Friday, March 15, 2013

the half century mark

Today would have been Jim's 50th birthday.

When things first started getting bad, 5 and a half years ago, I nevertheless hoped he would make it to this birthday "on this side of the grass."

I continue to believe that he is watching over me, and us, from "beyond the stars."

Monday, July 2, 2012

'true heroes and unbelievable courage'

It seems fitting that now, the eve of the eve of Independence Day, I should be looking at a scrapbook dedicated to Jim's paternal grandfather's service in World War II, aboard a ship that missed by less than 24 hours the bombing of Pearl Harbor and saw duty at Midway and Guadalcanal.

Paul Long, then a 17-year-old sailor, was one of the few crew members to survive the sinking of the U.S.S. Astoria in the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942 in the Pacific Theater of WWII. He still had this journal when he died in 1999 at the age of 75.

My husband added in the front an explanatory page to his students when they were studying the war. He didn't have to; it was above and beyond his job description as computer media specialist at Victor Valley High School in Victorville, Calif. But it was like him; he always did far more than required. Especially when a group of students was studying WWII, or the Holocaust, or any other critical moment in human history, he always researched, tutored, even created websites for their benefit.

Of the purpose of this notebook, he writes toward the end of his handwritten note to them, "... the most important thing is that you use it as a tool to learn about true heroes and unbelievable courage."

I know that readers of this blog will agree with me that that sentence also describes Jim, whose 20th wedding anniversary with me would have been, should have been a month ago.

I wish you all peace, liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness and purpose.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I wish you peace and beauty, especially today

This would have been, should have been, Jim's 49th birthday.

May his goodness live on in all your hearts the way it does in mine every single day.

I can't think of anything more to say, so I'll just share one of his earliest and best photographs.

Friday, June 24, 2011

winner for this year at community college contest

In addition to sponsoring the winner of the $500 scholarship at the local high school, I also make a $100 award at the local college, where in the late 1990s Jim attended, worked, joined the honor society, earned his web-authoring certificate and won four awards in the annual writing contest. The award is to recognize the person considered as the single best author in that contest. Here is that winner's mini-auto-biography.

Born in Los Angeles, California, the first of eight children, Theresa Lopez grew up in a strong, traditional Catholic family. At age nineteen, she gave birth to her first daughter and then married her high school sweetheart two years later. After thirteen years of marriage, five children, and rigid religious expectations, Theresa Lopez decided to become more than an ordinary housewife and mother. She enrolled in classes at Victor Valley Community College not only to begin an educational career, but to begin a journey of self-discovery in psychology, philosophy, feminist study, art and freedom through writing. She will graduate from Victor Valley Community College with high honors this June (2011) and will transfer to The University of La Verne to continue her education in Psychology, Philosophy and Art.

Monday, June 13, 2011

essay from this year's scholarship winner

Miss Amanda Aguilar, with an unweighted grade point average of 3.8 and ranked 10th in her graduating class at Victor Valley High School in Victorville, Calif., was this year’s recipient of the annual Jim Long Communications Scholarship. It was handed out May 26, 2011, at the main auditorium of High Desert (Baptist) Church as part of the overall scholarship awards/baccalaureate ceremony for the seniors. Amanda also received the California Scholarship Federation Award, the Scholar Athlete of the Year Award, the Hope International University Presidential Scholarship, the Golden State Seal Merit Diploma and the United States Marine Corps Outstanding Athlete Award.

Below is the essay Amanda wrote and submitted, which persuaded the nominating committee to name her the winner. Please note that her career emphasis is on graphic arts, one of the many areas in which Jim excelled. I know Jim is proud to know that your donations in his name now will help a particularly worthy young lady to further succeed.

Communication skills are exceedingly important to help one survive in the workplace. Good communication skills can help one speak, write, read and listen better and effectively. In general, these abilities are needed in order to efficiently do and finish a job. Skills like this have helped me in many ways, including leading my volleyball team as the captain for the last three years.

I have been able to meet a number of new people and engage myself in activities that I might not have been able to, had I not had the proper verbal skills. Communication skills are amongst the most important skills someone needs in order to further a career because of the need to communicate with the people around you. The better my communication skills are, the less I will have to worry about too many errors or misunderstandings.

I have recently been accepted to Hope International University and I will be attending there in the fall. While attending HIU, I plan to major in business management and although money isn’t something that I have grown up around, I have always had to work for everything that I have. Things are not going to change now that I am going to be on my own. It is up to me to further educate myself in order to have a bright future with enough to provide for myself. My communication skills have allowed me to get to where I am today and the only way I will be able to fully succeed in college is if I continue to work on them.

The right communication skills can help me to perform my job well enough, take initiative when needed and lead a team of colleagues. I am the type of person who does not leave a project unfinished. I know how to take charge and accomplish something with a deadline, and qualities like this are needed in what I plan to major in. I would like to own my own small business one day that involves graphic design.

Graphic design is something that I enjoy and I would like to open my own business involving that field. Graphic design is a creative process that combines art and technology to communicate ideas. I have taken a graphic arts class at Victor Valley High School for two years now and thanks to the help of my teacher, Mr. Garcia, I have become very interested in the art. He has taught me everything that I know about graphic design and I believe that the skills that I have learned from him can help me to better educate myself in this field later in life. As a teacher, his communications skills are very important because he needs to be able to explain himself well enough to teach his students the material. He has showed me that it is necessary to have proper verbal skills in order to succeed.

I was inspired at a young age by a great teacher and I am hoping to give back to others one day as well. I intend to take speech classes in college to improve my communication skills to develop the appropriate techniques for job seeking. I am hoping to succeed in all the things that I apply myself to later in my life.

Donations of any amount are tax-deductible, accepted all year round and are most appreciated; anyone wishing to contribute can contact me here at their convenience on this “blog,” by email or by phone … Judy