I didn’t get my act together to send out a Christmas letter this year, so I am plunging fearlessly into the future and blogging one instead. I do hope to return at some point to paper cards, because I think they are lots of fun (and I appreciate all the ones I get!).
2015 was a good year. Andy continued as a student as Westminster Seminary California, and I continued as the Admissions Coordinator at the seminary.
We made a pretty major shift at the beginning of the year. Andy had been pursuing two degrees, a masters in divinity (MDIV) and a master of arts in historical theology (MAHT). Both degrees would take four years, he would finish in May 2016, and apply for PhD programs. But last January he realized that while he would really enjoy getting a PhD, he would rather go straight into ministry. So he dropped the MAHT, which means that he will finish in January 2016.
Our denomination (the Orthodox Presbyterian Church) likes future pastors to do a one-year internship after they graduate seminary. Usually internships start in the summer, so we weren’t sure what Andy would do after he graduated. Then we got a call from Bethel Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, IL. Due to a series of unusual events, they would have a year-long internship opening up in February. Were we interested? Definitely! We are very excited about this internship--all of our professors have spoken very highly of this church, pastor, and internship. And it was wonderful to know where we are headed after seminary. And to ease the transition, church has a parsonage nearby that we will be living in. We’re excited to move in and meet our new church family!
So that is the biggest news from the year, but lots of other exciting things happened. It was a year absolutely stuffed with travel. We headed to many exciting destinations like...Milwaukee (it’s amazing how exotic Wisconsin isn’t). Beyond Wisconsin, which we dearly love, in January Andy and I took a cruise to Ensenada, Mexico to celebrate our one-year anniversary. In March I was able to go with my Mom and my brothers Jacob and Sam to visit Lisa in China. We had an amazing, whirlwind time. Andy and I camped in Sequoia National Park with friends for Spring Break. We finally used the tickets to Disneyland that Andy’s parents gave us in June and had a great time. In July we flew to Milwaukee to spend time with my family and to celebrate my brother Sam’s wedding to the amazing Cacia. We’re so excited she’s in the family! Also this summer we took weekend trips to San Francisco and LA, and in August we went to Lake Tahoe with Andy’s family. Then for Thanksgiving, we went to Scandinavia, just because. This Christmas we were in Rancho Cucamonga for actual Christmas and then afterwards we went to Minnesota to be with my family.
When we’ve been home we’ve been trying to soak up time in Southern California with our friends and family here. Dinners with Andy and Joke, trivia night, Game Night, lower-case game nights, movie nights, work shenanigans, the beach, and the zoos.
We have much to be thankful for! There have also been challenges. When people ask me what I’m going to do in Wheaton, I’m never sure what to say. There’s the logistical challenge of finding a job for only a year, which is easy to explain. Then there’s the fact, which is much harder to admit, that I really was hoping to have a baby by then.
We’ve been trying for the last year, and it’s been really rough. We miscarried in July at six weeks, which was devastating. If you didn’t know about that until now, even (especially) if you are a very close friend, please don’t be offended. No one knew we were pregnant when we miscarried (we found out the day we were flying home for Sam and Cacia’s wedding, which was when we were going to begin telling people since we could tell my family in person), and it was too exhausting of a conversation to have more times than absolutely necessary.
You may also remember that I have a history with hormonal disorders and depression. I was doing fairly well for the first part of the year, but the miscarriage whacked all my hormones back out, and so that was definitely a rough time all the way around.
I think I didn’t want to tell people about the miscarriage, or any of my struggles, until I could announce a pregnancy, so that I could reduce it to a setback on the road to eventual success. But six months later, there is no success story. The miscarriage is still the whole story. That is hard in and of itself, and it makes planning for Wheaton emotionally fraught. I had a beautiful plan, and it is not working out.
But we’re still hopeful. We would really appreciate your prayers for the coming year, that there would be a baby Smith someday soon.
In the meanwhile, I’m going to be applying for publishing jobs. I’ve always enjoyed editing, and it’s something I’m excited to try professionally. We’ll see how it goes!
We hope you had a good year, and wish you the very best in 2016!
P.S. Andy would like you to know that one of the highlights of his year was seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3 times.