Polishing Off the Old Blog One Last Time in 2013

*Cough* Wow, it sure is dusty in here! *Cough*

A few months ago, I mentioned that I’d be posting less frequently here because of a new hymn-related writing project. (Which, by the way, has been a lot of fun! Check out Systematic Hymnology and follow along on Twitter and Facebook if you haven’t already.) But “less frequently” became “not at all” pretty quickly, so I wanted to squeeze in one last blog post in 2013 to catch up those interested with the twists and turns life has thrown our family in the last few months.

The biggest adventure by far has been learning that both of our daughters were born with moderate hearing loss. When our first daughter was born, she failed her hearing screening at the hospital, and went on to fail hearing screenings scheduled about every 6 weeks until her second birthday. While we noticed that her speech was not developing, our local doctor told us there was nothing to be concerned about and that she would probably catch up on her own, so we didn’t think too much of it. Maybe we should have.

When our second daughter also failed her newborn hearing screening, we began to suspect that there may actually be something wrong. We scheduled an appointment with a different audiologist for a second opinion. Her opinion was that our older daughter should have gotten a referral for hearing aids a year earlier. She referred us to an ENT at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, who seconded her opinion.

Suffice it to say that we aren’t very happy with the local doctor… but I don’t want to dwell on that part of the story. We won’t be back to see him, but we have been extremely pleased with the care we have received from our new doctor, and the entire team at Vandy. They’ve been very accommodating in fast-tracking both of our girls through all the various tests and procedures it took to get their hearing aids, which we received a few weeks ago. We’re still adjusting, but the difference already is amazing! I continue to marvel at the gifts God gives to the world through scientific progress and the development of new technologies that make life easier. The prognosis for both girls is that, while they will likely need hearing devices for the rest of their lives, they should quickly catch up with their peers in all the areas they are delayed. And even though they won’t “need” sign language in order to communicate, we have found that learning ASL has been incredibly beneficial as well as a ton of fun! (If you have kids, I can’t recommend the Signing Time series enough! Some episodes are available on Netflix, and many of the DVD’s are at our local library.)

Blessed as we’ve been through this process, it has been exhausting in many ways. For the last several months, we’ve had appointments at Vanderbilt nearly every week. It has seemed at times that every day we are either making a trip or recovering from one. There have also been hours of research into hearing loss, and the various procedures the girls have been undergoing, and hours more working through tough financial decisions as we adjust to our new reality, and the necessary adjustments it has meant for our family budget. This is definitely the #1 reason for my reduced writing capacity recently!

Added to all this, though, is the fact that our house is currently on the market. It has been showing well and frequently (which certainly doesn’t help with the exhaustion, but we’re not complaining!), but no sale yet. It’s not an ideal time to sell a house, but we have had several very interested potential buyers, and are hopeful that the house will sell quickly after the holidays are over. While we love our current house and location, our desire is to purchase land outside Cookeville, so that we will be able to raise some chickens, goats, and who knows what else, as well as starting a large garden. We have also felt a strong desire to downsize and simplify our lives… which probably should be a separate post at some point soon. We’re excited to see where the Lord will lead us as this process is completed! If you know anyone in the market for a home in an ultra-convenient Cookeville city location, we’d appreciate you kindly directing them to our listing!

One last thing:

As many readers follow this blog for book reviews (of which there have been none for months, sadly), let me assure you that I’ve not stopped reading, despite everything else! I can’t guarantee that I’ll get reviews written for some of these books, but I can at least share what I’ve read recently, along with a brief thumbs-up or down:

Recent Reads

Clash of Titans: Atlas Shrugged, John Galt & Jesus Christ, by Chad Brand and Tom Pratt — Big thumbs up for this one, though it won’t appeal to everyone. If you enjoyed (or hated) Atlas Shrugged, this book will give you a deeper appreciation/understanding of it. It’s the best  critique from a Christian perspective I’ve seen, pointing out Ayn Rand’s merits (of which there are many) while not hesitating to also warn against her flaws (which are profoundly dangerous).

Moral Apologetics for Contemporary Christians: Pushing Back Against Cultural and Religious Critics, by Mark Coppenger — Like the last book, this was written by one of my seminary professors. I loved their classes so much, I figured I’d love their books too, and I was right! Dr. Coppenger has a unique take on apologetics, in which he bases his defense of Christianity on the moral fruit it has brought to the world (e.g., hospitals, universities, ending slavery, etc.). He also does a “fruit check” in the lives of Christian leaders contrasted with the lives of leaders of rival world religions and philosophies. Quite interesting!

Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, by Kevin DeYoung — This book seemed fitting given my recent circumstances, and it was tremendously helpful. I’d say more, but I really don’t have the time.

Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry — Ever since I read Hannah Coulter (my review), I’ve been looking forward to another visit to the fictional town of Port William, Kentucky. As much as I enjoyed HC, I enjoyed this one even more!

Reading Now

Symphonic Theology: The Validity of Multiple Perspectives in Theology, by Vern Poythress — Admission #1: I bought this book pretty much based on the title alone. That said, it has been really interesting! Poythress (an author I’ve read and enjoyed before) encourages Christians to be open to differing perspectives on the interpretation of Scripture. While the Bible is infallible, our understanding and interpretation of it is now, and it is good to acknowledge that no one perspective gets everything right. We have much to learn from those who view things differently, and from attempting to look at Scripture in a fresh way ourselves. Admission #2: I set this book down a few weeks ago and haven’t picked it back up, mostly because I decided I wanted to use my vacation time to indulge primarily in fiction reading… I’m hoping to get back to it soon.

Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel — This is the second book in the “Thomas Cromwell Trilogy”; I finished the first book (Wolf Hall) last week. The trilogy is historical fiction based in the court of Henry VIII, told from the perspective of his Master Secretary, Thomas Cromwell. I’ve wanted to read this series ever since I heard an interview with the author on NPR earlier this year, and it hasn’t disappointed. Go pick up a copy and read it!

Up Next

Other than finishing the Mantel trilogy, I’m most looking forward to reading The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down With the Titanic. I’ve heard wonderful things about this book, and am glad it’s finally staring at me from the very top of my “to read” pile. After that, I hope to be getting back into seminary classes (I’ve had to take a lengthy break for both financial and schedule reasons), which means my reading will once again be dominated by textbooks.

Many blessings to you this New Year!

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