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Posts in category High Desert People

From One Magic Kingdom to Another

 

Arriving in Barstow. Photo By Jonathan Cobb

Arriving in Barstow. Photo By Jonathan Cobb

photo_1(1)Cobb family dinnerFriday Evening, I had the pleasure of meeting the Cobb Family.  They seem like a typical family,  but Jonathan and Jennifer Cobb along with their 3 children, Jonathan David, 12, Jenna, 10, and Jaxi, 3,  are doing something that is extraordinary.  They are walking from Disneyland to Disney World.  They aren’t taking a direct route, either.   I met them outside of Barstow as they were taking a dinner break from their walk.  I pointed out that they were not heading toward Disney World, but toward Las Vegas.  They laughed good naturedly and told me that they are taking a circuitous route that will take them through Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas, Dallas, Houston, Memphis, Birmingham, and finally to Orlando.  They will finish their walk at the Castle inside of Disney World after walking down Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. You might wonder why a family of four would make a choice to do something so out of the ordinary.  They are doing it because of Julia.

Julia Cobb Memorial Photo

Julia Cobb, the Cobb’s third child, died on October 29, 2013 as a result of Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of rare bone cancer.  She was only 8 years old.  The family is making this walk to honor the memory of Julia, increase awareness of pediatric cancer, and hopefully earn some money which they intend to donate to  pediatric cancer centers in different parts of  the country which took part in Julia’s care. These hospitals include the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

Last fall, eight year old Julia had undergone a stem cell transplant at St. Jude’s Hospital in Tennessee, but her cancer continued to spread.  St. Jude’s arranged for Make-a-Wish to provide the family with a week long trip to the Magic Kingdom of Disney World.  On the last day of the trip, Julia awoke with an unexplained fever.  She was take to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, and that was where she “transitioned into Glory.”    Her family says that since Julia went from one Kingdom to the next, they decided to walk from one Magic Kingdom to another.

The family began walking on August 6, 2014, and they have already had some challenges on their trip.  Their sole chase vehicle required repairs, and they have sometimes had to walk without their chase vehicle due to trails that are impassible for their Suburban which they renamed ” the JuBurban”.  At this point, they walk as far as they can, pile into the chase vehicle, return to a Hotel for the night then go to the place where they stopped walking the night before, and start all over again.  The family is hoping that someone can donate an RV for them to use so that they don’t have to eat out and stay in Hotels all the time.

Through their website, they are hoping that teams can be organized to help get donations and walk with them on different parts of the route.   So far, Jonathan, a cancer survivor, has been doing most of the walking while the rest of the family serves as his support team.    When asked why they think they can do this, the family replies with Julia’s favorite scripture, Philippians 4:13, which says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”    Who could argue with that?

To sponsor the Cobb family on their journey,   visit the JuCan Foundation Website  to learn more about their needs for sponsorship.

To make a donation to the JuCan Foundation to support pediatric cancer research click here.  Their goal is to raise  $413,000.  The amount is a tribute to Julia’s favorite scripture mentioned above.

You can follow the family’s progress through their blog and on their Facebook page.

If you would like to meet this extraordinary family, they will be walking around Chili’s restaurant off the Lenwood Road exit in Barstow on Monday, September 8, 2014 at 6:00 pm.  They are hoping that people will turn out and walk with them around the restaurant.  If you can, head over to Chili’s and give some support this amazing family and their mission.

 

Patti can also be found at Patty Cake’s Pantry.

 

A Proud Desert Town Celebrates

Fireworks with flag

In our rural desert town, we don’t always get a fireworks show. In fact this year, we grabbed an offer for a discount price on fireworks if we signed up for Thursday — July 3rd — instead. It’s not the first time we’ve been frugal and clever.

So this year, our celebration began Thursday evening with a stroll in the Park, some tasty food from vendors who were eager to have two opportunities to sell on a busy holiday, children racing with tiny flags in their hands, and a swing band with upbeat horns who knew how to “get the joint jumpin.'”

When the heat and sun gave way to the dusk and a soft summer breeze, we sat ready on our picnic blankets or dragged folding chairs to the lawn, anticipating the barrage of light and sound to come.

As the fireworks sprayed across a night sky, an undercurrent of voices drummed in some kind of song. At first, I heard a high nasal tone from a woman far off. Someone near me said, “Is that someone singing?” Then another deeper voice and then a few more in harmony, and as I listened, the lyrics cleared. And as if the fireworks shot up in prearranged percussion, the many voices grew and gathered more angelic, more spiritual, more home-grown … “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,  Sweet Land of Liberty, of thee I sing…” their voGirl with flagices growing and gathering up all the families — no matter their faiths or ethnicities — “Land Where My Fathers’ Died, Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride,” — no matter that they knew the words or not — “From Every Mountainside Let Freedom Ring!”

I cried silently.

It was natural and beautiful. I felt that my little community held the Spirit of every little way station across this huge nation of towering skyscrapers and ribbons of highway. We sang for those who fought for our freedom, strong memories that strummed our heart-strings, as we continued to raise our heads in pure pride and let freedom ring…

From her mamma’s lap, the hesitant, young patriot waved a flag upward to a brilliant starburst of pride.

Rusty LaGrange

Children Craft Mother’s Day Cards from the Heart

Mothers Day Card group_05A Simple Mother’s Day Gift

Mother’s Day whirled by last weekend, but for some who don’t have the same day available to share with their Mothers, you can still send a Mother’s Day gift from the heart.

 

 

Craft a card with a flair just for her. Moms love getting something that is infused with love. Many web sites are devoted to crafts for paper flowers and 3-D creations. Just like these.
Mothers Day Card
crafted cards
My daughter hosts a craft class for children at our local museum each month. This session included a 3-D constructed woven flower as an embellishment for a “hand-made” card for me. All the children crafted their own cards for their Moms.

 

It’s a complicated and intricate-looking design but one that is easy for grade school kids to manage.

Rusty LaGrange

Hesperia Days Brings Humanitarian Projects to Light

In the celebration of Hesperia’s 25th Year as a City, a colorful assortment of vendors filled the Hesperia Lakes and Park Saturday and Sunday. Food vendors and carnival games entertained the large number of young families with children. If you strolled through the entire Park, you would have seen many small businesses shoulder-to-shoulder with non-profit and humanitarian groups.

One that caught my eye was the Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation. These folks are working to bring awareness to children who are challenged by not being fully aware of their environment. With training at the ranch, the organization enhances the children’s ability to understand and work with nature. They are combating a condition called Nature Deficit Disorder.

Wagon Wheel horse 1

Help children learn how they can work in their environment

Children join a horse camp there and learn not only to ride, but care for the animals and accomplish tasks as a team. They  have numerous activities that help strengthen their goal to interact with their environment and their community.

In keeping with these activities, Wagon Wheel Ranch is hosting a special event — Hands, Hearts & Horses — with animal chiropractor Dr. Rod Block. Block is a famous chiropractor to the animal stars and human celebrities of Hollywood. With 42 years of experience, he is offering class time with those who wish to understand animals, their energy, and how to understand them better.

 Ever wanted to figure out the emotional and psychological components of your horse? Here’s a chance to do that. A portion of proceeds from this one-day clinic will go to the Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation to help them develop their programs. The date is this Saturday, Sept. 28th beginning at 9 am. Entry fee is $10 with additional fees for specific elements of the clinic. Call for clinic reservations if you wish to bring your horse for a session, too.

Opportunity Drawings will be held all day, and food

Child & Horse Therapy at Wagon Wheel Ranch

Child & Horse Therapy at Wagon Wheel Ranch

 is available from Triple S Concessions. Call for directions to Wagon Wheel Ranch 760-389-2002, or email to wagonhelranch7@msn.com, or go on line to www.wagonwheelranchfoundation.net. The ranch is 3 miles south of Hesperia airport at 5676 Telephone Canyon Rd.

 

 

 

 

Rusty LaGrange

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A new year begins

Happy Thanksgiving: Unions Shut Down Traffic to LAX

Airport Lines

First day of school in the High Desert has come and gone.  Our boy is going to a new school and everything has changed. A new schedule, new classes, and a lot more traffic. Our first day of school was akin to dropping someone off at the airport. There was lots of craziness being contained in a small space.

But things have settled down and we’re in love with the new school.

It’s a performing art school and our son is enjoying himself immensely. The curriculum is very different from a traditional school; however, that was the whole point of sending him to a different kind of school.

The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez. $11.54. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (October 25, 1999). 128 pages

The Circuit by Francisco Jimenez

Recently, he came home with questions about our family history. They were reading “The Circuit” by Francisco Jimenez in Language Arts class and he wondered if we had a similar history. Can you imagine my astonishment at his genuine curiosity about migrant farmers?

School hasn’t been in session for a month and I’m so glad we decided to send him there. He’s being inspired and driven to learn, which of course, makes it all worth it.

Now, if I could just get the boy inspired and driven to keep his room clean…

For more information or to get to know Just a HD Mom, please visit my website www.MonicaGloria.com and click the Contact page. I’d love to hear from you.

I am Liquid!

Had to borrow this from my private blog page, but thought you all might get a laugh out of it.  It is all about my new purpose in life: becoming a cat! All my best thoughts come after a lovely High desert stroll.

http://newauthorpublishing.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/895/

Home Based Business Part 2

In my previous post I spoke about modern day Americans needing to have a Plan B.  We need to put away for a rainy day, or as SciFi Channel would suggest, prepare for the Sharknado.  Expect the unexpected.  And definitely know that when push comes to shove, you have to be able to support yourself when economy shifts have shoved you out of that “safe” job.

More and more people are turning to home based business than ever before.  Not just being an independent distributor for larger well-known corporations like Pampered Chef or Tupperware, but many people are becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own brands from clothes, ribbons and bows, to foods and cakes.  If necessity is the mother of invention, then it is evident that there is a whole lot of necessity in this day and age.  I follow several Facebook pages like High Desert Sellers and High Desert Women’s Business Group, all of which have the same running theme: supporting the small businesses in the High Desert.  With the hiring drought people are turning to working from home as a means of survival.  And guess what? They are loving it.

As most of us have heard of The Avon Lady and the Tupperware Girl, I have had to ask myself: why get into the business? Now I, like many, have tried direct sales in the past from the timid Avon products to the risque Passion Party bounty.  I have heard of distributors making enough to support their family, but I never had that kind of outcome.  Maybe it was because I got in after the bandwagon had long  since forged a trail, or perhaps it was due to my lack of motivation and direct sales skills.  These points must be considered when looking into a home based business, and you must eventually ask yourself this question: am I ready?

Loss of income is a huge motivator for many, it can make the quiet become loud and the unmotivated become sparked.  So here is a list of questions to ask yourself before signing up to be your own boss.

  • Am I looking for extra income or the ability to support my family?
  • How much can I afford to invest?
  • How much time can I invest?
  • Do I have the support of my family?
  • Where will I sell?
  • Is there a demand for this product?
  • How much competition is out there?
  • Do I believe in what I am selling?
  • How long before I turn a profit?
  • Am I paid in items or money?
  • What types of perks are there? Incentives? Bonuses?

All of these questions must be addressed and seriously considered.  To the person looking to make some extra money it may not matter how much they sell or how much competition is out there.  To the person who is looking to support their family it would mean more to be paid in cash rather than items to add to a kit.  And for someone looking to get their own line of ribbons and bows out there, they need to look at how long it would take to turn a profit and what the demand for such items are.

Go in with a realistic outlook not with rose colored glasses.  If you are outspoken you will fair well.  If you are a quiet house mouse then some kind of internet sales may work better.  Also realize the importance of social media; much of my sales have been directly related to social media outlets. I’ve made more sales through Facebook messaging than through phone calls.  Know your strengths and your weakness and base a business off that.  If the best you can do is drop a catalog off in the lunch room then maybe something simple will do.  If you want to host in-home parties and set up at events then you need something with more pizzazz than the average catalog of make-up left in the lunch room.

And if you are selling something that is pricier than $10 per item, you better believe in your product.  The best way to sell is to love and believe in your product.  Also keep in mind that your biggest sales group will likely be family and friends and you don’t want them coming back at you because of a shoddy product.  Just as much as you should know your weaknesses you should also know your strengths: direct marketing, online marketing, large groups, small groups and more.  All of these will help you in choosing a route to venture into, but don’t go into something lightly because a friend or distributor says you can earn thousands; a lucky lottery ticket can give you the same outcome.  Remember, distributors are trying to make money too and the best way to do that is to get other distributors.  Do not be blinded by the promise of big bucks, it takes work! Research the company, know the payouts, and know your own limitations.

Part 3 next week.

Tania L Ramos, Author, RN, and Indep Distributor for It Works!

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SUNDAY JOY

Today is Sunday. Most Sundays you might find grumbling that work is the next day but not this Sunday. This is a Sunday filled with joy and happiness and reminders that joy is a gift that is given to us freely and we ought to enjoy it. As of late I’ve seen grumbling before me and I’m reminded of the saying my mother says still today, “Get glad in the same pants you got mad in.” In other words no one really cares what you are mad about.

Today was a day full of peace in my high desert world. I got to spend time with great people. I got to spend time with my mother and sister. I got to enjoy another beautiful blue skied day in the desert. Fluffy white clouds dotted the horizon and made the sky look like an inviting pillow. There was a calm over the desert. Even though the weather is hot, it’s not as hot as it was yesterday or the day before.

What more can a person ask for, blue skies, good people to mingle with and an assurance of the Sunday Joy that surrounds the day. Tomorrow is a work day, but if I look around I will find joy in that day too. No one, no one person in this world can take joy from our hearts. Joy is a feeling and even in the midst of a crises, joy can be found.

Thank you for a great ending to a fourth of July weekend. Thank you for joy in our hearts.

Ways I Celebrate July 4th, Independence Day

One of my favorite songs in my fifth-grade music class in Center, Texas in the 1960’s was Yankee Doodle. Did you know that the song was meant to mock the American soldiers by the British? But the American soldiers proudly sang the song as an anthem back to the British during the American Revolution. I’ve been singing the song since I got up at 5:30 this morning to go to a 5K run with my husband and our friends.

Our friends, John and Karen, had planned to run the 5K at Brewster Park in Apple Valley. I had no intentions of running the 5K with John and Karen but went to support them. Went because my husband asked if I wanted to go. Went for the fun of it. Okay, I admit waking up at 5:30 a.m. is not what I consider fun. But today is July 4th. Independence Day. Just being able to run (or walk) and having the freedom to go support friends who are running in a 5K is reason to celebrate.

5K at Brewster Park

5K at Brewster Park

We arrived at the park, and I saw all the dedicated runners waiting to go on a 5K and a 10K. I can do this, I thought. I was wearing my good walking shoes. No way was I going to run, though. Then I heard the instructions to those participating, the runners – and the walkers. Yes, I could do this. And I did. I walked the 5K, my first one ever.

The first mile seemed easy. Then I heard someone’s electronic device that said “1.3 miles, 18 minutes.” I thought surely we had gone further already. I kept moving. I set a goal three times to jog to a certain landmark. I thought maybe that would help me speed up some. But the last mile on a dirt road in addition to the sun getting hotter was just too much. I walked the rest of the way – and made it. Meeting a gentleman named Ben who was walking and running with his beautiful four-year-old daughter, KK, made my last mile a pleasant walk. I was amazed at little KK braving the 5K.

5K Run at Brewster Park

5K Run at Brewster Park

 

So now I have added a 5K walk to my history of how to celebrate July 4th. How do you and your family celebrate this holiday? Here are some ways I’ve celebrated with family and friends through the years:

  1. Make homemade ice cream
  2. Have a picnic
  3. Fireworks (in Texas)
  4. Church camp meeting
  5. Grill hamburgers and hot dogs
  6. 5K walk

Add more to the list in the comments section below.

Any history buffs reading this? Did you know that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826–the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence?

3 Ways That YOU Can Make a Difference In the High Desert Today

Glass HeartThe High Desert is an amazing landscape filled with natural beauty, plentiful resources and caring citizens. While outsiders may not immediately grasp the desert’s allure, those of us who live here are well-acquainted with its distinct and attractive personality. Yet, despite all of the wonder that the Mojave has to offer, it is not without its areas in need of attention and improvement. I don’t mean areas strictly in terms of neighborhoods and zip codes either as individual members of our communities are in need of support and enlightenment too, which is why I’m so pleased to show you how we can all make a difference through three very worthwhile organizations representing faith, hope and love, today.

Faith Rainbow by xandert morgueFile1. FAITH

A strong vision has taken root in the Town of Apple Valley and its organizers place diligent faith in bringing it to pass. Perhaps you’ve seen the dilapidated abandoned house sitting alone on the top of Bass Hill just off of Highway 18 and have wondered about its history. You may have even longed to take a closer look like Daniel Harley can be seen doing in the video below. Regardless of your initial thoughts after recognizing the behemoth peering down upon the highway, you’ve undoubtedly also wondered about what will become of it in the future.

Well, a grass roots group has plans to reclaim Bass Hill in order to restore it to the heartbeat of the town that it once was. The Apple Valley Legacy Trail (AVLT) Endowment Fund aims to cultivate a hiking trail leading up to the property, which will include picnic areas and educational tours. Visitors may navigate the trail by foot or by horseback while enjoying the natural plant and wildlife along the way. The house itself will act as an observation deck, as it offers a spectacular 360 degree view of the desert. It will also feature historic memorabilia recounting the rich story of the Town of Apple Valley.

You can help make a difference by assisting the AVLT Endowment Fund via donation or volunteering in a myriad of other ways detailed on the group’s website. Always remember that faith requires action and yours is both welcomed and needed in order to bring this worthwhile vision to life.

Daniel Harley’s Hilltop House Video Courtesy of YouTube (MojaveDan)

Message Stones2. HOPE

In situations of family strife, hope often appears to be lost. In its absence depression, suicide and a variety of other social ills tend to prevail. When people come together to restore hope, however, they deserve to be both recognized and supported in their efforts. This is why I found it such a pleasure for the High Desert Bloggers to be situated right next to the Family Assistance Program at the RelyLocal Expo during the San Bernardino County Fair last weekend.

The Family Assistance Program exists to help individuals and families address a host of pressing issues such as domestic violence, housing threats, homelessness and others which often tear families apart while leaving individual members feeling lost, hurt and angry. The following is a sampling of the services that they provide under the main organization:

Domestic Violence Assistance

  • 24 Hour Hotline
  • Shelter and Transitional Housing Assistance
  • Support Groups and Counseling
  • Restraining Order Clinics
  • Bilingual Court Support
  • Teen Dating Classes
  • Art Classes Promoting Healing and Empowerment

Family Assistance Services

  • Counseling (individual and conjoint are both available)
  • Anger Management Classes
  • Parenting Classes
  • Supervised Visitation

As funds permit, the agency also offers rent and utility assistance to members of the community in need.

Special Services For Homeless Youth

This particular community based organization is also the first to open a shelter for homeless and runaway teens in San Bernardino county. Known as Our House, the shelter is located in Redlands and offers a safe harbor to young people between the ages of 11 and 17 years old who have runaway from home or who are homeless due to other circumstances. The primary goal of the shelter is to see families be restored whenever possible through supportive services beyond shelter which include counseling, goal-oriented workshops and case management.

LGBTQ Outreach Services

Another very worthwhile effort under the Family Assistance Program umbrella is the Giving Resources, Outreach, and Wellness Education (GROWE) Program which exists to increase awareness about the needs and challenges of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) community here in the HD. As teens who live outside of society’s established sexual norms often experience higher than average rates of depression, violence, bullying, substance abuse, homelessness and isolation, the GROWE program works to prevent all of these by providing resources and education to teens, their families and the community-at-large.

With boots on the ground and in the midst of some of the most dire circumstances families and individuals can face, the Family Assistance Program is a champion of hope. By offering resources, education and support, the agency tackles tough issues with optimism and strength. Volunteers and donations (monetary and in-kind) are always needed there, so if you believe that hope really can lead to change, please visit the Family Assistance Program’s website to learn how you can join forces with them to help it happen.

Loves Saves Lives by Kokabella at morgueFile3. LOVE

It takes a special individual to be so selfless as to open one’s home to children who are underprivileged and at-risk. Yet, this is precisely what Julie Wilson does through her Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation. For several years now, Julie and her staff of volunteers have offered camping and a host of fun and educational events on her multi-acre ranch located in Hesperia.

The Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation allows children to connect with nature through activities which include hiking, caring for animals and horseback riding. Other events and activities include western-themed barbecues, various arts and crafts, talent shows, roping lessons and horse shoe competitions. The foundation is also very well known for its annual Easter programs, which offer Bible-based activities and education in a naturally beautiful setting.

As the Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation’s leader, Julie Wilson has managed to press through her own string of adversities in order to keep children in need as her first priority. In fact, during recent consecutive years Julie endured the loss of her mother, watching her husband suffer in the hospital following an horrific accident, her husband’s death, major structural damage at the ranch and a host of other trials that would have caused someone of a weaker spirit to give in. Yet, Julie persevered and, though she is still recovering financially and emotionally, her determination in seeing the ranch thrive in order that children in trouble may have a place of refuge fuels her on. This sort of sacrifice, dear readers, is true love in action.

To help keep the Wagon Wheel Ranch Foundation as a beacon of light for children in the High Desert, visit their website for information on volunteering, making a donation or becoming a sponsor. Specifically, the ranch is in need of people who can swing a hammer and who aren’t afraid of a little hard labor, as well as those who love to work with animals. As a non-profit organization, all monetary contributions are also tax-deductible.

A Little Bit of Faith, Hope and Love Can Make a Big Difference In the High Desert

I met leaders and representatives from each one of these groups while at the RelyLocal Expo discussed in my last post. Truly, it was a pleasure getting to know what each one stood for. An equal pleasure was had in preparing this post in order to urge everyone to invest in the faith, hope and love each one of these groups is infusing into the High Desert. While we’re all spread out across different cities, I believe that we are all a part of one very powerful community and together we can accomplish much.

Your Turn

The comments section is now all yours. Tell us, how will you choose to make a difference in your community today?

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