As I look back over the last five years, I now realize that each year has been better than the last. In fact, it would not be much of a stretch to say that this five-year span is the best  five-year chunk in my life. 2013 was a good year, not always in every part, but in the whole, it was really good.

Revitalizing my blog this year was one of the high points. To close this first year on my new(ish) blog I wanted to share my top five posts from this year. Here they are, in descending order:

1. My social media workflow

There are so many apps, sites and social media networks with significant numbers of users, and this poses a real problem. How do I find good content? How do I save long articles to read later, digest, or blog about? How do I share valuable links and articles with friends, colleagues and followers, where they are on the web?

But the most important question is this: how do I do all of this while still maintaining a marriage, a job, writing projects, and my healthy addiction to books? Well, the answer is certainly “not as easily as I would hope”, but I have developed an efficient system that maximizes spare time and allows me to process a lot of new ideas.

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2. How I use Evernote: capturing information

Evernote is the most versatile tool in my digital toolbox. I use it for, what seems like, everything. I’ve heard their CEO say many times that their desire is for the service to be a ‘second brain’ for their users. If I am any indication, they are well on their way.

Why am I taking the time to write a post about a product that I have no financial stake in? Two reasons: First, I love it. I genuinely do. I am a big fan of the service and the company. They do things right, and I really appreciate that.

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3. The table bears the weight of all

They sit around a dinner table, sheltered in the warmth of friends and food, bulwarks against the dark and rainy night, both within and without. Eight people, for whom this common table is the tangible evidence of metaphysical truth.

Laughter and joy fill the room. Conversation flows easily, story lines are synchronized and updates offered.

The joyful interactions are not a veil, but a balm. This family, gathered around this table, comforts each other in love.

Dinner is on the table, a handmade relic with fading value. The family finds joy in the simple pleasure of a meal, around a shared table. Feasting in the light of truth already known, and beauty yet to come.

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4. Is Austin really a no-kill city?

Saturday at the first weekend of the Austin City Limits Music Festival was a beautiful day. It started off warm, but cooled down to a nice, rare, fall afternoon in Austin. Lindsey and I go to ACL every year and it is a special weekend for us. We get to spend time alone (well, with 50K+ around us), see some of our favorite bands live and discover new ones.

One of the bands we listened to took the opportunity near the end of their set, as many bands do, to make their chosen political statement for the day. This band chose to praise Austin’s very admirable position as a no kill city for dogs and cats. Being a dog owner and lover, I love this about my city. I think it is great that we do not kill pets that could be adopted and cared for.According to the Austin Humane Society, they save over 11,000 cats and dogs a year, with most taking only 2-3 weeks to find an adoptive home. This is a truly good thing.

But as the cheers from the crowd rose to greet the praise of the visiting band, one thought came to mind: would this band, and this crowd, praise our city if the same thing could be said for our babies?

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5. There is no wrath for my cheating heart

On Monday, after reading several chapters in Hosea, I tweeted:

 

Not too long after that, I got a message from a friend I have not talked to in years, asking what I had read to prompt this observation. After taking the time to respond, I realized this is actually a great point to draw out further.

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Thank you, dear readers, for a great year. I pray you all have a Happy New Year!