Writing stories to pass values from one generation to the next

15 from 15: Top Personal Moments

top personal moments of 2015

15 from 15: Top Personal Moments

Normally, I’m right there with the glass-half-full crowd at the beginning of a new year. Ready to share my top personal moments, my best professional moments from the previous year. Full of challenging, attainable, measurable goals for the new year. Full of zest for a new year and opportunities. That’s the me I want to be.

Not so much this year. This year brought so much change–all of it ultimately for God’s glory and my good–that I just wanted to rest as 2015 came to an end. And I did. Even though I wrote faithfully on book two of the Coach Dave series throughout Christmas break (See #10) and finished reading four others, I mostly rested.

I can’t move forward and set goals for the new year without taking a look back at some of my top personal moments of 2015. Some were paradigm changing. Others were once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. There were firsts…and lasts. Amazing how much 365 days can include, isn’t it?

These are some key personal moments. I’ll share some top moments wearing my writer’s hat next week. Enjoy the list. More importantly, consider your own top moments of 2015 and swap a story or two to help lock your moments in your memory.

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #1: I received my Biblical Ministry Certificate through the Mid-South extension of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Interesting–and not related–that I stepped away from a church staff position while pursuing this certificate. I put some of what I learned to good use within a few months (See #2).

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #2: I crossed off two more states off my list when I flew into Montana and rode with a mission team into Idaho to serve at a Western Preacher School. After training to study the Bible and to put together messages from various passages, we taught others to study the Bible and to put together messages from various passages. I shared an unexpected but glorious moment with a close friend in Couer d’Alane and heard kids playing football in Montana counting “One Missississippi, two Mississippi” before rushing the quarterback.

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #3: I had a blast on three different road trips with Big Sister. Just the two of us. I drove her places, dropped her off to take care of business, and found cool places to write for a while. On one of those trips, she passed her final test to become a licensed cosmetologist (Really…here’s Facebook proof--go “like” her page!).

And we ate Krystals. Because it’s what we do.

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #4: So, I need to give you the context of a twelve-year-old recreational-level baseball tournament and a high school game against a team that had more or less mailed it in by that point in the season. But…the Little Fella threw three hitless innings of a what turned into a four-inning no-hitter on Friday, then stroked the first walk-off hit of his young career on Saturday morning. From there, it was on to Senior Day at Lewisburg High School, where I stood speechless in the broadcast booth as Older Brother carried his own no-hitter down to the last batter in the opposing order. This was a hitter who was a combined 0-for-5 in two games against us and whom Older Brother had struck out in his first at bat of the game. Alas, Older Brother gave up the only home run he ever allowed and settled for a complete game two-hitter. For a dad and former coach, those 20 hours or so definitely put this on the list of top personal moments of 2015.

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #5: My broadcast partner was tearing up as we prepared for what could have been our last call after three years of describing the action on the diamond for our sons’ high school baseball team. Down to their last out, it seemed like a miracle comeback from down 6-0 was not in the works. A two-out, two-strike bullet past the third baseman sent the game into extras, where the home team completed the comeback and gave us the most memorable call of our time together with a walk-off win to send us to the next round of the playoffs.

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #6: When it came time for Older Brother to choose a destination for his senior trip (a blessing from his grandmother), the process went something like this: Fenway? Wrigley? Hey, I wonder if we could catch the Cardinals in L.A. and catch an Angels’ game on the same trip. Answer: A glorious yes. We saw a comeback win by the Cards. Here’s what we didn’t know: On fireworks night at Dodger Stadium, fans can view from the field. Laying on my back on the right field grass of Dodger Stadium with my recently graduated son watching fireworks explode into the night was one of the most surreal moments of my life. That wasn’t just one of my top personal moments of 2015; it was one of my top personal moments ever, a bucket list-esque experience.

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #7: Okay, this one is a little out of bounds of top personal moments, at least in the usual sense of the phrase. One of those phrases that you suspect you’ll hear but never want to hear as a parent: “Dad, I’ve had a wreck.” Older Brother’s “no big deal” wreck continues to be a big deal with spiked insurance. Big Sister’s was on the interstate on one of those rainy days that invites scattered debris. She was okay that day, and her little wagon was eventually restored to good health. We don’t want to be known as “good customers” at the collision repair shop (though their work was outstanding!)

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #8: Mom and Dad.

50 years.

Enough said. Well done!

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #9: I have spoken and written so much over the last few years about my friends Fenel and Mimi Bruna from Jacmel, Haiti. I have spent three different weeks in their home, laughing and sharing life together and serving the children of the House of Abraham. To be able to serve them a meal, welcome them into our home, and introduce them to friends was one of the most special evenings I experienced.

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #10: Similarly, Wojtek and Agnieska Kowalewski are long-time friends from Wroclaw, Poland. We have enjoyed their hospitality and enjoy hosting them every time they come to the States.

And every year, there’s The Leap. Mrs. Right still has ups, y’all.

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #11: Older Brother went off to college. Mrs. Right survived–barely. Big Sister made the Jumbotron at her first college football game. We got shirts, caps, and Mrs. Right and I got cowbells.

Christmas for Big Sister and the Little Fella?

More cowbell!

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #12: Speaking of the Little Fella, he became the latest from our little home school to successfully move into other educational ventures. Playing for the Lewisburg Middle School seventh grade team, he made his first basket in a game at Sacred Heart’s gym. On the other end of the court–while I was still coaching middle school basketball years before–a much smaller Older Brother hung around after my game and shot a soccer ball through the hoop. It was his first make of any kind of ball on a 10-foot goal. We’re sports people. We don’t forget mileposts like that. That court’s been good to us.

Top personal moments of 2015Personal Moment #13: Every year on the first day of school, people post back-to-school photos of their kids. This year, I thought I’d get in on the action.

After 13 years away from the classroom–except for a few guest cameos–I made an unexpected return to teaching (which explains the Christmas break mentioned earlier in this post) at Northpoint Christian School. (Here’s my bio page. I’m the guy who forgot to remove his name tag for the photo. Absent-minded professor.)

You can read about my return here.

Personal Moment #14: This one won’t have a photo…at least not for a while. The Little Fella was invited to try out for a competitive baseball team. He needs the higher level of competition. We like the coaches. We like the way the organization approaches the game as…well…a game. That’s certainly not a given in today’s youth sports culture.

So with all there is to like, what’s not to like? There’s no easy way to say this….

My son plays for the Cubs. There. We’re still wondering how long we can hold our breath….

Personal Moment #15: Besides writing the next Coach Dave book over the break, I took one other long-overdue step toward a better 2016. I finally went to the chiropractor. I learned years ago that when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change, we change. So I finally broke down (ha–see what I did there?) and made an appointment with the award-winning Dr. Clay Morton at Morton Chiropractic Clinic and put myself on the road to defying my age. One of the best decisions I made all year!

Well, that’s a wrap on some of my top personal moments of 2015. I’ll have one more 15 from 15 next week when I look back at some writing and speaking highlights from the year that was.


About Al Ainsworth

Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell.

Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel, Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and the Coach Dave series. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.

One Reply

  1. Paulette Greer

    Very good!!

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