A humiliating experience wasn’t as bad as it seemed

I went through a totally humiliating experience this week. Worse, it was entirely self-inflicted. And just for good measure, it was in front of people I respect and admire, even though I don’t really know them very well yet. It happened during a meeting of my new Toastmasters club. I was giving my first speech to the group – one that’s known as the “icebreaker” and that’s meant to help new members get comfortable with speaking. It also lets the [...]

By |May 26th, 2017|Columns, Toastmasters|

A small-town school makes a big, big difference

Often, when I look at what’s going on in our country and the world, I get depressed, scared, and extremely concerned about where we’re headed. At other times, however, I see things that fill me with hope and optimism for the future. Last week was one of those. I spent several days last week in a small town in Michigan, talking – and listening – to hundreds of students in dozens of classes, mostly kindergarten through middle school. I was [...]

By |May 19th, 2017|Columns, Family, Making a Difference, Uganda, Values|

A different time brings a better outlook

During my first trip to Uganda several years ago, I learned all about being on “Uganda time.” This had nothing to do with clocks or time zones. It was more about the practical realities of getting to your destination – not necessarily when you wanted to be there or were supposed to be there, but when you were able to. Many people had to walk or ride bikes wherever they were going, so weather and other factors had a big [...]

By |May 12th, 2017|Columns, Uganda, Values|

It’s time to grow

The women’s group at my church held its Spring Brunch yesterday. I signed up to attend as soon as I heard about it, and was looking forward to it for a number of reasons. For one thing, I was excited about meeting and getting to know some of the women at our new church. For another, the speaker was going to be a woman from a local nursery, who would be talking about herbs, one of my passions – and [...]

By |May 5th, 2017|Columns, Faith|

A stormy situation hits close to home

Thunderstorms were predicted for yesterday, and the sky was turning dark as my husband and I finished our shopping and left the store. “Something nasty is coming,” I said, “and it’s more than just a thunderstorm.” When you grow up in the Midwest, as we both did, you get to know the smell and feel of what we call “tornado weather.” It doesn’t mean a tornado is definitely coming, but it means the conditions are right for one to develop. [...]

By |April 28th, 2017|Columns, Faith, Health and Well-being|

Making the most of a squirrelly situation

It started with a few creaks and groans on the back wall, which I took to be house-settling noises, ones I would get used to before long. Then I heard some tapping sounds. My husband was working outside, so I looked out the window to see if he was on the deck doing some maintenance on the outside wall. He wasn’t. By the time I heard the pitter-patter of little feet, I knew we had one of two problems. Either [...]

By |April 21st, 2017|Columns|