Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thirteen from 13

2013 was a wet year.

Spring was wet and that delayed planting.  Summer was wet but for the most part crops like water.  Fall was wet and that spread harvest out right up to Thanksgiving.  So far the winter has been wet and that makes for happy duck hunters.

2013 was challenging.  2013 was a good year.

Here are a few, 13 to be exact, observations and reflections on things I learned, saw, heard, or enjoyed in the year that was.

  • We began (again) homeschooling this year.  We took a two year break from homeschooling after our third was born and while we transitioned to a new home, career etc.  Homeschooling is not for the faint of heart, just ask my wife.  I have a new newfound respect for teachers and administrators.    
  • Along those lines I believe Common Core has the potential to do to public education what ObamaCare is doing to healthcare.  But it's for the children!
  • Howard Buffett - farmer, philanthropist, and son of billionaire Warren Buffett - has written a book called 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World.  It gets its title from the average number of seasons a farmer has of planting, caring for, harvesting, and improving upon his crop.  Buffett weaves together stories of his travels around the globe and the challenges (often dangerous) of feeding the planet.  Check it out.
  • And along those lines, I am not convinced GMO's or Monsanto are the enemy of the Earth.  However, I am becoming more convinced that there are reasonable arguments for concern about food safety, what's in our food, and the trustworthiness of companies such as Monsanto.  Wendell Berry may or may not endorse that statement.
  • Fools Rush In Where Monkeys Fear To Tread by Carl Trueman should be read by everyone.  After all, he takes aim at everyone.  While you are at it, read his book Republocrat.  While you're still at it pretty much read anything he writes.  

Also check out Kevin DeYoung, Russell Moore, ND Wilson, Tim Keller, Jay Sanders, and Marty Duren.  Over and over again these guys writings help me immeasurably.  There are many others, to many to list, but start here and they'll lead you to the others.  And for the ladies, consider Gloria Furman, Jani Ortlund, and Elyse Fitzpatrick.  

  • Have you heard of Peter Bradley Adams?  Go take a listen.  You'll like and you'll buy.
  • What about Gregory Alan Isakov?  Ditto the above.  

Both of the above guys have been around the music scene for some time now.  But in my small part of the world we have about 20 radio stations that come in clear.  Sixteen of those are country, two are Christian both of which are obsessed with Casting Crowns, one is dedicated to all things Fox News or Rush Limbaugh, and the other one plays a mix of classic rock (not that that's a bad thing).  So if you love Luke Bryan and Casting Crowns with a dash of AC/DC, Northwest Tennessee is your musical headquarters.  If not, create a station on Pandora called The Head and The Heart and you'll discover great music that radio doesn't know exists.

  • Myself and many others rejoiced from afar when Matt & Courtney Cummings son was born.  What an incredible testimony of faithfulness.
  • Josh & Gretchen Neisler are two of the most incredible people I've ever had the pleasure of being around.  However, Josh is a die hard Ohio St fan.  And Cincinnati Reds fan.  He'll probably have to give an account to the Lord one day for these sins.  But likely before that day comes, he'll get to rub my nose in all the future SEC (b/c as anyone from the south knows, when your team stinks you by default get to hitch your wagon to the conference) and St Louis Cardinal flops, frustrations, and failings.  Then I'll have to give an account.  But on that day that we are all united in Heaven, in unison we'll cheer against Notre Dame. 
  • I do not believe Phil Robertson is a hater, phobic, or racist.  Welcome to the new America where tolerance is defined and speech is based upon agreement with those whom you disagree with.  Wait what?  Because me and someone whom I may disagree with couldn't possibly be great friends or colleagues despite our differences. (Note the sarcasm)
  • There is very little difference between the Republican and Democrat party.  Stand with Rand.
  • Frozen is one of the worst movies ever.  If you like musicals, Narnia theme knock offs, and a repeat of every princess movie ever, you'll love it.  Naturally, my girls loved it.
  • Lana and I married in the year 2000.  I love her 13 times more now than in the year we married.
Like I said, 2013 was a good year.  Happy New Year!