Sunday, March 30, 2008

24 Good Hours

My Friday/Saturday was pretty full. It started when I drove to Butler University for a planning meeting for the Indiana Association for College Admission Counseling's annual conference next fall. After six years of being very involved in the Pacific Northwest association, it was a little strange to walk into a room and literally not know anyone by name. I didn't know what to expect. Fortunately, I was able to make a few contributions that were received pretty well, plus I left without having very much work to do for the committee. :-) I think I'll get to do my "personal mission" workshop at the fall conference (the one that I experimented with at the student leaders lunch on campus) so that is kind of cool.

When I got home, Jeannette, Jameson and I went to see National Treasure 2 at the dollar theater (er, the $1.75 theater on Fridays). Talk about a mindless movie! I honestly don't think that there was even one scene in the entire film that was plausible. In the end, I suppose that was good. If the movie on the whole had been believable and authentic, it would have been impossible to suspend disbelief when it came time for the crazy scene involving a city of gold hidden underneath Mount Rushmore. It made for a relaxing waste of 100 minutes.

We hurried home to catch NBC's Dateline at 9:00, which was a two-hour special on the story of Taylor students Whitney Cerak and Laura VanRyn. I wrote about the tragic accident and the subsequent mix-up that made national news two years ago here in the blog: Now the VanRyn and Cerak families have written a book about it all. Matt Lauer spent two hours retelling their story with news clips, photos and interviews with both families. It was amazing to hear them tell about their experiences, expressing authentic faith and compassion. They could not have represented the Lord any better than they did. What was even more amazing was how NBC respectfully handled the story and allowed the families to talk about their faith. I was very impressed with Matt Lauer. He not only allowed them to tell their stories the way they wanted to without any attempt to redirect or minimize their expressions of faith, he helped them tell the story he knew they wanted to share, by asking leading questions that brought out poignant anecdotes. Given the emotions that this story elicits and the publicity the family has received, including an appearance on Oprah next Wednesday, their book--Mistaken Identity--is sure to be a million-seller.

Saturday morning, I started off by ironing all my dress shirts. Okay, that's not a big deal but I did feel quite productive. After an 11:00 breakfast, Jeannette and I went on a shopping trip. We had three specific and, for us, big ticket targets: a table and chairs for our patio, a BBQ and a lawn mower. We haven't had any of these three items since moving from Oregon and I wasn't sure we could go through an entire summer borrowing Lance Clark's riding mower. Well, we had a very successful excursion. Without going into boring detail, we managed to figure out what we're looking for in a grill (we'll keep shopping awhile longer) and then we found a discontinued model Toro self-propelled mower for just $229, at least $60 less than any other mower we looked at seriously. It isn't as fancy as some of the others we saw but it has the over-sized rear wheels and front wheel drive, and it's a Toro. From there, we went to see a table and chairs that Jeannette found at Value City. They were very nice but right next to the set she liked, I spotted another set for $100 less and Jeannette ended up deciding she liked it even better! A table, six chairs and an umbrella for just $199. Not bad!

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