Review of 2012 and Preview of 2013

For the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on what 2012 was about, and also thinking about what it seems 2013 may mean for me. I know, I know … you’re supposed to do this the first week after New Years. But, if I’ve learned nothing much else the past decades, it’s that life – at least my life – doesn’t follow a totally predictable pattern.

A Few Thoughts on 2012

If there was one key thing I learned and tried to practice last year, it was praying “give us THIS day our daily bread” for whatever expenses came up. Often, there was just enough on the day to pay for that bill, this week’s trip to the grocery store, the month’s rent. I kind of get the feeling that God invented the just-in-time inventory method, where the parts you need all show up just when you need them. But there is little or no reserve supply available.

That can be stressful, even when you know and see how faithful the Lord is to supply. As a freelance editor and occasional eBay seller, it was amazing to see work or sales show up just in time to get paid just in time and just enough for The Next Bill! Kind of miraculous, actually. In fact, the entire year was sort of a “miracle mosaic” that providentially composited together unexpected jobs, eBay sales, gifts received …

I don’t know if this year will turn out different from that pattern, but I do understand this principle better: It becomes easier to decide about anything extra beyond food, housing, and other usual expenses. “If I’m supposed to go [or buy, or do xyz], the funds will show. If not, don’t sweat it.” Active waiting on the Lord is not the same as passivity.

How 2013 Looks to Be Shaping Up …

The more I think about it, the more 2013 looks like it will be a year of “finishings.” I’ve got a large number of projects that are far enough along to complete sometime this year – at last, at last! Some are big (over 40,000 words), some small. A few have been underway six months or less, several have been in the works more than 10 years. One I even started 30 years ago in 1983, 400+ pages, relatively edited and just needs to be completely retyped.

Those I will launch into later. I got the first large finishing done a week or so ago. It’s a case study on a specific situation that deals with spiritual abuse. It took an entire year to watch it unfold “in real time,” keep up with the media response, and then take three weeks to synthesize what I’d learned. (It’s currently being reviewed before it gets posted, so details and links later.)

It is a reeeally good feeling to have something that large get finished! Plus, I needed to get that material out of my brain so it’d be ready to get into the next project. It energized me for the next big project on the list, Book #1 in my curriculum series. That’s the “doorway” piece to the rest of my resources on culture and ministry adaptation. It focuses on dealing with differences – cultures, learning styles, generations – that could either split our ministry collaborations apart, or we could use them to composite teams with greater creativity. Hoping to finish that final draft by the end of February. A friend has offered to edit it, and then I’ll make it available as a print-on-demand book in April, Lord willing!

Odd how things that seem to us to be delayed turn out to arrive at a timely moment. I’m trusting that is the case for a book review I began six months ago and hope to finish very soon. It’s one of those things where I felt led to offer to review the book, but my life circumstances usually mean it always takes me a lot longer to do a project than expected. However, sometimes it seems like starting a project is like shooting an arrow into the air, and where it lands, I know now where – or when – but have to assume that the Holy Spirit has moved the target in the meantime to where the arrow will eventually hit it as a bulls-eye. Hope to have that done soon, too. It’s an excellent book on “leadership” in a missional paradigm.

Events and Projects I’m Looking Forward To

10th Blogiversary. Watch for it – April Fools’ Day of 2013 will be 10 years since I began blogging. “futuristguy” is about my fifth blog (first on WordPress). My very first blog was “beyondposthuman” on Blogspot.

Blogging on futuristguy. In 2012, most of my online writing took the form of comments on spiritual abuse survivor blogs. It just more sense to contribute to ongoing discussions elsewhere than to start some here. But, surprisingly, my gut intuition is that I’ll be blogging more here than I did last year. To prepare for that probability, I spent time over the weekend, revamping my *futuristguy* blog … new theme, reorganized the pages, jazzed it up a bit.

Teaching. I also have a gut feeling that I’ll start having more opportunities to do in-person teaching this year – something I haven’t done much of since about 2009. That’d be fun. I like teaching as much as I do writing, if not more!

Peer Mentoring. A friend of mine is working on a master’s degree, and is working on developing a quadruple bottom line approach for a business enterprise. I’m on his “advisory committee,” so I get to provide input on his project mission, goals, metrics, etc. This has been an intriguing project to be part of!

Media I’m Looking Forward To

New Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. I’ve followed Chef Guarnaschelli on Chopped and other programs for quite a while. I watched her on Food Network’s 2012 The Next Iron Chef and was delighted she won – she was one of my favorite competitors. She knows how to give specific, constructive feedback, a character quality I appreciate.

Project Runway: Team Edition. Two of my favorite topics – creativity and collaboration – come together in Project Runway Season 11, which started this month. The real world runs on teams, and I am convinced that ministries often stumble because the “leader” enforces his/her own style of “creativity” on others, refusing to collaborate in ways that composite the strengths of all members. Instead, when we work in an environment that forces us to stretch all the time to accommodate someone else’s way of being creative, it drains us dry. It’s a form of culture shock. So, we’ll see how the individualist designers do in challenge after challenge that requires them to work on teams …

Movie: Upside Down. It’s due out mid-March. Check out the official trailer of Upside Down – a film with such a fascinating sci-fi premise and stunning visual “look.” With its inverted or mirror images, it reminds me of a cyberpunk novel I read in the 1990s where opponents send their digital avatars into a “black ice mirror room,” to engage in a duel to the death. What tweaks your brain about that book is everything gets flipped so that if you “move” your right weapon arm IRL, it’s your left arm virtual that moves, and such like. If that’s not enough, then the room configuration shifts so you and your opponent are on opposite sides of a black ice bridge, and to attack you have to point your weapon up in order to make it go down, and left to make it go right, etc. Brainbustin’ – but brilliant writing! I’m currently figuring out what an upside-down party should be like …

ADD-ON: “Lost in Austen.” Somewhere in the midst of my media wanderings, I stumbled across the four-part series, Lost in Austen. It’s about a contemporary woman who is a romantic. She’s been reading Pride and Prejudice since her tweens, and she ends up going back in time to the fictional England of Jane Austen’s imagination. And she messes up the P&P story in just about every which way imaginable, as time travelers are so wont to do. Anyway, some of the twists and turns are sooo unexpected that I had to hit the pause button because I was laughing so hard. It was a delightful reprieve. If you like postmodern irony based on modern irony, this will definitely help you keep those ironies in the fire! Hulu link.