2014 is rapidly slipping behind us. Its been a year of change, a year of some uncertainty, in many ways, a year we will look back on with mixed feelings.
One of many beautiful pieces coming from the shop
J and I have both seen the direction of our lives change this year. J’s maybe more than mine. In April, after a really bad season of winter driving, she left her job at the YMCA. It just wasn’t fun anymore and the pay didn’t cover the aggravation. She’s not one to sit quietly though. She had been taking some pottery classes from a local potter and her creative side was tickled. The workshop in our drive-in shed was commandeered and renovated, equipment and supplies purchased, and now there is a steady flow (trickle?) of wonderful pottery coming out of it (there are a few things going into the scrap bucket as well). She’s even had a few people wanting to buy what she makes, which wasn’t the intention at all.
While it may seem like we should call J’s year the Year of the Pot, we could also call it the Year of the Sock. She had been an avid knitter before, but this year it seems to have become a passion with 26 pairs of socks completed along with a number of sweaters, shawls and other pieces. Her hands are never idle.
I started the year with three hats to wear and ended it with only two.
In October, I graduated from the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary with a Master of Christian Studies to go along with the Master of Divinity I completed last year. For a while anyway I will no longer be able to call myself a student, at least in the “enrolled somewhere” sense.
Photo courtesy Annelies Numan
In February, after having been called by my local church, I was examined by my denomination and ordained as a Minister of the Word in the Christian Reformed Church. We had a wonderful ordination service and party afterward. I’m apparently a Reverend now, but I don’t really like the title and I feel no more reverend than I did before. My work at the church has been fulfilling. I’ve learned a lot. Since it is an interim position, I know I will be replaced; there is always a feeling of uncertainty about what the future will hold.
I also continue to work as a sheep and goat nutrition consultant. This work, for a number of reason has slowed somewhat this year but still manages to fill in the cracks with interesting work outside of the theological world.
The tamdem along the Natchez Trace Parkway
With all of these part-time things going on, J and I are able to enjoy a lot of flexibility in our lives. We need it because we love to travel. In February we went with our entire family to Nevada and Arizona. While Las Vegas was part of the trip, the highlight was the three days we spent at the Grand Canyon. In May J and I rode the entire Natchez Trace Parkway from Natchez Mississippi to Nashville Tennessee on our tandem. Later in the summer we did a three day trip in southern Ontario. We spent more nights in our trailer than we have any year in the past, catching long weekends and a full week in early September.
Of course, our litany of travel wouldn’t be complete without those trips to see our family. In August we made our last trip to Edmonton to see our daughter R defend her PhD thesis. They have since moved to Ottawa (we can drive there!!) where R is working at the University of Ottawa on a Post Doctoral Fellowship and JW is working for a company that makes software for accounting firms. Their son, D, will be getting used to going to a daycare in the new year.
In late November we traveled to San Francisco where our son, J, continues as a Software Engineer at Google, and his wife, L, is working as the producer of an independent film coming out in the new year. The sights and sounds of this city are always exciting. This year we had a new experience there, crabbing. It was cool, but we only caught a shoe and ended the day with a big feast of crab from the Whole Foods grocery store down the street.
J and M, still living in Toronto, are close enough to drive to for a visit. In June, little I was born, healthy and happy. By September J was enrolled and busy with classes as she starts working toward a Master in Information Science. M works as an engineer during the day, but is increasingly busy with independent engineering work in the evenings. He completed his real estate licence this year as well.
With only a few days left in the year we are looking forward to 2015. We know there will be uncertainty, but we already have some pretty major plans for the year (more on this later) and are looking forward to what God has in store for us.