Tag: nonfiction

Improving in terms of time & project management

Introduction and Gemini Goals:

So, the moon is going to be transitioning through the Cancer constellation tomorrow…marking the seventh new moon of the year. Somehow we’ve made it through the first half of 2024 without things totally blowing up into a global conflict…I wonder how long that luck will last. But that is a topic for a totally different post. Before looking ahead to the Cancer new moon, I need to look back at the goals I set for the Gemini new moon & see how I did with each of them.

Gemini Goals:

  1. Continue to fine-tune my personal/professional growth plan (focusing on career [writing], health/wellness, finances [fine tune that plan], spirituality, hobbies/crafts, and personal space)
  2. Update the personal/professional growth game (remove a few items and/or expand others—micropaleontology is on hold currently)
  3. Continue to clean/organize/declutter the bedroom & house…in order to get the storage unit cleared out by early fall
  4. Continue with my daily intentional movements and nightly meditations/sitting quietly moments
  5. And…read, read, and read some more. I’m actually nine nonfiction/historical fiction books away from my goal of reading 44 nonfiction/historical fiction before my birthday. So—try to read three more during the month of June

So, how did I do with each of them?

Fine-tune my personal/professional growth plan (~40%):

I’m still in the process of fine-tuning this plan—the reason, I’m still trying to throw everything onto the calendar…I need to narrow the focus for awhile on certain aspects, knowing that they’d be touching other aspects of things I also want to be working on.

Update the personal/professional growth game (100% completed):

I updated the game, to where I removed one board and condensed things down within the other game board. I also ‘rolled’ the dice last month & will be giving an update on that first play on the game towards the end of July—as each ‘turn’/‘play’ lasts six weeks, and covers at least three ‘topics’ (e-courses, reading, research, or whatever).

The newly ‘updated’ personal/professional growth board game.

Continue to clean/organize/declutter the bedroom & house (~70%):

This is an ongoing project. While I have my storage unit about halfway cleared out—I need to spend a little more time cleaning/organizing/decluttering the bedroom. I’ve realized that I may need to donate or sell an afghan or two—because do I really need half a dozen? Probably not..but I think that’s how many I have currently…I’ll be putting quite a few of them under the bed in a storage bag.

I also need to go through my business casual/professional clothes and decide which tops I really want to keep, and which ones can be donated. Probably wouldn’t hurt to donate the business suit that I’ve ‘outgrown’…though I like the color…but I can always buy another one if needed.

Daily intentional movements & nightly meditations (probably somewhere around 50%):

I’ve been trying to sit quietly at night prior to journalling…but with how hot its been lately…usually I just journal quickly to be able to turn off the lights & hopefully cool the room off a little to be able to sleep. The daily intentional movement is still hit & miss…I’m ‘moving’ around daily, but for the most part it’s doing things around the house throughout the day—there hasn’t been many ‘concentrated’ blocks of movement (to really get the heart rate going)…and this is something that I’m still trying to ‘correct’.

Read, read, & read (100% complete):

I actually finished five books during the month of June (which covered not only the new moon phase, but the full moon phase as well). The books I finished reading during June were:

  1. Ocean Life in the Times of Dinosaurs by Nathalia Bardet, Alexandra Houssaye, Stephane Jouve, & Peggy Vincent
  2. The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World by Riley Black
  3. The Quest & the Qalandar: Experiences of Sufism by Waqar Faiz
  4. Patrice Lumumba, Ahead of His Time (Political Leadership in Africa #1) by Didier Mumbata
  5. Nice White Ladies: The Truth about White Supremacy, Our Role in It, and How We can Help Dismantle it by Jessie Daniels

I’m now six books away from the goal of reading 44 non-fiction/historical fiction books before my birthday. I can now technically state I’m going to try to just read two books during July, August, & Sept…but I’ll probably keep to the current goal of trying to read at least three non-fiction/historical fiction books a month.

Conclusions/Final Thoughts on the Gemini New Moon Goals:

Five goals for the Gemini new moon…two were more on the planning side of things (updating the personal/professional game & fine-tuning a personal/professional growth plan)—and I manage to get at least one completely done. One goal was reading—which I usually always manage to complete. The cleaning/organizing/decluttering—is always ongoing, because I didn’t realize exactly how bad of a packrat I was turning into, nor how much random stuff I’d brought to and from Boston—nor did I realize how much random stuff we had around the house that needs to be donated/recycled/discarded.

The intentional movement goal is a rough one to hit—especially when its hot & humid constantly, which zaps one’s energy/motivation (at least it does that to me). While I’m working on improving my relationship with food & movement (in other words working at getting healthy, but not necessarily ‘shrinking’ my body), I may put a new battery into the scale & just see what that number is currently at…because while ‘healing’ the relationship with food & movement is something to strive for…at times it helps to see a ‘number’ from time to time.

Progress…baby steps forward, sometimes a step or two backwards. But—progress isn’t suppose to be perfect, nor is it always a linear path. At times it spirals and while you feel like you’re back at the beginning…you’re actually further along on your journey that you realize, you’ve ‘circled’ back to something to hopefully learn a little more of the ‘lesson’ that the universe has set before you…and once you’ve gotten the message/lesson…you move even further forward in this journey of life.

How did you do with your Gemini new moon goals?

No Comments AstrologycareerfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Morning routines–check…Now time to fine-tune the afternoon schedules

Introduction/recap:

Okay…once I get this month’s review posted…I’ll have managed three months this year—and will have covered the second quarter of 2024 (I totally lagged behind in trying to do it for the first three months this year). As I’d mentioned in the ‘intro’ to May in Review—I basically ignored most of 2023 (I think I did January), and it took awhile for me to decide to restart the series. 

Doing these monthly posts is one of the ways I’m trying to keep myself accountable towards different goals, in addition to doing a weekly series in a Facebook group. As I mentioned—I probably won’t be hitting anywhere close to 100% on all the goals…in part due to the fact that I usually set out to try to achieve like 10-12 different ‘large’ tasks…and I’m still in the process of developing a fluid schedule for the day. I’ve gotten a decent fluid schedule down for part of the morning…now it’s time to fine tune that and start developing the fluid afternoon schedule. 

I almost have a morning schedule that ‘sticks’: getting on Mondly for say 20-30 minutes to learn a foreign language, then do my morning update on Gaza (post to my instagram channel), then do an oracle card drawing (posting to the oracle card channel), then do a science news brief for LinkedIn. Its after getting those four things done, that my schedule starts to semi-fall apart.

I’m going to be keeping to a list of about twelve goals for the next few months…only because I’ve only been getting about 2/3 of them done (at least fifty percent) at a time. I’m hoping that keeping things ‘similar’ month to month—they’ll become habits, and then I can start adding/stacking other goals in.

Goals that I’d set for June:

  1. Reading at least three non-fiction books
  2. Reading at least four fiction books
  3. Completing at least one (if not two) 30-day challenges
  4. Making time & making use of the intentional movement board game
  5. Launch the YouTube channel (outline & intro video)
  6. Aim for two blurbs on science, health, or medical papers
  7. Watch/work through at least three e-courses
  8. 30-minutes at least 4x/week on Mondly
  9. Posting consistently to the oracle card channel
  10. Post to each blog at least twice
  11. Finish the outlines for the three big creative research projects
    • Interviews with dinosaurs & other extinct animals
    • Interviews with toxic & venomous animals
    • Interviews with various ancient civilizations (this could be upwards of three to five different mini proejcts)
  12. Work on the needlepoint project
  13. Check in with this list at least every other day to ensure that I’m making progress

So how did I do with each of those main goals?

Reading at least three non-fiction books (100% completed):

I finished the following nonfiction books:

  1. Ocean Life in the Times of Dinosaurs by Nathalia Bardet, Alexandra Houssave, Stephane Jouve, & Peggy Vincent
  2. The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World by Riley Black
  3. The Quest & the Qalandar: Experiences of Sufism by Waqar Faiz
  4. Patrice Lumumba, Ahead of His Time (Political Leadership in Africa #1) by Didier Mumbata
  5. Nice White Ladies: The Truth about White Supremacy, Our Role in It, and How We can Help Dismantle it by Jessie Daniels

Five books that spanned a diversity of topics: the Mesozoic era, religion, politics, and culture. I’d mentioned previously that I’m working at becoming a better global citizen–which includes reading books on people that I’d never heard of before (I didn’t realize that the US gave ‘aid’ in getting rid of the first prime minister of the Congo–Patrice Lumumba), and topics that are ‘difficult’ to read on (aka white supremacy & women’s (specifically white woman’s) both intentional & unintentional parts in upholding those ‘aspects’ of society.

Currently I’m six books away from my goal of reading 44 nonfiction (or historical fiction) books before my 44th birthday (which is in September). Something tells me that I’ll finish ‘above’ the goal of 44 books…and that means I should totally ‘reach’ and finish ‘above’ the goal of 100 books by June 18, 2026.

Reading at least four fiction books (100%+ completed):

I probably spent a little too much time reading fiction books this month. I read well over four fiction books during June. The books I read included:

  1. Forbidden King (Magnolia Falls #3) by Laura Pavlov
  2. California Waves (The Davenports #2) by Bella Andre & Nicky Arden
  3. Fragile Sanctuary (Sparrow Falls #1) by Catherine Cowles
  4. Forbidden Hearts (Whitlock Family #1) by Corinne Michaels
  5. Broken Dreams (Whitlock Family #2) by Corinne Michaels
  6. Tempting Promises (Whitlock Family #3) by Corinne Michaels
  7. Forgotten Desires (Whitlock Family #4) by Corinne Michaels
  8. Come Back for Me (The Arrowood Brothers #1) by Corinne Michaels
  9. Fight for Me (The Arrowood Brothers #2) by Corinne Michaels
  10. The One for Me (The Arrowood Brothers #3) by Corinne Michaels
  11. Stay for Me (The Arrowood Brothers #4) by Corinne Michaels
  12. Return to Us (Willow Creek Valley #1) by Corinne Michaels
  13. Could Have Been Us (Willow Creek Valley #2) by Corinne Michaels
  14. A Chance for Us (Willow Creek Valley #4) by Corinne Michaels
  15. Destined for Me (Come Back to Me/Say You’ll Stay Crossover) by Corinne Michaels
  16. The Sweet Spot (Playing to Win #4) by Bella Matthews
  17. Dragon of Her Dreams (Dragon Knights #20) by Bianca D’Arc

Needless to say…I was reading a lot this past month…which could possibly explain why I didn’t get as much e-courses completed…also I binged read a couple of series by Corinne Michaels that were semi intertwined. 

Complete at least one 30-day challenge (100%)

Well…I’ve completed a 30-day challenge…it was another Sudoku challenge. Maybe next month I’ll remember that I’d stated it would be a jumping jack/squat challenge, along with possibly watching a different TedTalk each day.

Make time for intentional movement (possibly somewhere between 5-10%)

Still gotta get better at setting aside time for intentional movement. The only days where time is ‘set aside’ are on Wednesdays…and those are my ‘chore’ days. So—I need to actually try to ‘schedule’ in time during the other days of the week for some type of intentional movement.

YouTube Channel (outline & intro video) (still somewhere around 5%):

I still have the mind map of topics…that I need to chose from, then mind-map from that topic to determine the ‘subtopics’ that I’d be researching/talking about. One thing I realized—I don’t necessarily have to be ‘on screen’ (since currently my niche is science/health/med education—I’d be doing ‘voice over’ explaining the slides). This might go a little faster since I don’t have to try to ‘record’ myself (other than a possible introduction video to the entire channel)

Blurbs on science, health, medical papers (still around 5%)

Currently this is still sitting at roughly five percent…basically, I still have the extreme rough draft of the blurb on the sea dragon genome paper that I need to edit down to a decent length. I don’t know why I haven’t sat down to edit it yet…other than allowing the inner critic & imposter syndrome to ‘grab the reins’ on this writing project series. When I drew my yearly BINGO card, I’d decided that I was going to try to get back into a habit of reading at least one ‘research’ paper a week on different topics, & then write a blurb/review on it & post it…that was suppose to be 52 writing projects this year (because I also stated within my 101 goals—I have the goal to write a minimum of 100 blurbs/reviews by June 18 2026)…needless to say—I’m behind on this ‘project’. 

Watch/work through at least another three e-courses (about 50% completed):

I mentioned above that I read a lot of fiction books this month…and a lot of the time spent reading could have been spent working through e-courses.

Currently I’ve finished an introduction to statistics course on Udemy. This was a decent intro course on stats…there were a few problems within the course & of course ‘quizzes’ at the end of different sections. I rated it four out of five stars—mainly because one of the videos was actually a ‘repeat’, and it had been mentioned like two years ago, and the creator hadn’t gotten around to ‘correcting’ it yet.

I’m about half way through another ‘stats’ course (Statistics and data literacy for non-statisticians). Currently I’ve rated the course at a three out of five stars…mainly because there haven’t been ‘problems’ to work through…there didn’t seem to be an ‘intro’ video (introducing the content creator & content)…and I’m not sure how much I’m actually getting out of the course. I’m not sure if I’ll be finishing this one up this afternoon or not…if I don’t finish it today, I’ll have it finished by tomorrow (July 1st) afternoon.

30 minutes at least four times a week on Mondly (90%):

I started using Mondly again on the 3rd of the month; and other than the first two days of the month & the 16th, I’ve been on the site, somewhere between 20-40 minutes a day learning Arabic.

I went back and did the daily lesson for the 16th (along then with that weekly quiz) today after I finished today’s daily lesson. With ‘missing’ three days this month—I managed to start learning a foreign language & logged in to the site 90% of the time this month. 

Posting consistently to the oracle card channel (90%):

Again, I started posting to the oracle card channel ‘consistently’ on the 3rd. So, in an similar answer to the above foreign language—other than the first two days of the month & the 16th, I’ve been posting oracle cards & their messages to the oracle card channel daily (usually shortly after I do the Gaza morning update on my other instagram channel).

For June I used the Guides of the Hidden Realm oracle deck by Colette Baron-Reid. Next month I’ll be choosing a different deck (possibly The Ancient Stones Oracle deck by Rebecca Campbell that also came out last month). Each month will be a ‘different’ deck, and I think I have at least twelve different oracle decks (along with five different tarot card decks) that I’ll just ‘cycle’ through them.

Post to each blog at least twice (100%):

I did manage to post to each blog at least twice. In terms of the science/health/medical blog—I posted twice earlier this month on two different science related ‘random’ holidays (World Environment & World Oceans days). I’m still posting more often on the creative blog (at least weekly with the weekly summary of the hellish events happening within Gaza & the West Bank).  I really need to decide if I want to ‘pause’ the medical series and start a different one (one that might actually see me posting to the blog on a more consistent basis).

Finish the outlines for the various creative research projects (~5% completed):

This is sitting around 5% completed. I have the ‘basic’ outline for the different dinosaur interviews…but didn’t modify it for other extinct animals; nor did I modify it for toxic & venomous animals.

In terms of the different ancient civilizations—I need to decide how may ‘different’ people I’m going to interview—is it going to be ‘gods & goddesses’, leaders, craftsmen, or everyday people? Hopefully I’ll get more of this project completed over the next few months. I’d really like to have some of these ‘short stories’ published on different sites by mid-September.

Work on the needlepoint project (100%)

Yes. I’ve been consistently working on the needlepoint project & hopefully will have it finished sometime in July. Will it be in time for the 300-day checkin of my 101 goals? Or the 5th checkin for my 44 goals before turning 44? Maybe…but I should have it done by the end of July (or extremely early August) at the latest.

I usually take weekly update pictures on the needlepoint project to share with a friend. But I think the monthly one really shows the progress…I’m even impressed with how much I managed to get done last month. This is working at least twenty minutes (upward of two hours) a day on the project.

“Checking in on the list” (Not really a goal):

I mean there are only a few goals that I haven’t really progressed far on (the science/health/medical paper blurbs, the YouTube channel, intentional movement & getting more of the different creative projects written). Then there are others that I had no trouble completing (reading & working on the needlepoint project). I think what I need to do is have the afternoons structured a little better than what I’ve been doing…possibly try to focus on research/writing from say 2:30 to 4 three to four times a week—instead of waiting until then to try to do a e-course or something.

Conclusions for June:

So I technically set twelve goals for June (the last one was really just a reminder to myself to check the list every so often). I managed to get at least fifty percent (upwards of stating 100% progress) on two-thirds of the goals…so I did well with eight of the twelve goals. The four that I fell behind on—have been the four that I’ve been ‘stalled’ on since I restarted this monthly accountability series.

I think the only one of those four that will be ‘modified’ will be the one for the YouTube channel—I need to finish fine-tuning the outline & decide the format that I’m going to be working with (videos with voice-over, or will I be ‘on screen’ in the videos). The other three I just need to actually ‘fit’ into the daily schedule (whether at a particular time, or just pick a project for the week).

Goals for July:

  1. Read at least three nonfiction books
  2. Read at least four fiction books
  3. Complete at least one more 30-day challenge (and not just a Sudoku challenge)
  4. Set up the intentional movement plan
  5. Polish the outline for the YouTube channel & decide on the format
  6. At least one blurb on a science, health, or medical paper
  7. Work through at least three e-courses
  8. At least 25 minutes each morning on Mondly
  9. Post to each blog at least twice
  10. Post consistently to the oracle card channel
  11. Finish the mindmaps/outlines for different projects
  12. Continue working on the needlepoint project (possibly finish?)

Final Thoughts/Reflections:

Twelve goals…and basically the same (more or less) goals that I had set for June. I’ve ‘modified’ the YouTube channel goal & intentional movement goals, as well as stating I’m aiming for writing a single blurb on a science/health/medical paper for the other blog. The other goals are more or less what I’ve done for the past few months. Will I remember to do an additional challenge (along with the Sudoku)? Hopefully…I do have in the daily schedule to doodle in the early afternoon before attempting to do any learning/virtual chats.

Instead of ‘rewriting/rewording’ things—this is what I wrote at the end of May/beginning of June in terms of the goals I’m probably going to be ‘repeating’ for awhile:

The rest of the things…will require that I work on silencing the inner critic/imposter syndrome on a daily basis. I know what I want to do with my life—not only help improve how various topics are communicated to the public…but education overall…in addition to finding a way to make a partial living as an crafter/artist—as I’m starting to think about branching out and teaching myself other crafts—crochet (I knew how to do this years ago), making jewelry (I’ve got enough beads & charms), resin, mosaics, and wood-burning. I don’t need to make millions…I just need to make enough to ensure that my bills are paid, I have a roof over my head, and food on my table. Travel really isn’t even that big of a necessity currently (mainly due to the state of the world).

I want to become a better global citizen…which means decolonizing my mind and ‘relearning’ things about various parts of the world. It means learning an language (or two)—as English isn’t spoken everywhere. It means figuring out how to live with less…so to help cut back on the demand/need for vital elements that are fueling genocides and conflicts throughout the African continent. 

Progress…good, and done is better than ‘perfect, and never published’…because perfectionism is a myth…a myth of white supremacy that I’m going to jump up and down on until it’s grounded back into dust. What is one thing you’ll do to help break down the barriers around the world? 

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesoracle cardsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

Mix one part time & project management with reading & e-courses: equals Capricorn Full Moon Goals

So the moon will be entering the Capricorn constellation tonight (or possibly last night depending on where you are in the world), and it will mark the sixth full moon of the year; and we’re a little over two-thirds of the way through June. We’ve passed the summer solstice, and now are slowly heading towards the shortest day of the year.

Two years ago, I wrote that: ‘I have various ideas of what I would like to do professionally (such as science/medical/health communications, creating (and selling) e-courses, e-books, workbooks (and so forth), creating crafts (jewelry, cross-stitching, scarfs, afghans and so forth) to sell on etsy, educational consulting, professional coaching, blogging, setting up a podcast and YouTube channel, and photography)…now I just need to make the ‘map’ that will blend all of them together (honoring my strengths and values).’

Last year I didn’t do much to move these goals forward (due to the family medical issues which ended in my mother’s passing; then losing two pets within four days of each other in June)…so I’m now working towards getting these goals manifested into reality.

So looking to book “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland—what are the questions that can be asked during the Capricorn full moon?? Those questions include:

Have I been ambitious to the point of ruthlessness?

Have I been obsessed with work to the detriment of my personal life?

Have I been hard headed, hard-nosed, or just too hard on others?

I have allowed my head to overrule my heart?

Have I been planning my life enough? Or have I been planning it too much?

So if I were to number the above questions 1-5, my answers would probably be as following:

  1. No, I haven’t been ambitious to the point of ruthlessness. There is enough success to go around, and everyone is on a different path…some ‘parts’ may overlap—but not everyone is aiming to be both a science/health/medical communicator who is also creating e-courses/workbooks, crafts, and such. Also—being ambitious to the point of ruthlessness—can be seen as a sign of poor leadership, and people being severely toxic (and I’ve been trying to avoid those types of people the past couple of years). 
  2. I’ve never really been much of a social butterfly (even before the pandemic/epidemic of SARS-CoV2 virus), but in terms of my ‘personal life’…no I’m not obsessed with work to the detriment of my personal life. I do try to ‘unplug’ in the evenings and work on crafts and such; and I also try to balance the ‘work’ portion between the more research-focused work, and the creative/free style work. 
  3. Nope, I haven’t been hardheaded, hard-nosed or too hard on others. I don’t associate (in person) with many people right now. I meet up with a friend for lunch monthly (if we both remember), and currently most of my interactions are online. I try to avoid arguments with people…by either not commenting; turning off comments; or just removing the connection. 
  4. Two years ago I asked the question ‘in what context?’. Right now there aren’t that many decisions that I need to make that are in the realm of head versus heart type of decision.
  5. I’m working on accepting the ‘where you are is where you’re meant to be’ mentality. I would say that in terms of whether or not I’m planning my life enough…the answer is firmly in the middle. My ‘problem’ is trying to do either too much or not enough. Something I’d touched on a few years ago…and that problem is a extremely large one to work on correcting…and I’ll fully admit that I really didn’t do much last year in terms of trying to plan things out better. Breaking large goals down into easier ‘bite-size’ goals is still something I’m working on this year. 

So the Capricorn full moon is also going to be traveling through my third house—or the communication zone. This zone deals with both communications with people that you would see on a day-to-day basis (more or less): friends, co-workers, and possibly family; but it also deals with other things as well: to-do lists, self-expression, and so forth. While it is a time for communications—the communications are best done when people are in “good” moods—you don’t want things to spiral out of control and a disagreement started because someone took something you said the wrong way.

In terms of ‘major disagreements’…well there is a genocide being carried out live-stream, along with others that aren’t being ‘streamed’ (I’m talking about Gaza, the Congo, Sudan, & other places)…so there are disagreements with people on this topic—but I usually just delete the comments and/or block the person. I don’t think In the middle of any type of major disagreement with people that I talk to on a more day-to-day basis (my father, younger brother, or friends). 

I’m working on making the to-do lists (or as I do like to call them the to-be accomplished lists) more manageable—by only have a few things on them per day (and having a longer ‘list’ for the week, that I can go back & grab things to work on once I get other things taken care of). Self-expression/self-care is always an ongoing task..especially when you realize that you’ve spent way too many years ‘shrinking’ yourself to appease others.

So what are my goals for the Capricorn full moon period? They include:

  1. Finish fine-tuning my intentional movement game/schedule & then just doing something each day (whether it’s lifting weights, dancing around the living room, getting on the exercise bike or massive cleaning spree)—just doing something each day.
  2. Work on creating a new long-term goal list. Since I’ve listed out numerous ideas at the being of this post in terms of what I’d like to do career wise—I now need to figure out how to weave them together, plus have goals for other areas of life: health/wellness, finances, personal/professional growth, spirituality, living space, and crafts/hobbies).
  3. Work through at least part of an ‘long’ e-course (one that is over three hours) or watch at least two (possibly three) shorter e-courses
  4. Get at least half-way through at least one non-fiction book that I’ve started over the past few months.
  5. Planning for the second half of 2024 (BINGO cards; July calendars; and July brain dump; possibly August or Sept brain dump as well).

Five goals…that all focus on time & project management. Therefore I should be able to get at least three of the five done (planning for the second half of 2024 & July; new long-term goal list; working through part of an e-course; and possibly finishing (or getting halfway through) at least one nonfiction book). The fine-tuning the intentional movement game/schedule is the really ‘iffy’ one…as I’ve been great at procrastinating doing anything that is ‘fitness’ related (though I have been cleaning out the storage unit, cleaning the house, & carting around the 12 pound cat daily)…so progress is the goal—not perfection.

What is one of your Capricorn goals?

And of course remembering: Progress not perfection.

No Comments AstrologyBookscareerfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Check-in time on the 44 goals before 44…take four

4th check-in on my ’44 goals before turning 44’ project; & realizing that I’m four months away from my 44th birthday. It’s been a seesaw in terms of productivity…some days I’m productive…other days I’m sitting in procrastination corner. If it were a perfect world & I was totally on top of my game—I’d be two-thirds of the way through the list (having 29 or 30 goals checked off).

It isn’t a perfect world though…I have gotten several goals accomplished, and there are others that are either halfway done or I consider on-going goals (so can’t consider them ‘completed’ until my birthday).

So what goals are completed? Halfway? On-going, or just not started yet? Images for the drawings, paintings, and needlepoint projects are after the list.

Well here are the 44 goals that I wrote out on the evening of my 43rd birthday last year:

  1. Starting my freelance science, health, medical communications business. In progress–I have the website, and I’m slowly getting blog posts up. I’m still in the progress of creating a portfolio to have on the site as well to highlight the types of communication pieces I would enjoy creating for customers. The site: jessicamatts(dot)com
  2. Transition into a remote science/health/medical comms position. Need to have a portfolio (possibly) and need to start looking to see what companies are hiring remote comms workers. I really don’t want to have an hybrid or in-person job.
  3. Launching a YouTube channel. I have a YouTube channel…I just need to ‘rename/rebrand’ it, and figure out what the hell I’m going to talk about on it (whether it’s a mix of science and things or strictly a science/health/medical channel).
  4. Launch a podcast. Need to launch the YouTube channel first…so I’m not sure if this will happen before my birthday or not.
  5. Complete at least ten different Udemy courses: I’ve watched three; a minimum of seven more
    • Gods and Kings: The Art History of Mesopotamia & Arabia
    • Beginners guide to SEO for medical writers
    • Writing an Effective & Successful Business Plan
  6. Complete at least twelve different Skillshare courses: I’ve watched seven; a minimum of five more to go
    • Creating Your Dream Career: Uncovering & Apply Your Creative Strengths
    • Productivity Habits that Stick, Using Time Theming
    • Goal Setting for Creatives: play to your strengths & tap into flow
    • The Art of Setting Goals: Create Your Roadmap to Success
    • Creative business plan for artists: creative a thriving business
    • Creative journaling: getting started
    • Growing your creativity
  7. Read at least 44 non-fiction/historical fiction books: I’m a little over 2/3 of the way done with this one. I’ve read 30 & only have 14 more to go.
    • Monarchs of the Sea (The extraordinary 500-million year history of cephalopods) by Danna Staaf
    • Conquering your burnout: an actionable guide to overcome burnout by Veronica Llorca-Smith
    • Beyond Beautiful: A Practical Guide to being happy, confident and you in a looks-obsessed world by Anuschka Rees
    • Unfuck your brain: Using science to get over anxiety, depression, anger, freakouts, & triggers by Faith Harper
    • Things no one will tell fat girls: A handbook for unapologetic living by Jes Baker
    • Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • Body Positive Power: Because life is already happening and you don’t need flat abs to live it by Megan Jayne Crabbe
    • Flying Snakes & Griffin Claws: and other classical myths, historical oddities, and scientific curiosities by Adrienne Mayor
    • Letters to a Starseed by Rebecca Campbell
    • White Women: everything you already know about your own racism & how to be better by Regina Jackson & Saira Rao
    • Healthy at Every Size: The surprising truth about your weight by Linda Bacon, PhD
    • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson
    • I’m Not Yelling: A Black Woman’s Guide to Navigating the Workplace by Elizabeth Leiba
    • Pantesdrunk by Misha Rantanen
    • Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World by Eve Rodsky
    • Bust Your Fears (Rebel Diva #4): Three tools to help conquer fear by Tikiri Herath
    • Top 10 Most Interesting Dinosaurs by Daniel Boszo
    • What if it does work out: How a side hustle can change your life by Susie Moore
    • 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 More Discoveries from the Golden Age of Dinos by Sabrina Ricci with Garret Kruger
    • Waking up in the Winter: In Search of What Really matters at midlife by Cheryl Richardson
    • Becoming What you are: A concise guide to awakening the light within by Two Workers
    • B*tch don’t kill my vibe: How to stop worrying, end negative thinking, cultivate positive thoughts, & start living your best life (self help with a little sass) by Reese Owens
    • Pagan Portals: Sekhmet: Lady of Flame, Eye of Ra by Olivia Church
    • Pagan Portals: Isis: Great of Magic, She of 10,000 Names by Olivia Church
    • Things You Might Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza by Mosab Abu Toha
    • Just Tell Me What I Want: How to Find Your Purpose When You Have No Idea What it is by Sara Kravitz
    • Headstrong: 52 women who changed science & the world by Rachel Swaby
    • Just do the damn thing: how to sit your @ss down long enough to exert willpower, develop self discipline, stop procrastination, increase productivity…sh!t done (Self help with a little sass) by Reese Owens
    • Authentic: How to be yourself & Why it Matters by Stephen Joseph
  8. Become fluent in Spanish. I need to stick with a daily time to get onto Mondly to work on this and #9 as well
  9. Become proficient in Arabic. See above
  10. Learn to say hello in ten different languages. See #8
  11. Learn to say thank you in ten different languages. See #8
  12. Complete a 365-day photography challenge. Nope. Need to create a ‘schedule’/outline and add this to my 45 things before 45 list
  13. Monthly editorial calendars, weekly/daily to-do lists. This is an ongoing goal, and one I’ve been improving with over the past two or three months compared to the first few months last year.
  14. What is my definition of success? Finished:
    • Being curious, constantly learning, creative, present, productive & aware that not everyday is going to be rainbows & unicorns…sometimes they’re going to be thunderstorms & disasters.
    • Success is more than money, influence & power. It’s being a member of the global community, helping to improve society in whatever small way(s) I’m able to.
    • It’s being comfortable with what I have, doing what I can with what I have, while striving to be a little better tomorrow than I was today. I’m only in “competition” with the me I was yesterday.
  15. Create a vision board based on that definition. Still collecting ‘images/words/phrases’ to place on the vision board.
  16. Learn basic sign language. I think I bought an e-course on this topic.
  17. Get debt down by a quarter to half (based on where it is now). Not sure how well I’m doing..since I’m still in the planning stages of my businesses
  18. Continue getting into the best shape of my life. I do need to figure out what some metrics will be to aim for (heavy lifting or something…because currently its a little too vague still)
  19. Learning about body confidence. Ongoing–have read several book on the subject (see above)
  20. Create a happiness plan. Need to set this up during the next two months
  21. Daily mediation on-going
  22. Stretch daily on-going
  23. Hold a 90-second plank. Need to get on this one
  24. Develop & stick with a consistent exercise schedule. On the agenda for the week.
  25. Make some mosaic art
  26. Make some resin art. Semi-completed. I made a small ‘container’
  27. Draw/doodle, color & frame an original drawing. Completed. See below for the pictures
  28. Draw/doodle, paint & frame original drawings. Completed. Again, see below for the pictures
  29. Start making jewelry. Semi-started. Attempted to make an resin pendant
  30. Complete at least another six cross-stitch projects. In progress-I have one finished, and am currently working on a second large one. Not sure if I’ll get four smaller ones done or not before my birthday.
  31. Create my own calendar using my nature photographs. Debating on whether to do a 2025 or try to make a planner for 2026 with my own photographs
  32. Create at least one piece of wood-burnt art. Haven’t tried yet. I have the kit…just haven’t worked up the nerve to try yet.
  33. Monthly full & new moon goals. I’ve only missed Oct 2023 full moon posting. This is on-going
  34. Daily oracle card drawings. This is on-going. I need to determine the best time to actually also post them to the oracel card channel that I started on instagram
  35. Learn to make sushi. I have a sushi making ‘kit’ and cookbook in my amazon cart to order.
  36. Get a haircut. Since there is starting to be a spike in SARS-CoV2 cases again…not sure if this will happen before my birthday or not.
  37. Create a coloring book from various (uncolored) doodles/drawings. I just need to retake a bunch of photographs (to ensure that that pictures are ‘centered’) so kinda in progress
  38. Complete a Sudoku or crossword puzzle daily (a minimum of 60-day challenge). Currently about two-thirds of the way through the 60-day Sudoku challenge…may have also hit that mark (not sure if I started that on March 20 or not). Almost finished
  39. Complete at least five 30-day challenges. So far have completed at least 30 days of the Sudoku challenge. on-going.
  40. Read at least two ‘new’ (to me) banned books. Halfway done:
    • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  41. Read at least two ‘new’ (to me) classics
  42. Read at least one ‘new’ trilogy (or longer) series. Finished. Have read at least five to seven this year.
    • Lost & Found series by Catherine Cowles (five books–series is done)
    • Cottonwood Cove series by Laura Pavlov (five books–series is done)
    • Lakeshore U by L.A. Cotton (four books, not sure if there are more yet)
    • Kincaid Brothers by Kaylee Ryan (six books, plus another two to finish)
    • Playing to Win by Bella Matthews (three books, plus one more to finish)
    • The Defiant Kings by Bella Matthews (five books–series is done)
    • The Kings of Kroydon Hills by Bella Matthews (four books–series is done)
  43. Finish creating an inspiring work/crafts area
  44. Write a letter to my future self (again). Wrote one for me to read/open on either 12/31/2025 or 01/01/2026

The three pictures that I drew and colored with either colored pencils or markers.

Two of the four paintings that I’ve done. I did two watercolors & two acrylics (one of each for two different sizes–the 9×12 seen here & then 8×10).

The finished needlepoint project on the left & the progress of the other large one on the right.

But, since it isn’t a perfect world—I’ve ‘completed’ a few goals: doodling/drawing, coloring & framing at least one original drawing (I did three); doodling/drawing, painting & framing at least one original piece of art (I’ve done four); reading at least one ‘new’ trilogy (I’ve read at least two—truthfully probably closer to five now), determining what my definition of success is (still need to make the vision board), and writing a letter to my future self.

That’s five goals finished…and technically there are three others that are halfway finished (reading at least two banned books, doing at least a two-month challenge of attempting to solve a Sudoku puzzle each morning & creating some resin art). This means I’ve accomplished almost 11.5% of my goals (and if I add in the three halfway completed goals—I’m a little over 18.2% of the way). 

Several of the goals are ongoing goals—meaning I won’t consider them ‘finished’ until I hit my birthday (there are seven which accounts for almost 16% of the goals). So—that means there are 30 to 31 goals that I should still aim at trying to finish over the next four months). Though in all honesty I probably won’t become fluent in Spanish or proficient in Arabic in four months…these goals will possibly also be added to my 45 goals before 45 list, along with the new 365-day photography challenge.

In terms of reading goals: I’ve finished one (reading at least one ‘new’ trilogy or longer series; I think I have like five to seven actually listed above), I’m halfway done with another (reading at least two ‘new’ banned books), and I’m almost two-thirds of the way through the nonfiction/historical fiction challenge (I’ve read 30 books, which means only 14 more to go). I still need to read another ‘new’ banned book & two ‘new’ classics.

In terms of the continuously learning (aka e-courses), I increased the total number of courses for both Udemy & Skillshare—I’m now stating I will finish at least ten Udemy courses (I’ve done three—so I’m also a third of the way there); and I will finish at least twelve Skillshare courses (I’ve done seven—so I’m a little over halfway done ‘watching’ these courses).

Progress is measured in the baby-steps forward, the tasks being checked off the list—and an new goal list is being brainstormed to come into being on the eve of my 44th birthday. I’ll check in later (possibly next week) with the goal list that I’m aiming to accomplish before July 20.

No Comments BookscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessFull Moon GoalsHealthLevel 10 LifeLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesodds and endsoracle cardsPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdates

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)?

No Comments bullet journalscareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesMonth in Reviewno spend challengesReflections

Where is the focus needed: Time & Project Management

So…the moon will be entering the Aquarius constellation over the day or so…marking the second new moon of 2024. But, before looking ahead to the Aquarius new moon, I need to look back at the goals I set for the Capricorn new moon…and see how I did with each of them.

So what were the goals for the Capricorn new moon? They included:

  1. Work on developing my vision of where I would like to be in 3-5 years in regards to remote/contract/online freelance writing/blogging. In the same note, write out very specific goals/milestones that will help me achieve the said vision.
  2. Read at least one non-fiction book that I’ve started
  3. Finish at least one module of a personal/professional development course
  4. Start refreshing my Spanish again (or start learning Arabic) using the app Mondly

So how did I do with the above goals?

Developing a vision of where I want to be in three-to-five years:

This vision ties in with my new ‘definition’ of success. In three-to-five years, I have my debt paid off, a credit card (or two) canceled, and all other debt being paid off monthly.

I have two successful freelance businesses—which includes having a podcast & YouTube channel (that I do for fun), an online store to sell crafts, and several e-courses (covering a broad range of not only science topics, but history & social sciences as well).

Plus getting into the best shape of my life, creating & embracing my vision/version of minimalism, mediating more, and having my mental/emotional/spiritual health on an even keel as well. 

Have I figured out the monthly/quarterly/yearly goals to get there? Nope…not yet—but I have the vision…so I’m actually a little over halfway there—compared to the past.

Finish reading at least one non-fiction book:

I’ve actually finished the following:

  1. Letters to a Starseed by Rebecca Campbell
  2. White Women: Everything You Already Know about Your Racism & How to do Better by Regina Jackson & Saira Rao
  3. Healthy at Every Size: The Surprising Truth about Your Weight by Linda Bacon, PhD

These are three of the five non-fiction books that I’ve finished so far this year. The other two–I finished roughly right before the Capricorn new moon started…so they couldn’t count towards this list.

Finish at least part of a personal/professional development course:

Nope…while I did finish a very short e-course last month–it was before the start of the Capricorn new moon & can’t count towards the goal.

Start refreshing Spanish (or learning Arabic) on Mondly:

Nope…haven’t gotten into an consistent habit of doing this currently.

Four goals for the Capricorn new moon, and I managed to complete about half of them (reading & having a rough idea of where I would like to be in three-to-five years). The other two goals…all I can say is that I allowed doom scrolling and reading the news sidetrack me from these goals. Also the fact that I have yet to design/create/figure out the best ‘fluid’ schedule for the day/week/month.

I know the REALLY BIG PROBLEM…I try to put EVERYTHING on the calendar…I try to BLOCK OUT ALL TIME…make use of ALL TIME…be SUPER-PRODUCTIVE…and then I end up doing nothing—due to analysis-paralysis & that pesky imposter syndrome/inner critic. One of the goals for this month—create at least two really detailed outlines for topics related to the science/health/medical blog & at least one really detailed outline for a ‘blog’ series for this blog (I’m thinking of comparing different goals setting methods, time management, project management and so forth). These outlines will be the ‘framework’ for blog posts, infographics, posters and so forth. Plus–I can block time for just them in the weekly schedule.

My top strength is love of learning…but if I don’t develop a WORKING schedule that is tailored for ME…my top strength also becomes my top weakness. I also know that for certain projects—I need to write, pause, and then come back and edit. This is a problem mainly when I do my morning updates on Gaza for LinkedIn—I almost always overshoot the character limitation (which is 2974 characters—including spaces).

So, after I get this update posted…I’ll be reflecting back on how I’m (more or less) spending my days…to figure out where I’m wasting time (doom scrolling), and whether or no I need to try to download yet another productivity app that will allow me to ‘block’ access to certain sites during the day (so I don’t ‘doom scroll). This HAS to happen…because I really don’t want to try to do an 9-5 in-person job. I don’t think that will work anymore. I’ve grown a little too accustomed to doing what I want, when I want.

So…2024 will be the year that I continue in the direction of freelance work (with the extremely small possibility of a remote job—as the steady paycheck for awhile would be nice), becoming better at both time & project management. It will also be a year that I develop a “working” relationship with my inner critic/imposter syndrome (that I’m going to name ‘Carla’).

In addition—this is the year of authenticity, growth, creativity/curiosity, & prosperity.

How did your Capricorn goals go? Successes or near misses? And what is your go-to word for 2024?

No Comments AstrologyBooksNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Reading..goal-setting..choosing my words: Review of Cancer Full Moon

Okay…we’re going to be heading into the first full moon of 2024 tonight (and I’m behind schedule as usual)…which means that before looking ahead to the Leo Full Moon, I need to look back at the goals I had set for the Cancer full moon. 

It’s 2024…and we’re sliding down a slope towards a regional conflict that could morph into a global conflict. The issues are within West Asia (Gaza, the occupied West Bank and the genocide Israel is carrying out). I’ve managed one update here on the blog…hoping to do it at least twice a month, and once I start doing more research on other conflicts, having a weekly update.

But this post is to look at the goals I’d set for the Cancer Full Moon last month and how I did with each of them. The goals that I’d set included:

  1. Determine the four top goals for 2024 and come up wiht a good tracking system
  2. Determine my words (or phrase) for 2024
  3. Nightly oracle card drawings and mediation
  4. Draft a three-to-five year plan (with yearly/quarterly/monthly/bi-weekly goals)
  5. Finish at least one more non-fiction book
  6. Work through part of a personal/professional growth course.

So how did I do with the goals?

Determine the four top goals for 2024…and come up wiht a good tracking system

The four TOP goals for 2024 are:

  1. Getting the freelance business(es) launched. This will also include a YouTube chnnel, possible podcast (by the end of the year), figuring out how to monetize the creative blog, and possibly an Etsy store (or other site) for selling crafts.
  2. Getting the debt down
  3. Continuing to heal my relationship with food and movement
  4. Continuing working on hitting goals from my 44 things before 44 goal list, and 1001 goals in 1001 days.

I’m still working on developing a good tracking system for the goals.

Determining my words (or phrase) for 2024:

The words: growth, challenge, compassion, curiosity, and creativity.

Why these words? Well 2024 is going to be a challenging year (in more than one way)—which will mean I will be growing, I’m naturally creative and curious—so they will help me navigate the challenging year and determine the best ways to ‘grow’, and compassion is needed to help heal the world.

I haven’t thought of a phrase yet…though it may just be the hashtags: #WTF and #WTH considering the state of the world.

Nightly oracle card drawings and meditation:

Yes, I’ve been doing nightly oracle card drawings (they’re daily on Thursday—as they’re part of my Thoughtful Thursday series on LinkedIn), and I usually am able to manage a couple minutes mediating.

Drafting a three-to-five year plan (with yearly/quarterly/monthly/bi-weekly goals)

This is still a work in progress. Why? Well…we’re still watching a genocide being live-streamed. The occupying force that is committing the genocide is looking to go after other neighbors, and I’m seriously concerned that this is going to spiral into WWIII…so as I continue to work on drafting my ‘long-term’ plan…I may cut the time down to two-to-three years…which could very well be how long humanity has left…

Finish at least one more non-fiction book:

I’d actually finished three non-fiction books during the past month:

  1. Body Positive Power: Because Life is Already Happening & You Don’t Need Flat Abs to Live It by Megan Jayne Crabbe
  2. Flying Snakes & Griffin Claws: and other classical myths, historical oddities, and scientific curiousities by Adrienne Mayor
  3. Letters to a Starseed by Rebecca Campbell

Currently I’m bouncing back and forth between the following non-fiction books:

  1. Healthy at Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD (53% done)
  2. The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017 by Rashid Khalidi (26% done)
  3. Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution by Cat Bohannon (basically just started ~3% done)
  4. American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodward (basically just started ~4% done)
  5. They Call Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom by Ahed Tamini & Dean Takruri (~10% read)
  6. Gaza in Crisis: A Reflection on the US-Israeli War on the Palestinians by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe (55% done)
  7. White Women: Everything you already know about your own racism and how to be better by Regina Jackson & Saira Rao (72% done)

There are about another 500 that are waiting to be started…I have a habit of buying books before finish about a third of the ones I already own.

Working through part of a personal/professional growth course

Earlier this month I watched an short art history course on Udemy: Gods and Kings: The Art History of Mesopotamia and Arabia.

It was a very short course—only about an hour long; which is one of two things I had against the course. I felt like the instructor could have done more on each of the topics; in addition—there should have been some type of ‘discalimer’ stating that you should take her prehistory art history course before taking this one. I found it slightly distracting that she kept referring back to ‘previous’ lectures—which in actuality would be a ‘previous course’.

But other than those two things—it was a good course for being only about an hour long, and trying to cram thousands of years of art history into that period (especially for the two regions covered). I’d like to see an more extensive course offered for the art history of the Arabian peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, the UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain).

In conclusion:

So…I think I managed to meet most of the goals (long-term planning is always an ongoing process…especially when witnessing an genocide & the lack of compassion that majority of the world is showing). I also know that I’m running behind by about a day or so in posting things to this blog…and I’m woefully behind on posting to the science/health/medical blog…

One e-course was completed…I have a goal of trying to complete at least eighteen different e-courses before June of 2026; and I’d technically like to complete about a third of those before my birthday in September. One of the things I’m going to be doing is (especially since I’ve bought SO many e-courses over the past few years on different sites) to focus on courses that will help me launch my businesses this year.

I also have a goal of reading at least 100 non-fiction books by June of 2026–and I also have the goal of trying to read 44 of those before my birthday. I’ve managed to read ten (between Sept of 2023 and today)…so to reach the goal by my birthday–only 33 more books; and I’m pretty certain I’ll make the 100 books by June 2026–since I’m a tenth of the way there already.

I’m pretty certain I’ve closed the career chapter(s)/section on working in higher education, and actually have ‘written’ a short story within my life story on reasons why I don’t think I’d be a good fit within industry…so I am slowly working on writing that next section of my life.

What goal from the December Cancer Full Moon are you proud to have accomplished?

No Comments AstrologyBooksFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Start of a new year–planning, planning, and more planning

So the moon entered the Capricorn constellation some time over the past day or two…it’s only January 13, and I’m already slightly behind schedule. In terms of setting goals last year based on the new and full moons—I missed quite a few months, as 2023 was not a good year…at all…for anyone.

One of the goals this year is to set goals for both the new and full moon each month, and try to accomplish at least half of them…or at least have ‘started’ half of them, as I usually have some ‘on-going’ goals (such as working through e-courses, reading, or trying to listen to podcasts).

So, back to the first new moon of the year, which is moving through the Capricorn constellation, and according to “Moonlogy: Working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, there are several things that one can do during this time:

  1. Plan for the next year
  2. Be ambitious with your plans for the next year (or few years)
  3. Be kind (to both yourself and others)
  4. Cede control (don’t micromanage or manipulate others)
  5. Establish traditions (also working on your reputation [both personal & professional])

What is nice about life under the Capricorn constellation—all items listed above can be accomplished without having to be in ‘crowds’—since there are variants of COVID that are popping up again, it’s winter, and I’m not much for large gatherings currently.

There is another aspect of the moon cycles—and that is the zone (which is associated with your signs [there are your star, rising, and moon signs]). I usually do all my predictions using my rising sign: Scorpio, though I could do it with my star sign (which is Virgo), or even my moon sign (which is Pisces). Just like the constellations, we pass through each zone twice each year (once for the new moon and once for the full moon).

So this new moon in Capricorn is entering my third house, or my communication zone. This is the time to concentrate on communication, and spending time with friends and siblings. So there are several things that one can do during this time (again I’m taking this from “Moonology”):

  1. Take a public speaking course
  2. Read the books you’ve got stacked up
  3. Take a short trip
  4. Hang out with your siblings
  5. Study a foreign language
  6. Really listen to others
  7. Write those letters you’ve been putting off

Well…while we technically aren’t in the middle of a pandemic (we’re in the ‘endemic’ stage)…money is tight, so there are still a few things that probably won’t be happening:

  1. Hanging with siblings…though this deals more with the older sibling who lives out of state..I see my younger sibling a litte more frequently, since he lives in town
  2. Taking a short trip. While I’ve gotten my vaccine & one booster shot–money is an issue, and truthfully, while there are plaecs I’d like to visit..they can wait until I can afford to travel and it’s warmer.
  3. Taking a public speaking course…this is on this list due to money, and the new COVID strain running around.

Therefore, if I were to combine the two lists and create goals from them, my goals will include:

  1. Developing my vision of where I want to be in 3-to-5 years in regards to my freelance/blogging & crafts businessses. In addition start drawing out the ‘road-map’ to get there.
  2. Finish reading at least one of the non-fiction books I’ve started
  3. Finish at least one module of a e-course
  4. Start refreshing my Spanish again (or start learning Arabic) using Mondly

I know what I want to do with my future—a combination of freelance science/health/medical communications/education along with the crafts/hobby/personal/professional growth blogging and potential monetizing of selling crafts. Last year had so many stumbling blocks that I only got certain ‘pages’ up and live towards the year. I have numerous ideas—I just need to get them all down on paper, mindmap/brainstorm, and then pick different projects that I can move between (say blog posts, creating infographics, posters/slide-decks and so forth). 

That also means I need to develop (and stick) with a good posting schedule for the blogs, and different social media sites…plus start writing on other sites (such as Medium). Currently, one hurdle I’d dealing with—is trying to edit as I write. While I logically know I need to write, take a break and then come back and edit…I’ve fallen back into the semi-bad habit of trying to edit as I write…which makes things go three times as long.

2024…a new year…but continuing in the direction of freelance work, possibly remote (a steady paycheck would be nice for awhile), and becoming better at time & project management. Things I’m going to try to ‘shed’ this year—-the negative self talk, the self-doubt/comparing myself to others, and working at ‘taming’ my inner critic/imposter syndrome (‘Carla’)…

I forget what words I’d chose for 2023…they could have been similar to the words I’d chose for 2021 and 2022. While I’m keeping a few of those words, I’m adding a new word for 2024: authenticity; the other words are growth, creativity/curiosity, and prosperity.

What word (or words) have you chosen for 2024?

No Comments AstrologyBookscareerfinancesHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

‘As the World Crumbles’ Episode 1: Gaza & the West Bank

So…

I’d stated that one of the goals I had this year was to become a better global citizen. That means educating myself on various global conflicts…unlearn and relearn various times in history. One way I’m doing that is sharing an weekly update here on the blog…This weekly update is starting with what is currently happening within Gaza & the West Bank–but will later include topics such as what is going on in the Congo, Sudan, Yemen, and various other areas of the world.

Basically—this is a ‘recap’ post of my daily posts that I’ve been doing on LinkedIn and Instagram. Now, I know that there are going to be people that tell me to stay in my ‘lane’ and not write about global conflicts since I’m not a political scientist…and since ‘global conflicts’ technically isn’t my ‘niche’…

Well..what I will say to those people…’there’s the door…unfollow this particular blog…or maybe ask yourself why the post upset you…you might have some ‘unlearning and relearning’ to do as well.

Today marks 91 days…91 days since Israel launched an attack on Gaza. Before anyone tries to throw ‘self-defense’ and ‘but…Hamas’…at me—international lawyers have stated that when you occupy a territory (Like Israel has been occupying Gaza & the West Bank)—you loose that argument & ‘defense’…you have no rights to ‘self-defense’…but the other side does have the right to resist.

Now…all my updates to LinkedIn and Instagram come from summarizing live news briefs from Al Jazeera news, where they’re running (and updating) a daily blog on what’s going on. The numbers cited come from either Al Jazeera or the Euro Rights Monitoring group.

So in basically three months:

Over 30,000 Palestinians are dead, missing, or being ‘detained’ for questioning. It was just released earlier this week that 51 of the women & children being ‘detained’ from Gaza are now being held in the Damon prison.

Over 58,000 Palestinians have been wounded, and thousands have had to undergo surgeries without the benefit of anesthesia…thousands of children have lost at least one limb.

Approximately 90% of the population within Gaza has been displaced and is homeless. Winter is arrived, and people now are also (unfortunately) freezing to death as well at night.

Basically everyone within Gaza is starving…people are only able to have single meal once (or sometimes every other day) a day. There is also limited clean water coming into the area as well.

Over 70% of hospitals and clinics are non-functional. Those that are still ‘functional’ have to deal with dwindling medical supplies, limited staff (as numerous doctors & nurses have been killed or ‘detained’ for questioning), and being targeted by missiles and snipers.

Over 100 journalists have been killed in three months—this is more than the number of journalists killed during WWII, the Korean, or Vietnam wars—and all of those lasted a hell of a lot longer.

200 historical and/or archaeological sites have been destroyed—including the oldest church and mosque within Gaza.

This is also an ‘ethnic cleansing’ against the Palestinian Christians as well…there are less than 700 living within Gaza.

The history of the conflict between Palestinians and Israel go further back than Oct 7 2023. The problems and conflicts started in the early 1900s…before the state of Israel was established. There is history that has been left out of history books (or rewritten to make the west & Israel look ‘good’ and to try to paint the Palestinians as the ‘problem’). 

I’m still educating myself on the past 100+ years (basically from 1917 to present), and have bought the following books:

  1. Palestine, Peace not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter
  2. The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017 by Rashid Khalidi (I’m about a quarter of the way through this book)
  3. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe
  4. The Crime of Nationalism: Britain, Palestine, and Nation-Building on the Fringe of Empire by Matthew Kraig Kelley
  5. The Biggest Prison on Earth: A History of the Occupied Territories by Ilan Pappe
  6. The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a US Spy Ship by James Scott
  7. Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History by Nur Masalha
  8. They Call Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom by Ahed Tamini & Dean Takruri
  9. Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom by Norman Finkelstein
  10. Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on the US-Israeli War on the Palestinians by Noam Chomsky & Ilan Pappe (I’m about a third of the way through this book)

Before anyone say’s that the reading list is ‘bias’ towards Palestinian voices—Ilan Pappe is an Israeli historian…and currently I’m more interested in hearing the story from the side of the oppressed than the side of the oppressor.

I’m also going to start learning of some of the other global conflicts that are occurring (the genocide in the Congo, the ongoing civil war in Sudan, the issues within Yemen, and other problems throughout the world). While there are usually two sides to each conflict…the current conflict in Gaza is the result of 75 years of suppression, death, destruction, and force exiled. While violence shouldn’t be the answer—sometimes it is the only thing that the bully/oppressor understands.

So…that is the recap of the last three months of the genocide and ethnic cleansing that has been going on in Gaza. We’re in 2024–and ‘Never Again’ is suppose to mean exactly that ‘Never Again’. It’s sad, frustrating, and maddening that this happening and being carried ‘live’ across social media. The conflict has also shown exactly how little power the general assembly of the UN has, and how the permanent members will abuse their powers to keep others out of ‘trouble’.

No Comments Current EventsHistoryPoliticsUpdatesWorld Events

Looking back at the dumpster fire that was 2023

Okay…It’s Monday…and January…and 2024…I didn’t opened the letter last night that I wrote to myself the previous year…because I knew that nothing within that letter was able to happen last year…2023 was a shit-show…but life seems to be shit-show after shit-show..especially since the SARS-CoV2 virus showed up in 2020…

While I’ve gravitated towards the career pivot—building a freelance career that encompasses not science, health, and medical literacy/education—but crafts/hobbies and various aspects of personal/professional growth (health/wellness, finances, spirituality, and developing my own vision of not only minimalism but success)…a good portion of the world seems to have lost its damn mind…

2020 was when the SARS-CoV2 virus made it around the world…and created a pandemic that lasted for a few years. If we had competent leaders in 2020…I don’t think it would have swelled into such a problem…and was the initial spark for pivoting towards science/health/med comms.

I wanted to improve how findings/results and such were relied to the public…because public health should NEVER be politicized…when it becomes a ‘political’ issue…it means lives are lost…and it started the spiral. Everyone either lost a family member or friend, or knows of someone who lost someone to the pandemic…

Fall 2021…when we took our young boxer mix in for another allergy shot…and shortly thereafter found out she developed a rare side effect—hemolytic anemia. Jump forward to spring 2022—she’d been getting weaned from the immunosuppressant meds, her allergies kicked in…and we lost her to a relapse of the anemia…

Fall 2022…mom went into the hospital. She’d finally scared herself enough that she was finally willing to get an medical evaluation…what we thought was only going to be a few days—stretched into nine months…then two and half weeks in a skilled nursing facility getting a little more rehab; being home for less than a day before heading back into the hospital…only for her to pass in emergency surgery the following week (May 2023)…

June 2023…saw the loss of two animals (Pye and Boozer), and the adoption of Apep, our black-mouth cur mix dog. He’s somewhere between 60 and 75 pounds, way too smart for our own good, and lovable goof. He gets along with Chaos, and harasses the hell out of the cats.

September 2023…I’ve had better birthdays…we lost Waffles (our Russian Blue cat) on my birthday last year…which meant we’re currently down to one (Pancakes—my black cat), whose health is bouncing around okay and not great.

Then we come to October 2023…the month when the world lost it’s mind. Yes…whatever the hell happened on Oct 7th was horrible. BUT what has happened since has been nothing but GENOCIDE. Israel is systemically trying to wipe out (or drive out) the Palestinian people from both Gaza and the West Bank. As of today (Jan 1 2024) over 30,000 Palestinians are either dead or missing in Gaza, and over 57,000 are wounded. Hundreds have been killed in the West Bank, thousands injured, and thousands more ‘detained’ for questioning. 

While majority of the world has been demanding a ceasefire for the past two months…thanks to the US’s blind backing of Israel—the US ambassadors to the UN have vetoed any resolution within the Security Council that calls for an outright ceasefire. They abstained from voting on a extremely watered down humanitarian aid resolution last month.

We’re entering 2024 with numerous genocides being carried out around the world—and one being documented daily, but not stopped or condemned..and I wonder if it’s because the genocide isn’t happening on European soils this time??

When did ‘Never Again’ become ‘Everyday’, and ‘Never Again’ BUT only for ‘selected’ groups of individuals?

Since late October…I’ve realized that there are aspects of history that have been left out of books..whether they’re world history books (such as the Nakba of 1948), or state history books (such as the Tulsa Race Massacre or the Osage murders)…and now I have a goal of becoming a better informed global citizen. Which means I will probably be doing more current event posts within this blog–possibly a weekly recap of the news that I’m sharing daily on LinkedIn and Facebook.

One thing I had quit doing early last year—was my monthly reviews of the previous months. This was in part due to dealing with various things related to my mom being in the hospital, trying to keep my mental health on an even-keel and dealing with a thousand and one other things as well. I’m hoping to get back into do those reviews this year, as I managed to get back into do the new moon & full moon goals towards the end of the year. 

So what are some of the things I managed to get accomplish last year (even with everyone else losing their damn minds)? Well…I managed to read a good number of both fiction and non-fiction books:

Non-fiction:

  1. Madly, Deeply the diaries of Alan Rickman by Alan Rickman
  2. Creativity: A short & cheerful guide by John Cleese
  3. Innercise: The new science to unlock your brain’s hidden power by John Assaraf
  4. It’s okay that you’re not okay by Megan Devine
  5. Oracle Cards 101 by Sunny Johnson
  6. Survivors: The Animals & Plants that time left behind by Richard Foley
  7. Unfuck your brain: using science to get over anxiety, depression, anger, freakouts, and triggers by Faith Harper
  8. Monarchs of the Sea (The Extraordinary 500-million year history of cephalopods) by Danna Staaf
  9. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  10. How to GRASP Confidence and own your power by Tara LaFon Gooch
  11. Conquering your burnout-an actionable guide to overcome burnout by Veronica Llorca-Smith
  12. Beyond Beautiful: A practical guide to being happy, confidence, and you in a looks-obsessed world by Anuschka Rees
  13. Things No One will tell Fat Girls: an handbook for unapologetic living by Jes Baker
  14. Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundation of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis

Fiction:

  1. State of Bliss (First Family #6) by Marie Force
  2. Offside Hearts by Nikki Lawson
  3. Born to be Badger (Honey Badger Chronicles #5) by Shelly Laurenston
  4. Iced Out (Heston U #1) by Veronica Eden
  5. The Enforcer (Lakeside University Hockey #1) by Avery Keenan
  6. Jackson (Mercy Ring #1) by Nyssa Kathryn
  7. Declan (Mercy Ring #2) by Nyssa Kathryn
  8. Cole (Mercy Ring #3) by Nyssa Kathryn
  9. Ryker (Mercy Ring #4) by Nyssa Kathryn
  10. The Devil You Know by Veronica Eden
  11. Chase: and the girl who came back by Amber Davis
  12. Mine to Have (Southern Wedding #1) by Natasha Madison
  13. Mine to Hold (Southern Wedding #2) by Natasha Madison
  14. Mine to Cherish (Southern Wedding #3) by Natasha Madison
  15. Mine to Love (Southern Wedding #4) by Natasha Madison 
  16. Mine to Take (Southern Wedding #5) by Natasha Madison
  17. Mine to Promise (Southern Wedding #6) by Natasha Madison
  18. Mine to Honor (Southern Wedding #7) by Natasha Madison
  19. Someone to Love (Wild Widows #3) by Marie Force
  20. Spymaster (Dragon Knights #18) by Bianca D’Arc
  21. Too Close to Home by Abbie Zanders
  22. Where We Belong (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #8) by Claudia Burgoa
  23. The Comeback Pact (Warner University Bullldogs #1) by E.M. Moore
  24. Varsity Series Box Set by Ginger Scott
  25. The Broken Vows by Catharina Maura
  26. Rules of the Game (Rule Breakers #2) by J. Wilder
  27. Rule Number Five (Rule Breakers #1) by J. Wilder
  28. The Temporary Wife by Catharina Maura
  29. The Wrong Bride by Catharina Maura
  30. The Unwanted Marriage by Catharina Maura
  31. Rule Breaker (Wild Card #1) by Nikki Hall
  32. State of Denial (First Family #5) by Marie Force
  33. Wicked Hearts (The Hearts of Swayers Bend #5) by Ivy Layne
  34. Billionaire Unreachable—Wyatt (California Billionaires #5) by J.S. Scott
  35. Finally Found You (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #7) by Claudia Burgoa
  36. One Too Many (Truth in Lies #1) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  37. Two Secrets Kept (Truth in Lies #2) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  38. Three Outs (Truth in Lies #3) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  39. Four Seconds Gone (Truth in Lies #4) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  40. Five Goodbyes (Truth in Lies #5) by Melody Anne & John Henley
  41. Jasmine’s Homecoming (Anderson Heirs #3) by Melody Anne
  42. Forever Goals: Rixon High Epilogue by L.A. Cotton
  43. Hurricane After Dark (Gansett Island #26) by Marie Force
  44. Meant for Me (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #6) by Claudia Burgoa
  45. How Much I Need (Miami Nights #5) by Marie Force
  46. Jacob’s Challenge (Anderson Heirs #2) by Melody Anne
  47. The Way of Us (Paradise Bay Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  48. The Long & Winding Road (Butler VT #9) by Marie Force
  49. Truly You (Luna Harbor #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  50. Finding the Road to Us (Wilder Brothers #6) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  51. Best Friend Temptation (Montgomery Ink Legacy #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  52. Stay Here with Me (Wilder Brothers #5) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  53. Longtime Crush (Montgomery Ink Legacy #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  54. Love Under Two Rebels (Lusty, Texas #47) by Cara Covington
  55. Coming Home to Us (Wilder Brothers #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  56. Happily Ever Never (Montgomery Ink Legacy Novella) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  57. At First Meet (Montgomery Ink Legacy #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  58. Sweet Noel (Anderson Heirs #1) by Melody Anne

Yes…all fifty-eight of these books are romance (of some sub-genera)…but these are my go-to genera when I’m in a off mood, feeling blue, down, or whatever…and 2023 had more of the ‘negative’ emotions than it did of the ‘happy/positive’ emotions.

Fifty-eight fiction books read…and that number is a very small percent of the number of books that I bought last year, in addition to the number I downloaded on the ‘load your kindle with free books’ days…also fourteen non-fiction book read…also a very small percentage of my non-fiction book list (which grew by probably by a hundred books or so last year). A goal for 2024—not to add any books to the non-fiction list, and to read at least 24 of them; and not to randomly buy fiction books…work my way through the ones I have (plus the pre-orders). I know that there are a handful of authors that I’ll buy books from when they announce publication dates.

I know I worked through possibly a half a dozen e-courses (between Jan-March & then again in September)…I just didn’t really write down that those courses were (I think I downloaded a certificate or two of completion)…

I worked on crafts….finished several—including drawing/doodling, coloring and framing several large drawings:

Large colored & framed doodle…under the sea…my vision

Under the sea…version #2

Mix of dragon eyes and abstract faces

A large needlepoint:

Currently the largest abstract needlepoint project that I’ve finished.

Plus numerous doodles. I’ve also started working on a new afghan–and am hoping to have that project finished by summer.

Going into 2024 I have one REALLY BIG & SCARY GOAL:

Launching the freelance businesses (science/health/med comms/education; and the craft/hobby), and possibly setting up an Etsy store (or other online store) for selling crafts. 

It’s time to start getting serious on the writing for science/health/med comms & health, and figuring out how to earn money via freelance, crafts, and who knows what other side hustle.

Other goals for 2024 include:

  1. Reading at least 24 non-fiction books and reading at least 60 fiction books (with writing at least twenty mini-book reviews)
  2. Continue working on mending my relationship with food & movement; and continue working on improving/healing my mental/emotional/spiritual health as well.
  3. Pick a ‘non-science’ topic and develop ‘niche’ knowledge on it
  4. Write/research/post to each blog at least twice a month…it will probably be more on the creative/hobby/reflective blog—but for the science/health/med one I’m starting ‘slow’.
  5. Write 52 mini-reviews/blurbs on different research papers/topics (basically review one science/health/medical paper a week).
  6. Plus other goals from my 101 goals in 1001 days challenge.

2024 is going to be an extremely scary year…between the powder-keg that West Asia has become and the fact that it is election year here in the states…while I can’t control everything–I’m going pave my path…writing more science, health, medical pieces. Writing more personal/professional growth pieces, creative/hobby pieces, more time on crafts & hobbies..and work at also becoming a better global citizen.

What is your BIG & SCARY goal for 2024?

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerCraftsfinancesHealthno spend challengesodds and endsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualityUpdatesYear in Review