From North Carolina
I write from North Carolina. (I’ve done that on this blog once before, but not at any real length.) Out my back door is a forest, with deer that come to call on a regular basis. In front of our cozy little townhome is a nice long stretch of grass, on which the children of other seminary students run about and play when the weather is nice. Up a very steep hill from here is Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I have been taking classes for two full weeks now.
It’s a bit strange that I’ve only been here just under three weeks, and taking classes a bit under two. It feels much longer, in a good way. It feels like home. The last time I made this sort of move was seven and a half years ago, when I left Colorado for Oklahoma. I enjoyed that move, but it certainly took a lot longer to feel that I was at “home” in Oklahoma. (I only recall noting that feeling around Christmastime, when I first experienced the strange tension of feeling at home at my parents’ home and simultaneously missing my home.)
In some ways, though, it’s no surprise. After all, I have a great deal more solidity constituting my “home” now. Jaimie and Ellie make an enormous difference in that regard. It matters, too, that I sit writing from a sofa that I own in a townhome (not a dorm) surrounded by other things we own. Possessions, to be sure, do not make a home, but having things of our own filling the space matters quite a bit in the feel of things here.
Having friends here with us helps enormously. Our dear friends PJ and Katie moved here exactly a week before we did, and so in God’s good providence we’re all starting this new phase of life together. Beginning with friends, rather than with the loneliness of knowing no one at all, makes the transition much easier. Beginning with very good friends make its fun, even when challenging at times.
The church search
We are of course looking for a new church here – and that, too, is made easier by having friends with whom to make the search. We’ve narrowed our options down to two, First Baptist Church Durham and North Wake Church, two robust and healthy Southern Baptist churches. We like everything we’ve seen of both so far, and it’s hard to choose between the two. While we align a little more closely with FBC Durham on some secondary issues – in fact, it’s almost exactly how we would like to approach church – it’s a 35-minute drive away. North Wake is all of 6 minutes away, and we’re in 85% agreement with them on those secondary issues. (Both churches hit it right out of the park on all the primary issues, and for that matter on other secondary issues.) Part of the difficulty in our decision lies in the tension between our commitment to these doctrinal distinctives, which are important, and our need for community, which is also important. The time it takes to drive to and from is not inconsequential either.
FBC Durham has several healthy home groups that meet in Wake Forest, so it is not as though we would be absent community. We love what we see of the church. In many ways, its warts not withstanding, it’s the sort of church I’ve longed to go to for years. On the other hand, North Wake is an excellent church that ticks off almost all our boxes and it would be enormously easier to find friends here in Wake Forest going there. Indeed, North Wake attracts a lot of the seminary students precisely because it hits the right note in so many areas while being close to campus.
We’ll be visiting both, as well as their community groups, at least once more, and spending a lot of time praying about it. God will put us where he wants and us, and it will be good. It’s a delight, in any case, to have a choice between such good churches.
In other news, Ellie is 8 months old and crawling like crazy. She’s vocalizing all the time (this morning she said, “Hi, daddy,” though I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean to). She’s imitating our motions at times – waving, or shaking her head – and exploring everything. Our little girl is incredibly curious about her world, and with her increased mobility she now has access to a great deal more of that world. We have “baby-proofed” outlets and the like, but she loves computer cords, and with our laptops out she’s often going for them.
She’s also hit the point where she’s slowly learning what we mean when we say “no”. We aim to keep temptation out of her hands for the most part, but she does require the occasional active correction. Real discipline hasn’t started yet, especially because her memory is sufficiently short-term that she forgets what we tell her quite quickly.
I’ve been rather amused, actually, to see the pattern play out: she gets into something, we tell her no and pull her away from it, she plays happily for a moment, and then notices whatever we pulled her away from again and starts toward it again. As of yet, her response is quite clearly not one of disobedience; she simply doesn’t have much of an attention span.
On the other hand, she is growing increasingly independent. Jaimie and I can now leave her on the floor in her room with some safe toys for a while and she’ll happily and contentedly play by herself. We regularly find her happily playing and cooing in her crib in the mornings.
Jaimie and I love our new townhome. Sometime soon we’ll take and post pictures. It’s super cozy, much nicer than our old apartment, and just feels homier than any place I lived in Oklahoma. And while the last month was stressful enough to make our marriage challenging – stress does that, unmarried folk! – God has seen us through and we’re continuing to learn to love each other well day by day.
The one thing I still need to get going is my workout routine! I haven’t run regularly since my last half-marathon in November, as I got sick and then we moved. I’m looking forward to getting back into it, not least since Raleigh has a much more active running community (and schedule!) than Oklahoma.
In my last post, I noted that I wasn’t sure what my work situation here would look like. That has solidified substantially, at least for the moment. I’m happily continuing to work as a software developer for Quest Consultants Inc. about 20 hours each week. I’ve also had a few queries come my way for website development, which I’d love to pick up once I wrap up a couple other projects I’ve had going in the background.
With our move over, Jaimie is finally starting to get back into the groove with her writing (as evidenced by her really fantastic blog post yesterday). I, for one, am incredibly excited for her to get back into her Bloodlines project.
School will afford me many opportunities for a rather different sort of writing than I’ve done the past few years. Wherever sensible, I’ll share that (as I did here). I’ve also had a lot more time for thinking and reading and – God be praised! – writing in general. I’ve been able to post a lot more on Ardent Fidelity, am somewhat keeping up No Segue (though truth be told I haven’t been reading enough tech stuff to post as well as I’d like there). I expect, as we settle into a routine, that I’ll be able to write even more.
On which note: that promised info from my last post, about a book I’m working on? Well, as it turns out, I’m out of time: we’re off to North Wake Church. So that’ll have to wait for another time. Yes, I know: I’m a tease.
Neither is the cost of gas driving to and from. With prices around $3.50 per gallon, that adds up in a hurry – especially if we go over there more than once a week. ↩
Seminary helps with that just a bit, too: it forces me to read books of just the sort I like reading anyway. I keep having to remind myself not to feel guilty, since doing that sort of reading is actually a responsibility now. ↩