Monday, January 01, 2007

In Review

The Spann Family blog started in August, however our family has been on a journey that began about this time last year. I didn't write a Christmas letter due to the fact that we feel that we're still in the midst of that journey and we're waiting for many things to come to fruition. We're getting there, but in the meantime, I'll fill you in on Spanns: 2006.

Last Christmas we found ourselves sick with the flu, in -10 degree weather and alone. We realized that we needed our family. Our children longed for grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins (some of which they had never met!). And even though we can't deny the fact that despite our California & Texas roots, we're more Midwestern than anything... the cold was becoming unbearable. We began to wonder if it wasn't time for us to relocate.

Kelly loved his job at Crown College: Head Baseball Coach and Prof of Sport Management. Coaching is what Kelly does - he thinks about it, dreams about, lives it - and to do it at his alma mater, an institution he loved, was a great fit. And as he says, "Teaching is coaching in a classroom." But after several changes in his department and in the college overall, he began to consider that it might be time to move on. Leaving Crown wouldn't be easy, but both he and I felt so strongly that it was time for us to go. This was confirmed by so many sources: chapel services at Crown, the women's Bible Study I was a part of. We knew this had to happen. But where to? That remained to be seen, but visions of southern climates danced in our heads as baseball season began.

That's when one of the biggest steps in this journey began. Kelly gave his notice... before the playing season began. It would be his last season at Crown. He didn't have a new position, only the strong sense of urgency that we had to step out in faith and resign. This wasn't part of our original plan. We thought that Kelly would seek out a new position over the summer and if he didn't find one, well, we'd stay at Crown. That would have been too easy!

Kelly entered the season with high hopes. The Storm Baseball roster was bigger and better than ever before. Kelly had a staff of assistant coaches in place for the first time. It was looking promising. But injury, ineligibility and discipline issues darkened the season. Looking back, the season was difficult, but perhaps it made the transition a bit easier.

During this time, Kelly had applied for a job in Longview, Texas, as a head college coach. It was very exciting and we figured this was it! We had put ourselves out there on faith, we had been obedient to God's calling,
He was now blessing us with the "perfect" job! We told the kids we were moving to Texas! Well, maybe we weren't that definitive, but we were confident that God was taking us somewhere, and we let Claire & Nolan know. It was all we talked about, all we thought about. Claire was old enough to understand, we wanted to make things clear to her. We felt so strongly that this is where we were going...

We were wrong.

The season ended and Kelly was done, all rather unceremoniously. As happens every year, the season ends the same time school does, everyone leaves and that's it. Fortunately, Crown honored his contract through the month of June, which meant he still received a salary and benefits for six weeks while he was at home.

I, in the meantime, continued working at Ridgeview Medical Center, admitting patients to the hospital and Emergency Room. I loved my job and the people I worked with, and I had considered returning to school for nursing. Those plans were forgotten about in the midst of it all, and although I know now is not the right time, in the future it still may be. I had let my employer and co-workers what was going on with us, expecting to have news and to give my notice at any time. Everyone was very supportive. We all waited...

During the summer months, Kelly continued his job search. He applied to several places, some of which seemed promising, others, not so much. Kelly had several telephone interviews and while he had only 6 years coaching experience, his professionalism and passion for the game as well as students often won him a spot on the "Top 5" list. But getting so close, to only lose the position to someone with more experience was taking it's toll. Kelly dabbled in some part-time summer work. We were grateful for the income, but it served to confirm that Kelly has a specific calling on his life.

Meanwhile, we celebrated birthdays, weddings, births. We played T-Ball, went to VBS, spent time with friends, we soaked up as much Minnesota as we could. We had been very transparent with our friends, letting everyone know what was going on. It was great to have support and even better to have prayers. In June we put our house on the market. We had long ago given our home to the Lord, and we knew he'd sell it in His way in His time. But we were certain it'd be soon. We had lots of interest, we'd priced it low. We had 2-4 showings a week... for months. Still waiting.

August rolled around and the tone in the Spann household became one of panic. School was starting soon, very soon. Claire was due to begin Kindergarten... still no job. We considered taking the house off the market, enrolling Claire in school locally and Kelly find a job locally, any job. Within a week, Kelly had 3 job interviews via telephone. 2 of which were serious consideration: he drove to Rochester, Minnesota and flew to Roswell, New Mexico within a week. Crossroads College in Rochester was hiring for an Athletic Director. They offered the position to Kelly. The job started the following week.

Kelly accepted, I gave my notice, we packed up what we thought would fit into a campus apartment, rented a truck and moved. The following week classes began at Crossroads and a short time later, Claire began Kindergarten.

And that brings us to August. If you're reading this blog, you've probably kept up with us since then. The preceding posts highlight some of the highs (and lows) during the last 4 months. We recently accepted an offer on our home (after several price reductions and a realtor change) and close on the 12th of this month.

God is good.

2006 has been a year of faith, of being stretched, of wonder, of thankfulness, of gratefulness, of humility, of blessedness, of learning... one that we are thankful for (but don't want to relive!) As I mentioned earlier, we feel that we're still on this particular journey. We don't pretend to know for a second what is next for us, but we are excited to find out. There is something still stirring inside us, a knowledge that we aren't done, that we're still on our way home.

We anticipate and Thank God for what He's doing and what He's yet to do. He is faithful. Even when we are not.

Here's to 2007 and the adventure that lies within!

1 comment:

Ken Christensen said...

I have a Google Alert set for "Crossroads College" and your wonderful blog popped up today. What a treat!

As an alumnus of the College (class of ’65) and one interested in athletics, I am thrilled that you are on the faculty.

You are binging a lot to the table and are certain to make a big impact on the Crossroads College athletic programs.

Thank you for your blog and Happy New Year!

Thank you for your service to Crossroads College.