A Look Back on 2014

Note: For many years now, I’ve gotten up early on January 1st and posted a recap of the previous year and a look forward to the new year on my various blogs (I write two others as well if you want to check them out, LautzOfDotNet, my technology blog and LautzOfIF, my Interactive Fiction blog).  This year I thought I’d change it up a bit and do a reflection post today on New Year’s Eve and then do my normal looking forward post tomorrow.

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What did 2014 bring!

As far as this blog is concerned, 2014 may be remembered for the year I dove in and spent a lot more time studying the Bible (and writing about it).  Many of my posts focused on and explored a verse or two.  I really enjoyed seeing how God would send me a verse, right when I needed it and when He did, writing down my thoughts came naturally.  I struggled at times writing when I thought more of  “I need to write a post today”….I deleted a lot of posts those days, so I tried to focus more on following God’s promptings and writing when He has something for me to share.  I focused less on the politics and social aspects of my blog, which were highlighted more in years past and more on how God is moving in my life.

This year I wrote a total of 48 posts (including this one) with a high of 10 in February and a low of 0 in June.  The posts seem to ebb and flow with my moods and the weather (and of course family activities).

While not the main purpose of this blog, I gained quite a few readers and followers this year also.  I always enjoy when people comment or write me that they enjoy my blog, or they got some special meaning out of something I posted.  So please, feel free to let me know if you like something or not, I always enjoy talking to people.

Favorite posts of 2014

Well, every post like this needs to have a list of favorite posts.  So here are my top 10 favorite posts of the year (chronological order).

  1. Things to Do During Challenging Times – As we all will face difficult times throughout each year, this post I listed a few things to do during those time periods.  This is a post I’ve gone back to a few times throughout the year to remind myself
  2. God, the Ultimate Software Developer – This post was one of my favorites (and not just because of the cool photo I used).  It also appeared to be one of everyone’s favorites as it had the most traffic of any other post on my blog this year.  I’ve reflected on this post a few times to remind myself that God works in all aspects of my life and I should be thankful for my skills that He gives me to do his work in this world.
  3. Be a fearless Christian – Another of my favorites.  Focus around 2 Timothy 1:7.  Great reminder, that we should be fearless as Christians because God has given us the power and strength that we need.
  4. A Plan for Success – A simple plan for success in whatever you are doing, invite God to join you.
  5. Thanking God for One of the Greatest Gifts – A tribute and thanksgiving to my wife on our anniversary.  Love ya babe!
  6. A Significant Marriage – God calls us to not just have a good marriage, but to have a significant one, one that will get people to ask, ‘How do they have a such a great marriage?’
  7. You Can’t Take Prayer Out of School – A realization by me that no one can ever take prayer out of the schools.
  8. Live with Abandon – I made quite a few posts in November that made this hard to pick just a few out of that month, but this one epitomizes what I’m trying to do with my life in 2015.  I called it a Year of Thanksgiving and I am living my life with abandon.  (Yep 2 links for the price of 1)
  9. While we were sinners, Christ STILL died for us – This post was a great reminder for me that Christ didn’t wait until we all were believers to save us…no while we were still all sinners, he died for us.  Great reminder to us of how we can be more like Christ in our actions to those on the margins of society.
  10. Roaring like a lion – What a way to end the year, finishing the year helping those in need without worrying about their history.

I hope you can take the time to explore my blog posts from this year and before.  I’d love to hear what your favorite couple posts have been.   Tomorrow, we’ll look forward on 2015, but for now I hope you had a blessed 2014 and please, everyone be safe tonight.

 

 

Year of Change

When I reflect back on 2011 (read my review from last year to see where I was at then), one thing that really jumps out at me is how much change we went through.  Life is always changing, for the better and worse as we grow older and wiser.  Change is inevitable, we as humans cannot escape change. Quickly, let me review some areas of my life and reflect on the change that 2011 has brought. 

  • Family – Yes as last year, I still have four awesome children that grow and change everyday.  I know have another driver in the family and that adds a whole other level of stress, but joy at the same time.  My daughter has blossomed into a young woman and becomes more beautiful each day.  My two younger boys are growing quickly, but they still are fun-loving, energetic and best of friends.  I thank God everyday for those kids!

    I thank God each day for my wife of almost 20 years.  We’ve been together longer than we’ve been apart in our 40 years and I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Sure we can argue and I’m sure I irritate my wife on a perhaps daily schedule but she stands by me through thick and thin.  One thing I’ve learned over the years (and my oldest son is learning the hard way unfortunately) is that in any relationship, there will be struggles.  There will be times when you want to run away, times when you just don’t like the other person much (I never feel that way towards my wife, but I’m sure there are times when she feels that towards me Smile)  However, as in any commitment, when the going gets tough, you just hunker down and work hard to solving the problem.

    One big change that occurred this year and it wasn’t pleasant at all, is the loss of my father-in-law.  My wife’s step-dad was a great father to my wife and great grand-dad to my kids.  He and I butted heads at times, mostly in politics and religion, but we were friends and he’d do anything for you.  He went in for surgery in August, seemed to be doing well but then developed an infection that is body just couldn’t fight off.  After many weeks in the hospital, he passed away.  The hardest thing I had to do this year, was comfort my 16 year old who broke down at his grandfather’s funeral.  We love you and miss you Roger!

  • Job – Well this is another area where change happened quickly and I didn’t see it coming.  If you read last years posts, you’ll see that business was slow and we were struggling to keep everything afloat, but I was energized and excited to make my business grow.  I had great plans and nothing was going to get in my way.  Well, just a few short weeks after I wrote that post, a job offer fell into my lap that I couldn’t refuse.  Needless to say, by the start of February, I had started down a new path in my career.  One that was not what I expected, but far more than I anticipated.  I’m now the Directory of Technology Services at Three30 Group.  I’m excited to see where this company is going and while there has been change there as well (some not the way it was planned I’m sorry to say) I’m looking forward to 2012 as a great year for us.
  • Finances – Well as you may remember from last year, times were tough and financially it was a struggle.  Well with the help of the above mentioned new position, we’ve got our finances back on track.  Things are still tight as we recover from the depths we were at, but things are on the positive upswing and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I can’t wait until we are at a position to start paying it forward.  When we have cash left over at the end of the month that we can donate to the local food cupboard, or pay for a random person’s tank of gas, or help to fix a vehicle for someone who needs it, but can’t afford to fix it.  This is our goal to be financially free, so we can use the gifts we have been given to help others.

I could go on, but these areas of change some good and some bad are a consistent pattern throughout life.  As soon as you think everything is settled, something comes along to change that.  Things must change it seems and I’m beginning to embrace that, enjoy it and in some cases look forward to it. 

However, we can be assured that one thing never changes.  There is something that we can always count on to be consistent.  That is God and his undying love for us.

The LORD is the eternal God, Creator of the earth. He never gets weary or tired; His wisdom cannot be measured. – Isaiah 40:28

Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?  – Numbers 23:19

There is just a few, but the entire Bible is filled with examples of how God is faithful and unchanging.  With that confidence we know that though our lives change by the hour and at times very unexpectedly, we always have an anchor that will keep us steady in the storms of life.  So in 2012, I look back and thank God that throughout all the changes we encountered, he has been there for us throughout.  And I now look forward to 2012 and though there may be a lot of change, some unpleasant, I know that He will be there watching over me always.

Hoping everyone has  a wonderful New Year and may God bless you!