Lord, through all the generations
you have been our home!
Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God.
You turn people back to dust, saying,
“Return to dust, you mortals!”
For you, a thousand years are as a passing day,
as brief as a few night hours.
You sweep people away like dreams that disappear.
They are like grass that springs up in the morning.
In the morning it blooms and flourishes,
but by evening it is dry and withered…
Seventy years are given to us!
Some even live to eighty…. – Psalm 90
So I did the math and 2018 certainly had some numbers. Here are a few:
- I walked 2,553 miles (that’s 4,758,000 steps) in 2018, that’s just shy of 50 miles every week. I’d like to see 2019 come in at five million steps and a solid 50 miles each week.
- I slept an average of six-hours, 34 minutes. That’s got to change!
- This blog was viewed 112,354 times during the year; that is – on average – 307 times each day.
- The most viewed posts were (overwhelmingly) reflections on loss. “Tragedy, Pain, and the Beauty of Love“, and then, “Death of a Beautiful Soul“.
Numbers are interesting, but stories are my stock in trade and I always have my eyes and ears open so I don’t miss what is happening in this beautiful, troubled, teeming-with-life world we call home.
More than ever before, photographs are helping me to communicate my central message. And that message is one of good news. Or, as I outlined the weeks leading up to Christmas – Light, Grace, Invitation, and Promise. Told, and I made my intention clear yesterday, from the perspective of Gratitude.
Today, then, I am sharing the best photos I didn’t have the opportunity to post before the end of the year. They are – in order of appearance –
- Rebekah and Naomi (mother-daughter)
- Me with the grandchildren
- My mother with her great-grandchildren
- 3 photo-booth pics with Rebekah from last weekend’s wedding
- The awesome new clock Naomi and Craig gave me for Christmas
- A series of photographs from the coolest used bookstore ever, in Jacksonville (literally several millions of books)
Here is my prayer for 2019. My prayer for me, for my family, for my church, and for you my readers:
Great God of Creation, who is both impossible to grasp and impossible to let go of, please support and guide us in our intention to live each day as grateful people who hold the word of life with a sense of gravity and purpose. May your Spirit seep through our consciousness and into the bedrock of our souls. May your light and life so fill us that you spill out of us and get all over this world. May our lives tell the truth about the Good News with an eloquence born in faithfulness and expressed via humility. May we not only receive your Grace but live it too. In the name of Jesus, who makes everything possible – Amen!
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.