While I meant to discuss the actual new year in that last post, I actually didn't get far past New Year's Eve, and failed to mention that 2007 promises to be a big and exciting year for us (maybe not quite as exciting as 2006, but still pretty darn cool).
First, academically... Matt will graduate with his M.Div on May 11. He has focused his studies on homiletics, liturgics, and theology, and by all accounts has prepared a bright future for himself in the church, academia, and the literary world. It's hard to believe that we met the day our Vandy careers began, and that we were engaged by the time of my graduation and now we're married by the time of Matt's graduation. Crazy how times change and how the simple decision of choosing one school over another can change your life forever! Come June, we will experience life with two full-time salaries for the first time, and life without Vanderbilt Divinity School, bless its heart. (and I mean that in the southern sense; the way people can say, "That child is a little monster, bless his heart," or "that school is the devil's playground, God love it.")
This year is bringing academic changes for me as well. After being so gung-ho to do a Ph.D. in religion, I have come to my senses (at least temporarily) and decided to study graphic design instead, which will enhance my marketing career and perhaps give me a leg up in editing, which I still have an interest in pursuing. I'm taking evening classes, part time, at the International Academy of Design and Technology (which feels far away, since it's off Briley Pkwy, but actually is less than 10 miles from our house in Green Hills). I've had one session each of my two classes for this quarter--Design Fundamentals and Typography I. I really enjoyed them both, and found them very relaxing, unlike my doctoral religion classes would have been. In answering a few questions for admission to IADT, I was asked whether I consider myself a more academic or creative person. It was a difficult question, partially because it is not an either/or (especially for me), though I understand they ask it because most IADT students are young people who don't really enjoy school or intellectual pursuits. I eventually ended up answering that I consider myself a gifted academic, but I am happier when I am being creative. Though I have been battling my own pride--going from a master's degree at a top-tier university to an associate's program at a career college--I think this is going to be a really good thing for me.
2007 also brings career changes for Matt and I... After a year and a half in my theoretically-cool but usually very boring position in market research, the special project funds out of which my salary comes are expiring, and I will be moving into a different position in the company. I don't know what yet, but they have expressed commitment to keeping me on, so we're working to find a good fit (probably in marketing, maybe in editing). I am really excited about this prospect, and hope to move to a unit with windows!
Matt, who has worked in ministry positions for 8 years now (pretty impressive for a 26-year old) will receive his first full-time appointment in June. This is a both exciting and scary thing in the United Methodist Church, as pastors can be assigned anywhere within the conference, which for us covers most of Middle Tennessee, up to the Kentucky border and down to the Alabama border. Knowing that Matt is cool, young, and progressive, the board would be foolish to put him in a tiny rural parish, but you never know. We get whiffs of exciting possible appointments now and again, but everything is confidential and nothing is official until April or May.
Closely tied to Matt's job is the third exciting change of 2007... We expect to buy a house this summer! --something in the direction of wherever Matt is appointed, but hopefully not too bad a commute for me into downtown Nashville! I already find myself checking out the listings on homes.com, though there are still too many variables at this point to really start looking. This is the equivalent of perusing theknot.com before I was even engaged, though--I love to fuel my own excitement and daydream away!!
Dining room...check. Front porch...check. Fenced-in yard...check.