Wow, this semester has been a whirlwind and now here we are in the midst of final exams – piles of grading behind me, but more still looming before me. Some of my students have already gone home for the holidays, while others are still madly trying to finish their work. It’s been a rewarding semester in many ways, and I’m already looking forward to making plans for the next one.
One of the highlights from this fall was co-organizing the Mothering Mennonite Symposium on the Bethel College campus. Inspired by the book of essays on Mothering Mennonite that I edited with Kerry Fast, the symposium brought together writers, artists, professors, historians, social workers, church workers, stay-at-home mothers, and social activists, to dialogue about what it can mean to “mother” in a Mennonite context. The day was full of fantastic presentations and panel discussions, but perhaps the most rewarding part for me was witnessing the excited conversations that happened in the hallways, during breaks, and over lunch. The repeated questions was, “What’s next?” I had not anticipated that people would be so hungry for this kind of conversation. I do not know what is next on this front, but I am looking forward.
One other highlight from fall semester was having the opportunity to jury the Arts Council Exhibition for CityArts in Wichita. It always feels like a privilege when artists entrust someone with their work, offering it up for evaluation. I was reminded again what a strong arts community has developed around Wichita and I was thrilled to be able to award some cash prizes to deserving artists.