2015 has been a year for carefully counting my blessings.
I don’t know about you, but 2015 was a challenging year in our household. Of course, we celebrated many jubilant moments – the completion of junior high by our youngest daughter, the high school graduation and college entrance of another (Go Ducks!), and yet another daughter’s marriage to a wonderful young man we are now proud to call our son. Mr B took me on my first visit to Hawaii (there will be more!), we spent a week hiking in the beautiful Columbia Gorge, and we celebrated the typical joys of birthdays, family gatherings, and quiet moments.
But woven into the joyful fabric of 2015 were threads of deep loss and true heartbreak. We waited in hospitals for loved ones, watched Alzheimer’s steady theft of memory and joy; and, most profoundly, for one horrible season, we wept and prayed and watched helplessly as one daughter carried a baby we knew would only live for minutes. In the end, one of the greatest blessings I received this year came when I was able to get from Portland to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Denver just minutes before he died in his mother’s arms.
As I wrote previously, it has been a year to carefully count our blessings, and I am grateful for every one.
In a much smaller world, here on the blog, 2015 was a year of steady growth and learning. I attended a couple of blogger conferences (notably Camp Blogaway and IFBC 2015), where I met some amazing people and learned some important things in the process. But I think the thing that will impact the blog the most going forward is that my writing has finally broken through the metaphorical fourth wall, and now we are all in the room together. It’s becoming a conversation now, and we aren’t just talking about food anymore.
In brief, here is a run-down of the most popular posts of the year. In the end, it tells me a lot about what you are looking for, and I plan to use it as a road map going forward.
Countdown of the The Good Hearted Woman‘s TOP 5 Most Popular Posts of 2015
My version of La Provence’s Eggs Provençal, with its perfectly poached egg atop a pesto-roasted tomato slice, requires just 10-15 minutes of mild effort, and rewards you with a Pinterest-worthy plate every time.
When I posted this recipe last spring, I wrote that you were going to thank me for it, and boy, was I right! In fact, it turned out to be my fourth most popular post of the year! Inspired by the best wood-fired pizza Mr B and I have ever eaten, this savory, slightly sweet combination of goodness – roasted butternut squash, leeks, bacon and bleu cheese – can be plated up in an almost endless variety of ways, from omelets to pasta to… well, even pizza.
When I was asked to take part in Chevy Shop Social: Portland to benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, I was thrilled. I have a very personal connection with Doernbecher, and I was grateful for the chance to share our story with my readers. However, this was one of the hardest posts I have ever had to write, because I had to revisit one of the most difficult and scary times of my life. It ended up being a story of Hope and Community, and the fact that it is on this list is profoundly telling.
Gina Holmoka’s Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatballs from The Skinnytaste Cookbook became an instant favorite in our household (vegetarians excepted, of course). After I made them the first time, Mr. B told me more than twice, “These meatballs are fantastic!” I have to agree, and based on the response to my tutorial post, so do you!
Surprisingly (at least to me) this old-fashioned red work chicken tea towel was my most oft-pinned post of 2015! A perfect afternoon project, it’s fast, inexpensive, and simple to create. Plus, it’s so cute! If you want to make one of these lovelies, it will cost you just a few bucks and a couple of hours.
So what does this short list say? Well, first off, it says you still like food. So do I , so Thank Goodness! 🙂 But you are looking for DIY posts here too: apparently you cannot have too many red work chickens, and my tutorial on how to make a tortilla warmer from 2013 is in my All-time Top 10. So going forward, I’ll definitely be doing more DIY posts.
However, the post that made the Top 5 that really surprised me – and the one that is ultimately most telling – is my Doernbecher story. It is full of hard truths about real life, and ultimately reflects what I believe many of us search for in this increasingly detached world – a way to connect and uplift one another. A way to feel part of a Community.
So that’s my goal for The Good Hearted Woman in 2016. Instead of just being another blog to bounce to from BlogLovin or Google, I want to continue to grow and develop GHW into a community of good hearted souls, where we can come together to share recipes and ideas, create beautiful things, and count our blessings.
I invite you to join me in this journey. Let me know what you like, what you don’t, and what you want to see. Be a part of the conversation.
I wish you great joy in the coming year. Please feel free to share your best moment or blog post from 2015 in the comments below.