This year has brought a lot of joy and laughter, though. So, using this post as a guide, I'll recap a few things I don't want to forget ...
Best book I couldn't put down: Hmmm ... well, that's a hard one for me. I read all.the.time. and never want to put any book down so it's hard to choose. Just last week, I read Redeeming Love for the second time. I'm getting ready to study the book of Hosea on my own and wanted to read this again before I got started. The first time I read it, I was a new Christian and thought it was great then. Now? I thought it was fantastic. It meant so much more to me this time. I read it in 2 nights. Now, I can't wait to get started on my study of Hosea.
Some other books I should mention are: Give Them Grace, The Anxious Christian and The Furious Longing of God.
Best recipe you couldn't not make again: Maybe my memory is terrible (okay, we know it is) and I can't think past last week or all the best things happened then. I made a Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake for Christmas Eve that was yum-mo.
However, the most requested recipe among my family of 4? Sweet cornbread. I got the recipe from a friend at church. My girls love it, but Eric loooooves it more. He gets so upset if I make this while he's out of town. And, if he's in town, no one else gets any. (He has some hidden in the fridge now :) He eats it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Recipes at bottom of post)
Biggest risk you've taken all year: Well, to me, a risk is stepping out of my comfort zone and facing my fears. I'm doing this a lot more than I ever have, but probably the biggest one in 2012 was when I was asked to speak at a church for their Sunday morning service. It turned out to be Eric's home church and the church we were married in (though the lady didn't know that when she asked me). I was able to share my testimony along with some other things the Lord has taught me. Now, that's something I thought I would never do, but was so grateful God worked that out for me. I was able to brag on Him and talk about redemption in the midst of a lot of ugliness. It was definitely a special day for me.
The biggest thing you didn't want to do: It's no shock I didn't want to say goodbye to my little brother. The hardest time was when he left for boot camp and we spent June, July and August waiting by the mailbox on letters from him. The letters were so difficult to read! I don't even like to think about that time today. Seeing him graduate from boot camp was one of the proudest, best, hardest things I've ever done.
But, today he is thriving and has fierce purpose. God works everything out for good.
Best trip you took in 2012: I can't pick just one because the two best trips we've ever taken happened this year.
Fripp Island in June with my entire family will always be special to me.
Disney World in November turned out to be a relaxing trip. Who knew?
It was honestly the best time we've had there because we approached it from an entirely different perspective and it paid off. We LOVED that trip.
Best gift: Fresh on my mind right now is this nativity shadow box my Father-in-law made me for Christmas.
What makes it more special is the fact that he made his mother one years ago (like when Eric and I were first married) and I always admired it. After she passed away, my mother-in-law put it in her house and he never made another one.
Until this year :) I'm soooo happy to have it. I love it!
Eric took me to The Cove this Christmas to see Travis Cottrell, which was a special night for me :)
Best lesson you learned: We spent 2012 learning how to live with anxiety and how that looks for our family. God has shown us so much and we are so much better for it.
Best laugh: I get to live with Olivia, so pretty much every day is full of laughter.
Would you change anything about 2012? No. Each and every hard thing has worked together for God's good. Truly. Everything is as it should be.
Want some recipes?
Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake
1 can crushed pineapple
1 can cherry pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter
1 bag half pecans
Seriously, just dump the above ingredients in a 9x13 glass dish and bake on 350 for 50 minutes.
1/2 cup butter (melted)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup corn meal
1 cup all purpose flour
11/2 tsp. salt
In a saucepan, melt butter. Remove from heat and add sugar, stirring until well blended. Quickly add eggs and beat until smooth. Combine baking soda with buttermilk and add to sugar mixture. Add cornmeal, flour and salt and stir until well blended.
Pour into baking dish (I use a cast iron skillet) and bake on 375 for 35 minutes.