Thursday, July 31, 2008

Unexpected Blessing

Last Friday, I received the unexpected great news that I had been selected to receive a Graduate Assistantship through my American Studies program at Penn State. This means that this years out-of-state tuition costs will be covered by the University. In addition, my Assistantship has a work provision with a cash stipend meaning the Univeristy will pay me to attend the school! But best of all, the University is also granting Coralee and I health insurance which will be active as of Aug 11--meaning we won't have to pay the medical bills for Xerxes birth! Financially, this is awesome! Literally saving us tens of thousands of dollars over the next year. I personally see this as 1) a miracle and 2) a direct Heavenly stamp of approval on the professional career I am pursueing.

Deciding to attend graduate school has been a difficult decision for us. It is something that I always knew I wanted to do but the timing issue made me hesitate. Coralee and I were both in jobs/careers that we enjoyed and had potential for promotions. Of course, Coralee is pregnant and we had great health insurance. But, when I was accepted to three schools I had to make a decision. Do I postpone until after the baby is born? Do I go to school? And then of course, which school do I choose?

We decided to explore all three schools to see the campus and which, if any, would provide money. Originally, done did. From the beginning, Penn State seemed like the best answer. It was close to Coralee's family and was a reputiable school. But I wanted to be sure. One day, I was talking with Coralee on the phone during a break at work and I knew Penn State was my choice. I had put Coralee through hell as I was flip-flopping my decision almost weekly. I knew Penn State was going to be my school.

Of course we moved to PA a month ago, an epic journey in itself, and I quietly started school. And slowly, as events have unfolded, I understand now what someone knew all along. Penn State will offer a new PhD program in American Studies starting next fall, the semester I am anticipating starting meaning we won't have to move again for my studies. And then this Assistantship drops in my lap. I am grateful for Heavenly guidance and direction and the lessons this experience has taught me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We made it!

After two full days of packing, three full days of driving, three full days of unpacking/decorating/uncluttering, Coralee and I are ready to announce we are finally at home. We love it here! Our neighborhood is nestled off any heavily traveled road and thus very quiet. Our neighbors are friendly and inviting and are glad we moved in (we get the impression the previous tenants were anything but congenial!). In accordance with our personal traditions, our new apartment has character. We have two porches--one on each floor--where we expect to spend many evenings rocking in chairs with Memphis and Xerxes at our feet! The interior is more spacious than our previous home and we are so excited to have a full kitchen to cook in.

I started school last week at Penn State. It feels so good to be back in a classroom. My classes have been challenging but again, I'm really excited. For the Fourth of July, Coralee and I spent the weekend at Gettysburg and we went to the annual reenactment. The battle reenactment the soldiers put on was of Pickett's charge. The event staff said there were 12,000 soldiers in the reenactment so you can imagine the size of the production. While walking through the cemetary I think I came across a possible idea for my graduate thesis. I'll have to explore the idea before knowing for sure. Life is great!