Author: jessimatts

Meditation, Reading, & Long-term goal setting: Cancer Full Moon

There wasn’t actually a Cancer full moon last year—mainly because the Cancer full moon in 2020, happened shortly before the end of the year (it fell on Dec 29, 2020). Tonight (or possibly last night), marks the first full moon of 2022. It is also the smallest full moon of the year (or the first micro-full moon). This also means that the month is a little over half way over, and 2022 is officially off and running.

So, what are some questions that one can reflect on during this time? If one looks at the book: ‘Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles’ by Yasmin Boland, there are several questions, and they are:

Have I been insecure, clingy, and no fun this month?

Have I been coming at what I want sideways, instead of tackling it head-on?

Have I been sulky, moody, brooding, or manipulative? Hmmm?

Have I been secretive and possibly even a tad paranoid?

Have I had enough family time, or time with people who feel like family?

If I were to number the above questions one to five, I think that this year my answers would be:

  1. I haven’t really been insecure, clingy, or not fun this month. In terms of insecurity—I may be feeling a little insecure in my job search, and trying to start up a freelance business, but that is totally normal (plus I realized that my ‘biggest failure’ is playing it safe and not stepping outside my comfort zone). I’ve never really been a clingy type of person, and since we’re still in the middle of the pandemic—yes, I’m totally boring and I stay at home.
  2. I would probably say that this is a small yes—I’ve been working around the issue of job transition, setting up a freelance business, networking and everything else instead of tackling the various issues (goes back to what I realized my ‘biggest failure’ was).
  3. I don’t think I’ve been sulky or manipulative. Moody or brooding—sometimes yes I have been either of those things. We’re still in a pandemic, and I’m slowly getting tired of all the anti-science/anti-vaccine people that are prolonging the damn thing.
  4. I haven’t been paranoid, secretive—maybe. One thing I’ve realized is that going forward with the idea of launching a freelance business or even getting a remote/contract position—I need to link the blog/website to my professional profile on LinkedIn. Not that many people know that I’ve been running a blog for the past four and a half years—it isn’t something I’m ashamed of—but I didn’t share it with many only because I wasn’t wanting to deal with any potential negative comments and so forth.
  5. There is nothing but family time—we’re still in the middle of the pandemic. I’m still self-isolating, and the only people I’m around (without a mask) are family.

The Cancer full moon is also passing through my 9th house (or my ‘Big Picture’ zone). This is the time to deal with issues relating to travel, study, and so forth. There are two questions that you can ask yourself in regards to the 9th house and the Cancer full moon, and they are:

Have you been fussing too much over the details of your latest problems or tasks?

Is your life and mind expanding or narrowing?

If I were to number the above questions one and two, my answers would be as followed:

  1. Yes, I probably have been fussing too much over the details (I call it over-thinking, and analysis-paralysis) for various things. I’m currently trying to rework various things to start looking for remote writing positions. I’ve been overthinking looking for the job ads (to find key words and phrases), I’ve also been overthinking how to rewrite my resume (which has to be done, since now it is mesh-mash of things). One problem has been that I didn’t keep the greatest ‘record’ of achievements throughout the years, so I’m trying to pull them from my CV.
  2. I’m working on making sure that my life and mind are expanding. I’m slowly working on stretching my comfort, bounce (I added this zone in), and stretch zones while shrinking my risk and die zones.

There has been some improvement over the past twelve and a half months–I have a direction (possibly two) in terms of career that I’m thinking of pursuing (which is more than I can say really at the beginning of last year), I’ve acknowledge my burnout, and still work on improving (not slipping/falling back into it), and I’ve just been making baby steps forward.

I’m slowly working on trying to do more than just science things—as I remembered how much I’ve enjoyed history, geography, and other social sciences (not to mention art history and the humanities). I’m trying to remember to spend some time doing crafts (photography or maybe starting another cross-stitch project).

The goals for this full moon period are going to include:

  1. Nightly oracle card drawings and meditation
  2. Draft a three-to-five year plan (with yearly/quarterly/monthly/bi-weekly goals)
  3. Finish at least one more non-fiction book
  4. Work through at least another three-to-five videos (or another one-to-two modules) of an personal/professional development e-course.

Finally remember: Progress over Perfection, and You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.

The combination of growth, creativity, and curiosity will lead to happiness and prosperity.

What are your plans for this first (and only) micro-super moon period?

No Comments AstrologycareerFull Moon GoalsHealthLifestyle ChallengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Getting back to reading & meditating: Full Moon Goals in Review

So, we’re going to be entering the first full moon of 2022 tomorrow (or possibly even today, depending on where you are in the world). This means that the month is halfway over, and my fingers are still crossed that 2022 is going to go a little more smoothly than 2021 did—but before looking ahead to Cancer full moon, I need to reflect on the Gemini full moon goals.

So what were some of the goals that I set for the Gemini full moon? They included:

  1. Finish setting up my master 2022 habit tracking journal. I’d decided to buy a larger bullet/dot journal and place all (or almost all) habit trackers that I’d been trying to use during 2021 into a single journal. This way, it should save me time overall during 2022, when I don’t have to copy them back in for the next month.
  2. Start a non-fiction book. I’d been lax on my reading (even fiction) for a couple of weeks, so I’m trying to get back into a reading habit (may have to ‘remove’ the games from the kindle).
  3. Continue to work on improving my evening/afternoon meditations.
  4. Figure out an schedule/calendar for the blog/website heading into 2022 and beyond. Since I’m really leaning in the direction of writing—I need to become a little more consistent in posting, as I realized the past few months I haven’t posted as much as I had earlier in the year).

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. I have my master 2022 habit-tracking journal more-or-less done—the pages are labeled, I just need to finish drawing in the boxes from about April through December.
  2. I’ve slowly gotten back into bouncing between fiction and non-fiction books. So far, I’ve managed to finish: Work Quilting by Vicki Walton (hopefully will have a mini-book review written in a week or so). I’m also currently reading ‘The Slight Edge’ by Jeff Olson, and ‘Girl Take Back Your Career’ by Solange Lope.
  3. Slowly working on improving my evening meditation—I think that I need to get back into the habit of candlelight meditation and/or meditating in the dark. I’ve been doing my oracle card drawing and then trying to meditate on the message of at least one of the cards…the ‘quiet’ reflection period doesn’t last that long…
  4. Still working on the figuring out the schedule/calendar for the blog. After allowing myself to quit setting up weekly to-do lists in September—my productivity fell, not totally but enough that my inner critic grabbed the ‘wheel’ again. I have plenty of ideas for topics to research and write on—I just have to constantly remind myself that this is a continuous journey of learning, exploring, creating, and sharing. Therefore, I will try to set a minimum goal in terms of blog posts and pages added—if I surpass the minimum number of posts, great; if I fall short, I’ll evaluate what possible went wrong and try to ‘adjust’ my course.

So I managed to get basically three-fourths of the goals I set out to accomplish for the end of December/beginning of January completed.

2021 continued the roller-coaster events of 2020 (namely in terms of the ongoing pandemic), but I slowly started to improve in different areas: namely in setting goals for each new and full moon period (sometimes a day or two late—but they were set), actually getting several mini-book reviews written and posted to the blog and other sites, but also saw me getting ‘stuck’ in other areas (namely trying to curb the impulsive purchases).

But—progress is what I’m aiming for, not perfection. ‘Perfection’ is what the inner critic wants, that way she can keep me ‘stuck’ in my comfort zone. 2022, is going to be the year that I keep trying stretch the comfort and bounce zones, and slowly shrink the ‘die’ zone (namely possibly move those tasks/items into the ‘risk’ zone, as the ‘risk’ zone becomes the new ‘stretch’ zone).

Each day is a blank slate—my goal is to make the most of each of those slates, to where by the end of 2022 I’ve managed to accomplish several large goals: transition to the remote writing position, rework/rebrand the blog to start landing small freelance jobs, and slowly but surely find my online tribe.

With tomorrow marking the first full moon of 2022—I’m sending out happy thoughts and vibes to everyone, with hopes that this year goes more smoothly than the past two years.

Namaste.

No Comments Uncategorized

Review: Dusk Unveiled. Fated Mates, A Curse, and More

Welcome back to Ravenwood, Pennsylvania–a town both like and unlike others.

If you haven’t read the first book in the series (Dawn Unearthed)–I would suggest you stop here, and go and read Sage & Rome’s story before continuing…

Dusk Unveiled picks up shortly after Dawn Unearthed, and features Laurel and Jaxton.

Laurel is the fire witch of the coven–who is unable to fully use her powers due to the Christopher family curse.

Jaxton Dark is the leader of the local hawk shifters, and a ‘fixer’ within the town.

While they know they’re mates—Laurel refuses to cement the bond as she strives to protect those she loves…

While everyone is still recovering from the last battle and the lives lost—their enemies don’t waste time and attack again…

Can they find a way to break the Christopher family curse before they lose each other?

Is the coven strong enough to repel Oriel’s latest attack?

Is there a traitor hiding within Ravenwood?

The answers to these questions and more—lie within the pages of ‘Dusk Unveiled’.

I loved the second installment of the Ravenwood Coven trilogy, and reading Laurel and Jax’s story.

There was an ‘unexpected’ twist at the end of the book—and I’m looking forward to the third and final book (Rowen and Ash’s story) to see how the coven handles the twist and to see Rowen and Ash get their happily-ever-after.

I’ve always enjoyed paranormal romance books, and the Ravenwood coven books have been hitting it out of the park across the board—though I hope that there may be a novella (or novel) for Nelle and Aspen as well in the future.

I give ‘Dusk Unveiled’ five out of five stars and highly recommend it to anyone who likes idea that the supernatural live among us.

No Comments Book ReviewsBooks

2021 favorite fiction books, and reading goals for 2022

So I’d mentioned in ‘2021 in Review’ that I managed to read at least 105 fiction books.

They were all within the romance genera (paranormal, romantic suspense, contemporary, or a combination of the three).

While it would be difficult for to pick my top three (or even five)—believe me, someone asked me on LinkedIn for my top three fiction choices, and it took me three hours to pick them, I’d like to share my favorites (ones that I will re-read again). While I thought of including both 2021 releases and then others that I bought last year–I decided to make it just a 2021 release list.

My favorites included:

The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers (first three books were technically released in 2020–though I read them at the beginning of the year) and Luna Harbor Series by Claudia Burgoa (both to have new releases in 2022)

  1. Call You Mine (Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #4)
  2. As We Are (Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5)
  3. Yours to Keep (Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #6)
  4. Finally You (Luna Harbor #1)

Books by Avery Gale:

  1. Catalina (The Alders, #10)
  2. Falling for Fallon (Master of the Prairie Winds Club #12)

Books by Marie Force:

  1. Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #23)
  2. State of Affairs (First Family #1)
  3. How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3)
  4. Come Together (Butler, VT #7)
  5. Temptation After Dark (Gansett Island #24)
  6. State of Grace (First Family #2)

Books by Bianca D’Arc:

  1. Snow Dragons (Dragon Knights #16)
  2. Gatekeeper (Dragon Knights #17)

Books by J.S. Scott:

  1. Billionaire Unexpected–Jax
  2. Billionaire Unnoticed–Cooper

Books by Carrie Ann Ryan:

  1. The On My Own Series (four book series that was released in 2021)
  2. The Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins series (fourth and fifth books set to release in 2022)
  3. Ravenwood Coven trilogy (final two books set to release in 2022)

Books by Shelly Laurenston:

  1. Breaking Badger (The Honey Badger Chronicles #4)

Books by Cara Covington:

  1. Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42)
  2. Love Under Two Explorers (Lusty, Texas #43)

Books by Rhyannon Byrd:

  1. A Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3)

Books by Catherine Coulter:

  1. Vortex: A FBI Thriller

Some of these books I’ve waited literally decades for (A Scent of Magick), and I did go back and re-read the previous two books to remind myself of the overall plot line. Other books (such as the Lusty, Texas series) I don’t really go back to re-read, because the new book may (or may not) build on previous story line.

I had bought the first three books of the Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers series at the end of 2020–but read them during January 2021. Those books were included in the long list of books in my 2021: year in review post.

I did re-read the entire Fatal series by Marie Force prior to State of Affairs being released in April.

Other books from the 2021: year in review will probably also end up on a ‘re-read’ list over the next few years, but were left off this list–since they weren’t technically released last year.

Heading into 2022, I have numerous books pre-ordered (but currently not the same number that I did in 2021)—but I also purchased a ton of free e-books during 2021, so I have plenty to chose from to read this coming year in addition to the few that have been pre-ordered.

My fiction reading goals for 2022 include:

  1. Reading at least forty fiction books, and I know that I can easily double if not triple that number (since I do enjoy re-reading certain books/series).
  2. Write a mini-book review for each ‘new’ book that I read this year (so that will hopefully be at least thirty mini-book reviews for blog and other sites)
  3. Expand my reading genera (since I usually stick with the umbrella of romance). So I will probably look at sci-fi/fantasy and mystery/thriller releases and possibly try to find an new author or two (possibly even more).

Who are some of your favorite mystery/thriller or sci-fi/fantasy authors?

No Comments BooksReflections

Looking Back at 2021: I’m a bookworm. Now to plan for 2022 and beyond

While looking ahead to a ‘blank slate’ of 2022, I realized that I should also reflect on 2021 and the ups, down, hills, valleys, and everything in between. The post will probably seem a little bit ‘rambling’—but that is due to just writing what I’m thinking and not really organizing my thoughts beforehand.

We were still in the grip of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic during 2021. While there have been several vaccines approved (the Pfizer one received full approval from the FDA and CDC towards the end of the year), there is unfortunately still a good portion of the population that is refusing to get vaccinated.

Come early March, we will be entering year three of the pandemic—hopefully we’ll be seeing the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ by summer????

I’ve still been isolating at home (only leaving the house maybe a couple of times a week—one to get the paper on the weekends, then an occasional walk either at Boomer Lake with my camera or through the neighborhood with Chaos) for the most part this past year. Like everyone else, I would like for things to return to a ‘new normal’—but I also understand that it will take awhile for the ‘new normal’ to emerge and everyone to get on the same page.

I’m not planning on doing any type of travel this year (thanks omicron variant and anti-vaxxers), but hopefully maybe able to do a small trip sometime between 2023 and 2024.

Since the number of cases is still skyrocketing due to the omicron variant—I plan of trying to get my booster shot sometime within the next two weeks.

The only huge crisis we had this past year was with Rolex—when we took her to get an allergy shot, she developed the rare side effect of hemolytic anemia. So, the past few months have been a roller coaster as we try to help her overcome the anemia. So, far she’s had two blood transfusions and is on numerous medications—we’ll hopefully see if she can be weaned off of two of them entirely next month (I’m assuming one of the meds will be lowered again this month).

Chaos doesn’t care of strangers (which is both good and bad), so when I do have to take him into the vet—he has to be given meds to mellow him out. I’m hoping to possibly start taking him for longer walks (to where we might encounter other people) this coming spring.

In terms of my career—I think I’ve figured it ‘out’ (at least a little). I’m going to go in the direction of remote/contract/online science/medical communications/education with the end goal of creating my own freelance business (melding copywriting [medical/science communication/education, health/wellness, and personal/professional development] with blogging [hobbies, travels, and personal/professional development]). Therefore, the blog/website will be getting update throughout the year as I work my way in that direction.

I managed to land a ‘volunteer’ medical content writing position with a company in Canada during the summer—so I’m getting my ‘feet’ wet in the regards of summarizing scientific papers and other topics for the general public. In addition, I put in my application for a couple of freelance writing position and then a medical writers position—didn’t get any of them, but I was proud of the fact I went ahead and applied for each of them, being a total ‘newbie’ in the online medical writing world.

I’ve joined another accountability group—which is good, but since I’ve really ‘narrowed’ down what I want to do (remote/online writing and/or data analysis), I’m having problems finding the job postings. I’ll be working on those assignments, and giving updates throughout the next few months (which will include ‘linking the blog/website’ to my LinkedIn account).

Those were some of the highlights for the year, so how did 2021 go in general?

In terms of steps—I had a rough goal of at least 1,825,000 steps (breaking down to basically 5,000 steps per day). I managed to get 1,979,594 steps for the year, with the following monthly breakdown:

January:          159,685

February:        146,418

March:             197,430

April:              187,411

May:               187,855

June:               149,009

July:                140,686

August:           154,591

September:      157,114

October:          160,753

November:      168,476

December:       170,166

The months with the lowest number of steps happened to be during the summer, when it was a little too warm (or humid or both) to be outside walking either on my own or with my dog.

While I’d set the goal of completing nine workout programs throughout 2021—I managed to complete three, and then spent the rest of the year concentrating on more ‘intentional movements’ than fitness programs.

I also had set the goal of reading a minimum of 80 books (30 non-fiction and 50 fiction), and the actual total number of books that I read last year was a minimum of 127 books (12 non-fiction and at least 105 fiction). These included new and rereads (all of which were within the fiction category).

I met the goal of at least fifty fiction books (actually doubled it), and almost met half the goal of non-fiction books (thirty).

The non-fiction books I read during 2021 included:

  1. Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising strategies to up your earnings and change your life by Barbara Stanny
  2. Badass Habits: Cultivate the awareness, boundaries, and daily upgrades you need to make them stick by Jen Sincero
  3. Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
  4. The Joy of Missing Out: Live more by doing less by Tonya Dalton
  5. The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–A creative and practical guide by Margaret Lobensteine
  6. The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
  7. Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (almost) Everything Wrong by Kristen Hadeed
  8. The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan
  9. 25 Ways to work from Home by Jen Ruiz
  10. Write to Speak by Mike Acker
  11. I want to do all the things: finding balance as a polymath, multipotentialite, and renaissance soul by Arcadia Page
  12. The More of Less: Finding the life you want under everything you own by Joshua Becker

In terms of fiction books read during 2021 (new and re-reads), I managed to read (a minimum) of 105 fiction books, and they included:

  • Loved You Once (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #1) by Claudia Burgoa
  • A Moment Like You (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #2) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Defying Our Forever (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #3) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Call You Mine (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #22) by Marie Force
  • Catalina (The Alders #10) by Avery Gale
  • I re-read the first nine books in the Alders series by Avery Gale
  • The Shadowdance Club (7 book series) by Avery Gale
  • Masters of the PrairieWind Club (11 book series–as of Feb 2021) by Avery Gale
  • Billionaire Unexpected–Jax (The Billionaire’s Obsessions #16) by J.S. Scott
  • Loving Arms (Slick Rock #30) by Becca Van
  • Reckless (Slick Rock #31) by Becca Van
  • Exception to the Rule (Beautifully Imperfect #7) by Becca Van
  • My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
  • Re-read the entire Fatal series (16 books) prior to State of Affairs coming out
  • Tempted by Love: Jack “Jock” Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #1) by Melissa Foster
  • My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
  • Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
  • Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
  • Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #32) by Becca Van
  • Royal Line (Tatter Royals #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Nana Malone
  • My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
  • As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
  • A Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3) by Rhyannon Byrd
  • Come Together (Butler VT #7) by Marie Force
  • Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • The Green Mountain Series (7 books) by Marie Force
  • First six books in the Butler VT series by Marie Force
  • Vortex: A FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter
  • Wiretaps and Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday
  • Catnip and Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday
  • My Next Play (On My Own #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Breaking Badger (The Honey Badger Chronicles #4) by Shelly Laurenston
  • Yours to Keep (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #6) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Inked Kingdom by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Inked Devotion (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Temptation after Dark (Gansett Island #23)
  • Finally You (Luna Harbor #1) by Claudia Burgoa
  • Enemy Heir (Tatter Royals #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Nana Malone
  • Mated in Darkness (Talon Pack #10) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • Love Under Two Explorers (Lusty, Texas #43) by Cara Covington
  • My Bad Decisions (On My Own #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan
  • The Morgan Brothers (5 books) by Avery Gale
  • State of Grace (First Family #2) by Marie Force
  • Snow Dragon (Dragon Knights #16) by Bianca D’Arc
  • Gatekeeper (Dragon Knights #17) by Bianca D’Arc
  • Falling for Fallon (Masters of the Prairie Wind Club #12) by Avery Gale
  • Billionaire Unnoticed–Cooper (Billionaires Obsessions #17) by J.S. Scott

I’m pretty sure that there are probably another 20-30 books that I re-read during the year, but didn’t keep track of–what can I say, I’m a book worm and I would rather spend my evenings reading than watching TV.

While I had decided on doing a ‘no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month’, the only month that I really succeed at it was January. I ‘slipped’ and spent more money throughout the year than I really should have. I’ve pledge to restart the challenge this year, and to do better than I did last year (not aiming for perfection—but aiming for progress).

While the goal for 2021 was to finish at least twenty e-courses, I managed to finish nine throughout the year. I’d found that if I managed to watch several in a month, I ‘took’ the next month (or two) ‘off’ (probably unintentionally—letting ‘Pam’ win an unspoken argument). The courses that I ‘watched’ and ‘completed’ included:

On Skillshare:

  1. Powerful storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content
  2. 3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog
  3. Finding your inner creative
  4. Personal Branding: Your Copywriting Secret Sauce
  5. Create a simple digital marketing plan
  6. Crappy Copy: 8 digital copywriting mistakes you should avoid

Two Cheeky Scientist Association Advance Programs:

  1. Clinical Research Coalition
  2. Intellectual Property Pack

Then on Udemy:

  1. Understanding and developing Emotional Intelliegence

The goal for 2022 will be to at least double (if not triple) the number of e-courses that I watch/finish.

One big accomplishment I that managed to get done during 2021 was the creation and updating of my comfort/stretch/risk/die diagrams. The first one that I did in February/March was an ‘assignment’ from a coach, when it became obvious (to her) that I was struggling with figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.

Since that first one—I’ve modified it four times, adding in a ‘bounce zone’ between the comfort and the stretch zone, and have watched the comfort and stretch zones (along with the bounce zone) grow, and the risk zone shrink.

I also created a personal/professional board game as well to help me ‘figure’ things out—and I’ve discovered the ‘biggest’ drawback on the game is that everything is ‘open-ended’ (such as review immunology or review cell biology).

I managed to teach myself basic cross-stitching this past year, and even finished three abstract design pieces. I started to do a more ‘nature’ based piece, and will probably try to turn it ‘abstract’ as I didn’t like how the cacti were turning out. I managed to spend quite a bit of time over the year up at Boomer Lake with my camera (one thing I still need to do is curate and delete all the really dark and/or blurry pictures I’ve taken over the past few decades).

Overall, 2021 was an okay year—not great (I mean there is still the pandemic), but also not a totally horrible year either. I’ve made progress in terms of personal and professional development (while some may see the past two years as ‘unemployed’—I view them as investing in myself)—maybe not as much as I’d originally liked, but still managed to do quite a bit. I’ve decided the career direction I’d like to pursue (remote/contract/online science/medical communications/writing and possibly data analysis), with the long-term goal of creating my own freelance business.

Therefore, heading into 2022, I’ve decided that:

I’ll have an overall BINGO card for the year (similar to what I tried to do for 2021), in addition to having BINGO cards for non-fiction books, e-courses, and intentional movement.

If I read a non-fiction book or complete/watch an e-course that isn’t on either of the current BINGO cards—I’ll write them down to put on an additional BINGO card.

The goal is to have at least a single BINGO on each of the cards (Bonus to have a totally checked BINGO card), and to have at least one BINGO on the overall yearly BINGO card as well.

I will transition into a remote/contract/online science/medical communications position. To help achieve that goal—I’m aiming at writing and publishing at least six scientific blog posts/articles by the end of the year. Each will be a minimum of 1000 words and will probably cover different topics I find of interest (or sub-topics within a specific ‘niche’).

In addition, I’m planning on writing at least two small literature reviews (being somewhere between 1000 and 1500 words), on one or two science topics, in addition to the larger project I’ve had bouncing around in my head for the past year.

I will also finish updating/modifying the blog/website to showcase the addition of science/medical writing in addition to my pieces on personal/professional development, hobbies, and travels.

Overall, I plan on 2022 being the year of ‘change’ and ‘growth’—growing as a science communicator, changing/transitioning into a ‘new’ position, and also finding my online ‘tribe’.

How was your 2021, and what do you have planned for 2022?

No Comments Booksbullet journalcareerCraftsfinancesfitnessHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspiritualitytravelUpdatesYear in Review

A New Year and Moon, but similar goals: Capricorn goal setting

So the moon entered the Capricorn constellation over the weekend (either Saturday or Sunday night). In addition to being the first new moon of the year, it is also the first super new moon of the year.

I managed to set and post my goals for both the new and full moon each month last year (a couple were a day or so late—but they were posted), and I usually managed to accomplish at least two-fifths of each series of goals.

So, back to the first new moon of the year, which happened last night (and I’m a few hours late in posting—but still within the new moon phase). The moon 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 work on your reputation (both personal and professional)

What is nice about life under the Capricorn constellation—all items listed above can be accomplished without having to be in ‘crowds’ (since we’re probably going to be entering year three of the pandemic in a few months).

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

So looking at the above lists—since we’re still currently in the middle of a pandemic, there are a few things that won’t be happening:

  1. Hanging out with my siblings (though my younger brother does stop in quite often since he moved back to town)
  2. Taking a short trip. While I’m vaccinated (and will be getting my booster shot within the next few weeks), I’m not traveling becasue it isn’t essential for me to travel (and I currently don’t want to, since I don’t trust a good portion of the population)

So if I were to try to combine the two lists into a short goal list for the Capricorn New Moon, I would say that my goals will include:

  1. Working on developing my vision of where I would like to be in three-to-five years in regards to remote/contract/online freelance writing/blogging. In the same note, I also know that I will need to write out very specific goals/milestones that will help me achieve said vision.
  2. Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction BINGO card
  3. Finish at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card
  4. Start refreshing my Spanish again using the app Mondly
  5. Continue developing my mindfulness/self-care routines to help me deal with my anxiety and other issues

While I have an idea of my future (remote/contract/online medical/science writing that will become a freelance medical/science writing business along with blogging), I will need to figure out the best schedule for showcasing my medical/science writing talents on the blog (in addition to finish reworking/rebranding the blog and various other social media sites).

The biggest hurdle is actually going to be the writing—researching various science topics is fairly easy (as long as I don’t fall down the rabbit hole of investigation), but its making sure that I’m writing for a general population and not the scientific community. Therefore, I’m hoping to have at least one ‘science’ blog post per month. I thought of going back to the science news cap pieces and I may do that as well (just picking two or three pieces to recap instead of five to ten).

We’re on a new year—which means new goals, new directions, and almost new everything—but it also means getting rid of what no longer works. For me that means letting go of the negative talk, the self-doubt, and starting to ‘tame’ the inner critic/imposter syndrome (‘Pam’).

I’m also going to be keeping the same words for guidance into and through 2022 as well: growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity.

What word (or words) have you chosen for 2022?

No Comments AstrologyBooksNew Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

End of 2021, December in Review: BINGO cards and other goals

Well, 2021 is officially over. We’ve entered 2022, and I’d like to please ask everyone to keep their hands to themselves for at least the first month. Be polite to each other, nod hello, wear the mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing, and possibly this year may go ‘better’ than the previous two years.

While I may not have stayed off social media as much as I should have the past month or so—I am trying to still stay away from mainstream media (to help control my stress/anxiety levels). Though, 2021 could have ended nicer—I mean really Betty White??

We’re now about two months shy of starting year three of the pandemic (things in the US started to close down roughly mid-March 2020), and I’m hoping that people will be kind and considerate of their family and friends and get the damn shot for themselves and their children. In terms of the total number of cases of the virus within the US, when I published ‘November in Review’, I noted that were a little over 49.4 million cases and as of midnight—we had reached almost 55.7 million cases (an increase of 6.8 million cases during the month of December). The numbers are going up—mainly because the omicron variant is more contagious than the delta (or other) variants, and not as main adults are getting their shots (or possibly booster shots).

I’m hoping that the clinical trials for the younger children (under the age of five) has as good of results as the other children clinical trials and those shots are available come summertime. The only way this pandemic is going to get under control is vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, and also listening to those who have decades of experience working with infectious diseases.

Again, I didn’t get as much work done in regards to the blog/website during the month of December—and I will totally blame it on the games that I’d downloaded on my kindle over the past few months (though they’ve both been ‘removed’). I’m aiming to make the transition to a remote medical/science writer this year, update/organize/rebrand the blog/website, and create a part-time freelance business by the end of the year (with the goal of it becoming full-time within the next two to five years).

But before looking too far into 2022, I need to look back at the goals I set for December of 2021 and see how I did with each of them.

The goals for December included:

  1. 130-155,000 steps
  2. Continuing with my second round of morning meltdown 100
  3. Setting up my ‘master’ plan/outline for 2022-2025
  4. Read at least one non-fiction book
  5. Read two to three fiction books (and possibly have small book reviews written adn published on the blog and other sites)
  6. No spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries
  8. Craft time (finish the fourth cross-stitch project)
  9. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course

So how did I do with each of them?

  1. In terms of 130-155,000 steps, I managed to meet and surpass the goal with a total of 170,166 steps. There were several walks at Boomer Lake and a couple of walks with Chaos through the neighborhood.
  2. In terms of continuing my second round of morning meltdown 100–I’ll be restarting it at the beginning of the year, and probably following it four to five days a week (so it will possibly stretch a little longer than just 100 days). I wasn’t up to pushing play all that often during December.
  3. In terms of setting up a master plan/outline for 2022-2025; I have a ‘master habit tracking journal for 2022 mostly set up (I just need to put in the boxes for almost every page for April-December). Since I’ve decided to go int eh direction of remote/contract/freelance writing and blogging I know that there are several things that I need to focus on this year for that to occur and I’m slowly working on that plan/outline (probably will be its own post within the next two weeks or so0
  4. In terms of reading at least one non-fiction book–I only read fiction books during December.
  5. In terms of reading two to three fiction books–I read the following:
    • My Bad Decisions (On My Own #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan (this is the only one that I wrote a review on last month)
    • Billionaire Unnoticed–Cooper (The Billionaire’s Obsession #17) by J.S. Scott
    • State of Grace (A First Family #2) by Marie Force
    • Snow Dragon (Dragon Knights #16) and Gatekeeper (Dragon Knights #17) by Bianca D’Arc
  6. In terms of my no spend days/no spend weeks/limited-spending month–I did better towards the end of the month (especially after removing a couple of games from the kindle), but still spent more that I should have. I’ll be ‘restarting’ the challenge again come January–so this will be a monthly goal for several more years to come.
  7. In terms of my ‘mindfulness’ activities (time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, and daily gratitude journal entries) the only one that I was consistent with was being outdoors (even if it was only 10-15 minutes at night with the dogs). I’m going to try to get back into the habit of meditating at night and doing a daily gratitude journal entry.
  8. In terms of craft time–I did a few color by number pictures, some photography, but did not finish the fourth cross-stitch project. I think that currently I’m going to stick to abstract/fantasy things and not try to landscape images for awhile.
  9. In terms of working through at least one module of a personal/professional development course–while I didn’t get any ‘modules’ completed during December, I did join another accountability group for working my way towards my transition to a remote writing position (one of the really pricy purchases in December).

I would say that I managed to complete a fifth of my December goals, and also made a little headway on aother two–so in total I managed two-fifths of the goals for December 2021.

Some goals only had minor progress throughout the year (limited spending challenge after January for one), while others were met on a somewhat consistent basis (step goal being within the range set)–but the important thing I didn’t just stop I continued going even if it was only little steps that might look like staying in place to others.

‘Pam’ managed to derail me this past month, but at the same time I was ‘willing’ to be derailed. The first week or so of 2022 will be spent creating various lists for things I want to get accomplished during 2022 (landing that remote writing position, reworking/branding the blog/website, and so forth). I’ve realized that one of my major problems has been trying to throw everything on a list and then struggle to get everything accomplished (or written) in say over the course of a month.

So the goals throughout 2022 are going to be similar to the goals that were set during 2021—mainly because striving for the same goals (especially once you achieve them consistently) makes them habits—and then one can start adding in ‘new’ goals.

Therefore the goals for January 2022 will include:

  1. 130-155,000 steps; hoping to be able to get at least one walk in at Boomer Lake and hopefully at least one or two walks through the neighborhood with Chaos as well
  2. Continue with a second round of Morning meltdown 100 (possibly on ly M-F)
  3. Read at least one non-fiction book from my 2022 non-fiction BINGO card
  4. Continue setting up my ‘master’ plan for 2022-2025 (and beyond)
  5. Read two to four (if not more) fiction books and write mini-book reviews to be posted on the blog and other sites
  6. Continue with the no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month
  7. Daily mindfulness activities: time outdoors, meditation/sitting quietly, daily gratitgude journal enteries, and daily oracle drawings
  8. Craft time
  9. Continue working on updating the blog/website
  10. Assignments for the diamond group
  11. Work through at least one module of a personal/professional development course from my 2022 e-course BINGO card

I’m focusing on making 2022 the year of ‘changes’—landing that remote position, and getting other items check-off the list. ‘Pam’ may still try to derail me, but if I sit and chat once a month with her—maybe, just maybe we can come to a ‘truce’ on the balance between ‘doing nothing’ and ‘doing too much’.

Last year I chose the words growth, creativity, curiosity, happiness, and prosperity as my words of the year.

I’m going to be keeping those this year—mainly because creativity and curiosity are strengths, and growth is needed to ensure happiness and prosperity.

Part of the ‘master’ plan is to determine what my actual ‘definition’ of prosperity is—in other words, what will make me ‘happy and fulfilled’.

In addition I’m keeping the quotes: ‘progress over perfection’, ‘you can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one’ and ‘not caring what other people think is the best choice you will ever make’.

In terms of the last quote—I should state that is isn’t so much ‘not caring’ but ‘not giving’ preference to someone else’s opinion. I’m the only one who can live my life—therefore, I will give preference to my own opinion and needs over the opinions and wants of others.

Have you chosen any word, words, or phrases for 2022 yet? If so—what are they?

No Comments careerfinancesfitnessHealthMonth in Reviewno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Acknowledging setbacks and setting goals: Sagittarius Goals in Review

So, the moon will be entering the Capricorn constellation over the weekend, and the first new moon cycle for 2022. Though before looking ahead to the New Year and new moon, I should take a look back at the goals that I set for the Sagittarius new moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I set for the Sagittarius new moon included:

  1. Develop a ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule for getting various things done
  2. Setting up a goal list/bingo card for 2022 (working semi from the larger 150+ goals in 2002 days challenge)
  3. Starting to work through various e-courses
  4. Setting up different ‘stations’ in the bedroom: work, craft, and meditation

So how did I do with each of them?

In terms of my first goal:

In terms of the ‘fluid’ daily/weekly schedule—I think I’m going to try a larger bullet journal that will be dedicated to being a weekly/daily planner and journal all wrapped into one. I’ve already set up a larger yearly planner/tracker (I just need to finish drawing in all the squares—but I’ve gotten all pages labeled for the entire year), and the weekly/daily will be based roughly on the larger yearly one.

I’m also going to have a separate journal for dealing with my oracle card drawings, reflecting on the card, and possibly even sketch them out into a short story (weekly spread, perhaps).

In terms of the second goal:

I’ve set up several bingo cards for 2022—an ‘overall’ yearly bingo card, an non-fiction reading bingo card, an intentional movement bingo card, and an e-course bingo card. The yearly one is similar to the one I set up for 2021—but this coming year, I’m hoping since it is in the ‘main’ habit-tracking journal I’ll look at it more often.

In terms of the third goal:

Working through the e-courses didn’t happen that much—though I did join an accountability group to help try to ensure a transition to a remote writing position sometime during 2022.

In terms of the fourth goal:

The semi-dedicated meditation area has been created, but the dedicated work and craft stations haven’t been created (yet). I’m hoping to get the dedicated workstation created over the weekend (I just have some rearranging of things to finish), but the dedicated craft station is on hold for a few months (until I have the funds secured for buying the desk/storage unit).

All in all—I’d say that I managed to meet possibly fifty percent of the goals (the schedule is in the works, and I created the bingo cards). The others are in the works (mainly creating the workstation and having set up a semi-dedicated meditation area). This past year, may not have gone the way I planned—but I did manage to accomplish numerous things (the top being—still self-isolating and currently not having contracting the SARS-CoV2 virus).

The next new moon is this weekend, and also marks the start of 2022. Here is to more progress forward towards the goals of transitioning into a remote writing position, reworking/rebranding the blog/website, and creating a copywriting/blogging business by the end of 2022.

Namaste.

No Comments Astrologybullet journalcareerCraftsNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal Developmentprofessional development

Gemini Full Moon: habit trackers, reading, and planning for 2022

So, we’re entering the full moon for December last night (December 18th), and I will probably be a day late in posting. This now means that there are only thirteen days left in 2021. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be cautiously peeking around the corner to see what 2022 is going to be bringing.

As I’ve been reflecting back on the past year (and actually two years), I’ve realized that while I may have a ‘economic gap’ on my resume—it isn’t a ‘experience gap’—I just have to take the plunge and actually state that I’ve been developing/creating a blog/website for the past few years (even if it hasn’t generated any revenue).

Before I get carried away in the direction of reflections and what I may or may not have accomplished this year (that will be the topic for at least one or two posts at the beginning of the year)—back to the topic at hand: December’s full moon.

Tonight the moon will be moving through the Gemini constellation, and there are questions that one can contemplate during the next few days. If one looks at “Moonology: working with the magic of lunar cycles” by Yasmin Boland, those five questions are:

  1. Have I been gossipy, superficial, or flighty this month?
  2. Have I been glossing over other people’s feelings?
  3. Have I been too quick to change my mind, or too restless?
  4. Have I been too much of a sliver-tongued hustler?
  5. Have I done enough reading to keep expanding my mind?

My answers to the above questions are as follow:

  1. Since we’re still dealing with the pandemic, I don’t think I’ve been gossipy, superficial, or flighty this month. I’m only around family still.
  2. I don’t think I’ve been glossing over other people’s feelings either this month. Again–I’m only around family.
  3. This depends on what we’re talking about–I haven’t changed my mind in terms of pivoting into a remote/online/contract writing and/or data analysis position and trying to start my own freelance company. Being restless–maybe a little, but hey–we’re heading into the second year of dealing with this damn pandemic and I think just about everyone is getting a little restless.
  4. Nope.
  5. Working on this—I’ve realized that I’ve been playing way to many games on the kindle instead of reading. So, I may end up ‘removing’ the games from the kindle and rededicate it to being a reading only apparatus.

So I’m also going to see what house the moon will be transition through during this time. Using my rising sign (which is Scorpio), the Gemini constellation is moving through my eighth house—the focus of this house on “death and rebirth, reinvention and transformation”.

Since we’re still in the middle of the pandemic, the past year has really been reflection and doing some personal/professional development. I’m confident that I’m ‘shutting’ the door to academia research (and possibly bench research as a whole) as I move forward with my career transition. I’m slowly working on transforming and reinventing myself as a remote/contract (and then full-time freelancing) writer/copywriter. I’m aiming to be semi-multi niche, only to keep myself from getting bored and burned out. Here is looking to 2022 has the ‘rebirth’ year for more of my ideas and plans.

So this is the time to try to find balance between slowing down, rushing to learn things, being real with people, money, and determining one’s self worth.

Therefore my small goal list for the last few weeks of 2021 (and the first few weeks of 2022), will include:         

  1. Finish setting up my master 2022 habit tracking journal. I’d decided to buy a larger bullet/dot journal and place all (or almost all) habit trackers that I’d been trying to use during 2021 into a single journal. This way, it should save me time overall during 2022, when I don’t have to copy them back in for the next month.
  2. Start a non-fiction book. I’d been lax on my reading (even fiction) for a couple of weeks, so I’m trying to get back into a reading habit (may have to ‘remove’ the games from the kindle).
  3. Continue to work on improving my evening/afternoon meditations.
  4. Figure out an schedule/calendar for the blog/website heading into 2022 and beyond. Since I’m really leaning in the direction of writing—I need to become a little more consistent in posting, as I realized the past few months I haven’t posted as much as I had earlier in the year).

But above all, remind myself—that I’m making progress and that is what I should be striving for: progress over perfection, the ‘okay’ draft over the ‘polished/perfect’ never published draft.

Here is to the last full moon of 2021, and sending out happy thoughts and vibes to everyone, and fingers crossed that going into 2022 and beyond—things calm down, and everyone gets vaccinated.

No Comments Astrologybullet journalcareerFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections

Review of Taurus goals: slow progress, but still progress

So the moon will be entering its last full moon stage for 2021 over the weekend. For most of us within the US that will be today—December 18th. That means there are basically only two weeks left in the year—fourteen days, and then it will be 2022. But before I look ahead to the next full moon, I should look back at the goals that I set for the Taurus full moon and see how I did with each of them.

The goals that I set for the Taurus full moon included:

  1. Starting my second round of Morning Meltdown 100
  2. Continuing to mend my relationship with food and movement
  3. Continue working on updating the blog/website
  4. Work on updating my LinkedIn profile
  5. Get back into meditating nightly

So how did I do with each of them?

I’ve been ‘on/off’ in terms of doing Morning Meltdown 100—not because I don’t like the program (I really do like it), but its more of needing to get the dogs out the room, have the workout done by a certain time on certain days of the week, and just finding the ‘energy’ to push play.

I’m hoping that once I have the numerous presents in the bedroom wrapped and set out next week, and things slightly rearranged again, I’ll be in the mindset to start pushing play again. I have decided that one of the goals for 2022 is 365 days of intentional movement.

Breakfast is still my ‘hardest’ meal to eat—I’m still trying to ‘attach’ positive feelings to the meal and the start of the day. In the past, I’d usually be quickly eating breakfast to get out the door by a certain time to catch the bus, the train, or bike to work to get my day started. It always marked the ‘start’ of the day, whether or not I wanted the day to ‘start’.

That is one reason why I’d like to start my own business and do freelancing—I can decide when to start the day. Breakfast wouldn’t necessarily be the ‘start’ of the day—it could be the ‘mini-break’ in the morning.

Updating the blog/website again fell by the wayside this past month. I think the problem has been my inner critic/imposter syndrome winning those ‘unheard’ arguments I’ve been having with myself.

I know that in order to succeed at setting up a freelance business—I need to have a portfolio of different pieces written and published, both here on the blog and other sites as well (such as LinkedIn, Medium, and other sites)—I have a literal ‘laundry’ list of ideas I’d like to write about—I just need to pick one, and go with it as my first piece.

I’m slowly updating the LinkedIn profile, and realize that with having joined an larger accountability group within the one professional development group I’m in—I should have it updated within the next few months, showcasing my desire to pivot in the direction of remote/online/freelance writing and/or data analysis.

In terms of the nightly meditation—I’m doing it, but not how I’d been doing it earlier in the year (lighting candles, and sitting on the floor). Instead, after reading I’ll sit quietly in bed and try to focus on my breathing for a couple of minutes before lying down and falling asleep.

So, the goals were semi-met (mending one’s relationship with food and movement isn’t something that can occur within a short time frame) during the Taurus full moon. I’ve realized that between the time change, season change, and my inner critic/imposter syndrome I have the tendency to focus on things that allow me to ‘escape’ mentally, but don’t help me reach my goals. The focus for the New Year will be trying to catch that ‘escape mentality’ and only allow it to flourish every so often.

How have you been managing your stress and/or anxiety over the past year and a half?

No Comments AstrologyFull Moon GoalsPersonal Developmentprofessional developmentReflections