Written July 3, 2013

Fourth Of July
Our Flag

I was looking at the flag like I always do each morning, standing back after saluting it, thinking about what we have and are taking for granted.

I have flown the flag all these years, not as a duty, but as a privilege. See, I did not need Congress to tell me I could solute the flag in my civilian clothes. I have done it every morning from the time I retired from the Army, just as I did every day while I wore the uniform.

While I was looking at the flag this morning, I saw faces of the past peering from within. I saw faces that I have seen firsthand, with lifeless bodies and death in their eyes. I saw the tears that were shed on the battle fields by their peers. I saw the faces of all people in the support groups, no matter what service, doing their best to get the necessary, needed munitions and equipment, without which they could not survive. I saw the tired faces of the communicators, as their hours ran into days, the days into months, and the months into years, with untiring efforts to get the traffic back to the people so they could plan the tactics to win the next battle.

I saw the faces in the support units working hour after hour to fix and get the needed materials back to the troops that needed them. I saw the happy faces of the loved ones as they returned to their families after having been away, supporting our country and what they believed in. I saw the faces of sorrow and heartbreak of the families as they gave their loved ones back to this land, returning their bodies to the land they gave their lives for.

I saw the faces of the people who remained here and supported, defended, and worked with pride in the defense of this country. I saw the majority of these faces putting God as the Real Commander and Chief at the forefront of this country. I saw the faces of the majority of people flying our flag with pride and dignity. Without all these faces, I could only see a flag.
Now I see these faces fading and getting fewer… I see other activities taking away the people who once lined the streets waving the flag with pride. I don’t see parents teaching their kids the pride that they not yet understood, but knew how to sing AMERICA and say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, that one day would mean the same to them as it did to their parents.
I see the educators of our children teaching them not how great this country is and how much they have to be proud of, but that this county is “flawed.” I see fewer and fewer flags displayed with pride, without care of how they are properly displayed, or even taking the time to find out about Flag Etiquette: When and how you put them to full staff and half, etc. I see the dwindling of pride. It saddens me to see our values, ideals and pride of our country continually disappear…

I pray that people once again put the real Commander In Chief at the head of the nation, that the flag once again has a meaning of what the country stands for, taking the time to display it to the world, showing that we are still here and still fighting for what we believe in and what our forefathers passed on to us. Let this Fourth of July be the turning point of putting this country back on its way to again be the shining light to an Idea that all men are created equal and endowed with life, liberty and pursuit of happiness… Today make the commitment to restore America to the greatest nation this world has ever had, and putting the Constitution back as the document that protects our rights from a government that would slowly but surely take away all our rights granted to us by this great document. Remember, without your sacrifices and dedication, this will not happen. Be willing to stand up for what you believe in or you will never stand up for anything.

Thanks for letting this old man ramble on through this. I know you can tell that I am not an author or a connoisseur of words. I am just one of the people that are not liked very much by the people in DC nowadays. I love God, Our Country as it was, and the right to do what I have to in order to protect my family, which is my responsibility that was given to me by my Father in Heaven, and the Constitution. Without the faces I saw in the flag when I looked at it, it’s once again just a flag.

God Bless You and Our Country. Spend the 4th with some time and thoughts of what this day means and what the flag represents. YOU are the country’s destiny. Live up to your obligations as an American. God Bless!

Thomas Ponder


My father used to say, “If you don’t stand up for something, you’ll fall for anything.”  Do you know what you believe, or do you just sort of wander around the buffet table picking and choosing a little of this philosophy and a bit of that ideal?  We are a society of Weebles.  You remember Weebles, right???  They wobble but they don’t fall down.  Nobody stands strong because the virus called political correctness has made us afraid that we will be profiling or judging another if we disagree with them.  It’s maddening. 

I know this was for the 4th of July, but it’s always appropriate to post good thoughts about patriotism.  If our educators could get children to put their phones down and get off the computers for just a few hours, then teach some very basic lessons such as the song AMERICA and the Pledge of Allegiance.  Wow, how about a prayer?  I remember prayer in school.  We didn’t have one tenth of the grief they have in school these days.  Hmm…  I wonder why?

Well – class is in session.  Let’s pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, You are our Commander and Chief forever.  Politicians come and they go in America.  We may agree with their ideology or not, but Father God, we keep our eyes fixed on You.  We know that You will take care of us regardless of the circumstances that surround us.  Please Lord, we ask that You will supernaturally protect the U.S. from radical Islāmic Terrorists.  Help us to use common sense and wisdom in deciding whether to allow more refugees into our country, knowing that terrorists could infiltrate and enter our country in this manner.  We want to be the people You want us to be, but we want to be safe in our country from the radicalized threat.  Lord, please help us to embrace more of our heritage in the classroom than we have in the past.  Our children need to learn about patriotism and have a positive attitude about America instead of being taught that we are somehow flawed or bad.  May we teach our young people the importance of respecting our country’s flag by teaching them the rules of flying it.  Lastly, Lord we pray that Christian parents will be strong about what they will and will not allow in the classroom.  We pray we don’t get too busy making a living to know what is going on in our children’s lives.  School is a strong influence on developing minds and hearts.  We pray that America will wake up and make You the ultimate Commander and Chief.  It’s in the wonderful Name of Christ Jesus we pray, Amen.

KEEP CALM AND PRAYIn the light of events in Dallas, TX – there’s a poem written by Lucinda that I want to post here today.  Please take a moment to pray for the families of fallen officers.  What a tragedy!  My heart is broken for those families in blue.  😦  As I told her earlier – well said!  STOP THE BLOOD





Logic:  a proper or reasonable way of thinking about or understanding something; a particular way of thinking about something;  the science that studies the formal processes used in thinking and reasoning

I sympathize with parents trying to explain common core math to their children because it clearly eludes anything that resembles logic.  Mathematics used to make sense, didn’t it?  Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  It was all very logical.  I mourn the loss of logic in the United States of America, don’t you?

Mind you, this is just a theory I subscribe to, and my opinion.  I think they have to find a new illogical method of mathematics to teach kids these days because if we were to look at the U.S. economy – i.e. the debt we owe – in a logical context – we would be forced to face reality and know without a doubt that our country is in serious trouble!

So the plan is to divert attention from the logical to the illogical.  If we just teach nonsensical mathematics to our children, they will be shielded from the cold hard truth of the matter.  Truth…  hmm – what’s that?

Next we will all be wanting a pet unicorn named Magic.

Jeb Bush supports common core.  I don’t endorse Jeb Bush.  Anyone who does not subscribe to logic is not a good candidate for President.  Again, it’s just my opinion.  Feel free to disagree.

I don’t often lean toward conspiracy theories, but where this so-called math is concerned, I see agenda written all over it!  If we make everything look more rosy, it will all just take care of itself…  magically.  How special is that?

You know, for the first time in my life, I can see how we will get to the point where the mark of the beast will come about.  I used to think, “There’s no way that could happen” – but now, oh yeah – I’m seeing the prophecy come to pass – big time!  Common core is just one more stepping stone…

In my house, if there is debt, we tighten our collective belt and tighten it up until it’s paid off!  That is logical problem solving in the real world.

America, let’s wake up!  Let’s take a logical look at problem solving in this country, starting with adding 2 with 2 and getting 4!  We have a whopping debt, but let’s cut government spending and shrink the government in half.  Doing that would be a start in the right direction.









These are words that we cherish as Americans, aren’t they?  To one degree or another, we all fight for them, but of course our military fights more than anyone!  Thank God for those who are willing to keep us safe and free!

I spent a few hours at the Book-A-Holic the other day – (yes, I said hours – lol).  Christians don’t typically admit to having bad habits, but reading – well, it’s habit-forming, don’t you agree?

By the time I figured in the books that I was trading in, my total came to $17.76.  Well, of course since it’s so close to the 4th, I was laughing and thinking this was just too cool.  The clerk, a young boy probably still in high school – he did not share my enthusiasm.  In fact, he shot me a look as if to say, “Are you okay?  Do I need to call someone?” 

As I read his expression, I quickly regained my composure and paid my bill.  I can’t help but wonder if a more mature person would have understood my attitude toward my total?  Ah, I will never know – but it does beg the question…  what ARE they teaching in high school history classes these days?

Most of us recognize 1776 – don’t we???  If they are not at least teaching that much, I have to wonder about what they are teaching the future generations.  Honestly, after watching an episode of “Waters World” on Fox – the complete ignorance of Americans about America just scares me.  If we are not aware of the mistakes our country has made in the past, we are sure to repeat them.

There are three subjects I aced in high school – English, music and history.  High school math was the pits because they were trying to teach us the metric system.  They were sure we were all going to convert – which, of course we didn’t.  Do I have to know how much a 2-liter of pop really is?  No – it’s a 2-liter of pop.

If you are a parent or grandparent, do me a favor and ask your kids or grandkids if they recognize the year 1776.  Ask them what happened in that year – and hopefully they can tell you.  Don’t let them be the clerk at the book store who is completely clueless about American history.  🙂



Over 250 museum advocates from around the country will gather in Washington, D.C. to make the case to Congress that museums are essential, especially in educating our youth.

If you can’t make it to Washington, D.C., that’s okay.  We advocate and support from anywhere!  Even from home!

Please take a moment today to share this on facebook and twitter:  #museumsadvocacy

Just copy and paste on your facebook wall or in your twitter account.  This small gesture will increase the awareness for museums all over the country.

January 2015 at the Wichita Art Museum.

Museums have a rightful place in our communities.  They aid in children’s education, and to be quite honest, I learn something new every time I visit a museum.  Our Wichita Art Museum has been a treasure since 1935.  Please visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WichitaArtMuseum and tell them Linda Palmer sent you!  Let them know you read about Museum Advocacy Day here on my blog.  What is going on this week at the Wichita Art Museum?

Chipping the Block, Painting the Silk: The Color Prints of Norma Bassett Hall

Guest-curated by Dr. Joby Patterson, Chipping the Block is the first one-woman exhibition of artist Norma Bassett Hall’s work since her death in 1957.

Born in Oregon, Bassett Hall studied at the Portland Art Association and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1922, she married Arthur Hall, who had been a fellow student at the Art Institute, and the couple settled in El Dorado, Kansas.

It was during these early years in Kansas that Bassett Hall explored the artistic possibilities of woodblock printing. 1930 marked the launch of the Prairie Print Makers, with Bassett Hall as the only female founding member. In her work, Hall employed line, color, and pattern with delicate skill, using up to seven blocks for each print.

On view in the Kurdian Gallery.

 Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.  – Robert Fulghum

The Ulrich Museum on the campus of Wichita State University is a great place to go, especially when your funds are a bit low.  All of their events and showings are free of charge.  And what’s on the schedule for this week?

No Defense of Abstract Art: A Brief History of the Non-representational

Alfred H. Barr, the first director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, famously said, “Abstract art today needs no defense. It has become one of the many ways to paint or carve or model. But it is not yet a kind of art which people like without some study and some sacrifice of prejudice.” In this curatorial talk, Dr. Brittany Lockard will discuss the history and development of abstraction, and how to read and evaluate art that uses line, shape, and color as subject matter.

Without awareness, appreciation and advocacy these programs would not be possible.  Visit your local art museum today and let them know you support them.  🙂










Raise a glass (of apple juice) for the 10th anniversary of SPECIAL EDUCATION DAY!  As we reflect and reform for the future, we also think back to the day that former President Ford signed  IDEA – the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

IDEA was ground-breaking legislation and provided education for all children with disabilities.  Although we’ve come a long way, we need to think about education in the future.  Back when I was in school, taking special education classes because of severe dyslexia, there was such a stigma that followed me and my friends everywhere we went.  It is extremely frustrating (even now) to be a slow learner.  Sometimes I don’t “catch” things very quickly and I hear someone say “duh”.  Just a quick note about that – it’s rude!  It’s also very rude to call us retarded or stupidIt’s sad that I even have to mention it.

I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until my mid-30’s.  Long days and nights in the library in college produced a collection of C’s.  Twelve of 13 medical schools rejected me.  I was told that I was the least talented person in my residency and advised not to go into cardiac surgery.  Time and again, I was told, “Don’t do it.”  But sometimes the best advice is that which you don’t take.  Instead of listening to people who told me to quit, I heeded the quote that sits on a small placard on my desk:  “What can be conceived can be created.”  I discovered only recently that it was from a 1980’s-era car advertisement.  That’s OK, though, because it reminds me that dreams should be lofty.  – Toby Cosgrove, M.D.

I’m sure kids today are more tolerant of their classmates who need a little extra help.  There’s so much awareness these days about bullying and hopefully the kids in special education are not teased like we were.  Through positive thinking, a patient teacher and innovation a child with special needs can be taught and one day be a vital, contributing member of society.   Basic criteria include patient teachers, pro-active schools and loving parents.

This day was created to honor progress in special education and celebrate students with disabilities.  We tip our hats to the teachers, schools and the patient parents and wish to open up a dialogue between them so that the children might benefit.  Hopefully as a result, appropriate reforms will be made as needed.

One reform that was launched through Special Education Day is SpedEx, an innovative and successful child-focused dispute resolution model that is free for schools and parents.  It works to create trust between the parties. For information about SpedEx, please visit www.spedexresolution.com.

If you are interested in hosting  a celebration large or small in your school district or community, contact SED at info@specialeducationday.com

I’m happy to know that special education has advanced from when I was a kid!  Hopefully through good communication, reforms will move special education forward, improving the teaching and learning for kids with special needs.  😀

Everyone needs a new devotional book to begin the new year!  Lucinda Berry Hill’s poetry makes a great Christmas gift!


Click on the link below to order your copy!


MATTHEW 7:15 ON 7/15

MATTHEW 7 15 ON 7 15

 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  – Matthew 7:15

As Christians we will be exposed to imposters and need to be aware of the possibility.  How will we know when we are around a wolf in sheep’s clothing?  I believe if we will pray and ask the Lord to help us use discernment, He will.  We should always be on guard and wise because Satan will imitate the things of God to trick us.  He is a master manipulator and will lay snares to entrap those who are ignorant and heedless.  Beware of hypocritical evil-doers.

Let God’s promises shine on your problems.  – Corrie Ten Boom

If we want to persevere, we have to be vigilant in prayer.  In the last days, we know there will be those who are “ear ticklers” and folks will flock to hear them because they will not be given the entire truth of God.  They will, in fact, be deceived, believing that they are walking the narrow way when they are not.

“What do you think of God,” the teacher asked. After a pause, the young pupil replied, “He’s not a think, he’s a feel.”  – Paul Frost

It is God’s will that the church be involved in educating people with the whole truth of the Bible so we will be ready for attacks.  Christians are not to be passive and uninvolved in life outside the walls of the church building.  As we see today, controversial issues have left Christians locking horns with government laws that do not agree with their personal beliefs.

It’s my opinion that we will see these kinds of issues more as time passes.

We need to remember that Satan is so sly and will make the wrong look right.  Just because it is more accepted in society does not make it acceptable to Christ.  If we are to follow Him, we must be fortified by His Holy Spirit and ready to resist the temptation to go along with the rest of the tide of public opinion about issues that are clearly called sin by God.

Learn God’s Word – in its entirety.  Pray that God will help you discern the sheep from the wolves.  🙂





It is GIVE KIDS A SMILE DAY!!!  Smiles are precious and if kids can get a good head start on one, that’s great.

Every smile makes you a day younger.  – Chinese Proverb

Something like this would have been great because at the age of 7, I was reading the funny papers to my dad in the kitchen one Sunday and accidentally hit my elbow – my funny bone – and it was not funny at all.  I fainted and when I landed on the floor it was face first – and I cracked all of my new permanent teeth that had not been in all that long.  I never got any of them fixed.  Now at middle age, I have some seriously cracked front teeth and the enamel is – well – it’s just not good.

So – anyway, if we can make sure kids get good smiles to start out with, that will set them on a good path in life.

The ADA’s Give Kids a Smile program began in 2003 and was initially a one-day event in February, but has since grown to local and national events year-round.  Dentists and other professionals volunteer their time and services to provide screenings, treatments and education to children throughout the United States.  Each year, about 350,000 kids benefit from more than 1,500 events, because of the efforts of 40,000 or more annual volunteers.

I’m happy to say the future holds a world of confident kids with healthy smiles.

Be true to your teeth and they won’t be false to you.  – Soupy Sales

There’s a facebook page if you’d like more information about the program.


Those of us who underwent trauma to our teeth at a young age (holding my hand up) just have to smile with our hearts and hope others have understanding spirits.  Fortunately, children today have advantages I didn’t have when I was little.  God bless all the people who make this wonderful work possible.  🙂





The purpose of Data Innovation Day is to raise awareness about the benefits and opportunities that have come from the data revolution.  From education to transportation, virtually every state agency is looking to data to improve performance.

There’s a joke that goes…  There’s an APP for that!  Indeed there is.  No matter what you want to do with a computer, the technology is available to make it happen.  Are there more programs to advance our lives via technology?  Of course, we are always striving to improve, aren’t we?

I appreciate the advancements for businesses and government, but most people would like to know how this progress affects them personally.

We all know that progress is not always good, or we exchange something for it.  In the future, I wonder how much more of our personal information will be “out there” for others to get access to?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything to hide.  My life is an open book.

 It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.  – Albert Einstein

I suppose the advances I have taken advantage of are the different “themes” I’ve used for my blog here on WordPress.  I won’t lie, the ones I used in the past have left me wanting something more, but this one is different.  I wanted color and variety from page to page.  This one is a keeper.  It’s just what I wanted!

The idea of progress is to make things easier and give us more choices online.  We’ve noticed changes in social media and in our local internet service – some good, some bad.  Sometimes you wonder who came up with that “brilliant” idea.  It’s not a compliment, but sarcasm.  I have earned a black belt in sarcasm.

We roll with change and get used to it because we have no choice.  It doesn’t mean we like it, but if we want to keep using our computer, we must learn to adapt.

Um…  a mental nudist colony???  No thanks!!!  🙂

 Technology: “the knack of so arranging the world that we don’t have to experience it.”  – Max Frisch, c.1960s

As performance is improved in the business world, may we not forget that there is a real world out there to be experienced.  Take some time away from your computer today and call a friend or take a leisurely stroll.  Stay in touch with people and nature.  🙂