The Best of 2016 From April Yamasaki

As I look back on 2016, I’m so grateful for all of you readers–thank you for liking, sharing, commenting, emailing, following incognito, faithfully reading every article, or just dipping in here and there–THANK YOU!

It’s always a guessing game to know what articles will most resonate with readers, but hindsight is 20/20, and according to the number of views, below are the articles that have received the most attention in 2016. Surprise, surprise, one of these gold star articles was actually written and published the year before, and my #1 for 2016 zoomed past everything else to become my all-time most popular post.

In case you missed any of these, below are the links to my top posts for 2016 with some brief explanation:

gold_star

#10 – Preach It, Sister!

An article on Philip’s four prophesying daughters in Acts 21:9 plus an early experience when I was invited to be the first woman to preach at a local church.

#9 – How to Meditate on Psalm 23 and Have Fun at the Same Time

I had fun writing a paraphrase of Psalm 23 highlighting the letter “G.” Since then, this contemplative writing exercise has caught on with others, including Phyllis Ramer, whose version using the letter “P” appears in the Canadian Mennonite, November 7, 2016:

The Lord is my provider.
I possess all the provision I need.
He persuades me to prostrate myself in plush pastures.
He pilots me beside peaceful waters.
He purifies my soul.
He points me along perfect paths for his precious name.
Even though I proceed through perilous passages,
I will not panic because of the perceived posers
of the Prince of Darkness.
Your presence permeates my person.
Your parenting and protection provide for my well-being.
You prepare a party for me in the presence of my perpetrators.
You pour promises into my soul.
My cup pours over profusely.
Surely your probity and your passion will pursue me,
all the days of my pilgrimage.
And I will permanently reside in your presence forever.

#8 – When You Work for the Church:
the good, the bad and the ugly, and how we can all do better

Last year at this time, my husband and I were still reeling from the pre-Christmas termination letter that he received from the college where he had taught for 25 years. Through no fault of his own, his employment was terminated for “financial reasons,” but the timing right before Christmas and the hiring of a younger professor raised many legal, ethical, and moral questions, and prompted this blog post and a new blog.

#7 – How to Pray for Families Living with Mental Illness

Thank you to Catherine Downing for this guest post based in part on her family’s experience with their son who was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 22, and finally accepted his diagnosis and started treatment at age 34. Catherine contacted me in response to my article on How to Pray About Mental Illness When You Can’t Find the Words, and I’m glad to share her helpful perspective on how to pray for families living with mental illness.

#6 – Happy to be Healed, a Little Crooked

This is the second entry in my “best of” list that I didn’t write, this time thanks to Tina Osterhouse, one of my sister writers in the Redbud Writers Guild. While a sacred pause can help restore and refresh us when we’re weary, what happens when we’re forced to take a pause not of our own choosing? I love Tina’s reflection on her experience.

#5 – 13 Best Practices for a Healthy and Happy Sabbatical

Taking regular sabbaticals has been key in my 23 years of pastoral ministry, and in this post, I shared the best practices that I’ve learned over the years.

#4 – For All of Its Sting in This Life, Death has Lost Its Power

Last January, our family said good-bye to my brother-in-law and brother in the Lord, Fred Bradley. In his memory, I offered the following reflection based on 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 in his beloved New American Standard Bible:

#3 – My 22 Best Practices in 22 Years of Pastoral Ministry

My third most popular post for 2016 is the only one that was actually written and published in 2015. It’s my second most popular post since I started blogging, and continued to receive strong interest in 2016.

#2 – How to Pray About Mental Illness When You Can’t Find the Words

This is the second entry related to mental illness that made it into the top ten, and part of my “How to Pray” series that includes praying for public tragedy, praying for peace when you can’t find the words, praying about work, and other topics.

#1 – How to Pray for a Wedding Dinner

Four out of the ten entries in this “best of” list are “how-to” articles, which might not be surprising given the popularity of the how-to genre, but I didn’t expect How to Pray for a Wedding Dinner to top the list. What’s more, this article zoomed by everything else to become my all-time most popular post. There must have been a lot of weddings and praying this year!

Writing/Reflection Prompt: So that’s all from me this week. What were your highlights of 2016? What patterns do you notice?

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Categories: Writing

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4 replies

  1. April, I admire the way you keep learning and sharing. You are helping others in ministry at the same time you are ministering to the whole internet.

    A question: how did you locate your most popular posts? Usually WP sends out an email to bloggers to summarize the whole year. Did you get one of those? I missed mine if I did.

    Happy New Year and Happy Writing. You are both focused and flexible. I enjoy seeing where the Spirit leads you.

    • Hi Shirley – one of the people I keep learning from is you! I so appreciate the way you blog and engage with people, and your wide range of readers and friends. No, I didn’t receive a year-in-review notice, but WordPress.com includes statistics on views per day, per year, etc., so it was easy for me to compile this list. Happy New Year and Happy Writing to you also – the Spirit blows where it wills and leads us onward!

  2. Great write up! Well done, and best in the new year.
    Brenton

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