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End of Year Recap – 2013

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My precious kids sure have grown over the last year! My little guy isn’t so little anymore.

We’re a month into the new year. It’s finally time to recap how my 2103 went. It was definitely a very unpredictable year. Because of that I did not accomplish some of my goals. My focus shifted from working on my site, getting better at photography, etc. to health struggles, allergy diagnoses and just trying to keep up. But through it all I did focus on acceptance. Acceptance of both the good and the bad. And in the end God was working through it all, even when I felt lost. He had a plan. Here is how my 2013 went.

1. WritingI will pursue making my writing and my blog into my career/a business. I’m not sure exactly how it will evolve. Here are some thoughts: giveaways, newsletter, update the look, new platform, monthly link roundup. I will likely be sharing a little less about my kids. And I’m still debating about keeping up with the monthly goals.

I did put a lot of work into my actual writing. I did finally switch to WordPress. I did do some round-ups. But I still have a lot of work to do to make this an actual business and make any money. That has never been my real focus. I bake/cook and write because I love it. But I do put a lot of time and energy into it. So it would be nice to get something in return.

gf corndogs

2. PhotographyAlong with my writing I want to get better at food photography. I just got a book on food photography for Christmas. I’m very excited. My hope is to update pictures of some of my recipes. At the least the more popular posts. And continue to experiment and learn.

I still have a LOT to learn about photography. But from the beginning of the year to the end there was definitely a big improvement in my photos and the overall look of my posts. I’m still learning, but I did make good progress.

3. HealingI will continue to pursue improvement in my health. I’m very anxious for my test results in a couple weeks and figuring out where to go from there. I hope to start getting more sleep this year (I need to make it a priority). I want to continue to improve my mental health/decrease my OCD. Ultimately I’d like to not have any special “diet”…no restrictions. I will focus on being healthy.

My healing journey over the past year was quite monumental. I will be sharing a big update on just my health very soon. For now I’ll just say that I am totally amazed at the difference in my life now than it was a year ago. Things have changed in so many ways. In January of 2013 I had all sorts of tests done and was given a long list of foods to avoid. I was told I had all kinds of candida. I had heavy metals in my body. My adrenals were off. All sorts of stuff. Today I just do what works for my body and don’t stress about the rest. I finally get enough sleep. My OCD has improved a lot. One of my biggest health improvements has been with my thyroid. It took me many, many months of research, but I finally figured out that my main problem is hypothyroid…and I was on the wrong dose of medication. So now I am on the path to healing that and feeling great.

gf blueberry pie 2

4. Homemade Food I want to make it a priority to feed my family less processed food. I make a lot of things from scratch. But I still reach for a box of organic crackers or fruit snacks sometimes for my kids. I’d like to get away from that. It’s so much fun to make homemade versions of our favorite snacks. Maybe I’ll go one by one through the boxes in the cupboard and recreate them.

I did start out the year gradually replacing foods in our cupboards with homemade versions. But then life happened. Health issues happened. And lately I’ve hardly been able to bake or make special snacks at all. But it’s only for a season. I will get back to it soon. My kids are still well fed and very healthy. I’m doing the best I can at the moment. And that is good enough.

5. RelationshipsI need to focus on building relationships this year. I want deeper friendships. But I also want to make my whole family a priority (husband, kids, siblings, parents). I need to be intentional about making time for this and putting in effort.

This was another goal that started out well. But during the second half of the year I had to put more focus on myself.

6. RebeccaI want to focus on Rebecca’s needs and make any necessary changes for her. We’ll be seeing a speech pathologist and a psychologist this month. Hopefully then we will have better direction. It’s still TBD if/when I’ll try any dietary changes.

Rebecca and I went on monthly mommy/daughter dates. We found out that she has pretty severe mold, dust and cat allergies. So we are working on those. Rebecca’s eating has improved greatly this year, so we no longer go to the speech pathologist. Rebecca was strict gluten free for most of the year. I think it is helpful for her. With both kids we are very strict on artificial flavor and coloring.

7. CraftsI love making crafts, but I don’t often have time. I’d like to find a few fun crafts to make at some point this year. It would be nice to start working on Christmas presents now so that I’m not scrambling at the end of the year. I always love giving homemade gifts, but I don’t think of it early enough. This could be sewing projects, but other types of crafts as well.

I did manage to make a few simple homemade Christmas gifts. Sadly I didn’t start them until December! But they got done.


8. CakesI will continue to experiment with cake baking and decorating. I just got some drawing books for Christmas. So my hope is to work on my artistic abilities and then translate that into cake decorating. At this point I’m still not trying to make this into a true business. It’s a hobby that I enjoy. But I don’t have time to do it often with small children.

I did a few cakes at the beginning of the year. As with everything else, the second half of the year was focused on health. I didn’t have the time or energy to do extra work like cakes.


9. DeclutterAfter another generous Christmas I feel like our house is overflowing. We are so blessed. But all of our blessings sometimes give me stress when I see messes and “stuff” everywhere. So I’d really like to simplify and declutter. We need to purge some toys and plenty of other stuff. I’m hoping to get started right away in January working on organizing toys and getting rid of old ones.


I did do some major cleaning in January. But that’s about it. And after birthdays, Christmas, etc. our house/clutter is even more overwhelming than ever. It’s still a stress for the whole family. It will definitely be back on my list for 2014.

10. AcceptanceI had a friend once that decided on a word for the year for her family. They focused on that one attribute the whole year. I thought it was a neat idea. Over the last few months one word has continually come to mind – ACCEPTANCE. God has been speaking to me about this. And I’m trying to listen 🙂 This is something I have a hard time with. But something I’m slowly learning. I need to accept myself the way I am and not compare myself to others or even myself (in the past). I need to accept my family members. I am such a perfectionist I tend to be very judgemental and critical of others. It’s not something I’m proud of. But it’s hard to control when it’s part of my personality. This year I want to truly accept others. Every quirk. Every habit. Whether they make choices or do things I agree with or not. I need to love and accept all the members of my family. And I need to accept all people. We are all so different. But we are all God’s creation. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. We all make mistakes. But we are all beautiful images of God. This will be my year of acceptance in all areas of my life. Instead of always wishing something was different, I will accept.

When I chose the word “acceptance” for 2013 never did I imagine all the forms it would take. I had to accept change (a LOT of change), giving up control, gaining weight, loss, unfulfilled expectations, receiving help and even joy. Through it all I’ve learned that God is in control, no matter how hard things are for me to accept. I also learned that I have to understand that God accepts me and loves me just the way I am…which will allow me to accept and love others. I hope God blessed you as richly as He blessed me in 2013. Despite the challenges  God brought so much good into my life. It’s almost incomprehensible. Changes that I have been trying to make year after year after year that I thought were impossible…He took control and took care of them. Health problems that have plagued me and made me feel so alone…He turned them around. Confusion and constant searching for answers…He gave me direction and a clear path. God is good.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

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