i know it's not going to be surprising when i say that this past year has been one of both joy and sadness, gain and loss, triumph and... well... not-so-triumphant. because that's life. it's a mingle, a divine mish-mash. a glorious, terrifying mess and all the more beautiful for it.
we spent a good portion of this year just settling into marriage. we figured out that it takes a lot of work to maintain a healthy, loving spousal relationship -- it's even more work than long-distance dating. but even the hardest of the hard stuff in our life together has been full of beauty, joy and reward beyond measure. we laugh together. we trust each other. we forgive one another. we never run out of things to talk about. we like each other. a lot. it's easily been the best year of either of our lives. as cliche as that might sound, it's the gulldurned truth. yeah... being married is good business.
i started school in september. i was a little bit rusty and rather full of trepidation, but i made the dean's list in that first semester back. and that while working 30-35 hours a week and taking 12 credits. i'm bragging a little, but mostly i feel relieved. i also feel really grateful for a kind, generous husband. tim helped so much around the house and gave me space to study and freak out and study some more. next semester, for various reasons, i've decided to only take one 5-credit course. striking a balance has never been one of my strong suits. it always takes a while for me to get comfortable...
speaking of which, tim changed jobs twice this year. he was working at engen power products, managing the shop for the industrial battery supplier. when he finally landed a construction job in july, they were sad to see him go. but go he did, to a company called solid construction. the long-awaited construction job was less than ideal, though. it required a lot of traveling. and entry-level pay is... well... entry level. tim gave it a good go, but after three months, we decided that the impact the job was having on our little family was just too much. so, after a lot of deliberation, he decided he wanted to make a proposal to his previous employer, EPP. he met with the owner and explained what he wanted to do. the owner was more than agreeable, gave tim a raise and welcomed him back quite happily. tim's now the shop manager and in charge of increasing communication and efficiency in the company (so up his alley!). i couldn't be prouder of him.
now we're both back in school, though each of us is only taking one class. i'm taking spanish (still working, albeit slowly, on finishing that B.A.) and tim is taking psychology (working on a business degree).
we spent our one-year anniversary in myrtle beach, south carolina. the word lovely doesn't cover it. we spent nearly every day either at the beach or one of the many resort pools. we visited georgetown and walked the spanish-moss-draped historic streets.
1) tim was going to quit his construction job (see above)
2) we were going to start trying to have a baby (yes. a baby.)
3) we were going to start looking for a house (yes. a house.)
we're still looking for a house. the baby's due august 18th, 2011. we are so excited. and blessed. and the teensiest bit nervous. i feel great. i haven't had any morning sickness so far, and though i'm often tired, i feel so happy that the exhaustion doesn't totally register. tim's reading a ton of fathering books, and i'm reading just as many birthing books. it's fun to research things together. also, we have incredibly generous friends. as soon as they found out we were pregnant, they started loading us up with lovely baby items. the news hasn't even been out that long.
what gains we've experienced this year have been tempered by loss. we lost two grandfathers this year. tim's maternal grandpa, lawrence joyce, passed away just before mother's day. we miss his singing, his laughter and his storytelling. his passing is a loss to those of us who remain behind. we are comforted by the knowledge that it was his time. and he went so peacefully home to Jesus. my paternal grandpa, clyde kieffer, passed away just before thanksgiving. he had five sons and each was able to spend time with him in the hospital before he passed away. much healing came from those final days together. i miss him in unexpected moments. now that he's passed on, i find that he occupied a large space in my heart. i know i'll see him again, but that now-empty space does ache sometimes.
i think that's enough news for now. i promise to be better about posting this year. there will be so much to tell.
much love from the heaners.