My Top 10 of 2011

If you read a lot of blogs like I do, you know it is the time of year when everyone is posting their top 10 from the past year. I’ve thought about it and have come up with my own. For posterity’s sake. And to help me count my blessings so that I can be grateful for the good in my life and recognize that good is always there (even in the midst of the not so good). And to remind me to look forward to the new year with promise.

So here it is, some of the things I consider my top 10 from 2011:

1.  My middle son, Dylan, married a wonderful girl in May and we welcomed Christina into our family. I finally have a daughter and she is wonderful and is adding so much goodness to our family already.

2.  This same son also published his first book, True Pain True Grief & A True God, which dealt with the loss of his Father in 2009. The reasons for writing the book came from a very painful place,  but knowing that Dylan inspires others going through their own painful loss(es) brings hope and encouragement to me.

3.  Jordan, my oldest, graduated from East Carolina University with a degree in Sociology and a concentration in family and marital counseling. His father would have been very proud of him, just as I am.

4.  I found myself more than a few times this year sitting down with others who have lost a spouse or other significant person in their life and (I hope) sharing encouragement and faith with them. Grief is certainly a process (and a very painful one) and no one should have to go through that alone.

5.  We got a cat. Well, a kitten. A little black one named Ace. Who apparently belongs to Logan, my youngest son, since he follows Logan around everywhere. Literally. And plays fetch with him. And is a hoarder of small objects. (The cat, not Logan.)

6.  Along with continuing my programming and production responsibilities, I also became the communications director at Hope once again. I am surrounded by a great team of people who help make sure that everything that needs to get done, gets done, and gets done well. And I continue to really enjoy my job (both of them!). I am humbled that God allows me to work at such a great place with people who so genuinely love God and each other and who have such a heart for serving and reaching His people. I am more than blessed to be a part of Hope, and I more than know it.

7.  Our Christmas production this year hosted almost 9,000 people over four days and six performances. But that’s not the impressive part. The part that matters most is hearing about those who have come back to Hope for subsequent services since then—people who normally live their lives far from God. And that’s why we do this—to help others take a step closer to Jesus. And then another. And then another. And then another…

8.  As I led Hope’s Summer Performing Arts Camp this past July, I was reminded of the importance of investing both spiritually and artistically in the lives of children (since I mainly work with adults the rest of the year). Based on the responses then and even now, there is no doubt that families love having a positive, uplifting arts opportunity like this available for their children. I was also reminded of how unbelievably quickly children can learn things in just one week!

9.  I became a S.H.A.P.E. guide this year. I love helping people connect and find their best place at Hope. Our church is pretty big so being able to sit down one on one with some of the folks who attend and help them become more intentional about serving Christ is a rewarding investment of my time.

10. Finally, I was reminded over and over again of the blessings of good friends. For those I work with, those I live life with, those I attend church with, and those who bring accountability to my life. They have made me better this year because of who they are and how they do friendship. So my prayer is that on any given day in 2012 I will be the same kind of friend to them that they have so graciously and lovingly (and sacrificially) been to me.

So what about you? Have you found a moment yet to just reflect on the past year? What are you thankful for? What went right? What changed? What did you learn? What would be your top 10?

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