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I am heartened and disturbed, feel hope and despair, and see the need for love as well as caution.

Over the past few months we have seen some horrible things in the United States. Children and their teachers killed in their classrooms, firefighters murdered as they responded to help others, and the terrible continuing vision of a sick society playing out, in real life, the violence they see daily in their video games, on their televisions and computers screens, and in their movie theaters.

Yet...I also see a growing awareness of the sickness. Things have been exposed and the awareness of people has been heightened. A call to action has been heard. Now that action must be implemented. Is it the history of our nation to be violent? Yes. Do we treasure our firearms? Yes. Are we an adolescent society filled with insecurities, led like sheep to the purchasing counter, and unaware of the manipulation of our food, media, and minds? For the most part...yes. But - we are now more aware that these things exist. 

The general population is slowing changing its priorities. The realization that wars have zapped our resources and helped to slow our funding for quality education and healthcare is no longer denied. That we need to care for each other has become clear. A nation that ignores those in need of help will surely implode under its own greed. We are seeing a shift. Inclusion will make us strong. Lifting up those less fortunate will make us better. Spurring innovation will keep us sharp. Striving for greatness will help us lead. And...knowing that the most important resource a country (and the world) has is its people, will keep us kind, compassionate, and caring. 

Be aware and you will see enormous possibilities. Let's make sure that everyone has a chance to, not only, realize their potential, but...reach it as well. Continue the shift my friends.
 
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Smell doesn't get enough press. Yeah - that's right...it doesn't! We write and speak a lot about feeling stuff and touching things (including those we love), talking and listening (both VERY important to any type of relationship). Hearing keeps our love of music, language, and the other interesting stuff that vibrates our eardrums, at the top of our lists of things we enjoy. While seeing, looking, and viewing life as it passes stimulates us as much as, if not more than, the movies, videos, and TV shows we watch.

In fact, our society is fixated on how we look and what we see. That's what style, the fashion industry, marketing, and advertising, are all about. Including - the optical/eyewear industry - where my entrepreneurial background took shape and grew, and a field that combines both fashion and vision (in both the literal and figurative sense)

And...we certainly love the titillation of our taste buds! How else can we explain the popularity of cooking shows, restaurants, wine magazines, "liquor stores," delicatessens, food courts, food trucks, all the various food stores, and the myriad of other wonderful places and stimulating venues for our gastronomic desires!

Ahh - but what about the joys of the nose?! Smells are miraculous things. You can walk by something and its odor can take you into a memory so deeply that you actually feel like you're there. There are certain "Army smells" that transport me right back to my days in fatigues and "dress greens." The smell of a skunk instantly teleports me back to my farm and living the life of a man tilling his garden, wading in his stream, riding his tractor, and checking out his barn. So...that "skunk smell" it just fine by me. In fact, I kinda like it! I guess those memories have negated all the propaganda against the "stink of the skunk" that has been "thrown out there" during my lifetime.

Of course, the fragrance industry recognizes the monetary benefits of smell. It's been with us since recorded history. I'm sure there's an odor that reminds you of someone important in your life. It could come from the perfumeries of a designer or be strictly the work of Mother Nature.

But - some of the greatest smells of all, for me, are the odors I encounter when I walk into a bakery! Mmm...they're really tough to beat! Freshly baked bread, newly made cakes and cookies, scones, pies, bagels...yum! I can smell 'em right now! Can't you?! I always wondered how a baker can resist constantly eating all those luscious things they make. The smells alone cause my mouth to water. It's like walking into mom's kitchen on a cold winter's night when the stove, oven, and counter tops are all doin' their thing at top proficiency with the best ingredients she could buy!

So my friends, take joy in the wonders of the nose. Revel in your olfactory sense. Enjoy what nature and  human innovation have provided through those waves of smells that waft up your nostrils and into your brain, to be locked there for the rest of your life and brought back as a reminder of days past and experiences lived!

Now, if only you could smell that picture at the top of this post! Does anyone have any strawberry jam?