Happy New Year from Vail, Colorado!
My “mental year” starts on Labor Day thanks to 16 years of institutional learning. A new year always began for me at the end of the Jerry Lewis Telethon and the next day start in a new grade.
Last year’s post was reflective on the trial I was having with my health. I am grateful to say the past several months have been nothing short of miraculously better. Sinus surgery in January set me back for a short time and then I was working to getting back to my old self. I went from 190 lbs. in December to 170 lbs. by May. I am thankful to be back to climbing the big mountains in Colorado. With my son and friends this summer I am up to my 24th 14,000 footer.
Over the last twelve months I’ve read some great books. From that list I would highly recommend, “He Is There and He Is Not Silent” by Francis Schaeffer, “Orthodoxy” by G.K. Chesterton, “Treatises on Friendship” by Cicero, The Book of James, by Jesus’ half-brother, “The End of Christendom” by Malcom Muggerridge, and “Every Good Endeavor” Tim Keller. All of the books brought me further this year.
A few great events happened over the last twelve months. I had the pleasure of celebrating my daughter’s graduation from high school and her start in college. I can tell you I love my wife and family more today than ever. As I came out of the cloud that is “poor health” I was thankful for their support, encouragement and prayers. In May I went on my 20th year of adventure with the fraternity of The May Club www.themayclub.com . A week running around Europe with family and the Halls offered great company, vistas, history and stories. At work we started an insurance carrier and we are experiencing a great deal of success within the MGA. It’s been a great 12 months.
I posted a short series on-line called, “A Christian Revolution”. With over 10,000 reads it was my most popular posts to date. It sparked a wealth of great conversations with those thinking about what is next for Christendom. There’s one thing I know from this past 12 months – we must start living out the life of the church and spend less time worrying about being in a church building.
A few great quotes from this year include:
"To learn requires great activity: the activity of receptivity to, and love of, truth. The ancients called this 'docility', which means literally, 'teachability'. It is not passivity; it is the opposite of passivity. Passive minds are NOT teachable; only active minds are." - Peter Kreeft (Philosophy 101 by Socrates, Ignatius Press, Pg. 69)
“Let this, then, be laid down as the first law of friendship, that we should ask from friends, and do for friends, only what is good. But do not let us wait to be asked either: let there be ever an eager readiness, and an absence of hesitation. Let us have the courage to give advice with candour. In friendship, let the influence of friends who give good advice be paramount; and let this influence be used to enforce advice not only in plain-spoken terms, but sometimes, if the case demands it, with sharpness; and when so used, let it be obeyed.’ Cicero
“How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a free sky, in a street full of splendid strangers.” Othodoxy Pg. 20
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26
“The cross opens its arms to the four winds; it is a signpost for free travelers.” Orthodoxy Pg. 31
“Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.” Orthodoxy Pg. 40
Chesterton is my “Person of the Year”. I only wish I had been introduced to him years ago. I won’t go into depth, but here is my post on “Orthodoxy”. http://donowens.typepad.com/donowens/2014/07/sometimes-you-need-a-good-catholic.html
My “Song of The Year” is a tie between James Blunt’s “Bonfire Heart” and Knox Hamilton’s “Work It Out”.
It is a pleasure living life together with you.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”