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Eleven for 2011

I can’t say I’m sad to see this year go.  It’s been tough, although there have been incredibly good things going too.  Here are 11 memories that will shape me from this calendar year.  In no particular order:

1.  Knowing Julie better

I can honestly say I know my wife better as 2012 dawns than I did a year ago.  We have had some groundbreaking conversations about our lives, ministries, communication styles, and approaches to every day life that have opened up the doors of depth to our marriage.  And our marriage is richer for it.  Praise God!

2.  Great summer family vacation

We had a great summer vacation in June.  We spent several days at my mom’s house and with my brother and his family.  We spent several days together as a family and spent time with Julie’s family as well.  There were lots of good meals, lots of outings and adventures, and lots of extra sleep.  It truly was a great 8 days to spend with our family.

3.  Half marathon Indianapolis

This is one of the highlights of my post college athletic pursuits.  Through a very difficult winter I stayed the course through my training (with motivation from Josh Miller) and posted a personal best half marathon of 1 hour, 27 minutes and change (a 6:40 pace per mile).  I placed around 400th out of 30,000 finishers.  This is a great sense of personal accomplishment for which I give God praise.

4.  Three grand slams

On August 25 (after failing yet again to qualify for the Boston Marathon), I was witness to baseball history (with Craig Fullerton).  We were there for the game when the Yankees hit three grand slams.  How amazing!  I am a baseball fan and enjoyed it for its historical value.  But to have it be my team was amazing!  What an awesome day.  I’ll remember that for as long as I live.

5.  New Christians and new members

I hope this is on my list every year.  We have seen people come to Jesus this year and we’ve had new people join our church.  I praise God for His work in our church’s ministries.  It’s truly a highlight to look back and see the way God has used us to be an encouragement to others.

6.  College football scandal

I will remember 2011 for its college football scandals.  The events at Ohio St. paled in comparison to those at Penn St., but both were memorable and brought long periods of stability to an end at both schools.  I pray for everyone involved at Penn St. and my stomach turns with horror at the kinds of things being alleged.

7.  Growth of our kids

It has been outstanding to see our children grow and develop.  David started kindergarten and Lexi started 3rd grade this year.  I love seeing their development and how they’re learning both spiritually and academically.  Our foster daughter is doing awesome as well.  We’ve had her in our care for all of 2011 and 2012 will likely determine whether we’ll adopt her or not.

8.  Death of Jim Bacher

Our church lost a dear friend and a great man.  Jim was a 78 year old man who befriended me earlier in my tenure at Goss Memorial Church as youth director (he would have been in his late 60’s then).  I looked up to him and learned so much from his passion for missions and his influence in so many people’s lives.  I miss him very much – he was an incredibly loving Christian man.

9.  Celebrations 

We’ve had the joy to be a part of several weddings in 2011.  Also, several people we know have added to their families through new births.  Praise God – and for each of you newly married or parenting new borns, we pray for you and wish God’s grace upon your lives!

10.  Red 

I went to see my favorite band Red three times this year.  I saw them at the WinterJam event in Cleveland in January, I took a one day trip to Houston to see them in May (and met them on their tour bus during this trip!!), and went with my friend Andy Flaker to see them again in June in Fort Wayne.  I am not at all tired of their music.  I don’t think I’ll see them three times in 2012, but hey, that’s why it makes 2011 memorable!

11.  Major catastrophes and tragedies.

There was the Tsunami in Japan, flooding in the U.S., a huge tornado that struck Joplin (and others that struck Alabama), and even major flooding that hit right here in Akron as something like 4-6″ of rain fell in the span of a few hours.  In our area there was also a mass shooting involving a family that left 7 people dead and many lives shattered.  Lots and lots of tragedy and heartbreak will leave its mark as 2011 exits.

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