Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to my request for input (My 2011 Year in Blogging) on your favorite blog posts from 2011 and what you would like to hear more of in 2012. It was really helpful, insightful and very encouraging! I wish I had the ability to take you all out for coffee or tea to chat about life and enjoy some warm wonderful fellowship.
The winner of the Starbucks card is:
Becky from Arvada, Colorado!
Oh wait….the baby girl decided that this little exercise looked like too much fun and she quickly grabbed and card out of the box and screamed for her winner! (love the spontaneity when I have the camera out) Sooooooo….thanks to Christiana I have another winner:
Congratulations Becky & Linda….your Starbucks cards are on their way!
My People’s Choice Awards
These are the top posts, not according to number of views, but according to my readers preference. If you are new to my blog, this might be a great place to begin reading. If you are a “regular” these are great “re-reads” or posts perhaps you might want to send to your friends and family or post on facebook. Also let me point out that some of the reader comments on these post are really great and inspiring too….so check them out. Speaking of commenting…I love your input, insights and ideas…so please comment away! A special thanks to the top 5 commenters on my blog in 2011: Jason Edwards, Ceci Sallee, Linda Hendrix, Gloria Borden (Hi Mom!) and Caroline Kirchner and I can’t not mention Patty Martin who sends me an encouraging and uplifting email after most every blog post! Love you guys…your encouragement keeps me going. Ok here they are: Drum roll please….your top 10 favorite posts for 2011 were:
- Don’t you know what causes that? August 14, 2011
- Love for a Lifetime December 21, 2011
- And after you have suffered…. June 22, 2011
- Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or (gasp) Xmas! December 7, 2011
- Always Daddy’s Girl This was actually a post from 2008 but I re-posted it on facebook on Oct 22, 2011, the 16th anniversary of my Dad’s passing
- “Faint heart never won fair lady” or “Jumping through a few hoops” March 18, 2011
- Accolades for Amy May 27, 2011
- Random, Abstract & Off the Wall January 21, 2011
- I am the 1% October 19, 2011
- Times of Refreshing (part 1) (part 2) June 12 & 16, 2011
Beth’s Top 5 Picks
And as promised, I want to share with you my favorite posts from 2011. Do you know how hard that is? Almost like picking your favorite child…pretty much inconceivable not to mention impossible (side note: speaking of favorites – my kids will tell you that my standard answer when one of them is complaining as to why their sibling got to do or have something that they did not — “Well, I like them better than you” — pretty much ends the conversation right there)
Getting back to my “favorites”…I forced myself to really look back over all the 2011 posts and pick 5 that not only did I really enjoy writing but that I felt benefitted my readers the most…here they are (Incidentally three of them were the same as yours):
- Love for a Lifetime This was your #2 choice in favorite blog posts and I must agree! Besides that this message was the heart of what I spoke at my 25th Wedding Anniversary service, which I really wanted to share with everyone who was not able to attend our special celebration, it is also I believe a “life line” for many a struggling marriage and I hope that you will be able to share it with others who may find themselves wanting to break their vows or walk away from their commitment to their spouse. Since the number one thing people new to my blog are searching for is articles relating to marriage problems I am led to believe that this is a crucial subject and crisis in our culture today. The response to this post just in the last month has been amazing as people have shared with me the encouragement they have received to keep fighting for their marriage and to put God at the center of their lives.
- hos·pi·tal·i·ty [ hòspi tállətee ] To be honest I was a bit disappointed by the silence that this post produced. I was passionate about this topic and really had hoped that my readers would be as convicted as I was about becoming serious in truly walking out biblical hospitality in our hearts, in our speech, in our homes, with our things and in every area of our lives. I just figured that I either 1) missed the mark, 2) it wasn’t something that resonated with others or 3) it made folks uncomfortably convicted. But regardless, several weeks after the post I got a message from a reader that made this post worth it all:
Dear Beth, I have written this note to you – in my mind – since your Monday Motivation just before Thanksgiving. I must tell you how it impacted my life.I was really “struggling” as to whether I wanted my step-mother to be at our home on Thanksgiving. She had been in a Nursing Home for the past six months recuperating from serious bowel surgery. The surgery left her with a “bag” – not even going to try and spell it – and she did not like the responsibility of it at all. To the point, where she would allow herself to be in situations that required more”clean-up” than was necessary. By the way, I apologize for being so blunt with all of this – there is a reason! Anyhow, I kept allowing my mind to go through several ways that things could go wrong before, during or after our Thanksgiving dinner and none of them were good. Then I read your Monday Motivation and realized how incredibly selfish I was being, especially to a woman who had endured so much over the past six months and who my father truly loves. All this to say, I invited her and she was thrilled. Dad pick her up at the nursing home and upon arriving at my house, she literally danced into my kitchen. She was so grateful to my family for allowing her to come – I was overcome with joy myself – you had prompted me to remember that my home does not belong to me, but rather it belongs to the Lord, and when He “nudges” us to do the right thing and open it to others – We are the ones that are blessed beyond measure!On December 8th my step-mother died. We were with her when she died. So, again Beth, thank you for your words that remind us/me to do the right thing so we will have no regrets – I just keep thinking what if I had not invited her for Thanksgiving?!?! Love can heal a lot of things if we only give it to others!
3. Don’t you know what causes that? Wow! Your number one pick and definitely one of my favs! To be honest I wrote this several years ago but never posted it because…well because I just get weary of all the snide remarks, jokes and negative (meant to be funny) comments (even from the pulpit) about large families (or really for any baby past number two or that comes too soon, too fast or too late in life), as well as folks who think I am “judging them” for not having a large family and of course I knew there would be people appalled that I do not believe in or use birth control and think that I am putting my convictions on them. After 25 years of walking this road I guess I was just weary of it all. But then a young man in his early 20′s asked me for some input in this area as he is forming his thoughts, ideas and opinions. I quickly emailed him this post, not yet published, that I had written. His positive response, enthusiasm and encouragement led me to posting it soon after. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive response that I continue to receive about this post (not that everyone agrees with my philosophy but they are willing to take a look at my opinion and perhaps be more accepting of those who like me have chosen to use “God control”. Apparently many found my style humorous in this post as well….always a good day when you can make people laugh!)
4. Accolades for Amy I really, really, really love this post. Personally I think you should send it to every teacher, administrator, guidance counselor and principal you know. Many could use this perspective. I also think it would be a good thing to pass on to parents who have a child who may have a learning disability, academic struggles or to share Amy’s favorite quote…”You can’t put in them, what God left out”. Think about passing this one on…you could really make a difference in the life of a child. As a follow up to this post, I am happy to report that Amy just completed a successful first semester at Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Texas (SAGU) where she started on the women’s soccer team. (Her original college choice, Bethany University, sadly closed their doors in June and she had to quickly make a new decision for college) She flew back to Texas yesterday to start the spring semester and is a strong, confident, poised young lady who is growing in her God given gifts and talents every year. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for her!
5. It couldn’t get any better than that! This post is near and dear to my heart because it includes my passionate heart for the unborn and adoption and all the fingerprints of God that are found through every aspect of my precious baby girl – Christiana’s adoption. It will be one of those posts that ends up in her baby album. She continues to amaze us and be the light of our lives. We are so blessed that God chose us to be her forever family…it doesn’t get any better than that! (PS – That reminds me – January is Sanctity of Human Life month – perhaps we could all do something to protect the life of the unborn, help a mom in a crisis pregnancy or take part in an adoption – through our finances, practical support or beginning the adoption or foster care process ourselves)
6. “Faint heart never won fair lady” or “Jumping through a few hoops” — Six??? You said five Beth! Ok, I can’t help myself. I have to include this one post in my top picks. You see speaking into the lives of single young women (and men) has been a part of my life for three decades and I will continue to share my heart in hopes of helping them to make good decisions when it comes to dating, courtship and relationships and to choose very wisely whom they will commit their lives to. Perhaps you have a young person in your life who needs to read this! (Shout out to all my blog fans that are in that season of singleness…thanks for being faithful readers of this “middle age” lady’s blog…you bless me more than you will ever know!)
I hope you have enjoyed this year in review and perhaps you were able to catch a few posts you missed throughout the last year. I would love it if you would pass any of them on to friends and family who you think would benefit from one of these vast and varied posts. My life goal is to inspire, motivate, encourage and bless others through my writing. You can help me reach more people!
My readers have shared with me things that they would like to hear more about this year. It is quite the eclectic list and I will most definitely be looking it over throughout the year for inspiration. Here is what you said:
- family life stories
- how do you do it all (priorities, time management)
- finances (personal testimonies to Gods provision)
- family traditions
- perseverance in trials
- sibling rivalry/arguments (to which my daughter exclaimed – “You’re not going to tell them about our fighting are you?”)
- favorite movies & why
- date night conversations
- decorating a small house
- challenge our way of thinking and responding.
- Things that encourage us to not accept the cultural norm but to strive for a better way.
- random acts of kindness
- showing appreciation to hubby
If you want to add to my list…I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas (although I have no more budget for Starbucks “bribes”…but perhaps the reward of me writing about your desired subject will be enough!)
Here’s to a great blogging year in 2012!