Are we missing the trees for the forest in Oregon school funding and education reform debates?
Media reports, school districts, and political leaders usually focus on the big picture: reaching a 100% high school graduation rate so all children have the best chance in life. That’s a great goal. Frequently lost, however, is the fact that every child is an individual. The focus of real-life Oregon parents is helping their kids reach their potential in light of their specific needs and gifts.
These two perspectives shouldn’t be at odds. In fact, the second could drive the first if more parents were empowered to make meaningful choices for their children’s education. Continue reading
Running through my neighborhood recently, I started praying for the people around me. The Lord is definitely growing in me a love for my neighbors, and praying for them is becoming more routine. This particular day, I started praying big, crazy prayers; “Lord heal marriages; restore broken relationships; deliver people from sickness, disease, addictions; bring Your salvation to families”. I felt empowered as I prayed verses that came to mind for each situation. Then I asked God to release an army of His angels to surround my neighborhood and battle against every evil and dark force affecting us. Continue reading
All the sunshine and flowers have brought forth a larger than usual show of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies; the lovely yellow ones with black markings and a long, separated tail. They love the bushes with cone shaped clusters of tiny purple flowers and the roses. These lovely insects are my favorites for a very special reason.
The Sunday before my mother died, she had disappeared into a comatose state; at once a blessing and a sadness. I had given my sister a much needed respite from sitting beside her as she lay in a hospital bed in her family room. The sliding glass doors leading to the patio were open. The scene was one she had always loved. The blooming roses and myriad of other flowers were periodically covered with the Tiger Swallowtail butterflies. They were Mom’s favorites, also. She had once spent happy hours sitting among them. Continue reading
We’re finally past “January” in Oregon and the vagaries of July, so we can actually find outdoor weather a little more reliable. Residents of Oregon and visitors as well, it’s time to take a hike in our beautiful countryside. Always with a cellphone, water, food, and a jacket in order to be prepared “just in case.” A good motto no matter what you are planning.
A trail map and a plant and/or animal guide is always a good idea too. While I’ve made it a point to know my animals, it’s the plants (especially herbs and weeds) that I’ve been trained in. The natural world appeals to me way more than Big Pharmacy, though there is a place for both in our modern society.
Rather than buying over-processed herbal preparations in plastic bottles from a large profit-oriented outlet, I prefer to be closer to the source and know what I’m using. Sort of like going to the farmers’ market or food co-op rather than buying processed, over packaged foods from faraway lands in a big-box store. Continue reading
A Columbia Gorge summer highlight arrives soon. Loaded with exhibits, family-friendly tradition, and fun for everyone, the Hood River County Fair, returns to the Hood River County Fairgrounds, Wednesday through Saturday, July 26-29. The fair has been named “best in the state.” It’s known for outstanding entertainment, fun activities for kids and adults, a wide variety of displays, and food to please every taste. The fairgrounds are at 3020 Wy’east Road, south of Hood River, Oregon, near the community of Odell. The Hood River County Fairboard organizes the fair, and a wonderful group of community sponsors and hard-working volunteers make it possible.
The fair serves up open class, 4-H, FFA, and commercial exhibits of all kinds, along with carnival rides and midway fun, exotic animals, livestock, daily appearances by dynamic performers, special entertainment every evening—including Country Music’s Sammy Kershaw on Saturday–great activities, and all kinds of delicious food. Continue reading
July is National Picnic Month – therefore, it’s hardly surprising that the following are “official” national holidays to be celebrated this month: National Grilling Month, Hot Dog Month, Pickle Month, Horseradish Month, Baked Beans Month, Ice Cream Month, Watermelon Month, AND let’s not forget that July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day!
• The Battle of Gettysburg, July 1 to July 3, 1863, is considered by many military historians as the turning point of the American Civil War, because it marked the last major attempted invasion of the North by the Confederacy. Continue reading
This year is flying past. It has been a cold wet year here in Oregon. This is what Steve Solomon, author of “Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades,” would call a cabbage year. If you are growing a garden to actually feed your family you’d better be growing cabbage. Many people till their garden area around May 15 and put in all their starts in a single weekend.
Corn seed rots pretty quickly in cold wet soils, so planting too early or when the ground is still cold will result in very low rates of germination and stunted growth. Yesterday, I saw the first signs of life from my corn area, little two-inch shoots coming up. I soak my seed in warm water to hasten germination. I have found it makes a real difference. Continue reading
Recently I have been a “guest” at two of the local hospitals. For those of you who have had similar experiences the one thing you look forward to during your stay is meal time. Traditionally, hospital food could best be described as institutional and tasteless, without regard to presentation or convenience of delivery. However, there is one hospital that has split from the herd, Adventist Medical Center.
To my surprise and delight, they had items that were on their order menu that I would expect in a fine dining restaurant. I thought this was too good to be true. So, I picked up the phone and ordered my meal. It was delivered on time and hot…except for the carrot cake.
For this story, I interviewed Irene Franklin, who is a real fireball and a get-things-done type of person. Franklin is Director of Nutritional Services and a Registered Dietitian. Continue reading
On a gorgeous spread of farmland plateau above the Columbia River outside Hood River stands the Double Mountain Horse Ranch. It’s hard to imagine a better place for those seeking the adventure and renewal that comes from riding a beautiful trail on horseback.
“Horses captured me from an early age,” says owner Margo Goodman.
When the opportunity arose seven years ago, Goodman made the decision to cash in her retirement account of $80,000 and purchase the ranch. “It has been a wonderful journey,” she says. “The Lord has had His hand in my life, guiding me and keeping me healthy through horsemanship.” Continue reading
Nature photographer Nancy J. Smith has received her sixth national award from the Calendar Marketing Association (CMA). The Association sponsors the industry’s premier awards program honoring the highest quality in calendar design and production. Smith’s 2017 ‘The Majestic Pacific Northwest’ calendar was submitted in a category with the widest pool of competitors: Wall Class Retail Division, Best Scenic Photography category. Criteria used by the CMA panel of judges to select its winners include: calendar originality, information quality, complete execution of the subject or theme and quality of photography.
“I think what makes my calendar unique is the ‘close-up corner’ on each page, where I provide a showcase for the flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest. There, I provide in-depth background and detail on a particular wildflower or species of wildlife I’ve found in the region. A big part of each photographic adventure is my anticipation of what I’m going to see – it’s always different. I challenge myself to give audiences the sense of what I’m seeing and feeling. I’m thrilled by CMA’s recognition but my biggest reward is bringing joy and inspiration to others through my work.” Continue reading