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Well, in thinking over all the things I have to be grateful about from this past year, one stands out above all others. Like Time’s “YOU” person of the year, YOU indeed are something I’m most grateful for.

I’ve moved, just recently, to thinking of myself as a writer, not “just” a blogger, though I’m not sure there is a lot of difference. The point is, I have come to see that I have a gift, one that I was mostly unaware of. Sure, I knew I could do good technical writing, but I had no idea I could write with a modicum of wit and satire.

In any event, I would surely not have realized it, had it not been for you, who read this blog with some regularity. Some of you have been with me from the start, and some of you are very recent additions to this family of thinkers. Each and every one of you is important to me, and I value your visits. Some of you comment regularly, and some not at all. Those of you whom I don’t know because of that fact, I value just as much.

I recall  the beginning of this blog in March of 2008, when I was ecstatic to have a hundred readers a week. That slowly, and I do mean, tortuously so, crept up literally one by one it seemed. In a year’s time, I had around 30,000 visitors. Then things veritably took off like a rocket.

Today, I often flirt with 1,000 visitors a day, and we have now been viewed by 190 separate countries. And, most countries have multiple visits. We have lots of friends stopping by from Canada and the UK of course, but Germany and Italy, India and Australia, the Philippines and Brazil are big followers. I have no clue if they are expatriates from the US or if some foreigners think I reflect a certain point of view in America which they find important.

You, with your utter support, which has always been unconditional in its tone, have allowed me to grow as a writer, pushing my envelope and exploring my talent. I am not yet sure what God wishes me to do with this talent, but I am thrilled to be learning my craft. There have been times when I wondered if my voice was heard, and you have always said yes, and encouraged me onward.

Of unspeakable value have been those of you who also blog. Your reasons for blogging may be similar to mine, or entirely different. You may blog on similar topics, or ones utterly foreign to me. Yet I have found so much wisdom and humor, so much passion that it has pushed me to work harder and think deeper at every turn.

There are so many to thank, I know not where to start frankly. On any given day, I can be completely transfixed by one or more of you. You have been my teachers, some of you. Some of you know more about writing that I can ever acquire. Many of you challenge my opinions, and tease me out of simplistic conclusions.

I am always a bit crestfallen when I read a comment from a new visitor and discover they don’t have a blog. For that is a missed opportunity to engage with a new person, a person full of ideas and dreams, who undoubtedly has much to offer us all. I can only hope they continue commenting so I can get to know them a bit better.

There are those that say that Internet “chatting” and all our Facebooking, Myspacing, and such, create false relationships. They are ways of avoiding real life and real people. That can be the case, but I don’t think it has to be. I think many of us care quite deeply about each other, and we are genuinely concerned with the ups and downs of each other’s lives. I make no apologies for my blogging friends, they are as real to me as the one’s I meet face to face.

The Internet remains the best place for international conversation on the issues of our day. Or the interests of our lives. We can share, discuss, argue, reject, embrace, and modify ideas on any subject under the sun. We can learn, in a nut shell. No doubt we must be careful in our sourcing, and in our evaluating of the information we acquire this way, but that is to say no more than we must do the same as to books and magazines and TV.

I hope that each and every one of you has a marvelous new year. Some of you are struggling as we look to this new dawn. Some will be mourning, some will be in fear. Some will be holding on as tightly as they know how, to Jesus. Some of you will be celebrating, and are full of hope. Some of you are young and full of expectation, some of you are old and full of remembrance while savoring the moment. Most of us are somewhere in between.

We travel the world, or our own small plots of land. We are all together, like it or not on this small blue ball traveling in the outskirts of a fairly nondescript galaxy. We sink or swim together, like it or not as well. I thank you for participating in this “community of ideas” and look forward to more conversation in the year to come.

Blessings, and Happy New YEAR!

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