Category Archives: SGV-IE Columnists

Diamond Bar High Crowns Prom Royalty With Surprise Home Visits

Kelli Gile

Diamond Bar – Diamond Bar High School made some special deliveries on Saturday afternoon.

Students are missing out on end-of-year experiences due to the coronavirus pandemic, including the “Night of a Thousand Lights” Prom which was to be held that evening.

So, Class of 2021 advisors Shari DeCambra, Jazmine Silver, Lisa Arionus, with class officers Daniel Min, Philip Ma, Aileen Park, and Chris Tan quickly began brainstorming ideas.

“As soon as our school was closed, staff went to work planning activities and trying to create memories for our students,” said Principal Jones who was excited to join the coronation.

A crew of Brahmas gathered up the glistening crowns, personalized banners, candy necklaces, and buttons and carpooled to homes to crown the royalty right in their front yards.

“We love our students and are determined to make the most of this difficult time,” he added.

Wearing protective masks, junior class vice president Philip Ma and committee member Cameron Tsai took turns ringing doorbells and then the royal winners were greeted with shouts of congratulations by the group.

King Irwin Chen, Queen Charlotte Tu – Class of 2020 and Prince Cristian Vargas, Princess Keili Ishitani – Class of 2021 were selected by student body online nominations and voting.

“It was exciting to still have a vote for prom court and honor the winners!” DeCambra said afterward.

Families marked the moment joining the celebratory photos on the lawn.

Diamond Bar, Walnut High Make U.S. News’ Best of 2020

Walnut – After crunching the numbers, U.S. News and World Report released its annual report of top performing public high schools in the country on April 21.

And it’s no surprise that Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools continue to lead the way through exceptional dedication to the success of all students.

This year, Diamond Bar High ranked #25 in Los Angeles Metro Schools, #68 in California, and #519 in the nation. Additionally, Diamond Bar placed #77 in STEM high schools.

Walnut High scored #35 in Los Angeles Metro Schools, #84 in California, and #601 in the nation.

The U.S. News Best High Schools rankings include data on more than 24,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Nearly 18,000 schools in the country, and 1,612 in California, were reviewed for performance in state assessments, graduation rates, and how well they prepare students for college.

Diamond Bar and Walnut offer an extensive roster of IB and AP courses to provide students with an opportunity to challenge themselves with college-level course work during high school.

“I’m very proud that Diamond Bar and Walnut High continue to be recognized on a national stage in preparing students for the next chapter in their lives,” said Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

“This is a wonderful recognition for our students, parents, teachers, and school leaders!”

Additional information at: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools.

Pastor’s Corner: Snow Days

Mark Hopper

It only snowed 2-3 times a year in Dallas. It was a nightmare to drive in the traffic. Most residents had little experience driving in snow and on ice covered roads. One time in early January, the Superintendent of the public schools canceled classes because of the weather. It seemed like a wise decision but the sun came out by noon, the snow melted and the Superintendent looked foolish.

A few weeks later, when snow was again forecast for the Dallas area the Superintendent did not cancel classes. Students and teachers were expected to report to school. Unfortunately this was a serious snow storm and there were many accidents on the roads. In fact, my wife and I were in an accident as a car slowly slid down a hill into the side of our car. A mother who was trying to get her children to school hit our car while I was trying to get their teacher to school!

Many people were critical of the Superintendent when he canceled classes on a snow day in January and many people criticized him when he did not cancel classes on a snow day in March.

This sounds strangely familiar as we face the current Corona Virus situation. It is easy for people to be critical of government officials for decisions and actions they have and have not taken. Some feel leaders did not act early enough. Others feel that many of the actions and restrictions are an overreaction. State and local officials are making decisions regarding school closures, canceling public events and restricting travel. It is easy to criticize them.

We are living in an uncertain time. It is easy to focus our frustrations on our government and business leaders. Many people are fearful and concerned about how long this will last and how bad it will get. I think our parents and grandparents felt the same way when our nation was attacked by the Japanese in 1941. I’m sure there was fear and concern about how long the war would last and how bad it would get.

There is a wonderful promise found many places in the Bible that says, “Fear not for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10 / Acts 18:9-10). Let me encourage you to open your Bible and read these verses for yourself. Pray for our country and our leaders. Help a neighbor or a classmate.


With God’s help and by helping one another we will get through this together.

C.J. Morris Elementary Teacher Bakes Through Pandemic

Kelli Gile

Walnut —On a recent Saturday, C.J. Morris Elementary teacher Jennifer Veneracion eagerly removed the jar containing a bubbling yeast concoction from her kitchen cupboard.

After four days of stirring and waiting, the fermented starter was finally ready to be combined with a few cups of all-purpose flour and mixed into silky dough.

She would spend the next several hours methodically kneading, allowing for rising, and repeating before shaping and popping in the oven.

And when the timer sounded, out came the steamy, crusty loaves of success.

The C.J. Morris Elementary Title 1 Specialist has joined legions of homebound bread bakers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Veneracion decided to learn a new skill at the onset of stay-at-home orders that began in mid-March.

“Bread making seemed fun to do as well as something the entire family could enjoy, and it could carry on after the quarantine,” she explained.

The novice baker had always been too intimidated to attempt baking from scratch.

“I was afraid the rising dough would grow so big that I couldn’t handle it,” said admitted.

“It feels silly now that I’ve learned more!”

The baking got off to a slow start because the educator first became a student desiring to learn all about her new hobby before donning an apron.

First, she bought a bread book for beginners, and then became immersed in reading recipes, articles, and following popular bakers including Amber’s Kitchen and Bonnie O’Hara on social media.

And then there was the shortage of flour and yeast on supermarket shelves due to the surge in quarantine baking.

But once Veneracion started, she was “hooked.”

During the past several weeks, she has cooked up traditional Filipino Pan De Sal bread, ventured into loaves, sandwich breads, tortillas, cinnamon rolls, and more.

Her tried-and-true techniques include keeping the right tools at hand: a big bowl, kitchen towels, kitchen scale, and food thermometer.

And before each baking session she measures out all the ingredients, puts them in different containers, and then combines as directed.

“Kneading the bread is key,” she added to the list of tips.

“You might think the dough is too wet, but if you continue to knead it, it will develop gluten which will make it firmer.”

Veneracion has discovered the restorative magic of the experience.

“Now that I’ve learned a lot, bread baking as become a form of therapy for me,” she said.

“Teaching remotely and getting my three kids on track with their work is rough, so unplugging and working on a recipe is both relaxing and rewarding.”

In the end, Veneracion’s family decides if each bake is a winner.

“My kids are pretty honest and will tell me if the bread is a hit – with reactions ranging from ‘Mom, this is amazing’ to ‘Whelp, it’s bread, I guess,’” she said.

“Either way, I’m hoping they see the importance of learning a new skill, celebrating the successes, and powering through the failures.”

Autism Mom: Mother of Two Autistic Boys

Proverbs 3:5-6 New King James Version (NKJV)-
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”


This time of “social distancing” and “shelter in place” has presented challenges for all of us.


The kids are adjusting to a new routine, and we adults are trying to be creative and positive.

My life before “shelter in place.”


Kids attended school. They had homework and weekends off. We went out to eat, attended events, saw movies, said hello to people, and gave them hugs. Family gatherings and seeing friends were a part of our life. Parks, playgrounds, shopping, and socializing is what we did.
After “Shelter in place.”


Kids are home all day. Teaching autism kids from “social distancing” is not my forte. Many tears have been shed, mostly by mommy. Video conference calls have become the norm, and we can have up to five a day with all the boy’s services and school. Masks now has to be worn when we are out. We no longer visit people or go to places. The confusion and lack of understanding bring frustration to my boys.


We are thankful for the technology we have to be able to communicate by all means and even have a face to face talk with loved ones. Being creative, making the best out of the situation, having faith and staying positive is vital. We are taking a day at a time and riding this wave out. Life changes all the time, sometimes more extreme than we would like, but it happens

.
All we can and must do is trust in God above.

Melody Kraemer is the Editor and Publisher of Macaroni Kid Jurupa Valley-Eastvale and Autism Mom Adventures. For more information or general encouragement, feel free to email her at: autismmomofboys@gmail.com.

Diamond Bar, Walnut High Robotics Teams Help Fight Pandemic

Walnut — Over the past several weeks, tech savvy teens from Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools quietly answered a call to aide first responders during the global pandemic.

When students learned of the dire shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff and how anyone with a 3D printer could fill the void – they sprang into action.

Diamond Bar High’s DB Engineering and Team Sprocket robotics partnered with parent Joe Bloomfield, owner of Spyder3D, to design and manufacture reusable 3D printed facemasks and face shields.

Six members of the school’s Printed Works Club are creating a facemask that must be easily printable by those new to 3D printing, require little post-production work, be reusable, and accept multiple types of filters.

“Our team has developed a working prototype that meets all of our requirements,” said senior Logan Tang of the facemask that can also be easily scaled to fit different face sizes.

Next steps include calibrating the strap attachment points to increase comfort while holding the mask in place, he said.

Instructional Dean Gabriel Aguilar’s living room is currently in production mode on the project.

Since the school is shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Diamond Bar High administrator brought a bay of 3D printers home to aid a special effort.

“Several community partners contacted us to see how we could leverage our 3D printing and manufacturing capabilities to support the need for face shields,” Aguilar said.

“Rather than collecting dust, these machines are now producing 30 face shield frames per day, using materials donated by Spyder3D.”

WVUSD FIRST Robotics Teams joined forces with the SoCal Makers COVID-19 Response Team to create face shields using 3D printed frames and clear plastic transparency sheets.

To date, Team Sprocket, Walnut Valley Robotics, Aluminati and 2nd Rebellion have provided approximately 600 free face shields to this initiative, which has supported nearly 100 medical centers, including West Covina Medical Center, Pomona Valley Medical Center, and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

Walnut High’s Wolf Corp Robotics team members are making do-it-yourself (DIY) face shields for health care workers and those providing essential services, including Walnut Valley USD Nutrition Services staff serving weekday Grab & Go meals.

The shields are low cost and very easy to make with three main components: foam, elastic band, and a transparency sheet.

Each member has pledged to construct 15-20 protective face shields from home and over the weekend 50 additional gifts were delivered to essential workers in the community.

Aerospace engineer and mentor Eric Gever established the SoCal Makers initiative organizing groups of colleagues, robotics students, and local makers interested in making a difference and helping to produce the face shields.

Teens are not only solving real-world problems, but getting more interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematic.

“While many students may be thinking of this time away from school as an extended break, those who have remained involved in the Socal Makers Response Team have stood to benefit greatly though their participation in this project,” Gever said via Go Fund Me.

Feeding Our Walnut Valley Families During School Closure

Walnut – Walnut Valley USD Nutrition Services Division is ready to feed children each day during the COVID-19 school closures.

On Monday, over six hundred “grab and go” meals were distributed at Diamond Bar and Walnut High Schools.

“We’re passing out a breakfast and lunch item with milk, chips, juice, and fruit,” explained

Josette Macias, a Nutrition Services Worker, as her team met cars in front of the gymnasium at Diamond Bar High.

The free meals are available to all children under 18 years old, who must be present during pick-up, for the drive-through service that runs 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Monday through Friday.

“Yesterday we served over 300 and are expecting a lot more today,” shared Walnut High staff member Ana Aguilera on March 17 as a steady stream of cars entered the staff parking lot.

“We’ve got to take care of our kids – kids come first!” said Eva Generalao who was in kitchen helping prepare meals at 6:30 a.m.

At the end of the morning shift, over 1,800 meals, triple the number from the previous day, had been served at both high schools.

“It’s a good feeling because the District can share this food with our students,” Aguilera said.

“And the people are so appreciative!”

“It’s nice to help at a time like this,” shared Rachelle Serrano as she provided the curbside service to families.

Parents signaled the number of children in each vehicle and then staff quickly handed off the packaged meals.

Serrano also delivered something special to each car – a friendly smile, a wave, and a “have a good day!”

For more information, please visit www.walnutnutrition.org.

A World Full of Anxiety

I have always been told that worrying is an insult to God. I always had interpreted this as that we are in good hands and need to trust the plan for our life. I believe being the best version of myself daily is really all I can do. I have come to realize that all I really have control over is myself and how I react to my life. I have no control over others or over their behavior. I can be helpful as a therapist and plant seeds for change in people. It’s not up to me whether those seeds get nurtured and grow into the very thing that provide tools for change.


The definition of anxiety is that our demands outweigh our means. For example feeling as if there isn’t enough time to get everything done. I think we can always work on improving our time management skills and sometimes we need to set more realistic expectations for ourselves and others. We need to learn that Rome really wasn’t built in a day and we need to learn patience. We need to pay attention to our bodies when we aren’t handling our anxiety very well. We need to practice our deep breathing and our meditation. We need to take time to pet and cuddle with our animals. We need to work on staying in the moment and not thinking so ahead of ourselves. We need to just relax and have faith in ourselves, in others and in our life plan.


More than fifty percent of all illnesses are stress related. If we can learn to relax and manage our stress than we won’t make ourselves sick. Slow down, breath and have faith in yourself, in others and your life plan. Learn to manage your life and your stress so that it won’t control you and your life!!!!!


This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a private practice in Diamond Bar and is currently accepting new clients; she is also a motivational speaker who can inspire your employees or group members. Nancy runs free family support groups, a group on loss for seniors, and groups on how to manage anger. For more information about any of these services feel free to contact her at (909) 229-0727. You may e-mail Nancy at nancyjstoops@verizon.net.

Diamond Bar High Students Perform Virtual Recital

Diamond Bar – When Diamond Bar High’s Performing Arts Academy spring recital was cancelled due to COVID-19 school closures, students decided that the music must play on.

The advanced musicians, who were quarantined at home, took to the internet’s world-wide stage during a live virtual concert held Wednesday night.

The teens were able to join online rehearsals before the big 8 p.m. performance with the help of industry professionals that provide assistance to the program that boasts 700 students.

“They are working diligently through these tough times to provide much needed opportunities for the kids to express themselves and stay connected,” said director Steve Acciani.

Then, through the magic of technology, the first group of students began playing with a flute, clarinet, French horn, oboe, and bassoon if they were in the school’s theatre.

Quartet members Alex Hong, Erin Miyahara – euphonium, Patrick Zhang, and Alan Lu – tuba performed a moving rendition of “It’s A Wonderful World” while sequestered in their homes.

A special “furry” guest audience member made an appearance during the finale of the 45-minute concert.

Lu, a sophomore, was joined on the sofa by his trusty golden retriever, Thunder, who was looking for some attention.

In the opening notes, the adorable pet began gently pawing at Lu until he freed a hand from the glistening silver instrument to offer a quick pat on the head.

And then the content companion laid down and appeared to be listening as the talented foursome played the remainder of the song.

“At first. Thunder didn’t enjoy it very much (when I played), but now he’s almost always next to me when I’m practicing,” Lu said.

“The virtual concert was a lot of fun since it was something new – and it kept me busy for the day!”

The complete concert may be viewed on Facebook.

DBHS Senior Surprised with $40,000 STEM Scholarship from So Cal Edison

Diamond Bar — Diamond Bar High School senior Sean Chang is one step closer to realizing his dream of becoming an engineer.

This week he was named a 2020 Edison Scholar, a prestigious award that comes with a $40,000 college scholarship from Edison International.

A surprise announcement had been planned during Sean’s fourth period orchestra class with school officials, parents, and a representative from Southern California Edison.

There would have been lots of cheers and maybe a few tears when the big check was revealed.

But, it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 epidemic and resulting school closures.

Sean instead received an email video notification with the news, and he’s OK with that.

“This scholarship means a lot to me because it lifts a huge burden off my parents’ shoulders and will grant me additional education opportunities in the future,” he said.

Sean is among an elite group of 30 dynamic and innovative high school seniors in Southern California Edison’s service territory to receive a total of $1.2 million through the Edison Scholars Program this year.

Edison Scholars have bright futures ahead and these scholarships help turn innovative ideas into real-world solutions.

Sean loves the beach and has always been troubled by the amount of trash and pollutants that he sees sprawled across the shores.

After a summer internship at Boeing, he realized that he wanted to build a machine to clean up these pollutants while protecting aquatic ecosystems.

“As an aspiring engineer, I hope to create hundreds of cost-efficient ROVs (remotely operated underwater vehicles) that are connected through a large network, that can automate and expedite the clean-up of our oceans,” he said.

Sean plans to attend University of Pennsylvania next fall and study mechanical engineering.

He is captain of the Walnut Valley Hydromechs Robotics team and a member of the Diamond Bar Symphony Orchestra.

Each Edison Scholar will receive a scholarship, paid over four years, to further their academic pursuit of STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, or math studies – at a four-year accredited U.S. college or university.

Relax It Will Be Better Soon

Since we all have been hit with the fear of the Corona Virus many people are very anxious. We all need to relax and practice a lot of selfcare care right now. We need to exercise, meditate, eat well, take vitamins and supplements, get lots of rest, drink lots of water, do things we enjoy and have some faith. Many people are hoarding items but we have been told repeatedly there is no need for that. We need to stay up to date but we don’t have to listen to the news all day long. We need to maintain a very positive outlook. Stress actually wears down our immune systems and now especially we need strong immune systems. Echinacea is a wonderful herb that can help strengthen our immune systems. I have taken it for most of my life and I rarely get sick.


I also think we must practice being grateful everyday and continually think about all we are blessed with. We must be kind to each other and look out for our neighbors. We can check in with each other and make sure we all have what we need. This is a great time for all of us to practice being better human beings. Anger and fear are not the way that we will heal from all of this. We must practice kindness, tolerance, patience and humanity. We all must learn from this as I believe there are many lessons we could learn here.


Take advantage of working from home. Take advantage of your children being home with you. Take advantage of all the clean air we have from all of the rain. Look around everything is so green and beautiful and we live in such a lovely community. Start a new hobby, play with your children, take walks together with the dog. Try to enjoy your time at home with each other. Play some games, cook together, listen to some music, watch some movies, and take this time to enjoy your family. May God bless us all and may this be over very soon!

This article was written by Nancy Stoops M.A., M.F.T. Nancy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. 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. Join Nancy’s wellness website at NancyStoopsMFT.ORG and receive a daily wellness message.

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