You found me!  Welcome to my little corner of the web on MSN’s new Spaces blog feature.  This is an augmentation to my website, http://jfschroeder.com, which I’ve struggled with for years trying to determine purpose and whatnot.  I’ve simply found that it’s tough to keep a website up to date and relevant, and it’s not terribly dynamic.  Plus, I’ve been trying to figure out if the website is for my ideas, my history, my business, or whatever.  And despite what Microsoft might want you to believe, it’s not easy to add things like blogging, unarguably the hottest Internet communication technology out there, to a website using their own tools like FrontPage, which I use exclusively for web publishing.

I have strong opinions about many things, even though my wife thinks I simply believe what the latest critic has said about a subject.  As I’ve gotten older, I find that I don’t know nearly as much as I’d like to know, nor do I have the time to learn as much as I’d like, but my years and experiences have given me perspective to reason through things.

I’d probably best be described as a liberal, Democratic northern-born Episcopalian living in an arch-conservative state.  I am straight, married only once and for almost 19 years to my social conscience, Laura.  I have three beautiful children:  Alexander is 14, big for his age, smart and a gifted singer; Benjamin is 12, autistic, a handful, occasionally a joy, and also smart in his own ways; Bethany is 8 going on 18, social, pretty, smart, and also a singer.  Laura sings also!

I’ve watched my religious denomination and my political party get torn apart recently by nearly unresolvable issues like homosexuality and war.  Our president seems bent on destabilization of the Middle East in the name of preserving us from terrorism, while seeming to be blind to the incentive that his efforts give to increasing terrorism.  We are constantly being preached to about morality and values, frequently by people who have been married multiple times.

My family has experienced tremendous challenges, and has been helped by a wide variety of family, friends, church and even governmental generousity.  We understand the meaning of charity, and have been repeatedly humbled by people willing to give without expecting to receive.  We’ve lived without health insurance for years at a time, and have seen the devastation of lengthy unemployment and disability first-hand.  Our kids challenge our time and the meager resources of our educational system, particularly in special education.

I’ll expand on much of this in future posts.  Thanks for stopping by!