Wisconsin Schools, Send Us Your Photos

Wisconsin Lutheran State Teachers' Conference 2014

Hey, Wisconsin Lutheran Schools! Check out the program cover for this year’s WLSTC event happening later this fall!

So, I take a lot of pictures. I’m certainly not a professional photographer, but I’ve taken just enough classes to be a bit in-your-face dangerous—all in good fun, don’tcha know. Anyway, I was real excited to use one of my own shots for this year’s WLSTC program cover.

Yep, those are my grapes!

Share in the Fun!

Well, my Wisconsin Lutheran School friends, here’s a chance for you to share in the photography fun. We want to personalize the 2014 conference program with photos of Wisconsin WELS elementary schools and students. We’d love to feature your school year as you “Remain in Me.” We did this for the program two years ago and it was a great success.

If you’d like to share photos, please submit close-up, non-cluttered shots taken in high resolution (only 300 dpi or higher can be used for professional printing, although if your photo sizes are large enough in inches I can proportionately resize them). If you have questions on this, email me.

Please send your photos to Adunate or kris.snyder@wels.net. Please include “WLSTC school photo” in the subject line; and your school name, contact info and photo description in the content.

Here’s a friendly note: WLSTC assumes the photos you submit have been previously approved by your school for permission for publication. ​If you have questions on this, email me

Responsive Web, Inverted Pyramids and Door County, Wisconsin

Cave Point, Door County, Wisconsin

If there’s anything that reinforces the need for good web design, it’s a 4-day weekend in the boondocks. Think about it: If you’ve got the who, what, where, when and why right in front of you, you’re pretty much good to go no matter where you happen to be.

Like Door County, Wisconsin. In February.

Door County is an almost 500-square-mile jut of land between the Green Bay and Lake Michigan. My husband and I were there last weekend for our anniversary. We love going at this time of year because it’s the quiet season. We can snowshoe in the many parks, find miles and miles of diverse shoreline and visit cozy, lakeside villages, all free of the crowds that make them a hot spot in summer.

That’s Cave Point in the picture. Isn’t it stunning? Often, the crashing Lake Michigan waves cover the rocks with sprays of water. This day everything—I mean, everything— was so very still. With temperatures well below zero, the water was a frigid wonder of clarity.

But Door County Wi-Fi? Understandably, not so clear.

Even though Door County is  more commercially developed than it was decades ago (sadly so, in my opinion), it’s still rather remote, especially when it comes to the internet. As we randomly zig-zagged the peninsula on country backroads, I perused my iPhone in search of the next cool place to stop. One minute there was reception, the next there wasn’t. Knowing it could give out at any time, I really appreciated a well-designed website.

I appreciated responsive websites even more.

Nowadays, a responsive website is a necessity for good business. Responsive web design is like the inverted pyramid of the old journalism days; it puts the most important information up front for optimal viewing no matter what device is being used.

Here are three sites I found helpful while in Door County. Two are simply well-designed and put the necessary information where it needs to be. The third is a fully responsive site that properly rearranges itself according to the order of importance and size of the device.

Wild Tomato Pizza, Fish Creek, WI

Here’s the Wild Tomato Restaurant and how it appears on my iPhone. Mmmm, this looks good, doesn’t it?

Many Door County businesses are closed for the winter. Yet when I googled “Door County pizza,” I found right here on Wild Tomato’s home page that they are open, where they’re located and their phone number. The fact that they link to a beer menu tells me they have artisan beers even if I don’t take the time to click into it.

Good business? You bet. The restaurant was super fun and the food was delicious!

St. John Lutheran Church, Door County, WI

Most churches don’t think of themselves as a business. Yet sometimes they need to act like one; for example, when they want to reach out to the tourists of their unique vacation community.

St. John does just that with its website. Right there on the home page I found the 5 W’s needed for knowing about the congregation and how we could attend its services. And yes, the members of this beautiful church in the country were as warm and welcoming as their website!

Door County, WIsconsin

So here’s the fully responsive site: The Door County Visitor Bureau. Check it out on your computer, then check it out on your iPod or smartphone. Notice how it’s packed full of interesting information and rather than proportionately shrinking it en masse for small devices, which would make it way too small to read, its responsiveness vertically rearranges the contents into segments in order of their importance.

That, my dears, is responsive web design and that’s what brings people to Door County, even in the dead of winter!


What about your website? How does it look on a smartphone? Can viewers clearly find what they need to know? Here’s a completely responsive website Adunate did for a Donny’s Girl Supper Club. Contact me if you’d like the same exposure for your business.


 

Wednesday Webs 4-18-12

old typewriters

How many of you grew up writing on typewriters? I did. So when I recently saw these on display, I didn’t know what was more alarming—that they were in an antique shop or that they were surely priced higher than they originally cost.

Ah, typewriters. Weren’t those the days? (Not really. The delete key is much easier than white out tape.)

But as long as we’re on the subject of writing, here are a few sites:

  • Writing persuasive copy is an art: Here are 58 easy-reading elements.
  • “Your” vs “you’re” has become epidemic. We need to address this.
  • Should writing term papers be replaced with writing blogs?
  • Churches can learn a little something about writing too.
  • Visuwords: So much more fun than a thesaurus.

 

Why Do Believers Commit Suicide?

And She Was a Christian, by Peter Preus

Seven years ago, when my 20-year-old nephew died by suicide, one of the most painful things for his parents was the judgmental assumption many people made of his eternal life. At a time when his parents needed comfort the most, the long-held stigma of suicide created a reluctance to minister to them with the hope of salvation.

What people forgot, however, was that this beautiful, young man was a believer. He was a child of God. Like many people who kill themselves, he suffered from depression. Yes, it caused him to sin. But no, it did not overrule God’s loving grace. And just as we are saved by this grace in spite of our sins, so was this young man.

A book recently came out that my nephew’s parents recommend people dealing with suicide should read. It’s called And She Was a Christian, written by Peter Preus, a Lutheran pastor. His wife also suffered from depression and committed suicide in 1994.

This book must have been hard for Preus to write. He shares his wife’s story, from her days as a vibrant wife and mother, very involved in her church; to a woman destroyed by mental illness, very depressed and delusional.

Preus also covers a historical study of the church’s viewpoint on suicide. Today’s Christians commonly believe the Bible makes a black and white statement on suicide, but according to Preus, this viewpoint wasn’t always shared. In fact, many early Christians committed suicide as an alternative to the “horrifying and humiliating forms of execution,” as Preus writes. It was St. Augustine, of the fourth century Catholic Church, who determined suicide to be an unforgivable sin. I found this quite interesting.

Because this book is specifically intended for pastors and church professionals, Preus goes deep into the doctrinal aspects of suicide. I’m neither of those and I strive to maintain the “faith of a child” (meaning I intentionally shy away from debatable theological discussions). Admittedly, Preus is over my head at times. But he does make it clear, even to me, that Jesus’ dying on the cross is payment for every sin, even the sin of suicide.

The book And She Was a Christian is a great for anyone who has experienced suicide among their family and friends–those who are suicide victims. And it’s certainly a “must-read” for anyone who ministers to suicide victims.

 

Must Non-Profits Look Like a Charity Case?

National School Leadership Conference When I met with Rachel DiGiorgio two months ago, I knew I was going to like working with her. Rachel is the project manager for an upcoming National School Leadership Conference and she wanted topnotch promo pieces for this non-profit event. “We want to look like a class act,” she said. Oh, that gave me a warm and happy feeling! I do a lot of work for non-profits and I must admit sometimes it’s a challenge. They’re usually working on limited budgets, understandably so, and this defines how much they can spend on communicating their message. It’s challenging in other ways as well. There’s a mistaken notion that if the visual communications for a non-profit are too flashy, too professional, or maybe just too “well designed,” they convey wastefulness on the part of the organization. Non-profits worry their audiences won’t open their checkbook or sign up to volunteer. But guess what—it doesn’t benefit any organization, non-profit or not, to look like a charity case. Here are three reasons why.

Good Design Does Invisible Magic

A non-profit’s communication goal should be to attract its target audiences and hold their attention long enough to tell its story. Good design does this. It does it invisibly, without viewers even realizing why they’re impressed. Good design doesn’t have to be flashy or expensive, but it must give thought to theme, style, topography and imagery. Good design is good communication.

Communication Establishes Credibility

Your visual communication is your image. It tells who you are. A poorly executed promo piece says you’re amateur, cheap, and you do not value your organization. A well-designed piece on quality paper (which doesn’t have to be expensive) says you are professional, honorable, and worthy of your audience’s time and money.

Your Effort Shows You Care

I love how Rachel explains her class act goals. “God gave us his best,” says Rachel. “And while our best cannot rival God’s, we continue to strive to do our ‘human’ best out of love and gratitude.” Really, why wouldn’t an organization want to look its very best? Why wouldn’t it want to communicate its message in a way that brings the best results? Obviously, I’m not the only one asking these questions. Check out this DesignTalk discussion, where more than 85 people voiced a similar opinion.