Thankful for the Gifts of 2012

“Fear is often a jail cell locking us in so that we don’t form friendships.” Friends bring zest to life. Without friendships, we become lonely, isolated, and smaller than we want and need to be.

As I look back to 2012, I am thankful for the opportunities that have come my way, but more importantly the gifts of so many friendships in my life.

What makes blogging rewarding for me is not only helping others through recipes, tips, and posts on RE, but also engaging in comments and emails from my readers.

There are a lot of lonely people in the world around us–hurting people–and just yesterday, I saw our neighbor walking back to her house with a cane in one hand, after leaving a plate of delicious treats at our front door step.

It was a reminder for me that it was time for a visit.

Time for me to take time out of my busy day and walk down to spend some time talking, listening about her life, offering my help if she needs it- to my neighbor.

I may or may not take a gift.

What I know is that elderly neighbors really don’t want more stuff– but they’d sure like a visit.

This is why hospitality matters and makes a difference in lives.

I hope to continue offering encouragement, inspiration, and more hospitable tips in 2013. Ways we can all reach out and love others through food, conversation, dinner parties, and good old-fashioned hospitality.

I’m a big believer in the “seasons of life.” There will be a season when things will change for me. I’ve already been through seasons where we didn’t feel like reaching out, or entertaining. And it’s okay

But it sure feels good when that “hospitable spirit” is revived.

My retired (wise) friend just wrote me today:

I so enjoy your blogs, and your take on entertaining is terrific! People do make the difference! Although we don’t entertain as we used to, we find having one couple in for breakfast, lunch or supper every now and again can light up our lives, too.

By the way, did you know that it’s proven that entertaining actually brings happiness? Because you’re giving to others!

Thank you for being a part of RE this past year. It’s been a fantastic year for me and I am thankful for you!

Highlights of 2012:

JanuaryHow to Create Special Family Memories – my Dad’s 75th birthday.

FebruaryThe Difference between Eating and Dining together – not always a popular subject to write about.

MarchLost Art of Letter Writing – my Mom’s last hand-written letter.

AprilFight the “Wants” (title says it all). And Segue into Spring Entertaining – gets you excited for Spring.

MayWhen Someone is Hurting, Bake a Cake – another story about hospitality and reaching out to others. And When Did Perfectionism Become so Trendy?

JuneEasy Camping and Cooking Tips (do you love the outdoors?) and Spontaneous Get-Together (Fresh Beet Salad). Togetherness with Sisters and Cousins – it takes effort!

July – One of the highlights of the year, A Mini Retreat on Pioneer Woman’s Ranch. (above photo by Ree)

AugustCanning with my Son – Sweet Smokey Salsa. And working with Harry & David and Hosting 12 beautiful Food Blogger Friends in my back yard.

September – I loved writing my 30 Days of Autumn Inspiration.

October – another highlight of entertaining 12 more blogging friends in our back yard and bringing them to my home town (thanks to Harry & David).

November – Sharing 4 posts on “No Apologizing” and recipes to plan a dinner party (and not apologize for mistakes).

December – Christmas is a beautiful time to celebrate Christ’s birth with family and friends, but we always look forward to our Annual NYE party.

Sharing the common bond of love, fellowship, food and friendship around the table.

Lifting each other up.

Again, thank you for all you’ve shared on RE through comments and support. Your gift of friendship means the world to me.

I’m really looking forward to 2013 …

What are your hospitality goals for 2013?

17 comments on “Thankful for the Gifts of 2012”

  1. Sandy, I love your recap. I agree with your friend… I love your blog because of the encouragement you offer us all to look for ways to love on those God has placed in our paths. And that it doesn’t take much! Just the open heart to be willing to seek out those who could use our love. You are also a great reminder of how important it is to truly embrace our family and friends… and to treasure our time with them. Happy New Year Friend!!

  2. This is a wonderful post, and your question, “What are your hospitality goals for 2013” gives me much to ponder. It is time for me to peruse my copy of “The Reluctant Entertainer” and reach out to our new neighbors. Thank you, also, for visiting my blog., and may 2013 be filled with the joy of togetherness!

  3. I have to say that you have encouraged me more than anyone else regarding entertaining. I love how you always say it’s about the people and how everything doesn’t have to be perfect. I have your cookbook and a pink apron that I won on one of your giveaways. This past year we moved in to a very small condo. I invited a group of 12 ladies for lunch. I served your strawberry chicken salad recipe (which they loved and wanted the recipe). Although it was tight in my small place, each of my friends told me that I had created a home. I was thrilled and it encouraged me to do that again and again with friends.

    Thank you for visiting me on Heart Choices. Your kind words touched my heart.

    Blessings and love,

  4. What a wonderful post, Sandy! Friends, generosity and hospitality really are so important – and you are the queen of all of those things. I’m so grateful to be able to call you my friend.

  5. I can attest that you have welcomed my dear daughter Jenny and her precious family this short time they have been in Medford. Thank you for your friendship and gift of hospitality. As they move on to a new state I pray they will take your lessons of giving with them. Lord Bless You!

  6. I enjoyed reading back over some of your 2012 posts and certainly look forward to reading what you have to say in 2013. Your blog is a great way to reach out to people, many people, some who live far away.


  7. Sandy, I always enjoy what you have to say. Today’s post has been good for me. I shared with you a while back that we recently moved…the neighbors didn’t go to any effort at first to be friendly. Well, over time I’m finding that they are all nice people. I’m planning to have them over in 2013! It will take stepping out of my comfort zone, for sure. We lived in the same place 23 years before and had many friends there. It is time to make new ones. :)

  8. Sandy- I am so thankful for you and your blog- with each post, you are changing my attitude about entertaining, and I am learning to not sweat the small stuff and enjoy my friends and family more. I am looking forward to every single post in 2013! :-)

  9. This post is so beautiful and especially meaningful as I happen to have a Hospitality degree from Boston University. Of course, I often think of it as a hotel/restaurant management degree but it is, in fact, a Hospitality Administration degree. Thank you for giving it new meaning and shedding a new light on something I am so passionate about. You are a true inspiration both personally and professionally. So glad to have gotten to know you and hope our paths cross in person sooner than later!

  10. Great post, and great postS! Love this look back on the year and your take on entertaining. So inspiring!

  11. We really should invite people over more often. Reading your “No apology” series helped a lot. What we have doesn’t compare to blogs or Pinterest, etc. But, that shouldn’t matter. No one is coming to my home to say, “That SO needs a herringbone throw.” Instead they should be saying, “Want me to bring some chips or soda?”

    We had a game night in October. Only 2 people came, but the four of us had a nice night. I think I might try to do something like that monthly – sometimes with kids, sometimes without.

    But, either way…no apologies :)

  12. Happy New Year, Sandy! I hope I get to hug your neck this year. xoxo.

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  14. Sandy, I’m so thankful for you! And for you sharing your gift with us everyday! xoxo

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    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

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