Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Future is Here

Three and a half years ago, when Active Son turned 15, I expressed a few thoughts about his future manhood, recounting the wonder-filled and faith-demanding process as I experienced it then. I pressed on through the next three years with the aim of "looking at the present and seeing what it will become, by grace and good works"(Douglas Wilson, Future Men). God's grace. We both needed a lot of it and he generously provided.

Active Son, Senior Picture, Amman, Jordan, Spring 2010

As we prepared to leave Jordan for an extended time (six months) in the States, I had nary the moment to chronicle those last days of high school, that senior piano recital and reception filling our home with beautiful music and dear friends, that last Boys Scout Court of Honor, that last baseball game, so excellently pitched, and those last good byes to long loved people and places.

And now, the future is here.

And Active Son is on the move. Upon our arrival in the Idaho last June, both Dear Husband and I noted the increased twinkle in Active Son's blue eyes. He was ready for action, the action of moving on and moving out into the the world, to take the place that God was preparing for him.

With in a few days Active Son passed his Driving Learner's Permit exam and in another week, he was a licensed Idaho driver. Just in time as he had begun volunteering at two local hospitals first two, and then four days a week.

On our last evening together before Active Son moved to his dorm room at Boise State University, Dear Husband recalled Psalm 127, a favorite Psalm of our family's and one that Dear Husband had put to song when Active Son was very young:

Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.

In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves...

From his humble dorm room at Boise State, Active Son would begin to "build his house".

As as we said good-night that evening, Active Son produced cards he had written for each of us, cards full of gratitude and love. Dear Husband caught my eye and whispered, "Did you suggest he write these?" I had not. These were the conception of a thoughtful young man growing in godliness, kindness, and grace. Yes, the future is here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Making Beautiful Music Together

Oldest Daughter arrived home last night from a master class in the Czech Republic with just enough energy to give us hugs, eat some lentil-barley stew, pop a melatonin, and head for bed. But today I enjoyed looking at the pictures and hearing the stories with which Oldest Daughter enthusiastically regaled us. This was Oldest Daughter's second time to attend this master class, held in the beautiful Czech town of Litomysl.

All dress rehearsals and three of the public concerts which take place during the master class are held in Litomysl Castle, one of the most revered Renaissance castles in the Czech Republic, and birthplace of the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana.

Litomysl Castle

20 young musicians participating in the master class received private lessons and quartet coachings every day with four internationally renowned faculty (Milan Vitek, Oberlin Conservatory; Peter Slowik, Oberlin Coservatory; Niels Ullner, Carl Nielson Academy of Music, Odense, Denmark; Stephen Clapp, The Julliard School).

Oldest Daughter's Quartet

Smetana Quartet Performed in Smetana's Birthplace

Mr. Milan Vitek, Founder and Artisic Director of the Litomysl Master Class

Oldest daughter counted it a privilege and blessing to spend three weeks interacting with other young musicians, exchanging ideas, and submitting to an intense regime of practicing and rehearsals, resulting in the generation of musical and personal growth and many stimulating performances.

Performance of the Fiser Sonata, Litomysl Castle

Below is a spot on Czech news highlights the opening concert. (Most of it is in Czech, but English snipits of Oldest Daughter, Stephen Clapp, and a Danish cellist are all included.)

Litomysl International Strings Master Class, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

My inspired and ambitious summer reading plans got off to a slow start this summer and now that summer is nearly over I'm resigned to the fact that I manged to read only a few good books. It seems that transitioning a family of five to a temporary home for six months, graduating and preparing Active Son for college this fall, etc., etc., required much of my time and energy. By early July I had not completed a single title and desperate for a quick, interesting read and the satisfaction of finishing a book I took up this memoir, which is also the "first read" for Boise State University students this fall. Artist Son and Active Son have also read it.

In The Boy Who Harnessed Wind, young William Kamkwamba tells his story, the story of a young boy growing up in poverty and famine stricken Malawi who was deprived of many resources, including education; he had to drop out of school when his father couldn't pay his fees. Undeterred and with a driving desire to learn and help his family, he studied old physics texts on his own, experimented using cast off "junk", and eventually built a windmill that produced electricity for his family home. Villagers mocked him as he worked, remarking that he must be crazy, but after his homemade windmill produced electricity he became a local hero, was "discovered", and sent to school on scholarship. Later he was invited to speak at the global idea conference, TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) and now, he attends Dartmouth College.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind seems a great choice for a Boise State students' first read as William Kamkwamba's story reveals the value of an education which is gained from the motivation to learn and to help others. William Kamkwamba will speak at Boise State on August 26 and I plan to be in the audience and maybe I'll bring my book along to be signed.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Idaho Rocks

Last year, Artist Son began selling his unique artwork: Jordan fauna painted on rocks. This turned out to be a versatile niche so now that he has temporarily re-located to Idaho he has discovered that, when in Idaho, paint Idaho fauna on Idaho river rocks. He began with lizards, frogs, and dragonflies, and per the suggestion of a customer has added what has turned out to be his best selling rocks: butterflies.

Artist Son was accepted as a "Budding Artist" at the Boise Market, a local farmers and artisans' market held in downtown Boise every Saturday from 9:30am-1:30pm. If you are in Boise, Artist Son will be selling at market this Saturday for the last time this summer. After Saturday his rocks will be available by special order--he's already taken a couple Christmas orders!