2017 Year in Review

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This is always one of the most difficult posts for me to write.  I always feel that I’ve not accomplished as much as I wanted to over the past year.  I had separated my goals into sections, the first was focused on organization and meal planning.  I actually succeeded in this area.  I’ve been (for the most part), filing my mail immediately by paying bills as they come in, and then filing everything into the appropriate file folders.  And, I’ve been mostly planning my meals for the coming week on Sundays, and also filling out my shopping list at the same time.

Another area that I had goals for was stress management.  That’s still a work in progress, but I have been listening to wonderful stress-reduction music while I write and read my e-mail.  So, that’s been helpful.  However, I do need to increase my time spent just breathing (which is my version of Yoga breaths).

As far as writing in concerned, I haven’t really gotten anywhere.  I did finish my children’s book, but I’m still working on the illustrations.  So, there was a positive, but also a negative.  I did not work on my novel at all this year.  I never even re-read it.

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As far as exercise and health, I tweaked my eating, went no-oil, and lost 23 pounds.  I’ve kept those pounds off, even though I have been having the occasional cookie and piece of cake over the holidays.  As far as exercise is concerned, I have been walking mile a day, however I’ve not been getting up and working out in the morning.  So, again, both a positive and a negative.

As far as my business is concerned, I’ve started to work on my website, but still don’t have my certificates.  I know, I know….

I have done other good things, though.  My closets are all cleaned out as are my drawers and cabinets.  I have bought and hung up curtains in both the living room and dining room.  I’ve taken many boxes and bags of excess “stuff” to the donation center and the swap-shop. So, that’s another positive.

Overall, this year I’ve had about as many positives as negatives.  Not a total loss, but also not a fabulous year as far as goals.  How has your year been?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Joy and Gratitude

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After all the excitement of the last week or so, I hope that you’re able to take a few moments to sit back and reflect on all the things that have brought joy and gratitude to your lives this past year.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the business of every day living, and forget to see the joy that surrounds us.  Daily life can be so stressful, that often our minds are only set on what we have to do and we miss connecting to the simple joys and gratitude of just living.  Take some time and think about what brought you joy this year, and what you’re grateful for.

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Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

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Are you ready?  Have you been good, or are you on the naughty list?  If you are on the naughty list I hope that you at least had fun getting there!  Every year, right around this time, I make the exact same resolution.  I promise myself I’ll get an earlier start on gift buying and wrapping the presents.  And, every year…the same thing happens. I start out already behind.  You would think that I’d learn, right?

Well, whatever state you’re in as far as preparation, just try and remember to relax and let the love and joy through.  Good luck to all the other unprepared people out there.  We’ll recognize each other from the matching panic on our faces!

Education and Learning

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As usual, I’ve come to the party late, however, I’m here and I’ve paid attention.  I’ve recently read the Young Adult novel, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  This is an extraordinary novel.  To prove it, it’s already been banned in more than one location in the United States.  A book being banned only means that it will make you think, something too many people don’t want to do, especially if what you learn from it is in opposition to what it is that you may have been taught.  The novel follows the life of Starr Carter, who by the age of sixteen has held two of her best friends in her arms as they lay dying after being shot.  This is not only her story, but the story of too many.  The poor, the over-looked, and the reviled.

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For those of you who may not have read this novel, I hope that you will.  Go out and buy it, or borrow it from your local library.  It covers so much of the experiences of children growing up as part of a reviled people.  The poverty, the inability to “rise above” due to lack of livable wages, poor education systems, and the grinding down of an entire segment of society.  Poverty is hard.  How can it not be when you are choosing between food and rent?  We need to understand, choose compassion and help our neighbors.  Only then will our country be better.  Together we stand, divided, as we are, we are falling.  And in this falling, it is all of us, not just a few of us.  Everything is interconnected.  We are all one.

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Getting My Act Together

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One of my goals for the month of December was to “get my act together”.  I said that I’d fill you in later by what I meant by that, so here I am, filling you in.  I’ve once again fallen off the “get up and work-out first thing in the morning” wagon.  Yep, I have.  I’ve still been walking a mile every day, however, that’s been it.  No lifting weights, no Denise (Austin), no FitnessBlender, no Yoga.  I know, believe me, I’m hanging my head in shame.  Sometimes we just fall off the wagon and stay there, because basically we’re too lazy to bother getting up.  Lying in the dirt, wallowing in our own laziness is just way easier than struggling to our feet and plodding onward toward our goals.  That’s why it’s unusual to maintain changes.

Once again, I find myself in the position of working to change my behavior.  One of the main problems is that I’ve fallen off the wagon as far as actually writing down my goals.   I can’t believe how important this is, and also why I just gave it up.  After all, I do know better.  So, here I go, having a meeting with myself on Sunday afternoon, writing down my goals, and attempting to achieve them.  My plan is to have myself back on track by New Year’s, because, of course, there are going to be a lot of goals I want to accomplish by the end of 2018.

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The 15th of December!

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This is the day that I had originally planned to have all my Christmas shopping done.  I have to hang my head in shame.  It’s not completely finished yet.   However, I am close, and I’ve got what’s been bought so far wrapped.  So, it’s not a complete disaster, yet.  How are you doing with your preparation?

This time of year can be so stressful, please take some time out and just enjoy your life.  Think about what you are grateful for, and what the season is really about.  Love.  Not what you can buy for someone, just the very fact that you love them.  Let’s try to cut the materialism out, and just celebrate each other.  My gifts are not going to be expensive this year.  I’m giving what’s practical and needed instead.  My house is full of “stuff”, and we don’t need any more.

What’s your plan for the holidays?  Have you gotten most of it done yet, or are you like me, dragging your feet and feeling overwhelmed?  Let me know how you cope with the “stress of the season” in the comments below.

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