Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Longest Blog Post Yet . . . Everything but the Kitchen Sink

This has been a pretty crazy week, so blog posts have been a bit on the thin side. Sorry. Monday and Tuesday were fairly light days for me but were very heavy for Jordan and Phillip because they had the final practices for the school musical Annie. Jordan is working lights for the play and Phillip is doing sound and their practices went until about 10 PM. Thursday was the premier matinee, followed by a performance last night and then tonight we plan to go see the final show.

Wednesday started with a trip to Indianapolis for me for the spring IACAC meeting. IACAC . . . sounds like some medicine you might take for an upset stomach. Anyway, it's really the Indiana Association for College Admission Counseling, our state's version of NACAC. I couldn't really afford the time out of the office but I wanted to be there to get to know some more people since I'm so new to this territory. At the business meeting, Terry Knaus--from Indiana U's admissions office and past president of the organization--introduced me to everyone as a nominee for the presidency of NACAC. He did a really nice job with that and it was nice to get to talk with some of the people afterwards.

As soon as I got back to Fort Wayne on Wednesday, I headed to Come2Go Ministries near TUFW's campus. We had signed on as sponsors of a national gospel concert tour stop at C2G and so I was going to man a table there with TUFW literature. I arrived and Quincy McGhee, one of the ministry directors and a part-time student at TUFW, greeted me by saying, "Come to my office and I'll tell you what's going on." A red flag should have gone up at that point for me. Quincy showed me an e-mail he had just received on his phone from the tour organizer, literally less than an hour earlier, saying that he was cancelling the entire tour, including that night's performances. Quincy was fit to be tied but he was proactive and pulled together some folks and they were going to go ahead with an impromptu praise and worship concert using performers from the area.

I went ahead and set up our table and I'm glad I did. Three or four hundred folks showed up and I got to have a few good conversations with several. As we're continuing to build relationships within the African American community of Fort Wayne, it's important simply for us to be "present." I think one of the most enjoyable and sometimes challenging aspects of being at TUFW is the opportunity to be in a more diverse environment than I've experienced since my first years of school in Oakland, California.

The highlight of my Wednesday was a phone call from Roy Danielian. I've known Roy since my freshman year of college and he's been in admissions at Grace College for the last eight years, as well as coaching men's soccer there. About a month ago, he let me know that he was in the job market. Coincidentally, TUFW had both a couple of jobs open in our admissions office and a need for a men's soccer coach, so we talked several times and he decided to interview with us. Well, he called as I drove back from Indy to say that he'll come on board as our Programs Manager (planning events for us) and head men's soccer coach. I am very excited to have him on our team!

Thursday was consumed primarily with preparing for a concert on campus featuring Ag Silver. That's "Aye Gee Silver," as in the periodical table. And, no, the name doesn't mean anything at all. TUFW's chancellor, Duane Kilty, and I have been talking since last summer about the desire to make our campus visit events more attractive, and I've been anxious to see us develop a more vibrant campus life. Bringing in Ag Silver was one step toward this.

Who are these guys? I didn't know either. I found out about them when my good friend from high school and college, Colleen Cowan, told me that her son was moving from Oregon to the Midwest to play pass for a band that was touring hard trying to make a name for itself. Aaron Cowan is second from the right in this photo. I checked Ag Silver out online, thought they sounded pretty good, made a few inquiries and decided to bring them in. You can check them out at

We had a good time . . . they have a nice concert with some good showmanship. They actually sound better live than on CD, which is unusual. Somewhere between 150 and 200 people came for the show, including about a dozen high schoolers who came to campus early for Friday's "Backstage Pass" campus visit event, and we would have had more if [a] a group of students hadn't been in New York City for a Management Department trip and [b] I'd had more time and energy to promote the concert to local churches. I felt like it was a successful evening, though . . . and by midnight they were out the door and I was on my way home.

Friday was the campus visit day and it was kind of hectic because we don't have a campus visit coordinator right now--Roy will fill that need when he gets started--and it was interesting to deal with all the little details that none of us have handled in the past, which means things fell through the cracks. But it was a good day and Clinton Faupel, the general manager of the new radio station did a great job in chapel, focusing on how we're often consuming things in the media that are at odds with the values we purport to hold.

Continuing the theme of a nonstop week, Friday evening was TUFW's Junior-Senior Banquet at Goeglein Homestead and we decided to go and then have an "after party" for everyone at our house. We didn't know if we should prepare for fifty or for five, but Jeannette put together snacks and cleaned the house and made sure a new net was on the ping pong table and waited for people to show up.

We ended up with about a dozen students at our house, which was fine. This was the first time that we've had TUFW students over but we really enjoyed having groups over when I worked at Asbury College, so we're hoping we can do this type of thing again. There was some ping pong and Wii, but a game of Scattergories was the main focus, and Jeannette's Italian cream sodas were a big hit. Now that we've done it once, it'll probably get easier to get students to the house.

Today, however, was THE day and MelodyJoy was in a pretty good mood despite getting to bed late last night . . .

Jeannette got up and worked hard making a very special cake for MelodyJoy's third birthday:

Around noon, our good friends the Clarks came over for lunch and a little birthday party. Lance brought his guitar in order to sing the "Barney Barney Birthday" song and he joined Phillip for an acoustic set of the Star Wars theme song . . .

Jordan tried his hand at barbecuing steaks on our new grill and Jeannette fixed some Mexican food and we used our new patio furniture since the weather was so nice today.

After the cake, we went inside so that Melody could open all the gifts that had tempted her for a week or two, starting with the Ladybug Game from Tianna and the rest of the Clarks . . .

Then there were also gifts from grandparents and aunts and uncles . . .

Jeannette got Melody a doctor's kit . . .

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