Debt Free by One Three!

January 1, 2013 — 1 Comment


Tonight we burned our Christmas tree. Don’t worry! It was planned!

We return our living room to normal on December 31, symbolizing the fresh start we have on January 1.

We return our living room to normal on December 31, symbolizing the fresh start we have on January 1.

This has become sort of a tradition in our house. On New Years Eve or New Years Night we take off the Christmas tree decorations, cut the tree into pieces, and burn it in our fireplace. I know it looks a little morbid, but it’s a great excuse to relax together as a family and celebrate the fresh start we get in a new year.

Like countless other people, during this time of celebration I’ve been thinking about the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2012, and what I believe God has in store for 2013. So here’s a rundown of the last year.

The Good

  • I started writing much more consistently than in the past.
  • I began writing, producing, and publishing a podcast.
  • My Doctor of Ministry program began and I haven’t flunked out!
  • I read through a solid majority of the Bible this year.
  • I thrived during seven weeks of ministry where I was the only pastor in our church.
  • I had the privilege of working with our session to create a new vision statement for our church.
  • My friends and I beat some great video games.
  • I started eating more healthy foods and lost 25 pounds.
  • Sara and I had some fantastic adventures together in California, Georgia, Colorado, and Tennessee.
  • I got to know my two cousins, Amy and Allison, a lot better.
  • Lylah gets excited, screeches, and crawls toward me when she sees me.
  • My family (immediate and extended) has given me tremendous joy.
  • I’ve made some amazing memories with students during retreats and mission trips.
  • The church where I serve has supported me through many challenging situations.
  • We refinished our basement that was flooded in 2010.
  • We paid off our basement and two of our three school loans.

The Bad

  • I haven’t published a podcast episode in three months.
  • I didn’t finish reading through the Bible this year.
  • My writing was more consistent in the summer than it is now.
  • I played a few too many video games during various parts of the year that were extra stressful.
  • I stopped eating healthy foods and gained back 8 of the 25 pounds I lost.
  • Sometimes Lylah’s screeches hit a piercing volume, and I lose patience.
  • Two great friends and colleagues at church moved on to other careers and I miss them.
  • I’m not totally caught up with my DMin work.
  • Most of our basement furniture is still sitting in our garage, covered in dust.

The Ugly

  • My brother was in a serious motorcycle accident seven months ago.
  • I’ve felt stressed more often than not.
  • My Aunt Lisa was entirely too young when she passed away earlier in the year.

So that’s 2012 in 27 bullet points. Here’s what I’m hoping I’ll see in 2013.

  • We’ll be debt free by the end of 2013. Or, to sound catchy and to make an allusion to the TV show, How I Met Your Mother, we’ll be debt free in one three!
  • I will publish two podcast episodes a month, on the first and third Sunday of the month.
  • I’ll post twice each week at, on Tuesday and on Friday.
  • My website will have an eBook for people who subscribe to receive emails.
  • My novel will hit the 100,000 word mark.
  • I will have finished my first year of doctoral work.
  • The students who were freshmen when I began at FPC will graduate from high school, and I’ll see how they’ve grown in the past four years.
  • Our senior high ministry will develop a student leadership team.
  • We will get our college intern program going.
  • Our church will get excited about the vision our session has crafted.
  • I’ll get more consistent with eating healthy foods.
  • Waking up early will be easier than it has been.
  • I’ll read a book each month for fun.
  • Prayer will play a greater role in my regular quiet times.
  • Lylah will have a healthy little brother or sister in July.

The God of the Bible is a God of new beginnings. Every day is a chance to live with more joy than the day before. That’s what I love about January 1st. It’s a built-in reminder that it’s never too late to start fresh.

So that’s my list for 2012 and for 2013. What’s on your list? How do you want to start afresh?



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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • scrhill

    2013 is going to be our year, love! I can’t wait to experience all it has to offer, especially the birth of our second child and doing a “debt free scream” with you (hopefully before baby #2 arrives)! I am thankful for all of your 2012 accomplishments.