Well, here we are. We are on the cusp of 2012. The last time we wrote was in June. A lot has happened since then.
Here are 2011’s top 11 highlights:
11. Friends getting married and engaged
The year began with a close friend of Sarah’s getting married. Early last year at this time Sarah was in Portland, Oregon spending time with her college roommate Anna Marie as she (Anna Marie) embarked on her lifelong journey with her new husband.
A college roommate from my senior year also got married this year. But it was in Europe, and school had already started, so I was unable to attend. But Darry and his new wife Sarah also spent much time apart in their relationship as she lived in Maryland, and Darry in France and Switzerland. Blessings upon their marriage, and may they enjoy their lives TOGETHER!
Another college roommate got engaged just a few months ago. This is a guy who said he couldn’t ever imagine getting married. Next thing I know he has a girlfriend and he’s calling me telling me he’s going to buy the ring and wanted some advice. I can’t wait to meet her. How exciting!
Today another good friend from college got married. Brad and his new wife Katie tied the knot in Colorado. Not sure if there has ever been anyone as excited about getting married as this guy. I am SO stoked for his marriage. Blessings to them as well!
The neat thing about this is that all of us used to hang out as a group our senior year of college. We were a Friday night crew, usually hanging out playing games or just hanging and laughing together. What great memories!
10. St. Vincent Concert
Because I am so entrenched in my studies and work responsibilities Sarah and I have to really be intentional about getting out of the house. We made a few trips this year, visiting a nice coffee shop, a sushi restaurant, vintage shops, and an amazing Mexican restaurant. But perhaps the highlight of our time together here in Chicago thus far was going to see St. Vincent in concert. I was perusing the internet one day looking around at what shows were playing when I thought about looking up if she was touring. Her new album had recently come out, and so I thought there might be a chance that she’d be stopping by Chicago. (No one ever came to Indianapolis that I wanted…) Sure enough, she was coming through Chicago and it was her third or fourth stop of the tour. Sarah and I ended up getting a great view and enjoyed the great concert from an amazing musician and songwriter.
9. My first (real) Website
When I was in middle school I made my first “website.” It was facts about Edgar Allen Poe. It featured various pictures and poems by him. I made the thing from scratch in HTML. It was able to turn it in as an extra credit project for my English teacher who had a weird Edgar Allen Poe fetish.
This year, however, I was able to make my first real website. The website my church had been using was very outdated and was hard to manage and update. The church had been looking to replace it with a new one for about two years, but to no avail. Multiple people had been a part of the project, but time and time again they ran into various types of roadblocks. Eventually I began to be a part of the few who were trying to get this project going. There was my mistake, because the next thing I knew I was making the entire website.
Thankfully we have platforms such as WordPress exist (like this website!) that make things ten times easier. So, the last three weeks of August were spent making a website for my church. I am soon to update it to 2.0, but take a look if you’d like. I now feel somewhat competent in web design.
8. Concert with the Sweetsers
I have a couple of friends who are very talented musicians, Daniel and Krista Sweetser. Daniel is a gifted songwriter, guitarist, and pianist. Daniel’s wife, Krista, is a tremendously talented cello player. Daniel has made a few albums of songs he has written on the piano. His lyrics are always excellent and moving. Last year he made an album with songs which contained music about his wife. It was beautiful. At the concert I just thought about how cool it would be to play with them sometime. Earlier this semester Daniel came walking up to me after church and asked if I’d like to play with him, his wife, and another gifted guitarist in a concert.
Playing that concert was definitely one of the highlights of my year. What a privilege it was to play with such wonderful people and amazing musicians. We even recorded the concert. Click here to listen to it.
7. My increased involvement in school
I have a tendency to take on a lot of duties. I seem to have my hand in a number of things at the same time frequently. This year is no different. This semester was a very busy one for me. Besides being a husband, I had a number of responsibilities that I took upon myself here at Trinity. Last school year I was an RA, but that was just the beginning of my responsibilities… Here is a list of some of the things I was involved in (and I am by no means bragging, this is called being crazy…):
– Co-leader/President of International Missions Fellowship: A student group which meets every week to discuss topics in missions.
– Vice-President for Academics, Graduate Student Government Association: Sit on two committee’s with faculty and administration to determine aspects about the education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
– Intern of Graduate Student Affairs: Worked 15 hours a week for the Student Affairs office and worked one on one with the associate Dean of Students.
– Circulation Staff at the library: I worked there all summer as many hours as I could get as Sarah was still looking for a job. And during the semester I only worked 8 hours a week. (At least I don’t have to pay late fees!)
I also took 12 credit hours this semester, which is about 4 less than usual. I thought it was going to be a more easygoing semester…hah! It was, however, a very fulfilling semester. Being so busy made it fly by, too. What a wonderful journey it was.
6. Sarah Graduated from Nursing School
Sarah was SO glad to graduate from nursing school. I was unable to attend, but my dad and sister went down and Sarah’s parents were also able to see her graduate. She worked really hard for four solid years to walk across two stages. One was to get capped as a nurse and one was to get her diploma, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I was (and am still) so proud of her making it through a very rigorous and highly respected nursing program.
5. Sarah passed her NCLEX and officially became and RN
Becoming a nurse does not stop with your Bachelor’s degree. You must also take a very challenging nursing comprehensive exam, the NCLEX. Sarah spend much of the beginning parts of the semester studying terminology and preparing for this doomsday test. (I was confident in her the entire time…) She scheduled it for early July and made the hour drive up to Milwaukee to take her test. The test flew by for her in 75 questions (the minimum amount). She then meticulously checked the state website to see if she had passed about every five minutes.
She passed. What an accomplishment.
4. Sarah got a job as a nurse
Everyone always is so quick to say that being a nurse makes it easy to find a job. Unfortunately for new grads, it’s not easy at all. At least not in most parts of the country. Nearly every place that is hiring is looking for people with experience. At least 1-2 years of experience. That makes it hard to get experience if you can’t get hired. That old conundrum. Sarah probably applied to every facility that had anything that resembled a nurse within a 2,000 mile radius (exaggeration). Unfortunately her dream of working at a hospital had to be put on hold as she took a job at Brentwood North Healthcare and Rehab Center. She has had her ups and downs there, but overall it has been a job in which she has been able to apply what she learned in school. She has been a very hard worker, and has made lasting impacts on her patients. Once again, I’m very proud of her.
3. Our involvement at our local church
I have been attending Village Church of Lincolnshire since the second week that I’ve been here in the Chicago area. I love it there. What an amazing family that exists there. I waited for Sarah to get up here to become members, but as soon as she did we turned in our application for membership. I’ve been a part of the worship planning committee, the Sunday evening concerts of prayer, the morning Sunday School hour, a couple of the worship teams, and a part of one of the senior adult ministries. I recently officially became part of the missions ministry team. And Sarah has been right there along side of me the whole time. Sarah was involved especially in our Christmas concert as part of both the singing choir and the handbell choir.
This summer was especially great because I somewhat unofficially interned at the church. I tried to be available to help out our Pastor with any number of tasks. A group of us met once a week to discuss the passage he was going to preach that upcoming Sunday.
About three times a month on Fridays a group of meet for what we call “Growth Groups.” That has been a wonderful time of learning as my friend Daniel North taught us extensively from the book of Romans.
Throughout this year I have also been able to meet every one of the missionaries that the church supports. That has been wonderful and and privilege. Well, my entire time at VCL has been a privilege. There are so many wonderful people. I love our pastors. And I have learned so much through the preaching of Pastor Lee Eclov. What an experience!
2. Our own apartment
Sarah and I have really loved having our own place. It’s right on campus and perfectly located. My best friend Drew lives just a sidewalk away in the next building and is able to come visit nearly every day for dinner and homework. We have hosted so many people I cannot even count them all. People have stayed the night on our futon more weekends than it has been empty. And Sarah and I LOVE having people over.
We have had people from our church for an event called “Dinners for Seven” in which seven people eat dinner at another person’s house. I have a friend Dan, who routinely comes over for Sunday afternoon football. (What are we going to do after January?) Drew’s girlfriend stays with us so she doesn’t have to go back down to Chicago all the time. We had Thanksgiving with my great childhood and longtime friend Eric Radoux. I had a great time teaching some Japanese friends the rules of American football one afternoon. The list goes on and on. And it has been wonderful.
1. Sarah moved to Chicago!
Perhaps the greatest thing of all is that Sarah and I are now not only married, but married and living together. What a concept! We made it through the year of being apart. When she finally drove up here it was kind of strange knowing that she’d never drive away again. Sarah was now with me for good. Once we wrapped our brains around it we were able to fully enjoy it as our new reality — a wonderful reality. Now instead of having to call Sarah every night, we get to spend every night together. Sarah getting day shift at work was also a huge blessing so that we would be able to spend our evenings together eating dinner and discussing our days.
WHAT A YEAR!
What a memorable year! Here’s to 2012 top 12 highlights!