Get Out of Your Own Way

hiding

Why do you think it is nearly impossible for us to take a risk?  I mean, for those of us who are so talented at procrastination, we’ve turned it into an art form.  Why is it, do you think, we get stuck in going forward, stop trying something new, get blocked with our art — our creativity?  Is it fear?  Is it just fear?  Fear of what?

Is it fear of feeling not good enough?  Are we comparing ourselves to the greats who have accomplished their art forms and are highly successful and how can we possibly measure up?  Do we lack the courage to not only put ourselves out there but hide behind that shield of obscurity because we lack the courage in our abilities, and lack of courage in our very selves?

Were we told as children we’ll never measure up?  Or did we come to that conclusion on our own?

We’ll never be great.  We’re not good enough.  We’re not smart enough.  We lack talent.  Are these things we were told?  Or what we’ve told ourselves?

I know these feelings well.  These words were told to me, taught to me, drilled into my head — but not just by others — by me, to me.  Let me tell you one truth that I am completely 100% certain of and it has taken me decades to learn…

These are lies.

These are lies told to us by others who do not truly know us at our core, and probably don’t even know themselves.  Be it jealousy for whatever reason or better yet I believe it’s their own insecurity as a human being and the need for them to try to place their weakness and lack of courage and littleness onto us.  It’s what angry people do.  Perhaps they didn’t even mean to do this to us, because anger and insecurity and any weakness blinds you to the truth, blinds you to love, blinds you to having anything good in your life.  It destroys you from within and then destroys all of your relationships.  Or theirs.  Or perhaps this is your problem, as well?  Do you project your weakness and insecurity onto others?  Do you notice that you might do this?  Or do you hold it all inside and keep it for yourself?

These are lies we tell ourselves because of fear and lack of self-confidence, lack of faith in ourselves, perhaps lack of faith in a higher power.  It’s lack of many things.  We resist self-improvement, risking exposure, putting our heart into something and then fearing it being wrecked and torn apart, and then feeling left with nothing.

And don’t even go down the road of comparing yourself to others.  You were placed on this earth to be you.  You are an expert at being you and not one other person on the entire planet can do it as well as you can.  You have your own talents and gifts and qualities that no one else measures up to.  We all do.  We are all unique.  And only you can tell your story or do your art in the way only you can.  You are not like another soul on this Earth.  Do what you love in your own special way.  You are not to be compared to anyone, and no one else can be compared to you.  You are special.  No one can take that away from you.  KNOW it.  OWN it.

The time to stop all this self-sabotage is now.

I know, you think, ‘I’ll try later.  Not today.  I have many other important things to do besides work on myself, work on my relationships, work on my art.  I’m busy.  I got stuff.’  Listen.

Really listen.

You have this one life.

You have this one chance to get it right.  I’m not too certain we get another chance to try again.  Oh, sure I have dreams of past lives, experience deja vu, have dreams of future lives, but it’s possible they could only be dreams and this is all we get.  This is our chance.

Why do you think you were born?  God put these purposes into your heart for a reason.  Why do you think he did that?  For you to sit around and wait for it to happen?  Wait for a specific moment in time?  Waiting for it to fall into your lap?  Ain’t gonna happen, my friend.  There are times we should wait for things, time to be still, time to listen, time to rest, time to pray, time to meditate and there are times we need to take action.  We have to move our asses to get what we want in life.  I’m telling you the truth here.  If you want something, get after it and get after it NOW!

Do you realize at what speed this life is passing you by?  Stop waiting on tomorrow.  Stop waiting for something else to happen first.  If you want it badly enough, you have to make it happen.  Believe me, tomorrow will be here soon enough.  And the next day.  And the next.  Then, you are 85 wondering what happened to your life.  Why didn’t you try?  Why didn’t you go after it?  If you tried once, why didn’t you try again?  And again?  Please don’t give in to resistance.  Don’t give into your fear.  Work through it.  Your fear may never fade.  That feeling of insecurity may never go away completely.  But would you rather live with fear, insecurity and the fact that you made your goals and dreams a reality?  Or would you rather just live with fear and insecurity and the wondering of what could have happened if you tried?  And kept trying?

Enjoying the sun

Can you imagine how much happier you’d be if you got what you went after?  What you worked for?  Can you visualize it?   Picture it in your mind.  No, don’t picture the negatives of success.  If you look for the negative, you’ll find it in everything.  I’m asking you to believe in the possibilities, the positive possibilities.  You are a possibility.  Your dreams are, too.  I believe in me and I believe in you.  Time to believe in yourself.  Time to take action today.  Today.  And then again tomorrow.  And every day after that.  Don’t let fear stand in your way of getting what you want out of this life.  It’s time to get out of your own way.  Baby steps.

What fears are standing in your way and are you willing to fight them?

What gives your life meaning — what makes you happy now?  What would give your life more meaning?

What is the one baby step you could take today to get you closer to your main goal?

 

Photos courtesy of:

thejoshuacollective.com

beyondthedream.co.uk

Be Inspired! Be love!

Well, we have entered yet another year.  How many resolutions have you set?  Or did you set goals?  How many of us set unrealistic goals for ourselves, only with the best of intentions, to never even start our action plan?  What good is that free gym pass if we don’t actually use it?  What good is that new camera if we never take it outside and capture the beauty all around you?  And I’m not talking about selfies!  Get over that people!  It’s not all about YOU!

We set plans of eating less and healthier only to continue gorging Christmas candy and leftover brownies (well heck!  I’m sure not letting THOSE go to waste!) and leftover lunch items from New Year’s Day.  Oh, the lunch items are healthy enough but piling it vertically just to see how much will actually fit on that plate is gross.

We aspire to be healthier, happier, enjoy life more, be more successful, experience more joy, spend more time with our loved ones, work less, earn more, laugh, dance and play in the rain, finally finish that book.  Have you started on your goals, yet?

What if it’s about more than goals for a new year?  What if it’s not just about us?  What if we can make more than just a plan to do something and actually start work on being something?  If we can just be one thing or do one thing, and I believe all of us can do this, why can we not be love and compassion?  If we can be a bit more gentle with our own souls and forgive ourselves and love ourselves in a gentle way, then pull from that and give it away to all of those around us, how much gentler would the world be?  If you were just gentle and loving and kind to one person or to each person you came into contact with each day, I wonder if each of those you touch would pass it on.  We learn by watching and doing.  How many could learn from you?  Attitudes and behaviors rub off on people.  Good and bad.  Wouldn’t you rather pass on good vibes and lessons?  How many could you reach out to?  You can show compassion and judge less and just offer love instead.

It’s not about success or ambition, making more money, finding a job or career you love, finding your perfect mate, having stuff, buying stuff, traveling to see the world, cleaning your house, writing your book – I mean all that sounds great, but what about healing?

Do we nurture ourselves enough?  Do we nurture those we love?  I wonder sometimes how much more I would love if I loved myself more.  If I actually focused on others more than my needs and wants, how much more could I help others by just loving them and listening to them and hugging them, and smiling at and conversing with a stranger.

I believe we were put here with one common goal.  Sure, each of us has a talent or gift we should share with the world, but we were all created with a common purpose.  To be love.  To love.  To forgive.  To live peacefully and in harmony with each other and with nature.  To look out for and care for each other.  To not judge (to a certain extent).  We don’t have to trust people to love them.  And it’s easier to forgive than you think.  Once you do it that first time, WOW!  You find what a gift it is – more for yourself than the one you’re forgiving (and the other person doesn’t even have to know you’ve forgiven them!)

Practice random acts of kindness.  You don’t need a reason.  Smile and be more welcoming toward people.  Giggle your silly little laugh, no matter what others may think of you.  Spread love.  Do unto others…  And if you don’t get it back, don’t worry about it, because it might hit them later and they’ll start on another day, because they’ll think of you and your kindness.  A lot of people are in pain, they’re hurting and they don’t know how to begin healing so it comes out as hate, anger and ugly.  Don’t be offended by this.  Be compassionate.  You don’t know what they’re going through and your smile and compassion might just help them get through the day.

Just a thought.  Will you join me to love?  To be love?  To be compassion?  To stir it inside your soul, heat it up and then serve it up?  Any questions?

Goals, Not Resolutions

It’s that time of year, isn’t it?  The time where you make this long overdone drawn out list of all those little items you want to check off accomplishing during the next 365 days.  Yeah, I’ve had my crazy bouts with resolutions.  A jab here, a jab there, but in the end, the resolutions knock me out by the second bell.  I fall flat on my face cold.  Why do we set these unattainable heights?  Do we like failure?  Do we purposely sabotage ourselves?  Oh sure, some of these we can reach — the easy stuff like cleaning out the refrigerator but even that takes time and a little bit of elbow grease.  Do we really have that kind of stamina?  I mean, when’s the last time you cleaned your refrigerator?  I’ll bet that chicken parm is still stuffed in the back of your fridge growing arms and legs by now.  And scrub those shelves?  Actually, I did good.  Sweet and sour sauce had spilled in the shelf on the door of my fridge and I scrubbed it clean.  Thing is, it stayed there for probably about a year before I actually scrubbed it, so not so good.

And the big stuff?  How many of you have huge items on your list?  Humongous, taller than the trees, more like outer space kind of stuff.  Like writing a book.  Or finishing a book.  Or losing 50 pounds.  Or learning a new skill or hobby.  Reading one book a week.  Meeting the man of your dreams and getting married.  Okay, some of this is absolutely attainable but how many of us actually do it?  We intend to do it.  We set it up, we dream, we even sometimes write it on our calendar in steps called an action plan but does it actually get done?

I cannot tell you how many years have passed by right along with all my hopes and dreams of all those resolutions I had set up at the beginning of the year only to find myself the same weight, books still sleeping in my computer unfinished, still working too many hours with too little money, not getting out and dating (and no, I’m not really looking for Mr. Right — not just now, anyway) and too tired to stay up till midnight toasting with my glass of champagne $7 bottle of my favorite Sweet Red.  So I close out another year of dashed hopes and dreams with my wine/whine and cheese (but at 8pm since I can’t hang with the big dogs), yet feeling hopeful that the new year will bring something different.  As if.

What is it about the end of an aging year, filled with incompletes, that gives us such hope and downright giddiness that this beckoning year full of wonder and newness will bring us joy and fulfillment and success and accomplishment?  Why is it we feel we have to wait till January 1 to begin our lives?  To begin something new?  To finally give us the surge of energy to actually clean out our refrigerator?  Why can we not feel this surge the night before any new day?  How about Tuesday, June 17?  The night before, you make a date to actually work on your book the next day and set a deadline to finish within 60 days.  You work on it daily.  Not because you planned to or you need to or you want to or it would feel really good to actually finish that book.  You do it because you HAVE to.  Because you can feel it in every fiber of your being that if you don’t finish this book, you will surely die.  You will die old and unfinished and in your last gasping breath, you ask yourself, why the heck didn’t I finish that book?  It was good.  It was meaningful.  Now, I’ll never know how great it could have been, because I didn’t finish it.  People could have benefited from that work of love.  But it’s too late now, ’cause *sigh* (your dead).

Well I’m not setting resolutions for 2015.  I’m setting 12 goals that are somewhat realistic.  One goal per month.  If When (yes, WHEN) each one is reached in that given month, I can either scooch up the one from the following month to finish a little sooner or set more goals that can be somewhat easily accomplished during the same month.  I WILL NOT set so many goals that I become overwhelmed that my eyeballs roll back in my head and throw in the towel before I even begin.

And, rather than just setting goals of stuff I HAVE to do, I’m also setting spiritual goals that are totally doable and good for me as well as good for the universal collective, such as experience and share joy and love, happiness and friendship, silliness and laughter.  To forgive someone.  To smile more at strangers and hug my loved ones more.  Actually sit down with my bestie more often and talk and laugh over coffee or tea of wine or cherry limeade (I have the BEST recipe eva!)

So…

Onward!  I’m working on my January goal today!!  Actually, I started it a few days ago.  I’ll keep you posted.

How ’bout you?  Are you setting resolutions?  Or goals?  How many have you set for the year?  And are you waiting till Jan. 1 to start?  And if you would like to share your plans for 2015, please let us know so we can cheer you on.

My Truth

To-Do? Done! was yesterday’s prompt, delivered by The Daily Post.

The idea:  Quickly list five things you’d like to change in your life.  Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list.

__________

I have to start out by saying I have been such a hypocrite.  I try to inspire and encourage and uplift like so many of you out there.  I try to impress upon others you must have faith in God/Jesus and yourself and believe you deserve great things, go after your dreams, face your fears, put yourself out there and all that jazz, while I sat here on Friday stuck in the middle of a pity party.  I have sooooo much to be thankful for.  I have no idea how, at times, I cannot see how truly blessed I am.  God has spoiled me and all I can see when I allow myself to be depressed is what I don’t have, all the negativity — my focus is completely blurred and I can see nothing of importance.

All the bad stuff is unimportant.  I know deep in my heart that everything that comes in and out of our life is a test.  It’s a test of our faith in God/Jesus and in ourselves.  It’s about choices we make.  It’s about our attitude towards everything.  Every.  Single.  Thing.  It’s about action and what it is we truly want and about going after it.  There is a long list of our shoulds.

We should help others as much as we can.  We should believe in the good of humanity even though the media tends to only focus on the bad. We should believe in our own possibilities.  If we allowed ourselves, what would we accomplish in the few short years we have on this earth?  God has gifted us all with treasures, talents, love, healing, energy and power.  You can blame others all you want but honestly, I know the fault is my own.  I limit myself.  I don’t believe in myself.  One minute I do, then it flies out the window at a moment’s notice.  I’m stronger than I give myself credit for.  I can blame my weakness on my pathetic childhood and injured inner child or whatever, but within my heart, mind and soul, I know that I have the power to create my life and my own reality.

So, what is my main fault?  Fear.  My strongest weakness is fear.  When you fear, you have a lack of faith.  When you fear, you have a lack of just about everything that you need to move ahead in your life and you remain stuck.  Why would I allow myself to remain stuck?  If I want to get anywhere at all in this short life, I have to face the fears, fight the depression, find some faith in God/Jesus and in myself and in others and force myself to take action every day of my life toward those goals.  I have to look back at my path and see for myself that I tried, I made an effort and then, looking forward, I cannot stop when I come to a fork in the road, a humongous fallen tree obstructing my path, a river filled with fast flowing currents, nor stop when I approach a cliff.  I must find a way.  I must make a choice, a different direction perhaps, a way around it, over it, under it or through it.  This is how I want to live my life.  This is what I am choosing.

So, my 5 things I’d like to change in my life (or am choosing to change right now)?

1)  Take no longer than 23 hrs for rest/pity party (and perhaps that’s too much time to dwell and devote to being down, but the rest can sometimes be healing and cause you to reflect).  At least one of those hours needs to be action for your next step towards a goal.

2)  Take action every day towards a main goal.  No more procrastination!

3)  Have stronger faith in God/Jesus, in myself and in others.

4)  Finish my current book 1 of this series and get it published.

5)  Do not allow crazy, mean, hateful people and their negative energy to affect me and my energy.  Guard.  Protect.  Deflect.  Power through or find a better/safer direction.

A day in my life after all 5 are crossed off?

No more than an hour to cry or lick my wounds while having a cup of tea with honey (sooo healing for me).  Then, followed by an hour of physical activity for a boost, be it treadmill, a walk in nature, dancing like a silly girl to fun upbeat music, singing loudly and off-key (since I’m tone deaf) to some of my favorite songs, find something to laugh at (my best med) whether it’s my own silly goofy self or someone else.  That leaves 22 hours in my day to take action towards anything I choose.

I am a best selling author, known best for my sci-fi/fantasy/adventure YA series, as well as poetry.  I write 5-8 hours a day towards my next book and the rest of my day is devoted to my family, house, cooking and working my land/gardens.  I am also back to my size 5 and happier in my skin than I’ve been in years.  My faith is stronger in God/Jesus, myself and others – moreso than it’s ever been and it cannot be shaken no matter what happens in my life.

I have to deal with angry people sometimes but I do not allow their energy to move my own.  I forgive these people, I pray for them and I do not judge them, because to hold so much anger and bitterness is to hold so much sadness and pain.  I know they hurt inside, because no one is bitter for nothing.  I know they suffer and their level of suffering may be far greater than anything I could imagine.

Sorry for the novella.  I normally try to tie it down between 300-500 words, which is more of an acceptable blog post.

What are your 5 things and a day in your life afterwards?

Making Room for Courage

Pains and Gains – today’s prompt by The Daily Post.

The idea:  Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s favorite exercise motto, “no pain, no gain?” Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?

__________

I would have to agree with that motto.  Sometimes, life can be hard, especially if you want to get anywhere in life, if you want to get ahead.  Going after your pursuits, your goals and dreams – you have to struggle.  At times, you have no money, so you can forget college, but many times you have the option of loans that you don’t have to pay back till a little later.  And even if you do go to college, sometimes you have to work 2-3 different jobs just to be able to live, pay for your apartment, buy food, and, even then, live on 4 hours of sleep per night and do it all again the next day.  I remember this life.  I did the full time school 8a-2p M-F, then work 3-11p M-F and work weekends, go home, eat a corndog, do homework and papers till 230a, get up at 630a to begin it all again.  I got used to it.  I was younger then.

Then, you realize you really know what you want to do with your life and you finally grow the balls to work toward it, after years of going back and forth (do I really want to put myself out there like that?!).  And it’s hard as hell.  You have taken a few risks.  You quit your 9-5 job working for assholes who don’t give a damn about you.  You quit because you can.  You quit because you searched for opportunities to work from home so you can answer your number one calling of being an active and present parent and actually raise your child.  So, you work from home and you take care of your kid.  You take more risks and reach out and acquire more contracts so that you can earn the money to keep the lights on and food on the table and occasionally go to the theater and sit down in a restaurant.  You’re tired but it’s worth it.

You try to sneak in time for your second biggest dream of becoming a best selling author.  You face your fears of insecurity.  You face your fears of one day becoming a huge success, God willing.  You struggle to find the courage to put yourself out there.  You like people but prefer to communicate through the written word, not so much the spoken one.  I guess you realize the “you” I’m referring to is really me.

If you want anything in this life, it’s not worth having if it comes so easily.  I went through a terrible marriage but received life’s greatest miracle and blessing.  My daughter.  All I ever wanted since I was a toddler was a daughter.  She made me whole.  She filled me with the love and appreciation and celebration I had been lacking all of the 31 years before her.  She made me feel wanted and needed and complete.  Then divorce came and I was thankful.  I was free.  My daughter and me.  No more eggshells to walk on.  Still, it’s a struggle being a single parent.  So many responsibilities.  You have to work hard to earn money.  You have to work in time to clean your house and mow the lawn, cut down trees, trim the hedge, feed all the animals, wash the clothes, get your kid to school, pick her up, get her all of her needs and spend quality time hugging, kissing, talking, laughing, walking, dancing and sharing secrets.  The last part is the easy part.  You have to fit it all in.

And still force in that time to write, which is your second largest dream.  You face your fears.  First, you write for you, because you feel lost without those words, those characters.  You talk to ghosts.  You talk to those in your head, your imaginary friends.  Then, you write not only for you, but to get out those messages from your characters to others, because they so long for their stories to be shared that it hurts your soul to keep it all to yourself.  You want to honor them.  You have to find your strength.  For them.  And for you.  You have to face your demons.  Maybe you won’t make it big.  That’s ok really, since you are still earning money and can pay the bills.  The point is that you tried.  You put it out there.  You put yourself out there.  You attempt to publish and face 100 rejections.  It hurts.  But you keep on.  I figure I’ll stop trying at 200.  But first, I have to actually finish the book.

Then, there’s the fear of success, which is stronger than my fear of failure.  I’ve already failed.  At many things.  I know what that’s like and that’s old news.  I can take it.  No biggee.  I have that experience.  But success?  Oh my GAWD!  To actually make it?!  To be out there and have to do interviews.  I throw up in my mouth a little at just the idea.  I mean, I did drop out of college classes just from my fear of giving 3-5 minute oral presentations.  To have to go out and do book promotion and marketing?!  Talking to people?!  Excuse me while I hurl.  Okay, I’m back.  It’s a potential reality I have to face.  If we want anything worth having, we have to battle it out with ourselves.  We have to step outside our comfort zone sometimes.  And sometimes, we fail.  But if we really, I mean REALLY want it, we don’t stop until we get it.  It may take years.  Years of struggle, tears, poverty, going hungry, going without sleep, going without air conditioning in 111 degree summers – we do it because we have to, because we don’t know who we are without that thing – the level we want to reach.  Fear is only an obstacle.  We work our way over it, around it, under it, or either clobber it to death and go through it, but we get past it.

Fear is only the devil on the way out.  You’re making room for God and courage and strengthening your soul.

Who else is willing to face their fears?

Who will stand with me?

My 101 Things in 1001 Days

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My 101 Things in 1001 Days (about 2 years and 9 months)
Tuesday – January 1, 2013 thru Thursday, September 29, 2015

Go here (these are just a few) and get yourself some ideas if you need some:
http://101goalsin1001days.com/
http://sarsm.wordpress.com/take-part/
http://dayzeroproject.com/

Goal and (Deadline) Updated May 13, 2013

Health, Wellness & Fitness
1) Fit into my size 5 jeans, or at least a 7 (Spring / Summer 2013) – In progress
2) Get back into martial arts
3) Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night – Failed
4) Take our vitamins every day – Failed
5) Get at least 15 to 30 minutes of exercise six days per week (some/1001)
6) Eat at least one good source of protein every day – In progress (133/1001)
7) Get one or more massages
8) Eat no sugary food for a week

Outdoors
9) Grow Spring food plants in the garden (Pre-Spring /Spring 2013)
10) Grow Summer food plants in the garden (Spring /Summer 2013)
11) Grow Fall food plants in the garden (Summer /Fall 2013)
12) Grow strawberries (Spring /Summer 2013)
13) Grow corn (Spring /Summer 2013)
14) Grow tomatoes (Spring /Summer 2013)
15) Plant flowers / flowering plants in the side yards (Spring 2013)
16) Plant flowering trees in the back yard (Early Fall 2013)
17) Clean out, till, trim and prep garden when cooler (Winter /Spring 2013) In progress

Home
18) Decorate the living room’s bare walls (Winter 2013)
19) Decorate my bedroom’s bare walls (Winter 2013)
20) Repaint Hallie’s bedroom (Spring /Summer 2013)
21) Repaint bathroom (Spring /Summer 2013)
22) Repaint my home office (Spring /Summer 2013)
23) Make my office organized, well-decorated, comfy place of inspiration
(organized Jan 2013/ painted & decorated Spring 2013) – In progress
24) Recaulk areas around windows throughout house and kitchen sink (Jan 2013)
25) Find perfect curtains & rods for livingroom, buy and install (Jan /Feb 2013) – Completed (2/26)
26) Clean out and organize my office closet (Jan 2013)
27) Purchase more comfortable couch (Jan/ Feb 2013)
28) Purchase more comfortable rocker/ recliner (Feb/ Mar 2013) – changing this to a loveseat
29) Have plumber fix leaky outside faucet (Jan/ Feb 2013) – Completed (2/15)
30) Clean out and organize kitchen cabinets and pantry (Jan 2013)
31) Clearcoat the kitchen table (Jan /Spring 2013)
32) Have handyman put phone outlet in home office (Jan /Feb 2013)
33) Have handyman change all 2 prong outlets to 3 prong outlets (Jan/ Feb 2013)
34) Have carpenter & electrician reroute breakers and enlarge bedroom closet access
(Spring/ Summer 2013)
35) De-clutter 2 rooms of my house–hopefully permanently – Completed (2/2) Hoping this lasts…
36) Learn how to re-finish wooden tables and re-finish my kitchen table
37) Downsize the stuff in our house – In progress

Travel & Family Vacations
38) Go back to Chattanooga, Tennessee
39) Go back to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (Oct/ Nov 2013)
40) Go back to Disney in Orlando (Nov /Dec 2013)
41) Visit Harry Potter Themepark at Universal Studios (Nov/ Dec 2013)
42) Set reservations for Disney in Nov/ Dec (plane tickets, dining) (May/ Jun 2013)
43) Go to Hawaii
44) Go to Paris

Other Structures Around Home
45) Clean out and organize barn (Spring/ Summer 2013)
46) Clean out and organize shop (Spring/ Summer 2013)
47) Clean out and organize storage room (Winter/ Spring 2013)

Family Time
48) Spend one-on-one quality time twice a week with Hallie (tv is not quality time) – In progress
49) Try at least one new recipe per week – In Progress (5/1001) – The lentil soup is fabulous!!!
50) Have 10 family picnics
51) Try 10 new restaurants – In progress (does it count if it’s new to Hallie, but not me?)
Cock of the Walk was pretty good. The chicken. I’m not a fried fish fan. I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.  Restaurant was new to Hallie, not me.
Outback Steakhouse – only thing good was the salad (Blue Cheese Wedge). The food wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t good enough to ever go back. Service was ok. The so-called steak made us sad. It was tiny, skinny, not juicy, sort of bland. 1 out of 5 stars. I went to OS several years ago and it was better back then.  Restaurant was new to Hallie, not me.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit – AWESOME!  Fall of the bone ribs!  The turkey is awesome.  The barbecue baked beans totally rock!  The baked potato casserole is downright tasty!  We will be eating there again.  And inexpensive.
52) Go fruit picking
53) Stargaze and look for shooting stars

Computer, Photography, Drawing, Writing, Ancestry
54) Clean out my various email inboxes and folders (2013) – In Progress
55) Unsubscribe from emails I never read (2013) – In Progress
56) Edit, save, and organize photos on flashdrives, and label all (Winter/ Spring 2013) – In Progress
57) Post at least once a week to my ‘adjusting your focus’ blog (52 weeks thingy) – Failed
58) Write creatively for at least 15-30 minutes per day every day of the week – In progress (some/1001)
59) Post at least once a month to my ‘time for chow’ blog – (should have done that with The Cock of the Walk one, eh?) – Failed
60) Update my photo website at least once per month – Failed
61) Check my photo website email and main personal email account daily – In progress (most/1001)
62) Send and track 200 photo queries to magazines, stock sites and publications
63) Post at least once a week to my ‘become more me’ blog – (I’m thinking of just sticking to one blog.  Trying to simplify.) – Failed
64) Check my friend’s blogs at least once per week – In progress
65) Create an Excel spreadsheet for my business expenses and income for 2013
66) Track and document my business deductions and receipts for 2013
67) Send & track 200 writing queries (2013)
68) Compile 1st draft of my book – In progress
69) Publish my book
70) Learn about the settings on my camera and use them – In progress
71) Resubscribe to ancestry.com (could also go under Money)
72) Resume drawing: sketch some of my favorite subjects – In progress…  Not all progress is good, though…
73) Submit something to a writing contest
74) Take at least 30 photos per month of favorite family members, pets, our homes, our land, and different sorts of things – In progress
75) Finish weeding through my bookmarks
76) Scan in all unscanned photos
77) Print out all unprinted photos
78) Update all my lists

Reading
79) Read one book a week (Jan thru Dec 2013) – In progress (perhaps I should change to one book every 2 weeks…   Re-reading The Hobbit (read before as a child)
Read The Prayer of Jabez (1/143 weeks)
Also reading Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain

80) Read 30 literature classics – In Progress

81) Re-read all of the Harry Potter books in a row

Learning & Education
82) Relearn the constellations and teach them to Hallie
83) Learn the basics of French
84) Learn how to can tomatoes

Personal & Misc
85) Update will
86) Write three things I’m grateful for every day – In progress (most days, so probably 80/1001) I thank God every day, out loud.  Does that count?
87) Not swear for a whole week – Completed (2/14) (Made it 20 days in a row, then broke)
88) Spend a whole weekend without computer or internet access
89) Do some volunteer work
90) Dance in the rain
91) Go to the zoo
92) Go ice skating
93) Complete the 5000 Question Survey
94) Complete “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind” – Completed 01/11/13 YEAH BABY!!!!  BOOYAH!

Money & Finance
95) Get up to date with Hallie’s college savings account
96) Pay off all debt
97) Save money for vacation
98) Save money for Christmas
99) Save $5 for every task I complete – In Progress (5/101)
100) Start a new retirement fund
101) Acquire health insurance

In progress: 22
Completed: 5
Failed: 6

I also made a new page so it’s easier to find My 101 Things in 1001 Days.

And, this completes My Project 366 – posting a photo every day of the year of 2012.

And onward to my new project – posting at least once per week (52 weeks) of accomplishing My 101 Things, and although I’m great at adding things to my To Do list and Projects list, I’m gonna try not to do that, and just complete all those tasks I’ve set for myself and just get those done.  There’s quite a bit to tackle, as you can see.  I’ve got almost 3 years to get it done, so I’m gonna work at it super duper hard, every single day.

Honestly, it’s a bit overwhelming, but not enough to strike fear into my heart, and not enough to start doubting myself.  Nope, I’ve worked on this list since July and I’ve narrowed it to those things that I feel most passionate about, at least for the next 2 to 3 years – the most important of those being Family (friends are included here), Health & Fitness, and Writing & Photography.  When I began the list, I had about 200 things I wanted to complete.  Glad the title is 101 Things.  😉

So, at the end of this year, I would like to propose a toast:

To you, your friendship, your kindness, your inspiration, your genius, your talent, your health, your family, your happiness.

To me, my family, and all those same things.

I toast to us and all our greatest ambitions, to another year we made it through, and to this upcoming year, full of dreams, goals and anticipation.

May our new year of 2013 be filled with endless wonder, more laughter and good times than tears, more good health than sickness, and more productivity and accomplishments than failures.  Although, failures are not all bad.  They, too, have something to teach us.  And remember, if there is something you want to do, quit waiting as I have.  There is no failure in trying.  The sin is never trying at all.

God speed.  And I will be checking on each one of you and your accomplishments and in everything you try and I’ll be cheering you on!  What have you been putting off because of fear?  YOLO (You Only Live Once, or so they tell us).  GO FOR IT!!!  What would you do if you knew that you could not fail?  I believe in you.  And I believe in me.  And remember, “With God, all things are possible.”  We can do anything we put our minds to.  All it takes sometimes is adjusting your focus.  😉

Cheers!  Drink up!

Love ya!  *smooch*

-Carol

Day 366 of My Project 366!  I really did it!  Yeah, man!  Whoop-whoop!  I CAN do anything I set my mind to!!  I AM a winner!!  I AM going to accomplish all I set out to do!!