I know it has been quite awhile since the last post, and we have so much good news to share. Nate's about to burst with excitement!

First, Gina and I officially turned in the final versions of our dissertations this week. I know what you are thinking, "Didn't they already do that?" Well, getting from the dissertation defense to submitting the final version is a pretty lengthy and tedious process. At the defense, all the committee members make recommendations about the things they would like to be revised, and then the doc student has go back and make all those changes. It involves more meetings, more revisions and lots of reformatting the table of contents. Well, that process if finally over for both of us. I handed my final version in on Tuesday, and Gina turned hers in today. This is a huge relief, and I think we will finally be able to relax this weekend without this hanging over our heads.

The second item of news is that I recently won an award as the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant for my department in the Curry School of Education. Now, it's not really in my nature to brag about winning an award, but it is part of my prideful nature to feel the need to explain that just because my job title is that of Teaching Assistant, I want everyone to know I don't actually assist anyone with their teaching. I am the instructor for the course, though there have been some times recently when I wish I had an assistant to help with the grading. Pride aside, I am honored to have received this award, and I stand in the great company of those who received the award before me. Let me end this segment by saying, humbly, that if I don't win the University-wide teaching award, it's a sham and definitely rigged. Just kidding. :)

The final, and most exciting, piece of news is that I recently accepted a faculty position at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The job search process has been, by far, the most stressful and time-consuming thing for us this semester. Dissertation, smishertation. First, we had to search through countless job postings. Then we had to narrow it down to jobs I thought I might be a) qualified to perform and b) in a place to which I would want to move my family. The next step was filling out the application materials. This is not as simple as filling out a "job application" and attaching a resume. Each position, and I am being honest, has a completely different set of materials they want turned in. We continued this process for months. I got phone interviews with 5 schools, three of which brought me on campus for a "campus interview." Two of the schools offered the position to someone else, but UIS liked me and asked me to come on board. We are very grateful to have gotten a job offer and are looking forward to starting our next adventure in Illinois. Springfield, as you may know, is the capital city and was where Abraham Lincoln studied law. We will be moving from one president's city to that of another. 3 for 16. TJ for AL. Tall with red hair for tall with a funny beard. I think you get the point.

Thank you all for your prayers and support during this busy time. We still have one item left on our list, which is to sell our house. Just like everything else, we know that God has someone out there who needs a place to live and wants to buy a house near UVA. If you are planning on moving to Charlottesville anytime soon, have we got a deal for you. Sam and Nate have asked me to conclude by letting them give a shout out to their beloved UVA.