I Have Called You to This, I Will See You Through It

23 08 2015
TNU graduation

TNU graduation, May 2015

I’m 42. I have a full-time job. I have a family.  Most people who know me would say that I am busy enough as it is with my “normal” life (whatever “normal” looks like these days.)  So why did I start grad school again two years ago to pursue my MBA?

Since high school, I have wanted an MBA.  I wanted to be a business woman, not a teacher.  In fact, growing up, my mom often recommended I go into teaching.  I fought her every step of the way.  How I came to be a teacher is a completely different and wild story, but that will be told another time.

The MBA was put on hold for a couple of decades for many reasons.  When we got married, my husband was working on his Ph.D., so it was not a god time for me to go back to school since we had bills to pay.  Since I was teaching, a Master’s in Education made more sense so that is the first higher degree I received.  And we had a couple of kids.  That always makes going back to school a little more difficult for a working mom, too.

An MBA was on the back burner for a long time, and I was just fine keeping it there indefinitely.

Until two years ago.  Through some personal and professional situations going on at the time, I felt a calling, from God to “Do.  This.  Now.”  He was emphatic on the “NOW” part.  This was in March 2013.

I rarely get such a direct call from God.  I didn’t question it, but prayed (a lot) that if this wasn’t really from God, the doors would close.

But they didn’t close.  They opened wide. An application was submitted and the acceptance was received.  My first class was in September 2013.

In those first few months, there was much crying and much cursing.  And more crying.  And more cursing.  I complained to God, “Why?  This is cursing my family more than it is blessing it.”

When I needed it most, God confirmed on several occasions this is what I was, indeed, supposed to be doing.

Twice he reminded me, “I have called you to this, I will see you through it.”  Both times were amidst severe doubt and praying for a sign to quit.

Once, through tears on the way home from class (Economics to be specific), I prayed for a sign to let me know I was still doing what He wanted me to do.  I turned on the radio and heard, “You’re an overcomer.”  Normally, I don’t take too much stock in such things, but I needed this song at that time.

Another time as I pulled onto the campus, I noticed a stained glass window on the main library’s dome I had never noticed before.  I thought to myself, “I wonder what it would be like to teach here someday?”  The immediate reply was, “I have greater things in store for you than this.”

What does one even do with that kind of answer?  I immediately felt a surge of excitement followed by trepidation. Greater than being a university professor?  I guess for many people, there are a million careers greater than being an educator, but being a university professor has been a dream of mine for a while.  Every time I step onto a college campus, I feel “home” in terms of my career.

I began to dissect what “greater” often means in the Kingdom mindset.  It usually doesn’t mean wealth, fame, or success, at least not by human standards.  I want to explore this idea, too, but that will also be the topic of another post.

I began my MBA at Trevecca Nazarene University on September 12, 2013, and I finished on August 6, 2015, with a 4.0, which still amazes me considering I’m not even a business professional.  I learned a tremendous amount of material, and I am so thankful for the professors I had who were not just experts in their fields, but who modeled Christ throughout their teaching and who challenged us to model Christ throughout our coursework and in all aspects of our lives.

Here a few fun facts about this journey I just completed (for those of you considering something similar):

  • I took 14 courses, one at a time with each lasting 6 weeks. Class meetings were held every Thursday from 6:00-10:00 p.m.
  • I literally wrote over 1,000 pages of papers, projects, and homework assignments.
  • My lowest grade final grade in a class was a 95% and my highest a 116%.
  • I failed two quizzes in Economics, but they didn’t count toward my grade since our four lowest ones were dropped.
  • The longest textbook I read was just over 1200 pages (thank you, Project Management).  Yes, I did read all of it even though we weren’t required to.
  • The longest paper I wrote was 59 pages and had 38 sources (Marketing).
  • I averaged 15-30 hours per week of course work, depending on the class.

Despite all the accolades, I still don’t know why I was called to this program at this time.  The MBA won’t affect my current teaching position, and I have no plans to enter the world as a business professional.  I need a doctorate to move up to university level teaching.  An Ed.D. is actually my next goal, but I plan to take a few months off to reacquaint myself with my family and friends and to read as many books as I can of my own choosing before jumping back into my final round of grad school.

This was a wild, difficult, and incredibly challenging season for me and my family.  My professor in my very class told us as we embarked on this endeavor, “the greater the sacrifice, the greater the potential reward.”  I have no idea what this “reward” might be for me, but I am nonetheless filled with gratitude that God made good on his promise to “see me through it.”

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2014 Reading List

17 01 2015

Not much to offer this year as most of my reading was from textbooks for my MBA work.  That is one of the things I miss the most about life not in grad school mode–reading books of my own choosing from which I will NOT be quizzed or tested or have to cite in research papers.  Less than seven months, and I’ll be able to start tackling my growing book list with fervor. 

  1. Essentials of Economics, 3rd Edition by Stanley Brue, Campbell McConnell, Sean Flynn
  2. Corporate Information Strategy and Management by Lynda Applegate, Robert Austin, Deborah Soule
  3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  6. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  7. Learning to Walk in the Dark y Barbara Brown Taylor
  8. Leaders, Fools, and Impostors by Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries
  9. Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership by Gary L. McIntosh and Samuel D. Rima
  10. Organizational Ethics: A Practical Approach by Craig E. Johnson
  11. Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers
  12. Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
  13. Falling Into the Face of God by William Elliott
  14. You Had Me at Woof by Julie Klam
  15. The Agile Pocket Guide by Peter Saddington
  16. Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd
  17. Coffee with Jesus by David Wilkie
  18. Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling by Harold Kerzner
  19. The Voice of the Heart by Chip Dodd
  20. The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni
  21. Human Resource Management by Robert L. Mathis and John H. Jackson
  22. Business: Its Legal, Ethical, and Global Environment by Marianne M. Jennings
  23. Holy Bible

Holy Bible
Yes, this book will always be at the top of my reading list.  This marks year five of reading through the entire thing, and I never get tired of it.  In fact, the more I read it, the more I desire to read more.  It’s a wonderful circle.  I continue to be challenged, rebuked, and encouraged, and I hope I always will.

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
I’ve read this book numerous times, but I felt I needed to revisit it this year.  Even though I know what’s coming, I’m still in tears throughout this historical fiction retelling of the book of Hosea.

Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership by Gary L. McIntosh and Samuel D. Rima
This was a Christian approach to becoming an effective leader by confronting potential failures—the dark side of our personality.  Though it was required reading for one of my MBA classes on Ethics and Culture, it was an insightful book that I would recommend to anyone in any kind of leadership position, Christian or not.

Go:  A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd
Kidd takes the beginning graphic designer through the basics of form, typography, content, and concept of graphic design.

I wish I had read this a decade ago.  This is by far the best “how to” for beginning graphic designers that I’ve yet to read.  Absolutely everything about this book is an example of incredible graphic design.  I will be using this as a text book in the Digital Media & Graphic Design class I teach for my high school.

Coffee with Jesus  by David Wilkie
This is a collection of the popular online comic strip, Coffee with Jesus.  The characters are selfish, judgmental, childish, bitter, angry, and jealous.  Sound like anyone you know?  I saw a little bit of myself in each of them.  Jesus’ words are that still, small voice we hear and too often ignore, but spelled out in print gives it a little bit more edge.  I will probably be reading through this book frequently.

The Advantage:  Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni
Lencioni argues that rather than become smarter or having a better strategy, the one thing that organizations need to focus on first and foremost is their organizational health:  leadership, communication, behaviors, etc.

Even though this is a business book, Lencioni’s style is incredibly approachable, and his writing is filled with plain old common sense.  His advice works just as well in family relationships as it does in organizational relationships.

Falling Into the Face of God by William Elliott
This memoir chronicles Elliott’s adventure in the Judean desert—spending 40 days and 40 nights there to draw nearer to God.

Despite the monotony of living in a desert in a tent where it’s too hot to do much of anything, this was still quite a fascinating story.  For several years now, I’ve longed to go on an extended silent retreat—not 40 days and not in a desert—but now I realize this is something I must do at some point in my life.

Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers
Lena Scott/Abra Matthews is a young girl who runs away from home with the proverbial “bad boy” to find her life turned upside down in an instant.  Abused, ridiculed, unloved, she turns to the one man who can make a star out of her, but at what cost?

Rivers tells the story of Ezekiel 16 in this amazing novel set in the 1950s.  Unconditional love, redemption, and forgiveness are the main themes.

Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor
Brown reflects on why we have been taught “the dark” is a scary place or is synonymous with sin.  Brown takes the reader on a journey explaining how our lives do not always work in the light; like the moon, it waxes and wanes and disappears altogether.

There were some incredible gems in this book.  “One of the hardest things to decide during a dark night is whether to surrender or resist.  The choice often comes down to what you believe about God and how God acts, which means that every dark night of the soul involves wrestling with belief.”

Leaders, Fools, and Impostors by Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries
This was another required reading for my MBA class on Ethics and Culture, and it, too, dealt with the dark side of our personalities and the problems it creates for leaders.  While not quite as practical as Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership by Gary L. McIntosh and Samuel D. Rima, Kets de Vries still gives numerous real examples of the dangers leaders face when they give in to the psychological traps of their personalities.

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
World-renowned psychologist, Dweck explains her idea of fixed- versus growth-mindests and how, with the right, mindset, anyone can achieve most anything.

This was required summer reading for my job—because, really, who needs a real vacation?  The main idea is more common sense than some ground-breaking concept, and the book could have been drilled down to just a couple of chapters.  Instead, it seemed like Dweck was repeating the same premise 100 different ways with 100 different examples, but all said the same thing:  a growth-mindset is better than a fixed-mindset.  Growth mindsets allow us to accept criticism, acknowledge our faults or weaknesses and seek to improve and continually grow and mature in how we handle setbacks and disappointments.

You Had Me at Woof by Julie Klam
Klam describes her life transition into becoming a “dog person” and working with a dog rescue organization in New York City.  I appreciated Klam’s humor and realism in describing life with a dog.  It was a quick, easy read and one I would recommend for dog lovers, especially those who have a heart for rescue and adoption.

Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
Considering these were not text books, they automatically move to the top of my reading list for the year.  I read through all three of them in a week, and they reminded me a lot of the Hunger Games trilogy.  If you liked the one, you will probably enjoy the other.

The only disappointment was the very ending of the book.  No spoilers, but I was MAD.  I don’t remember ever finishing a really good book or series, and feeling mad.  I’m still not over it.

The Agile Pocket Guide by Peter Saddington
Only Project Managers will understand this:  this book was a “quick start to making your business Agile using Scrum and beyond.”  It was actually a fairly easy, quick, interesting read once I got used to the terminology.  I admit this little book got me interested in pursuing my CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) certification.

The Voice of the Heart by Chip Dodd
Dodd explains the eight core emotions of the heart:  anger, fear, guilt, hurt, loneliness, sadness, shame, and gladness.  I don’t agree with everything Dodd believes, but there were some gems buried within.

Project Management:  A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling by Harold Kerzner
1200+ pages of All.  Things.  Project.  Management.  At least I’ve been told this is really the only text I need to study for the CAPM certification exam.

Human Resource Management by Robert L. Mathis and John H. Jackson
This was a textbook about . . . wait for it . . . human resource management!  Surprise!

Corporate Information Strategy and Management by Lynda Applegate, Robert Austin, Deborah Soule
This was a text book about corporate IT strategy and management.  For a text book, it was one of the better ones I’ve read so far.  But still, it was a text book.

Business:  Its Legal, Ethical, and Global Environment by Marianne M. Jennings
This was a textbook about business law.  Other than the chapter on securities law, I enjoyed a lot of this.  I’ve always contended I’d have made a good lawyer.

Organizational Ethics:  A Practical Approach by Craig E. Johnson
This was a textbook about ethics in organizations.  The case studies presented in each chapter were interesting, but not so much the rest of the text.

Essentials of Economics, 3rd Edition by Stanley Brue, Campbell McConnell, Sean Flynn
This was a text book about economics.  That is all.





Why I Teach

14 12 2011

Warning:  Serious bragging ahead!

In a culture where people are quick to condemn and slow to praise, it’s affirming when that praise does come.  I promise I did not make any of these quotes up, but following is a snippet of why I teach. 

No, it’s not for the amazing paycheck.  You don’t go into education to become monetarily rich, but we teachers are occasionally rewarded with something money cannot buy—a heartfelt thanks from students and parents.  Below are excerpts from comments sent to me over the years.  (All names have been withheld to protect the potentially embarrassed.)

    • “Digital Media has possibly been one of my favorite classes.  I have already recommended this class to many people that are interested in this kind of thing.  Thank you Mrs. Huddleston for an awesome class!” –student
    • “Mrs. Huddleston, thank you so much for creating such a unique opportunity. Your class was constantly intriguing, and valuable beyond measure. It’s been a haven to have a small relaxed class once a day, and your organization and predictability always gave me a sense of stability. You’re a wonderful teacher, and I’ll miss having your class.” –student
    • “I loved Digital Media and I wish I could take it again next semester and forever and ever and ever!!!!!!!! (I know how you love exclamation points Mrs. Huddleston!!!!!!!!!!!!)” –student
    • “I can’t believe Digital Media is over already.  This has been my favorite class, probably ever.  There are about a million other things I could say about Digital Media, but if I kept going, I wouldn’t have time to study for the exam.  I am going to miss this class so much, but at least I still have yearbook where I can see 4/5 of the class every day! (counting Mrs. Huddleston)” –student
    • “My daughter is in your technology class, and I have to say it has really been fun learning about her cupcake business. She has even mentioned dropping out of school, and starting a cupcake business (just kidding!) She has really enjoyed your class, and I have to say that the information that you are teaching our children is very relevant and important for their futures. Reviewing your curriculum, I told her that after completing your class that she will have completed her first MBA class. Thanks again for all that you do for my daughter.”  -parent

  • “It’s exciting to see (student’s) work progressing.  Wow, you are really preparing our students for the future-thank you!” –parent

  • She is loving the class and sat down with us last night to show us how much of a “wiz” she is at Excel now!!  Thanks for the inspiration!!” –parent
  • “Thank you so much for the sacrifices you make for our kids.  I know how hard it is to work and be a mommy.  By the way, we have been so excited to see this curriculum it so practical and something that 80% of all workers end up in the business world.  Thank you for giving each of these students hands on experience with this information.” –parent
     
  • “THANK YOU  for teaching and making the course so appropriate and useable outside of the classroom. (Student) has enjoyed you as a teacher and your class this year. I feel that the knowledge and skill he’s obtained in your class will help him through high school, college and into the real world of working.” –parent

Those of you in school or who have children in school, you have no idea what a short note of thanks will do for your or your child’s teacher.  I have held on to some of these emails for years, and I do go back and read through them, especially when I am having “one of those days” at school.

If you have ever had a teacher who impacted you positively, take a moment now and let him/her know.  Kind words are free, and they make excellent Christmas gifts.

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” -Proverbs 12:25





A Teacher’s Prayer

17 08 2011

Lord God,

Thank you for giving me another day on your creation.  Help me not to take advantage of your many blessings. 

Help me to be the teacher you want me to be—kind, patient, compassionate, gentle, and humble, yet firm and steadfast in the Truth.

May the words of my mouth be beneficial to the listener; encouraging and always building my students up, never tearing down.

Be at the forefront of my mind in all I say and do today.  Help me to use the gifts you have given me to bring glory to you in my teaching.  May I continually be a model of your unconditional love.

I pray for your peace, grace, mercy and perfect order to permeate my classroom.  May this space be a refuge to those who enter in.  Send your angels to protect us all from Satan’s tricks and deceptions.

Infuse me with energy, stamina, and perseverance to sustain me throughout the day.  When I am weary, rejuvenate me.  When I am frustrated, calm me.  When I am confused, guide me.

As you multiplied the fishes and loaves to feed thousands, take my meager efforts and bless my students abundantly.  Turn my failures into victories.  Satisfy the needs I have not met.  Remind my students of your presence when they stand at the crossroads of right and wrong.  

All I can give is my best, and I will continue to do that.  Help me to train my students in the way they should go so that when they are no longer under the roof of our school building, they will not wander off the right path.

I submit my students to you now and rededicate myself to the task you have placed before me.

Amen.





Innovative Education Forum

10 06 2011

Innovative Education Forum

I saw an ad on Facebook for the Microsoft Innovative Education Forum, a conference hosted by Microsoft at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington, in July.  They were seeking educators who could demonstrate how they used Microsoft products in their classes in unique, innovative, and real-world ways.

Microsoft experienced the highest number of applicants ever for this conference, and I was selected for one of the 100 slots.  I am also the only educator in the entire state of Tennessee attending this all-expenses paid, two day, whirl-wind conference.  I am quite excited and deeply honored.

Several have asked about my submission so I thought I’d detail it here.

For lack of a better name, I simply call this project “Create a Business.”  Students in my Tech class, mainly freshman, do this project each semester, and I’ve been doing it for about eight years.  It continually evolves and changes, but this is where I’m at now with it.

Basically, students create a business—as much as is feasible in four months and for high school freshmen.  They can work with a partner or go solo.  There are many things we leave out due to time constraints such as talking about incorporating, licensing fees, legal/liability issues, creating a shopping cart for their website, etc.

My only guidelines for the types of businesses they may pursue are:

  1. All products/services must be legal.
  2. There cannot be any minimum age requirements.  For example, students are allowed to sell alcohol, tobacco products, firearms, permanent tattoos, etc.
  3. They may not sell anything that is morally or ethically questionable even it satisfies requirements one and two.

Step 1:  Create a business plan detailing such things as the business name, products/services sold and their costs, contact information, operational hours, competition, etc. (Microsoft Word)

Step 2:  Write a mission statement and tag line/slogan/motto.  (Microsoft Word)

Step 3:  Design a logo (Adobe Photoshop)

Step 4:  Create business cards, letterhead, and other promotional print materials.  (Microsoft Publisher)

Step 5:  Create a series of six spreadsheets to track income, consumable inventory, capital expenses, fixed monthly expenses, payroll, and finally a net/profit loss statement for the first year with projections for the second year.  (Microsoft Excel)

Step 6:  Produce a :30 second commercial.  (Microsoft Moviemaker)

Step 7:  Create a website with a minimum of six pages:  home page, about us page, contact us page, and pages to highlight all products/services sold—pictures, prices, descriptions, warranties/guarantees, return/shipping policies, customer testimonials, etc.  (Adobe Dreamweaver)

Step 8:  Create a presentation to showcase everything that was done to create this business.  (Microsoft PowerPoint)

Step 9:  Present everything to the rest of the class in a 10-15 minute presentation complete with professional business attire and bringing in “samples” of their products.

Implementation Tips

  1. Have a thorough grading rubric to present to students at the start of the project.  I find students calculate their own grades as they go.  Those who make As usually realize around the halfway point that need do some sort of extra credit to make an A.  Those who don’t make the grades they desire cannot tell me they didn’t know something was required.
  2. Checkpoint progress throughout the process.  For example, I will give my students one week to create their business cards and other Publisher documents.  At the end of the week, I will check them off for a grade to make sure they are done and all basic requirements have been met.  I do not grade their spelling, grammar, creativity or things of that nature at this time, although if I notice an error or design flaw, I will make suggestions.
  3. Show students finished examples of each new phase before they begin in.  Example, before we start working on the commercial I will show my students dozens of examples of commercials the past group of students have produced.  I will point out elements that were well done, creative and/or effective, and I will point out those items that could have been done better or should have done differently.  I will show them A examples as well as C examples so they know what to expect going into it.

Outcomes

  • Due to the nature of our school, many of my students will become owners or managers of businesses someday.  I’ve actually had students so inspired by this project to start or manage their own businesses while still in high school.  I’ve also had students who enjoyed and excelled at the web design part so much, they later went on to make business web sites for friends and family—for pay.
  • Students are highly engaged in this project, often spending additional time outside the classroom working on it—by their choice, not because they have to.  They are allowed a tremendous amount of freedom in design and creativity.
  • This project prepares them for their future careers in a very authentic, real-world manner.
  • I have had numerous parents each year comment to me how they wished they had a project like this when they were in school.
  • I’ve had many students and parents thank me for teaching them or their children things they will actually use in the “real world.” 

There is no greater complement to me.

If you are interested in the details of this project for your own use in your classroom, or if you are interested in the Innovative Education Forum, please leave me a comment.





This I Believe

10 04 2011

I just finished reading This I Believe:  The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman.  This I Believe is based on NPR’s radio series of the same name that was wildly popular in the 1950s.  Eighty essays by famous and not-until-recently famous Americans each complete the thought that begins the title of the book.

 

I received several gems of wisdom and conviction that I am not likely to forget.

  • In an essay titled “Always Go to the Funeral” by Deirdre Sullivan, an attorney in Brooklyn, Sullivan writes of the values her father instilled in her by making her attend funerals of people she knew.  Sullivan writes, “In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn’t been good versus evil.  It’s hardly so epic.  Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.”
  • In an essay titled “When Ordinary People Achieve Ordinary Things” by Jody Williams, the founding coordinator of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Williams touches on the same idea.  “I believe words are easy.  I believe the truth is told in the actions we take.”

These essays, among others, caused me to really think about what I believe.  If I were asked to write such an essay, what would mine be about? 

 

None of the following thoughts are essays in and of themselves.  Some are core beliefs, others are not. 

 

Regarding my spiritual beliefs:

  • I believe there is only one way to eternal life in paradise, through acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.  “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” –John 14:6
  • I believe Satan is real.  I believe his powers are limited.  I believe he is defeated by the name of Jesus Christ.
  • I believe in the power of forgiveness.
  • I believe that only through grace and faith can we truly find “peace that passes all understanding” –Philippians 4:7, even in the darkest of circumstances.
  • I believe in that through prayer, we have the power of the creator of the universe at our disposal.
  • I believe God can redeem any situation—the most miserable marriage, the longest-held grudge, the hardest of hearts.  “Nothing is too hard for you.” –Jeremiah 32:17.
  • I believe in fasting to draw nearer to the heart of God.
  • I believe in the power of community and teamship.  Jesus did not live in isolation; neither should I.  I believe in being transparent and honest and with my team members, and I believe living this way will lead to blessings.
  • I believe life begins at conception.  As such, I believe abortion for any reason and at any time is the murder of an innocent human life.
  • I believe God created sexual intimacy to be an incredible blessing for the covenant of a heterosexual, monogamous marriage.  I believe that remaining sexually pure until after the wedding offers the most amazing blessings  God has given us in this gift.

 

Concerning parenting:

  • I believe parents should be parents first, not friends—until much later in life.  I believe in setting boundaries for your children and enforcing discipline.
  • I believe I am my sons’ greatest role model in all areas of life.  I believe it is my duty, first and foremost before it is anyone else’s duty, to train my children to make good decisions, to value education, to be financially responsible, to be sexually pure and honor their bodies (among many other things.)  I believe none of these issues is a one-time discussion, but a life-long continual dialogue.
  • I believe that parents should not live vicariously through their children.  Be an adult and get a life of your own.

 

In terms of education:

  • I believe that parents play a crucial role in their children’s education.  I believe a teacher can only do so much.  I believe testing can only accomplish so much.  I believe new resources and free lunches only go so far.  I believe extraordinary facilities and modern technology cannot replace a parent’s influence on the home front.
  • I believe in memorizing the multiplication tables.  I believe America is in a sad, sad state when high school students need a calculator to multiply 72 x 2.
  • I believe tenure is a bad idea.  (This coming from an educator of 15 years who has taught in both public and private institutions.)

 

Other random thoughts:

  • I believe in serving others as much as we possibly can.  I believe giving of my time is as important as giving of my financial resources.
  • I believe in the supremacy of the First Amendment.  I believe that all people should be allowed to freely and peacefully express their opinions and beliefs without threat of persecution.
  • I believe that sometimes it is best to agree to disagree.