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"But language is a treacherous thing, a most unsure vehicle."
Mark TwainMark Twain said that, and I can't disagree with him. Mastering the technical, dictionary definitions of words is good, but will only get you part way to communicating fully. That's because words don't always stick to their technical, dictionary definitions. They reshape themselves, sometimes drastically, based on the countless different contexts in which they find themselves written or read, spoken or heard.

I took a good look at my to do list yesterday. You know the list we add things to and instantly feel we've accomplished a big part of the task merely by writing it down? My list contains things like cleaning the gutters, fixing a crack in...

[caption id="attachment_7475" align="alignleft" width="300"]President Obama Signs Budget On Monday President Obama Signs Budget On Monday[/caption] First the good news: the House and Senate passed a new budget deal last week that suspends the debt limit until 2017 and increases funding levels for a number of federal programs. President Obama signed the deal into law on Monday, avoiding a government debt default and reducing the risk of a government shutdown in December.

[caption id="attachment_7450" align="alignleft" width="300"]Fed Chair, Janet Yellen Fed Chair, Janet Yellen[/caption] The financial news is dominated by speculation of when the Fed will increase interest rates. It matters because the Fed is the only economic policy maker with any potential or apparent willingness to stimulate our economy. The Administration continues to pile on regulations and complicate the tax structure, while the Congress, through its brokenness, allows sequestration to continue cutting more deeply into the areas of government spending (defense and social) that are actually stimulative to economic growth.

[caption id="attachment_7413" align="alignleft" width="300"]Curtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/outofideas/ Curtesy of: https://www.flickr.com/photos/outofideas/[/caption] My wife Amy and I are taking our son Miles to the fair this afternoon, and as I thought back to my own State Fair memories of riding bumper cars and watching all kinds of people, I was reminded yet again of the important role experiences play in our lives. At Beacon we have the privilege of helping folks dream about and actually make a reality some really neat experiences, which is a tremendous joy to us.

This past Tuesday night my daughter Langley was filling me in on her upcoming road trip to Florida with her twins. They were bound for their kindergarten teacher’s wedding in Tampa to participate as ring bearer and flower girl. Dad would be staying home with the youngest.

“And a butterfly can flutter its wings over a flower in China and cause a hurricane in the Caribbean. I believe it. They can even calculate the odds. It just isn’t likely and it takes…so long.”
Robert Redford as card shark Jack Weil in Havana
“In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. The name of the effect, coined by Edward Lorenz, is derived from the metaphorical example of the details of a hurricane (exact time of formation, exact path taken) being influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a distant butterfly several weeks earlier. Lorenz discovered the effect when he observed that runs of his weather model with initial condition data that was rounded in a seemingly inconsequential manner would fail to reproduce the results of runs with the unrounded initial condition data. A very small change in initial conditions had created a significantly different outcome.” The Butterfly Effect - Wikipedia

How often have you seen a news headline that looks something like this:  “Dow Plunges Triple Digits?” Makes for a great headline, but a better way of saying the same thing is, “Dow Ends Down 0.6%.” Not quite the same attention grabber, is it?

The Way Things WorkWhen I was a kid, we had a book in our house (well, we had LOTS of books, but this was one of them) entitled The Way Things Work, which was written and illustrated by David Macaulay. It's a magical book full of all kinds of crazy, hand-drawn pictures illustrating, well, the way things work. From augers to grand pianos to zoom lenses and just about everything in between.