year end review 2014

Christmas is over, neither the 49ers or raiders made the playoffs and we can no longer have dates line up in an ascending order for another 86 years. seasons they come and go and most of the time they come back around again but seasons are different each time they come back around. this year’s fall was much wetter on the west coast than last year. this slow point in life is different feeling than the last one, so it is important to learn from the seasons so that we can be prepared for the season when it comes around again. looking back can be fun or it can be a tedious gut wrenching task. I think mine is a little of both, so hopefully I can find some balance in my year end seasonal review of things I liked, did not like, learning experiences, growth, and things I would like to do better.

most often the honorable mentions get mentioned at the end, but I am going to give my shout out’s first. these are people that I did not give much consideration to before and I have entered into what they have to offer and I found it very interesting and fruitful. the first one is the music group U2. ya I know one of the biggest groups in pop rock history, but I never gave him the appreciation that I now think they deserve. to be honest I doubted their motives for giving away from music through one of the biggest profiting music distribution programs out there, but the music that came out on that CD was marvelous and honest and it brought a freshness to U2 for me, which has allowed me to view and appreciate U2 in a more genuine way. the next person I want to give a shout out to is Rob Bell. ya I know that one book that made everybody question his theology and start calling him a heretic. well I was a part of that questioning group but still have kept a fascination with Rob Bell and his writing. I appreciated how he connected with his readers in the books I had read of his previously, but did not put much more effort into staying with his work. I had heard a friend talk about his blog with high esteem, so after putting it off for a while I checked it out and it turned out to be the most enlightening and productive bible teaching I have experienced. it was not only poignant , but it was delivered in a relatable and elaborate fashion that would allow the reader to understand and connect with the text being taught. This other guy made my shout outs because he is somebody that has stayed true to his craft. He is a musician and he has combined my two favorite kinds of music, hip hop and folk. Josh Garrels is an excellent poet and an even greater story teller. His voice is unique, so you probably would not hear him on the radio, but the passion and soul behind his voice makes his music so powerful. He is definitely worth looking into, if you do check the song “freedom”.

traveling to South Africa was probably the capstone of my year and the thing I had set out to accomplish at the beginning. it was not only a step to go serve with an organization I did not know, but in a place I did not know. this was my step to spread my wings and step into something I want to spend my life doing. it was so exciting to spread my wings and fly and to experience the joy that came during that experience. one of the greatest lessons I learned this year was from my South Africa experience and is something that I continue to dwell on. It is that we receive more ourselves when we try to serve other people and the more we understand that the greater our service will be. most often we can not go into a situation and force a blessing upon somebody because most often when we go into a situation to serve somebody it is usually ourselves that receive the blessing. It was great to finally feel alive in something I was doing.

if I were to find a theme from this year I would call it desert. this year did not have many high points, so I can not call it a roller coaster, but different points where I felt like I was in a dry land waiting and trying to find a way to the richer more lively land. being able to thrive and produce fruit in dry periods is something I have been trying to work on this year. I believe that big things can happen in deserts but we need to open our eyes to see the opportunities. one of the opportunities I took was to start this website. there were struggles that came with having a blog and the responsibility and motive for writing were challenged plenty during the dry times, but it was something that taught me and grew me in the understanding of myself.

before this year started I wanted to take a break from school and the pursuit of whatever was to come next, so that I could become more Intune with myself and god. well lucky me that continued into the next year. one of the big things that promoted this continuation was the ending of a relationship I was in. it was a difficult thing that I felt was right to end. at this point in time this break up was helpful for me to see how I still fall short in the way I love others. it helped me to not think of myself less, but to put more effort into thinking of others more, so I guess you can call it humbling. I started to see a counselor later in the year to further this understanding of myself and to become more emotionally healthy. one of the most encouraging things I learned this year about myself is that I am a beloved child. this has been what I am trying to have the foundation of my life be built on. I know it will be a long journey to build that foundation , but I value it so much that I want it to be my continual pursuit.

speaking of journey’s I went on a few adventures and of course my dear friend Philippe was at the center of them. the first to speak of was a road trip to northern Montana where we went to one of the most breath taking places in America, Glacier national park. that trip was great just being with 3 other great people nonstop and just enjoying an adventure. the other journey was more of a guiding adventure. it was back to back conferences that were focused on providing information and plans to get you working towards a path that will bring you satisfaction in life. the Storyline and the Justice conference were experiences that fit right in with what I was now thinking about for my future plans and the timing of the conferences could not have been better. going to these conferences is what motivated me to start my blog because they showed me that we should share what we are passionate about and allow others the opportunity to join with us.

we need community and this year has been a search for that. the search has not gone in a beneficial pat for me this year. I had the opportunity to have some really quality stints with some close people in my life, but the other long periods of time were very lonely. this year was important that it allowed me to discover myself and god in a greater way, but it also showed me
my natural desire and longing for close relationships. ways I am currently relating to others I would have liked to have been more honest. this is not in a way of white lies, but come from the out of being real with who I am and letting others accept me. while seeking some counsel on this I came to understand that I have an acceptance problem and it was more pervasive than I thought. I realized this in the midst of a dry point of the year when things were pretty crappy and what I learned from that experience was that I do not manage my pain or tend to my wounds, so in the spirit of loving myself and loving god I wish I tended to my pain and myself in a more loving way.

one thing that I can specifically point out that I did not like about this year was the great deal of injustice that happened in the year. my heart was able to mourn and be impacted by events like no other time in my life. I think I grew closer with being able to connect with people, but it was interesting because I was not directly connecting with any of the afflicted people. from Ebola to multiple plane crashes to heightened strife in Palestine to raised awareness of the shooting of people of color by the police to mass shootings on university campuses. these are all big things that have happened this year in which have indirectly impacted me , but none the less have allowed me the opportunity to mourn and be connected with people in their struggle. I don’t like that the majority of our country in America does not care enough about these events. we just treat them as news headlines and something to say that is sad to. I do not like that reaction because these are human lives and we have the ability to connect and mourn with afflicted people and share compassion.

many of these things are in the past for me, but our responsibility with knowing the past Is to remember it and learn from it. with knowledge comes great power and with great power is great responsibility. the past is something that shapes the present and future, so with that I will look forward to this upcoming year with great anticipation. this past year was flat , so I look forward to making this next year more adventurous and dedicated to serving. earlier this year I announced that I have started something called the 123 in the 4.5, which is a list of things that I would like to accomplish in the next 4.5 years. this list is comprised of things that I think are life giving for me and the people involved, so in this next year I am going to focus on finding the abundant life, the life that gives life. I will be announcing many big projects and dive deeper into the journey of life, this journey of restoration that I am on. In addition to this yearend review I will be doing a yearly update letter, which is more of a recap and an update of what I have been up too. If you would like to be added to that leave a comment here or send me an email at b.b.mclowe@gmail.com

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