Saturday, September 29, 2007

Telecommunications - Our Legacy

I had to write a short paper on how people will look back on the legacy we have left in the area of telecommunications. I thought I would share it here as well. (Only 1 1/2 more classes left until I'm DONE with my Masters! WOOHOO!!!)

Our Telecommunication Legacy

It is mind-boggling to think of all the changes that have happened in technology and specifically telecommunications in the last fifty years. If you look at the entire telecommunications timeline (an example of this can be found at, you can see that the biggest jumps in innovation have happened in the last fifteen to twenty-five years. The birth of the World Wide Web introduced so many new possibilities that we are just now beginning to discover.

I was born just as the ‘computer generation’ was starting. Our first family computer was a Commodore VIC-20, which we mostly used to play silly text games (which I really miss . . .). I learned about computers on old Apple II’s in elementary school and lived through the change to so-called IBM-compatible PCs in the education world. We got our first IBM-compatible personal computer around 1990 before the popular Windows 3.1 was introduced. My Dad and I bonded over learning the DOS language, and we un-bonded when I erroneously loaded a shareware program onto the root directory and extremely efficiently “lobotomized” our first computer. :-) It was a learning experience, to say the least. However, one standout thing that I remember is the first time that I used a Bulletin Board, and words started popping up on the screen as someone from across the country typed to me. I felt like I was witnessing something important and historic . . . and I was right. The World Wide Web completely changed how people use computers and how we communicate with each other.

In the past five years, I have seen so many innovative technologies that can only lead the way to technological solutions we have only dreamed of in the past. The introduction of Web 2.0 technologies, such as the use of YouTube, blogs, and MySpace, first seen as frivolous teenage hobbies, are now being taken seriously by presidential candidates and marketing gurus alike. This change in attitude by people seen as leaders has validated a form of communication that was once only looked down upon. People are finding ways to make their voices heard from all over the world – and the world is taking notice.

I often say, “What did we do before the internet?” And even though, we all seemed to get by just fine – I think about how difficult it would be to get my work done now, if not for sites like Google. Every time someone asks me about something they don’t know or they don’t understand, my first response is, “Did you Google it?” I often receive credit for being very resourceful, when all I’m doing is typing something into a search engine and hitting Enter . . . it isn’t that difficult.

I believe that this generation is going to leave a legacy of finding a voice for people who once did not have one. More and more people are creating blogs where they can sit at home in their pajamas and write diatribes about politics, religion, or their relationship with their pets. People are learning to share their knowledge with each other and learning to ‘listen’ to others in new ways. I think that this generation is going to be remembered as a generation that looked forward to instead of feared change . . . and started breaking down the barriers that exist in the physical world by communicating in the virtual one.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

10 years ago

Image from

I wanted to do this yesterday, but didn't get a chance. Rich Mullins died 10 years ago yesterday, I can't believe its been that long. His music always touched me and I loved the way that he was so REAL, that you couldn't help but connect with him. I grew up in the same community as Rich and his family and it hit everyone pretty hard when he died. However, his family and friends are doing a great job of keeping his legacy alive. (see links below)

I wanted to remember him by posting the lyrics to one of my favorite songs and then sharing one of his tidbits of wisdom.

The Maker of Noses
by Rich Mullins

"I believe there is a place
Where people live in perfect peace
Where there is food on every plate
Where work is rewarded and rest is sweet
Where the color of your skin
Won't get you in or keep you out
Where justice reigns and truth finally wins
Its hard fought war against fear and doubt

And everyone I know wants to go there too
But when I ask them how to do it they seem so confused
Do I turn to the left?
Do I turn to the right?
When I turn to the world they gave me this advice

They said boy you just follow your heart
But my heart just led me into my chest
They said follow your nose
But the direction changed every time I went and turned my head
And they said boy you just follow your dreams
But my dreams were only misty notions
But the Father of hearts and the Maker of noses
And the Giver of dreams He's the one I have chosen
And I will follow Him

I believe there'll come a time
Lord I pray it's not too far off
There'll be no poverty or crime
There'll be no greed and we will learn how to love
And children will be safe in their homes
And there'll be no violence out on the streets
The old will not be left alone
And the strong will learn how to care for the weak

And everyone I know hopes it comes real soon
But when I ask 'em where I'd find it they seem so confused
Do I find it in the day?
Do I find it in the night?
When I finally ask the world they give me this advice

Well they said boy you just follow your heart
But my heart just led me into my chest
They said follow your nose
But the direction changed every time I went and turned my head
And they said boy you just follow your dreams
But my dreams were only misty notions
But the Father of hearts and the Maker of noses
And the Giver of dreams He's the one I have chosen

And oh I hear the voice of a million dreams
Then I wake in the world that I'm partly made of
And the world that is partly my homemaking
And oh I hear the song of a heart set free
That will not be kept down
By the fury and sound
Of a world that is wasting away but keeps saying (keeps on saying)

Saying boy you just follow your heart
But my heart just led me into my chest
They said follow your nose
The direction changed every time I go and turn my head
They said boy you just follow your dreams
But my dreams were only misty notions
But the Father of hearts and the Maker of noses
And the Giver of dreams He's the one I have chosen
And I will follow Him
(Just follow your dreams)
(You just follow your dreams)"

Rich's Wisdom:

"I had a prof one time... He said, 'Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since. So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself. And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway'."

Calling out Your Name

Rich Mullins Memorial Page

Kid Brothers of St. Frank

The Legacy

Never Picture Perfect

We miss you Rich - but I know we are glad that you are finally Home.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There is no box

I have been reading a lot of interesting blogs lately. Many of them are pointed toward telecommunications and technology - for my class assignments and for work . . . but I also tend to gravitate toward blogs about writing and thinking creatively. I found an amazing post about ways to help you think creatively.

"People like to call this “thinking outside of the box,” which is the wrong way to look at it. Just like Neo needed to understand that “there is no spoon” in the film The Matrix, you need to realize “there is no box” to step outside of."

I've already had several great ideas due to this article showing me what it was that blocks my creativity.

I hope it is helpful to you as well!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Baggage Update

A nice United Airlines man delivered my luggage last night. They found it in Minneapolis of all places. Everything was intact - except that one of my bottles of nail polish had exploded - probably too much traveling.

I have to say I would not recommend Northwest Airlines right now - but United went above and beyond in finding luggage that they did not lose.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

I will definitely remember the Alamo . . .

I finally got home from Texas this afternoon . . . I have to tell you about my EXCITING return trip that has me wary about traveling again for a while.

Three of my colleagues and I were to travel from San Antonio to Indianapolis on Friday afternoon. We should have arrived back in Indiana around 10:30 p.m. Friday evening. We all got to the airport on time and happily boarded the airplane. A very full airplane. And then, we proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Finally, they told us that the airplane was having mechanical difficulties and they were waiting on the mechanic.

We were supposed to connect in Detroit, MI - and the longer we waited, the less possibility there was that we were going to get to go home that night.

After quite a while, they finally told those of us with connections that we could disembark and attempt to make new arrangements for the morning. There were some VERY unhappy people. Some were leaving for Europe the next day, there were several young men and women in army fatigues who were going home before being deployed - and they were losing precious time with their families, and one of my colleagues had to get home to be at very important performances of his children the next morning.

We got off of the plane and called our travel services group to try and make arrangements. I got one colleague on a flight to Chicago where he could then rent a car and drive home to Indiana so he would be sure and make it to his children's performances.

And then there were three . . . We decided to fly out REALLY EARLY the next morning, in an attempt to get back to Indiana by about 11:30 a.m. I called my husband to tell him he had to be a single parent just a little while longer. He took it in stride and said he looked forward to seeing me the next day.

After re-claiming our baggage and getting a rental car - we left to go find some food, go to a hotel, and get some sleep before having to wake back up at about 4 a.m.

This is where it gets fun . . .

We got up way too early (4:00 is not supposed to come TWICE a day). We got to the airport in plenty of time; however, simple and easy just wasn't in the plans. You see, I had bought gifts for my hubby and kids in the San Antonio airport the night before. I got a snow globe and a sampler pack of 5 different Texas salsas and some stuffed bears. Well . . . they have this new ummm liquid rule for going through security that I didn't even think about, because I had bought the stuff IN the airport. So - as I was going through security, I got stopped, they pulled my bag and took me over to a special little table where they proceeded to paw through my stuff. They then informed me that the only way that I could take those things with me was to check them. Or I'd have to leave them. I was not leaving them!!! I had spent money on them. So - my wonderful colleagues held on to my SAFE luggage for me, and I went back to the counter to proceed to check my gifts.

Of course, that wasn't easy either. They didn't have any boxes. So I put the Bears, Salsa and Snowglobe's lives in the hands of the baggage handlers . . . in nothing but a plastic bag. I figured I wouldn't see them in one piece again, but I had to take a chance.

I then proceeded to go BACK through security without any issues this time. We were on our way . . . or so we thought . . .

We watched our plane come into the gate and it looked like all was going well until they started boarding a little late and then announced that the plane was having mechanical issues and they were going to have to call a mechanic (I swear it must have been the SAME PLANE from the night before). We started laughing and decided that God REALLY had a sense of humor that morning. Luckily, the three of us were inconvenienced, but not angry, so we proceeded to make jokes, laugh, and take things in stride.

They deplaned those that had already boarded and told those of us who had missed the flight the night before to go to the counter and they would book us on another airline. The three of us went to the counter, got seats on another airline and took off for another gate.

We were then putting the lives of our checked luggage into the phantom hands of people who were supposed to eventually get our bags to the proper place . . . stay tuned . . .

I called my husband and said, "you might notice I'm not in the air right now . . ." His only response was, "AGAIN?"

We got to the other airline's gate, got our boarding passes and got on the plane without issue. It was an express plane, where you actually had to go down the stairs and then walk up the stairs onto the plane -- I've never done that before . . . so that was exciting. :-)

We actually, FINALLY, took off out of San Antonio and headed for Chicago this time. I was so thankful - because I was beginning to think I was going to have to change my address. Although San Antonio was beautiful . . . I don't want to live there.

When we landed in Chicago, I knew we were within driving distance if anything else should go wrong. I had hope that I would finally get to see my husband, my children, my cats, and MY OWN BED again.

We ate some breakfast and walked to our terminal instead of taking the shuttle because we had been sitting a lot and we had plenty of time to kill. O'Hare is huge . . . They have a really cool light display over one of the moving walkways that looks like what I've HEARD its like being on an acid trip. It was cool. I want one for my house. Ha ha.

As we were finally getting ready to board what was to be our FINAL flight home . . . the announcer comes on and says that they don't have half of their crew and they were trying to locate them. We were convinced that they had pulled members of our airline's crew over to the other airline to work on the stupid plane. ;-) Thankfully, the rest of the crew showed up momentarily and we got on the plane and TOOK OFF!!! Chicago to Indy is a very short flight and I almost jumped up and down when we finally landed in Indianapolis.

We got off the plane, and I met my beautiful children and my wonderful, kind of haggard husband outside of the secure area. I was so happy to see them - but unfortunately, my airport time was not over.

We went to baggage claim for the first airline and actually found most of our baggage . . . Notice I said, 'most'? My 2 colleagues got their bags . . . AND my plastic bag o' goodies had miraculously survived the journey (Salsa and Snowglobe intact!). However, my luggage was no where to be found. My pretty new mauve luggage that held all my clothes, all of my makeup, my favorite hairbrush, my Bible, and my TEXTBOOKS (there's an excuse for not getting my homework done) . . . was lost somewhere in phantom luggage land. The people at the desk told me to file a claim with the airline we actually flew in with . . . even though THEY are the ones that lost it.

I went to file a claim and the man behind the counter, although nice, was not very optimistic about finding my luggage again. ::sighs::

Well, it was the perfect end to a couple days of travel. I didn't get mad or upset, I just figured, there was a reason for all of this . . . even if it was just for me to learn to not sweat the small stuff.

My kids and hubby prayed every night for me to get home safely - and maybe there was a reason I was NOT on those two planes that didn't take off. I may never know, but I am so glad to be home . . .

And I will always remember the Alamo, San Antonio, and to NEVER fly Northwest again.


Friday, September 14, 2007

San Antonio - and my wonderful friends

I have been in San Antonio, Texas since Wednesday on a business trip. It has actually been pretty relaxing, because I didn't have to plan it. This was a learning excursion for me.

Last week, my husband started a new job - as a visual merchandiser. He is finally getting paid for doing something he loves - and I am so proud of him. The only crazy part was learning how to handle both of us being out of the home more often. It has been quite a change.

Luckily - God has blessed us with some amazing friends. While I was gone, our daycare provider had a family member die suddenly and we had to figure out what we were going to do for childcare. We had 2 awesome friends who stepped up to the plate and offered to watch our children for us. So I just want to take a moment to say thank you to Jodi and Ruth for being there for us. We are all in a church small group together - and we all hit it off from the very beginning. Our friendship is one of the ways that I see God at work, and I am so thankful.

Yesterday morning - as I was standing outside looking at the sunrise, I was hit with how very much God loves us, because he is in the small things, and in the big things. Although we don't deserve this kind of love, he gives it freely anyway.

Isn't that awesome?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Zero to Three in Sixty Seconds

This story was previously published in Life in the Midwest Magazine in 2005.

0-3 in 60 seconds

by IzzyBeth

The van’s side door falls off, the Blazer’s muffler falls off, and due to extenuating circumstances, you find out you have to change jobs. This is what happened to me when my life changed forever and I went from 0-3 in sixty seconds.

My husband and I have been married for three years. We knew from the beginning that we couldn’t have children unless it was a huge miracle. Although we ALWAYS expect a miracle, we talked about fostering children and eventually adopting.

In May, I started investigating it fully and called the Division of Family and Children to see what we needed to do. They sent us a packet of information and told us to call and set up an appointment after we received it.

At our first appointment, I talked of how I have a heart for Hispanic children (due to my Spanish classes, my best friend’s bi-cultural daughter, and my trip to Costa Rica.) The family caseworker got very excited, and she told us that there were three white/Hispanic children who needed placement and were most likely adoptable. After drenching a few tissues . . . we asked what we needed to do.

Things went quickly after that – we had 4 weeks of Saturday classes, First Aid/CPR/Universal Precaution training, a TON of paperwork, 2 home visits and on August 14th, we had three beautiful children (under age 5) in our home. Life as we knew it, would never be the same. And we were ecstatic.

If you have ever considered being a foster parent, or you want to know how you can make a difference in someone’s life . . . call your local division of family and children. Investing in the life of a child is investing in your future.

They say that to be a foster parent, you have to be crazy . . . and it is true. Learning to take on other people’s children is a big challenge, but an even bigger blessing. Seeing big eyes looking up at you with so much trust and love gave me more reasons to be thankful than I ever imagined was possible. The van, blazer and job didn’t matter anymore, I was a Mommy.

For more information about becoming a foster parent -

Why does this always happen?

Apple unveils iPod touch

The new iPod touch introduced today features built-in Wi-Fi networking and a revolutionary multi-touch user interface—first introduced on iPhone—that makes it easy to find all of your music, video, and other digital content and enjoy it on the gorgeous widescreen display on iPod touch. . .

To read the rest of the article, go here . . .

I had held out on buying an iPod Video. However, they were running an educational discount where you could get one for pretty cheap when buying a desktop or laptop. My husband bought a new laptop, so I told him to order me an iPod. I got it less than two weeks ago - and now, I'm already behind the times again!!!

I am waiting until Leopard comes out before I buy my iMac. I don't want to miss something else really cool.

And at least I didn't buy my iPhone yet!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Recipe for Me

Recipe for Me
by Izzybeth

I am salt
in a measuring spoon
an acrid taste
when you get
too much
but still needed
to make
things right
yet getting the blame
if things
go wrong
never leveling
never measuring

I don’t get
to be sugar or
good old
flour or
teaspoons of vanilla or
even just a pinch
of salt thrown
over your shoulder
for luck
always just
too much or
never enough

Monday, September 3, 2007

Tech Tip of the Day (Courtesy of Pike Speak)

Several people have asked me if it is possible to 'subscribe' to a blog on Blogger, so that we don't have to continually check and see if someone has updated. Even though there is no way to technically 'subscribe' to a blog - there is a cool way to keep track of people's blogs and who is updating.

Thanks to my friend Barry Pike, I now know a way to keep track of all my favorite blogs and other websites.

Barry says [with my comments in brackets]: "It is through the use of an "aggregator" (which is a fun word just on its own merits). An aggregator is an online service that you can access that goes out and collects the "feed" from any number of websites and blogs that you specify. There are several aggregators out there and while I can't tell you which one is necessarily best, I will gladly tell you about the one I use. I use Bloglines, which I learned about from Kem Meyer at a Willow Creek Church seminar that I attended over the summer.

First and foremost, it is free!. Essentially the way it works is that it enables you to set up a personal Bloglines page on which you select the sites that you would like to monitor, or "subscribe" to. Every blog of any type, and nearly all other websites, too, feature some kind of syndication feature, the most common of which is RSS ("Real Simple Syndication"). Basically, several times a day, Bloglines sends an inquisitory ping to all of the websites on your subscription list to see if the site has been updated. If it has, that site will appear in bold font on your Bloglines page and you can then click on it to check it out. When you click on it, a basic, kind of raw version of the website shows up on the screen. Then, you can click again if you like and go directly to the website. Or not. So it is possible to quickly and efficiently keep up with any number of blogs and websites with out wasting time. Kem actually has a couple of hundred blogs and sites on her page that she monitors; I have about 35-40, myself. By no means does that mean she necessarily reads those sites all of the time, but the point is that IF she wants to, they are under her fingertips.

For example, on my Bloglines page I have subscribed to most of the blogs listed on my blogroll as places I like. But instead of having to actually go to each website every day to see if my favorite blogs have been updated, all I have to do is access my Bloglines page and it tells me if it has. I don't have to check Steve's
[my uncle] blog everyday, for example, just to see if he's got something new [good thing, Steve hasn't been updating much lately!!]. Also, it is super easy to add and delete sites from your Bloglines list. You can be reading a blog, decide you want to subscribe to it, and there is a one-click method to add it to your personal Bloglines page

Another good use of it is for news. I have subscribed to the RSS feed for the Palladium-Item
[local newspaper]. They post 10-12 headlines each day. I can quickly peruse the headlines and the first one or two sentences of a story and then, if I'm interested, I can click on a story to go read it. This is much faster than pulling up the P-I site and fishing around.

Bloglines works great. Basically, I keep my Bloglines page open on my computer all the time. Sometimes, you will get "false" notifications, but very seldom. That will happen sometimes when a blogger, say, updates or changes their blog template or customizes their site, but does not actually post. No big deal.

Kind of a long answer, but I really like this tool. It is one of the few internet things that actually gives you time instead of takes it away (heh).
[unless you're like me . . . where one click always leads to another . . .] It really saves time and effort, streamlining the whole blog experience and making it more fun and useful."

Thank you so much Barry for giving us this great Tech Tip. I look forward to setting up my own Bloglines page so I can keep track of all my friends, family, and interesting blogs.

Have a great labor day!