My Favorite Posts from 2012

As 2012 begins to fade away, I thought it'd be fun to look back over the year and pick out some of my favorite posts that I've written--everything from what I was learning about God to how I was fixing up my new home to sharing the news that a little bundle of joy is on the way! I hope you enjoy re-visiting some of these oldies but goodies as much as I have!

The Only Resolution That Really Matters
With a new year comes new plans and goals and all varieties of resolutions. While I’m not much of a resolution maker (though I do have a fun one up my sleeve I will be sharing soon!), one of the things that I have marked the new year with the past couple of years has been to use this fresh start to settle on a Bible reading plan that will guide me for the following months.

Learning to Love the Life You Have: What I've Been Reading Lately
I’ve found myself drawn to books on the topic of loving the life you have now, with all its bumps and dips and scratches and imperfections. I suppose it can be all too easy to wish our lives away for something easier, prettier, happier, healthier—the list goes on and on—that we never take the time to appreciate that which sits right before us, right this moment. But that is not the way I want to live my life. Instead, I want to take the humble life that God has given me and learn to see—and embrace and appreciate—the glittering gifts that lie in its folds. So, that has been the guiding force behind the books I’ve been reading lately, and I wanted to share a couple of reviews on some of those books...

A Few of My Favorite Things: Bible Study Resources Edition
In this Bible Study Resources Edition of "A Few of My Favorite Things," I look at five of the resources that I find most essential to nurturing a deep quiet time with the Lord and his Word each day.

The Importance of Having a Devotion Journal (And How I Created My Own)
One of the most important items in my experience for getting the most out of my daily time with the Lord is having a devotion journal. That's the place where I can take notes on what I'm reading, record prayer requests and answers, journal out my day and keep track of anything else that comes to mind while I'm sitting at the Lord's feet. I think I've finally found one that really works for me. One that takes the best of all the worlds of all the different kinds of tried—from notebooks to binders—and melds them into one...

What Real Faith Looks Like
When the hard times come, it’s not that my prayers and praise ever stop. Like Job, I’m well aware that, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10) I’m ready to accept what God is allowing and even praise him in the midst, but am I willing to praise him more than I ever have before? That is faith.

A New Understanding of Suffering
For much of my life, I’ve known suffering in abstract ways—things like waiting on marriage or pregnancy, making due with a small income, feeling un-cool and left-out in social circles. But I have never really known suffering in a physical, daily and constant-reminder kind of way until now. So I decided to start digging through the Bible for verses on suffering, as a way to help myself adjust to this newfound element in my life.

Our Love Story: The Prelude
This is the first post in a series I did, retelling the story of how my husband and I met, fell in love and got married within the course of a year. You can see all of the posts in the series here.

There’s A Secret I’ve Been Keeping…
Guess what? I'm pregnant! (And in case you missed it, we're having a little girl!)

Overcoming the Fear of Miscarriage: Learning to Trust God with My Own Emotions
I took my fear of miscarriage and I laid it bare before a group of ladies in my community. As I laid this fear bare, though, I saw it for what it really was: It stems not from being able to trust God in that situation but from not being able to trust myself, namely my own emotions. If it were to happen, would I descend into depression and crumble in the face of that sadness? Would I be overcome by those feelings of loss and self-pity? Do I have the strength to keep on loving and leaning and looking forward rather than backward? Frankly, my own emotions scare me and I have no idea how I'd respond to that kind of loss. I felt God telling me that I need to learn to trust even my own emotions over to him.

Playing With Paint Colors: Choosing A Palette for Our Entire House
When I was first thinking about the colors for our house, I kept coming back to a vision of soft blues and grays and creams. But I wondered if it was too bland, too similar. But now, I feel emboldened to trust my gut. I’ve been doing a little bit of thinking, of palette dreaming. Here are some ideas of what I’m thinking...

On Buying a Small House
To many folks, our three-bedroom ranch home is rather small when you start talking about working from home and hoping to have kids someday. But to us? Well that was one of the things we loved about it...

Making a Mirror with Spraypaint & Creating New Storage in the Process!
This is one of my favorite (and probably the most successful) of the craft projects I've taken on while living in our new house: turning an old media cabinet into a sophisticated storage unit with just a couple cans of mirror spray paint.

Misconceptions in Blogland
Without even realizing it, I’d bought into the idea that what I saw on the screen was all there was to it. Hardships must not exist. Feelings of loneliness or jealousy never plague. Cross words never pierce the days or make you wish you could hit the “undo” button. The folks on the other side of the screen? They're never the ones wishing for something different. Of course, though, we know that in reality, that is far from true.

Encouragement for the Times When You Want to Give Up Blogging

The important thing is not to dwell on how many people read Pioneer Woman as opposed to your blog, but to accept that blogging is a process. I am sure there were days when Pioneer Woman herself thought about throwing in the towel. But look where she is now—because she stuck with it. We have to stop dwelling on the things we can’t control—like how many people visit a blog or leave a comment—and instead deal with the things we can control—like whether we’re writing quality content and taking time to pen compelling stories.

My Advice About How to Improve Your Writing For Your Blog
When someone asks me about how I cultivate my writing on my blog, I look at blog writing as having two distinct aspects: First, it’s how you tell stories (the words you use, the phrases, imagery, etc.). Secondly, it’s what you tell stories about (more like the plot-line of the posts, what is the big picture of the post?).

6 Tips to Improve Your Blog
Here are six of the key things that I’ve done with my own blog that I think have been vital to making my blog as successful as it has become...

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