Goals Update - First Quarter of 2018

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Before I get into today's topic, a quick announcement:

I'm actually going to start posting every week.

It seems like forever that I’ve wanted to blog regularly, but it's been a challenge to find a focus that is both relevant and broad enough that I don’t get bored. I finally found that focus: books.

 I study, er, read tons of books every year; I want to write books for a living. I feel kind of stupid for not realizing this sooner.

I plan to focus as much as possible on classic and speculative fiction, but I will also write reviews of books on writing, health, music, and my various other hobbies. Sometimes I even read other fiction genres. Basically, whatever I read, I'm going to write about.

But not all of my posts will be book reviews. I often take longer than a week to read and reflect on a book, so there will also be posts with writing exercises, updates on my goals, and various other things I think you might like. I may even get around to those recipe posts I hinted at in my last post.

For now, I plan to publish new posts early on Tuesday mornings. So grab yourself a cup of caffeinated beverage and come join me whenever you wake up. I'll be waiting.


Three Month Goals Update


About three months ago, I published this post on my goals for 2018. Since then, my life and my goals have changed a bit. The rest of this post is all about my progress in the goals I set, as well as the ways I’ve tweaked those goals to fit my schedule when I’ve added things like blogging to my proverbial plate.

Family/Romantic:

I’m still having date time with my husband on Sunday afternoons, at least most of the time. The weather hasn’t been quite good enough for hiking yet, but we’ve taken a few walks in the park by our apartment.




For his birthday we went to the coast, had lunch at Lee’s Chinese Restaurant, and did some shopping.





It was raining a lot of the day, so we didn’t even set foot on the beach. Maybe for our anniversary…


Social:

I’m still having tea with my girlfriends once a month. This last time we went to brunch at a hipster cafe and then wandered around downtown--mostly to the bookstore.



It was a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to our next shindig, which will be an all-day-read. After a field trip to the local library, some book discussion, and lunch, we’ll hunker down in comfy blanket nests and just read. That’s an introvert party made in heaven if ever I’ve heard of one.

Megan and I are continuing to meet and write together one day a week. We seem to be taking it more and more seriously the longer we do it. I think the accountability has been good for us.


Financial:

Will and I are still trucking along on our financial goal, right on track.


Spiritual:

I'm still attending church services and ladies’ Bible study. I'm not reading the book for the current study; it’s not really my thing.

I'm still reading the New Testament in Esperanto and still loving it. I’ve made it through Matthew, Mark, and Luke so far, and today I’m starting on John.

I'm also still reading The Hymn Fake Book and also still loving it.

Recently I noticed that a lot of the hymns I’d been bookmarking were written by Charles Wesley, and that has led to some fascinating Googling on Methodism and doctrinal differences between various Christian denominations.

On a personal level, I've been having a denominational crisis for like six years (we could call it adulthood), wrestling with individual theological issues and trying to fit them together into a cohesive way of understanding the Bible that I actually believe and understand for myself, not just something that my family or church has handed me as a prepackaged set of things that go together. I want my faith and my relationship with Christ to be mine, so while I've been avoiding digging too deeply into the big complicated hairy ball of goo that is the question of denomination, I know it's time.

Will and I watched all of The Mission of Jesus and have moved on to A Clash of Kingdoms. I plan to continue collecting and watching Ray Vander Laan’s That the World May Know series; I highly recommend them.

I’ve also been listening to Ryan Reeves’ historical theology videos. I’ve made it through his “Theology in 90 Seconds,” “Quick Explanations,” and “Quick Biographies” playlists. Now I’m on “Luther and Calvin.” This is another great resource I recommend checking out.


Physical:

I’ve actually gained a few pounds in the last couple of months since I’ve been eating too many concentrated fats and starches, and not enough vegetables. I've also cut dedicated Esperanto practice out of my day, so I’m also not riding my exercise bike much anymore.

To combat the food problem, I have recently:

  1. Simplified my menu plan and basically cut out green smoothies. They take too much time to make every day, and I don’t find them filling for long enough.
  2. Stopped restricting salt. When I started that is when my veggie consumption dropped off. Veggies are way tastier with salt, and my blood pressure is low anyway, so I'm just not going to worry about it.
  3. Returned to cooking a big pot of steamed vegetables every week to portion out as part of my lunches. I recently discovered how much easier it is to do this in the microwave, and I think I'm in love.
  4. Started buying myself bags of fresh baby spinach since I'm not drinking tons of spinach in smoothies anymore. 
  5. Bought some new salad dressings and teriyaki sauces to put on all those tasty vegetables. Salty deliciousness.
  6. Added hummus and crudités to my weekly meal prep routine for my snacks.
  7. Returned to cooking a big pot of steel-cut oats for breakfast every week.

I have, however, kept consistent with my Pilates and stretching routine. I’ve been averaging about six days a week, and I’ve noticed some real gains in the flexibility department. I just got a new Pilates book and I’m having a lot of fun incorporating some more challenging exercises.

On the makeup forefront, I’ve finally found a foundation combination that basically matches my skin, so that’s awkwardly exciting. With some practice, I think I’ll be able to take photos of myself with makeup without feeling like a total doofus. Next on my list is finding a concealer that also matches.


Intellectual & Hobbies:


Esperanto:

For a month or so, I continued to review my Duolingo Esperanto tree and Memrise words, but after that, it didn’t seem like it was helping much (and it got pretty boring), so I stopped. Eliminating this has allowed me to lengthen my morning writing time from 30 minutes to an hour, and I’m happy with the switch.

I also haven’t found much quality Esperanto audio to listen to, so my exposure to the spoken language has been almost zilch.

I am, however, continuing to read the New Testament in Esperanto aloud to myself pretty much every day. I’ve made it through Matthew, Mark, and Luke so far, and today I’m starting on John. The more I read, the more words I learn, and the easier it is for me to figure out the meaning of new Esperanto words.


Music:

If I’m honest, this is one of the goals I care least about. Music practice is one of the first things I skip if I’m pressed for time, and I’m okay with that. This is a casual hobby, and it’s meant to be fun. That being said, I have made progress. I’m still working through The Beginner Method for Soprano and Alto Recorder by Sonya and Gerald Burakoff, playing the soprano melody parts. I’ve made it to page 43 of Book I, and have only 4 pages left to learn before I get to progress on to Book II.

I’ve also continued to read The Hymn Fake Book and made it through page 161, which is over 1/3 of the way through the book.


Crochet:

In the last three months, I’ve completed an infinity scarf, a cowl, a pair of boot cuffs, and a pair of fingerless gloves. All of them match the hat I made before. I also just finished re-crocheting my niece's hat (the first attempt was too small). Now I'm considering whether I want to use up the rest of my green yarn in a bigger project, like a shawl, or if I want to continue making tons of little accessories.




Writing:

In the last couple of months, I’ve intentionally adjusted my writing goals. I now have an hour to write every day, rather than half an hour, and I’ve been taking a break from fiction writing since I decided that I want to blog every week. I needed the extra time write a few posts in advance, update the template, create some updated images, and even take blogging-related Skillshare classes. I'm still working on updating the blog's static pages and gadgets to reflect the new focus on books.

In a few weeks, when I get the blog’s appearance to a level I can be happy with for awhile, I plan to return to working on fiction every day and do most of my blogging when Megan comes over to write with me. Until then, fiction writing is on hold. I've been taking a moment to scribble down ideas when I have them, but mostly I've focused on the blog. While on this break,  I've figured out some major improvements to my work-in-progress, and I’m excited to get back to it.

I’ve also listened to the entire backlog of the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast, and it has has been awesome. I understand Katie's story structure system way better than I did before, and that is helping me to create a strong outline for my current work-in-progress. But the podcast isn't just about structure; Katie has loads of tips for novel writing in general and I highly recommend both her podcast and her blog. I'm excited to read, reread, and eventually even review her books.

Thanks to some other writing-related podcasts, I’m also now seriously considering self-publishing as an option, at least for some of my books.


Reading:

Because I want to have time to take notes, reflect, and write reviews on the books I read, I’ve cut my 2018 Goodreads Challenge back from 60 books to 50. If I reach the goal before the end of the year, I’ll adjust it, but for now, I’m trying to emphasize quality over quantity.

Recently my reading has been slower than usual because during my evening reading time, I’ve been reading physical copies of some pretty dense books, and while I clean, I’ve been listening to podcasts and Youtube videos instead of audiobooks. It should speed up a bit once I get through a few of the books I have lined up.

If you’d like to see what I’m reading and get a preview of what I’ll be reviewing in the near future, you can now follow me on Goodreads.

Did you make goals for 2018?  How are you progressing? Have your goals changed?
Have you read any good books lately?
Leave a comment below or my hairless ghost lemur will haunt your dreams.

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