About this site:


This blog at its core is influenced by one of the strongest human desires…the quest for freedom.  The freedom simply to choose, to do, and to say what you think is right.  I admit I have been influenced by my upbringing, as I grew up in a rural county commonly referred to as “The Free State of Winston“.

This was an Alabama county whose citizens at the start of the Civil War desired to remain neutral and wanted the freedom for each to choose.  Since that time, people from the county have always been viewed as a bit different from their southern neighbors.  Harper Lee even comments on Winston County in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, speaking of Scout’s school teacher from Winston County:  “Miss Caroline printed her name on the blackboard and said, “This says I am Miss Caroline Fisher. I am from North Alabama, from Winston County.” The class murmured apprehensively, should she prove to harbor her share of the peculiarities indigenous to that region. (When Alabama seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861, Winston County seceded from Alabama, and every child in Maycomb County knew it.) North Alabama was full of Liquor Interests, Big Mules, steel companies, Republicans, professors, and other persons of no background.”

Maycomb County was a fictitious county in south Alabama but Winston County in north Alabama was real and we all knew exactly what Harper Lee meant.  The county’s unique legacy still lives within it’s sons and daughters and inspires me to choose freedom, even if that means being different.


The “Free State” Barn


Jim Peak

Jim Peak

Jim Peak grew up on a small farm in Winston County, Alabama (The Free State of Winston) with loving parents and a supportive family that shaped the direction of his moral compass. Taught the value of hard work, honesty, and the Golden Rule, Jim learned his earliest life lessons in the cotton fields and hay fields of their small family farm…the most valuable lesson being that all people deserve to be respected and valued.

After Jim earned a Civil Engineering degree at the University of Alabama, he began a long career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While with the Corps, Jim served in numerous roles and locations. Within his 40-year career with the Corps, Jim served in Mobile and Huntsville, Alabama; Panama City, Florida; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Las Cruces, New Mexico; Tokyo, Japan; Belvoir, Virginia; St. Paul, Minnesota; Mosul, Iraq; and Fargo, North Dakota.

Along the way, Jim also developed and honed his interest in the soft side of business. Fascinated by how people work together, organizational leadership, teambuilding, and personality preferences in relationships, Jim facilitated leadership classes for supervisors and teams. He became certified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Instrument (MBTI®) and in 2011 co-authored a book about the influence of personality type on the process of reintegration (Introduction to Type and Reintegration-A Framework for Managing the Transition Home, published by CPP, Inc.).

Jim retired from federal service in January 2015 but remains active in writing and interaction with others interested in personality type and its application to promote understanding.


One thought on “About this site:

  1. I might have told you this already, Miss Caroline was fashioned after her 2nd grade teacher, Miss Winifred Wood. My mother’s sister. Aunt Winifred or “Winnie” attended high school in Haleyville, AL, thus her connection to Winston County. There is a family photo of Aunt Winnie in a pink and white dress as described in To Kill A Mockingbird.


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