Hey Y'all! - Good Riddance 2018

As I was driving Mama to the emergency room on New Year’s Eve, I thought, well of course this is what we’re doing today.

Of course it is.

I haven’t written an issue of this newsletter in a long, looooong time because, well, this is my happy thing and 2018 made for times that were anything but happy.

I’ve wanted to tell you some things about last year because I feel like I tell y’all everything. When I write up my recipes, I almost always tell you what was going on in my life that week or what lead up to me cooking a particular dish or what way the wind was blowing or what bizarre thing I saw at Walmart that day.

I talk to y’all about my kids, my husband, my pets, my parents and everything else that’s part of who I am and why I have this blog. And that’s why I’m going to tell you these things now. In this crazy online world, in a weird way, I feel like y’all are part of my life and to not tell you would be like keeping a secret from a good friend.

This won't be like a normal issue of the newsletter. I'm not going to follow any particular format. I just need to tell you about 2018.

So, this is how the year went…

I should have known it was going to be a doozy when in January we paid the last payment on Husband's truck on a Wednesday then the motor blew on Thursday. So we had to go buy a vehicle on Friday (and I was soooooo not planning on having a car payment this year) then on Saturday it was vandalized.

Then our baby girl didn’t make her school softball team the next week and I ugly-cried into a pile of dirty laundry on my bathroom floor because mamas have to keep their stuff together in front of their kids when their little hopes and dreams get crushed.

And then early Spring the dog our children have known their entire lives, our 15-year old golden retriever, our golden boy, the heart of our home, passed away.

And none of that really even mattered. Because then we discovered Mama had a very serious aneurysm in her brain. One so serious, no surgeon here in South Carolina knew how to approach it. They told us there was a 50% chance she would go blind if they operated. If she didn’t have a stroke and die before. Which landed us at the Mayo Clinic to seek treatment. After many appointments and procedures, her very serious surgery was scheduled for July 9, 2018.

On July 3rd, my daddy died. And I'm not going to get into all the details because it's just too painful to talk about. But I want you to know he passed away. Because I’ve talked about him often here and I know many of you feel like you knew him. He was one of the greatest men I’ve ever known. He died too soon. It was not his time. He should have had another 10 years on this earth with the family who loved him so much. He was a good husband and father and he was an even better grandfather. My kids called him Gigga. I think about him every day.

We got through July somehow. We put Daddy to rest July 5th then headed to the Mayo Clinic July 7th. Mama’s surgery was a success and we came home a week later.

The time between then and Thanksgiving is kind of a blur to me. We put a lot of effort into changing up the fall and winter holidays because none of us could imagine our traditions without Daddy. We actually managed to have a good Christmas. Mama spent the night with us and we made a big effort to keep things light and fun. We all had matching Christmas jammies, even the new puppy. We did everything we could think of to make the holidays unlike our old traditions. I don’t know if that’s healthy or not but it worked for us and now we have a bunch of new traditions for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

So, like I said, ending up in the ER on New Year’s Eve should not have come to a surprise to me because of course 2018 was going to kick me in the gut just one last time. Of course it was.

Fortunately, mom’s issue wasn’t serious, and all is well, and I am so happy to put 2018 behind us!

Through it all, though, there have certainly been some blessings too. I know there are millions of people in the world who had a way worse year than we did. I know that. And a lot of good things happened to us too.

Mama came through and is in perfect health. She is like a hurricane. She is steady and fierce and she plows through anything that ever stands in her way. This has been the hardest thing she's ever done, my hurricane of a mama, but she's learning to live without Daddy one day at a time.  This June they would have been married 50 years.

Daddy's death and Mama's illness really opened my eyes to a lot of things. You wouldn't think so when it's all happening but you really take stock of who shows up for you and your family when there is a tragedy. And you really take notice of the ones who don't. My mental Rolodex has a lot of notes in it now.

I learned to lean on Husband in a way I'd never done before and he was all the things I needed him to be and even things I didn't know I needed. He is the best blessing of them all.

Our kids are absolutely wonderful. They are all in perfect health and seem to be some of the happiest, most amazing young people on the planet.

We got a new puppy and he is the bestest doggy who ever lived and he has made me into a complete baby-talking idiot. We are spoiling him rotten and loving every minute of it.

And because this is a recipe blog, I guess I better throw some food around here too! Here are the Top 10 Recipes of 2018:
  1. Three Meat Crock Pot Cowboy Beans 
  2. Paula Deen's Banana Pudding
  3. Egg Roll Stir Fry 
  4. Southern-Style Macaroni & Cheese 
  5. Pepper Steak 
  6. Chocolate Delight 
  7. Seafood Salad 
  8. Sausage & Rice Casserole
  9. Southern-Style Baked Beans 
  10. Preacher Cake 
So, here's to 2019! I hope and pray it's better than last year and I think it will be. I feel hopeful about the new year and am excited to see what it will have to offer!

Thank you for being a part of South Your Mouth. I appreciate you all so much and I'm glad you've been on this journey with me over the last eight years!


Keep up with my latest shenanigans by following South Your Mouth!


  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. It does sound like a challenging year with one thing after another. Hope 2019 is a calmer, more peaceful year for you.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad. I lost my father when I was 18 so I know how hard it is. I'm so glad your mama came through her surgery and is doing well! Here's to a better 2019 for you and your family! When do we get to meet your new puppy?

  3. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy new year

  4. Here's to a Happy and Healthy 2019!

  5. Wishing you and your family a Healthy and Happy 2019. Thank you for sharing your world with us. Prayers and ((hugs)).

  6. Love your blog and recipes. Love that you connect with all of us and 'keep it real'. Thank you for sharing your life and recipes. So sorry for your loss and struggles in 2018. It DOES sound overwhelming. Here's to positive vibes and lots of prayers for a better 2019! Hugs from Texas.

  7. Thank you for sharing with us! A rough year but you made it and are a stronger person for it! I also lost my Daddy early and I still think about him every single day for 34 years! He will always live in your heart. I haven’t been a follower on your blog for very long but I have to say, it is the very best recipe blog ever! Every recipe I try out is a winner! For that, my husband especially thanks you! Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2019!

  8. I am so sorry for your loss this last year .. Sounds like many of the family members on my side of the family.

    Hopefully 2019 will be better for us all in a very good way ... Bless you and your family for good things to happy to you and yours ....

  9. Mandy, All I can say is God bless you all and I'll keep you all in my prayers!

  10. Ugh. My Gramma always said that every family has their one really bad year. I hope yours is all over and done with and you're on to happier times in 2019!

  11. I am so sorry that you lost your dad last year. I also lost my dad in Feb 2018 and we've been a mess. Prayers that your family has a wonderful and healthy 2019 and that your mama's hurricane keep on going.

  12. There aren't words to convey how sorry we are to hear about how Life has been kicking you this year. Thank God your hurricane momma is doing well.
    Hope and pray that 2019 has highs that outweigh the lows of 2018.
    Looking forward to puppy pics and cajun recipes.

  13. You are stronger than you realize, so you have that going for you. I wish the best for all of you in the coming year.

  14. My condolences to you and your family. You certainly had a tasking year. Happy to hear you mom is doing great. Wishing you the best for 2019. God bless your family.

  15. Thank you for sharing with us, Mandy. I am praying for the best year in the world for you - 2019 - and every single year forever. You are the delight! Your blog is my favorite, as are your recipes. So many of your recipes are our family favorites now. I appreciate you and what you do so very much. ❤️

  16. Mandy, I have been following your page for a little less than a year, mostly for the recipe ideas. I don't typically read your actual blogs because I am a private person and try to stay out of other people's business; but, something made me want to read this one. Bless your heart, girl! I have been in very similar situations-with everything happening all at once. Your perseverance and strength is amazing! I, too, tell myself that there are others out there that have it way worse than we do, but sometimes my setbacks still get me down. You are inspirational. I have the utmost respect for you and just wanted to let you know. Our paths may never "officially" cross, but I feel a connection to you and want to say thank you for what you do. Happy 2019!

  17. Thank you for sharing 2018. You have an amazing ability to communicate whether happy or sad. My heart goes out to you for your losses this year but I am so glad your Mom is healthy once more. I have been with you on your blog for years and weekly think of you when I use your recipes. I hope you are planning to use your unique writing skills beyond writing cook books. Love the receipts but your talent goes far beyond. Hoping 2019 is an amazing year for you and your family.

  18. All I know to say is love and prayer. I lost my Dad a very long time ago, and I always try to do my best in his memory. Last year my brother and Mother passed which made for a very sad holiday season, and even harder I live a thousand miles away from the rest of my family.
    Love your recipes.

  19. So sorry for your losses and disappointments. I'm sending prayers for you and the family to have a blessed 2019. Thank you for all of your giving to us followers during the ups and downs. Hugs!

  20. Girl, I am ugly crying for you! I am so sorry for your loss and praying for a better, brighter 2019 for you and your family! Sending lots of love and hugs!

  21. "Promise me you'll always remember: you're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." This little quote from Winnie the Pooh has gotten me through many rough patches. Thought of it while reading your story for 2018. You, and your family, have experienced the circle of life. You will all be fine. You will miss your Dad but memories will make you happy. Enjoy your blog so very much and the recipes as well. Hang in there.

  22. My goodness, that's a terrible time of a year ... thinking of you! Love the recipes


  24. I you have a beautiful and blesses New Year you are in my prayers God Bless

  25. I read this to my husband and cried the entire time. All I can say is, "Bless your heart." My prayers go out to you and your mama and all your family. Looking forward to hearing about all the good things and miracles in your life in 2019. Praying for you darlin'; hang in there.

  26. Mandy,
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. My daddy passed in 2017 after a long bout with dementia. I have always dreaded the passing of my parents, but because he had been suffering so, it was a sweet relief. He was a strong Christian and is in total bliss now. We are the ones who should have the pity. We are still travailing through this vale of sorrows...but through it all God has a wonderful plan for us and we are actively engaged with His plan. It is wondrous. My Mom will be 95 tomorrow and is very weary in her journey. Life is about changing seasons, isn't it? Someone sent me this poem on New Year's Day. It may speak to you.

    “Gate of the Year” by Minnie Louise Haskins

    And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
    “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

    And he replied:
    “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
    That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

    So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
    And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

    So heart be still:
    What need our little life
    Our human life to know,
    If God hath comprehension?
    In all the dizzy strife
    Of things both high and low,
    God hideth His intention.

    God knows. His will
    Is best. The stretch of years
    Which wind ahead, so dim
    To our imperfect vision,
    Are clear to God. Our fears
    Are premature; In Him,
    All time hath full provision.

    Then rest: until
    God moves to lift the veil
    From our impatient eyes,
    When, as the sweeter features
    Of Life’s stern face we hail,
    Fair beyond all surmise
    God’s thought around His creatures
    Our mind shall fill.

    (The Gate of the Year was first published in 1908 as part of a collection titled The Desert. The words were a source of inspiration and comfort to Queen Elizabeth II, particularly after World War II. The Gate of the Year is also engraved on stone plaques and fixed to the gates of the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle.)

    Blessings to you and your family. You have many fellow travelers to walk with. :)

  27. I'm so sorry for all of your losses and hardships last year (((HUGS)))

  28. I have read & loved your blog for a long time but this past year it seemed different. My heart cries for your very sad year, but as you have shown us life goes on & we survive. Best luck to your family for 2019.

  29. Oh, Mandy, girl. (((Hugs))) to you, from Ohio. I am so sorry to hear about everything you've been through this year, but so very glad you shared. I am praying that you find solace in the poem NorasGranddaughter posted, in the comfort of your husband, in the company of your new puppy, in your new traditions, and in all the friends you have, here.

  30. Hi, Dear Mandy,

    I'm with you!! Glad to get rid of 2018. 2019 has to be better. I'm so sorry for your loss and I know how bad it hurts. You are not alone, though, unfortunately. I'm much older than you and also feel for your Mother but I am glad she is coping well. Your blog is a treasure as you are, too!!

  31. 💓💔💓

  32. Mandy, I am very sorry for the loss of your Dad. I pray 2019 will be a much
    kinder year for your family. You have carried on and I know it wasn't easy.
    A lot of us are glad 2018 is in our rear view mirrors.

  33. Mandy my heart aches for you and your family. With such a bad 2018 God will surely bless you with a much Happier New Year, Lord knows you deserve it. God bless and take care.:)

  34. ...I think we may be sisters....it seems like when it rains, it turns into a tsunami...forget the pouring aspect! You will come thru with flying colors and be stronger than ever before. How do I know this? I've done it...and you can too! HE makes a way where there seemeth to be no way! Go on girl....run like something is after you....look behind ya...we're there too!!

  35. Great post.
    Stay strong.
    Keep the faith.

  36. I'm so sorry for your loss. I lost my mom last February when she was a much stronger physical person than my dad. I can't believe she went before my dad. Thank you for sharing everything. I feel like I'm not alone anymore in thinking 2018 was NOT GOOD.

  37. May the best part of 2018, be the worse you encounter in 2019! Prayers for you, your dad and your family!

  38. We can never understand the tests we are put through, but God does not give us more than we can handle. I know that sounds crazy but I had a similar testing this past year. Still cry my eyes out at times ...just have memories to lean on. Go forward knowing you and your family can face any battle with love

  39. May God richly bless you in 2019 and always. Love to you and your family. Always in my prayers. xxx

  40. Oh my goodness! You've shared your heart and soul with us. I haven't followed you all these years because I didn't know about you back then but I love your spunk and your humor. And now your heart. God bless you and your family and thank you for sharing with us! :)

  41. Ugh! Good riddance 2018! I'm so sorry that you and your family had such a tough year. Good news on your Mom but tough getting through the loss. Finding a new normal and new traditions. Here's to a fresh, new year!

  42. May your annus horribilis of 2018 be behind you and may 2019 be your annus mirabilis! ❤️

  43. What a year! I'm so sorry you had to experience all those things, especially the loss of your Dad. God willing, 2019 will be completely different. Though we are separated by many miles, know that we, your faithful readers, are right here with you. Happy New Year, Mandy!

  44. Good Lord... I am so sorry that 2018 was so unkind to you, and it most certainly was. I must say that I'm feeling the same way myself, but I am also extremely optimistic about 2019. We love you and this blog. Keep yourself well, love those around you (that are worthy of that love) and reject all negativity. Peace & love!

  45. Best wishes for the happiest 2019 imaginable! So sorry you had such a difficult year before.

  46. Dear Mandy, your daddy is with you every step of the way; he's in your heart; he's a big part of who you are. You are doing an amazing job as wife, mother, daughter, friend. You are inspiring others to take life on full force, shed a tear, and then take off marching again. You are doing great. Somehow you have made mere words on a page capture us into your life ... and we love it, good times and not so good times. We love you dear.

  47. Thanks for sharing this Mandy. And for showing me that I need to probably share with my readers also. We will miss our Dads greatly!!


Hi there! While I’m not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven’t been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y’all! - Mandy