Tuesday, January 03, 2006


I’m not good with the New Year resolution thing. So I’ll refrain from the temptation of committing to more frequent posts in 2006. However, I hope my winter in relationship to writing will soon end.

Life is good! Jeff looked at the sticker the other day and marveled at how a simple message of optimism could provide such a lucrative brand for an apparel company. “Hey, dad, that Jake guy with the big grin is so…basic.” I had to agree. Maybe it’s time for Jeff and me to revisit his fifth grade drawings of Fred. Is it possible that Fred could launch the next trend in [fill in the blank]?

Looking in the rear-view mirror too long can be dangerous, but I have to admit that a certain “real simple” component of the recent past has made life pretty good for the immediate future.

I finally ditched Microsoft Internet Explorer as my browser of choice.
After it took a half day of my vacation time to correct the infectious problems on one of our computers, I made a fairly rapid decision (blink) to convert to Mozilla Firefox—an open-source browser with basic scripting features, making it a smaller target and not as convenient for a hack attack. I hope less is more.

Working with a team of folks from our church to develop a new web site was on my 2005 punch list.
We reviewed considerable design in our initial stage of planning and discovered a lot of really bad church sites online. Few of us wanted to access the template-style approach of a design service; and limiting the features of the site was proving to be our initial challenge. Once a more relaxed and relevant approach to the design surfaced, we were on our way with a practical solution. The site for Nortonville Chapel rolled out shortly after Thanksgiving.

The unnecessarily complex scope and sequence of our aging fifth grade science curriculum nearly thrust me into retirement in September.
I think some curriculum development teams suffer from an attention deficit disorder and are unable to design a cohesive and practical framework to get the job done. Their focus is NOT reality. In regard to the existing curriculum, if I was going to survive, then more needed to become less. After all, after 19 years of teaching I know that it’s not my awesome science lessons that kids will recall a decade from now. Meaningful reality is defined by events and relationships.

I’ve always enjoyed participating in and directing choirs.
A friend from earlier musical years recently reminded me that my 70-voice choir was always a bit of a nemesis when it came to choral competition. It was a fond memory. So when the opportunity came to direct another choir this year, I was hoping that “getting back on the bike” would be a basic kind of thing. So far, the ride has been very enjoyable and keeping an uncomplicated approach has attracted a wonderful group of singers.

Bottom line--I hope this new year will comfortably mirror the world according to Bert and John Jacobs. Their Life Is Good dream is summed up in the tenet: do what you like, like what you do. It challenges me to discover renewed meaning and significance through the events and relationships of 2006. I can only imagine that a contagious passion for life will result. You can’t get any more uncomplicated than that!


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