Saying Goodbye to Life on the Balance Beam

I started My Life on the Balance Beam on Blogger and moved to WordPress a couple years ago. I’ve enjoyed it, but I have decided that I’m moving on from the Life on the Balance Beam name. While I’m not against the idea of balance, I found myself not really using it all that much recently. Balance is also a concept that has a bit of a bad rap these days and seems to be equated with perfectionism.

Now it’s not that I’m stopping writing all together. That’s not the case. I have decided to set up a new blog named An Intermediate Faith. Much of the content here will show up there, but I have pared away some of the posts more focused on video games, movies, and fiction books. Part of this move is wanting to create a more focused experience. I’m still planning on posting things about marriage, parenting, photography, and other aspects of life, but don’t want to be quite as focused on giving my thoughts on games, movies, etc. as I have here at times.

So if you’ve enjoyed any of my posts here, please feel free to follow me at the new location. I’m sure the new site will be undergoing some changes in the next few weeks as I try to get settled in, but as of right now it is up and functional. It will be a new adventure for me, but I hope that it will be a good step.

Some Changes to Final Thoughts

If you come to my blog regularly, you’ll know that I’ve been doing my final thoughts posts on Wednesdays where I give my thoughts on movies, video games, or books that I’ve finished recently. I’m posting today to announce that this will be changing.

I won’t be stopping them all together, but I’m going to limit the reviews that I post on my blog to books that are non-fiction. This would mean books about Christianity, faith, psychology, biographical works, etc. I will no longer be doing separate posts for movies, video games, or works of fiction.

Why the change? Well there are a number of reasons.

1. It just felt like these posts were out of place with where I was wanting to go with the blog. I started doing these posts as a way to present what I’ve been watching, reading, or playing and to make myself seem a bit more real. While I still think that was a good reason to do them, I think there may be other ways to present such information.

I also feel that by not taking the time to review everything, I can focus more on themes and aspects of the various forms of media that make me think the most. So it’s not that I won’t be talking about movies, video games, or fiction novels, but more that they will be done in a more thematic way when they are talked about.

2. It just took a lot of time. These posts tended to take me awhile. I don’t entirely know why, but they did. Sometimes it would be because it had been awhile since I watched the particular movie, or played the game so I had to look up some of the information about it. Other times I just didn’t know how to approach what I wanted to say. So instead of taking a lot of time on it, I felt it might be a better use of my time to drop it for the most part.

3. I was never going to catch up. We tend to watch a movie a week, and if I had books or video games to give my thoughts on it would mean that I would be doing a movie once every three weeks, which is a recipe for getting further and further behind. I would already be trying to give thoughts on movies I watched in February and it would just get worse.

So those are the reasons for the change. As I said I’ll still be doing non-fiction works, because those do tend to be more in line with the rest of my posts. Also I will give links to social sites where you can find what I’m watching, reading, and playing (if you’re at all interested). The only type of thing I can’t find a place to track is television shows, but oh well. Here’s the list:

Anime: Anime-Planet

Books: Goodreads

Movies: Criticker

Video Games: Grouvee

So if you’re interested in following what I watch/read/play feel free to add me on any of these services. I’ll also try to do better at putting up smaller reviews on these sites too. This won’t be the only place I’ll put these links either, I’ll put them up in the about me section somewhere too.

So that’s what’s going on with the Final Thoughts posts. In many ways I’m killing it off and it will only survive in a limited capacity. Just thought I should let you all know.

Fear At Every Turn

A good friend and mentor of mine often commented that fear is a terrible motivator and reason for doing something. I agree with this sentiment completely, but I find that I often have a difficult time putting that idea into practice. Fear is not always my main reason for my thoughts, actions, and inaction. However, I feel that fear is a constant companion perched on my shoulder and always quite willing to whisper in my ear.

It seems that fear is something that pops up all over the place. At best it feels like you’re playing whack-a-mole trying to drop the hammer on every fear as it pops from its hiding place. At worst it sometimes feels like your drowning. You don’t want to succumb to the fears that you have, but feel powerless to fight them off in any meaningful way.

These fears go into various aspects of life. There are the ones centered around home. I often fear what people think about the fact that I’m a stay-at-home dad. I fear that I’m not a good enough parent or husband. I fear being a bother to pretty much anyone.

I have fears centered around church and faith. I fear a lack of acceptance. My views tend to be a left (to use that imperfect way of putting it anyhow) of a decent number of conservative Christians, but a right of the more liberal or progressive strains of Christianity. I fear there will never be a place that I can fit in. Not that I mind disagreement, but have often found that most people do. Sometimes it even feels like fear shouldn’t be such an issue if my faith was strong enough.

I also feel fear about this little blog. I fear I’ll never impact much of anyone with my writing here. I fear that I’m wasting my time, that my thoughts mean nothing. However, I also fear success. I fear the negative attention that comes with popularity. I fear not being myself in order to chase success and popularity. I fear both irrelevance and relevance, it maybe sounds strange but I do.

To be honest I wish I knew what to do with all of these fears. No matter how hard I try to shake them off, they seem to cling on with their tiny little claws and endure. I’m fairly confident that I’m not the only one that struggles with these little, or not so little, fears that seem to pop up at every turn.

I know that fears will always persist and so I don’t have some sort of dream of never having fears. What I wish I did better with was pushing past the fears and moving forward. That’s something I don’t always feel I do a good job on. Sometimes it’s because of the fact that there are fears on both sides of an issue. Other times it is simply not knowing what move to make to push past the fear in question.

I even think that lacking any kind of fear can lead to recklessness. It reminds me of the idea of not being able to feel pain. It may not feel like it is hurting or affecting you, but you may be doing harm to yourself even if you don’t directly feel it. Fear and pain may not be enjoyable feelings, but I think they do serve some purpose. I don’t want to be paralyzed by fear, but I don’t think wishing it all away or brushing it aside is a healthy option either.

I don’t want fear to have control over me. As I said at the start of this post, fear is a terrible reason and motivation for doing something. Fear is something I think everyone faces in some way or another. Know that you are not alone in that. Maybe like me you don’t really know what to do about it, but at least take some solace that you aren’t alone in your fears.

We might be surprised how many people around us are fearful of something. That could be the reason they put on the show on the outside. It could be a show that pretends everything is wonderful, or it could be a show that pushes people away with harsh words and bad attitudes. We can often think we’re the only one afraid, but the truth is that fear may be at every turn for each person. It may look different from person to person in both what the fears are and the way the fears are handled, but they are still there.

Some people probably handle fear better than others. I want to face the fears I have and trust in the grace of God while doing so, knowing I’ll probably fail in it more than I’d like. Does that sound good to anyone?

Top Posts of 2014

Anyone who has tried their hand at a blog probably knows the dreaded curse of looking at your stats. Even if you aren’t really writing a blog to be popular or become the next big thing, there is something about knowing that other people are reading what you’ve written that makes you feel happy. So it’s always interesting, either in good or bad ways, to see what posts were the most popular over the past year. I won’t include my home page, since well it blew everything out of the water, but here are the top posts, some honorable mentions, and some that I wish made it a bit higher.

Top 10 Posts of 2014

  1. My Favorite Couples (Television and Video Games)
  2. Final Thoughts on Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak to Us Today
  3. A Faith With Doubt is Deeper Than a Faith Without
  4. Final Thoughts on Sly 2: Band of Thieves
  5. My Favorite Couples (Books and Movies)
  6. Final Thoughts on The Lego Movie
  7. A Short Break
  8. What I’ve Learned From the First Year of Home Ownership
  9. Final Thoughts on Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible
  10. Remembering to Be Thankful

It appears that my “Final Thoughts” on movies, games, and books can be very popular although some of them wound up with very few views too. I don’t know exactly what made these ones more popular than others.

Really though this whole list is a mix of different things. Which I guess makes sense since my blog is pretty much that. My little lists on some of my favorite couples seemed pretty popular. One thing for sure is that my posts going through the book of Genesis have not been very popular besides “A Faith With Doubt is Deeper Than a Faith Without”. One other came close to cracking the top ten, but that’s all.

Honorable Mentions and Personal Favorites

Some posts that came close to breaking into the top ten that I felt like I should mention were:

My last few links here will be of some of my favorite posts of the past year that just didn’t get much of any love. Maybe they weren’t really that good, but I enjoyed writing them.

So there we have it. The posts with the most traffic, some other ones that made it close to the top ten and I felt were worthy of a mention, and a few posts that I wished were a bit more popular than they were. Of course none of these posts were viral or popular when compared to other more well known blogs. I still enjoyed writing them all and glad that there are at least some out there that take the time to read them.

 

Looking Back at 2014’s Goals

Last year I started setting goals for myself at the beginning of the year. I enjoyed the experience and found that having some set goals before me helped keep them on my mind especially reviewing them about halfway through the year and again at the end of the year. Since I enjoyed it last year I did it again this year. Since it’s at the end of the year let’s see how well I did at accomplishing the goals I set at the beginning of the year.

1. Getting Connected in Our Local Community – We’ve maybe had some progress on this one, but at the same time we don’t really have much of any significant relationships around here. We have met a couple more of our neighbors since, so that’s good. We’ve also been around more people with Ryan being in school, but no real relationships have developed more just recognizing people while dropping off and picking up your kids. We’ve also been sick pretty consistently since Ryan has started school so that hasn’t helped develop many relationships either.

2. Paying Off Loans – Paying off our smaller student loans was accomplished by the middle of the year, but we’ve been trying to aggressively tackle our bigger loans the rest of the year. The ones we’re facing now will be a bit longer to take out unfortunately.

3. Painting – We did wind up painting Ryan’s bedroom this year. We didn’t really know what we were doing and it took us a fair amount of time, but we did accomplish it. We at least painted one room, but unfortunately that’s all we did. I have a feeling that I know what a goal for next year will be.

4. Buying Living Room Furniture – Again this was a success by the middle of the year. We are still enjoying having some nicer furniture for our living room though. This was a pretty easy goal to accomplish though.

5. 12 Books for the Year – This was a success. I’ve finished exactly 12 books this year and I’m currently working on two others. Amusingly enough I was evenly split between fiction and non-fiction for the year at six books a piece. I didn’t really attempt that but found it to be a nice divide. For those who like to know what books these are I’ve read you can check them out at Goodread’s year in review. There are only one of the books for the year that I haven’t given my thoughts on here, but it will be on its way.

6. A Picture a Day – This was a failure at the midway and continued to be a failure at the end. I never really got into consistently using my camera. That’s not say that I haven’t been taking photos, just not as consistently as I had hoped at the beginning of the year. I’m thinking of retrying something regarding photography for my goals next year. Hopefully that one will go a bit better.

7. Consistent Blogging – This one wound up going really well. In the later half of the year I wound up finding a nice rhythm of three posts a week. I did have some issues maintaining it around the holidays, but that was also somewhat intentional. I even had times where I had a bit of a buffer in advance. So I consider this one a resounding success.

I guess if I’m honest there was a part of the blogging goal I did fail at. That was at the continuing my weekly review of other blog posts I found interesting. As I said midway through the year trying to keep up with other blogs to do that just burnt me out.

I also found that these posts were my most visited posts and it felt like I was gaining views simply by linking to other people’s work and not actually for my own writing. I wanted people to visit for what I wrote, not simply because I linked to another person’s blog. So I dropped this fairly quick and decided to stick with my own content even though I figured I’d take a hit in terms of visits. I did, but I think it was worth it in the end.

Those are how my goals ended up. It was a mixture of success and failure, but with more success than failure. I’d probably put it as five successes and two failures. Not bad really. I’ll work up some new goals for 2015 and see how I do on those.

 

 

A Short Break

You may or may not have noticed that last week was fairly quiet around here. I wanted to let it be known that the quietness will continue until next week or the week after. We were expecting to say goodbye to my grandmother last week, but she wound up lasting longer than the doctors thought possible and is still hanging on as I write this. It is one of those situations though where it is only a matter of time and so trying to get a normal schedule out just isn’t something I’m able to focus on too much at the moment.

Add in the fact that this week is Thanksgiving and a break seems like a good thing to do. I’ll hopefully be back after a week or so, but for now I know for certain that the rest of this week will be quiet around here. Hopefully everyone will have a good Thanksgiving and not get trampled or anything if you try to shop on Black Friday.

Halfway Through 2014

It’s hard to believe that we’re at the halfway point of the year already. As I have been doing the last couple years, I like to take the halfway point to reflect on some of the goals that I’ve set for the year. I tend to post my goals at the beginning of the year and then comment on them at the middle and the end of the year to see how they’ve gone. Honestly, it’s a rather mixed bad, but let’s look at how we’ve done.

1. Get Connected In Our Local Community – This one still hasn’t gone as far as we might have liked. We’ve met some of our neighbors, but nothing too meaningful. I’m a little more involved in our church, but it’s also going through a bit of a transition at the moment so it’s a little choppy. So we’re largely without any close community at the moment. We’re really hoping that with Ryan starting preschool/pre-K in the fall we’ll get connecting with some other people our age or at least who have kids our age. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

2. Paying Off Loans – This one has been a success already. We’ve paid off the smaller student loans that we had, but now we have two large ones (one from each of us) to tackle. This endeavor will probably take a bit longer, but we’re starting to put more money towards them to pay them down quicker.

3. Painting – Yeah this hasn’t happened. We want it to, but quite frankly don’t know how the logistics will work. We’ve had to buy other things for the house (like stuff for yard work) so we haven’t put the money towards painting yet. Plus we just don’t quite know how to paint and how we’d work the logistics with two little ones. We’re still hoping to get at least one room done this year, but who knows if that will happen.

4. Buy Living Room Furniture – This was a success. We finally bought a nice couch and loveseat earlier this year. They’re quite the improvement over our old futon.

5. Reading a Book a Month – I think I’m on track for this. So far I’ve read six and have almost finished a seventh. This book I’m on now has slowed me down quite a bit, but hopefully I’ll keep up a good pace and maybe even read more than one a month.

6. A Picture a Day – This one failed pretty much right out of the gate. I did good for like a week then wound up really sick for a month. That pretty much killed any momentum I had. I thought about trying to start up doing it another month, but just never did. I have still been using my camera and getting pictures here and there, but nothing as consistent as a picture a day.

7. Consistent Blogging – I think this has been a success. I think I at least put one blog post out a week, sometimes even two. I’d like to me even more consistent than I am, but overall I think I’m doing fairly decent. I did fail on this one a bit, because I decided early this year to get rid of my Wandering of the Week because I wound up being burnt out on other blogs trying to read so many in the space of a week. I may revisit the idea later and accept being about 20-30 days behind the freshest blogs out there. We’ll see.

So that’s how I’m doing so far. Some are already successes, others are major failures, some are successful so far. I guess we’ll have to see at the end of the year how everything pans out. If you’ve set any goals for yourself this year how are you doing?

Sickness and Reflections on Blogging

You may have noticed that I’ve been rather quiet in this space the last couple weeks. Well that’s because pretty much the whole family has been sick with some kind of plague. Fevers, congestion, coughing, sore throats, and feeling rotten have pretty much been the norm around here the last two weeks. So spending time writing didn’t really come on the radar very much.

Despite not actually writing anything or doing any actual work on the blog, I thought about my little space here quite a bit. In some ways getting some distance away from doing the blog for a couple weeks made me realize a few things. The first is I’m not sure I really like the blogging world. I started reading a number of blogs around this time last year and at first it was inspiring and engaging. It made me think about issues I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about and even if I disagreed it felt like it was a good exercise.

Over time though the blogging world has lost its luster for me. There is so much negativity out there, even for good causes, maybe even particularly for good causes. Sometimes it seems to be a successful blogger you have to create some sort of story out of the blog itself. You have the writer as the protagonist/hero with your quest/platform and those who stand in your way  or disagree must be antagonists/enemies. Now this changes from blog to blog. For some the enemies are the reformed section of Christianity, some go a bit farther and place all of evangelicalism as their enemies, while on the other side you have some from those groups making the enemies look like progressives, liberals, women, or whatever type of group they want to fill in the blank with. It just gets more than a little tiresome. It just wears you out after awhile.

This realization led me to the question of what to do with my own blog? Basically, do I want to continue my blog? I thought about being done with it, but to be honest I enjoy it as an outlet, even if it is just an outlet for myself. So you could say my second realization is that I do enjoy my blog. This space isn’t very big or very popular, but overall I can very much say that it displays who I am, what I’ve been thinking about, and what I want to be.

So with that figured out I thought a lot about what I want this space to be like. In terms of content I’m mostly happy with it, but I realized (my third and final realization) that I think it’s time for some relatively minor changes. To start off I think I’m done with my Wanderings of the Week at least in the manner they exist now. I know that it wasn’t that long ago in one of my posts that I said I would keep doing it, but it takes a lot of time to read as many blog posts as I do in a week. It would probably be time better spent elsewhere. Not that I’m completely done reading other blogs, but I’m just not going to try to read so many posts in a week and I’m weeding out some of the blogs from my reader that I don’t tend to really enjoy that much. I may still highlight a post that I really like or something, but there will be no more lists of posts from the week.

So what am I going to do instead of it? Well my thoughts are this. I’m thinking of trying to have a sort of rhythm for my blog. I’ve really missed teaching from the Bible so I’ve thought about doing a blog post on a chapter or so every week at the beginning of the week, having a more topical post or a review post during the end of the week and maybe for the weekend having a short post more dedicated to family and what’s going on in our lives (similar to the first part of my Wanderings of the Week posts). I know this is trying to get three posts out in a week, but I’m hoping that this will work out okay.

I also want to change the way the blog looks. Maybe go for a simpler cleaner layout, because I’m just not sure my current one is working out too good. Not a big change, but one I still think I’d like to make.

So all this to say I’ve been sick and that while I’ve been sick I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging. Maybe this is all a bit circular for a blog post, but I at least wanted to let people know I was alive.

 

Goals for 2014

Happy New Year! This is the time of year where people look forward to the year ahead and either make resolutions and goals or reflect on why they aren’t much of a resolution/goal person. To be honest, I didn’t really use the beginning of a new year to set any tangible goals until last year. I still kind of balk at calling them resolutions. Resolutions in my mind tend to be vague and lack really any planning in an attempt to achieve the resolution. For example, I could say I want to work out more, but really what does that mean or look like? It’s a nice thought, but lacks any detail or enough specificity to get anywhere.

So I’m going to lay out some goals like I’ve done previously. Maybe give a little explanation if I think I need to. Like last year, I don’t view any of these as a drastic change in direction from the path I’m already on, but rather plotting out a bit more detailed what I would like to accomplish by the end of the year.

1. Get connected in our local community. This is a repeat from last year and maybe a bit of a merger of two goals of last year (making friends and getting involved in ministry). I don’t feel that we have been very connected with anyone, with the exception of family, since we’ve moved back to Pennsylvania. What this looks like I’m not really sure. It may be getting more involved in our church we’re a part of now. It may be connecting with other parents when we try to have Ryan enter preschool in the fall this year. It may involve getting to know our new neighbors at our new house. It may really look like all of these and more. I know this is a bit of a vague goal, but in part it’s because I don’t really know what it will look like and how to plan it out however it should be the only vague goal on the list.

2. We want to pay off our last small student loan and make some headway on our larger student loans. Last year we were able to take out two of our loans and save up enough to buy a house so I’m hoping that we’ll be able to take out our remaining small student loan and start to do some damage on our much larger loans. I doubt we’ll take one of those out before the end of the year, but it would be nice to start to pay more than our minimum on the larger ones after finishing up the small loan.

3. Paint at least one or two rooms in our house. Ideally we’d want to get a number of our rooms repainted, but realistically we’ll probably get to one maybe two. I could be wrong, but I’ll set the bar low and see how we do. If I had to choose priority I’d say either our bedroom, Ryan’s bedroom, or our living room. We’ll see how that goes.

4. Buy living room furniture. This may sound like an odd goal, but as of now we have one piece of furniture to sit on in our living room. It’s a futon sofa we bought shortly after we were married eight years ago. It started to break about six years ago, but you can still sit on it and we weren’t anyplace that we thought we would be staying long term so we put off buying any new furniture. Now that this isn’t an issue anymore maybe we can buy some furniture this year and hey if we get our living room painted too maybe it can actually look all put together or something. I could put more house goals on the list, but I’ll leave it at these two.

5. I want to try to read at least one book each month. I think I only read about seven books last year, which isn’t bad, but I’d like to read more. So I’m setting the bar at the hopefully attainable book a month. Again maybe I’ll do better than that, but right now that’s my goal.

6. I want to try to take one picture a day for the next year. This is probably my most ambitious goal of the year and the one that is most likely to fail because of it’s ambitiousness. However, I want to give it a shot to practice my photography skills. It will probably result in a lot of really boring pictures, but we’ll see. Maybe it will give me eyes to see what I normally ignore. I plan on trying to use the 365 project. My plan is to upload to their site and also do a weekly post here to just keep up how I’m doing.

7. This is the last one I can think of right now, but I want to keep consistent on blogging. At least blogging once a week and do a weekly summary of posts. This is what I’ve been doing, but I want to make sure I can at least keep that up this year too.

So these are the goals I’m going to set for this year. I’m putting up two more than I did last year, so we’ll see how that goes. Do you set goals for the new year or really anytime? If you do what are some of your goals that you’re currently pursuing?

A Look at 2013

Well it’s the end of 2013 and many people, including myself, tend to use the end of a year to reflect on what has transpired over the past year. What major life events have happened? Did I accomplish the goals I set out for myself at the beginning of the year? Was it a good year? Was it a bad year? Was it a bit of a jumbled mess?

So I want to spend some time looking over 2013. To see the major changes that happened over the year, see how I did with the goals I set last year, and present the most popular posts I had this past year.

Major Events of 2013

It many ways it seems that 2013 was a mixed bag. Every major positive thing came with some unexpected consequences or took a bit of work getting to the good stuff. It was just a mixed year, which I suppose most years are, but this one seemed pretty mixed in the bigger events not just the every day stuff.

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We started off the year with one of those big events, the birth of our daughter Anastasia. It is hard to believe looking and interacting with her now that she was born this year, but that’s the way these things work I guess. No doubt this was one of the good events of the year. Sure it’s been a bit stressful getting used to dealing with two kids this past year, but it’s also been very enjoyable getting to know our little girl and see her grow and interact with her brother.

However, this major event had some negative events that followed. Kristen had some issues about two weeks after Anastasia was born and had to have an emergency procedure done. Thankfully it was all able to be finished in one day and everything went well, but it wasn’t the best experience in the world and I wasn’t even the one directly going through it. We also had some issues with Kristen’s job temporarily firing her after taking off more time after birth than was allowed for employees who had only worked with the company under a certain amount of time. However, everything worked out in the end.

As far as I can remember the rest of the events of the first half of the year were mainly just getting used to having two kids. Going to grandparent’s houses and having them visit us occasionally. Just settling into some sort of routine. Really the next major event of the year was my grandmother’s stroke in September.

This one really just set a bit of a somber tone for the rest of the year. She was in the hospital/rehab for awhile and we were trying to go see her once a week. She came back home shortly after Thanksgiving, but she still has a ways to go for recovery. It’s just taken a lot of getting used to. Hopefully, she’ll continue to recover over the next year and things will get closer to normal after awhile.

New House

Finally at the end of the year we bought our first house. We’re hoping it will be our only house, at least for quite some time, but at this time we know for certain it is our first. However, this positive was a lot of hard work. It felt like quite the roller coaster ride going through the experience. We thought we had the house, then something would come up and we weren’t sure, that would get taken care of then something else would happen. However, eventually we bought our house and moved into it a week and half before Christmas. This made December even busier than normal, but we’re happy to be moved in rather than having a house and not really being able to settle in yet.

So those are the major events of 2013. Of course they weren’t the only events, but they’re the ones that impacted us the most.

Goals

At the end of last year I set some goals that I hoped to achieve by the end of this year. They were five fairly simple goals. So now that we’re at the end of the year how did we do? Well let me run through them.

My first goal was getting used to staying home with two kids. This has gone rather well. Sure it can be challenging and we get into our ruts and battle of the wills and everything. Is it weird to say that in some ways it was easier than I expected and in others more difficult than I expected at the same time? That’s really how it feels.

The second goal was to blog more regularly. I’d say that I’ve done better this year than I have previous years, but I could be better. I felt like I did okay most of the year, but then took a hit in the last few months. Overall, I’m pretty happy with being more consistent, but I still want to improve.

Thirdly, was the goal of getting rid of the loan on our second car and to pay off one of our smaller student loans. We achieved this, but didn’t really gain any ground on getting out of debt due to the achievement of buying a house that wasn’t a major planned goal from last year. However, that’s hopefully the only extra debt will be taking on anytime soon.

After that, the fourth goal was to be active in ministry. Sadly, this one never really materialized. My wife and I did help with VBS at our church and I did some scripture readings throughout the year, but I don’t really consider this goal much of a success. The combination of getting established in a new church, having two kids while trying to do that, and trying to visit my grandmother after her stroke I think caused this one to fall by the wayside.

Lastly, our fifth goal was to make some friends locally. That never really happened either. We didn’t really connect with any of our neighbors at our apartment. Even at church I can’t really say that we’ve made too many meaningful connections or friendships. Of course moving again at the end of the year also screws up consistency and everything too. Maybe we’ll get friends we can do stuff with again sometime.

So overall I’d rate myself as achieving 3/5 of the goals for last year. I’ll take it. Could have done better, but certainly could have done worse as well.

Top Posts

This last section is just going to go over some of my top posts for the past year. I’ll be completely honest, it’s not like I get that many visits here, but I’m happy for what I do get. I mean my top post (that wasn’t my home page or my about page) only had 29 views, so as I said we’re not talking massive popularity here, but it’s always interesting to find out what others looked at most in the past year. I’m not going to be including my “Wanderings of the Week” in this list. They were fairly popular posts and made up five of my ten most viewed posts. So with those caveats in mind, here are my most popular posts from 2013.

  1. Final Thoughts on The End of Our Exploring
  2. What You Wish You Never Had to See
  3. Education vs. Indoctrination
  4. Reflections on Church Membership
  5. Brand Wars
  6. When “What Ifs” Backfire
  7. The Enemy Within – Good, Evil, and the Human Condition
  8. The Great Fish Conspiracy
  9. Assassin’s Creed II, Religion, Power, and Control
  10. Some Food Photography

I’m not sure if I really see much of a pattern. Regardless those are the most popular of my 2013 posts. Maybe some of you can find patterns here, but I’m not sure I can. Not that it’s a bad thing there isn’t a pattern.

So that’s pretty much an overview of my 2013. How did your 2013 go? Did you have any major life events? Did you reach the goals you set for yourself?