Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Busy Couple of Months

I want to apologize to all of you in the blogosphere for not being a part of your community for the last couple of months. I have been using this summer to get caught up in a few things that I had let go by the wayside lately. Here's a quick overview of what I've been up to:

1. Vacation: My family and I had a wonderful vacation to Washington, DC and Delaware in June. Our kids were born in Delaware and hadn't been back since we moved to St Louis 12 years ago. It was a great time and helped us all reconnect with one of the great places we have lived.

2. Dissertation: I was out of work for 2 months while my contract was being renegotiated. It is back in place now and I am back at work, but I used the 2 months to made huge leaps forward on my doctoral dissertation for Saint Louis University. My dissertation centers around analyzing John Steinbeck's use of landscape as the setting for The Grapes of Wrath. I am trying to marry my love of geography and American literature. I was stalled out on my research and writing when my work stoppage happened, now I believe I can have a first draft done by September 1. I am at 216 typed pages and counting. I had just about given up any hope of completing my dissertation when the work stoppage happened and I got re-energized on the project.

3. Nevis: I am leading our church's mission trip to help out Calvary Baptist Church in Nevis, a small and often overlooked island in the Caribbean Ocean about an hour flight south of Puerto Rico. We will be working with Kurvin Wallace, a good friend and alumni of our collegiate ministry (The Gate) at McKendree College. Between my dissertation and the mission trip I have spent every waking non-working moment occupied. Our trip to Nevis runs from July 21-28 and is filling up well. We'll be leaving at 3:30am on Saturday, so there will be plenty of time to sleep on the airplane, but until the trip is finished I don't think I will have much time to blog. I know I will have a lot to discuss when we return.

After the Nevis trip is over I will concentrate most of my effort on my dissertation. It will be good to get my first draft to the Saint Louis University American Studies Department to review so that I can take a week or two off to relax while they do their first review.