As I considered this past year and the things I've learned, people I've met (online and offline) via this blog, and other online formats, I was almost overcome with such a sense of being blessed by these people, and/or their online presence in general.
News sites always post their year end "top stories", so this is sort of a take-off of that. Call it Top Blessers, or Top Influencers, if you want to. But in no particular order, this following list contains the names/sites of people that have had a positive influence on me, in one way or another, and why. Some of them, might even surprise you. Some of them, I would easily be able to engage in a heated theological debate with - as we just don't agree in key areas.
Some of these names aren't even on my public blogroll, but I read them all the same. Some of them you know, others you probably don't. I'm not going to list every person but I'm going to list the ones that really stand out to me. It's going to take me a long time to list them all, because there are just so many. But it's worth it.
So, without further delay, here are the people who made the most impact on me, in 2005:
There are really so many more names & urls I could add to this list. There have been so many people that have had a profound impact on my life this year, that it would be impossible for me to remember all of them, and all the details. It's been an amazing year for me, in areas of spiritual growth, changes in our homelife circumstances, and maturity in personal growth as well.
• Steph @ Growing Pains. Stephanie is a babe in Christ, but you might not know that from reading her blog. She's the same age as my oldest daughter, and she's been a blessing to me in so many ways, it'd be hard to list them all. I'm just glad she's my friend.
• Frank @ ...and his ministers a flame of fire. I first "met" Frank quite some time ago in James White's chat channel #prosapologian. It wasn't until I read this post at his blog, that I really started reading his blog on a regular basis. You need to read it too.
• Adrienne @ Journeying... by Grace Alone. This is one lady who wears her heart on her sleeve, for her children. She's been blessed abundantly this year with a wonderful little boy that her family adopted, and reading her account of the trials and joys they faced as they went through this, was just incredible.
• Daniel @ Duologos. There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
• Kim @ The Upward Call. I have had the pleasure of meeting Kim offline twice now. The first time was this past summer at a local coffee shop, and then just a few weeks ago we had them over to our home, for lunch. Kim (and her husband Neil, aka bugblaster) are like kindered spirits to Kev and I. The Lord has seen fit to really bless us with their friendship, and fellowship.
• David @ The Thirsty Theologian. I first met David early in 2005, and was immediately struck with not only his love for solid theology, but his ability to make me "lol" for real, and often. If you're not a regular reader of David's blog, you should be.
• Libbie @ Musings of an English Muffin. First of all, Libbie's blog is pink. And I don't just mean pink, I mean PINK. It takes a lot of moxxie for a lady to go that pink. I discovered Libbie's blog when Phil Johnson linked to both of us and placed us in his own category of "convivial". I think Libbie was already there before I was, but since he listed me there too, I figured I'd go read the other convivial blogs to see if we were alike. Libbie is an British sister, and her perspective on cultural trends & evanjellybeans is priceless.
• Phil @ Pyromaniac. I would be remiss to leave Phil out of this list, since he's likely had the most impact on me via the blogosphere. For some strange reason probably only understood by Wrigley his Beagle, Phil's blogspotting has often included this blog - and then he went and gave me a permament spot on his blogroll. Phil is... well he's Phil (what more can I say that blogspotting-hounds haven't already tried?). I'm honored to be one of the homeschool moms he links to.
• Denise @ SurphSide. I first met Denise a little over 2 years ago, and we hit it off almost immediately. She's one of the very few people in this world that I agree with on all issues over the 95% range. It may even be higher than that, but I'm being conservative. Her passion for sound doctrine, combined with her sharp sense of humor, makes her one of the "fun people" in my world.
• Tim @ challies.com. Most of my readers are also likely challies.com readers as well, so you know who Tim is, and what he's all about. I've only known Tim for a little over a year, but he's been a bigger inspiration and encouragment to me, than he likely even realizes. He actually trusts me to moderate his forums (what was he thinking?) and also contribute to his community blog. I look forward to the GTA Evangelical Bloggers Brunch next month, where many of us will finally get to meet face to face. Oh yes, and we're going to record Tim eating his lunch, for a webcast later on.
• Rebecca @ Rebecca Writes. I would guess that anyone who is a regular reader of Rebecca's blog, reads for the same reason. Her love for theology & sound doctrine shines through her blog like a refreshing beacon in a murky world. Rebecca was one of the very first blogs I added to my favorites, and the more I read, the more I keep coming back.
• Michael @ Historic Baptist Doctrine. I've known Michael for many years, and if there is one thing I admire about him more than any other, is his boldness for Christ. The Lord has done a remarkable work of transformation in Michael's life, and he dedicates his heart, and his mind to serving Him. If you want fancy-dan fluff-answers, don't come to Michael. If you want "tell it like it is" Michael's your man. He and I disagree in some things, but even in that disagreement, he remains one of the most influential people in my life, year after year (this past year being no exception).
• Darryl @ Dash House. Now this one might surprise you. Darryl is unapologetically sympathetic to the emergent church movement, while I am diametrically opposed to pretty much 98% of what they're all about. Some may even say Darryl himself is 'emergent'. Either way, of all the people that have responded to my critique of EC at ENo, Darryl has by far been the most gracious, and Christlike example of someone who can disagree and do it with dignity.
I started this post several days ago and today, Christmas Day 2005, while there has been a lull in the activity around here, I wanted to finish this off and share it with you all.