This Generation is Floundering against all Odds



When I was growing up we knew right from wrong, at least in our own household. Our “standards” were expected to be kept even when we were away from home. These values were black and white. You didn’t steal other people’s property. You worked hard to get what you wanted. You didn’t cheat on a test or in a game. You told the truth or you suffered the consequences. Your word was your bond. My sisters and I headed into the future grounded by a strong foundation and internal principles.

By the time my own children were in public school, these absolute truths were changed and disavowed. All of a sudden values were different for different folks. What one person valued may be another person’s nemesis. Truth became personal and more difficult to define. There were flexible rules and a stigma placed upon thousands of years of proven behavior. There was no foundation to rest upon except in the empty churches that were diminishing in number.


Traditions were frowned upon, unless they were just for fun or to draw people together. History was mocked, defamed, and changed. The people of the past were no longer revered and remembered. Their principles were considered out of date and old fashioned. Documents and books that had served us well in the past were now ignored and efforts were made to alter them or abolish them altogether.

People who in former days would have turned to God for strength began to turn to substance abuse and addiction to get them through. The unprincipled and the unbelievers hearkened to the loudest and most popular voices for information and guidance. What happened was a total upheaval of the infrastructure that had kept society in check.


The educational system celebrated their new-found freedom to bend and manipulate young minds. What they reaped we now experience as we watch America’s value system and Constitutional principles crumble around us. The future is unknown and terrifying. Those who believe in the Bible, the Word of God, see it as fulfillment of Prophecy. Every chapter, every verse leads up to these perilous and predicted times.

The hand writing is on the wall. When you ignore your past moorings, you are doomed to failure. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His unchanging Word speaks to our hearts in this present day. Without faith we can do nothing.

We are living in a time of confusion and apostasy. By trusting in our own made up priorities and values, we cut off the source of all truth. In our arrogance, we figuratively trust in the arm of weak flesh. We put our faith in dead idols that can neither hear us nor see us. We light candles to unknown Gods and are consumed with our own lusts. We have become a degenerate nation filled with our own self-importance and intellectual prowess.


I for one like the winds of change I see ahead of us. There is still hope in America if we turn our hearts away from vain pride and evil corruption. Let us open our hearts and minds to things eternal. Our choices define us. Our choices will also condemn us if we fall from the Grace that is offered to us freely and lovingly. It is never too late to come home to the Father and God who made us all.


Get Involved and Wipe Away that Generational Gap


(My grandson, Andy, has a Korean mother who is musical. He also inherited his Danish great grandfather’s gift for the violin from his father)

My Danish grandfather made a habit of reading the dictionary every day. He wanted to improve his broken English and add new words to his vocabulary. Because of his example, I used the dictionary early on in my education, and I taught my own children to do the same. Through grandpa’s example, I always knew that if I didn’t know the answer, there was always a book or other information where I could find it.

When I discovered the Public Library, I had a fountain of information at my fingertips. I wanted my children to experience my thirst for knowledge, so we trucked home a new round of books each week.


“An Open Book” 20 x 16 mixed media on canvas (SOLD, prints available) (My granddaughter Amelia was my model)

It’s too bad that more people don’t have positive role models in their lives to help them recognize possibilities rather than roadblocks, and opportunities instead of closed doors. That’s what parents should do for their children.

I don’t think any of us intentionally set out to be bad parents. Most of us don’t want our children to grow up to become drug addicts, thieves and lawbreakers or worse. We would like to see them grow into contributing members of their community and church. Even though our goals and family values may not be the same, we can all agree that we’d like to see our children grow into happy healthy adults.

The adage “like father like son” often comes true. You can’t discount the importance of example and how it plays out in your child’s life.

I have fond memories of watching my Danish grandfather “slop” the hogs. I remember the distinct smell of the “mash” mixed in with scraps of leftover food. I can still recall the sound of them grunting in satisfaction as they slurped up what I considered a gross concoction of leftovers.

I remember still the satisfaction on grandpa’s face as he mimicked the pigs and watched the look on my face. I didn’t always understand what he said, but his voice and singsong words tumbled from his mouth like music.


“Americana” 20 x 16 mixed media on canvas

After dinner one day, he was sitting quietly on the couch reading to rest his full stomach which he patted playfully. When he saw me he said “come give papa a smack.” I’d heard him use this term before, but wasn’t exactly sure what it meant. He kept up this silly banter insisting that I give him a smack so I took a book, climbed up beside him and smacked him over the head.

The look of surprise on his face stunned us both into silence. The he laughed and mumbled some more Danish words before he taught me that a “smack” was another way of saying “give me a kiss.” He patted his cheek to emphasize where the smack was intended to land.

There were many things that “Pa” taught me that came more from just being who he was than from any intentional purpose. My sisters and I felt privileged to call my mother’s parents Ma and Pa, as she did, because we lived above them in an old two story house for many years.

Papa was a blacksmith by trade, and a musician from his internal joy and passion for life. He played the violin and he composed music. Through his playing of both piano and violin, I gained a love for the music of stringed instruments; especially the cello.

My mother had a musical family and one of my aunts would play the piano while the sisters sang together. Her brother and his family played the fiddle, the banjo and guitar and the whole family played and sang, entertaining throughout our whole community.

Family traditions can form a strong network of love that may help keep young people on track. The thought of disappointing my parents or grandparents in any way kept me from doing some of the wild and crazy things my friends did. Often called “the ties that bind” this network reminds us of family values and those we love. Some may look upon this support as restrictive, but I view it as a safety net that certainly kept me from trying many of the things that entice youth.

I’m grateful for my parents and both sets of grandparents. Their lives are still cherished long after they’re gone. The influence of my Danish grandpa’s music and his playful spirit still resonates through succeeding generations and will probably continue to do so.

I’m always surprised when my own children retell something I said when they were younger or recall an action that I’ve long since forgotten. You never know the affects of your love, your example or influence on the lives that go after you. Don’t diminish those moments. Make the most of them!


(A memorable walk in a cave formed by Mt. St. Helen’s eruption) (I wasn’t cross-eyed, just blinded by the flash bulb. My oldest daughter and her boys)

A Flawed Foundation Weakens the Structure


“The Perfect Ending” 24 x 18 acrylic on canvas

As I enter the back entrance to my complex, I see cars backed up on both sides of the intersection to the elementary school. Turn signals blink for left on one side and right on the other.  I squeeze past, not with irritation, but empathy. Bus drivers in our area have been negligent putting children at risk and in harm’s way. Parents are simply protecting their prized possessions and trying to keep them safe.

When my own children were spread out between elementary, middle school and high school, I never worried that they would arrive at their destination or return home in the evening. Their bus drivers were long-standing employees that almost everyone knew. I rode the bus myself on field trips and extracurricular activities. The school system and the transportation were institutions we knew that we could depend upon.

“Beach Buddies” oil on 20 x 16 canvas

A whole lot has happened since then. Another school shooting blares across my T.V. screen. A small college town in Oregon this time. What has happened to our once safe nation? Why are the things we have trusted and relied on for ages now vulnerable and exposed to this treacherous form of evil?

I think back to my own upbringing in a similar small college town humorously called “happy valley,” where nothing serious ever went wrong and people seldom locked their doors. It wasn’t because we were “gun free” I can tell you that! We were a Western community, living in the shadows of the Wasatch Mountains. Almost every family owned guns.

In fall and winter there was deer hunting. Families depended on the hunt for food to put in their freezers. Hunting was not simply a sport, it was a necessity. My father and my uncle managed to stock our freezer with pheasant, deer, fish, and other game. My aunt and her husband supplied us with chicken which ran freely in their yard.

In spite of the fact that people owned guns, there was never any violence. Accidental shootings were rare. Sometimes a hunter who forgot to wear a red shirt may have been glazed on the first day of hunting season. What has changed since that long ago time?

  • We have more people in our country, a larger population.
  • Many of them come from foreign countries where this kind of violence is normal.
  • We no longer confine people who may put others at risk.
  • Mental health is ignored and safeguards are not in place.
  • We no longer value human life.
  • Moral depravity has become accepted.
  • Honesty is for “other people.”
  • Deviant behavior is no longer frowned upon.
  • Anti-gun lobbyists try to keep the lawful from owning guns.
  • Criminals manage to skirt the law and obtain them anyway.

One of the first things Hitler did when he came to power was to confiscate all guns. They were needed for the “Resistance” and to protect Germany. When some people complained about what Hitler was doing in their country, they were arrested and jailed. They had no means of escape or protection.

“With these Hands — Wonder” oil on 20 x 16 canvas

The Second Amendment to our Constitution protects this kind of obfuscation for this very reason. Should tyranny come to power, the people would have no means to defend themselves or to preserve their freedom.

Governments, businesses, corporations work carefully to build a solid infrastructure to support their entities through the highs and lows of success or in downturns. Like solid blocks, this foundation provides a strong footing from which to build.

Some would say America’s ground is crumbling; yet, they seem surprised? Have we not ignored the very values that made this country strong in the first place? We’ve pushed the envelope perhaps beyond the point of no return. Once freedom is gone, it is gone forever. Unless we can remember and restore what made America great in the first place, we will never get it back.