We Can’t All Get Along

An affirmative answer to the question, “can’t we all just get along?” is beautiful and ideal. As a hater of conflict, I would love living in a world where everyone just got along. And if our only differences were simplistic – I like coffee, but you like tea – we could agree to disagree with no major meltdowns. (I mean, coffee is SO much better. It’s a no-brainer. But anyway…). But our differences are major. We have, in our nation, radically different ideas of what our founders meant when they discussed “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” We also have many intelligent, passionate people who want to protect and promote their understanding of those ideas. The only way for everyone to “just get...

If I Could Have Dinner With Anyone, Living or Dead…

Ever been asked that question? I know my answer… Judy Garland. She is my favorite entertainer and has been for as long as I can remember. I have watched all her movies, listened to all her music, and read every biography I can get my hands on. If you don’t know who she is (I am clutching my heart in pain at the thought), maybe this will help… If you still don’t know, then we just can’t be friends. Judy Garland was an amazing, one in a BILLION talent, but her personal life was disastrous. There are many reasons for that, the biggest of which seems to be that she was constantly seeking approval. She was happy when people liked her and depressed when they didn’t. When she sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” — her trademark song sung from the time she was 16...

Passing the Test

As a teacher, I recognize tests are important:Tests in my class, standardized tests, AP exams…None are perfect, mind you. But they do assist educators in understanding where our students are and where they need to be.  But did you know that God tests us, too? And, unlike tests we humans devise, God’s tests are perfect and accurate and always necessary. As I look back on this year, I realize it has been a series of tests. And, if I am perfectly honest, I have not done so well. I have chosen to complain when I should have chosen to rejoice. I have cried into my pillow when I should have cried out to God. I have blamed my feelings on others when I should examined myself. I have seen, in short, that I’m not nearly as “great” a Christian...

“Downtown Heaven”

Yesterday, we were almost at Disneyland. For those familiar with the Disneys, Disney World in Florida is truly a “world” in itself. You have to park, walk/ride a tram to the ticket booths, then take the monorail or ferry into the park itself. Disneyland, however, is smaller. You can, as we did, park at the Downtown Disney lot, walk around, then go right up to the front gate. All for $0 (if you leave the parking lot within two hours). We were right there – we caught glimpses of Main Street, heard strains of “It’s a Small World”, smelled the cotton candy. But we did not go in. Not this time. We’re putting our extra money towards helping our oldest pay for college next year. So we enjoyed the beauty of Downtown Disney, but...

My Self Has Enough Help

Go to any bookstore – online or in person – and you will find rows and rows…and rows and rows… of shelves housing books devoted to “self-esteem.” Most seem to focus on loving yourself, forgiving yourself, being good to yourself. Because we just don’t think enough of ourselves. Riiiight. Here’s what I think: our problems with self-esteem aren’t that we don’t think enough of ourselves. Our problem is that we think of ourselves WAY too much. At least I do, anyway. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t think about myself, my needs, my wants. When I don’t feel frustrated that I am not being treated well enough. I look at people and wonder what they are thinking about me – do they like me? Are they talking about me to their friends? Are those conversations positive...

When People Don’t Like You

No one likes to be disliked. But some people can just naturally tolerate it better than others. My husband, for instance, is slightly bothered when he finds out someone dislikes him, but he can move on. I, however, am incredibly bothered and try to figure out why that person dislikes me, what I did to offend him/her, what I might be able to do to make him/her like me. OR I get angry and think of all the reasons why I don’t like that person, having dozens of imaginary conversations with them in which I reduce them to a quivering pile of tears, giving them a real reason to hate me. And, if I am being honest, in my worst moments, those imaginary conversations become all too real. And they don’t feel nearly as good as I thought they would. The fact is,...