Friday, August 22, 2014

My Unplugged Summer

     My last blog entry was my Mother’s Day post from May 10th. I have not posted anything related to the recent controversies to the Crescent Crier since the day before I visited the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board meeting on Tuesday, May 6th. In April, I tweeted that I would likely post something regarding what transpired at the April 14-15 meeting of the Board of Trustees at LC. I left that meeting early Tuesday (Tuesday is the day when we actually do the business of the school) when I realized what was being forced on the Board and from whence it came. I voted my conscience and left in protest. I learned a long time ago not to speak too quickly to an aggravating situation so that I might take time to correctly process the event, self check my motives and assemble a reasonable response. Thus, I have yet to address the unbelievable and deeply disturbing events of that day simply because I am at an impasse on what I should and should not publish. I do however have my own audio recording of that meeting and have transcribed it thoroughly so that when/if I do comment then my source material will be well documented. Furthermore, all the board action taken after I left is still very much a mystery to me. I have little-to-no specific information on how the search committee was selected (and I’m not even sure those in attendance would know since not a single motion to be voted on was handed out in written form so that we might best consider and have an appropriate debate on the merits of said motions), why, after two years and countless wasted hours and funds debating the issue, it was FINALLY agreed upon that it was time for the president to go (although I think I know exactly how and why that came about) and what was the discussion regarding the severance package (which some have called a golden parachute). Even if I did decide to publish some of the information I wouldn't have the most important bits of info from after my departure.

     After the events of the May LBC Executive Board meeting (which I intend to address in the next few weeks, having chosen to delay my remarks until nearer to the November convention) I decided to purposely unplug and spend the down time of summer focused on my family. This unplugging was not a total withdrawal from technology/social media but was a deliberate action on my part to disconnect from the events and disappointments related to LC and the LBC. I must say, I needed it more than I knew.

     The break was a wonderful albeit emotional time for us. First, we began the summer shutting down the “Adkins Academy for 3rd Grade Studies” since Canon was accepted to the Marrero Academy for Advanced Studies for the 14-15 school year (part of the Jefferson Parish Advanced Magnet Academy system). Then, Michelle found out that she would be moving from teaching 4th grade to 2nd grade (a move that was an answer to prayer for me). Thus, began the excitement of visiting “The Educator” for all new classroom decorations, books and supplies. Further, I found out that I was voted the “Volunteer of the Year” at Quint’s school, the Patrick F. Taylor Science and Technology Academy (this was legitimately the most humbling and meaningful honor I've ever received). Then it was off to Baltimore for the Southern Baptist Convention where I had a great time visiting with friends and where I once again served as a Teller for convention business. Finally came the most exciting part of the summer, our family’s once in a lifetime trip to Europe.

     We had been pinching pennies over the last 2 years in order to save up enough money to make it work. It was everything I hoped it would be. I had done a music mission trip tour of France back in 2002 (which was actually the catalyst that guided our move to NOLA) and hoped that one day Michelle and I could travel there together. Then, a couple of years ago, I took a study trip to England where I spent a short amount of time at Oxford and Cambridge for work on my PhD. Those travels caused me to want to take the fam to Europe, if ever possible. With Quint’s desire to one day go to Cambridge, I had hoped that taking him there would be a sort of inspiration for him. It was. For Canon, my hopes were far more practical. I wanted both my boys to see, process and appreciate other cultures and people groups. Specifically, I wanted Canon to see how big and different the world is… compared to the one he sees every day. On our trip home I asked Canon what he learned from our time in England and France. He responded, “that I’m not the only one in my world.” Indeed! The trip was great and if you follow me on Twitter (@_JayAdkins) you can see many of my pictures and comments from our trip.

     I decided that although we couldn't see all the things I had been privileged to see from my earlier trips, I wanted to really make our vacation time as special as I could so I decided on time in Paris, Oxford, Cambridge and London. We’d fly into Charles de Gaulle then back home from Heathrow. I spent a lot of my down time from the fall of 13 through the spring of 14 working on an itinerary for our trip. Actually, I worked on it, off and on, for over a year. Having visited those places before, I knew the things I wanted my family to experience and I knew approximately where I hoped to find accommodations. I planned travel times and modes of transportation while trying to group sights in geographical locations for ease of visit. Things worked out so well. The only thing that didn't go as we had hoped was our trip to Stonehenge. We had rented a car to drive from London to Oxford and I had planned a side trip to Stonehenge on that travel day. About half way there, while stopping to get gas, we found out that Stonehenge was closed to the public that day… it was Saturday, June 21st… the Summer Solstice. How I missed that, I do not know.

     A few of the highlights of the trip (for me) included Michelle and I placing our “lock” on the Pont des Arts bridge, climbing the Notre Dame tower with the boys, climbing the Arc de Triumphe, a family trip up in the Eiffel Tower, Rodin’s Museum (really, all the museums), Disneyland Paris, The Palace at Versailles, A day of relaxation sauntering around the base of the Eiffel Tower, having the perfect apartment location of our Paris excursions (if you ever make a trip to Paris and want an apartment then check out Habitat Parisien's offerings), the “chunnel” trip to London, walking Oxford and Cambridge with Quint, seeing Big Ben and the Peter Pan statue with Canon, the Portobello Road market in Notting Hill, feeding the birds on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral (sadly Mary wasn't there), the observation deck at the Shard, Speakers Corner with Quint and then, on our last day, the piece de resistance… the “Bond in Motion” exhibit at the London Film Museum which displayed all the vehicles from each of the Bond films (I’m a 007 nut… watched all the films… numerous times… its obnoxious really). It was a great trip, however during the same time there were some significant events happening back home that dampened a bit of the enjoyment of our trip.

     Our student pastor and his wife, Vinh and Michele Nguyen, were expecting their first child. They had a slight scare and made an emergency trip to the hospital only to be told the nerve-wracking news that there was indeed a problem and that little Alli was going to have to be delivered immediately… at 34 weeks. Complications were plentiful. It was hard to be so far away while our friends were dealing with that. Equally emotional, albeit positive, was the response I saw from our church family in supporting and caring for Nguyen’s during that difficult time. Then, to make matters worse, on June 26th my grandfather, the Reverend Caudle Adkins Jr., “graduated to Glory” (as he would say). I cannot express how hard it was to be so far away from our family during that time. Further, knowing I would not be able to make it back in time for (nor could they postpone) the service was almost unbearable. It was heart-wrenching for me. Thankfully, back in April, my dad brought my grandfather down to NOLA during one of his NOBTS trustee trips. What a special time that was. How providential and kind of God to give us that time together just months before he left our world. I had the privilege of pushing my grandfather’s wheelchair around the WWII museum (I've now been blessed to do with both of my grandfathers) and experienced the joy of listening in when the employees and other visitors would stop us and thank him for his service. I treasure that time and am thankful that God gave my boys those few more days with “Grumpa” eating at Parkway, telling jokes and hanging around the house. It was fun to watch him interact with the other old-timers at our local McDonald's and to see, when he handed my boys a surprisingly large amount of money, how it made him feel (which was clear by watching his reaction to their expressions). My favorite quotation from him during that trip happened while we were showing him around NOLA. As I drove down St. Charles toward the CBD he commented, “Man what a city! Ain’t nothin’ down here matches.” I’m just so thankful that God ordained that I would have the privilege to be in this family. The blessing of such a heritage is not lost on me. Even though I didn't get to see him very often over the last 12 years, just knowing he’s no longer sitting in that chair at 292 Gallaher Street in Huntington hurts my heart. It was quite a summer for the Adkins family.

     Now my attention turns. My final meeting as a member of the LC board is coming up in September (clearly, I am happy about this portion of my life coming to a close and I'm quite certain others are happy about that as well). With that said, I have a few more things to say on the subject and am already working on those blog posts. I will prepare and be ready for the Convention when it meets in November. There are some exciting things going on at church that I’m looking forward to seeing come about and one particularly unusual and exciting opportunity for me which I cannot say much about at this point. Suffice it to say, the fall is full. Most importantly, I must now reimmerse myself into PhD work. My academic career has taken a back seat while these other things have demanded my time. I am looking forward to the next year and its challenges and changes with heightened anticipation and overflowing joy.

     It’s time to plug back in… I hope we've got a surge protector somewhere.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

May God bless you and yours, and thank you for the strength you have shown in standing up to those who stand in the way of saving LC.

My name is James Patterson. Not the famous author, LOL. I am a Christian, and not a Calvinist either! For what that's worth. My son just started at LC. I want to help.

I look forward to your upcoming posts.