A year ago I was a student at Asbury, working at Kaleidoscope, expecting my first child. 12 months later I am a stay-at-home dad with my MA working at a distillery. Quite a bit has changed in 2009. Here is a look back in pictures. [HT: Dave]
January -Stephenson Chapel
[Bowling with the Youth from Stephenson Chapel]
In January I continued my work with Kaleidoscope writing grants, but also began a stint as an interim pastor for Stephenson Chapel. At first it was only supposed to be a few week fill-in gig, but it ended up lasting 6 months. The folks at this rural church in Russellville were an amazing example of community and incarnate love. They put up with my quirks and gave Beth and I amazing support.
February – Ice and Stitches
[Ice damage and damaged knee]
In late January a major snow storm hit the Bluegrass. Along with many other people I spent several days running a chainsaw helping with the cleanup. Most of my time was out at Camp Loucon, a Methodist camp and retreat center near Leitchfield KY. On my third day in I was sawing a hanging limb and it kicked back in a weird way sending the chainsaw bar (the chain was not moving) into my leg. I ended up with 24 stitches in my knee, but was sawing again within 3 hours. Some people never learn.
March – Corsair
[Custom Still at Corsair]
Beginning in October of last year, I completed several distillery tours in the state. They are always a fascinating mix of industry, craft and science. The most interesting was Corsair Artisan, a micro-distillery that just opened in Bowling Green. After several visits, in March the owners asked if I would be interested in helping them out on a few projects. My role in the company gradually expanded and now I am the Distillery Manager and handle most of the daily operations. It is a great mix of duties that keeps me on my toes and works with my schedule.
April – Birth of Mikayla
[Mikayla at 1 week]
Some months carry more weight than others. Thus is the case for April 2009. On the the 28th at 10:36am, our baby girl Mikayla Lillian Kickert was born. She weighed in at 7,7 and was 20” long. You can see more blog posts about her here.
May – Graduation
[Celebrating with the family in all my regalia]
After 3 years, $33,000 ($21,000 out of pocket), and over 3,000 hours of work I finally graduated with a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from Asbury Seminary. This time was certainly formative, but looking back at it I am not convinced I would do it again if given the choice. It was simply too much of a sacrifice for what it yielded. For me, graduation was more than just an achievement – it represented a transition to freedom.
June – Blogging / Time with Family
[G-ma Morgan meets Mikayla for the first time]
After graduating and ending my stint at Stephenson Chapel I discovered a void in my life. I no longer had an obvious outlet for my creativity or an avenue to work through my thoughts. In order to fix this I began blogging (technically I took blogging back up, but my previous attempts had never amounted to anything). Also during this time Beth, Mikayla and I had the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time together and visit with family. We basically had 2.5 months together and took full advantage of it.
July – Garden
[The garden at the height of the growing season]
While not specific to July, one of the highlights of the year was our garden. This was the first year we moved it to our house and it was also one of the best crops we have had. It was a great escape and the food we produced was excellent. Here is an earlier post about our garden and one about lessons learned throughout the year.
August – Stay-at-home Dad
[Watching Mikayla while Cooking]
When Mikayla was born Beth and I decided it made sense for me to stay at home with her during the week. In August, my “job” started in earnest. I had never pictured myself as a stay-at-home dad, but I have really enjoyed being able to spend time with her and it means the whole family gets more quality time. To be honest with you, sometimes I wonder what Beth was thinking when she trusted me to not do anything stupid with Mikayla. So far so good… for the most part.
September – Grandfather
[Grandma and Grandpa with Mikayla]
Some transitions are harder than others. One of the tough ones for 2009 was the passing of my grandfather. In his life he had overcome many illnesses and obstacles, but his last few months were filled with pain and everyone knew in September it was his time to go. I wrote some of my thought about the transition of life here.
October – Long Term Relationships
[Kickerts and Altmaiers at Abrham’s Falls]
It is amazing how fast time goes by. In October, Beth and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. A few months earlier we had celebrated 10 years together (dating+marriage). Even though it sounds trite to say, I could not imagine my life without her. That same month we spent a great weekend with old friends (Dave and I go back to Ms. Fitzgerald’s first grade class). For Beth and I, Dave and Catherine are the type of friends that you can jump right back in with even after several months apart and never feel like you missed a beat.
November – Camry
November represents one of the most frustrating months of 2009. A few months earlier the engine in Beth’s Camry blew (read about it here). After a month of trying to figure out if was worth fixing, we finally bought a used engine to install. Long story short, the engine was bad, we hit a bunch more hurdles, we have spent 3x the amount we planned on spending and as of the first week of January we still don’t have a car. Ughh…
December – Christmas
[PJs, Hot Cocoa, and Pictures]
Since this was Mikayla’s first Christmas we made sure we spent part of Christmas day at our home together. We were able to initiate some family traditions of our own (Beth has a great post about it). One of the things we did was get dressed up in our pajamas (I had to buy some), make hot cocoa and take fun family pictures together.
Overall 2009 did not turn out the way I would have expected it to, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than where I am right now.