Things I've Loved in 2017.

As we're wrapping up 2017 and looking forward to what 2018 may bring (for us, a new child and at least a few months of chaos there,) I'm looking back over the past year and celebrating some things that I'm grateful for. 2017 felt like a rough year overall, but there is still room for gratitude. Here are some things I loved this year:

JOCKO WILLINK

I discovered Jocko on a Tim Ferriss podcast a while ago, bought his book Extreme Ownership, and this past year have been devouring his podcasts. It has quickly become my favorite and a go to during workouts. Jocko's voice and insights paired with war stories from history make it hard to feel tired or wimpy. My goal as a preacher now is to mimic his voice. My gameplan for accomplishing that is smoking a carton a day and eating charcoal for breakfast.

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BARNABAS TRAINING

I wrapped up my final semester of Barnabas Training from the Barnabas Center here in Richmond. It was a great time of learning how to be a better listener and growing in self-awareness of the strategies that I often employ when trying to avoid or control conflict in my life. It was a game-changing experience. If you are in Richmond, do this!

THE REVENANT PROCESS

Dan Tocchini is a master of pulling truth out of you that leads to transformation. The Revenant Process was a four day, INTENSE time with a group of strangers (who are now good friends.) I won't go into much detail so as to not spoil it for anyone who might want to experience it, but I think I'll look back years from now and see where Revenant was a defining time for my life and my leadership. So grateful for Dan.

THE ENNEAGRAM

The Enneagram has been around for a while and is picking up major steam over these past few years. In short, it is one of the best self-assessment tools I've ever seen. (like Myers Briggs, DISC, Strength-Finders, but much more...accurate? nuanced? I dunno.)  If you haven't taken the test, find a group of friends, take it together, read the content, and discuss. Here's a great podcast on it.  Here's a great entry level book on it. This website has so much good info. Oh, and I'm a 9.

WRITING

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. When I thought about it earlier this year, I realized that I've been a creative type since early childhood although I honestly never saw it. (wrote poetry, songs, stories, was in Newspaper, have made a living as a musician...) Starting this blog and committing to writing weekly has been really fun. I'm looking forward to improving and refining that skill next year as I keep pressing on. I've got a new album coming out next year, and hopefully my first book too.  (Bucket list item.)

FRIENDS AND FAMILY

I feel really fortunate for the group of friends I have in my life. They push me to grow, allow me to do the same with them, and we have lots of fun along the way too. My wife and I had an awesome vacation with friends in Utah this year, and I was able to spend some refreshing time in Colorado with a group of great men. Lots of great days and nights spent in community as well. Looking forward to more of that in 2018.

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This year for our family, our oldest daughter started Kindergarten. That was a huge shift for us, but she is thriving and we are proud. Our youngest daughter, when not punching, pushing, biting, or wailing, has become quite the charmer too. These girls are so much work, but so much fun. Completely terrified and slightly excited about the new arrival only days away. It's been great to see Ashley continue to grow and develop as a friend, wife, and mother. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary this year, and this has obviously been the best decade of my life because of her.

DEADLIFTS

I've been doing these for a few years now, so not really 2017 specific. But still, I'm grateful. When life gets stressful, I'm grateful for the joy and endorphins that come from picking up something heavy, putting it back down, and repeating.