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June 24, 2013

Life Changes

Life at the Roth household is about to get really different, mostly because my family (the Hoffmans) has a lot going on as well. If you've somehow missed a that a baby will be arriving in Timothy's and my life in the next two months (give or take a few weeks depending on when Baby chooses to arrive), there's Life Change #1. Baby is the first grandchild on my side. Not only will Timothy and I be learning how to be parents, but my family will be welcoming a completely new addition. No reference point to help them out, like Timothy's family for whom this is grandchild number seven.

Life Change #2: my brother is awaiting word from the Navy on whether he will be headed to officer's school on July 8. After graduating with his Master's in Mechanical Engineering in May, Aaron decided that hands-on work would be more fulfilling than the life at a desk that an engineer has become known for in corporate America. The Navy has a pretty wonderful four-year program. Aaron will spend two years on various ships, learning maintenance for a variety of issues. He then will spend one year in school to gain more technical knowledge and certifications. His last year will be at a port, working on anything that comes in. His goal is to get stationed with an air craft carrier. His undergraduate education is in Aerospace Engineering, so that would allow him to use both degrees. Not to mention, he will get to travel far and wide. We're excited for him and hope he gets official word soon.

Life Change #3: my grandmother continues her battle with cancer. Last week, I had a quick note and I don't know much more beyond that yet. She has lost 20 pounds from the treatments and has mentioned that it may be time to look into Assisted Living or Hospice care. This comes as a bit of a shock to me. My grandmother, in my mind, is going to live forever. Before the cancer returned, she was walking several miles each day, coordinated social activities for her community and volunteered regularly with the local library. She seemed invincible to the effects of time. We love her dearly and know that she is ready to go. Her husband passes away when I was 18 months old and my brother was a newborn. Today I'm 25 and Aaron is about to turn 24. Grandpa has been gone for 24 years and although she hasn't been alone, we do know she has missed him deeply. Saying goodbye is never easy and this will be very hard for my family.

Life Change #4: Timothy and I will be starting our own family traditions. With Baby arriving in August, we're looking ahead to holiday scheduling (and mixing it with life after ordination and serving a parish on all holidays). Timothy is scheduled to help with worship on Thanksgiving so that will land us in St. Louis for that holiday, but we are planning on cooking on our Thanksgiving dinner. He will have Christmas off this year, so we are planning to go visit my family in Florida. (It's also going to be the only time I will be able to get off to go visit my family for Timothy's next school year.) Beyond holidays, we're looking at how we will be celebrating birthdays, taking vacations and even just spending time together on the weekends, a notoriously busy time for clergy.

Life Change #5: Timothy has begun researching ministry options after the seminary. Of course, there is the parish ministry, which we would be in for a little while at least. We have also started looking into chaplaincy in the armed forces. We're still just getting information now (not even talking with recruiters) but this may be a path we take. Timothy will still become an ordained minister in the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. He needs to have two years of parish ministry before any branch would accept him. Another option he is looking into is obtaining his counseling certificate after ordination. His counseling course at the seminary really peaked his interest. Timothy also has a huge heart for people and is particularly suited to this aspect of ministry. Gaining a counseling certification will open his options and could change the path our ministry takes us.

In addition, I have started looking forward (albeit way forward) to a year from now. Our lease is done at the end of June 2014. By then, we will know our vicarage assignment and will be headed that way very shortly after packing up our home, complete with all baby accessories that will accumulate in the next year. It seems strange to think that in one year, life will be completely changing again. We will be moving before Baby's first birthday. We will be settling in with a new church family. We will be saying goodbye to some dear friends we've made at the seminary. Life will look very different. But I will try not to get ahead of myself here. There is a whole year of life to live before the Roth's will make it to that day.

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