Showing posts from August, 2014

School Buddies not Bullies

Back in the day when girls wore dresses to school each day, my homemade dresses with dangling sashes tied in a neat bow were a tantalizing lure for the grade school bully. I became terrified of recess. Staying inside wasn’t an option. Lined up and sent outdoors every morning, noon, and mid-afternoon was my elementary fate.
Hovering around the playground teacher helped some, but over the next several school years, I’d come home with ripped sashes and skinned knees. I could never outrun the faster, stronger legs of the older boy. Other kids came back from recess unscathed. Not me. My school life was divided between the security of the classroom and the nightmare at recess.

Schools across America are welcoming young kids for another year. Some will face tough playground challenges—which can easily extend into hallways, lunchrooms, and bus rides. 
Bullying is wrong, but sometimes kids are afraid to tell. I’ve never forgotten the hissing threats as my bully pushed me to the ground.


Breaking Certain Rules

On one of those perfectly sunny, grandma-babysitting days, we set off to play in a nearby park. Kids were enjoying the merry-go-round and the jungle gym. But what attracted my four-year-old grandson was the fenced-off tennis court.Two kids were riding their bikes in and out of the lines on the newly finished courts.
Their parents watched on a bench just inside the gated entrance. The kids laughed as they raced one another, occasionally crashing into the net between the two sides. A sign was clearly posted on the entrance—No Bicycles Allowed.

Just beginning his reading quest, my grandson already knew the word “No”.He asked me what words came next.
I whispered that the sign asked people not to ride bikes on the tennis court. He may have only been four, but he could clearly see two kids riding their bikes where they shouldn’t have been.

We watched awhile longer and then he reached up to open the gate. I helped lift the latch thinking that he wanted to watch the kids. Instead, he walke…

Marriage Test: DIY Projects

Instead of lounging on a sunny beach this summer, our marital togetherness was spent re-staining our home. Sharing a paint bucket and scaffolding gave us many hours to contemplate if we felt bonded or in bondage.
Every log on our cabin was tediously sanded down to bare wood, and so were our nerves. Behind my safety-goggled eyes, I observed that over the years, my husband had become like me. My perfectionist tendencies were on full display—in him. How did this happen? I was now the sloppy one and my lack of painting skills revealed it. My husband seemed to care more about the correct form of back brushing than me….
Was saving thousands of dollars on labor worth the exasperation we felt for one another? 
Yes. And here’s why:
Marriage is work. Just like the work of staining our home. Hours of sanding exposed the beauty of the natural wood again. A good marriage requires occasional sanding too. We needed to get beneath the layers of his expectations and my selfishness, but as we did, our…

Hope in Ebola and Everything Else

This summer has had some awful and discouraging news—the missile downing a civilian jet, increasing Russian aggression in the Ukraine, Hamas attacking Israel, ISIS Middle East atrocities—including the beheading of Christian children, our Border Crisis—and then the news about Ebola nearly pushed me over the edge.
Ebola was already very real in my mind. About ten years ago, a visiting missionary explained in horrifyingly graphic detail what Ebola did to a tiny African village. But I’d put that scenario in the “Over There Not Here” file. Until now.

Listening to the sensationalized media reports that the Ebola outbreak could lead to a global epidemic, or be used for terrorism—it was no longer an “Over There Not Here” issue.
There are times when you have to look away from what’s bad in order to remember what’s good. I needed a time-out to give thanks for all that truly is good.
Thanks to American biomedical ingenuity, a new Ebola drug seems to have spared the lives of an American doctor an…

World Without America

The nearly empty theater told its own story. No crowds tonight. We slid into an otherwise empty row to watch America: Imagine the World Without Her.

Dinesh D’Souza, the movie’s co-creator, is an America-loving Indian immigrant. He was a policy advisor to President Reagan, college president, historian, and now he's a feisty whistle blower on those he feels are undermining America.

In the documentary, he respectfully interviewed those who believe our nation was created through premeditated evil. In turn, he digs into the history we don’t often hear anymore, reflecting on the inspirational narrative many in my generation remember.
Near the end of the film things get icy cold. In addition to a nation that is “transforming” through its educational system, could the IRS, the NSA and others be snooping on private American citizens?Is our government collecting data on each of us? D’Souza makes a compelling case that the government can make life rough for those who don’t agree—and he us…