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Happy New Year! It feels wonderful welcoming in a new year after living through a year of disappointment, turmoil, and unpredictability. While there were aspects of 2020 that I am grateful for, I am happy with moving on from that chapter of my life and currently focusing on the next chapter with the anticipation of new opportunities to learn, grow, and increase my joy factor.

FOCUS is my word for 2021. I’m choosing to focus on my health, my home, my happiness as it relates to my career (focusing on creating a new career I have wanted for many years), and my hobbies. My 21 for 2021 list will FOCUS on these four areas.

Kat’s 21 for 2021 List

  1. Manage time.
  2. Maintain a regular fitness regimen.
  3. Create weekly meal plans.
  4. Eat more vegetables.
  5. Try intermittent fasting for one month (Clean & Lean).
  6. Declutter and organize each room in my house.
  7. Write a will.
  8. Try one NO spend month.
  9. Revisit A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.
  10. Complete The Four Tendencies course (Gretchen Rubin).
  11. Read Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  12. Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
  13. Create a vision board.
  14. Take a WordPress Blogging course.
  15. Take a WordPress Podcasting course.
  16. Purchase podcasting equipment.
  17. Complete Write a Bestseller course (Jeff Goins).
  18. Try 12 new restaurants (one per month).
  19. Take Becky Higgins Classroom: Photo Tips + Work Flow.
  20. Scrapbook at least two times per month.
  21. Learn how to use my Cricut Maker.

During the month of January, I will focus on managing my time. I want to establish a better daily routine, create schedules for decluttering, housekeeping, working on my courses, and self care, as well as continuing to participate in improv and RCIA. Essentially, I want to use my weekly 168 hours more effectively. I also want to try to break down the remaining 20 items on my list into the four quarters of the year to make accomplishing them more manageable. Naturally, several of my items are designed to run throughout the entire course of the year which is also totally fine. I’m excited about all the possibilities this new year has to offer and look forward to the journey through 2021.

Other Plans for 2021:

  1. On Goodreads, I joined the 2021 Reading Challenge, and my goal is to read 50 books again this year. 
  2. I am participating in Gretchen Rubin’s #Read21for21 challenge. Basically, you read for 21 minutes every day in 2021. While I do read a great deal, I don’t necessarily read for pleasure every day. I’ve also decided to read specific books during my daily 21 minutes to see how many books I read throughout the year just in that daily timeframe. According to Gretchen Rubin, “If you read for 21 minutes per day for 365 days, that’s 7,665 minutes, or almost 128 hours of reading. You can read a lot of books in 128 hours!” 
  3. This year, I also plan to keep a TA-DA list for 2021. Many times I accomplish goals that are not included on my list, and I should be celebrating those accomplishments, too. 
  4. Hopefully, I will be attending my annual scrapbooking convention with my gal pals in June. We didn’t get to attend last year because of the pandemic, so I REALLY hope and pray we can get together this summer. 

What do you have planned in 2021, dear reader? Have you made some resolutions or a 21 for 2021 list? If you could choose a one-word theme for this year, what word would you choose? Let me know what your plans are for 2021. Happiness!

“Focus is the key to accomplish what is necessary – easy word to spell, it contains only five letters but it is probably one of the most powerful words there are in order to move forward with confidence and with the expected results.” ~ Bryan Pulsifer

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Since I was off from school for Mardi Gras break, my hubby decided to take vacation also. We opted to spend our vacation this past week at home. Our only commitments for the week were to take Comet (aka Tooty) to the vet for a dental cleaning, bring the hubby’s truck to the Toyota dealership to be fixed (recall issue), take Sonic to the dermatologist to evaluate his bum, and get our taxes done. This left plenty of opportunities to spend quality time together and complete tasks on our never ending list concerning our house. I also gained more time for reading, watching movies and anime, and puttering in my scrapbook room.

I am almost finished reading The Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (horror) and The Keys to the Kingdom: Mr. Monday by Garth Nix (fantasy-adventure). Currently, both of my protagonists are in peril, and I’m hoping their stories end well; however, I’m not too optimistic at the moment. For those of you that do not know Joe Hill or his work, he is Stephen King’s eldest son who writes novels, short stories, and comic books. Like his famous father, he writes horror and dark fantasy. He also writes science fiction whereas King writes supernatural fiction and an array of other genres within the realm of the macabre. As for Garth Nix, he is an Australian author who writes fantasy novels for children and young adults. Mr. Monday is the first book in The Keys to the Kingdom series that recounts the adventures of twelve-year old Arthur Penhaligon as he navigates his role as the Rightful Heir of the House.

Rug 1At the beginning of the week, I purchased another table for my scrapbook room. This allowed me to move my Cricut machine to its own table. And, I can still have a friend come over to scrapbook with me. This also led me down the rabbit hole of looking at rugs for my room. The hubster and I spent a couple of hours driving to various stores around Hammond looking at rugs. Unfortunately, they were either, too large, too small, too expensive, or not the right color. Later that evening, while watching a video posted by a member of the group Craft Room Organization with JenniferMaker on Facebook, I noticed her lovely rug on the floor of her crafting space. I inquired as to where she Rug 2purchased it (Wayfair), and my mission to find a rug continued. By Tuesday afternoon, I tagged 41 rugs that had potential. Andrew dropped by and helped me narrow my choices down to eight rugs. I asked the hubster for his opinion and settled on four choices. I would make a decision the following day. I ordered both a rug and a rug pad on Wednesday. The rug pad was delivered Friday, and the actual rug was delivered on Saturday. I am beyond pleased with both items.

Overall, our staycation was wonderful. We did have a couple of disappointments. The part needed to repair my hubby’s truck was not available like he was originally told, so the dealership had to keep his truck. We are not really sure when he will get it back. The silver lining is the dealership provided him with a rental truck at no charge until his truck is repaired. We also did not receive the best news from Sonic’s dermatologist. Sonic’s perianal fistulas have resurfaced. And, the doctor is concerned that Sonic’s thyroid is not working properly; therefore, he ordered a blood test to check out his thyroid. The silver lining is the perianal fistulas situation has been caught early. Sonic’s oral medication has been increased, and we will continue keeping his anal area as clean and dry as possible. Hopefully, we will hear something soon about his bloodwork.

GrapefruitsSome other highlights during our week off that gave me happiness boosts:

  •  Eating boiled crawfish with our neighbors
  •  Barry making progress on the utility room
  •  Seeing my friend Michelle when picking up the Girl Scout cookies that I ordered
  •  Lunch with my parents
  •  Bathing the big dogs (finally had a day warm enough and without rain)
  •  Driving around town in Son #1’s beautiful, black Mustang (he’s in Singapore)
  •  Working on Andrew’s Ireland scrapbook
  •  Fried oysters, a stuffed artichoke, Cajun crawfish pasta
  •  Watching anime (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure) with Andrew
  •  Picking the remaining grapefruits off my grapefruit tree

Dear reader, I must admit that the biggest happiness boost of all this week was owning my time. Having time off to relax, recharge, and reflect has been joyful even with the stumbling blocks we had to maneuver around this week. As we march into a new month and through the season of Lent, let’s be grateful for those moments of respite from the daily grind and make a point of carving out time for reflection and renewal. Rejoice, for our new month also brings daylight saving time, and that dear reader is cause for celebration. Happiness!

“Taking time off will help you spend time better.” ~ Julian Hall

 

 

 

 

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Scrapbook Room

Thankfully, Andrew has successfully graduated from STA. School is officially out for the summer. And, I have happily moved into my new scrapbook room. Yee-haw! This means that I can cross off #11 (Clear out front bedroom and make it my scrapbook room.) on my 19 for 2019 list. I must thank my hubby who painted my room; my hubby and Daddy who installed the crown moulding; and my BFF Shelly who helped me decide on where everything should go and helped me hang Andrew’s art on the walls. I now have sufficient space for me to scrapbook on a regular basis AND for my friends to scrapbook with me. Happiness!

“Blessed are the children of scrapbookers, for they shall inherit the scrapbooks.    ~ Scrapbook.com

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Sonic 6-2018

Sonic

For educators, Fridays during the summer months have a remarkably different vibe than Fridays during the rest of the year. In fact, I almost forgot today was Friday. Tooty (aka Comet) woke me up at 6:20 this morning. I lazily rolled out of bed, fed my fur babies, made some tea, got back in bed, and proceeded to finish The Dante Club. Ah, how I love these mornings during the summer! And, nowhere to go until this evening when my family and I have dinner at my mother-in-law’s house. Andrew drove himself to his dermatology appointment. Barry, Jr. stopped by for a visit. Today was a day similar to quite a few days for me this week. My days were not heavily scheduled which allowed me plenty of time during the week to read, watch television, relax, and fiddle faddle in my scrapbook room.

 

Laser Die CutOn Tuesday, I ordered a few more scrapbook supplies. I pulled some pictures from Andrew’s trip to Ireland, set up my Scrap’n Easel, assembled a laser die cut, and semi-laid out the page. Now that my room is set up specifically for scrapbooking, I can leave everything out and leisurely work on my pages. After lunch, I met a friend of mine, that I had not seen in a few years, for coffee. It was a nice couple of hours catching up with Angie. Visiting with her made me realize that I want to carve out more time this summer to connect with my friends that I do not get to see on a regular basis. Friendships bring an enormous richness of joy to one’s life; however, they need to be cultivated in order to flourish.

Early Wednesday morning, Andrew and I headed to North Cypress Fitness Center to play tennis. Andrew played tennis for the first time this spring, and he really enjoyed it. He has been after me the last couple of months to get a tennis racket, so we can play together. With no exaggeration, I have not played tennis in the last 20 years. I had no expectations for myself but hoped I could manage to get the ball over the net. We played a total of eight games, and I won two. Woo-Hoo! However, I must definitely work on my serve. After playing tennis, we stopped at Home Deport to get a few more plants for our front garden. My BFF Shelly had given me some white impatiens last week, so I planted those along with my new plants as soon as I got home.

 

Sonic with Toy

Sonic is always ready to play.

On Thursday, I attended a professional development workshop at HGCS. It was informative and a nice opportunity to see my school friends. In the afternoon, my hubby and I drove to Mandeville with Sonic to see his dermatologist for a follow-up. Last June, Sonic was diagnosed with perianal fistulas and was put on an extensive and expensive treatment plan. At Sonic’s April visit, his doctor dropped his medication down to twice a week. Thankfully, the affected area looks terrific. Sonic will remain on the medication twice a week and continue his current diet with a recheck in six months. This was exactly the news we wanted to hear.

 

While listening to an episode of the podcast, Side Hustle School, a speech pathologist shared with Chris Guillebeau something her mother always told her:  “you should have something to look forward to every day.” Liz Martin’s mom gave her daughter some awesome advice that we can all take to heart. Basically, many of us work all week looking forward to the special experiences we will be engaging in on the weekend. TGIF does not have to be our mantra. Every day this week, I had at least one “something” or more to look forward to every single day that brought me joy. It really is up to us, dear reader, to pay attention to any moment, big or small, that may make our DAY more enjoyable without having to wait for the weekend to experience it. With that being said, and while I’m mentioning the weekend, I do hope you have wonderful plans in the works for your weekend. I’m spending mine in New Orleans with my hubby. Happiness!

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” ~ Marianne Williamson

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TAC Shirt

Friends + Photos + Scrapbook Supplies + Snacks = A Fun-filled Weekend Preserving Memories. My friends and I spent 31 May – 03 June at The Acadiana Croppers’ (TAC) annual scrapbooking event at the Hilton’s New Orleans Airport in Kenner, Louisiana. It was a wonderful few days to catch up with my scrapbooking buddies while exploring my creativity with no interruptions from the outside world.

 

Crew at TAC

Heather, Donna, Carol, Kat, Shelly, and Courtney

This year TAC was scheduled earlier than in past years. Since it was earlier, I knew my time planning for the event would be limited. Therefore, I decided to spend the long weekend scrapping Andrew’s trip to Ireland, Wales, and London. I only completed three double layouts which is largely due to the fact that I was not very organized. I needed more time to talk to Andrew about the pictures he took on the trip. As you can see from the two layouts on Wales, I still have journaling to complete on both. I need some details from Andrew about the significance of the pictures and a fact or two about the places.

 

Wales

Beaumaris CastleAnother tidbit about me, the scrapbooker, is I am as slow as a snail when it comes to scrapbooking. Depending on the project, it takes me some time to think about the layout. If the project has an overwhelming amount of photos, choosing the best ones can slow me down. I act as if I am preparing a layout for a prestigious magazine, and my career depends on the finished product instead of making a memory keepsake for the members of my family. HA! Even though I did not get as many layouts completed as I had hoped, I still had a terrific time with my friends, and I learned some new techniques using supplies (embossing enamel, antique brilliance wax, rust effect paste, and gel pens) to make my scrapbooks more interesting. I have all summer to finish working on this project for Andrew. I will have more time to make decisions about the layouts, the photos, and what I want to say or rather what Andrew wants to say about his recent adventure in Europe.

Cliffs of MoherIn addition, my scrapbooking weekend has inspired me to get better organized in my scrapbooking room. Yesterday, I cleared everything not related to scrapbooking out of my room with the exception of a file cabinet. Then, I vacuumed, dusted, and mopped. My goal now is to organize all of my supplies. I bought a new sticker binder, while at the event, to house ALL of my stickers. My old binder can barely zip, and I have stickers in various places. I want them all in one central location divided by category. I also need to reorganize my paper by color/pattern and clear out old page kits of completed layouts. This will allow me to create new page kits with all of the necessary supplies, so the next time I want to attend a crop, I can grab and go. Getting organized will take awhile; however, in the end, the time spent will be well worth it. The organization will create time and space for me to actually scrapbook…hopefully, more than once a year.

Kat & Shelly TAC

Well, dear reader, it is time for me to bid you adieu. After all, I must get back to organizing my scrapbooking room since I have gained momentum. Have a glorious week meeting whatever goals you are trying to reach. Happiness!

“Scrapbooking isn’t about scraps of paper and photos. Scrapbooking is about scraps of life – yours and those special to you.” ~Rebecca Sower

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The month of April is practically over, and I feel like it passed rather swiftly. I attribute that to being extremely busy at work along with commitments for both Andrew and me throughout the month. This post will be my only one for April. While it would seem quite disappointing to me that I only got around to writing one post this month, I am taking it as a win. And, I credit my 18 for 2018 list for feeling that way. I must publish at least one post per month throughout the year, and I have successfully been meeting that goal.

Setting goals and having aspirations are wonderful and fulfilling; however, we must remember that we will not always hit the mark and succeed which is perfectly fine. Sometimes, our goals take a bit longer to reach, and sometimes we have to abandon them due to unforeseen circumstances. Regardless, we cannot get too hung up on the outcome, but focus more on the journey towards the outcome.

For me, reaching my goals is all about the timing. I figured that the week after Easter, I would accomplish so much. After all, I had a week off, and Andrew was out of town. Nope! It did not happen the way that I planned. I did, however, get the ball rolling on a couple of items I planned to achieve. I wanted to update my LinkedIn account, so I met with my fabulous friend and future writing partner (keeping my fingers crossed) Michelle for lunch to get some advice and feedback on how to go about it. Well, I received valuable feedback, had a terrific lunch and even more terrific conversation; however, my LinkedIn account still looks exactly the way it did when I walked into that coffee shop. And, that’s fine. I know it will get done at some point this year.

I also figured that I would get a huge start on organizing my scrapbook paraphernalia for my annual trip which is at the end of May this year. Nope! Instead, I spent most of my week working on school related items. BAMI had rough drafts, lesson plans, and graduation tasks to complete. I admit, I was disappointed because of everything that I wanted to do during the break, this was on the top of my list to accomplish. This would have been possible had I been able to take care of the school stuff the week before break. Unfortunately, the week before my break was pretty hectic. You win some, and you lose some. The silver lining is that I now plan to scrapbook Andrew’s trip to Ireland, Wales, and London. Furthermore, I will start organizing the materials next weekend.

Finally, I thought that particular week would be perfect to start the 2-Week Jump Start portion of my eating clean program. I created a form for my food journal for those two weeks to record the additions to my diet, as well as what I currently eat. Nope! I did fair the week I was off, but it fell by the wayside the week I returned to school. This was definitely the wrong season to start thinking about changing my eating habits. On the other hand, I succeeded with exercising and have been on a streak ever since my week off. I have been walking about an hour a day for five to six days a week, every week, since Easter. Walking has become a habit again, and I look forward to it. Now, if I could just manage to look forward to eating clean more consistently, the goal of eating clean may become easier.

Although I have had some ups and downs this month, and I have stalled a little with reaching a few of my goals, I am still optimistic and fired up about the remainder of the year. For once in a long time, I am truly excited about the goals that I have set for this year which is re-energizing me. Get ready for your week ahead, dear reader, with enthusiasm and focus on what is good in your life. Happiness!

“The unpredictability of life sucks. One minute you’re riding high with the wind whipping through your hair and the next minute you’re flat on your ass with a face
full of gravel.” ~ Alison G. Bailey, Present Perfect

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