Old Year’s Awards for 2011

For each of the last two years, I’ve awarded “Old Year’s Awards” (2010, 2009). The awards, of course, have no purse or prize. They are merely my way of lifting up some of my favorite people, places and things from the past year. My rules are simple:

* No one in the immediate family gets awards – their significance goes without saying!
* No one gets an award who would expect to get one – that defeats the purpose.
* Awards are presented in random order; I’m giving 7 for no other reason than that it seems like a good biblical number. (and, after two whole years’ worth of precedence, it’s now “the way it’s always been done”)

I’m sure you’ve been waiting eagerly, so with no more waiting, here you go!

Award #1: Synod Peeps
There are three in particular: M. Ehrenfried, T. Goodhart, and S. Midge. I could easily add J. Grevenstuk (but I won’t since she got an award last year 🙂 ) or any number of others (there are several who could easily be added to that list), but these three have been consistent for several years now. Those who know me well, know that I look forward to the RCA’s General Synod each year more than just about any other event (General Synod is our denominations big yearly meeting). Not only do I enjoy seeing the church work at that level, I love the camaraderie and the unparalleled opportunity to worship, catch up, study, argue, and have fun with one another.

Award #2: The Webster Arboretum
If you live in the area, you must check the arboretum out. It is free; there are several beautiful paths for walking; it has a wonderful little pond, and it borders on a park with an excellent playground. No matter what life throws your way, it is the perfect place for a little bit of quietness.

Award #3: Richard Reinhart
Richard Reinhart is the author of a number of exceptional bread cookbooks. There is absolutely nothing more incredible than fresh bread. Baking it is good for the soul; eating it is good for the body; sharing it is good for community. All in all, there is little better than the smell of bread in the oven and Richard Reinhart’s books make it possible for normal people to produce nearly bakery-quality breads in a home kitchen. I particularly recommend The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and American Pie. You don’t want to actually go through the hassle of making your own bread? It doesn’t matter, his writing makes great reading, even for non-bakers.

Award #4: Letter Writing
I have never really been a letter-writer. Over the past months, however, I’ve grown to love letters and begun writing them. There’s something about putting pen to paper, about addressing an envelope, about affixing a stamp – something that isn’t matched by hitting “send” on an e-mail or txt. I’m not so ignorant as to believe that the “good ol’ days” were actually all that good (they certainly had they’re problems!) but I do appreciate some of the good ol’ things, and letter writing is beginning to rank among the items on that list – especially when done with a fountain pen!

Award #5: the Men who Knit
Whether it’s the men on MenWhoKnit.com or Ravelry, these men have remained a constant source of encouragement and support. Ironically, I have met few of them in real life, yet they are clear proof that online friendships can be strong and life-giving. I could name many, but particular mention certainly go to E. Mason, G. Patrick, B. Rohr, and J. Wilcox. I hope – over time – I can extend to them even a portion of good will and encouragement that they’ve shown me.

Award #6: AIDS Care, Rochester
I have only recently become aware of AIDS Care Rochester, but since then I have become increasingly impressed by the work they do. Testing, counseling, prevention services, etc., etc. The list of what they do is too long for this setting. I tentatively hope to ride their 5-day AIDS Red Ribbon Ride in August 2012. It is a fund raising ride, so stay tuned – in the next few weeks I hope to have my fund-raising page up and running!

Award #7: LuYH & Psalms for all Seasons Committee(s)
For the better part of a decade, I have been working with an awesome group of men and women culled from the RCA and the CRCNA in an effort to produce the first RCA/CRCNA bi-denominational hymnal. It has been an immense amount of work but everyone on the group is wonderful. I love every moment spent with them and, as the end begins to appear on the horizon, I’m looking forward to publication. The award goes to the subgroup who just published an off-shoot project entitled Psalms for All Seasons (you want this Psalms resource!) but also to the editorial committee of the hymnal (publication 2013). Love you all!

Have a wonderfully blessed and love-filled new year!

Grace and peace,

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