So Ends The Year

As we approach the end of the year, I am, like many people, reflecting on 2011. It has been a year of great things—joy and sadness. Baptized a baby (and that’s always an extra big deal in a tiny congregation), graduated 6 campus ministry students and sent two of them off to seminary (Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary of course!) and one to war, had a Project Connect summer intern, commissioned new communionware, performed a wedding for a young couple on the steps of the court house at midnight on 11-11-11, and saw the birth of two additional choirs: bells and guitars. We welcomed some and said farewell and Godpseed to others. Personally, I accomplished many things I set out to do, one of which was to post more frequently on this and my other blog. I also spent more intentional time writing as a discipline so as to improve my writing skills for several areas of my life. In September I said good bye to my mother who is now in the Church Triumphant. Made some new friends this year, too, and hopefully didn’t lose any along the way either.

In all, it has been a good year. A difficult year, but good.

One of the interesting things to me about using wordpress is the plethora of statistics available about visits to a blog. It is endlessly fascinating to me to see what search terms led someone to a post and which posts were most visited. So, here is my top few search terms and posts for 2011.

By far the search term that brought someone to this site most frequently was something related to “Shepherdess.” There were various versions of this, including such things as simply ‘shepherdess’, ‘shepherdess symbolism’, ‘shepherdess writes’ and, my favorite, ‘valentine shepherdess’. I am terribly curious as to what the persons using that particular search phrase were actually looking for!

Coming in at number 5 is ‘elevation church problems’. No doubt this refers to a post about Elevation Church from earlier this year.  Actually, this post also ranked pretty high in the number of visits.

At number 4 is ‘that’s what Christmas is all about’ and it is notable that this phrase only started showing up in December, yet it was really high up in the counts. This, too, relates to a post that ranks pretty high.

3 is ‘proscriptive marriage’. Now, this is one of those I have to wonder if the people were actually getting what they were searching for. There is a post with this title, certainly, and it is focused on the proscriptive vs descriptive things in scripture, but I wonder if that’s what they were looking for. There was also a derivation of this one, too, ‘proscriptive marriage play’. Hmmm.

Ranking at second place is a classic. ‘Blessed are the feet’. Indeed it is a blessing when someone searches with this phrase and comes up with my blog. Blessed are the feet of those who bring good news. I love the image for the post with this title as well. It is the feet from a Rodin sculpture, The Kiss.

Landing at first place was a real surprise to me. ‘Theology of Luke 17:1-19’. And it’s a solid win, too. This is surprising to me because….well…. I only wrote on this text once and it isn’t a post that’s had an inordinate number of hits. However, it does seem that I have written a good deal about the Gospel of Luke, so that may be the reason for the rank.

I must include an honorable mention in this list. It very nearly made it into the top five. However, it is a bit unusual. ‘Mitchell B Powell Rosemary Shepherdess’. Yes, one of the top phrases to locate my blog through your favorite search engine is the name of someone else! Thanks, Mitch, for giving me some extra traffic!! (Actually, Mitchell is an interesting writer and thinker and his blog, consisting of a broader spectrum than mine, is worth a read)

And now for posts. Coming in at number 5: God of Second Chances. I loved loved loved this post! If I had to pick one of my all time favorites, this would be high on the list. The inspiration came from one line on another blog, “I will give you a Gospel for dead men and women who float hopeless in the dark waters.” That’s what I want. That’s what I need. A God who will dive into the dark waters of death, breathing  life into our dead bodies.

Number 4 is Speak To Me of the Resurrection. This is a very personal post for me because it is about my mother’s funeral. I wrote a couple of posts on my other blog about this topic (here and here), but this was the only one on this blog where I dealt directly with it. I was also honored that this post was shared on RevGalBlogPals.

Third on the list is Now, Who Are We Following Again? This post was ranked so highly undoubtedly because of the high number of search terms related to Elevation Church. The title of this post is a bit snarky and, while I have some snarky feelings about this topic, I truly was and still am concerned for persons who minister in this way and the people to whom they minister.

Solidly in at number 2 is And That’s What Christmas Is All About. Once again, I am surprised by the high numbers on this because it was only posted this month and these stats are for all year long. I’m sure that Charlie Brown has nothing to do with it. Really. Nothing at all. No way.

Ranking far and away first is Remember O Mortal. This post is actually quite minimal. It has the scripture from 1 Corinthians 15:53-55 (…. Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?), a photograph of the ash making process for Ash Wednesday and some words from a Johnny Cash song. It’s not only the top for the year, it’s the second ranked all-time. And that’s fitting, I think.

So ends the year. And I want to end it on those words from Johnny Cash. May God bless us all with his every present grace and the mercy we so desperately need in the coming year.

Go down yonder Gabriel put your foot on the land and sea
now blow your trumpet boy until you hear from me
There ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down
there ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down
when you hear that trumpet sound gonna get up …out of the ground
there ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down

–Johnny Cash


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