Thursday, December 1, 2016

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion

I don't normally like to swear but I love this movie, so I will break my rule and use this quote to introduce this week's blog post.

This is a funny yet sweet movie about going to a high school reunion, facing the bullies of yesteryear.  I have never been to any of my reunions, nor do I care to.  I hardly remember high school, much less want to face those people again.  The people who always got their way even they were terrible or mean.  The so-called actors who were always in the plays even though they couldn't act.  The athletes who always got attention because they were jocks.  I was one of the nameless masses, yearning to be recognized for any talent, instead of just my weaknesses.  

Why do people have to be so mean?  Don't they have feelings?  Don't they know the Golden Rule, to treat others as you would want to be treated?  Didn't their parents teach them any manners?  And if there was a reason to be jealous, why not appreciate what one has, instead of trying to deny what others have?  

We are all different.  We should be celebrating each other's successes that they earned, instead of trying to take it away.  No one has it all.  No one is without problems.  

Some people say it is because they are insecure.  I was insecure, yet I manged to not be a bully.  Some say they were abused.  Lots of people are abused, they are not all bullies.  There has to be more.  

There is still bullying going on today.  I hear of schools trying all these new programs to combat bullying.  Are they working?  Why is it still happening then?

And it doesn't end after school.  I was bullied in college and in the workplace.  

There was no help for me there.  Of course, by then, I had learned that no one was going to help me, that I was on my own.  So by then I stopped asking for help.  I didn't have a safe place to go to to get away from it.  Just in my own mind.  Just in my own thoughts.  

I could say this made me strong.  But it still bothers me to this day.  It is hard to forgive a bully.  It helps me to forgive if I can understand.  But I can't understand a bully.  Maybe I am too logical. Some things just make no sense to me. 

But I also realize that those bullies, whoever they are, have to answer for themselves someday.  Maybe they will feel guilty, maybe they won't.  But it is not my problem.  It is not something I can fix.

All I can do is be myself, use what talents I have, and stop wasting my time wishing for what I don't have.  Be thankful for each day.  For each day is a gift, a chance to try again.  A chance to be me.

Monday, November 21, 2016


I will be unoriginal and write what I am thankful for:

I am thankful that:
 I am an American, a woman, and a Christian.

I am a sister, daughter, and aunt.

I have a great family and great friends.

I live in Anoka, Minnesota.

I have food, clothing, and shelter.

I have freedom of speech and religion.

I can believe what I want.

I can say what I want.

I can do what I want.

I am only limited by my imagination.

I can read and write.

I can learn and study.

I am smart and funny.

I can eat well and exercise.

Besides my crooked spine, I look good.

Besides my crooked spine, I feel good.

God has given me strength and courage

to try, even if I fail.

I'll know I tried.

That is the measure of success.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Breakfast Club

This is one of my favorite movies of all time.  Even now, when it has been 30 years since I graduated from high school, it still resonates with me, especially this quote, which I think we can all admit that we do, and we can all accuse others of.  It is actually a deep, thought-provoking quote, that lends credence to the fact that we don't give adolescents enough credit.

It seems easy to define people in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.  It takes too much time and investment to really get to know someone, so we quickly chalk them up to a group, based on gender, race, religion, or appearance.

But we sadly miss out on the opportunity to really get to know someone.  For we are much more than the bodies that the world sees.  That it is only the luggage that carries my soul in this life.

And we are so much more than the labels on our luggage.  Like the stickers, they only categorize us to the groups that we belong to.  But do we really belong to them?  Can't we be more than these groups?  Can't we think outside the box?

I may be more conservative, but I don't agree with everything they say or do.  I may be white, but I didn't choose that, along with having a disability, or a mental illness, or being an American.  We are given these labels from the start, and no matter what we do, we can't change them.  

But even though they are just labels, they get us things, or they take things away, depending on the label.  

What I am saying is that I am more than my suitcase.  I am more than my stickers.  I am Amy Jean Hetland.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election Day and Veteran's Day

This week we will pick our new governmental representatives for the next few years.  It will also be veteran's day.  I find it odd that these two events are on the same week.  I am not looking forward to the day after tomorrow.  How ominous is that?  Half the country will be ecstatic and half will be madder than hell.  It seems that veteran's day gets lost in the chaos.  

I hope that we all appreciate the privilege we have to vote.  I know that American citizens have a right, but I think it is better to look at it as a privilege, like driving.  I remember having that hammered into my head in my drivers ed class in high school, that driving is a privilege.  Which it is.

We are all so obsessed with our rights that we get mixed up to what we really have a right to.  Yes, we have the right to vote, freedom of religion (not freedom from religion), freedom of speech (not freedom from speech), free to assemble, and free to express our grievances with the government.  We are free to bear arms, to protect ourselves against any foe.  

I mention this as we think we have a right to drive, right to work, right to be educated, right to marry, right to have children, right to have pets, etc.  We have the fundamental rights that I listed before because that is what our forefathers fought for.  But they didn't fight for those other things, things that we demand.  We are blessed to live in a country that provides those other things, but we still have to contribute to those things.  We still have to pay for an education, which helps us get work.  We still have to pass a test and have insurance to drive.  We still have to get a license and blood tests to get married.  

I hope that we can be united again as a country, and that it doesn't take something as horrible as 9-11 for that to happen. Why can't we be thankful that we have this opportunity to be a part of the political process?  Many other world citizens don't have that.  Why do we continue to fight against each other?  Can't we all agree that we are Americans, that America is the greatest country on earth?  Can't we agree that our military men, women, and families, make the greatest sacrifice for us, and be grateful that we have this military to protect us?  Can't we agree that we need to stop apologizing for being American?  Every time I have traveled to Europe, most people I have talked to complain about their country.  And they are impressed by how patriotic we are.  Can't we be be the one place that is different from the rest?  For we are the only nation that won against the great British Empire. 

We are a nation of rebels. :Let's not forget what our forefathers and our military continue to fight for, our freedom.  Let us not take it for granted, nor let it go.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Being Politically Uncorrect

Years ago when my grandpa was still alive, whenever he talked about someone who was Japanese, he said Jap.  I hurried to correct him, saying Japanese.  He never argued, but simply ignored me and went on.  

After a time, he started showing me his old scrapbook from when he was in the Navy, stationed in the South Pacific during WWII.  Within were pictures of the natives that he met, planes that the Air Force flew,  and the buildings bombed by the Japanese military.  He saw the destruction that the Japanese military wrought on the helpless tiny islands of the South Pacific, destroying the lives of many helpless natives, who had no military to call their own.  

Over the years I have watched documentaries and read books about WWII, some in the Pacific theater.  In every instance, our soldiers used the word Japs.  They explained that they saw them as the enemy, and when you are fighting an enemy, you can't see them as human.  For how can you kill a human?  They did not see us as human, therefore they thought they could kill us.

I feel so foolish now, trying to be so politically correct with my grandpa.  I felt like in my quest in teaching him to respect others, I disrespected the very one I was trying to teach.  It is so easy to try to correct others, without even trying to understand where they are coming from.  We all are influenced by our experiences, and in turn, these experiences affect our perceptions of people.  If we are quick to try to change people, we instead shut them down, and push them away.

I think it is better to teach respect by listening, and understanding.  To "climb into his skin and walk around in it."  Then, not only are we teaching it, we are modeling it.  Maybe then we can find some common ground and go on from there.  Otherwise, there will be no diplomacy.  As they say, we have two ears and one mouth.  Use accordingly.  

Monday, October 17, 2016


I don't like to write about politics, or post it on Facebook.  I fear I would wind up alienating half of my friends, or offending them.  I also fear I might be wrong.  Besides, I write on my blog to encourage, (except when I have my period, no holds barred), and I usually try post positive or funny things on Facebook, as there is too much negativity in the world.  I don't have any right to try to convince people they are wrong and I am right.  For all I know, I could be wrong!  That is what is so great about our country, we are free to choose.

Every week I pray for a specific ministry for Samaritan's Purse, as I get their Prayer Point booklet for specific prayer requests.  It always saddens me as I read about a group of people suffering in the world, and I am reminded of how good I have it.

Once in a while I will get an email on my Klippel-Feil website from a parent of a child with KFS.  That saddens me too, especially when the family lives in the Middle East, as it seems that in at least parts of it, health care is limited, especially for children with disabilities.  And I am thankful that I live in a country and a time such as this.

So even though this election is horrible and I wonder who the heck to vote for, I have to remember that no matter what, I still live in the greatest country on God's green earth.  We are a republic, rule based on law.  This means that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights dictate what we do, not politicians.  And they can't change it, no matter how much they want to or try.  For it is by the people, for the people, of the people.  It is not ruled by the media, it is not ruled by politicians.  It is ruled by us.

I am a free woman.  I can vote for whom I want, I can believe in whom I want.  I can do what I want.  God gave us a free mind, He expects us to use it.  Yes, there are consequences, but freedom is most important.  We are the only truly free country.  Even free to be hateful and mean.  Not a good idea but too many people died to ensure our freedoms.  I don't want to throw that away.  And too many people are dying now for freedom.  I don't want to take for granted what others don't have.  

Because I am free.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Lay Your ____ on the Altar

I read this book years ago about a woman whose son wound up in jail for a prolonged period.  She worried about him constantly, until she was reminded of the story in the Bible about how Abraham almost sacrificed his son, Issac, on the altar of God.  

I used to think this was a macabre story, which it still is.  But it also teaches me that I can't hold on to people or things that don't belong to me.  I can't fix people, I can't control what they say or do, although I very much want to.  But then again, I am not God, and I would make a very terrible one.  So I constantly have to choose to lay my worries on the altar of God, trusting that He knows what He is doing, trusting that He loves His creation more than I do, and I just have to let go.  It is so hard to let go.  But I know I can't hold on.  I can't do this life on my own. 

So I keep trying to remember that fateful day so long ago, when Abraham was about to make the toughest decision of his life, and try to be like him.  To trust God and let go.