‘Thank You For Raising a Gentleman’

Matt Mitchell 9Recently my daughter-in-law said something to me that made my heart smile.

“Thank you,” she said, “for raising a gentleman.”

In these days of sexual allegations and MeToo revelations, it was a confirmation that my husband and I had done something right. The hours that were spent teaching, guiding, and reinforcing character and common decency with our children had paid off.  It was also confirmation that those lessons were recognized.

My memory wandered back over the years to a time when our little three-year-old curly-haired blond-headed son held the door open for a couple entering a restaurant. The lady walked over to tell us what a little gentleman we had.

It happened on more than one occasion and the fact that our little boy did it on his own showed that the lessons of gentility and the Golden Rule had been absorbed by him and, later, his younger sister.

Kindness, understanding, listening, respect, humility, a good work ethic, honor … a way to live life. Those and more were instilled in our now-grown children who are married and have homes of their own.

The words of our son’s wife were a reminder of the foundation we had worked hard to build with our children, and that the hours spent with a child are not wasted.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

Monday: Homeschool Bill HB 497 on Dual Enrollment

From Delegate Rob Bell…..

Dear Homeschool friend,

I received word that one of my homeschooling bills, House Bill 497, will be coming before the House Committee on Education Subcommittee #3 early Monday morning (January 22nd).  House Bill 497 would require school districts that offer “dual enrollment” to public school students to also offer these classes to local homeschoolers without having to pay tuition or fees.

I invite you and your family to come testify if you are able. The committee begins at 7:15am and will be meeting in the House Committee Room in the Pocahontas Building. You can find information about directions and parking here.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Rob Bell
Delegate, 58th District

Tagged , ,

Back in the homeschool classroom: Why we teach our own

Anyone who knows me knows I homeschooled my children for 16 years and, during that time, served as newsletter editor with our homeschool group in North Carolina. Later, after moving back home to Virginia, I served in leadership for eleven years with PEACH — Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes — as president, newsletter editor, teen coordinator, field trip coordinator, secretary, and anything else that was needed, working together with a group of dedicated moms.

Even though my days of teaching at home are over — my oldest graduated from James Madison University in 2007 and my youngest graduated from Mary Baldwin College as part of the Class of 2012 — I never lost contact with the homeschool community. I keep up with issues that concern them, government regulations that may affect them, and read articles from moms who are just beginning or in the middle of their homeschool journeys.

Today I read an article that oh-so-hit-the-nail-on-the-head. It was passed along by a homeschool mom friend who used to be in PEACH but moved a few years ago to Georgia and is still teaching at home. The article had been written by a Texas homeschool mom who had just begun the homeschool journey with her four children.

Out of all the questions of why and how that came from people throughout the years — why do you homeschool? how can you stand to spend all that time with your children? how can you afford it? where do you find the patience? — this mom answered in one of the best ways I’ve heard.

After writing of the days when it’s difficult that made her ready to throw in the towel and call it quits, she explained why she doesn’t quit:

Homeschooling “works” for our family because we make it work.  It is a priority.  A calling.  Even a conviction. Because of our commitment to homeschool, there are many other things we aren’t involved in, don’t spend our money on, don’t invest our time into.  Not because some of these “other things” are bad, but because they would rob us of these precious years to nurture and train our children.

Then this wonderfully honest, young, homeschool mom summed it up in one of the best ways I’ve ever seen homeschooling explained. In one short paragraph, she gave the reason we do it:

I can only homeschool my children once in my lifetime and theirs.  Now is that time. It is up to me, and to my husband, to make these days count.  For eternity. This is why I choose to get up every morning, sit down at our dining room table, and teach my children in the best way I know how.

Continue reading

Mr. McGregor’s Garden, Peter Rabbit, and Mr. Mitchell’s Garden

Originally published July 2008….

I grew up on Beatrix Potter tales and especially loved Peter Rabbit. As a small child, I sat wide-eyed listening to my mother read about all the characters that Miss Potter brought to life in the miniature children’s books full of colorful illustrations. My imagination worked overtime as I heard the opening lines of the Peter Rabbit story:

ONCE upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.

I would get lost in all things Beatrix Potter. While Peter’s sisters were good and went hunting blackberries, Peter went straight to Mr. McGregor’s garden where he had been warned to stay away from, and got into all kinds of mischief. The illustration that stands out to me the most of Miss Potter’s drawings is the one of Peter slipping under the fence.

Yesterday, the story of Peter Rabbit’s trials and tribulations in Mr. McGregor’s garden came back to me.

Mr. Mitchell had put up a wire fence around the garden, as he does each year, to prevent as many critters as possible from partaking of the goodies growing there. It is impossible to keep everything out but it helps to limit some of the wildlife we have here in western Augusta County.

When he went out to look over the garden yesterday, a baby rabbit was sitting squarely in the middle of the squash plants. Well … he used to be a baby and had been able to easily slip in and out of the wire fence … but he is now about half grown. When Mr. Mitchell gave chase, the bunny took off for the fence and got stuck, squirming to make his hindquarters squeeze through before making his escape.

And that was where the tale of Peter Rabbit popped into my brain. I laughed and called my husband “Mr. McGregor” all afternoon because he had chased Peter out of the garden and, if that bunny had been wearing a blue jacket, as Peter did in the fairy tale, its buttons would have been caught on the wire fence and the jacket surely would have been left behind.

Perhaps that is why I so enjoyed the charming movie, “Miss Potter,” the story of Beatrix Potter’s life that intertwined the creatures around her as animated figments of her imagination. Miss Potter’s world was brought to life in the biographical film.

Peter, that naughty rabbit, in my garden helping himself to the squash … I smile even as I think of it….

Tagged ,

Back in the homeschool classroom: ‘When Will It Snow?’

When Will It Snow

It is January 21 and we haven’t had very much snow in western Augusta County, Virginia — just a few inches in two storms this season. The weather this week is mild for this time of year — the forecast calls for low 60s, the infamous “January thaw.”

Meanwhile, I’m longing for a really good snow, and that made me think of a children’s book that was a Christmas gift to nine-year-old daughter Katy for our first Christmas in the Shenandoah Valley in 1996.

“When Will it Snow?” is beautifully written and illustrated by Bruce Hiscock, circa 1995, who wrote in his dedication in the book, “To my good friends, and to everyone whose spirits soar when the first snowflakes fall. Special thanks go my nephew Will as Robin.”

The words fell happily on my ears: “… everyone whose spirits soar when the first snowflakes fall.”

I somewhat longingly leafed through the pages today remembering the years reading that book to my children as we waited for the first snow. Some years it came in October … other years it was more elusive. We knew what Robin felt like as he wondered when white flakes would finally fall from the sky:

Continue reading

Tagged

Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening

??????????

Originally posted Winter 2015….

Snow! Like a kid, I watched all day as rain turned to sleet and then to snow that was so heavy at times it was almost white-out conditions. When it let up this afternoon, the snowy woods called and I answered with camera in hand and plans to wander through 8-10 inches of fluffy snow in 23-degree temps.

Layered and pulling on boots, I grabbed some knit gloves because I cannot work the camera in heavy ski gloves. It proved to be a mistake because my fingers almost froze before I returned. With a plastic bag to protect my camera from the snow that was still lightly falling, I headed into the wintry landscape.

Continue reading

Remembering Singer John Denver on his New Year’s Eve Birthday

John Denver

Two months before his death, singer/songwriter John Denver wrote a letter to his mother on her birthday and told her, “I would not be the man I am, nor would I sing the way I do, nor would I have written the songs I have written without the influence and inspiration you have been to me. I want you to know that today there are hundreds, if not thousands, who join me in saying, ‘God bless the day that you were born.’ ”

Today is John Denver’s birthday, born on New Year’s Eve in 1943. John Denver — forever in our minds as the youthful, blonde-headed, wire-rimmed granny glasses-wearing troubadour — would now be a 74-year-old grandpa if he had lived. His daughter Anna Kate, 41, who lives in New Zealand with her husband Jaime Hutter, gave birth to a daughter, Daisy Eloise, on December 21, 2011.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Merry Christmas, Stacy … Wherever You Are

Christmas ornament hand-painted by 10-year-old Stacy in 1975.

As I was growing up, a tradition in our family was for my parents to give us ornaments each year from places they had traveled. My husband and I continued the tradition with our children … so we have a number of “special” ornaments that are placed on the tree year after year.

This year was no different. As I carefully unwrapped the tissue paper from around one particular ornament, memories flooded back as I saw the hand-painted ceramic decoration for the tree. It was a jack-in-the-box painted in 1975 by a 10-year-old boy named Stacy. I held the ornament in my hand and remembered back to the days when I worked at Children’s Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.

Stacy touched my heart more than any other child I came in contact with at the hospital because of his devilish sincerity. I loved that child. He was from southwestern Virginia, one of many children from a large, down-on-their-luck Appalachian family. As best I can remember, the accident that changed his life occurred when he was playing with his siblings and they tied him to a tree, piled leaves at the base of the tree, and set the leaves on fire. Stacy was horribly burned, so much so that much of both legs and part of one arm had to be amputated. He came to Children’s Hospital for rehabilitation.

The patients at the hospital lived in dorms and received daily treatment as well as schooling. Far away from home, Stacy was with us for a long time as therapists, doctors, and nurses worked with him to heal his stumps so he could receive prosthetic devices to help him lead a normal life.

For someone who had been through such a horrible experience, he had a devilish sense of humor. He was funny, playful, and almost always in a good mood. Perhaps it was the love he received from the hospital staff as he went through physical therapy, recreational therapy (which was where he painted the Christmas ornament), and the one-on-one education he received from the in-house teachers.

I still remember the day he presented the painted ceramic decoration to me. I kneeled beside his wheelchair so to be at eye level with him as he flamboyantly presented it to me … then I took it home to my Christmas tree and, after the holidays, packed it away. Every year since that time it has been placed on my tree. I don’t know what happened to Stacy … I lost track after leaving Children’s Hospital. I have often wondered where he was, how his life turned out, and if he was able to handle the emotional scar of such a life-changing incident so young in his life.

This year I once again placed his ornament on the tree, and once again wished Stacy a Merry Christmas, wherever he is….

Originally published in 2006, this column runs annually as a tribute to a special little boy and our friendship from many years ago….

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from LynnRMitchell.com

Christmas 12 lanternThe reason for the season….

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.” Luke 2:8-20

The true meaning of Christmas … a time for the Christian world to pause and celebrate the birth of the son of God.

As 2017 comes to a close, it is a time to remember family and friends and those who have special meaning in our lives. While I’m still writing and posting photos at LynnRMitchell.com, my new responsibilities as editor-in-chief at Bearing Drift have kept me very busy. The entire past year was busy.

Here’s to a great 2018 and many more years observing, writing, and taking pictures of politics and more. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tagged ,

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon asked her father if there was really a Santa Claus. He suggested she write to The Sun, a prominent New York newspaper, because, as he said, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.”

And so Virginia wrote her letter:

The letter landed on the desk of editor Francis Church, a former war correspondence during the Civil War. Perhaps his observations of the hopelessness during that tragic time in American history made him want to install hope and faith in this little girl. He responded in an editorial that was published in The Sun:

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.

Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! . . . You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world, which not the strongest man, or even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real?

Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else so real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever — a thousand times ten thousand, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

— Francis P. Church

The response is timeless and as meaningful today as in 1897, reassuring in the innocent faith that yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Tagged

Linus Explains the True Meaning of Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired on December 9, 1965, and became a classic that still rings true more than 50 years later. One reason it remains among the most popular Christmas shows of the season may be because friend Linus reminds Charlie Brown of the true meaning of Christmas by reciting the King James Bible New Testament verses from Luke 2:8-14 describing the birth of Christ.

The fact that the message is delivered by an animated character doesn’t diminish the impact of the meaning.

Interestingly, the story goes that network executives did not want the scripture quoted in an animated show, assuming viewers would become bored. Charlie Brown creator Charles Schulz, however, was adamant that it remain. “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” he asked.

Today, even more than in 1965, we need to hear the true meaning of Christmas as told by a little animated boy in a scene that is beloved by millions.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.’

“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

How much richer we are for Charles Schulz standing by his principles. Merry Christmas to Charlie Brown, Linus, the rest of the Peanuts gang, and to you!

Tagged , ,

Happy Birthday, Mike Thomas … and Thank You

mike-thomas-4

Mike Thomas, First Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee, has a birthday today. What would Virginia Republicans do without this pillar of the party whose steady hand and even temperament have carried us through many rough patches? His institutional knowledge is legend — he is a walking encyclopedia of Virginia Republican politics. During the battles between factions that occur, he has worked with all sides, listening and mediating and seemingly always available. For that, we owe him a big thank you. I hope he is enjoying his birthday without too much politics interfering with his day.

I went through my photo archives and looked for pics of Mike from the past 15 years at Republican events around the Commonwealth. Here are a few of them. Thanks, Mike — your friendship and wisdom are truly appreciated. Happy Birthday!

Continue reading

Tagged ,

George Freeman Pollock’s ‘Skyland Resort’ in November

Ahhh. November in Virginia with leaves on the ground and the return of the winter woods.

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

Ku Klux Klan Recruits With Flyers in Shenandoah Valley

Word began circulating on Facebook Tuesday as Shenandoah Valley residents posted about Ku Klux Klan recruitment flyers showing up on vehicles up and down the Valley. In Waynesboro, Mt. Crawford, Staunton, Broadway, Winchester, and on Mary Baldwin University’s campus, the paper circulars were found tucked under windshield wipers.

The 336 area is North Carolina and includes the north-central, mainly Triad Piedmont, region of the state, as well as the northern foothills and mountain regions. I didn’t call it but a Facebook commenter reported that it went to a recorded message. A search online found this video from 2014 of a phone recording at that number.

The Winchester Star wrote earlier this month that the same thing happened in their city on Halloween. In Leesburg, as reported by WTOP, KKK literature was stuffed into baggies along with candy and left in yards on Halloween. Other localities have reported the same.

This morning The Recorder, the news source for Bath and Highland counties, posted on Facebook that they had received the flyer in the mail and had heard of readers finding them tossed out in baggies with birdseed. They were asking if others had received the recruitment circulars.

Seeing the hate-filled words is a reminder of the tiki torch march/alt-right rally in Charlottesville in August, just a few months ago, when a young woman was run down and killed by an alt-right march participant.

Just this week Rick Sincere posted a movie review of “Charlottesville: Our Streets” that premiered over the weekend at the Virginia Film Festival. The movie documents the violence that occurred in Charlottesville on that weekend just a few months ago, the clashes between alt-right members and other groups, and the tragic turn it took.

Background:

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Shenandoah Mountain 5 Years Later: What Happened to Missing Hiker Bobby Fitzgerald?

Shenandoah Mountain / Confederate Breastworks Overlook on Rt. 250 along the Augusta County/Highland County line looks over the Appalachian Mountains in Highland.

What happened to Bobby Fitzgerald on that fateful day in November of 2012?

Traveling west from Staunton along Rt. 250 as it climbs up and over Shenandoah Mountain, I cannot help wondering what happened to Robert “Bobby” Fitzgerald, the Staunton hiker who went missing in that isolated part of western Virginia on November 11, 2012, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Searches have turned up nothing. Some wonder about foul play. Others have questioned whether he fell into the steep ravines.

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,
SBC Voices

Southern Baptist News & Opinion

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

LynnRMitchell.com

Virginia politics and more