1) What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Led a powerful and important small group.
Planted a big garden (big for us, anyway).
2) Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
If I made any for 2008, I forgot them. Better that way, I guess.
3) Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister had a little boy (on her fourth try)!
4) Did anyone close to you die?
5) What countries did you visit?
Stayed in the good ol’ USA in 2008, but headed to Cozumel in three weeks!
6) What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Spiritual perception for the present and the future.
7) What date(s) from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Of course, November 4th was an historic day for the nation. Also, December 25 was our first Christmas at our own house with our children.
8) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I passed the certification exam for Loan Review, which was the culmination of more than 2 years of training. Also, I preached on several passages and subjects which I hadn’t previously.
9) Did you suffer illness or injury?
10) What was the best thing you bought?
Nikon D40 – I’ve never had an expensive camera before. Now if I could just come up with the extra cash for a 200mm lens.
11) Whose behavior merited celebration?
My son went without any discipline action during the whole first two quarters of kindergarten! My daughter learned to walk before she turned 1, and she thinks she’s ready for kindergarten! My wife stuck by me faithfully through the confusion and frustration of what to do next in our ministry.
12) Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I continue to disappoint myself in many ways.
13) Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, bills, and giving.
14) What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Revival back in March. I got excited about revival in October, too, but then had to cancel it. My wife and I got excited about our upcoming cruise (five days with no kids – wow!).
15) What song will always remind you of 2008?
Mark O. from YS mentioned Viva la Vida, which I would have to agree with. Also, one of the best songs on Christian radio was “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath; and “Stay” by Sugarland was an incredibly moving song, once I realized what it was really about. Is there a better, more passionate singer out there than Jennifer Nettles?
16) Compared to this time last year, are you:
Wiser? Here’s hoping so.
Healthier? Probably not, but that’s fixing to change.
Richer? Slightly. Still more debt than I desire, though.
17) What do you wish you’d done more of?
18) What do you wish you’d done less of?
19) How did you spend Christmas?
As I mentioned, with my wife and kids at our own house, for the first time ever!
20) Did you fall in love in 2008?
More in love with my wife and family.
21) What was your favorite blog post that you wrote?
I wasn’t big into writing long blog posts – mostly small comments with links. I greatly enjoyed seeing (and posting) for the first time the YouTube video with Roger Miller and Johnny Cash.
22) What were your favorite TV programs?
Lost was in great form after the strike. Also, House continued to amaze, although the supporting cast underperformed.
23) Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Down with hate!
24) What was the best book you read?
Hard to choose – it was a bad year for reading straight through books. I did a lot of jumping around. However, I read more fiction than ever, including The Road (actually audio) and The Millionaires, as well as The Shack and a little bit of Flannery O’Connor.
25) What was your greatest musical discovery?
Became a bigger fan of Marc Broussard. Shawn McDonald put out a great album. Best deals: A Mozart CD for a buck at a pawn shop, a Dierks Bentley greatest hits CD (what a voice!), and, on December 30, Amazon offered 99 Beethoven tunes for $1.99.
26) What did you want and get?
A garden, and a promotion.
27) What did you want and not get?
28) What was your favorite film of this year?
Can’t put one ahead of others, but these were the best: The Visitor, The Dark Knight, Wall-E, Juno, and Definitely, Maybe.
29) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33, and I worked on my birthday, and had dinner with my family. My wife surprised me with an iPod touch!
30) Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?
Toss up between Sarah Palin and Tina Fey.
31) How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Jeans and a sport coat won out over dressy casual!
32) What kept you sane?
33) Who did you miss?
Roemer and Penrod.
34) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
Change happens, but I can also make change happen. And sometimes it won’t happen without me making it happen.
35) What did you gain this year?
An invaluable relationship with the O’Rileys.
36) What did you lose this year?
A little more idealism concerning ministry – if that was possible.
37) Who was the best new person you met?
Not sure about that one.
38) Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Well, I'm just a simple man with a simple plan, trying to find my way home
And this dusty, dirty way, with nothing left to say, I stagger and I roam
And I'm tired, and I'm worn and my clothes are kinda torn
From this long, hard road
My arms and legs are weak, I continue to seek, and leave behind this load
I need clarity and truth to be, and peace to make me whole
I want freedom to come, and hate to be done,
And love to guide my soul
I want love, yeah, I want love
~from Clarity by Shawn McDonald