Friday Picture: 2016 In Pictures

Each Friday this year I’ve tried to post a picture.  Via those pictures, here’s a look back of some of the things that happened in 2016.

Alabama defeated Clemson in the finals of the 2015 College Football Playoff.

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Shortly thereafter, I started a bathroom remodeling project.

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On Spring Break, we saw the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile.

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May brought the Regions Tradition to Greystone.

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Ahhh, Lake Guntersville.

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Then there was a trip to Arkansas to visit one of the kids working at a camp.

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Later in the summer there was a trip to Disney World.

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Fall brought a trip to see the Crimson Tide.

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November brought a presidential election and a result I didn’t expect.

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As the year concludes, Alabama is back in the College Football Playoff.

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The Day After Christmas

Well, our family successfully navigated through the Christmas holiday. of 2016. We stepped through a very busy Christmas Eve and continued a good pace through a Christmas day that included family time, church and a trip to see Sweet Wife’s family.  All in all it was a very good couple of days and we consider ourselves very blessed.

Now comes the day after Christmas.

This day will hopefully include the repackaging of all of the Christmas ornaments and decorations back into their respective boxes and the placing of those boxes back into the attic.  I’m very much looking forward to this!

But the day after Christmas also brings something else for me: a burst of renewal as I sense the arrival of a new year.  I’m not sure why this happens with me, but it tends to happen every year.  As the flipping of the calendar approaches, I just sort of get revived.  It’s a new beginning, a new start.  It’s a time to start new things and to end others.  It’s a defining moment in time that sort of naturally allows for new patterns and beginnings.

This year, for example, I decided to try to post something to this blog every day.  In years past, I’ve done things like started a project to journal every day or to read through the Bible in a year.  It just makes sense to start something like this on January 1.

This year, I don’t plan any regular activities like these.  Instead, for 2017 I just feel a general renewal type feeling.  I have complained regularly that 2016 has been hard, but what I’m ready to do in 2017 is to start again with renewed energy and apply the lessons that I’ve learned this year.  What are these lessons?  Well, that’s something that I’ll hopefully comment on in a day or two, but I am happy to have learned these lessons and I’m ready to apply them.

Blog Update

Welcome to October 2016!

It’s hard to believe, but we are already nine full months into 2016 and there are only 92 days left in the year. 

The challenge this year, was to post something every day to this blog. Counting today, 275 entries have been made and there are 91 left. (Remember, this is a leap year.)

At this point in the project several things are becoming clear. 

  • First, posting has become sort of a habit I’ve woven into a busy schedule. 
  • Second, apparently I’m not going to find oodles of time to sit down and write some sort of extensive post that is brilliantly crafted. 
  • Third, I’ve started or continued a couple of series — including a couple of Bible studies — but they are really hard to post with a limited schedule. I just don’t feel comfortable posting commentary about the Bible without spending some time thinking through the post. 
  • Fourth, posting every day has confirmed that I do like to write. 
  • Fifth, posting every day has confirmed that writing is hard. No matter how much you like it, when you sit down to type, the words don’t just jump onto the screen. 

Anyway, thanks for reading and following the blog through this project this year. 

Hello, 2016

For some reason (well, maybe several reasons), the turning of the calendar to another year provides a spark to me.  Generally, I don’t look at “January 1” as just another day in the march of time.

No, to me, the beginning of another year marks a time for change, a time for new beginnings.  It’s a time to start fresh.  It’s a time to break old habits and to start new ones.  It’s the best time of the year to start something so that you can easily say later, “I’ve done this all year.”

So as 2016 begins, what will I start?  What will I stop?  What adjustments will I make?  Will I do something easy just to say I accomplished something?  Will I try something hard and use the new year to motivate me toward greater things?  Will it be a combination?

Here’s what I’m thinking about for this new year:

  • Grow spiritually – As a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that He has begun a work in me that will continue until my death or until He returns.  I am not working toward righteousness – He has already clothed me in His righteousness, but I should be working to please Him and to provide a witness of Him in my life.  Growing spiritually is hard to measure, but it should always be my top priority.  This year, I would like to be consistent in reading my Bible, praying and applying the truths of God’s word to my daily decisions.
  • Grow as a Family Leader – Again, this is hard to measure, but this is an area where I always need improvement and where I always want to improve.  I often struggle in my roles as a husband and father, but I want to try to show Jesus Christ at work in me to my family.  I want to demonstrate to my family the great mercy, faithfulness and love that my Heavenly Father has shown to me.
  • Keep Perspective – One of the greatest issues in my life is demonstrating consistency in how I live.  I don’t feel like my principles or ethics change, but how I live is fairly volatile.  I’m upset easily.  I’m always ready to strike back.  I’m always quick to lose perspective on how I need to live.  The results of living this way is a lot of regret and a poor witness for Christ.  In 2016, I want to focus on the cross.  I want to focus on the “main things.”  I want to look past the crisis of the day and trust that the Lord will care for me and take care of me the way He always has.
  • Grow Intellectually – In 2016 I want to learn new things.  Most of the time I gravitate to the things I like.  Whether it’s sports, music or whatever, I tend to only engage with the things that interest me.  That’s not always bad, but it can lead to a pretty narrow and monotonous existence.  There’s a lot “out there” to learn and hopefully in the coming year I can check off a few more of those things.
  • Write More – For several reasons, I enjoy writing.  This year, I’d like to engage in this craft a little more.
  • Change the Focus – I love to win.  I love to compete.  I love to succeed.  I love to check the box on things I’ve experienced and accomplished (see above).  But in 2016, I’d also love to change the focus from me to others.  I’d love to lose a few more arguments.  I’d love to not be right every time when arguing with my wife.  I’d love to think about the needs of others.  I’d love to give a little more.  I know for a fact that I will have plenty of opportunities to engage in changing the focus this year.  Hopefully, I can.

This isn’t everything that needs to be improved in my life and I will fail at most of these.  But as the calendar page turns today, these are the things on my heart that I’d like to see happen.