We leave for Zambia this Thursday morning. That is nutszos. We’re really ramping up preparations and it’s been a full week even without Zambia stuff.
On Thursday morning, I went down to Austin for CEDFA Summit VII. It’s a conference for Fine Arts Educators where the big push is integrating core subject content in to the Arts to help students be more successful on their TAKS tests. I presented a lesson in the “Middle School & High School Art + Math” track and it went really well. It was a brand new experience for me (I’d never even attended a conference like this, let alone been a presenter) so my nerves were really giving me a tough time. Finally, it was time to begin and after working through some technical difficulties, the first session went great. They laughed at my jokes (a good sign) and were receptive to the message I was delivering. I definitely breathed a huge sigh of relief after the first of the four sessions was over. That was Thursday night, the next three sessions were Friday morning and afternoon and those were productive as well. I feel pretty good about it. Based on the discussions we had in the classes and one-on-one conversations in the hall afterward, the majority of the teachers there felt like it was a good workshop and they have something solid they can take right in to their classroom. Several weeks ago, Shaun delivered the message at church for Children’s Ministry Sunday. Shaun is the Zone Director…basically, it’s the same job Laura has only a couple of age groups older. Anyway, he was the speaker on that particular Sunday (a very big deal) and he did an amazing job. I was so blown away that I went three times. Anyway, when I talked to him at the end of the day, he said it felt good and that it felt “complete.” Not finished and just happy to have it done and over with and behind him, but “complete.” Something about that description resonated with me and from that conversation on it’s what I’ve been hoping for with this CEDFA presentation. I am so glad to say that it, too, feels complete.
So, I drove home from Austin after the conference ended at 4 p.m. and Laura and I got right to work. But not on Zambia packing. Oh no. That would make too much sense! We needed to get started on getting the house ready to host a going-away party for Josh & Susan Robinson. This is absolutely the definition of bitter-sweet. The Robinsons have been amazing friends to us in the two-and-a-half years that we’ve known them. They were one of the very first people we became friends with when we moved down here. We were in a small group Bible study together…accountability partners…Laura was in the room when their daughter Kyla was born…awesome Polyphonic Spree concerts together…”Lost” marathons…Art festivals…camping…some great memories. And recently, Josh was offered what is essentially his dream job in Atlanta and they’re moving very quickly. The only time possible to have the party was Saturday and so it just had to be done and it was a stinking blast! When we get time, we’ll put up pictures of Josh breaking the pinata in the backyard. It was the most rigged up pinata busting I’ve ever seen. It’s fortunate that nobody was injured. Let’s just say it involved a rake and broken laundry line and we’ll leave it there. We’re so happy for them because their family is in Atlanta and it’s a great opportunity for Josh, but we’re going to miss them horribly.
But now, we’re in full Zambia mode and Laura is spearheading the effort. I tell her all the time that if she weren’t an amazing pre-school ministry director she could easily be some high-powered event planner. She is so good at keeping tabs on a dozen different things in her head and I have to ask about them five times in as many minutes. She’s incredible.
Also, I need to update the movies, books and music in the left bar. But, I’m not going to get around to that for a while. So, let me just say that I’m reading “Life is a Miracle” by Wendell Berry and “All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren. The new Tool album is wonderful, so is Ben Harper’s and would somebody please let me know what is up with Panic! At the Disco and am I a loser for not seeing what the big deal is? But, I should probably lay off because I said the same thing about the White Stripes and have come around to them. Especially the more “mountain music” tracks on “Get Behind Me Satan.” Also, I’m like three years late on this one but I’ve probably listened to “Yeah” by Usher forty-eight times in the past three days. “One Moment More” by Mindy Smith is also in heavy rotation on the Rhea iPod, as is Mos Def’s “I Against I”.
Good Night and Good Luck.