36 Random Thoughts For A Brand-New Year

In two days, it will be 2023. In six days, I will be 36. Yes, we’re about to enter a brand-new year and I’m about to be a year older. So, in anticipation of the brand-new year in front of us (and in pre-celebration of my upcoming birthday), I give to you 36 observations (in no particular order) about myself, life, and the Lord…

  1. I love Ramen noodles; and one package of Ramen is best cooked with a reduced amount of water (2 cups max). Add a raw egg over the noodles, and boil for 30 seconds, and you’re asking for a perfect sensation of Asian goodness in a bowl.
  2. Life is certainly hard, it’s harder if you’re stupid. Don’t be stupid.
  3. God is a joyful God who loves to give joy to His people. Indeed, “the joy of the LORD is [my] strength.”
  4. My favorite color is maroon (the color of fire and fury), but my favorite color combination is black and gold (the color combination of the U.S. Army and the Iowa Hawkeyes).
  5. Before I preach, I have at least two cups of coffee (pitch black, nothing added to it) and I listen to the song, “Well Done” by The Afters. Why this song? I always want to keep the finish line in view before I proclaim the finish line to my people at Prairie Flower Baptist Church.
  6. As my Dad frequently reminds me (and my other siblings), God is always good, there are no accidents, and pain has a purpose.
  7. I love to write. Writing allows me to clear my head, sort through my thoughts, and refine patches in my thinking.
  8. My wife is amazing. She cares for me, prays for me, and is loyal to the very end. Indeed, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” I found a good thing in Heather Cotner.
  9. The grand purpose of life is to glorify the Lord and to enjoy Him now and forever.
  10. I’ve only been stung by a bee once. I was a kid and had swatted a bee in the garage. I was curious and decided to go and pick it up to take a closer look at the flying menace. When I tried to pick it up, the bee’s stinger bit my finger and got lodged in-between my nail and finger. Don’t try to pick up dead bees with your fingers.
  11. Life is filled with both dark and bright strokes of color. Learning to paint with both colors is truly an artform.
  12. God has been better to me than I deserve. The longer I live, and the more mistakes I rack up, the more grateful I am that God has been (and will continue to be) merciful and gracious to me.
  13. I love to wear hats, but they have to fit just right. I don’t like boxy hats. The perfect hat (for me) fits snuggly on my head with no bumps or ridges.
  14. When I watch my daughter, Ann-Marie, perform her ballet, I’m literally moved to tears. She is naturally pretty clumsy, but when she dances, she is remarkably elegant and graceful. It’s beautiful to watch my daughter dance.
  15. God called me into the Gospel ministry when I was a young teenager. I’m now 9 years into my first pastorate. What a joy to be called by God, and Prairie Flower Baptist Church, into pastoral ministry.
  16. I am, by nature, a very serious, sad, and somber person, but my wife has the unique ability to bring out the fun, happy, and spontaneous side of me. It’s hard to get these vibes out of me, but she’s a pro at getting me to simply chill.
  17. Brothers are the best. I have two brothers, Steven & Samuel, and they’re literally my best friends. We text every day and when we’re together, we laugh, we talk, and give each other a hard time, but all in the best ways.
  18. Adopting Derrick was one of the greatest adrenaline experiences of my life. Flying out to Arizona, holding him for the first time…Wow…I don’t believe in magic, but meeting my adopted son was as close to magic in this life that I’ve ever experienced.
  19. My daughter Aurora is crazy…Crazy fun…She lives in the moment and is a hurricane of emotions, but she adds that spiciness to our family that keeps things interesting – very interesting.
  20. My oldest son, David, is David Paul Cotner IV. I have a not-so-secret desire that if he has a boy in the future that he will name him David Paul Cotner V. Wouldn’t that be cool?
  21. I love sushi. My favorite restaurant is Three Samurai in Coralville, IA. Check them out!
  22. On my bucket list are several items, to include writing a novel.
  23. My favorite outdoor chore is mowing grass. My least favorite? Shoveling snow.
  24. God is a holy God. That is, He is completely separated from sin and sinners. I can’t even begin to imagine a life without sin. What a day it will be when we hear the angels sing out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!”
  25. The Bible is far from boring. Those preachers who bore people with the Bible need to either up their game or get out of the game. The Bible is fascinating. Preach like it’s fascinating!
  26. I don’t understand Maid-Rite sandwiches. The loose meat is weird to me.
  27. Coke is better than Pepsi.
  28. I don’t think I’ve actually ever experienced loneliness. I’m introverted by nature and like to be alone, but people are always wanting to be around me.
  29. Iraq was life changing for me. Indeed, combat zones will change you forever.
  30. Everyone has a unique story to tell, filled with pain and pleasure. Though introverted by nature, I love to hear people’s stories.
  31. Loyalty, coupled with humility, are traits I value most in other people.
  32. Life is like a box of chocolates. So, you can always expect a nasty salted caramel or two in the batch.
  33. God is a giver of good gifts, and He has given me so many rich gifts. Thank you, Lord!
  34. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
  35. Teamwork is best accomplished with everyone striving for the same standard of excellence.
  36. Jesus is coming back. May He come back soon! Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come in 2023…

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