Tonight we burned our Christmas tree. Don’t worry! It was planned!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 austindhill.com, 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?