Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ph.D. "Candidate"

Whoo-hoo, it's time to Ce-Luh-Brate!!

I have received official word that I passed my comprehensive exams!

That means I'm A * B * D , baby!

(That's "all but dissertation" for those of you who haven't endured the torture.)

A big shout-out to to all of you who:
  • kindly asked how the studying was going
  • were extra special nice to me during November and December
  • helped Deb out with managing the kids and household while I was "in seclusion"
  • put up with mood swings from despair to elation, etc.
  • lent me obscure theology books or assured me that the one I was looking for wasn't that important anyway
I'll now be engaged in a week's worth of celebration -- said celebration consisting mostly of crossing household-chore-type items off to-d0 lists that have accumulated since 2004. Anyone wanna come over for a seriously fun "replace the utility sink" party?

Karen Muyskens

We are grieving as a family over the sudden loss of our dear friend Karen Muyskens. Karen died early Sunday morning of a mysterious infection. The previous Sunday, we had chatted after church with her as usual, and now she is gone.

Karen and Mark have been our good friends for over ten years. Our children have played together often since preschool days. We have seen close up how Karen and Mark were partners in every way, as parents and professionals, as servants of Christ. They have inspired us and supported us very practically as we have tried to follow their wise example in balancing work and family.

Karen's life was too short. Yet it was complete in the honor, integrity, and beauty with which she lived it. She belonged, body and soul, in life and in death, to her faithful Savior. We are aching with Mark and the children, but we are aching in hope.

"The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable." I Cor. 15: 42

Friday, January 11, 2008


Evidently, we have discovered the line of preoccupation beyond which blogging does not occur. It's a line formed by Ph.D. comprehensive exams and shaded with a major public lecture situation.

But all that is over now! Ron spent November and much of December up to his elbows in esoteric theology books and up to his eyebrows in esoteric theological thoughts. He completed the comprehensive exams the Friday before Christmas. Still haven't heard back yet on whether he passed them all, but we're cautiously optimistic, and we'll post news here as soon as we have it.

Meanwhile, he prepped for two intensive classes on Worship and Homiletics that he's in the midst of teaching right now at WTS, and he completed an adult education curriculum for the CRC on worship. Not entirely sure how that got done by the deadline (December 16), but a bit of help from me and the promised financial bonus for on-time delivery no doubt had something to do with it.

Meanwhile, I spent Christmas break preparing to teach interim and to give a January Series lecture. The lecture happened yesterday. Thankfully, it went fine, at least according to some witnesses of possible extreme bias. It's hard for me to know, truly, as the whole thing felt rather like an out-of-body experience. I can say that the Calvin staff was at their best: organized, hospitable, cheerful. As someone once remarked about Calvin, "the place runs like butta." That's often absolutely true. I hope all our guest speakers feel as welcome and appreciated.

I also found out just how kind and supportive my good friends and colleagues can be. I have a lot to be thankful for.

Let's see: what else? Sometime in the last few weeks Christmas happened, too. I think. Not entirely sure, actually. It's all a blur. Hmmm. Well, we do have photographic evidence that Miriam, Philip, and Ron played key, bathrobe-style roles in our church's Christmas Eve pageant. Miriam made for a very blonde, blue-eyed Mary. Philip played the young Jesus (for which he was gleefully teased by his siblings--"What would Philip do?" etc.). Ron drew upon his seminary memories of certain professors and convincingly portrayed the wicked King Herod. Thankfully, Jacob and I just lurked among the musicians, playing our instruments along with the hymns.

So at last, after all that, life slows down a bit and we're back to just work and school and the usual round of soccer and church stuff. Poor Jacob finally got a haircut yesterday after a month of looking like David Cassidy circa 1974 after misplacing his mousse and blowdryer.

Oh, in other news, Ron has at last succumbed to two years of propaganda (the result of my politics of food class) and become a food zealot. Michael Pollan's new book, In Defense of Food, toppled him over the edge. The children are completely dismayed. Now it's not just Mom making snide remarks about high-fructose corn syrup. Now Dad is constantly asking "Would your great grandmother recognize that as food?" and writing things like "organic chickpeas" into our family menu.

That about catches us up, I guess. Now back to our usual blogging on random nutty ideas and insignificant news items.