As I sit here today pondering the highs and lows of 2016 for me, my loved ones and our country, I am grateful for the presence of this online community in my life. This blog has continued to collect new readers from all over the world and I am grateful for every single one of your nearly 13,000 visits. Over 1,100 of you have agreed to an email notification when I post and 545 of you are part of our Facebook community. I am humbled you keep showing up and joining me here.
I published 57 posts this year and many of you were gracious enough to share your favorites with your friends. Because of your generosity and the way this community continues to gather new friends, I hope to have some extremely exciting news to share with you in the new year about an opportunity to share my writing more widely. Stay tuned!
As has been my tradition, I thought I would take a moment on this final day of 2016 to look back over some of our favorite “conversations” here at Grace Notes.
Top 5 Posts of 2016
1.How to Be a (Mostly) Awesome College Mom Just in time for my older daughter’s graduation from college this past May, I shared a few thoughts on the essential tools I believe all college parents need. Apparently, my somewhat irreverent observations resonated with a few of you, as this was my most widely read and shared post this year. This post was also my first picked up by Huffington Post and shared from that larger platform.
2. Our Journey Back: My Teenage Daughter’s Battle with Anxiety I am not the only writer in our family. My younger daughter, a brilliant and fearless writer (who I hope to be more like when I grow up,) began talking about her battle with anxiety in her writing this year. Because of her commitment to encourage others, she allowed me to tell our story here as well. Our journey back to health resonated with many of you and both Brooke and I have had the privilege of continuing the conversation offline with families who were comforted to discover they were not alone in their struggles. This post and the follow up post with practical tips for walking with someone who is struggling were also picked up by Huffington Post. I am thrilled to know our story has encouraged other families and gives meaning and purpose to my writing.
3. Letter to My Agnostic Friend was my third most widely read and shared post this year. Originating in a conversation I had with a millennial friend about her struggles with matters of faith, this letter about why I refuse to give up on God or the church resonated with many of you. A shorter version was also shared widely on my church’s blog, Today I Saw God. As I consider all that has transpired in our country since I wrote this post in March, I am more convinced than ever that the answers going forward lie in engaging our younger generation in conversation about matters of faith and empowering them to reclaim and renew the church that many of them no longer find speaks for them and their values. This is a conversation I hope to continue in 2017.
4. Being Brave Retreat was the next most widely visited page here at Grace Notes, as more than 80 of you joined me in person on the Being Brave journey in 2016. This year, I offered the ever growing and changing Being Brave curriculum a number of times in a variety of retreat settings. Although we gathered at the lovely Caol Ait retreat center twice in 2016, I also talked about Being Brave with other groups in local churches and even a private home. I look forward to taking the Being Brave message “on the road” in 2017, with my first out of town retreat scheduled for early May in Minnesota. Contact me if you are interested in attending or hosting a Being Brave retreat in 2017!
5. Broken Places, Healing Spaces was my fifth most popular post. Inspired by a prompt from the #LiveFreeThursday community, I shared the story of my journey with my complicated father and how I have found healing at my beloved Lamb Center. 2016 was a year of miracles for The Lamb Center, where I volunteer regularly and serve as Chair of the Board of Directors and many of my favorite posts this year highlighted those miracles. Completing, moving into and fully funding our new building was an answer to the prayers of many and having a front row seat to these miracles bolsters my faith in a year where other prayers for our world seemed to go unanswered. Through my relationship with my friends at the Lamb Center, I am reminded that God is always in charge, even when the light seems momentarily dim.
As I consider these five most popular posts and the journeys of faithfulness and hope they represent, I am once again struck by the ways in which God’s grace continues to unfold in my life and the lives of the people I love. When we bravely and consistently show up in our lives, in spite of our doubts and questions, God meets us there and the path becomes clearer one day at a time.
A couple more important posts, in case you missed them the first time around.
One notable addition in 2016 was my first ever video blog post! I haven’t posted as much this fall because I have been immersed in developing my life coaching business which I introduced in the vlog (the fancy word for a video blog 🙂 ). Look for changes here on my website in 2017 as I integrate the coaching work I am beginning to do regularly with the retreats and writing.
Also, in case you missed it, here were my thoughts on the election this fall. This post was called Lament and The Spiritual Practice of Hope and it came in at number seven in my list of most read posts. Frankly, the fact that my whole blog didn’t disintegrate into a series of angry rants during this election is a testament to the power of the Spirit and what I consider to be Herculean self-control on my part. Jesus, help us. Literally.
Thank you, as always, for the privilege and honor of your presence. The fact you choose to join me here in this space is something I never take for granted. I am so very grateful. I wish you and yours a bountiful, beautiful and brave 2017!
Did you have any favorites that I may have missed in this review? Would love to hear your thoughts!