Category Archives: SGV-IE Columnists

The Name of a Road

Photo Courtesy: Pixabay

By Pastor Mark Hopper

I love history and biographies. I enjoy learning about the lives of people and their journeys through life. It is fascinating to learn how a road or a street got its name. Recently I was driving down a major road in Scottsdale, Arizona and the saw a sign on a side street named “Joe Foss Way”.  I suspect that very few drivers even notice the street and even fewer know who Joe Foss was.  But I actually saw Joe Foss at Scottsdale Bible Church when I was a teenager.

Joe Foss was the first American Ace in the Pacific in World War Two. He was a cigar smoking, hard drinking fighter pilot who was the first American to shot down five Japanese planes in the war.  After the war his life changed dramatically when he became a Christian.  He was elected Governor of South Dakota and was one of the people featured in Tom Brokaw’s book, The Greatest Generation.

There is another road that you will see along Interstate Five between Los Angeles and San Diego. If you watch carefully you will see a sign that reads, John Basilone Memorial Highway.  This sign is near the Marine Base at Camp Pendleton.

I did not know anything about John Basilone until I watched the HBO series about World War Two in the Pacific. I learned that John Basilone fought in the bloody battles on Guadalcanal in the south Pacific in 1942. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courage and bravery in the brutal combat against the Japanese.

He came home to a hero’s welcome but decided to dedicate himself to training other Marines for future combat.  Instead of just training them he decided lead his fellow Marines in the landings on Iwo Jima in 1945.  In the midst of this terrible combat, John Basilone was killed. The nation was stunned that a Medal of Honor recipient would go back into battle with his fellow Marines and give his life to help win the war.

These are just two examples. There are countless streets and highways that bear the names of men and women who have been recognized for their service and sacrifice in the military and in public safety. Let me encourage you to research some of the names that you see along the streets and highways in your community. You will be glad you did!  

This article was written by Pastor Mark Hopper of Efree Church of Diamond Bar. Sunday Services are held at 9:00 am & 10:45 am at 3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd. You can contact the church at 909.594.7604 or visit them online at Efreedb.org

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

Meditation is a Natural Way to Wellness

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

By Nancy Stoops

I have been meditating most of my life.  I have been aware for years as to all of the benefits of daily meditation.  I have known for along time that daily meditation helps an individual focus better and manage stress better.  Recently, I was listening to the news and there was a story about a school district that has their students meditating daily.  They found a dramatic difference in how their students were able to concentrate and learn when daily meditation was incorporated into the student’s school day.  The other day a colleague was telling me about a study with the Dalai Lama.  They were able to show that meditation actually changes brain chemistry.   I personally would much rather meditate rather than use any other method, to adjust my mood or reduce my anxiety.

I must say that I’m very excited about these findings because they validate what I have believed for years.  Meditation takes daily practice and its’ effects can start early on, if done correctly.  True meditation occurs when one is able to clear one’s mind, by focusing on the deep breathing the individual is participating in.  Meditation isn’t a very easy skill to acquire but can be learned if the individual is serious. I meet so many people that are on medication for anxiety and depression.  I struggle with the concept of a magic pill for all that we suffer from.  Meditation is a much healthier and natural way of taking charge of you and your mindset.  On Saturday March 30 from 8a.m. -noon I will be facilitating a free wellness event at the Walnut Senior Center.  I will be teaching meditation as part of the event.  For more information contact me at (909)229-0727 or the senior center at (909)598-6200.  I hope you will join us for a wonderful morning of wellness and learn how to meditate and learn lots of other information about wellness.  Midnight the therapy dog will be helping me with the event.  We hope to see you all there!!!

  This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens.  For more information about any of these services feel.  You may call her at (909 229-0727).  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

Another Consumer Conspiracy

Pastor Mark Hopper of Efree Church in Diamond Bar

By Mark Hopper

     A few years ago, I wrote an article about how food manufactures were reducing the size of their packaging but not reducing the prices they charge for their product.

     The most obvious example was with ice cream.  In the old days, a standard carton of ice cream was a half-gallon or 64 ounces.  If you went to the store to get a “carton” of ice cream, you knew you were purchasing a “half-gallon” – 64 ounces.

     But, sometime during the past decade, ice cream manufactures reduced the size of their packages to three pints or 48 ounces.  The carton of ice cream looked similar, but the content was 25% less and the price has remained the same!

     In the last five years, the orange juice companies changed the size of their packaging, too.  One day I discovered that the “Half-gallon” (64 ounces) of orange juice had been reduced to 59 ounces.  Again, the packaging looked so similar that you didn’t really notice unless you read the fine print on the container.  The price did not go down, but the volume was 10% less.

     Recently, when I was shopping at a local market, I noticed that my favorite orange juice carton looked a little different.  The package looked similar but a bit smaller.  When I read the fine print, I discovered that the new carton of orange juice was now 52 ounces!  They reduced the volume by another 10% but the price was still the same!

     I suspect there is a conspiracy going on between food manufacturers and grocery stores.  Their strategy is to reduce the volume or content of their products but not reduce the prices they charge.  I think they assume that the average customer will not notice the difference.

     I believe we need a congressional investigation!  Where is the Consumer Product Safety Commission when we need it?  Where are the government watch dogs who are supposed to protect us from misleading and false advertising?

     What will be next?  Will grocers start packaging egg cartons with only 10 eggs?  Will they start altering the scales in the produce section so that a five pound bag of potatoes will only contain 4 1/2 pounds?  Will the pound of ground beef be reduced by 10%?

Where will this conspiracy end?

     There is a passage in the Old Testament that warns against defrauding others.  “Do not have two different weights in your bag – a heavy one and a lighter one.  Do not have two different measuring cups – one large and one smaller.  You must have accurate and honest weights and measures (when you buy and sell) (Deuteronomy 25:13-15).

     You have heard the phrase “Buyer Beware”.  That is still true today.  Let me encourage you to read the labels carefully at your grocery store.  Read the fine print that tells you the real size and weight of the contents.  Don’t be misled or confused.   And, you may want to write to your local Congressman and request a Congressional investigation, too!

This article was written by Pastor Mark Hopper of Efree Church of Diamond Bar. Sunday Services are held at 9:00 am & 10:45 am at 3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd. You can contact the church at 909.594.7604 or visit them online at Efreedb.org

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist

2019: The Magic Year

Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Happy New Year to all of you wonderful beings. Yes it’s a new beginning for us all.   It’s a chance to start fresh and finally become who you are meant to be. The New Year brings unlimited possibilities and new energy that helps us believe, the sky is the limit.  The New Year gives us hope and many new chances.  I say take these chances and make this year, the best one ever!

          Start this process by setting some small very obtainable daily goals.  Once you’re in the groove and have met the daily goals, now it’s time to set a realistic goal for the year.  You may or may not ever meet the year end goal but it’s all about the steps or the process that we take in our attempt that cause us to change.  That’s what I want you all to focus this year.  So what if you never get there all the way, you’re certainly moving in the right direction. Be proud of what you are able to do in 2018 and don’t beat yourself up for what you couldn’t do.

          I hope you will be good to yourselves this year and finally work toward who you are meant to be.  I want you to remember it’s all here for you and all you have to do is believe in yourself and go and get what you deserve.  So I dedicate this to all of you in hopes that this will be a magical year. I wish for all of you that you will get out there and find all the greatness that exists in you and our very wonderful world.  It all starts by believing in you and I believe in all of you and want you to be the very best you can be.  Make 2019 a magical year, the best year of your life!!!!!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T.  Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Nancy is now accepting new clients.  She also works as a motivational speaker.  Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups for teens and can handle many court mandated needs.  For more information about any of these services contact Nancy at (909) 229-0727.  You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net. You may purchase Nancy’s books Live Heal and Grow and Midnight the Therapy Dog at Amazon.com.

Courage and Confidence

By Mark Hopper

     Recently, we learned that one of our grandchildren was elected “president” of her classroom.  She is in the fourth grade.  This was quite an honor to be selected by her young peers. Apparently, each classroom was asked to elect one person to represent their class.  She was selected.

     First, the teacher asked who would like to be president of their classroom.  Almost every student said they would.  Then the teacher instructed each student to write down the name of one person – but they could not vote for themselves.  When the votes were counted, our granddaughter was voted to be the president of her classroom.

     I’m sure that this was a surprise to her.  I suspect it was also a confidence booster, too.  It is both affirming and encouraging to be selected by your peers to serve as their leader and representative.

     Many years ago when my wife and I were in  high school we received a similar honor.  My wife was voted freshman class secretary and I was voted freshman class president at Scottsdale High School.  In our senior year, she would be elected to be the Student Body Secretary and I was elected Student Body President of Saguaro High School.  

     Between those two milestones I attended a leadership workshop with other high school students at Arizona State University.  During this one week leadership training program, we were organized into 6-8 groups with about 15-20 students in each group.  We had to work together as a team and fulfill specific tasks assigned to each group during the week.

     Throughout the week we learned valuable lessons on leadership.  Guest speakers taught us how to lead others and how to work together to accomplish our goals.  Most of the students were seniors and were already elected leaders in student government in their own high schools.  However, I was younger than most of the others.  I would be starting my Junior year at a brand new high school.  We didn’t even have a student government yet.

     That is why I was surprised when my team elected me to be the president of our group.  I don’t remember if our group won first place at the end of the week, but I do know that it literally changed my life.  When I was selected to be the president of our team by other, older student leaders, it gave me new confidence and courage that I could lead others.

     I think most of us struggle with self-confidence.  We wonder if we are really qualified and capable to lead others.  Will other people really follow and support you as a leader?  Do other people at work, school, or sports follow your lead?

     In my opinion, leadership requires courage and confidence.  A wise leader is not a dictator.  An effective leader is a servant and a shepherd.  A good leader provides vision and direction and invites others to join in the journey.  He listens to the contributions of others and embraces their ideas and desires, too.

     Jesus emphasized that the most effective leaders are servant leaders.  Jesus said that, He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life for others (Mark 10:45).  The Apostle Paul said leaders need to put the needs of others ahead of their own needs and desires (Philippians 2:3-5).  

     That one-week workshop at ASU strengthened and deepened my confidence that I could lead others.  It changed my life.  I wonder if my granddaughter will feel the same way as she leads her fourth grade class this year?

This article was written by Pastor Mark Hopper of Efree Church of Diamond Bar. Sunday Services are held at 9:00 am & 10:45 am at 3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd. You can contact the church at 909.594.7604 or visit them online at Efreedb.org