We’ve been in America now for a few months, and it’s gone by fast. Truthfully, it’s been kind of a blur. So today, I thought I’d share a few quick updates on life here, what I’m seeing God (maybe) doing, and also provide a few updates on the state of the blog.
Work, travel and loving my job
Since I started my job at LifeWay, there’s been a ton going on. And at least 90 percent of it is great. The rest of it is just taking some getting used to (and I have no doubt will be pretty rad once I do). But one thing I’m sure about: I love what God has given me the opportunity to do for a living. Since I started, I’ve been surrounded by amazingly talented people and I’ve been learning a ton.
One of the hardest bits to get used to has been traveling. Since my first day, I’ve visited three states (two of these for the first time). In December I travel to state number four (North Carolina, another first). On the one hand, I love visiting new places. On the other, I’m not a fan of being away from my family too often. Thankfully, I’ve managed to keep my travel to about once a month so far, and it’s not been more than about five days. One of the great blessings of the last few weeks has been seeing new friends take care of Emily and the kids while I’ve been away (particularly giving rides to and from church and small group).
Family health, personal health, and gospel opportunities with the kids
Emily and the kids have also started to meet people in the neighborhood, befriending two girls who live downstairs, and Emily getting to know the grandmother of a girl who attends the same music school as Hannah. And despite the large portions at reasonable prices, a bit of good news on the health front: the milder climate makes it easier for our family to enjoy a walk every night. We’re also being responsible and tracking all our eating, which has allowed me to drop no less than 15 pounds since we moved. No fad diets, no cutting out specific foods. Just managing portions (which I was doing) and regular, manageable exercise (which I wasn’t getting enough of).
Our walks, though, are a highlight. The other night, we started talking about baptism. The kids watched a baptism last weekend and were curious about what it meant and who should be baptized. It was a pretty amazing opportunity to once again explain the gospel, baptism’s symbolism of it, and why only those who have put their trust in Jesus as their only hope for salvation. I’m still not sure where they’re at in terms of faith in Jesus, but I’ll take every opportunity I can to talk to them about the gospel.
A note about Reading Writers, and a few changes I’m making on the site
Reading Writers, my weekly podcast, has been one of the most fun things I’ve produced recently. After 26 episodes, it’s building a good audience and I’ve been having tons of fun talking with thoughtful and funny people about their favorite books. This week is a skip week for the show due to some technical difficulties, but it should be back next week. Within one or two episodes of that, I’ll be airing a “season finale” and taking a break while I evaluate the experience so far and prepare for the next round.
On that note, if you’ve been listening, I’d sure appreciate a rating or review on iTunes, if you can spare a minute. Your ratings really do help people find the show.
Over the course of the last few months, there’s been a big question mark about additional income surrounding the blog—stuff like affiliate links, advertising, and whatnot. You probably noticed that the site looks a little different now (unless you’re reading on your phone). For the time being, I’ve removed advertising on the blog itself, as well as shut down my Amazon affiliates account. Links to books will continue to work, but I will no longer earn any income from any purchases. The only thing ad-ish you’ll see going forward is one spot for The Gospel Project in the footer opposite my podcast. Whether formal advertising and affiliate links returns at some point, I can’t say (it all depends on my long term legal status within the United States).
The changes I’ve made to the site are just the first of some longer-term plans I have. Moving to a single-column layout, I will be considering whether my existing site design best suits that look, which means you may see a slight refresh coming in the next few months.
Thanks for praying
Finally, if any of you have been praying for us during this transition, I’d like to say thank you. This move has been great, but I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy or even that everything’s gone the way we’ve expected. But through it all, God’s been at work, and in everything we’ve seen he’s been good to us.