Today is January 1st, 2013, and, once again, I am surprised that a new year is already upon us.

2012 was a great year. True, it was not perfect, and I went through dry patches and tough spots in my walk with the LORD. But, as I look back on the year, I am extremely appalled at how much God has blessed my family this year. I'd like to take a look back on the past twelve months and give you an overview on them.

I got back from an awesome Winter Retreat on New Year's Day. My sister and I went to the retreat in December but got back on January 1st. That retreat was great not only then, but also when we went just a few days ago to the same retreat. In January, I participated in a variety show with my sister. We sang "For Good," a duet from Wicked. Performing that song helped me SO much in become more comfortable singing onstage and being more confident.

January was not all great, however. My best friend had something like a heart attack and was in the hospital. It was really scary not being able to be there with her, and I can't even imagine what her family was going through, but Kara is doing well now and suffered no brain damage, which even the doctor said I was a miracle. I don't know if I've ever prayed harder for anything in my life. The whole thing really showed me how prayer really does work, because sometimes I find myself doubting if it does. I know so many people were praying for Kara, and God obviously listened to all the prayers said for her.

In February, I went to a VFW banquet a few hours away. I got state for the annual Patriot's Pen competition, and my older sister got 3rd place for the Voice of Democracy competition! It was a really great experience, and while I recited my speech on pride in front of everyone, seeing tears in the veterans' eyes touched me in a way I cannot describe. Prior to the actual banquet, one of the veterans told me to recite my speech to him. I started to recite it, but he stopped me because he was crying. That also touched me in a way I cannot express.

In March, I went to San Francisco with my youth group. It was an amazing trip and I definitely witnessed God working in San Francisco (although He works everywhere, of course!). I have a list of those we witnessed to on the streets of San Francisco when we went out one night, and looking back on this year has reminded me to pray for those people! We headed home from San Francisco on my birthday. I felt SO special that day :). The night before, us girls were in our sleeping bags after midnight, and they sang Happy Birthday to me before we went to bed. The next day on the way home using money supplied by my thoughtful mom :), they got me a chocolate muffin and lit matches on top of it :), and candy to celebrate, and we watched Princess Bride. I also got to try an energy drink for the first time! I didn't really like it :). Haha!

In April, my sister and I participated in a music show called "The Magic of Music" with four other girls. It was so much fun, and it really helped me come out of my shell and be confident singing onstage :). One moment I want to forever remember was when I was singing "Bring Him Home" at our rehearsal at the theatre. During previous rehearsals, I could not hold the long note at the end. However, I had worked on it, and this time I held it the whole time. When I was done, applause and cheering erupted from backstage. The other girls were like, "You did it! You held it!" That was an amazing moment.

In May, two of my closest friends came to visit. The four of us (them and my sister and I) became friends over nine years ago and have stayed close over all these years :). Their visit was SO MUCH FUN and I wish it lasted longer. I can't wait for the next time they get to visit!

In June, it was my eleventh spiritual birthday (anniversary of the day I asked Christ to come into my life as my LORD and Savior). I have never regretted making that decision. In fact, it was the BEST decision I have ever made. I am so thankful for who God is and what He has done for us, and how much He loves us.

In June, my sister and brother and I were also in the play "Alice in Wonderland." My sister was the Queen of Hearts, my brother was a cute little mouse, and I was Tweedle Dee. It was so much fun!

In July, I attended Worldview Academy with some friends from church, and let me tell you - it was AMAZING. I loved it so much and learned so much there. I also made some great new friends and got the chance to do street ministry. It was great!

August was a busy but amazing month! I took a trip to Maui (Hawaii) with some relatives, and I had such a blast! I loved snorkeling, seeing turtles, and surfing the best. I also liked going to a hula (NOT dancing, of course :D!), wearing a sarong, taking pictures, and jumping over waves with boogie boards. It was one of my dreams to go to Hawaii, and I am so thankful for that experience. It was gorgeous there.

August was also the month I competed in a "local" Bible Bee (I called it "local" 'cause it was, like, four hours away). If you don't know what Bible Bee is, it's basically where you memorize a bunch of Bible verses and do a Sword Study (study) on a book of the Bible (this year was 2 Timothy). Then, at the competitions, you recite your verses to judges and take a 200-question test based on the book you've been studying.  I didn't make it into Nationals, but it was such a great experience that I'd definitely recommend! I'm proud to say that I completed (although just barely) all 200 questions in the hour I gave us. I am also proud to say that I recited all 20 required Bible passages in the time they gave me, though I messed up a lot. It is so awesome to have God's Word in my heart, and studying the book of 2 Timothy was incredible. I now love that book and want to study more books of the Bible!

In September, my family went to a weeklong homeschool family Christian science camp. It was a lot of fun, and I made a lot of new friends!

In October, I came to the realization that it's okay to JUST CRY. It's okay to not always have it all together. You can read my thoughts on that here.

Another October happening was the Nerd Party. My family planned the Nerd Party as an alternative to Homecoming, and we had it at a karaoke place because my sister won it from a singing contest she won during the summer. The Nerd Party was so much fun! Almost everyone dressed up as nerds, and there was singing, professional pictures, prizes for the Nerd King and Nerd Queen, food, games, and a Bible teaching. It was great!

In November, I participated in NaNoWriMo for the third time. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is where you set a word count goal for yourself and try to write a novel in a month. I absolutely LOVE NaNoWriMo. It is such a great experience. The first year I did it, I wrote "Tania's Faith," a novel about a girl named (can you guess?) Tania who is transported to another world and meets strange and fascinating characters on her journey to find the King and return home. My second novel, written the next year, is entitled "Genuine" and is about Gwen Washington, a typical girl facing problems who discovers Who really makes her genuine. And finally, this year's (er, last year's?) was about a man named Aaron, a veteran scarred by serving overseas - physically AND emotionally. I really like the story.

In November, my youth group also took a trip to Winter Jam, a Christian concert. It was great! And I got to meet Jamie Grace, my favorite singer!

In December, I was busy with finishing up school. Christmas also came and went, and Christmas was AMAZING this year (as it is every year :)). I had an awesome time with my family.

I just got back a couple of days ago from a Winter Retreat a few different youth groups host. This was my second time, and it was really good. The teachings were great :).

And now, it's 2013. I am excited for what God has in store for me this year (although I am currently unsure of just what that is). There are many things I hope to do this year, but I will leave it up to God and let Him do with my dreams what He will.

Before I close this post, I'd like to leave you with this thought: Don't wait until tomorrow. I know that I often say, "I'll start tomorrow," to put off getting right with God, doing my devotions and quiet times with God, eating healthy, etc. etc. But the thing is, we are GOING to mess up. It's guaranteed, not suggested. We can set resolutions and resolve to be better and do better, but we ARE sinful humans and we ARE going to mess up. So, this year, I think I will set resolutions. But if I mess up? I'll just try to get right back up and get on the right track. I don't wanna say, "Oh, well - I'll wait until next year," or, "I'll wait until tomorrow." No, I wanna get back on track TODAY. What about you?

I truly hope you have a blessed year. I will be praying for you this year. Remember this...

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Things change and people change, but God forever remains the same, and for that I am so thankful.

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Nela  – (January 2, 2013 at 5:52 AM)  

Thank-you for sharing this post with us today, Talia. :) Very encourgaging!

Loice Morrison –   – (January 2, 2013 at 6:35 PM)  

Hey Talia!
Thanks for sharing!
I would be really interested in reading the novels you wrote, if it would be possible somehow!
I don't know you personally, but I really enjoy reading your blog! Keep up the good work!

Lindsey Madison  – (January 5, 2013 at 4:12 PM)  

i just stumbled upon your blog, and oh my goodness, the Bible Bee!! I did that, not last year, but the year before (2011)! :D It was amazing. I even qualified for Nationals! God is so good.


Kathryn Treat  – (January 5, 2013 at 6:10 PM)  

Sounds like you had a wonderful year.

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Girlz of God Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. "Genuine," "Girlz of God," and "Tania's Faith" book excerpts Copyright Talia DeAndrea 2010, 2011, 2012. All pictures Copyright Talia DeAndrea, unless otherwise noted. Please do not steal or copy anything on this blog without my permission. Thank you :-).

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