However, one piece of news that I suppose it is finally time to make official on the blog...
What? Didn't we just get to Maryland a year ago? Yes, yes my friends. But life has a way of leading us down certain paths where we think we know the final destination, only to lead to another, completely different path.
In short, after trying out the PhD program at the University of Maryland (and enjoying his professors and doing well in his classes, of course) Jeff has come to realize that the PhD route just isn't for him. Jeff loves to learn and had the ultimate goal of teaching in mind when he started the program at UMD, but Jeff came to find out pretty quick that teaching is not the focus of the PhD program he was in. The research heavy focus at UMD was too theoretical and philosophical for Jeff. He wants to be involved in the practical application of business; he doesn't want to write papers about business and study it - he wants to DO it.
So, after much research on graduate programs, pondering our future plans, and prayers for guidance, we came to the decision to go to Salt Lake City so Jeff can pursue an MBA at the University of Utah. Why Utah? Well, they made Jeff a great offer, which includes a spot in their entrepreneur center that Jeff is pretty stoked about. We are also hopeful this move will help him build his professional network in the west, seeing as how we love it there. Of course this is to say nothing about being closer to both of our families, which will of course be a big plus.
Although we have lots of reasons to look forward to and anticipate this big change, I don't think either of us were fully prepared for how sad we are feeling to be leaving our new home here in Maryland. I have an amazing job that has given me the opportunity to know some incredible people and to do some phenomenal things. We have had the opportunity to travel to so many places and learn so much about this country we both love. We have met so many dear friends out here, people we truly love and will be so sad to leave. We've come a long way from the homesickness we felt those first few months out here and are sad to be leaving behind so much we have come to love. During those times of sadness we are grateful to have the guidance of the Lord to help us know where to go, what paths to choose and what direction he wants our lives to take, even if we don't see the reasons why at present.
Something we have seen over and over in our lives - Heavenly Father is mindful of us and is directing our lives. I remember telling my brother that we were moving back west, and his first reaction was, "Man! What a waste!" feeling as though we moved all the way out here for nothing. However, we can honestly and truly say our time out here has been anything but a waste. We have learned so much, gained so much, and come to love so much out here. We see so many blessings from being here and are grateful for the time we've had - it has been a wonderful blessing from a Heavenly Father who loves us, knows us, and wants what is best for us.
So, here we are again, packing our lives into boxes for a big cross country move. We leave in about a month and will be spending time with family, friends, and loved ones in Idaho for a couple of weeks before we head to SLC. Hopefully we weather the big changes without too much sweat and tears and will settle again in the West soon. I can't make any guarantees on posting between now and then - I have a lot of catching up on our trips of the last few months as we've tried to squeeze the whole east coast before we leave! The above picture is from our trip to NYC. You can see my photo album on Facebook by clicking here.
Finally, lest you think Jeff is trading his Cougar Blue in for Ute Red, please be aware that Jeff still holds that you can attend the U without become a Ute and is proud to proclaim he still bleeds blue. Let's hope we can hold true to that!