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Reflecting on the Highs

What kind of blogger would I be if I only ever talked about the rosy parts of life?  The cookies… the birthday dinners… the Thanksgiving meal…

The fake kind, that’s what.

And I don’t want to be fake.  Besides, most people can smell fake a mile away, and I think if I wrote a reflective post about how glorious and perfect the year 2013 has been, you’d know me for a phony.  I’d rather just level with you and say that 2013 has been a hard year for me.  One of the hardest of my life, to put it bluntly.  The memories that stick out most from this past year don’t involve cookies, birthday dinners, or the Thanksgiving meal.  Frankly, I wish I could forget the memories that stick out most from this past year.

Some years are like that.  Hard.

So I’m writing this post today as much for me as for any of you.  I need to be reminded of some of the “highs” this year has brought with it.  We all go through seasons.  Some seasons bring new life and great joy, and others bring sickness, death, and broken relationships.  (Gosh, now I feel like I’m treading into “morbid” territory.)  I won’t ramble on about sickness, death, and broken relationships.  I just want you to know that if 2013 was a season of heartache for you instead of one of joy… I am right there with ya.  You have my heartfelt sympathy and my prayers.  We will press on together and squeeze every drop of joy we possibly can out of 2014.

So before we bid 2013 goodbye (or “good riddance” if that seems more appropriate) I’m determined to celebrate the highlights it contained.  And there were plenty of them, especially here at the Pretty/Hungry blog. :)  Here are a few of the events and posts that ranked among my favorites (and yours!)

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For starters, I completely redesigned this website and learned loads of “computer stuff” along the way!  It’s been a ton of work, but SO much fun to invest more time and effort in this blog and watch what unfolds.  Also in 2013, our baby girl grew into a 1-year old!  Throughout her first year, I wrote the Feeding Your Baby series here on the blog, and experienced the fun of giving her weird foods to try so we could watch her reaction.  (Lemon, grapefruit, & plain yogurt were among the first we tried.  But joke was on us… she LOVED them!)

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In the summer, our family made the decision to purchase some land, with the goal of eventually building a home.  This land purchase marked the start of us getting serious about our budget, which has led to a whole slew of unexpected character-building blessings, for which I’m extremely thankful.  (Speaking of those unexpected blessings… if you are a new subscriber and are still waiting to receive your free e-book, please let me know.  E-mail me at ccprettyhungry@gmail.com.  I will make sure you get your book!)  Anyway, the strict budget even inspired me to try my hand at cheese-making, and I totally love it!  You all really enjoyed that post as well.  :)

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On the personal side of things, throughout 2013 I underwent a series of surgeries to reduce my hereditary risk of breast cancer.  (That was actually one of the hard parts of 2013.)  But hard as that was, it has also added powerfully to my testimony.  In fact, I was honored to be invited to share my story on the radio during Little Rock’s Race for the Cure!  If you would like to hear that interview, I posted it here.  Another key personal moment in 2013 was when I felt led to post this account of my past struggles with disordered eating.  I’m including it as one of 2013’s highlights because I was overwhelmed by your responses to that post.  It turns out quite a few of us are hauling around some baggage when it comes to our relationships with food.  That post convinced me even more of the importance of letting honesty pervade everything I write to you all.  Honesty is what I want to read… so I know it is what I need to write.

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My Story: BRCA Testing and Preventative Surgery  |  prettyhungryblog.com

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A little later in the year, as I began to expand the Budget Category of the Pretty/Hungry blog, I was thrilled to have a couple of guest posts published on Money Saving Mom®.  I think so highly of Crystal Paine and am so grateful for the good stuff she’s putting out there into cyberspace!  It was a great blessing to have those articles published on her site and to meet some new blog friends as a result.

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In the Fall, I got fed up with all the sweets from Halloween and decided to have a little fun experimenting with savory pumpkin recipes.  You all really enjoyed this Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta with Fisher® Pecans.  (So did I. YUM!)  I also got inspired around that time to add a Meatless category to this blog.  So many delicious meal options out there for you non-carnivores. 😉  And In December, I worked up the nerve to enter these White Chocolate Drizzled Ginger Snaps in a local contest called “12 Days of Cookies.”  To my surprise and delight, mine was selected as one of the winning recipes (but only after you sweet blog readers went WAY above and beyond the call of duty getting me through the voting round.  It was intense.)  The prize was amaaaazing: Free milk for a year!  We are giddy about it… the vouchers just came in the mail today. :)

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White Chocolate Drizzled "Soft-Baked" Ginger Snaps- Pretty Hungry Blog

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And last but never least: In 2013 I made this White Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding approximately four thousand times.  And I wouldn’t take back a single bite!

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White Chocolate Raspberry Bread Pudding

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So now that I’ve recalled all those highlights, I think I can officially bid this year adieu!  No matter what 2014 has in store for me, I choose to trust in the Lord.  But just know that when I am clinking my glass at midnight tonight… what I am hoping for is that 2014 will be a better year than any so far.  For all of us!

Cheers,

Carissa

8 Responses so far.

  1. Kimmy says:

    Great post Carissa! Spoken from the heart. Praying for a healthy and happy 2014 for you, Chris and precious Elsa! :)

  2. Kelli B says:

    I will toast to that! Cheers lovely!

  3. I so loved reading this post. 2013 was kind of a mixed bag for me, as well, with the last six weeks being especially difficult. I’m so thankful, though, that the Lord’s lovingkindnesses are New EVERY morning, and His compassion does not fail.
    Praying that 2014 will be a better year all around.

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