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Archive for October, 2013

The trend generally seems to be downward.

healthcare_gov-crash-1

Numerous states are reporting numbers only in the very few hundreds at best, those who have actually successfully signed up for a healthcare program, as Week Two passes the hump.

What’s the problem? Well, there are several.

Perhaps the most notable – because it is customer-facing (and nothing happens, of course without leaping the first hurdle) – is the malfunctioning website.

Is it fair to draw the parallel with The Obama Administration’s handling of Benghazi?

FTN_Rice_120916_1_620x350

With Libya, the White House initially assigned blame for the incident on a video. With the launch of healthcare.gov, it was server overloading. With Libya, it’s been a year and a month. Of course we’re all wondering how long it will be with the website.

They say it’s due to overloading the website, but the admission of technical glitches is oozing out from its own sheer weight and slithery, mucky consistency.

The best computer geeks in the world are in private industry, or it’s not just a matter of the firm that won the contract because they were the lowest bidder. You do get what you pay for, after all . . .

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Q: Are you, or are you not signing up? Why or why not?

Q: Is the cost what you expected? Is it acceptable?

Q: Why is it not possible to have the requirement for an individual waived for a year or so, as is the case for unions and businesses?

Q: For those who decide to go without, they will be assessed the “tax” (aka “penalty”, aka “fine”). Where does that money go?

healthcare2

About that “fine” or “penalty” or “tax”, or whatever it really is, we’ll begin with this assumption: That the purpose of the ACA is to provide affordable healthcare to everyone, or to require that everyone obtain affordable healthcare coverage.

Remember, the only way the legislation was able to pass muster with the US Supreme Court and become law was that it was determined to be a tax. Problem is, the President’s people are still not calling it that. Just write it off as semantics. By the way – speaking of writing off: Is this “tax” going to be deductible?

Now the proposition: If the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is able to be tied into the whole deal, legally speaking, and assessments can successfully be made of individuals or households filing tax returns, then why can’t the IRS in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services (the ACA administrator) assess that “tax” (or whatever it really is), then automatically apply it to that same individual or household as a health insurance account or health savings account against the account’s social security number, name and address? Again the question to check the logic of the program: After all, where does that money go, anyway?

lots of visitors

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Show Me the Money or Where Did My Money Go?

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If the purpose, ultimately, is to compel people to purchase insurance, then the vehicle created by the new statute and the newly assigned function bestowed upon the IRS to enforce it, together make it possible.

As it is, or as it seems to be, because it either has not been discussed or has not been asked, the money is assessed and the individual or household remains without the coverage they are supposed to be compelled to have.

If the government is going to go as far as to compel citizens to buy a product, either by directly receiving the said product or by paying for it without receiving it, then why not just go the further step and ensure the system provides it to them regardless?

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What am I missing here?

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By the way, this is an example of the inefficiency and misplaced repurposing of government as opposed the proper activity of the free market. Any appropriate industry – in this case, healthcare providers and healthcare insurance – would not tolerate nor be able to survive, nor accept the threat to their competitive advantage with such ineffectiveness and inefficiencies; they would make the system as complete and integrated and customer-friendly as they possibly could, as quickly as they could. In fact, that is what they strive for everyday. Every private, for-profit operation does. And if they do not or cannot, they do not survive; they rise to the challenge and the competition or they fall by the wayside. In short, the free market would not neither produce nor tolerate such a poor product or such a poor product launch.

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Q: What do you think ought to be done with the “fine” (or “fee” or “penalty” or “tax”, or whatever it really is)?

Q: Why shouldn’t it ultimately just be turned around to open a healthcare insurance account on behalf of the [tax return] filer anyway?

Q: Are you willing to go without healthcare insurance? Are you forced to?

Q: Can you afford the “penalty”?

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Colts’ Greg Toler

Greg Toler makes AAH’s Top 5 list for October. Why? Because he inspires us.

Toler-Matt Kryger-The Star

When you begin to worry about your kid’s future, or that you don’t have the resources to give your kids all that you wish you could, or just when you think all’s gone to hell in a hand basket with kids, generally; with families, with fathers, fatherhood, or the lack of it – there is a story of overcoming and going on, and achieving that may remind you that any one moment we may only see things dimly; that it may only be a brief snapshot from the full album of life.

When we become parents, we’re responsible for a lot; more than we can calculate, and much more then we can really grasp. Perhaps just enough to convince us we ought to panic. Or to get on our knees.

At some point in a child’s development, sometimes even in the most dire circumstances, we hope he or she gains an awareness, and it is a growing, deepening awareness of themselves, of the world around them, and somehow, part of the miracle of life is that they become independent, and begin to make their own decisions; they choose a path for their lives. Not all, of course, but even just one, then it is good.

Greg+Toler+Cleveland+Browns+v+Indianapolis+I0VwMZRtjsal

Miracle.

Greg Toler seems to have come from somewhere out in that wilderness, and as the statistics bear out, it’s what too many children experience – especially black children, disproportionately so: life without a father.

But life with a good mother and a good aunt, too. And from within himself, a drive and desire, and talent practiced and driven and trained and disciplined into a man and athlete to be recognized and needed.

Not only is he changing the life of the Indianapolis Colts, but the lives of those he touches.

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Frankton-eighth-graders-visiting-D-C-despite-shutdown

Frankton eighth-graders visiting D.C. despite shutdown
The Herald Bulletin, Anderson

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Alumni Association prohibits twerking
The Daily News, Ball State University

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Indiana releases new voter registration forms
The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute

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International students struggle to find post-grad jobs in the U.S.
The DePauw, DePauw University

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Trine embarks on $75 million ‘Invest in Excellence’ campaign
Dekalb Star, Auburn
Inside Indiana Business

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Bicentennial Train The Kankakee Valley Post News– – –

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Indiana Bicentennial Train
The Kankakee Valley Post News, DeMotte

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Government shutdown risks veteran benefits
The Shelbyville News

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Who is Kevin Williams? Livesaver, baseball player and more
Kendallville News

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istep

 

Some students excel, while others struggle with ISTEP+
The Herald-Tribune, Batesville

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Photo courtesy of ISU Communications and Marketing

Churchill Revisited:
ISU professor’s biography will be transformed into TV series

The Statesman, Indiana State University

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Hospitals will accept MDwise network
The News-Dispatch, Michigan City

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Michigan Auto parts manufacturer moving operations to Howe, Indiana
Dekalb Star, Auburn
Associated Press / Indiana Business Journal

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Soraja Muhic-Columnist Purdue Exponent– – –

 

Opinion: Lawmakers’ indecision hurts Americans
Purdue Exponent

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Dog that crashed half-marathon gets medal
Boogie Butts the chocolate Labrador beat 1,128 racers
The Kokomo Tribune

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A Czech experiencing America
The Record, Goshen College

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South Bend ranking doesn’t surprise realtors
South Bend Tribune

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MARY MATTINGLY PHOTO

Career Center looking for funds to grow
The Versailles Republican

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Krauthammer featured at upcoming Sinai Forum
Herald-Argus, La Porte

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Indiana’s Open For Business
The Courier-Times, New Castle

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Ritz anticipates effort to reduce her authority
The Associated Press / Gary Post Tribune, Merrillville

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Safety commission created
The Brazil Times

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Ghost Brothers - King-Mellecamp-IU

‘Ghost Brothers’ premieres at IU
Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University

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Indiana utilities predict small jump in heating bills
Chesterton Tribune

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School_Teacher_Apple

Indiana schools sue over IRS health overhaul rules
Chesterton Tribune

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Columbus’ Purdue College of Technology has nearly 18 percent drop after closure of Greensburg satellite facility
The Republic, Columbus

Sabra Northam

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CHS Grad A Member Of Indiana Leadership Forum Class Of 2013
The Hoosier Topics, Cloverdale

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Hoosier girls face many challenges
The Tribune, Seymour

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Relocating business brings employment opportunities
The Post and Mail, Columbia City

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The Star Press files - Muncie

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Open Door waiting on ObamaCare status
The Star Press, Muncie

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Madison, Southwestern join suit against IRS
Schools join state in fight over employer mandate
The Madison Courier

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Festival of treasures opens in beautiful Parke County
The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute

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Connersville News Examiner - Pence

Pence opens Bicentennial Legacy Conservation Area
News-Examiner, Connersville

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Corydon Democrat - Horse Carriage

Horse enthusiasts start carriage company
Corydon Democrat, Corydon

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Casey Farrington-IDS

Commentary: Stop fetishizing guns
Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University

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Fall harvest

Harvest yields meet expectations
Journal Review, Crawfordsville

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Anti-bullying group makes stop in Elkhart
The Elkhart Truth

Truth Photo by Lydia Sheaks– – –

 

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Credit for all graphics and images:
Their respective owners, photographers and publishers at each site as linked.

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This is the first part in a four-part series by AAH Contributing Writer, Indy-based author, counselor and blogger, Dr. Phillip D. Sparks.

We welcome your comments, challenges, agreements, monkey wrenches, doubts, rants and questions.

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Old Verses Young Earth

By Dr. Phillip D. Sparks

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For evolution to be true the earth must be billions of years old.

Adam_and_Eve,_Sistine_Chapel - Wikipedia source

For example, dinosaurs are said to have existed 65 million years ago. Gradual change brought about by selective mutation tries to explain our current life forms. This philosophy known as uniformitarianism assumes that past rates of change have occurred at the same rate that we experience today.

Furthermore, science attempts to show that everything that we see now in our natural systems can be explained by natural chemical and physical laws. Since God is excluded from that world view.

The evolutionary belief is inconsistent with faith in a creative God.

Man does not exist very well outside of a spiritual realm, so we find several spiritual avenues coming forth proclaiming to bring a life of peace but evading the debate about the history of life forms.

They just believe that there is a spirit of some type that we can contact but falls short of giving it a name other than calling it divine.

For creation to explain the current life systems that we see there has to be an explanation of the current fossil record based upon a shorter time frame, probably less than 10,000 years. The mysterious event recorded in Biblical history is the world wide flood. I call it mysterious because we fail to stop and think about the impact such a flood would have on natural geologic and biological systems.

Bonaventura_Peeters_-_The_Great_Flood_-_WGA17128

Recently, geologists examining the sedimentation of earth strata are suggesting that the strata formed rapidly rather than over millions of years as originally thought.

Flood hydrology explains precisely how layering could have formed with simultaneous trapping of life forms within the layers. Layering would have formed based upon sedimentation rates rather than on geological time periods. So the flood explanation is consistent with Scripture and fits the scientific evidence of what we find in the earth.

Next time I will provide you with some more evidence for a young earth.

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Introduction to the series, The Evolution-Creation Debate.

To read the biographies of Dr. Sparks and our other contributing writers, and to find links to their posts at AAH, go here.

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For further reading on both sides of the question from bloggers, scholars, and so on. Be warned: It’s just the tip of the iceberg:

http://www.phy.syr.edu/courses/modules/ORIGINS/origins.html

http://www.creationresearch.org/

http://ncse.com/media/evc1

http://www.icr.org/

http://www.imagesandmeanings.com/2012/10/an-honest-look-at-flood-mythology.html#axzz2g6xYQ88C

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/evolution-creation-debate

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation%E2%80%93evolution_controversy

http://thevirtueorreason.blogspot.com/

http://www.conservapedia.com/Evolution

http://ncse.com/rncse/24/6/winning-creation-debate

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The world is full of fascinating, inspiring, and very decent people, and Indiana has our share, too.

Top5-Drobo

Here is our list for October.

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1. Malala

2. Deborah Simon

3. Grant Martin Shortridge

4. Chicks on the Right

5. Greg Toler

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1. Malala Yousafzai

The Nobel peace prize was awarded this week and it did not go to Malala.

GTY_malala_yousafzai

Instead, Malala Yousafzai is the recipient of the civilized world’s affection. Just last year the Pakistani Taliban tried to murder her because she was, and remains, a threat to them.

They stormed her school bus and shot her in the head in an attempt to silence her campaign for the education of girls.

Malala Yousafzai is sixteen now, and this week made her way to the Land of Liberty and Freedom to speak of what is now her life’s mission: To see that every girl on the planet can receive the education she deserves. And it is far beyond school for every girl that she works for. Make no mistake. It is Freedom – Liberty – she is striving for.

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Perhaps in protest against the war in Afghanistan, or more exactly, the US’ war in Afghanistan, many people here in the luxurious safety and comfort of their freedom to do and say anything, forget that while we went there to stop Al Qaida from attacking our country or anyone else again, we already knew of the terrible oppression of women and girls in that country.

We already knew of the corruption of the so-called religious or theocratic government that would crush any freedom of anything but compliance to their twisted version of Islam; not Islam at all, but Islamacism – Islamist fascism, and a pseudo-religious autocracy that even banned music, even banned self-defense against a husband’s brutal beatings as faithlessness. One that would publicly execute a woman in a soccer stadium for defending her physical body from abuse, and her spirit from total subjugation.

This hateful veil of deceipt, lying to its own religion, its own people, the world; and sometimes not lying, rather openingly condemning and destroying any vestiges of another way of thought, another way of life; anything that they would choose to disagree with.

And they are so fanatical in their hatred that they would reach far beyond their own lives and concerns, to take the life of a child.

Malala_Yousafzai_at_UNGA,_25_Sep_2013-crop

What threat?

Great threat. An existential threat.

It is called Freedom and Liberty.

And her name is Malala.

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We note at the beginning that Malala was not chosen to receive this year’s Nobel peace prize. Rather, instead it was given to the team that is working to dismantle and remove chemical weapons from Syria. Unquestionably an important and worthy endeavor. Our complaint is just this: Their work is not done; in fact it is hardly begun. There is no garantee they will be successful, either, although the world is hopeful; we are counting on them. But there is much to be done, and the timeline agreed upon to complete the task extends deep into 2014.

How is it that the Nobel committee now believes the beginnings of an effort; good intentions and well-laid plans are enough? Well, they too, are free to choose as they wish.

But it is not the first time they have awarded the peace prize to someone who has literally done nothing worthy of it.

It is not our intention to compare the quality of their work – yet to be successfully accomplished – to that of then-newly-elected Barak Obama, who was awarded the prize after only a few, scant months after taking the oath of office. We would not place them in the same category. By contrast, the weapons experts chosen to go into Syria and harm’s way were chosen for their well-established, documented expertise and experience. It seems to us the moment to award the peace prize for this action might be at its successful conclusion, to recognize their achievement.

As for Malala, she has given her security, her blood, effectively given her life, for the good of others. And she continues. She should be honored.

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Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Sakharov Prize for 2013. Interestingly, the complete title is the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, and named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. You may read more about the Sakharov Prize here.

You can find aditional reading about Malala here: CBS, BBC

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2. Deborah Simon

Those who have financial wealth have long been criticized by those who do not. But when it comes to giving – sharing – the wealthy get high marks.

deborah-j-simon-benefactor_original

Indianapolis’ own Deborah Simon is a case-in-point.

She recently committed a $100 million gift to the school that was “a lifesaver” for her; a place where she found refuge and direction “during a difficult time in her young life,” as she told the IndyStar.

Deborah Simon also heads the Simon Youth Foundation (SYF), which “exists to help youth – who are at risk of dropping out of high school – graduate, develop life skills, and pursue post-secondary education and career paths.”

Interestingly, and something we really like, is that SYF was actually founded by a small group of Simon Property Group employees.

Grassroots effort. Private enterprise. Private, personal resources set free to do good.

Very inspiring.

Simon-Youth-Foundation

You can read the IndyStar article here. To explore the Simon Youth Foundation, just click on their logo:

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3. Grant Martin Shortridge

We are always impressed when kids show up and doing something big.

Tribune-Star-Jim Avelis

This young Hoosier wants to make a difference in his hometown by becoming a politician at the ripe old age of 18. But with the signals he’s putting out, we think he could go even further.

The newspaper article quotes a Clinton, Indiana city official as saying to Grant, “we’ve got great plans for you.”

Somehow, we think it’s more likely Grant has great plans for them.

Go man, Go.

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4. Chicks on the Right

bwchicks

Indy’s dynamic, pull-no-punches Conservative duo have created something unique among . . . well, any crowd they are placed in: women, conservative radio talkshows, conservatives in general, midwestern moms, blondes, entrepreneurs, stand-offish, cautious, reserved Hoosiers.

Amy Jo Clark is known as Daisy, and Miriam Weaver as Mockarena. They write the Chicks on the Right blog (www.chicksontheright.com) and host a show on WIBC-FM (93.1), Indianapolis.

chicksontheright

We like their style, guts and content, so they’ve earned a place in AAH’s Top 5.

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5. Greg Toler

When you begin to worry about your kid’s future, or that you don’t have the resources to give your kids all that you wish you could, or just when you think all’s gone to hell in a hand basket with kids, generally; with families, with fathers, fatherhood, or the lack of it – there is a story of overcoming and going on, and achieving that may remind you that any one moment we may only see things dimly; that it may only be a brief snapshot from the full album of life.

Toler-Matt Kryger-The Star

When we become parents, we’re responsible for a lot; more than we can calculate, and much more then we can really grasp. Perhaps just enough to convince us we ought to panic. Or to get on our knees.

At some point in a child’s development, sometimes even in the most dire circumstances, we hope he or she gains an awareness, and it is a growing, deepening awareness of themselves, of the world around them, and somehow, part of the miracle of life is that they become independent, and begin to make their own decisions; they choose a path for their lives. Not all, of course, but even just one, then it is good.

Miracle.

Greg Toler seems to have come from somewhere out in that wilderness, and as the statistics bear out, it’s what too many children experience – especially black children, disproportionately so: life without a father.

But life with a good mother and a good aunt, too. And from within himself, a drive and desire, and talent practiced and driven and trained and disciplined into a man and athlete to be recognized and needed.

Not only is he changing the life of the Indianapolis Colts, but the lives of those he touches.

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If you know of someone who really makes a difference, leads the way, inspires us to be more, reach higher, try harder, stay longer, give more, serve, push, challenge, stand up, help, or love more, let us know, and we’ll let everyone know.

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Oops.

It appears the people running the government’s new healthcare website were furloughed yesterday.

. . . . . And somehow Jay Carney thinks signing up for government healthcare is comparable to the MLB play-offs . . . not quite.

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Jace Face

Close Enough

Jace and my wife attended a local high school football game this last weekend.

At the conclusion of a play, the announcer came over the PA system: “Jace LaMunyon, the ball carrier…”

At this our Little Man leaned over to Mom and said, “Hey Mom, that’s exactly what they’ll say when I play football, except they’ll say ‘Jace Conner.'”

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Jace and I took our first “guy trip” to the cabin in Canada a few years ago. I told him we might see bears.

Me: “So what if a bear comes after you?”

Jace: “I’ll stop, drop, and roll.”

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Mom, to Jace: “Do you know who you belong to?”

Jace: “My family and Gramma and Pop.”

Mom: “Yes, but think bigger.”

Jace: “…And God.”

Mom: “Yes, and did you know that God planned you and knew you even before we did?”

Brave Men - Ernie Pyle

Jace: “So, I’m a rental Jace!”

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In line at the airport, Jace was speaking with a couple of ladies. He said, “You know, the thing about chicken is… if it’s hot, don’t touch it.”

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As often as I can, I read to Jace at bedtime, even now that he is nearly finished with sixth grade. But the time for these treasured moments is all too quickly fading. In the fall, he gently told me he was too old for that, but I could tell him a story. So we do stories on many nights. As the school year has progressed however, I have occasionally slipped a book in once in a while, though quite different from the Hardy Boys books and Magic Treehouse series of those earlier years.

Now Ernie Pyle’s Brave Men, Louis Warren’s Lincoln’s Youth and Robert Frost’s poems are on his nightstand.

Lincoln's Youth

“I’m going to read one of our favorites. It’s on page 117. You help me finish it.”

Jace is lying on his side, with heavy eyes now and his blanket pulled up close under his chin. This poem we have read together and talked about afterward many times now. It has become “our” poem.

“Ok.”

I begin.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by…”
The Poems of Robert Frost

I pause for just a few seconds, then hear Jace’s sleepy voice.

“…And that has made all the difference.”

The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

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