Friday, July 17, 2009

Apartments, Storms, Power Outages, and Syllabi

Well, I found an apartment. It's the downstairs of a neat old house in Newtown. And I love that concept. The house is on a little V of land between State St. (the main st. of Newtown) and Court, a residential street which goes off at an angle. Means that there's traffic out almost every window, but since it's Newtown, most everything rolls up by 7 PM. Anywhere I go is going to feel noisy after my current apartment; I figure I'll get used to it. The apartment is the bottom floor of the house, and the top two floors are a separate apartment (a little larger). I had originally looked at both, and liked the idea of either, though the upstairs is probably more than I need, and therefore more than I need to spend. There's a patio/deck out the back, fenced in, for outside-ness, and then, of course, all of Newtown for walking and exploration. I love both the main street and the surrounding neighborhoods there, so I look forward to lots of walks. Right across Court St. is the Friend's Meetinghouse, with a big hedged lawn, that Chuck, the owner of house, said they often went over and used when they wanted grass space.

Aiming for mid- to late August for moving in. I'll miss being where I am now (in terms of setting, and comfortableness of the people), but I won't miss how far away it is from everything! I'm looking forward to avoiding the turnpike. Currently I'm spending almost $20 a week in tolls alone.

PBU is on a four-day work week over the summer, so I'm basically working Monday through Thursday, and taking Fridays off. So yesterday was the "end" of an extremely long week. Here's hoping when Lisa's back in place things will settle into some sort of routine. Pretty much the entire department will be completely new. Good things and bad things about that. It means that we won't be stepping on toes when we say, "no, we're not doing things that way anymore," but it also means that there's no one around who knows what's been done and whether or not it's worked...guess we'll have to find out the hard way.

It was my intention to do some writing last night, and maybe watch an episode of something off of Hulu, but as I ate dinner, the heavens opened, and I set my computer aside to watch the storm. I closed up all my windows and the rain came down like a waterfall. Fascinated, I changed into clothes that could get wet and stepped out the door. I was hot and sticky (yesterday was a truly Philly summer day), and figured I would probably need to take a shower to cool down anyway, so I might as well let the rain soak me. Within a minute I was absolutely drenched, and at about the two-minute mark I was cold. That and the sporadic lightning encouraged me to go indoors again, so I went in, dried off, and changed. I walked through the living room with the wet clothes to take them to the laundry, and somewhere between the living room and when I entered the laundry, the power went off. Suddenly my evening plans changed - no computer (or, very little since I didn't want to use up the battery and I couldn't get online), limited phone use (again to save the battery), and no lights...I pulled out a book and used the daylight while it lasted and then a flashlight for a little while before sleep overcame me - got more than halfway through.

After the rain stopped, around 8 o'clock, Chris (my landlady) hopped into her car to go get Bill (her husband) from the train station. He was coming home from a business trip. About 10 minutes later she was back, there were two trees down at the end of our road, and she couldn't get out. She ran into a neighbor whose son was bringing him back from the end of the road in a golf cart and he had gotten home from work after the trees fell, so his car was parked on the far side. He agreed to go get Bill, and a bit later Bill was delivered safely home by golf cart.

The power was out all night, and Bill pulled out the generator early this morning to cool down our refrigerators for a few hours. The road got cleared by about 8:30 AM, so I came on over to Starbucks for a while. I have a syllabus to finish and had planned to work on it here anyway, just now I do it out of necessity. That said, I should probably stop writing this note and get cracking on's due by the end of the day. Hopefully the power at home will be restored rapidly. This time it seems to just be a downed line, whereas when it was out the other year the entire transformer had gotten struck by's to less than two days without power!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Irregular Update
From Carrie Givens
Facebook: MaidCarolyn

What’s Been Going On?

For the length of time it’s been since my last “irregular update,” I can only apologize and say that I’ll try not to let it happen again. I feel like I’m getting back into the sort of life that lends itself to sending out updates on a more regular basis, but the past two years have been anything but.

Let me show you what I mean:

May 2007 – Left Alaska after two years and flew to Macau, China for two weeks before heading back to Michigan for the summer.
August 2007 – Packed up everything that had made its way down the Al-Can Highway and moved it to Pennsylvania.
September 2007 – Started my Master’s in English with an emphasis in professional and creative writing and teaching at Arcadia University. Began working for Starbucks Coffee Company.
Fall 2007 – Took three full-time courses, worked 30 hours a week at Sbux, worked 4 hrs/wk in the AU Writing Center (WC).
Spring 2008 – Worked 35 hrs/wk at Sbux, 4 hrs/wk in the WC, took three more full-time courses.
Summer 2008 – Took two full-time courses, worked 8 hrs/wk in WC, 35-40 hrs/wk at Sbux where I became a Shift Supervisor.
Fall 2008 – Took three full-time courses, worked 30 hrs/wk at Sbux, 4 hrs/wk in WC, and taught one English Composition course.
Spring 2009 – Researched and wrote my thesis, worked almost 40 hrs/wk at Sbux
May 2009 – Graduated with an MA in English from Arcadia University, planning to continue working at Sbux while looking at possibilities for employment and pursuing publication.

What’s New?

I had planned to spend another year working for Starbucks and exploring writing opportunities. God decided He had different plans.

In May, I met Lisa Weidman, the Communications and Marketing Director at Philadelphia Biblical University. In our conversation she asked me questions about the types of writing courses I took in my program at Arcadia. Her eyes lit up when I told her about the Writing for the Web and New Media course that I took last summer.

A couple weeks later, Lisa and I got together again and she began to pick my brain about my concept of a biblical university. We talked for nearly two hours about how a university should present itself. Concurrently, Lisa was working with a team to reevaluate the entire Communications structure in place at PBU. Basically, an overhaul of the system was needed.

About three weeks after our first meeting, I met with Lisa again and she offered me a position as a Communications Specialist in the new Communications and Marketing Department at PBU.

I accepted the job. Next week I’ll start full-time at PBU, but I’ve been going in a few afternoons to get my feet wet. Rethinking the whole system is going to be a big task, especially as we’re putting together a new team to do so. It will be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it.

Oh, and meanwhile, I’ll teach two freshman English courses at PBU and possibly a course for home-school high school seniors this fall, too.

Celebrate and Pray with Me:

· Thank God for His provision of a good job in an economy where so many are struggling.

· Praise the Lord for His guidance in the education I received that prepared me adequately for this new position.

· Pray that I’ll find a new apartment. Working at PBU means I’ll daily be in Langhorne, about 40 minutes from where I’m currently living. Therefore, I’m looking for new digs closer to campus.

· Pray for God’s continued provision for my needs, my health, and my energy.

· Pray for the new Communications and Marketing Department at PBU, that we would be able to handle the tasks set before us and that we would be able to communicate the value of a biblical education to the varied audiences PBU reaches.