Roasted off some sweet potatoes, celeriac and beetroot for a vegan pie I’m making tomorrow. We’re not doing hashtag-Veganuary, but we are going to be having meat-free dinners for a month.

My favourite music (2018 edition)

One thing that sort of passed me by this year was music. We were so busy with the process of moving to Liverpool that I didn’t listen to anything when it actually came out. Some stuff made it through the mess, though.

My favourite song of the year

This year seemed to be the year that singles were released instead of albums and the one that ended up becoming a sort of theme for us as we went through the moving and downsizing process was none other than New Light by John Mayer. We made a point of listening to it every time we got into the car and it never got old.

My favourite albums

Three albums that were released this year ended up staying in rotation and basically not leaving.

Middle Kids - Lost Friends

While sitting in a Starbucks one morning waiting for a support raising meeting to begin, I heard a song that was so good I had to ask Siri to tell me who it was. On the drive to work, I ended up listening through Lost Friends all the way through over and over again.

There was something about the fact that it was new, guitar-based music in the era of the synthesiser. And we don’t even need to get started on Hannah Joy’s voice.

Tracyanne & Danny - self-titled

I was fortunate enough to see Camera Obscura before Carey Lander passed away in 2015. While the band has been quiet since then, Tracyanne managed to write some songs with Danny Coughlan and the pair released them on a self-titled album that became my summer soundtrack.

Natalie Evans - Better At Night

I first learned about Natalie Evans a few years ago when I was trying to make a go at music blogging. In the time since, she’s released a self-titled EP as 1/3 of the band YOU COULD BE A COP and a couple of short EPs on her own. This year, however, she finally released her full-length album Better At Night. While some of the tracks are tunes from earlier releases, the album’s strongest points for me were the opening title track and closing Postscript tracks. I’ve probably ended up listening to this album more than the other two combined because it has been a perfect writing companion.

Runners up

  • Gwenno - Le Kov (especially the single Tir Ha Mor)
  • The Innocence Mission - Sun On The Square
  • David Bazan - Yellow Bike (This is technically not a 2018 release but the single was released in 2018 so I’m counting it.)

Yard.

Another shot from our walk in Stanley Park the other day.

This guy’s illustrations always amaze me and I’m so glad he’s finally made one that can be downloaded and used as a wallpaper!

Reading through the Bible again

Thanks to the Christmas gift of the ESV Reader’s Bible (the single-volume one), it looks like I will be embarking on a new reading plan in 2019.

For 2017, I used the 5 Day plan and really enjoyed it. My favourite aspects of this were: - starting each quarter by reading through one of the Gospels - Reading through the Psalms, Proverbs and prophets within their contexts within the historical books - The flexibility of being able to catch up on weekends when the week was crazy (like the week I spent in Orlando going through a missions assessment)

For whatever reason, I decided that I wanted to try a different reading plan in 2018 so this past year I have used the classic plan that was put together by Robert Murray M’Cheyne. After completing it (sort of, I still have 3 days left), I have a lot of thoughts on it. I did enjoy reading through the New Testament twice in one year. Having the Old Testament stretched across the whole year has also been helpful.

My one complaint is that because the prophets are all read straight through, I found that I had to rely on previous times reading through them in order to get an idea of context. I much preferred reading Isaiah in chunks alongside 2 Kings and Chronicles.

Now that I’ve got this new Bible, I considered trying the reading plan for readers but the amount of reading that I have to do for the next module in my counselling course has made it a practical impossibility. I hope to make use of the plan after my course is complete, but for 2019, I’ll be trying Joe Carter’s plan to change my mind.

I’ve got some more reading stuff that will be happening next year and I’ll be sharing about it soon, but for today, I am glad that I have the most important part of my reading life in 2019 planned out.

A shot from the lake at Stanley Park this morning. It’s been a good day.

First time making/eating kedgeree. Omg.

That feeling when you’re drinking a glass of white wine, reading (for fun!) while you’re poorly daughter watches one of her favourite movies.

Having the opportunity to read a novel for an hour or so feels like such a luxury now that I can’t help but feel a bit of guilt.

2 Chronicles 21:20 is probably the harshest summary of a persons life that I have ever read.

Thanks to the Lego Batman Movie, I get to occasionally hear my 6-year-old son singing (I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight and it’s even more hilarious than I ever thought it could be.

I’m going through one of those phases where I try to make all of my stuff platform agnostic-ish. It’s not that I’m unhappy with having all of my stuff be Apple specific, I’m just feeling like it may be time for a change and so much of how I do things has been built around this idea that I want to be able to also record and produce music on my devices in spite of the fact that I don’t really have the time or desire to do that anymore.

I’m even considering trying a Chromebook in 2019…

One interesting part of the experience of trying to do ministry in the UK is finding out just how different it is from what my brothers and sisters back in America are dealing with.

This nativity play just got kind of intense. I haven’t been behind a set up like this in a long time.

Britain really needs to rethink this colour scheme for weather warnings.

Sewing together 14 metres of fabric today. Pursuing ministry for 15 years didn’t prepare me for this.

6 hours, 4 drafts, 1 cup of coffee, 1 cup of tea and my final assignment for this counselling module is complete!

I’ve only baked a couple of loaves of bread since we’ve been in 🇬🇧. Hopefully this changes that trend a bit.

Right now the wind is going at 52 mph. Guess we’re definitely staying inside today.

Was in another part of Liverpool today.

It’s a study day again, but this headache is threatening to send me back home and straight to bed.

Knowing is not a static achievement - David Powlison

The dedication that goes into crafting a scene like this is beyond me.

Today, I learned that having a good umbrella doesn’t mean your trouser pockets won’t get soaked through. Thankfully, my phone and wallet and everything were ok.