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  • Writer's pictureNic

Letter to Friends 1.15.14

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Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19

Happy New Year! My dear friends,

It has been a bit more than a month since my last letter and we have all enjoyed the chaos and joy that is the “Holidays”. I pray that you all survived with great blessing, a renewal of your hope in Christ, and an appreciation of family whether they are near or far. 

 For my birthday, Mike got me a VERY elaborate paint by number, since my mom loves bluebirds I painted it for her Christmas gift and don’t be fooled, paint by numbers are not easy!  It took me twice as long as it would have it I had painted a bluebird myself 🙂

 We had all the neighborhood kids over on December 23rd for “Christmas Adam”, for more details about what “Christmas Adam” is  click on this link to an article in Catapult web magazine. We spent 5 days in Philadelphia area with Mike’s parents and then with my parents.  

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We were (as always) overwhelmed by their generosity, over fed, and over indulged in late nights, but we are thankful for their good health, strong marriages, and their love for our kids.  We were also able to steal a bit of time to connect with some dear friends and wish we had had time to see some more (especially Cochrans and Whitekettles!)

Christine was my best friend in high school and the matron of honor at my wedding.  

People often mistook us for one another as kids and we have kept in touch over the years.  She and I spent 2 lovely hours chatting at Mike’s parent’s house while her 13 year old daughter Vivien hung out with our kids.  Then a few days later, Rob and Kay Eberz and their kids were able to stop by my parent’s house for another 2 hour gift.  Our families go way back.  Rob was one of our groomsmen but he and his family are missionaries in Asia so we only get to see them about every three years, but we make the most of each visit.

Mike worked incredibly hard before Christmas and finished installing our woodburning stove.  

It is a Woodstock Soapstone Co. wood stove and we are really enjoying the warmth and coziness.  We built the house with the plan to install a wood burner of some kind, but with one thing and another it has taken us 8 years to get it finished.  When we got back from Haiti we found a used stove on craigslist but it needed to be rebuilt.  And though we had built the house with a chimney chase running through it we still needed to acquire the insulated flue pipe, built the support pier under the stove in the basement, and run the pipe all the way through the house and punch it out through the roof.  Now of course I say WE, but what I mean is Mike.  WE helped carry block into the basement ( ALOT of block), and we have been optimistically helping to collect wood here and there, and carry tools when Mike has needed them, BUT Mike was the planner and installer and he did an awesome job!  And so as I type in the  17 degree pre-dawn darkness I am toasty warm!

SO, about those pesky GREs and Grad school.  Well, less said about my GRE scores the better. I did as poorly as I thought on the math, the essays score was pretty low too ( which I’d contest if I knew how since I feel like I did better than my score) but I do have that perfect on the verbal so all things considered I hope they won’t look at them too long.  As for my plan, I would like to earn a PhD so that I can teach at the collegiate level, but that is some years off.  January 15th was the application deadline and I was able to get it submitted on time.  For the present, I am excited to learn as much as I possibly can about non-profits, faith based development organizations and disaster relief.  Our experiences in Haiti supplied me with a lot of questions about organizational structures and how things work in a disaster zone that I would love to have the privilege to explore.  The University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) has a well known and well respected program that really meshes well with what I am interested in studying.  If I do not get accepted into their PhD program, which is not a sure thing since they only take 6-10 people a year, they have a one year master’s degree for mid-career professionals that is very interesting.  

It has been hard to rest in my faith during this process, I have some fairly deep rooted fears and insecurities around my capabilities and formal education.  Mike has been very encouraging during my somewhat regular emotional breakdowns over my GREs, my application essays, and my fear of being rejected out of hand by GSPIA.  It’s amazing to me what I can KNOW in my head (I am smart, I have great experience, I can learn what I don’t know….etc) and yet be utterly unhinged by my emotions rooted in fears and lies.  I covet your prayers for my protection during this season of my life.  Trying new things can be so intimidating, I don’t want to clean houses for the rest of my life (well, excepting my own) yet in the late hours, as I am desperately trying to generate a truly great application essay, suddenly never trying anything new seems like a good idea.

I am thankful for all the lovely Christmas cards we received this year, it’s great to see people and your pictures go on our wall of prayer so if you didn’t send us a picture yet we’d love to be reminded of you each day and lift you up in prayer.

 I really enjoy this time to talk at you 🙂 and have loved hearing back from many of you.  Blessings until next week,


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