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Category Archives: Celebrations

Two Hero Day: Immortal MLK and Marcella

MLK Memorial Profile

MLK National Memorial. Image by Enviro on Flickr

You already know today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This day always makes me both proud and saddened. Proud that my country celebrates the life and impact of an all time hero of humanity. A man made larger than life as the courageous leader, symbol and martyr of a movement of love and justice. He was an architect, with so many others, of a new system being born while helping an old one into hospice. A person all of us can look up to and be thankful for, no matter what color or creed or culture we call our own today.

It also bubbles up emotions of dark and sadness thinking about the prejudices and hate that were real in Dr. King’s time, before him, and still today in too many ways. It always gets me reflecting on my own prejudices and blinders that are part of me and the way I see the world through the filter of my own worldview and mental models. And, I suppose that is the immortal nature of Dr. King’s message and life–to continually question and challenge my own ways of seeing and being with others in this world.

I had the privilege of meeting and spending some time with the Executive Architect of the recently opened Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial this past October. Dr. Ed Jackson came to Sioux Falls to give the opening keynote at a convention for South Dakota architects that I had organized. How he got there was interesting: I heard him as a guest of Melissa Block on NPR’s All Things Considered (listen to the interview here), defending a design decision that paraphrased a quote from Dr. King instead of carving it verbatim on the memorial’s granite. Something about his demeanor grabbed me, and I thought he might be able to share an architect’s perspective on honoring a national hero in a way that no one else could. So, I googled his name, found a phone number in Washington, DC, and dialed… And he answered! He was so gracious, and said yes to my proposal right there on the phone.

The fact that Dr. Jackson kept his commitment to speak at our little event was remarkable, since that following weekend was the Dedication Ceremony for the new memorial! I enjoyed spending a little time with Jackson, and even walked around Falls Park with him for 15 minutes on our way to the airport. The paraphrased quote issue hasn’t gone away, and in fact the feds have now required it to be changed, somehow. As Ed laid out in his keynote that October afternoon, the decision was not a quick or lite one. It came after consideration and consulting with historians, advisors and Dr. King’s family. His dedication to making this project real–a twenty-plus year effort–is very inspiring. And his bold design decisions are too. Thanks Ed, for influencing me and for building a new landmark to honor a true hero. Congratulations on a masterpiece. I so look forward to walking through the memorial grounds with you for a tour as soon as I get to DC.

Grandam Marcella at the kitchen table

Grandma with family at her birthday party last night

Marcella

You might not know that today is also Marcella Bartmann Day. It’s Grandma’s birthday, and there is no bigger hero in my life. It’s about time I let her know.

I think a big part of what makes someone a hero is the things they practice and what in their being is something you want to be. Probably no one outside her family or friends thinks of Grandma as a hero, but for those of us with her in our life, it’s no question. She’s one of those subtle, solid and grounded heroes. She’s a rock. I love you so much.

She Said it Without Words

Be quiet courage and strength, day after day after day.
Care for their messes of all kind,
prepare the food that gathers them,
lead by being love, not loud. 

Deepen faith, in god and each other.
Make it your constant practice.
And question it all with power and grace,
stand up to find real meaning in ideas and relationships. 

Live concrete in values,
and open yourself to what is different.
Seek out the meek and ragged,
hold them like they are yours. 

Be the glue for those you love,
and the conscience in the room.
Give selflessly so they may find joy or peace,
Make music of your sorrows.

Find pride in humility,
and rugged work.
Know the impossible isn't,
and the worst lives somewhere else.

Make these prayers of contentment and gratitude:
the dishes, the clothesline, the muddy floor.
Enjoy the art of staying put,
and believe in letting go.

Watch over the land and lives,
as a trusted steward and gardener.
Know that what nourishes is scarce,
what's beautiful is temporary,
and all is becoming something else.

Love.
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in activism, Celebrations, Family, Peace, poetry, Raves

 

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Gobble. Gobble.

We’re so thankful today. For life, love, and you.

And, take a few minutes to watch this video. Every moment, every breath, is a miracle. Be grateful.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Celebrations, Family, video

 

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Water for My Birthday and the Truth About Legacy

I turn 34 years old on Tuesday. Normally my birthday is no big deal, but this year, in honor of Rod Arnod‘s talk at OTA Sessions, I’m giving up my birthday in an effort to give clean drinking water to 34 people. Can you give $34 to charity:water for my birthday? Come on, help me hit my goal of $680!

Just click here to give, and to see all kinds of details about where your donation will go:

http://mycharitywater.org/joebart

 

The story of charity: water

I spent the day Friday at a remarkable conference called The OTA Sessions, put on by my friend Hugh Weber. Lindsey and I had fun helping 24 OTA-goers to turn a passionate idea they showed up with into a real project to launch. Also met all kinds of new friends from across the OTA states and the country. Just so happy to have had the opportunity to plug in the way we did. Thanks Hugh!

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One of the awesome speakers was Rod Arnold, a Watertown, South Dakota native who is the COO for charity:water in NYC. (The great news is Rod announced he and his family are moving back home to South Dakota soon!) He told and showed us in vivid pictures and video about the 1 billion people who drink dirty water because that’s all they’ve got. We’re talking muddy, bacteria and feces filled stuff here.

Even more powerfully though, Rod told us the tear-jerking, inspirational story of his two brothers Ryan and Chad. Chad needed a new liver, fast. And Ryan selflessly offered to donate 60% of his healthy liver to his brother. While at their family cabin in the Black Hills, Ryan and Chad got word that Ryan was a match, and they scheduled the surgery. Here is their story, as told by a Denver news channel:

Rod emotionally shared with us Friday many of the life lessons his brother Ryan gave to him. The most powerful of those for me: a legacy is not something you leave, it’s something you live. Thanks, Rod, for the best closing talk we could have asked for. And welcome home.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Celebrations, Raves

 

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Sweet Six

Happy Birthday baby doll.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2011 in Celebrations

 

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Christmas Hugs from Princess

Last week the whole Cleveland tribe surprised Grandpa Denny with a Thanksgiving trip to Branson, Missouri for his 60th birthday. We rented a house in the Ozarks, met the newest nephew (Cale), cooked lots of turkey, survived all-night shopping insanity, and hit a neat theme park in the wooded mountains called Silver Dollar City. An awesome adventure, even though we had kiddos in the van who thought it had been a long trip already by the time we drove past the Tea, SD exit on the way down (9 to 11 hours one way, depending on car sickness level).

At the famed Christmas Light Parade (held twice each night during the holiday season), Zoey made it big. The friendly Cinderella knock-off from the parade was really the main reason she showed up. When the parade princess reached down and gave Zoey a hug, it was like winning the Powerball.

Later, fully against Mommy’s wishes, Hope and I strapped into the Powder Keg–a screaming roller coaster through the woods in the dark. Scariest and most fun ride I’ve ever been on. Hope went for a second ride (this time with Aunt Jenna).

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2010 in Celebrations, Family, Kids, Vacation

 

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Big Blue Bike

We tricked her.

We’ve been bike shopping for Hope’s birthday the past month. I opted for one at the local bike shop with a better warranty and service, but Hope picked a Trek at the big box sports store. She really loved this one, and had her heart set on it. It was the last one in the store, so Jaim put it on hold for a day while we “decided.”

The next day when I got home from work, I broke the news to Hope that they didn’t have the bike at Scheel’s anymore. It was true, since the bike was now hidden in our garage.

A few more pics from the first 9th birthday party in our family. (This was Clevelands only, since Grandpa and Grandma B. are visiting the new twins in Colorado.)

Hope's new blue bike

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2010 in Celebrations

 

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Honor Flight

Vince Healy, Ralph Weber and Norman Wicks at the Air Force Memorial in Washington, DC this morning. Photo from http://twitpic.com/1pq7v8 by Keloland.com.

Grandpa Wicks boarded a plane bright and early this morning with more than one hundred other WWII veterans. It’s called “Honor Flight,” and this is the sixth one to leave South Dakota for Washington DC. It’s a neat way to honor the greatest generation before we lose them. We’re so proud of him for making the trip!

Read about SD Honor Flight 6 and watch videos on Keloland, or follow along on Twitter or Facebook.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2010 in Celebrations, Family

 

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