For Posterity's Sake

I cleaned out my file cabinet yesterday. Amazingly enough, it was a difficult chore because of the confusion concerning what stays and what goes. Throwing out old clothes is pretty straightforward, but cleaning out documents?

In today's technological society, how will we be remembered? Not long ago, people didn't have much and treasured their documents as proof of existence. What family researcher doesn't thrill to find an old receipt or grade report of their ancestors? These things are needed as our autobiography, to prove we once were. Today, photos, documents, and communication can easily be lost when a computer crashes or when the new technology soon replaces last year's model. Do we value these items less today? Do we feel less need to validate our lives? Are we caught up in technological advances?

In a research methods class last year, the archivist at the university library talked about the loss of documentation in today's culture. When a person needs to research Beethoven, etc., there are letters and documents a plenty. But with today's technology, communication is emailed and then deleted, leaving the contemporary researcher with nothing to find.

So how will I remembered? Do I need to save my all grade reports and research papers so one day my grandkids will find it? What about my sermon notes and thank you letters? What about all those receipts and bank statements?

Maybe someday I'll make an enormous book that captures brief moments in my history. It will my autobiographical legacy. For whomever will need to read it.


Welcome Home MEGAN

I'm off to see my sister
The most wonderful sister of all
Because because because BECAUSE

Because she's coming home from China. That's why.


Hard Words to Say

Learning to play piano at seven has its advantages. And its disadvantages. One of those being having to pronounce difficult words that your teacher makes you learn. Adagio. Legato. Andante. And today it was "staccato."

Me: A staccato is a little dot and when you see it, you play the note like a pop. Pop, pop like popcorn. Say it. Sta
Nathan, 7: Sta
Me: Ca
Nathan: Ca
Me: To
Nathan: To
Me: Sta-cca-to
Nathan: Ska-ta-co
Me: No, sta-cca-to
Nathan: SKA TA CO

Ha,ha. Italian music terms with a Latin twist.


Closing camp thoughts

Don't worry. This is the last camp related post, I promise. In my defense, it was ALL I did this week...

...Nothing boosts morale like having a mom come up to you to say her daughter was thrilled about what she learned in theory class. In her words, "Thrilled and theory seem like an oxymoron to me, but she was."

...Nothing ruins that morale like having one student in desparate tears after he takes his final test. "I didn't understand anything all week long!" Wipes eyes. "I just made lucky guesses!!" More tears. And he waited until 10:00 this morning to tell me this... great. Why do 14 year olds have to be such perfectionists?

..."This is the cool class with the cool redhead teachers." From Opera History with three redhead counselors as teachers.

...Student shakes my hand. "Thank you Miss Koons, I actually learned something."

It was a good week...


Sonata 'n' Scandal

My speeding ticket has been one-upped by new scandal shakedown at piano camp. Yes. The problems that arise from leaving highschoolers unattended.

Apparently a group of campers thought it would be a great idea to play a game of cards. Nothing wrong with that... unless of course it's after curfew and the game is held outside. And after curfew, the only way outside is through the dorm windows (can't play in the halls, might get caught). What, getting caught climbing out windows by the Butler police is a better idea? Not so much. So 12 campers were evicted from staying overnight in the dorms. Bright minds lack much common sense. Unfortunately, one of the families decided to host the majority of the offenders, and somehow a big sleepover doesn't sound like punishment to me. The kids haven't gotten the hint yet because they mostly think it's funny (which it's not) and keep talking about it hoping to get a laugh out of us counselors (and trust me we're not laughing).

The worst part about this silliness is that the group of kids is the same as the group who get together for Bible study at camp. Jokes have been flying among the teachers about the "12 Disciples." Some of the teachers were talking about it over lunch today and I heard the comment, "And they're supposed to be good Christian people!" It surprised me to realize how much age doesn't matter in your witness before the world. Here is a bunch of goofy, immature teens acting like any other goofy, immature teen, but because of a claim they've made to Christianity, the standard is automatically raised. It surprised me to realize how much these adults are watching them to see whether their actions validate their claims.

So if you're a teen and you're reading this, learn by example. We have no idea who is watching us and what sort of opinions they're forming about our faith based upon our behavior. Just because you're young doesn't mean that you aren't influencing people in their opinion of Christ. This has been sobering to me because so often I forget that as a Christian, I'm being watched too. And I'm supposed to be the "adult"...

I feel badly for these kids because I know they didn't mean to be foolish. I just wish they could hear what people are saying and realize that actions do indeed have far-reaching, even eternal, consequences.


Piano Camp

This week I'm teaching at Butler's piano camp. It's quite the hothouse for emerging young divas. Oh wait, actually that was the ICC Choral Festival last week... sorry.

This is my third piano camp to work. They're really fun because now some of the elementary kids are moving up to the junior high/highschool age. I've gotten to know some of them and interaction is always fun.

I made history books last year for getting a speeding ticket while transporting young pianists to and from downtown for a performance. Apparently no one forgot...

"Aren't you the one who got the speeding ticket last year?"
"Uhh, yeah. That'd be me."
"What'd you do about it?"
"Umm, paid it like a good normal citizen."
"Wasn't it like $400?"
"$400!?! Are you crazy?"
"I went home and told all my friends about it."

Great. I always wanted to be popular but getting there via reckless driving through construction zones wasn't the prefered route. Being infamous is better than nothing, I guess.

So this week is a full one. Camp is occupying my day 9a-9p. But it's a fun experience and something I really enjoy.

Oh. And a 15 year old is trying desperately hard to flirt with me. Ah, young egos.


What's up with...

...carrying a dog around instead of a purse. Where's the animal rights activists? Shouldn't they be up in arms about this manipulation to condemn animals to mere human accessories? Ha ha, that reminds me of a quote from Steel Magnolias.

...annoying customers who demand enormous attention, ask questions over their bickering children, spend tons of money, drive a sparkling new SUV... and have a fish symbol on the back door.

...full pump heels and mini shorts. In whose world is that a good idea? Or even an attractive one?


The Book of Family Life

Chapter 54: Baby Sleuth Finds Proof that Cousin Cole Has an Eye too

Chapter 55: In Which Meredith "Phones Home"

Chapter 56: Cousin Ryan Desires Neither Peace nor Victory...What Is He Doing?

Chapter 57: In Which a Merry Heart is Better than Medicine

Quick thoughts...

...because I'm short on time.

...Last night I went to see The DaVinci Code with some members of the Westside church and we ended at our house for a discussion. I hadn't read the book before and now I'm sorry I didn't because after viewing the film, I think it pretty unlikely that I would now. I'm glad I saw it for the purposes of cultural education but it was much worse than I was expecting. I was completely unprepared for the blatant blasphemy and the feminist themes. It was a success though to watch a movie in a group with discussion following. I hope we do more of that. It was especially good to hear Michael's take on it. Artistically, the movie flunked! Audrey Tautou, who in all her other films is outstanding, was very disappointing here. As was the directing, music, Tom Hanks, etc, etc. Hopefully the absurdity of the film will negate any influence it might have had.

...The family celebrated Colin's successful completion of his LSAT on Monday by having dinner at Rick's Boatyard. I ate half a duck. No joke. It's still quacking in my stomach.

...Today at work, I told one of my favs how wonderful I thought she was. She goes, "Everyone deserves to have a Shannon in their life." I thought that was so sweet and it completely made my day.

...Oh yeah. And my mom backed into my car. Much amusement all around.


On Being Hospitable

Since moving home again, I've been thinking a lot about hospitality. Hospitality is something very close to my heart and what I want to do, but now that I'm without my own kitchen and living room, it makes practice a little more difficult. I know that I'm always welcome to still host at home, but it's not the same thing. Being in school also makes it difficult because of the limited opportunities in my schedule. I was able to have people over some last year, but never like I had hoped.

So how else can I be hospitable? I was thinking about how hospitality is more than just a cup of tea. Can it also be a "character quality"? Can you practice hospitality even just by your actions and demeanor? Perhaps for those of us who have no true place of our own, we can still practice hospitality by our attitudes and interactions with others. A hospitable person is warm, open and friendly, regardless of location. If hospitality is about sharing something, we can still share our hearts and lives, in the classroom or coffee shop.

Another place I've been thinking about being more hospitable is in my teaching. For one half hour, the practice room is my place where I meet with someone one-on-one. Even if I don't own it, I do have some control over the attitudes that are developed within it. More importantly I can influence the opinions assumed about the love of God based upon the time spent in that practice room. What can I do to make the gross, ugly colored walls of BU practice rooms more hospitable? What can I do to make my teaching more hospitable?

Yes, hospitality is more than eating and sitting. It is a way of living life.


It's well worth $8.50!

What: The Lost City
Where: Keystone Art Cinema
Who: Andy Garcia, Bill Murray, Ines Sastre, and many other beautiful people (no joke).

Read what World's Andrew Coffin had to say about it.

Watch the trailer.

Go and be captivated. Especially by the music.


My Achy Breaky [Lower Back]

The remainder of my personal possessions have been transported home from the apartment (minus the big furniture). I have been carting books, pots and pans, and other random things to and fro all day... hence the reason my back is slightly unforgiving. Oh what a day. Not only am I tired from the heavy duty work, but emotionally tired as my catastrophic grad school year #1 comes to an end. Mucho thanks to Mom for all her help! And to Baby M, who kept us entertained with her "oooohs" as she thoroughly enjoyed removing just-packed books from their boxes.

Words from the wise:
1. If someone lets you use a kitchen item, pots and pans in particular, don't return it with enormous amounts of burnt food and grease still visible. Cleaning it takes three hours of scrubbing and lots of Bar Keeper's Friend.

2. Always double-check the safety of that "breakables" box. Or else you might end up short one really cool teapot and a souvenir from that trip to Germany.

3. Flee from all apartment endeavors that smell of cigarette smoke, yappy dogs, and saran wrapped windows.

4. Sometimes you just have to chalk mishaps up to "life-experiences" and call it a day. As long as you're doing what's right and have no regrets, you'll always find growth and emerge the better, wiser person. At least that's the plan. You'll also find that perfection isn't always attainable or desirable.


Quotidian Notation...

I'm really super excited. An immersion blender has been on my wish list for ages and I found one today! A friend and I had lunch up at Clay Terrace and while we were browsing the shops I came across one on clearance. Discounted because it's missing a part, but who needs the add-on processor bowl anyway? What's an immersion blender, you ask? It's a cutter-upper on a stick and you put it in a pot to blend creamy soups, especially. Anyone who has tried the pot-to-blender-and-back-again would appreciate this no mess approach. Yummy! I can already taste pumpkin soup for fall.
Head over Heels
Meredith is officially my favorite person in the world right now. (Apologies to whomever she bumped out of first place.) We were playing this morning before her morning nap. She didn't fuss at all, but she was so tired and she desperately wanted to keep playing. She'd collapse and fall all over her toys, lay her head down, then try again. Twas a fine line between precious and hilarious. Finally she gave up and went to bed. Awwww.
Random Thought
Where does one draw the line between using art to express feeling or emotion, and turning to art to fill an introspective need instead of meditating on scripture? Do we turn to poetic song lyrics to "speak to the soul" more often than a scripture verse to let God speak to our soul? How much is too much?



Creation Regained
by Albert Wolters

This book was recently decided to be the reading assignment for the Veritas leadership team, otherwise I probably wouldn't have come into contact with it. After reading it, I'm still undecided about how well I like it. I think part of my deliberation is I can't quite figure out the intended audience. It's labeled as a "Reformational Worldview," but I'm not sure if it's for reformed believers or for those who are contemplating reformation. Not a lot of background is given for the use of "reformation," but then, if you were fully reformed already, this book would seem redundant.

The book is a bit technical and I really had to read it with pencil in hand to try to absorb it. It is deceptive: only 143 pages, but it's writing style is compact. The author dissects his keywords into very detailed explanations of definitions and intended usage, which is good, just ... technical.

Wolters makes some good points, though, especially in regard to the abolition of a worldview that is divided in two: secular versus sacred. He does give a good basis for how worldview should be reformed as he walks the worldview process through creation, fall, and redemption. If you didn't understand how worldview and the Bible really fit together (some people limit "worldview" to a cultural idea), he does a good job of making that clear.

While the book is theological, it also attempts to be very practical. It really calls for a lifestyle of worldviewness. Wolters makes a clear case for the all-encompassing aspect of worldview and how it can be applied to every part of our lives.



Feeling Mellow

...A drive through the country. Night time. Windows down. Breeze. Fields full of fireflies. Smelling the honeysuckle. Lost in thoughts and melody...

Looking for something I've never seen
Alone and I'm in between
The place that I'm from and the place that I'm in
A city I never been
I found a friend or should I say a foe
Said there's a few things you should know
We don't want you to see we come and we go
Here today, gone tomorrow

We're only taking turns
Holding this world
It's how it's always been
When you're older you will understand


A First For Me

I caught my first cold from a baby. Amy had it. Meredith had it. Now I have it. It was probably practicing rolling her tongue and blowing in my face that did the trick, but who's counting. :) Not wanting to spread it around, I called in sick to work. My conversation with my ever-socially adept boss went something like this:

Me: Hi I'm calling in to say I'm sick
Manager: What time to do you work?
Me: 12-6
Manager: Oh great. *CLICK*

Yes. Without further ado, she hung up on me. Her proficiency in the English language never ceases to amaze me. Meanwhile, pass me the orange juice.