Monday, September 25, 2017

Disneyworld





My mom and I went to Disney world last week to celebrate my impending 50th Birthday (Yikes!), and for me, a celebration of getting a "real" job!  This was my 3rd time there, my mom's 4th time, so we stuck with things we liked and new things to check out.  It was so hot and humid, I think even more so compared to when we went 31 years ago in July.  It sapped us all our strength.  All I can say is thank goodness for air conditioning!  

These pictures are from the Magic Kingdom nighttime show, where they projected scenes from Disney movies, played music from them, and coordinated the fireworks with it all.  It was amazing.  I was in awe.  As Sheldon says in "The Big Bang Theory," it was pure Disney magic.  

I am always impressed by the Disney parks as the people who work there, for the most part, are friendly and cheerful.  I don't know how they do it in the heat, humidity, screaming kids, and demanding parents.  I think I would commit hari-kari pretty quickly.  And they always do a good job.  They are always committed to safety, reminding parents non-stop about their kids.  When I saw a lost little girl, 4 Disney workers came to her aid and helped her find her family.  I saw lots of adults and children with disabilities, and I am always pleased at how well Disney treats them.  Even though I was stared at right and left all over the place, they are usually little children who don't know any better and whose parents didn't teach them any manners.

I am always impressed how Disney is innovating constantly.  They never sit on their laurels, but continuously are updating, without destroying beloved entertainments.  I still love the Pirates of the Caribbean and It's a Small World ride, and I still love the World Showcase at Epcot.  My newer favorite is the African Safari at Animal Kingdom.  It's like watching National Geographic Wild in real life!

Disney started these parks years ago, when parks were just for kids.  He wanted to create a park that the whole family could enjoy together.  And now look at it, parks all over the world.  

I know some people don't like Disney.  Like Ford, Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and other American titans of economy, life as we know it would be drastically different.  They were successful because they knew what people wanted, and they met that need.  This is part of what makes America great, that anyone with a dream, the will, and the ability, can make their dreams come true.  Like my parents, who weren't able to go to college, who started out with no home to call their own, worked hard all their life, made sacrifices, and ensured the safety and welfare of their children.  I can't thank my parents enough for teaching me the values that I hold dear.  I will forever be in their debt.  I love you mom and dad!



Monday, September 18, 2017

It's Official, I'm a Teacher!


After 2 years of college classes, and 1 year of substitute teaching, I am finally and officially a teacher!  I got a very part-time job as an adult ESL teacher, for 9.5 hours a week.  I would have preferred the 19 hours a week position, but the boss wanted to split the position between 2 people.  A part of me feels like, the other teacher is married and has children, this is all I have!  But another part reminds me that I am thankful to have a job teaching the same students I have been volunteering with for the last 8 years.  

I don't know if it has sunk in yet.  Maybe it will if I get more hours.  But whenever I am planning lessons or correcting homework, then I feel official.  I feel pretty important.  I feel pretty good, considering I wasn't sure if I ever would be able to work again someday.  I had tried and failed so much that I was weary of ever trying again.

But I thank God for this opportunity, I would not be here without Him.  And I am thankful for my parents who have provided for me so I can go back to school without debt hanging over my head.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

9-11


It will be the 16th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks in 5 days.  I hope we never forget this day, where nearly 3,000 innocent people died, thousands more injured, and more dying now due to the after affects of the attacks.  I have read so many books where 9-11 affected the writer, and have seen many documentaries about 9-11.  It has permeated our culture in almost every way.  Yet, we still are fighting this war on terror.  I wonder if we will ever win?  I hate to say it, but I doubt it.

If history is our guide, we have seen Islamic terrorist organizations come and go, and come back again.  Al Queda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, ISIS, the list goes on, depending on time and place.  But their goal is the same, to kill all infidels, and to destroy our world.  That is the gist of it.  

And there is no excuse for it.  Some people blame economy, poverty, lack of education, etc.  But we have seen lone wolf attacks by people who lived here, in America, who had an education.  So that can't be it.  And millions of people around the world live in poverty and have lack of resources, and they don't act out in violence.  So that isn't it.

These groups are just bullies, gangs of thugs that are bent on destruction.  I wonder if they really believe in the fundamentalist Islamic rhetoric, or they are just using it as an excuse.  A convenient way to justify their heinous actions.  They act like a cult, if you don't agree with them, then you are destroyed.  

And it seems to never end.  We chased Al Queda out of Afghanistan, but they just went into Pakistan.  We supposedly chased out the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But once our troops left, the terrorists were back.  Not a surprise.  Now what do we do?  The same thing?  We know from history that half-assed attempts will never work.  So either we go in full force or leave them to their own devices.  Unfortunately, we have left them, and now look what has happened, they are back, and the people, the regular folks just trying to survive, are paying the price for our negligence.  

One could look at this as humans being humans, there will always be terrorists, etc.  But I feel for the thousands, if not millions, of people around the world being killed or chased out of their communities, abused and neglected, and living in fear.  They did not choose to be born where they are.  They want to live in a land that is dying.  

It makes me appreciate my little life, such as it is.  I live in the greatest country on God's green earth.  I have freedom of religion and speech.  I have an education.  I have a job.  I have my family.  I have a home.  What more do I need?  


Monday, August 28, 2017

Founding Fathers


Lately there have been calls to rid America of confederate symbols and monuments, including statues of the Confederacy.  I have lived in the North all my life.  These symbols have no effect on me.  I am not an African-American, I did not live in the South.  So I don't believe I have any say in what happens to these symbols.  The ones to make that decision are the ones most affected by them.  

But I have heard calls of destroying the symbols of our Founding Fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  This I wholeheartedly disagree with.  

Growing up, I had no idea that Washington or Jefferson had slaves.  Honestly, I didn't really care about these long ago presidents.  I called them dead white men, and was tired of hearing about only them in my history classes.  I wanted to learn about world history, what life was like around the world for all people groups.  

About 10 years ago my mom and I went on a tour of historic sites on the East Coast, including Washington, D.C., and Virginia.  We visited Mount Vernon, Washington's home, and Monticello, Jefferson's home.  I knew by then that Jefferson had slaves and had a relationship with a slave.  But I don't think I knew about Washington.  

This was a struggle for me, as by seeing these sites, seeing the battle grounds of Valley Forge, and learning more about the Revolutionary War, I had come to admire these two men.  I couldn't fathom why they were slave owners, I thought they were better than that.  

I don't honestly know what they were like as slave owners.  All I know is that Washington was the general who won the Revolutionary War, and Jefferson was the one who penned the Declaration of Independence.  

This affirms to me, yet again, that most people have good and bad in them.  Washington and Jefferson were good presidents, just had bad thinking when it came to slavery.  Like most other famous people, we cannot simply discard someone because they happen to do something or think something that we don't like.  This doesn't take away the good things they dd.  It's like that saying, "you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater."  

It is so easy nowadays to quickly judge someone, anyone, based on one thing.  But what we don't realize is that people's actions and ideas don't come out of thin air.  They come through experiences, thoughts, emotions, and relationships.  It is too easy to judge someone without thinking what it's like for them.  History has evolved over time, so what we thought was OK back then we know now to be wrong.  

Let us not forget the great accomplishments of our Founding Fathers.  They chose to risk their lives to fight the tyranny of the British government.  They could have taken it easy, and profited from trade with the British.  But they chose to mark their own trail, to beat their own drum.  They chose to take a chance on the impossible, and somehow made it possible.  For that, their monuments should be a testament for all time.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Violent Weekend


This was written by the father of a man who on social media had tried to defend his actions at attending a white supremacist rally in Virginia last weekend.  I feel for this man, and his family, who wonder how his son came to develop such racist ideas to think that it is OK to be a part of such racists groups.

I used to live in the Fargo-Moorhead area.  I know racism abounds there. Even though it is a town full of people who vote Democrat.  These same Democrats I know are racist.  

I take offense that these neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups consider themselves Christian.  Nothing they believe in is in the Bible.  They probably have never cracked one open.  I have read, studied, and learned the Bile for years and know that their rhetoric is not Christian.  It is from the fiery pit of hell.

I also take offense that they consider themselves Republican.  My parents are Republican.  They find the violent actions of these groups repugnant.  I know plenty of Republicans that are not racists in any way.  

Needless to say, to see and read about the violence this weekend saddened me. I guess I was living in blissful ignorance thinking that the KKK was no longer an issue.  I guess living in the relatively diverse state of MN I got blissfully ignorant.  I knew there was still trouble in the South, just not to this extent.  It boggles my mind that any one with a knowledge of history and the Bible would join these groups.  Nazis were not Christian either.  In fact, they persecuted Christians, and created their own cult-like religion.  

I am just shocked at the ignorance of these groups.  How neo-Nazis can deny the Holocaust is beyond me.  You can just go all over Europe and see the concentration camps.  Didn't they see those horrible videos in grade school that showed the mass graves of Jewish bodies?  How can they deny it?  

Some people may say it's just human nature.  And maybe it is.  Some people are so brainwashed into their thinking, whatever violent thinking they have, that they don't question it.  They continue to pursue it to the end.  But we don't have to accept it.  We can strive for better.

I hope that this father's hopes will be fulfilled.  I wonder if the son knows how much grief and sorrow he is causing them.  I wonder if this madness and insanity will ever end.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I LOVE MN

People ask me why I live in MN if I hate the winters so much.  So here are my reasons:

1.  My family is here.

2. My church is here.

3. I've lived in Cutters Grove for 20 years.

4. I've volunteered and subbed at Anoka Technical College ABE for 8 years, and, Lord willing, am starting a part-time teaching job there starting after labor day!

5. MN State Fair, need I say more?

6. The Mall of America, need I say more again?

7. Duluth and the North Shore.

8. Moorhead, where my parents grew up and I went to college.

9. Minnesota's historic sites and museums.

10. Although they are short, the summers.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Abuse

Lately I have been watching Dr. Phil in the afternoons while I eat supper before I go subbing or volunteering.. I have always liked Dr. Phil, he seems smart without showing off.  Instead, he relates to people where they are at, but doesn't take any crap.  He's honest and will call someone out if need be.  Yet, he is compassionate and has resources for people to help them, from his books to his website.  I've never read his books.  I used to read self-help books, when I needed them, but now it has been years since I read my fill.  

I do want to talk about an initiative that his wife, Robin, has on the website.  Here is the link: http://www.whengeorgiasmiled.org/aspire/

This is a free curriculum about domestic violence, for all interested.  Included on this page is a link to a free app that a victim can use to call for help with one touch of a button.  

I have not looked at either resources, but from watching Dr. Phil off and on for years, I think it would be helpful.  Even in this day and age, domestic abuse is so prevalent, and there seems to be little help for the victims.  Not only that, it affects the whole family, not just the spouse.  Even if the children are not abused, they learn a dysfunctional and damaging way of relating to others.  Like with an addict,  the victims focus on the abuser, neglecting all others in the family.  The victim doesn't mean to, but they are usually so beaten down, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, that they don't think they can do without the abuser.   

When I see this happen, it breaks my heart.  I have had friends who were in abusive relationships, and I wished I could save them.  I wished I could get them to see that they don't need this person, that they were of infinite worth.  But abuse breaks the spirit.  

So if you are in an abusive relationship, get help!  No one should be abused, no one has the right to abuse you..