ETC: Proofs and their positive effect


Math was like being in a country without a translator.


That’s an interesting word. It reminds me of math. I hated math – especially in high school. Math made me feel unsuccessful. No one likes feeling unsuccessful. Sitting in math class was like sitting in a foreign country without a translator.

The terms, the geometic proofs, the parallelograms, the theorems.

Proofs were my ultimate mathematic downfall - but they taught me a lesson

Does it still haunt me? Yes! At the end of the month when I hit the total button on my calculator – I always hope it’s right. Sometimes I’ll go back and check. Good for me that I married an accountant!

The only good part about math was that it helped if we brought Mr. Meade chocolate chip cookies. I’m not saying it improved my GPA, but it made him happy and when he was happy we could distract him more, talk about sports and THEN get around to the math.

My first of two high school cheating experiences was in his math class because I did not trust myself to memorize the theorems for a test. What I did learn was that it was better to have struggled and barely passed than to feel guilty knowing that I had chosen to weaken my integrity.

Maybe math wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

(I wrote this post using a technique author Ray Bradbury used many times called “word association.” You pick a random word – I opened the dictionary, closed my eyes and pointed to a word – then write about whatever comes to mind for 5 or 10 minutes. You should try it!)

Just wondering: Do you have a special “association” with certain words in your life? Tell me!


FUN: The Color of Life


If you love life’s myriad vibrant shades of color or are a puzzle aficionado you want to know Carrie McKnelly because she’s a master at combining the two. As a result,  New Yorkers will have the opportunity to see her work at bridgegallery on the city’s lower east side of Manhattan beginning August 26.

Carrie graduted from Jacksonville, Florida ’s public high school of the arts – Douglas Anderson – continued her

Carrie assembles another project - a bookshelf made of tubes and held together with a ratchet strap.

education at Pratt Institute in New York where she majored in architecture. The two play crucial roles in her background, and today she finds herself as the designer for 30’ long and 4’ wide exhibit on which she and others from SOFTlabs, Inc., are working.

Composed of 4,416 paper panels, this amazing project will fill a gallery with radiance – each with its own graduated color piece. Each 3”x5” panel is unique, the entire project will be held together with approximately 17,500 binder clips and the project will “cost” about 300 hours from concept to install. If you’re interested in sponsoring a panel, it will even contain your name and be mailed to you once the exhibit is dismantled.

In between her 12-hour workdays and prep for the exhibit Carrie took time to explain its genesis, her role and what she sees as the benefits of public art.

Meet Carrie and the exhibit.

Q: Tell us why projects of this nature are important.

A: They prove that crazy ideas are possible! These type of projects are also full of color which, I think, makes people happy. We tend to forget the feelings provoked by simplicity.

Q: What is YOUR part in the project?

A: I am managing the project. I helped create the form and am also responsible for generating the color. After the computer model was complete, I guess you can say I have been making sure everyone does their part correctly! There are a lot of steps. The color needs to be laid out in the computer, printed, laser cut, then assembled.

Q: How do you use any high school skills in your current work?

A: There is always a basic understanding of math involved, but the main thing that makes this happen is team work and a good attitude. If we [the team] are not able to work together, putting together a project of this size in such a short amount of time could not be done. You learn many of these skills in high school.

Q: Educate us about how the project was named.

A: The first part – CHROMAtex plays off of our last install, which was called  CHROMAestheiae. It dealt with colored surface. Our first thought was to call the current work CHROMAcortex but we thought it sounded “too brainy.” The cool thing about the word cortex is that it is actually a “surface that contains.” So, we stole the ” tex ” part and added .me at the end as a way to brand the project and as a way to say the installation also belongs to all of our backers.

Q: How is your background in architecture beneficial?

A: It is a great tool because it taught me to think of interior spaces in a new way and to think through the experience of a space. Many times we do not notice what is around us.

Q: For fun, you like to…

A:  . . . ride my bike, experience the city (whether eating shopping or wandering), and work!

Q: What impact does family have on your life?

A: My family is the most important! They are always there for me and support anything I choose to do. In fact, my mom is coming up for the show!

Q: How does faith affect what you do and who you are as an individual, friend, worker, etc?

A: I think the best thing I can say is that it has aided me in having a good attitude. With the stressed involved in such a production, the key ingredient is good attitude and passion.

Q: What are your next personal and professional projects?

A: Professionally, I believe we have an installation scheduled for Germany in November! Personally, I would love to go back to school in a year or two for a masters degree.

To see a video explaining the project, its assembly and how you can participate:

and google maps:

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FAITH: Love is Action


I’ve seen a lot of videos in my day.

Family movies WITHOUT sound. On reels, using a projector and shown onto a blank wall for all to see – usually at family gatherings.  In black and white but still potent nonetheless.

Family movies WITH sound. So much motion and sound that it’s embarrassing to admit that we hardly ever watch them because it’s not so convenient. In color and valuable to the family archives.

And then technology. I try to avoid it as best I can but incorporate its use to make life easier. The two video clips you will see (youtube links) will give you a new insight and appreciation as to how spiritual encouragement and support can travel and connect the many miles between those in them and those viewing them.

Here’s what I mean:

Almost a month ago I saw two videos that caused me to cry – tears of compassion, tears of joy, tears of stress relief and tears of thankfulness. They weren’t of people playing jokes on one another, the latest Bon Qui Qui episode or of a favorite music group performance.

These are videos that demonstrate and define Christlike love in action – from a hospital parking lot and from within my sister’s hospital room in Naples, Florida.

As you watch these videos, I hope they will enable you to consider your own personal faith and if it is not built on the foundation of Jesus Christ, I hope you will consider who He is.

Beth Moore, a Bible teacher, pretty much sums it up for us in a simple pledge of faith containing five statements. It’s the jumping off point of  her study titled Believing God. It verbalizes well what my family and I hold dear – not simply due to my sister’s current health condition, but as an anchor for our souls as life happens in the smooth days and the not-so-smooth ones.

The following is what Beth calls the 5 Statement Pledge of Faith:

(1) God is who He says He is.

(2)  God can do what He says He can do.

(3)  I am who God says I am.

(4)  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

(5)  God’s Word is alive and active in me.

Just wondering: What do you think about these videos in light of the 5 Statement Pledge of Faith?

Video 1: Outside in Hospital Parking Lot:

Video 2: Inside Karen’s Room:

FAITH: Unswerving


The view from my office.

Call me crazy. No call me a gardener. Last year it was veggies. This year, flowers – sunflowers specifically.

The seeds I bought were plump and promising and I eagerly planted them in my 4’ x 8’ backyard garden. I love that I can see it from my office window. My carnations keeled over but that hasn’t deterred me from admiring the beauty of what did survive – the Evening Sun and Mammoth varieties of sunflowers.

Weeks went by after the planting and I like it that way. Very low maintenance is perfect for this season in my life. In the past 6 weeks, the school year ended, I survived my first full year as a middle school teacher, summer came and severe sickness arrived in my family. There was no time for tending flowers.

I pack my bags and head for my sister’s for four days – wanting to see her but anxious about reality.

“Your sunflowers are about to bloom,” my husband announces in a news bulletin sort of way right before I leave.

“Good,” I acknowledge. “I could use a little sunshine.”

When I return I see proof.  I see blossom after blossom after blossom!

Not only did the blossoms beckon me, they made me smile – something I hadn’t done in several weeks. These

I see a smile from God here.

sunflowers remind me of Christina, a beautiful woman who hired me as a preschool teacher during my transition from fulltime mom to the next step in life. They remind me of strength because those seed packets promised they’d grow to be at least 6 feet tall and they did. And they remind me that God’s best work is probably done in the dirt – of the earth and in my life.

Today I count more than 15 sturdy sunflower plants proudly parading their blossoms. I might be hallucinating – but I think the tallest might actually rotate somewhat during the day seeking out the most direct sunlight available. Maybe they don’t but just humor me here.

Let’s say that they do.

I think I could learn a lesson. Search for the sun, the Son. It almost seems as if an invisible “tractor beam” (ok, now you know I was a Trekkie) holds them in concert with the best rays at different times.

Recently, my family chose to memorize a Scripture from The Bible. It’s from the book of Hebrews, chapter 10, verse 25.

It says: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for He who promised is faithful.

I like that verb – unswervingly.

The life of my family has taken a large swerve lately and I’m beginning to think that if those sunflowers have it figured out when it comes to getting what they need from the source, I could take a lesson from them. Keep focused and connected.