2013 has been a good blogging year.

Moving from the completely packed schedule and lifestyle of working with The Simple Way in Philly to working a 30 hour work week with Common Change in Oakland meant that i had a lot more time and opportunity to write [at least until i started working as the youth leadery guy at Re:Gen church and things got a little busy again] this year. I also cut down from the two blogs to focus on Irresistibly Fish and also had a bit of a revelati0nary revolution moment a month or so ago where i transitioned to really trying to write what i really wanted to and trying to steer clear of writing for the sake of writing. i also cut down on the stat watching, which can be an unhelpful motivator and am just trying to write more solid and effective posts, and also to share more of me.

So this is just a summary of some of the best and most enjoyable and most popular and thought provoking posts of 2013 and the opportunity to catch up on some you may have missed. I really appreciate those of you who read and like and share and write encouraging things along the way – this really has felt like a journey we are doing together so thank you. And i REALLY REALLY love it when people comment and add their thoughts and start conversations in the comments section after a post and am hoping for more of that in 2014 – trying to find ways of wrestling with tough issues together or sharing funny stories with each other or whatever it is.

So here we go – a selection of some of the posts that stood out for me [and maybe you] in 2013:

MOST PERSONAL – it’s hard to look back over a whole year’s worth of posts and pick the most anything post but definitely in recent times it was the series i am still busy writing, titled ‘The Serious Quest for Funny’ that started out as me trying to figure out why i was struggling to write funny and ended up as a bit of an autobiographical story-telling which included some stories [the bit about being bullied for example and the failed cricketing career] that i have never told anyone before. The length of it meant a lot of people didn’t read it, which was fine, because i think that one became mostly for me, but reading it will give you some greater insight as to how serious i view my funny. The second one that comes to mind was titled ‘A Kiss Before Dying’ and was influenced by the sad and way too soon death of my beautiful cousin Laura who lost the battle to cancer [shortly after she got married] prompting me to write something reminding us to find ways of saying the things we say at funerals about people to those people before they die. Ah, and who could forget this straight-out-of-a-movie speed-defying dash from and to an airport in the quest to find Val’s lost wedding ring before she stepped on to the plane out of South Africa, titled ‘How to make this man cry at an airport’.

MOST POPULAR SERIESWhile the Taboo Topics series on my blog remains my favourite and really has felt powerful in seeing people share personal  stories of rarely spoken about experiences [such as losing a child, infertility, raising a child when it isn’t all that easy, singleness, abortion etc], there was a series towards the end of the year where i invited some friends of mine to share stories of ‘How to Raise your Children as World Changers’ and this was immensely popular and brought forward some incredibly inspiring ideas worth passing on to anyone you know who is trying to raise young children as human beings who really make a difference in their world. Whether you have children or not, this is a series that is worth taking a look at just to be inspired and encouraged at what some people are doing.

MOST POPULAR POST – This one was one of the posts from the Raising your Children as World Changers series and it completely blew away every other post on my blog this year with double the views on every other post except for one [which was an introduction to a different series] and it was from my fairly new friend [who i am looking forward to meeting face to face in just under two weeks time] Nigel Branken and his family who moved into Hillbrow as they felt called by God to live in a difficult area and be part of the change they wanted to see there. So Meet Nigel and Trish Branken and the rest of their family. 

RUNNER UP POPULAR POST AND SERIES – This post, which was titled ‘How to save a marriage [before you need to]’ is actually from 2012 and has found a lot of airplay this year largely due to me adding links to it in a lot of Relevant Magazine articles i have seen on Relationships, and yes, i translate Paul’s ‘be all things to all people in order to win some‘ to mean ‘spam your weblinks around when you are advertising some really great writings of other people’ – This was a series where I asked a whole bunch of my married friends to share one piece of advice about something that helped grow and strengthen their marriage and so there were a lot of different flavours from a  variety of different people who have been married for different lengths of time.

ROUNDING UP THE TOP FIVE WITH SOME TABOOS – interestingly enough, many of the next popular posts of the year were Taboo Topic related. The intro to the Singleness stories continues to be really popular and is the 3rd most read post on my blog ever which tells you something. That was followed by the intro to Sex in Marriage which people were really interested in [you think?] and which i could still use some stories for [married people friends of mine?] and then thirdly the Parents of young children [when it hasn’t been all that easy] post by my friend Candi Bradley who has really just exploded into her writing this year, sharing some amazing pieces with me as well as getting her personal blog up and running and being asked to write and speak at various places. You should check this one out.

WALK THROUGH THE BIBLE: In my attempts to be more regular in my Bible reading, i have used blogging to help keep me partially accountable and invited others to wander through the Bible with me.  I am currently about to start chapter 13 in my walk through the Gospel of Mark which has taken the form of a series of 3 to 8 minute videos as i work from passage to passage titled ‘Mark, my words’. I am also doing a written walk through the Psalms and just recently started a new series where i look at a selection of My favourite verses in the Bible and explain why i find them helpful or challenging.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Other posts that stand out for me as i look over the stats of this last year include Bono’s ‘Jesus doesn’t let you off the hook’this great community compiled list of ‘Questions to ask round the dinner table [particularly if you have children] and the incredible post share i was given permission for of  ‘a letter, from Magda Pecsenye, to her sons about stopping rape’, which, whether you have children or not is an excellent read; and lastly the inspirational share by my friend Uel Maree, who was paralysed in a diving accident and yet has demonstrated so much hope and life and humour as he has dealt with his new look life since then in this ‘Sharing Dreams: Meet Uel Maree’ post.

FUNNIEST POSTS: As i am still trying to find my funny when it comes to writing blog posts, i had to mostly rely on Stephan Pastis, creator of Pearls before Swine, my favourite comic strip and the most popular strip of his i shared this year was titled ‘Fasting Morons’ while i now have a collection of his strips which i enjoy stored over here if his humour is something you resonate with. However, this piece entitled Cloud Man from my old ‘Weekly Mash’ blog still never fails to make me smile or laugh out loud. And while i have not come up with any new ones for a while, my dabbling with Jack Handeyesque humour from time to time occasionaly has led to a gem or two which i store on my Brett Andy blog. My alter ego, Brad Fish, has been a little less regular with his video series on ‘Dangerous Things you can Least Expect’ although he has a small but loyal following of people and so i keep whipping those out from time to time – i feel like i completely peaked with this one i did on there being too much violins in the world [with the solution being more sax obviously] with the most recent one being a complete explanation of that amazing song and video ‘What the Fox says’ – so lots of silly fun [if you’re just discovering DTYCLE and find that you like them there is now an archive with 25 different episodes]

POSTS THAT FLEW BENEATH THE RADAR: Lastly, if i look at the stats, there are some posts i did that didn’t get much viewing that i thought or hoped would be more popular [there can be many reasons for this and often it is simply because it was a busy time and no one saw it] and so i would like to highlight some that i wished more people had seen:

Let’s start with the controversial ‘Manchester United beat poverty by three goals to hunger’ which made some people very angry with me, which is great cos it means conversation happened – any time i suggest sports people [and i think the same about actors, politicians, CEOs, pastors] get paid disgusting amounts of money, people get cross with me and it’s usually christians which i don’t think i will ever understand [just how vehemently people can defend some of those salaries when people are dying with nothing – my brain is not big enough to fit around that one]

Talking about struggling to write funny stuff on my blog, i guess i could just transpose all the accent misunderstandings that have happened in my preaching time like the time half the church heard me say ‘God, You’re hot’ [Guard your heart] or the time i literally told people that ‘No-one comes to church with their junk hanging out’

Obviously a significant year and time for all of us in South Africa [and the world] with Nelson Mandela passing on and there was so much being written and shared that it is not surprising that the piece i wrote, ‘The Greatest man who ever lived? A tribute to Nelson Mandela’ was missed by many.

This piece on ‘What makes Jesus sadder’ was a reflective piece which was very helpful for me, and might be good for a bunch of you to read as well.

And lastly, this piece called ‘Things i would love for you to know’ and its follow up piece i was really hoping more people would read and share with others, but for some reason didn’t.

So there you have it, there has obviously been a whole lot more but i have enjoyed writing and sharing and wrestling with you and so thank you to all of you who do spend time here and i hope this is a place that encourages and challenges and inspires and makes you laugh. I do hope we will have more engagement and interaction in 2014 and i will continue to try and write and share pieces that will add to your lives. If you find stuff that you like or find helpful, i always appreciate it being shared on your social networks so thanks for helping spread the word.

Last thing i want to point out in case you have missed it, is the tabs at the top of my blog which store some of the most important things and give easy-to-find access to topics such as Relationships and Taboo Topics, The Bible  and Funoh and since getting my Nexus Tablet i have started getting more creative and writing some poetry again which has been great and which you can find here with this and disappointment/disappointed being two that stood out in recent time.

See you in 2014… or later today and tomorrow and then 2014…