On New Years Day I was up at 5:30 a.m., driving to Estavan, Saskatchewan so I could celebrate a dear friend's wedding. This necessarily cut short any time for typical New Year’s reflections. I had hoped to write something, at least list of my favourite albums, books, and films of 2015, but as January rolled into February and nothing happened, such plans seem ridiculously late to implement now.
But taking the time to celebrate what God has done is surely worthwhile, especially during the boring and wearisome month of February. And I've written a fair bit about about some of the trials of this past year. Now I want to take some time to reflect on the blessings and joys of 2015. So here is a list of (some) my favourite things from the year; the experiences that I’m so thankful for, the riches that "overflow and flood the plain" of my life.
My vacation to Hornby Island and Portland was, in so many ways, just what I needed. I left in great uncertainty and arrived home rejoicing in how God used the trip to build me up in His Gospel and to clarify my plans for the year ahead. My time at Hornby was in turn relaxing and convicting, preparing me for a trip to Portland. Here I was able to witness the creativity and faithfulness of its local church, through visits with The Bible Project and Humble Beast.
Writing about Portland
In late Autumn I was sick for about a month and a half, which gave me time to pull out the recordings I took during the interviews I conducted in Portland. I edited these into a couple of essays, with the proofreading and morale support of my friend Andrew. The essay on The Bible Project was well received when it was published and I plan on releasing the one on Humble Beast soon. Hopefully this is just the start of many more interviews, essays, and even trips.
“Things might have been different, but they could not have been better” says a character in Tolkien’s autobiographical short story Leaf by Niggle. It’s funny how the darkest bits of your life are the bits that you can’t do without. It was hard. And I wish it happened differently, but I see now the reasons why it might have happened. Working through this whole experience was a challenge, but a delight. A handful of people have thanked me for writing about the experience in this trilogy of short essays, and I pray that’s just a small sampling of the fruit that He is growing in me.
Music with Jason
In 2014, the music team that I played with disbanded and I was heartbroken. But this last year I was invited to play with Jason Hoffer, who’s headed a number of bands, including International Cold Beat. Our music practices are more like music lesson. I’ve learned so much from playing with him, and I’ve had a hoot of fun in the process. Our style started to gel over the year (satisfying to watch), and we have some bold (and scary!) plans for 2016.
Last Christmas, my parents gave me a gift that had an impact on my next year: a Chemex, an electric scale, and a hand-powered bur grinder. Since then I’ve added a gooseneck kettle, an areopress, and an electric burr grinder. Over the year, my skill and knowledge of the art of fine coffee increased along with my equipment collection. (For example, I took cream at the beginning of the year. I now take my coffee black.) The practice of learning to craft such an exquisite beverage daily has enriched my life in so many ways. I’ll never take it back.
A Year of Reading
In 2015, I finished 72 books. My goal was to reach the end of each month having read at least 5 titles, but vacation time, exhaustion, and a month and half of sickness gave me more time. I always hope that when I look back on my list of books read, I’ve read works worth reading, works that shape the mind and cultivate the soul. This year, I can say that the titles I chose did so more often that they did not. Soon I hope to publish a list of the 22 books that impacted me the most. I was especially encouraged by the number of times certain books were exactly what I needed to read at that moment of my life.
It was great fun to be part of the first generation of users for a brand new Apple device.
Well, those are (some) of my most treasured 2015 experiences. What were yours? Let’s think back and rejoice together.