Monday, October 31, 2011

Reformation (Thank You, Martin Luther)

Please don’t read my next sentence as any type of proselytizing (that would be out of character for a Lutheran anyway). But …

I love Lutheranism.
Love it. Particularly the ELCA variety.
The Luther LoveFest (my term) that we observed in worship this morning reminded me how much I do.

In honor of Martin Luther’s most recognized and lasting legacy, we Lutherans pulled out all the stops (literally, I believe, for the organ) to observe Reformation Sunday. Our music director even specially arranged an incredibly creative third verse of “A Mighty Fortress” for the congregation, adult choir and Waldorf College brass ensemble. I have always found that verse, which speaks to Luther’s notion of the earth filled with “devils,” fascinating. Today it was even more so. The director’s version had demonic choral sounds, bold brass fanfares, dramatic organ glissandos, and an abrupt finish – as if “one little word” had “felled” it.

Then we launched into the final verse: Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still; His kingdom is forever.

During this iconic hymn, I filled with so much emotion, so much gratitude for Luther’s kick butt, tenacious faith, that I found no extra room in my throat for music to come out. I simply couldn’t sing any more. I could only take in the fullness of the moment and hold on to one thought: I am at home.

I am a Martin Luther sort of follower – at least the historical Luther that has been championed by scholars and theologians for centuries. The Luther who identified corruption, spoke truth to power, wrote volumes of spiritual musings, and aspired to live serving others.

So why not pull out the stops? It is Reformation Sunday, a bit rowdy and rebellious with large doses of passion and pride.

But, of course, I am prejudiced. I am a baptized Lutheran, who – after two separate sojourns into other denominations – returned to the reformer’s road each time. Once via a liberal arts education at Lutheran college, and once via a move that found my husband and I choosing a Lutheran church as our comfortable, spiritual home.

While a young woman at Wartburg College, I, perhaps like many in the mid-16th century, began to read scripture with a mind more connected to who I was than to who those reading it from the pulpit wanted me to be. Through scripture, I met a personal and relevant God who wasn’t nearly as complex and rule-oriented as authoritarian theologians proposed God to be.

My mind transformed – renewed – without the benefit of a personal 95 Theses moment. Not even an outburst of spiritual rebellion. My personal change – my reformation if you will – occurred more subtly. In fact, it continues to occur; I hope it never stops.

As far as Martin Luther’s Reformation, I recognize that my Lutheran tainting may leave me incapable of objectivity concerning how he changed the world. I may also be too enamored by change itself to be objective.

The way I see it: The world changed in an instant because of what happened on October 31, 1517, and yet it took years for that change to be realized. After Luther nailed his "Disputation of Martin Luther on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences" to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenburg, temple curtains did not tear and graves did not open with the dead suddenly raised to life. But a barrier of authority had been broken and minds began to open. People had greater opportunities to encounter God personally. To think. To use their minds to challenge prevailing beliefs about God. To pray and meditate on scripture they had read themselves in a familiar language.

Luther helped get the church out of God’s way. It’s a feat I continue to regard as worthy; it’s a goal to which I often aspire. Reformation.

Today we celebrated with red stoles on the usually stole-less pastors and assistants, red flags hanging from the interior buttresses, red orbs on the communion servers and, yes, red wine. All of them witnessed to the presence of the Holy Spirit and what can happen when people get out of God's way and faith gets real.

I am seeing red today, but only the best shade of this powerful hue. For at the end of the day – any day – no matter what has happened or is happening or may happen, none of it matters. God’s truth abides. God’s kingdom is forever.

Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.
- Martin Luther’s response to the Diet of Worms on April 19, 1521, after having been asked to recant his writings on the previous day.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lessons Learned About School

This column first appeared in the Fall 2011 Newsletter of the Spina Bifida Association of Iowa.

Just as a child’s physical needs change from year to year, so does his or her academic needs. The school year brings ongoing opportunities for parents to learn how to academically support their children. Stross is now 20 years old and taking one to two classes a semester at a local college. After two decades of learning – his and mine – I continue to value this advice:

1 – Address physical needs separate from academic ones. Sometimes teachers and parents – out of eagerness to accommodate a learning obstacle – fail to fully break down an academic issue into physical and academic components. In first grade, Stross began arriving late to his classroom after lunch. The teacher, believing his trek to the cafeteria using his walker was too taxing, allowed him more time. Stross continued to be late. My diagnosis: He was enjoying his time at lunch more than the lessons that followed it. Once we addressed the academic issues and provided a learning incentive, he made it back on time, walking – and learning – on pace with his peers.

2 – Break through teacher barriers. Teachers may have preconceived ideas about what it will be like to have your child in his or her classroom. They may also have used methods and accommodations with other students that they assume will work equally well with your child. Each child has a unique learning profile. That remains true for children with special needs. For our family, that once meant constant, polite reminders that our son with spina bifida (and an assortment of learning disabilities) was different than the boy with cerebral palsy (and his own set of learning issues) that she taught the previous year. Communication is a must. Talk regularly with teachers about your child’s interests, and share stories about ways that he or she learns best at home.

3 – Keep using methods that work. Proven learning methods or tools keep working, but you may need to help teachers adapt ones that you know work well. For instance, Stross played a stellar game of Barney Concentration as a preschooler. I helped his middle school science teacher (and his paraprofessional) see how helpful that skill was when learning the names of elements on the periodical table. One weekend of Chemical Elements Concentration helped him earn a perfect score on his test that Monday.

4 – Support social aspects of learning. Children with special needs must reintroduce themselves to their classmates year after year. Because their uncommon life circumstances fall outside “the norm,” they need to help friends understand how the changes that they are experiencing differ. You may need to encourage your child to have conversations with their friends about uncomfortable topics and even practice conversations about things such as why they need to use a bathroom on a regular schedule.

5 – Enjoy each year. Your child – and you – build on accomplishments from one year to the next. Your child’s ability to be successful in the future is tied to the successes he or she experiences now. Enjoy what you are learning, individually, and together. The future is yours to create.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I have lived with an illusion for most of my life – one I may need to let go.

The illusion is that if I can explain something well enough, I can help others understand that something – and not just understand it but empathize with those most affected.

Faith in my communicative power and capacity to unleash empathy has been great – greater than it is today. And I am not certain of what has made it less now or even how the lessening happened. I am also not sure whether it is a temporary or permanent condition.

As I said, I may need to let go of an illusion or simply ride out a bout of disillusionment.

Perhaps chronic egotism is to blame: I believe I have the power to impact change. That belief alone is not egotistic, for every life impacts change, and such change occurs both actively and passively. It just does. But I may also harbor arrogance about my capacity to influence change.

May? Delete that word. I do.

I arrogantly believe I can influence change for the better, and I believe I can use the power of language – descriptive words and storytelling – to help someone transcend apathy, misinformation, disbelief and denial. I believe in the power of communication. I believe communication aids understanding, and that understanding births empathy. Empathy moves people to action. Maybe.

I am not too hard on myself for holding these beliefs. For I have made a career of persuasive writing. It’s what respected public relations practitioners do with intention and integrity. I hope I am respected by those with whom I have worked. I hope so.

I know that I could not write about a company, an organization or a cause that I didn’t believe in. I could not. Integrity requires me to align my soul with my role. More likely something greater than integrity should be credited, yet I lack the word for what that might be. (So much for my language skills.)

Imagine my thrill when I have made a positive impact – when I have helped increase attendance or donations or supporters for something I believe in. Or greater still: understanding.

But it doesn’t always work. And sadly, it often doesn’t work when something important is at stake. Like helping someone of power or influence understand how his or her thoughts shape decisions and actions that affect the lives of those more vulnerable. Like persons with disabilities. Especially children and adults with both intellectual and physical disabilities.

When financial decisions are at stake, when laws that regulate care are at stake, when attitudes about what might be possible are at stake, who has the power to communicate? What – exactly – is at stake? Quality of life – both for those living with disabilities and for those fortunate not to be.

When I attempt to communicate on this topic, language often fails me. Rather I fail at using the only language I know. And the process of even trying feels muddled. The weight of the potential impact is crushing.

And then passion congeals with frustration.
Anger mingles with aggravation.
Good intentions ramble past impact.

Finally, failure fuels futility.

It is never about fairness.
Yet, somehow, what is at stake should my words fail isn’t fair.

I want to tell you what it is like raising a child – now technically a man – whose life will forever be shaped by what he can and cannot do because of his birth condition. And what I can and cannot do for the same reason.

I want to communicate to you my lack of regret over his life and my great regret about circumstances that others cannot understand. I would hope you could understand without bearing the stigmas and prejudices and injustices that come because of those circumstances. But I am not sure that is possible.

I want you to care about things you do not know.

But I carry no illusion that is possible. Not anymore. Still, I don’t want to be so disillusioned that I quit trying.

Sometime soon I will tell you about spending the night with my 20-year-old son during his sleep study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. How I laid awake for an hour listening to him breathe and listening to the gaps of time when he wasn’t breathing. And how I wondered if the doll he still sleeps beside will outlive me and continue to remain close to him. And how I imagined bestowing that doll with mystical power so it can watch over him and keep him safe. Especially when his father and I cannot be around.

Sometime I will attempt to share that.

Or maybe I just did.

I carry no illusions that what I want you to know and feel is possible for you to attain. But I want to try. And if words fail me, perhaps moving pictures will do.

I don’t know. I can only try. Because I certainly am not good at letting go.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vaulted into the Future via a 2012 Volt

Disclosure: I was provided a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop for test driving the Volt, the same incentive provided all others who test drove this same Volt during the month of October.

I test drove a 2012 Volt on Wednesday, and I swear the car made me smarter somehow. Thank you, Lichtsinn Motors, for a driving experience I hope to enjoy as an owner one day.

Keeping the Volt’s spinning green-leaf circle centered on its efficiency target became my new way to drive. Part overachiever and part video game competitor, I wanted to drive better, and that happy spinning green ball let me know when I was in the efficiency zone. For most of my time in the Volt, I was. Whether accelerating or decelerating, I felt in sync with the car and proud, even, of the efficient way we glided to our destination together.

Smooth, quiet, comfortable and, yes, capable of impressive speed and power on the freeway, the Volt gave me a glimpse of my future. At least that’s what I said to my husband, Mark. My actual words were: “This is our future. Now, how do we afford it?”

If I had any doubt about the Volt’s futuristic role, the newest driver in our family, our 16-year-old son, Skye, blew it away. He slid into the driver’s seat with a huge smile and a “ha-ha” type of masculine giggle. Taking the steering wheel into his hands, he looked at me with pure delight and declared: “This is the future.”

So it is.

And I like this version of the future. Very much so.

From the Jetson-like sounds of the “power on” function to the near whisper of the motor, I took in the multi-sensory experience of the Volt as much as possible. I drove it on quick errands around town and then rode as a passenger on a date with my husband. City driving, highway driving – regardless of circumstance – the Volt felt more like a companion on a mission than a mode of transportation. We had places to go and a way to get there more efficiently than we ever had before. Our family's biggest hold up: Our oldest son, Stross, uses a wheelchair, and this hybrid vehicle simply isn't large enough for us.

What – specifically – I liked:

Green Leaf Circle – I have already gushed about that. Need I say more? Be assured it wasn’t a distraction. Its location by the speedometer made it as easy to keep track of as my speed.
Power Flow and Efficiency Screens – I absolutely loved keeping track of whether I was using battery power or engine power or if the regen battery power was at work. And between stops, I regularly checked to see my efficiency ratings and mpg, amazed at how little fuel I was consuming. I would love finding out if the novelty of this ever wears off. I hope not.
Speed – Both Mark and I were pleasantly surprised at the Volt’s speed and power. And we both had to remind ourselves to keep checking our speed. Because the Volt runs so quietly, it’s easy to accelerate past the speed limit without hearing that you have asked the engine to go faster. Gliding. That’s what I kept thinking. I am gliding more than driving. As I said earlier, I felt at one with the car.
Braking – Not sure what I expected about the feel of the braking system, but I liked it. Gentle to the touch when decelerating with just the right amount of tension when I needed a fast response; and, when I needed my brakes to avoid a driver who was turning through an intersection on a red light, I got them. Confidently so.
Seating (front) – Mark and I both enjoyed the comfortable bucket seating and legroom of the passenger and driver front seats. I would describe it as a nice mix of sports car and sedan styling.
XM Satellite Radio – I am a news junkie, so having CNN inside the car was a treat. Same for the MLB Network. We were able to catch the last innings of the first game of the World Series on our way home last night. (Congratulations, Cardinals!) Our sons had their own favorite channels, of course. (And, no, they were not on our date.)
Keyless entry – I really enjoyed being able to walk away from the car and then approach it again - locking and unlocking with the mere push of a button. As long as the key fob was as near as my purse or pocket, I was good to go. Who wants to dig keys from the bottom of their purse on a cold day, anyway? Wonderful feature!
iPad/iPod Compatibility – I was treated to one of my husband’s playlists from his iPad for our date. Nothing helps make a car feel like it belongs to you more quickly than having it play music of your choosing. What a treat.
Bluetooth – I ran out of time to check out the Bluetooth function but already believe I would like it.

What – specifically – I hope gets improved in 2013:

Touch Screen Console – I would love to see this become more like an iPad with screens that scrolled with a touch. The buttons on the Driver Information Console already feel outdated despite their clean and aesthetically pleasing design. I got an iPad a few months ago and found myself wanting to scroll to the desired screen rather than remember the exact touch area or button. Touch scrolling would greatly improve the driving experience while reducing potential distractions.
Headlamps on Dim – The dim setting for the headlamps has a distinct and low sightline horizon. At night I kept feeling like I needed to duck my head lower to see farther. I also found myself looking forward to opportunities to return the lamps to bright.
Seating (back) – More room is needed for back seat passengers somehow. Mark, at 6’ 2”, had a claustrophobic moment. His head had to be positioned inside the rear window bay, and his legs soon felt cramped. He tolerated a drive around the block, but after few minutes in park, he was very ready to get out, and – unfortunately for him – I had yet to learn how to override the child safety locks. Rather than searching the console, I got out of the parked car and ran to free him. I can’t imagine him willingly sitting there again anytime soon. My 5’ 11” teen tolerated the back a bit better, but only because he wasn’t claustrophobic, merely cramped.
GPS – The system was easy to use but when I headed out on well-traveled back roads, it didn’t know where I was. This issue is common with GPS, yet I dream of a day when updates occur automatically. Wouldn’t that be great?

Chevy Runs Deep
Chevy runs deep in our family. The car my dad learned to drive first was a beautiful black and white ’55 Chevy that his parents bought new. It was the car he and my mother used to bring me home from the hospital. My husband learned to drive in a ’78 El Camino his father purchased with only a few hundred miles on it. We drove away in that vehicle on our wedding night and now our 16-year-old drives it to school. A 2007 Uplander, now approaching 100,000 miles, is the workhorse for our family. It’s the vehicle best capable of carrying the four of us, our oldest son’s wheelchair and any cargo we might have. If hybrid technology came van-sized, we would aspire to own that vehicle.

A note about the Volt’s accessibility: The carriage height and front door openings on the Volt are wonderful for manual wheelchair transfers. Unfortunately, the only way for the wheelchair to be transported in the vehicle is with both back seats down, and the wheelchair folded in half. Even then, the lift height necessary to put it inside the rear hatch was a bit of a stretch for me – easier for my taller husband. Oddly, the Volt was comparable to our El Camino as a two-seater mode of transportation for Stross as a passenger. And while we – on rare and only in-town occasions – tether his chair in the open bed of the El Camino, the Volt made it possible for the wheelchair to ride enclosed. When we don’t need to take the whole family somewhere, the Volt would make a wonderful second car for our family. If you'd like Stross' positive take on it, just watch the video below. (I find his comment after his ride rather charming - and hopeful.)

During my test drive, I felt vaulted into the future somehow and found myself wishing the automotive industry’s transition to hybrid technology comes as surely as the broadcast industry’s transition to high definition. We are smarter now, capable of driving more efficiently than ever before. I eagerly wait for the day all our family’s vehicles are primarily battery powered. (Well, we will likely still have that ’78 El Camino, as some things are simply too deep to give up.) Until then, let’s start vaulting into the future, allowing cars like the Volt to get us there.

The 2012 Chevy Volt – It’s just a smarter way to drive.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

9/11 - Never Forget

The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is now one month and four days past. Prior to the many local, state and national observations – and especially on Sunday, Sept. 11 – numerous people repeated the refrain “Never Forget.”

It seems fair to question: Have we forgotten?

The answer depends on how well we identified what we wanted to remember, doesn’t it, and I don’t think we attained consensus that. I only remember consensus on the desire to “never forget.”

Is that the only thing we are to never forget?

During 9/11 celebrations last month, some people petitioned audiences to not forget that our country has enemies. They mentioned who they believed those enemies were and warned that those enemies wanted to destroy our country. It wasn’t always clear if all Americans agreed on the content of the enemy list.

Others implored us to not forget what it means to be an American. Yet with possible definitions as diverse as the nation that 312,423,954* citizens claim as their homeland, I don’t think we have consensus on that topic either.

Still others pleaded to not forget the sacrifices made by our service men and women. On that, all agreed. We have consensus for gratitude.

So, again, what are we to never forget?

Something I have not forgotten is how my youngest son, Skye, then six-years-old, brought me a drawing less than one month after the four separate planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a field in rural Pennsylvania. He had gotten a fresh piece of computer paper from my printer and drawn what I could only guess was his tribute to America. His drawing depicted the four presidents of Mt. Rushmore and what he imagined they were thinking as they sat atop the mountainside.

Washington was thinking of ancient Indian drawings, Jefferson was thinking of the Statue of Liberty, Roosevelt was reflecting on the Badlands, and Lincoln was thinking about “when the bad men crashed the plane into the New York skyscrapers.” With Skye’s permission, I added his descriptions as he told me about his artwork (which has Roosevelt and Lincoln in each other’s position on the monument). I was so proud of my little patriot. I still am.

Skye, now 16, didn’t remember he had made this drawing until I found it and showed it to him tonight. He had forgotten. We didn’t talk much while looking at it. He was too focused on his evening plans. Life has moved on for my American teen in a semi-predictable and traditional way. But sometime I would like to know what his picture of America looks like now. What stories of our country’s history are most prominent in his mind? And what factors have most shaped his concept of what it means to be an American? What does it mean to him that more than 10 years ago some Islamic militants executed a coordinated plot to inflict terror within the United States of America, taking nearly 3,000 lives?

If he cannot remember the drawing he created in October of 2001, I am confident he cannot remember the pre-9/11 America of his birth. And that’s probably as it should be. Life has no reverse. Even those of us who remember that version of America can do nothing to return society to those innocent and na├»ve days.

Other countries had known such terror before us. Had we forgotten? Is that what we now should never forget?

My most enduring memory of September 11, 2001, is how the world came together to grieve all we had lost – nearly 3,000 lives, iconic structures and a way of life. Not only had we lost that version of America, but they had lost it too. That shared grief and a solidarity against terror are what I will never forget and what I regard as 9/11’s most enduring legacy.

I hope we are able to experience that type of unity again, but not because an act of terror or war brings it about. I hope we remember that unity can come through acts of peace as well.

What will the America of 2021 be like? What will those presidents atop Mt. Rushmore be contemplating in the minds of any young grandchildren I might have by then?

I can only wonder what they will attempt to never forget, and what Skye will continue to remember. Thanks to him I will always remember this drawing and how it gave me a perspective that spanned beyond the conflict of the moment. He connected me to America’s proud past and a future still full of possibility. I'm already proud of his generation, and I will never forget that.

• According to the U.S. population clock at 10 p.m. on October 15, 2011.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Crumbs Under My Table

All were invited to come to communion near the conclusion of our church's worship today. Rather than kneeling, we formed a line to be served continuously with worshipers making their way forward to servers - one tearing off and handing out pieces of bread and another handing out small cups of wine or juice.

Always a gentleman, Mark stepped from the pew and into the aisle wide enough for me to assume a position in the line that was directly in front of him.

I was served my portion of bread with the words "The body of Christ, given for you," but missed receiving it fully into my hands. Instead, my bite-sized bread of life wafted through my index and middle fingers. Looking at it on the carpeted floor, I contemplated bending down to pick it up, or simply asking for a new piece. I mean, the body of Christ was freely given. Why not get a fresh portion?

"Sorry. May I have another?"

I cannot remember who picked up my fallen piece - me or someone else. I can only remember the activity of it being retrieved, the movement of the woman serving bread as she pulled off a new portion, and the smiling face of the wine server now patiently waiting.

As I took my cup - "The blood of Christ shed for you" - I heard Mark behind me.

"That's ok. I'll just take this one."

I turned just enough to see him bypass the fresh piece of bread being offered to him in exchange for my discarded portion, now lying on the palm of the server's hand in a position as far as possible from the main part of the loaf.

"If I don't take it, it will just be in your way as you serve others," he said.

Nothing like a concrete reminder of what humility looks like while coming to commune.

The metaphors present in Mark's sensible supplication are numerous. I find no need to enumerate them here. I simply wish to share what I encountered when I came to the table today and was reminded, once again, of my humanity - and of my husband's.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thank you, Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs died today. I learned of his death from a friend’s Facebook status as it appeared on the screen of my MacBook Pro. Stunned, I scrolled through status after status, each broadcasting Steve Jobs’ name along with sentiments of gratitude for his life.

Then I reached for my iPad 2, and my CNN app pop-up told me that Steve Jobs had died and asked me if I wanted to learn more. I did, for my future – a future without innovative products that have been born in the mind of Steve Jobs – had arrived. Just to be certain, I typed into my browser. When the homepage loaded, I cried.

I cried. About Steve Jobs’ death. But why?

Steve Jobs and Apple, Inc., have been synonymous for me. I trust the products I rely on for work and personal enjoyment because I trust – make that trusted – Steve Jobs. Maybe I trusted Steve Jobs because I had discovered that I could trust the products he envisioned and then brought to life.

In the 90s, when savvy business minds were predicting that the company Jobs’ had co-founded would crumble because he was no longer at the helm, I somehow believed that simply could not happen. I believed he had created a product that – even though it enjoyed a small market share at the time – was the creative lifeblood of industries that millions relied on for entertainment and design pleasure.

Therefore, Apple couldn’t die. The movie industry, the design industry, the advertising industry, even school teachers loved what could happen because of what Apple made possible.

But Jobs, a human and not a company, could die. I knew he had been fighting pancreatic cancer for years and had mentally prepared for his death long ago, soothing myself with thoughts that Apple, Inc., was greater than one person’s life. Even Steve Jobs' life. I had reassured myself that the company (and it is just a company) would survive long after his passing. But I had not calculated how much gratitude I would feel for Steve Jobs – gratitude for all the ways the fruit of his labors have enriched my life.

I have a lot to be grateful for.

- For the 1985 Macintosh computer that arrived in the journalism lab just in time for my senior year of college. I got to step into desktop publishing from a typesetting foundation that matched Jobs’ love of typography.
- For the Apple IIE and the resumes and cover letters I created on it. They led to a job I loved so much it became a career.
- For the Apple PowerMac that powered my fledging freelance career and for the fleet of them that my husband, Mark, turned into a fully integrated multimedia lab for a small college with big dreams.
- For the Apple magic that allowed Mark to build a digital radio station and a digital television station while supporting print, web and photography applications. He had the privilege of living what he loved. Steve Jobs did too.
- For Pixar. "Toy Story" is the first movie my youngest son can remember. It remains his favorite. The Pixar legacy is the cinematic record of his childhood. If I ever doubted that, "Toy Story 3" clearly cemented the fact when I began bawling as Andy left for college.
- For the iPod incentive that coaxed my youngest to sell more magazines than others in his class so he could own one of the first iPods in town. He learned what it felt like to set a goal then enjoy the reward of achieving it. And he taught the rest of us to want an iPod of our own.
- For the MacBookPro that made it possible for me to get an online masters degree.
- For the iPad my son bought with his confirmation money.
- For the iPad 2 (bought with my birthday money) that taught me to hope again because its intuitive interface let me know that I still have a capacity to learn and even apply what I learn within a few clicks.
- For things like iPhoto and iMovie and Flip cameras that allow me to capture the very best moments of our family’s lives and then turn them into gifts for other members of our family.
- Finally, for the iPod Touch and PowerBook that have made it possible for my oldest son, born with intellectual and physical disabilities, to point and click his way into connections with a world that exists outside his limitations. When he learned of your death tonight, he took out his iPod and read about your family. He wanted to know if you were married and had children. He wanted to know who was most sad tonight because you had died.

He gets it.

Steve Jobs. My life is richer because you lived your passion and dared to bring what you were able to envision to life. You anticipated ways to improve people’s lives, and then introduced those ways to us before we even knew we needed them.

I think that is why I cried. While you were alive, I felt reassured that I wouldn’t miss out on incredible ways to encounter my future. Now I won’t know what I am missing because you are no longer here.

Thank you, Steve Jobs. Well done. May you rest in peace.

Added: Oct. 6, 2011 - 3:25 (CT)

I just have to add Mark's tribute to Steve Jobs. What a wonderful image. Since this multimedia lab was first built in 1994-95, countless college students have engaged in an enhanced educational experience because of what Steve Jobs helped Apple do for education. They carried that home with them and then, literally, across the world. What a privilege to have been part of it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Stories of life.
You have yours.
I have mine.

Stories for sharing.
You share yours.
I’ll share mine.

Who will listen?
Me to yours?

Of course!
Please go on.

will you listen?
If you do
will you hear?

This story is fully yours.
I offer it to you.
It is mine, only mine to share.

My story.
My testimony.
My life.

What in God's name do you hear?
In case you missed it: Nice.