I've just returned from a five-day trip as I sit down to write this column. I was in Seattle, Wash. to attend a librarians' conference. During the day I spent most of the time in the convention center for meetings and presentations. In the evenings I went to receptions and open houses for networking. I also managed to do a little sightseeing. It was my first trip to the Emerald City. I learned some new things about it that are of great interest to me.
Words have power. Words can be good or bad, positive or negative, constructive or destructive. Words can heal or hurt, uplift or tear down. The right words can encourage, uplift and inspire others. They can bring comfort and healing in difficult situations. They can restore relationships and create joy and love in our lives. On the other hand, the wrong words can discourage and hurt. When words cause deep hurt, they can be intense, long-lasting and destructive. As someone who enjoys reading and writing, I understand the power of the written word. I like to write personal notes.
As a MnDOT employee, I followed the April 21 news about Gov. Tim Pawlenty's appointment of Tom Sorel to head the Department of Transportation with great interest. I was not familiar with the name. Nevertheless, I was happy about the leadership change in the department. While reading news articles about the new commissioner, something familiar caught my attention -- the fact that Sorel lives in Woodbury.
Recently a friend asked me, "Would you like to consider carpooling with me? Gas prices are so high now." Without hesitation, I said, "Yes, let's do that." A few days later, on May 22, we started carpooling to work. We both live in the same subdivision in Woodbury and work in St. Paul. Our office buildings are within walking distance. Carpooling makes perfect sense to me. Carpooling is not new to me. I have done that before. I am interested in carpooling no matter what the gas price is, because it's good for my pocket and for the environment.
For families with school- age children, the end of school year is the real beginning of summer. Parents have the not-so-easy job of finding some activities for their kids to do during the long three months of summer vacation. One of the fun summer activities my kids have enjoyed in the last few years is VBS (Vacation Bible School), offered by many churches in and around Woodbury. VBS usually is a weeklong half-day program consisting of Bible stories and games, arts and crafts, lively songs, recreation and refreshments. In most cases, there is a closing program on the last day.
On this year's Mother's Day, I called my mother in China to wish her "Happy Mother's Day." While picking up the phone and dialing the number, many thoughts and emotions ran though my mind. I was concerned about my mother. She has diabetes and bradycardia (slow heartbeat). Lately she's had swollen feet. I was feeling sorry and guilty. I couldn't be with my mother to help her or just spend time with her. Since I left my home town for college at the age of 17, I haven't spent much time with my parents except when they visited me in the U.S.
After six months of cold weather and indoor hibernation, the weather is finally nice and warm again. Yes, spring is here. Spring is a time for a new beginning and a fresh start, for renewal and growth. For a lot of people this means it's time to do spring cleaning.
For people who like to grow and mature intellectually and spiritually, learning is a lifelong process. We don't -- and shouldn't -- stop learning just because we have graduated from high school, college or have a doctoral degree in hand. Many methods and opportunities exist to help us continue lifelong learning. Traditionally, we can get self-help or how-to books and tapes from libraries or bookstores if we want to learn something new. We can enroll in classes offered by Community Education which integrates schools and adult education institutions within the community.
Earth Day, an occasion observed in April to celebrate our planet and to protect the environment, was celebrated April 22. Since 1970, Earth Day has been an annual event for people around the world. It has become a global celebration with renewed commitment to building a safer, healthier and cleaner world. Some cities extend the Earth Day celebration to be a week- or month-long event.
Getting organized is a topic I am always interested in. As I mentioned in a previous column titled "Get organized," I like to learn new tips and tricks that will help me get organized and make my life easier. And I have learned a lot myself over the years. Recently when I saw a blurb in the Woodbury Bulletin about the free workshop "Order in the Home" at the R.H. Stafford library, I decided to check it out.