year in review

Before looking back on the past week, I thought I would first post about the past year.

If I could use one word to characterize 2008, it would be transition. My year began with the beginning of a new job @ Prov as I temporarily took over the position of Custodial and Guest Services coordinator. As the [cold] winter progressed, Lauren was putting the finishing touches on her Master’s degree and we began making plans to move back to Ontario for the summer. We had learned just before Christmas ’07 that I had been accepted at the Unversity of Aberdeen for ’08-’09, so the plan was to live in Guelph for the summer, save up some coin and move to Scotland.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

One of the biggest events of 2008 for me was getting baptized. It was so great to be able to do this @ FaithWorks, a faith community that felt the most ‘at home’ for Lauren and I since we had been married. Lauren graduated in April [and I was so very proud of all the hard work she put into her two years in Otterburne], and while it was difficult to say goodbye to our friends in Manitoba, we were excited to move home for a bit [after a long but pretty relaxed four day road trip] and prepare for the big move to Aberdeen.

The summer lay before us, and we weren’t exactly sure what we were going to do in Guelph for employment. We sucked it up and applied to work at a local water bottling plant, and spent three not so great weeks working there before being thrown a huge bone and getting way better jobs booking campsites. In what turned out to be one of many pretty neat moments of the summer, we found out a couple weeks later that our previous positions at the water plant had been made obsolete, so we would have been out of work had we decided to stay there. [And we were able to hook up a couple now out of work Nestle employees jobs at Camis.] On top of that, there was the fact that we were able to find a flat here in Aberdeen through a crazy connection through a friend, got our UK visas with only a smallish obstacle, and dodged a huge bullet when our originally booked flight was canceled and we were able to make other arrangements within the hour. It was so neat to see God’s hand on the lead up to the move. We also had some great times with friends and family over the four months we were in Ontario and overall, despite the stress of looking for jobs and trying to get everything sorted for the move, I would say it was it was a pretty great summer.

And then, of course, the day finally came for us to move to Aberdeen, and that story has been laid out on the blog over the past few months. The transition to UK living was relatively smooth, and once we got a lay of the land and Lauren started working, we have felt quite settled and at home here in North East Scotland. We’ve been able to do and see some great things over here so far, and are looking forward to exploring Scotland, the UK and Europe some more as the year progresses.

As with 2008, this coming year will involve some unknowns and transitions. I will complete my Master’s in September, at which time we will move home and have to go through the process of moving and saying goodbye to the friends that we are making. Later this year, I will be turning 29, and that t minus one year from 30, and that’s just a bit weird to me. There are some things I want to work on in my life, some goals I’d like to achieve as I get more situated in the realm of adulthood. But looking back on this year, I can honestly say that I have felt God’s presence in my life more this year than maybe any other, both through his providing and taking care of us as we moved, but also in prodding me to make some changes. That’s one reason why I am excited about my dissertation topic [discipleship]; I think it will be a great learning process for me, and hopefully a transformative one as well.

As 2009 begins, Lauren and I are enjoying some time off from work and school. We feel like we kind of missed out on ‘the holidays’ this year, no Christmas with family and a pretty low key New Year’s. But we had an amazing time in Paris [post + pics coming soon], and feel pretty content right now. Come Monday, Lauren will be back at work with the children and I will be studying for exams. For now, it’s nice to have some time together.

And that was the kind of year it was for the McLaren’s.

Cheers to 2008 and a toast to ’09!

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