Friday, January 12, 2007

Belated Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family:

I offer you warm greetings and wish you God’s blessing during this Christmas (OK, and now New Year’s) season!

Well, what a year in the King/Martin household! We have come a long way since last holiday season. Of course the most easily recognizable changes in our daily lives revolve around Esmé – who has grown from a pretty helpless infant into a charming and ever-adventurous toddler. But, as many of you know by now, there are other changes afoot as well, as we make plans to move to Lancaster, PA in a few months.

For much of the past year Jess and I have been considering some major changes: first, Jess weighed some options to begin graduate school in the fall (including out-of-town locales as exotic as the London School of Economics); then we explored the possibility of renovating adjacent properties with our Pittsburgh friends Nick and Becky – but we encountered deterring obstacles with both of those options.

Finally, in late summer, after about five years of pouring her heart and soul into the Union Project and more recently longing for more time with Esmé, Jess began to feel quite strongly that the time had come to begin stepping back from her responsibilities at work. Thus, faced with the strange and new idea (at least in recent years) of needing to be the bread-winner of the household, I began exploring positions in pastoral ministry within the Mennonite church. More quickly than either of us ever thought would be possible, a clearly wonderful opportunity has taken shape and I have been invited to work as the Associate Pastor for Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster. It has been an emotional decision-making process for both of us, but at this point I am very excited to embark on this new journey and eager to establish life and a home in Lancaster. Chad will begin some long-distance work with the congregation in January, and we will make the big move in June of 2007.

With all this in mind, I spend my days learning how to say goodbye to work and a city that I love. And I am trying to learn how to live with the tension of one foot here and one foot aimed toward Lancaster. With Jess’ help, I am scrambling to put the final touches on our house before putting it up for sale in a couple months. We both enjoy doing creative work with our hands (a few weeks ago Jess made her debut selling handmade yarn at a local craft fair!) – I participated in another wood firing at Dale Huffman’s kiln in December and have started an exciting series of mixed media paintings. Sadie still drags us out for long walks through our neighborhood. And of course I love playing with Esmé (almost) all the time.

This year we also began learning how to do all our traveling accompanied by a baby. That has not always been easy – in fact it has almost never been easy! But we have enjoyed some wonderful trips this year. Most notably, Esmé got her first taste (literally) of the ocean this summer when we spent a week at the Outer Banks with Jess’ family. Later in the summer my parents graciously agreed to babysit for a couple days so Jess and I could relax at a bed and breakfast on Lake Michigan for a couple days, followed by celebrating Esmé’s birthday with a day at the lake with the whole Martin clan. Esmé almost made it coast to coast this year, since we also flew to Oregon to visit Jess’ grandparents in October (I can now say from experience that flying several hours with a small, feverish child is not for the faint of heart!).

Tucked in and around all of this, I still teach some art classes. This fall and winter I finally, after all these years of planning and dreaming, am teaching ceramics at the Union Project. I have had great students in both classes and look forward to doing more this spring. I also spend one day per week babysitting the two-year old daughter of some friends (in exchange, they keep Esmé for us on another day!!). These are busy days that keep me on my toes. Johanna has become a dear friend to everyone in our household – especially Esmé and Sadie.

I hardly can sum up the changes in Esmé or my awe in watching her grow this year. Here are some highlights: swimming with her; frequent trips to the zoo; watching her grandparents bring out her husky laugh; helping her learn new words every day; walking down the sidewalk hand-in-hand; and her pointing, nearly leaping out of her stroller and exclaiming “Lights! Lights!” this month as we walk past festively decorated homes.


Anonymous Heather Kropf said...

So good to read an update. Pittsburgh will miss both of your amazing spirits and talents.


15 January, 2007  
Blogger Angie said...

Hey Chad! Despite being very late in reading your Christmas letter, I do wonder how you three are doing often. Sounds like big transitions have happened in your lives. I was glad to be able to catch up. Sounds like you both have done and continue to do wonderful things.


10 June, 2007  

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