- We have relived the great adventure of my life, the 28 years I spent in student ministry. We traveled back to Centre Friends Meeting (1978-79), New Garden Friends Meeting (1979-1983), New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (1985-1986), Springfield Friends Meeting (1986-1994), First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee (1994-2000), Union Church of Hinsdale (200-2001), Wesley Memorial UMC of Tampa (2001-2005) and Trinity UMC of Waycross (2005-2007). Telling the old stories has been a blast; hearing from readers at every one of those stops along my journey has been simply the best! I've also been able to share a a little of the wisdom I accumulated over the years with a new generation of youth pastors, making new friends along the way. It's all been a blessing!
- You've been here to watch my family change and experience life. You've been a part of our birthdays, anniversaries, accomplishments and struggles. You encouraged and loved me when I could "Cross the Bridge" after my probation was terminated in 2014, and wept with us when Disney banned me a few months later. You were there when Will graduated high school, when I was diagnosed with diabetes and became 7 Toe Jones and when Marilyn's dad passed away. Most recently you shared with us as our beloved Conner Dog passed away and Will moved into his new college apartment. The pages of this blog have been filled with emotion. Thank you for being here for us.
- This has been a place to celebrate friendship, from my very oldest friends right up through the wonderful people I have met via Twitter. I have said here before that one of the reasons I have survived the pitfalls of life is that I have the best friends in the world. That has not changed.
- Many of you offered love and support when I shared the stories of my own fall from grace and the aftermath of that sin. There were people who advised against sharing those tales, saying some readers would be disappointed and others would run away. And that did happen. But the love, grace and mercy shown by those who stayed let me know that telling those stories was the right thing to do. Thanks to so many of you for showing me what it looks like to encounter Jesus with skin.
- You have grown with me. In the earliest days of this blog I was ecstatic to have 1200 page views in a month. In July of 2015 there were 21,000. Each of the 6 posts in my Beach Boys countdown got more than 1200 hits eventually. The excepts from my novel, Even Better Than Before, were widely read as was my series on the justice system. While still on the small end of big-time blogging, knowing more people are reading is exciting for me. And the number of folks tuning in every Tuesday to read my thoughts about the #NarrowRoad continues to astonish me- and to remind me that my ministry is a long way from being finished. Truth be known, I would love to preach again somewhere along the road...
- We have prayed together. You have prayed for me and I have prayed for you. We have lifted up those who are hurting, those who are sick and those who have suffered loss. We have celebrated great achievements and prayed for new parents and their children. The Saturday Shouts Outs have long been a place to share prayer requests, and that will continue as we move forward. Being bound together in Christ's love means being bound together in prayer. This blog has always attempted to celebrate that.
- You have allowed me to approach this blog the same way I have always tried to approach life and ministry- wholistically. That's not really a word, but it is a mindset. It means recognizing that all of life ties together. We tend to make boxes for God, boxes for family, boxes for culture and so forth, when in fact life is one giant box. And God made the box! Remember, "all good things come from God," not just the things we talk about in church! I've shared about music and movies, about politics and religion, about faith and doubt and about silly, ridiculous things- and you guys have accepted it all. Even my rants didn't cause too many of you to run away screaming! Most bloggers are niche writers, focusing on one major topic. My topic has been life, and my belief that all of life is about Jesus. Thank you for giving me that freedom for these 6 years.
Because of Jesus,