At the end of the year, I usually take some time to reflect and, occasionally do so in the form of an “awards show” here at The Diner. I like to pretend that I’m giving awards–in this case, I imagine they’re little gold coffee mugs. So, the 2012 Golden Mugs go to…

Best Movie I Saw, Comedy: Moonrise Kingdom. Honorable mention goes to Seven Psychopaths. Sure, there were plenty of movies that gave good laughs (like 21 Jump Street, Ted, Project X, etc.) here and there but those two were very well made films.

Best Movie I Saw, Oscar-Worthy: Lincoln. Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field gave truly great performances. Honorable Mentions: Silver Linings Playbook, Argo. I actually enjoyed Playbook more than Lincoln but the ending seemed too neat and tidy for the subject.

Best Movie-Going Pictures (The kind that won’t win awards but you really enjoyed going to the theater): The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Honorable Mention: Ruby Sparks, The Words, Abraham Lincoln-Vampire Hunter.

Worst Movie I Saw: John Carter. Nothing else even comes close. Honorable Mention: The Dictator.

Best Book I Read, Non-Fiction: High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time, by Tim Wendel. Granted, I’m a baseball fan, but it’s such a great story. Honorable Mention: Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge, by Mark Yarm. Again, likely tainted by my musical affinity.

Best Book I Read, Fiction: The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powell. Honorable Mention: 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Fall-Back Plan by Leigh Stein, and In Between Days by Andrew Porter. Lots of good fiction out there these days.

Best Book I Read, Work-Related: The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church, by Reggie McNeal. It’s an older book, but I just got my hands on it. Very helpful stuff in the newest edition.

Best CD: Blunderbuss, by Jack White. Honorable Mention: Cigarettes and Truckstops, by Lindi Ortega. Granted, I didn’t purchase much music or hear too many CD’s in their entirety, but those two CD’s are ones you can put in your headphones and be completely blown away.

Best Concert I Attended: The Dropkick Murphys & Frank Turner in Dallas. Honorable Mention: Social Distortion & Lindi Ortega in Dallas.

Best TV Show: Homeland. Okay. Season 1, which I binge-watched before Season 2 started, was brilliant and amazing. Season 2 showed steady decline and bordered on ridiculous. We’ll see where it goes from here…but season 1 was enjoyable TV for sure.

Best Family Time: Family vacation in San Antonio. Lots of laughs and good times, and we’re learning to appreciate them more as they are older and inching toward their own lives. Resulted in one of our favorite family photos of all time. Honorable Mentions: Going to dinner downtown and seeing The Blue Man Group at the Winspear Opera House and all the laughs we had there, too. Getting a new addition to the family, puppy Gobi, the apprentice to the Greatest of All Dogs, Lloyd. (Lloyd however, would likely say this isn’t how he planned on spending his retirement years)

Best Experience Watching Kid1: Getting to study abroad in Oxford, England during the summer. What a great thing, man.

Best Experience Watching Kid2: Graduation from high school and all the hoopla that went along with that. Got to celebrate her with all the friends and family we love.

Best Experience With Tracy: Dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s 560, a gift from the staff of my former church for my 15 years of service there. We spent the evening enjoying excellent food/atmosphere, reliving great memories in that role, and talking about what might be next for us. We went back with friends to celebrate the answers nearly 8 months later.

Best Experience, Personal: Becoming a part of the church family at Irving Bible Church. The right job at the right time after a season of trying to figure out what God wanted to do with my life. It’s so nice to start 2013 with the feeling of vision, direction and excitement!

There were lots of good times in 2012 that didn’t win awards, like a trip to the Bay Area to see family and a concert, trips to the Pacific Northwest and hanging out with our oldest on her 21st birthday…and sure, there were some down times from sports (Auburn, the Rangers, the Cowboys and no Stars season–one of the worst sports-years EVER) to serious soul-searching/God-seeking that were pretty trying…

…but looking back on it, all in all, a pretty enjoyable year.

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that 2013 is looking like it has a WHOLE LOT of promise for me and mine.

So, from the Diner Management,

thanks so much for checking in every now and again, and Happy New Year!