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Mixed Bag


A little flame starts below;
then it all starts to show.
The flames are climbing,
the heat is rising.

Smoke fills the room,
it fills my throat.
The walls are black
and some are gone.

My room is cold
after the heat is gone.
The flames are falling,
the water is spouting.

There's nothing left,
except me and my mom.
The house is nothing more
than a pile of ashes.

But I'm thankful that my mom is alive,
Because without her I wouldn't survive.

The Eternal Light Of Christmas

Search me, O Lord,
And show me your eternal light
To follow you through this Christmas season
So l may show others
The way to follow your son
Through the light of the star
That shined that bright Christmas night.

Born in a cave, in lowly manger.
There was no room in the inn.
Mary and Joseph watch their babe
Sleep, hush in a lowly manger.

The star that shone up above
So bright that night.
The angels sang, Gloria-in-ex-cel-sis-De-o,
Announcing the birth of God's son.

The shepherds were frightened
When the angels came singing;
Glory to God, Peace on Earth.

O, how I am so glad that Christ was born
And bore my sins on the cross of Calvary
So that I might be saved.

My Hobby

Target shooting is a hobby I derive a great deal of enjoyment and fulfillment from. I started out a plinker (shooting at cans and bottles). Then, later on in years, a new friend introduced me to bullseye shooting.

Bullseye shooting demands far more precision; it is, in fact, a science, proven over the years by the best shooters in the art of marksmanship. There are four qualifications in shooting: marksman, sharpshooter, expert, and master. Coordinating gun indexing with trigger release is the essence of marksmanship. One must be able to release the sear pin without disturbing the sight alignment. The sear pin also is called a firing pin. When I am preparing for a bullseye match, I sit quietly and go over in my mind what I must do to accomplish my goal, which is a master score in a bullseye shooting.

Finally, bullseye shooting is a sport that I enjoy. Seeing myself making progress gives me a sense of fulfillment.

Blanket So Sweet

If I was an inanimate object
when I woke up, I'd have to say
it would be my kids' blanket.
That is what I'd be.

I am a big blue blanket.
I'm fuzzy and soft.
I have little hearts all over me.
I'm like a comforter, big and soft.

I wrap myself around
kids when they nap.
They sleep so safe 'cause I'm
warm like that.

I get to go on vacations
and maybe even lay on the grass.
But some people just hold me
just to cover their laps.

Well this is why I'm a
blanket -- so sweet, soft, and warm.
So think of me when you have
to bundle up when the weather is unsure.

Fleeing To Freedom

This story originated when the Margaret Guy and her basic literacy tutor, Tom Traughwein, were studying during Black History Month. The team had been reading stories about African American women that had local historical significance. A series of articles ran during Black History Month in the Dayton Daily News. One research article was about former slave, Eliza Harris. Margaret and Tom built their lessons that week around these articles. Margaret's assignment was to write a story putting herself in the place of Eliza Harris. The result is the following story Fleeing to Freedom.

Fleeing To Freedom

My name is Eliza Harris. I was a young indoor slave woman who had a husband and six kids. My master was broke, and I was about to be sold.

I knew if I was sold it would take me and my children farther South, and it would be harder to escape. I had to plan for my two-year-old daughter, too.

I had to think about warm clothing and food and how I could get away before I was missed. I had ten miles to go and a river to cross before I could be free.

We ran and ran. I was tired but I knew I had to stay on my feet because if I stopped I might not be able to go on. I could hear the bloodhounds on my trail. My baby and I were running for dear life. I was already cold and tired and nearly collapsing. The thought of being found and sold kept me going.

I came through the woods and looked up, and there was the river. One part of my journey was behind me. I jumped from one icy block to the next as quickly as I could. It was so slippery that I fell in the water at one time and just barely kept my baby above water.

We were crossing the river with icy blocks running into me, but I had to keep going. As I stepped into the cold, icy river I was panic stricken. When I got closer a man helped me out of the river. He was a slave owner who was moved by my ordeal and helped me out. I was the happiest ex-slave you have ever seen. We crossed the river.

Free! We are free!

We rested at the Rev. Rankin's house. They helped us and gave us warm clothing. They were so nice, and then we had to go on. And I had to think about finding my husband and then going back to get my kids that were left behind. Maybe I can help someone else to freedom.

I thank God I made it and I'm free.

The Best And Worst Of Times

The time we live in today has its advantages as well as its disadvantages. High unemployment and the threat of war are just among the few worries of today's society.

We also need to think about the threat of AIDS and other infectious diseases plaguing our times. Divorce is at an all time high, and our young people are resorting to gangs as a place to call their family. The use of drugs and alcohol is also threatening our streets.

Pornography is in our books and magazines and all over our televisions. Crime is on a rampage. There are many disadvantages of our times we live in today.

We also have many things to be thankful for today. Just to mention a few?we know more today than we've ever known before. We are closer to a cure for cancer. We are living longer, healthier lives. We have a better understanding of space. These are just to name a small fraction of the advantages of today's times. As with any time, there will be good and bad, so we should be glad in it.

What Makes A Good Leader?

What makes a good leader? I believe a good leader is someone who people can look up to. A good leader is someone who is not afraid of criticism, because a leader will always have someone who is trying to say they can do a better job. I believe a leader must have a lot of good qualities, because they will run into many different problems that they will have to solve. They must be willing to listen to other people's opinions and take them into consideration. If they don't listen to other opinions, then the people would not follow them. Therefore, they would not be a leader, so a good leader must also be a good listener.

I remember when I was younger I was in the Boy Scouts, and my troop leader was also a policeman. He was someone you could look up to not only as a leader, but also as a friend. He had all qualities of a good leader. He was very easy to talk to if you ever had a problem. He always seemed to have the right answers, and he always took charge when he needed to. Once on a camping trip, one of the boys was hurt and he came to help him, but he also turned it into a learning experience for the rest of us. Later by the campfire we talked about the accident and what we could have done to prevent it. He was always willing to help someone become a better person. He was probably the best example of a leader I can remember in my life.

I feel that in order to become a good leader you must also be a strong-willed person with the idea of being a leader in order to help yourself and others. But most of all you must be able to listen.

A City I Will Never Forget!

One of the nicest cities in Viet Nam is Dalat. Dalat City belongs to Lam Vien Highland. Dalat was named by the French. Its weather is cool all year round, and many kinds of flowers make Dalat look beautiful.

Two famous waterfalls are Camly and Freak. They attract millions of people each year. Ho Xuan Huong Lake and Supermarket are right at the center of Dalat. There, people spend their free time every weekend night.

Next to the Ho Xuan Houng Lake is Doicu. Doicu is a small hill with a lot of evergreen trees. There you can go camping or ride a horse. From Doicu you can walk to Bich Cau Park. Here, people collect many kinds of flowers. They feed and observe birds and many animals.

Dalat City is special to me because I grew up there. My family of six moved there when I was twelve years old. Every weekend my brother, Doan and I walked around the lake, flew kites, visited Doicu, and went to the HoaBinh Cinema.

Dalat people are very nice. I am sure if you, or any tourist, comes to Dalat, you will never forget it!

I Wonder Why

I wonder why human beings have two lungs but only one heart, two eyes but only one mouth, two shoulders but only one neck, two feet but only one body, and two ears but only one head. If I had two heads, I could sleep with one and stay awake with the other. I would also like to have two mouths. I could eat with one mouth while talking with the other. I also would like to have two faces, one in front and one behind, so I could look at all those pretty women on the street both going and coming. I wish I had two brains; I could think with one and let the other one rest. I'm tired of trying to figure out how to get ahead in this world. I have thought so much with one brain that it is about worn out. So I need a rest now. All this talk about two of everything makes me think of getting two more beers, so I can really have a good night's sleep.

Learning about Bill Clinton

I used to travel abroad once a year. I visited many countries, including several times to the U.S.A. I am Japanese. I did not grow up in this country. I entered the U.S.A. to stay last August.

The first big surprising topic was Princess Diana's depressing news. And then the next was President Clinton. I have never paid special attention to the government of the U.S.A., except some historical Presidents. But I believe that President Clinton is a great politician in this generation. So I was very interested in the news of his scandal.

I tried to learn about President Clinton's background. Bill Clinton was born on August 19th, 1946, in a farming community at the juncture of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. His father, a traveling salesman, died a few months after his birth. When he was four years old, his mother, Virginia Blythe, married Roger Clinton, a car dealer.

While Bill was in elementary school, he excelled both in academics and extra curricular activities. When he was ten years old, his half brother was born and he frequently volunteered to look after him. His stepfather was an alcoholic and he sometimes did unacceptable activities to his wife. His parents divorced and remarried three months later, then he legally adopted his stepfather's surname in his mid teens.

In spite of the sometimes violent atmosphere at home, he earned top grades at the high school and also devoted time to music. His leadership skills were apparent and he served as president for two clubs, one an honor society. He had decided to be a politician before his senior year in high school. He chose this after meeting with President John F. Kennedy in July 1963, just 4 months before Kennedy was assassinated.

Clinton entered Georgetown University in Washington D.C. During his freshman and sophomore years he served as class president. In his senior year, he volunteered to assist relief workers of Martin Luther King Jr. Clinton graduated from Georgetown with a bachelor's degree, and then he began a two-year graduate program at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. After one year, he received a draft deferrment. He came back to the U.S.A. and then enrolled at the University of Arkansas Law School. But he changed his mind and he soon returned to Oxford. He gave up a third year at Oxford and then attended Yale University. Next year, he met Hillary Rodham at Yale and married her on October 11, 1975. (My wedding is same day!)

After graduation from Yale, he ran as a Democratic candidate for the House seat of Arkansas's Third Congressional District. In 1978, at the age of thirty-two, Clinton was elected the youngest governor of Arkansas. Clinton was defeated in his second election. His political ambition took over state business, but he returned to government office in 1982. While he was a governor, he worked very hard, cooperated with the other states' governors and chaired many Democratic organizations.

By the time Clinton felt ready to be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President, he was in trouble with damaging rumors, the factor was Gennifer Flowers. Clinton and his wife Hillary requested voters to respect "a zone of privacy" on a TV show, and he recovered his candidacy. On January 20, 1993, he was sworn in as the forty-second President. Then he tried to concentrate domestic issues. He was reelected in 1996 and continued to work for America. I was very interested in this story.

I felt very sorry for him about his family condition. But he continued studying very, very hard, and remembered to enjoy his hobby. I think he is very independent and has been since he was a child from all these stories. I think I can understand why he likes Lincoln.

As for the scandals of Clinton, I cannot guess anything about how this trouble is solved by government and the public. President is a kind of symbol of each country, almost the same position as the Emperor. I heard his job as a politician is good. He could win the election for a second term even though there were questions about "Whitewater" too.

Once, the Japanese prime minister was forced to resign by a nasty scandal several years ago. It was not only an affair but also a stingy story. His work term was only about 3 months. It is a rule of the Japanese Diet.

Every country has different laws. So it is difficult and impossible to criticise a type of government. But I married an American and I will live in this country forever. I hope to become an American. I am very curious about this news.


The House On The Hill

There was a very old house on the top of the hill at the end of the city. The house was built in the 1800s by a man named Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller built the house on the top of old Stoney Hill. Stoney Hill is a very high hill that looks down on the city of Salty Lake. There is only one road to the top of the hill to the house. The road was named after Mr. Miller's wife, Ann. River Ann Road is a two-way road, up and down the hill.

In 1831, Mrs. Miller was killed on River Ann Road, coming home from Salty Lake City. Ann Miller worked at a bar in the city where she served drinks. As usual, Mrs. Miller started to walk home like she had for the last two years, but she did not make it this time. A man followed Ann until she started up River Ann Road where she was killed with a knife. She was stabbed ten times and her money was taken.

Mr. Miller waited for Ann to come home that night, but she did not make it. The next day at day-light Mr. Miller started down the hill to the city to look for his wife. He didn't have to go very far. He walked down River Ann Road, and at the end of the road he found something on the side of the road that looked like a dead dog. So he walked closer to it and saw it was Ann. Mr. Miller went down to his knees at Ann's side. He told Ann that he loved her and picked her up and took her to the house. He put his wife in the bedroom on their bed. He gave her a kiss and left to go to the city to find the person that killed his wife.

Mr. Miller stopped at the site where he found Mrs. Miller and looked all around for something to tell him what had happened to his wife. Mr. Miller looked for an hour before he found a piece of black hair on a rock by the side where Ann's head was. It wasn't Ann's hair as her hair was brown.

Mr. Miller went back to the house with the piece of black hair. He sat down at the table with a cup of hot tea, looking at the piece of black hair. He started to make a list of people he knew who had black hair. Then he stopped and walked upstairs to the bedroom to look at his wife for clues. He looked all over her and found some skin and blood under her finger nail. So, she must have scratched somebody. Looking more closely at her finger nail, he found a piece of small black hair. It looked like the piece of the hair he had found on the side of the road on River Ann Road where he had found his wife dead. So now, Mr. Miller had the black hair and the skin and blood as his first two clues.

Mr. Miller went back down the hill to the site where he found Mrs. Miller and looked around some more. When he got to the site, he looked around again. He did not find anymore clues so he started to walk to the city. On the way, Mr. Miller ran into Mr. Blue. He asked Mr. Blue if he had seen or heard anything. Mr. Blue said that he had seen a man with black hair walk down River Ann Road, going back to the city the night before around 2:00 a.m. Mr. Miller then asked Mr. Blue if the man had a scratch on his face. Mr. Blue replied: "Yes, how did you know?"

"I think that man killed my wife last night!"

Mr. Blue said, "Your wife is dead?"

"Yes," said Mr. Miller.

"Do you need help to find the man that killed your wife?"

"If you have time to help me, I would like your help," answered Mr. Miller.

So the two men started to walk to the city. On the way, they talked about the night before and all the clues they had so far. The men decided to start looking for clues at the bar where Ann had worked. But before they went to the bar, the men stopped at the diner to eat lunch. They sat down to toasted cheese sandwiches, chicken soup, and a cup of coffee. As Mr. Blue got up to pay the bill, he saw the man he had seen last night on River Ann Road. He had short black hair, was 6 feet tall and weighed about 200 pounds. The man was wearing blue pants and a red and white shirt. Mr. Blue sat back down at the table. Mr. Miller said, "What is wrong? You look like you have seen a ghost."

Mr. Blue said, "That is the man I saw last night on River Ann Road."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, that is the man who has a scratch on his face."

The two men wanted to be sure that they were right. So, Mr. Miller and Mr. Blue sat at the table until the man left the diner. They followed the man to the bar where Ann worked. The man sat down at the bar to have a drink. Mr. Miller walked up to the man and sat next to him at the bar and Mr. Blue sat next to Mr. Miller. The bar maid came up and said, "Hi, Mr. Miller, how is Ann?"

"Ann is not feeling good, so she will not be in tonight."

Mr. Blue whispered to Mr. Miller, "What are you doing?"

"You will see," Mr. Miller said and started to talk to the man with the black hair. He told the man how he had found a woman on the side of the road who had been stabbed. He also told the man that the woman was alive and that he had taken her to the house on top of Stoney Hill and called the doctor.

Then the man told Mr. Miller how he was in jail and that he just got out two days ago. He also said that he did not have money and he needed a job, so if he knew of any job would he let him know. Mr. Miller said, "O.K." and finished his drink.

The two men left the bar. As they walked, Mr. Blue asked Mr. Miller why he had talked to that man, as that man supposedly had killed his wife. Mr. Miller said, "We need more clues to prove he killed my wife. Hopefully, he will come to the house tonight to finish off Mrs. Miller."

So the men walked to the sheriff's office and told the sheriff. After the sheriff knew Mr. Miller's plan, the three men walked up the hill to the house where Mrs. Miller was. They waited until the man came back to finish off Mrs. Miller. It did not take too long before they saw a light coming up the hill toward the house. "It must be the man from the bar," said Mr. Blue. The three men hid so they were not seen. The light kept coming closer and closer to the house until it got in front of the house and stopped. The light went off two minutes later, and the door of the house opened.

Someone walked into the house and just then something mysterious happened. A green light came out of the bedroom where Mrs. Miller was, and the light started to move to the steps. So the men watched, not knowing what to think. The green light lit up the room and the man saw that it was the ghost of Mrs. Miller. The light moved up to the man and said, "Why did you kill me? Why?"

The man turned white and grabbed his chest and died of a heart attack. Then the green light was gone.

The three men came out of the darkness, looked at each other and Mr. Blue said, "Did you see that? It was the ghost of Mrs. Miller coming back to get the man who killed her."

Now once a year on the day that Mrs. Miller was killed, you can see a green light in the house.

No Spiritual Charm

Why do people fight and cause harm?
No spiritual charm, no spiritual charm.
Just physical violence, hurt, and harm.
No spiritual charm, no spiritual charm.
Just par for my love ones.
No spiritual charm, no spiritual charm.
Just pain and violence and physical harm?
Could it be your child or maybe your loved ones?
No spiritual charm, no spiritual charm.
Nothing but violence and pain for my love ones.
No spiritual charm, no spiritual charm.
No kind of charm at all--just pain and violence.
No spiritual charm--none at all.
Nothing but pain and physical harm
to someone just physical harm
to somebody's child.
No spiritual charm -- no none at all
to my child or somebody's loved one.

Books Change Lives

I came from a home where there were no books, no understanding of books and no use for books because nobody could read. My five siblings and I graduated from high school without being functionally literate. I did not learn to read well until I became a student at the Literacy Connection, a program for adult non-readers, at the Mansfield Public Library. After working with a tutor for three years, I began to attend The Ohio State University, Mansfield Campus, where I am studying Liberal Arts. Today, I am the only one of my six sisters and brothers who can read.

I was determined that my children would not be like me. I was able to help my oldest daughter with her homework until she reached the end of third grade. After that, I had to hire a tutor. By sixth grade, my daughter was helping me and her grandfather read and manage our bills.

I knew that education was important, but I still did not realize and understand that knowledge comes from books. The older my daughter got, the more it dawned on me that books are a necessity.

I paid a tutor to educate my oldest daughter. I did not provide her with a reading environment. After I learned the importance of books, I made sure that my younger children had lots of books in the house and that we read with them. My youngest daughter demands that we read to her. I know that there is a difference when books are at hand.

There was a time in my life when I could not have written this. I learned to read, and I am struggling in college. My oldest daughter struggled to learn to read and is doing well in college. The baby doesn't have to struggle at all.

Books do make a difference in lifelong learning.

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