It’s the end of a year and the end of a decade. You know what that means: best-of lists, and lots of them. Before we make it to New Year’s Eve, I’ll probably break down and share a few of my favorite lists with you. But for now, I’m just going to play along with Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. (Hat tip: George from Crocs)

Gwen has a question for each day of the month, asking about one “best” from your year. I’m going to answer a few each week. If you want to play along, too – whether every day, once a week or one time only – check out the full list of questions.

#1 What was your best trip in 2009?
I took several trips this last year, more than normal. Two blogging conferences (Blissdom and SheSpeaks), two scrapbooking weekends with my cousins, a day trip to Columbia for my anniversary with Mark, a long weekend to Branson to visit college friends, and a weeklong Florida vacation.

How can I choose just one? I mean, I could go through a list of pros and cons for each, tally them up and then announce a winner. That might take a while, though.

I think I’ll do this instead. I’m going to call each of the trips a winner. A winner in my heart.

  • Blogging conferences were amazing for meeting friends and learning about some amazing opportunities God has placed in my life.
  • Scrapbooking weekends were great because I accomplished a lot and got to spend time with my cousins.
  • Columbia was a nice break and gave Mark and me some much-needed time together.
  • And it was so much fun to catch up with our friends from college over Labor Day weekend.

But, okay, you’re going to make me do it. Fine. I’ll pick a winner. The best trip I took in 2009 was our Florida vacation.

Mark and I got four long days alone, we swam with a dolphin, we stayed in a really nice hotel (that overlooked a really cheesy souvenir shop, but I’m not picky), and we drove through a torrential downpour to see the ocean. And then Annalyn flew down with my parents, brother and sister-in-law. We hung out with family, played in the pool and at the beach, and generally had a lot of fun.

#2 What was the best restaurant experience you had this year?
I’ve got three. First would be the first time we visited Five Guys. Those greasy delicious burgers are soooo good! And the fries? I don’t even care that you can see the grease spots on the brown bag they hand you at the counter. They. Are. Good.

Second restaurant experience I loved this last year was when our favorite waitress at our favorite restaurant actually recited Mark’s “usual” back to him. She even remembered, “Substitute CCQ for the red sauce.”

Last but best is eating at Shakespeare’s Pizza with Mark. During our anniversary road trip to Columbia, we ate dinner at our old fave. We discussed and debated, but we just couldn’t decide: Is the pizza really that good, or does novelty and nostalgia just convince us it’s good? It’s hard to tell, but either way, the pizza was great and we had so much fun.

#3 What article did you read this last year that blew you away?
Just one? Seriously? Okay, I cannot possibly list every article that taught me something, touched my heart, influenced my behavior or just plain cracked me up. But the most life-changing articles I read were, by far, the posts written by the Compassion bloggers who traveled to India.

#4 What book – fiction or non – touched you most in 2009?
I’ve read so many!! Here’s what I really need: a list of books I’ve read. I signed up for GoodReads, but darned if I remember to log back in and update my list! The library won’t tell me what books I’ve checked out. Something about privacy laws or something. Thankfully, I know what book rocked me this year. And that is Mark Batterson’s In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. If you missed my review, you can read about it here.

All right. Now it’s your turn. Tell me about your best trip, restaurant, article or book!


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