2

A few of you have asked me over the year---  what are you working on?

Well, uh.... nothing really.

This is it.

The blog has come back to life,  And that's where my satisfaction must lie for now.  And I'm okay with that....kind of.

Life just got to hectic for awhile.  I do too much.  I know.  And everything I do I attempt with this perfectionist gung-ho enthusiasm worrying that it's not good enough and then I keep adding more things to the list---  just take what I blog about here ---  the books, the homeschooling, the food, the natural products, my time to God and my faith, my family, my friends.....    all this and more and not in any particular order.  But it's a lot.  And I got caught up in it all and frazzled by not being able to do it all perfectly and not being able to please everyone (including myself) to the point that I can barely catch a breath.  Gee--- is it any wonder I have adrenal fatigue?

So I threw in the towel awhile back on the manuscript writing and the blog.  I thought somehow that would make everything else okay.  Did it?  No, not really.  Because, as I'm learning,  in my facing that my body is suffering from the stress and other health issues I had over the years, that the thing I need to learn most is just to be at peace with myself and the fact that I am not perfect and I will never be....probably even less so the more I drive myself.

So I've lowered some standards and changing my perception over the course of this year (our style of homeschooling has probably been the most pleasant and biggest change) and I'm slowly adding some things back in that bring me peace and uplift my spirit- namely reading, having fun with Lemongrass Spa and yes, my writing.  But for now the writing needs to stay with the blog.

With the blog, it allows me to write about all the things that bring me joy and the things I'm learning about.  I'll probably be writing more about my learning and experiences with adrenal fatigue and won't have a lot of time for manuscripts just yet.  I do think I might start keeping a notebook again though.  To write down ideas as they come to me.  I just need to NOT scratch out actual stories, because, for me, that just leads to frustration that I don't have time to keep at it.

But to all my writer friends.  I haven't forgotten you.  I'd love to hear from you and know what you are up to.  And someday-  I'll be back in the children's writing scene!

 

It's PiBoIdMo 2015- have you signed up??

Well I participated.  I didn't exactly accomplish all my goals. What were they?

Oh, that's right....

 KISS  (keep it simple silly)

  1.  Read all posts by Saturday of each week (no way can I do it daily).

  2. Do exercises (if applicable to my current writing goals/ideas by Sunday.

  3. Write a minimum of one idea daily (7 a week) or add more details to an already listed idea.

  4. Make an honest attempt of writing a minimum of 30 minutes a week.

Well, I kept it simple.

I didn't read the posts daily, but I did indeed read them within a week of them being posted and all but one time was caught up by Saturday.  And I did work on the exercises, sort of.  I at least made note of the ones I want to get started on and a list of materials to do that with...especially the index cards and mini notebooks.  I did not get an idea every day.  Sometimes I didn't even think about PiBoIdMo let alone form ideas for writing, but I do think most of the ideas I had were fairly decent that could lead to something in the future. AND-  I actually did end with 30 by early this afternoon! I certainly did not do the 30 minutes a week.  I thought for sure that I could make an attempt at that.  But nothing.  Not even 5 minutes all month was dedicated to working on starting or even editing a manuscript.  Sigh.

But it's okay, right?  I mean, at least I have some (30) ideas.  And I tried out the babysitter thing....which didn't turn out actual writing that day but did get me started on reading and gleaning some good ideas from the PiBoIdMo posts and motivated me to try the babysitting thing again- maybe once a month to actually work on a manuscript?  We shall see.....

And I have my little writer friend to keep me company on occasion!

2015-01-13 07.11.33

How did your month of writing go?

Wrapping It Up

Christ is Risen!

My readers haven’t heard from me much this past month. In fact, the only posts I made were these: Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday; Holy Week Part One and Part Two; and Glorious Pascha. Part of that was due to the attempt at really taking time only for the one thing needful - Christ – during this holy time of year and part of that is due to just not having time for anything else.

It was a busy month – full of church activities, homeschool activities and planning, a birthday, book reading and more….

My Writing World

The posts I listed above are about the extent of it. I didn’t even pull out a manuscript let alone work on one. I’ve come to the conclusion I may need to give up my critique groups – this leaves me saddened as I’ve spent a bit of time with these people and have enjoyed and benefitted from their feedback; however, I barely have time to work on my manuscripts, let along critique several others.

I still have not gotten beyond week 3 of my class with Emma Walt Hamilton which I signed up for back in February….    Thank goodness it’s NOT a correspondence course with deadlines!

I’m not sure what May will hold for me… I’m really wanting to focus on finishing the organization of the house since we’ve been here for 9 months and there are still large areas that are highly disorganized. There is, in fact, a couple of things I haven’t located yet in the boxes still piled in my husband’s newly finished work space area we have dubbed as his ‘man cave’ and I’d like to have all of next year’s general homeschool plans finished before the official begin of our ‘summer’ time-   it will be summer eventually, right?

My Book World

While I didn’t read half as much as I had wanted to, I did do quite a bit.

Most of it’s been online reading…. Ambleside has caught my eye! (Ambleside is an online source for Charlotte Mason Homeschooling)

I am keeping up (barely) with the book I’m reading with my book club- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. While a few things are of definite protestant nature, I am still benefitting quite a bit by the content of this book and am easily able to skim over anything that does not apply- which really isn’t much at all. The concept of self-differentiation keeps coming up in this book as well as several other sources as of late….this is a concept I think I really need to delve into and spend some time on.

I finished The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle and began a fiction book by Anita Shreve…. Testimony… it’s a bit more risqué than her other books and caught me offguard- but I think I’ll still finish it.  Once you get beyond the first three pages or so, it simmers down to Ms. Shreve's usual brilliance in writing and telling a tale that shows the consequences of one's behaviors...

I finally finished Love & Respect (I didn’t have much to go)This book is one that I will definitely keep rereading either with the book or in it’s audio form. My husband has listened to it twice already! If you want to learn more, check out Love&Respect.com.

And of course, there’s been lots of picture book reading! Here's a small sampling.

Our Homeschool World

The best part of our homeschool world this month was attending the St. Emmeilia Orthodox Homeschool Conference held at Antiochean Village in Ligonier, PA. We attend this conference faithfully every year, with the one exception of the year my youngest son was born. There are speakers for adult sessions as well as children’s workshops. Our keynote speaker this year was Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick and he was, as usual, wonderful to listen to. My own husband gave a presentation this year for one of the sessions offering wisdom to homeschool dads. Once again, it was an awesome year and my ‘hats’ go off to the wonderful women who made it happen!

It’s been a calm, relaxed month for actual academic work but a busy month of planning, especially this last week or so. My older son is steadily working at completing his work for the year. He probably won’t be done until the end of May, but has completed Grammar and Vocabulary, and will be finished with Chemistry today! That leaves Geometry, World Studies, Keyboarding, the rest of English 10 ( Literature & The Lost Tools of Writing) and Russian. He went far beyond his 180 hours in Physical Education a long time ago!

My youngest is just going with the flow. We haven’t done a whole lot of academic work lately, but I’m glad the weather has finally turned so we can at least resume our nature walks.  Other than that it's been a little math, bible reading and reading in general.

When we have time, he LOVES the Math U See program I bought a couple of months ago. We started with the Primer Level even though he knows quite a bit of it already but it’s a nice introduction to doing worksheets and working with the manipulatives. We keep the lessons very short but he’s flying through them as I don’t have him do ALL the worksheets for the concepts he has already mastered as that would be wasteful of our time and boring for him. But even math has gone by the wayside in these last few weeks….. and about the only thing we’ve done much of is our bible reading and story reading as much as possible.

Most of my ‘school’ time has been on the planning stages. I’m preparing materials and ideas for NEXT year…. Planning my older son’s 11th grade year! My, how the time has flown! I’m also reading a LOT about Charlotte Mason- mostly online at Ambleside.com and perusing Simply Charlotte Mason and other blogs, etc. that are focused on this methodology of homeschooling. I am HOPING to be able to share a lot of this with you in the future if my writing time will allow……

Our Food & Health World

My husband and I completed our Whole30 (really it was more like a Whole50) at Pascha. We didn’t test as many foods this time…… raw dairy, wheat and corn were about it.   I can’t really count my dairy day and will need to restest it at some point as I was under the weather that day. I didn’t really test wheat either for the same reason. Corn seemed to give me some digestive issues but nothing major.

My husband is motivated and wanting to continue. He’s not being QUITE as strict as the whole30 guidelines but he’s not exactly splurging either! He’s probably following the whole30 guidelines about 97%....and is definitely seeing the results. He’s the lowest in weight that he’s been in a very very long time. I’m so very proud of him. Motivation is key and he really is motivated.

Our Faith World

We celebrated the Lord’s Resurrection at Pascha on April 12th. That is the most glorious celebration for Orthodox Christians. It is the feast of feasts! And our joy doesn’t end there. We are still, for the 40 days following Pascha, greeting one another with our victorious “Christ is Risen!” It is the heart of the gospel. It is what Christianity is about. It is what makes our salvation possible! I am truly blessed to have found the Orthodox faith and to be able to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord in such a passionate manner each and every year.

I’m trying to reestablish my reading/devotion time in the morning. If I get up between 6 and 6:15, I can fit in about 10-15 minutes of reading. This is not necessarily bible time, as my goal is to do that in the evening. Right now it’s a toss-up between finishing An Introduction to God by Fr. Andrew (keynote speaker of the conference I told you about) and the new Introduction to Orthodoxy Book by Frederica Mathewes Green- one of my favorite Orthodox authors. I try to accompany this with a few minutes of quiet time, reflecting on what I’ve read and God’s love and mercy- though that part doesn’t always happen….

Other Parts of Life

My daughter celebrated her 20th birthday this month .   I’m so proud of the fine young lady she has grown to be. She has the best smile but I’ll respect her probable wishes NOT to show it here.  My sister came up from Virginia to share Thea's birthday as well as having some great game time and seeing the new house!

It’s Spring! I’m sooo glad to see the sun shining (at least occasionally) and the flowers blooming and the buds on the trees getting bigger every day! This is truly my favorite time of year as far as seasons go.

So that about wraps things up for me.

What did YOU do during the month of April?

 

Photo By Pixabay
Photo By Pixabay

 

Wrapping It Up  

March 

March has been a busy month and honestly, I almost forgot to do my wrap up post!  I was so excited that I found the time to write a post last night and was working on getting time to work on another upcoming post, that it almost slipped my mind that my monthly wrap-up was due!  I haven't written much, I know, but I do want to touch base with you all and ask how the rest of you faired this month?

My Writing World

Well, for those of you that follow the blog, you know the blogging part of my writing world isn't all that much these days.  I've kept up with my Sunday posts but that's almost all I've done.  My manuscripts have suffered with even less time.  I didn't even send anything in for critiques this month, but am currently working on something for April. I didn't get my two days away last month for writing (I used them for some spiritual reflection instead) but am in the middle of that two day get away for March right now.  So that's why I had time to do the extra post on food (see below)the other day, the one on reading aloud to your child and am able to write this one now.

My Book World

Here I've kept busy!  In the area of fiction, I finished up A Prayer For Owen Meany.  I'm not sure how I feel about the book.  I didn't love it but I didn't hate it all either.  It was a good read and certainly different from my regular genre which was a nice change of pace.  ...continue reading "March Wrap Up"

2

For today's post, I want to present you with the information in my ABOUT Page.  Why?  Well, though it's my most read page, I'm sure not all of you have had the opportunity to read the updated version I posted last fall.  Second, I want to reintrodue my readers to everything that I desire to include in this blog- so if you've missed a topic that interests you, you'll know what to search for.  And third, I want to ask- as I take time to ponder and plan what I want to write about this upcoming year- what is it that makes you follow the blog?  I've asked this is a previous post, but I wanted to give my viewers another chance to answer that question after reading the ABOUT PAGE Information- in case they missed it! 🙂

About Me

I wear many hats in my life - Orthodox Christian, Wife, Momma, homeschool mother,  reader, friend, taxi driver, cook, maid, WRITER and many more!

wpid-img_20141012_180845_509.jpg

I write this blog for me and FOR YOU!!! It is for me because I LOVE to write and what better way for me to practice my skill than by writing and sharing with others my biggest passions in life. It’s for YOU because I find these things to be beneficial to EVERYONE!

SO….. WHAT WILL YOU READ ABOUT HERE?

Orthodoxy – Orthodox Christianity is my Faith – It’s the oldest Christian faith in the world remaining unchanged since 33AD. If you want to learn more, read about it here. I love to post about my faith as well as semi-weekly posts that are spiritual reflections – good for anyone of any Christian faith.

Homeschooling – I post things about all aspects of homeschooling. Some former posts have covered the Pennsylvania Homeschool law, methodology, the Charlotte Mason method, curriculum, busy bags, living books, and more!

Books – I love to write and with that is my passion for books! I post about the importance of reading and the books I’m reading – fiction and non-fiction. I attempt to do a formal book review at least once a month but will hopefully be catching up and doing extra reviews on books I’ve read in the past as well.

Whole Foods and Natural Health – My family has completely changed our health status by turning away from the Standard American Diet and changing to a Whole Foods approach using the foods God gave us for consumption and staying away from overly processed food products containing artificial man-made ingredients. In our adventure, I’ve learned about the Paleo Diet and am experimenting with that as well as many natural remedies for health ailments such as the cold and flu and enjoy sharing these with you as well. It may be interesting to note that neither my daughter nor I carry our former diagnoses of bipolar disorder and my husband was able to stop taking medications for high blood pressure and ADHD due to this lifestyle change!

Recipes - Because what’s a blog that talks about food if there’s no recipes?? 😉
Writing – After all, this blog only exists because of my passion for writing. I am an active member of SCBWI and the 12 x 12 group formed by Julie Hedlund. I am very hopeful to become a published children’s author and make millions of dollars -NOT! Lol. I won’t make money at being a children’s author. My goal is to enrich not my pocketbook, but the mind of a child. And I will share with you my journey along with an occasional writing exercise that may help the aspiring writer or homeschooler in their own journey.

LIFE - Really, I write about so much more than just the above major focal points including stress management, marriage, reflections on famous quotes, decluttering, parenting, and MORE because I am sharing my life with you as a WHOLE. A lot of blogs focus on just ONE aspect of the blogger’s life. They are very good blogs but here you will get a much bigger picture of me and my life, not just one piece. You get ME. And I get YOU.

So -  What makes you follow the blog?  What's your favorite topic?  And if you DON'T FOLLOW YET.....

.....FOLLOW ME NOW 🙂 (You can follow here on WordPress, Bloglovin' or on my Facebook page!) and remember to introduce yourself! Tell me YOUR PASSIONS!

 

2

This is yet again, another post on making goals.  But as it involves those short-term goals, it should be the last of it's kind for at least several weeks if not several months.

After reading a chapter from the Stress and Relaxation Workbook last fall, I set out with a list of my ten top priorities in life:     fragonard-91063_1280

  1. God
  2. My Marriage
  3. My Children
  4. Health & Safety
  5. Homeschooling
  6. Writing
  7. Friends & Family
  8. Comfortable, nice clean home
  9. Financial Security
  10. Fun & Relaxation

The list is not necessarily in order- with the exception of #1 and #2- which are ALWAYS #1 and #2.                    marriage-478318_1280

With these priorities in mind, I developed a list of long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals.  While I've always been one to make a list of goals here and there, I've never thought about making sure they coincided with my top priorities or putting them in as clear of subcategories as long-term, medium term or short-term before.  So I started these lists last fall with this post.   It blew my Resolutions from 2014 out of the water because it was much more organized, concise and showed a definite correlation to all of my priorities and gave me an overall picture of how to go about accomplishing those BIG goals in little steps.

With the New Year approaching, I had a new sense of how to go about making those New Year's Resolutions.  My resolutions aren't really resolutions (a firm decision as to whether to do or not do something) but really GOALS.  They are the short-term goals (goals that can be accomplished within a few weeks up to one year) that will lead to the eventual ability to obtain those medium-term and then long-term goals.

So now- after a week or two of serious thought- here are my SHORT-TERM Goals of 2014- which of course can always be revised or updated as needed so long as they still coincide with that important list of priorities above:

1.   God  (Develop a union and closeness with God)

  • Set aside a minimum of 20 minutes for morning and mid morning or early afternoon prayer time (total)
  • Develop a morning prayer habit with family
  • Develop an evening prayer habit (set a copy of evening prayers inside current book I read at bedtime as a reminder!)
  • Develop a habit of saying Pre-Communion prayers with family on Saturday evenings.
  • Say the Jesus Prayer at various times throughout the day
  • Orthodox Reading - Read a book pertaining to Orthodoxy 1-2x a week other than devotion time
  • Attend Vespers services at least 1 time a month

2.  Marriage (Having a strong lasting relationship with my husband)

  • Establish a habit of a weekly date time (Every Monday and at least one extra activity every other week)
  • Read Love & Respect together and complete Workbook
  • Continue habit of reading together whenever time allows
  • Establish personal goals with my husband

3.  Children (For them to know I love them and to be a good Christian model to them)

  • Establish a habit of a weekly game night (quality, fun time)
  • Read with my oldest son at least 4x weekly
  • Read with my youngest at least 3 books daily in addition to our bedtime stories
  • Call my daughter at school weekly and text several times a week

4.  Health & Safety (REAL food and healthy environment)

  • Find Paleo websites/blogs with easy meal plans
  • Work on a new Monthly Menu Outline plan to make menu planning easier
  • Begin Freezing Meals so there is always at least 3 complete meals within the freezer ready to go!

5.  Homeschooling

  • Continue reading about and researching the Charlotte Mason method
  • Work on course descriptions for my son's transcript records
  • Work on developing a Home Ec course plan (we've decided to form our own)
  • Think over how to incorporate some Charlotte Mason methodology into my older son's coursework
  • Copy the Liturgy Book for my youngest son and highlight sections that he will now be expected to be at attention for and follow along

6.  Writing  (blogging and manuscripts)

  • Post  a minimum of 3 posts per week - with an eventual goal of 4-5.
  • Work on manuscripts at least 2x weekly, at least 3-4 hours (total), increasing in a few months.
  • Do writing exercises found in books and blogs on the craft
  • Read other blogs and comment on 3 per day

7.  Friends & Family

  • Make a list of friends and family I wish to maintain better contact with
  • Call (or text if they or I prefer) a minimum of 2 from the list each week (or have coffee if person is available to do so!)

8.   Comfortable, Clean Home

  • Use organization website to make plan of action to stay on task with minimum stress
  • Maintain morning and evening routine checklists
  • Declutter/Minimalize - read more on being a minimalist and make 1 new goal to work on every other week

9.  Financial Security

  • Create a system for organizing receipts to make my husband's job of maintaining checkbook and budget system easier
  • Add 'record receipts' to my To Do list at least 3 x week

10.  Fun and Relaxation

  • Game nights ( a repeat-  it's great to kill two birds with one stone! Unless of course, it's a real bird....that I wouldn't do)
  • Coffee Dates with Friends - I love to do this but for some reason it's hard for me to initiate....that introvert thing I guess...
  • Work on creating a list of small (short in duration) things to do that will put fun/relaxation into my days!

 

So there it is!  My current short -term goal list.  As you can see, some of them should be very easy to implement-  the goal there is to make it more of a HABIT while others may take many months or even the whole year to actually accomplish.  Either way, I will keep this list posted in my household binder where I'm sure to come upon it weekly to read over and remind myself what I'm to be working on and revise when and if necessary.  That can be to add more, take away any that are successfully obtained, or simply revise the number or frequency, etc.  If you want to see the long-term goals that got this started, go back to the original post last week.  The middle-term goals are here.

Do pray for me that I may stick with the plan and make progress, no matter how imperfectly it may occur!

Do you have any similar goals?

Is there anything in my list you  would like to see written about in a future post?

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

Back on October 6th, I published a post on time management and goal setting.  In determining those "New Year Resolutions" everyone's been talking about (including me), I've determined to go back to that goal list.

Back in October,  I had to come up with a list of my ultimate priorities.  They did not consist of the only things I find important in life but they are the most important. While the first 3 are in numerical order, the others could be interchanged. These are the things that I simply could not accept having to live without.  I reviewed that list in the last few days and determined it has not changed:

  1. God
  2. My marriage
  3. Mothering my children
  4. Health & Safety
  5. Homeschooling
  6. Writing
  7. Friends & Other Family (outside my husband and children)
  8.  Comfortable, nice clean home
  9. Financial Security
  10. Fun & Relaxation (Yes, some would be surprised this made the list as it's the one that is overlooked most often - but it really is a priority for me)

Once I determined what my priorities were (that part did not take long but did need great consideration as I think it's the most important step), I needed to develop short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.  I started with LONG TERM- because you need an ultimate goal.  The medium term and short-term goals are what you do to reach the LONG TERM goals- so those need set in place first.  So this morning, I looked over those long-term goals and made a few minor adjustments.  For the most part though, they have not changed since October.

LONG TERM GOALS:

  1. Develop a union and closeness with God - keeping Him ever-present in my mind and heart, allowing Him to control ALL - Choosing to always be on His side.  In Orthodox language - staying on the path of Theosis and climbing the ladder of divine ascent.
  2. Have a strong lasting loving relationship with my husband that will focus on LOVE and RESPECT and one that can serve as a model to others.
  3. To have my children always know - without a shadow of a doubt- that I love them, to be a Christian model to them and someone they can depend on for strength, guidance and yes, even friendship.
  4. To feed myself and my family, REAL food as provided by God and provide a safe healthy environment to maintain all of our health.
  5. To educate my children to the best of my ability throughout their elementary, middle and high school years and prepare them for life, not just academically but especially by way of heart and soul.
  6. To write and publish several children's books and have a blog of several thousand followers (blushing a little here....wondering if I sound vain??).
  7. To engage in pleasant activities and communicate well and often with friends and family and also help them in whatever ways I can.
  8. To maintain a comfortable, orderly, clean and , yes, stress-free environment in our cozy well-maintained home (finding this current cozy little house in the woods is a great start to this goal!).
  9. To live within our means  and not only have a security net but also be able to help others in need.
  10. To enjoy life and remember to have fun and RELAX!  (this is actually the hardest one for me---  but I think my Stress Reduction and path of imperfect progress I have myself on will help achieve this goal!  But I may need a LOT of encouragement here- so please feel free to comment on these posts and offer words of wisdom and encouragement and your own tales of imperfect progress!

 

So that's my LONG TERM Goal list.  Now I need to look over that Medium-Term and Short-Term goal list-  I'll take the rest of this week to look over it.  In short, I need to come up with a list of medium term goals or steps that I need to achieve to accomplish those long-term goals.  It's about making a plan.  I can't establish that close relationship with God if I don't take the steps up the ladder to get there!  So my medium term goals and short-term goals will obviously include prayer and devotion time and other things that I can do to make sure I keep focused on God each day and each moment of my life.

Goal Setting
Photo by Pixabay

Your Medium Term Goals are goals you can most likely achieve within the next 1-5 years while your short-term goals are the steps you'll be working on immediately and accomplish within the next few weeks up to one year. See my previous post on Goal Setting.

Remember- Resolutions don't need to be met 100%.  The idea of Resolutions is to have Goals- to establish a plan and make PROGRESS.   None of us are perfect.  We are human.  But we CAN MAKE PROGRESS!!

 

So what are your priorities?  Have you made a list a long-term goals based on those priorities recently?

 

 

 

 

4

Last year I wrote out a list of 15 Resolutions.  I've learned a lot about goal setting since new-years-day-234805_1280 (1)then so I know that my list was really too cumbersome  and probably did not necessarily stick to my main priorities in life- so I didn't do so good in keeping them.  Still, I made some improvements in some areas and I personally feel that if people don't make that list of goals- whether it's called resolutions, goals, or whatever one chooses to call it, those improvements are much less likely to occur.  So I'm going over last year's list and the goal list I made in the fall to develop a plan of action for 2015.  So here's a brief review of how I did on my 2014 resolutions.

1.  Stick to the Paleo Diet at least 93% of the time.  -  We did really well with this for the first part of the year, not so good these last few months.  We haven't totally failed it; but it was more likely to be in the 70% range if I were to give it a number and YES- I've noted quite a difference so I WILL be focused on getting back to that 90% range!

2.  Exercise, on average, 3 times a week.   - Uh, well.......ooops.  Kind of failed this one.  My exercising tends to go in spurts and while I got myself really motivated about 3 months back to start again, it lasted about 2 days before I sprained my foot and well, yeah.  You get it.

3. Add Evening Prayers to my Prayer Routine.  Hmmmm.   I did it for awhile.  My problem is really  lack of routine at bedtime anymore and keeping my prayer book or bible by the bedside.  It tends to get moved a lot.  Maybe I just need to print out a copy of the ones I like for night and put it in the book I'm reading as the book tends to stay by the bedside more than the bible does.

4.  Read at least 3 books that are of Orthodox content over the course of the year.  Ooops.  Maybe I haven't done as well with these resolutions as I originally thought.  While I worked on several, I did not complete any from cover to cover.

5.  Read at LEAST 12 Newberry Medal Books.  Well, I didn't get in 12 but I do know it was my resolution to read them that kept them present in my mind and was the reason I did get through seven of them!  (Yes, I did finish Flora and Ulysses just the other day!)

6.  Read:

  •  2014 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market   YES!!!!  I did that!
  • A Family of Readers:  A Book Lover's Guide to Children's and Young Adult Literature - well, almost.  It got misplaced in the move and I still haven't unpacked all the book boxes as we're still awaiting for the man to complete our built in shelves for the library.
  • Honey For a Child's Heart -  Another one in a box somewhere, but I believe I got at least halfway through that one too.

7.  Watch my Charlotte Mason Videos -  YES!!!  I did that too!  And I read a lot more about the methodology!

8.  Research for a Preschool Curriculum and make a decision by April.  Yes!  I did this too.  I didn't go with a preschool curriculum though.  I realized he was already beyond preschool and I didn't want to go with just one set curriculum this year.  I went with a variety of things including Simply Charlotte Mason's Delightful Reading program which we are taking very slowly and truly enjoying it!

9.  Break 3 Bad habits.  Well , I did break one!  (Nope, not telling- just saying it's done- you'll have to trust me on that one)

10.  Maintain my Gratitude Journal.  My journal, no - though I did add to it here and there. But I did keep a list of things I'm grateful for for my husband and presented it at Christmas.  So I DID work on gratitude and will continue to keep that as a daily goal.

11.  Maintain This Blog!  Well, it's still here so I guess I did it!  I didn't make the huge strides I had hoped for but I did gain viewers and didn't lose them so I'd say I'm still successful.  🙂

12.  Keep Writing!!!  Well, yes, I did do that.  Again, not as much progress as I had hoped for but I haven't given it up.  I think I need to really set more definite and attainable goals for the blog and my other writing.

13.  Set more time aside for ME.  I have done better with this.  This year I have really kept this in my mind as something I need to do and am making progress.  With that comes guilt though and I need to work more at overcoming that and setting my boundaries and reactions to others when they don't understand my need to do this.

14.  Spend more quality time with my children and husband.  I think this year was a definite improvement.  There is still room, of course, for further improvement.  But I would definitely say my husband and I have had many more date nights and time together than previous years and that I've spent more 'fun' time with the kids without feeling pressed for time.

15.  Work on Easy and Quick Paleo Meals that will ensure that I have time to do all of the above.  Yes, I've worked on this and the biggest realization I've made is that I need to stop trying to please the hubby and kids with all their favorite meals and something different so often. I need to make ease and time efficiency my priorities (after HEALTHY of course).

Photos by Pixabay
Photos by Pixabay

So in all, I feel successful.  No I didn't carry out every single one 100% or even half of them- but I think the list kept me on track to make progress.  And sometimes progress is all we can ask for!

How did you do this past year with resolutions?  Are you making a list for 2015?

 

5

 

Can you believe that 2015 is upon us?  WOW. It really doesn't seem possible, yet looking back it's been quite a long year with a lot happening.  Here's a somewhat brief review of my own highlights!

new-year-152044_1280

2014 - A Year In Review

I started out with some resolutions . Some I succeeded with; some not so much - more on that in an upcoming post!  Later in the year, I talked more about goal setting and really thought about priorities- which will affect my thinking when setting up resolutions or goals for 2015!

2014 was also a year of learning a lot about the Paleo eating style and we really sunk our teeth into it during Lent when my family took part in an extended Whole30. If you didn't catch that and are interested, start with this post- and be sure to look for all the ones in-between that first one and this recap.  I'm thrilled to say our health did benefit and I am still not quite the sugar addict I used to be - though I'll admit, I could do with some tweaking again so another whole30 may be in store for us!

We moved from our home in Steam Valley to a beautiful house in the woods much closer to Williamsport.  That was quite the challenge as we discovered that the 'professional packers' didn't exactly do the professional job we had hoped and planned on. However we area all feeling at home and are totally in love with the trees surrounding our house!

Another highlight of our year was our son participating with the local school district in footballfootball! This was his first official football experience and we were so delighted in his progress and the team's undefeated season!

I did a LOT of research into Charlotte Mason!  I'm really drawn to this style of homeschooling and have done some experimentation with books, nature study, word making ( Delightful Reading by Simply Charlotte Mason), music and art appreciation, and more.

Charlotte Mason - Image by Wikimedia.org

I also attempted to  submerge myself into my writing and reading.  While I didn't carry out exactly what I set out to do (see this post), I do feel successful with both.  PiBoIdMo 2014 certainly helped! I'm hoping to do even more with both of those categories in 2015- and my children were kind enough to get my book pile started at Christmas!  This is my current fiction piece!

The blog didn't do too badly this year-  only 4,787 views but I did increase followers and got some interactions with comments- but it didn't quite get to where I had hoped for.  I think things slowed down a bit after switching to WordPress.com.  Other bloggers tell me this is a common problem so I'm hoping after making some other changes, things will pick up again in 2015! I did have several posts that seemed to do much better than others.  Here are some links in case you missed them:

Those People Who Always Smile - This continues to be my most read post since I originally published it after suffering a loss in 2012.  I keep thinking I should do another post on this topic.

St. Emmelia and the Orthodox Homeschool Conference - This post was about the conference held in 2014 but remains to be a highly viewed post.  I'll be sure to write another post this year when I find out the details for 2015!

Why I Refuse To Support Homeschool Diploma Programs -  This is a post I found really necessary to write.  There is so much misinformation out there on these programs and not much out there on the other perspective.  I've had a lot of support and positive feedback among fellow homeschoolers for writing this post.

12 Ways to Eat Healthy Without Going Broke - It's so important to place the food you put into your body as a high priority.  For some families this is hard- I know.  But there are ways to do it.  If your health is a priority (as it should be) there are ways to make healthy food an option instead of giving into 'foods' that aren't really 'food' at all....and cause more damage than good.

And while it hasn't hit the numbers for top posts over the year, a recent post that I wrote is viewed rather often too:

9 Steps to Become a Morning Person

Facebook has been my top referring site- so PLEASE- if you follow me on Facebook be sure to SHARE  your favorite posts and bring more tot he site.  If you don't follow me on Facebook and would like to -  there's a handy little follow button in the column on your right!!!

My personal favorite of the recent months though was this one:  Answer the Phone

Here's some photo highlights of my life this year! (I love looking over photos!)

Sleeping With Blankie...an every night occurrence.
Sleeping With Blankie...an every night occurrence.

2014-11-03 18.47.47

wpid-img_20141018_152508_738.jpg

Greg's Wedding3

 

wpid-img_20141012_180845_509.jpg

This is Maggie.  :)   She is a bit frisky and adventurous when not sleeping!
This is Maggie. 🙂 She is a bit frisky and adventurous when not sleeping!

 

Overall, it's been a good year.  I certainly didn't include everything in this very brief synopsis as my time to write today is short and , well.....

Now it's time to PLAN!

I want the blog to do better and I'm looking for feedback!  So please take a few minutes if you can and let me know-

What do you like reading here?  What are your favorite topics?  Why did you choose to follow this blog and what keeps you coming back?  I'd love to hear so I can keep those thoughts in consideration as I make some plans and changes in the upcoming months!

2

It's the third week of PiBoIdMo. 

This is day #22!  I am still as excited as I was back on day#1 and feeling quite productive!  And not just with PiBoIdMo goals, but with writing in general.  I am finally, after moving back in August, getting my writing space together.

The walls of the library are still bare, books packed up in boxes awaiting the shelves to be built-in, hopefully quite soon BUT....

For now it's just bare walls that I see from my desk, and bare windows. I looked at curtains for the sliding glass door this week... I haven't decided on anything yet. I LOVE the clear glass...it's so nice to see right out but they do let in a lot of cold and the winter weather is just starting...

 

the work space is coming together quite nicely 🙂

2014-11-21 16.42.14
This is where my computer sits. I put all my current projects, manuscripts, notes, etc. in a pretty purple folder marked WIPs this week.
Notice all those colored pieces of paper?  They're not mine! :)   My four year old has started joining me for 'Quiet Writing Time' this week.  He writes stories while Momma writes.  What a dream!  I LOVE it!  I just hope it lasts a really really long time!
Notice all those colored pieces of paper? They're not mine! 🙂 My four-year old has started joining me for 'Quiet Writing Time' this week. He writes stories while Momma writes. What a dream! I LOVE it! I just hope it lasts a really really long time!

 

This is to the left of where I sit..... it's a collection of books that I'm currently reading or using as resources for blogging, writing, devotion, etc.  Notice the small box of caramels tucked away in the corner at the right?  Only one per day as a reward for getting that 20 minutes of REAL (manuscript) writing in! Shhh....don't tell my son!
This is to the left of where I sit..... it's a collection of books that I'm reading or using as resources for blogging, writing, devotion, etc. Notice the small box of caramels tucked away in the corner at the right? Only one per day as a reward for getting that 20 minutes of REAL (manuscript) writing in! Shhh....don't tell my son!
2014-11-21 17.10.09
This is my foot warmer! It is very important to have warm feet when writing!!!
And this....this is a bare wall that will NOT be filled with shelves.  I'd love to fill it with something to motivate me with my writing...something INSPIRATIONAL!!
And this....this is a bare wall that will NOT be filled with shelves. I'd love to fill it with something to motivate me with my writing...something INSPIRATIONAL!!

 

At day 22, I currently have 32 ideas written in my PiBoIdMo notebook!  That's including the really bad one I wrote in two days ago....  I almost erased it!  LOL.  But they say to write them ALL down.... even the bad ones can turn into something later on down the road- especially if you learn to combine some of those ideas.

I did get my 20 minutes in every day this week - some days were a little harder and two of those days were research and not actual writing but I STILL consider that a success!  How did you with your goals  this week?

Any SUGGESTIONS for that bare wall pictured above?