May each of you have the heart to conceive, the understanding to direct, and the hand to execute works that will leave the world a little better for your having been here. -- Ronald Reagan

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thoughts at Year's End

My thoughts at the end of the year. I haven’t written since mid-year. I notice when I write so infrequently both my thinking and speaking diminishes in quality. I get wrapped up in video. Good stuff too, mostly. I got Curiosity Steam with endless documentaries. Great way to keep up with science stuff. I read Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, which was, like everything he writes, exceptional. It’s very much a history of science, and I liked going to Curiosity Stream and watching a documentary and see what he was writing about.

My reading this year was light. I finished the year reading Al Michael’s memoir. Great stuff, highly recommended. There were some Kevin Kearny mysteries, a couple religious books. Ivan Doig, one of my all-time favorites; read his last book he wrote before his death, Last Bus to Wisdom. A great finish to a great writing career. The list of my reading is off to the right. Noticing my reduced reading this year, and the lightness of the fare, I recognize the need, indeed the desire, to increase the literary, theological, philosophical stream. I’ve already started reading The Hemlock Cup [Socrates, Athens, and the Search for the Good Life] by Bettany Hughes. It’s not so much a book about Socrates or philosophy, though it’s there, but a history that gives a sense of place. What it was like to live in Athens in those times, and fleshing out some of the main characters. I’ll also be indulging in The Daily Stoic [366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living] by Ryan Holiday.

I have a lot of Cicero and Demosthenes downloaded; been sitting there for a while. Time to follow up on the intention, and actually read them. I’ve read bits and pieces of them, but not gone full in. The idea here is to immerse myself in that time, ancient western civilization. I've done this type of thing before, had a focus for a year. Not exclusively, but mostly. The Stoics very much have my attention. If there was ever a dismissed, overlooked, oversimplified group or philosophy, this is it.

There were no standout movies for me. Maybe "The Intern" with De Niro. It was a surprising and charming movie that actually praises men and the traditional man. I was surprised by it. The Sci-Fi was fun and met expectations, “Ben Hur” and “Risen” were solid religious movies. Movies I’ve seen too, off to the right. Spent a lot of time streaming vids. Binge watching. That’s something that needs to be modified. More time in the Kindle, less on the screen.

Politically the year was exhausting, in case you haven’t noticed. The hatred and violence spinning totally out of control. The vitriol. Who woulda thunk Trump would take it? Clinton, besides not being a likeable person, got buried in all her lies. Trump has hired a lot of good people, but also quite a few Bushies and RINO’s. The prayer is I hope they don’t get Trump to be “sensible and moderate” like them. Leftism. It’s a disease. How many staunch Conservative, TEA Party people, get to Washington and belly up in the Sea of Lies and Cowardice?

Church. Had my struggles this past year plus. As a reminder or to inform you that don’t know me, I’m a member of the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. The national and regional leadership is all in on Statism, and has put worshiping at the altar of the State ahead of worshipping God, and align themselves with those wishing to destroy the Church and cripple Christianity as much as possible. That’s pretty much a big thing outside of my sphere, so all I can do is pray that God will intercede and they’ll once again put God first, and politics and the State way down where it belongs. I also had some personal confrontations that religiously and emotionally crushed me. There were many that surrounded and showed me true Christian love and support, and buttressed me until I recovered.

Now I’ve been asked, and accepted, to take a major leadership position in the Church at a level I’ve never done. I like being a small occasional voice of influence. This for sure will be different from the leadership positions in my jobs that I’ve had and have.  I’ll have a good mentor, and many have come to me and said to let them know if there’s anything they can do to support me. I have a good pastor, good mentor, and a loving, caring church. How things transpire.

I traveled a lot last year. Trips to Bryce Canyon, Death Valley, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Colorado River, La Sal Mountains, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Wind River Mountains, and the topper was the Grand Tetons where I floated down the Snake River. While in the Tetons I saw mileage signs that Yellowstone was only eighteen miles away! Making plans for 2017.  

I won’t be going to so many places this year. Tetons and Yellowstone and some daytrips around here. Nevada has lots of cool places away from the city. This coming year will be my year of being monastic (more than usual), studious (more than this past year) and Stoic (not the wrong way people understand it). And of course, do those things to improve my Christianity. My faith has never waivered. Christ is within me. We all can do better.

Unlike many it seems, 2016 was a good year for me. I wish all healthy happy holy 2017.

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