As the old (current) year closes and the new one approaches, I've found that it's instructive to look back and reflect on what I've accomplished--and to consider what I haven't done and why not. Doing so tends to encourage other accomplishments in the future and to prevent me from repeating the same actions (or inactions) that hindered my efforts.
As I look back over the year that is fast passing, I see both positives and negatives. I can rejoice in some things done, but I must shake my head at some things yet undone and try to do better in the coming year.
On the positive side, I can point to the following activities:
spoke in the chapel services of our church's Christian school once a month during the school year;
addressed two organizations about my books;
wrote two articles on Christian education for Parent Update;
taught our adult Sunday school class fifteen times as a long-term substitute;
served as a docent at the Travelers Rest History Museum once a month;
conducted three in-service training workshops for the school;
was interviewed about my books by Mark Prasek on PJNet TV;
completed and submitted two book manuscripts to publishers;
researched and worked on two other book manuscripts;
traveled to Michigan with my wife to spend a week with Daughter No. 3, her husband, and three of our grandchildren;
traveled with my wife to North Carolina many times to visit with Daughters Nos. 1, 2, and 4 and their husbands and our other five grandchildren;
traveled to Florida with my wife to visit my brother and his wife and my father-in-law and sister-in-law;
traveled to the beautiful northern tier of Western states for two weeks with my wife, Daughter No. 4, and her husband; and
celebrated with my wife our forty-sixth wedding anniversary.
It was a full year, and I get tired just recalling it all. But the year ends with several negatives, too. For one thing, one of the manuscripts I submitted I later recalled after becoming dissatisfied with the terms the publisher after they had expressed interest in publishing it. (I guess he didn't want it badly enough!) As for the other submission, I'm still waiting to hear back from the publisher, and the longer the period with no response, the less its prospects for being published seem to be. But we'll see.
I won't even begin to list the items on the honey-do list that I didn't finish--or even start. And reorganizing my office? It didn't happen. Not even close.
But without doubt my greatest disapp0intment was in my inability to do anything to help get my book Dillon's War released. After having signed a contract with the publisher in February 2022, I had done everything possible to get the manuscript ready. It had sailed quickly through the editorial process and entered the design and production stages of the publication process. I had given the editor and the publisher my preferred release dates. All seemed to be looking rosy and headed for a big release.
Then everything came to a screeching halt. Things froze on the publisher's end. Everything sat in limbo. Nothing got done. No cover design. No galley proofs. No marketing releases. Not even a date for any of those critical steps. And, worst of all, it was all out of my hands.
I had hoped to have all of those steps completed so I could have marketing materials printed and social media announcements ready for the big release day. The ideal time would have coincided with the June 6 anniversary of the D-day invasion and the July 25 anniversary for the beginning of Operation COBRA, the U.S. breakout from the bocage.
But nothing happened. And I'm ending the year still waiting.
I think perhaps the Lord is trying to teach me patience, to help me submit to His timing in all such matters. It's a hard lesson to learn! When it's out of my hands, I must trust it all to His hands.
These were the highs and lows of my year. After celebrating the Christmas season, I'll enter the new year with new goals and aspirations. Maybe I'll be able to accomplish more in the coming year. Maybe Dillon's War will finally see the light of day! Maybe I'll pass the patience test. Maybe I'll even get my office reorganized! (Don't hold your breath for that one!)
Stay tuned! Meanwhile, I hope you'll have a productive and happy new year ahead.