Goals & Dreams

I’ve been pretty quiet here lately, since I’m up to my eyeballs in my research proposal. I have several edits to make to Ch. 2 (literature review), and I need to finish writing Ch. 3 (methodology). There may still be some minor revisions to Ch. 1 (introduction) down the road, but I’m focusing on the other two chapters right now. I am hoping to defend my research proposal by the first week of December, to get it out of the way before the semester’s end. That would keep me well on track to finish the whole kit & caboodle in the spring.

I received some unfortunate news the other day — not about school, per se, but it involves my research. You may recall that I applied for a Fulbright appointment to Northern Ireland. I found out that I was not accepted for next fall. It would have been challenging to pull off the adventure, logistically, simply with the kids’ school schedule and related activities, but I think it would have been doable. The good news is that I received a very kind note from the director at the research institute where I would have been assigned, and she encouraged me to try again next year or just come visit, anyway. 🙂 (She was not a decision-maker in my application process; in fact, she wrote a letter of invitation for me to go.) At any rate, it’s not going to happen next year. Someday, perhaps!

It seems like at least twice a week, some well-meaning person asks me, “What are you going to do with your doctorate?” as if I alone control my next steps. I wish I had an answer, but I usually just shrug and say, “No idea.”

I really enjoy teaching. I think I’m good at it, and my students like me. I do think that I could be an even better teacher if I had more time to devote to preparation and creative lesson-planning. I don’t know if I’m “meant to be” a teacher full-time, or if it’s just another idea that Ang thinks would be fun to pursue. I used to think that God had a path laid out for us that we needed to somehow identify & navigate, but over the past decade, and especially the past five years, I’ve begun to think that God gives us leeway to follow our hearts (and our common sense), within reason. I don’t know which (if either) idea is really correct, but he hasn’t written instructions on the wall for me, so I’ll just keep pressing on with what I think are good choices to make.

Being an adjunct instructor has been a blessing, and the part-time income has been a relief. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not all about money, but the extra income helps. I grew up not having much, and I believe there’s tremendous value in not being able to get everything you want. (My kids may disagree with that sentiment right now, but I trust that they’ll clue in later.) I am blessed beyond measure. I live in a house that I could not have afforded, were it not for a miraculous situation that brought down the cost significantly. I drive a car that I actually bought from a dealer and might not have been able to make payments on, if our other car hadn’t been gifted to us with a clear title. I am well aware of how fortunate we are, and I try not to take those blessings for granted.

It’s funny how things work out. The job that I left under less than ideal circumstances and remained vacant for several months is now occupied by an individual I know and like, someone capable, enthusiastic, and likely better suited for the role than I ever was. Sometimes I wonder if God orchestrated that chain of events because he knew that I’d land on my feet, and it would give this other person a chance to spread his wings. Who knows, but it makes me happy to observe, from this vantage point.

I don’t know if there’s a point to this post, other than to say that I’m still here 🙂 and hope to post more often, once I get to a stopping point on Ch. 3.

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