Thankful and Grateful: Reflections on 2021

“Reflections.” Raystown Lake, 16 October 2021. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

2021 has been full of personal failures, struggles, joys and growth. I will freely and humbly admit that this past year was the worst year that I can remember in terms of my daily Bible reading. While many people are encouraged and strengthened by reading from different portions of the Bible daily, that is not for me. I have learned that I am a person who needs a chronological or book by book reading plan! My reading plan for 2022 will follow the order of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and the canonical order of the New Testament.

The last few weeks of 2021 I have really resonated with the Apostle Paul’s statement, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19 ESV). I hate and despise how much time I spend looking at newsfeed headlines. I am not nor will I ever be a gambler/slot machine player; however, I have allowed my brain to be rewired to crave updated news headlines. I realize how ridiculous and pathetic this sounds but it is absolutely true. I absolutely hate how much time and effort I give to reading things that have very little earthly value. I despise how I allow myself to tune out Nathan, my mom and others because I am on my electronic device.

There are times when PQ (my cavapoo puppy) wants to play and I do not want to be bothered because I am scrolling through newsfeeds (praise God I have my notifications turned off or it would be even worse!). This grieves my heart more than you will know! I know what the right thing to do is but the minute I have down time, if I am not on guard, my rewired brain literally searches random stuff online. I am thankful and grateful that the Holy Spirit is working on me in this area. I welcome accountability from y’all so never hesitate to ask me how I am doing in this area. I cannot stress this enough: if anyone ever thinks that I have it all together, I assure you that is a lie from the pit of hell!

2021 has been a year with a lot of firsts. On January 2, 2022 Nathan and I will be married four years and this was the first full year where we were not moving. Praise God! I can honestly say having an established residence did not prevent Nathan and I from having some serious disagreements. In all my relationships I need to be quicker to listen, slower to speak and MUCH slower to anger and frustration. I pray that in 2022 I will learn to be a more godly wife, daughter, aunt, niece, friend, mentor, blogger, teacher etc.

I am thankful and grateful to God for the church family that He has given us at Faith Bible Fellowship Church. I am so thankful that God has provided us with a church that teaches sound doctrine! It has been a massive joy to share with the youth at TCAC as well as being a part of their Tuesday night Bible Study. I am so thankful and grateful for sound churches who are rightly teaching the Word of God!

While my personal reading was not as great as previous years, I am thankful for the community God has given me with likeminded believers! I am thankful for Alan, Jimmy and Michael for allowing me to guest blog for them. I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity to connect with many bloggers outside of WordPress (whether through email, Skype, text, zoom). I love each one of you and I cannot thank you enough for your love, prayer and care toward me and my family!

After I wrote “Authority of Scripture” it seemed fitting that the Lord would lead me to write on Psalm 119. I am humbled and awed by the love and support y’all showed me through this endeavor. I am so thankful and grateful for all the love and responses y’all had to my variety of posts this year from Bible posts, prayer posts, life application fishing posts etc. Thank you so much for traveling with me!

2021 was the first time in five years where I was not in Seminary. After taking the last year off and really praying about where God wants me, in October 2021 I applied to Westminster Theological Seminary. Praise the Lord I was accepted! February 7, 2022 I will begin their Master of Arts in Religion degree. I am really excited about this. God has used 2021 to refresh and revive my love for Academic studies.

At the end of the day (or year), even with everything that is happening around us, I am thankful and I am grateful. I am thankful for all the people the Lord has placed in my life. I am so thankful and grateful for all the time I was able to spend with Nathan, my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with friends this year. I am thankful and grateful to all those who love, support, encourage and believe in me. I am thankful and grateful that I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful and grateful for each person who reads this blog. I am thankful, humbled and grateful for each person who takes the time to comment. I am always thanking God for each person who reads this blog. I know first hand how much stuff is online and competing for our attention. Thank you for taking the time to do life with me in 2021 and I look forward to what God has for us in 2022! Lots of love and blessings!

Father God, thank You and praise You that You are Sovereign over each and every moment. Lord God, thank You for each reader and each unique experience You allowed them to have this year. Lord God, 2021 has been a year unlike any other. Prepare us Lord for 2022. Help us to take the time to reflect on 2021 and to learn from our mistakes. Help us to continue to grow in our love for You and Your Word. Lord God, thank You and praise You for this reader! Lord God, thank You for all that You are doing in the lives of Your people all over the world. Lord God, help us to endure and persevere. Help us to reflect on Your Goodness, Kindness, Grace, Forgiveness and Mercy to us over the past year. Thank You Lord for this reader and prepare all of us for what we will face in 2022. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Published by

Blue Collar Theologian

My name is Mandy Sweigart-Quinn, I live in Lancaster, PA and I am a “Blue Collar Theologian.” I love Jesus! I am passionate about His Word (The Holy Bible)! I come alive when I can encourage others in their walk with Jesus (whether by writing or speaking). As a “Blue Collar Theologian” it is my aim to live/practice/work out my Christian hope with sincerity, authenticity and genuineness. As a “Blue Collar Theologian,” I strive to meet people right where they are (“Incarnational Theology”). I graduated in May 2019 from Capital Seminary and Graduate School with a Master's in Biblical Studies. I am a passionate, excited and enthusiastic person! I love flowers, sports and sunsets. Since January 2, 2018 I have had the privilege of being married to Nathan.

78 thoughts on “Thankful and Grateful: Reflections on 2021”

    1. Great memory, Joseph! Yes, I did turn 40 this year and praise the Lord for it! You have an upcoming birthday as well!!!! I am remembering to pray for you in the midst of your increase workload! I am thankful that God is growing your blog! I look forward to reading what you will have time to post in 2022!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Joseph I LOVE watching the Rose Parade as well!!!! I went to the Parade in 2009 and it was absolutely amazing and I pray that I will be able to go again and tour the floats. I absolutely love flowers and their scents! Brother, I will read this post shortly and will probably have long comments!!!! Does your church have a prayer gathering for New Year’s Eve?! Mine does not but I am going to suggest one for next year!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Mandy, 2021 has been a difficult year for a lot of our brothers and sisters, my own family is no exception, so you should know that you are not alone. I can’t help but think that we are being refined and refocused, with core values being re-emphasized, that keeps the rudder of our ship on a more even course. Distractions abound and many have been introduced to new and difficult challenges, which often draws us towards an acknowledgement of our own limitations and our need to be under the continual control and guidance of our Shepherd in all things. But as a counter balance to these new difficulties, God’s grace is preparing us for the long haul, with assurances that even in our sometimes confused state, would be difficult to miss. A stronger intimacy between our Lord and ourselves is being crafted, again by God’s grace, and we who have already set our hearts on following Jesus, shall arrive at the place that we need to be, each in God’s specific time and God’s specific personal way. I am constantly amazed at God’s grace and forgiveness and so grateful for those assurances that He gives us along the way. Don’t be dismayed or discouraged, God is able to do far beyond what we think or ask and these turbulent inner conflicts will pass. May God’s grace, peace and bountiful glory be manifested in you and yours in this coming year. Love in Christ – Bruce

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Bruce! Thank you for taking the time to share your heart here, I appreciate it! Praise God for His grace because without I would be lost! Your thought about the rudder in some ways reminds me of a Warren Wiersbe quote “the past can be a rudder spurring us forward or an anchor holding us back.” 2021 overall has been a really good year for me and I do not want the past to hold me back but to keep me moving forward in confidence. I am looking forward to “a stronger intimacy between our Lord and ourselves” in 2022! I pray that you and Peggy will not be dismayed or discouraged either! God is in our midst and the Bible is coming to life like never before! What a time the Lord is allowing us to live through! I am thankful that we are on this journey together! Love and blessings to you and Peggy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome, sweetie!! And THANK YOU!
        I went to email you-because I have a question-but I can’t find your address in my emails!! Can you email me when you have time?
        Happy early wedding anniversary! Our wedding anniversary’s are blessings! We have a police sergeant here that was killed and her partner critically injured-the partner just got married in October!! I’m sure that don’t even have their wedding pictures yet!!
        He went to school with our children and this is a small community so we all intertwine with his family!
        His name is Tyler-his wife is Sydney-please say a prayer for them?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wedding anniversaries are truly a blessing and a small glimpse of God’s love and faithfulness for His people! That is horrible about the police sergeant and partner, this hurts my heart so badly and yes, I will pray!!!! I will pray for all of you, not easy to lose someone in such a manner!!!

        Like

  2. Mandy, thanks for sharing your reflections on 2021 and your hopes/goals for the new year. We all struggle a bit to conform to Christ, so I appreciate your honesty. Some believers are as phony as three dollar bills regarding their walk with the Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, “phony as three dollar bills” I love this and will use it, giving you credit!!! I am thankful for your love, care and support for Nathan and I throughout this year! I finished my Bible plan and I was like thank you, Jesus!!! I am thankful for you and Corinne!!!! Love and blessings this New Year’s Eve!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. RE: “phony as three dollar bills”

        Back when I was MUCH younger, the saying “As queer as a three dollar bill” was very popular in denoting something phony, but that saying is strictly verboten these days.

        Thank you and we’re thankful for you and Nathan. Love and blessings and Happy New Year to you both!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oops, I accidently hit the send button.

    I’m very happy for you that you’ll be continuing your academic studies! Praise God! May you and Nathan have a very blessed year in the Lord!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I am really excited to start this Academic journey! I miss the challenge and the camaraderie. I am doing the 4 year track and then God willing I will pursue a PhD in Biblical Studies. My MAR degree won’t have a masters thesis so if I have to write one for Westminster’s PhD then I will do the ThM which will be two years of writing and then PhD. Anyway, God is good and I will follow Him! I have learned to make plans loosely. Are you rested for work?!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s a lot of work ahead, but someday you’ll look back with the satisfaction of a good job done with the Lord’s leading and assistance.
        RE: rested for work?
        Thanks! We’re going over to Corinne’s aunt’s for dinner at 5, not my first choice on return-to-work eve, but I’ve had a lot of rest over the past 12 days!
        Have a good weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks! We’re also being served pork and sauerkraut tonight by Corinne’s very-German aunt. Can’t beat that dinner! Corinne has zero German in her, the aunt is a relative by marriage.
        Poles are famous for their Wigilia (“vigil”) Christmas Eve dinner, but New Year’s? I had to google it. Ah, yes, Poles call New Year’s Eve “Sylwester” because it falls on the feast day of St. Sylwester. All Polish traditions revolve around the Polish Catholic church/religion. An article states, “At the stroke of midnight, Poles dine on pickled herring believing it will bring a year of prosperity and bounty.” No pickled herring for me tonight! Unlike here in the U.S., Poland’s Catholics are forbidden from eating meat on Fridays throughout the entire year, but I see in a news article that Poland’s bishops granted a dispensation allowing Catholics to eat meat tonight without incurring a mortal sin. I think I might have to include that in next weekend’s roundup!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. My last name is Sweigart, pork and sauerkraut have been consumed for New Years my entire life! Nathan has been introduced and enjoys it! My mom is leaving for FL today so we made our pork and sauerkraut Wednesday and ate it yesterday as well. As you say, “Can’t beat that dinner!” No disrespect, I wouldn’t eat pickled herring on any occasion. That is fascinating that Poles do not eat meat on Fridays and that tonight is an exception. Talk about a man made farce! Praise Jesus for saving you from this twisted man made religion!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. My father was 100% Polish, but my Mom was 75% German, so we were served pork and sauerkraut quite often growing up as well. I disliked sauerkraut until I wised up around the age of 14.

        Smoked herring is fine in small doses, but I have no desire to eat pickled. Yes, so blatantly arbitrary and un-Scriptural that Poles are “allowed” to eat meat tonight without incurring mortal sin. And Poles also take their superstitions quit seriously (eating pickled herring bringing good luck for the new year).

        Glad you had a long and enjoyable time with your mom!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. An open and honest reflection Mandy, appreciate it.
    I pray you can spend more time with God and not allow anything to distract – I think most of us struggle with distractions.
    A happy anniversary to you and Nathan.
    I pray that the Lord will bless your studies that you begin this year.
    Your friendship has been a blessing to me this year. I am thankful.
    A very blessed year ahead for you and Nathan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Manu! I left you a really long comment on your amazing post on self-control! I appreciate your academic mind and shepherding heart, you are such a gift to me! I am praying for you and your family! I hope you are enjoying the garden and nice weather! If I have to live in winter, I am glad God is allowing you to have summer! Does your church have a New Year’s Eve prayer service? I am going to ask my church if we could do something like that next year (if the Lord hasn’t returned!). Never hesitate to email me! I love hearing from you and I promise I’m 2022 to respond in a more timely manner!!! Lots of love, hugs and blessings my dear friend, Manu!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Going to check your comment after this. Thank you for your kind words Mandy. Your love for God and passion for sharing it and being diligent with awareness of false teaching and preaching is something I admire.
        We don’t have a NY service.
        Honestly, had so much going on, I am tired from doing so much.
        Will definitely email you, December has been a crazy busy month and so fell back on keeping in touch via email.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Vincent! Lord God, thank You and praise You for the effort Vincent gives to sharing Your Word to the masses. Lord God, continue to heal Vincent and restore him physically, emotionally and spiritually. Thank You Lord for Vincent. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen! Love and blessings!

      Like

  5. Greetings dear friend. God is with you and will lead you to great heights and insights in 2022. I look forward to reading about them. Always thrilled to see your posts.

    Excited to hear you are returning to academics. What fun.

    Blessings for a stunning new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blessings for a stunning new year to you, your family and ministry as well! I am SO thankful for you Michael! You have been such a great encourager to me this year and I cannot thank you enough! I am eager to share what I learn with you! I am doing a youth study next Saturday on “What are you building your life?” Centered around the end of the Jesus manifesto 🤗🤗🤗🤗😁😁😁😁 Anyway, my previous house I had built and it had major structural damage and so I will use pictures of my old house to show how foundations literally matter. I will also tie this to biblical interpretation being a science and an art, science in that we dig and learn what’s behind the text and an art because we have to refine our skills. If you’re interested I will email you the PowerPoint next week?! Have a great New Year’s Eve!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Howdy! I am excited to see your work on the Jesus manifesto. I am in the process of writing my next book. It will focus on how to live out our faith at work. Much of it will focus on the teaching of Jesus in the manifesto. Would love for you to review some of it when it is better shape.

        Also, you might like this: https://youtu.be/TbOqvFgB8NE

        Blessings.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for this honest opening of your heart Mandy, it certainly is an encouragement to me and probably many other brethren. I too struggle with accountability in my use of my time; I used to spend a lot of time reading fiction and studying/playing chess. The chess can quickly become an all consuming idol in one’s life. I don’t read fiction anymore giving all my reading time to His Word, but I still play chess in a lesser capacity. Like yourself I need to keep my eyes on a short leash from social media, being of a certain age I need to make best use of what time I have to His Glory, anything else is basically just fluff, haha.
    I am seriously thankful to our Father God for putting me in contact with such people as yourself and countless others; you all have been a huge blessing in my life and walk with God. May He continue to guide and protect you and your family dear sister in the coming year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alan, I appreciate all the times you have shared about chess and other activities needing to be kept in check so that you won’t stray from the Lord! I am not on any social platform other than WP. God convicted me years ago that Facebook and all was a no go for me. I am thankful for getting to know you more throughout 2021 and look forward to journeying with you in 2022!!! Like you Alan I do not know how to be anyone other than myself, warts and all! Thank you for your love, care and encouragement! Lots of love and blessings to you and Susan in the New Year!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow will have to read this later!
    Getting back to you: Yes you and Nathan can join us in the study with the youth tomorrow! Also feel free to message Mrs B, I got caught up and sadly I didn’t email asking her is she; she is traveling back today from another state; I think it would mean a lot to her and won’t be weird if you asked!
    I’m staying up tonight…not so much count down but a race against time to finish my new years resolution with reading lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Also I have read Pursuit of Holiness! I realize I forgot to post the review of it though I have it on Goodreads that I read and reviewed it in 2016. It was a good book! My favorite Bridges book is the Transforming Power of the Gospel!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Funny you mentioned about other books; I love Jerry Bridges a lot but the same style covers for some of his books always confuses me which one I read and I have to go to goodreads reading app to see which books I have read and reviewed before! Lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah! I never thought the day would come I forget which books I read, but with Bridges it was a problem after reading three books I start getting confused; there’s been times I almost borrowed the same books in the library because of different covers or covers looks the same lol; so the blog helps me personally too lol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I get frustrated when a book (usually fiction does this) gets a new title to help drive sales that irritates me or it’s published outside the USA with a different title. I have bought the same book with different titles more times than I care to admit or count!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I have followed the Professor Grant Horner reading system , or a variation, for the last 4 years. This plan gives a good means of seeing the linkages from the O.T. to the N.T. and between the various divisions of each. Great for getting a broad view. This year I’m looking for something with more depth.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think it is so important to read every chapter, every day, as it is to understand how what is read relates to what has been read. How the Pentateuch relates to the gospels to the major prophecies to the histories, etc. For me, that is what Horner’s provides.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Finally got down to read this; wow this year too I read not as much.
    Glad to hear God’s grace with you being married for four years Mandy! God bless Nate!
    So glad you have been part of TCAC ministry; I think I see you as part of the church family but at a far away residence!
    Blessings to you sister!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading this! I consider myself part of the church family as well! Do you know if Leo will take part tomorrow? I would love to meet him and all the youth if possible so I was wondering if he had a swim meet for the time that I am in LA and if so would we be allowed to attend to cheer him on depending on the time. Sorry, totally not trying to take over the show! I just want the youth to know I really do care about them and take an interest in them!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Leo said he will be there for Bible study! I think that would be a good question to ask him! Also most of the youth have been spotty with church attendance on Sundays I think its due to the Pandemic concerns, and they leave early too =(. But I hope you be able to see them! And I hope and pray for meaningful relationships and interactions!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for sharing Mandy! Oh how we can probably all relate to the addictions of electronics, goodness! By God’s mercy and grace we can overcome!! The fact that we can share, encourage, and hold one another accountable is such a gift!
    Sweet blessings to you and Nathan in 2022!!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mandy, I can relate to your being distracted by the newsfeed. I fight that, too, but what I gravitate to is my emails! I get a couple hundred each day, many of them blog posts or comments on my posts, or responses to my comments … ! Most of the posts I read are good and Bible based and valuable, so it’s hard for me to know when I have done “too much.” I may reach the end of the day not having opened my own Bible but having read many verses and passages in blog posts. Speed-reading them or deleting them without reading them can cause the same guilt I feel when I spend too much time reading them! Maybe I’m just a naturally guilty feeling person. :/
    But I thank God every day for His grace. That’s really our source of peace, isn’t it? It’s not about us. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Whew! Thank God I’m not the only one who struggles. 😂 We’re all in process, but God is so gracious with us. I’m excited for you to start your studies again and can’t to hear about all the cool new stuff you’re learning! Lots of love. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s