Goals, what's the point? I mean realistically will I achieve them all? Maybe the answer is no. According to the Ted talk I'm too idealistic, too high flying, too optimistic to set realistic goals. But yeah, goals... I make them, I believe in trying to achieve them, I believe if I set SMART goals I have a good shot at climbing on top and conquering them! And if I miss one here or there… I still have all the others to point to and smile at.
I shared my Physical and Intellectual goals last week. The rest of my goals are certainly more personal to me and I'm shy, I guess, to share them. My physical goals are obvious to everyone who's seen me over the last several years. The intellectual, well, anyone who's listened to me geek out knows I have a knack and love for memorization of all things but names and love to have my head in a book or in the stars. But my Financial, Professional, Social, Family and Spiritual life goals are more intimate.
What I've learned through The Leaving, and am embracing in The Middle, is that no matter how unique or different or misunderstood I feel... I am not alone. Pretty much anything I feel or think has been felt or thought before. It's in that Book, in Ecclesiastes. There is nothing new under the sun. BUT there is shared experience, communal solidarity and accountability, and for those reasons I'll get over myself and share them.
With no further ado… my other goals. (and yes, since I'm sharing, I freely invite you to hold me accountable to keeping them and celebrating the achievements with me and I'll love you forever if you do!!!!
Refinance car into my name – January
Change the car/life/rental insurance & beneficiary info – January
Deplete emergency fund to minimum acceptable amount and put the rest toward car loan
$100 allowance for the month NO MORE!!!!! All extra to car loan
PAY OFF CAR!!!! – December (shoot for September)
Learn about major retirement plans – March
Choose plan and begin contributing at a minimum of 5% of income (shoot for 10) when car is paid off-brand
Replenish emergency fund to 4mo expenses
Professional: BUILD MY INVENTORY, get my name out and… make some money on my books, that would be lovely!
Work: Make less than two errors requiring Journal Entries/mo.
Work: Have back-up fully trained so I can go on vacation this year – July
Writing: Publish 4 books with Booktrope (to edit by 2/15 – Gia's Secrets: 3/15 – Gia's Addiction : 4/15 – Gia's Salvation: 11/15 – 11 Lives Book 1)
Writing: Finish Sailing with Rusty by August
Writing: 3 IG posts/wk 1 book, 1 fitness, 1 otherwise
Writing: 3 blog posts/wk 1 review/interview, 1 me, 1 motivation/social awareness
Writing: 1 marketing campaign/season
Writing: Get on Goodreads once/wk
Writing: Redraft Big Y & publish (self or with Booktrope)
Social: “Friends are gifts you give yourself, if you want friends be one!” “Do to others what you would have done to you.”
Have a guest a week over
Do something with a friend each week
Report CASA hours every month
Mentorship after CASA case closes – March
Finish AWANA year strong
Organize Origins of Life/ Flood debate series for fall/winter time
*watch all videos – March
* organize series by topic
*begin by end of September
Family: If you don't take care of your family you're worse than an unbeliever
3 family dinners/wk
Take each kid out alone once/mo
Try to babysit for Marlee once/mo so kids can have a break
Help Gramma once/mo
Do bills with Gramma & Auntie once/mo
Auntie's story recorded – February
Auntie's story written – March 6th
Gramma Ts story done – May
Call Dad & Mom once/mo
Go camping 2 weekends/mo May-September
Spiritual: Seek me first the Kingdom of God and all the rest will come in due time
Celebrate Recovery bible study – June
Prophecies of Messiah bible study – December
Daily Devotions – Bible/Prayer/Psalm practice
Christian yoga 3x/wk
Retain Matt 5-7
There they are, plastered on my wall at home and now exposed for anyone to see. Wish me luck, hold me to them, be my friend, watch me soar!
Marlee & Me in the Middle...
Yesterday morning was glorious! I knew as soon as I drove the car out of the garage that the Maker customized the morning for romantics and dreamers. The sparkle in the snow, the blush on the valley's mountains, the sun stretching, like we do, into the fullness of a new day, the memories of holding a sweet new life in my arms the night before.
I was all over, from the top of my head to the souls of my feet, happy! It's been coming back, a general feeling of well being, for a while. I’ve said I feel like me, but that’s not really the truth. I’m in transition and I know it but the happy is real. My soul is well again. It’s not a split-second reprieve from the pain of The Leaving. Not a fleeting 'happy' from an impromptu hug or note or timely piece of scripture or well executed comedy skit. Not even an event like that sensuous sunrise. Happiness is in me.
I am happy again!!!
My brand new grand-daughter has much to do with my overall state of well being especially this week. Yes, after long months of waiting and anticipating Marlee is here! Like the sunrise, her face, her existence makes me bristle with joy! She is a masterpiece. Her parents absolutely glow with how much they love her. I am so proud of her mama for bringing her into the world and loving her like she does already. And Marlee is one of many pieces of life falling into place.
Life is good, sure it's peppered with the pain of living but for so long it's been survival… literally survival. Doing what I had to do to make it one more day. One more day clean, one more day uninjured, one... more... day. I'm not surviving, I'm living! The old has passed away, I shed that scab, and have a new skin. But who exactly am I?
When I worked with the high-risk girls at the Tech Center my biggest concern was for the girls so desperate to be loved that they gave themselves away. Haylee, in my book, Waiting on Justin, is a conglomeration of their need: Desperate for affection. Identified only by their affiliation to a boy. Barely aware of their own bodies and minds, let alone their souls and spirits. I understood their desire to belong but I wanted to shake some “self” into them. I asked almost all of them if they could name five things they liked to do alone, without their man. Most couldn't… It made me sad to see them dependent on someone else to give them their worth and value.
I don't think I have that problem but because I don't want to be hypocritical I check myself regularly. To be sure I have my five “just me” things I like to do… and then some. But the thing is “just me” isn’t the woman I used to be.
I'm not who I was. I'm not who we were. I'm me, here, single, momming and now grand-momming, dating, writing, working, serving, living! It's a good place to be. I like this place I'm at, I really do! I can't say I want to fully explore “just me.” I firmly believe man is not good alone (it's in that one Book). I never want to get to the place where I'm content on my own. Part of being me, being human, is living in communion with others. For the time being that doesn't include a companion, but I'm pretty sure God wouldn't have made me like sex so much if he intended me to be single from thirty-seven on. There will be an end to this time of my life. It'll happen when it's supposed to. Until then, I get to meet cool guys, live my life to the fullest… learning who I am now, what my tastes and preferences are but also resist selfishness. I want to be respectful of him even now before he's here. I want to respect myself, and what I do with others between now and him, not just for me but for him. I want to wait to buy a house because I want that to be our decision since it's such a long term decision. I'm starting this grandparent journey alone but I am so grateful to God that I get this one piece of family to share with him alone.
But… until I know who he is or when his time will be, I am good in this place, learning me in The Middle. I’m becoming aware of my personal preferences that were adjusted to fit the relationship that dissolved. After years of togetherness, I took some of the things I did as personal preference when really they were accommodations. Now that the relationship is over my body, mind, soul and spirit are noticing personal preferences that are distinctly different than before. I’m not saying I was repressed, and now I’m free, I’m saying for the time being I’m uniquely individual and its cool getting to know who I’m becoming, if that makes sense. I like it! Yeah, I really like it! Also, I like asparagus, I like painting my toes in the living room, I don't like clutter, I like hugs, and I LOVE that grandbaby of mine!
Life is over, at least for all but one in every ten thousand people. Sugar, a young adult fresh out of the foster system, is left alone to fend for herself. The end has come, and it's not zombies she needs to fear, it's her own body. Sugar suffers from diabetes and without insulin, though she survived the plague that killed most of the world's population, she will still die.
Sugar Scars chronicles Sugar's quest to first find insulin to survive and then, when the realization hits that it will inevitably expire, to find a way to replicate pre-plague production. Along her journey Sugar finds support and disappointment from other survivors. Some willing to sacrifice much to help her and others, dealing with their own issues, resist assisting her quest.
Though the story is largely plot driven and full of action and adventure to go along with the post-apocalyptic feel, there was a good balance. The characters were believable and the romantic story lines, were good. I'm a romance girl and they hooked me. I will not spoil either the plot or Sugar's love life but I will say, I found myself flipping pages to find out what would happen next.
Not only is the story entertaining, the author touches on some real-life issues that are near and dear to my heart. I absolutely love how he handled taking care of several unsavory characters. I found myself cheering for Sugar and her resolve to do what had to be done, despite her reservations about the dirty deeds she had to do. It was one of those books where good triumphs but sometimes good isn't pretty, but oh, so necessary.
Overall I highly recommend the read, especially to anyone who likes post-apocalyptic stories, deals with diabetes on a day-to-day basis or is looking for a good, fast paced, entertaining read.
I’m an author, but this site isn’t just about promoting by books. I write about the things I care about including books, movies, math, science and foster care and adoption.
I live in Montgomery, Alabama with my wife and 5 kids (but in in my heart it will always be 6).
Find Travis online at: http://travisnorwood.com/books/
Minor confession: I'm one of those people who LOVE New Year's Resolutions and strive to keep them. Anyone who knows me well knows I love my Resolutions but I get kind of afraid to announce them because of the stigma. In fact, when I started working out at CrosSport, I waited until February because I didn't want to be one of THOSE people...
And I admit, I don't always stick to my goals. Sometimes it works like when I set the goal to get published and I did, or the year I determined to run my first half-marathon, and I did, or the year I wanted to get debt free and did (don't ask me why I now have a car payment, I'm not happy about it and, LORD willing, I WILL be debt free again THIS year).
Other years, other goals, I didn't make, like the guitar playing goal. Didn't learn to play any of the four songs I wanted to learn. BUT... I did learn chords, how guitars make their sound, what the fingers are doing to make the sounds I hear when someone plays, and I could play that intro to Falling Slowly like a true beginner!!! Yeah! And my fingers! Oh my fingers will tell you I put in time… about to spring, maybe late spring, maybe.
My point is, even when I didn't make it, I learned! I am a learner. I LOVE to learn. Not because I have to, not because there's a reward at the end, simply because there's so much to know, why not learn it if I can?!
This year, I did what I do and made my SMART goals in the 7 areas most important to the 4 dimensions of my being.
They are SMART:
They address 7 areas:
And… the 4 dimensions of my being are, of course, my: Body, Mind, Soul and Spirit
I share them to keep myself accountable. I'm goal oriented, but also people pleasing. For all the years I've been making goals I had someone checking my progress. I didn't need to answer to him, but I wanted to and I liked it. I liked sharing the triumph and struggle. It was fun. They are my goals but maybe in sharing I'll find some more accountability partners, it's always fun to share life with others, unless I want to write, then leave me alone haha!
Since there are 7 areas and I try to keep my posts under 800 words I'll just share two this week. With no further ado, here are my goals:
*20 pull-ups (I have a pr of 11 right now, don't laugh)
*Log 504 miles as part of a 4-person team striving for 2016 miles in 2016 (I currently have 6 but I'm about two weeks out from being able to run again, I hope)
*Run a marathon before Thanksgiving (this is the goal that keeps alluding me)
*Do one local or Snohomish/Skagit County hike a month (snowshoed at Mission Ridge last weekend)
*No alcohol Monday-Thursday (100% on this so far :D)
*Read/Review 2 books/Month (using the Must Read list from m'lady)
Read: He-Motions, reading: The Rescue & Fear the Sky
*Learn the 88 modern constellations & positioning in sky (~2/week) (I know Cassiopea, Big Dipper and Little Dipper)
*Read 1 article/ week on building bone density/nutrition/female athletes (I have to eat sardines, yuck! & Milk doesn't always do your bones the best good)
*Learn 1 meal/ month to promote bone health/density
*Memorize Psalm 119 (~2 stanzas/ month) (I'm on Aleph and I'm almost @ 100%)
*Memorize Declaration of Independence by July 4th (~60 words/ week) (I haven't posted my poster yet, I'm hanging it this weekend and then I'll be on it!)
I feel like these are all SMART goals but this year I questioned my energy level so I really tried to “dumb them down” to things that serve a purpose in other areas, like the marathon and the miles kind of bunch together. And memorizing the Psalm and my regular devotions partner well. And building my bone density directly affects my physical abilities & addresses nutritional needs. I don't think it's cheating I think it was SMART to use this year as a way to build on my strengths as opposed to really stretching and doing too much new. I need safety and structure this year. It'll be a goal fulfilling year I'm sure!
Moving, Men and Momming
It's been a while. Everything has changed and changed again, but such is life, right?!
I moved… again.
I'm settling in… again.
I like my neighbors… again.
I'm feeling more like me everyday.
Only not me… a new me, different me, changed me.
Me in the middle.
I am still alone but it's more palatable. I have a schedule, routine, and plan. I'm finding balance and structure which is a warm, fuzzy security blanket I can cuddle up inside. I can breathe, I can think, maybe I can even start to thrive again.
It is still painful to wake up everyday knowing I'm not worth fighting for or keeping. That'll sting for a while. Because of my faith in Christ I know am worthy of love and affection and, even though I'm eccentric and quirky, I like who I am and know other people find me endearing. Also, on a purely statistical level I know it won't be long until someone will be bold enough to risk putting in the time to earn my trust. I don't want “happily ever after.” I want “together forever, no matter what.” That takes time and risk to prove.
My current favorite country song is “Real Men Love Jesus” within it the line "They don't believe in leaving." I know there are plenty of guys out there who believe in sticking the tough stuff out. I know I only need one to see my value, and try for me... but I'm kind of afraid to trust again and just really want to get to know people right now. But after talking to some genuinely good guys I'm afraid what I want is different than them. I don't want an exclusive relationship but I do want to know their souls but that takes time and vulnerability and trust, none of which happens fast. I don't want to lead anyone on or give them false hope. I want a man who proves he'll stay no matter what. The way I see it, that happens by hanging with guys and seeing who sticks. There's hope for anyone who sticks around for a long time, but it seems kind of mean because what if they put in the time and it doesn't lead into a relationship. It makes being alone seem preferable to trusting too soon or hurting someone unintentionally while I take my time and they wait. The problem is the wondering, worrying, fantasizing and imagining how it'll all play out.
It drains my creative energy… I want that back!
But… that's not the only thing sucking my energy. I'm desperately trying to figure out this single mom thing. It's the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I wish I had a partner to balance and coordinate my thoughts, plans and emotions with but as it turns out… in this too, I am alone. I have counselors, friends, family and books to guide me but there is no one but me to do this day in and day out. The problem is I never know if what I'm doing is right. I am a learner, a direction seeker. I want advice, suggestions and people to be bold enough to tell me if I'm messing up. After I've learned then… I want to practice. It's not fair to my kids they have to be my guinea pigs, but that's the way it is.
My kids are cool kids, amazingly talented, smart and witty but also stubborn, strong-willed and hard to handle. I want to do right by them, and God and society. I want to raise them or support them in being productive citizens. I'm trying my best and hardest but it's so hard to know what's right in parenting them. And it's humiliating to have to deal with the hard things they, one in particular, throw at me. I feel incapable, but I won't give up.
I'm trying but I usually feel like such a failure. This last month has been wrought with tension, police and second-guessing everything I do or say in the realm of parenting. I try to compartmentalize and not talk about it much because I'm so embarrassed at how things were going (although we're on a good streak for the last few days). All I can say is #1: I'm tired but I'm not a quitter and I can stay the course and #2: this is hard but I'm doing my best, I'm trying my hardest, my intentions are good even if my words or actions miss the mark sometimes.
That's what I got this week.
This is my life.
I am alone, but I prefer it to trusting too soon.
I am a struggling single mother.
I am doing my best.
I am making it.
I am OK.
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