2012: A Year in Review

In many ways, 2012 was a big year for me. Here are 12 stand-out events…

01 – January :: Improbable Philanthropy
I started working with Al Andrews (“The Improbable Philanthropist”) this time last year and began dreaming up ways to give away a lot of money. We created an entirely new brand with the help of Matt Lehman and SkörInc. We committed to a project-based approach and in the spring, launched The Lift Project for Thistle Farms.

Here’s a photo from my journal when we first started dreaming up the new website…

02 – February :: A Private Jet to Oklahoma City
Steve Moakler and I have some dear friends in Oklahoma City. They invited us to come perform at an event in February and were kind enough to send their private jet to Nashville to pick us up. What a weekend!

03 – March :: Arizona
My dad has a house in Arizona that Katie and I love to visit. We spent several days over spring break with our two nieces, which is one of our favorite ways to spend our time.

04 – April :: Being a Kid Again
I finished Love Does in a single day, which changed the way I think about my life.
I started saying things like “what if we…” more often.
I started dreaming without reserve.
I started to be like a kid again.

My friends and I would play mini-golf in the house for hours, dreaming up new holes…

05 – May :: Thistle Farms Graduation
I have come to love the women of Thistle Farms. They have taught me how to love without judgement. That kind of love heals everybody. My favorite part of the graduation was when people stood up for “12 years clean … 11 years … 5 years …” and the applause for “1 day clean” was as loud and supportive as any of them.

Consider aiding in the restoration of my friends with your purchase of soap, lotion, chapstick, and several other products.

06 – June :: Donald Miller
I left my position at Apple for the opportunity to work with one of my heroes, Donald Miller. His book A Million Miles was a major inspiration for Steve and I when we created Free the Birds. Getting to work with Don hand-in-hand the past several months has been a dream come true.

07 – July :: “Play You Down”
Jeff Venable filmed the second one-take for our “Rudy Sessions” video series. This time, we took it to the yard. Watch “Play You Down” here.

08 – August :: Boston
My mom and I both have our hand in marketing. In August, we met at a conference and spent the entire week together. We had sessions all day and then walked around Boston together every night. It was a trip I’ll never forget.

09 – September :: Abolition International
We partnered with our friends at Abolition International to raise funds for their organization. They lined up several celebrities to custom design our birdhouses, which will then be auctioned off in the next several months. So far, the list includes: Sara Bareilles, Little Big Town, Sugarland, the Avett Brothers, Amy Grant, Grace Potter, and The Fray.

Steve performed at Abolition’s annual banquet and shared a bit of the vision of Free the Birds…

10 – October :: Minneapolis
As you may know, my dad has been going through stage 4 cancer the past few years. He had liver surgery in October and I was able to spend a week with him in Minneapolis as he was recovering. Since then, he’s had two more lung surgeries and has hardly missed a day of work throughout the entire process. He’s one of the toughest guys I know! I’m thankful to have a job that allows me to work wherever I have internet access – whether that’s at a coffee shop in Nashville or in my dad’s living room in Minneapolis.

Can you believe this was only a week after liver surgery?! He looks amazing.

11 – November :: The Lift Launch
Back in January, Al and I started dreaming of ways to give away a lot of money. The opportunity presented itself to help our friends at Thistle Farms. After several online orders and an incredible morning [with Al speaking] at Cross Point, The Lift Project was completely funded. Check out the project film by Eric Staples here.

Say goodbye to carrying heavy boxes up and down the stairs – we’ve got a lift now!

12 – December :: Just Say “Yes
In Love Does, Bob Goff tells about how his life changed when he started saying “yes” to things. I have to admit, my natural inclination sometimes leans more to a “no” than a “yes.” When I realized that, I started to make some changes.

On December 12, Jeremy Cowart tweeted “I’m eating lunch here at 12:30 today. Who wants to join me?” attaching a photo of restaurant a mile from my house. “Why not?!” I thought. A few hours later, I’m sitting at a table with Jeremy, a few old friends, and a few new friends, all of us hoping to get an ounce of inspiration from the man who never runs out of amazing ideas.

This photo is a reminder of what can happen when you just say “yes.”


Project :: Storyline Small Group Video
Collaborating with friends is always a lot of fun. I was thrilled with the video we were able to put together. Special thanks to Jeff Venable for this one.

Book :: Love Does by Bob Goff

Album :: “Felt” by Nils Frahm

Video :: Caine’s Arcade


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