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Posts Tagged ‘positive living’

My Daddy and I recently took a road trip to Atlanta (12-16 May) to visit my sister and her family for my niece Emma’s graduation from high school. I have been to Atlanta several times over the last 18 years, but this was the first time I drove there. Taking a road trip with me behind the steering wheel is 100% out of my comfort zone; however, I refuse to let that stop me from going on an adventure. If you remember, dear reader, I drove my Daddy and me to Kentucky to visit my Uncle Manuel back in September 2020. Besides, my Daddy does not like to fly anymore because he always ends up getting sick; therefore, I sucked it up and volunteered to drive us there and back. We left on Thursday, 12 May around 9:00 in the morning. Although driving to Atlanta was a piece of cake, driving through the city of Atlanta is no picnic. The last 15 minutes of our journey was daunting, but we prevailed. I am super happy we made the trip.

We arrived at the Killian homestead around 7:30 p.m. Atlanta time. Atlanta is an hour ahead of Louisiana. We were greeted warmly with smiles, hugs, and BBQ. My last trip to Atlanta was for Emma’s Confirmation back in November 2019. My Daddy’s last trip was Thanksgiving 2021 with Barry, Jr. (my oldest son). We all hung out and caught up for the remainder of the evening. On Friday, Emma and Lee had graduation festivities to attend and my sister had to work, which was great, since I also had to do some work for HGCS. My Daddy binged-watched the Jack Reacher series. Later that evening, since Lee and Emma were attending a graduation party, Rachel ordered Chinese food for us. I finally took a ride in her elevator. It is really cool to have an elevator in your house. We took a ride up to the attic. Instead of a skeleton in the closet, they have a skeleton in the attic.

On Saturday afternoon, Emma and I went shopping for clothes at a boutique called Vestique and book shopping at Barnes and Nobles. Emma is a voracious reader like me. Of course, we could not leave the bookstore without me buying us books and Starbucks. My evening was spent watching a horror movie called The Twin with Emma and her friend Marissa in the home theater. It is even cooler to have a home theater in your house, especially with comfy chairs. Austin does not care for scary movies, so he left quickly after the movie started. HA! A scary dog instead of a scary cat.

Sunday rolled around for the big day, Emma’s high school graduation from Pace Academy. We all woke up early, got dressed, and headed out to Pace Academy’s Sports Complex. It was an outdoor graduation. Thankfully, it had stopped raining before we arrived, and we encountered cooler temps for the majority of the ceremony. My heart swelled with joy watching Emma walk on the field to take her seat among her classmates. I got a little teary-eyed watching her receive her high school diploma. I am proud of my sweet, talented, and beautiful niece who also happens to be my goddaughter. In the fall, she will be attending Santa Clara University in California.

After graduation, we all went to eat lunch at Del Frisco’s Grille in downtown Atlanta. We started off with Cheesesteak Eggrolls and Del’s Deviled Eggs. Rachel and I each got an entree and split them. I ordered Strawberry Cobbler French Toast, and she ordered Braised Shortrib Hash. The food was excellent! Then, we all went back to the house. Emma had two graduation parties to attend (one in the afternoon and one in the evening). Lee helped host the afternoon party. It was nice to just relax after all the graduation festivities, especially with having to drive home early the next morning.

On Monday morning at 6:30 a.m., my Daddy and I said our good-byes to Rachel and Lee, thanked them for their hospitality, and got on the road heading towards Louisiana. I dropped my Daddy off at his house at 1:30 p.m. and arrived back home at 2:30 p.m. Louisiana time. What a wonderful road trip, graduation, and time with family!

The school year officially ended on Friday, 20 May along with my job as the instructional coach at HGCS. The closing of this school year ends a chapter in my work life. Technically, I have retired from the world of elementary education. One would think I was whooping it up as I left the school parking lot; however, I felt exactly the way I always feel on the last day of school – free and thrilled for the onset of summer break. The “whooping it up” will eventually happen, during the last week of July, when all of my teacher friends are going back to school to attend PLC meetings and to get their classrooms ready. I will not only feel relief at that moment in time, but I will also feel excitement and joy because I will be embarking on my next adventure.

My summer break kicks off tomorrow morning, dear reader. I will begin decluttering and organizing my home, starting with my scrapbook room which is a total disaster. Luna is getting spayed on Tuesday and will be out of the house until Wednesday afternoon, so I plan to take advantage of that time to get my scrapbook materials organized and my photos ordered for my annual scrapbooking event that I am attending with my girlfriends in June. I have quite a few activities and appointments scheduled this summer, especially throughout the month of June. I will be making memories, practicing self-care, and preparing for the next chapter of my life. Happiness!

“The two most joyous times of the year are Christmas morning and the end of school.” ~ Alice Cooper

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Happy Mother’s Day! I am blessed to be the mother of two young men, Andrew and Barry, Jr., who have not only brought me an overabundance of joy, but also a fair amount of worry and frustration over the years. Thankfully, there has been way more joy than worry. I love my boys immensely!

Motherhood can be a wonderful experience; however, it can also be nerve-racking and exhausting at times. Despite the lack of sleep during their baby years and teenage years (especially when they start driving), the worry over their well-being, and the heartache you feel when they are hurting (physically or emotionally), it is all worth it. Motherhood is one of my toughest roles, but it is also my most fulfilling one, and I would not trade it for anything. Motherhood looks differently for everyone. It is not a one type fits all kind of role. Whether you happen to be the mother of humans, fur babies, a creative endeavor, or a business, dear reader, this is your day to celebrate your path to motherhood.

Yesterday, we hosted a crawfish boil with a few of our friends and family. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day. Barry, Sr., along with my boys and our neighbor John, boiled the crawfish. The mudbugs were spicy good! We had a great deal to celebrate – Helen moving back to Louisiana, Claire passing her Praxis exam, mothers, friendship, life in general. Unfortunately, my momma was unable to attend; however, we did send my Daddy home with flowers, crawfish, and dessert for her. Much gratitude to Helen who took the pictures of our day together.

As you know, dear reader, May is Zombie Awareness Month, and I am completely engrossed in all things related to zombies. Currently, I am obsessed with All of Us Are Dead, the South Korean coming-of-age tv series streaming on Netflix. WOWZER! I think it is AMAZING. Basically, there is a zombie virus outbreak at a high school with a group of teenagers trapped in the school, fighting for survival. If anyone or anything is bitten by an infected person or animal, the virus works insanely fast, turning them into raging, rabid zombies. It is definitely worth a watch for zombie lovers.

Well, it is time for this zombie lover to get on with her day. It will be a low-key kind of day. Since my mom and I cannot get together today, we will plan a mother-daughter outing at a later date. As for my plans for today, I will be hanging out at home with my guys and fur babies, relaxing, and perhaps, watching some more All of Us Are Dead with the hubster. Blessings to all the women out there who assume the role of mom. Big hugs to those of you who can no longer spend the day with your mother. Wishing all of you a beautiful week ahead. Happiness!

“We are born of love; love is our mother.” ~ Rumi

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My splendid spring break is winding down, and I am feeling joyful, refreshed, and energetic. The last ten days have not only been a flurry of activity, but also a good amount of down time. I accomplished almost everything on my Spring Break 2022 list plus more. I spent quality time with my family, friends, and fur babies. This much-needed respite allowed me to pause and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. And, I even squeezed in a little work session for my day job.

My hubster and I were both on vacation for spring break. We spent a good deal of time together between my scheduled appointments and his yardwork/home projects. We had our first boiled crawfish for this season with his mom on Good Friday, attended Easter Sunday Mass with friends, did some yardwork in the backyard, hung out at Tickfaw State Park for his company picnic, and watched the entire Dexter: New Blood series in the evenings. It is probably the first time in a long time that we had that much quality time together.

There were only two items on my list that I did not get around to accomplishing this past week. I did not organize my scrapbook room, and I chose hubby time over attending the live on-line event (The 5 Secrets to Designing a Joyful Home) on Wednesday night. It was a free webinar, and thankfully, I can watch the replay of it. I accomplished a substantial amount of reading and writing during the break. In a couple of days, I will complete the books on my April TBR list and will publish a couple of blog posts. My consultation with the oral surgeon went well, and I have scheduled my implant procedure for 29 June.

Big news, dear reader! I only have 14 more workdays left of this school year. To be more precise, I only have 14 more workdays left as an instructional coach at Holy Ghost Catholic School. I am officially retiring from HGCS, and my last day is 20 May 2022. Woo-Hoo! This exciting news is all I am prepared to share with you at this time. Believe you me, dear reader, more about the next chapter of my life and my new adventures will unfold in the next few months. In the meantime, say a little prayer for me that I can successfully wrap up my school year with the remaining time I have there.

More big news, dear reader! I will be performing this week in The Phantom of the Columbia: A Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at the Columbia Theatre. I am Vera Cost, a B-movie horror icon who is traveling with a group of B-movie stars on a promotional tour. We have been invited to a special dinner at the theatre where we will encounter a mystery, a murderer, and the menacing Phantom of the Columbia. The first rehearsal is tonight, a dress rehearsal is tomorrow night, a preview is on Tuesday night which will be followed by four shows each evening, Wednesday-Saturday. What a wonderfully exciting opportunity for me!

Therefore, today is all about preparing for the upcoming week which will be one of my busiest weeks of the year thus far. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I am feeling grateful and optimistic while also looking forward to the challenge. Thankfully, I have Thursday and Friday off from my day job. I must be diligent with my self-care by managing my time efficiently, eating properly, and getting sufficient sleep. Barry, Sr. will NOT be out of town for work, so he will be home for Luna and the rest of our fur babies in the evenings. It’s time for me to run, dear reader. I hope you have a spectacular Sunday and a wonderful week ahead. Happiness!

“Prioritize building a life that sustains you and is compatible with your deepest, multifaceted self. Everything else grows from that!” ~ Emily Wapnick

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I am FINALLY on spring break and thrilled to be on vacation until 25 April. My hubster is on vacation, too! While I will be off from my day job as an instructional coach at HGCS, I have lots to accomplish at home and in my personal life. Most of the tasks and activities I have planned for the next 10 days are expected to be enjoyable. My schedule of activities is in order of the upcoming week, starting with today, Good Friday.

Kat’s Spring Break 2022

  • Lunch (hopefully boiled crawfish) with Mrs. Billie and hubster TODAY
  • Breakfast with Helen and Shelly on Saturday morning; shopping for shoes (dinner theatre)
  • Easter Sunday Mass
  • Writing prep with Claire-one hour (M, W, TH, and maybe F)
  • Consultation with oral surgeon (implant) on Tuesday; visit parents
  • Haircut on Wednesday morning
  • The 5 Secrets to Designing a Joyful Home on-line event on Wednesday evening
  • Book Club Meeting (The Woman in Black) on Thursday evening
  • Hubby’s work picnic on Saturday afternoon
  • Rehearsal at Columbia for dinner theatre on Sunday evening

In the midst of these delightfully scheduled activities (minus oral surgeon visit), I will be learning my lines for my role in The Phantom of the Columbia, organizing my dreadfully cluttered scrapbook room, spending time with the hubster, organizing my Zombie Awareness Month activities for May, writing a blog post or two, and reading a ton. I admit I may be wildly ambitious as to everything I want to achieve over the course of the next 10 days, especially since I am also caring for our rambunctious puppy Luna (more about her in another post).

Luna

However, I am determined, dear reader, to try my very best to accomplish everything on my schedule and to-do list during my spring break. Now, with that being said, I must get started. Luna only naps so long before she demands my undivided attention. Happiness!

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” ~ Jim Rohn

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After SIX long months, Andrew is FINALLY back in his bedroom. My hubby and I moved some of Andrew’s furniture into his room on Thursday while he was at school, so I took a few pictures to send to him. On Friday evening after eating dinner at my mother-in-law’s house, Andrew officially moved back home. I am overjoyed and grateful that he is home. I am extremely thankful to Mrs. Billie for letting Andrew stay with her. I am extremely thankful to my Daddy and my husband for all of their hard work getting the repairs completed on the roof and the bedroom. Kudos to my boys for assisting any time we asked them to help with repairs, clearing debris, and yard work. Last but definitely not least, many thanks to you, dear reader, along with friends and family who offered up prayers and sent positive vibes during this ordeal.

Last night, Barry and I had drink night at Shelly and Kerry’s house to celebrate their daughter Aubry’s 21st heavenly birthday. Aubry was stillborn about four months before Andrew was born. It was a heartbreaking time for us all. I hated seeing my friends hurting at the loss of their angel. I make a point every year to acknowledge Aubry’s birthday. On Wednesday when I texted Shelly and Kerry, I suggested that we have a drink night and toast Aubry on what would have been a milestone birthday for her. Kerry, our bartender, mixed Angel’s Delight Martinis, and Shelly prepared Heaven on Earth (yummy dessert made with Angel Food cake). Shelly’s mom Mrs. Carol and her bonus dad Mr. Mike (my Godson) and our long-time friend Helen joined us for the celebration. Mr. Mike even brought over mini muffulettas and a cheese/meat tray. I thought it was a wonderful way to spend time with friends and remember Aubry.

Barry and I are steadily moving forward in March and continue to make progress on the house. The inspector for our mortgage company came on Friday, documents and receipts have been uploaded to our mortgage company and insurance company, and a fence company has been hired to put up our new fence in three weeks (provided it does not rain a whole lot between now and then). We also need to purchase new gutters and clean up more tree debris in the backyard. I am confident that both will happen in the next few weeks. At this moment, our only real hiccup is getting the roofing company to send someone to the house and fix an error on the roof, so we can reinstall our chimney stack. The roofing salesperson is not great at his job, so I am not sure when and if this will happen any time soon. We have been promised twice that someone would come (Friday and Saturday) to make the adjustment; no one has shown up, and the salesperson has not called with an explanation. I am NOT surprised, and my expectations are low. However, I am determined not to get upset and pray it will get resolved in a timely manner.

My life seems to be settling down a bit, dear reader. Since Andrew is back home, we were able to move a bunch of his belongings out of the living room and other areas of the house. What a wonderful feeling to have more open space! I am excited, yes excited, to do some spring cleaning, decluttering, and organizing. I want to get my house back in order before the end of this school year. I get the stitches out of my mouth (where my tooth was extracted, and a bone graft put in its place) on Thursday afternoon. Daylight saving time is next Sunday (woo-hoo!) which means more evening daylight and a happier, more motivated me. Also, Easter break is six weeks away, and the hubster and I will be on vacation together again. In the meantime, I have all sorts of interesting and enjoyable activities on my calendar to keep me busy until the break. Happiness!

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” ~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free 

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As mentioned in my previous post, I decided to track my time for an additional week to get a clearer picture of how I am spending my time. Therefore, this analysis is from the week of 17 January – 23 January. During this week, I worked 32.5 hours at school and devoted 54 hours to sleep. This left me with 81.5 hours to spend in other areas of my life.

Therefore, how did I spend those remaining 81.5 hours?

  • Morning Routine (T-F): 5.75 hours 
  • Morning Routine (M/SAT-SUN): 3 hours
  • Travel to and from work (T-TH): 2.25 hours
  • Travel to and from other places: 4.25 hours
  • Afternoon Routine (M-TH): .5 of an hour (pet care for Tooty and cats, unpacking lunch box and school bag)
  • Chores: 11 hours (loading dishwasher, laundry, floors, washing out litter pan, bathrooms)
  • Walk (20 for 2022 Challenge): 2.75 hours
  • Read (includes #Read21in21 Challenge): 5.5 hours
  • Instagram Post (#yearofjoy2022): 1 hour
  • Goodreads: .5 of an hour 
  • Meals: 3.75 hours 
  • Evening Routine: 3.75 hours (shower; take Tooty out before bed)
  • Blog: 5.25 hours (Sunday-write, edit, revise, publish)
  • Content Creation: 13.75 hours (collaboration with Kelsi-YouTube)
  • TV Shows/Movies/YouTube: 2.5 hours
  • Napping: 0 hours
  • Social Events/Errands: 7.75 hours
  • Hanging out with Andrew: 1 hour

As a result, 74.25 hours were spent with family/friends, walking, creating content, fulfilling commitments/life responsibilities, and completing household tasks. My time bank still had 7.25 hours, and those additional hours were spent on other activities, such as playing Trivia Crack, interacting on social media (FB and Instagram), texting, phone calls, checking email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house.

It was an unusual, but gratifying, week since I was off Monday instead of Friday (MLK Day), played Pokeno on Monday evening (as a sub), attended Elton John’s concert with Shelly on Wednesday evening (original date 06/2020), worked from home on Friday (weather day), and did a livestream with Kelsi (Misery) on Sunday.

Clearly, the two weeks I tracked were not exactly the same. I had 2.5 extra hours this week than last week. So, on average I have about 6 hours a week to spend on my goals for 2022. Compared to last year when I had 19 hours, that is not very much time. Nevertheless, I am not discouraged. Last year, we had stricter COVID restrictions, so I was home more. After today, I do not have any social events scheduled for February or March. I am also participating in Frugal February again this year since it was a huge success last year. Therefore, my extra hours may increase considerably. In the next few weeks, I am considering keeping track of the time spent on items from my 22 for 2022 list.

There you have it, dear reader. Two weeks of time tracking, and I am a bit wiser about where my time is going, so I can adjust my schedule to be more productive and reach my goals for the year. It is also clear to me that I cannot do EVERYTHING I want to do at the same time. I will need to protect my extra time for the next two months and finish the first quarter of the year strong. In the meantime, I need to get ready to leave for Canton, Mississippi where I am attending an Audition Intensive Workshop today. Happiness!

“We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Note: Photo at the top is by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Pexels.com.

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During the week of 10 January, I participated in Laura Vanderkam’s Time-Tracking Challenge. Laura hosts this annual challenge in January, so it is no coincidence that “time track in January” is a goal for this year (#1 on my 22 for 2022 list). I find time tracking beneficial, especially when I am feeling overwhelmed or need to make some changes, and 2022 is all about CHANGE.

My week started with 168 hours on Monday 10 January at 5:00 in the morning. Two categories that took up a huge chunk of my time were work (instructional coach at a PreK2-8th school) and sleep. 32 hours were spent at work and 56 hours were spent sleeping. This left me with 80 hours to spend on other tasks or activities during the week.

So, how did I spend the remaining 80 hours of my week?

  • Morning Routine (M-TH): 7.25 hours 
  • Morning Routine (F-SUN): 2.25 hours

My morning routine consists of pet care for one dog (Sophie crossed the rainbow bridge on 07 January), two cats, and a snake, personal care for myself, making coffee, preparing breakfast (eat at school), preparing my lunch, unloading the dishwasher, posting on FB (Monday/Wednesday). Sometimes, I may transfer a load of laundry that washed overnight into the dryer or do another quick task.

  • Travel to and from work (M-TH): 2.75 hours
  • Travel to and from other places: 6.5 hours
  • Afternoon Routine (M-TH): 1 hour (pet care for Tooty and cats, unpacking lunch box and school bag)
  • Chores: 7.75 hours (loading dishwasher, laundry, floors, getting my scrapbook room in order)
  • Walk (20 for 2022 Challenge): 2.75 hours
  • Read (includes #Read21in21 Challenge): 5.5 hours
  • Instagram Post (#yearofjoy2022): 1.25 hours
  • Goodreads: .25 of an hour 

Gretchen Rubin created the walking (2020) and reading (2021) challenges which I enjoyed participating in both years that I continue to incorporate them in my daily routine. Both activities increase my happiness, provide a sense of satisfaction, and bring more joy into my life. I am all about more JOY in 2022.

  • Meals: 4 hours 
  • Evening Routine: 3.25 hours (shower; take Tooty out before bed)
  • Blog: 3.5 hours (Sunday-write, edit, revise, publish)
  • TV Shows/Movies/YouTube: 5.25 hours
  • Napping: 2.25 hours
  • Social Events/Errands: 9.5 hours

My social events for this week included a delightful dinner with my friend Roxanne on Monday evening, Connie Kittok’s art show and dinner in Ponchatoula with Andrew on Thursday evening, shopping and lunch with Andrew on Friday morning/afternoon, and a wedding with my hubby on Friday evening. Before Andrew and I went shopping, I went to the post office to mail a small package to my friend Rita (lives in England) and stopped at PJ’s coffee to pick up a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit and a mocha latte.

As a result, 50.5 hours were spent on life responsibilities, 9.25 hours were spent traveling, and 5.25 hours were spent watching television shows, movies, or YouTube for a total of 65 hours.

This left me with 15 hours left over in my weekly bank of hours. Of my remaining time, I spent 3.5 hours of those hours hanging out with either Andrew or Barry, Jr. at home. My birthday was on Tuesday, and I wanted to read and respond to all of my beautiful birthday wishes, so I spent 6.75 hours of the week reading and responding to texts, emails, and FB messages, opening and reading birthday cards that came in the mail, opening gifts, as well as talking to family and friends on the phone. I absolutely do NOT feel badly about spending my time this way because it brought me so much joy to receive so many kind messages, and it was a wonderful way to enjoy the week. The remaining 4.75 hours was spent playing Trivia Crack, scrolling through social media (mainly FB), texting, email, time-tracking, or puttering around the house.

So, what did I learn during this Time-Tracking Challenge, and how do I use this week’s data?

Clearly, between this being my birthday week and socializing a bunch with family and friends throughout the week, I did not have a great deal of spare time to devote to my aims for 2022. With that being said, I still had 4.75 hours that I could have used to complete a module in my blogging course or complete the journaling for one of the pages in Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. I could come up with a litany of reasons as to why I chose scrolling over scribing, but they would be excuses instead of legitimate reasons. Honestly, I did not make that time a priority. And, it is not to say that all of the time was spent on mindless phone play. “Puttering around the house” is not necessarily wasted time. It is the time where I squeeze those little tasks in between major tasks, such as going through the mail, writing a check, putting a book back on the shelf, or taking out the trash.

However, I am only working four days a week this year. Last year at this time, my time-tracking log showed I worked 43.5 hours. This week, I logged 32 hours. Instead of working, I spent Friday of this year running errands and spending time with Andrew (shopping and lunch in Mandeville). Part of the shopping experience was buying a gift for the wedding; however, Andrew was free to hang out and keep me company on the way to the store to buy the gift, so we made it a day with more shopping at American Eagle and Barnes & Noble and ate lunch at La Madeleine. It is a bit of a drive, so we enjoyed lots of conversation on the drive there and back.

Although, I would love for my Fridays to be devoted strictly towards my aims for the year, it is not realistic. That is not to say, I have not used my Fridays to write a blog post or work on content for a video I am doing with Kelsi. The reality is I use my Fridays to schedule doctors’ appointments or other appointments, catch up on household chores, run errands, or deal with the unexpected that crops up that day or I do not have the energy to deal with earlier in the week. Sometimes, I just want to have a day off and do nothing in particular, especially if I have a full weekend ahead of me.

Not surprisingly, I decided to time track an additional week, dear reader. I am trying to get a clearer picture of where my time is going and the best way to schedule my time by adjusting my morning and evening routines during the work week as well as my routines on the weekend. I will be posting that analysis shortly. As always, I am a work in progress and moving slowly, but steadily to making change to live my best life. Happiness!

“Change isn’t easy, it takes time.” ~ Caroline Kennedy

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Last year, I recorded my “Year of Gratitude” through pictures on Instagram with the intention of creating a physical scrapbook. I still fully intend to create that scrapbook; however, it may take me some time. In hindsight, I should have scrapbooked by the month to keep up with it. I am a SLOW scrapbooker. HA! It will include all the people, places, things, books, and experiences that I was essentially grateful for in my life during 2021. In all fairness to myself, I was not really sure how my project would evolve or if I’d even keep up with posting a daily picture. Now that the year has ended, I have some ideas.

As part of my #Read21in21 Challenge last year, I read Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee (December). I realized shortly after reading it that the pictures I posted for my gratitude project were of people, places, and things that brought be a great deal of joy and provided me with lots of happiness boosts. I loved documenting my Year of Gratitude so much, I decided to do another project for 2022, Year of JOY.

Now, I have been taking joyful pictures since the new year started, but I am a bit behind on posting them on Instagram. I will catch up in the coming weeks. I recently read a post, “JOYSPOTTING 101” on Lee’s blog called The Aesthetics of Joy where I downloaded her Joyspotter’s Guide for free. According to Ingrid Fetell Lee, “Joyspotting is a simple practice of tuning your attention to the joy in your surroundings.” Additionally, I joined her 7-day Joy Jumpstart program. It is self-guided, so I can work on it at my own pace which is generally a snail’s pace. Furthermore, I have requested to join Lee’s FaceBook group, The Joyspotters Society. I think this group will add more joy to my year.

In addition to joyspotting, which is physically seeing something you could not see before, I will also be joyfinding. What is the difference? For me, joyspotting is finding joy in the wild. It is unexpected, a joyful surprise. However, the more joy you SPOT, the more noticeable it will become in your life. Whereas joyfinding, in my opinion, is something acquired or that you already own (a physical object); it is already a part of your life (a person, a fur baby, your home), or it is something abstract like love. You basically FIND joy interacting with people, places, or things that already exist in your life or expecting to experience at some point in your day, month, or year. Either way, the goal is to experience more JOY in 2022.

Dear reader, you bring me joy every time you stop by to read my blog posts. I hope your year is off to a spectacular start. It is hard to believe that January is almost over. I finished my time-tracking challenge scheduled for 10 January-16 January but decided to track my time for an additional week which will end tomorrow night. I will share my results with you soon. Also, if anyone is interested, Kelsi and I will be hosting our live discussion on Misery tomorrow 23 January at 2:00 PM CT. Click the link below to set a reminder. In the meantime, I hope you have a joyful weekend. Happiness!

“You have a whole world of joy right at your fingertips. There’s no method you need to learn, no discipline you need to impose on yourself. The only requirement is what you already have: an openness to discovering the joy that surrounds you.” ~ Ingrid Fetell Lee

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How do you spend your time, dear reader? I know I am not always the best steward when it comes to managing my time. However, I have made strides in the area of time management since reading 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. While we all have the same 168 hours a week, we spend those hours differently. Keeping a time log of how you spend your 168 hours is a worthwhile endeavor when trying to accomplish goals. January is the perfect month to keep a time log and track exactly how you are spending your 168 hours.

Therefore, I joined Laura Vanderkam’s annual “Time Tracking Challenge” which will start on Monday 10 January. She will send out an email on Sunday with details about the challenge. After I log how I spent my 168 hours for the week, I will analyze my time log to see exactly how much time I have left (after work, sleep, and family commitments have been deducted) to work on my aims for 2022. I actually enjoy tracking my time and will track it periodically throughout the year, especially when I feel overwhelmed or feel like I am not making any progress with my goals for the year.

In addition to tracking my time next week, I am also participating in Gretchen Rubin’s free New Year’s Resolution Challenge which she announced on her podcast this week. The challenge starts on Sunday, 09 January, and for 7 days, Gretchen will text you 7 tips “for making (and keeping) effective resolutions.” I have done SMS challenges with Gretchen before, and I enjoy them.

I am off to a great start with accomplishing the items on my 22 for 2022 list. Time-tracking is the first item on my list. My time log will help me accomplish the second item on my list, which is to tweak my morning routine. I am excited about the upcoming week and embracing CHANGE. Happiness!

“It’s how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it.” ~ Marcia Wieder

Note: Photo at the top is by Giallo on Pexels.com.

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Many of you know I am a superfan of Gretchen Rubin and her work on happiness and good habits. On her podcast back in September of 2017, she talked about writing a “TA-DA list” if you are feeling dragged down by your to-do list. This year, I decided to keep a TA-DA List of activities I participated in or endeavors I accomplished throughout 2021, so I would not beat myself up too much for not completing everything on my 21 for 2021 list which I reviewed yesterday on my blog.

TA-DA 2021

  • Instagram (Year of Gratitude Project)
  • Collabs with Kelsi (Movie Musicals, Holiday Horror, Zombie Awareness Month, Slashers, Fear Street Trilogy, Halloween, Christmas…check out her fantastic channel for horrorific content)
  • Live Streams with Kelsi (books and horror movies)
  • Became Mr. Mike’s Godmother at the Easter Vigil (attended weekly RCIA classes with him; huge honor)
  • Travel (visited Helen in Colorado in April; visited my Aunt Carolyn and cousins in Utah in July)
  • Scrapbooking (attended TAC Scrapbook Event with Shelly, Heather, and Donna in June)
  • Weekly lunches with friends and family (part of summer fun list)
  • Created the Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club with Kelsi (meet and greet was in April; monthly Zoom meetings)
  • Zombie Awareness Month
  • Completed Level 3 Improv Class (in-person in June)
  • Improv Showcase with The Improvables (June)
  • Friday the 13th Date Night with the Hubster (August)
  • Survived Hurricane Ida (still dealing with the aftermath; currently in recovery mode)
  • Survived Tendonitis in my right wrist (finally had to get the shot)
  • Welcomed Ice Cream Bar to the Family
  • Halloween Decor Shopping with Kelsi (October)
  • Vlogs (Hurricane Ida, First Day of Fall, Halloween Decor Shopping/Thematic Fun Day with Kelsi)
  • Halloween ReadaThon
  • Mrs. Slides in the play, The House on Haunted Hill, at the Columbia Theatre (October/November)
  • Successfully throwing Mrs. Billie a surprise 90th birthday party
  • Halloween Fun List
  • Christmas Fun List
  • Christmas Evil Challenge

As you can see, dear reader, I kept busy in 2021 even though I did not cross off every item on my 21 for 2021 list. I am absolutely grateful for all of my experiences this year. Every single one of them carried a blessing into my life, making it richer and creating wonderful memories. Although I am a planner by nature and love setting goals and making resolutions, I also enjoy learning and trying new activities. When opportunity knocked, I opened the door and accepted whatever adventure was across the threshold. Life is truly an adventure. Happiness!

Ta-da list: I was surprised to learn that many people get very fired up by making a ta-da list. By reminding themselves of everything they’ve already accomplished, they find the drive to continue.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

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