I love summer in Minnesota. One of the reasons for that is I can work in my garden and grow my own vegetables. This year, I have garlic chives, green onions, lettuces, Swiss chards, cucumbers, peppers, beans, tomatoes and squashes. For almost three months in summer, I can eat fresh organic vegetables from my garden. I have been eating a green salad every day for lunch for the last two months. It feels good to eat organic home-grown foods. Fresh organic food provides the best nutrition for the body.
Aiming for greatnessWhen it comes to raising children, what is your goal? Like many parents, I don't have a clearly defined goal in my mind. Also like most parents, I want the best for my children. I want them to get a good education, have a good job and make a nice living. I want them to be successful and happy in life. What is success? In our society, success is often defined as having wealth, power, fame and beauty. Be the first, the best, and have the most. There is nothing wrong with this goal. But is this enough? Is that all I want my children to be and to have?
In my July 2 column, I wrote about what I think is right in our society. To provide a different perspective, in this column I would like to share what I think is society's biggest problem -- one we are facing today. It is disconnection. It is the disconnection from ourselves, from our spirituality, from each other and from nature. It is the disconnection between body, mind and spirit, and the disconnection between our outward success and inward satisfaction. As human beings, we are wired to connect.
"Ask and you shall receive." This is a well-known biblical principle. It is also one of the lessons I have learned in life again and again. Just last week I was helping someone find an article in a journal. Since itwas a scholarly journal, it is not widely held in libraries. And it was not free on the Internet. It cost over $30 to purchase the article online. After I did research about the journal and found the information, I could easily pass it on to a co-worker to get the requested article in the traditional way through inter-library loan.
When I was 10 years old, I didn't have a clue about money. It is very different for my two kids now. Andy is 10 and Amy is eight. I think they know a lot more about money than I did at their age. In fact, they even make their own money. No kidding. I am not talking about getting money from parents or relatives for birthdays and holidays, for good behavior, doing home work or getting good grades.
I learned driving in my late twenties when I came to the United States. A friend taught me for a few hours. That's all the driving education I had, and I learned just enough traffic rules to pass the test. Learning new things is always easier and comes more natural when you are young. Anytime you miss the windows of opportunity and the optimum learning time, it gets harder. Because I didn't learn driving as a teenager like most Americans do, it wasn't a natural thing for me. Therefore, I have never developed a love for cars or driving.
I think it's safe to say that, of all the federal government agencies, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is the most unpopular one. Or to put it in more plain language and to say it more bluntly, IRS is the most feared and hated federal agency. At the very least nobody likes to hear from IRS. But this time, it is different. Starting in May, the IRS began sending economic stimulus payments to more than 130 million households, thanks to the stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush in February 2008.
I grew up in a city in China with lots of people. As a child, I was never exposed to nature, like oceans with endless beaches, mountains too tall to climb for an average person, forests with wild animals. All my life, I've pretty much been an indoor person. I have never done camping or hiking. I have not done much in the way of sports. I learned to bike in my teens and I learned to swim in my twenties. I hardly do any outdoor activities. Americans love to label and categorize people or problems.
It is a fact that the U.S. economy is in a downturn or a recession. People are worried about sky-rocketing gas prices and the cost of living, about losing jobs and finding jobs. In today's economy, saving money becomes more important or necessary for many families. One way to save money that many people might not think about is through use of the local library. n To loan, not to buy If you like to read books or magazines, checking them out from the library instead of buying can save you some money. Most of the books we read are only read once.
In "Dear Abby's" Oct. 27, 2007 column, a reader asked her what she thinks is the main problem in society today. In turn, Abby asked her readers to respond and share what they think is society's greatest problem today. The readers' response was enormous. Dear Abby shared some of them in her Feb. 5 and 6 columns. We are certainly not short of problems.