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If you could go back….

If you could go back in time and change one event in history, what would it be? That question – or something similar – is the basis for countless movies, television shows, philosophical discussions, and theories about the space-time continuum. It was also the question at an online Table Topics contest I recently attended. In a Toastmasters Table Topics competition, contestants are asked a question – generally an open-ended, there’s-no-wrong-answer question. They have to respond immediately, and speak for one to two minutes on the [...]

By |September 26th, 2020|Accountability, Columns, Toastmasters, Values|2 Comments

A Champion for Change

“Champions for Change” is the name of the feature, and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when I saw one of the champions being showcased – a young man named Lual Mayen. He was born as his family was fleeing South Sudan, and has lived more than 22 years in a refugee camp in northern Uganda. The first time he ever saw a computer was in 2007 during a refugee registration, and after he told his mother he wanted to buy [...]

Where were you that day?

If you’re old enough to remember it, I don’t need to say any more than that for you to know what I’m talking about. Yesterday, on the anniversary of what we now simply refer to as 9/11, everyone remembered exactly where they were, what they were doing, and how they found out about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. Most of us remember other things about that day, too. How surreal it felt. How we knew instinctively that the world had [...]

By |September 12th, 2020|Achieving Dreams and Goals, Columns, Values|0 Comments

Lessons Learned

I visited a club in Barbados last night, after meeting a woman from Barbados a few weeks ago in North Carolina. I was in North Carolina at the invitation of someone I met in Saskatchewan the week before that. He and I were the only ones who showed up at the meeting – apparently the Saskatchewans knew something we didn’t – so we chatted for half an hour and exchanged contact information before calling it a night. These meetings were all virtual, of course. I [...]

By |August 21st, 2020|Columns, Toastmasters, Travel, Values|0 Comments

A Mess and a Message

“Whenever there’s a mess like this, I try to look for the message in the mess,” my friend told me a few days ago. “And then I try to find the miracle in the message.” As you might guess, my friend is a very faith-filled person. I have seen her step out in faith when most people – myself included – would be paralyzed by fear, indecision, or doubt. The statement she made came as she was telling me about a close friend of hers [...]

By |August 14th, 2020|Columns, Faith, Health and Well-being, Values|0 Comments

A Confusing Day

For some reason, all day yesterday – Thursday – it felt to me like it was Friday. That used to happen often on days right before or after holidays or vacations, but not since we retired and moved to Georgia three years ago, when there was no longer much difference between weekdays and weekends. And it certainly hasn’t happened since stay-at-home guidelines went into effect in mid-March. I can’t attribute the feeling to the 4th of July weekend coming up, because holidays going back as [...]

By |July 3rd, 2020|Columns, Faith, Family, Holidays, Values|0 Comments

A nod and a smile could lift our hearts

“My head understands it, but it was hard on my heart.” I heard that last night from a woman in British Columbia. I was attending a special “Pandemic Presentations” Toastmasters meeting via Zoom, and the person giving the speech – who is single and lives alone in her apartment – was talking about the feelings of isolation she was experiencing while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. At one point, she talked about how she feels when she goes outside for a walk and some [...]

By |June 19th, 2020|Columns, Health and Well-being, Toastmasters, Values|0 Comments

A plea for help

My blog this week is a plea for help, one that will benefit people in desperate circumstances in one of the poorest countries in the world. Yet it has to do with the medical crisis that is affecting us all – here in the United States and around the world, including the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Southwest Uganda. Those who have been regular readers of my column and blog know about my work in Uganda with Pathways to Hope Africa, including several trips to the [...]

No black or white answers

“We’re black, aren’t we?” That’s the question my friend’s five-year-old granddaughter asked her this morning. Her heart broke when she heard the question, and mine broke when she told me about it. It broke even more when she told me her granddaughter’s next question, in which she asked about a close family friend. “She’s white, isn’t she?” It’s not as though her granddaughter didn’t recognize the difference in skin color before, it’s just that it didn’t matter. But now it did, enough to bring questions [...]

By |May 29th, 2020|Columns, Family, Making a Difference, Values|0 Comments

A celebration of friendship

“It’s amazing, after not connecting, in some cases for 20+ years, how much has changed. But in some ways, it’s stayed the same. I guess that’s friendship.” That was a statement in an email from one of my “old college buds” after we had a reunion via Zoom a few nights ago. I couldn’t have said it better myself. We were a group of friends who met in college, and stayed close even after graduating within a few years of each other in the  early- to [...]

By |May 22nd, 2020|Columns, Family, Holidays, Travel, Values|2 Comments