February 19, 2014

CPS - Unchecked Power

I'm reposting this article Matt Walsh wrote about the horrors of CPS because I still have a bad taste in my mouth from our own CPS nightmare. At the start of every school year for the past three years we've had social workers coming to see us. It's always unfounded. But the threat of ripping our family apart still makes me uneasy. I never thought any of this would ever happen to me.

The Matt Walsh Blog
Land of the Free: where the government can kidnap your child and lock her in a psych ward for a year

How can we, the people, fight the government on this unchecked power to rip kids out of their homes? 

One thought is that parents should have to be charged with a crime and convicted before children are taken away from them. This will prevent so much pain and anguish for the thousands of families who are falsely accused.

When parents are rightly accused, charged and convicted, their children should be placed with family members, good neighbors or friends instead of going into foster care. Parents should still have choice in the placement of their children! 

For repeat offenders, a "three strikes and you're out" rule would stop the revolving door of foster care that can sometimes go for years on end. A parent convicted three times of child abuse (or neglect if they were on drugs) would prompt the State to terminate parental rights. The abused children would then get a shot at adoption.

In case you were wondering, children are legally considered property and cannot be seized without a court order. Phew! Except social workers and judges only get their paychecks if kids are removed from homes. That means it's in their financial interest to do just that. They can always give them back later with an OOPS!stamped on the file and you the innocent parent has absolutely no recourse.

Okay, rant over. I've got to calm myself down before I move to Antarctica, where the government never steals children.

February 9, 2014

DSAA Board

This past November, at the Driving School Association of the Americas' annual convention, I was voted to the board as the Western States Vice President. Contrary to what the photo shows, I'm not the only woman. The suit next to me is. Ha ha. Just kidding. The Western Canada lady wasn't there.

My brother JC and I have been attending annual conventions since 2008, so five years, or six conventions. I took Jovana and newborn Jocelyn to my first one in Las Vegas. Since then we've made friends in the business who we've called on over the years when we have issues that they have already faced. We've been blessed to attend helpful seminars and gain insights about what other driving schools have done in their businesses that have been effective.

Before this conference, I thought my relationship with JC had been clear. We introduce ourselves as siblings. We have spouses and families. But apparently, there's been confusion. And some thought we were married to each other. This confusion hasn't happened since college when I was roommates with my brother Brett. Except back then we actually had the same last name. Ha ha.

Now, the cat's out of the bag. We introduced ourselves at the board meeting as siblings with a thriving business. We've grown every year for the last decade. We have 25 schools and 60+ instructors (not all full time - especially in the winter/slow season).

That short intro opened up more discussions with other driving school owners than we've had at any other conference. For the first time, I feel like we are giving back a little to the organization that has helped us along.

The first time I taught a driver's ed class (about 12 years ago), the students thought I was one of them until I opened my mouth. It's highly unlikely a kid would know as much as I did, or have the same confidence in front of a class.

I know I look young. That's okay. It's fun to see the shock on faces when someone new finds out how old I am...which usually happens soon after they find out how many kids I have.

At this convention, it happened when others found out how many schools we have. And then again after I taught my first DSAA seminar. That was pretty awesome. As the interaction and laughter in my session about juicing up presentations warmed up, more and more stragglers came in. At the end it was standing room only. My participation level was high and there were some extremely funny people, though they weren't trying to be, which made it all the better.

Snow Day

I'm grateful for the surprise that came late last night. 
Not much. But enough.
And that today is Sunday.
So none of our driving instructors have any appointments to cancel.
It'll most likely be gone by this afternoon.
Which is the perfect amount of time to stay.

But in the meantime,
Our church services were cancelled.
And we are staying home all day to play.
And then get warm by the fire.

I've also downloaded Picasa onto my new computer.
So the collages are back.
Now to catch up 
This online journal
With a few important events and thoughts 
Of the past several months.

February 5, 2014

Seahawks Super Bowl Victory Parade

Forget school today, we loaded the kids in the car this morning, dropped Kira off at her daycare and headed to Seattle. Tymon was going to take us to a transit center so we could take a bus. Ha ha. Traffic didn't cooperate and we ended up driving in.

We were so afraid we'd miss the parade. We got to Westlake Center about 11:10 and it started at the Seattle Center at 11am...or so we thought.

We ran into our neighbors on the street. I'm not sure what the odds of that are. Maybe slim to one? Reports are that 700,000 people lined the 2 mile parade route. I don't really know, but I think maybe 100,000 were around the Westlake Center. It was packed, which was really disappointing for my children. They couldn't see very much of anything besides people. 

So here we are feeling the bass of the music, getting to know our fellow celebrators and dancing around, thinking that any moment the Seahawks would come into view. Nope. After 45 minutes of waiting...and waiting...and waiting...I took Jocey off my shoulders. The parade started an hour late because the players were stuck in traffic. Ha ha. I hadn't even considered that. They got to us about 12:45 pm.

There was very little cell service. Occasionally I could get a text in and out. I was supposed to go to Olympia (State Capitol) this afternoon for a hearing, but didn't make it. Oops. I'll get the down low tomorrow when I go to the office.

Getting out was no problem since we didn't go to CenturyLink stadium. Only 10% of the crowd could fit in there but many seemed to stay in town. We headed home, picked up Kira and went out to lunch/dinner.
Photo stolen from Robin Nieforth Jensen (friend of a friend)

Was it worth it? I don't know for sure. But it does feel good to be a part of a whole, especially when that whole is unified. There were more people in the crowd than the entire population of the city of Seattle.
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