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It’s a difficult road, but a rewarding journey

Sometimes the path we’re on in life is a frustrating, uphill battle. At other times, things are going so well and happening so quickly that we are in awe of the angels and opportunities that have been put in our path to help us. Both have been true – sometimes at the same time – with regard to the work I’m involved in in Uganda. It was October of 2011 when I took the first of four – so far – trips to Uganda with [...]

By |June 9th, 2017|Columns, Faith, Making a Difference, Uganda, Values|0 Comments

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 with Tabitha, my friend from [...]

By |May 19th, 2017|Columns, Family, Making a Difference, Uganda, Values|2 Comments

A final column bids a fond farewell

I’m not thinking of this as goodbye, just as a change of venue. Still, it’s a strange feeling to be writing my final column for the Chanhassen Villager. This weekend is when my husband and I pack up for good and leave for our new home in Georgia. I plan to continue writing even after we move, I’m just not sure what that’s going to look or feel like in the days and weeks to come. It’s been exactly 16 years since my first Villager [...]

An unusual weekend was a weekend well-spent

I spent last weekend in Glenwood, MN, with a fascinating group of people: the Ugandan Ambassador to the United Nations, my Uganda-born friends Tabitha and Magala, local dignitaries and business leaders, and our security detail. I’ve never been part of any group or activity requiring a security detail, and I was a bit intimidated at first. But it quickly became both comforting and reassuring to know they were there as we went about our business. Not that there was anything dangerous or covert about that [...]

It’s going to be a merciful summer

It was a Freudian slip. I meant to say, “corporal works of mercy.” But “corporate works of mercy” is what came out instead. I was with several women in my Cursillo group, and we had just decided that we wanted to read a book together over the summer, and discuss it at our weekly meetings. We chose “Beautiful Mercy—Experiencing God’s Unconditional Love So We Can Share It With Others.” The book is a series of essays by different writers, each on the subject of one [...]

By |June 3rd, 2016|Columns, Faith, Making a Difference, Values|0 Comments

How others see us can open our eyes

I had just finished a presentation for the staff at a Senior Living Community, when one of the attendees came up to me and said, “You know, you could be a pastor.” I was flattered by her words, and more than a little surprised. No one’s ever said anything like that before. People have told me they were inspired or motivated by my programs, or that I gave them a new way of thinking or looking at things. Some later told me of changes they [...]

The answer to a prayer makes a perfect holiday story

A friend of mine posted the details of a recent experience she had, and the story was so heartwarming and uplifting – not to mention perfect during the holiday season – I knew I had to share it with others. I told her I wanted to write about it, and she graciously gave me her permission. The story ended with someone’s prayer being answered. And it started a few miles away from a home improvement store. That’s where my friend first drove past an elderly, [...]

By |December 18th, 2015|Columns, Faith, Holidays, Making a Difference, Values, Writing|0 Comments

A difficult question, a simple answer

I still have difficulty answering a question that many people have asked me about my trip to Uganda last month: What did I do while I was there? I can list many of my actions and activities. Spending time with the young women in Ki-Mombasa that we are helping to break free from a life of poverty and prostitution. Distributing books, handmade dresses and teddy bears to the children. Speaking to several classes at a Catholic Girls School about discovering and developing their gifts from [...]

By |September 19th, 2014|Columns, Making a Difference, Travel, Uganda|10 Comments

Pencil this in: small donations can have a big impact

“Compliments of George L. Barry.” That’s what was stamped in red on a handful of new, unsharpened pencils that made their way recently to an eight-year-old boy in Uganda. “You have to use these pencils all the way through university,” he was told, and he nodded seriously. I’m pretty sure that’s what he intends to do. The scene made me think of a story I heard a few years ago about the actress Linda Gray. She was in Malawi, Africa, and was approached by a [...]

By |September 12th, 2014|Columns, Family, Making a Difference, Uganda|4 Comments

Pillowcase Dresses and Washable Silk Can Change Lives and Attitudes

They are ladies I haven’t even met in person, or that I’ve known for only a short time. Yet they are doing something very special for people who are very special to me. And that makes them saints and heroes in my book. Late last year, a friend of mine told me about dresses that her sister makes out of pillowcases, and she asked if I would be interested in taking some of them with me on my next trip to Uganda. I immediately accepted [...]

By |June 27th, 2014|Columns, Making a Difference, Respect, Uganda, Values|0 Comments