Posted by: sarahkennedy33 | December 6, 2007

Thankfulness from A-Z

I started this tradition last year, and all my friends thought it was such a great idea they started coming up with their own lists, and they were WAY more on top of it this year than I was! Thanksgiving was 2 weeks ago, but this list has slowly been getting compiled…and is finally completed 🙂 So here you go, things Sarah is thankful for in 2007:
A: Airplanes
I generally manage to log quite a few frequent flier miles each year, and 2007 was no exception. I was able to travel to Houston twice, Seattle, Maui, Sacramento, Minneapolis a couple of times, Rhode Island, and Colorado this year spending time with people from all different parts of my life whom I dearly love!

B: Bakery
This one is cheating a little, but one of my favorite cafes/bakeries is Panera Bread, which finally migrated far enough west to end up in Pasadena! I am very excited to have a new place to study, besides, nothing beats their amazing chocolate croissants!

C: Calling
About a year ago, I was just beginning to warm up to the idea of being a pastor, it took awhile, I kind of feel like I was kicking and screaming about it for awhile :). This past year I was able to serve as the intern at First Pres Burbank, a wonderful community of people who loved me and encouraged me from the moment I walked in their doors. The opportunities I had to teach people of all ages, preach, visit those in the hospital, help with funerals, and love their children confirmed in me more than anything else how much I absolutely love being a pastor. It is still a somewhat terrifying call, but I am so thankful I have people in my life who wouldn’t let me walk away from where God was leading.
D: Dad
It’s been an up and down year for my dad, and 2008 will bring more changes, but without going into any details, I’m just thankful for my dad, for who he is, how he has handled tough stuff lately, and how much he loves his family. E–Extended Family
As I get older I realize how incredibly blessed I am to have the world’s most amazing extended family. I have numerous friends who hardly know their cousins or aunts or uncles, and I had the opportunity to literally grow up with mine. And, thanks to email and facebook, I am still in touch with almost all of them. I realize as we are getting older and as several of my cousins have married and are having families of their own that our time together is now mostly reduced to family weddings as its harder and harder to get everyone together at holidays…and seeing as how there are no Hanson weddings on the horizon at this point we’re not sure exactly when that might happen again, but I love that when it does, while we may be a bit past the sleeping bag slip n slides down the stairs, or creating the elaborate puppet shows for our parents to watch, we still love being together.
F: Fellowship
I had the opportunity this past year to be part of several different small groups, leadership teams, and Bible studies, and each provided me with wonderful chances to learn more about myself, others, and the Creator we serve. Here are a few photos of various groups I’ve had the chance to be part of.
My small group last year: Lisa, Rebecca, Christina, Jenn and I

Presby Student Advisory Board 2006-2007 (I am part of the team again this year but we don’t have any group photos yet!)Company of New Pastors

G: Graduates!
Sophie and Becca graduated this past June, and it was a wonderful time of celebrating them and being encouraged that the end really is in sight! Only another year and a 1/2 and I too will get to wear a very cool cap, gown and hood!

H: Hugs!
I happen to adore hugs, and I am thankful I have so many others in my life who do as well!

I: Introverted Time

I know this sounds bizarre, but I love time alone, and I have been so thankful to once again have my own apartment this year to be able to come home and enjoy quiet moments.

J: Jodi Picoult and JK Rowling
My two favorite fiction authors who both came out with amazing books this year that kept me just distracted enough from theology that I could stay sane 🙂 I also got to introduce Sophie to the art of reading fiction just for fun and am happy to say she is now fully addicted to Jodi Picoult novels and always carries a book with her when she leaves the house…I couldn’t be more proud!

K: Kids

Kids have always played a huge role in my life, and this past year was no exception. Thanks to a random connection through a Cursillo couple in Houston, I spent most of the year babysitting for a wonderful family here in Pasadena every week, and when that job ended this fall, I took on helping with the preschool/elementary school mid-week group at Burbank, giving me the chance to laugh, play, and have wonderful (and often strange) conversations with kids of all ages. (My favorite was when two fourth grade girls came to me both liking the same boy…talk about drama!) I also had the joy of watching from afar as Jean’s little one, Elizabeth, grew through her first year, and will be heading to Anchorage next week to spend a week with the two of them.

Some of the Burbank kidsElizabeth a few months agoL: Lattes–preferably with a little vanilla syrup!

I have found that these have become even more helpful…ane necessary…in year number 3 (hey, sometimes it’s about the little things in life!)

M: Music

Ok so I have no musical talent or ability, but music manages to bring so much joy–whether a great new country song on the radio, a beautiful old hymn remade by the group Indelible Grace (my new favorite find of the year), or breaking out the Christmas music I am so thankful for the ability to experience so many different types throughout the year!

N: New Relationships

So I already had a “C” that I was going to use 🙂 This fall I started dating a wonderful guy, who has been such a gift in my life! Chuck is a first year student here at Fuller, who always manages to make me laugh, asks great questions, challenges me, and definitely has been the highlight of my fall!O: Ocean

I know I don’t make it to the beach that often around here, but I was able to get there a couple times this summer, and there is just something about watching and hearing the waves that manages to put life back in perspective again. Besides, nothing beats seeing the sunset over the water.

P: Preaching

My favorite experience this year was getting the chance to preach my first few sermons in front of my congregation here at Burbank. It was an incredible, terrifying experience that confrimed more than anything else how much I want to be able to be a pastor someday even though it is still a very overwhelming call!

My best friend from high school flew down for the weekend when I preached in JulyMy cheering section for my 2nd sermon back in April–Pocket, Kelli, Alethia, Ryan, Sophie and DaveMy wonderful pastor, Ross, after my first sermon–yeah, my family is a little obsessed with taking pictures.

Q: Quilts
It’s really not cold enough here to fully appreciate how wonderful a cozy, hand made quilt is, but one of my favorite things about heading back to Minnesota during the winter is getting to curl up under one of Grandma Hildie’s handmade quilts.

Most of you know that I am fairly addicted to Cursillo, a renewal weekend that has its roots in the Catholic church and has been adapted by many different Protestant denominations. Houston Presbyterian Cursillo’s community has been a huge part of my life the last two years and has been the most amazing gift God has given me since I began here at Fuller. When we attended this weekend as participants in April of 06 we had no idea that our lives would be drastically changed, not because of the weekend itself but because of the community of adults and parental-figures and friends that walked into our lives then and have faithfully continued to walk with us. We now have a group of people in Houston who are only an email or a phone call away and have prayed and encouraged us through many ups and downs of the past two years. We love them deeply and know that this journey through seminary would be drastically different without their faithful presence in our lives.

Some wonderful women we have been able to get to knowThe team I got to serve with in AprilSophie and I with our good friend Sam who has been such an incredible gift to us with his love, support and friendship–and to so many others as he shares his unbelievable musical talent with the whole Cursillo community.
S: Sojourners

My new favorite organization, founded by Jim Wallis, author of God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get it, a wonderful book. I’m thankful someone is speaking out with a prophetic voice about the nature of politics in our country and how in efforts to support our own individual hot-button agenda issues we manage to miss a lot of what God desires for humanity, our own country AND the rest of the world. Check out for more.

T: Thai restaurants
There are an abundance of thai restaurants around Pasadena & it is the one type of food I think all 4 of us girls agree upon; it’s actually become a comfort food of sorts for us. Which means we go a lot. Sometime last spring or early summer we decided to start rating the quality of pad thai at the various restaurants, so if you need good thai recommendations around here, just ask! (Saladang has the best phad thai by the way–City Thai on Colorado is a close second!)
U: Umbrellas
Well, not so much umbrellas, more the rain that causes us to need umbrellas! (Which doesn’t happen all that often, but is awesome when it does!)
V: Vacation!
My parents had a business trip to Maui over my spring break so I flew out to join them for several days, and this summer the girls and I went to Catalina Island for a much needed weekend away in the middle of my Hebrew intensive–I love how breaks show up exactly when we are about to hit the wall!
Girls weekend on Catalina Island

Our “friend” Kernie also came to Catalina–I think he looks pretty relaxed! This was the view from the balcony of our condo.

W: Washington

Still my favorite place to visit–mountains, fresh air, pine trees, water, seasons, good friends, wonderful coffee shops–pretty much the main things I need to survive in life!

X: Xanthophyll
So this one probably needs a bit of an explanation. My sister was helping me come up with some of these words by googling “words that start with…” then was filling in different letters. When she entered X, xanthophyll came up, and she explained that it was the pigment inside a leaf that makes it turn yellow. Since fall is my very favorite season, and since I am bemoaning the lack of color changes around Pasadena, I think I am thankful for xanthophyll and wish the trees here had more of it!
That’s right, if you are reading this, you are probably someone who has played a role in my life somehow this year, and because of that, I am thankful for YOU!
Z: Zeal
So it is an adjective, not a noun to be thankful for, but I think that is ok. Being here at Fuller with so many professors and students who are so zealous and passionate about their callings in life has been such an inspiration and gift to me. I’m surrounded by people who care so much about kids, youth, preaching, responsible exegesis, healing broken hearts, and seeing justice practiced here in our city and around the world, and for them, and for what they have taught me, I am incredibly thankful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: