If you’ve been wondering at our silence recently, I have a few thoughts that might help clear things up:

– Both Sydney and I have been working hard to keep up with new courses (oh, yes, and in his case, get used to an entirely different university system!)

– Until recently, I hadn’t figured out a way to edit pictures on my new computer, so I was waiting until Sydney was home so that I could borrow his laptop.  Talk about inefficient!

– I was enjoying the quiet of the early weeks in the semester both to get to know my new students (and build up relations with the many returning ones–the perks of a small school!) and to work up two new papers for conferences and publications.  I’m starting a book project on African-American modes of mourning (particularly in literature), and this is a great chance to really stretch beyond my main areas of training.  I think my students were intrigued when they walked into my office to find me scribbling down notes while I listened to a Toni Morrison lecture on YouTube, and I’ll get a chance to share small bits of what I’m learning when I teach one of her novels later this semester.

– Sydney’s mother’s health prompted him to fly out to Nova Scotia a bit unexpectedly, so the kiddos and I have been exploring various ways to get along without a car or a second parent.  Thankfully, we’re finding that we have a lot of things in reach, including a university cafeteria where Katherine can make elaborate salads to her heart’s content, Nathaniel can revel in all of the people, and I can relax and enjoy dinner with them–all for four bucks.  We also regularly scooter all around town, much to the amusement of everyone we see.  Nothing makes people smile like little kids on scooters, zipping about in the sunshine.

– I was asked to speak in chapel earlier this month, which called for some soul-searching.  I can’t say I was made to feel better about the process when every colleague who learned of this said, “Really?  Can you really handle that on top of everything else?”  I had thought it would be okay, but maybe I had underestimated the situation?  Thankfully, things went okay (apparently brutal honesty and self-deprecation go over well with large crowds?), and that talk prompted some great conversations with staff, faculty, and students across campus in the days afterward.

Asbury is currently on spring break, and I’ve enjoyed the chance to spend leisurely mornings with Katherine and Nathaniel before heading in the office to do some catching up.  I could use another two weeks like this, but my job is to get back to business so that I can rein in my students when they come back on Monday, having swapped boots for flip-flops and school thoughts for summer ones.  Just six more weeks, guys!


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