Today is the last day of 2012. It seems crazy to me—didn’t we just start this year?—but it’s true. This year was fast, and crazy. We even survived two apocalypses (apocalypsi?) this year. To quote the late Jerry Garcia, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
This year has ended much more differently than how it began. This year brought a lot of change in four very key areas for us. So here we go with the 2012 year in review!
Asheville, NC and Church Planting
At the end of 2011, I had started emailing out prayer updates to a list of a few people. For two years earlier, my wife and I had planned on moving to Asheville, NC to plant a church with the Sojourn Network. We had a lot of plans in place to enter the city, including plans for bi-vocational planting, a guaranteed internship in place with another local church in Asheville, lots of interest from others in supporting us, and we were set to begin monthly information meetings on .
It was on the day of our first meeting that I sent out our last update: we we’re staying in Louisville. Why the change? They were a few reasons. First, the economic situation in Asheville is difficult, so we’d both have to work. We both have to work here in Louisville for the time being, too, but the major problem in Asheville was that my wife, Sam, would have to continue working full-time as a waitress because it’s too difficult getting a job teaching music there. She worked full-time waitressing in between semesters during December, and it was very clear that this would not be feasible. Waitressing for ten years had already started to manifest in physical difficulty for her and so I decided that putting her in a position where she would have to do that, possibly indefinitely, was not going to happen.
Second, the financial situation we are in showed us that moving to an area like Asheville is not the best right now. With student loans to pay off, and a surprise need for a car when Sam’s car committed suicide on the way to West Virginia, the gap between cost-of-living and annual family income in Asheville is too great. On top of that, the country was in the midst of a recession and the future outlook for getting past the fiscal cliff is dim. Between Sam having to work full-time as a waitress and risk further physical ailments and the difficult economy, wisdom dictated staying in Louisville.
A New Diet
One of the biggest changes for us this year was a change in diet. As most of you know through this blog, twitter, and/or Facebook, I’ve had chronic gout for the last 7 years or so. During the last two years the attacks became more and more frequent with each attack lasted longer and longer. In February of this year, after the latest attack, my wife and I made a decision that I thought I would never have to make: we became vegetarians.
Well, almost. I’m vegetarian enough that I (my wife still eats meat when we go out or something) call myself vegetarian. Here’s the deal. Meats contain a large amount of purines, a compound which contributes to gout. I’ve already limited the amount of pork and red meat (two of the worst for gout attacks) I’ve been eating for years, but things kept getting worse. We made the changes in February and I didn’t have another gout flare-up until after Thanksgiving. The flare-up lasted a day. Success.
As it is, I eat meat on average every 6 to 8 weeks. I still eat eggs and drink milk.
But not eating meat, or rarely eating it, has turned a medical diet into an actual diet. This year I’ve lost around 45 lbs.—going from 235 in February to 185 now.
The End of School
Well, for the foreseeable future. I graduated from SBTS with my M.Div. in December 2011, making 2012 the first year in a long time that I haven’t had to worry about papers, projects, and grades. It’s been good.
Sam also graduated in December of this year. She received her bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Louisville, graduating magna cum laude. This degree follows her first bachelor’s for vocal performance, and a few semesters at SBTS before they dropped her master’s program. She’s very excited to begin teaching, something she’s a natural for, and even has a definite sub job lined up for the beginning of the year. She’ll be trying to get into the local public school system for the fall semester of 2013.
Both of us have been going to school for a long time. We’re thankful for the experience, but even more thankful that we’re finished for a while.
I’ve already hinted at what’s coming up next for Sam, but things are a bit more crazy for me. In the summer of 2011, I was promoted to a key-holder position where I work (Eyeglass World). At the end of 2011, I was promoted again to managing our optical lab. Originally, my goal was to become a licensed optician, with experience in the lab, to make finding a job in Asheville a little easier. It’s my first “career,” rather than working odd jobs to get through college and things were looking good.
So, for all of 2012, I’ve been working on getting licensed by getting my ABO certification and taking my NCLE certification exam (still waiting on results). I’ve also been managing our optical lab, until October of this year when I received another promotion: Assistant General Manager. I never really got to do much in this position, however, because I had to stay in the lab until we found a replacement.
Then, on , our company informed us that our store would be closing. Last Saturday, the 29th, was our last day open to the public. This new year will begin with me going back to work to help with packing all of our supplies and locking the door for the last time. I had an interview with a store owned by the same company this past Friday, and should hear something by the end of this week.
2012 in a nutshell
We begun this year with a graduation, a promotion, plenty of meat to eat, and a dream of going to Asheville. We end this year with another graduation, a lost job, a meatless fridge, and a greater love for Louisville. It’s been a long, strange trip indeed.