- Julie got a book deal with InterVarsity Press at the beginning of this year and has been working hard on her book, Everyday Justice. It takes a Christian perspective on how we can make a difference in global justice issues like poverty, Fair Trade, slavery, and the environment through our ordinary, everyday choices. She's working on her second draft now. Look for it sometime next Fall!
- On June 11, and following another difficult pregnancy for Julie, Aidan Elessar Clawson joined our family. He never stops eating, can't seem to stay asleep whenever we try to put him down, and loves to laugh.
- At the end of June we officially ended Via Christus, our church plant in Yorkville, Illinois. We did our best with it, and created a really great community, but unfortunately we were never able to grow beyond 20-30 people or make it financially sustainable. We definitely miss our friends there, and the experience of leading an experimental, interactive, missional house church. Having talked to a number of former Via Christus members, we're all still finding it rather hard to find another church that compares to what we had together.
- In July we got to spend a week in Michigan with my family while I was the speaker at a senior high summer camp. Having grown up at a very similar camp, getting to be the "inspirational speaker guy" for a change was a lot of fun and a huge challenge. I was also glad Julie and the kids got to spend some extended time with my family before our big move to Texas.
- In August we packed up everything and headed south to Julie's hometown of Austin Texas. After we knew that Via Christus would be coming to an end, I decided to go back to school for a PhD in Religion/Church History (I'll be studying the roots of the emerging church movement). We knew that to pull that off we'd need more immediate family support, which is a large part of why we decided to move to Austin (besides the fact that it's exactly the kind of place we've wanted to live for quite a while - smaller, intellectual, progressive, "interesting"). It's been a blessing to have Julie's parents and other relatives so close. Though I hope to end up at Baylor (which will mean a 3-hour round-trip commute to Waco every day) eventually, right now I'm at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary working on my Masters degree (I already have one, but it's not the right type, so I have to get another before I can start on my PhD work). Anyhow, August and September were a whirlwind of packing, driving, unloading, buying a house, moving in, starting school, and slowly getting everything unpacked and decorated. Now, four months later, we're finally feeling a little bit settled.
- We also had to travel to Dallas twice this Fall, first for Julie's grandfather's funeral, and then, two weeks later, her brother's wedding. It was fortunate that we were already down here and able to attend these events without too much trouble. Emma got to be the flower girl and did a fabulous job (though she practically had to drag the ringbearer down the aisle.)