Because life is a series of edits

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

You Know You’re in Amish Country When…

In Places, Thought on June 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Win a Buggy!

Maybe I'm more Amish than I think, as I would so take the buggy over a trip to Disney.

In Apple Creek, Ohio, for our fifth Biblical Imagination conference, this one here:

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Follow me on Twitter for conference quotables from Mike Card over the next day-and-a-half, or visit the site for details as to where and when we're going next.

Biblical Imagination Set

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Bass Pro Meets the Rookies

In Nature, Oklahoma City, Places, Young Ones on June 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Shotgun Nam

This picture cracks me up. Seeing my girls so intently "shoot" guns at Bass Pro makes me wonder if Oklahoma has already changed us in just ten days (into what, I'm not sure I want to know). More vividly (at least to me), watching them awkwardly aim at targets posted all over the display felt oddly familiar: this is what I've been doing as Head of School as well. The difference? The girls' targets don't move; mine do.

Conquering Campers

A Primer on Conferencing

In Books, Calling, Church, Education, Places, Thought, Veritas on June 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm

  Repairing the Ruins

I'm here in Atlanta with 944 other folks for the 17th annual Association of Classical and Christian Schools conference. It's quite a gathering, with some neat folks from all over the country in attendance, and I'm grateful for the chance to join them.

The schedule is pretty straightforward: morning plenary, two morning workshops, afternoon plenary, two afternoon workshops. Evenings are free to process or collapse, depending on your temperament. The stage is sparse and the visuals non-existent (two critiques I have of a conference with a workshop titled "The Imperative of Beauty and the Aesthetic Call"), but the facility is terrific, the content is great, and there's always plenty of people to watch and wonder about (like the guy who is the spitting image of Richard Dreyfuss as a young Glenn Holland in the film, Mr. Holland's Opus – weird).

Because I used to periodically attend conferences when I was with The Navigators (not to mention design and run them at Glen Eyrie), I've developed my own set of conference-going habits for taking part in these kinds of gatherings. Granted, this event is more professional than personal, but some guidelines still apply. For instance:

  • With regard to speaker notes, I don't bother filling in blanks or capturing every point speakers make; instead, I listen for quotables that strike me and capture them on paper or online, as those are what I'm more apt to remember and want to revisit (to follow my quotable tweets from this conference, go to Veritas' Twitter page).
  • Because conference-attending is a huge commitment not only of money but of time, I give myself permission to work on other tasks while listening. This doesn't work for everybody, but I'm primarily an auditory learner, so the plenary pedagogy works well enough for me (plus, I get some things done, and there's a lot of those things to do now that I'm one week into the role).
  • I also give myself permission to skip sessions I'm not interested in, switch workshops from ones that aren't well-prepared to others that are, and take needed naps to stay fresh because, let's face it, most conferences are overprogrammed with little time built in to process and play around with ideas otherwise.
  • I always try to identify 3-4 people – presenters, fellow conferees, people who just look interesting, etc. – with whom I can schedule individual meals and breaks before, during, and after sessions. While there are a couple of moderated group lunch discussions I plan to attend with an eye to content, I don't find those nearly as engaging as sitting down with someone eyeball-to-eyeball to ask questions, to listen, and to try to learn something specific.
  • Rarely do I stop and visit the vendor booths unless 1) there's something very, very specific I'm interested in, and 2) the vendors aren't there (this is the best time to pick up free promotional material without having to endure the spiels). Yes, I know this seems both non-curious and cruel, but they're getting their material into my hands…I'm just controlling the delivery system a bit.
  • Finally, I pray for Megan and the girls and keep in touch so they know that just because I'm away doesn't mean they're forgotten. I know from experience how hard it can be on a spouse holding down the fort while the other is traveling, enjoying some schedule autonomy, and experiencing new intellectual stimulation. This is probably why Megan and I talked tonight about her attending the ACCS conference in Dallas with me next June.

I thought about listing the sessions and workshops I'm planning to attend, but it might be more interesting to give you an idea of how weird (but wonderful) a world this whole classical Christian education is by listing a few of the more intriguing workshop titles:

  • Terque Quarterque Beati: Unpacking Virgil's Tripartite Soul
  • Everybody's Reading Boni Libri
  • Bring It (Don't Dumb It) Down: How to Teach a 12-Year-Old a Classic
  • I See Dead Lines: Cultivating Students' Sixth Sense Through Poetry
  • Progymnasmata in the Classroom

To quote presenter Douglas Wilson: "Books are the original distance-learning packets, but the Bible assumes true education within a godly community of others."

It's good to be here talking about Christian ideas from the classic books, and doing so in the context of others. Perhaps the greatest benefit of a classical Christian education can be summed up in this realization: I have much to learn.

And I do.

So This Is Oklahoma?

In Calling, Family, Friends, Oklahoma City, Places, Young Ones on June 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Lake Hefner

Believe it or not, yes, it is. The flying bird/bat things? Parachute surfers on Lake Hefner, which is approximately two miles from our house here in Oklahoma City. Weird, eh? It's like California (minus the light sand and snowballing state government deficit).

Non-surprises: Highway 44 (previously the formerly famous Route 66) is not nearly as romantic when you've been on it for six hours (the trip takes a good eight from St. Louis); we should have rented a semi-truck instead of Budget's 24-footer (thanks to everyone back in the STL who helped Megan load up our second round of stuff on Friday); and, while the house is a wreck, it really is going to be a great place for all of us to call home (especially when we finally get to close on the silly thing on Monday).

We had some good help get us set up last Tuesday. Thanks to Becky, Josh, Brent, and Ruth (among others) for lending a hand.

Craig and Keith

A prayer request: Keith (pictured with me above) is a men's minister with First Stone Ministries. He and his wife, Lisa, are the folks we're buying the house from and they have been nothing but a pleasure to work with through the process. Unfortunately, their attempt to purchase a home in Norman has been far from enjoyable due to a contrary seller. As a result (and because we're here now), they're displaced and hoping not to have to double-move their stuff (they also are trying to find new homes for Boomer and Lloyd – their dog and cat – for whom our own Peaches is currently providing hospitality.) Anyway, if you think of it, pray for their deal to work out and that all would be well for them.

So, we're here and glad to be so. I'll have more pics and posts to come; until then, suffice it to say that after our twelfth move in 14 years of marriage, it's good to be home (again).

Make Us an Offer We Can’t Refuse

In Places & Spaces on June 1, 2011 at 7:57 am

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We're yard-saling today. We did this last year, too. The culture is, well, fascinating.