Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

King's College, Aberdeen (December 2011)
In lieu of a fantastic end-of-the-year letter and a Christmas card with requisite family portrait, this year we present this meager blog entry with a status report on the Sumners in Scotland. We hope you have had a blessed Christmas season and are as excited as we are about what is to come in 2012.

This was our second full year living in Aberdeen, on the northeast shore of Scotland.  Darren is diligently laboring away on his doctoral thesis in systematic theology, and the book-length project seems to finally be taking shape. He hopes to conquer the lion's share of writing early this coming year and be ready to submit the thesis as early as this summer.  That will lead to a viva voce -- an oral defense under scrutiny of an internal examiner from the University of Aberdeen and an external examiner from another institution.  Meanwhile, he's kept busy with numerous conferences (including a week-long trip to San Francisco in November) and publishing a series of journal articles and book reviews.

Christy has continued to expertly keep the household running while also doing some part-time online work on the side, writing for an ergonomic resources Web site and a white noise and speech privacy Web site.  It has been a good and challenging way to exercise old writing muscles, and also earn a little money on the side.  She has also continued to be involved in a leadership role in the Aberdeen Women's Fellowship, which has included event planning (including last month's big American Thanksgiving celebration) and coordinating a Bible study for the group.

Abigail and Joshua at Balmoral, the Queen's Scotland residence
Joshua began Primary 1 in August -- the U.K. equivalent of kindergarten -- and is thriving in the structured environment of school.  He's attending all day for the first time; Dad walks him to school in the morning, Mom picks him up in the afternoon.  He has a school uniform (which he was very excited to get over the summer), and is learning how to read and write.  His parents are crazy-proud of how he is excelling in this area in particular, practicing both his handwriting and his typing skills and learning to recognize a new list of important "key words" each week.  Joshua just celebrated his sixth birthday.

Abigail will turn 4 in a matter of days, and started Nursery School (preschool) in August.  No surprise, but she is also thriving in this environment and loves the chance to go to school with her friends (the same school building her brother goes to).  Nursery is more play-focused, with toys and crafts and stories to fill up the two hours she is there each afternoon (giving Christy her first kid-free time in five years!).  Abigail is an extraordinarily thoughtful and articulate 3-year-old, and loves just about anything her big brother is into -- trains, firefighters, or now Octonauts.

We've enjoyed having a car and doing a good bit of tourism in the U.K. this year, including the English city of York, Scotland's majestic Edinburgh, Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye, and the astonishing Scottish countryside.  This next year we hope to visit London, as well as at least one trip to Europe.

Balvenie Castle
The coming year will be an exciting time of transitions and new adventures for us.  In 2012, if God should lead, we anticipate finishing our time in Scotland and moving back to the United States.  Darren is actively seeking a teaching post, but we know that (especially in the current market) that often takes a couple of years to secure.  So we will play the coming months by ear, and may relocate temporarily to be close to family in Washington.

Thank you to our family and friends for your prayers and support, both in leading us to this point and as we look ahead to an uncertain but exciting future.  We pray that God will be with you in 2012, and that you will live in the grace and the knowledge of God's Son, Jesus Christ, who became human.


  1. Merry Christmas to the Sumners as well! And thanks for the update. So good to read about how you guys are doing. Darren all the best as you conquer that thesis!

  2. Thank you so much for the update. I've not been too active on facebook, so reading this blog has been good. Darren, good luck and God be with you as you continue your writing and then go into the defense. I remember my Master's thesis and having to defend it. I can only imagine what defending a doctoral paper would be like. Christy, you have grown into a more beautiful Christian women then I remember. What a blessing you are to Darren and your children. It's hard to believe the kids are as old as they are. It only seems like a short time ago I received the announcement of your daughter's birth. What a joy they must be. I hope when you do make stateside again we can make connection, if only for a short time. I would love to see you both. Take care and may God be with you all in the coming new year. God bless. Dr. Carol S.

  3. Happy New Year, Sumner Family! Great to read your update.

    Gretchen Reynolds

  4. I wrote on this right when it came out but somehow it didn't post. Anyway, so good to hear all about you guys and what's coming up this next year for you all. So exciting. Glad everything is going so well. Miss you.


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