“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.

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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?