It has been a long time since I wrote a family update here, and I skipped the Christmas letter this year because I was exhausted. I resolved at the beginning of the year to write at least one update every month, though. I want these updates here for myself, if for no other reason. (Then, of course, I promptly missed January, but this is counting for that; there will be another post here at the end of the month.)
What have we been up to, you ask? Well, quite a lot! Since the last time I wrote a blog post, we had a baby, who is now crawling around. (If you’re reading this, you probably already know that, of course.) Ellie is talking, constantly practicing saying things the right way and asking the names of things; Kate is scooting around the floor exploring everything and is increasingly verbal herself.
They love playing together. Ellie and Kate are good friends—a while back Jaimie heard Ellie quietly talking to Katie in the back seat of the car, repeating, “You’re my best friend, Kate.” Sometimes when Ellie gives Kate a hug and a kiss goodnight every night, Kate goes into the most adorable squeals of delight. Indeed, no one elicits those squeals as much as Ellie. In addition to her scooting around the floor, Kate is happily eating solid foods—and the girl loves her food. Today I put her in her high chair and she started laughing as I put the tray in front of her. She often thumps the tray, the table, or the floor to express her joy. And last but not least, this little gal is strong. Her favorite time is getting in a bouncer and jumping for as long as we will let her.
We have been teaching Ellie a lot. Jaimie has slowly started working through the ABCs with her. She can count to 5, and she knows her way to 10, but sometimes gets sidetracked along the way. She is learning her colors and spent a while defaulting to calling everything “pink”… except for her favorite purple dress. In the last month, she has started being able to identify the colors more reliably, along with lots of shapes. She loves cars and trucks and especially buses and fire trucks. She sings to herself and dances all the time. She loves building with blocks. She is learning to say “please” and “thank you”—learning, in this case, not because she doesn’t know how but because she has started forgetting. She is learning to pray and to sing to God and learning the answer to simple questions like, “Who made you, Ellie?”
Jaimie has continued to write off and on, though the first many months we had Kate it was much spottier than it had been. She’s working on secret projects that are making her happy, and that makes me happy.
As for why she didn’t get as much time, I was busy last semester. I picked up a second contract, building the new HolyBible.com, and between that and my ongoing contract work and my one class, I pulled a lot of 50–60 hour weeks. That’s not particularly an experience we are keen to repeat, but it was the right call at the time: we were able to save up the money to fill up our six-month emergency fund and to pay for the rest of seminary. This semester is going a bit easier: I am taking Hebrew III and Baptist History and working ~30 hours a week instead of ~50–55. I love my language classes; without a doubt Hebrew III and Greek III have been my very favorite classes since I started seminary.
I ran another half marathon in November, and set a PR at 1:25:37—a 6:32/mile pace. I was super happy with that outcome, and I plan to run the same race again for the third year in a row this coming fall, Lord willing. In the meantime, I have started swimming and cycling regularly with the aim of completing my first triathlon early this summer. (I’m going to stick to a short “sprint” tri to start, and work up from there.) While I love running, I would like to have the use of my joints in twenty (and forty, and sixty) years, and accordingly I need to make sure I do not keep putting over 1,000 miles a year on my legs. I have been going to a spinning class to get my legs in better cycling shape for the last month (and the last two weeks Jaimie has come with me!). We have also been doing a Pilates class weekly; my back needs to be a lot stronger and my legs a lot looser, and that is helping quite a bit.
We continue to be extremely happy in our church here, FBC Durham. God has used our church to encourage and challenge us in a wide variety of ways—too many (and perhaps in many cases too subtle) even to summarize. We are excited to see what the years ahead hold for us there, as the church itself continues to flourish and grow and we seek opportunities to continue serving and building up this particular outpost of the body of Christ.
In short, life is good. It is not perfect, of course; I long for Jesus’ return and the New Heavens and New Earth more and more all the time. But we see God’s faithfulness and goodness in the hard months no less than in the easy ones. We see the Spirit working in our hearts to make us more like Christ, and it is good.
I could go on, but a thousand words is enough. More again, and sooner than the last gap!