– Ben Martens

2023 Year In Review

Didn’t I just write one of these? Do I really have a years worth of events to summarize? Let’s see what that looks like…

I felt like I had a lot fewer blog posts this year , and while it was down about 20% from the previous years, it wasn’t that far off the numbers I’ve done since coming off my “post every week day” routine. I think the difference I’m feeling is that a lot of my posts this year were on a single topic (Tesla.) I have no plans to change anything about my posting schedule here. I’ll continue to post when I have something that I think is worth sharing/documenting and I’m not going to worry much about gaps between posts.

The first thing that comes to mind for 2023 is all the driving we did. Our big family vacation was a ~2000 miles road trip to and from Moab. That trip exceeded my expectations. The scenery felt like the complete opposite of what we get around here, the weather was great, the hike planning worked out perfectly, and the excursions were a blast. So many things could have gone wrong and changed our plans but the whole trip “just worked.” I came back itching to get on the road and do something like that again… which was good because we got the chance again quickly when Tyla’s grandma passed away. We made another ~2000 mile round trip drive to Glasgow, MT. God kept us safe again over all those remote roads and we enjoyed our quick weekend with Tyla’s extended family.

Those two big trips weren’t the extent of our travel though. We also spent a week visiting my family in Indiana, drove to Canada, and went to an airshow at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. We had two camping trips, Lincoln Rock and Grayland Beach, but neither one of them involved our tent. We stayed in a cabin and a yurt which were both an enjoyable way to camp. Next year we’ll be getting the tent out again though. We also did a couple family hikes to Cedar Butte and Sheep Lake.

Usually all of our vacations are taken as a family, but this year I took one by myself to attend the PacNW Christian Men’s Retreat across the sound at Fort Flagler State Park. Men from all our affiliated church’s in the area get together to study, socialize, and relax. The speaker this year was Professor/Doctor/Pastor Mark Paustian and he was a joy to learn from. The whole experience was so good that I’m already signed up for next year’s event.

My list of projects is quite a bit shorter this year, but some of that is because I worked on some bigger/longer projects. There was the custom LED panel, the completion of an 18-month aerial timelapse, a segmented cherry bowl made on the CNC, a walnut wall clock, Halloween boxes, bandsaw deer, and a family sign.

Other than woodworking, my hobby time was mostly consumed with more disc golf, a surprising amount of 3d printing, and a LOT of piano playing. I have been playing more often for church services, and it takes me a long time to practice. I do feel like playing for services has gotten easier as I’ve gotten back into the groove of doing it regularly.

Church was very busy this year too. We now have a fully documented mission statement along with core priorities and goals. It has been great to see people rallying around our defined strategy and contributing to our shared efforts of spreading the good news of Jesus to our community. God has blessed us with a huge number of visitors walking through the door. I’m excited for even more improvements in the coming year as we work on a new constituion and new bylaws. Those new documents will streamline our organizational structure and help get even more people involved.

So that wraps up the “clip show” of my year. I’m very thankful for all the blessings we’ve been given and the relative easiness of this past year. Let’s see what 2024 will bring!

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