I was going to write about this year, but I thought I’d just share some of my accomplishments of 2012 and some of my thoughts on the year.
43 blog posts have been published here, which comes out to a blog post every 1.2 weeks, on average! Of course it wasn’t very steady or regular, but at least I somewhat made up for it through the year! And I have to say, most of my posts tend to be pretty long, so 43 posts is pretty good, in my opinion. And in case you were wondering, I have published a total of 405 blog posts since the creation of this site!
I have read over 70 books. It wasn’t till about halfway through the year that I decided to try for 100 books per year, so I’m very happy with the 70, it comes out to 1.3 books a week, which is nice! Still have an ever-growing pile of books to read. But considering that I buy 5-10 books every month, and I buy used books on a regular basis, there is no chance I will catch up with my reading. Which is ok, because I’d hate to sit down to read a new book one day only to discover I don’t have any.
I attended the Ligonier National Conference and the Austrian Scholars Conference in March. In May I went to a Young Adult Christian Conference in Pennsylvania, and I actually had a real vacation to Missouri in September. Other exciting things included going to a Future of Forestry concert and seeing Les Mis on Christmas Day!
I completed Khan Academy’s Intro to Chemistry this year! That was a huge deal since I had been trying to do it for a couple years. Also made progress on Geometry (hoping to finish it by the end of this spring semester), and embarked on my Western Civilization history course which I don’t anticipate finishing for at least another year. And just a week or so ago I finished the Mises Academy’s World War I course.
Overall…2012 was a year of many new things. I forced myself out of my comfort zone to do things like fly to Ligonier and ASC, along with the 12 hour road trip to Pennsylvania. I tried to focus my learning more. I started the year trying to do chemistry, physics, computer science, geometry, astronomy, and about 5 other subjects, along with extensive reading, and other projects. After a lot of thinking, I realized it was better to focus on a few things, so I dropped all other sciences besides chemistry until I got that done. I also tried to be more purposeful with my reading, by selecting a wider range of subjects, making a point to read more Puritans, and make sure that my reading was well-rounded. I figured out a new plan for reading the classics so that my approach is more structured, rather than being like, “oh, I think I’ll read The Epic of Gilgamesh this month! And then maybe Faulkner next. And throw in some Aquinas. Then try Herodotus….” well, you get the point.
Reflections on the year…
It is easy to spend our days trying to make people happy. There is a cacophony of voices out there trying to tell us what to do. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong. And we can’t possibly satisfy everyone. So we have to be wise and not lose sight of our purpose: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. I learned it is easier to fit in, to be mediocre and “normal” but it is more rewarding and glorifying to God if we pursue what we have been called to do, whether or not that fits into the conventional expectations for us. And I learned that there is no point in doing something if you don’t do it with all your heart. This world has no need for more mediocrity, there’s an overabundance already. What this world desperately needs is the example of someone living with the passion to transcend mediocrity.
This world is so full of sorrow, hatred, heartache, suffering, and misery. It is easy to grow bitter and cynical. It is easy to lose our faith in God and wonder what sort of cruel place this is, where right and wrong are turned upside down. It is easy to stop caring. We can shut ourselves up and refuse to participate in the sorrows of those around us. And neither of these responses, cynicism and apathy, are good. Christ had the greatest reason to grow resentful and cynical. “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” He came to offer Himself as a sacrifice, and was killed by the very group of people He spent His life preaching grace and salvation to, yet He asked God the Father to forgive them. Christ saw so much misery and suffering while He was here. But did He ever stop caring? Did He ever tell everyone to go away and stop asking Him to help them because their plight didn’t really matter to Him? Of course not. He always took the time to care about those around Him, even those such as the woman at the well, who weren’t proper Jews. So let’s never stop caring. Let’s never stop showing compassion, even when the pain hurts and the sorrow seems overwhelming. It is easy to close our hearts, but we are not here to do what is easy, we are here to glorify God and show the world the truth of God and His mercy.
I learned that God is good, regardless of how the situation looks to us. And we will never find peace or happiness until we rely totally on Him for all things. Sometimes the things we take for granted are the things God removes so that we will trust Him more. The future is never certain. Praise God in all things, and enjoy each moment, for you know not what a day may bring. And on those days when we wonder how we will survive, He always gives grace to keep going. And He will answer our prayers and our needs in ways we never could have imagined. This year I was reminded that God’s plan is always the best, and it makes me thankful for His sovereignty over my life because I certainly would have botched it up by now.
Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.” – Isaiah 26.4