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  (clintboyd.com) 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.


Winter Break Update, Spring Classes, and the Best News I Can Offer.

The following message is for interested family and friends who might care about what we’re doing in Memphis. This is not written to attain many “likes,” shares, change the world, or make a point. I’m even skipping the pictures of Floridia and my parents-in-law. Call me cold. This is the winter break update.

Classes began this week, and I’m surprisingly more excited than I was last semester (my first one). An entirely different blog entry is needed  to explain why. I haven’t shared much in a while, so let’s start off slow and easy.

(Or not.)

The best part of the winter break, first: We saw three new believers born again in Christ. All non-U.S. citizens (you know where they’re from). I really want to show a ton of photos of the baptisms, dumpling parties, and more, but will refrain for their privacy and safety. (I think I can give some stories without names and places, but it’ll take another entry at another time). Suffice it to say that if you are a follower of Christ, you have three new sisters, and that is the best news I can offer for you. If you’re not a Jesus-follower, the best news I have for you, ever, is that Christ died for you, too. 

Somehow, we now have to move on to academics:

Last semester, the class results included two A’s and one B, in Advanced Theological Research, Greek I, and the Gospel according to John, respectively. I am pretty happy with the results because as much as I strove for perfect marks, having one “B” under the belt takes away some pressure. (I like to remind myself that John Piper made a C in preaching; also, I met him two weeks ago.) Honestly, I only made the A’s that I did by God’s grace and with the help of some gifted, merciful professors with high expectations. Honestly , I did work pretty hard last semester over the books. A joy, definitely, but by no means easy.

This semester, Spring 2014, we’re revving things up a notch or two: I’m adding an extra class and so is Linli–plus she’s working as a graduate assistant at University of Memphis. Thus, we’ll be even busier than last semester. Life-hint: pressure is a good thing and keeps us from procrastinating. Jesus has already been displaying his ability and willingness to sustain us.

To give you an idea of the workload, here is the school’s expectation: for every weekly three-hour class, nine hours of outside study are expected. If a class meets once weekly (the norm) and is three hours long, then that week’s classwork should take a total of 12 hours. 12 hours x 4 classes = 48 hours of studying needed, plus tutoring.

The classes this semester will be Greek II, Counseling Skills, Old Testament Survey (because I wasn’t a Bible major in undergrad), and Minor Prophets. Only Minor Prophets requires a term paper, so that helped me decide to keep the fourth class. Plus, I’ll continue tutoring in the afternoon and working on my Mandarin for Sunday mornings. (For some reason, they not only allow but ask me to read a scripture and/or pray in Mandarin). God is good.

Please pray for us to continue trusting the Lord and centering our lives around his will. We’re not sure where we’re heading (as no one is), but the difference is this: we’re pretty comfy with that. Linli added a CPA-prep course and is trying to become a CPA—think she could apply our tax codes in China? So, we might be in the States awhile, after all. Never say “I’d never . . . “, though.