My friends know that my year starts on Labor Day each year. I think this has to do with growing up and starting a new grade after the three day weekend. Looking back on the past 12 months there is much to give thanks for, and much yet to be done.
If you're reading this on the 4th, I am hopeful that my son and I are currently on Mt Elbert in Colorado seeking his first 14er and making what I think is my 5th trek up this mountain. A good way to spend New Years Eve.
My family and I have returned to the same spot as New Year's last year. A cabin in Twin Lakes Colorado called Mt Elbert Lodge. It sits in the valley of my favorite place on earth. Former climbs surround us like Twin Peaks, La Plata and of course Elbert.
I've enjoyed many great moments here. Sitting in the swing with my wife and daughter as the river roars in the background and the hummingbirds dive past our ears. Hiking the region with my son. Summitting 14ers here with my close friends. Watching Elk by the dozens run by, and marveling at the agility of mountain goats on the rocks.
Richard Sammons taught me to rappel here. David Rutherford taught me to smell the roses here. Lance Koppa was with me when I learned that I love climbing. Darrin Kirby's dedication to fishing here made me want to fly fish. Stephen St Clair had me laughing for days with his stories as we climbed. Trevor, Cliff, Ryan, Britt, and Richard shared in my coldest day in the mountains and the frustration of not summit-ting. A year later though, John, Mike, Myk, Richard, Ryan T. and I beat the weather and made the summits of two fourteeners in a weekend.
I've enjoyed a beer at the Brass Ass. Sat in the seat of Doc Holiday. Sang Jimmy Buffett's "Incommunicado" from Independence Pass and admired the trees about Aspen as John Denver once did.
The first time I saw this area was with Danae when she was pregnant with Sarah. We pulled up over the Twin Lakes dam and the most beautiful site I'd ever seen was before me. Each time I'm there I stop in that same spot and marvel at the creativity and might of God.
For me, there are few better spots to spend my New Year's and reflect. This is my look back:
Looking back on the past twelve month's I am grateful for the hard work of the people I am with each day in the office. Our company has been exceptionally profitable over the past year and we've acheived some difficult goals. It's never easy work, but it is always teaching me and it is great to be on a team of dedicated people.
The kids have grown in knowledge and stature. They are blessing to Danae and I by the choices they have made and the way they represent our family and the faith.
Each year with Danae is a great blessing. I am fortunate to have a partner like her in life. She's been here with me through life's sunshine and storms since 1987.
This year our family has been blessed to relax in the shadow of the Colosseum, stand on the walls of Lucca, splash in the Mediterranean, celebrate Christmas in NYC, stroll the Big Easy, hunt the Texas wilds, and party in Pamplona. We created life long memories with each experience.
With friends this year I've kayaked the coast, missed the summit of Blanca, summit-ted Harvard, swam the Arbuckle streams, fished the depths, and toasted the sunset.
My strongest memory from this year was with Darrin Kirby and Mark Hall as we ran with the bulls in the streets of Pamplona. It was surreal as our families cheered on our insanity from above Calle de La Estafeta. We lived to tell.
I've had the privledge to spend time with young men who are seeking knowledge in their faith and to watch them grow with each passing week, to see friends baptised in Christ, and to perform a wedding.
My blogs have generated conversation and at times controversy. I call that success either way.
I have been fortunate to be surrounded by old men who are willing to spend time investing in me, as I soon will be an old man myself.
Over the past year I've had the opportunity to read life changing books, Total Truth, Mien Kamph, History of the Church, Paradise Lost, Sinner's in the Hands of an Angry God, portions of Summa Theologica, The Sun Also Rises, and more. Through these books I've seen the changes of culture, the darkness of man, and the grace of God.
Hemingway gave me my favorite quote of this year, “This wine is too good for toast-drinking, my dear. You don’t want to mix emotions up with a wine like that. You lose the taste.” --- Count Mippipopolous in The Sun Also Rises, 1926, by Ernest Hemingway
My favorite lyric this year was from Owl City, "Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't want to live there." The Real World, Adam Young
This year I experienced the only sermon that ever impacted my life. It was by Dr Richard Ross, "Jesus is not your buddy, He's God and He sits on a throne".
I failed this year in many ways. I slacked on my physical goals for the past year and it has made climbing harder. I've struggled with pride. I've struggled with finding my place back in the institution of the church and I have been bitter about some of my experiences. I've put less time investing in friendships that are important to me and I could have done more with my family. There are many times I could have given more and done more. I beg your forgiveness.
May the next year be full of blessings for you. May you know God and make Him known. May you and I learn from our trials and mistakes and may we offer each other the grace during both.
Happy New Year! In service, Don Owens