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Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

My weekend started off with beautiful roses from my hubby. A note written on the back of some scratch paper was placed halfway underneath the vase, thanking me for taking care of our fur babies. What a wonderful way for my old man to show me his appreciation! I was surprised and touched by the thoughtful gesture since my sweetheart rarely buys me flowers for ordinary moments. Little does he know that his kindly deed turned the ordinary into the extraordinary, at least in my mind anyway. Every time I look at them, I smile big and get a happiness boost.

On Thursday afternoon, Andrew and I took a ride to Covington to visit our favorite comic book shop, Big Easy Comics. We were specifically going in to check our subscription box. While buying our comic books, we learned that the store is closing up shop in October of this year due to several circumstances. Needless to say, we are bummed about the news, especially since comic book stores are far and few between, and we happen to really love this one. I had been wanting to get a board game called Wingspan for Andrew which he had spotted in the store while I was checking out and called my attention to it. I figured we should purchase it because it might not be there when we go back in a couple of weeks.

And, I am so happy we bought it. Andrew and I started playing the game shortly after getting home, and we played again yesterday afternoon. It is a great deal of fun with lots of interesting facts about birds, their habitats, their diets, and so much more. I see lots of Wingspan in my future.

As many of you know, I am participating in a Fast Burn Challenge to improve my health. Fitness is a huge component of the program, and on a few of the days, walking a certain number of steps is the goal. On Friday, my fitness goal was to walk 14,000 steps. I accomplished it along with some additional steps.

I must admit, it is easier to reach this goal when I am at work because I walk around the school campus quite a bit. In order for me to complete the number of steps at home, I walk longer in the mornings (an hour plus a few minutes) and take a shorter walk (20-30 minutes) in the evenings after dinner. In the mornings, I listen to the podcast, Levar Burton Reads, as I walk around the neighborhood which makes the first walk extremely enjoyable. On Friday, I listened to “SPAM” by Savannah Michell. Today, I also have to reach 14,000 steps. This morning, I listened to “End Game” by Nancy Kress. I highly recommend both short stories and the podcast.

As I am writing this post, I have already walked 10,224 steps. Not too shabby, dear reader. I’m grateful that I’m physically capable of accomplishing my walking goals and that I really enjoy walking in general. It is one of many things that I have enjoyed doing this weekend and this month. May is quickly coming to an end, and it has been a whirlwind of a month. I’m ready for June and all the activities that I have planned with my family and friends. What are you looking forward to in June, dear reader? Happiness!

“Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for your life to begin and start making the most of the moment you are in.” ~ Germany Kent

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Since returning from Colorado two weeks ago, I feel like my life has been moving at warp speed. Life, both at work and at home, has gotten busier. The school year is wrapping up (four weeks left) with lots of deadlines and end-of-the-year activities on the horizon while my personal life is ramping up. What’s more, I could not be happier! In the midst of it all, I am unbelievably calm because I am so looking forward to summer break and the influx of time that will flood my calendar.

Therefore, I have taken some time this weekend to indulge in a bit of distraction, a sort of calm before the storm. My hubby’s work picnic was cancelled yesterday due to impending weather, so he asked if we could go to the movies and have dinner afterwards. Sure! I’m always game for a movie and sushi. And, yes, I can have sushi on my Fast Burn program provided that it falls within the guidelines. He wanted to see Nobody which was a terrific choice. I think Bob Odenkirk aka Nobody did a wonderful job in the lead role.

Afterwards, we went to Kirin where we ate dinner at the sushi bar. Barry and I enjoyed talking to the sushi chef who prepared our meal. I had a small snowcrab salad and a Michelle Roll (snowcrab, crab stick, boiled shrimp, asparagus, avocado, and cucumber wrapped in soybean paper. NO rice! Barry ordered the Who Dat Roll and the Samurai Roll. It was a fun date night!

Once home, we settled in for the evening. Andrew was home, so he and I watched a few episodes of Modern Family. We are finally getting to watch Season 11, the final season.

The rest of the weekend will be spent scheduling my upcoming week, planning and prepping my meals for Week 2 of the Fast Burn Challenge, exercising, taking care of some chores, and relaxing. Yes, I will be partaking in some relaxing today, dear reader. I want to daydream a little bit about the upcoming summer break, read, and watch Fear the Walking Dead. Furthermore, if I can squeeze out another 1 1/2 hours of today, I will watch The Evil in Us which is the last movie on my Holiday Horror Movie Marathon list. Happiness!

“It’s all about finding the calm in the chaos.” ~ Donna Karan

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What a busy week! So many adventures, surprises, and milestones happened throughout the past week. I had to take my car to the dealership to check on an emissions leak that turned out to be nonexistant. I received an Easter surprise from my dear friends, the Picone family. I hit the one year mark of walking daily for at least 20 minutes per day (walking streak). Kelsi and I had a ZOOM meeting to finalize details before we launch our virtual book club on April 1st. I got my 2nd COVID shot. And, Sophie, my German Shepherd, turned 13 years old. What a blessed life!

Not only has the past week been busy and a blessing, but the first quarter of the year has also proven to be stellar. I have some PROPS and FLOPS for the first three months. As you know, dear reader, I created a 21 for 2021 list with goals, activities, and courses that I want to accomplish this year. For the first quarter, I chose seven items to work on during January, February, and March. I’m happy to report that I get props for six of the items on my list with only one item being a flop.

PROPS

First of all, I completed #11 (Read Atomic Habits by James Clear) and #8 (One NO spend month). I picked up some great strategies to build good habits from Atomic Habits and saved some money during Frugal February. I now subscribe to Clear’s weekly newsletter to continue receiving terrific information and inspiration about habits, and I plan to do another NO spend month later in the year since it was a vast victory.

#1 (Manage Time) is going well. I schedule my time weekly, and it has been quite effective. #4 (Eat more vegetables) has been a huge success thanks to my hubster. He enjoys cooking way more than I enjoy it, so he has been the one cooking the new veggie recipes. He definitely deserves the props for this item. #14 (Take a WordPress Blogging Course) is going smoothly. I am half way through the course and have picked up some helpful tips. I anticipate completing the course next quarter. #20 (Scrapbook at least two times per month) has been a delightful way to spend my time. I’ve been catching up on the journaling portion of Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. All of these items are ongoing, so they will appear again on my 2nd quarter list.

I’m happy to report that the various schedules that I created back in January, with the exception of one, have been working really well. I’ve been wholeheartedly sticking to my housekeeping schedule and course schedule. As for my self-care schedule, I have (for the most part) been sticking to everything in that category. My daily routine (#Read21in21, Walk 20 for 2021, gratitude journal, and daily Instagram photo) is an enormous happiness boost, and I look forward to it every day.

Finally, I must mention that I have engaged in some additional fun and fulfilling activities this first quarter. I completed one movie marathon in February and started another one in March that will conclude in April. I am participating in RCIA at St. Margaret Church where I am sponsoring Mr. Mike (Shelly’s step-dad). He will become a member of the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil, and I will become his Godmother. I’ve been involved in a project called Tranquility by Tuesday with the author, Laura Vanderkam, who writes about time management. And, last but not least, I’ve been working with Kelsi to create a Horror Book Club which will launch this upcoming Thursday. There is still time to take a survey (deadline on March 31st) and help us choose our book club name.

FLOPS

My one flop this quarter was #6 (Declutter and organize each room in my house). I created a decluttering schedule back in January that would have me decluttering and organizing one room in my house each month. Needless to say, it was ambitious and unrealistic to think I could tackle such a monumental item, even broken down into smaller tasks, with everything else I want to accomplish this year while also working a day job. Does that mean I am abandoning this item on my 21 for 2021 list? Absolutely NOT! However, I have set it aside for the time being until I can shed some of my other responsibilities.

My other flop is minor but still needs to be addressed. Since Daylight Saving Time has started, I have not been going to bed on time. I can now walk later in the evenings which puts more pep in my step, and I stay up later doing all sorts of wonderful things. Thus on Friday evenings, I am in bed and asleep by 8:00 p.m. because I basically run out of steam. I need to practice better self-care and adhere to my bedtime, so I do not get sick.


Not too shabby, dear reader. I am pleased with my progress and productivity. So many activities and adventures await me in April. The second quarter will mean the end of some events and the beginning of others, including a book club, Easter break, and summer break. Anticipation, what a glorious feeling! Happiness!

Easter Surprise from Jeff, Joanna, and Jackson

“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.” ~ Jonas Salk

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2019 was a terrific year for me. I had made significant strides in different areas of my life (health, home, acting). Along with so many people, I was excited about 2020. I felt like it was going to be my year to make a breakthrough as an actor. I started improv classes in January. I knew from the very first class that improv was going to be an important piece of the puzzle concerning my acting career. In February, I completed a series of private sessions with my acting coach, Lance Nichols, and we had outlined acting goals for the remainder of the year. And, then COVID-19 derailed everything in early March. 

Since 2018, I have made a list of tangible goals to accomplish throughout the year with that year setting the number of items on the list. I got this fun idea three years ago from Gretchen Rubin, who is the author of The Happiness Project. In 2018, I completed 14 of the items on my 18 for 2018 list. In 2019, I completed 11 of the items on my 19 for 2019 list. In 2020, I have only completed 5 of the items on my 20 for 2020 list. For me, like for many people all over the world, the pandemic affected the accomplishment of several items on my list this year.

Therefore, let’s start with my 5 accomplishments. I took my first improv class (#7) back in January. Since we can’t meet in person for classes, my improv teacher, David Hamilton, graciously offers bimonthly virtual hangouts to his students to keep our improv muscles in shape. What an awesome gift! I read So You Want to Start a Podcast by Kristen Meinzer (#3). Reading this book has taken my desire to create a podcast to the next level. I finally bought new bras (#12). I found a new eye doctor and scheduled an appointment for January 2021 (#14). Lastly, I spent the summer with Poe (#16) by reading a great deal of Edgar Allan Poe’s work.

There are 3 items on my list that I almost completed, but couldn’t quite finish. Is there a possibility I can complete them by the end of 2020? Anything is possible, but it seems highly unlikely with other activities that I have planned between now and the end of the year.

  • #8 Organize the home office. (moved in, not completely organized)
  • #18 Complete Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. (several layouts lack journaling)
  • #19 Organize my master bedroom closet. (two attempts made, with so much more to do)

There are 4 items on my list that were impacted directly by the pandemic, so I was unable to complete them the way I would normally.

  • #6 Get professional headshots.
  • #11 Try 20 new restaurants. (only tried 8 due to restrictions; 2 of the 8, curbside pickup)
  • #15 Host a Bunco party.
  • #20 Run a 5K. 

There are 7 items on my list that I made NO attempt to complete. Lack of motivation and poor time management are the culprits for not accomplishing these items. I definitely had the time to complete them.

  • #1 Create a vision board.
  • #2 Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
  • #4 Try intermittent fasting. (Clean & Lean)
  • #9 Organize the kitchen pantry.
  • #10 Learn ways of living sustainably to be more eco-friendly.
  • #13 Write a will.
  • #17 Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Workflow

Last but not least, there is 1 item on my list that I failed to complete in the most miserable way. And, there are NO excuses. I did not lose 20 pounds (#5) this year. In fact, I gained weight and added two more pounds to my blubber. As of today, I am 161 pounds which makes me about 40 pounds overweight. I won’t sugarcoat the situation, even though sugar plays a big part. As I have written in previous posts this year, I have the knowledge. Apparently, I lack the desire to make health and wellness a priority as demonstrated by a weight gain instead of a weight loss. 

Indeed, dear reader, I am not humming Beck’s “Loser.” There is no need to beat myself up or get down on myself. Am I disappointed? Sure, only because I had expectations. Keep in mind, I may not have accomplished most of the items on my 20 for 2020 list, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t accomplish other things this year. Life certainly can be unpredictable, as illustrated by this year, and uncertainty can wholeheartedly make us anxious, frustrated, and unhappy. However, unpredictability can also be adventurous, interesting, and exciting. Maybe that is one reason why I’m drawn to the art of improv. Therefore, I choose the latter attitude towards unpredictability. For me, making this type of list is a more enjoyable approach to achieving goals than traditional New Year’s resolutions. It will definitely not thwart my intentions of making a 21 for 2021 list. In fact, I’m looking forward to making a list for next year. I already have ideas swirling around in my head as well as my one-word theme for 2021. Happiness!

“The unpredictability of the future means absolutely nothing to the dreams of an ambitious positive mind.” ~ Edmond Mbiaka

 

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Today’s post centers around reflection. When allowed a moment for contemplation, circumstances that appeared daunting and overwhelming lose its seriousness in the dawn of a new day. Revelations blossom from the stressful experiences providing armor for the next wave of challenges that will surely be faced in the future.

The last few weeks have been physically uncomfortable for me. I had my back bottom tooth on the left side of my mouth extracted on 22 July because it had a fracture and caused pain every time I ate a meal. It was replaced with bone and barrier with the intention of getting an implant in a few months. I’m experiencing pain daily from the barrier which will not be removed until 17 August. I’m not a fan of prescription pain medicine, so I have resorted to taking Ibuprofen when I’ve had enough discomfort. Then on 31 July, while making my way to turn off my alarm clock at 5:30 in the morning, I tripped over Sophie (it was dark and she was not sleeping on her bed) and fell hard on both elbows and my left knee. Needless to say, I could never be a stuntwoman because I cried like a baby for about 10 minutes and prayed that nothing was broken. Thankfully, Sophie was not hurt, and I did not break anything; however, I still have bruised elbows.

Prior to this (7 July), my BFF Shelly was rushed to the emergency room in Florida because she could not breathe. She had a pleural effusion on her left lung which had to be drained and biopsied. Now, she is on the path to determine the culprit, cancer or her heart which was damaged by radiation received when she had Hodgkin’s at 16 years old. This is weighing heavily on my mind. Although, each test that she has is leaning more in the direction of the heart, the results are not conclusive. And, there are more tests to be run and information to gather in the next few weeks. Concern is playing on the periphery of my mind like background music.

Sophie 8-4Mix in a wound on Sophie’s tail that turned out to be a growth that needed to be removed because it wouldn’t heal on its own. She is 12 years old. The procedure to remove the growth was performed on 30 July. She did well, and came home that afternoon. Unfortunately, she made it difficult to clean her surgical site (even though she is sweet, she can be ornery), and the decision to bring her back to the vet on 05 August was made on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday, 05 August, I dealt with Sophie on top of worry for my friend, my own physical pain, and going back to work in the midst of a pandemic. School looks extremely different this year. One of my duties is morning carpool. I now take students’ temperatures before they get out of their car. My first morning carpool duty was Wednesday which happened to be the first day of school. My husband left to go out of town on Monday, so I had no truck to transport Sophie to the vet. My BFF offered her vehicle, but she could not drive because she had an angiogram the day before and was unable to drive for 48 hours. I had to drive. More stress added because driving her vehicle is like driving a bus. Andrew had to go to SLU at 10:00 that morning, and I needed him to help lift Sophie (she weighs 72 pounds) inside her kennel into the vehicle. Therefore, I had to leave work immediately after carpool duty, drive to Shelly’s house to pick up Shelly and her vehicle, drive to my house to pick up Sophie, drive to the vet and drop Sophie off for an extended stay, drive back home to drop off the kennel, drive back to Shelly’s house to drop her off with her vehicle, and then drive back to school to work for the remainder of the day. Oh, and I failed to mention that after work, I had to drive to Metairie to see my dentist so he could remove the stitches in my mouth.

Wednesday was an extremely stressful day for me due to the number of events that was happening that day and the logistics surrounding them. I’m no Superwoman; however, I made it through the day and accomplished everything that needed to get done. That evening, I cracked open a can of Bad Seed (fruited gose) and ruminated on the day.

Revelations:

  • I am responsible for my anxiety. Don’t catastrophize.
  • Although rather slowly, I can drive Shelly’s vehicle. It was not as scary as I thought.
  • I survived the day despite all that unnecessary anxiety because I allowed myself to lean on others and trust instead of thinking I had to do it all myself.
  • Gratitude trumps stress and anxiety. I’m grateful to Shelly, Andrew, Julia (my co-worker), Dr. Davis (our vet), and Terri (my administrator and friend) for helping me get through Wednesday.

As I’m writing this post today, dear reader, I feel silly that I worried so much. I’ve marked this day in my calendar so that the next time there is a day in my life that seems insurmountable, I can remind myself that I’m not expected to be Superwoman. I’m blessed to have people in my life who are always willing to help me. I just have to ask. Happiness!

“If we could remember the miracles God has done in our past, we would not so easily fall into worry and fear when we have new challenges to face.” ~ Joyce Meyer

Bad Seed

 

 

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Today marks the last day of the year. As I reflect on 2019, I am amazed at all that I accomplished and experienced throughout this year. I turned 50 years old, celebrated my youngest son graduating from high school and starting college, and took the stage for the very first time in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Every month was spent with family and friends who I cherish dearly. Every month was filled with adventures and opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. Every month was committed to improving my health, my home, and my acting career.

19 for 2019 List Update

  • Yesterday, I completed #7 Donate blood. Next year, I plan to donate blood on a regular basis. I can give blood every eight weeks which puts me at donating again at the end of February.
  • This morning, I completed #8 Read one book a month for self-improvement. This Booksmonth I read Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott. This book was recommended by Gretchen Rubin. I’m an instructional coach, not a boss; however, some of the advice that Scott gives can be used in my position. The book is broken into two parts: A New Management Philosophy and Tools and Techniques. It is basically a guidebook on how to mix praise and criticism in a way that produces better results and helps employees achieve. It is also about building strong relationships between bosses and employees. Kim Scott also cohosts the Radical Candor podcast with Russ Laraway. It is “a show about how not to hate the boss you have…or be the boss you hate.” There are currently 23 episodes. I actually listened to the podcast before reading the book. Interesting stuff!

I completed 11 items on my 19 for 2019 list. My list this year was a little more ambitious than my list last year; however, I am happy with the items that I completed, as well as the ones I almost completed. Below are the 3 items that I almost completed on my 19 for 2019 list.

  • #4 Lost 19 pounds. As of today, I lost 13.5 pounds. Even though I did not hit my target weight, I am still proud of myself. I didn’t get serious about shedding weight until September 2nd. I’ve cut my sugar consumption drastically, and I eat less processed food. And, I did not gain any of my weight back over the holidays.
  • #9 Purge stuff in house one room/closet at a time. This goal was too broad and ambitious to complete in one year. I should have chosen specific rooms to declutter. Instead, I decluttered and remodeled rooms. I now have a scrapbook room. My utility room is almost complete. I need to order cabinets for my laundry hampers, a decorative laundry sign, and fill in two spaces between our new cabinets and the wall with wood. My office has been repainted and crown moulding installed. I just need to furnish it to make it cozy. Also, one of my bathrooms was repainted and new accessories were purchased for it.
  •  #12 Complete Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. I’ve done a great deal on Andrew’s scrapbook; however, I just did not have enough time to get it completely finished. One of my scrapbooking goals is to set aside a specific amount of time per month to scrapbook. Hopefully, Shelly and I can scrapbook more often in the new year. When we scrapbook together, I get more accomplished. At the beginning of December, we scrapbooked a few hours each day for three days in a row, and I finished quite a few layouts.

Stella aka NovaThere are only a few hours left of 2019. It started off on a happy note and ended on a bittersweet one. Today, Andrew and I took the sweet female pup that wandered into our lives last Monday to Northshore Humane Society. Everyone at the facility was very nice; however, it was hard to let her go because I got attached to her. They named her Nova. I contacted Briana later this afternoon to check on her and was told that she was doing awesome. She was picked up by her foster shortly after we dropped her off. While I miss her, I know this is the best decision for my family and for her. Please pray that she finds her forever home very soon. In closing, dear reader, enjoy the rest of 2019. Tomorrow begins a new decade and a wonderful new year of possibilities. Happiness!

“When Radical Candor is encouraged and supported by the boss, communication flows, resentments that have festered come to the surface and get resolved, and people begin to love not just their work but whom they work with and where they work. When people love their job, the whole team is more successful. The resulting happiness is the success beyond success.”  ~ Kim Scott, Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

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Today is the last day of November, and it happens to be the Saturday before I have to return to my day job. It has been a lovely week off, and I’ve enjoyed my down time; however, it’s time to get back in the saddle and accomplish a few loose ends before 2019 comes to an end.

I can scratch #18 Participate in NaNoWriMo in November off my 19 for 2019 list. This item will definitely be put back on my 20 for 2020 list, and I am determined to be much more successful next year. Frankly, I did not give myself enough time to prep. I did start a horror novel, but I only wrote 1,505 words of the 50,000 word goal. And, I only wrote for three days out of the entire month. My stats show that if I continue writing each day at this pace, my novel will be done by July 27th. HA! I will not abandon the idea of writing a novel. Although, it has been placed on the back burner to simmer for a bit.

This leaves me with ten items left on my 19 for 2019 list. There are three items that I will definitely NOT accomplish before the end of this year. I am not physically ready to run a 5K; there is no money in the family budget to visit my Aunt Carolyn in Utah; and sadly, I’m nowhere near paying off one of my credit cards. That’s okay! I still think all three items are worth accomplishing, yet they too will have to be placed on the back burner to simmer for a bit.

Soup

Fat Flush Soup made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

I am currently working on three items that I feel very strongly that I will complete by the end of the year. As for my weight loss goal, I am down another 1/2 pound which puts me at a total loss of 12.5 pounds since September 2nd. I have 6.5 more pounds to lose by the end of 2019 to reach my goal of 19 pounds. This Monday, I will start another round of The Clean 20 to knock out the remaining weight. Tomorrow, I will get back to scrapbooking, so I can complete Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook. Shelly and I are planning to scrapbook together for the next couple of days. Finally, I am successfully reading one book a month for self-improvement. This month I read Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle. It is a terrific little book with a great deal of wisdom about being present and how stillness can bring about inner peace.

As for the remaining four items on my list, there is a possibility they could be accomplished; however, I am not holding my breath that all four will be completed. As long as I’m not anemic, I should be able to donate blood. If I buckle down, I could organize my master bedroom closet. Organizing my photographs/mementos and purging stuff in the house one room/closet at a time is realistically going to take more than a month to complete. We have been purging stuff in the house throughout the year with our remodeling projects; it is just an extremely slow process since my hubby is doing the remodeling. It’s tough since he only has the weekends, and there is the occasional weekend, he just wants to take a break and have some fun.

So, there you have it, dear reader. The remainder of my 2019 is going to be focused on tackling a few tasks that will add fulfillment to my life. This does not mean that the remaining month will be all work and no play. I have plenty of special events already sprinkled throughout the month, and in three short weeks, I’ll be on vacation again. Happiness!

“The moment you enter the Now with your attention, you realize that life is sacred. There is a sacredness to everything you perceive when you are present. The more you live in the Now, the more you sense the simple yet profound joy of Being and the sacredness of all life.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

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Today marks the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. Today also marks my 38th post for this year, and I completed #5 (blog at least once per month) on my 18 for 2018 list. I was a blogging fiend this year, and I’m delighted with my progress and consistency which I plan on continuing throughout 2019.

Blog Banner

Of the 12 remaining items on my 18 for 2018 list, I completed eight of them this quarter:

#1 Order two birth certificates for myself (contact vital records in California).
#3 Create a Google Photo account.
#5 Blog at least once per month (of course, more would be better).
#10 Try a voice (singing) lesson.
#13 Make an appointment with my eye doctor.
#15 Complete a 5K.
#16 Read Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau.
#18 Plan my 50th birthday celebration.

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Of my 18 items on my 18 for 2018 list, I did not complete four of them, and here are my thoughts on why I think they were not completed.

#4 Lose 18 pounds.

Losing weight this year was clearly not a priority for me. I could blame it on lack of time, but that would be an excuse. At some point, I gained back the three pounds that I lost which puts me weighing in at 158 pounds again. I will revisit this item in 2019.

#6 Plan a trip to New York City with Andrew for 2019.

Since putting this item on my list at the beginning of the year, circumstances arose during the year that put this item temporarily on the back burner. First, Andrew has the opportunity to go on another trip abroad with STA in 2019. He will be traveling to Germany, Prague, and the Swiss Alps during spring break which is when we were supposed to travel to New York. Second, my hubby has shown interest in going with us; however, his vacation time is limited, and he has already allotted two of his weeks of vacation for 2019 for other events. Finally, my Uncle Charles passed away in July, and I want to make a trip to Utah to spend some time with my Aunt Carolyn. Also, I’m not too sure how the summer will play out with Andrew starting college in August. I will revisit this item, but it will not be in 2019 unless our circumstances change again.

#11 Update my LinkedIn account. 

I’m not too sure why I could not complete this item. Lack of motivation, maybe? I met with Michelle in April to get a few tips on updating my account, but I did not really do much with it after our meeting. I’m not really active on this social networking site. This may change in the future, but I do not plan on revisiting this item in 2019.

#12 Organize my master bedroom closet.

My master bedroom closet is a thorn in my side. Honestly, my house and all its stuff is a whole tree with several branches full of thorns in my side. In order for me to organize my closet, I really need to organize the rest of my house (maniacal laugh). At the Loyacano homestead, we have too much stuff. I must purge my house of stuff. I will definitely revisit this item in 2019.

2018 was a terrific year for my family and me. We experienced awesome events throughout the year from attending concerts, traveling, interacting with a sloth, to working concessions at LSU football games. I read many terrific books, watched a bunch of super movies and television shows, took an ADR/Looping Workshop, and met one of my favorite authors. I was fortunate to spend quality time with family and friends, cheer Andrew and his swim team on at the State Meet in Sulphur, and celebrate 30 years with my hubby. And, those are just some of the highlights of a year well-spent. I am grateful for our year of blessings of which we had many. Dear reader, I hope before 2018 ends, you will have a moment to reflect on your year of blessings. Happiness!

“As we look to the new year, hold on to what is good. Let go of what is bad. It really is that simple.” ~ Mandy Hale

 

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As my dear readers who have followed me over the years know, I struggle with time. It eludes me constantly. I am continuously amazed by the fleeting moments of my life whether those moments are enjoyable or miserable. Of course, I should have a firmer grasp on my time because after all, it is my time. However, the reality of the situation is I do not completely own all of my time. There will be those among us that argue how you spend your time is a choice. And, I somewhat agree with that assessment. I need to eat and clothe and shelter myself; therefore, I need to work in order to obtain those basic needs. As a result, time must be set aside to work. We all know that all of our time is not spent at work, so we must be good stewards with the time that we have left over at the end of each day. This is easier said then done if you take care of children, pets, or elderly parents.

Having children was a choice for me. I consider my two children the two most precious gifts that God has given me. However, when I made that choice, I was not 100% clear about how much of my time would be invested in their care and well-being. For a period of their life, the time spent on me was no longer flexible. It was no longer just “me” because I had become a parent. I was now responsible for these little people, and I not only determined how I spent my time, but also how they spent theirs. Many of the decisions I made in my life were based on taking care of my children. Consequently, I shelved a few of my dreams, so I could provide opportunities for my children to explore their own dreams. And, watching them over the years experience those opportunities has been a delight for me. They have both made me proud to be their mother.

ConcessionsAndrew is traveling to Germany, Prague, and the Swiss Alps with STA during spring break of 2019. He along with the other travelers were given the opportunity to work concessions at the LSU home games this football season. Each game, they will receive a percentage of the sales to help pay for their trip. Crazily, I also signed up to help. I have worked concessions over the years at STA for Barry’s cross country meets and at Southeastern for Andrew’s Boy Scout troop; however, nothing prepared me for working LSU’s concessions. Last Saturday was our first time working the concessions. Firstly, I had never been to LSU Stadium, so I was clueless about its size. A huge stadium equals a huge number of people. Secondly, we were understaffed for our first game. Thirdly, it was hot and humid. By the end of our shift, we were all extremely hot, thirsty, and worn out. All things considered, we survived and made some moolah. And, personally I thought it was fun. I enjoyed working with the STA crew and felt satisfied with the results of a job well-done. In fact, so much so, that I plan on doing it again.

I do the things that I do for my children because I want them to experience some of the opportunities that I did not have during my childhood. Soon, Andrew will graduate from high school, and I’ll be able to begin unshelving my own dreams. Eventually, I will gain back more time for just “me,” and it is important that I make good choices with how I spend it. Time may be elusive; however, time is also of the essence. Make the most of your time, so it feels well-spent, dear reader. Happiness!

“The days are long, but the years are short.” ~ Gretchen Rubin

 

 

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U2: The Joshua Tree Tour

Wow, New Year’s Eve 2017! Where did this year go? It flew by super quickly. I attribute this to being remarkably busier than in years past. Work, appointments, meetings, swim practice, extra activities…the list goes on and on. This was LIFE in 2017.

My year did not play out quite the way I planned. I did not complete my Happiness Project. My theme for the year (RENEWAL) was a failure. The only renewal I achieved this year was my driver’s license which surprisingly did make me happy. My new license is good for six years and can be used to fly around America. My weight fluctuated throughout the year, and so did my commitment to exercise. Organization, nope…my home is still in a disarray.

I could be down in the dumps about not achieving my goals; however, I am choosing NOT to wallow in self-pity. 2017 was a year of peaks and valleys. There were some notably awesome moments: being honored during Catholic Schools Week for being named Teacher of the Year at Holy Ghost Catholic School, attending four concerts (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Twenty-One Pilots, Stevie Nicks, and U2), attending my 30th High School Reunion, attending my annual Scrapbooking Convention, watching Andrew swim for his high school swim team, observing the solar eclipse, participating in Confirmation at Holy Ghost Catholic Church as a sponsor and as a parent, ordering Andrew’s senior ring, partying with friends at Kelsi’s Halloween party, accompanying Andrew to Baton Rouge for Kickoff LSU, attending the wedding of one of my former students, spending time throughout the year with family and friends, and SNOW on December 8th.

Then, there were the moments that were not so awesome or exciting: being hospitalized for five days because of cellulitis, my friend Kimberly being diagnosed with brain cancer, my male German Shepherd Sonic being diagnosed with perianal fistulas, having a painful dental procedure a week before school started, attending two funeral services, and Andrew having surgery the week of mid-terms. And, while these moments were unpleasant or ones that could best be forgotten, they can serve a purpose. They make me grateful and more appreciative of the awesome moments in my life, as well as the ordinary or mundane moments. They are reminders to be more appreciative of who and what I have as a part of my life (faith, family, friends, fur babies, a home, a job, my health…the list goes on and on).

Therefore, as I reflect on the past year, I feel hopeful about the new year. 2018! I’ve already picked out a new theme for the year, and I am participating in 18 for 2018. Both will be revealed very soon. Until then, my dear reader, may you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve. Happiness!

“Of all sound of all bells… most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year.” ~ Charles Lamb

 

 

 

 

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