Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review

     I am approaching the final hour of 2011. I'm in a place with passed out people and balloons strewn around (translation: my kids are asleep and the remnants of Julia's birthday party are all about the floor). I choose to quietly ring in the new year as I sit in "Chaz," our chair and a half... Yes, I named a piece of furniture because I got tired of writing in my journal, "As I sit here in our chair and a half..." It was a quieter year for the Couch's, thank God, but there are still some monuments worth revisiting...

  • Marty became an adjunct professor at Western Seminary, her alma mater. My amazing wife is teaching graduate level courses. She's incredible.
  • I became a substitute teacher and passed my CBEST test, quite a personal accomplishment for me since math was involved.
  • Marty and I presented our ministry through seminars, sermons, speaking engagements and break out sessions throughout the year and continued our counseling seeing couples in need. 
  • Both Julia and Ella had pieces of artwork selected by their teachers to be displayed in the city's art museum. Only two kids were chosen per class, so to have both of my daughters in different grades selected made me right proud. 
  • Both Julia and Ella were given the President's Silver award at the end of the school year for academic excellence. Again, only two students per class are given these awards and, again, both my girls scored one (Julia's third to date). How did this Oakie get such smart yungins? 
  • Max graduated from Village Little Pre-school and became a model for the school when they blew up a banner with his picture on it and hung it on the front of our former church. He is literally larger than life. 
  • I became a US missionary with our denomination, specialized chaplaincy department, further defining our ministry and giving it more structure. 
  • With God's help, I was able to complete seven graduate courses going towards my Master's in Pastoral Counseling. Four more to go and I'll be done in May. So excited.
  • God has faithfully and miraculously provided for us as we have continued to walk by faith. I've heard others say "I don't know how we made it financially..." and that is our testimony as well. He is truly our provider. All thanks and glory to Him. 
Best Quotes of 2011
     Here are some nuggets I heard or heard myself saying through the year...

     "Don't be yourself, be better than that." - Jenny Conlee

     "You did what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better." - Maya Angelou

     "The enablement derived from the experience of suffering permits us to minister to other people more effectively than the most powerful sermon." - Ronald Hawkins

     "The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." - Mark Twain

     "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble." - Helen Keller

     "Be profound, be funny, or be quiet." - Unknown

     "I can blame no one for what I do with (my life). I can blame them for what they do to me, but I cannot blame them for what I do with what they do to me. I am responsible for how I respond." 
 - Dr. Henry Cloud

     "Honest doubt may be a truer religious attitude than superficial belief." - taken from Old Testament Survey

     "Don't waste a perfectly awful circumstance that can push you into God's presence." - T.S.C.

     "Own only what is true about you, the good and the bad, and not what people merely think about you, the good and the bad." - T.S.C. 

     I don't believe in the sentiment "Happy New Year." The truth of the matter is there will be happy times, and there will be tears. So make it a joyful New Year no matter what it brings. God be with us.

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