Thank you for your overwhelming joy in sharing the best and the blessings of 2012! Congratulations to the winner of the One Thousand Gifts gift set and the One Thousand Gifts Devotional:

40) Laura

Let’s start now jotting down all the best gifts of 2013! To the glory of God and the gift of a New Year!



You hear it, too? The clock ticking down on this year?

Oh, we’re all lingering in the wonder of these holidays a bit longer, and pulling up a chair just for you, and passing down your cuppa warm.

coffee,cups coffee cups best of times 1920x1200 wallpaper – Coffee Wallpapers – Free Desktop Wallpapers

Ah, it was the best of times, wasn’t it?

Well, really, it wasn’t in the least, and it completely was because now is always the miracle that might not have been.

Either way, 2012 came — and it’s about to go. And like an old friend, this year needs remembering for all of the best moments — the ones where you wanted to grab a girlfriend and say, “Hey! Did you see that wink of a minute, that falling star of a moment, that crazy grace time bestowed?”

It’s going to get happiest loud in here, because we’re all Jonathan-friends and we’re all leaning in with the good times and don’t be shy about what the Lord has done!

So, let the whole (in)courage hood chime in, (and if you’re here, that’s gorgeous you, sister) and let’s make this the best end of the year block party —

The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
The best book you couldn’t put down?
The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?

The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)

The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? (It’s true: One good idea in hand is worth two good friends knowing about it too!)

The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)

The best link of 2102?  The best laugh? The best living?

The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.)

What was the best habit?
The best holiday? The best gift?
The best sacrifice? (The best way to have more is to give more…)

And wave your friends in here too —  the more we share, the more joy we all give each other. 

So… what was the Best of Everything 2012?

(Pouring your mug of grace times in the the comment box and we’ll all be pitching in with our “Best of…” there too! :)


Can’t wait to hear your “The Best of  Everything 2012″ … and for every comment you leave (one, two, ten)?

Every comment’s another entry to win 4 gifts that are, oh,  about Four Thousand Gifts! : The One Thousand Gifts gift set  of 2 books with the calendar — and the brand spanking new One Thousand Gifts Devotional (with numbered journaling space to write down your own “1000 best of everything moments” for 2013!)

“The Best of Everything 2012″ party will just keep singing on here on until Saturday evening, 8 pm EST, and then we get the happy joy of updating this post with the recipient of the One Thousand Gifts gift set who then gets to start the countdown of her own “1000 best of everything” 2013!


Let the best of times begin! Let the linking and the laughing and the loving and the remembering begin!

Email readers and RSS friends, come on join in with your beautiful voice at “The Best of Everything” party right here

  • Ann Voskamp

    Okay :) I’m a complete, awkward wallflower at get-togethers and a lurker when it comes to comments … but if I’m clearing my throat and plunging in, anyone can jump in here! :)

    Best recipe: Herb Roasted Pork Mmmmm :)

    Best book: Hmmm. Hard one. Okay — what book in 2012 did I carry around everywhere with me? This one spent the year with me: Sermon on the Mount, The: A Verse-by-Verse Look at the Greatest Teachings of Jesus

    and best song? Ooooh…. let me think. Will be back.

    Pouring the warm cuppa for you now :) — your turn! :) (And the best jeans? best link? joke? movie?) :)

    • Stacey

      Sweet Ann, I love that you moved out from the hidden place to comment here! Makes me smile!

      One of my best of moments was a hug I got from my sweet Canadian friend in the hallway at Allume. Pure joy!

      Happy New Year!

      • Ann Voskamp

        I. just. love. you.
        Thank you, braveheart Stacey, for making this corner of the internet a safe place to be real and honest and a place for the Body of Christ to grow and *be* community for one another.

        One of 2012’s special graces was your tender washing the feet of sisters here, sweet friend! :)

        Blessed New Year!

        • Libby

          agreed! Stacey is a gem! And yes, thanks Ann for stepping out first and sharing your bests.
          One of my bests was Stacey’s encouragement to go with God’s crazy idea for an (in)courager group. What He’s done because of it has been amazing!

          • Stacey

            Love you sweet Libby girl! He was in it from the beginning!

    • Lisa McK

      I would have to say your book! Read through twice and have now given a coy away to at least nine other friends who have been equally blessed!

      • Laura J

        Love you, friend! I’m forever grateful for your friendship, and your kind and loving heart. Thank you AGAIN … For everything! :-)

    • Laura W.

      Ann, just so you know… God put your book in my hands at a time when I needed it. I am not lying or exaggerating when I say it changed my life. God bless you. I want to come sit on your porch (and you’re always welcome on mine!) <3

      BEST BOOK: "Happier At Home" by Gretchen Rubin and "Searching for God Knows What" by Donald Miller (which I was prepared to dislike going into and came away with my brain having tons to munch on.

      BEST SONG: Maybe not the best (that would probably be "10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman – I can't sing it without bawling and raising my hands), but I listened to "A Thousand Years" over and over by Christina Perri – it became my undeclared birth song for my second son (born his past May) and was in my head as I labored.

      JEANS: Skinny jeans! Who knew I would love them?!

      THE BEST RISK: Encouraging my husband to follow his dream, leave his job and find a new one (all while I was pregnant) and us moving 4.5 hours from all I had ever known to return to his old stomping ground (his life-long dream).

      THE BEST GIFT: My son, Travis Luke who was born all fast and furious on May 6th. I cried tears of joy, looked at him, laughed and said, "We did it again!" (We have a two year old son as well.)

      WHAT WAS THE BEST HABIT: Oh, come on, Ann. Duh. GRATITUDE. :)

      <3 <3 <3

      Happy and grateful to be looking forward to 2013!

    • Sabrina MacQueen

      The best dinner in 2012 was Cheeseburger Soup. We regularly have neighbours and friends in for dinner and I make two huge pots of soup. The day I made the Cheeseburger Soup it was emptied to the bottom. One guy even tipped the pot up to get the very last of it. It was a recipe from Taste of Home and is available on their web site.

      • Monika MacDonald

        We’ve been making that soup for years from a Taste of Home recipe magazine. It’s my boys absolute favorite!!!

      • Jackie

        I googled Taste of Home for the soup recipe and found several different ones. Please share link for yours. Would so like to start inviting people over for simple meals.

      • elise daly Parker

        Okay…I’m coming over for that Cheeseburger Soup…sounds like you have the awesome gift of hospitality!!

    • Paige

      Best Book-One Thousand Gifts-your transparency is an amazing witness! Love it! Life changing for me!
      Best recipe-Cranberry upside down cake
      Best Jeans-Levi Curvy Girl Skinnies-the hidden elastic waist band keeps them from riding down in back :-)

      • Dennise

        Paige – would love to have the recipe for the Cranberry Upside Down Cake!

        My best recipe was found recently: Cranberry Cornbread Casserole! YUMMMYYY!

        Can we swap recipes?

    • KayliS

      I feel so blessed! I don’t know if you’ll see this but I am grateful to have a chance to tell you personally. God has changed my life through your words! I am so grateful for your honest example. You have helped me see life through God’s eyes. Thank you with all my heart for blessing and influencing the life of a farm family in ID. The power and truth of your words has shaped the mind and heart of me, my husband,my five little children, our 2 year old homeschool, our Christmas, our Thanksgiving and our everyday as we count all the gifts that God has already given. These moments of trusting God have been my BEST moments.
      I am thanking God for the way you have sanctified womanhood, helped me get to know myself and find God in all things! Thank you Ann!
      May you and your family be blessed for sharing your hearts with us!

      • Amy Patton

        Best books-most life changing,1000 gifts and so long insecurity.

        • Wendy Mann

          I read So Long Insecurity too and it was very timely. I cried and cried and got healed! :) Thank you Jesus. Love that book!

      • Amy Patton

        Dh and I celebrated 24 years in Bethany Beach. Ate arugula salad with roasted beets, whipped goat cheese and maple pecans. Remade this recipe for Christmas-fresh arugula, place whole fresh beets in tin foil packets with olive oil and salt-roast in oven 45-55 minutes at 375 degrees. Whip goat cheese with a little milk. Candy pecans by adding maple syrup and pecans in skillet and cooking until all liquid is gone. Assemble salad-put arugula on plate, place 3or4slices of roast beet, a dollop of goat cheese and sprinkle with pecans. Yum!

        • Jacqueline K

          Amy Patton, my family goes to Bethany Beach every year and now we have a beach house there. What a great place to spend your anniversary, we love it there so much! And your recipe sounds delicious!

        • Robin in New Jersey

          Sigh…we LOVE Bethany Beach (Delaware? correct?) We used to go there every summer and rent a beach house. Then my husband lost his job and was unemployed and we haven’t been able to go back in 4 years. Oh how my children long to return and the memories , oh the memories.
          Thank you for sharing! Going to dig out my albums and look at the pictures. But I fear they will make me cry.

        • Kisti

          I made a salad similar to this and it was amazing!

    • Antoinette

      I have to say, no book holds a candle to the Bible, every time I read it I learn something new, even from things I have read hundreds of times! And God speaks volumes in just a phrase!

      • Kim

        Yes! Antoinette thanks for saying so. I love to read and have many favorites but the best is definitely the Bible and the Author whispers to me while I read!
        Just found a book about hymns with a CD of Joni, John MacArthur and others singing called “What Wondrous Love it this”.
        Chris Tomlin’s Christmas CD “Glory in the Highest”
        My husband’s surprise to me: chef’s mat for the kitchen.
        This has probably been my favorite year yet ~ everyday with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.
        Favorite blog: Ann’s

      • Cindy

        Even in just a word !!!

    • Jenniferbof3

      Best book: 1000 Gifts & Dinner A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach (recipe book & a good read in one)

      Which brings me to best recipe : Pork Ragu with Pappardelle & chicken pot pie (from recipe book mentioned above)

      Best jeans: Loft Modern Boot cut

      Have a blessed New year!

    • Mallory

      Best recipe I couldn’t not make again: sweet n spicy chicken
      Best book I couldn’t put down: Gospel Revolution
      Best song I couldn’t get out of my head: I Lift My Hands and 10000 Reasons
      Best jeans: ANA straight
      Best risk: moving from a place I’ve known all my life to somewhere new and far from family and friends

      • Bonnie

        Where do I find the recipe for sweet and spicy chicken?

    • Mallory

      Best recipe I couldn’t not make again: sweet n spicy chicken
      Best book I couldn’t put down: So Long Insecurity
      Best song I couldn’t get out of my head: I Lift My Hands and 10000 Reasons
      Best jeans: ANA straight
      Best risk: moving from a place I’ve known all my life to somewhere new and far from family and friends

    • Amy

      Okay, I have no idea if I jumped in at the right spot, but I am so trying to Live Imperfectly with Great Delight, so here I go…

      Best book: Streams in the Desert, in the original printing, old English style verbage and all..been my companion for 7 years, never disappoints, always challenges me, but this year, with this “old” style book, it made me ponder. The language made me stop, made me think, it was beautiful. Given to me by a dear friend who collects them, it was from an estate sale and it had been a gift to the woman who first owned it, given by her Sunday School class, all their names written in shaky script…precious…then given to me by a friend, who just 2 weeks later found out that her husband, our dear precious friend of 17 years had a brain tumor..he passed 3 months later. It is now my treasure in every sense of the word.

      BEST Make up tool: Maybelline (Revlon?) makes an eraser pen that erases mascara mistakes and honey….with the hurry I’m often in, it is the most used think in my bathroom!

      BEST Challenge: When God called us to adopt again from China….we adopted 2 years ago and we have bio sons 18 and 15. Abraham and Sarah have been challenged a lot these past 2 years, but through His Word He wooed me, He called me and He called my man too. So here we grow again! The challenge came in the form of “pick up your cross and follow Me.” You must “die in order to really live.” Put away my list of reasons not to do hard in this life and just trust Him…again and again again.

      BEST Starbucks: Chai latte with a splash of coconut syrup….heaven in a cup!

      BEST Food: this amazing sandwich in Boulder, Colorado with mozz cheese, sundried tomatoes, pesto sauce, grilled chicken, feta…oh my word!!!! Delish! I think about it …a lot…LOL!

      BEST jeans, cheap jeans: Bought some Jordache jeans (oh my word, so 80’s!) at Wal-Mart and you know what? I like them!

      BEST song: oh cannot pick just one.I Lift My Hands by Christ Tomlin; Wedding Day by Casting Crowns; Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Matthew Smith and I love LeCrae…go figure.

      BEST cooking gadget I absolutely cannot live without: Crockpot

      BEST Risk: besides plunging into another China adoption? putting my Christmas devotional on Kindle for free! It was exhilarating! Over 3700 downloads in 48 hours. I was astonished! Thrilled.

      This is so fun! I love looking over the past year at the JOY! All grace….all underserved…but all lavishly given! Thank you sweet Jesus…

      • Laura W.

        I adore chai. And now I’m going to have to try the splash of coconut. :D

        • Deena

          me too! What a lovely idea!

          • Deena Burnham

            I couldn’t resist chiming in after my sister here with the same name.
            Me too! Me too.

      • Christie

        I also have an old, old, old copy of Streams in the Desert. I bought it at an estate sale of an old woman whom my mother-in-law knew. A treasure with her writing in it and a lovely book!

        • Bonnie

          My Streams in the Dessert is from a garage sale 30 years ago. I love it. All the underlining and notes are a treasure.

        • A marilyn

          My Streams was my Grandmother’s who died in 1975. Given to her by her Sunday school class inscribed in 1935. 6 years before I was born. She was the most godly woman I ever met and gave me so many gifts. But most of all my love of all things homemaking. Cooking,sewing,cleaning,ironing….all of it! Even though I had college, career,children.. . Doing and being around my home and husband of 53 years.. That was my pure joy in 2012 !

          • Lynn

            I have journaling lines in my Streams in the Desert copy. Love looking back over the years to see how God has answered prayers, or to recall how the daily passage spoke to me in a given year.

      • Helen

        “Live Imperfectly with Great Delight.” I love that! I’m going to remember those words. Thank you.

        • Amy Marie

          I absolutely love Streams AND Springs by Cowman!! Excellent!

    • mary

      Best song- I Won’t Let Go by Rascal Flatts since my husband passed away 2 years ago
      Best decision-country girl going cityafter 61 years – God revealed his beauty is good, but his people are Very Good
      Best vacation- all kids & grandkids on Oregon coast for a week
      Best recipe of the year – avocado, mango, black bean salad

      • elise daly Parker

        Sounds like a big year, Mary!

    • Cheryl Nyquist

      All for Good by Thomas Watson. Carried me thru most difficult year of my life. I am 54. Best song Sara Groves – Great is thy faithfulness – best I-touch app – Treasury of David – the psalms. Loving this app.

    • Kim

      Best vacation? Entire family went on an Alaskan Cruise. It had been on my Bucket List
      Best book- Hands Down- One Thousand gifts! It’s a Heart changer…
      Best gift – My new iPhone-lol, keep untouched w/family & re-connect w/friends
      Best recipe – Sweet potato fries
      Best drink – Iced Coffee From Pioneer Woman
      It was a year of tear,grief, heartache, love, learning, and laughter – A year of Spiritual Growth- thank you GOD

      • Pam

        I love the Pioneer Woman!

        • Anonymous

          Try the meatball recipe with a side of mashed potatoes!

    • Mary Jo

      Hi, I just stumbled on this site today. For sure, the best book for me this year is Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts! It has been life-changing for me. I have given it to each of my close friends. It has been such an encouragement to us in this dark world. Thanks Ann for your beautifully penned words!

    • Pam

      The best year end gathering right now.

      Best book, the Mark of the Lion series “the Echo in the Darkness” classic and pure life!

      Best recipe, caramel chocolate brownies

      Best once in a lifetime encounter: besides meeting Jesus in an even bigger way due to One thousand gifts. It would be meeting Ann herself in 2012

      Best movie, Lincoln a story that lingers long after the movie ends

      Best moment of the year would be the birth of Benjamin to my sister, which now makes nine.

      Best co worker, experiencing work along side a faithful, friend, sissy in Christ who reminded me daily how special I am.

      Best song, hhhhhmmmmmm so many good ones no one favorite.

    • Robin

      Best book was yours Ann. Truthfully, finding it and your blog and learning how to be thankful changed me. Best recipe, my new daughter in law teaching me how to make homemade spicy chicken alfredo – we vow to never eat jarred alfredo sauce again! best jeans – I sure love my Lee Premiums, but Im eagerly waiting others wisdom on this! :). Im ruminating on the other questions…. looking forward to reading what others share

      • Angie

        Best Gift: Counting 1000 gifts of gratefulness with my children and seeing all the different ways their little hands created their gratitude journal..such a blessing!
        Best Music: Everything Mandissa
        Best thing for cleaning: The Shark (mop)
        Best Book for the last two years: 1000 Gifts and planning to read it again this year.
        Best recipe: Tabbouleh salad from Food Network

    • Farm chick

      What a wild flashback! RT was a preacher at my parents little country church while he was attending seminary many years ago! Thanks for the Recommended read!!

    • Morgan

      The best adventure. Taking my 70 year old mom to Disney world. It was our first family vacation and first visit for my daughters and to Disney . It was my moms firt time there also.

      Best book…….hmmmmmm
      I enjoyed the happiness project and breaking dawn part I and II

      Best recipe……..I made homemade pierogies for the first time and they can out awesome

      Best jeans…..I don’t know I do not do jeans lol

      Best journey……..the one I am currently on………revisiting religion and finding where I belong in the grand scheme of it all

      Best decision…….starting yoga

      Best time……any time spent with my girls

      Best movie…….ok I admit the twilight saga love all of them!

      Beat song……all of them!

      • Gena Sumner

        I have never been able to wear skinny jeans, thinking that they made my thighs look too big. However, the skinny jeans this year at Ann Taylor Loft are amazing. They are a very dark denim, slimming color, and the fit is perfect for us older women (50 this year). I have even been able to wear them with a short sweater and boots. I love them and now feel like a modern girt!

        • elise daly Parker

          Oh…I’m going to try them. I have to wear them! Peer pressure from my daughters, so I’ll try these!

          • Martha Barnett

            Elise…I love you! Go get those jeans. : )

        • bstark

          Love jeans from J Jill. The most comfortable jeans ever!!

    • Tricia Effendi

      My best link from from Andrea at which led me to you and brought Jesus close again at the busiest time of the year. That led me to your book, which I cherise.

    • Catherine

      Oh, I wish I had seen this wonderful recipe! My pork roast yesterday was okay but lacked something. Next time! I will remember your recommendation for this. Thank you.

    • Aprile

      best recipe: Turkish Delight (aka) saltine cracker toffe candy My family cant refuse it!

      best jeans: Mek

      best book: my Bible then 1000 gifts of course!

      best and hardest decesion: to home school my four beautiful children even when its hard:)

    • Ida

      I’m late to this party…love, love, love reading through the comments! My book list for 2013 is now pages and pages long!

      Best Book-over and over and over again-One Thousand Gifts. Life changing each and every time I sink into the pages! This will be my “best book” until the Lord brings me Home.

      Best Memory-so many come to mind but my most precious might just be my son’s home birth. If you like birth stories you can read his here:

      More “best memories” include: my “birthday wish” coming true:


      My husband baptizing our 6 year old and how she insisted on wearing her goggles:


      “Tattoos for clean water” night. Yes. Ann, will it upset you to know that your phrase “all is grace” is so delicately and wonderfully tattooed onto my collarbone in typewriter font. I love it. AND…it was a benefit for clean water. Win, win, yes? ;-)

      Best jeans??! I am not a fashionista but I sure do love my “Seven” jeans I purchased at Marshall’s a few years back. (After a couple more children they are not quite as, well, comfortable as they used to be…but they are wonderful!)

      Best song? How do you pick one song? Probably this one, though: I just have to get on my face before the Lord every single time I play it.

      Best risk? this, thank you Jesus for letting me be part of this: The 12×12 Project is an awakening in our community, to care about the things that God cares about…and I’m just so excited to see Him work! Humbled and excited!

      Best laugh? Every single day with Eleanor, our “little middle”. She recently asked for a glass of “hedgehog” (egg nog). Thankful for that spunky one who has graced my face with many, many laugh lines and many, many “worry wrinkles”. Sigh. She is her mother.

      How uplifting this has been. To think back on the graciousness and goodness and GOOD of God over our life for the last year. I can’t even remember “the bad” because I’m smiling so big over the wonderful.

      :-) Thank you.

      • Tamara

        The baptism with goggles brought to mind one of my favorite memories of all time. When my oldest daughter (now 14) was little, we were sitting in church during a very solemn and quiet part of the service which included the baptisms. She leaned over to me and whispered, “Can I wear my goggles to do that?” The image of my tiny red-head with her hair askew from the goggles on her face and wrapped in the white robe immediately came to mind, and I had to bite my lip hard to keep from laughing out loud…love that God Himself probably chuckled over that one too.

      • Anonymous

        and I have the word “Eucharisteo” tattooed on the inner aspect of my left wrist so that when I see it while I’m using my hands all day, I will remember to live thankfully first, and then seek the blessing.

  • Donna

    My favorite time this year was spent in a small group at church studying 40 Days of Purrpose. I confess i didn’t read it all.i started following Rick Warren on Twitter and he seems very fun but very much like Jesus.

  • Donna

    My favorite time this year was spent in a small group at church studying a book. I confess i didn’t read it all. But the conversation and prayer was precious.

    • Ann Voskamp

      Wonderful, yes! Living in community and learning what it means to be a sister-friend!

  • Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

    So many “bests” – I hardly know where to begin. I’ll start with music. The best music CD I bought this year is Keith and Kristyn Getty’s “Hymns for the Christian Life.” Powerful lyrics with a celtic flavor – love it. Here’s a link to the Getty’s performing one of my favorite songs on the album – “Simple Living” –

    • Ann Voskamp

      Must check this one out, Patricia! And the link was *perfect* — thank you!

      And one of your best books, Patricia?

      Your best photo tip? :) :)

    • Kellie

      Thanks, I love this music!!!!

    • Sarah

      I just discovered the Gettys’ music this year! Love it.

    • Rachel Lundy

      I love the Getty’s music! The lyrics are always deep and rich, and the songs strengthen and encourage my soul.

    • Harriett Masterson

      Thank you so much for including the link for the Getty Music. I’ve since listened to a number of their videos. So glorious and I had never heard of them. My new music find for the year. So grateful.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for introducing me to the Getty’s. I am enjoying watching their performances on youtube.

  • Donna

    My most meaningful song was”Enough” a lot of artists sing it but my favorite are at my church. When i feel empty or when i feel full He becomes my more than enough.

    • Cris

      A song that has carried my heart many times this year is: ‘Blessing’ Looking forward to checking out some of the others suggested.
      Best husband: mine of 54 years tomorrow!

  • Donna

    A blog was suggested to me to help learn to write my blog. The Blog was A Holy Experience by Ann. I’m learning to write more personally. Ann, your blog is very warm, honest. It’s helped me a lot.

    • Ann Voskamp

      Dear heart — just… thanks for grace. Thanks for taking me anyways? It’s good to trust one another to be real and do life together…

      And keep writing, sister! It matters eternally!

      • Donna

        Thank you for your response.i’ve been back and forth about where to head with my writing.thank you for the encouragement.

  • Donna

    I got the best pair of boots and got them with coupons and a sale for $17. They’re black medium slouch boots. So cute.

  • Nimmi

    The best gift … that I got to spent the summer months with my hubby, without him needing to study for his exams. (Yeahh for an unexpected break)

    The best idea: An interview of Wendy Hart and her ProcastinationCure. Love it.

    The second best gift: My DaySpring coffee mug. I use it every day and it always reminds me of HIM.

    • Ann Voskamp

      Nimmi! Tell us more about the Procrastination Cure! Your sisters are in need! :)

  • kim

    Best book this year Kisses for Katie very inspiring. BEST JEANS are from Tractor Supply. BEST SONG Kari Job I wanna sit at your feet. My favorite blogs A Holy Experience and Incourage I read them in my quiet time every morning.

    • Kara P.

      My husband will love to hear that your favorite jeans are from Tractor Supply….his favorite joke lately is that he doesn’t want any clothes from places that don’t also sell animal feed and ammo! And we live a stones throw from Detroit! We’re farmer wanna-bees!

  • Margaret Polino Nicholas

    Something I cannot do again…make two FB pages, do not know how & can’t get rid of new one. Driving me crazy.
    Something brave..2010-2011 Took 48 wks treatment for chronic liver disease,relapsed. Recovery all of 2012. If dr says strong enough health wise we do a new Triple drug therapy. I do not want to do it, after prayer about it , I must.
    January of 2013 I prayed about it, discussed with family and I am going to do a new treatment! It is grueling and left me disabled for my job of 28 years. But The Lord gave me life & I must respect that life and use the resources The Lord gave to our doctors to get well!
    May we all have a HOPEFUL New Year. Thank you for this opportunity to get the books that I gave others for Christmas. Excited!

    • Ann Voskamp

      Sweet Margaret, this chokes me up. Tears. God just shining through you, beautiful soul. Quietly praying with and for you just now, friend…remembering with you that He holds.

    • Denise

      Margaret Polino Nicholas,
      It is possible. I was still mad at God when I was introduced to program unwillingly, i may add. Lost all material and marriage after I chose this path. I’ve been clean and sober for over 10 years now. Love God more than ever and have a new outlook on life. Today I realize how important it is to embrace our path. For god has a plan for us and knows how it helps us and others in the future!

    • Beth Williams


      Praying for complete healing from the ultimate Healer-God! May you feel him close to you and surrounding you with His loving/healing touch!

      God Bless!

      • Deena

        Praying for you too Margret!

  • Phronsie

    Best thing I heard from our son (5) all year, “mommy, I thank God for you.”

    • Ann Voskamp

      Precious, yes! Certainly worth remembering!

  • Katy~TheCountryBlossom

    Oh the bests of 2012….they are many! :)

    The first best I have to mention is that through prayer (God’s giving of motivation and strength) and lots of hard work I have lost over 50 lbs since June! It is the *best* feeling to be healthy and fit. I am continuing on this journey but I praise God for the energy He has given me to do this!
    My children insist I have gotten taller since I have lost weight…but alas, I am still only 5’2″….I think I must just appear taller since my waist is trimmer! :o)

    • Ann Voskamp

      !!!! 50 lbs since June, Katy? Thanks be to GOD! Your sisters all rejoicing with you, sister!

      • Katy~TheCountryBlossom

        Thank you so much! I started spinning (cycling in place super fast) at a class and it has made me so healthy!!! :)

    • Angela

      Great job! I’ve lost about the same ammount only over two years. Doesn’t it feel wonderful to know you’re taking care of yourself and being healthy?

      • Katy~TheCountryBlossom

        Thank you! Yes, it feels wonderful! Congrats to *you* as well! :)

  • Katy~TheCountryBlossom

    The best rolls I have made this year were whole wheat ones…delicious and soft…from the Homestead Blessings cookbook! :o) They are called Feather Rolls! If you have *or get* that cookbook, try that recipe! They are wonderful!

  • Katy~TheCountryBlossom

    The best books I have read this year would definitely be:

    The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, and Documented by Steele, Thomas and Quinn

    The Ever-Loving Truth: Can Faith Thrive in a Post-Christian Culture? by Voddie Baucham

    Free to Stay at Home: A Woman’s Alternative by Marilee Horton

    The Potter’s Freedom by Dr. James White

    Our Sufficiency in Christ by John MacArthur

    What is Reformed Theology? by R.C. Sproul

    Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot

    **Sorry….there were just too many to name one….!!! :o)

    • elizabeth andriot

      Katy, I am reading Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot right now!

      • Katy~TheCountryBlossom

        Isn’t it just wonderful? :)

  • Katy~TheCountryBlossom

    The jeans that fit best are definitely the ones that you haven’t been able to wear in years but are now loose on you!!! :o)

    I am more of a skirt-wearer…but when doing projects such as stacking wood and things outside, I will wear jeans and my used-to-be-too-small jeans are not the pair-that-is-almost-too-big!!! :) That is the BEST feeling! :o)

    • Dineen

      Isn’t it a wonderful grace to go “closet shopping”, Katy? Blessings of continued health as you find your best weight.

  • Katy~TheCountryBlossom

    The best song (although I have many of these too) would be: 10,000 reasons! Oh…such a great song to sing out praise and worship!

    • http://blessedtobecaleb' Lauren

      Love, love, love it!

  • Ann Beaulieu

    One of the best things for me this year as a French Christian writer and blogger, like you Ann, was finishing up my second book and having it published and out before the end of the year by GOD’S grace only!!! I am so filled with gratitude and awe as I know you so fully understand….this is All His doing.

    • Ann Beaulieu

      I believe this is the right email! Sorry

  • Ann Beaulieu

    I also was quite delighted to meet you Ann through your writings, and most especially since you are Canadian. That really pleases me, plus we spell our name the same! Nice. Your writing is a great inspiration to me and unique in it’s style. So your definitely one of the best motivational persons that I have read for my writing if I could say it that way!

    • Ann Beaulieu

      I believe this is the right email, sorry!

    • Ann Beaulieu

      I believe this is the right email, sorry!

  • Ann Beaulieu

    The best French book I have read is Jésus + Rien = Tout , which in English is, Jesus + Nothing = Everthing from Tulliantichividjian Tchividjian. A must read for all Christian!

  • Bekah

    The risk with the best return? Saying yes when my friend Ryan showed up at my house and asked if he could pursue me. A few months later he proposed to me on air (total surprise) during the radio show I produce. And two months after that, we were married at sunset on Siesta Key Beach. God BLEW MY MIND this year because I let go and let Him lead. Here’s our love story if anyone is a love story junkie:

    • Julie

      I heard his proposal on air and sat in my car and weeped! What a beautiful amazing speech and what a beautiful love story. Love you and Lynn:)

  • ~va~

    Best recipe: bread with chocolate inside! I make it pretty much any time I have all the ingredients and time I need…

    • Katy~TheCountryBlossom

      I have never heard of that before!!! I would never have thought to actually make that! How neat! :)

      • ~va~

        I think the recipe was from taste of home

  • Ann Beaulieu

    Best book in English that I read this year was by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Because He loves me; How Christ transformers our daily lives. It was the best book ever…it frees one of so many burdens of doing for God with love, receiving and being loved because of Christ who already has done All and fully wants to give us by pure grace. Excellent book, my best!!!!

    • Ann Voskamp

      Ann, I am going to check this book out — thanks for the heads up! Excellent, friend!

      • Ann Beaulieu

        I am sure you will love and appreciate, it is Christ centered all the way.

        • Sarah

          Oooh! Sounds like one I should add to my list. Thanks for sharing!

    • Julie

      Oh, Ann, I love that book! A friend gave it to me last year, and I devoured it. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Ann Beaulieu

        Your welcome!

    • Montana

      I’m going to check it out! Thank you!

      • Deena

        ordering it today! Thank you Ann.

    • Susan Pettrey

      I am a huge Elyse Fitzpatrick fan. Her books are truly food for your soul. So let me give my two cents and also recommend her 30 day devotional “Comforts From the Cross”. 30 days of reminders about the finished work Jesus did on the cross and how we are now free from all of God’s wrath and punishment. When God looks at us, He sees His Son-not our failures and imperfections. What an awesome Savior!!!! I’ve been serving the Lord for decades, but I still need a constant reminder of His grace. It’s just more than my little mind can wrap around. Love you Ann Voskamp. May the Lord continue to strengthen you for the precious work He’s put before you.

  • ~va~

    Best holiday: Thanksgiving. Someone I barely knew offered me a ride home from church one day in October when it was really cold out. She found out that I didn’t have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving and offered to pick me up to go to her house for Thanksgiving. I did and made friends with her nine-year-old daughter. It was a lot of fun.

  • Ann Beaulieu

    Best ever year also in learning once again to live with my chronic illness and suffering despite all my pain. God is showing me His joy through these very painful days and learning my limitations is part of the Best…

    • Deena

      I am praying for you tonight, Ann. :)

  • Kris

    Hmm, the best of this year–musically speaking, it would have to be Christa Wells album, Image of God, and the one that includes her song, “weightless”. I don’t know how many times I listened to that song on repeat. Her music continues to carry me through the hard seasons.

    And please, someone suggest the best jeans–I am in need!!

    • ~va~

      I love the song weightless! Music keeps me going in hard times too!

      • Ann Voskamp

        Kris — Christa Well’s music? Definitely — on replay here.
        “Weightless” points all to our Savior and living the forgiven life… exquisite.

        (And oh, sister, I’m in need in the jeans-know too! :)

        • Karen

          Eddie Bauer jeans at the outlet mall. On sale. Just right and I’d dropped 2 sizes from my last pair.

          Best book: One Thousand Gifts

          Best Blog: A Holy Experience

          Best recipe? I have Chronic Lyme Disease and have to eat gluten free so I’m still working on that one.

          Best lesson learned over and over this year: Humility. Chronic illness can do that to you, esp. If you look fine some of the time. Having to leave my job with a horrible teacher evaluation due to the effects of Lyme on my neuro-cognitive part of my brain and having my disability denied 2 times and I’m waiting to hear on my last and final appeal. I have felt humiliated so many times this year but the feeling is temporary. The truth is that God is taking away props that I didn’t know I even had. Giving thanks for my gifts was truly a habit that I’d been working on since college days and I’m 53 now!

  • ~va~

    The best thing I didn’t want to do but did anyway: Going to the Cru Christmas Party. I am a leader with Cru on my college campus, so I feel obligated to go to at least the more important parties, but I am quite socially anxious and really struggle at these events–definitely not realy enjoying it. I decided Christmas was important enough that I had to be there, so I did go. As predicted, it was a challenging experience, but when we did a white elephant gift exchange I got a gift that has proved useful. There was a t-shirt for a Cru event that has way too many people for me to even consider going to which is great because I didn’t have any Cru t-shirts, and there were 10 ibuprofen tablets (we’re pharmacy students…we do strange things like put OTC meds in gifts…). Because of that gift I had ibuprofen in my lunch box when I was working on Christmas Eve and was able to take it when I was in so much pain and felt like I couldn’t breathe but was too busy to stop until directly asked if I needed a break.

    • Karen

      Go do all of the CRU events! CRU, back in my college days, gave me lifelong tools for my walk with Christ. But the Christian friends I made really allowed me to watch others walking in faith live out their joys and obstacles. You never will know whose life you could impact if you just show up. Just ask God to use you just before walking into an event. Pray more beforehand if you need to. Those under your leadership need to see you at the events so o out there and be bold enough to ask God to do something wonderful!

  • Ann Beaulieu

    The best thing this year was that I got to meet my mentor which is a writer also. A Christian, Canadian and to top it off at the Gospel Coallition in Florida!!! Wow I was overwhelmed. We talked and I was so touched by her… She is a wonderful and all I expected. God blessed my heart so dearly.

  • ~va~

    the risk that returned best: I kind of took a risk and started working on making friends with someone my own age/year in school. I had not had a friend like that since sixth grade. She pursued me as a friend long before I risked doing the same, but as I became somewhat comfortable with her, she has been wonderful for me. She would text me when she was awake to let me know I could come study in her room. She helped reason with me when I hadn’t had anything to drink in three days because I was so germophobic. She would come with me and help me talk to people or help me write emails when I couldn’t do it myself. She supported me to the best of her ability.

  • ~va~

    the best sacrifice: I give up an hour of every week for counseling because I know it makes my best friend at home happy and it makes the young adult pastor at my home church happy. I don’t feel like it does a whole lot for me most of the time, but I do know that this (school year) I have someone who I do sometimes see eye-to-eye with, and when that happens we do connect enough that I feel hope. That is something that never happened last year, so I am glad I stuck with this sacrifice.

    • elise daly Parker

      Keep on keeping on ~va~ Friends are a blessing from the Lord! I pray that your hope would grow in this new year.

      • ~va~

        thanks :) my major goal this semester was to gain enough social skill to pass the interview into third year at school…being told last year that I had no chance of passing by the Dean of students didn’t exactly do a whole lot to bolster my confidence…

  • Tristi

    best book I finally read this year – A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

    • Ann Voskamp

      LOVE Renee Swope — and A Confident Heart is one needed book! :)

      • Kelly Willie

        Love Renee Swope and love her new book, but I must admit the book I have read over and over and have given about 20 of them to family and friends is “One Thousand Gifts”. I always have a pad and pen so I can constantly write my gifts! Thank you Ann for changing my life. Finally, I appreciate what I have and know the meaning of less is better!

  • Tristi

    the best recipe I couldn’t not make again (it was tasty and the kids didn’t complain AT ALL!) is Pampered Chef’s Crunch Whole Grain Chicken Bites (see recipe here:

  • Ann Beaulieu

    One of my best days of the year was on the day when a young women that I have been mentoring invited me along with other young girls to a picnic and she handed us invitations to be maids of honor at her wedding. I was stunned, me, but I am OLD, I said! These other 5 young gals where all in their 20’s and I in my 50’s … I told her for sure she had made a mistake or something with the cards. I was older than her mom!!! Nope, she wanted me among them for I was very much a significant part of her life it seemed. I was her mentor she told me and I had impacted her life and choices…wow, what a blessing God was giving me. A friend made me realize later just how grand an honor I had received in that invitation on her part, I was completely unaware at that moment which is fine, God knows me, it was better that way. That was a most beautiful and memorable day to reap the joys of labor you loving invest in someone and have them share with you their joys.

    • dawn

      Aww…this is soo sweet! You have been a blessing and now are blessed in return :-)

    • dawn

      Best Lesson: learning to lean into the waiting process…waiting fror hubby’s third kidney transplant…a year and counting…God is good!

      Best Book(s): 1000 Gifts, and Love Does by Bob Goff

      Best Decision: sponsoring a beautiful student in Uganda through Restore International. Her picture melts my hard heart every day!

    • Dineen

      Ann, that is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

    • ~va~

      that is great! It sound like you’ve made a huge positive influence in that woman’s life!

  • Kristin Scoggins

    Best recipe-my husband’s grandmother’s chocolate pies. They’ve become our tradition now that she’s in Heaven.

    Best Song-“Great I am” We sang it at our son’s funeral. This has been the hardest six months of our lives, but we are thankful for a sustaining God, a family, friends, and a church family who have held us up. God is good.

    • Sally Anne

      Your courage…I don’t have the words. I think I’ll always think of you, Kristin, when I hear “The Great I Am” from now on. Bless you.

  • jennifer

    Best Book: the walk by richard paul evans
    Best recipe: pinterest pins from friends that led me to be “a cook!
    Best jeans: ann taylor.

  • Tonya Salomons

    Oh… I am loving this!!! I get to count the best… for the first time in a long time – I have spent so much of my life counting the firsts that it is pure joy doing this list!!! So here goes…
    1. Best Recipe – Macroni & Cheese made with butternut squash… so delicious – it’s a bowl of coming home!

    2. I know a lot of people are going to choose this book but —> One Thousand Gifts- Ann Voskamp – I read the last chapter as slow as I possible could because I didn’t want it to be over – That book and what God has done in my life are the reasons why I am participating in this list!
    3. Best song – The Revelation Song as sung by Kari Jobe – oh my every single time I hear it I get shivers and tears
    4. We have a store in Canada callied Rietman’s – comfort jeans – yes that’s right folks – comfort and they are true to their word – especially after all of that good Christmas eating!
    5. My silicone egg poachers – so easy, so fast – I LOVE poached eggs on toast in the mornings
    6. The Risk – taking the Joy Dare – ’nuff said
    7. Best Link: This one —–> – such beautiful heartfelt, vulnerable writing
    8. Best thing I didn’t want to do but did anyway —-> Well that hasn’t happened yet – but God is showing me a path for things to come later in the year
    9. Best habit – 5:30 AM wake up calls – love my time with God – rejeuvenating
    10. The Best holiday – spending 10 days in Los Angles with a dear friend – God began a work in me there…
    11. The best gift – A slow unhurried Cross-focused Christmas
    12. The best sacrifice – althought it wasn’t much of one because we had so much fun choosing -picking gifts out the compassion catalogue – we bought chickens!!!

    This is so much fun… join in ladies – let’s spread the joy around!!!!

  • Christi {Jealous Hands}


    ♥ best gift :: husband’s long awaited, much prayed for job after 3 years unemployment
    ♥ best recipe :: PW’s White Chicken Enchiladas
    ♥ best song :: 10,000 Reasons (Matt Redmon)
    ♥ fave Bible verse :: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 95:12)
    ♥ fave book :: I’ve read too many, have to think about it
    ♥ biggest thing in our family :: my brother & his wife bringing home TRIPLETS
    ♥ bittersweet end to the year :: my 94 year old grandmother meeting her sweet Jesus on Christmas Day

    Happy New Year, friends! May 2013 be the best year EVER!

    • Melissa

      Sorry to hear about your sweet grandmother, but *happy* for her! She is in glory as we speak!

  • http://shadowwonder.blogspot shadowwonder

    best word: hope
    best realization: the importance of story-sharing
    best moments: eye-to-eye conversations

  • ~Ria~

    The absolute best of 2012 was the long-awaited birth of our son in March. The best and most perfect gift. :)

    • Ann Voskamp

      So. smiling.
      Yes. yes. yes! Give the little guy all a kiss from us at (in)courage!

  • Ann Beaulieu

    Best thing this year was learning to taste just a bit more of God’s grace, love and faithfulness in my daily life and struggles! Awesome…

  • Ann Beaulieu

    Best thing ever this year is seeing the young women I have mentored becoming mentors to younger women themselves…praise God!

    • Phyllis Lipford


  • Kate

    On a day like this – when my kids are sick and I’m feeling overwhelmed….all these ‘bests’ bless me. Cool post.

    BEST ALBUMS: Bethel Music’s ‘Loft Sessions’ and Matt Redman’s ‘10,000 Reasons’

    BEST FICTION: Pride and Prejudice (Didn’t read fiction until this year – crazy how it can get the creative juices flowing.)

    BEST MUFFINS: Orange Mini- Muffins with Brown Sugar Glaze by Ree Drummond – Pioneer Woman (Not exactly clean and healthy. But a treat now and then? Yes.)

    May the Lord reveal Himself to us all – in new and unexpected and refreshing ways in 2013 :)


    • Karen

      Kate, my favorite fiction book of all time is Pride and Prejudice! 2013 is the 200th anniversary of its publication so Jane Austen fans are gearing up for a whole year’s fun in that world. Read all the other 5 of her books. Splendid writing from one smart and cheeky lady!

      • Deb

        Karen – reading Northanger Abbey now – next up is Persuasion. I love her books!

  • Ann Beaulieu

    Best thing this year was just letting myself be LOVRD by Christ and live His wonders! Amen!

  • Kimberly

    Best jeans: Zara skinnies. These don’t make me feel like I’m a sausage stuffed in casing, a modern day miracle.
    Best recipe: Anything I didn’t have to cook myself;)
    Best trip: Egypt. Fascinating, exotic, and warm!
    Best risk: Writing a book proposal and pitching it at a writer’s conference.
    Best word: Bloom.
    Best book: Tinkers by Paul Harding.
    Best find on the web:

    • Ann Voskamp

      Must check out that book, Tinkers.
      Okay, Zara skinnies — because while we are pig farmers, I’m not predisposed to liking any sausage feeling :)
      And you taking that risk with pitch and writer’s conference? Standing ovation, sister!
      Can’t wait to see what God has for your surrendered life in 2013!!

  • Aimee

    Sweet Ann… the best thing I didn’t want to do but did anyway? Hands down… saying “YES!” to putting together “Eucharisteo: A Celebration of Joy”… and I am so glad I did!

    Oh. The. Joy! And I got to meet you in person, friend! And hear you tell Jonathan’s and Sarah’s stories in person, and sit beside you and hold your hand. What a gift! Thank you for your servant heart, friend! You are loved!

    And the best gift… seeing God come through for us, seeing Him raise enough money and seeing that Compassion CDC in Masbate, Philippines become a reality right before my eyes via photos on Facebook. Joy, so much joy!

    Happy New Year to you and your family, Ann!

    • Ann Voskamp

      Now *that* brought happy tears!

      That one night, that concert you pulled together, “Eucharisteo” — and co-laboring with you and Compassion and God to build a Compassion CDC in Masabte, Philippines? Yes, ma’am — the best gift is to *become* the gift — our thanksgiving becoming thanksliving!

      Thank you for stepping WAY out of your comfort zone, Aimee, and obeying God’s call to go do what He alone could make a way to happen — I can’t WAIT to see what He does with our surrendered lives in 2013!

      So much love to you and yours Aimee, His Beloved….
      All’s grace,

      • Aimee

        Yes, a surrendered life in 2013! I want that… by God’s grace… might that just be my *one word* for 2013??? Love you, Ann!

    • Tonya Salomons

      Oh now… that night… a night of wonders… it goes right up there with the best of 2012!!

      • Aimee

        Dear Tonya… it was a gift to meet you in person! Thank you for being part of that night… such a gift!

  • Brenda N

    Best thing I’ve heard this week, “Are you coming, Mom? We won’t start the movie without you! ”
    Best song “10,000 Reasons ” My soul has been blessed!!

    • Janice Miller

      Yes! That song blesses my soul!

  • Melissa

    The Best thing about 2012 is that I let go of others expectations and fear and gave my whole life to God! I have changed so much this year and I am looking forward to 2013. I am part of the God-sized Dream Team and can’t wait to see what God has in store for me and my family.

    • Ann Beaulieu

      Amen! You go sister, so proud of you, Jesus came to set us free, never forget that in your walk with Him…

  • Nancy Franson

    Best thing I didn’t want to do but did anyway–hiking in the Alps with my best friend, my husband of 28 years. I’m not really a hiker or wilderness girl, but the glory of God was everywhere evident as we journeyed together through his creation.

    Best book: The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison. Not sure she’s writing from a biblical perspective, but she keeps coming back to truth anyway–all of life is gift!

    Best music: WaterSky by Phil Keaggy and Jeff Johnson, inspired by the loveliness of Laity Lodge, one of the best places on earth. If ever you hear I’ve gone missing, you might try looking for me there :)

    • Ann Voskamp

      Hiking in the Alps? What a treasure of memories! Wonderful!

    • Angela Nelson

      That was my favorite book, too (Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison). I just finished a second reading of it! Our oldest son (almost 18) has had a very rough few years, and our second son is . . . 13, LOL. This book by a mom working through her own emotions as her teen sons grow up and her role changes and evolves, has just resonated with me.

    • Teresa

      LOVED The Gift of an Ordinary Day! It too resonated with me, as I am a mom to three grown up children. I also think that when trouble comes, we all long for ordinary! One of my all- time favorite books has to be The Life You’ve Always Wanted. If not for the sleeping pug on my lap I would grab the book and tell you the name of the author!

  • Nancy Franson

    OH! And how could I have left this out? Best news of 2012: I’m going to be a grandma! Hands in the air! Woot! Woot!

    Children’s children are a crown to the aged . . . Proverbs 17:6 (Even though I look way too young to be a grandma, right?

    • Ann Voskamp

      You gorgeous Grandma, you! Rejoicing with you! :)
      And yes — way too perfectly young… always! :)
      The best kind of grandma!

  • Michele ºÜº

    Best Recipe: I made “chicken” and dumplings using the juices from the Thanksgiving turkey and some of the leftover turkey. It was amazing!!! Hubby just asked me to make it again with the Christmas turkey leftovers. :)

  • Ann Beaulieu

    Best thing Gos has worked in my life personally this year I believe is in showing me how I was so easy and fast on being preconceived or prejudice on my ideas or judgements on things or people, I have had to confess and ask forgiveness often this past year on this … But OH how glad I am that Christ is All doing has done and will continue to do the work in me! Praise His holy name.

  • Ann Voskamp

    Oh, just thought of it: My Best Memory of 2012 is Haiti and this story:
    How the American Dream becomes Christmas in July

  • rachelb

    hmmm… i’ve made a particular pumpkin spice bread recipe about 30 times this fall/winter, so i think that ranks as best recipe of 2012 for me! that or PW Chicken Spaghetti (the one with no canned soup- it’s SO worth the extra steps)!

    • Sue R

      I like the chicken spaghetti…make one / freeze one for later :)

  • rachelb

    i got a pair of J Crew pencil fit jeans that i loved this year (and i’m not a pencil shaped person). definitely worth checking out! : )

    • brooke

      I got J Crew jeans this year, too. I died when I saw the price … but they were a gift from my aunt. I absolutely love them.

  • rachelb

    Bebo Norman’s ‘God of My Everything’ just may be my favorite song of this year- it covers a multitude of prayers, emotions, and phases of life.

  • Pingback: A Holy Experience – The Best of 2012 (with a Giveaway….)()

  • mongupp

    best heartwarming moment….when my 3 year old son joined me in prayer and said “Thank You Jesus”

    best books….yours, Ann, and Passport to Darkness by Kimberly L Smith.

    • mongupp

      sorry Passport THROUGH Darkness.

  • Linda Stoll

    The Best Linky Party – 31 Days {with The Nester}

    Turned my blogging upside down!

    • Ann Voskamp

      Hasn’t God given us a gift in The Nester, Linda? :)
      Love this 2012 best, Linda!

    • elise daly Parker

      Yes! I love the 31 Days Challenge too! I wasn’t perfect, but I wrote way more than ever before. Thanks Nester!!

  • Sarah L

    Best of 2012 is super easy in our house, our now two month old baby girl.

  • Lisa

    My best was an unexpected surprise. We got custody of 6 year old twins just 4 days before Christmas. They are beautiful kids and in March or April of 2013, our adoption should be final! Sooo blessed!

    Other bests that were a close second and third…finding a specialist who was able to cure 8 months of debilitating vertigo.

    Sharing money saving Christmas tips on my favorite radio talk show.

    • Ann Voskamp

      Lisa? Those twins and the upcoming adoption? BEST INDEED! Happy tears…
      Thanks be to God…

    • Laura King

      Dear Lisa– could you please share what you found that helped the vertigo? My dear friend has suffered terribly with debilitating vertigo (violent vomiting and ER trips.. lots of tests..). I was excited to see you mention this, as I have been in constant prayer for her! Praising and praying for your adoptions as well!

  • Kim

    I buried my baby boy on Saturday.

    God’s grace has been sufficient.

    And I can’t keep Away in a Manger out of my head.

    “Bless all the dear children in thy tender care…”

    • Janet Crane

      Kim! I know the grief and I know the Grace you experience. My baby son was buried 12 years ago. He will carry you on and on

    • Janet Crane

      Kim! I know the grief and I know the Grace you experience. My baby son was buried 12 years ago. He will carry you on and on.

    • Janet Crane

      Best song of the year:
      10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman
      Best gift: traveling to Germany for Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary with my sisters and our husbands.
      Best idea: let my hubby and kids tickle me after 20 years of saying:”no tickling” :)
      I’ll come up with more :) what fun!

    • Janet Crane

      Best song of the year:
      10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman
      Best gift: traveling to Germany for Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary with my sisters and our husbands.
      Best idea: let my hubby and kids tickle me after 20 years of saying:”no tickling” :)
      I’ll come up with more :) what fun.

    • Janet Crane

      Best song of the year:
      10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman
      Best gift: traveling to Germany for Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary with my sisters and our husbands.
      Best idea: let my hubby and kids tickle me after 20 years of saying:”no tickling” :)
      I’ll come up with more, what fun.

    • Tonya Salomons

      Kim – kneeling in prayer here for you today.

    • Ann Voskamp

      Oh, Kim… Kim.
      When grief is deepest…. words are fewest.

      We are here with you. Just here. Reaching over and squeezing your hand. Pulling you into all of us and holding you close and circling around… and whispering prayer:

      Lord Jesus — thank You for comforting our cherished Kim with more of You and deep Truth and the knowing that You bless all the dear children in Thy tender care… Comfort her, dear Lord… a cupping close that won’t ever, ever let go…

      Bowed and whispering prayers with you, beautiful Kim, and circling close…

    • Wanda

      My prayers with you! I too have buried children. Grace and peace with you .

    • Kelli

      Praying for you

      • Kim

        Thank you – from the deepest part of my heart – from where I still feel hope when I know others pray.

        (And my favorite jeans the last 6 months have been maternity ones – hee hee. ;)

      • Kim

        Thank you – from the deepest part of my heart – from where I still feel hope when I know others pray.

        And hearing from you, personally, Ann, was my gift of today.

        (And my favorite jeans the last 6 months have been maternity ones – hee hee. ;)

        • Kathy

          Sweet Kim, feeling your grief with you and praying for your heart. Zephaniah 3:17, psalm 73:26. <33

        • Celita

          Keep laughing to keep yourself sifted of the weight, hurts and challenges of days… I keep a laugh journal, things that get me rolling or lighter-hearted on my hardest days… I giggled with you… been there. :-) Hug from Italy…

        • Deena

          Praying for you tonight. So lifting you in prayer!!

    • Celita

      Dear Kim, your hurting heart has touched my heart. May God speak comfort to your hearts, fill in the missings and voids with His hope, and restore you as only He knows how. May He draw the hearts of you and your family into His safe caring, and may you see the Lord’s goodness, and hope in Him. May He fill your hearts with peace that passes all understanding, and help you to trust Him even when it hurts or doesn’t make sense to do so. Your sister in Jesus, Celita ((HUG))

    • ~va~

      definitely praying for you, Kim

    • Kristin

      burried my baby girl 15yrs ago tomorrow. Praying for you & your family this moment.
      And treasuring your comment about Away in a Manger, thank you for that.

  • FredaD

    Best book….Authority of the Believer by Andrew Wommack….keep reading & re reading always finding some new revelation! Best recipe I cannot not make? Chicken Tandouri….mmmmm… flavorful….The best habit? My morning read through the Bible…that’s been a wonderful discipline that turned out to be a look forward to time. Oh I’ve had so many “Best” things this year!

  • Brooke

    AE skinny jeans. They feel like jammies. The most uncomfortable moment was trying to decide if i’m too old for them. now i’m in love!!

    • Sarah

      How old, Brooke? I’m in need of a pair and wondering the same thing….

  • Cheryl Ricker

    Best memory: When a dear lady asked God who should write the book encapsulating her amazing miracle story, and God chose me! Humbled, honored, thankful… She told me with a dozen roses in hand. Surprise! God’s full of them, isn’t He? Hugs to you, sweet Ann and friends!

  • Linda Dykstra

    It has been a difficult year to see the good and enjoy what I have been given. I lost my job working as a ministry coordinator. It was a miracle that I got the job and after 2 years lost it again. The depression has been hard and heavy. But God must have had this in mind when it all came about. But I have no idea what the future holds … but I shall carry on … waiting for Him to show me what is next!

    • abby

      So sorry for your pain. May you find new employment soon and hope and life each day from a God who comforts His children. Are there others around you sharing this burden with you? Praying that the Lord gives support through His body as He guides you through these days. He does not let the waters overwhelm us – even when we walk through them (Isaiah 43).

    • ~va~

      praying for you, Linda. God’s ways sure can seem strange and hopeless at times.

  • Tracey

    We chased down our dream of Colorado living and two weeks ago we became Colorado residents! The Lord blessed us with a cross country move with 3 little kids that could not have gone smoother.

    • Del Marie Riley

      Oh Tracey, isn’t living here the greatest? We too moved from Florida to Parachute/Battlement Mesa, Colorado in September. My 40th birthday present was being to wake up and look out the window to see all of God’s glory. I thank Him everyday for making this possible. It’s only because He has blessed us that we were finally able to make our dream a reality to move here.

    • Del Marie Riley

      Oh Tracey, isn’t living here the greatest? We too moved from Florida to Parachute/Battlement Mesa, Colorado in September. My 40th birthday present was being to wake up and look out the window to see all of God’s glory. I thank Him everyday for making this possible.

  • Anita

    Best song – Good Morning by Mandisa

  • Sarah

    Best Memory: taking our much-belated honeymoon to New Zealand & the Cook Islands with my handsome husband. Saw some of the most breathtaking sites that brought me to my knees in worship

    Best thing I didn’t expect: after a year of trying to get pregnant & being told countless times that the doctors didn’t know why it wasn’t happening, we realized that this was a call from God to live out our heart for the orphan and adopt from the Congo! Lord-willing, we will be bringing home two boys from the Congo in 2013!

    Best book: Weird by Craig Groeschel & Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

    Best Song: your love never fails

    • Dineen

      Blessings on your adoption!

  • Anita

    Best Risk – giving my Material-Girl sister a hand-knitted scarf & hat. She was amazed and couldn’t stop raving about it. We’ve had our differences this last year, and I really believe this somehow mended a few broken fences.

  • Tracey

    Best practice of 2012: copying the scriptures using the Jounible of Psalm 119 I picked up in the prayer room at Allume. I had no idea how rich this daily practice would be.

    • Glenda

      Thanks, Tracey! I’d never heard of this but I’m going to begin the practice in 2013. I think this will be a wonderful way to meditate on the word as well as a great legacy for my children! You’ve blessed me with your “best.”

      • Cindy

        You will be so blessed by this. I have been doing this for almost a year now. Just short section, even just one verse daily and then recording what the Lord speaks to my heart. Such blessing of the Living Word. The most consistant journal I have ever stayed with. Some how it just draws you in! I encourage you to try it just for fourty days and you will be drawn back for more!!!

  • Angela

    Favorite song: In Christ Alone. I have been singing it all year :)

  • Natasha Metzler

    The best thing?

    David Platt’s talk at Verge on the great commission. The words keep repeating over and over in my head, “We tell them about Jesus because He alone is worthy of their worship.”

    Only Him.

    • Amy Savage

      “All Sons & Daughters” music has ministered to my soul in such profound ways this year. So blessed that God dropped them into my life at just the right time. Best reads had to be “Glorious Ruin” by Tullian Tchividjian
      and “Love Does” by Bob Goff. Best thing to happen to me was my life completely falling apart this year so that Jesus could bring His healing, restoration and JOY even in the middle of the unthinkable and on days where I thought I couldn’t go on. Favorite quote from this year “Grace grabbed the unworthy and Christ cleans the unbearable and God redeems the unlikely and we live the unexpected.” AnnVoskamp, thank you for your transformative, life-breathing words this year. God has used them mightily to open the eyes of my heart. May we live the unexpected this year, friends.

  • zena

    best place to retreat – especially a writing retreat – in cincinnati – – check out their site and visit if you can!

    ~ zena

  • FredaD

    Best encourager this year has been counting my blessings…..learning to be grateful & praising God.

    • Ann Voskamp

      Yes, friend! Living gratitude leads us all to Who matters most! Thinking upon His goodness pleases Him so! Grateful right with you…

  • alyssa

    Best recipes of the year: butterscotch pudding triple chip cookies and banana bread with chocolate chips!

  • Anita

    Best Recipe – Chicken Spagetti ( Oh. My. Goodness!

    • Kathy S. Runyon

      Oh my goodness that sounds great and oh so simple! Thank you!

  • Angela

    Favorite misc gift: a little wire head massager ($3) from the value bins at Target. Silly, I know, but amazing all the same :)

  • Vicki Humphreys

    It’s been a year of grieving after losing our 13 month old granddaughter in June – best book to help me through this time was Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith. Best songs: The Hurt & the Healer and You Are I Am by Mercy Me, Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keys, Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin.

  • Salina

    Hello Ann, thank you for such wonderful inspiration this year; so many great posts.

    <3 Best memory – Creating an international ministry with my best friend Anita from Great Britain –
    <3 Best music – Bethel Music and Jesus Culture (anything by them)
    <3 Best book – A Sudden Glory by Sharon Jaynes
    <3 Best version of the Bible – The Voice Bible
    <3 Best Bible study – James (Mercy Triumphs) by Beth Moore
    <3 Best of everything – How God has been answering me concerning my husband and prayers for his salvation. I truly see his heart changing daily before my eyes. Would love for anyone reading this to say a quick prayer for him, for us in the coming new year. Thanks

    • Brandee

      Salina I have had The Voice Bible about two weeks now and I can not put it down! It is AMAZING!!!!

    • Kathy

      I’ll pray for you. Pray also for my home situation. How I would love to see some heart change there.

  • Mary

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again? Apple, Pecan, and Blue Cheese Salad with Dried Cherries from Tasty Kitchen

    The best book you couldn’t put down? The UnCommon Woman (Larson) and Freedom of Self Forgiveness (Keller)

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head? “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” by Apostles Church, NYC

    The jeans that fit best? CHICOS!

    The risk that returned best? Trusted God and husband and moved to NYC!

  • Sallie Howell

    Best of 2012…
    Group: #hellomornings challenge
    Healthy Habit: Workout with a friend for a year
    Decision: Bring Youngest Home to Homeschool for rest of Year
    Best Gift to Self: Continuing my Counting 1000+ gifts

  • Vicki Humphreys

    It’s been a year of grieving after losing our 13 month old granddaughter in June – best book to help me through this time was Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith. Best songs-The Hurt & the Healer and You Are I Am by Mercy Me, Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keys, Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin.

    • Bridgit

      I am so sorry you and your family have had to journey through a sea of grief in 2012. My hope is that God’s unconditional love and peace has sustained you on those difficult days.
      God bless you~b

  • Bridgit

    Best of the Best!

    Best event: Birth of our twin grandbabies

    Best Pay it Forward: Through a FB page, over 40 people donated at least $10 for the janitor of the building I manage to be able to get home for Christmas this year. He hasn’t been home in 7 years. Never spent Christmas with three of his grandchildren.

    Best song; Still thinking that one through. So many that I love. :-)

    Best decision: Started back to college to finish my B.S. Degree in Psychology

    Best Book: Peaceful Passage by Kim West. Excellent book for helping loved ones through their end of life journey. MUST HAVE for every Hospice organization. Here is the link:

    Best Video of the year: An Unexpected Christmas from the children of St. Pauls Church in Auckland, New Zealand.
    Those who are looking will find Him and His mission will bring all people closer to Me. Even if they do something really wrong..When the Prince is done, nothing will get between them and My love

    • Linda B

      Yes! That video from New Zealand is wonderful!

    • Phyllis Lipford

      Yay, Bridget for your ‘Best Decision’! AWESOME!
      I started back four years ago and finished by BA in May at age 54.

  • julie+

    I love bests! The best recipe would have to be a Mexican feast with new friends gathered around our table. It had little to do with food and much to do with discovering one another.

    Books…so many! How about fav’s for the year….of course there was that book about gifts that was transforming. It was made even more real when I saw its brave author hold the Word in her hand in Nashville as she blessed us with her words and I knew it was Jesus with skin on speaking just to me. Others that were life changing this year? Come Alive, Thin Places, You Are Already Amazing, and Grace for the Good Girl. There were also countless novels and childrens’ book I turned to when I needed to hide away.

    Best song? Absolutely “Image of God.” Singing it with a room packed full of sisters and coming home to sing it quietly with God.

    As for jeans…my broke in grandma jeans that just fit right even on feast days.

    Best tool? Hands down my Kindle Fire. It opened God’s Word, friends near and far, worlds to escape into and worlds to change with others. It went everywhere I did during the year.

    The biggest and best risk? Becoming an (in)courager with a dear sister and making so many new friends who are now sisters too. Our little group of (in)spired women touch my heart and soul daily as we journey together into this new world of rebounding children, grandchildren, aging parents, and learning to have almost empty nests. These women are heroes!

    and my most favorite best? In human form my sweet little granddaughter who continues to astound us as she meets adversity and makes it her friend.

  • Sallie Howell

    Best of 2012…Group: #hellomornings challenge Healthy Habit: Workout with a friend for a year Decision: Bring Youngest Home to Homeschool for rest of Year Best Gift to Self: Continuing my Counting 1000+ gifts

  • Vicki Humphreys

    It’s been a year of grieving after losing our 13 month old granddaughter in June – best book to help me through this time was Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith. Best songs-The Hurt & the Healer and You Are I Am by Mercy Me, Sovereign Over Us by Aaron Keys, Whom Shall I Fear by Chris Tomlin. Best news- expecting 2 grandbabies in 2013.

    • Kerry

      Rejoicing with you over your future reunion with your granddaughter, and with the blessing to love 2 new babies soon!

  • Angela

    Favorite books: Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers

  • Sarah

    Best relationship: (other than my hubby) finally finding a sweet, heart friend in Tucson that I can laugh, cry, and go deep with. So thankful for Katie

    Best jeans: Gap relaxed skinny jeans (not sure what they’re really called but I could wear them 24/7 & my hubby wouldn’t complain!)

  • Jamilyn

    I love reading such positive posts! They all make me want to hold your hand! My favorite moment was marrying my best friend. My moment I felt the most wonder was when I saw that pink line and knew I was a Mother. One of my favorite practicasl would have to be discovering Dr. Bronner’s soap which I now use for many things.

  • Kelli B

    Best book : Hunger Games trilogy (haven’t been that enthralled in a series in years)

    Best song : Our Father (Bethel Live feat. Jenn Johnson). Ushers in the loving presence of God every time I hear it

    Best holiday : The entire month of December was like one big holiday this year. My husband has surprised me with gifts big & small every single day this month. From flying my sister in from California to doing the grocery shopping w/I being asked…he made me feel so loved & appreciated.

    Best habit : Complaining less. Still working on it , but thank God for his grace.

  • Heather M

    Oh my, so much to choose from!

    Best Book: Ok, there are two–Interrupted and 7 by Jen Hatmaker
    Best Risk: Choosing to do my best to either make or buy all our Christmas gifts from places that give money back to orhpans, widows, and those in need, spiritually and physically.

  • Melissa McKay

    Best book – Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?

  • Teri Lynne Underwood

    Best book: The Hunger Games and the Gospel. Powerful commentary on our American culture and fabulous read for this Hunger Games trilogy lover. Thanks to the lovely Lisa-Jo for recommending it on Twitter late one night.

    Best moment: A weekend in October with my Pepa (who passed away just two weeks later). It wasn’t convenient or in the budget to make the trip … but I am holding tight to the memory of one last time to hear his raspy voice say, “I love you.”

    Best holiday: Thanksgiving. For the first time in over 15 years I spent a holiday with my parents. Well, technically, they spent the holiday with me since we were at my house. What a gift!

    Best song: “Never Once” by Matt Redmon. It’s on the same CD as “10,000 Reasons.” My favorite line, “Every breath we’ll be breathing in your grace, ever more we’ll be breathing out your praise.” Just powerful!

    • Heidi Strickler

      “Never Once” is one of my favorite songs, too!!! And I read all three books from “The Hunger Games” trilogy in a week!

  • Salina

    God bless you Vicki Humphreys. My heart breaks for you. May you continue to experience the healing hand of our Father.

  • Dee

    the best thing of 2012 for me was my son coming back from a close encounter with deep depression….

  • Wilma Pronk

    Ann, I don’t even know where to start! I will just have to keep coming back.
    One of the most joyful yet painful times was sending our daughter off to Uganda as a missionary. What joy and awe to our great God that He has chosen this girl as His hands, feet and mouth. But you know what? I want to see my girl more than once a year! I want to sit down and have tea with her! I want to see her in front of me, curled up in a chair!
    When I hear her speak of the street boys, I see the love of Jesus and hear His words, “when you do it to the least of these, you do it to me.”
    Thank-you Oh my Father,
    For giving us your Son,
    And leaving your Spirit ’til,
    The work on earth is done.
    her blog

  • Julie Weller

    The best book you couldn’t put down? You’re Already Amazing!! ♥

  • Cheryl

    Best recipe of 2012: Rachel Ray’s Tur-chicken club burgers! Best.burgers.ever!

    Best memory of 2012: two wayward ones making their way back to the fold. A teary church service for this mamma a few weeks ago!

    Carrying song of 2012: Desert Song…filled with heavenly encouragement!!

  • michelle

    Ahhhh, the risk, that was our year. In November of last year, we had to quit the camping ministry we were with, which left us jobless and homeless. In January we were approached by another ministry, asking us to join up. This ministry was way out of our comfort zone. We said, “yes” in May. We are now back on the deputation trail raising support as we serve at a camp for children of prisoners. This is not a ministry we would have picked for ourselves, but it is definitely the one God picked for us. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. God is surely blessing us in this risky choice that we made for our family.

    • michelle

      Best song of the year? Never Once by Matt Redmon. God sent it to our worship leader to sing the Sunday after we left our ministry. Every one of our kids looked at us with their mouths open as we sang it. Afterward they all declared that this would be out theme song as God led us on.

  • Ann Voskamp

    Okay… I’ll take a risk here and say my best lipstick of 2012:

    Blushed — by Revlon…. every time I saw Angie Smith she raved about that color and said it was just right and I figure Angie knows what she’s talking about! ;)

    • Sarah

      Gotta love a compliment like that from a sister!

    • Amy Kneen

      Did you wear Blushed in your Bible study DVD’s, Ann ? That was a lovely color ;)

    • Tammie

      :) haha. nice.

  • melinda
  • Katharine Barrett

    Best moment?- Holding my books in my hand, the ones with my name on the cover.
    Best memory?- My son, the youngest, sitting with me over coffee, telling me he’s planning to go to Guatemala this year, on march break, to build a playground at a children’s hospital

  • Lu Graf

    Best song: Blessings by Laura Story. We lost our 7 month old grandson to a tragic accident, watched our 34 year old daughter battle cancer, faced an epilepsy diagnosis with our15 year old granddaughter, walked through an unplanned pregnancy with our son.

    Laura’s song ministered to me many times. In fact, I downloaded it as a ringtone for my family members calls!

    Happy New Year Ann. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself and being a blessing to so many.

    • Kathy

      That is my favorite song, too. Heard it this morning while cleaning the kitchen and just wept. God is good.

  • Laura

    On New Year’s Day 2012 I stepped behind the pulpit for the first time and gave my first sermon on Epiphany Sunday. It was “the best plunge”–stepping into fear with my knees knocking. But I’ll never forget that day and my life has been changed for it.

    Such a gift to hear all these beautiful voices here.

  • Mary M

    Best book: So many to choose from, but I would say Undaunted by Christine Caine. It convicted and convinced me to step forward into ministry to bring God’s love to women in crisis and help shepherd them through the legal system while sharing God’s plan for their lives and healing their wounds with the balm of Gilead.

    Best Website: A Holy Experience–A breath of fresh farm air and pure grace that refreshes my soul when it is downcast, which seems to be often these days.

  • deitra shoemaker

    Best Xmas Novel read this year: The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh
    Best Xmas song: When Hope Came Down by Kari Jobe
    A nonfiction i’m enjoying right now: Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist
    Best < book this year: 66 Love Letters by Larry Crabb
    Best secular non-fiction : The Gifts of Imperfection Brene Brown
    Best trip: leading a team to Karagoto, Kenya with the 410 Bridge
    and then getting to spend 4 days in the Cotswold's England to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary with my husband!!1

  • Christa

    Ha, it’s funny, I wouldn’t comment either, but the jeans thing is what’s making me do it!

    Best jeans: A grey pair I got for $3.75 at the Vanity Fair/Lee/Wrangler outlet in our city. If you have one, it’s worth checking out, because they have every size!

    Best books: The Wingfeather Saga books by Andrew Petersen…the last book comes out next year, though. They’re fiction, but remind me of Narnia a bit.

    Best song: Our God by Chris Tomlin. I don’t think it came out this year, but my 3 and 5 year old kiddos have learned it at church and it melts my heart every time I hear them sing it.

  • Kris

    Best words: hearing my special needs, emotionally detached son saying “I love you Mom” totally out of the blue.

    • Karen

      Praises going up! What a moment that must have been!

  • Lynn G.

    The best risk that returned to me blessings upon blessings: going to Haiti with my daughter, Shelby. We went on a tour with Compassion International to meet our sponsored child, Rose. Haiti is a very poor country, but we met many people who were rich because of their love of our God. God is stirring my daughter’s heart for something big—she fell in love with the people of Haiti!!!! Getting out of my comfort zone brought me blessings that changed me forever!!!!!

  • melinda

    Best recipe: White Pizza Dip found at Add a Tbsp of Evoo for better spreading. Serves up best on French bread peices.

  • melissa

    Best jeans, Levis that have a hidden elastic waist band. Also love NYDJ that I found at Goodwill

  • Claire B.

    This is great! :)
    Recipe: Bourbon Chicken
    Book: 1000 Gifts
    Song: Jesus is Alive, Josh Wilson
    Gizmo: Keurig
    Risk: Moving our family for a job & jumping into “new relationship” waters all over again
    Habit: Thankfulness
    Holiday: Christmas Eve
    Sacrifice: Giving baby things away

    God was abundantly faithful and gracious in 2012. Looking back, it was a bumpy year but filled with joy and blessings and answers to prayer. And most amazingly, heavenly guidance through each trial and test. Praise the Lord for his faithfulness!

  • melissa

    Best book for me was a book about contentment by Linda Dillow and Kingdom Journeys by Seth Barns.

  • melinda

    Best book: God’s Healing Arsenal by Dr. Paul King.

  • JJ Lloyd

    Best moment…..driving to my grown daughter’s school to see my 2 grandchildren (3 1/2 and nearly 3) clapping when they see my car!! So blessed and counting blessings every day!

  • melissa

    Best soup recipe from Mel’s Kitchen cafe blog for Cream Cheese Chicken Soup

  • Stephanie

    The best thing in 2012 was my brother being home for Christmas. I prayed for God to restore that relationship with our family and He did!

  • Nadya Kotik

    The best book this year that i could not put down is Nowhere But Up by Justin Bieber’s mom. It’s amazing what she went through and persevered.

  • Mama Squirrel

    Best technological improvement here: a colour printer, which was great for school, fun for Christmas presents, and a blessing for some Ann printables.

    Second-best technological improvement: a new water heater so that we don’t have to wait so long to “reheat” between laundry, dishes, and baths.

    Favourite rediscovery: Mod Podge. It turned out to be a great tool for my husband’s hobbying, too!

    Favourite book: The Mind of the Maker. Favourite school book: Uncle Eric Talks About Personal, Career, and Financial Security, by Richard J. Maybury. Favourite book I’d still like to read: Bryana Johnson’s poems, Having Decided to Stay.

    Favourite food: Honey-Garlic Chicken from More Make it Fast, Cook It Slow. With basmati rice.

    Best wishes for 2013!

  • Theresa Martin

    Ann, Hands down, 1000 Gifts was the best book that I read. I’ve told people about it. I read your new blogs everytime they are posted on facebook. I can’t wait to read #2! You are a gifted and talented writer and you inspire me more than any Christian author has in a while. Blessing to you in 2013!

  • Caron Rowlen

    Something i tried – I will start this with…I don’t have a lot of confidence. I am blessed and able to run, bike and swim. None of them done very well, trust me on this. Someone recommended I try doing a sprint triathlon (short version of a full length Tri) and I challenged myself and did it! I have never felt very proud of my accomplishments but crossing the finish line was HUGE! After finding out that my time was almost 20 minutes faster than my goal my husband and I embraced each other and shed some tears together!

    Best gift – my mother passed in October and for Christmas my three daughters gave me a James Avery heart necklace that says “you are always in my heart” on one side and on the other side it has my mothers initials! More tears here..

    Second best gift – is a small glass jar that is decorated and has a tag on it that says 2013 and I am to write small notes throughout the year for things I am thankful for or make me happy! I think I will slip in a note that says (in)courage on it!

    • Anonymous

      Love James Avery!

  • ky

    best risk…moving out of our huge family home of 15 yrs., finishing, fixing, making it perfect for year round vacation guests to Montana! this meant changes untold for our family not all of them easy or pleasant. payoffs…huge. . we’ve met people from all over the world who find so much joy in our beautiful corner of the world!

  • melinda

    Best time: Family Vacay to the beach.

  • Brandee

    Best recipe was one I found for making homemade turkey stock using the carcass after thanksgiving. It is wonderful and I have some going on the stove right now! Makes such good soup :)

    The best book I read this year was hands down Lysa Terkeurst’s “Unglued.” I read it twice and over and over some sections!

    Best thing I did I didn’t want to do was our family was led by God to make a move concerning my son’s school. It was a tough year for our family with lots of ups and downs and change. Although we never planned on moving him to a new school it has turned out to be the best thing we could have done. God knew this though and worked all the pain out for good as we trusted in His plan. My son loves his new school and my husband and I knew as soon as we drove on the campus it was where our family needed to be.

    Looking forward to 2013! I know God has great things planned!

  • BetsyD

    The best song this year for me has been ‘Our God’ by Chris Tomlin. I teach 8 4-6 year olds at our church. One little girl brought this song to school, singing it all day long. My husband then downloaded it from Itunes so that I could share it in class as we worked any time. Just the week before Christmas I had it on and this little girl says, “That’s my church! The reason your husband could download that song for you was because my church sang it!!” She has it more right than she knows. We are the church! And God is for us!

  • Ruth

    Best Book: Counterfeit Gods -Tim Keller

    Best Song: How He Loves -Kim Walker Smith

    Best Memory 2012: Working with victims of human trafficking in Costa Rica.

  • Susan

    The best of 2012… this will be difficult. Experienced a lot of grief this year. Son & DIL separated; my mother went home to be with the Lord; work was a struggle…digging heels in – thinking “best”…
    Book: “Sometimes He Whispers / Sometimes He Roars” by Marilynn Chadwick
    Song: “Good to be Alive” by Jason Gray
    Moment: St Simon’s Island with my daughter and two grands
    Achievement: “A Pruned Branch” published as a Kindle (YAY!)
    Joy: Hearing my two grandchildren honoring their Great Grandma at her Memorial Celebration with words of their own. BLESSED.

  • Mama Squirrel

    I forgot to include this: my second-favourite book was Crossing Unmarked Snow: Further Views on the Writer’s Vocation, by William Stafford. I think it was the big snowfall here today that reminded me of that.

  • Angela

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again? The no knead pizza dough recipe from “Dinner a Love Story.” I made it with whole wheat flour. We now have it at least once every other week. I even made pizza for our little family Christmas dinner.

    The best book you couldn’t put down? I really loved reading “The House at Riverton” this year. I actually did make myself put it down so it could go on and on – it took me a lot longer to read it than I normally take for books because I wanted to savor every word.

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head? “Home” by Phillip Phillips!

  • Paige Pittman

    Had a wonderul year in the Lord! Some lows, some highs but all Grace filled! Had insightful days, and drought days but God was in the midst! Praise the Lord!

    Best Book – (not trying to earn brownie points but…..) 1000 Gifts (Ann Voskamp). It was insightful, full of promise, hope and direction. Started me on a path that I had not taken before. Opened my eyes to the wonders around me. By taking this journey, it gave me the strength and focus to praise through the dark days! Thank you for that!

    Best Song – “Joseph” by Jason Crabb. Heard many songs about Mary and how she may have felt about being the one trusted to carry Jesus but none about Joseph. How he must have felt through it all. Wow!

    Best Text Ever – had to work on Christmas Day, received this from my middle son, writing this through tears that come after reading it even after the upteenth time…..”merry christmas mama i love you and i hope u have a good day at work…ill c u when u get home.” At 16 he has such a sensitive spirit about him. Always thinking of others.

  • Kara P.

    Best Study – Self-Confrontation: A manual for in-depth biblical discipleship. It has deepened my relationship with Christ and helped me see sins I didn’t even realize were destroying me. So thankful for this chance to draw close to the Savior.

    Best Suprise – Finding out we were expecting a baby girl! It was a longing I thought might never be fulfilled. Grateful for this sweet little blessing.

    Best Tea – Harney and Sons! Pricey bt so incredibly delicious!

    Which leads me to Best Grandma (giver of the tea!) – Gramms Mann! My husbands grandmother is such a blessing to me. She treats me like her own, sharing her life stories and her love for our Savior. I’m so blessed by this relationship. Even if you don’t have a great relationship with your childrens spouses….don’t give up! There might just be a grandchild/grandchild-in-law that comes along that will really cherish their relationship with you!

  • ky

    best book….. i’m not making this up! i’m on my 4th reading of 1000 gifts! it is tattered, torn, tear stained,and marked up! during a year of finance based fear….it taught me the dicsipline of giving thanks, of finding joy, of HUNTING for gifts.

  • Shelly

    The risk that turned out the best….and I fought God all the way to the podium…was sharing the testimony of His faithfulness in my life. I was broken open and His grace was poured out on me. Amazingly, that moment was the beginning….the beginning of Him using my brokenness to reach women for His glory…who would have thought my ugly would end by revealing His beauty? I would rather hide…but then God…

    Best Recipe: Hmmm…it is either Enchilada Soup or White Chicken Chili…my family could eat either for every meal…and they are cheap! :)

  • Maureen

    The best for me was more the fact that my mother was able to come through two 14 hour heart surgeries for aortic aneurysm dissections. It is the fact that she was able to get through some of the depression that comes with heart surgery is the fact that my father who is undergoing a skin cancer surgery as I write this that he was able to recover to the strength that he is after a stroke in 2011 and three skin cancer surgeries this year.

  • taylor

    Best Working Mom recipe- Creamy Chicken Taquitos
    A little time consuming to prep, but double or triple the recipe and freeze. They are fantastic!! A new family favorite! The sauce makes a lot, so consider halfing it!

  • Beth L.

    Best gift? My very very sick kitty would have died without surgery two weeks before Christmas. Our vet and the entire animal hospital staff that cared for our sweet Pemberton gave us the gift of saving his life. <3

  • ky

    best jeans….cheap walmart jordache jeans in ONE SIZE BIGGER! oh my goodness why didn’t i do that months ago….i can breathe.

  • michelle

    Best books? One Thousand Gifts was given to me at the beginning of this tough year and was such an encouragement to me to keep going. I passed it on to two others this year in tough times. They both testify to how it has encouraged them. It has helped to transform my thinking. Dancing with my Father by Sally Clarkson. I am going to start rereading it in the next few weeks.

  • Brooke

    The risk that returned best?
    choosing to love my in-laws, despite the negative feelings we’ve had in the past.

    • Anonymous

      uggg thank you for that

      • Deb

        Ditto. :)

  • taylor

    Best Book of 2012- Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts. I buy it. I give it away. I buy it, I give it away. Repeat repeat repeat. So good I just can’t keep it to myself!

    • Anonymous

      I gave away six copies just based on the blog before I even read it. Almost gave away my copy Christmas Day and just couldn’t do it.

  • Heidi Strickler

    Best risk I took: 18 months ago, I heard the Lord say to me to clear my plate. I was in the 8th year of serving on City Council, on staff at my church, and working part-time at a pizza plate to supplement my income. I whittled my way down to just the church. It took me most of this year just to de-tox. I am living tighter but the freedom and rest my soul feels is in describable. My soul can finally breathe!!!

  • taylor

    Best Worship CD- Highlands Worship ‘Place of Freedom’. So so so very good.

  • Monica Flippin

    This best part of 2012 came last February. After dealing with a chronic and undiagnosed problem for 19 months and after seeing 4 different doctors, my family traveled from Texas to South Carolina to see a specialist. Not only was he able to diagnose and treat my condition, I feel better than I ever have, completely healed. And my family had a wonderful vacation, filled with priceless memories. True healing changes things…:)

  • Wanda

    The best trip ever! For many years, and I mean many, I have wanted to go to the coast of Maine. To sit on the rocks and listen to the Atlantic crush against the continent. This past summer we went! My husband surprised me with this trip after so much loss, hoping it would begin restoration.
    We stayed on Pemaquid Point, on the water’s edge. The sound of the water crashing lulled us to sleep each night and we spent hours just sitting and listening. My husband also took me to a sheep farm to buy yarn. I love to knit!

    My best read: an out of print book by Marjorie Holmes titles Two From Galilee. It is a narrative of the story of Mary and Joseph. Such a beautifully written book. I actually gave my students an entire reading day in the classroom because I could not put it down! We read all day!

    • Brenda

      Wanda, I too loved that book and still have my copy that I got as a teenager!

      • Dineen

        Thank you for reminding me of that book! I remember it as a teen and I will put it on my Christmas season reading list. (Praying I can find a copy…)

        • Anonymous

          Love it. Still have my copy from college 35 years ago.

    • Deb

      Found it on Amazon and added it to my wish list. Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Julie

    Best song? It wasn’t written this year, but I discovered it a few weeks ago, so I’ll count it in my 2012. “Irish Christmas Blessing” by Keith and Kristyn Getty. The words are so powerful, and speak to the only Hope we have in the midst of this messy, beautiful world. The one phrase that has constantly been in my mind for the past few weeks is “There is no Night that can steal the promises of His coming”. Standing on those promises today and always!

  • Kristen Kill

    Ok, I’ll be back for the deep and beautiful… But JEANS! After rounds of designer brands and ill fits for my (ahem) curves… I’m addicted to the Mossimo brand at Target… For a steal at $29! The fits are perfection and once you know your fit number and color you can mix and match all the graphics and florals or stay plain. LOVE! Also, I discovered Bobby Brown whipped moisturizing foundation and don’t know how I survived before. It’s as smooth as butter with great light coverage :)

    • Corianne

      Yes! The mossimo brand is my favorite too! Most comfy jeans I’ve ever owned. I love their bootcut jeans!!!

  • michelle

    Best Entertainment? We were given a gift to see the musical, Joseph, in Branson, MO this year. What an amazing portrayal of God’s love, patience and faithfulness. He is worthy!

  • Kelli

    The best holiday has been the entire month of December. My husband has given me a gift every single day. From flying my sister in from California, to bringing me a 7-11 slurpee at the end of a long day, his thoughtfulness has blessed my heart deeply.
    The best book was the Hunger Games.
    Best song was Our father by Bethel Live featuring Jenn Johnson
    Best habit…complaining less, praising more.

  • Sally Anne

    Best Book this year: “Abba’s Child” by Brennan Manning.

    Best Jeans: Levi’s 529 Curvy Cut (made for the way humans are shaped and they don’t show my fanny when I bend over!)

    Best Gift: For my birthday, my husband sent me to my favorite coffee shop for some mommy time. I went upstairs to the loft and snuggled into an oversized leather chair, sipped a hazelnut latte, and read “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne. When I think of it, I can still hear the jingle of the door downstairs and the hum of the blender. It was a great, great morning.

  • Kathy

    Ok…here it goes…too blessed not to confess!

    Best gift: Finding out we are going to be first-time grandparents…our baby boy is due April 30th of 2013.

    Best decision: Quitting a high-paying, high-stressful job and taking a big cut in pay for a less stressful job close to home with no overtime. This was the scariest decision I ever made – especially since I DIDN’T have a job when I quit. But the Lord led me to where I needed to be and so far we have budgeted just fine. Our twins will be graduating from college in May so if we can just make it to then I think we’ll be ok. And this leads me to best memory…

    Best memory: Sitting on the front porch with my hubby of 29 years enjoying the fruits of our labor of some cedar furniture we made by hand.

    Best song: Mandisa’s Good Mornin’ song

    Best book: Lysa Terkurst’s “Unglued”….helped me so much with how to deal with a family member.

    • Sally Anne

      Loved “Unglued”!

  • Bonnie

    The best of 2012: a “fresh” new ided layed upon my heart to take a risk into this “avenue” and jump. Purging.. hard purging of my flesh and accepting the freedom of renewal of self. Shifting my mother role with my young adult/teens and finding a new way to love. The Cure- best book for sure. Zac Brown Band- best summer concert! Black Bean Eggrolls- mmm. Grace upon grace upon grace.

  • Cheryl Ann

    Thank you Ann for this Best of List, reading the comments has set my day off to a positive start.
    Best music 2012: Matt Redmond, 10,000 Reasons.
    Best trip: spending ten days back home in California, with dearest friends and family. Made my heart sing for weeks.

  • Kristen Kill

    Ok, I’ll be back for the deep and beautiful… But JEANS! After rounds of designer brands and ill fits for my (ahem) curves… I’m addicted to the Mossimo brand at Target… For a steal at $29! The fits are perfection and once you know your fit number and color you can mix and match all the graphics and florals or stick with plain denim. And, seriously, Target! Who knew?

    • Amy Kneen

      Kristen! Thanks for the tip. I love Target but was just never brave enough to try the jeans! I do have the hips ;) so I need special help! I just can’t see paying $100 for some.. Can’t wait to give them a try! Blessings

  • Sally Anne

    Best Memory: Going to the doctor on January 30 (my little girl’s birthday), being tested for scary things like rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, cancer, MS, etc. because my symptoms were so severe it was interrupting my life. I’d met this godly doctor only once before. He listened to my “small talk” for about 5 minutes and then simply said, “Sally Anne, what do you think you have to do to please God?” I gave him my best Sunday School answer and he told me he didn’t think I believed my own answer. I began to cry. Then he lovingly told me that I had placed my parents on the throne where only God belongs, and only God the Father’s opinion of me matters–and His opinion of me is unconditional acceptance. The doctor told me when I worship only God, not people’s opinions of me, then I’ll be healed. The alternative was a lifetime of medication. I left his office and prayed in my car–healing was instantaneous. I confessed my idolatry, and my faithful God healed me instantly. {Psalm 32}

    • Anonymous

      So many people need to hear this; you have a testimony that needs to be shared.

    • KC

      So beautiful! What a blessing that doctor was. All is grace, indeed.

  • Brooke

    running my 2nd marathon (26.2) was by far the best sacrifice!

  • Carol Ann

    Invited neighbor ladies for coffee and muffins to get to know each other, risk that was welcomed warmly and blessed me greatly!
    Not Your Daughters Jeans (at a discount), comfy and look good.
    A Book of Prayer 365 Days of Victorious Living by Stormie Omartian–answers being received!
    Best link–Nourishment for the Soul–encouraging blog from a friend.

    • Lynn

      Carol Ann

      Glad to hear you were blessed in stepping out of your comfort zone

      A best for me thanks to you was Best New Sewing Project: Weighted pocket quilt for my nephew ,,,,, he loved it and so did the whole family

      Thanks for all your advice!! (here’s hoping I have the right Carol Ann !! :-)

  • Jaime

    Best surprise-watching my 6 year old who has always struggled socially flourish in his small, Christian Kindergarten

    Best jeans-Jennifer Lopez boyfriend jeans from Kohl’s

    Best moment-maybe right now, all 4 of us home from work and school relaxing and unwinding together

    Best books-Harry Potter (I was a few years behind, but reading them consumed my summer)

  • Brooke

    best song – skillet’s monster, especially since this was the year my anxiety became such a monster it required medication

  • Kelli

    Best habit – less complaining, more praising.

    Best memory – my husband surprising me w/ a visit from my sister in California

    Best song – Our Father by Bethel Live

  • Brooke

    i find myself wanting to highlight almost every line of brandon hatmaker’s “barefoot church”

    • Sally Anne

      Have you read “7” by his wife Jen? Good stuff.

  • ceckels

    The best site I found this year is this one, along with Hope for the Weary Mom. The best laugh was at my nieces wedding watching my husband dance. The best recipe is one my friend passed on for cabbage casserole, yummy.

  • Brooke

    finally learning to use the memo feature on my phone – instead of calling myself to leave a voicemail reminder!!!

  • http://www.carryingellie.blogspot.con Jamie

    Best book: when I lay my Isaac down by carol kent
    Best song: blessings by Laura story
    Best moments:seeing the hands and feet of Jesus in our family and friends, who have supported us through our 19mo old daughter’s battle with cancer. And welcoming baby #5 in October!

  • adrienne

    Although it’s not a new song, I heard it for the first time this year, so I’m calling it my “Best Song of 2012″ – Be (His Heart His Hands His Voice) by Selah. I simply love this song!


  • Brooke

    What was the best habit? serving the homeless in my area. sad to say it has to be a habit for me or it won’t get done.

  • Melody Ann

    Best was in Feb. 2012 meeting you Ann & hearing you share at WOmen’s Conf. in Gettysburg, PA. Thought then that this would be my highlight of the year…it was, but God certainly blessed greatly the rest of the year!

    Best Christmas song: We Have A Savior by Hillsong

    Best decision: To enroll in Kairos School of Spiritual Formation . One wknd. a month to pull away for personal/spiritual growth…truely a gift.

    Best Christmas Gift: Testimony of my 84 yo “spritiual Papa” passing from earth to heaven last Sat. and his telling us that he was talking with Jesus and that God would be coming for him later that evening. Goosebumps! Let me NEVER forget this. This man loved others for Jesus.

  • Sonia Karina

    So many bests…2012 was such an amazing year for me.

    Best goal achieved: To find a church to call home that I could feel comfortable in so I would feel the desire to attend weekly.

    Best realization: that although my life hasn’t turned out quite as expected, God’s mission for me became clearer this year each time I was able to touch someone else’s life with my life experiences.

    On a lighter note: Best song: Strong Enough by Matthew West. In general his music was a the top of all my playlists this year, every song in one way or another affecting me deeply. And having the chance to meet him and have a conversation about how much his music has changed the way I listen to music was a best moment, no doubt.

  • ky

    best habit….writing in my 1000 gifts journal….hunting hunting all day long for Gods gifts in the smallest of things. did you know you physiologically can NOT fear and appreciate at the same time.?

    • Anonymous

      VERY Good Point.

      • Deb

        Love this. Thank you.

  • Julie

    Best Recipe: Basically anything by Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) but her Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are incredible. I’m a fairly experienced baker, thought I had all my favorite cookie recipes set, but there is an addictive quality to these that makes everyone happy:)

  • Julie martinez

    on of my best moments this year was a hug from my pastors wife saying she appreciated me for all I did. then one month later she died. that hug became a good bye but a satisfaction that I had done well. priceless

    • Ann Voskamp

      Oh. Julie.
      that we would take time to thank those around us — your story here? Your life and her’s? Unforgettable.
      *Thank you*…. thank you.

  • Bettina Brown

    The best habit: starting a serious workout routine at age 50. I started P90X and it has taught me that even though I’m not in my 20s or30s, I can’t still dream and pursue those dreams!

    • Ann Voskamp

      !!! You inspire us, Bettina!
      Checking out P90X :)

  • Sonia Karina

    OH, and as far as best jeans, I have discovered the brand “Seven”, which can be pricey, but can be found now and again at a steep discount at T.J.Maxx or Marshall’s. I love them because they are made to fit a regular woman with curves, and have higher waists (not mom jeans, by any means, but also not those low rise jeans all the tiny little girls can get away with wearing).

  • Bonnie Jean

    The bests of 2012… #1… surviving Hurricane Sandy… #2… Your Book … I have read it four times and given it away several more… would love to win the giveaway for the journal and could gift the other items !!!…#3 … best day….we are in the process of foreclosure and the constant pressure of not knowing when we might have to leave… so we decided to find a modest apartment and we moved. The night I had to drive alone to move in first so that I could prep the place to move in… as soon as I crossed into the county we moved into it was like a huge boulder was lifted from my shoulders… I felt a peace like I have never known. I knew we were doing what was right for us. We do not know what is ahead… but I trust that God will bring us through it. We have done everything we could… everything possible… but the bank would not make any reasonable offer. #4 Zappos shoes… they have sooo many choices and they really go out of their way in customer service. After Sandy, I got a bad infection and had to throw away some new shoes and they gave me a new pair !!! A woman named Samara in customer service was the generous woman who helped me. There are so many more bests… I have to ponder a bit more over my tea.

    • Phyllis Lipford

      Hi Bonnie Jean, I can so relate to your story of foreclosure, deciding to walk away and an amazing peace about the whole experience. God worked it out for us to purchase our house back which was an added blessing. God bless you!

  • Laurie

    Best Jeans: “Not Your Daughters Jeans” – Definitely the most flattering and comfortable jeans I’ve ever warn.
    Best song: “Never Once” by Matt Redman. Never once has He left us alone!

    • Anonymous

      When searching for these Not Your Daughters Jeans I was told “they are in the juniors” department !!! I think perhaps there’s something wrong with this picture !!!

    • Cindy

      When searching for these “not your daughters jeans” I was told ” they are in the juniors department” — I think perhaps there is something wrong with this picture !!! …..

      • Cindy

        Sorry for the dupication

  • Kelly

    The best of 2012 – all of those long minutes watching my children enjoy life, wonder, play, squeal, family worship on the couch, walking in the wide world…And those minutes made more precious by the harder minutes. EMBRACING the beauty and the mess.

  • Laurie

    Best book ~ of course, One Thousand Gifts. Little did I know last January when I read it that God was preparing for a time when I would be lifted from the pit of fear and despair as I counted His daily blessings.
    Best gift ~ The terrible car accident (as crazy as that sounds), the life of my sweet daughter spared and the relationship, the closeness of sweet fellowship that I now have with my daughter.
    Best words spoken ~ first word my daughter spoke in days after the accident, “I love you, Mommy”.
    Despite the turmoil, I thank God for 2012! What a year! What an AMAZING God!

    • Brenda

      Your gift is amazing. Our God can truly turn the bad into good!

  • Elaine

    2012 was a year of blessings for me. I simplified my life which has resulted in an abundance of joy! My best habit of the year was to slow down, trust in God, and just breathe.

  • Marci

    Loving using lentils – Lentil Sloppy Joe recipe from The Homestead Blessings Cookbook is a favorite and a recipe from a friend for Lentil Tacos. So yummy :)

    Favorite memory – taking a Five Generation photo with my grandma, mom, daughter and granddaughter :). Love seeing my Grandma’s face light up around that sweet baby.

    Favorite pick was Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne

    I’m anxiously waiting to hear more about favorite jeans. This is not a fun one to shop for.

  • Melody Ann

    Best Risk with good return: Releasing my 16 yo…learning to “let go” and now seeing her spreading her wings and blossoming in leadership skills/endevors with peers is just amazing. How she leads them to volunteer and relate to the elderly & disabled in our town; her desire to venture to Haiti this summer…seeing God’s gifts in her grow…only God and His Grace.

  • Mariana LJZ

    Hello Ann & all the sisters from around the world, so here are my gifts shared with you all the way from Mexico…

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?…Oh my, Rustic European bread & all kinds of delicious desserts! :)

    The best book you couldn’t put down?…María, El Carpintero y el Niño (Mary, the Carpenter, & the child)… Just a lovely book!

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head? This lovely children beyond music… Enjoy!

    The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…) GAP.

    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? (It’s true: One good idea in hand is worth two good friends knowing about it too!)…. Work less. Work better. Pray more…and pause as often as you can to breath, love & enjoy! :)

    The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)…Leaving a prayer group and starting a new one…so happy growing & learning with beautiful people here from Mexico! Work with children, the best miracle on Earth! :)

    The best link of 2102? Always: A Holy Experience…Thank you Ann Voskamp! :)
    The best laugh? Next to my boyfriend! :)
    The best living? With my family, at home, together! :)

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.) Finishing courses! :)

    What was the best habit? Prayer & exercise! :)
    The best holiday? Tapalpa!
    The best gift? My boyfriend!
    The best sacrifice? (The best way to have more is to give more…) To love, and talk, and communicate!

    Happy New Year to all!!!
    Blessings & Love.

    Your sister,
    Mariana LJZ.

  • Sandy

    Timeless recipe, Tembleque (a yumminess coconut custard, gluten/dairy/egg free) best jeans, Gloria Vanderbilt’s amanda; ‘Til we have faces, a book to read many times; best moments of the year, visiting doctors with my son and hearing more and more ways in which my Lord’s hand worked surprisingly to save his life in minuscule ways . . . After such an almost tragic vehicle accident a year ago. Song, Blessings & Facing the Giants; habit, joy in everything; holiday, Christmas; event, mission’s trip to Cherokee Indians; miracles, observing how God changes His people with grace and patience; gift from God on this earth, our adopted little boy; everlasting gift, His merciful love for me, His gentle and slow shaping of my character flaws, His promises fulfilled . . . Best verse, Simeon holding infant Jesus and proclaiming readiness to die . . He had seen his salvation.
    a blessed year, 2013, to the multitude of saints that upholds us and to you, Anne for being a invoice in the wilderness. God bless!

    • Sandy

      A voice! . . . Sorry, self correcting I-pad doesn’t know much, right?

      • Anonymous

        I have a pair of GV’s Audra and couldn’t find them anymore. I just love the way they fit. Maybe they are now the styled called Amanda? I hope so. Thanks!

  • Sarah

    Best habit – a gift from “A Holy Experience.” Found the Colossians memory cards, bought moleskin notebooks, cut…paste…miracle. Thank you for such an exquisite gift. My scissors are ready for the Sermon on the Mount cards and the book you recommended in Post #1 just went into my Amazon wish list. Praise God for you!

  • Christina burrell

    Best gift…my daughter and son and husband

  • Christina burrell

    Best change- moving to Ft Worth

  • Kelly

    Best Music – The Avett Brothers ( – embracing who the LORD makes you to be.

  • Ann Voskamp

    P.S. Our Hope-girl was reading over my shoulder: “Why are you all talking about the best jeans?”

    Me: “We’re talking the Best of 2012 — best books, best habits, best exercises, best jeans… ”

    Me: (grinning) “So… anything you’d like to contribute, dear?”

    Hope: (….. thinking…. then smiling) “I got the best mom!”

    HA! She may be fevered ;)

    (And she can’t stop laughing here, so it may just be a serious case of the giggles! :)

    Thank you for the happy year end party, friends — Hope-girl and I are liking it! :)

    • Sally Anne

      I love your stories about your precious Hope-girl. She blesses my socks off. I honored her birthday with you by purchasing four of the Freedom bags she promoted. Raising two tiny girls of my own, sweet Hope gives me “hope” that I can raise godly young women in this world. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  • Melody Ann

    Best Joy: Knowing our youngest child should have music training and how GOD supplied the free piano; the teacher and how our home has been blessed with Christmas songs on the piano this year!

  • Christina burrell

    Best sacrifice….allowing someone to stay in our old home rent free for over 9 mths now

    • Ann Voskamp

      Thank you for living like Jesus, friend…

  • Jenniferb

    As I have read through so many of your posts. I am praying for you and praying for grace.
    There have been so many good books this year. I have also been re-reading a lot. It’s been a really hard year, but my all time best. My husband getting a job right before Christmas after being unemployed for a year. God’s plans are always perfect and His timing is never too late. Happy New Year to y’all….

  • Christina burrell

    Best habit…worship music on 24 hrs in our home

    • Deb

      I love this idea.

  • Tess

    I don’t know if I can pinpoint specific bests and worsts for the year BUT I can say this .. this has alternately been the best and worst year of our lives (husband and I) ….. God has done and is doing some amazing things, in both the best and worst situations, and we are blessed in both sides of the circumstances! So, in short, He has given the best of everything, really … most of all, in His Son <3 God bless you all .. and no matter what, let's just praise Him for His wonderful provision and glory!

  • Renae Hildebrand

    favorite moments: seeing my daughters joy, conficence and voice, so beautiful.
    favoite book, 1000 gifts ( I can remember how many copies I have given to friends) amazing!!
    favorite recipe: chocolate covered cherries ( mom made these every Christmas growing up and now I make them) as my son would say we always have traditions over the holidays:)
    favorite friend: Shauna- she loves me for who I am not matter what, mess and all:)
    Hardest thing in 2012 ( always) to seek first his kingdom…. I am still learning this… getting better at it?

  • Penny

    Thank-you for suggesting this….the best to all in the upcoming year !

    *Best memory-going to pay respects to my Grandparents with my son and best friend at the Christ Church Cathedral for the first time (it was absolutely the right time).
    *Best moment(s)I have three to share -The birth of our healthy granddaughter on Easter.
    My 6 year old son receiving a positive ECG three days before Christmas after a negative one he had during a bout with Kawasaki disease .
    Being accepted into The Institute of Children’s Literacy
    *Best book -Unsaid (heartbreaking but captivating)
    *Finding this site definately ranks as one of my * bests* for 2012.

  • Kerry

    Best Song: “Redeemed”, by Big Daddy Weave. I’m from a very conservative background, but not even that can stop me from raising my hands in tearful praise every time I hear that song. ;-)

  • kimberly vogel

    The best jeans – are my first pair of NON-MOM jeans I was able to buy in a size 3xs smaller (a first since having kids – they are now in teens!) AND I got them super duper cheap at a resale store!
    The best book – Practical Paleo
    Recipes – Since finding out I’m allergic to TONS of stuff and my daughter is allergic to wheat, we switched to an almost completely Paleo and gluten free eating plan. My family LOVES Lettuce boats in place of sandwiches with a yummy cucumber/avocado sauce. I also made a lot recipes with almond flour for us in place of traditional holiday goodies.

  • Brooke

    best living – hiking with my family (mom & dad, papaw, cousins) instead of shopping on black friday

  • Brooke

    best gift – my cousin *gaining* weight on chemo. it has taken me longer to grow out my hair to donate to cancer charities than it has for him to kick lymphoma!

  • Jules

    one of my best moments this year was a hug from my pastors wife saying she appreciated me for all I did. A month later she died. that hug became a good bye but a satisfaction that I had done well. priceless

  • Tammy

    Best risk returned warmly: I found a friend through Facebook after 20 years of not seeing each other. After 3 months of messages back and forth, she flew home so we could catch up in person. It was like no time had passed! What a blessing!

  • Miss Rachel P.

    I couldn’t begin with the best of this year without remembering all those precious moments of learning and growing in the Lord this year. It’s been an adventure of a year! He’s amazong, so good, and so loving – what would I ever do without Him?

    Best memory: the marvelous trip the Lord gave to my sister and I to visit with many friends in Texas! Our first ever trip on our own, first visit there, and we had such a great time of fellowship and adventure with our “sisters”.

    Best book: “Moses: A Man of Selfless Dedication” by Charles Swindoll – every word on every page has been exactly what I’ve needed for this season of my life. Fothe desert wanderer’s and God-lead people everywhere. :D Gave such insight into the life of a man I realized I didn’t really know.

    Best recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls (with homemade pumpkin pie spice!) –

    Hardest moment: Developing carpal tunnel and learning to rest…rest on the Lord, rest my soul, and rest my body by allowing others to do for me what I can no longer do. :)

    Best song: “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless

    Biggest Acheivment: Admitting I will be a writer and author because that’s what God wants for me and beginning my personal writing journey on my first book! Scary and exciting!

    Thank you so much for the chance to enter – what a fun way to do a giveaway! :D
    Blessings in Christ & Happy New Year!
    ~Miss Rachel~

    • Anonymous

      After years of living with advancing carpel tunnel and no hope of having the surgery,
      I was told by a friend to wear braces at night. That helped. Then I read in From Fatigued to Fantastic to take B6 for CT. Amazing and simple! My hands are 85% better!

  • jala

    Best The best recipe you couldn’t not make again? Anything from the Pioneer Woman! Her Chicken-Fried Steak is fab!
    The best book you couldn’t put down? One Thousand Gifts~ Ann Voskamp (Seriously, I’m not just saying that! Made a huge impact on my mind set!)
    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head? God’s Not Dead ~ Newsboys

    The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…) After having 4 babies in under 5 years… this it tough! However, I have managed to find a pair that look and feel decent. Maurices brand Brianna fit (they have extended sizes and lengths)

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? Said “I’m sorry”

  • Amy Watson

    The best thing about this year has been learning that loving others well and making the right choices will not protect you from rejection and heartache, but that it’s worth doing anyways. I cannot live so well as to avoid pain, but I can live well through it.

    • Wanda

      Well said

  • Heidi Strickler

    Best book: “One Thousand Gifts” – a friend recommended it to me at just the right time! In fact, our women’s Bible study is going to do it in January. I also read through “The Hunger Games” trilogy. Loved them. I also picked up an old leadership book at a garage sale by David Gergen called “An Eyewitness to Power”. Great book!!

  • Michelle

    What a delight to read everyone’s best of everything!

    Hmmm.. Some of my bests for this year:

    – best book: One Thousand Gifts. God has used it to change my life! I continue to get copies to send to friends near and far. What a blessing it has been!
    – best habit: getting in the habit of healthy eating and exercise. Continuing to care of the body He’s given me
    – best living: Living a life of Eucharisteo!
    – best risk: after I graduated University I realized that I had lost a sense of who I was amidst the studying and schooling. This year has been a journey to figure out who God has made me to be- and find joy in that. It’s a journey and its been scary at times but definitely the best risk!
    – best gift: a job given to me the day before graduation. Incredible story of God’s plan being bigger and better than mine…and another reminder that I should trust in Him.
    -best jeans- my jeans no longer fit due to the ‘best habit’ ;) it’s been an incredible feeling to go from having to wear dresses all of the time because my pants wouldn’t do up to having to wear dresses all of the time because my pants won’t stay up!

  • Mary

    Love you Anne.
    Best Book: Her Mother Hope by Francine rivers. A fiction book that explores the relationships in your life and how they can affect you good or bad. And how the Love is always there.
    Best Song: The new “Silent Night” by Clyde Bawden sung by Michele Moyer. A re-write of the classic takes you to another peaceful Christmas place. Love it. Felt like I was actually at the manger.
    Best Recipe: French Dip sandwiches. Roast beef cooked in Onion soup on sturdy rolls with melted Swiss cheese.
    Love reading these wonderful blogs every week it brings me back home.

  • Ann

    My best gift given was the sweater hat I knitted for the sweetheart, so it wasn’t quite finished by Christmas, and best gift gotten…sharing Christmas with the sweetheart and my girls. I had everything I could hope for together.

    Best book read…Captivating by Stasi and John Eldredge

    Hardest thing this year…trying to be kind in the face of others not being kind.

    • Janet from FL

      Captivating is amazing! Good choice.

  • Rose Chandler Johnson

    I’m so excited that I just found this website last night. I’ve already found encouragement — sister souls. I love it! 2012 was a very good year for me. * I started my own blog on June 2013. It was an idea I had for over two years before I acted on it! And it’s much the same thing I’m trying to do there that you are doing so well here. Had I found you earlier, I’m sure I would have launched much earlier. You go girls! Inspiring! You are inspiring.
    * I thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful writers’ conference this year–Write to Publish and made many new friends and partners.
    * So many personal family milestones celebrated as well. Thank you God!
    *Favorite new recipe. . . fully loaded cheesy potato soup . . . nice warm comfort food. Try this one if you like potato soup or baked potatoes. You’ll love it.
    *Favorite book . . . reread from years gone by . . . The Cloud of Unknowing– originally written by an unknown mystic of the fourteenth century.
    I’m looking forward to going into the New Year with you. Come visit me too

    • Lisa-Jo @lisajobaker

      We’re so excited that you found it too! :) Welcome!

  • Paula Lloyd

    I have had some ups and downs this year. With only eek four days left of this year I am counting my blessings and not dwelling on my misfortunes.
    I took a leap of faith and took a job with 1/2 the pay I was used to to work closer to home and I am now in town and able to just zip over to the school when needed, I can drop my son off at school, he rides the bus home and he is only at my moms for five mins max before I get home (I get off at 4:30).
    My ex-passed, it was a sad time for all of us, but happy in that we know he is with our Lord and he is walking again, not more seizures, he is talking and looking down on us.
    I have been blessed with so many gifts of kindness and monetary bonus’ just when I needed them, I have see the Lord work in my life so many times this year and I am amazed at His timing and understanding of my needs.
    The best habits I have formed was when I signed up for daily emails from Proverbs 31 Ministries which led me to so many other wonderful sites and devotionals. I cannot begin to mention all the times that something came across my email from (in)Courage, Jill Savage, Proverbs 31, Jill Enham, Renee Swope, Glynnis Whitwer, to name a few that was just what I needed to get me through the day. God works in the best of ways and I am still struggling to let go and let Him lead me in His time and not in the time I think it should be done.
    Though 2012 has had it’s downs, the ups and blessing far outway the downs. Here is to 2013 being better!

  • Dana Sparrow

    The best of 2012 would be spending time with my family who I haven’t spent Christmas with in years, finding love, celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus and sharing in the wonderful joys of the season with friends!

  • Patricia Spicuzza

    Best jeans: NYDJ. Totally worth the money for comfort AND looks

  • Angela Williams

    This year has flown by so fast that I do not have any favorites for the year. The best book is always the Bible but I will admit that I read the 50 Shades of Grey books. My youngest son is a high school senior this year and we have been taking pictures, ordering invitations, and applying to colleges. I have made several new recipes but none that really outstanding.
    It is a blessing to have my God, family and friends around me during the year. They always make for a great year.

  • k v

    Ok… a few more:
    Best moment – when I held my niece for the first time. My twin sister had a baby this year – a complete surprise. We both have teens and she thought she was done having kids 9 years ago. This little baby has been the biggest joy.
    Hard moments – facing the fact that I can no longer have kids. I had a hysterectomy 4 years ago and for the past two have carried a sadness that I can’t conceive, even though 8 years ago my husband had a vasectomy. Talking to my husband about adopting or fostering ends with a big NO. Praying God will change one of our hearts. I want them to beat together.

  • Shannon Hazleton

    I had to jump in here with one thing…
    Best Song: “Aslan” by Kendall Payne.

  • Susan Pence

    Okay, I have to jump in!

    ~My favorite book I just reread is the Prodigal God by Tim Keller.
    ~My favorite recipe that we have loved forever is Spaghetti Con Tonno by James Beard. My family loves it, it is cheap and delicious!
    ~I finally found jeans that fit like a dream, which is hard with long legs and too much weight! J.Jill’s Classic Boot Cut. They also come in cords that I love!
    ~Best tool for me is “My Fitness Pal” which takes the pain out of dieting/exercising and makes it into a game (well, kinda!). There is even a phone app that makes it really usable.
    ~best habit: I have given up on “working out,” and instead work for 30/40 minutes each day possible on my yard/floors/anything that gets that heart rate up and gets a job done at the same time! I really do it instead of finding excuses to not take care of myself!
    ~best holiday: finding the holy in every day. Keeps me sane, focused and worshiping!

  • Jen4short

    Best book? Carolyn Webber’s Surprised by Oxford

    Best moment? Now

    Best memory? A text from my middle son, “counseling” me to view aging as God simply releasing our fingers from grasping our idols.

    Best song? As any of my boys will tell you, “It’s a happy day, and I thank God for the weather, it’s a happy day, and I’m living it for my Lord…”

    Best recipe? I don’t believe in recipes. Well, maybe one. There’s this delicious pumpkin cream pie…

    Best news? That I didn’t have breast cancer. Found out just last week.

    Best hope? Jesus. In Him is all the fullness of God. Who could ask for anything more?

  • Just A Beautiful Mess

    Best song: Two really… both written by different members of our worship team. Patiently waiting for them to lay down the tracks so I can get them on my iPod. My 6 year old is highly disappointed that they are missing from his new iPod shuffle. :)

  • Connie

    2012 was filled with many “bests” at a time when I could have filled it with memories of “worsts”. I spent four months with the best nurses at my chemotherapy clinic…they loved and nurtured me when all I felt was apathy and sickness.

    I had an AHA moment late in the year where God spoke to me (no, not an audible but I heard it just the same) and told me to laugh, love and be his witness. How could that not be a “best” moment?

    I’m throwing myself into 2013 with JOY UNSPEAKABLE because the best is yet to come :-)

    • Ann Voskamp


  • Amy

    Best jeans: I love Silver Suki jeans. Mavi is also a good brand. And both are at a little shop on the main street in Stratford, Ontario – Gruv. They also have the best suede boots, in black and brown. So comfy I can wear them all day!
    Best recipe: Chicken Piccata from Cook’s Illustrated. Or anything from the BBC Good Food website.
    Best book: Currently reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain, which gives me new confidence.
    Best tool: A beautiful mortar and pestle made of Indian soapstone from Ten Thousand Villages.
    Best risk: Leaving a perfectly good job for a different one. Thanks for the reminder to start living and stop fearing.
    Best laugh: My British husband out clearing the first snowfall from our driveway this morning, in the pitch black of 6:30 a.m., on a day he didn’t have to go to work.

  • Patricia Spicuzza

    The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)

    Asking, seeking and knocking for support in my faith journey.

  • Joni

    Ann’s blog is the best ! Love the background music while reading as well as the pics!
    As for the best phrase declared in times of troubles, I hear my children say “don’t freak out because the angels are not freaking out!” :) Blessings

  • Patricia Spicuzza

    The risk that returned best?

    Asking, seeking and knocking for support in my faith journey.

  • alicia finley

    Thank you for this wonderful blog that touches my life daily!

    The Best of 2012 for me has been the ability to heal from the disappointment and sadness of a son with addiction – by SERVING others and speaking out to help others. My son is 1 1/2 years clean and we are all getting better every day. Angels have been placed in my life to help me in my journey of forgiveness.


  • Joy

    Best recipe – Rachael Ray ‘s Roasted Mustard and Maple chicken. Oh my – easy to make and delicious. Even better the next day! Best Song – anything by Casting Crowns. Best book – yours Ann- I have read it several times and purchased many for friends. Would love to have the extras. It has been an extremely rough 3-4 years and your book helped me to remember to be grateful for what I have. Best find – Blessings home parties -they have beautiful stuff and reasonably priced. The best is yet to come!

  • http://blessedtobecaleb' Lauren

    I love this… getting some good ideas here =) My best of is simple… the best thing about 2012 was learning that I”m okay just as I am, and that God loves me for me, no matter what. Your book opened my eyes in 2011, and I’ve participated in your Joy Dare this whole year. Some days I miss, but I’ve counted my 1000 gifts +, and it has really opened my eyes to the goodness of God. Combine that with You’re Already Amazing and Grace for the Good Girl, and 2012 has been a year of acceptance. I’m so excited to see what 2013 has to hold!

  • Just A Beautiful Mess

    Best book: God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew. Older but read for the first time this year. Great read! Honorable mentions: Anything by Jennie Allen and 7 by Jen Hatmaker.

  • Brooke

    a random comment from a neighbor on facebook – that had me belly laughing for literally MINUTES. hubby had to record it because i became the point of laughter.

  • Rachel N

    The best book: One Thousand Gifts–life-changer!
    The best song: Home by Phillip Phillips or Sparrow, Blessed are the Ones by Audrey Assad
    The jeans that fit best: my sister’s jeans :) Just like how her food always tastes better than mine…so life is better when we share.
    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best: taking my bored moments at work and turning them into prayer moments for those I love.
    The risk that returned best: vulnerability every day.
    The best movie: Les Miserables–a beautiful picture of Grace vs. the Law.
    The best sacrifice: time.

  • Amy Kneen

    Oh, Ann! I couldn’t wait to share this with you.. One book I have been carrying around with me besides One Thousand Gifts.. Is The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson. I know you read the Puritans and if you haven’t already read this? It’s amazing. Every line. Filled with His Spirit.. I have had it on my shelf and didn’t realize the treasure I had! A piece of handcrafted jewelry by Lisa Leonard would be my next pick. A bracelet. Mine says all is grace! Next. Jeans?! Jeans. Maybe I’ll just grab a skirt today.. I still need to find the perfect pair! ;) Blessings!!

  • vanessa

    This year has been a year of restoration and our hearts and faith was shaken and in the midst of the tremors God passed by. Thank you Ann for having the courage to bear your heart.
    Best book of 2012: my highlighted, dog eared and tattered One Thousand Gifts.
    Best risk: (I see now it was never a risk but man i felt like i was taking a leap off a dark cliff and had to trust my Daddy would catch me. Placing our lil mans health in our Daddys hands. Accepting that he may not be completely healed and yet seeing that if he had never been sick he would not have the insane passion and zeal for our Heavenly Daddy. And if i hadnt placed him in my Daddys arms i would have been too busy running him from dr to dr to really get to know this blessing of a by that i have been so graciously given.

  • bettie

    The best of 2012 for me was, as a widow and mother of now adult children… my life was beginning to get a bit “frightening”-what to do now? alone? BUT God in HIS faithfulness and such love guided me thru scriptures and his ever presence back “home” to another state.. opening up new opportunities for me… Seeking HIM first… thanking the Lord daily for his faithfulness and love!!

  • Kaliegh

    It has been a fantastic year indeed!

    Best of all, I found InCourage this year and that made everyday sweeter and brighter! Thanks to all you wonderful girls who share so much of yourselves with us! Blessings to you all in the New Year!

    One of the best links I found was through InCourage and is Dawn’s page! —

    and one more of my best’s of the year: Tenth Avenue North’s song Losing. A.MAZE.ING. Love those boy’s music. Praise the Lord for them!

  • Angella

    I did an art-jounalling e-course on GRATITUDE – that was the highlight of my year and changed my outlook radically. I have suffered from debilitating Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Pain for the last 16 years and some days its really hard to keep looking at the bright side. I received your book ONE THOUSAND GIFTS for Christmas – I couldnt put it down- it is life-changing and I know it will be a book I refer back to very often for encouragement. thank you for giving the world the gift of this book. I want to buy copies for all my family and friends!

  • KC

    Best book? The Daisy Chain
    Best thing-of-all-year? Surprise family reconciliation! On the official List of Things I Thought Were Past All Repair (on the “I know God can technically do anything… but at this point, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen…” list), some of my extended family now speaks kindly with each other again! After basically 8 years of continually-souring relations that had stabilized into aggressively unpleasant long-distance dislike (at least unpleasant to this one stuck in the middle!), they’re now talking again! God sometimes flabbergasts us.

    • Deb

      I love your Best Thing. Praying for a similar situation in our family.

  • nancy

    Best book: 1,000 gifts and Kisses from Katie

    Favorite moment: 1 week mission trip with Blue Print Ministries in San Antonio Texas surrounded by such giving Youth!

    Best Christmas gift given: 1,000 gifts (thank you for the $5.00 per book offer)

  • Ann Beaulieu

    Now you must know that while I am writing this tears of joy and gratitude are falling on my I cannot see my words or computer , so mistakes for sure!!! My best moment at Christmas is seeing my two wonderful nephews walk in the front door with BIG happy smiles and happy to see me. What you must know is that there father died in November 2010 and I am the executor of their will because their parents were divorced, and well let’s just says things got really bad with their mom and me because of what their father wrote in the will. He had full custody, they are both minors. I was so over joyed to have them hug me and hear I LOVE you auntie!!! I know only God can do that … They are not Christians but they know that I am!

  • Belinda Bryan

    Best recipe: Southern Living Oatmeal Cookies

    Best song: Break Every Chain, by Kristene DiMarco

    Best time: A new adventure for me. I went to a women’s conference at Morningstar Fellowship in FT. Mill, SC with a 79-year old friend. The ages spanned from 16 to 80. There were women there from many states and countries, and I made several new friends. For the first time ever at a women’s conference, I felt no judgment or condemnation. We were encouraged to be originals who listen to God and follow His leading, and the Lord has continued that message for 7 weeks since, even to this morning. I got it from 3 different sources already. I’m 61 and starting new adventures in Him.

    Best new practice: a praise journal that is up to over 2200 praises and has revolutionized my attitude.

  • jodilee0123

    Best Gift: This past August started a whirlwind of all the things I NEVER would have guessed would happen to me. Avoiding all the nitty gritty details, I can finally say out loud that my husband and I will be officially divorced sometime in Januray 2013. No matter what the circumstances are (for good or bad reasons) divorce is still a HORRIBLE process of unknowns and scary roads and accepting different lifestyles due to income loss, etc…. Well, my best friend since second grade who now lives thousands of miles away from me heard about my horrible news. She emailed 15 women whom she knows that became single mothers for various reasons and had them all write letters of encouragement to me. She took those letters and made a beautiful book out of them and mailed it to me. I cried so hard when I received it and as I read it. Knowing I had really no other options as my three young adopted special needs children need me…I have no time to crumble. I have to say that was the best and most beautiful heartfelt gift ever! Thank you to all those ladies whom I didn’t even know that took time to encourage me. Yes, definitely the best gift that God gave to me–the love of others who don’t even know me. Incredible! (well, that and the big screen tv my parents gave to me for Christmas to replace the one the husband ripped off the wall in front of the kiddos when he left…) New beginnings for our family in 2013. I have a feeling it is all for the good with the love I have felt throughout this process. It is a reminder that we can make a difference–a HUGE difference to those we don’t even know.

    • Ruth

      May God give you daily grace–my prayers are with you!

    • Susan

      {{{{hugs}}}} jodilee. Oh. my. can I ever empathize with you. If you would have told me at the start of 2012 that I’d be in the midst of a divorce now after 26 years of marriage, I’d *never* have believed you. I’m not going to share details here, but on Nov 20 I had to flee our home with my youngest 8 children. I can’t even begin to say how broken I am. And yet still… God is good, He remains faithful and I too have been blessed by several very faithful friends. Your book sounds fabulous. I’ll be praying for you as I walk the same scary road as you.

  • Jennifer

    Best book: 1,000 gifts which came at the worst moment: my oldest son left our family (he already lived far away) and isolated himself and later shot himself, but this book really helped me to walk through that moment of darkness and helped me to say, “thank you” to the Lord for always being GOOD even when life seems awful. Best song: Blessings by Laura Story because it ministered to my broken heart is I embraced the too awful to contemplate reality that is now ours. Best moment? When my daughter returned from a 2 month missions trip to Japan.

  • Just A Beautiful Mess

    Best sacrifice: Homeschooling. It’s really a great privilege. But equally there are great sacrifices. This is our first year so it’s been a roller coaster of adjustment.

    • Antoinette

      The best part if homeschooling… really getting to know your kids! Homeschooling is a great gift! We are in our 5th year and each year gets better! My little one started kindergarten this year at 4 1/2 and she is reading! We love homeschooling!

    • Tanya Canfield

      I’ve homeschooled for 10 years (has it really been that long?). There are days when I ask myself why I continue to do this. Then I look at my kids, how they are growing, learning, maturing, and I am reminded why. I just can’t trade the time with them, it’s too precious, and I will continue to do this as long as I can.

    • Deb

      Finishing year 13 of homeschooling for us – can’t believe it is my daughter’s last semester at home. What a journey. Hang in there, ladies, even when it is ROUGH. The rewards are incalculable.

  • Linda Coffet

    Best jeans…..Gloria Vanderbilt (they stretch and are soft!)
    Best risk….zip lining (Can I mention my fear of heights?) Loved the feeling of soaring.
    Best book…1000 Gifts (again!)
    Best recipe… deep dish pizzas
    Best song……(You can) Close your Eyes (Recorded by Mama’s Blue Dress!)

    • Janet from FL

      I agree, Gloria Vanderbilt has the best jeans, and they are reasonably priced!

  • ro.elliott

    I have to say…even though it may sound like the likely answer…the best for me…the most transformative….is “stumbling” upon an Holy Experience last Jan. …which led me to 1000 gifts…reading…rereading…soaking…then listening….like a sponge until I was leaking thankfulness…counting…in one year I have passed 4000 praises for all His goodness to me.
    Best healing….this blog world… I trembling stepped into just a little over a year ago.
    Best music… set free…CHrista wells…has been my anthem this year.
    Best sweet surprise…getting to see you and give you a hug in Nashville(brentwood)
    Best memories…family…the sweet bond that continues to grow…even as my children move out…move on…love that binds our hearts through distance.

    • ro.elliott

      oh my…how did I not put down…my first most precious Grand little girl…oh the pure joy!!!!!!

  • Debbie

    I turned 60 this year and my daughters gave me the most wonderful, joyful 60 birthday party a mom could ever ask for! They asked for everyone to bring 60 of somethings, which ranged from 60 mini pads, hilarious, gummy bears, yummy, and 60 cards…wowo I’m so lucky

  • Joni

    Best holiday experience was having a customer service rep personally drive my package to a drop box for delivery to me so that my son’s gift would arrive in time for Christmas. Faith renewed in humanity one person at a time. I will definitely ” pay it forward”. :) Blessings !

  • Just A Beautiful Mess

    Best gift: Our baby girl accepting Jesus just after Thanksgiving. She is 8. Praise the Lord!!

  • Jan Loyd

    Best song : Keith and Kristen Getty’s “Before you I Kneel (a workers prayer)” I sang it in tear every work day as I drove to teach my ESOL/GED classes. Such a touching song!

    Best blessing: my husband’s increasing health and strength after his widow-maker heart attack last year.

    Best book: “The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has worn you out” by Dan Stone. Led a group through and blogged it in the fall…amazing! God’s kids set free, halllelujah!
    (BTW, last year my best book was your “1000 Gifts” and “The Jesus Manifesto” by Sweet and Viloa :) )

  • Brenda

    Best moment of 2012: My mom waking after the emergency surgery to fix a bleed after her liver transplant. An answer to pray.
    Best Book of 2012: One Thousand Gifts. It got me through my mom’s transplant and recovery. During our weeks together Mom and I would discuss our “gifts”. A precious gift in itself!
    Best jeans!: Mark’s Work Wearhouse Contemporary Fit Jeans! Mid waist band, little bit of stretch, so comfy!
    Best recipe: Just tried Slow Cooker Pork Ribs with Brown Sugar Rub….yummy!
    Best gadget: I am a caterer so I need my Heinkel Chef knife like my hand. A good knife is essential but I also love my small ice cream scoop for cookies!
    Best song: I’m a huge country fan, so Paul Brandt, another Canadian and Christian, just came out with an album of old hymns…wonderful uplifting version of It is Well.

  • Amy {One Day Closer}

    Best Book: Hmmmm… so hard! A tie between Penelope Wilcock’s three new books in The Hawk and The Dove series, and the advent book you recommended – Silence and Other Surprising Lessons From Advent
    Best Album: Light For The Lost Boy by Andrew Peterson
    Best Christmas Album: Sweet Bells by Kate Rusby
    Best Faith Lesson: Almost adopting a baby with trisomy 13 in May, but the Lord called her home from her birthmother’s arms the morning we were supposed to bring her to our home.
    Best Quote: “It is a safe thing to trust the Lord to fulfill the desires He creates.” ~ Amy Carmichael
    Best Answered Prayer: After squeezing that quote, and about two handfulls of Bible verses for *ten years*… after two failed special needs adoptions and a miscarriage… God took the dryest desert of a womb and sowed a seed! It has taken root, and grown, and miracles of miracles I am 24 weeks along with a baby girl! She is thumping the inside of my belly as I type. We never expected this miracle, we certainly don’t deserve it, but we are wallowing in it every moment of every day.
    Best Icing on the Cake: Our faith family (including you, dear sister-friend Ann) that have walked with us, cried with us, prayed with us, and rejoiced with us on our journey to this little one. Making the sweet even sweeter. Eucharisteo – so I can stand in the middle of the river and turn on the slow motion so I can revel in every moment and not miss one single blessing. <3 I just could burst with the gratitude and joy!

    • Amy {One Day Closer}

      Oh, and the best jeans? I have to say my all time favorite right now are maternity jeans! Can’t beat those for comfort! (sheepish grin)

    • Kellie

      wow. goosebumps…enjoy that precious babe.

  • Erica

    Best Song: Matt Redman’s ” 10,000 Reasons”. I heard this on thew radio in between trips to the hospital when my daughter was severely ill and God seemed silent. I began sobbing and singing and suddenly He was silent no more and I had peace.

    Best Gift: My daughter is with us and well.

  • Lynn W.

    Best retreat: traveling to Charleston to hear Ann Voskamp & talking with women in our church about eucharisteo.
    Best trip: to CO to meet our first grandson & rejoice with his parents! & knowing how this child is loved & taught as a babe how much our Savior loves him.
    Best encouragement: to be thankful in all things, in the valleys, in the mundane.

  • Shari

    Best blessing: my three children, Joy-21, Bethany-19 & Jon-17;
    Best recipe: Many on Pinterest
    Best risk: Survivor Mud Run with my two daughters. Muddy but fun.
    Best discovery: Pinterest
    Best event: Picnics with my ex-boyfriend
    Best jeans: Any that fit.
    Best experience: My children throwing me a surprise 50th birthday party.
    Best book: Grace for the Good Girl, by Emily Freeman
    Best song: Casting Crowns.
    There are so many great and best things of 2012. My daughter was discharged from the hospital ICU, and life goes on.

  • Lynne

    Best book – The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. I was in the middle of reading it when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. My father was in chemo at the time and I needed the words on those pages.

  • Lynne

    Best recipe. Every time I make it, I get requests for the recipe. I use a combo of pork and beef stew meat.

  • Kathy S. Runyon

    Best Song: Fear is Easy, Love is Hard by Jason Gray –
    Best Books: Keep a Quiet Heart by Elizabeth Elliot, Joy and Strength a devotional with my mom’s markings in it and 1000 Gifts because reading that trio convinced me to take the joy dare… best risk this year.
    Best Recipe: Chicken Tortilla soup recipe from the back label of a can of black beans…Dump recipes are always wonderful, my family loves it and it is cheap and easy!
    Best Jeans- Any brand like Wrangler or Levi “carpenter” jeans nice and baggy in my book… plenty of loops and pockets for a gardener/cook to carry tools, seeds and what-not (I know, I have no style! But those skinny jeans just don’t have space for anything but one’s self! LOL)
    Best moment of 2012: Sitting with my prodigal son at our Christmas Eve service 2 brothers side by side sandwiched between mom and dad … our family together truly a great gift!!!

  • Joni

    Best Christmas carol is “Joy to the World ” and the best gift is Jesus !

  • Helen G.

    Seeing the power of God’s healing hands on my niece, who was born prematurely on my birthday, Sept 26th. She is now almost 10 lbs and thriving! Thank you, Lord!

    • Tanya Canfield

      That’s my birthday too! Blessings on the precious little girl!

  • Roni

    I am SO not a social butterfly! I’m really naturally inclined and more comfortable to be in my little nest with just my husband and son. This year we took on the awesome honor (and responsibility) of co-leading a church small group. My life changed forever. We have increased our “family” size! I have new kids, new brothers and sisters and a bond that is so tight. We love each other tremendously and cannot remember not having each other. For the first time in my life, I have, what feels like, a true,strong family unit. I have been so blessed by my family! Love abounds.

    I also put my neck out and pursued a big job change within my company, not once, but twice. I prayed for clarity and confidence, and was just about to seek other options, when out of the blue, I was offered a wonderful, much-improved promotion! God kept “detaining” me, it seemed, and calming my frustrations, just until His plan was in place! Wow, He’s good!

    And a long-standing “nagging” finally was able to get my attention. I had never followed through on my Masters degree after 30 years. My son is a jr in college at this time. My dad, who is rapidly declining with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and has very few “lucid” moments, one day as we talked about my son’s college (I talked, he stared into space), turned to look at me and asked if I’d ever finished my Masters. I said I hadn’t, and he looked me directly in the eye (not through me or past me, as is his normal), and said “why don’t you go finish now and then you and Jace can graduate together.”. Then he went immediately back to wherever he goes! I took that as a real word from God, as my dad doesn’t even remember the fact, or even who I am most days. WOW, God is so amazing!

    My only child is walking a daily walk with God. My husband leads each of us to opportunities for fellowship. My husband is the head of our home, he provides for his family, and gratefully shares with anyone in need. We have neighbors that have been married almost 70 years, and my inlaws just celebrated 59. We are surrounded by role models of God’s directives. We are living, loving and learning daily.

    Everything that is the “best of” in my life of 2012, is nothing but God. In my earlier life, I would not have recognized it’s origin, much less given thanks to anyone. So my ultimate “best of” list begins each line with “God did….” , or “God made….”, “God is….”.
    Best ….. Of 2012 for this family? God.

    • Lynne

      Roni – That experience with your day sent shivers into me. I am excited to hear you are pursuing God dreams. Wheeeee!

    • Lynne

      Roni – That experience with your dad sent shivers into me. I am excited to hear you are pursuing God dreams. Wheeeee!

  • Joni

    Best Christmas carol ? “Joy to the World “

  • Anonymous

    If you like Indian food, this chicken tikka masala is fabulous. Takes some time, but well worth it.

    Song I couldn’t get out of my head—“Open up the Heavens” by the Vertical Church Band. “Open up the heavens, we want to see You, open up the floodgates. A mighty river, flowing from Your heart, filling every part of our praise. Show us, show us Your glory. Show us, show us Your power. Show us, show us Your glory, Lord.”

    Book I couldn’t put down? Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening devotional. His way with words, how he speaks truth to the deepest parts. I found myself looking forward to his insights every day.

    Best moment of 2012– December 25th and looking back one year ago, when two days before Christmas the buyer of our home backed out. Hence the precious little home we thought we were moving into, near family and friends, was no longer a reality. We spent the holidays surrounded by boxes, and broken dreams, yet God was near and we felt His peace. Seven days later we had another buyer and the house we had been planning to purchase was still available (the buyers had graciously waited for us). Total Glory story. All God’s doing. Even down to the details, like getting a better mortgage rate than before. Reflecting on this a year later, the tears flowed… at the way he loves, showers us with grace gifts, and shares with lowly us a glorious glimpse of who He is.

  • Bet

    Best jeans: not quite jeans, they’re heavy canvas twill but the fit is just right for me; EMS North Country pants

    Best books (in no particular order):
    The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball
    Lectio Divina by Christine V Paintner
    The Benedictine Handbook
    Julian of Norwich by Amy Frykhom
    The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane
    Trapeze by Simon Mawer
    Middlemarch by George Eliot (again!)
    Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (third time)

    Best recipe:
    Baked cheese grits from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

    Best things that happened:
    – a daughter getting married on the top of Cadillac Mountain
    -my new job in a museum
    – recovery from total knee replacement


  • Ashley F

    The best recipe? Parmesan Tilapia
    The best book you couldn’t put down? Not sure. Liked all the books I read this year
    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head? Beautiful Phil Wickham
    The jeans that fit best? Our Resale shop gets 7 for all Mankind jeans. They fit wonderfully and aren’t Mom jeans. Plus I can get them at an affordable price versus what they are at retail
    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? I am loving crockpot meals. So easy to throw dinner into it in the morning and have something ready
    The risk that returned best? Moving away from family. We’ve been missing home and went back for a funeral and realized that where we are now is “home”
    What was the best habit? I am trying to make a habit of relaxing and saying “no”. It has worked for the most part. As a Mom of 5 I am constantly going and it is easy to get tired and to a meltdown point, so I have been trying to no do as much. It seems to have helped.
    The best holiday? Christmas
    The best gift? Getting a couple of nights in a cabin with just the family, some snow, and a fireplace
    The best sacrifice? Jesus’s sacrifice for us

    • Janet from FL

      Crock Pots rock! It makes dinner so easy! and the house smells amazing!

  • Amy Kneen

    I had to jump off here.. Song would be Natalie Grants Alive… And the song In Christ Alone. David Crowders Holy… Recipe. Whole Wheat Cracker recipe that I made when i was 10 years old! It made it back to me via a friend 20 plus years later! Now my boys help cut them out :)

    • Amy Kneen

      How could I forget? The whole “Image of God” cd… Its just beautiful. Soothes the soul . Speaks JoY!

  • Diane McElwain

    A song on my mind: Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave, but also Kutless–Even If.
    Best recipe: Always Kolache to remember my grandma! But a book on my mind? I tried the National Novel Writing Month in November and wrote over 50,000 (even wrote through flu). It was a freeing experience! Ann, can’t wait to get into your devo-journal book!

  • Lynne

    Best risk – Three years ago, I started writing and took college classes with students younger than my children. This year I am now a monthly contributor to our local paper on their Spiritual Reflection page, my blog is growing and I had a blog accepted here on (in)courage.

    • Kathy S. Runyon

      Lynn your post may just inspire me to take that same risk! I have wanted to write for more than just myself or my 4th grade students as I am teaching them to read and write. Life has its seasons….this may just be the right season. I have been praying…

      • Charlotte

        Three years ago I too went back to school acting on distinct conversations I had with God over how to finish well and use the life experiences of my 59 years! With prayers from my faithful and praying Bible Study and lots of late nights, I went from stay-at-home mom with lots of volunteering, and am now working two part time jobs-one as an equine assisted therapist with survivors of trauma and as a therapist at a Rape Crisis Center… Hello!!!! All is definitely grace here and that’s just what’s happened in my life-not the wild blessings that have been flowing over the rest of this household–not always the road we’d choose if we’d been in charge but definitely one of God’s constant calling us to closer relationship and to change the way we relate to this world in which we live!!

  • Megan

    Best book of the year would have to be Lloyd-Jones on The Sermon on the Mount. Best recipe: Leek & Potato Soup. Hosting a Ukrainian boy for Christmas & realizing God may have a plan for my life other than I had always thought is the most difficult valuable things we have done as a family. Learning to give all I have, like the widow & her mite, is painful, but priceless.

  • Jenni Saake “InfertilityMom”

    My favorite blog post this year was actually based on an event that took place in 2011, but I finally was able to process it enough to tell about it this year.

  • bethany



  • LCriss

    Seeing visible expressions of God’s love/care for me that could only come from Him. Example: I went to Ohio for my mom’s 8oth birthday and had to pack her home for a move to assisted living (she has Alzheimer’s). It was a very emotional and physically exhausting time. My husband is an across the road truck driver and he called to tell me he was routed to my mom’s home town on her birthday. He has never been routed to her town in the three years he has been driving. God arranged it for him to be there for me. Such an overwhelming tangible show of His care for me. That was a wonderful gift!
    Another amazing gift: The birth of my first grandchild and that God allowed me to get there (12 hours away) so I could be there for her birth!

  • Hope

    My life blew up in March. For a person with several chronic health conditions that kind of stress can be too much and sometimes it was. But God was faithful and provided what I needed (not necessarily wanted) day by day. My anthem became “10,000 reasons” which I sing at church tears and mascara streaming down my face…same goes on when I sing in the morning at home!!! Best of 2012!

  • Jenni Saake “InfertilityMom”

    Best event of this year: when our kids finally moved back home after nearly 8 months away from home.

  • Erika

    Best Gift Received: a brand-new car from my father because my car was failing. I’m 47, divorced, four precious kids, struggling to make it on my own. Just when I felt possibly forgotten & left to struggle hard & worry too much, Love Arrived. Love is Never Late.

    Best Book Started in 2012: “Deep Unto Deep” by Dana Candler. All about experiencing God & His love for me more DEEPLY. Can’t always get my head around it, this book is helping.

    Best Gift Given: a Christmas Puppy to my kids. Kids need a dog & I finally did it. Puppy is laying in my bed with me presently….

    Best Pair of Jeans: KUT. And they better be the best because they were the priciest pair of jeans I’ve ever purchased :-)

    Best Blessing-in-Disguise: My broken heart. A relationship that needed to end, ended. I’m devastated. But as I lay here, looking at the ceiling of my bedroom, I imagine it bursting open & upwards to the sky—all this heartache & deep hurt along with it—-to the vastness of His Perfect Love & His Divine Purposes & Plans… take me deeper into & with Him….to find a Love-Maybe-Finally that will touch the wounds deep within, make me WHOLE & ready to love & be loved like never before. Fearful. Doubtful. Trembling. Pray for me, sweet sisters….that I’d be willing to walk with God like never before.

  • Kimberly V.

    A Holy Experience was the best blog I read this year. It changed my way of thinking about my life. My favorite books were those written by Geraldine Brooks. My “aha!” moment was learning to be thankful in everything–still working on that one!

  • Jenni Saake “InfertilityMom”

    Most perspective-changing post I read? Ann’s thoughts on the headless snake:

  • Meg

    Ah, so this is what home feels like! Here’s my few favorite’s from 2012:

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again? Cozonac, a traditional Romanian Easter & Christmas bread…& it literally melts in your mouth!
    The best book you couldn’t put down? One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp & it literally stayed put on my nightstand, every night drinking down the Word and the words and it’s this that has given life in the dead places of 2012.
    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head? Come to Me, by Bethel Music & if you close your eyes to it, it’s just grace, this feeling of the God-Man cupping my face, bending low into my brokenness, whispering tender His love for me & who doesn’t need to be reminded? This on repeat all throughout 2012.

    The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…) This one’s a tough one; being 5′ tall doesn’t afford me the pleasure of wearing jeans that fit WELL. BUT, I did snag a happy pair that was marvelously on sale at the J. Crew Clearance Store…& well, I just happen to love them.

    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? (It’s true: One good idea in hand is worth two good friends knowing about it too!) Coconut oil lathered on the locks every few weeks did wonders to my brunette hair!

    The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)

    The best link of 2102? John Piper’s video, “The Inkeeper” & it was just startling grace this holiday.

    The best laugh? And the Romanians use the word, “chicken” as we use the word “honey” for speaking affection, but I didn’t quite know that…so um, “Did they just call me a chicken?” I was quite confused and…we’d all laughed happy about it!

    The best living? When I’m slow enough to see…& eucharisteo has awakened me to the full life. So, the best living in 2012 has come in my counting of the gifts – every gift attuning my heart to the life He intends for me to live well!

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? I wrote broken. 2012 was a year of deep darkness and increasing pain and devastating loss and the confusion and the wounds and the hurt – I’d wanted to keep it hidden, veiled from the onlookers. But, His grace gripped me and I began to write of it – I wrote bare and incredibly enough, the words you write for others to read…somehow, they heal you too.

    What was the best habit? Writing the gifts, numbering all the ways He loves me.

    The best holiday? Christmas, because for the first ever, I was awakened to His coming in me, for me, with me – and it didn’t matter how dark the holiday seemed, the trueness of His heart, His suffering, His coming…well, it just changed everything.

    The best gift? A flight ticket cross the state lines to share Thanksgiving with that dear girl whose become kindred and in the messy and complicated, in the lonely and dark, she’s been there, offering perspective, giving joy, loving endlessly and it’s the gift of her presence and her listening and her crying with me, her laughing, her believing and hoping for me – it’s this I remember most of every gift received in 2012.

    The best sacrifice? The family that forsook, the man that rejected, that left – I’d sent them gifts and letters and love and baked bread anyway & it was a peeling away of my own bitterness & how to sacrifice the pieces of a heart for the ones who’ve hurt you? I didn’t like it all of the time, but as I reflect on 2012 and the desperately hard moments of loving them – the best sacrifice is always the sacrifice of self, because that is precisely WHERE and WHEN JESUS can come.

    Dear sisters, may you continue to marvel in the wonder of grace and God in 2013!

    • Janet Crane

      thank you so much for sharing the joys of your pain and the healing and presence of the Beloved in your brokenness. May 2013 be a year of drawing nearer and seeing His face more clearly.
      Can’t wait to try out the bread and listen to the song!

      • Meg

        Oh, Janet! You are precious & your words are joy & grace & how I wish we could share a cup of tea on this winter night! Ah, the Beloved IS with us in the broken and it’s His goodness, this knowing I’m loved of Him that heals & turns all that’s messy into miracle. So thankful for you & giving praise for YOUR heart tonight.

        And do enjoy the bread – the moment’s made best with a cup of tea, and that favorite song playing on repeat!


  • Deana

    Best Book~ the one God is writing about my life. After some rocky roads 2012 has been about Him being redemptive!!! (Why don’t I trust Him more?)
    and Francis Chan’s Multiply~ I won’t be the same when I am done reading this one.

    Best discovery~ Watching my husbands dear friend remain pure for 44yr. finding him a pure wife and knowing that, Lord willing, they will have a little blessing in July!! (why don’t I trust Him more?)
    Jeans~ A Lee brand that I and so many of my OH moms wear. Comfy, flattering but not tight.

    • Lori

      Deana, is your husband’s friend a pastor in Indiana by chance?

    • Pam K

      I recognize this story too:). If it is the Indiana pastor, his mother in law is my neighbor in AZ. A wonderful story of God’s plan unfolding in their lives.

  • Jenni Saake “InfertilityMom”

    Most blessed moment, when my husband told me, “You are my future,” just 8 months after our marriage came to a horrid crisis point that seemed irreparable. <3 Thank you Lord for carrying us through.

  • Marcy

    Best Risk: Speaking at a women’s event at church. By the grace of God, someone received Jesus!
    Best words this homeschooling mom heard: Said late just last night, “One more chapter and then I’ll turn the light off. Pleeeease?”

  • Jenni Saake “InfertilityMom”

    Theme song for the year: Your Hands by JJ Heller

    • Anonymous

      Another song! I am on my third page of notes – books, songs, CD’s, youtube links, recipes, jeans, ministry ideas – and over a 1,000 more posts to go. This blessing should last well into 2013!

  • Paula Butkevich

    My life changed forever this year as my mom passed away this past July. My mom was the matriach of our family. She raised us to put Faith and Family first in our lives. My two sisters and I always loved dressing her house up for the holidays. Each Christmas Eve she would open her house up for family and friends. She and my dad set up a buffett that would draw everyone in. This year my sisters, their husbands, and their kids all helped my dad dress up my moms house in splendid glory. It was absolutely beautiful. Mom was smiling down at us, I could feel her happiness and love. The big suprise was that when my dad sent out his Christmas cards this year he invited everyone over to the house. All through the evening friends and family showed up just to love on us. It was really amazing. Each time the door opened my sisters and I just looked at each other and smiled not knowing who was coming through the door but happy they came. It was not the presents under the tree that made this my best Holiday – it was the Love that Jesus gave us that night through our friends and family. God is so good! Looking forward to what 2013 will bring.

    • Anonymous

      How beautiful! My oldest daughter always decorates the house for me. I am going to tell her to keep up the tradition no matter what!

  • Janet Crane

    Best song: 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman-just carries me away with the joy of giving thanks now and for all of eternity
    Best trip: 10 days in Germany celebrating Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary, with sisters and our husbands.
    Best decision: to let my hubby and kids tickle me after 20 years of saying “No tickling”, oh the laughter
    there will be more over the next few days! what a wonderful way to celebrate and end the year. I think I’ll put a paper on the wall for the family to write down their thoughts

  • Laura

    The best recipe – chicken tetrazzini – not healthy! Whole wheat oatmeal muffins- healthy!
    The best book – Interesting because I’ve been in a two year period where I could hardly read anything. The Lord just wanted me to listen to Him. This fall I was able to read Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge, I have read 1000 gifts once but know I barely scratched the surface. There are life changing, deep, beautiful truths that I am going to savor as I read again. Novel- The Orchard
    The best song – The More I Seek You, I See Heaven, I’ve Seen I Am, You Revive Me, How I Love You, I Love Your Presence – Wide Awake
    The jeans that fit best- Baccini and Amanda jeans by Gloria Vanderbilt
    The idea that worked best- not doing that “one more thing” and therefore getting places (mostly) on time.
    The risk that returned best – I took a month’s leave of absence from my job to simply hang out with the Lord, my friends, and my family
    The best link of 2102- Graham Cooke-,
    The best laugh- playing the Newlywed game with 3 other couples- lifetime friends
    The best living – being in the hammock, being with our two sons this summer while they were home from college
    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway- helped my parents after my dad fell- to go through their home of 51 years, pack, sell the house, and get them settled in to a new place. God is so faithful and I learned so much about His sustaining power and presence.
    The best habit- gathering friends around the table

    The best holiday- I love Valentines Day- it’s just simply about love

    The best gift- I gave my husband a trip to Jackson Hole WY for his 50th birthday

The best sacrifice- being willing to go wherever Jesus asks me to go, deeper still. It is always hard but absolutely worth it.

    • Anonymous

      The best idea…I needed that! I am so guilty of doing just “one more thing before we go.”

  • Ellie Mae

    Best Book: The Story by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee
    Worst Cooking Experience: Divinity (supposed to be no fail……was tasty but runny)
    Favorite Song:” Mary, Did you Know?”
    Favorite Moment: Christmas Eve, when my 14 month Grandson figured out opening presents!
    Best Gift: My whole family together at my in-laws, even though it wasn’t easy!

  • Cindy

    Hi Ann, thanks for bringing me Jesus every day in my inbox :) Blessings to you friend!

    Best recipe: Ina Garten’s company pot roast. Cooked for 35 people from our church on Maundy Thursday. Not sure if it’s the recipe or the courage to put myself out there in a church we only started attending 6 months earlier when we moved across country!

    Best book: Really. Oh my. Ummm…Beth Moore James

    and best song? My teenage sons write songs…anything they write is the bestest!

    Jeans: Ann Taylor jeans…made for normal women

    Best happenings: My son married the girl of my dreams; another son and his wife gave us our first grandchild. Will be tough to top this year! (But God will. He always does).

    Blessings to all!!

  • Robin in New Jersey

    Best song: 10,000 Reasons ~~LOVE IT!
    Biggest blessing: My church family and dear friends surrounding me and my children with love, prayers, support and encouragement in the midst of a very dark time.
    Oh dear, the others will have to wait. I simply must go out and shovel my car out of the driveway.

  • Amber kemp

    So many beautiful moments to share. Watching my son, who has autism, develop an amazing imagination. He warms my heart daily. Another beautiful life growing inside me at this very moment. My amazing husband finishing his second year of talbot and becoming a regular staff and speaker in our church’s youth group. God is so good, much to be thankful for.

  • Michelle

    Best recipe: Crock-pot honeyed chicken. Dear goodness that stuff is good and easy. And I found a crock-pot chicken taco soup that’s great as well…It’s been a good year in the recipe department!

    Best jeans: For me, it’s all about American Eagle. So teeny-bopper for my 33-year old self, but hey, whatever fits, right?

    Best gift: A trip to see my mom and brother for his high-school graduation. My 5-month old daughter and I traveled 48 hours and 12,000 miles, but it was so worth it.

    Best holiday: My aforementioned daughter turned one two weeks ago. After watching three friends lose newborns in the last year, every day with her (and my other daughter) is a gift that I praise God for every day.

    Best book: The Hunger Games. I don’t have much time to read for fun these days, but those books were a quick, fun read.

    It’s been a good year. I’m hoping 2013 brings good things as well!

  • Wendy J @ rockinwhatyagot

    Best Book: Hope for the Weary Mom

    Best Grace Filled Experience: an unexpected conference that turned my life upside down in how I think about human trafficking and the homeless.

    Best Moment: The sweet ones with my boys where the light comes on about a new found discovery….in learning about anything especially Jesus.

  • Gracie

    The best this year were the glow sticks – i had bought them last year on sale, after halloween (2011) and was saving them for emergencies, when the land hurricane hit and we were without electricity for a week, i got them out and my children played with them outside, and we had plenty to share with the neighbor children – so much fun to watch they also helped by being night lights!

    Best risk – i made that phone call i was scared to make, and well…. We will see what happens, 5 years single

  • Kathy Andrews

    The best thing that has happened to me this year is, in spite of losing my dad, a very dear friend and other people in my life, God has blessed my life with grace and love.
    My husband and children have been there for me through all these losses.
    I couldn’t have made it through this year without any of them.
    God is so good even when we don’t “feel” it.
    He was and is with me through this journey of loss and grieving.

  • Jackie

    Favorite song/ video of 2012… You Make Beautiful Things…

    • Deb

      My favorite as well.

  • Phyllis Dillard

    Best leap of FAITH was when I finally put my faith in God in full gear and agreed to try what was called “Triple Therapy” for my Stage 4 liver disease. The side affects of this were alarming, and I understood going into this that it may not work – and – it didn’t. I was pulled from the therapy after being on it for one month with out a change. So, I redirected my FAITH in GOD that the new “drug” they are working on, which is suppose to be available in about 3-5 years will be my cure. Until then, it’s still singing praises to God, keeping the faith, and living life.

  • Anonymous

    awesome book. i am lending it to all of my friends who haven’t discovered it on their own.

  • sandra

    awesome book. i am lending it to all of my friends who haven’t discovered it on their own.

  • Janice

    Best song- Big Daddy Weave, Redeemed

    • Anonymous


  • Diane Bailey

    My two best books this year, Bonhoeffer – preacher, prophet, spy and, 1000 gifts, both books have touch my heart deeply.

    Best recipe that it will take a long time before I make again – Gumbo – 2 day process.

    My Best Jeans? The ones I got five years ago…one day I may break down and get some new best jeans.

    Best sacrifice? This year, I gave away most of my gifts. I kept the cross necklace that Doc gave to me…I want relationships, not retail.

  • Christina R

    The best book of 2012: Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman, 2nd to my all time favorite 1000 Gifts!
    Best recipe: Satay Chicken (a total experiment that turned out great!)
    The best thing this year: The ball pit we made for our 21 month old who has some delays. Since giving it to her, she has pulled herself to stand multiple times and taken a few tiny steps! This momma’ s heart is full to bursting!

  • Michelle

    Best song(s) (I have a list!) : 10000 reasons by Matt Redman, Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray, Waiting Here for You by Christy Nockels, come to Me by Bethel Music (featuring Jenn Johnson), Rooftops by Jesus Culture.

  • Diane

    Thanks for the opportunity to chime in here with some fun things:

    Best book: Idol Lies, by Dee Brestin. This book and her blog ( have changed my life and been a lifeline for me in this very rough past year.

    Best song: This Good Day by Fernando Ortega. Just a wonderful song of praise to an older but newly discovered singer.

    Best recipe: Peanut Butter Frosting. It is simple and easy. Yummy.
    1 3/4 cup icing sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 1/2 tbsp peanut butter
    2 tbsp butter
    spec of milk
    Mix with electric beaters. (Play with amounts of peanut butter and icing sugar as desired.)

  • Susie C

    Ha ha, the one thing I did that I have not risked since I was a kid was to jump in a lake, after hiking Mt St Helens with ALL of my clothes on. I had no change of clothes and no towel. Just did it. I don’t know what I was thinking?

  • Wendy

    The best of 2012…
    1. Blog:. A Holy Experience -That and my sister’s blog – only ones I read daily
    2. Book – perhaps 1000 Gifts – I recommend it and I have the devotional, and I got the DVD study for Christmas – maybe I’m a touch too obsessed. :)
    3. Best Gift:. To my children – the ones that made them squeal with delight, their eyes glisten and evoked a hug and thank you from them!
    3B Best gift to me – an Angel Tree Daughter and son to complete my tiny collection of mother with children to represent my own dear children!
    4. Best Memory: Walking on a a little secluded piece of beach I found all by myself (family was playing at the park nearby) and listening to the waves lap against the shore… Just quiet and waves!
    5.Best Jeans… Um.. Perhaps my flannel lined from TSC – they are NOT at all flattering – just big and comfy and warm! I went out to shovel snow and the only part of me that was cold was my exposed face -all my wraps did their job and these jeans – love them!
    6. Best encourager and spurring to live up and close to God – A Holy Experience – by Ann –
    7. Best. Recipe- hmmm anything fudgy and chocolate! :)

    Blessings to ALL and to ALL a BLESSED NEW YEAR IN 2013!!!! May we all live grateful, thankful lives with hands lifted up and open!

  • Susie C

    The one thing in the kitchen I am still mastering is my Mom’s passed down recipe to her homemade caramels. They are the best I have ever had.

  • Anne S.

    How fun is this?! Thanks Ann for starting this. Here are some of my “best”:

    Best gizmo/tool: handsdown it’s the 60 second pomegranate de-seeder. Used it for the:
    Best salad recipe: arugula, pomegranate seeds, pecans, goat cheese, topped with walnut-fig balsamic dressing. Served it at the Christmas brunch for my Bible study group. We are studying the:
    Best Bible study: James by Beth Moore. Where I often wear the jeans that are the:
    Best fitting jeans: NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans).
    And the best living is thanks-living which I learned from the book and the:
    Best Blog: a Holy Experience

    hugs, Anne

  • Karen Weller

    Great Books: “Touching Wonder” by John Blase, “The Colors of Hope” by Richard Dahlstrom and your “One Thousand Gifts”. All life changing!

    I loved sharing with our church FB page So blessed to see all those who viewed your One Thousand Gifts posts from the Ithaca UMC FB page.

    Blessings: Two family surgeries just before Christmas . . . everyone is doing well, quick recoveries . . . God is good! We are blessed. God is with us!

  • Sheila

    The best of 2012—–

    1. Best book: You’re AREADY AMAZING by Holly Gerth.
    2.My best laugh was while keeping my only granddaughter, and she gets all giggley,and her laughter makes me laugh also,she is four.
    3. My best song is Brandon Heath (Give Me Your Eyes) and Newsboys (He Reigns).
    4.In August I started going to a doctor 2 and half hours from my home,he is a neurosurgeon, and after going a few times realized he always mentioned how the Lord will take care of things, I had major surgery on my elbow,and Praise GOD I am recovering, alot of prayers from my friends and family.
    5.Last June I started a diet and to date I have lost 60 pounds with God’s help.,that has made such a wonderful change in my life,I will be 62 on Jan 13.
    I have some very wonderful friends,they have helped me with those long doctor appointment trips. 6 I also have a friend doing mission work in Florida,her family doesnt talk to her very much, however I call her every night,she is so appreciative of that and that way she knows what is going on here at home and church.
    7. We have a ladies bible study at church and we usually have around 24 ladies there, we share and make new friends which is very exciting we meet every Monday morning. The last one we did was Beth Moores study of James, wonderful study!!

    For 2013. I need to pray God would help me to step out of my comfort zone to help others. Iam very friendly and smile and speak to others easyly, but still need encouragement myself
    I so enjoy all the comments here and I pray every one has a Wonderful 2013, and May God Blessings flow on all of your families!!!

    • Anne S.

      Jan 13th, what a great day to have a birthday, Sheila! I will think of you and you can think of me as we celebrate the Best Day to have a birthday! Anne

  • Carlie V.

    Just a short visit for me.

    The best, the very best of this year, the best of the past 28 years, was the birth of my first child, a beautiful baby girl.

    Subsequently, the best recipe was her first applesauce, the best book: 10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury, the best song: Somewhere Over the Rainbow… and sadly, my jeans still don’t fit very well. :-)

  • Maria

    Best habit — making a gratitude list. I’m at #1683 for the year, and the year is not finished yet!
    Best investment — a little $ for a computer program to help in Scripture memorization. Working on the book of James!
    Best book — Besides One Thousand Gifts (which I read last year, and have recommended to all my friends), AD Chronicles series by B&B Thoene. Excellent historical fiction with much culture, history, prophecy, about the time of Jesus’ birth and ministry.
    Best recipe — yeast waffles! Revolutionized my waffle making.
    Best moment — hearing God whisper “come and talk with me” (Ps 27:8) when I felt so alone.
    Best gift — daughter able to come for Christmas (we live overseas) when we did not think it possible. A few extra gifts, and brothers willing to give up in order for sister to be THE gift.

  • Susie C

    My youngest son asked me to sell on Craigslist a very prized, 1st edition, collector’s Monopoly game that he has had for years. I thought it was for his video game addiction… bad Mom, I know. He bought me a Ipod touch with the money from it. He knows I have wanted one for a long time. What sacrifice and unselfishness. This Mama is proud.

  • Leslie Olson

    Best Book: One Thousand Gifts – the second time in September (the first time in July was too hard to have it be my “best book” tough times and God through a life preserver in your writing – and now after 6 months to calm – I see the gift, well mostly.

    Best Purchase: A new mattress – slightly extravagant, but oh my goodness – the sleep improvement actually improved the quality of life – sometimes you get what you pay for.

    Best Discovery: James MacDonald podcasts – Pure uncluttered unapologetic digging into the Word – just what I need every time.

    Best Supernatural Blessing: A chain of events that may lead me back to Early Childhood Education after 5 years out of the field – this is where God has given me talent and $ earned can’t ever compare to where you want to work for free if you can afford it.

    Best Miracle: A new nephew from China !

    Best Opportunity: Got to share through a video testimony at church my experience with the Holy Spirit and the blessing of a prayer language (I was a big skeptic), NOW I am on itunes!

    Best Ugly Beautiful: My husband got a job offer to leave his family’s business where we have both worked for the last 5 years (him – his whole life) to work for our church as the facilities director. It released him from generational sin and revealed a stronghold of my security in our income and how I had entrusted our future to our finances – not to the Lord. Still working through the pieces, but clarity increases daily.

    Well – this is a great exercise to review the year – I’m going to keep going on my own – thank you.

    • Sally Anne

      Leslie!!! You beautiful, beautiful treasure! I just “happened” to glance down at my computer and read your entry here. All of it blessed me in so many ways but what caught my attention was “prayer language.” I re-read your entry more carefully and noticed you said, “this is where God has given me talent and $ earned can’t ever compare to where you want to work for free if you can afford it.” I am in tears—my daddy used to always tell me growing up, “Sally Anne, choose a career you enjoy so much that you’d do it for free if you had to, and you’ll never feel like you worked a day in your life.” And what you said…! You said my daddy’s words! I’m undone. I see God in this “coincidence.” And as I embarrass myself by posting this for the whole world to see because I don’t know how else to tell you…I would like to humbly ask what you mean by prayer language. If you have time, please share it with me.

    • Sue

      We need a new mattress. What did you buy?

  • Donna Godfrey

    Best Fiction Book: “The Way of Grace” by Cathy Bryant. This book next to the Bible taught me what grace in action is. She is a wonderful Christian author!
    Best Song: An old hymn had new meaning for me…..I Come to the Garden Alone
    Bittersweet lesson I am dealing with….I so do not want to share this….my daughter is in jail and been convicted of stealing from her church and other charges….It is a hard thing to deal with but in the process I am having to understand she made these choices and I need not own it. She lost her husband and daughter. She is hurting but she needs to own what she did and not blame us all. So prayer would be appreciated. I believe this will turn into a best for next year.

    • Joeleen Krier

      You are not alone. My brother was/is in a similar boat. Hang in there! God will use it for His glory! You’ll be in my prayers:) Thanksgiving proceeds the miracle – 2013!

    • Kathy S. Runyon

      I have been where you are…my husband was sent to prison; locust swarm which put us both in Faith Boot Camp so to speak. God can use this to turn your daughter’s heart toward him. Sometimes we must be confronted with our wrong and stripped of everything we have trusted in till all we have left is Jesus. Our journey was a long hard 5 years but God restored to me a husband who now loves God above all else and lives in the Word. The Father also taught me in the process that I can do nothing without Him; that He can be trusted in every circumstance. Praying for your daughter and all your family…that the Lord restore to you all what the locusts have stolen… Joel 2:25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten–the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm…”

  • Meredith

    Best book: Yours. Honestly. I read YA, mystery, theology, fantasy and so many more that I just couldn’t put down. But, reading One Thousand Gifts was a God filled experience. I read it slowly and savored it up.

  • Anne S.

    Some more of the best of 2012:

    Best Exercise: going on hour-long power walks with my husband regularly.
    Best weekend for our family: when our daughters went on the youth retreat at our church–we saw visible growth in them.
    Best weekend visitors: my brother and his sweet family. He and my s-i-l have the cutest young daughters! They provided us with non-stop fun the whole time we were with them.
    Best Concert: when we had the JJ Heller and Audrey Assad come to our church in April (the Heart Tour)

  • Angela Stringer

    My best is beginning to homeschool full time with my kids. Much more rewarding than I knew it would be.

  • Christy

    One of the best books I read this year, thought it took me awhile, was Eric Metaxes’ biography of Deitrich Bonhoeffer. It was so incredibly well-written, and being able to follow the progression of Bonhoeffer’s personal journey as a disciple of Jesus was beyond encouraging — it was truly challenging. To follow the call that God issues on one’s life — unwaveringly, and with joy — will be what I remember from this book and will likely ponder for many months.

  • Lynn Morrissey

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . ” So said Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities. This juxtaposition in life is palpable. What I found this year is that there really is no “best” here on earth, which was underscored when I read Heaven by Randy Alcorn. What hope this book gave, as I realized that the best is really yet to come and all else here pales by comparison. This sure hope of heaven mitigates disappointments on earth. I also learned that sometimes the worst of times can bring out the best in people and also, hidden blessings. We, as a family, have learned this during the devatasting divorce proceedings of my brother. While this has been the worst year for him (and us, by association), God is bringing out the best in all of us as we band together, and He is working all things together for my brother’s good. We serve a God who continually brings the best from the worst. Praise Him! (I think how He brought the best for us from the worst for Jesus–His crucifixion.
    Thank you for your encouragement, Ann, always to seek His best.
    Lynn Morrissey

  • Christy

    Best gift — one that I gave to a dear friend. It took my time and my heart, but it probably brought me more joy to give it than her to receive it.

  • Marcy

    Greatest Risk: Moving our family from a large church where we were comfortable in the shadows to a tiny little body full of liturgy and suppers and bright lights. The fabric of our family is changing and it’s beautiful!

  • Lisa DeCourcey

    The best books I’ve stumbled upon this year are “Long Story Short” and “Old Story New,” which are family Bible study books. I’m using them daily in our homeschool because I thought’d they’d be good for the children…but I am learning SO MUCH! I cannot recommend them highly enough. They are companions to The Gospel Story Bible, which I also highly recommend. Finding Jesus throughout the entirety of the Bible has been a blessing in 2012 and I am confident that God will continue to reveal His blessing in 2013.

  • Lynn

    This might sound weird… But the best thing that has happened to me is forgiveness. My husband of 13 yrs. had a child with another women during our marriage. I was mad… Really mad. I’m not sure at who? Her, him, the affair? I could not understand why God allowed this to happen to my family. However, this event drew me closer to God. Now, I pray to be a better wife ( yes to my husband of 13 yrs.) and an inspiration to our daughters ( yes including his little girl). Your book helped me realize that we all go through pain.

  • Rachel Lundy

    Best summer recipe: Roasted Rhubarb Clafouti

    Best Christmas recipe: Lebkuchen

  • Stephanie Bradburn

    Biggest risk – admitting to others that my marriage needs help.

    Best Book- Madeleine L`Engle`s Walking on Water. This book has helped me to rediscover how healing writing or any art can be. It also reminded me that I need to step out of the way and let my homeschoolers express themselves through art when they feel lead. (1000 gifts is constantly open as well to draw me closer to Echaristeo)

    Best Recipe- mixed seafood curry with coconut milk, yellow curry paste and extra fresh ginger because we like that!

    Best Grace Filled Moment – really mourning the loss of my mother. She was a drug addict and a prostitute my whole life and I lived knowing that I would get THAT call at anytime. Through the mourning God is healing me from the shame that bound me for so many years. A child of an addict is now simply a child of our great and merciful God.

    Best Song – The Overcomers – A local BC band wrote a song called Pray. You can find them on myspace…..great singer songwriters who love Jesus and HE uses their music to draw people closer to Him. Also check out their song Glory Divine….inspired a play I am writing. This is them;

  • Caroline Siegmann

    Best Recipe: Copycat PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps

    Best Book(s): 7, an Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, by Jen Hatmaker, 1000 Gifts, 52 Lies Heard in Church Every Sunday and Why the Truth is So Much Better, and Quiet: the Power of Introverts. All books that speak of Christ’s FREEDOM to be you (I have spent YEARS feeling guilty for not being more extrovertive and trying/crashing/burning :) and books that have made me see and love Jesus so much more. He is SO good, and He delights in me?!

    Best Song: Eden’s Bridge: “I will change your name”

    Best Jeans: Lost cause. :)

    Best Risk: Quitting Facebook! and instead … taking friendships offline. Embracing snail mail. Allowing space for lunchdates filled with weeping and laughing (no status update can contain either of these two precious friendship-occurances!)

    Best Gift: when my 6-year-old daughter wrote Isaiah 41:10 onto a Starbucks napkin she found in the backseat of our car (groan!) because she knew that I was having a hard day. As I was driving, I hear this little “here, Mommy….” and she hands me this phonetically spelled etched out rendition of this verse. A treasure.

    Best new adventure: switching homeschool curriculum! or … winging it :) loosely based on Charlotte Mason/My Father’s World, but just letting go of the pressure and busywork of Abeka, and enjoying the freedom to ENJOY learning together again! It has been such a breath of fresh air for both of us!

    • Tanya Canfield

      So refreshing to know that someone else has chosen face to face instead of facebook. So glad you are enjoying the freedom of learning too!

  • Susie C

    Special gift to me: My 17 year old son bought me a necklace that has all 3 of my boys’ names on it. We lost our youngest, stillborn in August 2008. I love that even though it affects my kids differently than me, they still will never forget Isaac.

    • Maria

      I hear you, Susie C! I had a stillbirth in 2001. I will never forget my baby Reuben, and I don’t think my other kids will either. And despite the grief and pain, I would NEVER choose to erase that experience. I can’t wait to meet him in heaven. Your reunion will be sweet also as you laugh with your Isaac!

  • Beth Gilmore

    The best link/way of living: FIVE DAY DETOX from Body Wellness by Heidi (

  • Ali Bailey

    Best recipe: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas with Swiss Chard Pesto!

  • Georgia

    The best recipe I have to make again.. Andes mint cookies from Becky Higgins website, Best cookie recipe ever!! But I will wait until next Christmas. They are too dangerous to have in the house.

  • Rachel Lundy

    Best moment: watching my husband baptize our son

    Best tea: Pomegranate Pizzazz

    Best antique store find: vintage pill box hats for $5

    Best gift: a lift chair from a friend who is now in Heaven and doesn’t need it anymore

    Best adventure: moving from Georgia to Minnesota for my husband to begin work in pastoral ministry

    Best song: “Here with Us” by Joy Williams

  • EFY

    The best thing I didn’t want to do ~ write the church’s Christmas play. It takes all my discretionary time at a busy time of the year. My darling husband said, “Yes.” I was overwhelmed as the Lord gave me the play and it was completed in just two days. The message showed how much JESUS gave up, how much He deserved and what wonder angels have had at our salvation. Every practice through the final performance challenged and blessed my heart.

  • Ali Bailey

    Best Song i could not get out of my head:

  • Georgia

    The book I couldn’t put down was Karen Kingsbury book “Coming Home”. Even though, it was a fictional novel it really hit home because I lost my father July 1st. of this year from an unexpected heart attack. My heart has been broken and its been extremely difficult but just like the book God’s grace and mercy is getting me through.

  • Mariana

    Best Recipe: Roasted Apple Spice Sheet Cake from Smitten Kitchen…made with honey, eggs, and apples from our own little corner of earth!

    Best Book: Hard to pick! “Working” and “Coming of Age” by Studs Terkel.

    Best Song: this amazingly fun remake:

  • Ali Bailey

    Best jeans discoveries: Jennifer Lopez and JAG Jeans. Who know someone actually made jeans to fit my body?!

  • Georgia

    The song I couldn’t get out of my head was Ten Avenue North’s “Take This World and Give me Jesus”. It became my anthem!

  • Amber

    Best Recipe:No Bake Energy Bites, the kids totally love them!
    Best Book: We read Ann of Green Gables as a family read aloud this year and I fell in LOVE. I am on my second read through of 1000 Gifts and it is still my favorite. Although, I have to admit that sometimes I am not in the right frame of mind to hear the truths there and will walk past the book and let blog posts pile up in my inbox. And then after a few days, when all is quiet in the house and in my mind and my soul is hungry and willing to feel truth, I will sit down and catch up. And cry. And pray. And be ever so thankful for those words on the screen and on the page. And then, if my husband is home, I will try to relate it all to him and mangle the story and over illustrate the point and cry some more in the retelling. Still counts as a best of 2012 though! Oh wait and another best book, one I just started and love, “God in Search of Man” by Abraham Joshua Heschel. One chapter into the borrowed copy and I knew I had to buy one for myself so I could highlight and write in the margins.
    Best memory: Walking through the 9/11 memorial at the Pentagon on a quiet February evening with my soldier husband, my father and my two kids. We saw a lot of memorials on our trip to DC but this was the most personal, the most well done, the most emotional, for all of us. It is powerful to be in a place and have your emotions mirrored in the faces of everyone around you. To have 5 people resonating with the same feeling like tuning forks. From the 62 year old hippie to the ever hopeful 9 year old girl. Even if it was only a brief moment.
    Best new habit: Scheduling our gratitude journals into our homeschool day. It is fascinating to experience this with my children.
    Best Jeans: Is there a such thing? Ugg, with these hips I have given up hope to ever even find a good jean let alone a best.
    Best Song: The best worship song this year for me was “All My Fountains.” I posted it on Facebook 3 or 4 times this year. But my favorite song on the adult contemporary station right now is “Madness” by Muse. My kids are just recently at an age that I am willing to listen to a couple of the regular radio stations with them around and they are totally surprised by the songs I dig.
    Best gizmo is any gizmo we can Skype on with out of town relatives!
    Best thing I didn’t want to do but did anyway: Started making my own bread and gave up store bought! I am a reluctant housewife sometimes and occasionally rebel against this role I never dreamed I would be in. But something about kneading bread dough twice a week has been so fulfilling. And practice has indeed helped me to perfect a sandwich loaf.
    Best risk taken: Offering to make my sister’s wedding cake, finding out how many people she invited and were actually coming, adding a few tiers and making it anyway. I leaned a little to the left but otherwise was good!
    Best purchase: Day Spring Ever Grateful dishes on clearance!

  • kelly c

    h&m skinny jeans. the best jeans. i never thought i’d say any type of jeans could be best, but these are!

  • Judy

    Best new song this Christmas: Jason Gray’s ‘Forgiveness is a Miracle’
    A Wonderful Book: Eugene Petersen’s ‘The Pastor’ – seeped with humility and the sovereign way of God’s grace
    A Favourite Recipe – root vegetables roasted with olive oil, rosemary and a little salt and cracked pepper – served at room temperature on arugula, sprinkle with feta and olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing – easy and wonderful!
    A television series to love – BBC drama ‘Cranford’ – gentle, wise, god-fearing folk living in community (a gem)
    Favourite Jeans – oh dear! Can I confess I haven’t owned a single pair for almost two years? So, way too often I’m walking out the door in a skirt when jeans are called for! (Vanity? Denial? My past middle aged body is NOT conforming to what I want to see in the mirror)

  • http://(in)courage Carol Werkema

    The best book I read was Ann voskamps 1000 gifts! And my best thing that happened was the birth of my beautiful Granddaughter Anastasia and marriage of their parents Holly and James. It was a tough but beautiful year!

  • Paula

    Best book: Definitely, “One Thousand Gifts” has been a life changing book for me.
    Best song: “A Thousand Little Things” by Point of Grace.

  • Marlen

    The best gift – my granddaughter born on May 3, 2012

    The best risk – pursuing my teacher’s certification, going back to school and taking the Praxis 1 series of tests

    The best trip – NYC with my family for my 40th birthday

  • Kris

    Best risk taken: taking on two small foster children… in the midst of utter chaos with our adolescent son (#3 of our 6)… and two weeks before a move of our own. God has gifted us with giggles and innocence and tickling and bubble baths and bed-time stories and new perspective!

  • Georgia

    The best link was Becky Higgin’s Project Life. All about taking everyday pictures and recording them. She has made it very easy!

  • Georgia

    Best Jeans “ivy” from Maurices!

  • Linnie

    Wow, you made me think…
    Best book: One Thousand Gifts devotional, I constantly have to restrain myself to jump to the next day of grace!
    Best song: You raise me up.
    Jeans that fit best? Couldn’t find one yet…
    Risk that returned best: Trusting God when everything are falling apart.
    Best link of 2012: the posts to A Holy Experience
    Best habit: Slow down time, enjoy the moments
    Best sacrifice: being a mother
    Best of everything of 2012: My family loving me, in spite of all my mistakes and bad attitudes.
    Thank you for challenging me to be more!

  • Laureen Brackin

    Best Book: One Thousand Gifts – have told everyone about this
    Best Devotional: Jesus Calling – have found so many people in various ages/stages using this this year
    Best Song: My husband says I say “Oh, that’s my song” about every one I hear. Too many mean soooo much to me.
    Best Link: the one that led me to (in)courage!

  • Dorcas Miller

    best book I read this year: definitely One Thousand gifts….it has enabled me to look at hard times with a grateful heart.., and look at the positive side rather than the negative. (I’m still learning!)
    best event: my husband and I celebrated 20 yrs together
    best event for our family: moving 900+ miles closer to family…God is faithful!
    best music: Christmas music!

  • Penny

    The Best of 2012

    ♥ The best gift: our first grandchild! Can I brag here? She is adorable and smart.
    ♥ The best book: Kisses from Katie. I cried while reading the Forward.
    ♥ The best song: Brandon Heath – Jesus In Disguise.
    ♥ The best thing I didn’t want to do: Commit to take a friend to her weekly chemo treatments.
    ♥ The best risk: Leading my first Bible study with 3 other ladies…I’m not a teacher.
    ♥ The best family celebration: Planning my mother-in-laws 70th birthday party.
    ♥ The best Hot Cocoa: Stephen’s (order here
    So much to be thankful for…I’m looking forward to 2013!

  • Georgia

    Best risk .. Starting the process of going back to college at age 34. One of my biggest fears.

  • Peg Fury

    Best book: “The Pursuit of God,” by A.W. Tozer
    Best song: ” Live Like That,” by the Sidewalk Prophets
    Best amazing “coincidence” that God engineered: Our flight out of Port-au-Prince being delayed, so that I just “happened” to get to meet Ann and Caleb Voskamp, also on their way home from Haiti
    Best habit: Praying as a family every night, so that I am privileged to hear what is on Destine’s mind, and witness her faithfulness in prayer for those who are hurting

    • Ann Voskamp

      PEG! *That* was a moment … Haiti was my best memory of 2012 — and coming through security and you meeting us both — ONLY. GOD. could have two farm hicks from Canada in Haiti to donate the funds from making wooden Advent wreaths and meet a short-term missionary American there who had one of those wreath at home on her table??!!!

      The time we had together? Blessed me deep. Hope we get to serve in Haiti again, sister — you have no idea how I pray this.

      Love to you, Peg — so much, Peg!

  • Paula

    Best time: It is right now spending an extended time with family in Florida. It was a large investment to spend extended time here, but it is so worth it. We had not had Christmas with our son and his family since 1990. The sun and the walks along the ocean every day are great too.

  • Georgia

    Best gift.. My baby brother getting clean from an heroin addiction. Completed a year at Teen challenge and came to stay with us. He is a born again believer and is doing amazing. I guess this would also qualify as a best risk as well:-)

    • Judy

      Rejoicing here! And praying God’s ongoing healing.

      • Georgia

        Thanks Judy!

  • Wendy B

    Oh, it is so hard for me to pick one song or one book because music and reading are two of the greatest gifts I have. in my life. 10,000 Reasons and All Things Possible are two among many. There are so many things from so many different songs, books, and people that I find thought provoking these days :)

  • KayliS

    I feel so blessed!
    I don’t know if you’ll see this but I am grateful to have a chance to tell you personally. God has changed my life through your words! I am so grateful for your honest example. You have helped me see my life through God’s eyes. Thank you with all my heart for blessing and influencing the life of a farm family in ID. The power and truth of your words has shaped the mind and heart of me, my husband,my five little children, our 2 year old homeschool, our Christmas, our Thanksgiving and our everyday as we count all the gifts that God has already given. These moments of trusting God have been my BEST moments. You words gave me strength and peace even in the very BEST moment of 2012: delivering my baby at home for the first time! (My 5th! A beautiful baby girl) no one assisting but God, his angels and my amazing husband!
    I am thanking God for the way you have sanctified womanhood, helped me get to know myself and find God in all things! Thank you Ann!
    May you and your family be blessed for sharing your hearts with us!

  • Erin

    Ok so here is my break down:

    Best Book: King’s Cross by Timothy Keller, but I have put a hold on 1000 gifts at the library. I heard that it is also a fabulous book!

    Best Song: Blessings, by Laura Story (I know it’s from 2011, but for me it’s been the best song this year

    Best Jeans: My Level 99 jeans from Anthropologie. They are so comfy, and fit just right. I can wear them anywhere!!

    Best Recipe: I can’t say I have one recipe that I follow and absolutely love, but I do make soft corn turkey, tacos every Tuesday. My husband and I just love them. We use a taco seasoning from trader joe’s and put a little of their fresh salsa and sour cream on top! Amazee!!!!

    Some of my best moments from this year include: I completed my first 5k (it was actually a tough mudder as well), finally completed grad school, every last part, woohoo!, celebrated my first year of marriage, started my blog, but most importantly, my relationship with the Lord has grown in so many ways!

    I am so excited for 2013 and I look forward to the plans he has for me and for my husband! We serve and amazing God and I am so thankful for all he has blessed me with and for His amazing grace every day!

  • natalie @ pure&simple

    Best Moment: Marrying my sweet love on July 7th!

    Best Book: Momentary Marriage by John Piper — a must read for couples of all ages & stages!

    Best Adventure: Journeying with 3 other women as we begin a new blog that offers community & encouragement to women as they pursue their passions.

    Best Recipe: Rigatoni with roasted sausage + broccoli

    Best Memory: Moving into our new apartment & experiencing all of the “firsts” together!

  • Jayme

    Best moment was watching my sweet little son take his first steps!

    Best book “1000 Gifts” – loved it :) also “Still Lolo” about a sweet girl who survived a horrible accident that resulted in the loss of her left hand and eye. God’s grace is so amazing!

  • Lizzi

    The best recipe:
    Family favorite. And great to make a huge batch of, it seems to improve with reheating.

    The best book(s), John Ploughman’s Talks by C.H. Spurgeon and Speaking The Truth in Love by David Powlison.

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?

    The jeans that fit best? A random pair given to me by a cousin =)

    The best week of 2012: This conference: Make a resolution in 2013. Go to this one. Even if you are not a counsellor.

    What was the best habit? I made a goal to make sure I read, wrote, sang, exercised, invested in a friendship and created something at least once every week.

    The best holiday? I think Good Friday. Just because it’s always my favorite. So stripped down, so simple, the heartbeat and climax of History.

    And in it all, He is faithful. In loneliness, in depression, in joy, in sorrow, in gains and loss, in blue sky dry days and crashing thunderstorms. Always He Is. And He is holding me in the palm of His hand.

  • Lizzi

    The best recipe:
    Family favorite. And great to make a huge batch of, it seems to improve with reheating.

    The best book(s), John Ploughman’s Talks by C.H. Spurgeon and Speaking The Truth in Love by David Powlison.

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?

    The jeans that fit best? A random pair given to me by a cousin =)

    The best week of 2012: This conference: Make a resolution in 2013. Go to this one. Even if you are not a counsellor.

    What was the best habit? I made a goal to make sure I read, wrote, sang, exercised, invested in a friendship and created something at least once every week.

    The best holiday? I think Good Friday. Just because it’s always my favorite. So stripped down, so simple, the heartbeat and climax of History.

    And in it all, He is faithful. In loneliness, in depression, in joy, in sorrow, in gains and loss, in blue sky dry days and crashing thunderstorms. Always He Is. And He is holding me in the palm of His hand.

  • Nacole

    Ann, thank you for doing this. I played this “game” with my best friend today and she loved it!
    Best recipe that i couldn’t not make again:
    I’ve made this so much the page has food all over and torn– I need to print out another!!! For the tamarind, I use plum jelly, raisins, and lime juice, blended in a blender, as suggested by my lovely Asian friend.
    Best jeans– definitely Express, but I’ve worn Victoria’s Secret London jean around all year –and love the way they fit!
    Best Thing I didn’t want to do but did anyway– tutor the CLassical Conversations homeschooling community my girls were involved in. I got through it and enjoyed it.
    Best living… This summer when I was running and ran a 5k with my daughter and went back after I finished to run the last part with her til she crossed the finish!!!
    Best link– a tie between these two– a link where I bought gifts that free women from the sex trade:
    And this beautiful video that rocked my world:
    Best laugh– the one that you posted to your page, Ann–
    Best gift–Probably the trip to the mtns my hubby took me on for anniversary….
    Best holiday– the thanksgiving feast I dreamt up, decorated dining room, my family enjoying it quietly here at home… For that reason it was my favorite… We did a thanksgiving tree and wrote our thanks down and rolled it up in crescent rolls.
    Risk that returned best– the money we paid for our girls to be in CC this year! What they have learned every week is amazing!
    Best book–Educating the Whole Hearted Child
    Best habit– going to bed early and finally getting rest
    Best song–this version of Hallelujah is worth a few minutes to watch! I get chills!
    Love is not a victory march– it’s a cold and its a broken hallelujah. Blessings on your 2013, sisters!

    • Nacole

      And how could I forget to say that one of the best habits has most certainly been counting gifts!! Gratitude! Seeing through a different lens has made all the difference. When I’m but a speck on a tiny blue dot in a shaft of light in the great universe, all seems dim compared to his glory!! And absolutely one of best books One Thousand Gifts–reading again– and I’ve given away several. I believe in the message.
      And I will be bold and say, because Ann did, favorite lipstick of 2012? Pink spice by Clinique.

      • Christie Petersen

        Same here I could I have forgotten especially the habit of counting gifts by my children.

  • Tara Johnson

    The song… It’s almost Christmas by Josh Wilson! :-) It struck me somehow!

  • Christine

    Hi Ann!! I love your posts and have told a friend of mine in Florida that I want to do some of the things you do for Christmas. Like the post where your kids are putting together little angel cookies with Infant Jesus ones in a Gift envelope and tying it to a 1000 Gifts book. (Looked like the 1000 Gifts Journal in the picture). What a wonderful way to make Jesus the Gift for Christmas!!

  • Megan H.

    The best recipe I made this year was Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Rolls. They are now a must for any special occasion!

  • Christine

    My favorite book this year, that completely brought me out of my comfort zone, was Kisses from Katie. Katie Davis seeks to follow God wholly and her joy in ministering to the fatherless is positively contagious.

  • Megan H.

    The best book I read this year was Seven by Jen Hatmaker. I was challenged by her approach to excessiveness, and have continued to think about areas where excess is an issue in my own life.

  • Barbara Isaac

    The very best moment of 2012 was when the Lord whispered to me that my broken-hearted son had been healed through and through and that his soul was prospering like never before… brings tears to my eyes every time I recall His kindness

  • Cheryl Jacobo

    Best song I can’t get out of my head: 10,000 reasons!
    Best Gift: my two Grandsons, Brandon and Samuel!
    Best Book: The Bible, getting into the Word more

  • Meggan Goff

    The risk that returned best? Planting a church in my hometown with my husband and seeing God move in amazing ways. What a beautiful thing it has been to watch God draw a team of people together for His name’s sake. I stand in awe. Old relationships deepened. New ones forged. The beauty of the Body of Christ continues to unfold before my very own eyes.

  • Jennifer

    The best book I read this year results in the best spiritual experience for the year:
    Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom by Stovall Weems

    This book changed my prayer life and the fast was amazing too!

  • Crystal Scott

    The best recipe we tried this year is for Salsa Chicken one that I found from (they have a couple different ones)

    The best book that I couldn’t put down was Karen Kingsbury’s Coming Home
    The best song would have to be Moriah Peter’s I Choose Jesus

  • Lisa K

    Best recipe I couldn’t not bake – my Grandma Joan’s Cookies. A holiday tradition my dear, sweet, in-heaven, Grandma started when I was young and we visited her for Christmases in Duluth, MN. It is a super simple recipe that includes graham crackers, mini choc chips, butter, whipping cream, pecans, walnuts…. and oh so deliciously devoured by my husband and children!

  • Barbara Isaac

    The best book of the year was River Rising, by Athol Dickson for me. So sensitively written, it woke me up from the inside out.

  • Lynn

    Best Book: Walking with God by John Eldridge. I reread this many time over the year.
    Best Quote: The branch of the vine does not worry, and toil, and rush here to seek for sunshine, and there to find rain. No; it rests in union and communion with the vine; and at the right time, and in the right way, is the right fruit found on it. Let us so abide in the Lord Jesus. ~ Hudson Taylor
    Best Times: Always the times spent volunteering at Camp Kahquah in the summers but the best are the days my dear hubby is up there with me
    Best Song: “I Want to Live Like That” by Sidewalk Prophets

  • Rhonda Rhoades

    The best song for me this year was “10,000 reasons” by Matt Redman. The best new recipe I tried was Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls. The best thing I did for myself was attend “Come to the Fire”, a women’s conference that teaches women to live Holy lives for the LORD.

  • Barbara Isaac

    The best revelation the Lord gave me was the importance of living in the now, tasting each moment as a true gift from Heaven.

  • Charlotte Askew

    The best meal I made was Pork Chop Dressing, fresh collard greens, baked sweet potatoes covered in butter, cranberry relish and ice tea. It is delicious and can be eaten anytime. I have no recipe as I have been making it for years and years. But, I can tell you that you use cornbread and not some of the stuffings that you find in a bag. I would be glad to “try” to give you a recipe.

    • Charlotte Askew

      Hit reply too soon.

      Best book: 1000 Gifts

      Best times: volunteering 3 days a week at a Nursing Home calling their Bingo games, reading the Bible and praying with them.

  • Camorine

    Ann, of course your book , One Thousand Gifts. Best book and best idea and best song and best remedy. My “daughter in love” gave it to me after my heart attack. She gave me the joy basket and banner which is still hung on the wall in my kitchen. Joy replaced anger and brought healing. I have journaled for years but I now have the additional joy of journaling crazy love and gratitude. Thank you Ann for your openness and honesty it is what I needed to begin to live life abundant again.

  • Kurt Poole

    Best song for me, Hello Fear by Kirk Franklin and Smile, by the same
    Best recipe, bacon wrapped water chestnuts
    Best book, The Blessing, by Kenneth Copeland ( Caveat, I just got your book and The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom and both look fantastic!) It’s been a long year in so many ways. I will look back at what I’ve read and get back to you if I have another best. Love your blog, many healing tears shed while reading it. Also, my son and I are learning a bit about photography and your pictures are tutoring us…Thanks for heling me, even though I’m not a woman…

  • Wendy Kay

    This year has been filled with blessings, and wonders.
    Best recipe was diffidently the Mexican soup my mother made up.
    The best book this year was once again the Bible, I know it wasn’t written this year but each year I discover new wonders in it, it helps keep me going.
    Wow, their have been a lot of songs, but the album Born Again by the Newsboys really struck me!
    Thank you!!!

  • Jennifer

    Another “best” for me was discovering A Holy Experience. I stumbled upon in effort to teach my kids about Advent. This site has inspired and encouraged me for the last month. It blesses my soul. Ann, your writing touches my soul.

  • Elizabeth Turner

    Best moment of 2012? Probably watching the sonogram, finding out we’re having a daughter, with my toddler son chiming “aaawwwwww!” when we explained it was a picture of her.

  • Kristin

    Best year: This year, when God surrendered me and took me by the hand and is bringing me to Cambodia with Him for this next season of my life.
    Best moments: Treasured family time this Christmas, not knowing when I will have this again. Each moment cherished, every tradition etched into my memory.

  • Kurt Poole


  • Audria Story

    I have just two “bests” for this year.

    The day my husband and I decided we would homeschool…March 15, 2012
    The day I kept my brother from comitting suicide…early morning hours of Veteran’s Day 2012.

    • Genevieve Thul

      What a story. I am so glad you were there for your brother when he needed someone.

  • Carol Hulin

    For me it was the best risk: This “hermitess-like” girl stepped wayyyyyy out and went to see you, Ann at the “Eucharisteo, a Celebration of Joy”. Got in a fender bender on the way and just wanted to go hide in my hotel room. If my friend hadn’t been with me I probably would have, but she kept insisting we go, after all the trip was my birthday gift to her!!!
    Then I re-risked and went to see Tammy Trent in concert when she came to Canada. By myself.!!!!!! Got lost, twice, but it was so worth it…..
    I’m learning that risking for God isn’t really a risk, but an adventure….slowly learning…slowly…..

  • Jennifer

    Best song: Bless the Lord O My soul by Matt Redman

  • Jos @ Joyful{in}Chaos

    Best book – working on a few, but the one that has stuck with me the longest is the “Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Knew” by Sherrie Eldridge. I’m leading a Bible study on it now with adoptive parents.

    Best recipe – (thanks to the holidays) PB Swirl Fudge
    1 pkg almond bark (vanilla)
    2 c peanut butter (basically 1 small jar)
    1/2 pkg of choc chips & 1 tblsp shortening

    Melt almond bark and pb together in large bowl. Line a cookie sheet (with edges) with wax paper and pour in, careful to spread evenly. Melt choc chips and shortening (thins it out a bit) careful not to burn (I use microwave). Pour in zigzag form on top of pb mixture and take a knife and swirl it. Put in freezer for 1 hour. YUM.

    Best habit (believe it or not) is changing the way I eat. Tracking and watching the weight slowly come off.

    Best gadget – kitchen aid mixer and popcorn popper (tied)

    Now I want to blog in response to this blog!

  • Susie

    Life on the planet was even harder this year than last…But the Lord in His bountiful Grace, blessed me with one deeply hidden desire-one known only by Him…That gracious gift: to offer musical worship with my daughter and her precious girls. On Christmas Eve, during Candlelight service, we were graced to do just that. We sang the ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus’ song-all out, full throttle, with tears cascading down my cheeks as I stroked the ivory piano keys. Then my daughter, she who has walked through the darkest of shadows this past year, picked up her violin and joined with, ‘Silent Night’…Ah, I thought my heart would nearly burst with joy. In the darkest time of my life, God’s love has poured His light and strength straight through.

  • Megan H.

    The best sacrifice happened this Christmas. My husband and I were given a large-to-us monetary gift. Instead of putting the money towards gifts for ourselves, we adopted 2 families from our local women’s center. I thought we would give our gifts and know that God was pleased with our gift. But, a few weeks later, we received pictures of the families we “adopted”. The pictures are now on our refrigerator as a reminder to pray for these families, especially for their relationship with the Lord.

  • Rhonda Rhoades

    The best thing I did for my spiritual life was to challenge myself to read the entire Bible through! Almost made it!

  • Erin

    Best book — Seven by Jen Hatmaker. So thought-provoking and life-changing. It is one to pass on to everyone you know.

  • Melissa

    Best Movie: “Les Miserables” – just saw it last night, what a gift!!!!

    • Janet from FL

      My husband and I want to see “Les Miserables”! Maybe this weekend.

  • Deb Kennedy

    I asked for only one gift this Christmas, because there was only one thing that was important to me after the most difficult, damaging year of my life: I wanted my four adult children to talk to me again, so that I could tell each of them in my own voice that I love them dearly. (they didn’t speak to me for 9 months after I separated from their father and ended a 32 year marriage). I wanted them to hear the truth from me, not lies from others. God blessed me with that gift…. though it came through the unexplainable circumstance of the sudden death of my estranged husband, the kids’ father, on Thanksgiving Day. Their grief opened the door for communication and connection, and though I never would have wanted it to come at this price, I am grateful that God gave me my family back.

    And I do have to add that the books “One Thousand Gifts’, ‘You are Already Amazing’, ‘Mended’, ‘Unglued’, ‘The Girls Still Got It’, and many others have been a huge part of the healing I have experienced this past year. I am so thankful that God moved these women to write, to share their hearts and stories and lives. <3

  • Lisa K

    The best thing I didn’t want to do was to coach my boys U12 soccer team this fall. I had no experience coaching children that age, much less soccer! I borrowed books and DVDs from a local library to learn the rules and coaching tips! I was blessed with 12 of the most amazing 9-12 year olds who embraced me as their coach. 8 of them had little or no previous soccer experience and yet we had a winning season. Our team name – the Underdogs. Our team motto – Honor, Respect, Loyalty, Humility (and patience – added later by a player!)…. Parents volunteered their time to help at practices, and 4 high school varsity soccer players came to help and showed up at the final game and party! One mom said that her daughter had been more respectful since joining the team – saying “yes ma’am”, etc…. humbled and blessed

    • Ann Voskamp

      !! This!
      Strange, or not, but it choked me up — the Underdogs! :)
      just. beautiful, Lisa!
      What a way to take a leap of faith and bless 12 kids made in the image of God!

  • Rhonda Rhoades

    The best gift God gave me this year was a new friend to share “God thoughts” with. We meet weekly together and talk about life and God. How sweet of the LORD to give me this gift.

  • Becky

    Best Moment: Finding out that we were expecting our 8th baby!! Of course I have to wait until 2013 for the birth.

    • Ann Voskamp

      Ah!!!! Grace upon grace! Heart splitting happy for you, Becky!! :)

  • Sandy

    Nov 10, was one of my great days this year. I get given front row seats to one of my favorite country artist. It was truly a great night with great friends.

  • Susan B

    inCourage has helped me in so many ways and I rarely post but today I truly wanted to let everyone know how much all of your voices matter-You, this family of like minded, funny, kind, encouraging individuals are the Best of 2012.

    My mother-in-law just gave me Debbie MaComber’s Cedar Cove series for Christmas and I imagine these will become new favorites. I recently discovered Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy too.
    Lemon Bars with fresh coffee are my best indulgence for 2012
    Favorite Song 2012-God is Alive

    Wow I am writing a lot here…Many Blessings

    • Ann Voskamp

      We’re so grateful you jumped in here, Susan — we love having you here with us!
      And lemon bars?
      My favorites :)
      I loved your every word here :)

  • Lisa K

    The best book I couldn’t put down – Fancy Pants by C. Hake (a fun light-hearted, yet spurred me on christian novel)
    The best other book – The Master by Pollak. I am deeper in love with Jesus this year…

  • Rhonda Rhoades

    The best surprise – getting to stay home on Christmas day and not have to travel! What a blessing.

  • Nancy

    Best song: toss up between Switchfoot’s “Where I Belong” and Jason Gray’s “Remind Me Who I Am”
    Best Jeans; Eddie Bauer boyfriend jeans- they come in tall (which I need) and they are comfy and slouchy (which I like)
    Best Book: not read many to my chagrin (used to read 3-4 books a week- and that was when children were home) Just finished Mark By Michael Card. An incredible follow-up to his Biblical Imagination weekend in October here in Dallas.
    Best Sacrifice: babysitting my baby grandson 3-4 days a week for 5 months while my son was out on a music tour with Rocket Summer and Switchfoot and my dil worked in ICU in local hospital.
    Best new food: made turkey and dressing meatballs for thanksgiving with cranberry sauce for dip- everyone wanted to know where they were for Christmas. ha
    Best events this year: Oldest grandchild turned 10, youngest turned 1. Celebrated 40th anniversary with hubby, and my 60th birthday in november. spent two weeks in europe, a weekend in Seattle, and discovered Allume- what a fantastic experience! – best of all : all of my new blogging friends who just happen to be daughters of the King also!

    • Shannon A

      That sounds like a wonderful year Nancy! Your turkey & stuffing meatballs sound wonderful, would you mind sharing the recipe? Thanks so much! ~Shannon :)

      • Nancy

        Shannon, I just took a pound of ground turkey and mixed it with 3-4 cups of my dressing recipe ( i use the old Southern Living Cookbook’s recipe for cornbread dressing- most like my mom’s) use more or less proportions to get a moist, loose ball that will hold together when you form it, I use a cookie ball contraption to scoop them out, then bake them till golden at 350, serve with cranberry sauce. I suppose if you like gravy you could serve them with it, too. I had enough left over dressing to cook separately as a casserole.

  • Agnes

    The best habit by far (yes the “duh” one) was giving thanks! Following along with the monthly/daily calendar from Ann each month with me and my girls. I am certain this has been my best year (out of 31 of them!) yet…and I know why. I haven’t read the book, but been giving thanks anyway. Thanks be to God for SO MANY gifts, I could not count them.
    Best Book…I can’t pick one. Nope just can’t. But here is one for city dwellers…Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv. Oh and because we are new to homeschooling still…I couldn’t put down For the Children’s Sake and When Children Love to Learn.
    The best gizmo…still…my trusty Ipad so I can get going on reading the Word even when it’s too chilly to get out of bed in the morning (and I know my husband wouldn’t appreciate the light on) and when I know I’ve only got a few minutes before the baby is up.
    Best Jeans – still the oldest ones…thank God I keep fitting back into them.

  • Hannah Johnson

    Best book: Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman (what an amazing story of faith, loss, love, and courage)
    Best recipe: Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie (first time making pecan pie and I couldn’t believe how simple it is!)
    Best moment: Coming home after 2 years in Germany (husband’s in the Army) and only living 2 hours away from family now
    Best song: Where I Belong by Building 429 (exactly how I feel!)
    Best answered prayer: Finally getting into the Fertility clinic after four years of trying to start a family (and continually praying for God to control it all!)

    • Janet from FL

      Welcome home! Thank you to you and your husband for serving our Country. Living in Germany was a HUGE sacrifice. I pray for you, and I know God is blessing you today.

  • Savanna Cahill

    The best of 2012…
    best movie of the holidays….”Homeless for the Holidays”…a very low budget film, but the message is wonderful! :) “Little House on the Prairie” is a favorite as well.

    best project….my chalkboard in my kitchen! Great for the important note, or memory verses to be displayed.

    best lesson learned…to be quiet and enjoy the moment. Let my house be a mess!

    best speaker….ANN! (loved hearing and meeting you this past fall at a compassion fundraiser) :)

    best shoes…red wedge pumps.

    Many blessings to you all, sweet sisters! Happy New Year!

  • Genevieve Thul

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
    Truth? My husband has done most of the cooking in 2012. I haven’t tried a new recipe for the first time in 10 years of marriage this year. It’s been a bad year for my cooking…but my husband stepping into the gap has been the biggest gift.

    The best book you couldn’t put down?
    The Professor’s House by . Maybe because I became a professor this year.

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
    Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye

    The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)
    I switched to dress pants this year. And found them surprisingly comfortable for the first time in my life. Maybe they’re designed for grown-ups and I have finally become one.

    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? (It’s true: One good idea in hand is worth two good friends knowing about it too!)
    Juicemaster (rediscovered).

    The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)
    Saying yes to a difficult friendship.

    The best link of 2102? The best laugh? The best living?
    Best link:
    The best laugh: every one I share with my children, especially my 9 and 7 year old daughters, who are growing up too fast. I treasure the connection with them.
    Best living: Every day at work. It blows me away. I am in love with my new job.

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.)
    Caring for this person of the difficult friendship. Physically taking care of her.

    What was the best habit?
    Smiling more. And professing my acceptance of my imperfect body to my daughters.

    The best holiday? The best gift?
    Christmas. Time with my family.

    The best sacrifice?
    Putting myself on the line for my students.

  • Kris

    Best Holiday … 4th of July! My son, Gavin was super excited to see the fireworks, we got some great photos and made matching tie dyed shirts…it was really fun!

    Best Gift – My son’s kittens! Gavin is on the autism spectrum, so getting him kittens was sort of a crap shoot for us. We had no idea how he would react to having live kittens (he loves books pictures and videos of cats). They have been a GODSEND! Gavin loves the heck out of those little guys and they give him social interaction he needs…also…he has something to talk about with kids at school…

    Best Movie – Les Miserables! I mean…just WOW! awesome! amazing performances also…I got to go to a movie with my husband which rarely happens so double awesome!

  • Amy

    Best Meal — I make exactly four meals in constant rotation with leftovers. I’m best known for my chocolate chip cookies (which are Pillsbury Simple, break-n-bake).

    Best Risk — Loving my husband — transparent and available and vulnerable — every day for another year.

    Best Book I couldn’t put down — I just finished the Hunger Games trilogy (In a day and a half, so that totally qualifies it). It doesn’t sound especially spiritual, but it reminded me that our children should never be pawns of our pride or personal agenda, a lesson in grace that I must not forget.

    Jeans that fit best — A pair handed down from my husband’s grandmother. No idea who makes them.

    Best song — Anything my husband plays on his guitar to put my kids to sleep at night. All of the hymns have a taproot straight to my soul when he plays them.

    Best gadget — My husband’s Ipad.

    Best website — I can never find the homeschool or adoption blogs that touch my soul in the middle of the night, but I can always count on Ann! :)

    Thanks for this opportunity.

  • Kari

    Best moment of the year? The day I married my man. Hands down.

  • Caroline

    The best gift this year is still having all of my children alive. Over the past 25 months my husband and I have nearly (literally) lost 3 of the 5, but God has intervened and rescued each one. “To God the Lord belong deliverances from death” (Psalm 68:20) is a verse that we have cherished and carved upon our hearts. God, our Father, gave His only Son that we might live through Him, and has promised that He will not withhold any good thing. To Him be praise and glory forever.

  • Carol

    Recipe: Baked Rueben Casserole – So, so good!!

  • Becky J

    The Best of 2012…there was so much wonderful amidst the pain…and there was pain…my Mom’s cancer, my daughter’s heart being broken on her 20th bday, low college grades, death and so on…BUT JESUS…was {and is} so beautifully there in all the brokenness…so I want to say, Thank You, Jesus, for being in every breath of 2012 and the peace it brings to know You will be in every breath of is my hand Jesus….hold me tight!

  • Michelle

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
    Cinnamon- sugar pecans

    The best book you couldn’t put down?
    Unglued (Lysa Terkuerst)

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
    It’s almost Christmas (Josh Wilson)

    The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)
    Jeans with an elastic band

    The best link of 2012?

    The best holiday?
    Thanksgiving (spent with family & friends)

    The best gift?
    Bath & Body items

  • Becka

    So awesome to hear the words…~ Sister-friend ~. So many yrs back…as I started being a ministers wife at the age of 19…I found myself calling Special friends my “sister friends”. I had not heard that used until I was reading these posts. So awesome! :)

    This year my fav book has been the discovery of 1000 Gifts and Ann. What a true blessing and God’s perfect timing on my life. Thank u, Ann.
    My fav food ~ This year I found myself in a very new and scary place. With my life turned upside down…my health took a huge hit. So, I am now gluten free, dairy free and on a strict SCD Diet to help heal my Adrenal Fatigue. So, my fav foods have been anything I discover that doesn’t cause allergic reaction and I thank The Lord each time I’m able to add a new food.
    My fav jeans ~ my skinny jeans. They are comfortable and fun to wear with boots, flats….:)
    My fav song ~two songs that have ministered directly to my healing heart this year are “God Bless The Broken Road” by Selah and “I’ll Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. These two songs have been a constant reminder to me of my marriage and pushing through difficult times.

    God always knows when to show us new things….like Ann, like Sister Friends, like the discovery of this site…thankful to The Lord for His perfect timing.
    Becka :)

  • Jennifer Kruse

    My favorite book was your book, One Thousand Gifts”.
    My favorite blog: Yours! Thank you- I have learned so much from you, as a wife, homeschool mom, etc. . . Thank you!!!
    I have 2 favorite moments: Right before I went into the hospital to deliver my son, my dad, mom and husband and I prayed.
    And than having my newly son and 6 year old daughter in my arms for the first time.

  • Michelle w

    Best book was life sustaining encouragement found in 1000 Gifts when we lost two grandchildren age 2 and 4 in Feb.
    best recipe…. Daily reading the Word for salving a bleeding grandmas heart.
    best gift, my son and daughter in love giving birth to a lovely little boy in September.
    Best song Blessings by Laura Story.
    Indeed, blessings come through raindrops.

  • nadja

    not a lot of bests this year…..a lot of Grace though!
    Best….. grace for a son’s marriage breakdown
    Best ……grace for a Mother with Alzheimers
    Best……. grace for hope in husband’s cancer
    Best…… grace for day to day sufficiency of His grace.
    The best thing in my life is that I have Jesus!

    • Jenn

      May God bless you with strength and show you his ever present help in times of trouble. May God heal hearts, minds, and bodies in 2013.

  • Marcy

    One of the best gifts I received in 2012 was giving birth to our third baby. She brings such joy to my life! Such a happy, sweet, content baby girl who has stolen our hearts!

  • NanJ

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
    My children always seem to expect me to make Sour Cream Coffee Cake whenever we are able to all be together. This year we were together over Thanksgiving, so I made two Sour Cream Coffee Cakes which seemed to delight them. :)

    • Deb

      Sour Cream Coffeecake is a tradition here, too. :)

  • Kirsten

    Best of…

    God’s best: healing depression in our family. Us today vs. us in January 2012 – NO COMPARISON! THANKS, JESUS!

    Books that changed me: 1,000 Gifts/Voskamp, Pray Big for Your Marriage/Davis Jr. and Power to Prosper/Singletary

    Best gadget: just loving my kindle

  • Cynthia

    January 9th 2012- best gifts given and unexpected . I broke my foot and leg at 5:30am. I cried, Oh Lord, I did hear you calling for me to be still at your feet for a little while. I just couldn’t do it on my own. The first breaking of bones in my life-and I viewed it as a special gift from The Lord. Stillness at His feet came. Best gift ever! My Dear Pastor’s wife (Ana) brought me Ann’s book- 1000 gifts- another best gift ever. So very timely -The Lord had my undivided! Several months later I resigned my position at work- to come home, to the place that been calling to me for many years. 2012 has held many special treasures for me and as I continue to draw nearer to Jesus and my children, my family. I look with great anticipation to the goodness He has in store for me this coming 2013. With praise and thanksgiving my cup overflows through the end of this gift of 2012.
    God Bless you Ann and Ana for being there in January 2012 and supporting, encouraging me to look to the greatest gift of my life. Jesus!

  • Robin

    A newbie here and busy up a storm with cleaning up after a sweet Christmas celebration with family…..but just had to add a few “bests” that God has used to grow this grandma up a little more in 2012

    ….. best song – “Thanks Be To Our God” by Travis Cottrell – cry every time I hear it

    ……best bubble bath recipe – “Sleep” (lavender vanilla) by Bath & Body Works – works wonders on a tired body and a mind that is heavy laden

    ……best gift – our first grandchild, a precious little girl …..such joy!! :)

    ……best hard thing in my life – God’s using disappointment with friends/family to invite my good girl to give up, trust Him more, and begin to risk in using my true voice

    His gifts are ongoing, unexpected, and always perfect!

  • Donna O.

    Best book–One Thousand Gifts
    Best recipe–lemon meringue pie with home made crust and mile high meringue
    Best time–any time spent with our small group Bible study
    Best challenge–building my new, larger fish pond myself! At 61 in 100+ degree weather. Great tan and muscles!!!
    Best song–This Is My Temporary Home
    Best jeans–Nine West Court Street Straight–lots of compliments and less than $20 at Ross!
    Best devotional–Jesus Calling, but Jesus Lives looks to be more challenging
    Best blog–A Holy Experience–greatly challenges me in daily living
    Best gift–Chronological Life Application Study Bible–plan to spend the next couple of years devouring it!

  • Julia

    Best event, finding out all 3 of my girls are expecting. Doubling the grandbaby population in the next 5 months! The more the merrier I say!

    Best Song, Never Once, by Matt Redman. Played and sung often this past year leading up to the forth year anniversary of my hubby’s passing.

    Best Book, Grace Disguised, by Jerry Sitser, reread, referred to, spoken of, one of those life companion books, much like 1, 000 Gifts!

    Best Recipe, Pad Thai my daughter made me for my birthday. Yummo! Pad Thai, anyday!

  • Linda C

    I trusted God with a journey alone to India to work with Made By Survivors. A wonderful team of women of all ages in Kolkata helping encourage young girls and women taken out of sex trafficking. What a delight it was to see hope spreading, schooling, jewelry making, even a marriage of love!

    Then my sweetest blessing was traveling to Scotland with my soon to be 81 year old mother and Liz Curtis Higgs! Each day was just a blessing of women sharing the love of Christ in His word, daily adventures and seeing my Mom’s eagerness to see all she could!

    Best daily habit of spending more time in His word each and everyday because I WANTED to! Not just a check mark on a list to finish.

  • Ruth

    So many bests this year! Celebrating 25 years of marriage with a trip to Crete (not so exotic since we live in Germany). Best recipe is “Greek salad” (Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and feta cheese just sprinkled with salt and pepper to taste). Becoming a grandmother also ranks high on the “best” list–something one is not asked about before hand, but what a blessing!!! And, I joined the many who counted way past 1000, after reading “One Thousand Gifts” and inspite of many trials this year, counting my blessings made me aware of them in an amazing way!

  • Anonymous

    Where to start? The questions just make a little place to stop, revisit, relish it all over again. I love the questions that let us “open those presents” again!

    Best books: _One Thousand Gifts_ for sure! Yes, passed that one on many times too! _Walking on Water_ and _A Wrinkle in Time_, both Madeleine L’Engle (thanks for introducing me to her, Ann).

    Jeans…still looking for those.

    The risk that returned best? Stepping out into God-sized dreams (lead on, Lord; thanks, Holley). And losing weight. Scary, so risky. So fearful to step away from the comfort of old habits. But 30lbs lighter, SO WORTH it. Praying for continued faithfulness, and no fear.

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? Moving–IL to IN. Not the farthest move, but “the far side of the sea” for me. Leaving “normal” for following God (thanks for the encouragement, Stephanie).

    Best habit: practicing “being still;” reading more. Love quiet places.

    Blessings sisters. :)

    • Janine

      I need to own my comment above… :)

  • Lorah

    Ann- best book is not a big enough category for your book and DVD study. How do you classify a book that speaks directly to your deepest self and brings you to fall to your knees before the Holy of Holies in your own living room? So many Christian books are lovely contemplative reflections that are the equivalent of a fancy entree in a fancy restaurant but don’t stick to your bones and keep you full. Your book sticks to your ribs, as my grandmother says!

  • Grace

    May blessings abound to Ann, and all who share their heart here.

    The best of everything in 2012?

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
    Ree Drummond’s “Chocolate Sheet Cake”… yummylicious!

    The best book you couldn’t put down?
    Still can’t put down our Ann’s “One Thousand Gifts” and Max Lucado’s “Grace.”

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
    The Newsboys’ “God’s Not Dead”, Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons”, and Phillip Phillips’s “Home”

    The jeans that fit best?
    Gloria Vanderbilt’s Amanda Jeans… reasonably priced, stretchy and comfy!

    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best?
    I’m not much of a gizmo person… just call me “old school”, but I love the fact that two of my teen grandchildren who live in another state, now have cell phones, because they actually text me to keep in touch!

    The risk that returned best?
    Moving 1000 miles away in the middle of my cancer treatments after my husband’s retirement. I felt God calling us to move, and the risk was worth it because I ended up finding an oncology specialist that was familiar with my rare cancer. I’m now in remission… PTL!

    The best link of 2102?
    Not only Ann’s beautiful website links, but so many soul stirring Christian websites that I’ve found… so many daily blessings!

    The best laugh?
    Laughing with my grandchildren… truly priceless!

    The best living?
    As long as my Heavenly Father is in my heart and my life… living is wonderful!

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway?
    Quit my career in church administration which I dearly loved, so I could take care of my aging mother in my home.

    What was the best habit?
    Writing down my daily gifts, and praying several times a day… I love having a closer relationship with God!

    The best holiday?
    Any holiday spent with my faith, family and friends.

    The best gift?
    Yeshua… always!

    The best sacrifice?
    Moving my mother, who had several life changing strokes, in with my husband and I after my father passed. She’s teaching me the final lessons one should learn from their parents.

    Thank you Ann… you are such a beautiful blessing in my life!
    In His love,

  • Stephanie Hamann

    Best thing I did this year? I worked to remember that I can trust God instead of worrying, and if I just wait a bit (or sometimes longer than that) that He does have an answer, a provision, a peace. Other best thing I did this year? Listened to my doctor friend who suggested a sleep study. It’s been almost a month with a cpap, and I feel human! I didn’t know I could find that. Another best thing? Reaching out a little and finding some additional friends…the two ladies I did reach out to both are going to be moving in the next few months, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t continue with them or continue to reach out to others. Bravery – Courage – refusing to give in to fear or to the voice in my head that stops me….it’s amazing what I find when I do that…

  • Vicki

    This is fun! :)
    OK, the best book (as everyone else has said) has to be One Thousand Gifts! I used it to teach the adult Sunday School class at my church and it was the start of Revival!

    Best Song: A thousand little things by Point of Grace, and my favorite singer of the year is JAMIE GRACE. Love her perky little tunes. :)

    Best Gizmo: Has to be my Smart Phone. I love having my Bible and all the apps I love on me all the time. (My One Thousand Gifts App, too!)

    Thing I didn’t want to do but did anyway: I was caring for my parents 3 days a week – leaving my husband with 9 kids – and driving 100 miles to their house. In August, my mother in law who lives next door had a health crisis and the doctor said Nursing Home or in home care. As I have 2 sisters sharing in my parents’ care, and we are all my mother in law has, I have switched the caregiving closer to home. I didn’t want to, but I did anyway…

    Other bests from 2012: Love that we switched to My Father’s World Homeschool Curriculum. It works for us.

    The AMPLIFIED Bible – this version has really helped me in my Bible study.

    My goal for 2013 is just to make every day count, county my blessings every day, and grow closer to my loving Savior!

  • Alisha

    Oh, 2012 was a year of heart aches and triumphs. It has been hard to get through some days and in some ways its been one of the best!
    Best book- an old one by Tommy Tenney- God Chasers
    Just finished it and boy did it rock my world!!

  • Alisha

    The best song of the year:
    Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave
    A gently yet amazing reminder of the price that was paid for me and how I
    forget that it is free and all I have to do is reach out and receive it.
    Also that I don’t have to fight battles that have already been conquered!
    Praise the Lord for that!!

  • Dominga

    Best gift: After 24 years of getting banged up from daily wear and tear, my engagement ring that I’ve had since I was 18yo had to be tucked away so that the single, solitaire diamond wouldn’t fall out and be lost. On our wedding anniversary, my husband presented it to me, looking like a brand new ring. :)

  • Alisha

    The best recipe of the year hmm…..
    I think I will have to say our new Thai Chicken we have loved it~!
    If you want to try it email me!! lol

  • Katrina

    2012 was the best year! God blessings were poured out so much on my life.
    Best decision- marrying my wonderful husband
    Best gift- getting pregnant – due February 28th 2013!
    best jeans- second hand pair of pregnancy jeans… made me feel great for the one week they fit.
    Best book- Practicing Godliness by Jerry Bridges, which also led to best habit- gratitude
    Best Bible study- Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore, also the best way to get connected with ladies in the church.
    Best Recipe- chicken spaghetti
    God is good.

  • Lee

    Well, I’m in agreement – I thank you for your efforts to reveal your life experiences and struggles and most important the gift of growing gratitude and praise of God in all circumstances.

    My best list:

    Best Recipe – Pecan Pie / Pioneer Woman – love this site and presentation of recipes and the photography (great and consistent pie crust recipe there too)

    Best Book – Drinking from a Dry Well – Faith changes as we mature and so found solice and understanding here in a new stage of life. Settling and waiting for God to work in the messiness of me and life.

    Best Jeans – New find at DressBarn – Roz&ALI jeans – good for the well figured and curvy woman that I am…

    Best thing I really did not want to do: Give my husband grace and support him in his journey; didn’t want to do because of poor choices and lies – was done. God is growing me and my husband into stronger servants of God and redeeming our marriage. God is so faithful in His promises. And I continue to be amazed at God working in the midst of the challenges and blessing and strengthening. How we are able to teach others committment and grace out of our brokenness. How God made us to be a blessing to others.

    The risk that returned best: being part of the solution. Giving public testimony when I would rather have crawled under a rock and continuing that process of testimony to God’s goodness and grace. It is creating in me a new boldness for the Lord.

    My best tool – Treat yourself to a really good knife – one thing to clean up and put away instead of components to processors and choppers…

  • Alisha

    The risk that gave the best return…
    stepping out in faith to teach about Proverbs 31 to the ladies at my church.
    I could never imagine when my Pastors wife asked me or rather told me I would be
    teaching how I would receive blessings and new meanings from it as well!
    Nothing like a woman telling you that what you learned in your quiet helped her
    as well!! Thank you Jesus for a push out in your deep water!!

  • NanJ

    The best book you couldn’t put down?
    I don’t usually choose any books from the fantasy-fiction genre; I lean more toward non-fiction or spiritual-instruction type books, which is why I really like books such as Ann’s One Thousand Gifts.
    However, my daughter, Jenelle Schmidt, has launched into the world of fantasy-fiction writing this year with her own book entitled “King’s Warrior.”
    (It could be that I “couldn’t put it down” because of who the author was.) :)

  • Lisa

    The best thing I didn’t want to do — but I did anyway?
    I let my 16 year old daughter, who has been through so much, move in with another family. Only to find that The mother in the household held secrets that could help my daughter continue on her road to healing where I could not take her. God’s graces are undoubtedly more than I ever could have prayed for!
    Ann, your Grace given book has been the catalyst that turned my fear of faith into counting His graces daily. Even when I forget to write them down. I have found my trust in Him throughout these last 15 years filled with Eucharisteo. And I have seen, felt, and relearned the truth in letting go and letting God . . . sometimes on a daily basis.

  • Becka

    I didn’t realize i left out some important “Bests”.
    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? Changing my diet. Wow!!! It has changed my life.

    The risk that returned best? Wow…big one for me. Seeking help through Recovery Ministries to save a “falling apart” marriage, seeking and being brave to face the Trauma in my life, leaving my home(my place of security)…getting out of my fear and getting help from great Christian brothers and sisters in Christ that I didn’t even know.

    The best link of 2102? Finding Ann Voskamp’s Blog. Searching for help with going gluten free, dairy free and healing for my body.

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did it anyhow? Recovery and Trauma Counseling.

    What was the best habit? Learning to lean on God totally. Not my husband, not my parents, not friends….totally and fully on God.

    The best holiday? Christmas ~ Our first Grand babies Christmas. What a blessing!!!

    The best gift? The gift of a restored marriage. The miracle of God’s restoration.

    The best sacrifice? Giving up our home because of the loss of our job and renting a very small home. We haven’t rented since our first year of marriage. Giving up in order to save something has been far more precious than holding on to things we thought we needed but have found out we don’t. We needed to build a better and stronger foundation. Thankful. Joyful.

    Becka :)

  • Gayla Pappenfoht

    Best lesson… To enjoy the good in more of life’s situations, such as living away from my home with my elderly mom…

    Best books… Simple Abundance, always.. 1,000 Gifts, which I have gifted to several dear friends,

    Best self improvement…. A Superstars download from Brocante Home and a James Beth Moore bible study….

    Best communion with God… Driving to the lake with my bible app for iPad and a few minutes of peace.

    Best week… A four day mini vacation with my 30 year old son to Louisville…. Just the two of us….

    Best plan… To finally retire after 37 years of eaching high school English. And accept God will provide me with something new to fill my heart (and finances).

  • Wendy

    So many good things this year…God is good.

    Let’s see, best recipe, Garden vegetable soup, from the Campbell’s Kitchen site.

    Best jeans…Gap straight, not so low, not so high…just perfect.

    Best risk….compiling some of my writings and creating an eBook.

    The song I have sung many, many times..Our God, by Chris Tomlin.

    Best book…that’s a hard one….loved Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst and Crazy Love by Francis Chan.

    Oh, another great risk…teaching a group of women every Friday at home. Wonderful!!

    Best memory…there are many, but singing old hymns to my 94 year-old grandma tops the list.

  • Anonymous

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
    Scallop, arugula and sun dried tomato risotto…. so good!

    The best book you couldn’t put down?
    1000 Gifts. I read it twice. The second time taking notes. I also gave it as gifts to friends of mine. A gift of gifts.
    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
    The Same Love by Paul Baloche. wonderful song!

    Best sacrifice was spending the last 10 days with a friend in hospice. It was difficult, but rewarding. I was able to share God’s love and compassion to other people who were going through the same sorrow.

    Doing something that I have been afraid of…. I am about to go on my first mission trip. I felt God calling me last year but didn’t go because of fear. Not this year.

  • Maureen Greenawalt

    The best book continues to be Ann Voskamp’s ‘One Thousand Gifts’.
    I buy several copies and pass them to friends for thinking of you gifts.
    also discovered Anne Lamott.
    Her most recent book, “Help Wow Thanks” is the book I pass out to friends when I want to reach out to them.
    The best thing I learned in 2012, through my weekly bible study group, is that we must continue to learn.

  • Cynthia

    Best gift: from my Pastor’s wife , the morning of January 9th 2012 after breaking my foot and leg. One Thousand Gifts!
    Best Experience: Sitting at Jesus’ feet during my healing
    Best decision: to resign my position and return home!
    Best CD: Blessed by Huron family
    Best habit: gratitude

  • Beth Lamping

    Ok, I’ll chime in….

    Best book: (besides Ann’s which I had to buy multiple copies of so I can manage to have one for myself) was Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman.

    Best jeans: That I officially quit wearing them. I have never liked them and have worn them for years because I was supposed to….everyone does. So, the best jeans are the ones I’ll never wear again! :)

    Best gift: My husband signed the Resolution shown in the movie Courageous and gave it to his wife and 5 sons for Christmas.

    Best recipe: chicken corn chowder (Cook potatoes, onions, butter & chicken broth until veggies are soft; add cooked chicken, salsa, fresh or frozen corn, some cumin, salt & pepper. Just before serving add cream or milk and cheese. Serve with chips, grated cheese, etc.)

    Best song: (new to me in 2012) Remember Me by Mark Schultz

    More later if I think of any….
    Thanks for the fun!

    • nancy

      My best book, was Ann’s. Just finished Not A Fan, 2nd best! Am about to start the teen edition and use it for Youth the first of the year.

  • NanJ

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
    Again, I am somewhat biased when it comes to songs…. I like the ones that my daughter, Brittany Jean, writes and sings! What a joy to help her get 3 of her songs professionally recorded in Nashville, TN, this fall! Those 3 songs are now the “best songs that I cannot get out of my head!”

  • Trudi

    Oh, I’ll have to think about some of those “best of” – but music, I can answer that. I LOVE 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman – it’s a sing-along every time! Best new Christmas music…torn between Frannie B and Mandisa.
    Best risk…attending classes on GAPS diet ( and then working towards greatly reducing/eliminating wheat from my diet.
    Best new project – becoming a reviewer for Christian fiction
    Best recipe – Summer Squash Casserole (
    Best discovery – Ballet Magnificat! Who knew I would love ballet?
    Best TV program – The Voice

  • Vanessa

    Best book: In the land of blue burqas by Kate McCord

    Best recipe: Chicken pot pie, handwritten on an index card by a precious friend.

    Best song: Kings and Queens by Audio Adrenaline – AMAZING, watch the music video with a box of tissues.

    Best surrender 2012 – saying “yes” and starting to preparing for our family to serve in Congo, Africa.

    Best of the best 2012 – holding my little girl, born Sep 16 and seeing the face of our precious 3 year old son. The best of 2013 will be traveling to Congo and finally holding him in my arms.

  • Beth

    My best of 2012- taking my 2 year old boy on “mommy dates” and hearing him say “Mommy, I love you” for the first time all on his own, learning to savor the day from a friend who died of cancer at an early age, and learning to breathe joy in and out everyday.

  • Wendy

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again? Champaign cupcakes!!
    The best book you couldn’t put down? One Thousand Gifts (would love to win some books to give to others)
    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head? Peter Furler’s Thank You
    Best habit? starting my 1000 gifts list (almost to 500)

    2012 was a difficult year for my family. My husband and I are struggling, but I think the best thing that happened is that we are finally recognizing it and are starting counseling in 2013. I am forever grateful that he is not one to give up and is willing to do this with me. We’ll get through our struggles and come out stronger for it.

  • Colleen

    The biggest, most frightening risk we’ve ever taken was committing to adopt a young lady with special needs in April without having “all of our ducks in a row” yet. We heard her story and looked at each other and knew He said “Go!” The Lord moved mountains because we had a race against time. Hers was truly a ransom that needed to be raised. We were granted parental rights 3 days before her 16th birthday… 3 days more and she would have been unavailable for adoption and sentenced to life in a mental institution of the worst kind in Eastern Europe. Just because The Lord gave her hands and feet that don’t work like ours, her curly hair would have been shaved off, her wheelchair taken away, and her limbs would have been tied to her bed. I still get physically sick when I think of the orphans we left behind. We were the second adoption ever to happen in the orphanage that has been around for decades. Now, we are blessed with a sweet, happy, loving oldest daughter, and we are trying to advocate for her friends to find families also. We are so very thankful that we have a very big God who controls even the tiniest details!!!

  • Gina

    Hmm, my first time posting on a site … that feels like I’m in a coffee shop talking with friends! Cozy, warm, inspiration, God-centred. Hmm: best moment was giving birth to my third baby – a boy, healthy and with a strong set of lungs. The miracle of birth. How many meanings has that?

  • Beth Lamping

    Oh. And what I didn’t want to do but did anyway: Submitting to my husband’s leading in an area that I’ve been holding back on for 9 years.

    Jesus showed up one October day and said, “I am bigger than what you are afraid of.”

    Blew my socks clean off.

    Who can argue with that? I went home and told my husband I was in. No more holding back.

    There is peace. Praise Jesus.

  • Amie

    The best thing I didn’t want to do AND the risk that returned best: starting at BSF class and then allowing those incredible, incredible women to really know me, pray for me, become a roomful of mothers and sisters & teach me that bible study isn’t about correct answers. Who knew?
    Best book: Expecting to See Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz & Jesus Freaks by Voice of the Martyrs
    Song: Alive by Natalie Grant (Oh, Mary Magdalene, my soul-sister, I can’t wait to meet her!)
    Recipe: Betty Crocker dinner rolls for the bread machine (with honey butter, my husband says they’re so good they’ll make your tongue slap your brain out)
    Best habit: praying on the floor in cruciform
    Best gift: 2012 itself. I was pruned this year until I despaired of life & know like I never did before what grace looks like. Praise!

  • Karen Hough

    Thank you Ann for your book, and blog, it has been a blessing to me for years. Just read “the Divine Romance” by Gene Edwards, it was beautiful. Gave me new perspective on loving the Lord. He wants my love….so amazing. Not one to comment but had to, since you asked about best jeans. Best jeans ever are Vigoss. I have tried on every brand….and these fit……I get them at Nordstrom Rack. Though I don’t know you Ann I feel like I do, and I so love and appreciate you. You are one of my gifts. :)

  • Stacey O.

    I’m new to your books and website but was encourage greatly through the Jesse tree devotional over advent and just wanted to share.
    Best of 2012…
    Book- Parenting in the Pew (however, in 2013 I am looking forward to reading 1000 Gifts which I received for Christmas.)
    I love the outdoors and being in the midst of God’s creation, so some of my best gifts this year were directly from God as I enjoyed His creation- seeing a sea turtle nest, seeing sea turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean, being able to see the Grand Canyon for the first time, and being able to sit out on my lawn with my family and watch a meteor shower and wonder at God’s greatness.
    Thank you for your encouragement!

  • Maila

    BEST JEANS – Levi’s ‘Perfect Waist 525 Boot Cut’! I wore them all year, and I can’t tell you how many times I was told I must have lost weight. I have pants that fit that are sizes 6, 8, 10, and 12 in many different brands, but these size 12 Levis’s get ALL the compliments!
    BEST BOOK – Besides ‘One Thousand Gifts’ (which I read in February, began my gratitude journal and then used as the base of my Christmas letter this year!): Chuck Bomar’s ‘Better Off without Jesus’ and Francis Chan’s ‘Crazy Love’ and Sarah Young’s ‘Jesus Calling’
    BEST SONG – Matt Redman’s ‘10,000 Reasons’ and Cloverton’s ‘A Hallelujah Christmas’ and Ruth’s ‘Life Is Just A Dream’ (my happy song)
    BEST RECIPE – Farro soup and Oatcakes, both from Heidi Swanson’s ‘Super Natural Every Day’ (and her Chickpea Wraps and her Dill Butter on Rye soda bread!).
    BEST GIFT – my good camera (Nikon D5100), so now I can document life in pictures that I REALLY like!
    BEST GOD-GIFT – Hearing God tell me that my main ministry outside of wife and mom is encouraging discouraged believers (that part I’ve known for years) one-on-one “behind the scenes”, not in blog/published book/women’s conference speaker form. I always thought those “high profile” ministry places were what I was supposed to be striving for, as if success in God’s kingdom, for me, would be measured by affecting hundreds/thousands of women. God showed me oh-so-clearly that not only am I in EXACTLY the right place right now, being available to answer “911” calls from my family and friends who are having horribly difficult 2012’s, but that He has protected me from having any high-profile ministries because it wasn’t what He equipped me, ‘prepared in advance’ for me, to do. Wife of one husband of 20 years who desperately needs a “helpmeet” these days, mom of four great kids (one kindergartner, two high-schoolers, one in college), friend… That’s the ministry I’m equipped and prepared for, by His grace and in His strength! Sometimes what you think your dream is supposed to be, so you hang onto it for 15 years, is really just a goal you think would count as success in the eyes of others, but it’s not God’s best for you at all! If it’s God’s dream for you, it’s depressing to let go of, but if it’s just a thing you wanted to do to feel ‘good enough’ (Oh yeah, Emily P Freeman’s ‘Grace For The Good Girl’ helped with this!) then it’s liberating to get rid of it!

  • NanJ

    The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)
    I really enjoy finding jeans that fit…. brand names even…. at Goodwill! :)
    However, my husband loves to buy new clothes for me and he succeeded in finding me some jeans that “fit best” from Coldwater Creek: Classic Fit, boot cut. The 2% of Spandex in them make them fit well and really comfortable! :)

  • judy

    ah the best gift was being able to watch my newest granddaughter born on Dec 5th, she is the 16th grandchild and the 6th on I have been able to watch,
    God has truly given me the desire of my heart to be there for some of these precious ones.
    too many best songs, currently I like Need You Know by Plumb
    fav book was The Wake-Up Call

  • Sarah

    Best Christmas CD I couldn’t stop listening to this season–Chris Tomlin’s “Glory in the Highest”

  • JoyMartell

    Does it get tiresome to hear it again? The BEST BOOK hands down is One Thousand Gifts! Read it in March, went to a Women’s Retreat and we all started our lists together. CHANGED my life!!!
    BIGGEST RISK – started blogging about the joys in my life
    BEST BLESSING – blogging about the joys in my life. These blessings just ripple out to other people who are influenced by this habit. It is a gift that keeps on giving.
    SCARIEST MOMENT – putting my journey of grief “out there” for anyone to read
    BEST SONG – “I Will Rise”
    HABIT – of course this list keeping. Not to brag but it has been so easy to reach over 3000. Just keep filling up journals
    2nd BEST BLESSING – the women I’ve met at incourage and other blogs. Their spirituality and depth have enriched my life. What a great discovery for a recent retiree! They inspire me to do much more in the Kingdom.
    Invitation to all to come visit me at

  • Lyric

    This year has been such a paradox…life is so fragile, yet resilent, so full of hope yet riddled with pain. Through it all, however, I have experienced Emmanuel every step of the way. So for me, the one sure thing – the best of everything, is Him.

  • NanJ

    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best?
    Well, I am not one who spends much time in my kitchen. . . However, two days ago I decided to make a pumpkin pie and make my own pie crust. The idea that I had never heard of but that worked really well was to put the pie crust dough between pieces of plastic wrap to roll it out flat! It was so cool and mess-free!

  • Dina Love

    The best kids: The Daring One, The Peacemaker and Squishy Cheeks

  • judy

    oh the song with different lyrics, Hallelujah by Cloverton AWESOME!

  • Dina Love

    The best husband and figuring out his Love Language is Acts of Service

  • Jenn

    Best book: I didn’t have time for many books this year, but Ann’s blog,, I read everyday.

    Best song: 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman – my 2 year old son sings it in his broken English and when it comes on Pandora, he yells, “My song, my song!”

    Best Jeans: Levi’s – the kind with the mommy panel in the front (it hides my postpartum twin belly)

    Best Risk: moving to a new house six weeks before the birth of my twin girls

    Best sacrifice: Leaving my part time job at my church to stay home full time with my four kids under four

  • Dina Love

    The best book read this year…One Thousand Gifts…OF COURSE ;)

  • Dina Love

    the best foreign exchange student…Ryota from Japan!!! Spent the best summer ever!!!

  • Dina Love

    The best family trip this year…spending time with family that we love, Oh So Much!!!

  • NanJ

    The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)
    For this year, the “risk that returned best” was our decision to arrange for our daughter to go to Nashville, TN, to use Hilltop Recording Studio to professionally record 3 of her original songs! One of her songs is entitled “Not Afraid”! I can hardly wait to see what doors God will open for her now that she’s deciding to not be afraid and take steps to get her music “out there.” ;)

  • stacie b.

    After the loss of my dearest aunt (a second mother to me) and an unexpected accident causing death of my Aunt and Uncle I am learning and ready to put 2012 behind me!
    Greatest book is of course 1,000 Gifts! As a mom of four boys under the age of six I could relate to so much throughout that book. Often times I would tell my husband…”there needs to be a book in the bible of a woman with 6 kids under the age of 8 to tell us how we should act. I am just beginning my journey in giving thanks. I just finished your book, bought a ton of them on Black Friday and gave so many away for Christmas gifts. I am praying for those I gave them to as some have strayed far from Christ. I love how this book pulled me closer to God’s word and how i didn’t rely on this book to do so. So many books are idolized and this book was so encouraging to get in the word and study for myself. Thank you!

    Best song: Behold our God by Sovereign Grace!
    Best Jeans: American Eagle unfortunately….a little money but they fit this momma figure the best.
    Best Risk: Loving my Aunt deeply as she went to meet the Lord. She was diagnosed with brain cancer and just short of two years she lost her battle. I tend to pull away when I know I am going to lose someone close but I made a decision to love her and stay with her and involve myself in her….hardest goodbye I’ve had to say yet but so worth it. She is dancing in spirit with our heavenly Father right now!
    Best Recipe: The Pioneer Womans Spaghetti Sauce… easy and so yummy!
    2013 goal: To start living a life of Gratitude. To make that my habit in the good and bad! In this broken world and in my broken family…give thanks!

  • Shannon Turek

    Best Website:…. this blog has touched my life so many times! I have read blogs where woman talk about insecurities and struggles that I thought only I have/am facing. God has definitely put this blog in my life to not feel alone.
    Best Recipe: Creamy Avacado Yogurt Dip… Pinterest!
    Biggest Accomplishment: Getting married… It’s always been a huge fear of mine and I did so much healing as we prepared for marriage.
    Best Memory: heart to heart conversations with my Christian friends and downtime with my husband!
    Best TV Show: Law & Order: SVU

  • Sami

    My favorite song this year and my heart cry – “Eden” by Phil Wickham. All of his music speaks deeply to me. Love his “Heaven and Earth” album, my Christmas gift to myself. Also love Chris Tomlin’s Christmas album “Glory in the Highest”.

  • Theresa

    Best Book: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson (I know it’s old!)
    From 11/11-3/12 I was undergoing multiple diagnostic tests at MD Anderson and was told at one point I had Stage IV Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. I had Stage I Thyroid Cancer (Papillary) 3 years prior so cancer wasn’t “new” to me, but this kind was and Stage IV? I was 44 and my husband and I have 4 children ranging in age at the time from 9-15. I grabbed that book to take in between tests while waiting and it really helped put things into perspective especially knowing the author himself passed away unexpectedly after writing it. One chapter he wrote is even titled “Imagine Yourself At Your Own Funeral” and talks about the perspective of looking back at your life to see what your priorities were to serve as a “wake up call.” I have a tendency to be more of a Martha than Mary and it’s been my goal since March to be more like Mary and spend time with loved ones and not worry about sweating the small stuff.

    Best Song: Your Hands by JJ Heller
    Referring again to my testing time, this song was playing on our local Christian station and the words resonated with me “When my world is shaking, heaven stands; when my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands” Beautiful! It gave me so much comfort and the guitar playing is breathtaking.

    Best Diagnosis: Watchful Observation – no need for chemo! I was told that what lit up on my PET scan giving me a Stage IV diagnosis was, after many tests (including the dreadful bone marrow biopsy and aspiration) was too small to treat and I just need to keep going back for CT screening unless I notice changes myself. Answered prayers indeed!

    Best Jeans: Coldwater Creek have proven to fit me the best – they have stores at malls and online

    Best New Website to me:
    A friend gave me One Thousand Gifts as a gift this year and I love it (it was hard not to put it as my best book) but I have come to love the website more with all of the breathtaking photography, music and hearing Ann’s voice – what a truly inspirational person you are, Ann, gifted with such a passion with words and a cadence in your speaking reflecting Eucharisteo so beautifully with others. Thank you!

    Best New Recipe: Honey Barbecue Meatloaf – our kids love it and it is so easy!

  • Dina Love

    The best GREATEST snow on earth and a white Christmas was enjoyed this year!!!

  • Dina Love

    My mom is the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Becki DeVore

    The best prayer assignment:
    I pray. And God has blessed my prayers with amazing answers!
    This year I had three terminal cancer prayer assignments.
    Each different and each amazing. Two have had extreme major turn around’s .

    One, the tumor is half the size since prayer!

    Second, a man who was told call in hospice now has hope after prayer! They have found a procedure they can do on him to extend his life…by years!

    All glory and honor to our God! I have nothing on my own…but with!

    The most amazing and glorious prayer assignment was for Harvey.

    Harvey was a man who did not go to doctors. He waited to long. When he did go he was full of cancer and they said there was nothing they could do. He was certain to die in a very short time.

    The day I was called to come and pray with him they said he would not make it through the night. Then they called and said come earlier….because they felt he would not be there when I came later that evening.

    Along with two wonderful prayer warriors I went quickly to that hospital room.

    The interesting thing was when I first walked in the room, I for a short moment saw a very sick man. And then it happened. Something changed and I only saw a man healed! It was so cool to see him this way. It made my prayers very different, very free.

    As we prayed, each in turn as the Lord lead us something happened I will never forget!
    Joe prayed and asked God to send ministering angels to Harvey’s room right now.

    I have never experienced anything like it! When he said that there was a whoosh in the room and I felt feathers brush my cheek! I could feel their presence! It was so glorious I felt the glory of God in that room like I have never felt before! I could barely breath it was so thick with glory! I felt like I had one foot in heaven.

    Harvey had a bowel obstruction. Joe prayed over that issue.

    Harvey had a tube coming from his nose removing fecal matter from his stomach….he had not gone for days. This caused him great discomfort.

    During prayer the black stuff in the tube turned clear!

    When we were done praying for this man….who was not to make it through the night and possibly the next few hours…he got up out of bed and shaved!!!!!!!!

    A day later he had a bowel movement.

    The doctors had done nothing for him….this was purely a work of God.

    Harvey lived 4 days longer.
    Healed completely in heaven.
    Who knows what happened in his life in those 4 days that God needed him to do or experience before leaving for home? I just know even though the world would see this prayer assignment as a failure…I only see God’s great Glory!!!!

    That night after praying for him, I went home with such awe and so humbled by God’s presence in that room. His glory was so amazing. I will never forget it.

    As I lay in bed that night I asked angels to surround my bed. I wanted to feel that glory again.

    I have never experienced this before or since….as I lay there sleeping I was awakened by something brushing my cheek over and over. I believe it was the flapping of the wings of his ministering angels. Somehow that night the veil was thinner and I was allowed to experience a presence we only know by faith.

    I can’t think of anything better. So I will only submit one time :)

    I want to thank you for your blog. I eagerly read it every time it pops in my email box.
    Thank you for being you Ann without an E.
    I love you,

    • Sally Anne

      This took my breath away. Thank you for this.

  • Dina Love

    The Best friends kept and savored this year. Many friend memories made and some of them are THE BEST EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dina Love

    The best Spiritual Experience: finding joy and gratitude in ALL that God has given me!!!

  • Dina Love

    The best Cousin: Oh how I love her smile!!!!

  • NanJ

    The best gift?
    Truly the “best gift” I “received” this Christmas was:
    3 ducks were purchased via World Vision by my daughter to be given in my name to someone in need!
    I LOVED that “gift”!!! It was “the best” this year of 2012!!!

  • Lori

    Best Song: All My Fountains by Chris Tomlin
    Best Moment: When my youngest son of 5 boys graduated from High School in May
    Best Book: Besides 1000 Gifts which I’m reading for the 3rd time….The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times
    By: Robert J. Morgan
    I love your blog…..A Holy Experience grounds me back into the Word of God every time!
    Best Recipe: Crockpot Pumpkin Pudding Recipe
    1 can pumpkin pie filling (15 oz)
    2 tsp vanilla
    1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
    3/4 c sugar
    1/2 c bisquick mix
    2 T butter
    2 eggs

    Spray crockery w/non-stick spray or lightly oil the inside. Using an electric hand-held mixer at low speed, beat ingredients together until smooth. Pour into crockpot. Cover and cook on Low 6-8 hours, or High 3-4 hours. Spoon into cups and top w/cool whip.

  • Dina Love

    The best Christmas gift: Homemade, hand painted canvas pictures from my 3 gorgeous kids!!!!

  • Melody

    Best song – 10,000 Reasons
    Best recipe – Gingerbread Cupcakes (Dave Ramsey site)
    Best habit – simple living
    Best lipstick – Clinique Raspberry Glace

  • stephanie

    I love this- remembering the best of the year!
    a few of my best from 2012:
    BEST Jeans: GAP date night jeans
    BEST book: “Unglued” by Lysa Terkeurst- its amazing how a book relates to right where you are
    BEST habit- cleaning the tub before getting out of the shower with my new handled sponge that holds a blue dawn and vinegar solution- truly life altering ;-)
    BEST song: hmmm… I think I love music to much to choose
    wow- I could go on- love this!

  • Sami

    Favorite book(s) this year besides One Thousand Gifts, of course, were 3 by Carolyn Custis James: Lost Women of the Bible, The Gospel of Ruth and Half the Church. I first read Half the Church last year and it was one of my top two books (One Thousand Gifts being the other) out of 30 of this type that I read. I read it again this year as well as the two others I mentioned here. Life-changing for me!

  • Cheryl Vanderhout

    Best recipe – anything my husband makes (he is an awesome cook)
    Best Song – Mary did You Know
    Best Jeans – Cleo
    Best tool – cheese grater
    Best Habit – counting gifts
    Best hobby – scrapbooking with my small group

  • Dina Love

    The Best Song this year…Played over and over again: When Love Was Born sung by Mark Schultz

  • Bernice Shupe

    Wow! Do I have news !!!!!!!! I have so many best moments! But one was yesterday ……..we had our Shupe Family Christmas – 23 of us! Aaron (6th son who was a missionary in Guinea, West Africa and his missionary wife whom he married October 6th, called from British Columbia where they spent Christmas with her family). They were sorry they could not join us for dinner but said they do have a bun in the oven! They are going to have a baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I am not really excited! If it is a boy, he will be named Moses! He has had that name reserved for years!!!!!!!!!!! Most gracious love to you and you marvelous family! Thanks for the picture of your family! Love you so! :)

  • Melinda C

    Best song: 10,000 reasons
    Best recipe: Chocolate Custard Pie (oh, my)
    Best book: Give Them Grace (Elyse Fitzpatrick)

  • Dina Love

    The Best Adventure with my kids: Rafting down the Colorado River!

  • Rebekah

    Best Song: What Do I Know Of Holy by Addison Road

    Best Recipe: Homemade Granola Bars

  • Kristin

    In a year of many “worsts” coming up with some bests has not been very easy!

    Best cd: Josh Garrels “Love & War & The Sea In Between”

    Best jeans: a jean skirt with a ruffle around the bottom. I waited for months for it to go on sale so I could afford it!

    Best recipe: spaghetti pie. I combine two different recipes for my version. My son and hubby love it!

    Best gadget: I use twist ties to corral electronics cords.

    Best moments: Romantic walks with my husband around the hospital while he was admitted for a bowel perforation/infection and snuggling together in his hospital bed.

    Best gift: My hubby being discharged from the hospital in time for us to make it home for Christmas. My stepmom completing rehab.

    The worsts, while not great, have been bests that i never want to go through again as they have brought me closer to G-d.


    Best book: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

  • Bev

    The best God Gift – Healing.
    My son passed suddenly Aug of 2011. The most devastating event I have ever gone through. This year has been a year of healing for me. God has been so faithful and so patient with me. He has given me gifts through this year that I would never have received otherwise. I miss my son terribly, but I can say with certainty that God is good, all the time.
    There have been many other “bests” this year but this is the best of the best.
    In His Grace – Bev

    • Robin in New Jersey

      I am so sorry about your son, Bev. You are living proof that when we accept God’s will for our lives, no matter how awful it seems at the time, HE will turn it into a blessing and make beauty from the ashes. May you continue to grow in his grace in 2013.

  • Rebekah

    Best Son Moment: Hugging my 9 year old son during our Christmas Candlelight Service

    Best Daughter Moment: Watching her dance in the Nutcracker

  • CarolFromMurphy

    The Best of Everything in 2012 at my house was getting to go part time so I could be a stay at home wife and mom and homeschool my daughter. This has been a beautiful year.

  • Marion yoder

    Best book : Tariri – My Story by a former headhunter and Shapra Chief, Oh that I could have faith like that!

    Best Meal : Christmas Dinner. Our operation Christmas Child Boxes went to Goergia last year, so we had a traditional Georgian feast, to learn more about the culture and people of Georgia :-)

    Best Gift: Bithia Cait, my 4th daughter and 5th baby. Little miss blue-eyes arrived in February, and I can’t imagine life without her, of course :-)

    Best Music: anything by the Gettys :-)

    Best Sacrifice: I gave up my Shetland Sheep this year, i miss them, but I’m glad I let them go, my children and hubby needed me more :-)

  • Rebekah

    Best Jeans: LLBean Favorite Jeans, Curvy Fit, Medium Tall and I’m not telling the size :)

  • Lisa

    The best thing about this year of broken dreams, unfulfilled promises, and unhappy endings is that even though there have been dark times that I have never experienced or expected and even though there were times that I couldn’t hear from God or feel his presence, I learned that everything will be okay because He withholds no good gift from us! Thank you, Ann, for being a bright light in a dark world by sharing the love and light of Christ.

  • Jaclyn

    I’m new here – but have plans to be a regular. :) I LOVE listing the bests….trying hard to teach my 4 the joy of praising, even in the little things. The Lord has allowed us the opportunity to learn it through big and little things this year. Thank you so much for encouraging us to bow only to Jesus and remember that everything comes from Him. So it kind of chokes me up that, at the end of this year that I was pretty well convinced would hold a TON of worsts, I have such a huge competition for places on my list of bests. God is way too good to me.

    Best learning/leaning time: When my husband lost his job. He and I swapped places – he stayed home, I worked. I thought the world was falling apart. God taught me grace – so much. God taught our whole family to lean and rely solely on Him – and that He would indeed hold us up (Is. 41:10).

    Best moment of relief: Bringing my little guy home from a stay in the hospital safe and healthy.

    Best song: He Said….listened to that one A LOT this year. “I might let you bend, but I won’t let you break…”

    Best family tradition: Advent…that’s been a long-standing favorite. The memories we share (even the littles crying through the whole thing at night) are precious.

    Best kid’s quote: “Mama, tank you takin care of me.” In the middle of that hospital stay late one night with my 2 year old, he put together words that touched me so deeply. He wasn’t prompted or cued…came straight from his little heart. The Lord knew right when I needed a bit of encouragement, and He sent it.

    Funniest (not really a category, but I have to share) quote by my 4 year old: She’s holding up the angel trying to figure out what the teacher said to do with it…”Okay, so tell me….where do I put the tooth fairy??” :)

    Ann, thanks for everything. You are being used to bless so many. I pray God’s richest on you this year – whatever that is, may you and your family lean hard on Jesus. I know you know that’s the best place to be.

  • Rebekah

    Best Jeans
    LLBean Favorite Jeans, Curvy Fit, Medium Tall and I’m not telling the size :)

  • Joy

    So festive…I *love* it!

    My “best practice” of 2012…I decided to commit to walking at Ocean’s edge at sunset each evening, and to see the sunrise as many mornings as my schedule would allow. The feel behind this commitment was to anchor in Light in the morning and evening. Ocean’s edge is where I meet Divine. So, to visit each day, to see the glory of Sunset…the bold colors, the expanse and power of Ocean, breathe in the energy of life…regardless of how the day “went”, or how I “felt”…I learned to show up, as is, tears and laughter and all in between, to be present to Light and Love, with gratitude. When Life changing.

    • Judy

      Beautiful! ‘ – to be anchored in Light.

  • Bernice Shupe

    Another precious moment: Selling or giving away number 849 of your books on Christmas Eve to a fine Christian young single farmer who was deeply hurt by a pastor he worked for as his accountant. He had had back pain for two years, and two days after he left his work, the Lord healed his back!!!! He will be so blessed by your devotional book, Ann! He gave me the biggest hug and kiss! :)

    • Robin in New Jersey

      I am confused…you have given away 849 of Ann’s book? :) Wow!

      • Bernice Shupe

        I just love Ann and her books! Carry some with me wherever I go – New Zealand, British Columbia, Pennsylvania, Prince Edward Island, the local stores in Michigan, at restaurants etc. Have sold (at a cheaper rate) 782 books and given away 67 as of today! That is a lot of books – a whole lot of sharing about Jesus and His love and grace. You should see the look on people’s faces when I give them the book! Have gotten many hugs! When I tell them Ann asked me to help choose the cover of the book, they say, “You mean you really know her?!!” Kind of fun!! :) Hope you are not confused any more!

  • Donnalee

    The best video of 2012, the one that encouraged a weary heart, extended grace and understanding, and pointed me to eternal hope and joy was Nancy Guthrie in this:

  • Anonymous

    BEST BOOK: Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. I have other bests but since I just have to pick 1!
    BEST SONG: En Vie La Rose by the Foxtail Brigade. Love their music!
    THE BEST GIFT: My Salavation! Every day it is the best gift. Other best gift my wonderful husband all the years God has given me with Him and my children and grandchildren.

  • Anonymous

    BEST BOOK: Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. I have other bests but since I just have to pick 1!
    BEST SONG: En Vie La Rose by the Foxtail Brigade. Love their music!
    THE BEST GIFT: My Salavation! Every day it is the best gift. Other best gift my wonderful husband all the years God has given me with Him and my children and grandchildren.

  • Dina Love

    The Best Recipe: Tri Tip Tacos…YUMMY!!!!!! And super easy…

    Add all this into a Crock Pot:
    Tri Tip Roast
    a packet of Italian Seasoning
    a jar of Peperoncinis

    Cook til the meat pulls apart easily with a fork, about 6 hours. Shred it with a fork. Steam or fry corn tortillas. Put some of the meat inside and top with your favorite taco toppings; cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, salsa. And ENJOY!!!!!

  • Diane

    Okay, other than reading your book (and sharing it!) and reading your devotions online – which often seem as though you’ve looked inside my head – the best of 2012 was seeing my youngest graduate from high school, having my daughter come home after two years on a Disney cruise ship, and reconnecting with some long-lost friends. One, especially, is a man who is a paraplegic caused from a horseback riding accident. He just celebrated 30 years since the accident. His daughter was my first babysitting job. For years I’ve asked friends how he was (he lives about 900 miles away), but I felt this urging to contact him. I got to see him and visit with him, and now we keep in touch via the computer and one of his aides. It has meant the world to me. That is definitely the best! Of course, there are the daily blessings I get each day: a job, a loving husband and family, a warm (or cool) house, food aplenty… Thanks for reminding me daily how blessed I am!

  • Robin in New Jersey

    I have not read a “Best Book” since I read Ann’s book in 2010. I read it twice that year and once last year and I plan to read it again this year. :)

  • Rebekah

    One of my new favorite books: The Homemade Pantry

    Oldie but a goodie: Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer

    (Two in one since the jeans thing posted twice, sorry!)

  • Dina Love

    The best and most time spent on a website…hands down PINTEREST!!!!

  • Rebekah

    Best new habit: Cutting down (WAY down) on the sugar intake

  • Anonymous

    BEST BOOK: Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. I have other bests but since I just have to pick 1!
    BEST SONG: En Vie La Rose by the Foxtail Brigade. Love their music!
    THE BEST GIFT: My Salavation! Every day it is the best gift. Other best gift my wonderful husband all the years God has given me with Him and my children and grandchildren.
    BEST RECIPE: Copy Kat recipe Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

  • Narita

    BEST BOOK: Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin. I have other bests but since I just have to pick 1!
    BEST SONG: En Vie La Rose by the Foxtail Brigade. Love their music!
    THE BEST GIFT: My Salavation! Every day it is the best gift. Other best gift my wonderful husband all the years God has given me with Him and my children and grandchildren.
    BEST RECIPE: Copy Kat recipe Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

  • Bekah

    The book(s) that I couldn’t put down in 2012:
    – How We Love Our Kids, by Milan and Kay Yerkovich
    – Escape from Camp 14, by Blaine Harden (My heart broke hearing his story.)

    The things that have changed me most this year:
    – sponsoring a little boy from Lima from Compassion, and having only his picture and letters on the fridge (also breaks my heart).
    – Listing my gratitude, and minimizing my possessions down to the essential to focus on the most important, as life is too short not to. And putting the breaks on buying things.
    – Eating gluten-free has helped me to feel so much healthier.

  • Brenda Brough

    How much fun is this!! Thank you for posting this!! I love sharing like this!

    Best Recipe: How MUCH did I make these to survive our piping hot Texas summers?

    Best book: I say this with all sincerety because it changed my life and how I view all things….”One Thousand Gifts.” I kept going back to it, and gave away several copies as well.

    Best song:

    Best jeans: Seriously? I’m wearing them as I type. Just bought them yesterday! LOVE!
    (Size 6 Short, please?)

    Ideas that worked best: I love the one I made!!

    Risk that returned the best: Saying YES to an amazing friend who offered to pay for my flight to go to Philadelphia to visit with my ill, 96 year old, precious grandmother! Leaving 6 children behind? We lost her (my grandmother) 3 months later.

    Best link of 2012:

    Best thing I didn’t want to do: Hesitant to take on directing our Christmas drama at church so late in the year…..but whew….amazing relationships forged and our Lord was so honored!

    Best gift: See above’s “best risk.” Getting to spend time with my grandmother who I hadn’t seen in 14 years!!

    God’s grace STILL amazes me!!

  • Dina Love

    Best Buy: I found my grandmother’s Desert Rose pattern in a little shop. It was just a cup and saucer but I scooped it up and bought it. It now sits on a shelf in my Living Room bringing back fond memories of times past but always present in my mind and heart.

    • Trudi

      makes me smile…I grew up eating on Desert Rose, but the cups all broke. My brother found a whole set of Desert Rose dishes at an auction and bought it! We loved those dishes!

  • Kristen

    Best song… Redeemed, by Big Daddy Weave. LOVE the words!

  • Angie Arrington

    Ann~I don’t know if you even know how often you inspire, encourage and delight all of us on a daily basis. Even your photographs are pure poetry including the real life ones of laundry, dishes and piles waiting for attention from a mom already pulled in too many directions. Keep being the Ann that God created you to be. It’s that Ann that we all see God in. Thank you for being real! Much love from a fellow Proverbs 31 wanna be! :)

  • Dina Love

    The Best Lesson Learned regarding Parenting my Children: Came in the form of a book called, “Parenting; A House United” by Nicholeen Peck. It has changed our home FOREVER!!!!

  • Michele

    Best gift: being able to stay at home with my kiddos and God blessing me with another baby boy to be born May 2013.

  • Carin

    It is difficult to narrow “the best” down. One of the best things for me has been an improvement in my hearing the Lord. This has been a battle for me to slow down and listen. Or, to ask Him before I make commitments, etc. I had grown weary of going out on my own and *then* asking Him to help me deal with the results of my poor decisions :P Certainly, I haven’t “arrived” (by any stretch!) but I feel that I began to really and truly focus on listening this year. It is a beginning!

  • Victoria Cusack

    Best recipe…”Holy Experience Bread”, I put it in my recipe book that way, the no fail bread, been giving it away for Christmas gifts….not only the hand mixed baked bread but all the good word-bread you have shared this year Ann, such nourishment for the soul! Sally Clarkson’s “I Take Joy” has also added wonderful nourishment and encouragement! Kari Jobe’s acoustic sessions….”We Are The Light”, reading the Little Women series out loud and finding an old copy of Joe’s Boys….such laughter for this mom of 4 boys! The hard refining fire that teaches us to give thanks in all circumstances…it’s been ever so hard but He has been ever so faithful!

  • Dina Love

    Best Habit this year: I have 2…
    Counting Gifts & Releasing Clutter
    They go hand in hand believe it or not ;)

  • Tim G

    Best holiday drink…pear nector and ginger ale! We drink it only on Christmas.
    Beautiful and refreshing! 1 to 1 ratio.

  • Nicole

    Hello! This is my first time posting here, and I am going to try and come up with my list. It’s good to think about these things, but harder than it seems to try and narrow it down.

    The best risk we took was buying our house and moving with a three week old. We had to move, our place was being sold. We have been blessed with so so many people coming through our home. Family, friends, my brother away with YWAM for 3 years back to live with us, his friends from New Zealand, Tennesse, Norway, England and soon Holland. And our kids love it.

    The best habit was counting gifts. My husband has joined me.

    The best sacrifice has been all the things I hold so tightly to, that my children need more than I. My time, my food, my hope and joy.

    The best tool is my new Bosch mixer… much better for cookies and cakes and treats for home.

    My best gifts are my kids. The best songs have been ones sung with them, Raffi with my two year old at Christmas. Jesus Culture, Jon Thurlow, and some county music in there too. I can’t pick just one!

    The best idea for a busy mama and household, when I felt like I might sink was The best gift I gave myself was realizing I didn’t have to be everything and do everything!

    The best holiday was Christmas, in our new home, with family.

  • Sharon Gunther

    One of the best this year was “1,000 Gifts.” It was the stocking gift for the ladies in my family. The stocking gift for the men was, “Why Men Need God,” by Mike Erre. Best habit carried over: relinquishing my grasping hold everyday and asking the Father to lead. It is a manna thing. A daily must. Best recipe: Chocolate Peanut clusters…easy. Best accomplishment: writing two books this year, one for each of my 13-year-old grandsons. Best memory: rafting down the Truckee River. 2012 was the best year in a long time! (2008-2011 were grace builders.)

  • Kelli McKnight

    How fun to stop by and participate in this sharing spot! I’ll stop my after Christmas cleaning and weigh in for the 2012 Best Ofs:
    Best Book:
    Daring Greatly by Brene Brown….life changing

    Best Audiobook:
    The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien …. listened to with my 11 year old daughter :}

    Best HARD SCARY Thing:
    Starting to write at

    Best Bucket List Vacation:
    Florence Italy with my studying abroad college girl

    Best Number:
    #4218 gifts listed as of today! Thanks Ann, for the 3 year old spiritual discipline that has become my daily habit and led me to this amazing number.

    Best Christmas Devotional:
    Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent by Richard Rohr

    Best Boots:
    Gray Leather boots from Clarks….clearance find and wear them constantly.

  • Maria

    The best link of 2012 — A Holy Experience. Thanks for the reminders to take life slow, to breathe, to seek God in the every day things.
    Best risk — teaching EFL when I don’t consider myself a teacher. But what a blessing to follow when God nudges you to do something you never would have pursued otherwise!

  • Stacy

    The best gift and event was when my husband and I went to Gatlinburg, alone for 28th anniversary, without our 5 yr old. And the next day, my husband surprised me, he can keep secrets and for 5 months planned to renew our vows, down there, set it up, and brought all of our kids and their spouses and grandkids to be with us. Then because our kids had never been, we got to share it with them.

  • Heather E.

    The best book I’ve read this year by FAR is Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. At first, I was all excited about getting started in a foreign country. But then, God opened my eyes to the needy right in my backyard of Northern Minnesota. Yes, even here, there are people hungry for love and attention, care and help. So, not that I won’t keep the rest of the world in my prayers and future plans, I’m going to work right here and now with the people God has surrounded me with now.

  • Sarah Whitworth

    Oh my, what a question! The year has sped by and I am not sure about the best of my year! This question will cause me to ponder. A year and a half ago, The Great Provider provided me with a full-time job (after many, many beloved years as a stay-at-home mama) so we can provide for our eldest college education. I work at our public library, in the children’s area, so I read books constantly and yet am always behind. One of my favorite juvenille books was Love, Aubrey. A chapter book about loss and love and responsibility. I am grateful for counting blessings. I can’t wait to start 2013 and keep counting.

  • deanna

    Best of everything hearing my 7yo neice read the Christmas story from luke with only a bit of help from grandpap.
    Best concert transiberian orchestra Christmas

  • Margaret Spears

    Hello all! I would like to add my bests to the pot today…..

    Best Recipe: Gluten Free Taco Pizza

    Best Book: Max Lucado’s GRACE, hands down.

    Best Habit: The Eucharisteo List for sure.

    Best Test: Walking through heart surgery with my 13 year old son this last Feb. The beauty of the Lord’s tangible arms carrying us all through that time was priceless.

    Best Realization: That the Father is pleased when I focus on the good, on His good, and when I will myself to refocus onto the blessings in my life I see Him more clearly. Everywhere.

    Best Gift: Clarity.

    Blessings on you all these last few days of 2012, and HUGE blessings on you all every moment of 2013!

    Grace and Peace :)

  • Lara Sadowski

    Hi everyone!

    Great idea, Ann! I love thinking about the good things that 2012 has offered to me and to others. Here we go:

    1. Best Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft’s jeans – they fit comfortably and stylishly over my “extended” hips (:->);
    2. Best Gift: My hubby! When he is not travelling for work, he makes my coffee for me each morning!
    3. Best Book: The Harbinger by Jonathan Cann. I could not put that book down!!
    4. Best Recipe: My Black Bean and Beef Chili! Just made a big pot last night!

    Ann, I hope to hear you at a conference in 2013, but, until then, I will continue reading your blog and loving your book!!

    Lara Sadowski <

  • Donna Dillahunty

    The birth of my second grandson in June and sixth grandchild. His folks are at our house because they have no power from the ice and snow storm. Just was rocking him to sleep and singing “jesus Loves Me”. When I would quit he would start grunting so I would start again!! Loved doing the encores!!….

  • Julie


  • Gina

    Best of. This year was hard. Lessons learned, trials faced, battles fought, victories won. Tears were cried, loniless creeping at every corner, trgedy upon tragedy (though not my own and only watched from a distance). It was a year of stretching, of learning to listen and seek, learning what to stand on and what to step over.

    The best of is that through it, I am closer to my God. I am closer to my husband, I see the strength and goodness of my children. I have a direction to aim towards. In searching, I have found your book, and your blog and both have brought such peace. When I read the blog, the crazy stops for those minutes. The peace settles. I keep reading back and back in time. So thankful. I needed all of those words you wrote.

    • Tanya Canfield

      Oh, those precious moments when the crazy stops! I love them, too. I often wondered if Ann might just be spying on me, her words were so perfect for that moment.

      • Gina

        So very true. I savour the words, and the time. So thankful!

  • Tristi

    The greatest risk was speaking at our church’s women’s conference. I realized that reaching for my dreams of writing and speaking are a lot scarier taking them off the shelf than they are to just leave them out there as a someday. It was amazing to speak to a group of 50 women about what God has taught me about friendship!

  • Dawn

    There was one book that I am treasuring and reading intermittently: The Journals of Jim Elliot. I am on about 856 of the counting gifts journal I made last January with your pretty graphics, but I also keep a separate list on my blog which is a few hundred in as well!

  • Diane Gum

    Best recipe discovery of 2012 – Roasted asparagus and brussel sprouts
    Gotta go with 10,000 Reasons as the song I would find myself singing the most
    The habit we hope to continue is gathering together daily as a family for a time of devotions. We were able to make nearly every day of your Jesse Tree advent devotional. We’re wondering what devotional we could do next to keep us meeting together as a family once a day again.
    Best book – didn’t do a lot of reading this year, but yours was one that I did manage to start and finish. It is definitely the one that I have recommended the most this year.
    Best gift – my husband threw me a couples’ dance for my 11th birthday! (I’m a leap year baby) It was an amazing time!

  • faith

    my best of everything is having people love me in the midst of the biggest changes in my life

  • Tanya Canfield

    Best Experience/Risk/Thing I didn’t really want to do – Climbing down 3 vertical ladders dripping wet with leaking rain, with only a flashlight and my husband’s voice to guide me. Ann, as I moved one step at a time I thanked God for this hard thing, this descending into a pit, and I’m so glad I did. I was able to stand with my husband on the very spot where he experienced unspeakable horror and tragedy 23 years ago(My husband was serving aboard USS Iowa when an explosion claimed the lives of 47 sailors. My husband’s job that day was manning the pump that was removing all the water from the turret.) I heard him whisper that the emotional “no-trespassing” signs were down. Standing in the dark with the tears flowing, I felt like Joshua at Jericho. I knew God could tear down those walls, but to actually experience it after 20 long years? Priceless.

    An added bonus? Sharing this story over at The High Calling and having two wonderful ladies tell me that they were blessed by it. And watching my husband chase a dream. He’s now working for the non-profit that has opened USS Iowa as a museum.

    Best Recipe – Turtle Cheesecake Fudge (dangerously easy to make)

    Sorry, can’t help with the jeans. 4 months pregnant with a surprise blessing (#5). The Gloria Vanderbilt jeans I found for a $1 at the thrift store are just a little too snug right now. :-)

  • faith

    my best of everything is that i am restoring relationships on even ground. no longing doing al the work and waiting for approval!

  • Bonnie Barr

    My best this year: Was being able to wave goodbye to my daughter, her husband, and my three grandbabies and not cry, boohoo or throw myself down on the floor kicking and screaming; as they left to move six hours north of here. You see, I have had to say goodbye to her in some very difficult situations. Times that emptied me of tears and hope. Times that shattered our family and left us wondering just how we would make it through that day. But this time was different. We have all prayed and believed “that He who began a good work in you will see it through to completion”. Yes, we learned to leave all the “stuff” at the cross. We have talked, hugged and loved on each other through the years and given God the glory for healing, restoration and the renewal of family in Him. So, as I hugged and kissed and blessed this dear family, I was reminded of God’s grace, providence and promises of good for each of us – and know that the same God who loves us here and now – is there and present with them.

  • Tristi

    The best habit was turning to God instead of desserts for comfort in 2012. Inspired by Lysa Terkeurst’s Made to Crave and Bible verses God used to penetrate my heart on the topic, I’m hopeful that I will continue to turn to Him instead of desserts when I reintroduce them into my world January 1st. He truly is more satisfying than the richest feast!

  • faith

    my best of everything is that i am on God’s timing even while HE shows me some plans, i must wait on HIM to give me the right time and direction!

  • anita andrews

    The best this year was the smell of two new grandboys as they began life in this world. The newness of them holds such challenge, such adventure…and fear, but trust that the things of the Lord we whispered to their parents when they were new, have taken seed and are being whispered again. God has blessed us with such wonderful children and children in law, and it is a joy to see them carrying on his work in their children (another babe due in March). As I held them for the first time, I buried my nose in their sweet necks and prayed long for their future. So tiny, but so much potential to do mighty things for God!


    THINK THAT IT is hilarious that it TOOK 63 YEARS TO FIGURE THIS OUT!!

  • Renee

    Best song = 10,000 Reasons

  • Karen

    The best thing about 2012 for me was that no matter how difficult it was for me (and believe me, a lot of this past year was) God was always with me…each and everyday, holding my hand, walking me through to tomorrow.

  • Heather E.

    The best habit I’ve formed this year is working out at least 5 if not 6 days a week. It is hard to keep up with this. However, as with all disciplines that I’ve developed through the Lord, there is tremendous blessing that flows from them. My husband and i would get into TERRIBLE fights every month, about that time. And now, we don’t even know my PMS is happening. Me taking responsibility for my health and improved the health of my marriage and my family.

  • Brenda Manheim

    My best gift this year was my life. I was admitted to the hospital on June 15 with extremely high blood pressure; 240/220. I found out a kidney disease that I had 25 years ago was out of remission. But God gives greater gifts to us than money can buy. I am in remission now and thankful for the gift of life.
    My next gift was one of worship. I attended Gathering of Artisans Worship Conference in late September and discovered that God has called me to be a part of worship using my painting skills that gave to me. It is just so awesome.
    The best book besides the Bible which has no equal would be The Harbinger. It was difficult to read but I made I completed it and with a better understanding of some significant things even though it is fiction.

  • Pam True

    The best risk was helping a bunch of kids make a video. After reading your post about Haiti, Ann, where you said : “It’s by and large where you are born.” What would your life look like if you were born onto the heaving streets of Port Au Prince instead of all that clean air somewhere west of Central Park?” , it made me think. (The book “Hole in Our Gospel” and “Radical” also played a part in prompting the video. )So we got all the neighborhood kids together and we made this: A Radical Change

    • Kisti

      Hearing Acts 17:26-27 today…what a responsibility we have because of where we are born.

  • Amy P

    1. Best Recipe – Just about anything by Pioneer Woman! But our favorite this year were the potato skins –

    2. Best book – 1,000 gifts – just started it on Christmas Eve. I was really struggling to find joy this season after the tragedy in Connecticut, a friend who went home to Jesus much earlier than expected, and another who suffered a heart attack. But reading through Ann’s book and taking the time to search for, count and record gifts has turned my perspective completely around – toward my Lord and Savior, who is good, all the time! My mother’s birthday is the first week of January and I can’t wait to share this book with her. Also, when we start back to homeschooling next week, the Joy Dare will be the subject of our journaling for the remainder of the year.
    3. Best song – 10,000 Reasons definitely, and also You Reign, a song we sang during our Christmas program this year.
    4. Best jeans – haven’t found them yet :-(
    5. Best idea – Once a month cooking! I started it in August when I was planning to take an extended trip out of town and my husband would be fending for himself. We didn’t end up taking the trip but absolutely loved having various dishes ready each day for the fixing with little prep time necessary! Now I do it at the start of each month and my daughters love helping me!
    6. The Risk – taking the Joy Dare – ’nuff said
    7. Best Link: Time-warp Wife, she always inspires me.
    8. Best thing I didn’t want to do but did anyway: Accepted God’s timing is not my timing.
    9. Best habit – meeting every 1-2 weeks with a very special prayer partner and spending and our or two seeking God and praying on behalf of others. She has taught me to seek God’s guidance in what, how and for whom to pray.
    10. Best Holiday: Christmas, though it didn’t start out that way.
    11. Best Gift: The homemade ones from my daughters.
    12. Best Sacrifice: My will for God’s will, specifically in the area of timing.
    13. Best Laugh: Usually occurs in the kitchen, or in the car, when my very witty daughters often have me in stitches!
    14: Best Pleasure: The arms of my husband who comforts me, keeps me safe and loves me anyway!

  • Debbie

    I made prime rib for the first time and it was delicious.
    Kisses from Kate was a great book.
    Following God’s lead to the mission field in Brazil, then Alaska and then back home to Maine to serve as their first full time missionary at a Christian camp. All in one year with a great Husband and all with the support of our grown children. It has been a truly amazing year.

  • Kara

    Best Books: Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick
    Soul Talk Self talk and Unglued
    I have a hard time with negative chatter, trying to take every thought captive! 1000 Gifts has really helped with those thoughts too!
    I have four young kids at home (6,5,3 and 1) and started to homeschool last year. This year has been wonderful and hard. My husband is finishing his doctorate! Very busy at our house!!

  • Sherry

    Oh – the best, best, best – do I have to choose?
    Best jeans are the ones I wore for our family photo! Making me look leggy (ok, I’m wearing wedge heels) and slim (hidden panels – shhh!). Maybe I’m vain?
    Best gift given this Christmas was a family calander to my parents. Who knew it would bring so much joy my mum carried it around in her arms for TWO days?
    Also the gift of presence – in a very smoky home to a woman paralized from a stroke. Could God deliver hope with a hot meal? Does the Holy Spirit accompany us wherever we go? Can He speak when we have not the right words?
    Best Christmas morning with my new grandbaby! And all our children and our parents visiting!
    A not-life-altering best – Cover Girl lipstain. A marker for my lips. Too easy.

  • Joeleen Krier

    BEST SACRIFICE – My husband’s willingness to act in a play I wrote and produced as we were short on actors. His countless hours at rehearsals, gathering props, and support and hugs as I cried through the stress of seeing the project birthed.
    BEST UNEXPECTED MOMENT- Hearing Laughter throughout the play, arms around loved ones and knowing glances (it was a clean comedy about the dating scene – “S.A.D.D.: Singles Against Dysfunctional Dating” – a “twelve step program” for chronic daters).
    BEST MOMENT WITH GOD – seeing a rainbow on the way to work one morning after asking God why He doesn’t send signs anymore the night before.
    BEST HABIT – Thanking God on the spot.
    BEST BREAD – the Dutch oven No-Knead Bread – Fantastic to enjoy or give.
    BEST BLESSING – Feeling 100% recovered and enjoying life to the fullest after an extensive surgery! PRAISE THE LORD for my health and LOVE the LIFE HE LAVISHES on me!

  • skye

    :) best jeans–the only pair i have left (but why can’t i find time to shop for another pair? these are leftover from when i was pregnant… and my son is almost 3!) ;)

    best book–not sure, but i always return to Amy Carmichael’s Edges of His Ways for encouragement and reflection. Daily Light is another favorite.

    recipe? love my wycliffe cookbook and also “chuckwagon stew” (with chili and cinnamon), and beef stroganoff…

    that’s all for now. thanks anne–i’ve really appreciated your writing and hope to send your book to some special people soon! :)

  • Amy Slocum

    The best moment…giving my stillborn back to Jesus. He deserved the blessing of that child more than anyone!

  • Charlotte Orth

    The best movie by far was Lincoln and I cannot wait to see it again. What a personality! The best book was Gone Girl, I could not put it down.

    • Charlotte Orth

      Oh, and I wish I could find those best jeans!

  • Misty Davenport

    Being introduced to the book, The Rhythm of Family by Amanda Soule. Ways to slow down and great creative things to do with your children.

  • Treena

    Ann, I have to admit I’m a bit of a stalker (but a good one!), but today I just have to com out and say that your book, your blog, and everything I’ve learned about life through those things have been the absolute best things in my year, and rank very highly on the best in my life.

    THANK YOU with all my heart for sharing so much! I only hope that one day I can be filled with as much grace as you.

    I am so blessed to have stumbled across your blog this past summer. It has richly blessed my life in so many ways!

    With love,
    A devoted reader from Southern Alberta :)

  • Kisti

    Best book(s): One Thousand Gifts by Ann and Brokenness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
    Best risk: opening our home to a small group Bible study
    Best song: Big Daddy Weave “Redeemed”

  • Lorena

    …recipe — was the Starbucks gingerbread cookies snapped off the web — turned out just like they said, just don’t bake them too long so they stay soft!

    …jeans — the cookies are really good, and so is a lot of other food :( so any jeans that fit are good for me — and they can be cheap — Costco is good!

    …photo — I watched the “professionals” take pictures in the park, then line my camera up just like they do and voila!! its magic how mine look so good! The one with raindrops on a pink dahlia just bursting to open is especially good

    … sunset — its hard to compare — God’s movie show changes every night, and each is better than the last. The one over Lake Ontario July 1st weekend was memorable

    … new flavour for this year — fresh nutmeg — ground from the bean — on hot milk, or anything really!

    …devotional memories — 5 minutes with Anne at 2pm every day — my pause from work to let God work a miracle

    There’s lots of other good things, but that’s a good start — to keep me being thankful!!

  • Raya Newell

    The best: Our God reigns!!
    Best Song: Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer Margaret Becker New Irish Hymns
    Best Books: When You Don’t Desire God, John Piper; The Contemplative Pastor, Eugene Peterson; One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp; Grace for the Good Girl, Emily Freeman; GoGo Mama, Sally Sara; Dare to Journey, Charles Ringma and last but not least the never fail God’s Word!!
    Best Journey: A surprise 25th wedding anniversary trip to Kakadu National Park then from Darwin to Adelaide on the Ghan platinum class. All the while enjoying more of God’s incredible creation! The precious doctor husband who surprised me has since shown he is the
    Best Miracle: working fulltime, preaching, giving Godly leadership, quietly contemplative, leading a home group, pleading for a non Christian family, loving all with what specialists have recently described as ‘a highly abnormal cerebral circulatory system’ which has 60% blockages or part blockage!! Oh the joy of knowing His Ways, surrendering to Hm and trusting Him!
    Best Witness: Seeing women in my Thursday growth group lean on Him more, be victorious in battles with illness, chronic pain and loss, flourish through studying Emily Freeman’s Grace for the Good Girl…oh how marvellous are His works
    Best experiences: all of the above + wildlife in my garden – birds, goanna, deer, bandicoots
    Best Recipe: Chorizo & Avocado Salsa … loved by our Friday evening discussion group – the one that shares the best quotes, questions, reads, sermon challenges
    The best little person: 13 month old Mason who brings me to my knees to see the world through humble eyes – curiosity, teetering balance, laughter, hugs, wonderment
    The best parties: family reunions from over the world converging in our home over this Advent and Christmas time – hilarity, worship, a baptism, good food, loving embrace bound by Him…now they go back to South Africa, Utah, Mt. Isa….
    The Best technology: Skype keeping family in all these places and more connected
    The Best ( and hardest) Emails: from our brothers and sisters in the Congo keeping us in prayerful watch as the endure oppression, violence and suffering yet remain focussed on Him
    The Best blog : Yours Ann… you have awakened desire to write; to see with new eyes; to shout eucharisteo from the roof tops; to love my neighbour with greater conviction and courage
    The Best mail received: Caleb’s Advent to Lent Wreath on Christmas Eve….
    Oh, I could go on and on….how privileged am I! How much He has bestowed for me to give away…that is the best job I have…to give, to share of all that He has given!!

  • Misty Davenport

    The best gift I was just given for Christmas: I get to go see Ann Voskamp at the Set Apart conference in March! All the way from Alaska :) If you see this Ann, if I bring your book, will you sign it for me? And I’d love to chat photography for a moment with you too!

    • Misty Davenport

      Is anyone else here going to Set Apart on March 8-9 @ St. Paul, Minnesota?

  • Marie Biccard Lawson

    Best book I read this year was One Thousand Gifts. I couldnt put it down and cried all the way through it. It was like I woke up to the most wonderful life and realized the glory is right here. I finally(and everyone around me sighs ‘FINALLY!’) let go of the fact that I cant be a runner anymore because of a back injury,…in so many ways, and started focusing on my family
    2 more lifechanging books ‘Crazy love’ by Francis Chan and ‘Dont waste your life’ by John Piper.
    Best risk we took as a family this year was letting go of past hurts and opening up our hearts again to church family- and oh boy what a surprise when God just loved us right back into His family through these people. Praise be to HIM.

  • Bekah

    Oh and how could I forget the book “Ruthless Trust” by Brennan Manning. I read that slowly to soak in, just as I did with One Thousand Gifts. I gave both of these books away. Ruthless trust in God every day because I can see the many personal, genuine, and good gifts He gives to me every day. I feel a connection with the Lord that I can’t explain anymore, a deeper friendship. Thank you, Ann. I wish you the very best 2013. Also, you have a lovely family! And I love the pictures of the piglets on your blog!

  • Helen

    So much fun reading all the comments!
    Best Book: An Altar in the World
    Best Recipe: Cheeseburger Salad from The PW and Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork-great crock pot recipe…amazing!
    Best candle find: Natures Wick…crackles…I found it at Target…score!
    Best Games- Farkle and Bubble Talk
    Best for skin-Trader Joe’s Lavender Sea Salt Scrub
    Best journal-Moleskines
    Best Fiction-The Night Circus
    Best Guilty Pleasure=Lindor’s Peppermint Bark
    Best way to counteract Guilty Pleasure-Wii Zumba
    Best Winter Skin Care Help=Burt’s Bee Orange Essence Facial Cleanser with Orange Oil
    Best Tea-Peet’s Earl Grey with Lavender

  • Chris

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
    That would have to be my mother’s peanut butter fudge. I’m recovering from a crazy childbirth/surgery (more about that below) so I wasn’t well enough to make it for us, but she made it for me!

    The best book you couldn’t put down?
    Do you mean the book that CHANGED my life?? If so, that’s “One Thousand Gifts”. It has changed EVERYTHING for me. I discovered it in January-ish and began to practice the discipline of counting gifts. It had become a way of life by the time I went through (and am going through) the hardest season. There are not thanks enough for Ann and what her book did for me.

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
    “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture

    The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)
    My Old Navy Sweetheart Jeans…I have them in many sizes! ;)

    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best?
    Love my 50mm lens for my camera. It has been so much fun to get to know!

    The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)
    The choice to live thankful. I call it a risk because it’s a vulnerable place…changing your life, surrendering old habits that feel like comfy old sweaters, giving up the right to grouch and choosing instead the joy of being grateful. It’s been a life changing year.

    The best link of 2102?
    I have loved writing on my blog. I don’t want to say it’s “the best” for eveyrone, but the journey has been “the best” for me.

    The best laugh?
    Any evening spent with my crazy oldest two. They are 20 and 17 and moving away from being my little girls and more into being my cherished friends. I love their humor, love their puns, love their crazy beautiful hearts.

    The best living?
    Just regular old everyday with my husband and these crazy kids. I love our messy, disorganized, loud, chaotic life.

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.) Praying for and loving enemies. So hard, when you want life to be fair and you want what’s “fair”. I chose to do it at first as an act of grudging obedience which become an act of loving worship and is now just part of the day to day. It was hard, as obedience is, but worthwhile.

    The best holiday? Thanksgiving…because I was alive. Long story short, baby number six came at twenty nine weeks after a dangerous and complicated pregnancy. (Her twin did not make it past twelve weeks.) I came as close to death as you can get during my c-section/hysterectomy. I needed 30 units of blood and the prayers of hundreds of saints to bring me back. The surgery began Nov. 18 at 10pm and I woke up again on Nov. 19 at 1:00pm. Thanksgiving was a few days later and though I spent it in the hospital, I was one thankful mama because my daughter and I were alive and she was doing better than a 29 weeker should’ve been.

    The best gift?
    My favorite gift of the year was this beautiful thing my husband made me. (He got the idea from Pinterest!) He found a piece of old wood behind the monastery where my old church used to meet. He added five different vintage knobs to it, all in a row. Now I have a gorgeous thing to hang my necklaces on.

    The best sacrifice? (The best way to have more is to give more…)
    Part of living thankful meant giving more. We wanted to be part of other people’s gratitude journey, to be used by Him. We started supporting an orphanage in India that has very little support. Giving sacrificially…yes, they are grateful but so are we. Helping support them has blessed our lives tremendously. Do you know that 54 orphans and 19 widows and the family that runs the orphanage were praying for me and my sweet baby as we went through our ordeal!

    So… what was the Best of Everything 2012?
    The best loves? My six kids and my sweet husband
    The best family? Mine for sure, parents, sister and brother in law, nieces, nephew, aunts, uncles, cousins, one grandma, in laws and friends that feel like family.
    The best…I don’t even know what to call it. But let me tell you about how the community around us- our church, our friends, our family- rallied when I went into the hospital at 28 weeks and didn’t come out until early December. How they continued to rally as I fought for life and as I came home and as we traveled an hour both ways to visit our baby in the nice and as we tried to get life back to normal again. Our people and their people (because many who helped are people we don’t know) bought my family groceries, provided us with gas cards and gift cards and cash, they did our yard work and cleaned our house, they bought us millions of Christmas presents and brought them over wrapped (I told these kids not to expect so lavish a Christmas again! Our cups were all shaken together and running over and over and over.), they prayed and they are praying, they called, sent cards, visited, drove me to the doctor, and we are just in a sea of generosity and the love of Christ. This is the church, loving us, praying for us and serving us. Humbled, awestruck, blessed.
    The best life? A life of gratitude lived for Jesus. Loving well and loving big.

    Big thank you to you, Ann. You may never know how your book set my heart free and taught me to live full and grateful. Thank you for laying your heart bare and vulnerable for the greater good.

  • Linda Horst

    Best moment of 2012: Walking down the aisle for the first time ever at age 34 to marry a man beyond my dreams… We are SOOOOOO blessed, so privileged, so delighted… Thank-You, Lord!!!

  • Heather

    The best risk I took was diving into getting my Certification for Level of Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. It’s an enormous time commitment, I liken it to getting your MAsters, but the payoff is extraordinary! I completed Level I last summer, then jumped into Level II this past fall. My husband is completely on board and so incredibly supportive. The best part is that I hve the honor of working with these sweet and wonderful children and give them time and some tools to ponder, wonder and work on their relationship with God. It’s so incredibly amazing and can’t beleive He chose me to do it!

  • Marissa

    Favorite recipe: Paula Dean’s overnight French Toast – can’t make it again or I will never fit into my clothes!

    Favorite Book – The choices are numerous – What’s so spiritual about your gifts? for this year, as it helped me with that elusive question about the Gifts of the Spirit…

    Best jeans… still looking… probably would help if I stopped eating things like Paula Dean’s french toast!

    Best out of my comfort zone step: starting a faith sisters group of lovely ladies to walk along with…

  • Jena M

    Best song: Fall Afresh by Jeremy Riddle
    Best book: Circle Maker has really stirred my heart!
    Best Movie/TV: Hart of Dixie or Downton Abbey S2
    Easiest Family Meal: Trader Joes tomato soup and grilled cheese with baked kale chips!

  • Jacqueline

    Best book: “The Reason” by William Sirls
    Best recipe: Neighborhood Bean Soup
    Best song: You Never Let Go
    Best new habit: reminding myself everyday of all the things I have to be thankful for. Since reading your book, I give thanks for all things in my life including the bad which in the end usually make me stronger. Thank you God, for people like Ann who help us to have life changing experiences.

  • TN Lizzie

    Best Book(s): 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp / Past Forward by Chautona Havig / the ones my Senior homeschoolers are writing but haven’t finished yet…..

    Best Craft: Sharpie Tie Dye! 100% cotton fabric + permanent ink designs + 70% alcohol dripped on = AWESOME art!

    Best Save: The scrap blueprint paper I’d put under my 4-H group’s Sharpie Art projects. We had the most amazing gift-wrapped packages this Christmas, using the paper that soaked up the ink that ran!

  • Melis

    Best Sacrifice 2012 :) This is a tough one…sometimes I view myself just a tad on the selfish side…but this was THE year…my husbands year, when my Soldier, at 50 years old, with two deployments under his belt already was presented the opportunity of a lifetime. An opportunity he had prayed about for FOUR YEARS! An opportunity a half a world away that may go into next year, and the next, and then the next…but the decision was mine, he wouldn’t go where he felt God had called him to go if I told him he couldn’t go. How could I keep him here with me? How could I do that to him? Where would the blessing be in that? Many people don’t understand the sacrifice, and that is ok. My soldier gets it, appreciates it, and the appreciation spills over into our love and our relationship. Our children totally get it, and I guess that is all that matters. Recently a dear friend told me of another Soldier family that she knows well. She said this Soldier Husband also felt called, and his wife said “No way”…my friend explained how it pains her to see this man because she can just tell something is missing. He goes to his job every single day, the job he didn’t really want, and tries to be grateful for it, but she says she can tell he would have been more grateful for a sacrifice…and I get that. I don’t often make the greatest decisions, but if I am in prayer and making sacrificing a priority, I can hardly go wrong :)

  • -t-

    a favorite (of many :) bests this year…. giving our children a “d”

    my I do and i planned for four little ones. God blessed us with two, both born in february. we named the first with an “a” and the second with a “b”. though not intentional, it quickly became a joke that we’d work our way through the alphabet. and. then. there. were. no. more.

    along the way we sponsored a little boy, whose name happens to start with a “c” (and yes, he too was born in February :)
    a few weeks ago in family christian bookstore we walked to the checkout and there was a little girl whose name began “d” and she was born, yes, in February! the kids were so excited. BUT. i could not make the commitment without speaking with their daddy, and he was not available – so we had to leave her there }:

    Christmas morning on the tree was a small package addressed to a & b…. yes, “d” was there!!
    ~ ~ ~

    it’s not as we planned. nonetheless, He has gifted us four. two girls and two boys. all born in february. oh how He loves!

  • Maureen Benke

    I believe the habit of practicing EUCHARISTEO is the best habit of 2012! I am planning to write out 1000 Gifts with my husband and son in 2013!

  • Liz

    Book: “The Scarlet Cord, Conversations With God’s Chosen Women” by Freeman and Canton gives your mind delightful journeys with these women.

    Music, “this is Christmas” Katherine Jenkins. The first one, ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel is just the best!

    Love this Blog!!,

  • Avery

    Best Book (s): Kisses from Katie and One Thousand Gifts!

  • Lissa

    So much to thank God for! 3 best books can’t choose one! Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis, undaunted by Christine Cane and of course 1000 gifts, I feel that each of these books changed me a little and brought me closer to who God intends for me to be. The best thing about 2012 is that I have renewed hope. That God could use even this imperfect vessel , that He chose me and loves me, takes my breath away.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, so much fun reading the responses of the ladies. I would like to thank you for the blogs that have inspired and blessed me this past year. My best that I want to share is the gift of an adopted grandson. My oldest daughter and her husband presented the idea in the spring and everything started falling into place. They went to Ukraine just after Thanksgiving and as God moved obstacles out of the way in amazing ways, they returned home with 1 year old Aleck just 3 days before Christmas. What an amazing experience to receive the gift of a new grandson. My daughter wrote their story and experiences in daily blogs and it felt like we were there with them. The reality of how one little boy’s life has been changed as the result of their radical obedience has rocked our world. Plus I had an amazing month of December keeping the two older grands while their parents made the trip.
    Best music for me this year has been Kari Jobe. Her album “Where I Find You” has touched my heart with the reality of the Father’s love over and over.
    May 2013 be richly blessed for your family, dear friend.

    • Denise

      I didn’t know how to enter my name! Sorry.

      • elise daly Parker

        Well you figured it out…yay Denise!

  • sherry

    Best Sound – my kids laughing! Especially my almost-5 year old! Her giggle is awesome!

  • sherry

    Best New Habit – Exercising. Especially Pilates. LOVE it!

  • Avery

    Best Habit: Starting to read a Psalm before every meal with my husband.

    Also, I put the pictures of our Compassion kids in a vase on the kitchen table so we would remember to pray for them at meal times…this has been a great way to think about them and incorporate them into our every day life!

  • Karen

    The best of 2012… walking down the aisle to marry my best friend, and becoming a stepmom to three amazing children. Coming from someone who cant have children, this was one of the greatest gifts I could receive.

    Best Book…. One thousand gifts.. this book has transformed me into being thankful even through teh rough stuff.

  • Michelle Stewart

    Best decision and risk and blessing…..bringing our son home from Bulgaria! Home 2 months now!
    Best books: One Thousand Gifts–I have given so many away to precious friends, and Kisses From Katie (Katie Davis).
    Best blogs I started following: Ann’s–love it and inspired and blessed by it. And If you don’t know or follow Linny Saunders and her family, then you should! :-)
    Best recipes: just started making all my own bread and mixes…truly life changing for this familiy.
    Best changes for family: using essential oils, making more foods from scratch, switching to Almond Milk and starting on probiotics. Big changes for us in just one year!
    I am sure there are many more bests from this incredible 2012. I’ll ponder them and I will enjoy pouring over all these that have been shared. Thank you!

  • Heather

    The best thing that has happened to me in 2012 is the quiet but continual whisper I’ve heard that has nudged me back to God after years of distance and indifference. I am blessed.

  • Christie Petersen

    The best gadget Amish Wisc just given to me by a terrific son in law
    Flew to Calif by myself to visit my Mom I will be going again in just one week to help her during her surgery,
    Work in the Butcher shop
    Reading my Bible
    Christmas many Blessings several of our 11 children were here and their hearts are looking once again to the Love of Jesus,
    Letting my husband do all the leading simply waiting upon Him and being at Peace
    Our Church Family the Love that Keeps on Giving!
    My Mom Sent me my favorite lipstick for my stocking “A Different Grape”, it has a perfect name and i really like the way it looks on me.

  • Tarsh Siebert

    This year, i got engaged, had a 37mm golf ball sized tumour (not cancerous thank you GOD!) removed and my right thyroid lobe, read lots of christian fiction, got married to my lovely partner Tim on the 12/12/2012! at 12:12pm! Then his lovely parents blessed us with a honeymoon to Tonga to Fafa Island! I’ve never been on a plane before , let alone, left the country. When we touched done and got out of the plane in Tonga, i was hit with the smell of a different way of living, the woodsmoke of Umu fires cooking, the smell of a different plantation. Being in the water in Tonga was so pristine and pure. I felt like God said to me, your tiny faith is just enough to be blessed by all this, girl, how much more faith can you increase, to discover more of what i have for you. When can you start believing ?? That much more?
    2012 , have been a mixed year, but i have certainly felt like i have been in the Refiner’s fire, moulding to a more christlike way, but there is a lot more to mould and bend. :)

    Helensville, North Auckland, New Zealand :)

  • Christie Petersen

    White Chicken Chili
    One Thousands Gifts I wonderful book that has changed my life as I witness the changes that gratitude has made in my heart and how it pleases my Father.
    I Will Rise (Beneath the Waters) Hill Song Heard it while seeing Ann in Kansas City
    Maurice s Jeans

  • Avery

    My best friend who recently moved overseas for missions shared this song with me before leaving. I have listened to it many times since she has left and prayed the words over her and her family. So good!!

    • Avery

      The song is called Whom Shall I Fear, and it’s by Chris Tomlin =)

  • Charlane

    Best food-our turducken for Christmas!!!!boned turkey with a duck inside and a chicken inside duck with wild rice and pecans inside each layer!!!! Just wonderful.
    Best moment- when my husband gave me a birthstone rosary for Christmas and our41anniversary!
    Best gift- when my daughter came out of severe depression and was able to spend a wonderful Christmas Day with her three teen age sons and incredible husband , her dad and I and her five sisters and all of their families…… O what an awesome day it was….. We consider her our Christmas miracle!!!
    Best song- believe from the polar express,… Me and my grand daughters favorite one!!
    Best book-the walk

    • Phyllis Lipford

      Praise God for your Daughter’s healing … truly a miracle.

  • Emily

    Best things…?

    Best books (because there are several!): 1000 Gifts, for sure. Radical, by David Platt. And the current life-changing one is The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.

    The best risk? Quitting my job. I have no idea how God is going to fix the no job situation, but… He made it happen, so He’ll make it happen! :)

    The best new music? Getting to interpret for Group 1 Crew at Creation Festival!

  • Trisha

    Just over a year I was reading your book One Thousands Gifts. Then the Lord took my on a journey that would open up my past, reveal my doubts, and challenge my faith. I find my self back here reading the Holy experience, grateful for Him being here, walking me through all of this. I looked back at my 1000 gifts journal and I have made it to just over 500. I will make to 1000!
    The best thing I have learned this year is trusting, really trusting the Lord.
    Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. Townsend
    Best Jeans Old Navy Dreamer
    Thank you Ann for your beautiful words that reach so deep and point us to the Lord.

  • http://jbeane6.wordpress.con jan

    Best gift…staying well through October to savor life here at the farm.
    Finding hope with a specialist who can help with my breathing and chest pain issues…seeing him next Wed.

  • Christie Petersen

    White Chicken Chili made by a dear Friend and Given to us as a gift dinner,
    One Thousands Gifts I wonderful book that has changed my life as I witness the changes that gratitude has made in my heart and how it pleases my Father.
    I Will Rise (Beneath the Waters) Hill Song Heard it while seeing Ann in Kansas City
    Maurice s Jeans

  • Angie

    One of the Best Gifts, this Christmas Season was my forever friend (yes,of 26 years) had postive results on her MRI, She is a Brain Cancer survivor, It’s been a year and half now, her faith in God continues to Inspire me daily….

    Although everything else pales in comparison, my favorite recipe I found was on Pinterest and it’s Muffin Lasagnas, Super Easy & Frugal Too~

  • Lisa S

    the Best Book I read is One Thousand gifts and I dont say that because I am on here. I say it because it is true. I read many many books, but this book changed my way of thinking. I am somewhat of a negative person and this book has helped me move away from that attitude. Life changing. Love the Laura Story song Blessings, dont know if it came out his year or last. Best Jeans good old mom jeans dont have to worry they wont show things that are not to be seen in public.

  • Nancy King

    Not sure if we’re supposed to do all of the Best or just pick one or a few, so I will pick the Best of 2012 first then add some more for more entries:

    The best of 2012 was when my husband and I renewed our wedding covenant. In the year 2011 we almost split because of many reasons, NONE of which were legitimate, but all seemed that way then. We knew we were fading and falling fast and made a conscious and determined agreement to put our marriage first, it was really the only choice we had. In October 2011, we pulled up our boots and with our feet planted firmly in our faith, we started rebuilding our marriage first, then our family and a lot of healing took place for us and our daughter.

    We have had plenty of rough times since then but we’ve conquered through God and His mercy, through His desire for our covenant to be echad (as one). There are so many ‘bests of 2012’s’ they all started with this one though and our conscious and intentional purpose to “do this”.

    Thanks Ann…without even a fanciful ‘e’.
    Love and Grace to you.

  • Allison Scherer

    Ann~ Your Christmas family picture is just gorgeous, by the way! Radiant! Your book has been my favorite and I have given one to all my dear friends and family. I love getting your Wednesday emails in my box, you always have a word of wisdom that brings me back to the heart of Jesus. Naming the gifts has changed my life and I just bought your new devotional book. I just have to say thank you, thank you, thank you for letting God work through you. Sending hugs!!!

  • Avery
  • Donna P

    OK this is FUN!!!! What a great idea. The Best thing I did that I didn’t want to do was go on a weekend getaway to a spa with Hubby, I know crazy right, but it was totally out of my element and I get extremely anxious when I’m out of my comfort zone, but man am I glad I did it. We want to go back again :)

  • Lei

    Best book – One Thousand Gifts … savored every thought rolling it over the palate and letting it seep down into the heart. Had to share it with several friends who would continually share with me what parts were touching their hearts. We have enjoyed it so much that the Bible study was on order before its release and I am so anxious to share this study with 10 other women who will gather round my kitchen table with Ann every Friday starting January 11th. Can’t wait!

  • Shannon Hamm

    Best song – Not For A Moment by Meredith Andrews – spoke to my heart especially in a season when my mother and several friends were going through very difficult times.

    Best Jeans – oh my, best ever are “Not Your Daughters Jeans.”. They fit like a hug. Super comfy and make you look great, even if your don’t feel great! I don’t spend a lot on clothes usually, but these are worth every penny.

  • Erin Patrick

    ♡ Best recipe: My mom’s baklava…it’s the first time I made it since she passed away.
    ♡ Best song: Blessing by Laura Story
    ♡ Best book: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
    ♡ Best Gift: My prodigal son returning home after 15 yrs of running from God!

  • Tina

    best book and best gift: 1000 gifts; my friend gave it to me for my birthday in March—God began my ‘gratitude conversion’ before that, but the book–God knew what i needed to keep going!
    Best gadget: Kitchen Aid mixer with it’s attachments (don’t need too many other kitchen gadgets besides this one:)
    Best memory: anniversary getaway with my darling at Belemere Suites-swimming in our private pool and reading Song of Solomon together (you gotta google it)
    best sacrifice-opening up and being real with my sisters in church
    best hardest- letting go and forgiving (Praise God for freedom!)
    best habit: to just RELAX and see the good and the special that God has given me and -wow- that includes at the top of the list my husband and 2 girls and 3 boys.

  • Avery

    Best tool: My slow cooker! We received it as a wedding gift (just been married a little over a year!) and it has been great! There are so many great slow cooker recipes out there now (I have a whole board of them on Pinterest).

  • Mary Patricia Anthony

    Best = blessed. And so I am. This year was a crossover one, on the bridge of Grace.
    It began when we were moved by God into our first home, an old beauty kept for us after we came back from the mission field, when it seemed impossible financially. Blessed be the weaver of Grace strands and the giving of thanks.
    Blessed in finding you Ann, as a kindred soul-sister when a friend gave me your book with a puzzling question: do you have a problem with the concept of “making love to God”? (It apparently had caused a division in her little church.) I answered, I am a lover of the God who is Love. It is pure Joy!!
    Blessed gift for Christmas…a puppy named Pearl, given by a friend to my husband John; the gift being amplified by the joy on his face, this rugged old warrior from Viet- Nam, melting before my eyes with thanksgiving. God had heard his longing.
    Blessed by knowing the meaning of Christmas, and the value of sharing all we’ve been given with those who don’t know, yet.
    Blessed to have a published a book that took more than five years to write, to finally give God the Glory He deserves in redeeming my life from destruction so that others may find Him, the One who seeks us and longs for us.

  • Lindsey

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again? Chicken Parmesan Bake ( simple, but delicious! I just got married last December and have been trying all kinds of new recipes. I have certainly found several keepers!
    The best book you couldn’t put down? The Chronicles of Narnia- These books have renewed in me a love for reading and writing!
    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
    You Alone Can Rescue by Matt Redman
    The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)
    Delia’s jeans ( a bit worn, but those are the best kind!)
    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? (It’s true: One good idea in hand is worth two good friends knowing about it too!)
    the run zombies app on the iphone is helping my husband and I get back into shape! It makes running fun!
    The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)
    Moving to a new place so that my husband could take a youth pastor position at a church. This would also probably be something I didn’t want to do at first, but did
    anyway (the Lord really changed my heart, and I’m so glad He is sovereign!)

    …I’ll have to think about the rest of these, but over all, 2012 has been a wonderful year!

  • Charissa

    best reipe: Duggar rolls, as we’ve come to call them. We found the recipe in Michelle Duggar’s book :) They melt in the mouth!

    best jeans: i bought Tommy Hilfigers skinny jeans (for $20!) and they are so comfy and cute! I’m amazed!

    best book: The Story of my LIfe by Helen Keller. I still think about that book – I need to buy it!

    best risk: I spent a big chunk of money on a class that would teach me how to help my son (MNRI therapy). I was so afraid that I was wasting that money since I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to do it. But I decided it was just money, and if I didn’t take the risk, I would never know if it would help my son and I would regret not doing it. SO I took this plunge, and it has been the best thing!

    best tool: pampered chef potato masher. I use it for potoatoes, making applesauce, mashing fruit for jam, etc. It makes the work and clean up so much easier!

  • Kelley

    The risk that returned best? Going back to school and getting my Real Estate license at age 51 and starting a new career!! I had to work really hard on not being afraid-especially when it came to taking the exam.

  • Ruthie

    What a fun opportunity and space to share the bests of 2012!
    Here are some of mine:
    Best Book Read: “One Thousand Gifts” – God did it use it to drastically change my vision and perspective as I struggled on the missionfield this year.
    Best Repeatable Recipe: Saltine Toffee – Made it multiple times this holiday season!
    Can’t just choose one song, but the Best New Favorite Artist would have to be Jimmy Needham.
    Best Jeans – Ones that fit right and are comfy!
    Best Gift – Being home for Christmas with family, old friends and new friends. :)

  • Kim

    The best of 2012 … Giving my life to Christ.

    Like many , it’s been a year of ups and downs but God has been my rock. I am thankful everyday for the day (as each is a miracle) and trust that whatever unfolds he will be here to guide me and my family.

    Thank you for your book. It opened my eyes to see things I couldn’t see before. I true blessing.

    Best scripture: Philippians 4:6-7

  • Jill

    Best book: A Full Quiver by Rick and Jan Hess
    (Started reading with cynicism and finished with a changed heart: love when God does that!)
    Best song: Come to Me by Bethel Music
    Best recipe: 2 chocolate chip cookies warm out of the oven followed by a peanut butter cup sandwhiched in between….yum!!!!
    Best jeans: still on the hunt; thanks for the leads!
    Best quote: “The joy of the Lord is not mere sentiment; it’s the muscle that keeps you standing.” Thanks for all the “nuggets” Ann and thanks for being a vessel!

  • Mary@The Calm of His Presence

    How much fun it has been reading the “Best of 2012″ lists from everyone.

    Best book of 2012: I have 2 :-) – #1. One Thousand Gifts I’ve read through it several times and oh what a blessing it has been. Even in the hard, hard moments I have learned to find the gift of Grace from God. #2. Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst – Imperfect progress is what 2012 has been about and it has been good!

    Best Journey of 2012: Being part of the Just Give Me Jesus Augusta Revival Team with Anne Graham Lotz – God stretched me and taught me more than I ever imagined through that experience.

    Best Risk 0f 2012: Being an encourager and prayer support for my husband as he has taken bold risks in following God this year. It hasn’t been easy and the blessings are still to come but I am confident we will see God’s Glory through the hard times.

    In His Calm,

  • Donna P

    Best trip we did as a family was go to Drumheller AB, Dinosaur park :) It was SOOOOO fun for us all, we’ll do it again for sure :)

  • Amy S

    The best moments of this year have been our move to a small country town where through a homeschooling group found an amazing family. We have such similarities, personally & family wise that it was like we had been friends forever. I am so greatful to have such kind, loving, giving friends.
    We were also fortunate enough to host two Spanish exchange students this past summer. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world. It was amazing to be able to learn other cultures & languages, but also through our family provide so many firsts to our students. It was wonderful to see them trying/seeing something for the first time. To give back and guide, but to learn at the same time was truly wonderful.

  • Tina

    best recipe I haven’t made (and maybe shouldn’t) triple chocolate cake–sweet!

  • Angela Pantony

    This year mom son got married. His best man Brian was his best friend from high school and university. His MC was another Peter, twin of the best man’s brother. Got it? Now here is the good part. The twins’ mother Cecilia flew across the country to attend my son’s wedding and not only attended but spoke wonderful words over my son and the rest of us in attendance.
    Its complicated. Years ago, Cecilia and I met through our sons. They spent all their time together or rather my son lived at her house and her exhusband’s house Tom during their high school years. We became second mom’s to each other’s sons. Cecilia’s divorce was still going through the courts and it was ugly.
    Tom was struggling to get up in the morning and lost out big time in the first court battle. Both wonderful people whom I grew to love along with my husband.
    The time came when we moved overseas for a few years and Tom became our life line while we were gone. When divorce proceedings for Tom and Cecilia approached the Supreme Court of Canada, Cecila and I had a falling out and agreed to let our relationship rest.
    How I have missed her and reflected on my failures and successes in supporting her as a friend. How I was delighted to see her again after all these years and thank her from the bottom of my heart for her gift to my son and to me! God is faithful and good!

  • Tere Carns

    the best kitchen tool I found this year is a pizza and pie slicer/server… amazing little tool by King Flour… needless to say, everyone in the family got one for Christmas!

  • Tiffany McDaniels

    Recipe: Our family has been LOVING potato soup w/ ham…YUMMY! Song= would be the one that says “What do I know of Holy”…BEAUTIFUL! Jeans= a hand-me-down pair of “sevens”…oohh the material is oh so comfy…(hoping she will hand me other items that don’t fit her so well) :) Gizmo: it’s for babies…it is the little ring the baby holds onto w/ the mesh bag attached that you can put food in and the babe won’t choke. We put a frozen peach in our sweet girls’ and her eyes got sooo big and she smiled huge. LOVE this invention! Risk: husband taking new job away from everyone and everything familiar…we are in the country now…it is quiet and still and our family is being made-over-by-HIM! So THANKFUL! Sacrifice: using some of our grocery money to help take care of our new friends who are homeless and hang out under the trees by our grocery store…such SWEET hearts. Favorite Book: Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy…it is a childrens book but I can COMPLETELY relate to this “elephant” mama trying to find 5 quiet minutes. It makes me smile and hug my babies! (I have four of them). One other favorite read comes not in book form but blog form and is transforming my life! I thank the Lord that my precious friend Heidi told me about this BEAUTIFUL blog by Ann Voskamp…”A Holy Experience” It’s rare that I go a day without reading it, and even more rare if I can get through it without soaked cheeks! I thank the Lord for the inspired writings of SWEET Ann! Cherished Words: would come from my 5-year old a couple of hours after gifts (given by friends) were opened on Christmas: “Mama…I’m thankful for all of the gifts…but the best gift is Jesus” I wrap her in my arms…cheeks wet once again…SO THANKFUL FOR JESUS!

  • gabriella

    crocheting is my favorite thing!

  • Sharon

    Dear Ann,
    It is so precious to be able to join you and the many ladies here who love Jesus.
    My Best Habit this year is looking for God’s timing in all things. He’s always faithful.
    Best Trip – Celebrating 40th Anniversaries together with 40-yr friends
    Best Victory – Seeing so much of my “want to in 2012″ list met : Memorize a Psalm, a Hymn, a Poem, a watercolor class, redecorate the bathroom, visit a certain church, etc.
    God Bless your 2013.

  • Lei

    Best book – One Thousand Gifts … savored every thought rolling it over the palate and letting it seep down into the heart. Had to share it with several friends who would continually share with me what parts were touching their hearts. We have enjoyed it so much that the Bible study was on order before its release and I am so anxious to share this study with 10 other women who will gather round my kitchen table with Ann every Friday starting January 11th. Can’t wait!

  • Melissa Ann

    Best books: Building the Christian Family You Never Had: A Practical Guide for Pioneer Parents
    Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus
    Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life

    Best Song: Remind me Who I am

    My Best Post:
    My Favorite Link:

    Best Risk: Applying to (and being accepted to!) Holley Gerth’s God-Sized Dreams Team:

    As for the jeans: someone please help a sister out! What on earth fits a pear shaped woman with twin skin that I’d like to avoid muffin topping the best. There’s a 10″ difference between waist and hips on me! And my poor jeans are always too tight the first hours and falling off the rest of the day. Sigh. I ought to just become a skirt/dress girl… but I hate the cold whether on my legs!

  • Del Marie Riley

    Best of 2012…. The best thing we did was pack up and move to Colorado. I know this is where God wants me to be. It’s only because of Him that we are here. I’m not sure of the “why” of it all, but I’ll patiently wait for Him to reveal it me. I love it here.

  • Leslie B.

    I had the best season of gardening ever….well in my 5 years of gardening.

  • Heidi Strickler

    Best movie of 2012: Les Miserables…something about this musical evokes such emotion in me.

    Best habit: Writing more. Blogging has helped me discipline myself.

    Best song: Never Once & 10,000 reasons by Matt Redman and “Do you hear the people sing” from Les Miserables…

  • Tere Carns

    After reading 1000 Gifts on the train to San Francisco during the last of many custody hearings (8 train rides back and forth)…. I’ve found peace in my life and a new ability to decipher the relationships (all of them), I have in my life that are – or are becoming toxic, .. with this new super power to turn that into something good, healthy and productive instead of toxic… that is just Amazing …. God is so Awesome!

  • Avery

    Best thing I didn’t want to do–but did anyway? All the times I kept writing and blogging when I felt afraid of opening my life up for others to see. Every time I have heard the words, “Thank you. That really helped me…” or something similar, I have been reminded that this isn’t for me. I write as a servant…even if it’s only for one, one sweet soul who needs my story.

  • Lauren

    My best book of the year definitely is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I know its a few years old now… (2005), but I was just introduced to it and WOW. To re-read the basic story of Hosea in a real and tangible way. WOW.

  • Tere Carns

    I discovered purple Levi skinny jeans at Target, after losing weight… on my road to turning 50 years old and looking awesome!! so happy :)

  • Del Marie Riley

    The best jeans I’ve found so far are New York and Co skinny jeans and their boot cut jeans. So comfortable you can sleep in them. Lol

  • Heather

    Best book: Kisses from Katie. What a powerful reminder that there is so much that we can (and must) do for others.

    • Anonymous


  • Leslie B.

    BEst conversations ever…the ones with my 4 year old where we talk about Jesus.

  • Jennifer

    The best song was Audio Adrenaline’s Kings and Queens. The best jeans are dENiZEN pull on skinny jeans, found them at Target.

  • Leslie B.

    Best gift for 2012……ok the Disney movie Brave.

  • Alison

    Hi … I’ve never commented here before but after reading a few responses a couple of ideas come to mind … :)
    Best recipe – pulled pork – an oldie but new to me and everyone in the family enjoys it
    Best Song – Kari Jobe “O the blood”
    Best Jeans – Madden Straight from the Bay (Canada)
    Best tool – is an e-reader a tool? I love my Kobo because I can read without reading glasses, it has the Bible and various devotionals on it including the following link …
    Best link: where the “encounter advent” series was another of the ‘best’ habits I took up this year.
    Best Habit – texting my son (who’s away at university for the first time) before going to bed
    Best hobby – sitting around with the family, playing apps together; laughing together
    Best book – not sure this is a life changer but it has opened my eyes to the life of women in Afganistan. It’s called, “In my father’s country” by Saima Wahab

    I write today in memory of my dear friend Paula Pike who gave me your book and introduced me to you. She passed away just over a week ago after living with aggressive lymphoma for a year and a bit. She embodied a thankful spirit and kept her own journal of thanks.

    Thanks for letting me join in the conversation….

  • Leslie B.

    best new habit….cultivating a thankful heart.

  • Stacy Fredrickson

    Best Recipe: Lentil Loaf or Vegetarian meatloaf

  • Stacy Fredrickson


  • Lauren

    Best candy this year: Two-tone Almond Bark. Chocolate layer on the bottom, then sprinkle roughly chopped roasted, salted almonds over the melted chocolate, then drizzle very generously with white chocolate, in circular patterns, until most of the chocolate and almonds are covered. Let harden and break into pieces. EASY to make and it was the first tray to be emptied!

  • Stacy Fredrickson

    Best Memory:
    My husband putting together a new service at our church called Wildflower Gatherings and people coming! And experiencing community, God, love, peace, and life!

  • Linda B

    Best Happening: Our son became engaged to our wonderful future daughter-in-law! We could not be more thrilled. They are getting married in May 2013.

    Most Thankful for: Job for our son coming out of grad. school. He’s loving his teaching job, loves the new area where he lives. We are so happy he has found what he was made to do!

    Biggest Transition: We became empty-nesters after busy years of raising on homeschooling 4 children, all close in age. Best discovery: Dh and I like each other, and love spending time together!

    Best little purchase: Crock-pot Lunch Crock. I send this with my husband to work. Great for soups or leftovers, and helps my busy man to eat healthfully and frugally at work.

  • Jodene Shaw

    The BEST link was the one you shared to St. Pauls Kids in New Zealand’s Christmas Story videos! We have watched them AGAIN AND AGAIN!!

  • Del Marie Riley

    The best trip I took this year was the 2,000 mile trek to get to Colorado. Even though it was long, miserable, cramped, I was able to spend those days with my sister and my nephew. Something I will treasure forever.

  • Tina

    Best quote: “I want to learn to play the trumpet. Then I can go to the hospital and play there to cheer up the patients.” -my five-year-old daughter
    best little jingle: “Ann Voskamp, Annie Downes, Holley Gerth, How it sounds.” written and sung by my 11 yr old daughter. Hey, what can I say, i’ve been blessed by you ladies!

  • DeniseLynn

    Best Book: There are 2 actually that are changing my heart. You’re Already Amazing – Holly Gerth and honestly, 1000 wishes – Ann VosKamp. Ann’s poetic writing and words of truth have opened my eyes and brings meaning to real life. I’m only part way through Holly’s book and wow! How does she know me so well? I wish she lived next door. I’m finally learning how to love myself and really see all the blessings in my ordinary life. PRAISE!
    Best Recipe: My very own potato soup that even my son asks for more of. {I’ve perfected it just recently}
    Best jeans: for my straight shape it happens to be my calvins. ;)

  • Stacy Fredrickson

    Best Book: The Good and Beautiful Life by James Bryan Smith (part of a 3 part series)
    But what made it the best was discussions in our SISTER’s Bible Study!!

  • Lori

    Oh Ann this has been the toughest year yet. My Mom went home back in August this past year. He had sent someone to give me your book a year ago. I knew then he was preparing me for something really hard. I LOVE how he prepares us before we walk through something. My favorite song has been Blessings. I am learning to give thanks for the hard things in life. In October my baby girl was born . Mom would have loved to have made it to see her. I hope God gave her a chance to see her from heaven. Because of what God did in my heart through your book we decided to call her Chara Ann . God really does put lasting joy in your heart when you are able to give thanks for all things. All really is Grace. I can not tell you how many times I have wanted to come and see you and hug your sweet neck. My second favorite book is Baby wise. My little girl was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks because of this book . Thank you Daddy for wonderful friends care. Love and lots of Grace to you Ann.

  • Beth M.

    Best Habit: 4:45am alarm for Faithful Fitness group and quiet time w/God in my easy chair before each weekday begins.

  • Dawn Kilgore

    2012 brought us a mix of emotional things.
    Watching my daughter have break through seizures while waiting to get a replacement battery for her VNS therapy. ( Haylee had her surgery in April 2012.) Grateful to God for that machine. Oh so thankful.
    Song I cannot get out of my head: Like a lion by Newsboys ( A little guy about 3 sang this song at the top of his lungs while we were in the waiting room during Haylee’s surgery @ Children’s ) That spoke loads to me. Very thankful to those parents.
    Best books : This one is hard as I have at least ten books going on at once. 1000 gifts moved me. The little white horse was wonderful. The private world of Tasha Tudor is one I loved.
    Best recipe: Stuffed Green pepper soup. It was divine. so yummy.
    So blessed beyond measure.

  • heidib

    Best thing I did (although not daily) this year that was sometimes harder than I wanted it to be? Starting a 1000 gifts journal. I am not to 1000, but getting closer each day :)

  • Wanda Webb Everett

    Marrying my high school sweetheart, after being widowed for six years.
    Life has blossomed in a new and beautiful way.

  • Darcie

    Best meal – Lasagna soup (my 4 kids devour it).

    Another best food – Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls. To.Die.For.

    Best book – 7: An Experimental Mutiny against Excess. Drastically challenged my beliefs about “stuff”.

    Best Bible study: Beth Moore’s study on James

    Best marriage book: The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller

    Best tool – Nissan thermos (keeps my coffee hot for hours b/c it takes me that long to drink it w/4 small kids)

    Best gift — it was a family game – We just got Rush Hour by Think Fun. It has been a HUGE hit for all of us. You will love it — run (don’t walk) and buy it for your family.

  • heidib

    The best book I read? 2 of them… Ann’s 100 Gifts & The Resolution for Women.
    Revisiting them both as this crazy year leads into another.

  • Charlane

    O yes best habit-counting my blessings and living one day at a time!!!

  • Del Marie Riley

    The best gift I was given is my daughter. She had a horrific wreck in June and had to under go 3 major surgeries. She suffered a broken knee, broken femur, broken elbow, broken jaw, broken wrist, and multiple severed tendons that needed repair. By the God’s grace she’s alive and doing better than predicted. She is my inspiration. I love her so much.

  • Sheila Bair

    One of the bests of this year was discovering “one thousand gifts” because God had already been speaking to me about being thankful (and stopping being crabby and complaining). Thank you for doing this!

  • Dana Everett

    What a beautiful way to share in community by sharing the best of’s!! Not only does it help me reflect on great things from this past year but also encourages me to try new things in the year ahead!!! Thank you!
    2012 Favorites:
    Favorite recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies, thanks to my dear friend, Gina
    Favorite song: At Your Feet by Melissa Greene
    Favorite jeans: affordable
    Favorite book: Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis
    Favorite habit: 5:30am dates with hubby- coffee, reading, prayer, conversation, quietness
    Best gift: David Nevue live in concert with some of the dearest friends in my life!

  • Vicki

    1. The best book (other than the Bible of course) is always the one I am reading because I always feel like it’s such an extravegant thing to read. “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” by Betty Smith
    2. The best jeans: Don’t laugh, but I’ve rediscovered Lee’s. They make different types for different body types! Try them and you’ll agree!
    3. The best appliance: At the risk of sounding like a infomercial, the Nutribullet has changed my life! It has been the catalyst of healthy living for me.
    4. The best risk: my husband. Being faithful to what Christ says a wife should be, God has been faithful in bringing my husband to Christ. Our marriage is a prime example of “ugly-beautiful”
    5. The best sacrifice: I am at the beginning of it. God is stirring my heart about the sacrifice of “comfort” and what it means to carry my cross.
    6. The best workout DVD: P90X — It really does work (and yes it’s hard in the beginning, but it’s worth it!)
    7. The best spiritual website: Not trying to win points here, but I have recommended the site to countless people. Voskamp’s words are guided by the Holy Spirit and fill me up daily.
    8. The best fashion website: I am a sucker for people watching and am always intrigued wondering my a certain person would choose a certain thing to wear.
    9. The best Bible Study: BSF International. It’s an international Bible study not affiliated with any church. A safe place to study the Bible. to find a study near you!
    10. The best marriage book: “The Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas

  • Patricia

    One of the best things that happened this year was moving to Meaford ~ a God orchestrated move in so many ways ~ finding the church and group of people here that are so giving, thoughtful, humble ~
    Best news was from my daughter and her husband ~ They’re having a baby!!
    Best thing that has continued to bless me is the (in)courage site and all the wonderful things that have come of that – linking me to a friendship with another from another country, visiting with that friend and attending a Lysa TerKeurst conference, finding you Ann, reading your book and sharing it with many. Discovering David Nevue’s music has been a blessing – thank you Ann.
    Soooo many beautiful things, so many wonderful experiences, so many lives that have touched me and brought me closer to God….
    That has to be the best, if we’re listing bests here ~ the Love of God and the realization that all things come from Him and through Him…Can’t get better than that.

  • Shelly

    The Best of 2012 was moving into our new home after living in a tiny camper for over a year.

  • heidib

    Best blog for me? Simple Mom… she speaks to many of the hats I wear.
    And One Thousand Gifts… it’s true! Not just buttering you up ;)

  • Sheila Bair

    Best Christmas gifts: handmade gourmet chocolates from my daughter who is in culinary school. Indescribable!

  • Shelly

    Our best for 2012 was moving out of a small camper into our new Barn-dominium. A house built in a barn, by my dear husband. This family of four was ready for some space.

  • DeniseLynn

    The Best Risk: Begging my husband not to leave and to begin marriage counseling with me. It’s not easy but it’s going to be so worth it! Just a few months in and we’re making good changes. God will help us through!
    Best Moments: diving deeper into God’s word and deeper into a sweet relationship after giving my friend 1000 Gifts as a B-day present. We can’t stop calling and writing one another to discuss just one more part that struck our hearts.

  • Angela

    Okay best book is definitely One Thousand Gifts, but we all know that already. So, second best book is 7 An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Also, Kisses from Katie…A story of Relentless Love and Redemption. Excellent.

  • Gillian Peabody

    Best Book: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp :)
    Best Habits: Finding something to give thanks for in every moment I feel like complaining
    Best Recipe: Pioneer Woman’s Lasagne
    Still searching for the best jeans!

  • Melissa M

    2012 started out pretty crazy! But I have had the best times this year!

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again? Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast…crazy good!
    The best book you couldn’t put down? “Number the Stars” given to me by my middle daughter while I was stuck on the couch with a broken ankle.
    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head? Good to be Alive, by Jason Gray

    The jeans that fit best? funny story, my son who is 10 inches taller than me went off to college, he left a pair of jeans in his room. I asked him if they still fit, “too short” he said. I have been wearing them ever since! Skinny guys jeans from Rue21. Guy jeans have awesome pockets!

    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? lighted crochet hook, just a fun thing to have!

    The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.) taking the job at the daycare, never worked in a daycare before. BEST job I have ever had, I smile on my way to work everyday!

    The best link of 2102? The best laugh? The best living? Pinterest? lots of ideas and laughs!

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.) Quit part time job, I still see them from time to time, but I am no longer part of the daily drama

    What was the best habit? prayer
    The best holiday? The best gift? I love Christmas and celebrate year round with “Rudolph Day”. Best gift – Family.
    The best sacrifice? (The best way to have more is to give more…) time spent with children, grandchildren, children at church, and those in the community.

    • Melissa M

      The book was “Fault in the Stars”….Number the Stars is still an amazing read though!

  • Alyson Jefferson

    I am thankful for finding gratitude in the mist of the darkness of depression. Your book changed me. Through gratitude I have found healing. Now I can look my children in eyes and be present with them for the first time. Blessings

  • Patty

    The best book(s) … ahhh … how to choose? The best book was the one that God sprung on me while I was driving home from a time with my mentor. It was a time of unearthing in my heart and I was cracked open and wide with questions. Then, as I drove the two hours home, I turned to my computer (at a rest stop) and pulled up an audio book I had downloaded for FREE. The book was “All of Grace” by C H Spurgeon. It moved me as God spoke Grace over me in my deeply needful places. He knew the hour and time I would need those exact words. I marked that August date in my calendar: Epiphany. It was mine — one of those moments in a faith walk that make their mark when we can say to our core: I am His and He is mine and this is all very real.
    And then, there was the parenting book “Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus” which I have honestly plodded through, but thoroughly been blessed by as I did. I recommend and buy this book for people all the time. Life-changing books.

  • Avery

    Oh, another “best” book…Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

    If you are a person who needs/ likes structure in your devotional time, you may enjoy this book! It has readings, prayers, and songs for each day, and provides encouragement for living with justice, mercy, and care for the poor in mind!

  • Stacy

    The best book I read was 7 by Jen Hatmaker
    The best song is Before the Morning
    Best recipe is pepporoni dip- everyone loves it
    Best jeans-NYDJs, amazing fit

  • Kate

    Can my answer be bittersweet?

    My “best” for the year was deciding to have a hysterectomy. Yes, it meant that God never looked upon me or remembered me to bless my womb and make it whole. But, it was the method which He decided to heal me of terrible pain, anemia, back and leg pain, tumors, polyps, and most importantly… forever “healed” my wounded hope that kept nagging Him to just *one time* allow the miracle to happen to ME instead of someone else in His world that day who received a miracle and didn’t want her/him.

    So ~ I’m thankful for living in an era where we can have modern medicine to heal a broken body… and for time and a loving Father to heal a broken hope.


  • Kathy Loggins

    Best book: hands down, God’s word! It is like food for my soul…next to that, your book, One Thousand Gifts has changed my life and I have given it to everyone I love!

    Hardest thing/risk that I am glad I did: Walking my mother into the Lord’s arms on March 8th, 2012….never have I felt such pain and such joy at the same time; all because the presence of the LORD was so PRESENT!!! I have not lost that feeling all year and will forever be thankful that I was given the amazing honor of being with my precious momma when she left me and went home to be with JEsus! Every day without her is hard a loneliness I never knew is always close, but the LORD’s presence is closer and I will forever be different!

    Best BLOG: a holy experience! thank you, Ann for your words…your blog touches the inner part of my heart with God’s healing so many times a month!! You are a precious willing vessel who shines HIS Light so well!! Thank. You. Love. You.

  • Tonya H

    2012 Bests:
    recipe: shrimp etouffee~ we’ve been stationed here at Fort Polk, LA for a few years now and this year we stayed here in Louisiana instead of heading to Georgia for CHRISTmas. One of the traditions of our Louisiana friends is shrimp etouffee for CHRISTmas lupper (lunch/supper). We made it and LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Even my kids want it again. Makes us happy,happy, happy :)

  • Darcee

    Okay, here goes….

    Best recipe is definitely the Jalapeno Popper Dip found here

    Best book {this year} would be Hotel On The Corner of Bitter And Sweet…a wonderful book which alternates between Seattle’s Japantown during WWII and current day Seattle…a glimpse into what it was like for Japanese living in America during that time and young, innocent love.

    Best jeans…well I have to say my tried and true Silvers…but unfortunately I may have found some of the pounds shed by one of the prior posters…also a gift in that I have not wanted for food!

    Best gift this year…my new grandson born June 25th…his is patient and wise even at 6 months of age! I also have to share my brother-in-law was able to marry my daughter and her husband this summer…a very small ceremony but very meaningful.

    Best song…hmmm…so many good ones! Zac Brown’s Goodbye in Her Eyes, Adele’s Skyfall, Taylor Swift….

    Thanks so much Ann for reminding us to praise God for these GIFTS!

  • Jennie

    Definitely best book that has made a difference in my life is 1000 Gifts!

  • Yvonne

    The best book I read in 2012 was actually two books: One Thousand Gifts (read 6! times) and The Gifts of Imperfection. Found the key to express my soul and give thanks for being me!

    Best memory-a year of praise amid life’s dark and strong storms. Finding the peace that stills the water and allows tears to flow and be placed in His bottle for safe keeping until time to turn them into diamonds.

    Best find-A Holy Experience and (In)Courage blogs. Thank you for sharing your souls and solutions found through grace.

    Best recipe-the staple of decades…………..Mamma’s chocolate chip cookies

    My favorite product is Trind for nails. (nurses struggle to have pretty nails with hands in water continuously!) Will give you 10 hard and beautiful french nails with very little effort! Price is worth it—-TRUST me!

    Best gift-trip to NYC and reconciliation with sister (prayer answered! Thank you Father of Love!) I learned I am a “grape” and she is an “oyster”. Long story, but think about it and you will know our personalities and how they might have trouble relating at times.
    What kind of fruit are you? First thing that comes to mind is probably who you are! Please share!

    • Sandy

      I can’t resist answering the fruit question! Another great bit of fun for the new year! The first fruit I thought of was an apple. I am crisp and sometimes tart, but can be very sweet as well.

  • Sandy

    The best small miracle with BIG ramifications was answering a phone call with an unfamiliar number and name as I was about to go out the door to an appointment I was already late for on a snowy, stormy day. Turned out it was the women who adopted the half-siblings of my two oldest step-sons. They never planned to have any relationship with their half-siblings because their biological mother was so destructive. No one could have forseen them being taken away and adopted by a loving family and searching for the half-siblings the oldest met only once when he was very small. It amazes me how the Lord provides more when we don’t even know to look for it!

  • Cindie

    BEST BOOK: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp…that would be you sweet friend…and Healing is a Choice by Steve Arteburn,,,two books that helped me grow this year,

    BEST SONG: 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman…

    JEANS: Gap jeans…

    THE BEST RISK: saying yes to becoming the Director of a Crisis Pregnancy Center…it has been an awesome experience. I love being able to minister to young women who are hurting and help equip them to become a mom.

    THE BEST GIFT: Art Lessons from my husband…a childhood passion that I have fallen in love with…
    WHAT WAS THE BEST HABIT: developing an attitude of gratitude…looking for ways in the ordinary of my day to find reasons to smile. Also, getting a Y membership and going to work out with my hubby.

  • Cynthia

    Best book – Insignificant by Chris Travis. And, by the sound of it – your book. (I haven’t read it YET!)
    Best Christmas present this year – Season 1&2 of Modern Family.
    Best moment – God changing my husband’s heart to want to stop living for ‘comfort’ and instead instill a great desire to serve marginalized people. We are once again on the same page. I go into a young offender prison in my city (3years) and he began, this September, going into a downtown men’s residence to encourage and build friendships. Can’t wait to see where this will lead us!

  • Patti

    Best Book: One Thousand Gifts
    Best learning experience aka Challenge: losing our 40 year old family business, the feelings of fear and despair and worry….only to be replaced by peace that Jesus gives, not the peace the world gives. God has been so very faithful.
    Best Recipe: Santa Fe Crock Pot Chicken from
    Best habit: thankfulness-and writing them down!
    Best jeans: Jag from Nordstroms, the ones with no zipper that fit great into boots. feel like maternity but look great.

  • Heather

    Best thing I didn’t want to do but did anyway: Walking away from my profession and the promises/trappings of status and material reward…. starting the “downward” migration, as Jen Hatmaker describes in Interrupted. New beginnings in a new year.

  • Del Marie Riley

    The best thing I did but didn’t want to do was being there when my Nana went to heaven. I never knew that dying could be so beautiful. She was fighting letting go. Her room was dark and dreary. I know my Nana liked her house to be bright and sunny because opening all the curtains throughout her home was the first thing she did every morning. So I opened the blinds to her hospital room. As soon as I did so her heart rate slowed, her breathing became less labored, she was at peace. As she took her last breath, she closed her eyes and drifted off to be with Jesus. It was like I opened that window and let an angel in to gently carry her soul to heaven. We all cried, not with sadness, but with joy because we knew she was going home.

  • Nancy King

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again? I kinda sorta made this one up, I do most of my family’s favorites, it’s a chimichanga casserole and it’s delish, but I have no recipe for it, I never use recipes, just tell me the ingredients and I can figure out the rest.

    The best book you couldn’t put down? Yours Ann, I carried that book everywhere once I finally got a copy, even to the potty with me. It fits nicely in my bag so it goes to the store, to our fellowship hall where we meet for Sabbath Studies each week, to Dr.s offices, hospitals to wait for friends, I quote from it in my ‘love letters’ to strangers that I write and leave in ‘hidden’ places. I carried it to several conferences and special meetings that I needed to attend….just in case <3

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head? My favorite song, it's by Paul Wilbur and it's called, "Dance With Me".

  • Nancy

    Love a good party, so here goes!

    Best Recipe: Candy Cane Mocha Fudge Truffles (solely responsible for my extra holiday pounds!)

    Best Book: The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. Changed my prayer life

    Best Song: Cornerstone by Hillsong (our theme song this year)

    Best Jeans: Levis 529 Curvy (for us “curvy” girls…remember those mocha truffles above? ;))

    Best Moment of 2012: Receiving results of another biopsy and hearing that I am still cancer-free after 2 years!

    Thank you for the chance to share my BESTs! Love your book, Ann. Like so many, it came to me when I needed it most and has changed my life dramatically. Thank you for being obedient and allowing Him to use you!

  • Catherine

    The best shopping experience: online! I purchased some wonderful items with a “slave-free gift” attitude! The Story Company was one of the loveliest online sources: scarves, jewelry, dove ornaments! So easy and the so well received!

  • Heather

    Best Song of the Season: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

  • Hope

    Best risk: Surprising my husband with his long-desired puppy for our first Christmas.

    Best news: That I was hired full time to work on content for Live58 (a humanitarian group allied with ten partners like Compassion and IJM) to help end extreme, lethal poverty by 2035. I’m working on content for moms and bloggers. Send me an email if I should put you into my virtual focus group. Hope -at- Live58 -dot- org. :)

  • Tonya H

    Best of 2012:
    Song: “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin. Not only does this song connect me with Our Lord, but as a military family the words relate so close to home. “Where you go, I’ll go” “I will follow”…..

    Best habit & thing I didn’t want to do but done it anyway: started running/walking every morning. I use that time to talk with the Lord, catch up on the news, and just have some time to myself.

    Best book: “The Ark, The Reed, and The Firecloud” & “The Dreamer, The Schemer, & The Robe” both by Jenny Cote. (children’s books) Read these aloud to my children during Reading time and enjoyed them eminently. We are now working on her third book “The Prophet, The Shepherd, & The Star” we have enjoyed her writing so very much.

    Sacrifice: My hubby was deployed to Kazakhstan, being without was another sacrifice for the kids and I but during this time we also grew stronger and developed an even stronger relationship with Jesus!

    Jeans: some well-loved Levi’s I picked up at the thrift store! LOVE THEM!

    Holiday: any holiday where my family is together!

    Link: A Love Story in 22 Pictures

    God Bless!

  • Catherine

    Another fabulous gift: bags from Sari Bari – Sari Bari is a safe place of employment where women who have been exploited in the sex trade or who are vulnerable to trafficking can experience a new life in the making. Wonderful to receive and give.

  • Rachel Meldrum

    Best recipe: Chocolate Fudgy Wudgy Cookies

    Best book: Apart from the bible, One Thousand Gifts has truly changed my life along with holy experience blog I am weekly spurred on in my desire to live the fullest life right here and now to my wonderful husband and 5 beautiful girls under 8!

    Best sacrifice: The joy of realising what a privilege it is to daily sacrifice my own desires in countless little ways as I meet the needs of my family thus daily serving my Saviour.

  • Susan

    Best book(s)? The Bible, The End of Your Life Book Club, Sabbath

    Best Bible studies? One Thousand Gifts DVD study, Beth Moore’s James: Mercy Triumphs

    Best moments? Christmas with my parents (wasn’t sure my dad would still be alive), weekend at our favorite B&B celebrating my husband’s 60th birthday (we were the only guests!), all moments with nephews ages four and two (especially the time my husband was acting silly and caused four-year old to spit milk all over the table because he was laughing), hugging my mom in the hospital parking garage when my dad was really ill, speaking to women at the jail and knowing that God was moving in their hearts.

    Best song? Matt Redman “Bless the Lord, O my soul” – makes me cry every time; Chris August “Center of It” – always makes me smile.

    Much to be thankful for.

    All is grace. I am always loved.

  • Jen Mc

    the best ‘unexpected ‘ gift – my 4th little boy – we didn’t know we were expecting again till almost 20 weeks pregnant so he was our surprise and what a special baby he is!

  • Del Marie Riley

    My favorite device/gizmo is my iPhone. I use it to bring me closed to our savior. My favorite app is the YouVersion Bible App. I have a devotional/reading plan that I read each day. It is called “Everywhere I Go, Learning to see Jesus”. I use my iPhone to read the best blogs of all time, A Holy Experience, (in)courage, A Life Surrendered, and Life Your Way. It is also how I read my books through the Kindle app and iBooks. I love reading books that help me in my walk with Christ.

  • Del Marie Riley

    My favorite books are 1,000 Gifts, When God Whispers Loudly (very short, but oh so powerful), The Cure, Core Lies, oh I could go on on. I love christian living books.

  • Del Marie Riley

    The best recipe I’ve made was my Amish Friendship Bread and a copy-cat recipe for Olive Garden’s Zuppa Tuscana Soup. Yummy!!!

  • Elizabeth

    My best of 2012… my perfect baby girl being born peacefully at home in the water with my husband and midwife looking on.
    My 3 yo son discovering the little man inside him and seeking to be ‘big and strong’ in all things… including singing his heart out with praises to God and pretending to preach to his sisters.
    My 5 yo shy girl displaying her courage as she danced ballet in front of a large crowd.
    My 7 yo eldest moving from little kid to the big questions of theology and God things.
    My husband passing a very hard certification exam.
    My husband being selected to serve at a local ministry for a job – and loving it!
    the best recipe: this fudge:
    my best change: going gluten and wheat free…. it’s changed my and my kids digestive health, drastically reduced the kids’ mood swings, helped with sleep, and made us able to really enjoy and taste our food
    my best of best: growing only by the grace of God through Jesus Christ… knowing that His grace is what blesses me and my family and that without Him, I would not be doing what I do nor desiring to do so. Praise God for His gift! Praise Jesus for his sacrifice! Amen.

  • Del Marie Riley

    The best holiday this year was Easter. This is the first year I have ever given something up for lent. I also followed the lent advent and followed through to the end. Something I rarely do.

  • Anne Harper

    THE BEST of 2012 was the birth of my granddaughter, the first-born child of my first-born child, on December 21st! Harmon Catherine Leigh Gray is the thing that I am most grateful for in a year of many things to be thankful for!

  • Melissa

    ~va Keep Reaching Out And Being Grateful. God Will Lead And Guide YOU!
    Love and Blessings:)

  • Sharon

    Oh, yes, Best Project this year – learning to make an online photo book for my husband’s Christmas gift. I made it a combo of his best photography and memories.
    Best Read: An older book – The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn – very challenging re. having a generous spirit.

  • Lynn

    Best song – 10,000 reasons and He makes beautiful things. Best moments – the holidays with my family after not being with them for 3 years. Best unexpected gifts – a kindle from friends. Best habit was counting my gifts every day this year!

  • Del Marie Riley

    The best two conferences I went to were Perry Stone and Jesse Duplantis.

  • Linda

    Best Concerts this year…Guy Penrod and Mark Lowry….such a blessing to spend time with my Mother worshiping at these concerts!

    Best habits…Bible Study usually featuring Beth Moore….this will be starting my 3rd year!

    Exercise…best outlet….Zumba!! Also working with weights now in Circuit Training…God Bless my instructors, Brenda, Rosemary, and Laurie for making the classes so great!!

    Best gift….my son! 22 years old now…what a gift from God! My familiy and my wonderful friends…so blessed to have such incredible people in my life!

    Best daily practice…prayer and being thankful for all my blessings!


  • Jill D

    Best Book – The Fitting Room by Kelly Minter

    • laurie

      so excited to see someone else who loves one of my most favorite books!

  • April

    The best…welcoming our 25-year old son into our family-he married our oldest girl in September. The open heart and arms of a Sister that never turn away my pain, joy, and everything in between. Learning (AGAIN) that I am loved beyond what I can comprehend…

  • monique

    Best risk: watching my daughter go from one asian country to another to foster disabled orphans.
    Best gift: my daughter engaged to a godly man…and since he is a widow, I get grandkids!
    Best book: Well, I read 1000 Gifts last year…and have been recommending and giving it frequently. Best two books I read this year are Elyse Fitzpatrick “Because He Loves Me” and Randly Alcorn’s “Deadline”

  • Marion yoder

    Best gadget : My brother got me a Kindle tough this year, love it! it’s like having my whole library in one book, the downside is when i misplace that one book…… ;-)

    Best Risk: Letting my hubby figure things out himself. It’s tough to see him struggle when I know the answers, but I can always help him AFTER he asks me and avoid making him feel incompetant. :-)

  • Del Marie Riley

    The best lotion/potion for skin care is Dermalogica! It’s a bit of a splurge but it goes a long way. The Multivitamin Power Firm for your eyes is amazing. I know this wasn’t on the list, but it’s something I had to share with everyone.

  • Marion yoder

    Best Habit: playing the “Glad Game” with my 3 older girls (4,6,&8)

  • Naomi

    Best book: “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand
    Best song: “Where I Belong” by Building 429
    Best recipe: Chocolate chip cookies with pretzels and sea salt (thank you, Pinterest!)
    Best habit: daily quiet time with “For the Love of God” by D.A. Carson

  • Rachel

    The best recipe you couldn’t not make again?
    Ají de gallina (

    The best book you couldn’t put down?
    The Postmistress

    The best song that you just couldn’t get out of your head?
    Rachel Kurtz Make a Difference (

    The jeans that fit best? (It’s paramount never to wear pants that hurt…)
    Clearance skinny jeans from Macy’s. Add that to the miracle list!

    The tool/gizmo/idea that worked best? (It’s true: One good idea in hand is worth two good friends knowing about it too!)
    Cooking oatmeal in the crockpot

    The risk that returned best? (It’s why angels always say it first: “Do not be afraid.” You never start living until you stop fearing.)

    Went on a service trip with high schoolers–10,000 of them. I’m terrified of crowds, and in general, much more comfortable with middle schoolers. It was immensely powerful.

    The best link of 2102?
    This site! A new one for me.

    The best thing you didn’t want to do — but you did anyway? (Happiness comes to them who pursue hard things.)

    I took a leave from my job. Terrifying, financially and personally, but it proved life-giving, renewing, restoring.

    What was the best habit?
    Doing devotionals every morning.

    The best holiday? The best gift?
    Celebrating my birthday with friends outside, with the boyfriend manning the grill :)

    The best sacrifice? (The best way to have more is to give more…)
    Huge sacrifice of time and emotional energy to the middle schoolers I mentor–but it’s worth it all

  • Jill D

    Best Learning Experience – Sad to say it involved that horrible day at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It made me stop and appreciate, give thanks for, love, and cherish my 7 year old daughter. The busyness of the world and my own selfishness was causing me to let precious joy slip away. Now I’m more careful to notice those tiny treasures everyday.

  • Del Marie Riley

    The best habit is learning to see the joy and beauty in everything. To be grateful for the smallest thing and those ugly-beautiful moments. I learned to give it all to God. To know that everything has a season and seasons change.

  • Linne

    I don’t know if I really finished a book this year… I read a few snippets here and there all the time. I am not married, but the book ‘What did you expect?’ from Tedd Tripp was an eyeopener.
    Best song I discovered this year, it is from before my time, ‘The colour of green’ by Rich Mullins.
    Best choice, turning my life once more upside down and move international.
    Best comment last week in school was when a little boy asked me if I was gonna tell him about Jesus again. Wow my heart melted by the privilege in this highly secularised country that God still touches hearts
    Best time was spend with my little nieces and nephews.

  • Elleah

    The best habit was writing in my gratitude journal almost every day and the days that I set the timer to go off every hour so that I would remember to praise God!

  • Jamie

    Best gift this year–two stand out in particular. My sweet husband’s graduating from Physical Therapy school, passing his boards, and landing his dream job. Then the beautiful new home we just built and were able to move into right before Christmas.

    Best song–two again. Same song, but different arrangements. Peponi by PianoGuys is something that EVERYONE should watch on YouTube. It is amazing and so inspiring. I wake up to it’s ringtone every morning. And the song that inspired Peponi is Paradise by Coldplay. The words ring so true with me. Paradise is here and now, it really could be.

    Best book–I read Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach this year. So wonderful. I’m reading 1000 Gifts again. It is the book that has changed my thought process the most. My favorite book of all time though is the Book of Mormon. It truly is another testament of Jesus Christ.

  • Marilyn

    BEST RISK: Extending grace when I have the right not to. Hard, but a good investment.

  • Lawana

    Hmmm I’m a newbie but found u guys because of Jesse Tree and A Holy Experience.

    My fave gadget this year has got to be my Crockpot, it has saved many an anxious moment trying to figure out “what’s for dinner”.

    My fave jeans are from Old Navy, they have just enough ‘stretch’ to give a girl breathing room.

    I’m going to cheat a little on Fave. song and just say anything by 3rd Day. Love the way they sound and my heart is always touched.

    Fave. recipe, well of course it has to do with the crockpot, it was Sesame Chicken in the crockpot. LOL

    Best change, God has put a pep in my step about nutrition for my family. I’ve found that without any forethought from me that I’m becoming quite the healthy – real food eating mama/wife.

    Best time this holiday, there were some good ones, but the best was when my kids put on their annual Christmas play that they write and direct and act. The main message was that Christmas is about Jesus and family. Love the Lord for that one!

  • Carol B.

    What a wonderful idea… reading the postings of our Sisters in Christ is so encouraging!
    Best Jeans: Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (NYDJ) Fit a 50+ body just right! Find at (another ‘best’ for shoes… free shipping in both directions) Yippee!
    Best Tool: Knit Picker from Dritz. Takes care of annoying pulls in sweaters & scarves in a jiffy.
    Best Book: My Utmost for His Highest (Updated Edition) Classic insight into joyfully serving Christ.
    Best Recipe: Wild Rice, Apricot & Almond Salad @ (Great for gluten free gals)
    Best Risk: Completely surrendering our alcohol & drug dependent son to the LORD. Still a work in progress, but He is bringing help and peace to us all. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

  • Vicki A.

    Best read of this year was Vision for God by Margaret Brand. Inspirational and down to earth. She is very real and transparent and inspiring as she and her son-in-law tell the story of she and her husband’s adventures in India and the US working with people who had leprosy. Highly recommend.

  • Melinda

    Best holiday recipe – my dad’s peanut brittle – never fails, salty/sweet – the best combo
    Best song “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave
    Best books after the Word of God – OneThousand Gifts – not just saying it, but it HAS been a life changer for me. The next one is “Redeemed” by Francine Rivers. I’ve read it probably 10 times. Love, love it!

  • Emma

    2012 – Every day in 2012 has been life changing. Learning and growing myself – teaching myself, with numerous books and magazines on how to be the best me yet! I am still working on the physical side of things but my insides have changed. Im more positive, smiling huge amounts more. I am able to let things go easily with out causing myself too much of a headache anymore. I recently got back with my daughters father – after taking 2 years apart for ultimately growing by ourselves for the better. Before we went our seperate ways we would always fight. Now we have both grown enough to talk it out and our daughter has never been happier.
    I am still looking for ways to do things better and count my blessings. Enjoy life and, when I do occasionally fall into old bad habbits be able to turn myself around in a few minutes!

  • Lisa O’Quinn

    Okay, my best book was “Winning Him Without Words”. Being married to an unbeliever was a conscious choice at a rebellious time, but I don’t regret marrying him because he is my husband, however, I deeply desire his salvation. This book is helping me to be a better wife whether or not my husband is a Christian, because it directs me to be a God-lover and servant. I also received your devotional from a friend and EVERY time I sit down and open it, God speaks to me in the very moment that I am in. It is amazing!
    The recipe I could not not make again was the Italian Style Frittata and probably a dozen others. Cooking is my peace.
    My favorite song of this year? Hmmmm… I have so many. Probably “Away in a Manger” sung by my sweet 6-year-old. And the duet of my 4-year old son with his sister singing “Frosty the Snowman” while watching the first snowfall of this winter.
    The risk? Allowing my husband to freelance while going without health insurance and a predictable steady income. This is freeing up my faith and building my endurance. And he has gotten so close to me and the kids and we are strong. The Lord sustains us even when we haven’t all got faith.
    Thanks Ann for allowing God to speak grace through you. He has gifted you greatly.

  • Vicki A.

    Best treat of the year: Brown butter brownies, gluten free. Recipe is on You will love them even if you do not need to be on a gluten free diet. Delicious!

  • Debbie W. (OBS Leader)

    The best gift I received this Christmas was an angel from my daughter but that was not all. She was a praying angel and along with her came a poem my daughter wrote for me. You see my only daughter has been going thru infertility treatments, endometrosis etc. this year. It has been painful because she has been praying for this baby since she was a child herself and she so loves the Lord and wants a baby so bad and I want to be a grandmother. I’m not getting any younger and afraid I won’t get to see it grow up. Along with that angel came a poem that my daughter wrote for me about her pray-er – me – on my knees. I cried when I opened that precious gift.