UnTangled: The Best of the First Year

When I published my first UnTangled post on January 6th of this year, I wondered if I would have a second post in me. Seventy-four posts and an eBook later, here we are. I guess I had another post in me!

Nailed It My Picture is a Perfect 10

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks (Creative Commons)

LOOKING BACK

After the last day of my fourth grade school year, I got home, dropped my backpack, grabbed a snack, and then walked back to the school. I sat on the quiet-deserted playground, and I reminisced about the most poignant moments of the school year. To be honest, I think even composed a cheesy song in my head for a soundtrack.

I guess I’m just sentimental like that.

So, it’s no wonder I’ve always been a sucker for end-of-the-year Top Ten lists. I love the week after Christmas because we get flooded with them. And I just can’t pass up the opportunity to put together an UnTangled 2012 Top Ten list. In fact, I’ve composed two of them.

The first is a list of the top ten most popular posts this year (using number of Facebook shares as the proxy). It contains everything from joyous holiday wishes to a painful plea for the victims of tragedy. But regardless of the topic, I think you will find plenty of hope for redemption in the words. The second is a list of my ten personal favorites that didn’t make the first list. If you missed any posts this year, I hope this is a good resource for you.

Or maybe, if you’re just sentimental like me, come along to the playground and let’s reminisce together.

The Top Ten Most Popular UnTangled Posts of 2012

  1. Marriage is for Losers
  2. Marriage is for Liars
  3. A Plea on Behalf of Newtown, Connecticut (and All of Us)
  4. A List of Those Responsible for the Sandy Hook Massacre
  5. “Mommy, Daddy, Lookit!”
  6. Marriage is for Hopelessly Lonely People
  7. The Mess Will Set You Free!
  8. Why Dirty Dishes are the Biggest Threat to Your Marriage
  9. (What Your Dentist Knows) About the Secret to Life
  10. We Wish You a Messy Christmas!

2012 Honorable Mentions (According to Kelly)

  1. Licking Happiness and Forsaking Joy
  2. One Sentence That Will Change Your Life
  3. Live Passionately, Not Skillfully
  4. JoePa and the Death of Story
  5. Angry Kids, Angry Parents
  6. The Deep Magic is Everywhere
  7. Truth and Baseball Cards
  8. I Wish I Was Clark Kent (And I Wish You Were, Too)
  9. Dangerous, Rebellious Hope
  10. A Letter to Masculinity

LOOKING AHEAD

Two years ago, my wife and I spent New Year’s Eve reminiscing about the places we had celebrated previous New Year’s. We realized in the first eleven years of our relationship we had celebrated New Year’s Eve in eleven different cities. Our life has been full of transition.

A year of writing for UnTangled stands in marked contrast. This blog has been a place of stability and constancy and I’ve enjoyed settling into it with you. And I’m excited about the year to come. I have ideas and posts ready to go.

But I also want to hear from you.

What would you like to see out of this blog over the next year? Topics you would like to read more about? Ideas you would like me to expand upon?

Also, I’m thinking about increasing the flexibility of the Tuesday Tip—using it as a Tuesday Tip when appropriate, but perhaps also replacing it some weeks with more flexible content, such as the two posts in the wake of the tragic school shooting. What do you think? Keep the second post as a Tip, do away with it altogether, or make it a more versatile post?

Any other thoughts and feedback are welcome, as we head into this new year together!

Share your thoughts in the comments section.

NOTE: My new eBook, The Marriage Manifesto: Turning Your World Upside Downis now available for Kindle and Nook. It is also available in PDF format, and I’m giving it away free to new and existing e-mail subscribers! If you are not yet a subscriber, you can click here to subscribe, and your subscription confirmation e-mail will include a link to download the eBook for free. As always, thank you for reading; it’s a gift. Sincerely, Kelly

Kelly is a licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. He is also a writer and blogs regularly about the redemption of our personal, relational, and communal lives. Kelly is married, has three children, and enjoys learning from them how to be a kid again. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Michele Bartlett

    I’d say, whatever God puts on your heart to write …. you’ve done a great job of listening so far. I wish I were a young parent again so I could put into practice the things you write, but my kids are 29 and 26 …. what I wouldn’t give to go back …..

  • Angie

    So enjoy your writings! Keep up the good work! Sincerely, Angie Giallourakis

  • Jennifer Koski

    What Michele said: “whatever God puts on your heart to write” – I’d leave the Tuesday post open to whatever wants to be written – systems can interfere sometimes. THANK YOU for sharing your mind & heart with us! Finding your Blog was one of the best things about 2012!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you for your kind words, Jennifer and Angie and Michele! And I hear you loud and clear. Listen to my heart and let creativity trump structure. Will do!

  • Jennifer Newell

    Okay remember you asked for this:
    Lets start with the Tuesday Tips. I think that there are times when you have a topic that you need to add another view or add clarity on the subject. When that happens then have Tuesday be a tip. Otherwise I would say if you have 2 things to post about in one week that you should do that. Bottomline play it by ear.
    Topics to discuss in the future…I find it a little funny that you ask us about that since you seem to be doing really well so far without our input. My input would be that we have universal issues we are all trying to work through and those topics would appeal to most people. As example:
    1) Friendship: How to recognize when you are enabling unhealthy friendships in your life.
    2) Friendship: How to take your friendships to the next level to have a deep more meaningful connection?
    3) Marriage: How to find direction in a world that is filled with misdirection?
    4) Marriage: How to appreciate and love the one your with more effectively?
    5) Anger: How to work through childhood anger when your all grown up?
    6) Anger: How to know when Anger is really hurt in disguise?
    7) Kids: How to make it through days when no one is having a good day?
    8) Kids: How to encourage kids that have followed the rules but after graduation from college find themselves back home without a job in their career field?
    9) Setting boundaries to protect yourself and the ones we love from the critisms of well intentioned people.
    10) How to change your view of your circumstances so you can see you still have choices and are not trapped in a bad situation with no way out?
    Dont know if this is what you were looking for but it is my two cents. As we head into the new year, I would be encouraged because I know you have much more to say and share with us. I look forward to your posts and the growth I will have as a result.
    Happy New Year!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Jennifer, this is great! I am filing them all away for reflection. By the way, my post on January 11 will be another marriage post inspired by your encouragement to write a post about the underlying issues in any given marital dispute. Thank you, and Happy New Year!

  • Catharine Phillips

    I deeply appreciate the way you meld your creativity, education, training and experience in your writing. I echo the others. Just as you found you had more than one blog post in you at the beginning of 2012, I anticipate 2013 to be a year of continuing gift, whatever you write.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you, Catharine. And I’ve deeply appreciated your insightful comments here. I’m excited to move into the new year!

  • Kristin

    Live Passionately series was my favorite. However, I like how your posts are a little bit of everything so that you write about whatever comes to your mind to share. Keep up the great work!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thanks, Kristin!

  • Chocolate.Eclairinet

    Thank for your posts! They have helped me change many of my personal mindsets and communication styles!
    I know you’re a marriage counselor, but I would personally like a few posts directed toward singles. How to stay happily single while you’re waiting for marriage, characteristics to look for/avoid in a dating/marriage partner, etc.
    Even if it’s in a marriage article and there’s a small section of how to apply that posts principles as a single, it would be greatly appreciated. 🙂
    Thank you for all your hard work! It’s so inspiring!

    • drkellyflanagan

      Your welcome! And great suggestion, thank you!

  • V

    I just finished reading all top 20 stories, and I must say that the ten you chose are far more powerful than the ten Facebook chose. My (very short, only four months long) marriage is so far doing very well and our relationship has always played the “who can lose more” game in a healthy way, but my relationship with my family is the kind of broken relationship that you write about. It really is to the point that, if I lived closer than 1500 miles, I would want to seek therapy for the lot of us, but even if that relationship is very broken, your posts help me to realize that I’m not a bad person or a bad daughter, and I need to proudly live my life in a way that works for me, my husband, and our future children instead of apologizing for it because it’s different. It’s hard, so hard, to stand firm against derision and sneers and unkind muttered comments about my choices, and I don’t have the strength yet to do it well or with grace, but much of your writing hits right in the middle of that big ol’ wound and makes me want to build that strength.

    • drkellyflanagan

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing part of your story. In my experience, if we can give ourselves the grace our families-of-origin can’t, we discover new levels of connection and joy in our marriages, as well. Blessings to you and yours as your wound heals!