From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Faith is the Watchword for Me in 2014

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, and How They Can Impact Your Life

The other day while Randy was home, we were out on the pond and Randy was rowing me around, Patti jumped in and paddled for her life chasing the canoe all around the pond.  No amount of urging would send her back to the bank, and of course trying to pull her in with us would just have resulted in turning over the canoe, and throwing us all in the frigid water.  The temperature was about 45 or so, and the water was freezing, yet Patti would not give up, no matter how she shivered and shook.  Sometimes there are things you should not give up on, no matter how hard they are.

If you are unfamiliar with the U.S. Government Accountability Office , you should make yourself familiar with them.  This organization is one set up to monitor how our tax dollars are used, whether or not honesty and fairness operates in every facet of our government, and based upon the premise that these goals are attainable, and in fact our government, and those serving in it can be held accountable.   Here is a link to their site, you also can follow them on facebook and other social media sites:

My daughter had encountered a government employee who was abusing her position with seemingly no fear of ever being called to accountability for doing so, in the Abilene, Texas Social Security Administration Office.  That always suggests to me that the person has long gotten away with abuse of their position, and the true problem actually exists within the leadership of the organization.  

I had been amazed by the audacity with which the individual disregarded the Social Security Administration's written guidance on a matter, indicating complete confidence by the individual that she would never have to answer for doing so, and confidence that my daughter was too uninformed and intimidated by her to do anything about it.  This employee of the Social Security Administration made wild statements, absurd demands, which changed daily, and threatened my daughter each time she spoke to her.  I kept advising my daughter to require the woman to communicate these requirements in writing, as I knew the employee would never dare to do, due to the illegality of their content.

The fact that no one in our family had any contact or knew this woman previous to our family member's contact with her was clear, so there could be no personal motivations in her behavior, and that just furthered my awe at the situation.  The demeaning way in which my daughter was treated was another facet of this "government encounter" that raised my hackles.  It was so much like the V.A. encounters so many Soldiers have described to me.  As patriots and true believers in all our country was founded upon, we must each fulfill our own obligations every time we encounter any behavior which might possibly indicate corruption in any of our government agencies.  The greatest deterrent to this type of activity, is swiftly acting discipline of those caught participating in such crime.

After I posted to the U.S. Government Accountability Office that I had a complaint, and was seeking recourse, and it was made known to the SSA office in Abilene, within 12 hours a check was cut, and all was ironed out.  So, for future reference, make note of this office, and never just assume because it is a Federal Government office that any entity can get away with anything they want to, and that you as an individual are helpless before them.  Our government exists to serve our people, and it can be held accountable down to the individual offender.  It is the responsibility of every American to never throw up our hands, look the other way, or fail to make a stand in the face of wrong doing.  The individuals who make their way into the system and corrupt our government processes can and should be held accountable.  

While the check is on the way to my daughter, I am not through with this situation.  Until I know why this situation happened, and exactly who is committing the wrong doing, I am not going to let it go.  There will be others who encounter the same behavior after my daughter, there were those who encountered the same behavior before my daughter, and a stand must be made to weed out the offending employees, and the supervisory personnel who have allowed this behavior.  We can't just turn and walk away because our loved one has now been treated fairly.  We owe an obligation to our country, and to those citizens we share it with.  So, the collecting of facts and the presentation of those facts will continue, until we receive assurance this pocket of what we are convinced is corruption, is dealt with.  Dealt with to the point that all dealing with the office where the corruption originated, can be sure that it has been rid of the offenders who perpetrated this wrong doing.  To quote Isaiah, "I have set my face like flint."

Monday, December 30, 2013

I Am Comminicating With the Govenment Accoutability Office Again...

Post by Debra LeCompte.

I choose facebook as the communication platform for making my second inquiry of the Government Accountability Office, and when dealing with such matters, I pull no punches, just speak plain truth.  Publicly naming names, describing behavior, and asking questions really does seem to get the attention of our government employees, if they are worth their salt and salary.  

I have discovered that when inquires to government offices do not generate timely responses, or generate responses that indicate the person inquiring has no hope of a helpful response, there is a reason.  That reason is, without exception, those you are inquiring of have gotten away with a lot, and gotten away with it for a long time.

They do not fear being called to accountability by the American people as a whole, much less one inquiring American.  I think the winds of change for that sort of thinking by public servants blows by way of social media...

What do you think? 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

I Had a Very Merry Christmas!

 Ginger Dog doesn't really know what is going on, but she is excited about it...

I can testify to the fact that on the nice/naughty list, Randy did not do near as well as that big stack of gifts indicates... just saying...

Randy has discovered Duck Dynasty! 
And I have created a monster!

A word of advice on buying a "critter caller" with "200 different animal in distress or mating calls..." to be used for the purpose of calling up the coyotes, so they can be taken care of.  That isn't necessarily a good gift selection for a retired Colonel, who was an Airborne Ranger, Malaysian Jungle Survival School, and all round adventurer, especially when said retired Colonel has a mischievous playful streak... and the caller is loud... In fact every animal on the place, and all the women too, can become very annoyed from all the "practice sessions." 

Oh well... ho, ho, ho, and when Randy falls asleep tonight, I will try to sneak it out from under his pillow, (he really, really loves that thing...) and hide it.  Naturally, that would just be in order to safe guard it until the appropriate time for it's use.  Of course it is kind of difficult to sneak up on a retired Airborne Ranger... sleeping or not...  I'll post a report on my success or failure tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas From the Ranch

Christmas Brings Out a Deep Longing of a Special Gift for My Family

I have always loved Christmas, and since childhood been taught by example the true meaning of this celebration by my dear parents.  The mystery of God's love made flesh to dwell among us in the perfectness only God is possessed of, and then to offer Himself a sacrifice to buy my adoption into His forever family is the heartbeat of my life.  I know and realize that holy and precious gift no more at any time of the year than at Christmas.

God is our parent, and as it says in Hebrews 12, the one who He loves he disciplines and instructs.  As a parent myself, I consider so often now how my behavior must sometimes disappoint and wound my Father God, who is the one who loves me most.  That realization creates in me daily a new and more powerful resolve to live as my Father desires and commands.  I consider too how carefully I should parent, and be a grand-parent, as it is one of the highest callings on my life.

Love of family has always filled my heart, and the riches of my life are about such.
Longing grows daily to see each one often, look in their eyes, and feel their touch.

Memories of my own gentle childhood endlessly now float ever sweeter in my mind,
Realization of the depth of blessings and love I have known increase with time.

My mother and father's sweet faces I now see appear softly as I close my eyes.
Having raised children myself, their own wisdom and goodness I deeply realize.

I pray God will forge my own efforts at love for those lives He brought to me,
So that in the end they will have seen in me the love of God lived as best could be.

Missteps and flaws I made as a mother often haunt the edges of my consciousness.
Sometimes guilt and worry taunt, and a searing pain they create threatens to be endless.

Why I did not always do exactly the right thing, when with true devotion only that I sought,
Elude my reasoning, or now plainly perceived, point out things my actions should have taught.

God's grace, it is promised, has a way of turning to strength the failures of a servant's travail,
I pray for more years His wisdom my weaknesses to shape, and blessings to each of them avail.

For never will my life be anything to me, but this great and burning desire to live,
Exactly as the Savior would direct and guide, and all my heart for those I love to give.

Merry Christmas to each of you, and God's 
unfailing blessings and wisdom for the coming New Year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pati Didn't Get to Go to Town With Randy and Ginger

I was resting on the couch after sending Randy and Ginger off to the feed store to get hay and feed.  I thought I head a child crying softly on the porch.  I got up, went to the french door, no child in sight...  I sat back down, and I heard it again...

Then it dawned on me.  Pati had wanted to go to the feed store too, but, let's just say her manners aren't quite there yet...

She had watched Randy and Ginger, our other dog, get in the truck, begged a bit, but didn't get to go.  She hasn't ever ridden in the truck before.  There is a reason for that.  Dogs that routinely chew cord caps off of power saws and standing floor fans, tear up  pillows off the furniture on the porch,  find things in the outdoor trash cans, that supposedly have "snap tight lids," which are animal proof, chew them up all over the porch, including glass things, which they then break, jump up on every guest, and eat horse manure are generally not exactly welcome in the feed store...   So Patti stayed home, but evidently, it hurt her feelings, really, really, hurt her feelings.  I decided I would see how sad she was...  So I asked her...

To Believe or Not to Believe, That is the Question

As a Christian, the question of whether to tell my children the story of Santa Claus came up.  I did tell them the story, there is just too much exposure about Santa Claus to not tell them the story, and it is a charming childhood story.  The problem for a parent is that you don't want to make the story real, and then have to tell them later on that you lied to them about that, and he isn't real.  (They didn't believe the Goldie Locks story, but loved to hear it... and they were not harmed in hearing it.)  Stories can be just like parables in the Bible, as long as you explain they didn't actually happen, they are just stories to tell an ideal in an entertaining way. 

I always told my children as they were growing up that Santa Claus was a legend made up about Christmas, because Christmas is about God's great gift to the world.  Gift giving at Christmas and all the presents are just to remind us that our Heavenly Father loves us so, and "gave His only begotten Son."  I told them I like the enchanted stories about gifts... and that with God, who is the real reason for the season, He doesn't care if you have been naughty or nice, you can have His wonderful gift... because by it,  He forgives all your "naughties..."

Santa's Little Helper always carries her enforcer with her...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Did I Mention the Animals Follow Randy Everywhere?

That dog is swimming for 
all she is worth!

She Has Definitely Been a Good Girl!

Don't Even Think of Messing With Me!!!

Don't even think of messing with me!!!

I work for Santa!!!

Hey, I think I see someone 
being naughty...
very naughty...

You can tell that story to 
someone who is buying it!!!
Guess what list your 
name is going on!  

I can't believe you just did that!
So close to Christmas too!

I hear him up there!

Whew... this Santa work is tiring!
I could use a nap! 

 Santa's Little Helper always takes 
her enforcer with her...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear?

As I have written before, I have a friend named Gary who was a Marine, and whose only daughter desired to follow in her father's footsteps, and joined the Marine Corp.  During her time of service, she met with a terrible and tragic event, she was beaten and raped.  That wasn't the destroying blow, the destroying blow came when neither her command, NCIS, the Navy, or the DoD responded to the wrongs done her, and reacted so as to arrest, convict, and punish those responsible, and those who covered up the crimes.  She was thrown out of the Marines, and told basically to go home and shut up.  Just a few weeks later she took her own life.

Her father grieves everyday over this loss, and the injustices done to his only daughter; the upcoming holiday season is going to be very difficult for he and his wife.  He posted on facebook the wretchedness of his heart, and how he hears his beloved daughter screaming from her grave for justice.  Since I first heard the story of her short life, and saw pictures of her, I have heard Carri's voice too...  I have written poetry in her honor, blog posts telling her story and honoring her, but by far the action that I have been called to in her name that was the loudest constraints of her voice to me, was only sweet whispers calling me to love, to give, and to listen and understand.  I wrote the following to Gary, and I have a picture for him to cherish.  The following is the post I wrote to Gary after reading his post of anguish and pain.

"You know, her voice is being heard Gary. I heard it so plainly. There is a woman living in my home now, along with her 17 year old autistic daughter. She is a veteran, and a victim of MST who has struggled for years, and found herself homeless in Houston. Because of the story of your daughter, when I came to know of this situation, God used the voice of your daughter to speak to my heart of my own responsibility toward this woman and her child. That is the story and the true meaning of Christmas. We celebrate a woman bringing a child into the world. A child who was to pour Himself out a living sacrifice to the whole world,and whose life here on earth was the very message of God's great love to each of us. There was no room for a woman and her child at the Inn so many centuries ago, but because of the story of your daughter, there was room at our house for this woman and her child. Her daughter sat with us in church today, and enjoyed so much the story of Christmas, the music, and the love expressed to her, expressed to her because of the what the life of your daughter has spoken to my heart. Carrie doesn't scream loudly for justice to me, she whispers quietly for love and understanding... I hear her all the time."

Gary, here is the picture I have for you.  This is Alisha, sitting by our Christmas tree, she is very excited for Christmas to come, she loves Christmas.  If it were not for Carrie's whispers in my ear, she would be homeless this Christmas, living in a shelter in downtown Houston.  I am wrapping presents for her, and putting them under the tree, but one I haven't gotten yet.  In one of the many places she has lived over the past several years, she lost a stuffed bear from the "Build a Bear" toy store.  It was a kitten dressed in pink, and when Pickle, as she is affectionately called by her mom, whose name is also Alisha, saw the Build a Bears I was wrapping for my grand-children, she kept picking them up.  She kept asking me who they were for, and telling me repeatedly she had a Build a Bear kitten, but she lost it, and she had loved it so much.  She told me she still, "misses that bear so much".  

Alisha still believes in Santa Claus, her development is delayed in some ways, and she is such an innocent and guileless person.  She asked me if Santa knew where our house was as she watched the cartoon special the other night of Rudolph  the Red-nosed Reindeer.   I told certainly he did, she then asked if we would leave the door unlocked for him, I told her, "oh no, he will just have to come down the chimney."  She hadn't noticed our fireplace yet, as she has only lived here a short while... her face lit up, her eyes sparkled, and she said "that is wonderful, now I know Santa can get that little bear here I want!"  

I have a question for you Gary and Jiliene.  What is Carri whispering to you about that bear and Alisha... I hear you can not only buy pink clothes for a kitten Build a Bear, but you can also buy a Marine uniform for one...  I have told her if Santa brings her a Build a Bear I am certain  she should name it Carri, Alisha loved that name...  All you need to do is tell Santa that bear should go to Alisha, in care of Debra LeCompte,  3296 South FM331 Rd, Sealy, Texas, 77474.  Merry Christmas Carri, you too Gary and Jilene. 


I Love Buying Christmas Presents, and I Hate Fraud Waste and Abuse in Government Offices

I got my daughter Meredith three little tables for Christmas, a coffee table, and two end tables.  She wants to get an apartment for the first time in her life.  She has had a seizure disorder since birth, it was diagnosed by Dr. Brown, a pediatric neurologist in Lubbock, Texas as Second Decade Onset, Hereditary Epilepsy.  She suffered a near drowning when she was fourteen, when she had her first grand mal seizure.  She has tried many times to work, but she is always fired for some reason.  These firings alway occur right after she has a seizure at work and falls.  Of course it is against the law to fire someone who has a handicapping condition... but then a lot of things are against the law.

I am writing two blog posts specifically for the U.S. Government Accountability Office.  They are the story of what has happened to my daughter at the hands of  the Social Security Administration office in Abilene, Texas, and more specifically at the hands of the specialist who has handled Meredith's case, Ms. Alicia Flores, and her supervisor, David.  

My daughter was first approved for Social Security benefits in September in a court hearing in front of a judge and five committee members.  She has been applying for benefits for many years, and was  turned down repeatedly.  Finally she received the judgment deeming her qualified.  She then was given a case worker from the Abilene Social Security Administration office named Alicia Flores.

At first Ms. Flores told my daughter she had to have income information from her father, and from her boyfriend.  That didn't sound right to either one of them.  My daughter lives with her father, and so does her boyfriend.  Her boyfriend pays room and board for his one third of the cost of the household.  When Meredth had moved in, her dad had said they would split the cost of household, and she could pay him  the incurred expenses when she received her social security benefits.  I cannot believe that Ms. Flores didn't have access to the Code of Federal Regulations, and the following informaton taken from Section 416.1165.  Oddly enough, after her father wrote a letter stating that Meredith had promised to pay him back room and board fees once she began receiving benefits, that requirement was dropped.  However, as I read this regulation it should have never been requested.

Deeming of Income

§ 416.1160. What is deeming of income?

(a) General. We use the term deeming to identify the process of considering another person's income to be your own. When the deeming rules apply, it does not matter whether the income of the other person is actually available to you. We must apply these rules anyway. There are four categories of individuals whose income may be deemed to you.

§ 416.1165. How we deem income to you from your ineligible parent(s).

 ( 7) You attain age 18. In the month following the month in which you attain age 18 and thereafter, we do not deem your ineligible parent's income to you to determine your eligibility for SSI benefits. In determining your benefit amount beginning with the month following your attainment of age 18, we only use your own countable income in a prior month, excluding any income deemed to you in that month from your ineligible parent (see § 416.1160(b)(2)(B)). Your income for the current and subsequent months must include any income in the form of cash or in-kind support and maintenance provided by your parents.

Meredith's boyfriend has always been charged room and board for himself by her father since he moved in, and he and her father both feel that the request of this information is an invasion of their privacy, and completely unrelated to Meredith's benefits status.  Quiet frankly, I think it is an illegal invasion of privacy.   Meredith's boyfriend took very serious exception to the request for his income information, as he and Meredith DO NOT present themselves to the community as married, never have, and aren't at this point in their relationship ready to make a marriage committment.  When Meredith advised Ms. Flores that the boyfriend refused to give his income information, and asked Ms. Flores how she proposed that she was supposed to get that information, Ms. Flores offered no suggestions. 

Ms. Flores has been out of her office for a great deal of the time since my daughter sent in a requested form stating that her boyfriend refused to turn over his income information, as he and Meredith are both uncertain as to whether they wish to marry or not, and certainly do not hold themselves out to the community as married, and never have.  In each conversation with Ms. Flores, Meredith has been threatened by Ms. Flores, with her stating to Meredith, "it is against the law to lie to the government."  Meredith keeps telling her, "I understand that, and have never had any intention of lying to the government, as I am an honest person."  I don't understand why Ms. Flores has the right to accuse my daughter of dishonesty.  As of her latest advisement, Ms. Flores stated to my daughter in a phone conversation on the 13th of December that Meredith would not receive her back pay, and that all paychecks due her from here forward, would be held until her boyfriend moved out of the household.  Since when did our government assume such control and power over the lives of its' citizens?

This demand for her boyfriend's income information kind of odd in the first place as there is clear advisement from the Social Security Administration's governing policy that clearly addresses this issue.  When Meredith spoke to Ms. Flores' superviso,r David, earlier last week, he advised Meredith that according to her case file, she had told Ms. Flores that she was married in a phone conversation on November 12th.  That is a plain flat out lie on either Ms. Flores' part, or her supervisor David's part.  Further, her supervisor, David advised Meredith that her Ms. Flores had deemed her ineligible for benefits, based on her husband's income.  See that is the odd part... if Ms. Flores already has Meredith's  boyfriend's income information, how did she get it, and why is she demanding that Meredith get it from him.  The following is the information I found online concerning the policies of the Social Security Administration on this subject.

§ 416.1160. What is deeming of income?


(1) Ineligible spouse. If you live in the same household with your ineligible spouse, we look at your spouse's income to decide whether we must deem some of it to you. We do this because we expect your spouse to use some of his or her income to take care of some of your needs.

In an Issue Paper by the Social Security Administration the following guidance is issued:
No. 2003-01
December 2003
Treatment of Married Couples
in the SSI Program

The Social Security Act defines the rules for determin-
ing marital relationships for SSI recipients. Appropri-
ate state law is applied in determining whether a man
and a woman are married, except that if a man and
woman have been considered as husband and wife for
purposes of Social Security benefits, they are also
considered married for purposes of SSI.
The act also requires that if a man and a woman
are found to be “holding out”—that is, presenting
themselves to the community as husband and wife—
they should be considered married for purposes of the
SSI program. An example of such a relationship is
one in which the couple are not legally married but
consider themselves as being in a common-law
marriage. If a member of the couple denies holding
out but evidence exists to the contrary, both individuals
must complete a questionnaire gathering information
about bills, mail, and housing arrangements.
Some advocates regard this procedure as administratively
burdensome and as infringing on personal privacy.
Such concerns have resulted in recommendations to
eliminate the concept of holding out and to treat as
spouses only those individuals who are legally married
(see, for example, Social Security Administration

I read and understand what I read as well as the next person, and based on the  above information, I wish to make a complaint to the U.S. Government Accountability Office concerning the practices of the employees of the Abilene, Texas Social Security Administration Office  My daughter's experience has been to be at the mercy of abuse of power and fraud by Ms. Alicia Flores and her supervisor.  I have no way of knowing what motivates either of these persons.   At this time I am formally making complaint to the GAO, and asking for an audit and investigation of the Abilene Texas Social Security Office. I am emailing a copy of this post to the email address listed on the GAO web site,

Saturday, December 14, 2013

What is it About This Man???

I know you are not going to believe me, I know you won't, unless of course you own a horse like Blue too!  This morning about 7:30, Blue, (officially on her papers known as Once in a Blue Moon,) had jumped the fence again, and was out of the tack barn pen, and eating winter rye in front of the chicken pen.  She saw Randy look out the window, and froze, staring at the window.  Normally when she is out of the pasture, it is to her an invitation to play.  She waits until I am about three feet from her, then she bolts with great flare, throwing her head, making her mane stand up, and then her tail blow straight out in the wind... and then she bucks, just to show me she can, (that is one of her 8th grade cheerleader moves,) and dares me to chase her.  It is usually the beginning of an hour long persuasion session by me, where I try to lure her with grain and horse treats back to where she belongs.  (In this wet weather her hooves leave about 6X6 inch holes that dry concrete hard, and I either have to fill each one in or have a very lumpy ride with the riding lawn.)

It didn't go that way this morning, Randy just walked calmly past her on the way to the tack barn to feed, she fell in behind him, and calming walked through the gate he was holding open.  As I have said before, this sort of behavior sort of annoys me.  I demand equal treatment from that horse!  At the same time I am demanding, I know it isn't going to happen. 

Randy and I had just finished watching the movie Emperor, which is an excellent movie we both recommend, and it was about time to feed the horses for the second time today.  So he went to the window, pulled back the drape and waved at Blue who is solitary confinement in that small pen by the tack barn again, and strangely enough she hasn't attempted to get out again.  I was watching since this morning had proved a bit of a show, and to my amazement, as Randy waved from the window, Blue picked up her left front hoof and waved back.  I thought it was just a fluke, so I told Randy, "now stop waving."  He did, and so did she.  I stood there thinking a moment and I said, "wave again," and he did, and so did she.  He repeated the waving and stopping and so did she for about five more times, by then I was scrambling for the video camera, but by the time I got it, efficient man that he is, he had put on his coat and gloves and started to the pen to feed.  Once he was walking down by the chicken pen, she would no longer wave when he waved, she knew he was coming to feed her... I come to feed her every day... she has never waved at me...

You have to understand, this isn't a trick anyone has ever taught Blue, of course I wave at all of them all the time from the kitchen window, but never have any of them ever waved back... especially repeatedly on the cue of me waving at them...

The man is home four times a year, for three or four weeks at a time.  I want to know how he forms such a relationship with those animals, seemingly without even trying, when I work so hard for them every day, day in day out???  My inquiring mind wants to know...  

In this picture I have braved the cold to step out on the porch and called to Blue and see if she will wave at me... and called to Blue...  apparently she doesn't want to come to the gate...  That's alright, I'll go back in the house and take the black cat, Blue Jay, let him sit on the couch by me, in front of the fireplace,  watch movies,  and hand feed him left over bacon from breakfast...  I'll show Blue... I like cats better anyway...  Here kitty, kitty, kitty....

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Warrior Mother Waits for Her Warrior Son to be Home for Christmas, a Conversation Worth Eavesdropping in On

My friend Judy and her husband served in the military many years before retiring.  I saw for awhile the flag symbol which hung in her window and was her profile picture on facebook, its' history goes back to WWII.  For every loved one you had serving there was a flag with the appropriate number of white stars, which would hang in the window.  

The flag was red when they were actively serving, and the flag had white stars.  If the flag was red with gold stars, you were a gold star mother or wife.  That is an honor no woman ever desired, for that meant your loved one had died in service.  Judy at one time used a red flag with three white stars.  She had a husband and two sons serving.

Her husband has since retired, and one son has completed his service in the Marines.  One son still serves in the Navy, and he hasn't been home in over a year.  The two brothers who are three years apart in age, haven't seen one another in three and a half years.  

Judy's Navy son will be coming in today.  She is excited...  Everyone should pause to thank those serving, and their families as well.  You can't imagine the sacrifice if you have never made it.  Here is a conversation Judy shared on facebook.  It warmed my heart, and the joy and love of Christmas swept over me.  Christmas is about the Christ who was willing to lay down His life for each of us.  That baby Jesus whose birth we celebrate was born to die... for each of us.