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Poultry Power

When I say the word “chicken,” what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Maybe you envision an actual rooster or hen. Or perhaps it’s a plate of chicken nuggets or Kentucky Fried. You might think of a childhood bully’s taunt, daring you to try something stupid or dangerous, and then calling you a chicken when you don’t oblige. Right now, the word “chicken” takes me back to Uganda, where I spent two weeks recently, visiting commercial and family poultry farms, a hatchery, a [...]

A Mile in My Shoes

“I thought I knew every Elvis song there was,” my sister wrote the other day. But she had heard one that was new to her, although it was the choir at her church that was singing it. The song was “Walk a Mile in My Shoes,” and the chorus goes, “Walk a mile in my shoes. Walk a mile in my shoes. Before you abuse, criticize and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.” This isn’t a new idea, and it wasn’t a new idea [...]

By |September 28th, 2019|Columns, Music/Singing, Quotes and Sayings, Respect, Values|0 Comments

My kind of rain

“This is your kind of rain,” my husband said. “I’m surprised you’re not standing by the door watching it.” He was right – it was my kind of rain, even though I hadn’t realized I had a “kind of rain” of my own, or that he would recognize it as such. It was a strong but gentle rain – the steady, consistent kind that comes without any wind or lightning and thunder. The kind that comes straight down and bounces off the pavement after hitting [...]

By |November 2nd, 2018|Columns, Health and Well-being, Respect, Values|0 Comments

Is there power in knowledge? It’s debatable.

I wasn’t on my high school’s debate team, but I had enough friends who were that I knew how it worked. Every debate season, a complex issue would be presented, and the team members had to collect and document every bit of information they could about it. They had to learn as much as they could about both sides of the issue. When the actual debates took place, students needed to be able to argue whichever point of view they were assigned to present. It’s [...]

By |October 7th, 2018|Columns, Making a Difference, Respect|0 Comments

In a World of Our Own

Australia… Bahrain… Canada… China… Denmark… France… If you’re anything like me and you’ve ever seen the opening ceremony of the Olympics, you get a lump in your throat as you watch the Parade of Nations. I love seeing the athletes parade into the stadium, dressed in their team colors, and proudly displaying the flag of their country as they wave enthusiastically to those who are watching – from the stadium and from around the world. Germany… Guyana… Haiti… Hungary… India… Indonesia… As far as I’m [...]

Looking forward to an international event

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be at this year’s Toastmasters International Convention. I’ve attended several International Conventions in the past, and was amazed at how many people I met, how much I learned from them, and how much I enjoyed the experience. But then life got in the way, and it’s been a long time since I’ve attended one. As you might expect, I’m really excited to be going this year! One of the things I remember most from my first International Convention [...]

By |August 24th, 2018|Columns, Respect, Toastmasters, Values|0 Comments

Dreaming about a Sign of the Times

I dreamed last night that I was out of town on a “girls’ weekend” with a friend of mine from Minnesota. Two other friends of hers were joining us – people I had never met. One of them was deaf, and used sign language to communicate. While we were waiting for them to show up, my friend showed me how to sign a greeting. I don’t remember what the actual message was in my dream, but I remember the main gesture. It involved holding my [...]

By |August 10th, 2018|Columns, Respect|0 Comments

A rainy day leads to a sunny outlook

The weather was sunny and dry when we left home, but clouded up on our way to the grocery store. It was drizzling when we went in, and pouring when we came out. People were racing to and from the store holding umbrellas over their grocery carts and themselves. “You wait here,” my husband said. “I’ll go get the car.” There was a long line of people with full grocery carts waiting near the entrance to the store, and I joined them. There was also [...]

By |July 20th, 2018|Columns, Respect, Values|0 Comments

In need of a miracle, and of people who care

This column was first published in the Chanhassen Villager on 11/17/11, shortly after I returned from my first trip to Uganda. The young women I wrote about have become the focus of most of our work in Uganda; our goal is to help them build a better life for themselves and their children. You'll hear more about them after I return from this trip. They are beautiful young women. Girls, actually, with many of them between the ages of 18 and 25, and some even younger. They [...]

An act of kindness cuts both ways

I saw a story in the news last week about a waitress at a Waffle House restaurant in Texas who went above and beyond to assist a customer who needed a helping hand – literally. The elderly man was having trouble cutting up his food, and told the waitress that his hands were “not functioning too well.” She immediately picked up a knife and fork and cut up his food for him. Another customer saw this act of kindness, took a picture of it, and [...]

By |March 23rd, 2018|Columns, Respect, Values|2 Comments