First, I’d like to wish all the readers, contributors, and volunteers here at SharperIron a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. I trust it’s been a good year for all of you and that you’ve been able to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2Pet. 3:18).
By way of introduction, my name is Tom Mount, and I’m one of the volunteer staff around here. To get an idea of what I do, let me walk you through the life of an article at SharperIron. Our authors prepare manuscripts for us—sometimes they’re just quick text jobs emailed to an editor, sometimes they’re fully-formatted HTML articles, and sometimes they’re excerpts taken from bulletin inserts. Somehow, though, they end up in a copy editor’s inbox. The editor cleans it up for spelling, grammar, punctuation, paragraph breaks, and other tweaks, and then attaches the copy to a “placeholder” article in the system. That’s where I come in. I take the copy and format it for publication, add footnotes, bios, graphics and HTML links as necessary, give the article a final once-over to make sure all the editing is complete, and then set it for publication. Up until about six months ago I had been doing this only for the “In the Nick of Time” articles but my responsibilities have since expanded to include all the articles.
This year has been very busy for me, thanks to God’s blessing on the ministry I travel with on the weekends, the Calvary Quartet. I just checked my calendar—I will have been at my own home church three weekends in seven months, from July of 2009 through January of 2010. The rest of the weekends, the Quartet has been traveling around the country, using music as a vehicle to give the gospel and encourage the saints. Music is a very powerful tool—I don’t quite know how or why, but music can work its way into the heart and mind of a person more than the speech of a gifted orator or the writings of a master wordsmith. I thank God that He’s given me the ability, opportunity, and responsibility of using music the way I do.
I believe all this traveling is an answer to prayer, too. In June God quite simply drove a very nice new(er) tour bus into our laps—the circumstances are too long to go into here but it was so obvious that God was working behind the scenes. And with this new(er) bus came a new set of payments. But God’s gifts are complete, and with that new set of payments he gave us a blistering fall/winter schedule that has more than adequately provided for those payments so far, and we trust will continue to do so into next year.
In addition to leaving Friday nights and returning at some unwholesome hour of the morning Monday, then working 9-7 Monday through Friday, I also have the opportunity (as a full-time staff member at Bob Jones University) to take one class per semester for free. This past semester I finished my fourth semester of Spanish, which I suppose now qualifies me to look only slightly confused (as opposed to completely lost) when speaking with a native speaker that talks twice as fast as my professors have. But I’m still grateful for that foundation and hope to continue to learn and develop my second language skills.
I suppose that’s all the major stuff. There’s always minor stuff—things like my fantasy football team cruising to an easy first place and cleaning house during the playoffs, which goes well with my Eagles picking up steam and looking to wrap up a first-round bye. But those are just minor, and aside from the fact that I’m editing and inserting my own article they probably wouldn’t see the light of day. :) All kidding aside, I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to volunteer behind the scenes here at SI. May you have a refreshing and relaxing Christmas holiday, and may God continue to bless in the coming year.