The past few weeks have held departures and arrivals, goodbyes and hellos, painful emotions and joyful ones…all of it culminating here. Here, where I sit at my dining room table surrounded by a vase of gorgeous flowers and a handful of scattered thoughts and a jar of delicious Nutella (not pictured). There are far worse Monday evenings out there, for sure.
Confession: before returning home (the American one) for the holiday season, it crossed my mind that maybe I wouldn’t want to leave again. Suddenly, I was a little nervous that January 6th would arrive and I would be clinging desperately to Texas. And so I felt very blessed (and very relieved) when none of those feelings materialized. As bittersweet as it is to leave that home, returning to this home has been full and good and ultimately peaceful.
I’ve returned to a new rhythm of life for the next several months. At Kasana, New Hope runs the Institute of Childcare and Family, a five-month course designed to equip and disciple those working with in ministry with orphaned children. Since I so often feel inadequate in walking with the kids I have relationship here, I’m very much looking forward to the learning and growth that will go along with this time. In the interest of Full Missionary Disclosure, however, this is not a perfect and rose-colored path that I walk. So often, my heart still struggles. There are distractions, heart problems, and deeply rooted lies that still pull me down. (I wish people in ministry were somehow exempt from that.)
On Saturday, as I waited for a particularly hard week to end, a dear friend and neighbor showed up at my door. We spent the late morning talking and listening, crying and praying (okay, the crying was me and the praying was her). Later, an iced coffee and a note was also brought to my door, with Psalm 84:5 attached:
“Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.”
There is profound solace in those words. I love that the Jesus I cling to showers blessings upon those who are weak; I love that He fills us with His strength when we are most needy; I love that our hearts must be set on pilgrimage. Pilgrimage—“a journey to a holy place.” My heart is on a desperate and beautiful pilgrimage. And again and again, I am reminded that the journey is still incomplete.
In the meantime, I find myself dwelling in a multitude of contradictions. Weakness and strength; doubt and faith; pain and joy. But my heart is set on pilgrimage. And I choose to trust the One who walks with me.
It was not a year of quantity regarding books. But some of these stand out to me like boulders that made my path clear. As always, this is not a list of book endorsements. I do not necessarily recommend all of the following.
The Ballad of the White Horse by G.K. Chesterton*
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling*
Magic by G.K. Chesterton
Defiant Joy (The Remarkable Life and Impact of G.K. Chesterton) by Kevin Belmonte
The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak (a boulder-book; a thing of beauty)
Tales from Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Song of Roland translated by Leonard Bacon
Master of the World by Jules Verne
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley*
What’s Wrong With the World by G.K. Chesterton
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
The Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul by Douglas Adams
The Poets Laureate Anthology compiled by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt (a boulder-book; a collection of fire and ash)
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (almost a boulder; this small story spoke to me of humanity and communication)
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
Dune by Frank Herbert
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Julius Caesar by Shakespeare
Star Trek: Federation by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
King Lear by Shakespeare
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
A Window in Thrums by J.M. Barrie
Mathematics in Western Culture by Morris Kline
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
A Continuous Harmony by Wendell Berry (a boulder-book; this was my first time reading Wendell Berry and it tied together some important loose ends of my life)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling*
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey
Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams
Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
The Catbird’s Song by Richard Wilbur
Q’s Legacy by Helene Hanff
A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card
Songmaster by Orson Scott Card
Christianity for Modern Pagans (Pascal’s Pensees) by Peter Kreeft (a boulder-book; a work of apologetics infused with love and honesty)
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Persuasion by Jane Austen*
Station Island by Seamus Heaney
*denotes previously read
There are many board game designers and companies in Austin. Big ones like Steve Jackson Games (of Munchkin Fame) and Fireside Games (of Castle and Dead Panic Fame) and small ones like Albino Dragon and unpublished designers like me. Because of this I started the Austin Board Game Designers and Play Testers Facebook and Meetup Groups. If you live in Austin you should join both.
Greater Than Games (GTG) just canceled their latest Kickstarter 2 days before it would have ended. They were at 70% and moving slowly. So should they have canceled? Should they restart? Here are 7 reasons that I think it struggled and why they should restart half of the campaign.
1. December and January are the 2 slowest months on Kickstarter. The other project I’m following this month is also struggling despite having a huge following.
2. No videos and lack of response in the comments. 8 out of 92 comments was made by GTG by my count the last being on December 18th. This showed a lack of interest. I have been following GTG’s last few campaigns and this one was the only one where I felt they didn’t have their heart in it. I understand they were spread too thin with all of the other stuff they were working on like the Sentinels of the Multiverse iPhone game, Steam Version of Sentinels of the Multiverse, shipping Wrath of Cosmos, prepping for PAX South and Christmas. I just think they picked a bad time of year for everyone.
3. One good project pulled down by one bad project. By running these campaigns together GTG had to have a higher goal and thus only funded 70%. Also it was a little confusing. Was this a game, comic book or both. Personally my brothers and I don’t like storytelling games but love the idea of a comic book for Sentinels. If you look at your numbers some wanted just the game (63 backers), more wanted just the comic (107 backers) and most wanted both (507 backers). That sounds like most wanted both but I think that many of the 507 who backed for both really just wanted the comic. They only backed for both because they wanted it to fund and that was the highest level (at $35). The only way to really test this theory is to run them separately starting with the comic because it got more individual backs and has has more chatter about people wanting it. I would not be much of a risk for GTG to try again with only the comic.
4. Lack of Sentinels of the Multiverse Promos. Most of campaigns GTG runs gives you promos for Sentinels of the Multiverse as a reward for backing them on Kickstarter. Some people would back just for those. These promos would only really make sense in the comic campaign.
5. Lack of high dollar levels. GTG had enough backers (688) to fund this if they each backer was giving more than just $10 for the PDF of the comic. High level pledges can bring in the extra funds needed to get people excited about the project getting funded. Also if they separated the projects and only did the comic book they could have a lower goal needing fewer backers and money.
6. Shipping killed them. Because the levels were so low and the shipping was so high people didn’t think it was worth it. Also US backers (for better or worse) expect free shipping (or included shipping) when backing projects. Because they saw how high shipping was they had to think twice before backing.
7. They ended the project before the 48 hour magic could happen. Most projects (especially if they reach 70% like GTG’s did) will get most of their funding in the last few days. Lots of people were waiting to get one last paycheck after Christmas before spending money on a Kickstarter campaign.
This may sound like I just really want the comic to come out but rest assured it only sounds that way because that is the truth. I really like the idea of a comic with my favorite Sentinels of the Multiverse characters in it. I love the Sentinels universe and I feel like others do to. It’s not that people didn’t want to pay for a comic. GTG just picked a time of the year when on one has extra money to back Kickstarter projects. If they were to relaunch in April or May with a good video and link to the existing comic (with no other projects jumbled in with it) I think it would succeed. A lower goal will give backers more confidence the project will fund. GTG shouldn’t give up but instead relaunch in a few months with these changes.
Didn’t read the post? It’s ok I only skim blog posts to. Here is what you missed.
- Project William liked was canceled so he gave seven reasons why they failed.
- Project failed because of bad timing.
- GTG didn’t show they cared about the project.
- GTG should have separated the to projects.
- No promos or high $ backer levels hurt them.
- Shipping killed them and they gave up to soon.
- Most importantly GTG should relaunch the comic book by itself in a few months with a video and show that they care.