My name is Jean Locicero Shankle. I am a teacher and a writer who is constantly fascinated by my subject – English – and by my high school students. I am also a team consultant at Aretao, www.aretao.com, a role that inspires and challenges me. In both of those roles, I rely on the inspiration of this picture. These petunias bloomed in the gravel beside my driveway in New Hampshire last summer. I immediately recognized their sturdy survival as a metaphor for so many ideas that fascinate me: beauty in hardship; success against the odds; perseverance that surprises; and the determination to live and be lovely. They are my muse.