Posted by: deerharas | January 6, 2008

2007: An Illustrated Year in Review

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is the Christmas card.  I couldn’t tell you the history or anything, but for as long as I can remember my family has sent and received them.  It’s exciting to get something other than bills or advertisements in the mail, even if it is just a simple card.  Growing up I always appreciated those who would send a picture with their card, even more those who sent a letter.  Ah, the Christmas card letter.  Granted, for most people this is usually a somewhat censored version of the previous year.  You never get a letter saying, “Well, Johnny got out on parole this past April,” or “Suzy fell off the wagon once again, and we’re still waiting to learn her whereabouts.”  The Christmas letter serves to maximize the year’s triumphs while minimizing or ignoring its pitfalls.  Anyway, all that to say that instead of sending out my own Christmas letter this year, I’ve decided to blog it.  So here for your reading pleasure is my own illustrated version of the year’s events including the highs and lows … with only a little bit of censorship.  J

 

Wheaton, Part 1

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I began 2007 in a scramble to get my application in for a master’s program at Wheaton College.  I had finally decided that grad school was for me, and Wheaton was at the top of my list.  The scramble was due to a grad assistantship application deadline in February with one of the requirements being acceptance into the graduate school.  So began the process of essays, transcript requests, and recommendation letters.  I soon found out I was accepted into their Biblical Exegesis program, a definite cause for celebration.  However, after a long application process including essay questions, a test, a phone interview and an all day long campus visit with several mini interviews, come April I found out I did not get the grad assistantship I was seeking.  Disheartened and disappointed, I decided to defer my acceptance into the program for a year, then not completely sure if Wheaton was the place for me.

 

Concerts

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2007 was perhaps my favorite year in regard to concerts.  I finally was able to cross Ben Harper off my list (twice J) and saw Derek Webb twice as well.  In addition to my two absolute favorites, I caught shows with Jeff Tweedy, Guster, Charlie Hall, Shawn McDonald, Indigo Girls, Anberlin, Switchfoot, Rilo Kiley, and the Decemberists.  Best acts were Ben Harper at Cain’s in Tulsa with Jayme (front row), Rilo Kiley at Palladium in Dallas with Erin (second row) and Decemberists at the Vic Theatre in Chicago with Jayme (second-ish row).   

 

Running

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The on again off again relationship continues.  I ran again in the Redbud Classic, its 25th annual, and my 3rd.  I also progressed onto the half marathon in the OKC Memorial last April after two years of relay team participation.  However, I slacked a little in my training and didn’t run the whole thing as was my initial goal.  I did run further than I ever had before, though, and finished the race with a desire to complete the full marathon the following year.  So the end of 2007 began my training for April ’08.  26(.2) miles in my 26th year.  Yep.

Ben-friend to Boyfriend

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2007 also saw the coming and going of my first “grown up” relationship.  An ambiguous friendship progressed into a defined relationship bringing with it both excitement and frustration.  I am so thankful for the experience, definitely a learning one at that.  I was honored in his pursuit of me and challenged by his character.  And while breaking up was hard initially (He broke up with me … I said I’d share the lows as well J), I wouldn’t trade that experience or change anything with the perspective I have now. 

 

Haircut

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On the heels of a break up, what better way to begin moving on than a drastic haircut?  I usually have a hair cut goal I’m working toward.  You know – cutting bangs, growing out the bangs, blonde, red, etc.  For awhile I’d been admiring the Victoria Beckham shorter in the back, longer in the front cut (a reverse mullet, if you will), and the break up was just the impetus I needed to follow through.  I’ll just say that it’s my favorite hair cut I’ve ever had and that I get compliments on it all the time.  Seriously, strangers come up to me asking me who cuts my hair.  Kudos to Kendra … and my inspiration, Posh Spice.

 

Daniel’s Surgery

Daniel with casts

This summer my brother finally had a surgery his doctors have speculated about since his cerebral palsy diagnosis at six months old.  With a decrease in mobility over the past few years, they decided to go in and cut tendons in his groin and hamstrings in order to lengthen the muscles.  The expected recovery was up to eight weeks in hip to toe casts, pretty much confined to the house the remainder of his summer.  To add to the stress, my mom got really sick a few days before the surgery was scheduled and couldn’t make it there.  Thankfully my sweet aunt flew down to take over the “mom” role that neither my dad nor myself were equipped to fill, not being moms ourselves.  On the morning of his surgery I was able to share with him the verses that happened to be listed in conjunction with the devotional my church put out over the summer.  “The LORD has said to me in the strongest terms: ‘Do not think like everyone else does.  Do not be afraid that some plan conceived behind closed doors will be the end of you.  Do not fear anything except the LORD Almighty.  He alone is the Holy One.  If you fear him, you need fear nothing else.”  Isaiah 8:11-13.  What sticks out to me the most from being there for that experience was the incredible courage I saw in my brother as well as his trust in the Lord.  Before the surgery and in the months to follow, he shared how he believed God brought him through the extreme difficulty (not an exaggeration in the slightest) and has made him stronger as a result.  Indeed He has.

 

Saturdate

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What began as a vision in my friend Stacey’s mind nearly two years ago came to fruition this summer in a conference about love, sex, relationships, and truth.  When Stacey asked me to speak at Saturdate, I felt terror and thrill completely intertwined.  I don’t consider myself a public speaker, and my topic (singleness) was personal.  I would much rather have written an article or something.  However, from the moment she asked me I knew no matter how scared I was, it was something I was supposed to do.  And do well.  In the months and weeks leading up to the event, I learned to depend upon the Lord in a way that I hadn’t ever before, and He faithfully provided what became, “Singleness, Embracing the Season.”  The process of preparation was almost as precious as the event itself.  I was so privileged to meet and chat with Shawn and Kate McDonald, our headlining performer and speaker, as I served as their chauffeur for the weekend. Everyone’s talks were incredible and in addition to Shawn, we were all blessed by Charlie Hall leading us in worship Friday night.  I met incredible new people and saw friendships strengthened as only serving together affords.  Such a short space cannot do justice to the weekend, so I’ll just stop there. 

Ministry

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With my best “hang out” friend moving to Tulsa in September, not to mention the breakup, I had a little more time on my hands this past fall.  Really wanting to redeem the time, I looked for opportunities to serve both at church and school.  Within my FLOCK, a new teaching team began this fall with the intent that members of our group would take turns teaching our class under the mentorship of our current teacher.  Considering that’s maybe what I want to do with my life, I thought it might be a good opportunity for me to gain some experience in that area.  Who knows what people gain from it, but I certainly have learned a lot through the process.  Also, as the Campus Crusade advisor I’ve made an effort to be more active this year by going to meetings and even getting to speak at one of them.  Perhaps my favorite ministry involvement this year has been my work with Conversation Café, a ministry to international students to help them work on their English and in turn build relationships.  I’ve gotten to know one girl in particular who is now truly my friend and often joins me at church.  The volunteers for this ministry are so genuine, and I am incredibly blessed to have met and now know them. 

Wheaton, Part 2

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As the fall semester began, I felt more of a sense of urgency to figure out my plans for the following year.  If Wheaton wasn’t for me, then I had better soon figure out what was.  The more I thought about it and talked it over with family, friends, and even an old professor, the more my heart settled in on Wheaton again as my number one option.  I figured the ultimate test would be another visit – half business and half pleasure.  My cousin started there as a freshman this fall, and so I planned a trip to visit her, complete with fun restaurants, sight seeing, and even a concert (actually, a couple of concerts J).  On the business side, I arranged to sit in on several classes and meet with a couple of students in the program I was considering.   I left for the trip fairly confident in my plans to begin there next fall, but I left with certainty.  Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I should be joining Jayme fall of ’08 … for Christ and His Kingdom.

So there you have it, 2007 in a nutshell … perhaps a large one at that.   Thanks for taking the time to read my Christmas card letter, friends!

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Responses

  1. Hey, this is great, Sarah! I really enjoyed catching up with your life in your Illustrated Letter. 🙂 And that is so cool about your decision to go to Wheaton. I’m excited for you!

  2. […] couple years ago I began a tradition that has since become one of my favorite blogging endeavors.  2007: An Illustrated Year in Review and then 2008: Another Illustrated Year in Review were my versions of the classic “Christmas […]


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