Hey there Friends; we’ve made it to the end of 2022, and let me be the first to say congratulations! If for nothing else, the holidays can be exhausting, but we did it.
I’m still doing it because we’re having the six oldest Littles overnight tonight. We love to have them, and they love to be here for their New Years’ eve party, but I feel like once this is done, I’m going to need a little breather before embarking on all the new year plans and goals.
Do you take a breather at the beginning of January, or do you hit the ground running?
But before I get too far ahead, let’s talk about what’s been happening around the palace this week.
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WHAT WE DID
We celebrated Christmas with our kids on Christmas day with our traditional family brunch. My big boys love a country breakfast with mounds of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns, and Momma’s sausage gravy. It’s delicious if I do say so myself, and I’ll have to share my recipe for it here sometime.
Of course, presents were opened, and later that evening, I overheard my two oldest grandsons saying that this was the best Christmas they’d had in a long time. (They’ve lived so long at ages 10 and 12!) 😉 When I asked why they thought that, they replied, “What do you think?” I ventured a guess that it was the laser tag set each set of boys was given as their big gift. I was right!
So that was a win for this Grandma Santa as they built pillow and blanket barricades all over the basement and played well together all day!
WHAT I ATE
This is not a great picture of my crab cakes because I no longer fry them so they aren’t flat and crusty
You already heard about my gravy, but the evening food included more Holloway-tradition dishes which we usually have on Christmas eve, but we crammed it all into one day this year.
Did I ever tell you I grew up in Maryland?
Early in my 30 years of living in Indiana and during my travels elsewhere, I have learned (the hard, disgusting way) there is no substitute for authentic Maryland-style crab cakes. I’ve stopped even ordering them in restaurants unless I’m back visiting and go to a tiny sub shop called Tamborino’s in Hickory, Maryland, or Pappa’s Restaurant in Baltimore. So I make my own, and they are pretty tasty, according to my kids, my foodie sister, and her husband. That’s another recipe I can share some time.
I also do an Old Bay seasoned sauteed shrimp – Old Bay and LOTS of butter are my secrets.
And this year, I added a french fry board with dipping sauces. We had ranch dressing from a favorite local Mexican restaurant, ketchup, and Chick-Fil-A sauce. I also made this fantastic Garlic Aioli. OMGoodness, so stinkin’ TASTY!
Now can you see why I’m so exhausted…and stuffed?
WHAT I WORE
One of my Instagram followers commented on one of my IG stories and said that in the coming year, she’d like to see more What I Wore type of content. I will do my best to add that content to the diaries, at least.
We went to dinner with some friends this week, and I wore these jeans and a cozy off-the (one) shoulder sweater. I wore a tank underneath so that I could keep my bra strap up and not show (I don’t think bra straps showing is a good look on anyone.)
The jeans are a size 18 (also available in plus size), but they stretch out quite a bit, so I may have been able to size down to a 16. Mr. Dimples thought they looked great on me. He said, “They fit you well, and you look comfortable, and that’s always attractive.”
WHAT I BOUGHT
I’ve bought quite a lot of clothes leading up to my January No-Buy season, but the vast majority of them get sent back because since having my color and style assessment, I’m much pickier about what I bring into my closet.
However, these pants (size 18W) were a splurge and a risk because of the pattern, but the minute I put them on, I knew they were staying. So much so that I have ordered them in the solid navy as well.
I also ordered this cropped puff sleeve sweater in the XL, which is a perfect match for the lighter pink in the pants, and it’s so soft with a gorgeous fit.
NOTE: Both pieces are from Anthropologie with a generous return time frame – it might be a year. So if I do lose weight in the new year, I can return them as long as they have the tags on them. When making investment purchases like that, that’s important to know.
Oh, and my plus-size ladies with tummies who might be looking for loose, wide-leg pants without pleats… THESE! I got them in size 18, and I love them! They might have to be hemmed a little, but they pair well with sneakers or heels.
I bought this tall faux plant to put on the blank wall where I’m standing for the photo above, where our Christmas tree sits because I’ve never been happy with anything I’ve hung on the wall there.
Most stuff makes me feel claustrophobic; I’m weird like that. So, I’m hoping a thin faux tree adds softness without being too bold. I’ve sort-of thought a faux olive tree would be good, but I can’t find one that doesn’t look overly fake in person.
We also ordered this dresser for our guest room between the twin. It’s slightly smaller than the one we currently have and will hopefully allow a little more wiggle room when we replace one of the twins with a bunk bed. That way, we can more easily accommodate three boys sleeping in one room without blowing up an air mattress.
WHAT I’M WATCHING
We’re a little late to The Chosen party, but we started watching it a couple of months ago, and I can honestly say it is one of the best religious series I’ve seen! It tells the Gospels’ story in a way that reads between the lines and dares to imagine what “the back stories” may have been.
But don’t worry; the creators of the series have taken great care that there is no deviation from the theology of the Gospels, and you can feel the anointing in each episode. You can watch the complete series by downloading the Angel Studios app on your smart device or TV.
WHAT INSPIRED ME
If The Chosen were not inspiration enough, change, surrender, and following God’s call have been heavy on my mind and heart of late.
2023 will be a year of change for our family as our youngest son and his family is following God’s call on their lives and leaving to be lead pastors of a church three hours away from us. Yes, the one with the brand-new baby! Cue the tears.
I will dive deeper into this at a later date and the roller coaster of emotions that we’ve been praying through. If you follow my Instagram stories, while I have some semblance of peace, THIS is the thing I still can’t talk about without crying. (It will take its own post.) 😉
But for now, let me share some thoughts inspired by pastor Michael Todd who I follow on Instagram. In a recent post, he shared:
2022 was a year full of New Challenges for me... some things that I never anticipated facing... I have had to repeatedly go back to the words I know God has spoken to me and hold onto them as an anchor... reminding myself that this too is a part of the "process." I have realized that pain comes, many times, to make you STOP!...specifically STOP trusting - Stop trusting in people, stop trusting in purpose, stop trusting in the "process" and ultimately stop trusting in God's plan for your life. There are many things that I still need clarity from God on for my life in 2023 but the one thing I have decided is... I WILL TRUST GOD!
Friends, the enemy, will take the pains and challenges intended to grow us, stretch us, and try to use them to stop us from trusting God. (Genesis 50:20)
As we enter into 2023 with plans and goals, we must take time to re-center and refocus on what God’s will is for us. Many churches start the new year with a season of prayer and fasting, and if your church does, I encourage you to join them.
If your church doesn’t, I invite you to join me in 21 days of prayer, starting on January 9th. Let’s endeavor to seek God before jumping headlong into our own plans. I’ll already be reading through the 21-day devotional book Losing Weight God’s Way by Cathy Morenzie. Since MANY of you have told me that you grabbed the book, too, it can only help prepare us for what God wants to do in us both physically and spiritually this year.
Let me know if you’ll be joining me in the comments below, or you can email me privately.
Until next year, have safe, happy, and blessed celebrations.