2018 – My Best, Worst, and Other List

Favorite Books Read: Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller; My Southern Journey, Rick Bragg; Learning to Speak God from Scratch, Jonathan Merritt

Best Movies Seen: The Greatest Showman, Same Kind of Different as Me

Best Song: What Makes You Country, Luke Bryan;  Reckless Love, Cory Asbury

Great Professionals Lost: Aretha Franklin, Anthony Bourdain, sportscaster Keith Jackson

Worst Lie: Impossible to choose.

Best Thing That Was Old That is New Again: I’m bringing the fishing hobby back into my life. Bought a nice boat a few weeks ago.

Favorite New Dream: An around the world plane ticket, and apparently there’s a new 1,700-mile hiking trail in Chile that passes through dozens of national parks.

Most Surprising New Habit: Evaluating how every word written in every  social media post might actually make someone angry before the post gets made.

Most Surreal Moment I’d Always Thought About and Actually Did: Sitting at a bar sipping whiskey with locals in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. Sounds crazy, but it was a real thrill.

Last Year’s Most Accurate Prediction About This Year: The danger of a national numbness.

Biggest Conversion: Yes, I will watch the occasional Hallmark movie now.

Favorite Personal Moment: Standing on the Cliffs of Moher, eyes closed, North Atlantic sea spray blowing against my face, breathing in the freshest air God ever created, and taking a mental picture of it all that I’ll carry with me always.

Best Sense of Personal Satisfaction: Not quitting after having three different book proposals rejected by some of the best agents in the country. We finally nailed one in November and I’m so fired up about it.

The Resulting Lesson from the Paragraph Above: Have a teachable spirit and never give up on a dream you know God puts in your heart.

Best Grassroots Experience: I got to travel all around the country speaking at REIs and signing books. But even better was the number of people who opened their homes and took me in as a guest. I’ll never forget spending time with such hospitable friends.

Most Disturbing Trends I See: “us vs. them” vocabulary; placing more value in symbols than the actual idea the symbols represent; an absence of shame.

Characterizing This Year in Two Words I’d Use: Sadly predictable.

Best Epiphany Experienced This Year:  Faith is not some notion that we come to as a matter of last resort. We don’t default to faith, but rather we come to it through an ongoing exercise of doubt and reason.  It’s all God’s design that faith is a reasoned trust. It’s His quest of choice for each of us. We come to faith just as we come to other conclusions in life.

Favorite New Gadget: A portable USB fan that travels with me everywhere.

Favorite New Obscure TV Series: Forever on Amazon.

Biggest Regret: Missing a trip to Morocco during a three-month stay in Spain.

Biggest Issue that I Was Once Set on and Now Taking Time to Carefully Reconsider: Is homosexuality consistent or inconsistent with biblical teaching, and what is the church’s role in all this?

Prediction for Next Year’s National Scene: It’s going to get worse before it gets better, but it’s going to get better.

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I Don’t Always Read Blogs, But When I Do…

Dos aquis man

“I don’t always read blogs, but when I do, I prefer the blogroll at http://www.stevenwwatkins.com” ~ Dos Aquis Man

The best bloggers I’ve come across know The Great Blogging Truth.

They know it takes more than good writing; and more than a good tech-savvy knowledge to get noticed.

The best bloggers know getting noticed requires a delicate blend of art and science. Good writing’s not enough. Techno-wisdom’s not enough. It requires a good bit of both.

I’ve always been a decent writer. But I’ve never been tech-savvy. Fortunately, WordPress is user-friendly enough, that over time, I’ve learned how to do things that better balance the blogging requirement of art and science.

Until recently, I thought a blog was the place where I went mudding in my 4-wheel drive.

Until recently, I thought a dashboard was the thing that collected dust in my truck.

Until recently, I thought a widget was one of those things the government made at $3,000 a pop.

And so it was just recently, I learned how to create a blogroll. It’s something I’ve wanted to add to my page from the beginning. There are so many great blogs out there, but a few always make me stop and take notice. The blogs on my blogroll are the ones that I’ll read beginning to end 100 percent of the time.

Thanks to these bloggers, and their good work for giving me pleasure, inspiration and knowledge I never had before – in no particular order:

***

Bucket List Publications – A great site by Lesley Carter who challenges us to embracelesley carter bucket list adventure with no regrets. Periodically, she also has great advice about how to get better noticed in the blogging world. www.lesleycarter.wordpress.com

Catherine, Caffeinated – Catherine is an indie author with some of the best advice I’ve found to help weave your way through the world of self-publishing. Check out this post for her latest work affordably priced at $2.99. www.catherineryanhoward.com

Holly Michael’s Writing Straight – I got to know Holly after she nominated me for a undserved award, and immediately took notice of her work. She’s a published author, missionary, philanthropist and writes with a transparent style I really enjoy. Since our virtual introduction, Holly and I have even considered collaborating on some projects. www.writingstraight.com

Las Palmas Ecuador – Admittedly self-serving. I write periodically for this business blog. It’s aPuerto Cayo Ecuador developing beachside expatriate community in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. Dana and I are now building a home near this community. Working with this blog is one of the ways we live out our own personal adventures. Las Palmas has a great and informative website here. www.laspalmasecuador.wordpress.com

Let’s Go Digital – A blogsite by David Gaughran with terrific advice on self-publishing. I first became aware of David’s work through a book review post from Cristian Mihai. After reading the review, I immediately bought the book and it’s quite good. www.davidgaughran.wordpress.com

Let’s Overthink This – The title itself captured me from day one. I’m guilty. A diverse blog that challenges us to know when to go with our gut, or think things through. www.letsoverthinkthis.com

Los Rodriguez Life – Freshly pressed on a number of occasions, Javier and Leslie have a special talent for drawing attention to the things they do every day. Great photography, and their blog is enhanced with bi-lingual text, both English and Spanish. Their blog makes me feel like a voyeur. www.losrodriguezlife.com

Moment Matters – A great site encouraging us to pause and take in life’s simplest, and most pleasurable moments. Life doesn’t necessarily have to be that complicated. www.momentmatters.wordpress.com

blogsite of dana watkins

My Window 2 The World – Yes, this is my wife’s blogsite. Dana’s always had a special flair for photography. The photos on this site that chronicle her 2005 mission trip through Greece and Morocco show her real talent. www.mywindow2theworld.wordpress.com

Project 40

Project 40 – Suave, cool, sophisticated and cosmopolitan. I really like this guy. www.project-40.com

Hilary Billings

The Nomad Grad – Hilary Billings travels the world as a professional adventurer. She’s currently in Australia. Hilary uses her blog how to demonstrate some creative ways to travel and explore on a shoestring budget. If I could go back in time, I’d model many of the thing’s she’s now doing. www.nomadgrad.com

Truth and Cake – This site is hosted by an American, now living in Canada who’s married to a guy from South Africa. It’s the cleanest, classiest blog I’ve come across. Well designed, good writing, always a pleasure to read. www.truthandcake.com

Vocus Blog – These guys may now be the world’s leaders in social media marketing. They’re very good. How do I know? Recently, I was scouring the internet for advice on how to create an electronic newsletter for a client. I came across their site, made a few clicks, and within 30 minutes, they called me. Yesterday, I did an online-demo with a Vocus sales rep. They’re expensive, but very good. www.vocus.com

Latitude One – Again, self-serving. This is where I strictly focus on the adventures Dana and I enjoy in Puerto Cayo, Ecuador. www.latitudeone.wordpress.com

Thanks to all the author-entrepreneurs of these sites who give me pleasure, encouragement and the inspiration to be more like them.

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