My 2017 Year in Review
The year 2017 - phew! What a crazy time to be alive, huh?
A lot of things happened in 2017...for me personally; for my family; for my country; for the church....for the world.
I wanted to end the year with a blog post about everything I learned or observed over this past year, and many of those reinforced my Christian worldview and MY take on the world around us.
First, I wanted to talk about the really good things that have happened. One of the highlights for the year is the chance I got to put myself out there on a radio show, over internet radio and even real radio waves from a Christian radio station out in Dove Creek, Colorado. Although I started that short stint as a host in December of 2016, I continued to do the radio show all the way into July. So for 6 months I produced audio segments, and got started on video segments as well, to basically speak my mind but try to share the Gospel in some form or fashion. I want to thank Keith Hardin, the owner of the radio station KDOV, for giving me the chance to attempt to put out radio broadcasts that drew listeners and impacted folks in a positive way. If I were more tech savvy, and if I had more time, I probably would've kept the show up. I did actually gain a few readers for my novels, and received an occasional message from people who heard me on the radio. So I enjoyed the opportunity. Just my luck, shortly after I quit doing the show, my hard drive crashed, and I lost a lot of writing that I hadn't backed up on the cloud. Oh well, you live, you learn. But being a radio show host was kind of cool. I even interviewed several people. Coming up with questions, and hearing the participants' answers was pretty neat. I will never forget my experience with KDOV...so once again, thank you Keith in Colorado :)
Secondly, I wanted to reflect on an accomplishment that may seem very minor to many of you out there, but it is a check mark in my law enforcement career that I wanted from the beginning. This past November, I finally became a certified Defensive Tactics Instructor through the South Caorlina Criminal Justice Academy. Some people, friends, family, may know I have always had a fascination with martial arts, but never took any one discipline or style for very long - well let's face it; because it just wasn't practical financially or for family scheduling purposes. But after working the door in a bar or two, and then beginning a career in law enforcement, I had this as a goal early on. When I finally got the chance, I will say it was more challenging than I thought it would be a long time ago, but once I got into the swing of things, I knew I could do it. Not only will this make me more confident in any future potential encounters I may have with others who wish to hurt someone, but now I can teach some effective ways officers can have a 'fighting' chance to protect themselves and others. At the same time, just through learning more about all the threats out there, and the options bad guys have, it reinforced to me the importance of not thinking you're Superman; be proactive with the call for backup. But like I said, this accomplishment made me very happy.
Thirdly, I was challenged and pleased at the same time with the growth of my readership of Fortress Books, and the promotion for my books and my brand over the past year. Although I am behind my own self-imposed schedule for releasing my latest book (about halfway finished, but the rest of the process should go fast), I have learned a lot about promoting my own work as a self-publisher. I have learned how much traditionally published authors have going for them... but I have also learned that I am a person pretty set in my ways, and enjoy the independence anyway. I have enjoyed reading comments from people who read my blog posts. I have enjoyed seeing the occasional new review on Amazon (of which I believe I will be getting many more in 2018). And one of the things I have enjoyed most is getting to know my illustrator, Caleb Rivera, a little better over the past year. Caleb has helped me with artwork for all of my books now, and it has been a pleasure getting to know someone who is willing to share this book publishing journey with me. I have learned more over the past year, 2017, about self-publishing and self-promotion than any other year so far. Caleb is open to helping me grow this avenue - this ministry if you will. It's been a fulfilling experience, and I am anxious to see where it goes.
Now, I didn't just want to talk about the big things that have gone on with just me. There were also several events in 2017 that impacted me, and I have made several observations through the year. So let's look at some of those:
1) 2017 was an even bigger 'Year of the Offended' than 2016. If you share your opinion, on anything at all, even when you don't think it will offend anyone, I discovered that someone, somewhere out there, will find a way to be offended by your thoughts. I can't remember a time in my life prior to 2017 where this has been as big a deal. It hasn't affected me so much personally, because although I speak my mind, I don't set out to offend people. And I have only received so much backlash for saying how I feel about some things. But I have seen overreaction EVERYWHERE, for the slightest little comment or suggestion. It has really been strange.
2) 2017 was a year for misinformation. Some of it very deliberate; some of it strangely just missing the mark altogether because of the propensity for some people to believe anything. The funniest thing I read in recent weeks was that CNN and other mainstream media claim 2017 to be a new Golden Age for Media. Really? If you really don't think the media has a deliberate political agenda in this country, go back to 2016 election season. Fast forward to all the fake stories that have come out as trash, by supposed 'most trusted news sources', and it becomes pretty evident. It doesn't matter which way someone votes, nobody can deny the intentional misdirection of the news after 2017. Add to that the explosion of fake news sites who make it their business to just publish satire, and - well, you get 2017.
3) 2017 was a year where several people woke up to the real threats in this world. Certain threats in the world, like ISIS, have been taken more seriously by current military leaders. And they weren't treated like the JV team. They were treated like a strong threat should be treated - with a much stronger one. Enter MOAB, stage right. In all seriousness though, many of our leaders have taken safety and security of this nation seriously again. Now I am of the opinion that some of the lax approach of dealing with threats such as ISIS was intentional in the past, but at least more of the top dogs who make important defense decisions have their eye on the ball moreso this go-round. Time will tell if that continues to improve. We still see much of the country think with their hearts instead of their minds, and so we offer fugitives 'sanctuary' - which let's face it; if anyone does this on a personal level, it's a crime. But if government leaders do it, it's ok. Oh well, another soap box for another day.
4) 2017 was a year where I noticed more attacks on the idea of people being Christians than any year in recent memory. Although certain people in powerful positions are at least not afraid to say 'Merry Christmas' again, the news media, and Hollywood, and TV shows, have fired more shots across the bow at Christianity than any other year I can remember in my lifetime. Some shows did it with subtle shots, almost implied insults at my faith. Some shows or movies did it with flying, or should I say FLAMING colors. The division in this country is becoming more and more clear, and it is my opinion that all the different sources of media in this country have been used to bring this division about to support a certain agenda. And since I mentioned the attacks on Christian beliefs in general that are becoming more prevalent in media....
5) 2017 was a year where we saw Biblical prophecy come to the forefront. Oddly enough, the most obvious example came right at the tail end of 2017; the announcement that the USA would move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Suddenly (or perhaps not so suddenly), we have the biggest example of what the rest of the world wants as it relates to the country of Israel. The bulk of the UN wants to shoot down anything pro-Israel, and support anything pro-Palestine. That has become abundantly clear. In Zecharia 12:3, the Bible says all the nations will gather against Jerusalem. Funny how that works, right? Then we can look at the other little signs that things to come are inevitable; the Earth is being primed for takeover for the Antichrist.
However, I don't claim to know we are THAT close...yet!
So what do I predict for 2018?
Well, I don't make precise predictions, because let's face it - if I were psychic, I could make my money elsewhere besides law enforcement. And chances are pretty good I also wouldn't claim Jesus as Lord.
But I do speculate as to what things might happen if certain current events do not change, or if they continue progressing the way we see them now.
And I think if we keep giving in to political correctness, the country where we live is on its last legs. Although I think we've been given a repreive, placating to people's feelings, and sacrificing safety in order to make people feel better and less offended - well, let's just say, the world will be more than ready for a certain Man Upstairs to return.
If the news media continues to focus more on the sensational, and less on truth, the mob will become panicked and more divided.
If politicians stick to the idea of wanting to tell their constituents what to think instead of vice-versa, the country will collapse.
If we ignore the rising influence of Islam throughout the world and ignore places where they become the majority, Jesus will come sooner. Because let's face it - killing in the name of God or Allah was for the Middle ages, and should've stayed that way. But according to the actual tenets of one religion revealed to a crazy man in a cave, that is the way it has to be. So I guess if you look at it that way, maybe that's what could spur Christ's return? Literally, only God knows.
So farewell 2017; hello 2018.
I will keep training others. I will keep writing fictional stories with truth embedded within. The world will keep spinning for a time. Astronomers will continue to theorize this and that about things they will never see. Doctors who know how to cure more than they used to will be forced to keep things secret for the sake of the almighty dollar. Secret yet not so secret elite families will rule their roosts and laugh down at the commoners. Pro-football players will continue to kneel for lies.
But... Children will still have birthday parties. Dogs will still wag their tails. Parents will still take pictures at graduations. America will still provide Bibles and bottled water to more people than any other country takes the time to do. Cars will still run on gas (mostly) and still continue to cost too much but look so pretty.
People will laugh. People will cry. People will smile. People will love. And people will hate.
So although I am not a glass half-empty kind of guy, I am a realist.
But if you thought this blog post was going to pump anyone full of sunshine - well, sorry to disappoint.
In the meantime, I continue to wait for flying cars, and if you've read the book of Revelation or the New Testament, you'll understand why I have mixed feelings on world peace.
So - in conclusion, 2017 has been real.
Happy New Year