2015 In Review

I’m not really one for goals but I’ll make them anyways; if you want to make God laugh or something right? This time last year the following, in no particular order, is what I hoped 2015 would look like:

I’d weigh 200lbs because of a fitness routine that included regular hikes with Alyssa and Atticus, and a vegetarian diet. I also set the goal of growing my Biggest Beard Yet.

Reading and Writing
My hope was to keep track of everything I read by genre and author – something I begain doing in 2014 – and to journal everyday. I also set the goal of five new poems, with three feeling complete enough to submit to online journals. I wanted to finish “The Brothers Karamazov” by June, and be wrapping up “The Lord of the Rings” around now. And I wanted to write six month worth of blog posts and then launch a blog about worship and art.

Bible Reading
I was going to attempt an intense Bible reading program called “Professor Grant Horner’s Reading Plan” that included reading ten chapters from various parts of scripture everyday.

I’d learn all of Hanon’s 60 finger exercises for pianists. Learn a new “classical” tune, write one original congregational tune, write a setting for the Kyrie Elison, retun two hymns, and record a short EP.

There’d be a continued focus on congregational singing with increased physical participation. I also planned on writing a small group curriculum on worship, getting an intern, helping train the next campus worship leader, and identifing another potential worship leader at Inland Hills.

Using the above I want to take some time to review my year but first forgive me for so publicly staring at my bellybutton, I do love some introspection and navel-gazing as regular readers know.

For three years beginning in 2012 my life was a whirlwind of change. I moved accross the country on my own, quickly met a girl and fell in love, got married, and then had a kid. After Atticus was born I prayed, “Hey God! Let’s slow down a bit, yeah?”

God being kind and gracious and good has blessed me and my family with a mostly quiet year. By no means has 2012 been dull or a waste, but rather it’s been a good time for the Welty’s to recoup from all the changes – get to know each other better, settle into our roles as a family and in our worshipping community, and enjoy each other’s company. No big moves, no second kid, no job changes, nothing but faithfully loving each other, our community, and our God.

But, what did 2015 actually look like?

I set physical goals because I have a body, but if I’m honest, it’s not something I think about often. So, for instance, I couldn’t tell you what I weigh but I could tell you I had a cookie for lunch. If I were to ballpark it though I’d guess my weight hovered somewhere between 205-215lbs. Which is the low end of where I’ve coasted since highschool. The high end being around 240lbs – where I was when I finished college. Also, we went on a grand total of zero hikes but for Lent we mostly successfully didn’t eat any meat, and our red meat intake has gone way down since. Also I can say that I definitely grew my Biggest Beard Yet and have officially decided to settle into my Weary Sea Captain look.

This isn’t my dad it is a future version of myself visiting from the distant year 2017.

Reading and Writing
So, this is interesting. I didn’t accomplish a single goal in this arena but I do think this was where I was most obviously successful in 2015 – therein is my problem with goals… I digress.

I didn’t read nearly as many books as I had hoped, instead this year I read a lot of articles and poems. Which was hard to track. I need to figure out a system for that.

The four books I planned on reading I only sort of accomplished. I read “The Fellowship of the Ring” in the spring, which was lovely – I finally got Tolkie’s great appeal – but I didn’t keep reading the series. Though, I did read a new biography of The Inklings. Does that count? I have read two-thirds of “The Brothers Karamazov” but it is slower reading than I expected. I took a few breaks to read other books (including The Sirens of Titan and that Inklings biography). I still have two weeks to finish Doestoyvesky’s tome – though it’s not looking good.

As far as writing went: I really set the bar low with only five poems. I ended up writing something like 15 complete drafts, a draft of a single poem that is a series of 14 poems, seven snippets of poems. One poem even got published – which was completely unexpected.

Also, instead of writing a well planned and organized blog I just pulled the trigger and started sharing. I’m really happy I did even though I wish I had a back log of unpublished posts for when life gets too busy to post. I’d envisioned this blog being a place of thoughtful look at worship, and in some ways it has. But, it has become something closer to a devotional journal. I prefer it this way – there are smarter, more articulate people writing on worship and the arts elsewhere.

All in all I’ve written close to 100 posts on this blog (averaging about 1,000 words each – so you, you know, about a decent sized novel’s worth) and close to 20 new poems.

Bible Reading
I failed hard here. I didn’t even use the plan I wanted to. Instead I really honed in on Galatians, Job, and the Psalms.

Every year for the past five I’ve said I wanted to record an EP. I’ve not yet even attempted to. Though over the last year and a half I’ve written enough material for a short EP of hymns/Psalms.

My relationship to music has been strange this past year and I’m not really certain what it is but I’ve been less inclined to play for the joy of it. It’s a bit worrisome that playing piano and singing feels simply vocational, and weirdly one of the most insignificant parts of that vocation.

Anyways, I’ve made it about a quarter of the way through Hanon’s exercises, no new classical pieces (though I did polish a version of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring), and I didn’t write a Kyrie. I did write a new congregational tune (I’ve not introduced it) and did introduce an original composition that we sing regularly enough. Which is kind of a deal?

I’m pretty intentional on making congregational singing the goal over and above flashy, well-executed musical performance even if I do expect musical excellence from myself and the team. This year I was more aggressive in introducing new songs, which can hinder congregational singing some especially because I tend to choose songs that don’t get a lot of radio play. It’s hard to judge but it doesn’t seem like the church is singing less… or, more. So, I guess we broke even?

You can check out those tunes here:

As for physical participation – I dropped the ball there, honestly I know it has value but it makes me uncomfortable. Maybe 2016 will be the year. I really hope so, it’s a good growth area for me personally.

I only sort of did the rest of the stuff I wanted to do in 2015 in worship: Though I did write a (working on a second) small group curriculum it wasn’t about worship, I didn’t help train the newest campus worship leader – she didn’t need special training because she is and was already great when she assumed the role, I didn’t get an official intern (though it’d be helpful) but I did have some great adminstrative help from my good friend Candace, and very recently someone I respect a great deal has expressed interest in learning how to lead worship so we’ve started the project – she’s going to be great!

All in all it has been a great year. There were other highlights as well, including all that Atticus does like learning how to walk and to rub his mom’s back to show her he loves her (I taught him that last night), the Oasis conference, getting to preach many times at New Song, and other such things.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog which has been a highlight for me personally and professionally. I’m looking forward to another great year!


2015 In Review