10 September 2009

A New Post for a New Phase!

It's approaching three months since last I wrote, and, wow, there are some really new things afoot in my life. Part of the reason that I've been 'quiet' for so long (aside from my habit of infrequent blogging) is that I didn't really know how several possibilities were going to play out. It seemed good to me to wait quietly rather than to announce things that were uncertain. But we're breaking new ground now, so here's my latest news:

First, I finished my work for McM U and moved away from Abilene, TX. I left my well-loved, quasi-functioning car in Ft. Worth, rented a more reliable car, and drove to my parents' house in Atlanta. I was east of Birmingham when I allowed myself to think about the wonderful people who were becoming farther away with every passing minute. I saw their faces, heard their voices, felt their embraces. I knew I wouldn't turn around and at the same time wondered that I didn't. I'd managed to stay dry-eyed until then. (My eyes aren't especially dry right now either!) My poor cat made the trip, too. She did all her crying in the first hour or two. :) But she's adjusting.

I'm visiting my family in Atlanta for a couple of weeks. It's nice to be home for a while - connecting with old friends, hanging out with the family, walking in my favorite park, feeling the pulse of the city again (without necessarily being part of the chaos). But this is just the in-between phase...

My next stop is Oxford, England, where I will begin an MPhil in Eastern Christian Studies in October! I'm in Wolfson College, located in North Oxford on the banks of the River Cherwell. (Anyone as nerdy as I am can take a virtual tour!) I hope to complete a DPhil at Oxford as well. If all goes as I'd like, I'll be in the UK for 5-6 years.

So, that's the big, waiting-with-bated-breath news. Last fall, I applied for a number of graduate programs, most of them PhD's in the States, and heard "No" or "Maybe, but probably not" all spring. All that time, the one I really wanted - this program at Oxford - was sort of MIA. That is, until June 1st, when I found out I'd been accepted. (I'd about given up hope! I was trying to psych myself up for another round of applications! Ugh, the idea still makes me shudder.) Then I had to figure out how to pay for my degree - it's not cheap and I'm not independently wealthy! I talked to some of my mentors at ACU. I waited for two and a half months. A little less than a month ago, ACU offered to help me fund my degree(s) if I'd come back to teach there for (at least) an equal amount of time. "Yes, I'm in!!" (A friend of mine called this "indentured servitude." Personally, I think it's a sweet deal!)

And, so, when my sojourn in the UK is over, I plan to return to Abilene to teach undergraduate and graduate theology courses at ACU. I want to focus my studies and research on historical theology (which engages the development of Christian doctrines throughout history). I'm not exactly sure what topics I'll focus on, but I'm very interested in Christology, ecclesiology, gender, and inter-religious dialogue.

Chances are, with all the new things heading my way, the blog is going to get a bit of a makeover in the coming weeks. I'm hoping to step it up on posting, because I imagine this'll be a good way to maintain connections with a lot of people who are special to me. Maybe this cushion time in Atlanta will be a good time to turn over a new leaf...


Amber Joy said...

Hooray! She blogs!
AND she's going to ENGLAND!

Tera said...

I am so excited for you and I'm expecting lots of posts and other communication so I can vicariously live your Oxford experience!!

dps said...

"indentured servitude" indeed! You are already being missed...

God's speed my friend! I'm sure we'll see each other down the road.

The Driskells said...

Wow! A lot has happened and you've got some big changes coming up. I LOVE that you are going to Oxford - that just seems to fit perfectly. And then you get to come back to ACU and teach - Way cool!
Please keep posting, especially pictures of your big move and new town!
: ) Kara

Jared Cramer said...

A tremendous congratulations to you Kelli. You'll do fantastic and ACU will be very lucky to have you.

A friend of mine from Arlington just left her position as an associate priest to begin doctoral work (I believe in theology) at Keble College. Her name is Jennifer Strawbridge. If you run across her, say hello. She's fantastic and you two would get along great (as long as there is not too much competition between your two colleges!).

Kelli said...

Many thanks to all of you!

DPS - I already miss Abilene (well, the people) desperately. I'm quite the basket-case these days, actually.

Oh, Kara, how I miss you, Len, and your girls! They're so big already! Keep those updates coming, sister!

Jared - I'll certainly keep an eye out for Jennifer. Lord knows I'll need a friend, and if she has your recommendation, I'm confident we'd hit it off quite well. :)

mad4books said...

It continues to amaze me that I know someone so smart...and yet, completely likable and LOVELY!

Hey, the virtual tour was great, even if your Quad is a little...ahem...spartan. (Oh, well, the gardens more than made up for that. I predict you'll be spending some quality time there!)

Hey, don't forget that a PICTURE is worth a thousand words. If you don't already have a good digital camera, tell your folks that Santa needs to come early this year!

We miss you so much, IT HURTS!

Janet's Journey said...

I am thrilled that you decided to blog! I hope that your experience in Oxford will be wonderful, and I am glad that you are indentured to ACU. I can't wait to hear about your experiences in England.

kentbrantly said...

Dear Kelli,
Is it ok for me to be proud of you? I'm so excited for you and proud of all that you are and will be doing. Abilene is a hard place to leave... thank goodness I found a reason to keep going back to Abilene for the rest of my life :) You're going to do so great in Oxford. Maybe we'll get a chance to come visit you there sometime over the next 5 or 6 years. It's a lovely town. And you'll have to become friends with Ali, the kebab guy. His wife makes a great garlic mayonnaise sauce.
God speed to you, my friend, and may the Lord's strong hand be upon you in this new adventure He has prepared you for.
kent <><

Kelli said...

You're right, Kristy - Wolfson's no Christchurch! But the community's a bit more laid back than a lot of the ancient colleges. (I mean, who wants to wear dress in their academic gown for dinner every night?) Plus, they accepted me!

Katrina said...


Congratulations~! Looking forward to reading/seeing what you're discovering on this incredibly wonderful journey. We miss you and love you tons. --You've got to hit up the portrait gallery in London for me, at least once... :) I am dreaming that maybe before you return to Abilene, I'll have kicked out Sallie Mae and bought a plane ticket, so we can tour the place together...

Miss you tons. Peace & Love to you-

Mark + Katrina