2011 has been an exhilarating, stretching, and wonderful year. Honestly, this has been one of the best years of my life. I make goals (not resolutions!) at the beginning of the year and this year I can look at my list with joy as I have completed most of them! I won’t bore you with those particular items but looking back at the year there are several memorable experiences that jump out at me.
Fatherhood – Being a dad has never been more fun. Gram is an amazing little boy and every day I find myself enjoying his company and quirks more than the previous day. Each day I think, “surely I could not love this kid any more tomorrow.” But each day he does something that makes me laugh harder, or warms my heart. I LOVE this kid.
Weddings – This summer was premarital counseling and wedding season like usual. I was honored to perform two weddings in two unique and beautiful places for two great couples. The first was Matt and Krystal who was married in Ladd’s Circle and the second was Steve and Krista at Timberline lodge on Mt. Hood. Both were a LOT of fun and very memorable.
Church Community – I may have learned more about church community and leadership this year than any previous year. There have been some ups and downs but I find myself really thankful for where we are at and where we are headed next year. I think we’re in for a really great season and am excited for 2012!
Ecclesia Conference in Washington, D.C. – Had a fun learning experience and bonding time with our staff at Ecclesia this year. Todd Hunter was one of the main contributors amongst some other fantastic people. I love this conference because there is no sense of “celebrity” there. Whoever is present can actually be interacted with. A welcome change from other celebrity/performance-oriented church conferences. You can keep Catalyst! 🙂
Vacations – One of the perks of pastoring Evergreen is that I get 20 days of vacation. We took advantage this year and spent a warm and sunny week on the beach in Clearwater, FL in April swimming, eating, and watching Gram attempt to play in the sand. We also took our annual vacation with the Vaughn’s to Priest Lake, Idaho in August. Great week of running, swimming, sampling a plethora of Belgian beers, playing Settlers, and spear fishing (Ok, so I wouldn’t call what I did spear-fishing, but more floating around on a river. But Devin and Ethan looked like they were having fun).
Warrior Dash – I’ve been meaning to run a 5k FOREVER now. So why not add an obstacle course? Brandon, Joel, Matt and myself braved the mud, fire, water, and obstacles during a 5K trail run. This isn’t what caused my torn rotator cuff, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t help anything. 🙂 I also managed to lose 25 pounds and get down to my ideal weight this year as a result of better eating and exercising. It’s amazing what you can do when you give all of the fad diets the finger and learn some discipline (only took 7 years).
ThM Program – Thanks to a generous scholarship I was able to begin the ThM program at Western this fall. I enrolled in a seminar on Augustine and a class on The New Perspectives on Paul. It was a lot to keep up on considering pastoring full time and enjoying my family but I survived and will be doing a few more classes this spring. Actually now that I think about it, I haven’t received my grade for Augustine yet so maybe I didn’t survive. Who knows?
Brewing Success – After almost 5 years of brewing, I feel like I’ve got some beers dialed in. Managed to make a great IPA, Saison, Belgian Golden, Dark Saison, and Honey Kolsch this year. Hoping to make some more great beers this year!
All in all, this was one of the fullest and most satisfying years of my life. I think Kelli might say the same (but of course there is no way to tell until she blogs about it). Certainly wasn’t an easy one but a fulfilling year for sure. I look forward to what God has in store for us in 2012 (unless the Mayans are right).