I know I said that I would be taking a break from my blog but I wanted to take the chance to, as so many others are doing, look back on my life through the course of 2016 and what a year it has been.

Here we are at the start of a brand New Year and honestly so many people seem to be ready for a fresh start and cannot wait to leave 2016 in the rear-view mirror and move forward to bigger and brighter things.

And honestly I don’t blame people for feeling like that. Between the unbelievable amount of celebrity deaths that seen some of the most legendary and iconic names in the entertainment business taken from us to an election that boiled down to a war being waged between toddlers and neither of the outcomes seemed particularly good or beneficial for the country.

And that’s on top of the continued Racial, Religious and gender issues that we face that all seem to have been kicked into high gear over the last year.

But with all that in mind, from a personal perspective I feel like I have actually had a pretty good year and want to take the opportunity to share my personal highlights from the last year, along with some of my previous posts that I wrote about these events (and, yes I am aware that this is essentially the post equivalent of a clips episode looking back on all the big moments of a TV Show and honestly, I am perfectly ok with that).

So, I would be honored if you would join me in a review of the best moments of my year and along with it some of the posts that I have written across the year.

Blog Rebirth

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I guess the first big thing that happened in 2016, and is also the reason I am even able to share this with you at all today, I decided to return to my blog officially for the first time in 2 1/2 years and I re-branded it with a new name, a new look and a slightly altered  purpose than the one that it began with.

It was honestly a way for me to write down how I was feeling, my ideas, the things that were happening in my life and share them with whoever was willing to read them. And I am almost a full year later and I have almost 100 followers who have chosen to check out what I write and consider me someone that they want to see more from and I can never state enough how grateful I am to my readers and followers.

For the first time on WordPress I also started connecting with other bloggers and have connected with their writing as well as now connecting with a number of them on social media as well, and I am grateful for those connections.

It feels like my blog can be nonsensical at times and honestly I could probably refine what I share and when I share it, but at it’s core this blog is about me, my life and my passions and if nothing else I have definitely accomplished that.

Check out my first post on the relaunched Comics and the Cross blog from back in March 2016: Some things are just Worth the Wait!

Youth Leader once again

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While in Scotland I worked as a Youth Worker with my home church for 9 years. During that time I had many highs and many lows, worked with the best team of youth worker that anyone could hope to work with and an even more amazing group of young people who I had the honor of connecting with and getting to be involved in and speak into their lives.

When I initially moved to Virginia, I met with the youth pastor of my new home church about getting involved with the youth and he recommended that I spend some time settling into America and my new marriage and see what God has prepared first. This felt like a set back initially but was actually the best advice I could have received at the time, fast forward about a year later and my wife and I knew that God had called us to stay in Richmond and we became official members of our church.

I then felt like now was the time to get involved with the amazing youth work program that they have and what an experience it has been. I have gotten to know and work with an amazing group of leaders who are so dedicated to the young people they work with, and although it has been a struggle to adapt to American youth and step into a completely new culture of youth work, I have started to get to know some of these amazing young people and already been blessed to work with them and look forward to continuing this well into 2017 and longer if God allows me to.

Going back to Scotland

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I moved to Virginia from Scotland in August 2014 and in 2o16 I return to Scotland to visit for the first time since I immigrated almost 2 years earlier.

It was a very special trip, mostly because I got to be best man at the long awaited wedding of two of my best friends. I have had the honor of both their journeys from their teen years into the man and woman that they have become today. I have seen their highs and lows, the good and the bad that they have gone through that last 12-13 years.

I have gotten to see their friendship flourish into an amazing relationship, their faith in God sprout and grow into an amazing relationship with their Lord and savior and their passion and love for people, especially the youth they lead, grow as they reach out to love, help and encourage anyone who has had the honor of meeting them.

Being able to stand beside them on their wedding day is not only one of the highlights of my year but is, and will always be, one of the highlights of my life.

I also had a chance to connect with my friends and family who I hadn’t seen in so long and who’s lives I miss getting to be part of on a daily basis. But I also had a revelation while I was there, that as home sick as I had felt for Scotland leading up to the trip, going back didn’t feel like home, it made me realize even more so that my home is now in America and this is where I am meant to be. The man that left Scotland 2 years ago, wasn’t the man that went back on that trip, and it encouraged me that God is doing so much in my life and has changed my life for the better and I am exactly where I am meant to be.

And a highlight that changed the entire trip for Hannah and I was, on the day we were leaving to fly to Scotland, we found out that Hannah was pregnant with our first child. But more about him later!

Pre-Scotland Trip: Going Home Part 1

Post-Scotland Trip: Going Home Part 2

Visiting New York and Washington D.C. again!

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In July my parents came to Virginia to spend a couple of weeks with us and Hannah, her mom and I decided to plan a special trip for them as a surprise that we presented them with on their first night with us.

We booked a long weekend trip where we would take them to New York City (a place my mum has wanted to visit all her life) and Washington D.C. (The Nation’s Capital just along the road from us and full of history which my dad adores). Hannah and I were excited as we loved both these cities (we went to NYC for our Honeymoon and D.C. for our 1 year anniversary) and loved the thought of taking my parents to visit both.

We got to see Les Misérables on Broadway the first night we were there. One of my favorite stories and such a phenomenal experience to see the Broadway production. My parents who had never seen Les Misérables and didn’t even know the story absolutely adored it. We got to take them to the top of the Empire State Building (another life long dream of my mum), take them on the Stanton Island Ferry so they could see the Statue of Liberty, visited the Cake Boss Bake Shop in New York (my mum is a big fan of Buddy) and Hannah and I also had an unintentional morning walk around NYC looking for a Jamba Juice which allowed us to visit Times Square and Rockefeller Center and I also got to take a trip to Midtown Comics, my Comic Book home while I am in NYC.

We also got to see Washington D.C. but due to the heat inside the tour bus and with Hannah being pregnant, we decided to visit the Air and Space Museum which we missed last time and Hannah’s mom took my parents to the Lincoln Memorial, the White House and we ended the day at my favorite burger house, Fudruckers.

It was a busy but amazing weekend!

My Trip to NYC and D.C.: 4 days, 2 Cities and 110 Degrees

Wizard World Richmond

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One of the highlights of my year was getting to attend my first ever Comic Con as Wizard World came to Richmond in 2016.

It was such an amazing experience and I don’t think I put into words how just how awesome an event it was and how amazing it felt to be completely surrounded by Geek Culture for a whole weekend.

The Christmas prior to this I had been gifted bags and boards as well as a collectors box and folder so that I could venture into a new hobby and officially become a comic book collector. At Wizard World I expanded my collection greatly with some amazing finds including some rare comics that I had been searching for to add to my collection. And I officially added signed comic books to my collection as I had the honor of meeting a number of comic book artists and creators whose signatures now adorn a number of the comics in my collection.

 

as well as getting to meet a number of comic book artists and creators and having them sign some of the comic books from my collection as well.

 

 

 

I also had the pleasure of meeting a number of celebrities and getting their signatures on a few collectibles for my collection including; WWE Wrestler AJ Styles, Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, God’s Not Dead), one of my childhood heroes, Jason David Frank (the Green/White Ranger from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) and the celebrity highlight for me, Jewel Staite (Firefly/Serenity, Stargate Atlantis) and I only got star struck with AJ and Jewel which isn’t bad for my first Con.

Check out my posts about my time at Wizard World below:

Wizard World Comic Con Part 1

Wizard World Comic Con Part 2

Writing Again

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2016 was a year of writing for me because not only did I relaunch this blog but I also sought to return to my often sidelined Graphic Novel. I have been working on the overall story for this Graphic Novel for at least the better part of a decade (if not longer, I have lost track completely to be honest) yet I have never seemed to be able to write out a script longer than the first few major scenes. But this year, that all changed.

I re-imagined a number of my characters seeking to diversify them more than they were and to also pull them further away from the people the characters were inspired by and allow them to stand on their own two feet. This also allowed me to alter some characters and remove those characters that really were just taking up space. I also have begun to write initial back stories for each of the main characters so I know more of who they are and where they came from when in the past decade only two, maybe three, had insightful histories.

And I also started writing my script over again, and although I will need to alter some of it due to the diversity and back stories that I have developed for some of the characters, I have written more of my story down than I ever have in the past and actually feel like seeing my Graphic Novel published is an attainable goal.

I will hopefully be able to keep you updated on how my Graphic Novel is progressing and not too far off in the future, let you know where you can purchase it.

Time to pick up the Pen for Real (And for Good)

Is Diversity Important in Writing?

My Son was Born!

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And my final, and biggest, highlight of 2016.

I had the pleasure of ending this year wit the birth of my son, Matthew.

Honestly, it is so hard to explain just how such a tiny little person can totally change your life but Matthew has definitely done that for me. I was just talking with Hannah this morning and saying how when I think back to before we had Matthew, our lives seemed so quiet and I honestly cannot imagine what my life would be like without this amazing little guy in it now.

He is now over 1 month old, celebrated his first Christmas and New Years, met a number of his family, including from Scotland, in person and over Skype. He has grown 2 inches and is 2 lbs heavier than his birth weight.

He has a fascination for sucking, whether it be a pacifier, his hands, or his bottles and sometimes even two of those things at once. He loves Sarah McLachlan and her music helps to soothe him when he is crying. He is really smart and strong and had started trying to roll over and lift his head when he was just a couple of weeks old.

He is an absolute blessing in my life and I am so proud to be his father. I am sure that you will see many, many more posts about him in the near future.

Check out some more post about me becoming a dad below:

 

I’m going to be a Dad!

Life Update – A Busy Week!

Good, Good Father

Life Update – Writing, No Shave November and a New Baby Arrives!

 

Well that pretty much wraps up my 2016. How was your 2016, was it as bad as most peoples seems to be or did you have a pretty good year? What are you looking forward to in the year to come as we venture into 2017?

 

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