22 Takeaways from 2022
Over the past few weeks, Twitter and Facebook feeds have been flooded with “Top 10 _____ of 2022” and “Best of” lists. As some of you around the country are reading this, it might already be 2023, but I will do my best to recap 22 Takeaways from 2022.
Let’s get going before the ball drops in New York City!
Reading was a goal of mine going into 2022, and while I didn’t read as much as I wanted to, I did read way more than I have over the past decade. Here are a few of my favorite reads. You’re going to sense a theme, but that’s really been where I have been living - how to do I slow down and live the life that God has called me to live.
1. Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking - Jon Acuff
This was the book of the year for me. I’m going to be rereading it very soon. The book's thesis boils down to this - we all have soundtracks we tell ourselves, and for most of us (at least for me) - those soundtracks are not good. Jon shares how he changes his own soundtracks, and it’s been helping me change mine.
2. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to stay emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world - John Mark Comer
There isn’t much that John Mark Comer sends into the world that doesn’t hit me right between the eyes. I had listened to his podcast before reading the book, but man, the book is straight-up amazing. Every time I am driving over the speed limit I think of how, if I want to live a life that is more emotionally healthy and spiritually alive, I can start by driving what is posted on the road signs.
3. The Case for Heaven - Lee Strobel
Over the past three years, I’ve thought of, read about, listened to others share about, and talked with others about heaven. Strobel asks difficult questions and seeks out the answers to provide a better picture of what heaven may be like. There were many times when I didn’t want to continue out of fear that what I’d learned about heaven may not be the answers he was talking about. But rest assured, even though this was a heavy book, it is one that I am glad that I read.
4. Undistracted: Capture your purpose, rediscover your joy - Bob Goff
I’ve been on a Bob Goff kick for the last six months. This book was just pure awesomeness. He’s funny and an amazing storyteller. He has big ideas but shares them in an approachable way. This one is one that should go right at the top of your list in 2023.
While I have taken some steps forward in finalizing the book that I’ve been working on for the last few years, I also have been focusing more of my time on a few different projects, some of which are done or nearly done, and a few more that are down the road.
5. YouVersion Bible Study
It’s going to happen in early 2023 and I am so excited to share what I’ve been working on. This project has led me to some people that are new in my life but are encouraging and have been really good, not just for my writing journey, but for my life!
6. 30 Days of Thankfulness
During the month of November, I blogged 30 times in 30 days. It’s not that monumental of a feat for some, but it was important for me to do. The more I write, the more I want to write. I am excited to release some more series content in 2023.
7. Ship it! - Seth Godin
If you need some inspiration to do something, make sure you watch this interview from Seth Godin. It’s the reason I started the 30 Days of Thankfulness and it’s really transformed my thinking. Best YouTube of the year!
8. Hopeful Sufferers respite weekend
Last February, Rachel and I traveled to Lebanon, TN (east of Nashville) to attend a respite weekend with a few other couples that had lost children. We met some of the most amazing people, a few of whom have become good friends of ours. The ministry was amazing, but there is something special about sitting around with others that are walking the same journey you are.
9. Hopeful Sufferers Podcast
In addition to the weekend in Tennessee, I spent most of the summer listening to Pastor Erik Reed’s full story on his podcast. There are a number of times when I couldn’t do anything but sit and cry, but throughout Erik sharing the story of his son Kaleb and his family, the goodness of God clearly comes through.
10. TobyMac Concert
Rachel bought me tickets to a TobyMac concert in March. TobyMac, who lost a son in late 2019, has always been one of my favorite artists, but hearing him share his testimony live (even though I’ve watched countless interviews on YouTube) brought back all of the wounds of losing Anders. There wasn’t anything else Rachel or I could do other than stand with tears streaming down our face.
11. The Pain Button
It doesn’t matter that it’s been almost four years since Anders died, the pain still hurts deeply at times. Whether it was sitting around breakfast with a group of men when we started talking about our kids, seeing an EMT at a football game I was officiating, or any number of other times, walking through grief is a journey that does not have an end date.
12. Linnea loves learning more about Anders
13. Elias knows he has a brother he never got to meet
14. Putting My Kids into Bed
One of the greatest joys of my day.
15. Parks and Slides
Whether it was the swings & slide in our backyard, the new ones across the street, or any other number of parks we visited this year, the kids love spending time at the playground. Watching them try new things and work on their “brave” muscles are highlights for sure.
We’ve had a ton of it. Like 70+ inches since our massive blizzard in April. And Linnea loves the snow. She loved it so much that she cried when it melted in April and already isn’t looking forward to the melt in February!
17. Selling the Business
Rachel sold Letter the Lawn a few days ago. I cannot describe in enough detail how proud I am of her. With two young kids she started a business that celebrated life each and every day - and she ran the business for nearly three years! We’re both excited to see what Meagan does with Letter the Lawn in the future!
18. Dinner is served
I didn’t know it was possible, but I think I fell more in love with cooking this year. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but there were some amazing dishes that came from our kitchen. But yet, my favorite dish I made this year might be pretty much any quesadilla that I make over lunch with last night's leftovers. I had a lunch quesadilla probably 100 times this year.
19. Adding another one to the family!
Part of Christmas break has been spent rearranging and organizing around the house in anticipation of baby #4! We’re so excited to welcome the little guy to the world in April. The kids are both excited to have another little one around the house as well. We had one embryo left from IVF back in 2016-2017, so we’ve also had the opportunity to share more about our infertility journey as well.
We returned from St. Pete Beach to our house after midnight on January 1st of last year, and then Rachel and I each separately went back to Florida again in January for work things. Pretty great place to be when there is snow on the ground and the temps are below 0!
The respite weekend in Lebanon gave us a few additional days to explore Nashville and meet up with some friends that moved there a few years ago.
22. Texas & Nevada
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to work two playoff games for one of the leagues I officiate, including the national championship game for the league. Spending time with officials from around the country over a few weekends was really a cool experience. But the best part of those trips was when I got into the car at the airport and Rachel and the kids greeted me with their smiling faces!
2022 was an awesome year. I’m excited for whatever 2023 holds.
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