My Favorite Things of 2012

I started a new spiritual discipline a few years ago: to spend time at the end of the year reflecting on God's goodness to me by means of a "top 100" list of my favorite things in the previous year. It is an exercise in mindfulness, and gratitude. And editing, too, as I invariably have to cut the list to get it down to 100--which, of course, is a lesson in itself.

Unlike past years, I've elected NOT to include my favorite books among the "favorite things" list this year, for several reasons: there's not room, and I already list my top ten books and audiobooks on this blog at the end of the year as it is.

A couple qualifications. Each of the following should be prefaced with “By God’s grace." And, after the first few, the list proceeds in roughly chronological order, rather than in order of priority. So don't get all worked up about the order; they're all my favorites, okay?

Here it is, then--a look back on yet another year of blessing:

1. Celebrating our 35th anniversary by renewing our wedding vows in Gatlinburg
2. Dedicating Baby Ryder
3. Losing 40 pounds
4. Sunday lunches with the kids and grandkids
5. Seeing A Dangerous Method at the Esquire with Robin
6. Writing at Sitwell’s Coffeehouse in Clifton
7. 1000th Desperate Pastor blog post
8. 2000th prayer blog post
9. My fifty-fourth birthday dinner with the family
10. Friends of the Lane Library book sale at MUH
11. Eating at Mama’s Farmhouse in Pigeon Forge
12. Eating at the Peddler Steakhouse in Gatlinburg
13. My & Robin’s March visit with Rick and Glenn in Atlanta
14. Watching Foyle’s War with Robin
15. Sunday dinners with the kids and grandkids
16. Watching Downton Abbey with Robin
17. The Newport Gangster Tour (in May) with the lovely Robin
18. The June 25 Reds’ game with the whole family (and more!)
19. Watching Modern Family with Robin
20. Breakfasts on the deck
21. Getting book endorsements from Len Sweet, Eugene Peterson, Rick Hamlin, and others
22. Backyard pool parties with the grandkids
23. Eating at Montgomery Inn with the Phillips/Sellers wedding party (March)
24. A wonderful vacation with the kids and grandkids in Gatlinburg
25. Watching my kids with their kids
26. Signing the How to Survive the End of the World book contract
27. Writing How to Survive the End of the World
28. Writing How to Fall in Love with God
29. Writing the 30 Day Church Challenge book
30. Returning to SFOT to speak for the June staff conference
31. Presenting at the Mad Anthony Writer’s Conference in April
32. Performing Kyle & Shannon’s wedding
33. Preaching at Hamilton Vineyard
34. Preaching at Grace Pointe Community Church
35. Teaching the J-Term at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana
36. Eating at Payne’s in Gas City, Indiana
37. Mia’s third birthday party
38. Miles’s fifth birthday party
39. Calleigh’s third birthday party
40. Writing 8 sermons for publication
41. Reading dozens of books to the grandkids
42. Eating at Montgomery Inn with Ron and Mariruth (January)
43. Coffee and more at True West Café in Hamilton
44. The June Great Strides walk
45. Raising $3,000+ (with Robin) for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
46. Worshiping at Church of the Apostles in Atlanta (March)
47. Larry’s visit in May
48. Visiting Lawnfield (the Garfield home & museum) with Larry in May
49. Hostetler Heritage Tour in Silverton, Deer Park, Pleasant Ridge, etc., with Larry
50. Taking the grandkids to McDonald’s playland
51. Dinner at The Grand Finale with the lovely Robin, Rick, and Glenn
52. Taking the grandkids to the Cincinnati Children’s Museum
53. Getting books from Lane Library
54. Getting ebooks and audiobooks on Overdrive
55. Hiking in the Smokies
56. Driving tour of Milford Township on date night with Robin
57. Tour of the Cincinnati Observatory with Robin
58. Robin’s birthday dinner with the kids and grandkids
59. Preaching at Veritas Church
60. Taking Miles and Mia to the Butler County Fair
61. Watching The Forsyte Saga with Robin
62. Family Fun Day at Butler Rural Electric Cooperative with Miles and Mia
63. Getting a great deal on Robin’s Mazda 6
64. Signing the Brengle contract with Tyndale
65. Watching Daniel Deronda with Robin
66. Getting Robin an iPad, and watching her use it
67. Refinancing the house, paying off debt
68. “The Tempest” at Vinoklet Winery with Robin, Don, & Arvilla
69. Montgomery Inn with Aubrey, Robin, Don, & Arvilla
70. Reds v. Cubs with Don in August
71. Sunday morning worship at Camp Swoneky (Family Camp, August)
72. Macbeth at Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park with the lovely Robin
73. Qualifying to go off the Medi-Share Restore program on Aug. 31
74. Watching The Pacific with Robin
75. Seeing my byline on a Christmas article in a Guideposts publication
76. Taking Starbucks to Aaron (and sometimes Nina) on Thursdays
77. Speaking at the SASF retreat at Camp Paradise Valley in Kentucky
78. Taking a couple days of R&R with Robin at Camp Paradise Valley in Kentucky
79. Dinner at the Dale Hollow Lake State Park Resort in September
80. Teaching a marriage retreat, preaching, and seeing old friends at Montclair
81. Publishing articles in The War Cry, Live, Christian Communicator, The Lookout, Bible Advocate, Herald of His Coming, Young Salvationist, and Seek
82. Listening to Page CXVI and Derek Webb at True West with Robin, Aaron, and Nina
83. Dinner at Fiesta Charra with Scott and Julie
84. Aubrey’s birthday dinner
85. Preaching at First Baptist in Oxford
86. Speaking in Dillenburg, Germany
87. Visiting the Wilhelmsturm with Robin
88. Tuesdays with Calleigh and Ryder
89. Our November visit with Bill and Lorraine
90. Preaching at Russells Point Church of God
91. Listening to Aaron and Nina and “Red Letter Rising” at The Upper Room in Brookville
92. Gethsemani prayer retreat with Robin in November
93. Watching Wreck It Ralph with the kids and grandkids at the Rave
94. Thanksgiving at Aubrey and Kevin’s
95. Dinner and Anna Karenina in Mariemont with Robin
96. Hamilton’s German Village Christmas Walk with Robin, Aubrey, Calleigh, Ryder, Jessica, Ezra, and Mira
97. Festival of Lights with Robin, Aubrey, Kevin, Calleigh, and Ryder
98. Awaited at Crossroads with the whole family
99. Seeing The Hobbit with Robin
100. Our family Christmas dinner

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