Dear Friend,

We’ve made it! It’s the end of 2013 and my favorite holiday of the year is upon us. This is going to be a weird combination of lists, photos, and, in a second post, a 2013 end-of-year Check-In… we’ll see how it goes…

Highlights of 2013:

  • Started off the year by returning home from a Christmas/New Year’s Eve visit with Morgan and Lenore.
  • Was formally accepted into the Social Work Program at EMU.
  • Reignited my passion for Young Adult Lit by talking a YAL class and read a BUNCH of books.

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  • Went to Far Rockaway, NY with a group from EMU to work with Mennonite Disaster Service over Spring Break.


  • I chopped off over a foot of hair from my head, leaving me with less hair on my head I’ve had since it first grew out as a young child.


  • Experienced having a bunch of my friends be away on Cross-Cultural in the Middle East and Guatemala/Colombia, and then the joy of having them return.
  • I finished my second year at EMU.
  • I moved downtown, into my first apartment.

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  • Started hosting weekly potlucks at my place.
  • I was in an accident with Davis the One-Eyed Hrududu (My moped)


  • I started my first non-work study job at Chick-fil-A.
  • Went to my cousins wedding in Indiana.
  • Went to the Mennonite Church USA Convention in Phoenix, AZ over 4th of July with the Community Mennonite Church  MYF
  • Turned 21 and left behind some, er, purchasing restrictions…
  • Sent my sister off to South Africa, saying good-bye to her for the longest time since she was born.
  • Began my third year at EMU. Got SUPER STRESSED. but most importantly, I Survived…
  • Prepared for my big adventure to the Middle East which begins in less than 2 weeks!!!
  • And, perhaps most importantly, I interspersed all of this with fun times with my friends, from going out for dinner/appetizers, and movie nights, to coffee dates, and bowling… I loved every moment of it.

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(Check out Faerie Umbrella‘s for a summary of this years photography…)

Lots of Love, Mandi Jo

P.S. Don’t miss Part II of this post!