While my family and I are gallivanting around this week, I want to share with you my own personal picks for the 10 Favorite Blog Posts of 2011. (When you capitalize things, it makes them Super Official). I have nothing to offer these 10, no award or certificate or badge or banner. But great writing deserves some attention. All of these posts have moved me, some even months after I read them. Of the many lovely and soulful posts I’ve read this year, here are 10 that seem to have lingered for various reasons (listed in no particular order).

Unstyled Life by Jules at Pancakes and French Fries:: Having just recently watched my family sort through the many collections of everything from manilla envelopes to Waffle House pins that make up the remnants of my father-in-law’s earthly possessions, this post struck a chord somewhere down deep. She writes beautifully and I am left standing right next to her, shaking my head. For anyone considering the purpose of all our stuff, this post is a must read.

Please Don’t Miss It by Sara Frankl at (in)courage :: She wrote this on her birthday, the last birthday she had on earth. She wrote to us, begging us to see, to open up, to live fully. She wanted us to learn from her life: don’t miss your own. Read it. You won’t soon forget.

The World Needs More Artists by Jeff Goins :: Jeff is a great voice for those of us who work hard at our craft but have trouble with the last five percent. He reminds us that making great art is its own reward and that we have a say in the kind of legacy we want to leave. His blog is one of my favorite new finds of 2011.

We’ve Been Conditioned to Not Make Mistakes by The Nester at Nesting Place :: She reminds us that while home is supposed to be the safest place on earth, some of us manage to make it our biggest source of shame. It’s not supposed to be that way. Read at your own risk.

What is Deployment? by Ashleigh Baker :: Think of honest writing and then go two steps deeper. That is how Ashleigh communicates on her blog. She spent many, many months alone with her two boys as her husband served overseas. And then he came home, and she wrote about it, and it was beautiful, and I still think of it sometimes. So here you go.

Hold Your Fire by Jenny S. Allen :: I met her on Canadian Thanksgiving in a Toronto hotel restaurant, she with my lost luggage and stories so similar to mine it made my head spin. We chatted over pizza until we closed the tired place down and shared nervous laughter over the interviews we had the next morning. And in that magic way that doesn’t happen all that often, a girl from Texas and a girl from North Carolina connected like girls who grew up only miles apart, swimming at the same pool. For any woman who feels a tug and a pull but is terrified of leading, read this post.

Here and There by Shannan Martin at Flower Patch Farm Girl :: She writes about home in ways that make me wish I had one. Not that I don’t have a home, I do. But we moved around so much when I was a kid that the roots she talks about didn’t have time to burrow deep. So I read her words and I know I feel that way about something but I just haven’t figured out what yet. So while this post is one of my favorites of the year, her entire blog is one of my favorite finds ever.

Because God Really Knows How to Meet Needs by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience :: She wrote this post in November and I’ve thought of it more than I can say since then. Because The Farmer didn’t want to leave his pigs, but he did it anyway. And God has lovely ways of weaving our giftedness and our passion into our service and our worship. That is what he did on a small plot of land in Ecuador. I simply love this story.

These Are Magic Hours by Tara at Pohlkotte Press:: I found this post just a week ago. Tara linked up with Tuesdays Unwrapped and I’m so glad she did. She makes words dance. A taste? “These are the hours that make the years fly, folding us into life with grace and love.”

My Dead Hope by Gary Morland at New Life’n :: Don’t let the title fool you. It’s a post about broken dreams, yes. But it’s also infused with a beautiful, rich, scary hope that weighs even heavier than the dream. If you had goals for this year that never quite came to be, read this before the next year begins. And as a bonus? Gary has an ebook based on this series available for free download any day now – just look for Scary Hope (I’ll let you know when it’s available). And also he’s my dad so you know. There’s that.

Cherry Bomb by Megan Jordan at Velveteen Mind:: Whenever I feel wimpy in my writing I read this post by Megan and it makes me brave. She has a way of bossing without making me defensive, instead it just makes me get to work.

What do you think of these 10 posts {ok it’s 11}? Which ones would you add? (Feel free to share links in the comments, but if you leave more than one link, the blog will think you’re spam and block you). Would love to hear some of your favorite picks of the year.

And to you who have gathered here for yet another year, thank you for writing, for speaking truth into this chaotic world, for making your art, and sharing it with us.