Sunday, January 8, 2017

January Goals

A new year always feels like a fresh start at goals.  I know it's all a head game and you can get back on track anytime of year, but there's just a newness about a new year.  But, before I can get into 2017 plans, I have to recap 2016.  Ugh.  This isn't going to be pretty.

December Goals
  • Read four books. Only read two.
  • Drink 64 oz of water daily. Coffee? Maybe.  Water?  Not even close.
  • Restart morning pages.  Nope- only once.
  • Be present for Christmas.  It really didn't feel like Christmas until about Christmas night. I already have plans for next year.
  • Get 2017 planner read. Yes!  Managed to get a plan in place for this, and it's working so far.
  • Work on long term goals. Yes!  I have a 2017 and beyond to do list started and an idea of what I want the year to look like. 

2017 Theme: People and Experiences > Things
I want 2017 to be about trying new things and being with people instead of worrying about things and spending time maintaining them or looking at more stuff to buy online.  My house is full of books and things and I have plenty of projects I can work on that will require little more than elbow grease and time to get done.  I want to spend my extra money on travel and not more clothes or fabric or books or things I don't really need, so that's going to be influencing several of my monthly goals throughout the year.

January Goals
  • Daily quiet time.  Preferably in the morning, but time to do my Bible reading, some devotionals and just get in a good mindset for the day.
  • Work out at least three times a week.  With temperatres below zero and winter making it dark when I get up in the morning and dark when I get home from night, and just an overall feeling of lethargy, I finally broke down and joined the gym here in town with one of the girls from work.  We've been doing good about keeping each other motivated and I've found the elliptical is actually bearable when I have some music to listen to.
  • Church every Sunday.  I have been skipping out of church for over a year, and while I don't feel like you have to go to be a Christian, I felt like for me, it was time to go give it another look.
  • Twelve blog posts. I know I've been neglecting the blog, and I feel like I have a plan to remedy that.
  • Get together or set dates to see four friends.  Since leaving the hospital, I don't see a lot of my work friends regularly and while everyone says, "We need to get together." I want to actually do it.
  • Write four letters. I just want people to know I'm thinking of them.  So, sending cards is an easy way to do this.
  • Sew at least 1/2 an hour a week. I think a half an hour while easily turn into more, but I want to set a weekly goal because it's easy for me to neglect my sewing machine for weeks on end.
  • Write at least 1/2 an hour a week. I need to get over the fear of not writing well enough and just write.  Half an hour seems a reasonable starting place.
  • Save $100.   I travel on the cheap.  AirBNB and little mom and pop hotels are just my style, but travel still takes money so I want to set aside some money each paycheck to cover things like gas and food for trips.
  • Read 4 books!  This is going to be the year I reach 48 books!  I'm determined!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January Reading List

A new year, and a new chance to meet my reading goals!  I'm once again aiming for 48 books. (Third times the charm?)  So here's what on my list for the first month of the year.

  • The Gift of Imperfection by Brené Brown was originally on my reading list last September, but I never even started it.  For 2017, I really want to clear some room on my shelves and I really want to get some the books that have been on my reading list read.  I've heard Brené on a couple podcasts and a TED Talk so I'm thinking I'll enjoy this book all about overcoming the need to feel like an overachiever.
  • Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton was originally written in the 1940s and is set in South Africa, involving race relations and injustice.  I know it's a pretty well known classic, but I never read it, so time to change that.
  • First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde has been on my shelf for years, but I had to track down the prior book in the Thursday Next series before I could read it.  I believe there's a time hop of several years in this one and I'm looking forward to having all the characters fresh in my head, because last time, there had been a couple years between me reading the books.
  • The Man from Beijing by Hennning Mankell, who is the author of the Wallander books, has been on my shelf for only a couple months, but I'm ready for a good Scandinavian mystery.  I love Wallander, but this one is a stand alone without him, so I thought it'd be a good starting point for my first foray into Mankell.
So, there it is.  What are you reading this month?  Or have you read any of these, and if so, what did you think?  Drop me a comment with your thoughts.

Monday, January 2, 2017

December Book Recap

December was kind of a shabby month for reading, but it always seems to be, with Christmas and everything.  I did finish two books and managed to only acquire the books my Secret Santa sent me.  So here we go.

  • Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood and it Atwood perfection.  It was nine short stories, the first couple connected the next couple not.  She has this way of writing that makes you feel for the characters.  You understand their motives, even if their motives are wrong or crazy or horrible.  I feel like she understands human emotion better than any writer, or maybe she's just not afraid to kick up the rocks and reveal the dark reasoning underneath.  She's just always great.
  • The Trespasser by Tana French was not my favorite Tana French but not my least favorite neither (for one does not dislike Tana French 😉).  It left me with a pretty substantial book hang over while I tried to process what it was about the story that kept it from blowing my socks off.  In the end, I think I thought Antoinette was too distracted with her own problems to see what was right in front of her nose.  She just was all wrapped up in thinking everyone was against her and Stephen was all wrapped up in far flung theories... Maybe it was their sleep deprivation, but I felt like they had a better rapport when they first met in The Secret Place.  The mystery was good, the solve was there, I just feel like they deserve another book.  Although, when you think about it, French frequently shows their detectives at lows instead of highs, so maybe this fits.  I just didn't enjoy it as much as some of her other books.
All these came from my Broke and Bookish swap partner, so you can read more about the books here.
2016 Grand Totals 
Read: 36
Acquired: 54

So, I got  more books than I read.  But, the good news is my bookshelf is well stocked for 2017 and I hope to finally meet my book reading goal and cut back and how much I add to my collection.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Twelve Days of Christmas Swap Reveal

As those of you who participate in Chaotic Goddesses' swaps are aware, the Twelve Days of Christmas Swap is the last swap they are the last swap they are hosting for the foreseeable future.  Both ladies have plenty of other things in their life that are keeping them busy and I totally get that, but it's still sad, because they did amazing and the swaps were always so much fun.

For this finally swap I was paired with Shelly from Rain Drops and Pages and she put together the most amazing package!  I was totally spoiled.  Here's a peak:

  1. A Rudolph stocking hat, Santa pen, candy, Rudolph band-aids, and caffeinated, coffee flavored chocolate all stuffed in a stocking.
  2. A cute little snow man counted cross stitch kit, and a Merry Christmas banner kit,
  3. Holiday shot glasses that my cat was very interested in.  Beginning to wonder if she's sneaking into the liquor cabinet while I'm at work.
  4. Gingerbread cookie kit to assemble and decorate.
  5. Doctor Who, fourth doctor, Funko Pop figurine!
  6. Two sets of note cards and new gel pens.
  7. An awesome travel notebook with a pen and scrapbooking stickers.
  8. Christmas socks and a sleep mask.
  9. Sugar cookie mix with a snowflake cutter and sprinkles.
  10. A Christmas mug with hot cocoa mix and a huge candy cane.
  11. An adult coloring book with new watercolor colored pencils.
  12. An Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Funko Pop! 
It was such a fun package and she put so much thought into!  I just loved opening each day's gift and seeing what she had sent!

Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa Reveal!

So, I have a couple posts to share of 2016 awesomeness.  The first is my reveal from my Broke and Bookish Secret Santa!  This is one of my favorite swaps- although it's not really a swap because you send a package to one person, while someone else sends a package to you, but anyways.  Sarah had my name and she put together an amazing package.  Check it out.

I came home from work one day to find this large box sitting on my porch and inside was all this brightly wrapped awesomeness, I couldn't wait to tear into it.

Inside was three books that had been on my wishlist, Christmas cards, pencils, Christmas tissues, a to do list, scrapbook paper, washi tape, ribbon, hot cocoa sticks, lip balm, and a lovely note from Sarah.  I was totally spoiled!

The books she picked are all different genres which gives a nice variety. 
  • A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is the account of a boy who was pulled into the Sierra Leone conflict by his own government at the age of twelve.
  • The Girl with All the Gifts ended up on my list after reading several reviews about it on other blogs.  I'm still not sure what the plot is, but I can't wait to find out.
  • Somewhere in France takes place in England and France in 1914, and sounds like it has some Downton Abbey elements to it, which intrigues me.
I can't wait to read all of these as well as enjoy all the other treats Sarah sent.  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

November Book Recap and December Reading List

Hey, did you miss me?  I feel like I was MIA for most of December, although blogging was frequently on my mind, and I've been thinking of how I want my 2017 to look- both personally and blogging wise.  So, since I never got around to posting my November book progress and my December reading list at the beginning of the month, I'm just lumping them into one post now.

First off, what I read:

I only made it through two books, but one was a duzy!  Gracious Living in a New World by Alexandra Stoddard had me by turns nodding in agreement, then rolling my eyes, and thinking this book was written for the 1%.  Stoddard is a successful interior designer in New York City who owns multiple homes and apparently thinks shipping furniture you find at the open air market while you're on vacation in France is something we all can do.  There were little nuggets here and there that I found useful but for most of us, staying in bed until noon for gathering ones thoughts and writing is not an option, nor is having a secretary just to transcribe our notes because we prefer paper and pen to untrustworthy computers.  I only finished it because I was more than halfway in and it's not that thick.

The other book I read was The World's Last Night by C.S. Lewis.  I always find Lewis refreshing and after finishing the Stoddard book, this was a nice change of pace.  Even though it was written decades ago, it felt as if a lot of it could have been written today.  It was pretty short so I breezed through it to, which was nice after trudging along through the previous book.

The book I acquired was one I read years ago, and gave my copy away, but have been looking for a copy for quite a while.  It's C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces, which is a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche.  I remember reading it in high school, and loving it, but that's about all I remember.  I'm hoping it holds up better than some of the things I loved in high school.

2016 Totals:
Read- 34  Acquired- 51

Now, on to my December reading list:

  • The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty- I read What Alice Forgot, and enjoyed it, so I'm interested to see what Liane has up her sleeve in this one.
  • Dear Mr. Darcy by Amanda Grange is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy's point of view, and to be honest, I can never get enough Jane Austen in my life.
  • Life's Companion by Christina Baldwin is a book about the importance of journal writing.  To be honest, I don't know if I'm going to get to it this year, but it sounds good, and has gotten really good reviews on Goodreads so I hope to pick it up soon!
  • Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood is a collection of short stories, and really, I just love her writing.  Every time I finish a book by her, I think to myself, I need to sit down and write.  She makes it seem so effortless and spins the mundane into these weird tales that just get down into your bones and stick to you.
Alright, well, I have a few more posts planned for the end of the year, and some new things cooking for 2017.  And as always, if you think there's a book I have to add to my lists, drop me a comment and let me know, or if you've read any of these, let me know what you thought!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December Goals

We're nearly halfway through December and I have yet to post.  December is always a bad month for me blog wise because Christmas is a busy time of year but it's also so dang dark!  I get up and it's dark, with it just getting light around the time I leave for work.  By the time I get home, it's already dark.  Ugh!  That leaves the weekends for photos and getting posts ready, but I just haven't been up to the task as of late.  I always have this big idea that I'm going to do all my photos for the week on the weekend and then write posts as I go, but so far, it hasn't germinated past an idea.

But, let's get in there.  I'll start with my November recap.  My goals were:
  • Read 4 books. Only read two.
  • Sew everyday.  Nope.  Ended strong and did the craft fair with one of my friends.  Pretty happy with how it went, but still have plenty of sewing to do.  I would also like to do more craft fairs in the future, so should really have a stash of finished projects ready to go.
  • Drink 64 oz of water a day. Was better about drinking, but still no where near enough.
  • Pray daily.  Didn't manage daily.
  • 10 minutes of planning out my day in the morning.  Didn't do this everyday neither. 
So I didn't meet any of my goals this month, which I don't think has every happened before, but that's the way it went.  December is already off to a better start.

  • Read four books.
  • Drink 64 oz. of water a day.
  • Restart morning pages, or evening journaling, basically some form of writing.
  • Be present for Christmas.  So often I feel like Christmas passes in a whirl of shopping and baking and cleaning that I don't really savor it.  This year I've already got lights on the front of our house, and a cookie baking date planned with friends.
  • Get 2017 planner done.  I use the Volt planner and love it, but I feel like I could make better use of it, if I incorporated blogging goals and stuff into it and made better use of the weekly prompts.
  • Work on my 2017 goals.  What do I want 2017 to look like?  
If you want to link up your December goals, or are just curious about what everyone else is doing?  Check out the link up over at My So Called Chaos.