powdered Sugar
Ingredients: 1 liter canola oil, 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 eggs, 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
Directions: Heat oil in deep-fryer to 350 degrees F (I used a deep cast iron pan). Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in eggs and milk. Pour 1/2 cup batter through funnel into hot oil, moving in a circular motion as you do so, to make each spiral-shaped funnel cake. Fry each spiral of batter until golden brown, about 2 or 3 minutes. Remove with tongs and lay on paper toweling to absorb oil (I spread paper napkins under a cooling rack). Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar through a sieve onto top of hot dough. Serve immediately. Here is a collage of one of mine as it cooked.


If I Wasn’t My Husband’s Wife

For those of you who don’t know my family, my husband’s name is John.  John is a pretty special guy.

A loyal husband and adoring father, he is determined to provide for our family, both materially and otherwise.  I know this for a fact, because in the time between leaving military service and being handed a lucrative job that took him away from us for 8 months a year, he began interviewing for entry-level jobs that he would then stack in order to continue our homeschooling lifestyle.  My husband is a provider.

I know that he is loyal to me, because there was a time when I had all but given up on him due to our inability to communicate and connect.  He never gave up on me, though, and we have grown stronger through the years by relying on the third person in our marriage – Jesus Christ.  My husband is loyal.

I know he is a great father, because I have seen him grow into that role.  He knew he had always wanted children, and he also knew that he had no idea how to be a good father.  He knew what kind of father he didn’t want to be though, so that is where he began.  He knew nothing of screaming infants and diaper changes, but after his initial anxiety he became a help in some of those times.  He flourished as the father of preschoolers, for his forte at the time was creating magical and hysterical stories off the top of his head, dressing up and playing make-believe, and playing at playgrounds as though he wasn’t a full-grown man.  He is hesitant for the final true years of childhood, because we are realizing more and more that being a young adult these days presents more and different challenges than we were faced with when we were going into middle school and high school.  Also, because we choose to follow Jesus as our Savior and example (don’t get me wrong, we fail every day), our standards for morality tend to be higher, as our culture continues to lower its own standards.  We  keep making an effort to pull together as husband and wife, showing our children that we are a team that often disagrees, yet remains unified.  My husband is a loving and devoted father.

But what if he wasn’t my husband?

What if I wasn’t his wife?

I would be hoping for a man like him.

Knowing what I know about him – the circumstances of his youth, his journey in becoming a man, his failures and successes – I would want to be his wife.  I would know that no matter how many times we failed each other, he would always be there, wanting to try again.

At this point in my considering his qualities, I am feeling humbled.  Am I still making the efforts that would be necessary in winning him over were I not his wife today?  If he and I were to meet today, would I have made enough effort in my conversation and appearance to encourage his getting to know me more deeply?  If I had to win over my husband today, could I?

On a practical level, this is how I am putting these musings to use…

In thought – Speak truth, seasoned with love, patience, and kindness.  Use discretion in speaking about others, and use words of encouragement.  If I am always negative of others, or putting others down, or using harsh/embarrassing speech, I could easily cause harm to his reputation or speak about him in the same way.

In deed – Before marriage, much thought went into outward appearance.  When getting ready each day, some of that effort should still be there, for he is still worth attracting.  Before marriage, much effort went into practicing good manners and learning to anticipate his needs and desires.  While those tasks can be exhausting and all but impossible while going about the day raising children and keeping our home, I can still try whenever possible.  He is worth whatever love-filled attempts I can muster.

For the wives reading this, I hope you will be encouraged to continue making an effort for your husbands, whatever that may mean to the two of you.

For the husbands reading this, consider what it might take to get your wife’s attention today, and what you would be willing to do to make her yours.  Then perhaps take small steps toward some of those things.  Surely she is worth it.

As always, please leave your thoughts below, I love reading them :-)