2012; a review

Let me just say up front that 2012 was probably the most difficult year of my life. It certainly wasn’t without it’s highlights. But this year I came face-to-face with my limits, was put in several situations I had never been in, realized some significant shortcomings, and experienced more pain (both physically and emotionally) than I have in previous years that I can remember. It was TOUGH. I’m thankful it’s coming to a close.

Let me start with the highlights however. Good to start on a positive note.

Highlights:

-Birth of Owen!
Certainly the biggest highlight of the year was the birth of our son Owen. It’s weird having a second child. You’re wondering, “how can I possibly love this kid as much as our first?” And when he came out (I make that sound easy don’t i?) I thought, “who is this kid?” I didn’t know how to feel about him at first because he wasn’t Gram. But it didn’t take long for me to warm up to him (especially once he peed all over my chest.)  After 9 months with Owen, his personality has come out and he could not be more different than Gram, but I love everything about him.  He’s quirky and silly, he’s BIG, and he likes to say “Dadda.”  Love this kid.

-Retreat in Virginia with Ecclesia.
This was a great break to hang out with fellow Ecclesia church planters and pastors as well as get some needed time alone at Richmond Hill.  Had some great talks, good walks, a good learning experience, regular times of prayer and good evenings in the local pub.

-Trappist beer tasting party for my 32nd birthday.
This year we went all out and were able to sample a beer from each authentic Trappist brewery including the ever-difficult to acquire Westvleteren 12.  Although I wish I would have waited until they did their one time shipment to the US.  Would have been cheaper!

-Summer trip to Illinois and Bagby family reunion.
It’s nice to feel some midwest heat now and again and remember my childhood sweating in the summertime. I wasn’t planning on 104, but it felt good for about 15 minutes.

-Stand Up Comedy – Art Pub.
Rob Casteel has been doing an “Art Pub” every summer which features someone from the community teaching us about their passion or a workshop on how to do something (graphic novels, painting, marionettes, etc.) This year Rob asked me to do a workshop on stand-up comedy based on my previous experience in NYC. I was glad to oblige and had a really fun night hearing other’s premises for jokes.  LOVED our time together.  Rob does a great job with this, I’m really impressed.

-First camping trip with Gram.
I’m no camper, but a chance to hang out with my son for a weekend and experience camping for the first time was a lot of fun.  He still talks about it multiple times a week!  He can’t wait to go next year.

-The Bagby Brewery had a great year. 
I made some great beers this year and learned a lot in terms of brewing. I will have made 14, 5 gallon batches and was pretty pleased with most of them. I’ve gotten some consistency in terms of the process and am excited to dial in some of my favorite styles next year. I’m also stoked to try a few sours!

Lowlights:

-Watching my young friend Jeremy pass away after a 2 year victory over cancer.
I didn’t think I would be doing a memorial service this year, especially of a friend that I’d been having regularly coffees and conversations with for the last three years.  It’s hard to believe it’s almost been 4 months since he’s been gone.  I still think of him often and it’s still difficult.  Anytime I’m in First Cup coffee, I think about him.  I’ve never been present when someone has passed before and I’ll never forget it.  It was truly a sacred moment and as weird as this may sound, I was honored to be invited into this families suffering.  I was blessed to be able to spend some time with him before he went and to see him pass in a very peaceful way.  The conversations we had will forever be etched in my mind.  I miss you friend.

-Seeing a couple in our community grieve the loss of their 4 year old girl.
Shortly after Jeremy passed, another couple in our community experienced the most heartbreaking and tragic loss of their sweet girl Vienne.  I cannot imagine what that would be like and even the thought haunts me regularly.  I’m still at a loss.

-A LOT of time and pain spent at physical therapy.
Most of this year has been spent in significant physical pain.  After my rotator cuff surgery in December of 2012, I’ve been living with pain in my right shoulder well through August of 2012.  I’ve never experienced this kind of excruciating, exhausting, and debilitating pain before.  For the first few months I was disappointed because I thought this kind of pain would be, or could be a formative experience.  Sometimes however, pain is just pain and just serves to remind us that things are broken and not the way they’re supposed to be.  I will say though that after this experience (which isn’t really resolved), I am more in tune with the pain of others in a way I wasn’t before.

-Serving on Grand Jury for ONE MONTH!
When I got selected for one month of Grand Jury service right after Jeremy’s memorial service it felt like a kick in the midsection. It actually turned out to be maybe the best thing for me. It was interesting, distracting, and gave me a unique experience into a whole other world. I left jury service with mixed emotions.  I could actually still be called back for one case until March of 2013.

-We said goodbye to some great people as they moved.
We miss you Liz and Matt, Steve and Krista, Dan and Dominique, Benjamin and Sarah.  It’s hard to say goodbye to such great people.

-No Bagby/Vaughn vacation to Priest Lake.
Considering we both had newborns, a 6.5 hour car trip would have been a terrible idea.  I’m excited to go back to this special place next summer.

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