Superstorm Sandy and the Importance of Giving

Philadelphia, night before the Hurricane Sandy

My husband and I were in Philadelphia over the weekend just before Hurricane Sandy hit. To say it was interesting is an understatement. The grocery stores were madhouses and people stood in checkout lines that ran the length of every aisle. In coffee shops they discussed the water resiliency of their apartments and whether their subway stops would stay open.

Meanwhile, my husband and I cozied in at the historic Conwell Inn, located at Temple University (I just love that inn). At midnight of the night before the storm, we walked around campus and there was this fascinating calm-eerie-excitement in the air (the students were ecstatic because classes had already been cancelled:-). We debated whether to stay our full reservation, but in the end left the next afternoon before things became too chaotic.

That’s the extent of our hurricane adventure—obviously, nothing too dramatic. It did give us cause for reflection though.

Whenever my husband and I visit large urban areas, we’re reminded how naive we are of life outside our sheltered Midwestern simplicity. Most big city folks don’t drive (many, like our son, don’t even own a car). They live in smaller spaces that don’t allow for much food storage. And there are people everywhere. When something catastrophic like a superstorm hits, the problems they face are much different than our own.

Hurricane Sandy reminds us of the importance of giving. Isn’t it awesome how Americans come together and help each other out?

With that in mind, I want to put out word to those needing help with their visual communications. Each year Adunate does two pro-bono projects—one large and one small. If your organization needs creative assistance in 2013, click here for an application. And then, click here to guarantee your project’s success!


Schools Using the Harley-Davidson Effect

St. Peter's Lutheran School, Helenville, WI, 1906

There’s a really long article by management guru H. Donald Hopkins (Temple University) entitled “Using History for Strategic Problem-Solving: The Harley-Davidson Effect.” In it he tells of corporate CEOs solving problems such as employee moral or product direction simply by examining their own history. And because Hopkins champions Harley-Davidson, his thinking has become known as the Harley-Davidson Effect (although if you google this you’ll likely find more on the Harley-Davidson sound affects:-).

Anyway, my latest project has been an online program for the Wisconsin Lutheran State Teachers’ Conference. I know, I know, associating church with business gives a lot of people the heebie jeebies. After all, it’s the Holy Spirit that works in us, not some business theory, right?

I agree.

But I also go by the conviction that much of our God-given earthly knowledge works really well for his heavenly purposes. The Harley-Davidson Effect is a perfect example.

The Wisconsin Ev. Lutheran Synod (WELS) schools have a strong history in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S. There are 337 schools nationwide, some of them dating back to the mid-1800s. They’re parochial in nature, yet they face the same problems of budget, integration and student-teacher ratio as does every other school. Nowadays congregations do a lot of strategizing and praying just to keep their school doors open.

This year the WLSTC chose “Your Statutes Are Our Heritage” as its conference theme, based on Psalm 119:111. For the program (click here to check it out), we used historical photos to help convey this message. We asked congregations to dig into their archives and, wow, did they do some digging! Not only did people send photos, they also included anecdotes of how their schools were started, what their classrooms were like a hundred years ago, and so many more fascinating stories.

Strategically or historically, however you want to look at them, these photos and stories are poignant reminders that schools have overcome many challenges. They’re proof of so many blessings throughout the generations. And they evoke a sense of pride in the educational work God has allowed them to do.

“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart,” Psalm 119:111.

Hunkering Down for Winter

homemade spaghetti sauce

This is my favorite time of year. Once I accept the inevitable shortening of days, I love how the season slowly downshifts from the intensity of summer to a gentle ripening of autumn. I love that cozy sense of tucking in and preparing for the long winter ahead.

So, yes, I’m in the midst of canning tomatoes (there are tomatoes ev-er-y-where in our house). I’m also thinking about business. I’ve been planning next year’s goals and wondering if there’s anything I should do now so they’re ready to implement come January.

Here’s one thing I’m contemplating: an e-Newsletter. Ilise Benun, of Marketing Mentor, swears by them. Since I’m overflowing with helpful marketing and communication morsels—things like “6 ways to get your newsletter read” or “10 reasons a blog will increase your business”—maybe I should share them.

So, what do you think? Would you be interested in receiving a monthly email with helpful, newsy tidbits? Add your email to my list and come January when it’s cold and windy, I’ll send a nice, summery surprise (kind of like opening one of these jars of fresh, savory spaghetti sauce).

And what about you? What marketing plans do you have for your business next year? Is there anything you need to do now so you’re ready to go in January? Like, what about an updated logo? Or a customized blog? Or a header for that e-Newsletter you’ve now decided to start?

Give it some thought and drop me a line. But don’t wait too long—those cold winds will blow soon enough!

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.


The Power of A 400-Year Old Masterpiece

King James BibleOn Christmas Eve my family reads Luke 2, the story of Jesus’ birth. We read it from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) because of it’s graceful, poetic language. It’s the Bible of my childhood.

It’s not that I’m old or anything, but this year the KJV is celebrating its 400th anniversary. In four centuries, has there been any other book that has communicated so much to so many people? I think not.

According to National Geographic, in its December 2011 story (that National Geographic does such a piece says so much), the KJV was used by every U.S. President to swear his oath of office. It’s also the Bible of choice for the Very Reverend Dr. John Hall, who married Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The National Geographic story is interesting. It tells of the tedious work of translating Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into an English language that even the common man could understand. It also points out the many KJV phrases that are classic to our language still today; phrases like “A man after his own heart,” or “Turned the world upside down,” or “From time to time.”

Here’s another interesting link on the KJV. It’s an illustration put by the University of Leicester and it compares the Gothic Blackletter font used in the original 1611 edition to the Roman font used today. Even the layout in Roman looks somewhat outdated by today’s print standards, doesn’t it?

Nowadays, the New International Version of the Bible (NIV) has replaced the King James Bible. Yes, it’s a more contemporary style of English, and, yes, it’s easier for most of us to understand. But for Christmas— for that beautiful story of Jesus birth—I still love the old way of doing things.

I love reading Luke 2 from the King James Bible.