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.