The year is almost over and so, in good fashion, I’m taking some time to reflect on all that has happened. Here are 13 things, good or bad, that stood out to me in 2013.
1. I started blogging. I had been dabbling in blogging before this year, but this was the year I decided to take it seriously. Writing is a way in which I figure out what I think. When I see the words on the screen there is this “That’s what I think!” moment that I have come to love. It’s part of the reason I write. Figuring this out, finding my voice, and learning the ends and outs of blogging has been a big part of this year.
2. The ectopic pregnancy. In March, my wife and I found out we were pregnant and then days later were told, not only that the pregnancy was not viable, but that it was life threatening to my wife as well. This was one of the hardest moments I’ve experienced. The swing of emotions happens so fast that you do not have time to catch your breath and process what happened.
3. Our 9th Anniversary. For our anniversary my wife and I took a trip to Traverse City, Michigan. Surprisingly, this area has some really good wine, with our favorite winery being 2 Lads Winery. We also took some time to do some hiking, fooding, and relaxing. The scenery around Mission Peninsula is amazing, with some really cool old buildings.
4. Two ridiculously viral posts (This one and this one). Most people don’t get one, but I had two go viral this year. Viral blog posts are a lot of fun. Watching your page view numbers climb, reading comments, getting emails, dealing with hosting companies to keep you blog live – all of it is fun. But they have a dark side. You become obsessed with numbers. Writing becomes hard because you need to have the next post that will be splattered all of Facebook. For me, I just had to write. Put something out there to put something out there.
5. Our first family vacation. Now that my son is three, we decided to take our first-just-us, family vacation. Our typical time away from home is spent visiting our family in Michigan, but this year we loaded up the car and hit Florida. It was a great time, and despite the adventure that was the return trip home, I can’t wait for our next one.
6. Books. These are a few of the books I’ve read this year that I thought were great.
- Prototype by Jonathan Martin
- Manhood in America: A Cultural History by Michael Kimmel
- Beauty Will Save the World by Brian Zahnd
- Center Church by Tim Keller
- Laying Down the Sword by Philip Jenkins
7. Music. Because beautiful noise makes me extremely happy.
- I Am Mountain by Gungor
- The Civil Wars by The Civil Wars
- Leavetaking by Peter Bradley Adams
- The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
- Love & War & the Sea In Between by Josh Garrels
8. Retreat leading in Canada. For the past four years I have been involved in a congregational transformation initiative through our denomination. Personally, this has been one of the most impactful experiences of my life. It has also had direct benefits for my congregation. The process has been so successful that our denomination has secured a number of grants and committed to fundraising enough money to take it to our entire denomination across North America. This year I began teaching and leading this initiative in Canada with four close friends. For the next few years we will be working with pastors and leadership teams with 15 or so churches.
9. My Church. With everything that happened this year, my church was gracious to us. I am truly grateful for my church. Not a lot of pastors can say this, but I truly love my church. They aren’t perfect, but neither am I. We learn well together, love well together, and are trying to become disciples of Jesus together. It is all I could ask for in a church.
10. Twitter. This year I discovered Twitter, and with it, a virtual community. It is odd to say, but through Twitter I have met a number of people that, despite never having heard their actual voices, have become people who have challenged me in conversations, encouraged me, and made me laugh. Discovering this virtual community is something I am grateful for.
11. Soul Work. I continued to do some important work on who I am as a person. This year God showed me how deeply competitive I am. While there are a number of good things that come from this, I have also become present to the negative impact my competitive nature has on my relationships. As part of this work, I called an old friend that I had not spoken to in over 6 years. My competitiveness did some serious damage to that relationship. It was long overdue for me to seek reconciliation and learn about myself from that relationship.
12. Greek Yogurt. Seriously…why did it take me so long to discover the protein rich goodness that is Greek yogurt. Smooth, creamy, fruity…it’s good. Stop eating the other slop masquerading as yogurt and go Greek.
13. I started a book. Yes, I am writing a book. Yes, it scares the junk out of me. No, I don’t know what I am doing, but I am doing it anyway.
I’m fortunate enough to have signed with a spectacular agent, Jenni Burke, who is helping me put together a proposal. At this point, we are finalizing the proposal and hoping to query publishers early 2014. I’m really excited and overwhelmed by the project, and in so many ways have had it confirmed by God that I am supposed to do this. And that’s all I can say about that right now! Be watching for news and updates!
That’s my year in review. What about you? What was big for you this year?