1-What did you do in 2013 that you had never done before?
1-I visited Seattle, Washington and went to Canada twice! I had never been to any of those places.
2-Switched from iTunes to Spotify. Such a good decision!
3-Started wearing reading glasses. I know. It's sad. Just call me Ma-maw.
2-Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes...Ashley had Caroline-the sweetest and prettiest baby girl ever-in February. She is so precious to me and I am so thankful God gave her to us!
3-Did anyone close to you die?
No one in my family died this year, thankfully. But we lost several good friends at church. One of them was Marie Sieber, one of the sweetest ladies I know. Her husband was on the pulpit committee that called my dad to be pastor of Carmel Baptist in Charlotte back in 1976, so I have known her since I was 12 years old! She loved the Lord so much and was always such a good friend and hostess. She opened her home to us many times for Christmas parties and dinners and overnight stays. I loved her and I still love her whole family and think the world of them. We will miss her, but I know she is with the Lord and is healed!
4-What dates from 2013 will remain etched in your memory and why?
I will always remember February 20th, the day Caroline was born. Having grandchildren has been one of the biggest joys of my life. I am so blessed.
Plus Laura and Lindy graduated from college this year!! We had kids in college for eight straight years, so that was a big deal for all of us. I was so proud of Laura and Lindy!
I will also remember taking Mark to law school in Washington, DC, back in August. That was the start of an important journey in his life!
5-Did you suffer any illness or injury?
No. I was so blessed to be very healthy this year!!
6-What was the best thing you bought?
I think the best thing we bought this year was our Smart TV. We have used it so much to watch movies on demand and also TV shows. I love it!!
7-Where did most of your money go?
Most of our money went to finishing up paying for college tuitions and a little bit of travel, too!
8-What songs will always remind you of 2013?
Well, y'all know I love country music, so some of my favorite country songs this year were:
*Highway Don't Care by Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift (and Keith Urban on the guitar!) Who wouldn't love it?? They are so talented! Steve and Lindy do a good duet on this one!
*Downtown by Lady Antebellum
*Anywhere With You by Jake Owen-(this is the one Steve sings to me all the time!) :)
And, I'm a lyrics girl. I listen closely to lyrics and if they speak to my heart, I am sold. All these songs have words that I wish I could have written myself and that's what I love about them!
*Kings and Queens by Audio Adrenaline
The first time I heard this song was when I saw our video from Joy Prom (a prom we host at our church each year for people with special needs.) I fell in love with it and added it to my playlist and listen to it all the time. And I know David loves it, too, so I think about him when I'm listening! Sweet boy! :)
*Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets. These words are exactly how I feel!
*When The Saints by Sara Groves. The words of this song inspire me so much. I want to live a life that means something. I want to live a life of courage. I want to live a life that matters to God. When the saints go marching in, I want to be one of them!!
*Sweet Caroline-obviously!! :)
*When I Was Your Man-Bruno Mars
I love all kinds of music, so it is hard to choose! :)
9-What do you wish you would have done more/less of?
My goal this year was to find more balance and I have to say I think I have done a better job of that! I always wish I would have spent more time in God's word and in prayer, but I don't think I can ever do enough of that and I am always just trying to get better.
10-What was your favorite TV program?
Lindy and I got hooked on Nashville this year and it was sooo good!! Good music, good story line, and good acting.
And, of course, I still love Downton Abbey!! Plus--I got so into Homeland. We didn't watch it weekly because we don't have Showtime, but we got it on Amazon Prime and watched one episode after another!
11-What is the best book you read this year?
I reaallly liked Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist! I had never read anything by her before and I loved her writing style and her stories from the heart. (And I didn't know until recently that her dad is Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church right outside Chicago!)
But I think Love Does by Bob Goff was one of the best books I've read in a long time!
12-What was the best movie you saw this year?
I loved The Butler! That was probably my favorite.
13-What did you do on your birthday? How old were you?
Well, I know I turned 49, but I don't remember what I did!! I know I got showered with all kinds of sweet gifts and flowers from my students and I think we went to dinner at Firebirds.
14-Did you travel anywhere this year?
Yes. We went to Portland...
West Palm Beach, Florida
15-What national/international event stirred you the most?
I was so sad to hear about the Boston Marathon bombing. That was such a tragedy and I love Boston, so I hated hearing that terrorists were there and committing such awful acts!
But I loved the new Pope that was elected! I think he is a wonderful man and I love what he stands for.
Plus it was fun to see Prince William and Kate's sweet baby boy, Prince George, arrive!
I have to include some amazing sporting events this year, too. First of all, the Panthers have had an AMAZING season!!! I look so forward to watching them play every Sunday and we are so excited that they won the NFC South title! Here are my two FAVORITE players!
And the Boston Red Sox won the World Series this year for the first time in 85 years!! It was so fun to watch since we have a connection with Boston now that Laura lives there!
16-Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2013.
2013 was a good year in so many ways. When I look back at this post and all the pictures of fun things that we did and good times we had, I am so grateful. But you know that is just the "highlight reel", right? Every year is full of its ups and downs and good times and bad. I chose to focus on all the good things, but there were definitely struggles this year, too. Every life has its disappointments and frustrations and heartbreak and mistakes. There were lots of people this year walking through really hard things. It just reinforced to me how important it is to walk closely with God. He really is the giver of all good things...peace, joy, happiness, love. And He mends broken hearts and gives us a new start. What would I do without Him? He eases my burdens and he multiplies my joys and blesses me in so many ways. Not only that, staying close to Him makes my life full of things that have eternal significance and are so much better than the temporary things we have here on earth!
So, I am praying that He will keep me close this year and also that 2014 will be a new start for people who need one. Just a year of mended hearts and brighter days and feeling Jesus close to them and feeling His peace and forgiveness and joy and whatever their heart needs.
I loved this by Ann Voskamp:
How in the world do you step hopeful into the next year when you tripped messy through the last year? How do you stand brave with all the smiling rest and ring in the new year when the old year still feels a bit like a millstone around the neck? What if everyone else is making New Year’s resolutions and you just want New You solutions?
You move forward. And there’s the utter release of being more grateful for what is than feeling guilty for what isn’t —