2014 in review


I am not very big on New Year’s resolutions, but for many years I always wrote detailed goals for the upcoming year.  I did not do so last January.  Instead, I took Leo Babauta’s advice at Zen Habits to live without goals.

I declared 2014 my Year of Jubilee.  In the Old Testament book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year is commanded to occur every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven, and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest (Leviticus 25:8-13),

Because 2014 was my 50th year, I chose to celebrate accordingly: to release myself from the past, forgive past debts, to celebrate the good life that I live, and be free to enjoy the mercy and loving-kindness that God has demonstrated in my life.

Thus, in 2014 I did not have goals, just a short list of guidelines or objectives that I would try to incorporate into my life if the opportunity arose.  Here is what I wrote (verbatim) on a 3X5 file card:


  1. Try, attempt, participate in 12 new things
  2. Help 12 strangers
  3. Help/outreach to neighbors
  4. Get rid of 12 big things
  5. Learn a new life skill
  6. Don’t watch TV – unplug and enjoy life
  7. Simplify. Small space = BIG life
  8. Music lessons – guitar and piano

Last week I spent some time going through my daily calendar and the notes and appointments that I made throughout the year.  I discovered that my 2014 was very full and very rich.  I am grateful for it.  It truly has been a Year of Jubilee, and I intend to continue living in contentment, and grateful for every breath I take.

Here is a synopsis of my 2014 (in no particular order):

  • Started and grew my blog, The Hill of Beans, including 74 posts since April
  • Turned 50 – had a great birthday party!
  • Fulfilled all my financial obligations / remained debt free
  • Read many books. I didn’t keep count, but I estimate over 3 dozen.
  • Danced a fair amount, Contra and English Country.
  • Fell in love with a new (to me) form of dance: English Country
  • Interviewed over 10 candidates for the Naval Academy
  • Completed the next level of Toastmasters qualification
  • Found the vision statement for my life, see Galatians 5:13-14
  • Commenced and progressed through a significant personal healing process
  • Unloaded several big items: sports car, TV, 2600 sq ft house
  • Downsized into a 975 sq ft condo
  • Completed 2 certification courses
  • Spent 3 weeks with family on the East Coast
  • Did lots of hiking – including one 14er
  • Participated in my first Road Rallye (20th place!)
  • Hosted several family and friends in my spare room
  • Taught children’s Sunday Schools

Most significant on my list is that I connected with many friends and family on a deeper and more authentic level.  Relationship is what matters most to me.  The people in my life are important; making time, space and energy for them is what I endeavor to do.

In his letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul exhorts the reader to be generous and to

take hold of the life that is truly life.  (I Timothy 6:19)

I believe that serving others in love and connecting with others is taking hold of life that is truly life.  I am grateful that I was able to do so during 2014 and I will continue to use this as my guideline for 2015.

I will also continue to simplify and minimalize my life, and write about this topic throughout the year.

“Life was so simple.  Everything was stripped away.  God’s whisper grew louder in my ears.”  – Jeff Goins

Blessings to you and your family throughout 2015.  Spend time simplifying your life in 2015 so that you will be able to better hear God’s whisper.

Please drop me an email if you would like to suggest any topics for me to cover during the year or if you would like to submit a guest post.

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About John Forrest