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Archive for March, 2013

1. Lt Col. Mark Weber, author of Tell My Sons.

http://www.tellmysons.com/index.html

What an extraordinary man.

A man with a countdown clock ever at his elbow, he is quick to tell us he doesn’t have much time. So he wrote a book to his three sons. He is dying from an aggressive cancer, and now has assumed the greatest mission of his life.

Weber%20Hard%20Cover%20Presentation

Far beyond what he ever imagined when he was first commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army and even later in his career when he served at the right hand of some of our country’s best-known generals, now he is exerting his greatest leadership – and more importantly, servanthood – with their most lasting impact at home.

His sons will surely grow up to be great men.

We are inspired.

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2012/11/14/dying-soldier-writes-a-book-to-his-3-sons/

2. Dr. Suzanna Hupp

A voice worth listening to, someone who has the experience to back up their statement. This is proving to be rarer all the time.

Suzanna Hupp

Suzanna Hupp has lived something most of us can never imagine, losing her parents to a crazed gunman while she was disempowered by a government that thought it knew best.

The simple truth is we will never be without people who will do terrible things to other people. The question is will the rest of us be allowed to protect others and ourselves from them?

We are resolved.
http://www.dailypaul.com/274645/suzanna-hupp-shocking-gun-violence-hearing-2-12-13-video

3. TinderBox

http://gettinderbox.com/

It’s probably pretty mundane to most people – a business that, according to the Indy Star “…provides software that allows companies to create, share and edit business proposals online…”

TinderBox

But it’s another up-and-coming venture Hoosiers can call their own. More importantly, TinderBox reminds us that while it can take time (the Broad Ripple company started in 2009) with the combination of the right and brightest people, a great idea, and hard work and perseverance, success is absolutely possible.

We’re always happy to see the launch of another Indiana entrepreneurial endeavor. You may not need what TinderBox does; they’re in a quite a niche. But that’s what creative, out-of-the-box and successful entrepreneurial ventures do – they find a niche that needs to be filled and go after it.

We are impressed.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013302260044

4. Jhaqueil Reagan

Jhaqueil Reagan

The guy who decided it was worth it to walk ten miles for the opportunity to interview for a job. Wow. If any of us would make that kind of effort to accomplish what needs to be done, no doubt we would be more successful.

We are challenged.

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/02/27/jhaqueil-reagan-storm-hike/?test=latestnews&ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000058

Photo credit: Fox59

5. Mitt and Ann Romney

The interview by Fox News’ Chris Wallace with the Romney’s showed with candid and simple sincerity and a powerful realism that our country has missed out on, what we could have had.
Biased and partisan bitterness? Sure, I guess.1362150209353_png_CROP_rectangle3-large

We had hoped for a change in direction with someone who would come in with great know-how and solid experience.

Apparently, this view was and remains in the minority.

It is an obvious fact that if Barack Obama can do this job (properly done is debatable), then Mitt Romney certainly could have done it. Is anyone prepared to argue that he could not? Of course not.

Ann Romney says she is still not entirely over losing the White House and most importantly, their opportunity “to serve and make a difference.” This writer feels the same way. It’s hard not to regularly think, “WWMHD?”

Yet, this chapter in our nation’s life is past. The Romney’s will not run for the presidency again. That particular hope many – not enough, apparently – had is gone, not to return.

Who will it be for the conservatives in 2016? It’s anyone’s guess. One thing conservatives can bank on: very hard lessons were learned and will continue to be learned.

And a lot will happen in the next four years.

We judge this interview is worth taking in. So if you do, even if you are not a conservative and were not a Romney supporter, consider the kind of people they are and consider the quality of people our country always produces.

We are encouraged.

http://nation.foxnews.com/mitt-and-ann-romney/2013/03/03/watch-mitt-and-ann-romney-interview-chris-wallace

Bonus: Switchfoot’s This Is Your Life

http://www.switchfoot.com/

Thebeautifulletdown
Just a great song. Just a great album. And to get a little info on the background to this song, visit http://www.learning2breathe.com/tblsongs.html

We are thinking.

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I see the cursive letters above the blackboard, flowing beautifully and effortlessly from left to right, printed on the pale cardstock and hung lightly on the pale lines, solid and dotted across the room.

1898_Alphabet_002

Even as a first grader at Sugar Creek Consolidated Elementary I wanted to do what they did, to make words without end, to flow from the deliberate and smooth movement of my fingers, a perfect mechanical rhythm yet learning, developing in its art, flowing from the sharp point, taking form and coming to life across the paper. And those same faint lines leading me, guiding me safely, with certainty, from one place to another, and bounding me as I moved and showing the way into a freedom of sorts.

Paper I had just bought from Mrs. Whitesell.

I walked into her office in the basement, the tall grey cabinet on my right, her huge wood desk on my left as I came into the room. Her secretary’s office led through the other door across the room to our principal’s office, where Mr. Phillips resided.

She with her grey-white hair and small flower-print dress and black shoes that clicked solidly, confidently on the concrete floor, and the distinct smell of her perfume, and the smell of new notebook paper and pencils and wood pencil shavings in the sharpener on the wall.

She opened the cabinet doors.

The neat stacks of pads of paper and boxes of pencils and pens and that smelled of new everything and her gentleness with me:

“Good morning, Mr. Conner. What can I do for you?”

“Hi, Mrs. Whitesell. Can I buy a pencil and some paper?”

“Of course you may. Would you like to pick them out?”

“Ok.”

And I reached up and into the cabinet for one pencil and one pad of paper, reading the prices written on little squares of paper taped to the shelf surface in front of each place. I turned to Mrs. Whitesell, standing there next to me, watching in her benevolence, and handed her my dime for the pencil and my quarter for the paper.

“Thank you, Mrs. Whitesell.”

“You’re welcome.”

And I turned for the hallway.

“Bye.”

And she answered me.

“Goodbye.”

As I walked back to Miss Leach’s room, I felt fresh and new, and secure.

Even now, on those all-too-rare occasions, I cannot freeze or track lineage to recreate in another time, her perfume passes by me, unknown as to its origin. Somehow, by someone, it has been kept alive and exactly the same from then to now. I know it as well as I did that day in 1967. But it is fleeting, so that I cannot capture it, no matter how much I want to. How can I find it again? Where did it come from and who is it?Consolidated

I can only decide this too, though fleeting, is a welcome kindness of life. A gentle remembrance through my senses. It comes as a simple but distinct scent, but floods me through and thorough, and my mind’s eye sees it all.

Just as I see the letters.

Their sharp, black lines and gracious curves moving from one shape to another, one following in cooperation one with the next, obedient one to another in their purpose to show me the way…

AaAa, BbBb, CcCc, DdDd, EeEe, FfFf, GgGg

…and on, and on, and on, across the expanse. I wanted to do what they could do, and it was the “M” that I wanted most. It was my gateway letter, in order to rightly begin or finish my work. “Michael Conner” had to be made just right.

But I could not master it.

My saving grace was that I was only in first grade; we were not yet required to do this. But I wanted to, and I wanted to do this for Miss Leach; make it for her, like a gift.

So I invented my own.

Two leaning and long stems, one on either side, both slanted in-ward as mirror images, and a gently hanging strand between; nothing really, but a loose, concave shape; a string, a length of spaghetti suspended naturally in its own weight, secured by its matching posts. The left had its own addendum: a small, swooping hook that mimmicked the center string in smaller form, to counter-balance the weight of the bridge. The right held in check, fixed there in its space, on its angle, by the letters that followed.

It was wrong, not of any approved method, but it was mine, of my own creation. And so I could write – before it was expected. A cursive “M” I could call my own.

– – –

As a university student, I developed a precision in block letters, while forsaking the cursive art.

The truth was that my script was not fluid and natural. If I wished to write, I had to go slowly; so slowly that it was as though I was just learning, or if observed, one must surely think me uncertain of my way, lacking confidence in how to connect the letters.

So I abandoned that way and began writing in capital block letters.

They were an art unto themselves, at least in the attempt. Again, as it turned out, I was slow. But now it was by design. I took a certain pride in how neat my work was. This probably has to be credited to Mr. Braxton Duvall, my woodshop teacher several years before. He taught me the importance and value of neatness and precision in my marks, both numbers and letters.

But another transition came in my last year of university.

I found that writing papers was paramount, replacing tests, and the work required a speed I had not utilized. Of necessity then and for no other reason than expedience, I slanted my script to the right. It was 1985, and I have never turned back.

Interestingly, and I wonder if only coincidentally, my signature has worsened, taking on less and less form, flattening and elongating, and bringing with its evolving uniqueness the accusation that I must surely be a doctor.

In this trend I have wondered if my ability to write a sentence in cursive has disappeared.

Certainly the comfort in doing so has all but gone, reluctant to try it at all; I feel neither compulsion nor desire to attempt it. I do lament the result. It is a dying if not lost art for me and while I have no desire to revive it, I know I have let go of something of value.

Even still, the art I so wanted to master in Miss Leach’s room proved to be of lasting worth, and those lessons opened a door to me that has proved not only useful, but important to all these years hence.

They make the way for understanding of our language, and the use of our language, a beauty written and spoken. They provide a wide avenue of confidence to express ourselves and a freedom to choose the way we express ourselves. And the letters themselves – a vehicle for our expression.

I wonder if it is not unlike the years I committed to learning and mastering the cello, yet giving it up at a relatively early age. But the lasting thing I gained through it, the remaining contribution to my life, is deep and abiding appreciation for classical music.

In those earliest years, while yet an elementary student I (often grudgingly) attended the symphony with my music teacher, also my stepmother. It was a challenge to my young interests and patience to dress in my best and sit for hours listening to, watching the sometimes-dramatic highs and lows but also the sleep-inducing gentleness.
Leonard_Rose_1961

What made the life-changing difference for me was attending a performance of renowned cellist Leonard Rose playing his 350 year-old Amati instrument. The extraordinary beauty of his world-class talent was captivating to me.

Still, I let it go in myself, moving on to other typical teenage distractions.

– – –

But the lesson had taken and the love and appreciation was to last.

In these recent years, my wife and I attended a Symphony performance in Denver, which I had carefully chosen for the solo performance; since that time nearly forty years ago, a featured cello, violin, or piano is a virtual requirement for me.

As we sat listening that evening (I cannot even recall what piece or whose piece it was that night, and I cannot recall the soloist) we both experienced one of the most emotionally significant moments of our lives.

While the orchestra played, my wife reached out for my hand and placed it upon her abdomen. As the music grew to a crescendo, I felt a gentle kick in her side. I was overwhelmed by this moment and as I turned to look at her tears came to our eyes. It was a powerful moment.

It was in that time that I understood the true contribution that this art had made to my life, and it was far beyond my own practice of it. I am thankful for the gift that was given to me. My life and the lives of those closest to me are better for it.

– – –

Special thanks to Mike Lunsford for the inspiration of his article If handwriting is a window to my soul, I’m glad this is typewritten…, published in the Terre Haute Tribune Star, March 4th, 2013.

To read more of Mike’s work, visit his website: www.mikelunsford.com

To read more about Indiana’s Common Core standards for language arts and literacy, click here.

To read about Theresa Ortega’s work in hand-writing analysis and her concern over Common Core’s de-emphasis of handwriting, please visit her website: http://www.handwritingsensei.com/
 

To read about Indiana University’s Dr. Karin James and her work in support of the teaching of handwriting to benefit the development of children’s brains, visit her webpage: http://psych.indiana.edu/faculty/khjames.php

– – –

Alphabet image credit: Knick of Time

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