Don’s best of 2020 – book, meal, wine, travel experience, person, thought, concert, family member

I am grateful to God for my life, family, and friends. Here are a few memorable things about my life in A.D. 2020.

Book – Range – David Epstein 

Forbes called it, “The most important business—and parenting—book of the year.” Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one.


Meal – Oaxaca, Mexco

Oaxaca, Mexico is the culinary capitol of Mexico. Mary and I spent four days there, feasting at many excellent restaurants. The meals, Colonial architecture, pre-Hispanic ruins, and local artisans make this a destination I want to take my friends to.


Bottle of wine – my own wine

Three years ago I planted a small vineyard. On July 17, 2020, I harvested 123 pounds of Blanc Du Bois grapes at Brix 18, specific gravity – 1.085, PH – 3.2, TA – .75. I raised the Brix to 20 by adding 381 grams of sugar. I used .176 Premier Classique Montrachet yeast. The wine was bottled on September 18, 2020.




Travel experience –  Israel

Every two years Chuck and Cynthia Swindoll lead a tour to Israel. It is an incomparable experience. I am blessed to lead worship on these trips. We went in March of this year, returning to the U.S. just 24 hours before international travel was shut down. Chuck’s next trip to Israel is March 6-17, 2022. 


Person of the year – Wayne Stiles

Wayne Stiles is a wonderful friend and colleague. He is a pastor, teacher, writer, entrepreneur, and friend to many. Five years ago he helped me start my blog site – Think With Me – and continues to come to my aid on technical issues. He has been posting spiritually refreshing devotionals online for many years. His newest project—Walking the Bible Lands—takes you on a virtual tour of the Holy Land through video and audio. You must check it out.


Most intriguing thought – How you think is more important than what you think.

I enjoy finding an interesting and challenging phrase and thinking deeply about it. I’ve been cogitating on this thought for years: How you think is more important than what you think because how you think will ultimately determine what you think. In 2021, I’m going to write a book about how to think clearly. I’ll address things we need to avoid (herd mentality, confirmation bias, brainwashing, illusory truth effect, false causality, etc.) and mental skills to develop (critical thinking, dialectic thinking, cognitive dissonance, analogical thinking, etc.). Many of my posts in 2021 will address this topic.   

Music concerts – Christmas at Stonebriar Community Church

This December, adhering to COVID safety protocols, my church split our choirs and orchestra into smaller ensembles, so we had multiple Christmas concerts this year. The musicians rose to the challenge. See the December 6, 13, and 20 concerts online.

New family member – Sunsage Huckleberry Fen

Four-month-old Fen (English Cocker Spaniel) joined the Clarkes’ family (my son-in-law and daughter) in December. He’s a bundle of energy, joy, and hope for the future.  






2020 was a difficult year for the human race. I am grateful that, so far, no one among my family and close friends has perished from the virus. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and to those who have been adversely affected financially and in their careers. Hopefully, in 2021 the virus will be controlled and we will adjust to the new normal. God will see us through this pandemic.  


I’ll end with this…