Category: Month in Review

Return of the monthly accountability posts

So I’ve decided that I’m going to try to ‘revive’ a blog series that I let fall by the wayside last year. That series—“months in review”. Basically I’m trying to restart my monthly accountability posts. 

I think I only managed to do a “January in Review” last year (possibly…maybe?), and then I barely posted on either blog for several months. This was due in part to the family medical issue that had started in August 2022…it continued into the early months of 2023…and ‘accumulated’ with my mom passing away during emergency surgery in May of 2023. Needless to say—in addition to trying to manage burnout symptoms, I’m also trying to manage grief as well. Then it didn’t help in October when the world lost it’s shit and any sense of sanity & common sense.

So, the ‘month in review’ posts—what were they? They were monthly accountability posts. They were posts were I listed out various goals that I attempted for the month & how I did with each of them, and at the end of the post were goals I set for the following month. They were also posts where I’d give an update on the SARS-CoV2 pandemic and various stats. This ‘new’ series will be mainly covering the goals and whether I accomplished them or not—and if not, what I plan on doing differently to accomplish that goal within the first few days of the following month.

You will also notice that I’m going to be referring to personal/professional development as personal/professional growth—because I feel like ‘development’ has a slightly negative vibe to it. I don’t need to ‘develop’ into a writer…I’m already a writer, but I can ‘grow’ into becoming a better writer, photographer, blogger, or whatever.

So, with this ‘restart’ to the month in review series, what were my goals for April? Those goals included:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least three fiction books
  3. Complete at least one 30-day challenge (working on a Sudoku puzzle, iPhone photography, something)
  4. Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can stick with
  5. Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel
  6. At least two blurbs/reviews on science papers (for the science, health, medical blog)
  7. Working through at least two e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a foreign lanuage)
  9. Post to each blog (minimum once–would like two or more times)
  10. Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science/health, medical blog):
    • Oncology series (carcinomas & sarcomas)
    • What is a microbe series
    • Metabolism series (why some supplements are ‘scams’)
    • Why some foods (chocolate, onions, walnuts/pecans) are bad for dogs & cats

These goals are in addition to the goals that I’d drawn on my April BINGO card (and actually some of these goals are from the April BINGO card). So how did I do with each of the goals?

Reading at least three non-fiction books. I read the following books during April:

  1. Top 10 most interesting dinosaurs by Daniel Bozso 
  2. 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 more discoveries from the golden age of dinos by Sabrina Ricci with Garret Kruger
  3. Becoming What You Are: A Concise Guide to Awakening the light within by Two Workers
  4. B*tch Don’t Kill my Vibe by Reese Owen
  5. What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
  6. Waking up in the winter: In Search of What Really Matters at Midlife by Cheryl Richardson

So 100% on this goal…and actually managed to double the number of books that I read.

Reading at least three fiction books. I read the following fiction books during April:

  1. Moments for You (Wilder Brothers/Cousins #7) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. The Keeper (Playing to Win #1) by Bella Matthews
  3. The Wildcat (Playing to Win #2) by Bella Matthews
  4. The Knockout (Playing to Win #3) by Bella Matthews
  5. Caged (The Defiant Kings #1) by Bella Matthews
  6. Shaken (The Defiant Kings #2) by Bella Matthews
  7. Iced (The Defiant Kings #3) by Bella Matthews
  8. Overruled (The Defiant Kings #4) by Bella Matthews
  9. Haven (The Defiant Kings #5) by Bella Matthews

Seeing a pattern? I found a new (to-me) author—Bella Matthews, and have been binge reading her backlist (after having purchased the Playing to win series). I think I’ve also (more or less) finished two other connected series…I just forgot to write them down on teh wod document that I have going to track how many books I’ve read during 2024.

Completing at least one 30-day challenge (100% complete):

This month’s challenge was attempting to finish a Sudoku puzzle everyday. I probably should have kept track of how many days I actually managed to complete the puzzle without messing up…but I’d say it was probably somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the time (so somewhere between 20 and 25 days of ‘correctly’ finishing the puzzle).

I’d started also trying to do a crossword puzzle daily as well…and I’d say the percentage I got done was around 10-15%…not great…so maybe try to work on getting better at crossword puzzles over the next few months.

Coming up with an intentional movement plan that I can hopefully stick with (~60% complete):

I’ve created a basic board game for intentional movements…though I’m thinking of purchasing a hula hoop and some battle ropes to add into the mix. My problem for the past couple of years has been ‘boredom’…aka—doing the same workout programs that I’ve done in the past. In order to break that ‘cycle’ I need to mix things up—and also not focus on a number on the scale or a number on the tag of clothes…but aim to get into the best shape of my life, honor my body, and accept (plus work with) the limitations of my body—i.e. knowing that lunges, pushups, tricep dips, and even jogging/running aren’t things I should be doing a lot of…though jogging may be possible a few months down the road—the others I should avoid due to my bone structure (being knocked-kneed/bow-legged; messed up bone structure due to the hereditary multiple osteochondromas).

My biggest hurdle currently—is figuring out the ‘time’ to workout daily. I’m not a big fan of being ‘observed’ when working out…so yeah—still need to figure out the best ‘time’ of day to do things. 

Outline/mind-map for a YouTube channel (possibly 5% completed?):

Not quite done with this one…mainly because I haven’t quite decided if it’s going to be solely an ‘science, health, med’ comms/topics channel, or is it going to be like me—multifaceted. The single topic channel would be in theory easier to plan than a multifaceted one…but I’m worried that I’d get bored with it…though that could just be the inner critic/imposter syndrome whispering in my ear to keep me ‘stuck’.

Two blurbs/reviews on sciences papers (for the science, health, med blog) (5% completed):

Nope..I have the notes for one blurb/review (over the leafy and weedy sea dragon genomes), and just need to go back through and edit it down—I was over thinking things and started to also create a mini-review, when I should have been making note of things I found of interest and wanted to research on their own…with then linking back to the original ‘blurb’ that brought the ‘new topic’ to my attention. 

Working through at least two e-courses (100%–I watched/took notes):

I watched two ‘short’ e-courses on SkillShare in April, and those two courses were:

“The Art of Setting Goals: Create Your Roadmap to Success” and

“Creative Business Plan for Artists: Create a Thriving Business”

Now…I just need to go back and complete the ‘assignments’ for both of the courses—in order to get the ‘certificates’ of completion. Which will then help me actually move forward with trying to launch potentially two different freelance businesses (the freelance science, health, medical comms & the creative hobby/personal/professional growth business).

30 minutes 3x/week on Mondly (refreshing or learning a language) (only about 5% completed)

Nope…I managed to do this for the first few days of the month, and then I let all sorts of other ‘tasks’ take precedence over logging into Mondly for a half-hour to practice learning a foreign language.

Post to each blog (minimum once—would like two or more times) (100%—creative blog was several times; while the science, health & medical blog was once)

I usually manage to post to the creative blog at least four times a month (in regards to setting goals via of the new and full moon phases), and sometimes I manage a fifth or sixth time (book reviews or updates on what’s going on in West Asia). The site that usually I have more ‘trouble’ posting to is the science, health, and medical comms blog/website. 

I actually managed to post to the science, health, & medical blog website once last month—back on the 7th, I posted about 2024 world health day. I’m behind on the oncology blog series—only because I’ve realized that I need to divide some of the posts into multiple posts. A goal for May is to get back to a biweekly schedule of posting the oncology blog series, plus possibly posting about other topics as well (potential public/global health posts in regards to the rise of certain infectious diseases in certain areas of the world).

Mind-maps & outlines for different projects (mainly for the science, health, medical blog/website): (possibly about 45% done)

The oncology blog series (focusing on ‘location-based’ classification of cancers currently) ~35% done. I need to break these two outlines into ‘multiple’ outlines, as I’d noticed that the posts were getting ‘fairly’ long (i.e. getting close to almost ‘mini-review length–at least in my mind).

What is a microbe series–~80% done. I have a basic outline and some notes. But I should ensure that I have a couple of ‘examples’ of each group/family/class of microbes picked out and a outline for what I’d like to cover on those organisms.

Metabolism series–haven’t started

What various foods aren’t good for dogs and cats–haven’t started

I have notes and a rough outline for the what is a microbe series. I have a very rough draft for the carcinoma position of the oncology blog series (location based cancers part I). Since I haven’t fine-tuned the carcinoma outline…I haven’t moved forward to the sarcoma outline..which is currently ‘okay’ since I’m so far behind in writing/posting this series to the science, health, med blog. 

Conclusions:

So with April being the first month (in over a year) in which I tried to set ‘a laundry list’ of goals…I’m happy to see that there were only two or three that were less than 10% completed (refresh/learn a foreign language, planning out the YouTube channel, & blurbs on science/health/medical papers). I’m acknowledging that my inner critic/imposter syndrome was probably responsible for sidelining me for a good chunk of the month in regards to those two goals, and writing/posting to the science, health, & medical blog/website.

Reading is always something I enjoy…I’m proud of the fact that I managed to read/finish half a dozen non-fiction books this month, and am aiming to read at least three next month as well (if I can do half a dozen, great). Research & writing is something else I enjoy…I just need to get into the mindset that ‘good, decent, & done’ is a better mindset than ‘great, in-depth, and perfect’.

Perfectionism, comparing myself to others, and feeling like I need to have all the answers/solutions/every outcome mapped before moving forward is whats kept me stuck for quite a while (not to mention the whole family medical crisis/grief/finding my new normal). But I can say that I’m slowly making my way forward on my own path…

So what goals are going on my ‘laundry’ list of goals for May? They include:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least four fiction
  3. Completing at least one more 30-day challenge
  4. Start following my intentional movement (aka exercise) plan
  5. Finish the outline/mind-map and possibly launch the YouTube channel
  6. Blurbs on the science, health, medical papers
  7. Working through at least three e-courses
  8. 30 minutes 4x/week on Mondly
  9. Post to each blog at least twice
  10. Mind-maps & outlines:
    • The two topics from last month (metabolism & foods that aren’t good for pets & why)
    • “Interviews” with different dinosaurs & extinct animals
    • What makes us “toxic/poisonous” (“interviews” with different creatures that either produce their own toxins/posions or house microbes that produce them)
    • Interviews with citizens of ancient civilizations (Copan, Mesa Verde, Stonehenge, plus others)
    • Ancient Civilizations (Mesopotamia & Ancient Egypt)
  11. Writing/working on projects for at least 30-minutes a day (minimum two different projects a day)
  12. Work on the large needlepoint project and maybe (start and/or finish) a small needlepoint proejct
  13. Create a rough draft of a coloring book from some of my black & white doodles.

There are ‘more’ goals listed for May…but several are just setting up for the research step of the project (such as goal number ten—the mind-maps & outlines). Others may be ‘competed’ quickly (such as say just reading four fiction books—but I know I’ll be reading more than just four). 

Having thirteen goals listed for May means I’ll also be working on my time and project management skills. Especially when it comes to ensuring that I’m doing my daily intentional movement, making time to be on Mondly learning a foreign language, working through an e-course, mind-mapping & creating outlines, research, writing/editing & publishing content. The overall goal for May is to complete at least fifty percent of a third of the goals; complete seventy-five percent of a third, and hundred precent of the other third. Yes, I know that with thirteen goals—it’s not an ‘even’ third.

How do you go about goal setting? Yearly? Quarterly? Monthly? What style of goal-setting do you use? SMART goals? OKR (Objective, Key Results)? WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan)? GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Will)?

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Procrastination…derails majority of December’s progress

My apologies for ‘disappearing’ last month…my other laptop more or less died on me…and I was sulking and scared to see if I could pull anything off the backup hard drive. Needless to say–I’m going to strive to be better (or more consistent) in posting here, and on other sites as well.

So we’re officially in 2023…today is New Year’s Day–and I’m aiming to see the silver lining daily.

That means we have a new ‘blank slate’ for writing our life story…we have 365-days to progress towards our goals or potentially wallow in our comfort zone…personally I’m aiming towards making significant progress towards my goals this year.

The last third of 2022 was not an easy time…and it’s going to be bleeding over into the start of 2023…

The ongoing family medical issue is still ongoing…and currently we’re having to look into long-term skilled nursing facilities…with the small hope that she’ll recover enough there to be able to come home at some point this year.

While I’m happy that 2022 is over…it could have left on a slightly nicer note—we had to deal with a flat tire on our way home yesterday from visiting family in the hospital. Yet another little expense we weren’t expecting for early January. 

I’m working at looking for silver linings daily…cause life still has me feeling massively burnt out—and I know that it’s also part psychological…

I’m hoping that by the end of the year—I have a better grasp on my mental health…though I won’t be surprised if at some point I do get diagnosed with moderate cases of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘November in Review’ on December 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 100.6 million cases and now as of January 1st —we have reached just a little over 102.5 million cases (an increase of not quite 2 million cases). So, numbers are going up slightly…but that probably is due to the holidays and everyone traveling.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I’m boosted, but still wearing a mask if going into stores—because I haven’t gotten my flu shot yet…

Still trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—therefore, I’m still trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for January, it’s time to look back at the goals I set for December and see how I did with each of them. The goals for December included:

  1. 120-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge
  6. Meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Get the second blog up and going
  9. Work through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing
  11. Setting up goals/ ‘master’ plan for 2023-2028

So how did I do with each of them?

120-155K steps:

I barely managed to hit the minimum goal–but I did and slightly surpassed it at 121,549 total steps for December.

Partial walk at Boomer Lake and five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement each day:

No walks at Boomer last month, and while I in theory had five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement I still haven’t gotten around to writing down what those intentional movements were (just going by the ‘active’ minutes on the fitness watch).

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

Nope…partially read several non-fiction books, but haven’t finished any of them yet.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

Managed to read four and they were:

  1. Billionaire Unclaimed: Chase (The Billionaire’s Obsession #18) by J.S. Scott
  2. State of Shock (First Family #4) by Marie Force
  3. Only Mine (Honey Mountain #5) by Laura Pavlov
  4. Tor’s Solstice Surprise (Dragon Knights novella) by Bianca D’Arc

Still need to write min book reviews for these plus The Path to You (Wilder Brothers #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan

Commit to the no spend challenge:

Only managed to do barely half the month in terms of no-spend days. Due to the ongoing family medical issue—I’ve fallen back into the bad habit of spending money on things that (at times) I don’t really need.

Meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings

I’ve more or less managed to meditate and/or sit quietly each night…managed daily gratitude journal entries, and did daily oracle card drawings (might not have written them down though).

Craft time:

Finished the second abstract needlepoint project:

Second abstract needlepoint project finished off with buttons.

Slowly starting a third needlepoint project as well.

Get the second blog up and running

Nope…once again–one of the bigger goals for January

Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

Nope…didn’t work through any modules of any course this past month

Writing, writing, and writing:

Did do some writing…though once the other computer started to act up–the writing and research kinda fell by the wayside…so I need to get back into the habit yet again.

Setting up goals/’master’ plan for 2023-2028

I’m slowly setting up the goals for 2023 (BINGO card style) and am working on the ‘master’ plan for the year and beyond. I know that my new normal is probably going to consist of a family member being in an assisted living facility now (though hopefully within a few months if they make enough progress they may be able to come home)…which means I can focus more on moving my life forward instead of being in a slight limbo of not knowing what is going on.

So, a little progress was made during December…and I feel like I’m already ten miles behind on what I need to be doing for 2023. At least I have the master tracking sheets for January set up (managed to finish those this morning)…and I have a couple of ideas of how to continue to make progress on time/project management as I head into 2023.

Goals are going to be in the BINGO card format—I’m also going to be copying those BINGO cards into my weekly/daily journal planner—so that I can actually reference back to them more than just once a month (or year).

In addition, I’ve removed the Facebook app from the phone (as one way of helping to save money—since that is one of paths of my book buying splurges), and will be deleting the Farmville 2 app from the kindle again (started playing that again mid-month and spent a little too much money on it)…or just play it slowly.

In addition I’m going to attempt to re-download and make use of the self-control app (blocking myself from Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and various other sites during the day)—hopefully it will work on the newer computer (for some reason it stopped working on the older one several months ago).

So, what does that mean for January and 2023 in general??

Well, hopefully I’ll be cutting down on the amount of debt I have (aiming to go at least 27 or 28 days of each month without spending any money)…goal is to have the debt down somewhere between a quarter and three-fourths by Dec 31st.

It also means that I’ve gotten serious about research/writing/content creation and am posting/publishing on multiple sites on a fairly consistent basis.

So what are the goals going to be for January?? Well, the major goals are going to be:

  1. 120-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five-to-ten minutes of intentional movmemnet each day (starting to also keep track of what that intentional movement is)
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Write at least three mini book reviews
  6. Commit to the no-spend days/no-spend weeks/limited spending challenge (aim for at least 25 days; goal being 28-29)
  7. Meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  8. Craft time
  9. Get the second blog up and running
  10. Work through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  11. Writing, writing, and writing
  12. Finishing the ‘master’ plan for 2023-2028

These goals are probably going to be staying the same throughout the year…the step goal will change monthly (going up and down)…and once I have my ‘master’ plan for the next few years drafted—the final goal will change or possibly disappear.

I know where my ‘distractions’ are…and all I need to do now is develop a plan/schedule for working around them (since a big part of my ‘distractions’ are reading and/or playing various games on the kindle).

2023 is going to be the year of success, progress, and change…every little step forward is a step towards those dreams.

Therefore I will also be leaning more into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

They’ll be giving me ample practice at time and project management–and these also go hand in hand with consistency and productivity.

In addition the words I’m choosing for 2023 will also include: Change, Strength, Health, Self-care, and purpose.

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November in Review: planning and looking ahead to 2023 & beyond

So, we’re in December…that means there are only 31 days, roughly four and half weeks, or 744 hours left in 2022. That means, I now really need to get serious about planning out things for 2023…because it will be here before we know it (or are possibly willing to accept it).

I’m still feeling massively tired and burnt out on life, and while I would love for the year (and decade) to be over—I’m also not ready for the good-byes that will go along with them.

I’d hoped that November would be a little mellower than the past three months—and it was, and at the same time it wasn’t; if possible it was an even tie for September in terms of being a mess.

Still dealing with the ongoing family medical issue—and the outcome is still up in the air. Then there is the fun of elderly animals…probably having to put one cat and dog down within the next few months (cat due to health issues, that I currently can’t afford to treat; and the dog due to old age and pain).

The only cool thing I can say about the news is Mauna Loa erupting this week. It’s been well over a decade since I’ve been to the big island of Hawai’i—and when I went, I only visited Kilauea (since it was within the main part of the Volcano National Park).

While I wouldn’t want to be living on a island with an active volcano—I think it’d be cool to see it erupt (from a safe distance)—cause while I did see Kilauea erupt—it wasn’t as cool looking as pictures have been lately for Mauna Loa or even when Kilauea erupted a few years ago.

Still staying off the news for the most part—mainly because of my current mental health state. Though if everyone would just grab a snickers bar and take like a three-month timeout, I think that would help things settle down.

By this time next year, I won’t be surprised if I’m diagnosed with moderate cases of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Elections were earlier this month, and hopefully Democrats can hold their slim majority in the senate, and knock heads together in the house to get things done. Sorry if that seems ‘violent’—I’m tired of seeing mass shootings in the news, and basic human rights being attacked basically every damn day.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘October in Review’ on November 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 99.3 million cases and now as of December 1st —we have reached just a little over 100.6 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.3 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I finally got around to getting my booster shot this past month—and other than a sore arm (for about four days), I didn’t have any other side effect of getting the booster. Flu shot is on semi-hold, only because it looks like I potentially have to schedule a doctor’s appointment to get it—and I don’t want to do that right now.

Still trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—therefore, I’m still trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for December, its time to look back at the goals I set for November and see how I did with each of them. The goals for November included:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finishing at least one of the many non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 22 days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily oracle card drawings, daily gratitude journal entries
  7. Craft time
  8. Work through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  9. Getting the second blog up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each of them?

120-150K steps:

I fell short of my minimum step goal of 120,000 steps. I managed to get 116,503 steps this past month. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts throughout the years—I’m an extremely fair weather person, so in order to be outside doing some type of workout I need it to be ‘just right’. We’re heading into winter, though with climate change, the temperatures have been doing a yoyo the past few weeks.

At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five-to-ten minutes of intentional movement each day:

There was no walk at Boomer Lake during November. The reason—having to play ‘phone tag’ with medical staff in regards to the on-going family medical issue. I probably could have done a brief walk up there—but I did other chores instead.

I know I’ve probably moved around at least five minutes a day—but I have yet to write down what the intentional movements have been. (Need to get better at this)

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

I finally managed to finish reading INNERCISE: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power by John Assaraf. I just need to go back and do some of the exercises within the book (especially those that revolve around setting goals, and putting together routines).

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

There were six new fiction books read during November, and six re-reads:

The new books:

  1. Someone to Hold (Wild Widows #2) by Marie Force
  2. Always Mine (Honey Mountain #1) by Laura Pavlov
  3. Ever Mine (Honey Mountain #2) by Laura Pavlov
  4. Make You Mine (Honey Mountain #3) by Laura Pavlov
  5. Simply Mine (Honey Mountain #4) by Laura Pavlov
  6. The Path to You (Wilder Brothers #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan

The re-reads included:

  1. Alpha Turned by K.B. Alan
  2. Protect & Defend by Francesca Hawley
  3. Hot & Badgered (Honey Badger Chronicles #1) by Shelly Laurenston
  4. In a Badgered Way (Honey Badger Chronicles #2) by Shelly Laurenston
  5. Badger to the Bone (Honey Badger Chronicles #3) by Shelly Laurenston
  6. Breaking Badger (Honey Badger Chronicles #4) by Shelly Laurenston

No spend challenges:

Well, I did okay with the no spend challenge—managed 17 days (so a little over half the month)…spending money unfortunately is my coping mechanism for stressful situations (and the past several months has been a roller coaster of stress)…but I’m going to work on improving this both in December and then in 2023.

Meditation/sitting quietly, oracle cards, gratitude (aka mental/spiritual health):

Time outdoors is again becoming limited to basically evenings (and when I need to fill bird feeders) due to it being winter.

Meditation and sitting quietly at night (or actually anytime during the day) is something I’ve been fairly good at doing.

I’ve also been on top of doing daily oracle card drawings (I think there may have been one day I didn’t—but I’d done a double the day before), and doing daily gratitude journal entries.

Craft time:

I finished the one abstract science cross-stitch project, and had decided to use buttons to tie off the fabric in the back.

Latest abstract cross-stitch project

I’m currently working on a second abstract cross-stitch project and should be done with that one hopefully before the end of the year.

Working through part of a personal/professional e-course:

I’ve started watching the e-course: Master Business Writing & Editing on Udemy. I’ve watched the first three videos (so about 15 minutes of the three hour course). It looks to be a good course—so, aiming to finish this plus the 15 errors in scientific writing & how to fix them (an two hour course) during December.

Getting the second blog/website up and running:

One of the bigger goals for December

Writing, writing, and writing:

While I’ve gotten quite a bit of writing done during November (kept up with the three ‘series’ that I do on LinkedIn each week; plus the various posts on the creative blog), there is room for improvement.

I know that I need to get the second blog up and running—plus I need to decide on the various social media platforms for each blog, and get a tentative content calendar planned and actually stick with it…goal for December and 2023.

So, other than not getting any work done on the new blog/website—I managed a little on all other goals (while totally meeting at least the reading goals). As I’d mentioned in my #thoughtfulthursday post on LinkedIn today—I’ve been allowing myself to fall into the pits of ‘fear of failure’ and ‘fear of opinions of others’ this year—which has sidetracked, and sidelined my progress on numerous fronts.

Taking today out of the equation—there are thirty days left in the month. I know that I probably won’t be super productive this month (holidays and the on-going family medical drama), but I need to start setting things up so that I can hit the ground running in the New Year.

That means measuring things in the bedroom and rearranging furniture—to hopefully create an ‘office’ space that I actually feel comfortable working in, in addition to creating a portable working space in the living/dining room area (elderly dog likes to be in the same room—and has trouble navigating areas that lack area rugs).

It means getting in the different bullet journals and getting the tracking sheets set up for at least the first several months (besides the ones I did for 2022, introduce some new ones for 2023).

It will mean actually taking the time each day (morning and night) to plan and then reflect on how I did each day. It will also mean creating content calendars and trying to stick with them.

I’ll be spending some time during the next month or so deciding on what other social media channels I want to be active on for each blog…some might overlap (Instagram, Medium, and possibly having a Facebook page for each of them), but others will be specific for one or the other.

Therefore, I’ll still be working on improving my time and project management skills as well throughout the month of December.

The goals then for December will include:

  1. 120-155K steps
  2. Partial walk at Boomer Lake, and intentional movements daily
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Commit to the no-spend challenges
  5. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  6. Mental/spiritual health (meditation, daily oracle card drawings, daily gratitude journal entries)
  7. Craft time
  8. Get the second blog up and running
  9. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing
  11. Set up the ‘master’ goal list for 2023; and start the ‘master’ blueprint plan for 2023-2028

The December goals are basically the same as what I’ve set for September, October, and November—with the addition of setting up the ‘master’ goals or plan for 2023 to 2028. What I need to do in terms of that ‘goal’ is start with the five year goals, and work my way backwards. That way hopefully each year I’ll be working towards those ‘larger’ and loftier goals.

As I mentioned the only goal that I didn’t really touch was getting the second blog/website up and running. I have an idea of what I want to write for my about me page (helps that I got my functional resume finished), and hopefully will have at least one blog post in addition to various pages ‘live’ by New Years Eve.

All I can try to do is devise a schedule/plan that will hopefully be able to bear the brunt of whatever happens during 2023…that will be a large focus this coming month.

Becoming more consistent will really let me lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

Time/project management goes hand in hand with consistency and productivity. I’m going to be making more use of airtable (for content/project management—it’s a calendar and spreadsheet in one space), an old fashion timer, and pen/paper to manage my time and projects.

Curious to know what is your favorite time, project, or productivity tracker/manager?

Namaste….

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Time & project management improving–time to focus on the second blog

So, we’re in November…that means there are only two months, 61 days, roughly nine weeks, or 1,464 hours left in 2022. It’s the final sixth of 2022, and I’m trying to figure out what and how much stuff I can get accomplished before both the end of November and the end of 2022.

As I mentioned last month—I’m tired, burnt out (more on life overall than career), and really ready for this year, and the decade to basically be over.

October was even a bigger mess than September—which is saying something. So how was it a bigger mess than September?

Well—the ongoing family medical issue that I mentioned having started in my August in Review (and touched upon in my September in Review)—it’s still ongoing, and there was a point where it wasn’t looking very good. Currently we’re back to the fifty-fifty chance of it going either way.

I’m also trying to stay off the news (I know that this is showing my privilege—but with my current mental health state—I need to stay off of it). But I will just say—Russia should be kicked off the UN Security Council and kicked out of the UN in general.

By the time the family medical issue is resolved, I won’t be surprised if in addition to the moderate cases of depression and anxiety, I don’t also have a moderate case of PTSD as well.

Elections are coming up next week for the US—and this is where I’m going to share my two-cents.

Basic human rights are on the ballot this year. Women’s rights (voting and health care), sensible gun laws, the environment, education—all of it are on the line. For whatever reason there is a major dichotomy between the two major political parties within the US—and I don’t mind debating how each view finances, the budget, and those topics—but I won’t debate my stance on women’s rights, education, gun control, the environment, or issues I consider to be general ‘moral’/’common sense’ issues.

Therefore, if we elect more common sense and/or liberal individuals to Congress—we can end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

And I’ll end my political/social/economical ‘rant’ here, before it takes over the post.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘September in Review’ on October 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 98.2 million cases and now as of November 1st —we have reached just a little over 99.3 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.1 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I thought I’d manage to get my booster shot in October—but with the way the beginning of the month went…this task fell by the wayside. Hopefully I can get around to scheduling it for sometime in November (and possibly the flu shot—if its free as well).

While trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—I’m still trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths). Though sometimes it doesn’t help having the background/understanding of medical issues…ignorance is bliss at times.

So before setting goals for November, its time to look back at the goals I set for October and see how I did with each of them. The goals for October included:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Getting the second blog/website up and running
  9. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each goal?

125-155K steps:

I managed to get 134,240 steps in during the month of October—basically right in the middle between hitting a little over 4K steps a day and the ‘goal’ of 5K steps a day. I managed two walks at Boomer—a partial and a full, plus took Chaos through the neighborhood once. Hopefully I will be able to get Chaos out on more walks in November, plus have an late morning/early afternoon walk at Boomer Lake at least once or twice in November.

At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:

I managed to get in one partial walk and one full walk at Boomer Lake, plus a walk through the neighborhood with Chaos. I probably managed about five minutes or so each day of ‘intentional’ movement (which for me means helping our elderly, arthritic dog in and out of the house).

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

I’m still reading Trilobite: Eyewitness to evolution; and I’m about thirty percent of the way through the book. I’m almost finished with INNERCISE; and I’m about eighty percent of the way done with that book–so I should possibly finish it sometime in November.

I’ve realized that I have cycles when it comes to reading non-fiction books—I can read several in a month (or over a period of say two months), then I go for a month (or longer) where I only end up reading a little bit of different non-fiction books (as none really grab my full attention).

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

I’m pretty certain that I read more than four books during October (but didn’t track how many were re-reads). But teh four fiction books that I know I read during October were:

  1. Give Me Love (Rose Canyon #2) by Corinne Michaels
  2. Bittersweet Promises (Montgomery Legacy #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review was posted last week)
  3. Fractured Sky (Tattered & Torn #5) by Catherine Cowles
  4. My Favorite Mistake (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Buroga

In addition, I also finally got around to writing and posting the book review for Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan.

Commit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge

My goal for October was a minimum of 22 days but aiming for 29.

Well, I managed seventeen days (just a little over half the month) without buying any extra e-books, or other stuff. But since how bad the beginning of the month was (in terms of the family medical issue)–managing seventeen days isn’t too shabby.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

There was time outdoors—possibly not as much as I would have liked—but we’re heading into the cooler months, and unless the sun is directly overhead, it can get chilly sitting outside (even in a sweatshirt).

I’ve been making use of the soothing pod mediation app at night—and managing to sit and focus on the mediation for at least five minutes (some of the meditations are upwards of ten to fifteen minutes).

I’ve been on track doing my daily gratitude journal entries, and doing daily oracle card drawings. For October I was using the Oracle of the Shapeshifters deck:

Thursdays–I share the oracle spread on LinkedIn as part of my Thoughtful Thursday series

Craft time:

In addition to creating graphics and other multimedia items on Canva—I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time working on a new cross-stitch project (that I’ll hopefully have completed sometime during the month of November).

My current cross-stitch project: An abstract ‘microbiology’ petri dish showing different bacterial, fungal, and viral growth.

Getting the second blog up and running:

Still working on this….

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I watched three short courses on Skillshare during October, and they were:

3x your productivity with this weekly planning guide

I liked the course–though I didn’t print off the planning guide. Basically you’re given ten tips on how to improve your week (and those tips could also be applied to one’s monthly or even yearly calendars).

The tips that the instructor gave were:

  1. Visualize your goals
  2. Schedule self-care
  3. Celebrate and appreciate small and big wins
  4. Just say No (to things you don’t want to be doing)
  5. Major lessons and inspirations (from the previous week/month)
  6. Failure is feedback
  7. Who can I help? Who would I benefit from?
  8. Feed your soul
  9. Focus (top three priorities for the week)
  10. Daily goals and review (break the three top priorities down into actionable steps for each day)

Needless to say—I’m still working on incorporating some of these tips into my schedule/life.

Content Calendar Made Easy: Save Time and Develop a Personal Brand

This was a decent course—it talked about taking your top traits (but traits in terms of what works best for content development) and mixing them with different types of content prompts (such as FAQs, behind the scene, future plans, and so forth).

I know my strengths/values—but am still working on how to meld those into my brand, but also realize I should be thinking of traits as well (would be having to brainstorm with others on this one).

Blogging Rituals and Routines: 10 secrets for increasing blogging productivity

This was a good course, and similar to the other productivity course gave ten different tips on how to improve one’s productivity.

The ten tips this instructor gave were:

  1. Clean up your office/desk space
  2. Organize drawers and files
  3. Clean up your computer files
  4. Remove things that don’t belong in the office (ties in with #1)
  5. Write at the same time everyday
  6. Have a daily, weekly, or monthly word count goal
  7. Have a daily time goal for writing (say fifteen minutes each day)
  8. Go on a ‘blogging retreat’
  9. Go on a weekly solo artist date
  10. Put on your ‘writing’ clothes each day

In addition, there were the suggestions of going for a morning walk, and changing your scenery (going somewhere other than your home ‘office’) to help improve your productivity.

There are several things that I need to do to help improve my productivity—and the big one is to create a couple of functional (but fun) work spaces in the house. One in my bedroom (which will be the biggest challenge), and then another in either the living room or dining room (since I split the time I spend working in different areas of the house).

Writing, writing, and writing:

I managed to get quite a bit of writing done overall during the month of October. I think I managed to do all three of my weekly post series on LinkedIn (Science Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursday, and the Oncology Friday), plus several posts for the creative/reflective blog.

I still need to work on drafting more blog posts (especially for the medical/science/health blog) in addition to starting to build out a portfolio of different communication style projects (mini-reviews; clinical trial summaries, slide decks, posters, and infographics).

What other lessons did I learn in October?

Trust your gut. I almost landed a freelance client for a writing project—but the payment method that they wanted to use was extremely phishy—so I politely declined (after having drafted an contract), and two days later—they’d blocked me on LinkedIn and the conversation thread disappeared as well (I wonder if I try to send another email if it would go through???).

Slowly dip your toe outside your comfort zone—but be completely honest and transparent with the other party.

A recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn about a potential remote writing position focusing on oncology—great, I’m dipping my toes into the field, but was honest that I didn’t have the post-doc or publication experience that their client wanted. The recruiter thanked me, and basically then terminated the conversation (in all it was less than a five minute phone call).

In addition last week, I reached out to someone who was looking for a freelance science/medical writer—and while they aren’t sure if they’re going to be taking on that particular project—they gave me the idea/suggestion of possibly doing consulting work for training/on-boarding science/medical writers.

So, while I may not have made progress with all the goals (still need to carve out time to focus on the other blog/website)—overall progress was made during the month of October. There should always be room for improvement (if nothing else—extending the ‘goal’ line [in terms of steps for fitness, or words/time for writing).

So looking further into November, what are my goals going to be? Well, they’re going to include:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. Hopefully at least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finish at least one of the many non-fiction books I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no-spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month challenge (aiming for at leat 22 days; goal is 27)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily oracle card drawings, and daily gratitude journal entries
  7. Craft time (finish the one cross-stitch project, start a new one, and/or possibly create some jewelry)
  8. Working through at least part of one personal/professional development e-course
  9. Getting the second blog/website up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So the goals for November are basically identical to the goals for October; and technically are identical to the goals for September.

The only goal in October that I really ‘fell’ down on was getting the second blog/website up and running. It is technically ‘live’—I just need to write the copy for the various pages, get the blog up and going, and start developing the portfolio.

In terms of how I’m hoping November will go—I’m going to be pessimistically optimistic, and just try to take things a day/week at a time. This means that I might have to scrap the weekly to-do list if something goes south—or I might get more accomplished, because I’ll be hyper-focused on something other than the family medical issue.

I’m still going to be aiming to become more consistent—especially in terms of posting to the different blogs (I have a editorial/content calendar created [more or less] for LinkedIn, and semi-created for this blog—just need to work on one for the other blog).

Becoming more consistent will really let me lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

Time/project management goes hand in hand with consistency and productivity. I’m going to be making more use of airtable (for content/project management—it’s a calendar and spreadsheet in one space), an old fashion timer, and pen/paper to manage my time and projects.

Curious to know what is your favorite time, project, or productivity tracker/manager?

Namaste….

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On to the final quarter of the year: September in Review

So, we’re in October…that means there are only three months, 92 days, roughly 13 weeks, or 2,208 hours left in 2022. It’s the final quarter of 2022, and I’m trying to figure out what and how much stuff I can get accomplished before both the end of October and the end of 2022.

Truthfully, I’m tired, burnt out, and just ready for 2022, the decade, and the century to be over.

September was a mess—while there was my birthday, it was a nice low-key day—but the rest of the month was a mess. How as September a mess?

Well—the ongoing family medical issue that I mentioned briefly in my August in Review—it’s still ongoing, and we’re not sure how it’s going to resolve (there is a fifty-fifty chance of it going either way right now).

There’s numerous things going on in the world—ranging from Russia’s still illegal invasion of Ukraine (by the way—I think Russia should be kicked off the UN Security Council…just sayin’), to the death of Elizabeth II, to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

By the time the family medical issue is resolved, I won’t be surprised if in addition to the moderate cases of depression and anxiety, I don’t also have a moderate case of PTSD as well.

I will mention again, that it is time to end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘August in Review’ on September 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 96.3 million cases and now as of October 1st —we have reached just a little over 98.2 million cases (an increase of not quite 2 million cases). So, numbers are staying ‘steady’—though I’d like to see the number actually start going down again. But there are the various omicron subs-strains running amok.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

Once I call a local pharmacy to schedule an appointment, I’ll be getting my booster shot sometime during October (and possibly the flu shot as well).

While trying to keep the mental health on an even keel—I’m trying to lean more into my strengths and values: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths). Though sometimes it doesn’t help having the background/understanding of medical issues…ignorance is bliss at times.

So before setting goals for October (and possibly the fourth quarter), its time to look back at the goals I set for September and see how I did with each of them. The goals for September included:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. Hopefully one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement each day
  3. Finishing one of the many non-fiction books I’ve started
  4. Read at least two to four fiction books
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card darawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Getting the second website up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each of them?

120-150K steps:

I managed 126,581 steps during the month of September. In part due to a partial walk up at Boomer Lake on Labor Day, and the weekly walks to the corner convenience store for the newspaper on the weekend.

One partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement:

I managed a partial walk up at Boomer Lake on Labor Day. Since it’s been a while since I’ve walked all the way around the lake, I’m slowly getting back into the routine. I’ll probably aim for at least one partial walk at Boomer Lake each month (especially as the weather get colder), and hopefully by the spring—be walking all the way around the lake again.

In terms of the intentional movement—the step tracker states that I’ve been moving at least five to ten minutes a day—but I haven’t been writing down what I’ve been doing each day (need to improve on that).

Finishing at least one of the non-fiction books I’ve started:

Nope, didn’t finish reading any of the non-fiction books that I’ve started.

Read at least two to four fiction books:

I managed to read seven ‘new’ fiction books during September (and probably a good dozen or so re-reads). The new fiction books were:

  1. Home Base by Abbie Zanders
  2. Legacy (Montgomery Brothers #1) by Laura Pavlov
  3. Peacekeeper (Montgomery Brothers #2) by Laura Pavlov
  4. Rebel (Montgomery Brothers #3) by Laura Pavlov
  5. State of the Union (First Family #3) by Marie Force
  6. Collide with Me (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #7) by Claudia Buroga
  7. Shattered Sea (The Tattered and Torn Series #4) by Catherine Cowles

Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge:

I managed 22 days of not spending any money during the month of September—which considering how bad of a month it was—is a victory in itself. The goal for October will be a minimum of 22 days and a goal of 29.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

I’ve managed to get better at evening meditations—mainly through the use of the soothing pod app on my iPhone. I’ve also managed my daily oracle card drawings and daily gratitude journal entries.

The time outdoors has either been brief (when I take the dogs out), sporadic (sitting outside on and off throughout the day), or semi-long (spending the afternoon outdoors or walks).

Craft time:

Well most of my craft time was spent on Canva creating various images for different LinkedIn posts throughout the month, in addition to using PowerPoint for image creation as well. I spent a little time using doing some photography as well.

Crafts, such as jewelry design/creation, cross-stitching, coloring, or doodling didn’t really happen—goal is to do more of those crafts throughout the fourth quarter.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

Nope…this didn’t happen.

Getting the second blog/website up and running:

Nope…this didn’t get accomplished either.

Writing, writing, and writing:

This is one where I did do a fair amount of writing—I managed to keep two weekly series going on LinkedIn, and even started a third one. In addition, I managed usually some type of ‘original’ content another two to three days on the site. While I didn’t get much writing done for the various blogs (though I did get at least five posts on this blog done last month)—I did manage to write somewhat consistently all month.

August, September, and now October (and probably November and December) were/are also focused on trying to find my new normal.

With a family member in the hospital (now going on nine weeks), we’re hopefully that they’ll be released hopefully by Christmas—yes I’m well aware of how far off that date is currently.

That means—I need to have a schedule in place that will allow me to get my work done (writing, reading/research, crafts/hobbies, and so forth), while also being able to help with the potential home care for said family member.

I’m still working on figuring out that schedule. Every time I think I have it partially figured out—the inner critic/imposter syndrome loves to pull me back into my comfort zone—or throw out an idea/thought that has my anxiety spiking.

Looking back at what I wrote at the end of August—I claimed that I was going to aim for consistency in reading, research (on various topics), and writing.

Well, I managed to be consistent in reading fiction books (seven new books, and probably a good dozen or so re-reads), and was somewhat consistent in the research and writing.

Moving forward into October, the goals are going to be:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two to four fiction
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 22 days, goal is 29)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Getting the second blog up and running
  9. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  10. Writing, writing, and writing

So the goals for October are basically identical to the goals for September—with the exception of the steps (October is a little higher—at both ends).

As I stated in my review of August (and it definitely applies for September):

 “Also, since I ‘fell’ down on a few of the goals last month, by repeating them—I’m giving myself grace for not being ‘perfect’ and another shot on hitting the goal this coming month.”

I have my fingers crossed that October won’t be any worse than September (and I’ll have a ‘rough’ idea on that come the end of the first full week of October)—but if it is by some chance worse—I’ll just have to give myself grace and remind myself: Progress over Perfection, and sometimes ‘okay, and published’ is better than ‘perfect and forgotten’.

I’m still going to aim for consistency—consistency in reading, research (on various topics), and writing.

Aiming for consistency allows me to lean into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

I mentioned last month that I was going to try to ‘unplug’ from the computer at night to read or work on a craft project—and I think I only managed it a few times throughout the month—so another ‘mini-goal’ to work towards (no computer after 8pm at least four days a week).

With fall here—what is one of your fall goals?

Namaste…

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Two-thirds of the way through 2022: August in Review

So, we’re in September…that means there are only four months, 122 days, roughly 17.5 weeks, or 2,928 hours left in 2022. I’m now nineteen days from my next birthday…I thought I’d have gotten more done during August—but it was a total mess of a month.

I’d like to ask again–whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

How was August a mess? Well, we’re currently dealing with an ongoing family medical issue—that may or may not be resolved by Halloween—so yeah, it’s been a hellish month.

I could on and on about being pissed about Roe v Wade being overturned…but I’m trying to stay on a somewhat upbeat outlook of life (due to the ongoing family medical issue)…

While the anxiety has been acting up—I’ve been getting better at meditating at night (soothing pod meditations help), and am working on catching the imposter syndrome/inner critic as it pops its head out to yell…

I will mention again, that it is time to end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘July in Review’ on August 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 93.1 million cases and now as of September 1st —we have reached just a little over 96.3 million cases (an increase of a little over 3.2 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I need to get my booster shot soon, but am waiting for the next Pfizer one to be released (since it is suppose to also protect against the omicron variants).

As I alluded to the past few months, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for September (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for August and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for August included:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (and have at least one mini-book review written)
  5. Commit to the no-spend days/no-spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for 20 days; goal is 30 days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one personal/professional development e-course module
  9. Writing, writing, and writing

So how did I do with each of them?

125-155K steps:

I managed 132,940 steps during August. Between the weather and the ongoing family medical issue—I didn’t get any long walks in at Boomer Lake, just several walks up to the corner store on the weekend looking for the paper.

One partial walk at Boomer Lake, and five-to-ten minutes of intentional movment:

There weren’t any walks at Boomer Lake this month (refer back to family medical issue), and I would have to say that I probably managed five minutes of intentional movement each day.

Finish at least one non-fiction book:

Nope…I’ve started reading quite a few non-fiction books, but haven’t finished any of them.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books:

I did manage to read quite a few fiction books (though I have yet to write any mini book reviews). The books I managed to read include:

  1. Always the One for Me (Wilder Brothers #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  2. Help Me Remember (Rose Canyon #1) by Corinne Michaels
  3. My Grumpy Billionaire by Nadie Lee
  4. Frayed (Willow Springs #1) by Laura Pavlov
  5. Tangled (Willow Springs #2) by Laura Pavlov
  6. Charmed (Willow Springs #3) by Laura Pavlov
  7. Sealed (Willow Springs #4) by Laura Pavlov
  8. Claimed (Willow Springs #5) by Laura Pavlov
  9. Off Limits (Rixon High #1) by L.A. Cotton
  10. Tragic Lies (Rixon High #2) by L.A. Cotton
  11. Ruined Hopes (Rixon High #3) by L.A. Cotton
  12. Broken Ties (Rixon High #4) by L.A. Cotton
  13. Missed Notes (Rixon High #5) by L.A. Cotton

Plus I think I reread The Callaghan Brothers series by Abby Zanders and the Winters Saga by Ivy Layne as well.

Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge:

I did okay with the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge. I managed 22 days of not spending money…eight days shy of my goal of thirty days no spend. I’m hoping to do a minimum of twenty-four days no spend during September.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

I’ve gotten better at evening meditations (the soothing pod meditation app helps), writing at least one thing I’m grateful for each night in my journal, and doing a daily oracle card drawing.

Time outdoors has been sporadic—mainly in the evenings, though there were a couple of days that I did manage to sit outside during afternoon/evening hours.

Craft time:

Well, it depends on what one would classify as ‘crafts’…I did spend some time trying to design new graphics on Canva, did a little iPhone photography, and possibly colored one or two color-by-number pictures on the kindle.

I do need to try to do other crafts (such as design some jewelry or work on a cross-stitch project) over the next few months.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I don’t think I got much personal/professional development done. I am in a boot camp course for career confidence (but have only been able to catch one class ‘live’ and am behind on the homework).

Writing, writing, and writing:

Well, there was some writing done this past month…I think I managed the science Tuesday posts on LinkedIn and only missed one thoughtful Thursday post. But—I know that I can (and will need to) do better in terms of writing daily.

So I would say that I managed to hit probably half the goals for August…the month had its problems—and while I didn’t ‘hide’ from them…I also fell into some bad coping habits (buying ebooks for example)…

I have no idea of September is going to be any easier than August…but I know that I need to stay focused on the goals of finding either a flexible remote position or really trying to start up a freelance business…

Therefore the goals for September will include a mixture of personal/professional development (as they all usually are) areas:

  1. 120-150K steps
  2. Hopefully one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five-to-ten minutes fo intentional movement each day
  3. Finish at least one of the many non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (plus write at least one mini book review)
  5. Commit to the no-spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 24 days; goal is 29)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (aim to create at least one necklace, one bracelet, and one pair of ear rings)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (taking notes)
  9. Getting the second blog/website up and running
  10. Writing, writing, and more writing

Goals are basically the same as last month (with the addition of getting the second blog site up and running)—but that is how you build consistent habits—repetition. Also, since I ‘fell’ down on a few of the goals last month, by repeating them—I’m giving myself grace for not being ‘perfect’ and another shot on hitting the goal this coming month.

I can already tell that September isn’t going to be any easier than August (and potentially could be worse)…but instead of falling under the ‘influence’ of my inner critic/imposter syndrome (which would result in very few things getting done)…I’m going to aim for consistency—consistency in reading, research (on various topics), and writing.

By aiming for consistency—I’m leaning into my strengths and values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/growth, and intellection.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

I mentioned last month that I was going to try to ‘unplug’ from the computer at night to read or work on a craft project—and I think I only managed it a few times throughout the month—so another ‘mini-goal’ to work towards (no computer after 8pm at least four days a week).

With fall around the corner—what is one of your fall goals?

Namaste….

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July in Review: Reading, meditation, & spirituality goals on track

So, we’re in August—which means we’re now over halfway through 2022. When we think about how much ‘time’ is left in the year, we can look at it as: five months; or 153 days; roughly 21.9 weeks; or 3,672 hours.

I’d like to ask again–whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

While the year isn’t totally mellowing, I think things are ‘slowing down’…though to be truthful, I’ve been staying away from the news for the most part this past month.

I’m still pissed about the supreme court overturning Roe v Wade towards the end of June…stating that the states should be allowed to dictate a women’s health…FYI: there is the separation of church and state (not to mention freedom of religion) within the Constitution for a damn reason.

While the anxiety has been acting up—I’ve been getting better at meditating at night (soothing pod meditations help), and am working on catching the imposter syndrome/inner critic as it pops its head out to yell…

I will mention again, that it is time to end the filibuster, expand the Supreme Court, enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress, and finally codify women’s health care and gun control into law.

It also seems that the US ha fallen into yet another recession—which is going to make finding a job a little more difficult (but I need to find something so that I can start really paying down the damn credit cards that I’ve overused the past eight months).

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘June in Review’ on July 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 89.3 million cases and now as of August 1st —we have reached just a little under 93.1 million cases (an increase of a about 3.8 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

I will probably getting my booster shot within a couple of weeks—only because I plan on possibly trying to find something on campus (in terms of potential part-work).

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for August (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for July and see how I did with each of them. The goals for July included:

  1. 135-155,000 steps
  2. At least one walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least sixteen days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

135-155,000 steps:

I missed the minimum goal by about 5,000 steps. I only managed to get in 130,460 steps during July. It was an extremely hot month, and I only managed to do a single partial walk up at Boomer Lake.

While there were weekly walks up to the corner store to get the weekend newspaper–majority of the week I was only averaging about 3,000 steps per day.

One walk at Boomer Lake, and five to ten minutes of intentional movement:

I managed a partial walk up at Boomer Lake last week. The temperatures were usually in the upper 70s/low 80s by the time I’d normally be walking on the weekends. When you add in the humidity and total sun—I decided not to risk heat stroke/illness by walking.

Finishing at least one non-fiction book:

I finished the following:

  1. Dinosaurs Rediscovered: The Scientific Revolution in Paleontology by Michael J Benton
  2. HUSH MONEY: How one woman proved systemic racism in her workplace and kept her job by Jacquie Abram, Deborah Harris, and Delilah Harris
  3. Locked in Time: Animal Behavior unearthed in 50 extraordinary fossils by Dean R. Lomax and Robert Nicholls

Which brings my non-fiction reading to ten books so far for 2022. If I want meet the ‘original’ goal I set of 24 books read in 2022, that means I need to basically read three non-fiction books a month for the rest of the year.

Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published):

I finished:

  1. Along Came You (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #3) by Claudia Buroga
  2. Grace Under Fire (Buchanan/Renard/MacKeena #14) by Julie Garwood
  3. Resilience After Dark (Gansett Island #25) by Marie Force (Book review written)
  4. Love Under Two Architects (Lusty, Texas #46) by Cara Covington

I think I was also rereading various books by Julie Garwood and Marie Force to get ready for the latest in both of their series.

Which brings me to 67 total new fiction books read this year so far…and considering how many I’ve bought hut haven’t read yet.I could probably triple this number if I didn’t have various other things to also be doing during the day.

Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (goal is at least 16 days)

I’m getting better at this…managed to do not quite two-thirds of the month with no spending (managed 20 days)…There were several large purchases this past month (including numerous e-books). The goal for August—is a single purchase from Amazon (in addition to any books pre-ordered).

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

Well, the time outdoors for the most part was only in the evenings when I took the dogs out. We were in the triple digits for most of July, and when its like 81F feeling like 87F at 7am—I just didn’t feel like dealing with humidity for any long walks.

I managed all three of the other goals: evening meditations (I’ve started using soothing pod meditations and can usually keep the eyes close for half if not all the practice); I did a daily oracle card drawing and wrote one thing I was grateful for each night in my journal.

I think it helped that I had all three down on my July BINGO card.

Craft time:

I managed to do a little photography and spend some time on Canva, plus doing some color-by-number on the kindle.

I should get back to the needlepoint and/or jewelry creation (would be a good use of time, when I ‘unplug’ at 8pm).

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course:

I finished the last module for the medical writers organization (just need to do the assignments and post those within the Facebook group to possibly get the certificate of completion).

I also started watching the course on podcasting (its about seven hours), but decided its on hold until I either get the microphone and other equipment needed or download an voice recording app on the computer to play with (macs don’t come with that app preinstalled).

In addition I also started watching the course on infoprenuer: create information products and online courses on Udemy.

Writing, writing, and more writing:

In terms of writing—I’d managed to get a good amount done (there were the weekly assignments for medical news bulletin); I’m continuing with a weekly ‘post’ series on LinkedIn (molecular cloning step-by-step), and I’m starting a thoughtful Thursday post series as well.

There were only a handful of posts written for the blog though (something I’m working on changing).

I realize that with pivoting the blog to be more multi-facet (including science/medical/health topics in addition to the normal creative/reflective/hobby posts)—I may be both gaining followers and possibly losing followers (via wordpress) as well.

But that is what happens when you start trying to really figure out who you are, who your ideal ‘client’ base is, and the types of posts you’re going to be putting out.

So I did manage to get a BINGO for July…just not sure what the reward for that BINGO is going to be yet.

July BINGO Card

It was almost two BINGOS–but I haven’t changed the url of the blog, and the editorial calendar is still a work in progress.

In addition I set up a BINGO card for August as well…I’m finding it a little easier to work towards goals, if I have a way of checking them off that’s fun.

August BINGO card

You might notice that I ‘messed’ up a square–I accidentally put meditation down twice on my list of items for the August BINGO card, which meant I accidentally put it down twice on the card….

The website addy/url will probably be changed at the end of the week. I’d made a rookie mistake last month—I’d come up with several ideas for new urls, but totally forgot to see if any were already in use/claimed.

I ran a poll on LinkedIn to get some feedback, and when I decided yesterday to check on the status of the winner (plus some runner-ups), I found they were all in use. Which meant back the drawing board in terms of ideas, and another poll on LinkedIn.

Though, the ‘winner’ seems pretty obvious even this early in the duration of the poll (one week), that I will probably be updating it on Friday (August 5th).

I have it as a goal (on the August BINGO card) to create a editorial calendar for both the blog and then LinkedIn as well. This means I’ll have an idea of how often I’m posting and what posts require more ‘research’ than others (for both the blog & LinkedIn).

If I try to have a similar posting schedule of original content—I’d be driving myself crazy.

LinkedIn is going to have three ‘long’ post series (Tuesday, Thursday, and Fridays), plus I do a reintroduction post on Mondays; which leaves Wednesday and the weekends.

The weekends are networking time (Saturday is the big day via different social Saturday threads), and self-care time.

Wednesday may be a random type of post (I’d been thinking Wednesday wisdoms, but it may vary).

The blog on the other hand, is where I need to be careful…

People have signed up to be notified when I post a new blog post…I’m pretty sure they don’t want to be getting a daily email stating that there is something new. Therefore I’m going to try to have most weeks be just one or two posts; though there will be some weeks when there are more (depending on books I read and write reviews over, new/full moon goals and review, month in review and so forth).

Currently I’m thinking of starting a Tuesday science blog series, working with molecular cloning and then come September work in the Friday medical topic blog series.

Some weeks may have numerous posts, other weeks only two. Plus I’m going to be working on getting the various birds’ pages up and published (so there will be a blog post here and there covering the various bird pages that are getting published).

With all that said, what are my goals for August? They will include:

  1. 125-155K steps
  2. At least one partial walk at Boomer Lake and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Commit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 20 days; goal is 30)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  9. Writing, writing and more writing

These are goals that align with various strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

In addition—they all give me great practice at time and project management as I’m aiming for at least 85% overall completion (I’m fully acknowledging that I may not hit the step goal, and that I may also not have that much time outside—but I can work towards all the other ones).

In that regard—I will probably ‘unplug’ from the computer around 8pm or so in order to just read or possibly work on a craft project (or even brainstorm/mind-map an outline for a science topic).

So—how has your summer been progressing, and which goals are you finding it easier to keep?

Namaste….

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Six months down…six months to go…June Goals in Review

So, we’re in July—which means we’re halfway through 2022. When we think about how much ‘time’ is left in the year, we can look at it as: six months; or 184 days; roughly 26.3 weeks; or 4,416 hours.

Whoever is playing with the voodoo doll for the year—please put it down…

The year isn’t mellowing at all…and seems to be trying to spiral downhill faster and faster each month…

The supreme court overturned Roe v Wade towards the end of June…stating that the states should be allowed to dictate a women’s health…FYI: there is the separation of church and state (not to mention freedom of religion) within the Constitution for a damn reason.

Thanks to six jackasses on the court (all of which should be impeached for lying under oath—opinion on Roe v Wade is usually asked during their confirmation hearings and at least five stated it was law) I have to add another layer to the job search (figuring out which companies are going to support women’s right to choose).

Needless to say—the anxiety has been acting up royally.

Now it is easier to get a damn assault rifle than it is for a woman to get life saving medical care.

It’s time to end the filibuster, expand the court, and enact term limits for both the Supreme Court and Congress.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘May in Review’ on June 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 85.9 million cases and now as of July 1st —we have reached just a little over 89.3 million cases (an increase of a about 3.4 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

So before setting goals for July (and possibly the rest of the year), its time to look back at the goals I set for June and see how I did with each of them. The goals for June included:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish two non-fiction books that I’ve started
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini-book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least twelve days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (aim to work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

130-150,000 steps:

I managed to get a little over 144,000 steps in for the month…144,303 steps to be exact. I managed to be somewhere in between the minimum and maximum in terms of steps—I would have been able to hit and surpass the goal if the weather had been slightly cooler (I only managed two walks up at Boomer this past month).

At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day:

I managed two walks up at Boomer this past month. We’re in summer—which means that our daily temperatures are ranging somewhere in the 90s to 100s. The two mornings that I managed were two days that we had ‘cold’ fronts moving through the state.

I’m still working on trying to ensure that I’m doing five to ten minutes a day of intentional movement…it’s difficult to get in, when you have a 100 pound dog sprawled across your bedroom floor a good portion of the day. Both Boozer and Chaos basically are my ‘shadows’ for majority of the day…workouts might be ‘returning’ in the evenings when everyone else is home and I can ‘lock’ the dogs out of the room for thirty minutes or so.

Finish two (of the many) non-fiction books I’ve started to read. I managed to read:

  1. The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor
  2. UNLIKE A BOSS: Positive Leadership Skills You Wish Your Manager Had by Alexander N. Andrews

Read at least two-to-five fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published). I managed to read:

‘Re-reads’ included the entire Gansett Island series (currently at 24 books) by Marie Force–the 25th book is scheduled to be released on July 19th; and I also read the Buchanan/Renard/MacKenna family series (currently at 13 books) by Julie Garwood, as the 14th book is also due to be released on July 19th.

The ‘new’ books that I read this past month included:

  1. Montgomery Bites (Anthology & Cookbook) by Carrie Ann Ryan & Suzanne Johnson (book review written)
  2. Forever with Me (Everhart Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  3. Can’t Help Love (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #2) by Claudia Burgoa
  4. Hidden Waters (Tatter & Torn #3) by Catherine Cowles
  5. Inked Temptations (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #5) by Carrie Ann Ryan (Book review coming early July)

Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 12 days)

I decided last month that the new ‘goal’ was to be a little better than the month before. The ‘minimal’ goal for June was set at 12 days of no spending and I managed 16…so slightly over half the month…and that will be the goal for July…at least 16 days of no spending…

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

Well, since summer has made it’s presence known—the time outdoors has been regulated at times to the evening when I take the dogs out, or earlier in the day.

Thanks to various things this month—I need to get back into mediation/sitting quietly, writing in the journal, and doing daily oracle card drawings.

I’ve found that as long as I do a few stretches before bed, I sleep somewhat decently—no stretches, and that is when I toss and turn.

Craft time (work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry):

I created one needlepoint tapestry this month. I decided that before working on Rolex’s memorial tapestry (since it will rather complex), I would do a couple of smaller pieces to get the hang of working with the cotton fabric.

The first one I completed was a flower:

Cotton tapestry #1–freestyle drawn flower…

I still need to work on tying off the fabric and the different types of stitches…but not bad for the first time working with the cotton fabric.

Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)

I managed to finish the LinkedIn Unlocked course (I just need to go back through and make a list of the various action items). It was a really good course that highlighted a couple features of LinkedIn I was unaware of—but am slowly starting to use more often (especially the ‘build your resume’ feature).

Writing, writing, and more writing:

I managed to get some writing done this past month—I’ve been posting on LinkedIn some graphics and slowly introducing the molecular cloning series as posts (I’m also through the ‘planning stage’ of the experiment).

I’m in the planning stages for various projects for the blog and other sites—as I’ve realized that I really need to figure things out, get a portfolio together, and start seriously job hunting…

So how did I do overall: I would say that I managed to meet eighty percent of the goals that I set for June. The reading goal was at 100%, as was the craft goal (different tapestry—but it was finished), the rest were somewhere between sixty and eighty percent and it all averaged out to eighty percent.

July goals will be almost identical, though I know that I won’t be spending huge amounts of time outside, and I’ll be lucky to get a single walk in up at Boomer (so I’m not really going to aim for weekly walks).

We’re entering the second half of the year, and the third quarter. Its time to reset, refocus, and commit to various long term goals: getting a remote position (or starting a freelance business), getting into the best shape of my life, and focusing on my strengths and values: learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative; knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/transformation.

So what will be my ‘repetitive’ goals for July? They will include:

  1. At least 135-155,000 steps
  2. At least one walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish at least one non-fiction book
  4. Read at least two-to-four fiction books (having at least one mini book review written and published)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge (aiming for at least 16 days)
  6. Time outdoors (probably briefly in the evenings), mediation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drwings
  7. Craft time (work on a needlepoint project and/or create some jewelry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course (looking at possibly either seven best ways to get paid as a writer and/or the sorthcourse on podcasting)
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

These are goals that align with various strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

I recreated a new bingo card for the second half of the year, and will be creating a bingo card for the third quarter and then for July (some of these goals will be finding their way to that bingo card). I’ll also be working on the multi-prong personal/professional development plan that I originally tried to put together last month (and ended up having an anxiety attack over).

I mentioned to a couple of people that my biggest ‘problem’ is that I’m overzealous and try to cram months worth of ideas/goals into a shorter time period, and then allow my inner critic/imposter syndrome to drag me back into the comfort zone when I ‘fail’ to achieve a goal in say five days when in reality it would take five weeks to achieve the goal.

I also will be trying to decide on a new web addy for the blog/website, as I still want to have a multi-facet site (the ‘professional’ communication side and the ‘personal’ hobby/creative/reflective side)…and everything is up for renewal this coming month.

I’m actually thinking of restarting both the 90-day content creation/research challenge as well as restarting the 101 goals in 1001-day challenge (I’ve tried this one several times; latest was doubling the time frame to 2002 days).

The goal of restarting both is to be a little more focused on things (at least in terms of the large number of goals).

I truthfully don’t think a single month has gone ‘smoothly’ so far this year…I’m just trying to roll with the tide and punches…

I deleted the one game from the kindle again, and once I feel like I’m on ‘auto-buy’ again, I’ll save things on the computer, shutdown the computer and go outside for a few minutes (minus all electronics).

How are you handling the stress that is 2022?

Namaste….

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

An unplanned rant, hit two goals, plus planning for the future: May Goals in Review

So, we’re entering June—that means there are only seven months left in 2022.

I’d mentioned last month how I’d hoped that things would start to ‘mellow’ and ‘level out’—they haven’t. May wasn’t a great month—if it were possible to ‘erase’ months from the calendar, I’ve already picked the four months I want to do away with: February, April, May, and October.

Seems random doesn’t it? Well all four months have something in common: they’re months that we’ve lost dogs.

February 2018, we lost Spelunkers to cancer.

April 2015, we lost Speedbump to old age.

October 2018, we lost Piranha to old age, and Chewi to a combination of old age and cancer.

Then, this past month (May 2022) we lost Rolex to hemolytic anemia.

It was thought that her hemolytic anemia had been brought on by the allergy shot she had gotten last fall. Since she’d been on medication for over seven months and slowly being weaned with (what was thought to be no complications), everyone had their fingers crossed.

Unfortunately, her allergies acted up (we didn’t notice her licking and chewing on her leg), she gave herself a sore—which kicked in the immune system, which also triggered the immune cells against her blood cells. We had thought we’d caught it in time, but due to various issues, she didn’t beat this relapse. So I hope you’re enjoying yourself at the rainbow bridge, and watching over us.

The world is still going to hell in a hand-basket—Russia is still waging their illegal war in Ukraine, the SARS-CoV2 virus is still running around, and then there is the gun violence.

There were two mass shootings last month within a week and a half of each other. The ‘first’ was up in Buffalo, where ten people were gunned down in a supermarket—because of the color of their skin.

The ‘second’ one was just last week—and 21 people were killed: two teachers and 19 kids; plus 17 others were wounded.

Plus there were three shootings today: one at a high school in LA (students wounded), outside a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania (one injured), and one in Tulsa OK at a hospital (four were killed plus the gunman). Not to mention that there had been another shooting in a small town outside of Tulsa earlier this week.

I know that people state that one shouldn’t be ‘political’ when trying to job search, start a freelance business, and so forth—but enough.

If people want to disagree—fine. If people don’t want to work with me—fine. If somehow these views result in not getting a job interview or offer—fine.

I know that people will say—‘but the Second Amendment’…

What is the wording of the Second Amendment?

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

So, while it does refer to the right of individuals being able to own guns—it also states its main goal: a well-regulated militia (national guard) for the security of the state.

The amendment was needed because of the disconnection between individuals while they were drafting the constitution and debating over it—some didn’t like the idea of the government having that much ‘military’ control, while others thought it shouldn’t matter, since everyone had some type of ‘arms’ at home.

I truthfully don’t have any problem with responsible gun owners—those that have gone through the background checks, keep the weapons and ammunition locked up (separately), and so forth.

My problem—the ability for those who obviously have severe mental health issues to be able to buy weapons and ammunition and no one really blinks twice at it.

My problem—the toxic culture we live with day-to-day, that makes it ‘taboo’ for people to talk about mental health issues.

My problem—is that there are organizations and people who would rather keep lining their pockets with money, than try to resolve a pandemic that has been raging for decades.

My problem—the toxic patriarchy culture where rich, old, white men are afraid of the future—so they fan the flames of hate and misogamy to try to stay in power.

There is a good percentage of the American population that wants sensible gun laws; that want universal background checks, and the age limit raised for the purchase of weapons.

Why won’t Congress do anything? The pockets of many are being lined by the businesses that would ‘lose’ some money if those changes were put into place.

So, here is a solution: vote out every NRA-backed Congress member, plus any NRA-backed state politicians, and vote in those who support the Second Amendment—but who also support common sense gun laws, and universal health care (especially mental health).

So—please, lets have a civil discussion about universal health care (including mental health), universal background checks, closing loopholes, and ensuring that weapons don’t end up in the hands of those who shouldn’t have them.

So, that was my unintentional rant on gun violence in the United States. I know that it will take quite a while before anything worthwhile happens—but we need universal healthcare (including mental health) in this country, we need universal background checks, and ways of keeping weapons out of the hands of those that could do severe harm.

In terms of the total number of cases of the SARS-CoV2 virus within the US, when I published ‘April in Review’ on May 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 83.0 million cases and now as of May 1st —we have reached just a little over 85.9 million cases (an increase of a about 2.9 million cases). Numbers are going back up—in part to the different variants of the omicron sub-strain of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

So—please, wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and get boosted when needed.

As I alluded to last month, I’m going to focus on my strengths and values moving forward this summer: knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, evolution/transformation (values), learner, intellection, input, achiever, and deliberative (strengths).

Before trying to set my goals for June, I should look back at the goals I set for May and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for May included:

  1. At least 130-155,000 steps
  2. Starting to lift weights, do some cardio, yoga, walking, and so forth
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (also have written at least two mini book reviews)
  5. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course
  9. Writing, writing, and more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

At least 130-155,000 steps; I managed to actually surpass my goal step. I managed 188,937 steps for the month of May. This was in large part due to weekly walks at Boomer Lake—I think I only ‘missed’ one week walking at the lake.

In terms of the intentional movements: well, I managed weekly walks (for the most part) and since it’s summertime—it means mowing the yard at least every other week.

Since we lost Rolex, the other two dogs spend a good chunk of the day in my room with me—and I haven’t had the heart to ‘kick’ them out so that I can do a thirty-to-forty minute workout (yet).

For the non-fiction books, I’m currently reading the following:

The First Fossil Hunters: Dinosaurs, Mammoths, and Myth in Greek and Roman Times by Adrienne Mayor

INNERCISE: The New Science to Unlock Your Brain’s Hidden Power by John Assaraf

I’m a little over a third of the way through each of them.

In terms of fiction books I’ve read the following:

Wildfire Griffin (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #1) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Unicorn (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #2) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Sea Dragon (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #3) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Pegasus (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #4) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Hellhound (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #5) by Zoe Chant

Wildfire Phoenix (Fire & Rescue Shifters: Wildfire Crew #6) by Zoe Chant

How Much I Want (Miami Nights #4) by Marie Force (book review written)

Etched in Honor (Aspen Pack #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan (book review written)

Faking the Game (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #1) by Claudia Buroga

There may have been several other fiction books read—but they were either repeats or I haven’t finished them yet.

In terms of the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge–I managed about a third of the month without spending some money. I of course splurged on e-books, the silly game, essentials (dog treats and so forth), and craft supplies.

Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings:

Time outdoors was manageable for the most part this month (there were some rainy days where I only went out briefly at night with the dogs).

The meditation/sitting quietly is still a ‘work in progress’—mainly in terms of setting a area up that I wouldn’t have to ‘take down’ as soon as I was done meditating. I managed the daily gratitude journal entries for the most part (there may have been a day or two that I didn’t do it), and I managed about two-thirds of the month in terms of the daily oracle card drawings

In terms of craft time: I managed to get in at least a weekly photography session up at Boomer Lake, and once some more black thread comes in, I’ll be starting on Rolex’s memorial tapestry. So there has been craft time—just not a ‘daily’ chunk of time.

In terms of working through personal/professional development courses: I’m also done with the LinkedIn Unlocked course that I purchased at the end of April—I think I have like two and a half modules left of it.

In terms of writing, writing, and doing some more writing: since I decided to start a 90-day content creation/research challenge, I have been doing a little bit of writing daily.

I’m working on the ‘molecular cloning’ series, in addition to researching various other topics.

I’m trying to stay ‘true’ to my strengths and values, but at the same time not fall down the rabbit hole of ‘overthinking/analysis-paralysis, and constant research’.

So, I made progress with some goals (steps, and reading), while others are still slightly ‘stagnant’ (limited spending, intentional movement, and working through various e-courses) in progress.

While it would feel ‘better’ to blame others—I know that I ‘triggered’ this month (due to stress, anxiety, and depression), and instead of rationally working through the emotions—I spent money.

I can handle the emotions (even all three at once)—but when there are multiple ‘causes’—that is when I really spiral.

Two of the main causes this month: losing Rolex, and the two mass shootings. I could also mention that there are health issues with other family members that didn’t help the situation.

But, all I can do is put one foot in front of the other and try to do a little bit better than I did yesterday.

For example—I managed about a third of May without spending money—therefore the ‘minimal’ goal for June will be twelve days (or forty percent).

I was ‘reminded’ in one of the personal/professional development groups—that when it comes to writing, having an outline is essential (especially as one moves towards a communications role and/or freelancing)—and that isn’t something that I do often. Usually, I’ll start writing and then draft an outline from the notes (even though I know that isn’t the way one should usually go about writing).

So moving forward into the last month of the first half of the year, goals for June will include:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least one weekly walk at Boomer Lake, and at least five to ten minutes of intentional movement a day
  3. Finish the two non-fiction books that I started
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (and write at least one mini book review)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend week/limited spending month challenge (aiming for at least twelve days)
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time (work on Rolex’s memorial tapestry)
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course (aim to finish LinkedIn Unlocked)
  9. And of course–writing, writing, and more writing

Are the goals redundant??  Yes—but (at least for me) that is how they become habits—repeating them over and over again.

But they’re also goals that align with strengths/values: learning/knowledge, creativity, curiosity, spirituality, and evolution/growth.

What may change—how I go about achieving the goals–I’m going to spend the next couple of days also working on a multi-prong personal/professional development plan that will focus on career, finances, personal/professional development, spirituality, and hobbies/crafts.

I know what my biggest ‘sticking’ points are: being over zealous, trying to cram a months worth of ideas/goals into a few days, and then allowing the inner critic/imposter syndrome drag me back into my comfort zone when I ‘fail’ at achieving the goals.

This means I’m also going to be working on improving my time and project management skills as well—considering they’re part of each and every goal listed above.

The first step for June will be creating the rough draft of the multi-prong personal/professional development plan for say the next three-to-five years; then breaking those goals down into say one-two-three (or one-three-five) years, first set of quarterly, first set of monthly, first set of weekly, and then finally first set of daily goals.

In addition—I’m still working on figuring out my ‘brand’. I’m settling in on certain colors and fonts, I’m still attached to the blog byline (‘A little bit of this, A little bit of that’), so now I just need to figure out a good working web address for the site.

I’ll also be continuing with my 90-day content creation/research challenge. The goal is at the end of the 90 days I’ll have at least three months worth of content (maybe more, maybe a little less—since anything written and published here, or submitted to Medical News Bulletin is included on the spreadsheet), plus hopefully even more ideas of things to look into researching and creating.

So May really didn’t go as plan for the most part—but when one acknowledges the ‘triggers’, then they can slowly start reworking their responses to said triggers.

I know that when my anxiety and stress levels get too high or I start to feel a little more depressed than usual—I have a tendency to find chocolate and spend money. So, when I start to ‘auto’ buy things again—I need to pause, shut down the computer (after saving anything I’m working on), and go outside for a while (without any other electronics). That way, I’ll start creating a new ‘neural’ network for reacting to the problems.

But with just hearing about yet another shooting in the Tulsa area tonight (there was another one earlier this week)—I’m tired, and truthfully can’t think of anything else to say tonight—I’m voting out any and every political figure that is funded by the NRA (they may still win—but not with my vote), or who is against common sense gun laws…

Namaste….

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Crafts, reading, e-learning, and walking: April goals in review

So, we’ve entered May—that means there are only eight months left in 2022. Hopefully things may start to ‘mellow’ and ‘level out’, but I’m not holding my breath. While the ‘reset’ hasn’t quite happened yet—I’m going to head into the second ‘third’ of the year focusing on just a few things: creativity (writing, crafts, photography, and reading), curiosity (research, writing, and networking), and moving forward with the goal of landing a remote communications position within the biomedical, pharmaceutical, or agricultural sectors.

I mentioned last month how I felt like the first quarter has been a ‘testing’ quarter for different things (setting a schedule and so forth)—April was hit and miss on keeping the schedule and other things. While I did mange to get several things accomplished, I will also admit that I fell short on quite a few other things. One reason: I’m still not handling the possibility of a greater global conflict very well—when I get super stressed or down, I have the terrible habit of spending money. That means I now need to head into the second month of the second quarter of the year with a more solid plan for personal/professional development, writing, networking, crafts, and just life in general.

So, it looks like the SARS-CoV2 virus is here to stay. There are only a few places in the world that are currently ‘virus-free’, and that ‘label’ will come and go as more people get back to traveling.

While it may look like I’m against traveling—I’m not, I’m just advocating for safe travels (wearing masks, carrying hand sanitizer, and social distancing). I may start traveling again next year, but will be weighing the pros and cons of any trip (especially any possible international trip), by asking myself if the trip will be worth the slight chance of catching the virus.

In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘March in Review’ on April 1st, I noted that we had reached a little over 81.7 million cases and now as of May 1st —we have reached a little over 83.0 million cases (an increase of a little over 1.3 million cases). Numbers are going down, but is it due to the people vaccinating or just not going and getting tested??

Before trying to set my goals for May, I should look back at the goals I set for April and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for April included:

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps
  2. At least five minutes of intentional movement each day (aiming to lift weights, cardio, walking, and so forth)
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course
  9. Writing, writing, and some more writing

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. At least 130-150,000 steps; I managed to 165,500 steps for the month of April. Since we’re into the spring weather, I managed to do a nature walk at Boomer Lake almost weekly (I think I only missed the last weekend of the month). I haven’t walk Chaos as much as I should, but that is due to the fact that cement/pavement is quite a bit warmer than the air, and while the neighborhood has trees—there aren’t that many that shade the streets.
  2. At least five minutes of intentional movement; weight lifting and so forth—I have the weight lifting tracking sheets in the journal. I managed two days of lifting—but then concentrated on walking/chores/moving, because I had to give my elbows time to heal. Yes, you read that right—I had to let my elbows heal. I had only been using 2-to-12 pound weights over those two days (the 2-pound weights were for the reverse fly, and the 12-pound weights were for the chest press). I’d used 8-pound weights for the bicep curls, and while I felt fine the rest of the day, and part of the next day by the day after that—I could barely move my arms, my elbows hurt that much. Needless to say, I’m fine—I just forget at times that due to having multiple hereditary osteochondroma (basically benign tumors at the end of all my long bones), I’m bow-legged and bow-armed (my arms aren’t straight). Which means, I have trouble doing lunges, push-ups, and obviously can’t start with eight-pound weights for bicep curls.
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books:
    • The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness through the power of Sisu by Katja Pantzar
    • Lagom: Not too little, not too much: The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life by Niki Brantmark
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books: I usually have no troubles reading fiction books (well, with the exception of trying to expand the genera that I read), and managed to read nine books this month:
    1. One Way Back to Me (The Wilder Brothers #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
    2. Falling Embers (Tatter & Torn Series #2) by Catherine Cowles
    3. My Favorite Night (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #0.5) by Claudia Buroga
    4. Until Next Time (Against All Odds: The St. James Family #1) by Claudia Buroga
    5. Something Like Love (Against All Odds: The St. James Family #2) by Claudia Buroga
    6. Wrong Text, Right Love (Against All Odds: The Brassard Family #1) by Claudia Buroga
    7. Didn’t Expect You (Against All Odds: The Brassard Family #2) by Claudia Buroga
    8. Love Like Her (Against All Odds: The Brassard Family #3) by Claudia Buroga
    9. Fated in Winter (Redwood Pack/Talon Pack Crossover) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge: Umm, I think I managed maybe one percent of the month…so next goal please…
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings: Other than the time outdoors, I’ve been bouncing back and forth on doing the other three on a consistent daily basis. Since I haven’t had a entire month of doing oracle card readings, I’ll be using one of the decks from earlier this year (I have four to choose from)—I may actually try to see if I can manage the next four months of doing a card reading each day.
  7. Craft time: I managed several days of photography and have made a little bit of progress on the cross-stitch project.
  8. Working through at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course:
    1. Freelance Medical Writing as a Career Choice (on Udemy)
    2. How to create a portfolio to get into medical writing (on Udemy)
    3. Getting started with Canva for beginners: CANVA BASICS #1 (on Skillshare)
    4. A free five-day email LinkedIn training course (and I then bought and am currently working through the more in-depth LinkedIn training course)
  9. Writing, writing, and some more writing: In terms of writing—I got the usual posts (March in Review, March New Moon Goals in Review, March Full Moon Goals in Review, April New Moon Goals, April Full Moon Goals, April New Moon Goals in Review, and the Taurus New moon goals; plus a book review) written. In addition, I also got my 626-Day check-in for the 100+ goals written and published—and that managed to skyrocket the views on the blog for a couple of days (I mean I actually got over 1,000 views in a single day). So—now I have something to work towards repeating (and on a more consistent schedule).

So, in terms of how I did overall—I managed to meet the step goal, the reading goals, and working through some personal/professional development e-courses. I fell short (as usually) on the intentional movement, limited spending, and the mental/spiritual health aspects of the goals.

But—I acknowledge and aim to do better (I’m actually reading a book on the brain right now—so maybe I can figure out how to tame my mental gorilla).

I mentioned at the beginning of the post that I was going to focus on: creativity (writing, crafts, photography, and reading), curiosity (research, writing, and networking), and moving forward with the goal of landing a remote communications position within the biomedical, pharmaceutical, or agricultural sectors. I want to also add in spirituality to both the curious and creative aspects of doing things. I may spend money here and there (hopefully not to the extent I’ve done so far this year), and I know the best way to avoid it is to delete the silly games on the kindle.

So what are my goals for May? They’re going to include:

  1. At least 130-155,000 steps
  2. Starting to lift weights, do more cardio, yoga, walking, and so forth
  3. Read at least two non-fiction books
  4. Read at least two-to-five fiction books (have mini book reviews written for at least two of them)
  5. Recommit to the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending challenge–delete the one damn game on the kindle
  6. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitude journal entries, and daily oracle card drawings
  7. Craft time
  8. Working though at least one module of a personal/professional development e-course
  9. Writing, writing and more writing

I’ll add in working on improving my time and project management skills as well (they’re not bolded—because they can be considered a part of each and every goal that is listed above).

In terms of the writing projects—I have several that are bouncing around in my head (I actually have a ‘rough’ draft going for one of them); I just need to try to finish at least one of them (and decide how many ‘blog posts’ I can get out of it). Therefore, I may also start posting some science posts, history posts, art history posts and so far—so there may be a little more variety to the site.

I’m also working on figuring out my ‘brand’ as well. While I think I have the ‘statement’ down, I’m also working on choosing the colors and fonts—I took a couple of quizzes and got the results of mystical and serene. Just need to figure out how to blend them—or I may just go with the serene (works a little better with the ‘science/medical/health communications aspect that I’m thinking of starting with). Therefore the theme of the blog may be changing as well at some point.

Happy thoughts/good vibes are continuing to be sent to the people of Ukraine who are fighting to keep their country intact.

Therefore, just as a reminder: if you follow me on other social media sites—I will probably have some political and/or religious posts/statements. I won’t apologize for my views (I believe in science, education for all, healthcare for all, women’s right to choose, people’s right to marry who they want, people identifying as they choose, and the separation of church and state—I’m a mix of pagan, wiccan, and atheist).

I will say this again—if my post is ‘upsetting’—ask yourself why you find it upsetting. I don’t share things to offend, but I do share to help try to educate in addition to showing my stance on various topics.

Therefore on the eve of this new moon, I send healing thoughts and vibes to the people of Ukraine and Russia. Nothing is gained through the loss of lives…

Namaste…

What is your top goal for May?

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