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Year in review 2014, or, A Post-Christmas greeting

My mom always said better late than never. So, here's hoping you all had a very merry Christmas and are looking forward to a happy New Year!

Sarah's Christmas Update


Imagine a year full of a number of crazy things. Multiply by 4.5 and you'll get an idea of what my life has been like in 2014. ;)

Highlight of my year? Travel to China to visit a good friend from college and see some of the sights with her: the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Terra Cotta Army... it felt like a dream, it was so surreal. I haven't been disciplined enough to write much about it but I hope to do so this winter as I work on putting together a photo album from my trip. (The few posts I've written are here.) If you'd like to see the digital photo album, email me (readersis at gmail dot com) for the link and prepare yourself for the onslaught of more than 900 photos... :) But seriously, it was the trip of a lifetime and I'm thankful to God and to my friend for giving me the opportunity.

I also got to take a quick trip to visit St. Louis back in February to meet up with my former roomie, and we went up to the top of the Gateway Arch while we were there - it was the farthest west I've ever been in the U.S. I made a stop in Springfield, Illinois, on my way over, too.

On a sadder note, my grandpa (Mom's dad) passed away in October rather suddenly. I was able to go back home for the calling hours and appreciated being able to spend time with Mom and the rest of her family then.

As in past years, I participated in a historical reenactment this past fall, and though I didn't sew a new dress for it I got plenty of ideas for next year. I also got the signatures of 50-plus schoolchildren who were amazed they were allowed to write something in my period-correct journal using my period-correct fountain pen. :)

I've begun teaching U.S. civics and history to my ESL student in preparation for her to take the U.S. naturalization test. I have high hopes that she'll be able to face the 100-question test after several months' work. She's already a strong user of the English language, with a few speaking hurdles left to overcome. It's been really interesting to talk about history with her, since she's already aware of most of the contemporary history covered on the exam, but from a Cuban perspective.

My "Little Sister" in Big Brothers Big Sisters is 10 years old now and in the middle of fifth grade at one of our local middle schools. She and I play a lot of games together - board games, trivia games, puzzles, you name it.

I'm still co-leader of a group for middle school girls at my church, and love these girls to bits. :) Some have "graduated" or matured to feel more comfortable in the general high school group, and we've gained one younger girl this year who entered sixth grade. When you think of me, remember to pray for all the little girls I have somehow found myself to be an influence on. And don't tell them I called them little. ;) I also continue playing guitar weekly at my church (or occasionally bass guitar).

In June I hit my first anniversary as a homeowner, and over the past year and a half or so I've experienced some of the "joys of homeownership," as my mother jokingly calls them - like the clothes dryer quitting on me, or the water heater springing a leak. Thankfully, I've been able to deal with everything that has come up (or at least knew a trustworthy repairman to call), and let me tell you, buying this house has turned out to be a fantastic decision, not least because I had a garage to shelter my car through the unusually harsh winter we had a year ago. :D

I remain the news editor at my local paper, editing the next day's news each night and writing a weekly column whose readers I'm hugely thankful for! The column is a lighthearted one that is published each Friday. If you'd like a link to the page that's automatically updated with each week's column, email me and I'll send it to you. I can do that now because the newspaper rolled out its new website in late August, which has been a huge boon to us behind the scenes! Also, I received a couple awards in December through the state press association, recognizing my work covering the local business beat.

As always, feel free to email me or add me on Facebook if you'd like to hear more about any one of these happenings!

- Sarah

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