I know, I know ... it's been almost two months since I updated our blog and we have lost about 90% of our audience. I talked to a friend tonight who mentioned that he still checks it out occasionally to see if I've written anything. Knowing that at least one person still believes in me was enough motivation to prompt another posting. Lest you think that absolutely nothing has been happening in Virginia since April 3, I will fill you in on all of our happenings.
We started our summer by going to Texas for 10 days. We got to spend time with Gina's parents, my parents (who happened to be there at the same time), Gina's brother and his family, all of our grandparents and some friends. It was a nice trip and a great way to end a very hectic school year. Which reminds me: we both successfully completed our first year of Ph.D. work. Yeah!
Gina has been very busy this summer working on a research proposal. She had to complete a literature review, as well as figure out her research questions and all that goes along with that. The proposal was actually turned in today, and now she just has to wait and see if there are any revisions to be made. This kind of work is never really "done," but the goal is to get it done enough to move on to the next step in the process. I think she met that goal and surpassed it, as she always puts a lot of thought and effort into her work.
I have been a busy bee this summer. I currently am wearing 3 different hats. The first hat is that of a public speaking instructor at the local community college, where I am teaching two sections. This has brought back a lot of memories from my days at CSU, where I spent a lot of time chastising young college folk for not giving enough eye contact and neglecting to cite their sources in the speech. I even get to use my old friend, the Lucas text! My second hat is that of an on-line instructor for Casper College. This is my first experience teaching an on-line class, and I can't say I'm sold on distance education. The students seem to be pretty good, and the subject matter is fairly interesting, but the course always kind of hangs over my head. Every hour could be spent checking out the discussion board or reading their blogs, and there is never a stopping point. As soon as one week is ending the next one is just getting revved up.
My third hat is the most exciting to tell you about. In order to do so, I need to step back a few years. As many of you know, I had big plans when I went to graduate school to become a hot-shot corporate trainer. Where I got this idea I can't even remember, but I remember leaving a perfectly good teaching job to attend graduate school just so I could help technical support personnel learn how to be more polite to irate customers. Or something like that. Well, I loved graduate school, got a Master's degree and found myself unable to even get an interview for the kind of job I was seeking. This led to frustration, which eventually turned to desperation, and one day I found myself signing a contract to teach public school again, the very profession I believed I was destined NOT to have. However, this cloud had a very bright lining in the form of high school coaching. I got to coach cross country with a stellar mentor coach, as well as boys' soccer, where we won two state championships in a row. Yet the call for more schooling wouldn't subside. With the encouragement of my wife, we decided to both return for our doctorates. And that is where I am today. I am training teachers how to improve their teaching through the use of technology. God knew what was happening all along, even when I had no clue and was perfectly content to pout. He knew that 4 years of teaching wasn't enough, so He gave me 4 more years of experience. He knew teaching elementary school wasn't enough, so He let me spend 4 years working with high school students. He knew that I would end up speaking to large groups of people, so He helped me get a Master's in communication. The most humbling part of this whole story is admitting how awfully pathetic my faith is. There were times I was convinced I was just settling for something I didn't really want, when all along God was setting the table for bigger and better things. So, it seems I am doing what I set out to do 7 years ago, but in a way I could never have predicted.
Another exciting development is that Gina and I have new neighbors. They are twins from Fairfax County, Virginia, and they will be attending UVA in the fall. They are really hard workers and have already made noticeable improvements to the outside of the house. Even more exciting is that they wanted to come to church with us on Sunday. They said they liked it and want to attend with us again. Their names are John and Joe, and if you have a prayer list we would definitely appreciate it if you put them on it. I really believe that they are both seeking and that God will use Gina and I to minister to them.
Well, that is all for now. After getting up at 4:30 this morning so I could make it to my teacher workshop, we are looking forward to getting to sleep a little later tomorrow. Take care, and drop us a line when you get the chance. More later ... the question is, how MUCH later? :)