Tag Archives: Grandview University

A Weekend of Celebration

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The past couple of years it seems that celebrations come in bunches. Last summer we celebrated Madison’s graduation from NLSW on the same day that Wendy’s sister Becky got married. This past weekend was another double billing as Wendy and I celebrated my birthday and along with Taylor’s graduation (Summa Cum Laude, no less) from Grandview University.

Work before pleasure. I had a quarterly Board Meeting for work on Friday, so Wendy accompanied me and ran errands in Des Moines while I got through the Board Meeting. We ran a few more errands in the afternoon and did a little shopping in the later afternoon before meeting our friends Joel and Suzy for dinner at Noah’s .

Wendy and I had a room at the Savery which had a quiet little bar in the lobby. Taylor got off work at Mercy Hospital at 9:00 p.m. and joined us for a night cap. The three of us enjoyed conversation over drinks until after the place shut down at midnight. We’re so proud of our girl, and it was nice just to sit and chat for a few hours. Taylor headed home and we headed to our room.

I was hoping to go to the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturday, but we were a week early. The Market doesn’t start until May 4. So, we took our time getting going on Saturday morning and headed to the East Village. We’ve been working on a plan for updating Vander Well Manor, so we stopped and worked on some particulars with the folks at Builders Kitchen. We then enjoyed a gorgeous spring morning walking around the East Village. We had our first experience at Zombie Burger (which we loved) and then headed to Hy-Vee Hall to watch Taylor graduate.

Grandpa Dean, Grandma Jeanne, Wendy and I left the ceremony after seeing Taylor get her diploma. We avoided the crowds and stopped at Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up before heading over to Eric and Cindy Boeyinks’ for Taylor’s reception. We had a great time chatting with the Boeyink clan and eating some tasty treats. Wendy and I headed home to watch the Cub’s beat Miami and to call it an early night.

Tonight we continue a celebratory weekend on this amazingly, beautiful spring afternoon. We’re headed to Matthew’s for a turkey barbecue along with the VL’s. Wendy made me my favorite peanut butter chocolate chunk cheesecake for my birthday which we’ll enjoy after dinner! 🙂

Taylor’s Senior Show

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The buttons were bustin’ off of Wendy and me as we stopped by the campus of Grandview University to attend the senior art show for our daughter, Taylor. It was fun to join with Grandma Jeanne and our nephew Sam as we shared Taylor’s artwork along with the work of her fellow students.

Taylor’s work was obviously influenced by her experiences in Uganda and the work she and Clayton did with Child Voice International. Wendy and I were struck by the unpretentiousness of her pieces. On our drive home we also talked about Taylor’s willingness to embrace experimentation with different genres and artistic styles that might be foreign to her. Both of our daughters have experienced so much of the world and we like to think that their travels and experiences have allowed their hearts, minds and artistic expressions to be open to diversity in the ways they communicate themselves.

If you are in the area and have the opportunity to stop by, you should slip into the Rasmussen Center (SW corner of E 14th and Boyd in Des Moines) on the campus of Grandview University to see her work!

Art Heals

I have been watching with great interest as my daughter, Taylor, studies Art Therapy at Grandview University. She and her husband, Clayton, returned this past weekend from a summer spent in Gulu, Uganda where she applied Art Therapy techniques with children and adults who have lived through horrors and tragedies that most of us can scarce imagine. Taylor is learning first hand just how powerfully art heals.

For this reason, having finished my last post about Winston Churchill’s many losses and defeats, I want to share one more little known but critical piece to his story. While in the deepest pit of his life when his wife said “I thought he would die of grief,” Churchill discovered that art heals. Paul Johnson writes:

At this moment, providence intervened. By pure chance, his sister-in-law “Goonie” Churchill was painting in watercolor in the garden of Hoe Farm in Surrey, which they had rented jointly. Churchill: “I would like to do that.” She lent him her paints and soon, ambitious as always, he sent for oils and canvases. He loved it. The Scots-Irish master Sir John Lavery, a neighbor, took him in hand, and his dashing wife, Hazel, also a painter, gave him excellent advice. “Don’t hesitate. Dash straight at it. Pile on the paint. Have a go!” He did, with growing relish. He discovered, as other sensible people have done, that painting is not only the best of hobbies but a sure refuge in a time of trouble, for while you are painting you can think of nothing else. Soon misery began to retreat. his mind, his self-respect, his confidence were restored. (Churchill, Paul Johnson, Viking Press)

Painting continued to be a sure refuge for Churchill. He painted the rest of his life and produced a surprisingly impressive body of work.