2014 Year in Review

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Welp, it’s been three months since I blogged last and I bet some of you were wondering if I was still going to do a 2014 Year in Review post. As if I would miss a chance to reflect on the past year! Writing this post is my favourite New Year’s tradition. Come on now.

2014 was a good year. When I look back on where and who I was at New Year’s last year, there has been so much growth and change. It was a year of abundant blessings and answered prayers. I got to go camping and visit places that I’d never been before. My baby brother got married. I started a new job. I turned 30. I read a lot of books. Let’s reminisce shall we?

What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

  • Visited San Francisco
  • Drove my car up a Forest Service Road
  • Went to Tofino
  • Got food poisoning in a foreign country
  • Bought jeans online
  • Went camping in the rain. Twice
  • Went hiking in the rain. Twice
  • Got really into soccer football during the world cup
  • Swam in a secret lake in the middle of nowhere
  • Got a permanent job in communications!

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Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Last year I made a resolution to be “a little more active”. I think I’ve succeeded in that. I definitely did more #outdoorsy things this year, and managed to stick to a gym routine. The key to keeping New Year’s Resolutions is setting vague goals!

For this year I would like to set three vague resolutions for myself:

  • To say “no” more, especially to social things I don’t actually want to go to. The past three months have been so busy that checking my calendar sometimes brings me to the edge of tears. It’s an introvert’s worst nightmare. Saying no will also include saying no to feeling guilty about saying no.
  • Choose healthy foods more often! I have become a lot more active this year but I haven’t really been paying too close attention to what I’ve been eating. So less cookies and more vegetables in 2015!
  • Be more financially responsible. I’ve actually gotten a lot better at this over the past year. But I know that if you make it a resolution and put it on the internet you actually have to follow through and do it. I hereby resolve to save and pay off debt as much as possible in 2015.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
There were 6874 babies born at Westside last year (rough estimate). Of all those I’m really only tight with Marc & Chars, parents of the illustrious Oliver. I get to babysit him sometimes and it’s the best.

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Did anyone close to you die?
No, thankfully.

What countries did you visit?
Just the good ol’ USA. And I actually didn’t go that many times this year, even for shopping.

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What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
A real vacation! I can write that because I know I’m going to get one in January. And I think it would be lovely to have a relationship in 2015. And maybe a new television. Also I really want to go to an NFL game.

What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 26th – My brother’s wedding
July 3rd – The day I started my new job

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting hired at my new job! And then navigating everything that comes with starting a new job and learning the ins-and-outs of a new organization. Let me tell you, internet. It has been such a blessing to finally work in a job that I’m good at and enjoy. Honourable mention in this category: I dropped two clothing sizes!

What was your biggest failure?
To be honest, I can’t think of one huge thing I failed at this year. I don’t mean that to sound all, “I’m practically perfect in every way”. Maybe it’s just that my failings are more broad and sweeping than specific?

I will tell you something God has been working on in me this year: to be wise and careful with my words. I’m pretty sarcastic and sometimes when I feel insecure, crabby or impatient I make biting comments that don’t do anybody any good. I have also been trying very hard to not gossip and to listen to the Holy Spirit’s quiet caution when those kinds of conversations come up. During the summer I did a bible study of 1 Samuel with some other girls and this verse stuck with me: ”And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1 Sam 3:19) I want to speak and write words that are truthful, that build people up and don’t fall to the ground.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not anything notable. Is it just me or was this a terrible year for colds? Let’s blame that on the anti-vaccination folks.

What was the best thing you bought?
2014 was not a year of big or memorable purchases. It probably does not count because I didn’t have to pay anything for it but getting a library card was the best new thing I acquired. All this time I had been buying books like a sucker and you can just take them out of the library for free! And you don’t have to get mad about spending money on books you didn’t like or worry about overflowing bookshelves.

Oh, also I got my own sleeping bag! I didn’t buy it myself either, it was a birthday present from Douze. But I think it’s an important thing to have if you want to be #outdoorsy.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My baby brother, Mike. It has been so cool to watch him from afar as he grew up into a funny, kind and thoughtful man and became a husband. He is so settled and happy, and I’m happy for him and so proud to be his sister.

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Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
All of the Oilers. Yearly trend: the answer to this question is always hockey related.

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Where did most of your money go?
Rent and paying off debt, bills, borrrrrring.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My new job! And all the fun camping trips I got to go on this summer.

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What songs will always remind you of 2014?
Shake it Off
All About That Bass

Compared to this time last year, are you:

  • Happier or Sadder?
    Happier!
  • Thinner or Fatter?
    Thinner! I will elaborate a bit on this one because a few people have asked me about it. At the start of 2014, I was working in a job that had a gym right downstairs from my office. My coworkers were all down there working out every single day. I started going to the gym on my lunch break because of peer pressure and convenience. Those two things were enough to get me through the really terrible first few weeks of exercise where everything hurts and it’s not fun. Eventually I got to a place where I enjoyed being in the gym. One of the amazing perks of my new job is that I get a staff membership at the Y. So after a year of consistently working out and doing my best to eat healthy (but still drink beer and eat French fries sometimes), I’m a few clothing sizes smaller than I was last year. I still feel like I have a long way to go—I’m not an athlete and I’m not going to be running a marathon anytime soon. But I can now spend an entire day walking around exploring a new city or haul my butt up a moderately sized mountain without feeling like I’m going to drop dead. And I think that’s good progress.
  • Richer or Poorer?
    A very tiny bit richer. And by that I mean I have paid off some debt and managed to save a little bit. I still live in Vancouver and work for a non-profit organization though so let’s be serious, I’m not buying a house any time soon.

What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing. You may have noticed that I’ve fallen off the face of the blogosphere in the past six months. There are some days when I miss blogging, and I hope I have more time to do it in 2015. One of my big life dreams is to write a book. I think this year is a good time to start on that.

What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying about things that are beyond my control and watching Oilers games.

How will you be spending Christmas?
I got to spend an entire week in Edmonton with my family for Christmas this year. We had a very quiet Christmas and I didn’t leave the house much or get out of my pajamas. But I did finish reading two whole books and helped my mom with the mammoth New York Times crossword puzzle, so I accomplished something. As per Miller Family Christmas tradition, we had a Band of Brothers marathon. Sadly, this year we only made it to The Last Battle (ironically, that’s only episode 8).

Did you fall in love in 2014?
No. One day, I hope! Maybe 2014 2015 will be the year.

What was your favourite TV program?
New Girl, Downton Abbey, Hart of Dixie and all of the British mystery shows on Netflix.

What was the best book you read?
I read a lot of good books this year so it’s hard to narrow it down. But here are the two that stick out:

  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton – I read a few of her books this year and they were all good, but this one was the best. I did not see the ending coming and literally said, “NO WAY!” to myself out loud.
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – I loved the characters in this book, and it was such a unique way to tell a story. Plus WWII era fiction is my fav.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
I cannot think of a single new band or artist that I got really into this year. Isn’t that sad? Luckily, a lot of good albums (from old favourites) came out towards the end of the summer and into the fall. I was already into Taylor Swift, but this year everyone else fell in love with her too. Everyone knows the words to Shake it Off, or at least knows enough of them to make up the rest. Ryan Adams and Brooke Fraser released new albums. My most listened to album from 2014 was Rivers in the Wasteland by NeedtoBreathe.

What did you want and get?
A new job! Praise.

What did you want and not get?
A new pair of boots, a trip to Oregon, a boyfriend, a new tv. There’s always next year!

What was your favourite film of this year?
Every year with this question I have to rack my brain for movies I just loved. The Grand Budapest Hotel was delightful and probably my favourite Wes Anderson film to date. I also really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy and Mocking Jay.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
My birthday this year was the big, scary 30th. My actual birthday was on a Tuesday and I went out for dinner at the Flying Pig with some of my favourite people. Ariana got me a giant, beauty queen sized bouquet of flowers with lots of Gerbera Daisies and I wish they could have lasted forever. Tiff got me a framed version of this photo and I got real bossy and made everyone write something on the back of it.

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Because I’m so outdoorsy now, I wanted to go on a camping trip with all my friends to celebrate this milestone birthday. Tiff (with a little bit of help from Zach & Josh) planned a camping weekend at Jones Lake. It was nice of them to do, because trip/event planning is one of the top five things that stress me out (other list items include financial planning, having to make quick decisions and going to big parties). Unfortunately it rained the entire time, but I still had fun. And it was so beautiful out there! I want to go back when it is sunny.

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What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If the Oilers had made the playoffs.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Sale Rack Special.

What kept you sane?
Jesus, a few good friends, and time by myself.

Which celebrity or public figure did you fancy the most?
Tom Branson from Downton Abbey, duh.
Also the kicker for the Seahawks is kind of dreamy.

What political issue stirred you the most?
I do care about politics a little and I probably lean more to the right than most in Vancouver. I’m from Alberta ok? Those roots run deep. I stood in line outside for an hour to vote in the last civic election and was deeply disappointed that Vision Vancouver swept everything, again. However, I don’t think I got super up-in-arms about any one issue. I watched the events unfold in Ferguson and New York with sadness and empathy. I paid attention to the world’s response to ISIS (if you want to understand that whole business I highly recommend this article). And I asked my smarter, well-informed friends a lot of questions to try to understand everything. But I didn’t chain myself to a tree, sign any petitions or join a protest movement.

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Who did you miss?
My family and Douze.

Who was the best new person you met?
My new boss Kelly! To be honest, I wish I could list all of my new co-workers here but rules are I have to pick one. Kelly is very smart and hardworking, and I’ve already learned a ton from her in the short time I’ve worked with her. We are totally different personalities, but we get along great. She thinks I’m funny and I am awed by her confidence and the way she can consider an issue from every angle. I’m so thankful to be in this job. Not only is the work great, my co-workers are incredible.

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Here we are with our CEO in the middle of his 44km fundraising walk, just before Christmas.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?
God is kind, patient with us, and he answers prayers. Last year one of my hopes for 2014 was that I would know and believe in the goodness of God. And I think over the course of the year he has shown me.

Right before Christmas last year, I found out that I didn’t get a job I had applied for that I was sure I was going to. It all seemed perfect, it seemed like God had opened all the doors for me. I thought I had heard him speak to me about it. I was totally crushed and angry. I couldn’t believe that He would put me through that. It seemed mean and I had a hard time trusting that he actually loved me and had good things for me.

We had a sermon series at our church this fall called Story, where we went through the lives of men and women in the Old Testament. When we were studying the story of Daniel in the lion’s den, one of the questions was, “if the story ended differently and Daniel was eaten by the lions, would God be any less powerful, good or holy?” The obvious, Sunday-school answer is no. Of course God’s goodness is not dependent on us—our circumstances or our limited definition of goodness. He IS goodness, the very definition of it. But when it comes down to it and you are waiting on something, or things turns out differently than you expect the answer is a little less obvious.

One year later, I am in a totally different place spiritually and emotionally. That job fell through, but another one came along that I was even more suited to. God was infinitely patient with me in my doubting, kind to me in my hurting, and ultimately had a different, better plan than mine. He heard and answered my prayers at the right time. I know that there will be more times in my life where I doubt God’s goodness, but I think that my faith and understanding of God’s character is a little deeper than it was last year. Next time I hope I can look back and remember this year of experiencing his goodness and kindness towards me in Jesus.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year

Be the wheels, not the track
Be the wanderer that’s coming back
Leave the past right where it’s at
Be more heart, less attack

I stuck my hat out, I caught the raindrops
I drank the water, I felt my veins block
I’m nearly sanctified, I’m nearly broken
I’m down the river to where I’m going

More Heart, Less Attack by Needtobreathe

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For Auld Lang Syne’s sake here are the posts from 2010, 2011 and 2012 and 2013

1 Comment

  1. So much here to think about Sarah. You think deeply and express thoughts so well. You appreciate people, and find joy in those around you, despite being that introverted thing. Events of the year, accomplishments, and hopes and dreams. Those are the stuff of real life. So glad you take the time to share with the internet (and me).

    Here’s to 2015, growth, adventures, faith, hope and love.

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