Month: March 2014

Getting Older–or Younger?

Mom, Dad, thanks for having me.

I’m 26 years old today, and I’ve spent the last three years trying to figure out what it really means to be a man.

[Que Damien Rice or Bob Dylan song.]

Truly, many a good song have been written (by others) in search of the same answer. Something has clicked recently, though, and I’m simply less concerned about it all. Don’t get me wrong, young men and women in their twenties should be ambitious, hard-working, and responsible–but that doesn’t require the exclusion of fun.

So for my birthday, I asked my wife to get me a pair of shoes from the skateboarding world. (It is a different world, by the way, very fun and outrageously creative.) That’s where I resided from around the ages of 13-21; I still take short vacations there from time to time.

I’m feeling younger already.

This morning, I remembered reading C.S. Lewis’ words about what it means to be “adult.” I hope they encourage you to be comfortable in your own skin and to do your best, however young or old you are:

Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.

We’ll be goin’ round to China

Well, seems as though another trip to China is in order.

Aging relatives, job opportunity, and missions are all factors that inspired us to buy tickets last night.

Linli had an successful interview with one of Memphis’ largest companies, and they’ve asked her for another one next Friday. If all goes well, she might start in June.

Since we have a couple of weeks between school and that potential beginning of a new career, we think the time slot in between might be one of the last chances we get to visit friends and family in China for longer than one week. We plan to stay three weeks, leaving on May 16. (My final presentation is on the 15th, as well as Linli’s next CPA exam!) We are leaving the next morning.

Please pray for Linli’s interview, that God’s will be done. Also, please pray for our endurance, because this is the final stretch of the race that is this semester. We’ve both bitten off more than we like to chew, so we are ready to finish but finish well.

We are happy for my nephew, Bailey, to have an appointment at the National Jewish Hospital in Denver. Maybe this trouble of his will find healing. Please pray for the Hyder family and keep them in your prayers throughout the season. They’re set to fly to Denver on Easter day–which is a good sign.

Spring “Break” Update

Spring is upon us, and we are ready for a break like never before. What do we plan to do during the break? Study.  Where do we plan to go? To the grocery store and back. We are not, though, without food, though the grocery was without bread for at least one night when it snowed. This is, after all, still in the south.

snow foot

Now for small news. This blog will hopefully be more focused now:  I bought a domain name  ( to host a landing page with links to my résumé, a biographical section, and my blogs. It is a simple website still in the works and serves as a more professional place to present myself online for career purposes. I am keeping this blog, though, for “personal” use, and by that I mean stuff my close friends and family will be interested in. It is still public. I might make another blog in the future for academic writing.

In other news, Linli has taken an internship for a public accounting firm and is enjoying that, along with her Graduate Assistantship at University of Memphis, plus four classes, and the CPA exam preparation. Throw in four cups of my classes, a tablespoon of tutoring, and a dash of air to breath–and you’ve got yourself one beavery, busy little family.

studying hard

Now let’s hear about what I’m learning (since that was the whole purpose of coming to Memphis)–in addition to patience and perseverance.

The first class of the week, on Tuesday morning at 8:15, is Greek II. We began the semester with participles, then moved on to subjunctive mood, additional uses of infinitives, contract verbs, and more. Instead of explaining each of those now, suffice it to say that our professor, Dr. Allen Black, is helping us out as much as he can, but the key is to put in the appropriate amount of hours outside of class. We’re only in class three hours a week, but we should study at least nine additional hours per class. That’s a lot of Greek.

(By the way, I’ve included links to each professor, in case you’re interested! I really appreciate them; they’re all brilliant yet really humble.)

After Greek we have chapel, and afterwards I usually walk home to eat lunch with Linli. At 1:00pm, though, comes Counseling Skills with Dr. Ed Gray. I have learned so many practical things about counseling that I really feel equipped now to counsel in a private setting. Before this semester, I really didn’t want to do any counseling, but now I feel pretty prepared.

Thursday nights from 6:00-9:00 I have Old Testament Survey with Dr. Rodney Plunket, who is the pulpit minister at White Station church of Christ. He and his daughters both have PhDs in Old Testament, so learning from him is an excellent experience. He is having us read some 300 pages of  text per week; we’re looking for the “Grand Narrative” of the Old Testament: what God was doing from Genesis to Malachi. Wonderful class.

Once a month, Dr. Kevin Youngblood commutes from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, to teach us about the Minor Prophets. We read, reread, reread, and then create synthetic outlines for  four prophets each month, give or take, and read particular commentaries for each one. That class is packed and for a good reason. Dr. Youngblood is a full time professor in Searcy and preaches at Downtown Church of Christ. (Click here to hear some of his sermons). He recently crafted a commentary on Jonah that was just released in January with Zondervan. Click here for a video of him talking about the book. 

So, those are my classes. Again, the work to be done outside of class is what requires most of “my” time. I actually have two weeks “off” because this week is full of classes for people who cannot be here regularly or else choose to take a class intensively: meet eight hours a day for five days and do the rest of the work outside of class. Next week is spring break, so I have two weeks to catch up on what I’m behind on–which is almost everything. There is no thing as “finishing your homework”–there is simply  quitting homework and running out of time.

I hope you are ready for the time to change this Saturday night and for spring weather to roll in soon. I know I am.  Memphis has had her cold front, but I can feel the heat rising, and it sure gets hot here and is actually more humid than Middle Tennessee. Sweat falls differently here, and I should probably go drip some over a book.

Have a great weekend.

P.S. I’m giving up Facebook and Twitter during Lent, but I am allowing myself to blog because it requires more dedication and allows more explanation. I will also still let this blog sync to Facebook for your convenience, but I will not see any comments there until after Good Friday.