Today, New Years Eve, I read the following comments on Ecclesiastes by Charles Bridges.
Ecclesiastes 8:6, 7 – “Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?”
All concerning us is determined in the counsels of God, and all in judgment. The time is the best time, because it is God’s time. It is a solemn thought to us all – most precious to the Christian – that each of us has been in the mind of God – the subject of the thoughts of God – from all eternity. Every particle of our being – every trial – every step in our journey – the most minute as well as the most important – everything has been marked with the stamp of Divine purpose. And what a dignity does it give to the veriest trifle of circumstance or work? Yet what can be called a trifle, that is a link in the purpose of the great Sovereign?
What a beautiful lovely prospect, to be “the subject of the thoughts of God from all eternity!” It’s mind blowing, really.
I am thankful that Jesus Christ has made Himself known to me in 2021. After many years of forgetting Him, ignoring Him, denying Him – living in sin with abandon – He opened my mind and heart to His truth again. Interestingly enough, He used another book by Charles Bridges (Exposition of Psalm 119) to trigger these circumstances. To pull that book out of a box in which it was packed for so many years, to see the markings and notes I made when I first read it in 1995, to remember how that book brought me closer to Jesus long ago – made me ask, “What happened to me that I am not that person of faith today?” I consider this to be a great mercy for which I am sincerely grateful.
I am ending 2021 and entering 2022 with the firm conviction that “everything has been marked with the stamp of Divine purpose.” May the fruits of the Spirit be the evidence of my faith in the new year. May those fruits be in more abundant evidence in 2022 than they ever were in 1995 or any previous time of my life.
Where are we going? By most accounts, 2020 was a helluva year! The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted normal life. Politicians have disrupted life even more with draconian lockdowns and other not-scientifically-proven means (e.g., face masks) to control the virus by controlling people, while COVID-19 cases/deaths are the highest in those very same draconian states. Where are we going now? And by “we” I mean me and my family because that’s my number one priority.
But Doing Well
Thankfully, my family and I have done well in 2020. One of my daughters and her husband caught the virus. But they recovered with no problems. A few in my family have earned less of an income because of lockdown restrictions. But no one is completely unemployed. We all got the sacred stimulus checks from our governmental overlords. I got my second one today, actually. I figure, I pay too much in taxes as it is. So, thanks for the refund, Big Brother.
My wife and I took a big step forward in 2020 by buying a home. The financial planning and actions we had taken over the past few years paved the way for us to purchase a house during a year in which many folks experienced financial hardships. I am not calloused about that. Plus, after seeing the financial losses others have had has caused us to make additional plans to further improve our financial wellbeing.
My Personal Road Forward
First of all, my direction for for 2021 includes finding and taking the next step in my career. I have a fair sense of direction for this and I’ve begun working with a career coach again. My plans include certifications in WorkFusion Automation and ITIL, a return to regular blogging on my career website, and continuous business and technology learning (as always). All of this is priority numero uno because everything else dependents on my ability to maintain/increase my wealth.
My second priority is to make repairs and improvements to our new home. Our fireplace and chimney are scheduled to be rebuilt. Coverage for the cost of this was negotiated with the former home owner. However, since moving in, we discovered that the roof needs to be replaced. Estimates from roofers are in progress. We will have to break open a few piggy banks to cover this expense. Also, the dishwasher croaked and we hate the stove so much we want to kill it. There is painting and other repairs/maintenance to be done. The grounds need a thorough spring cleaning this year. A very large tree needs to be taken down. New flowers and shrubbery need to be planted. I’ve got my eye on English laurel to be planted between the pines along the western edge of our property.
Another priority high on the list is to address my physical condition. It’s really gone to pot. Potbelly, that is. I feel lousy. My physical activity has been reduced to almost nothing for reasons I don’t want to get into right now. So, I have a plan to increase my running and walking activities. I am registered for a tough trail race in April and another in September. I have a big hurdle of losing at lease 20 pounds and running more regularly to be in any kind of shape to survive those races.
Another priority that is needed for my mental health is to take more time to make art. I’ve been spending more time drawing and painting lately. What I really need is to spend more time organizing our garage. There’s enough room in there to dedicate an area as an art workshop. But some of the other needs around the house are higher priorities right now.
In 2021 I want to increase the number of books I read. I read only 23 in 2020. That’s on the low side for me. But to be fair to myself, I took three college classes in 2020 (Business Law, Principles of Marketing, Principles of Management) which included close to 1,000 pages of reading that I didn’t include on my list of books read. I will take another three classes in 2021. But I still want to up my personal reading game this year.
I was just reminded of another priority. It’s a priority above most other priorities and interwoven with many of them. I’m speaking of loving, teaching, and enjoying the company of a toddler. I was reminded of it just now because he is crying like a madman because he wants to bake and decorate cookies NOW. He saw kids on TV doing such. Those kids had made sugar cookies from scratch and were decorating them with sprinkles and icing and all kinds of jazz. I made a compromise: we will use a store bought chocolate chip cookie mix (too many other things to do to be making cookies from scratch) and decorate the cookies with tubes of icing. We will do so as long as he calms down while I finish this blog post and allows me to clean up my desk.
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