Tag Archive | influence

What can I do?


I’ve seen a lot of things on the internet recently, either articles or postings, that seem to be drenched in fear and the need to spread it. I don’t know if people are just focusing on the negative to a point that they fear everything and anything, or if I’m just noticing it in contrast to how I live my life. Trust me, I am realistic and not living a Pollyanna life. I know there is economic crisis, corruption, wars, and evil in the hearts and acts of mankind.

But I also know there is goodness, justice, kindness, and love. I subscribe to focusing on and changing that which is in my power. For example, I have no way to stop the Illuminati from taking over the world (if it exists or if they haven’t already). I cannot tell or affect if aliens are on their way to attack, abduct, or destroy. Nor can I suddenly make religions and countries change their beliefs and interactions with each other. I cannot make politicians be honest or corrupt men change their hearts. And I surely can do nothing if the world is going to end in Dec. 2012 as so many predict and believe.

But I assure you, there is plenty that I can do that actually makes a difference. I can be kind to my neighbors. I can teach my children right from wrong. I can be generous with my time, talent, and treasure. I can encourage the sad and love the lonely. I can forgive those who hurt me and end grudges that I may carry. I can (and do) pray to God and trust in his love. I can make a difference in my life, in my friends’ and family’s lives, and I can influence those that I come in contact with every day.

I read once that there are 365 versions of “fear not” in the Bible – one for each day of the year. Since that book influences me and my life, I find comfort in the fact that there is enough hope and protection to cover my every day. And if I should fall victim to aliens, the Illuminati, or the other evils in the world that people spend their time and energy to purvey, well, I know who wins in the end.

In the meantime, let us pick up our hope and our faith. Let us act in ways that make the world we touch a better place. Let our light shine brighter than the darkness that surrounds. And let us be blessed!

BEING A FOREIGN EXCHANGE “MOM”


I recently sent my foreign exchange student back home after being with me and my daughter for a full school year. The experience was something I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school day dreaming about jetting off around the world on adventures. So this past year I decided to take advantage of my daughter’s final year of high school and make this happen.

Our student was a lovely girl from Norway. From the very beginning she seemed to fit our family well – she liked similar shows and activities as my daughter. She wanted to dabble in American sports and she signed up for several sports throughout the year. She worked hard in the beginning to get a handle on the US school system, and a Catholic private school at that (nope, she wasn’t Catholic, and she wasn’t religious in any form). Things got off to a great start.

We hit some snags but that’s to be expected along the way. I’m not sure if it was cultural or just the personality of our student but she didn’t bond with us in the tight way I had heard other students do with their families. At times I felt like she was simply on a 10 month vacation and sometimes I felt we were in her way because of our conservative beliefs and behaviors. We’re not monks of course but we certainly couldn’t compete with the California lifestyle I later found out she wished to have on her exchange.

At the end of the day I have no regrets. I’m glad to have done it. I’m glad to have provided this experience for my daughter and for our exchange student. But I’m also left wondering. I ponder whether the lack of bonding meant little to no influence in the life of this girl. She was polite and genial (well, for the most part). But I can’t put a finger on whether or not my dream to have her here had much impact on her at all. I wonder if our faith and what she learned about our culture has changed her heart or her behaviors in any way. I wonder whether she went home wiping her brow, glad to have gotten through it. I wonder if I will ever see her again. 10 months is a long time to give emotionally, financially, and spiritually. I feel a connection to her as a mom in a way that I’m pretty sure she doesn’t reciprocate. So I wonder and ponder and muse at the level of influence we had on her. I wish for her all the dreams of her young life. I hope that she remembers us and her time here fondly. I hope that a glimpse into our life plants a seed of faith for another day. I wish her love and happiness. And I miss her.