Three thousand miles led to a world of difference

I logged in almost 3,000 miles this week, starting with a two-hour drive to the Atlanta airport, then a flight to Minneapolis, and finally a scenic drive from there across the Canadian border and on to Winnipeg. There I spoke - along with two other women - for approximately 20 minutes to the Rotary Club of Winnipeg. After the meeting, we got back in the car and did the trip in reverse. Not all at once, but over the course of a few days. It [...]

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 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 impact. But everyone understood this, [...]

By |May 12th, 2017|Columns, Uganda, Values|0 Comments

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 [...]

Don’t just tolerate – celebrate!

Before last Sunday, I had never been to Lake Elmo. I also had never been to a Lutheran church service. Later in the day, back at home in my own church, I was chatting briefly with one of the deacons about the religious, racial, and cultural differences many of us can find not only in our communities, but among our friends and even within our own extended families. “Our differences shouldn’t just be tolerated,” he said. “They should be celebrated.” His words were music to [...]

By |August 21st, 2015|Columns, Faith, Music/Singing, Respect, Uganda, Values|2 Comments

Dreaming and exploring can help your life to GROW

What is your dream? That was the theme of the meeting and of my presentation at GROW last week. GROW stands for “God Renewing Our Women,” and it’s a new women’s ministry that was started at my parish last September. Because of my background and experience in helping people achieve their dreams, I was asked last August if I could do a presentation on the subject. I still remember the day I received the request. It came in an email I received while I was [...]

It was time for a shake-up at the top

I just fired myself. And it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not long ago, I was on the phone with the business coach I’d been working with for several months. At one point during our coaching call, she asked me a few questions about my work in Uganda. After I answered them, she said, “You know, when you’re talking about Uganda, you sound like a completely different person than when you’re talking about your business. You sound more confident, more focused, [...]

By |September 26th, 2014|Columns, Success, Uganda, Values|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