Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One Little Word: July Goals

Here are my goals for July. I think July is going to be a big "gateway" goal month. Some of the things written here (and not written) that are our goals for the month should likely lead to making/acheiving different goals in the coming months. (To see how I did in June--the month that nearly killed me-see here). 

*Have a garage sale and/or get rid of a bunch of stuff in the garage
*Organize JaiseAnn's baby clothes into space bags

*Update JaiseAnn's 2nd year baby book and her memory book (I haven't entered a daily memory since the first of June, but I have plenty of documentation elsewhere that will help me update it. I just have to make the time). 
* 2 play dates
*One routine-free day
*Swimming Lessons
*Finish our summer reading program

*Do something fun and different for date night
*Go on an actual date night-OUT!
*Play a card or board game together one night
*Do something thoughtful for Zach for a special occasion coming up

*No refined sugar treats
*No eating after JaiseAnn goes to bed
*Hit at least 10,000 steps at least 4 days per week --average 7,000 the rest of the days 
*Schedule a dentist appointment
*SUN every.single.day.

*Study my conference talks for July
*Put up a new scripture to reflect on on the fridge

*Revise and submit final approved version of thesis
*Submit a summarized version of my thesis as an article 
*Complete portfolio
*Finish online training I'm currently completing

What are some of your goals this month?

Saturday, July 2, 2016

How Did I Do, June?

The first half of June was by far one of the most challenging of my life. I stopped blogging pretty much in February. I was super overwhelmed with my school/work/home situation and we had just found out our dog was terminally ill. I was a mess--waking up in the middle of the night, dizzy spells, constant headaches, etc. It was bad and I was actually pretty scared for myself for a while. The good thing was it helped me prioritize. I realized what I needed to take off of my plate (blogging was definitely a first to go) as well as the steps I wanted to take after school was over. 

I plowed through the Spring semester--and did well and handled it pretty okay. At the end of May, I was finalizing my thesis, our dog stopped eating and started rapidly losing weight, and things just went crazy. The first half of June was like February on crack! I was stressed, sad, overwhelmed, and completely exhausted. I had a headache every.single.day and I was just a mess. There were some awesome moments--my brother got married, I defended my thesis (which--finishing my defense was one of the best feelings in the world-it went better than I could have ever hoped), and we took a family vacation to Washington DC--I was there for a work training, but the training was flexible and I wanted JaiseAnn with me--so we made it a vacation and that was so nice. BUT--we also lost our Mal and I still am reeling from that loss. It was just a hard month. I honestly feel like I was drugged or something because it was so intense that I look back on it and feel like it was a dream or something. So...June was filled with high highs and low lows--and the 2nd half of June was kinda just there--not really filled with much as we have tried to adjust to life without Mal, less intense work on my thesis (but it is still there), and tried to let things settle. 

So yeah, June was a month we won't soon forget. The things I did accomplish this month are definitely worth being proud of--and grateful for. We are so grateful.

*Buy curtain rods and hang curtains 
*Have a garage sale and/or get rid of a bunch of stuff in the garage
*Organize JaiseAnn's baby clothes into space bags 
The bottom two things on this list have been added to July--I'm waiting on curtain rods for budget stuff--our trip to DC went a  little over budget so we're cutting back until we're back on track. So no curtain rods still--but I'll get them soon enough. 

*Make a second bird feeder for backyard and buy and hang a hummingbird feeder, too (I made the feeder and plan to post it because it's super cute and I love it, but I haven't hung it yet. As for the hummingbird stuff-I did some research and I'm just going to have to wait until next year. Did you know that hummingbirds send out scouts to look for food in May? That way they know where to go--so the likelihood of them finding me now is slim. I am facinated by that, though, and plan to get a feeder for next year and have it up in the early spring.)
*Finish JaiseAnn's baby books (So I finished these-BUT when I went to print them I had so many more pages than I thought--so again, more than I budgeted for. We have a plan for how to get them--which will have to be one at a time. Oh, well.)
* 2 play dates
*Father's Day activities for Dad and Grandpa's (maybe just cards to keep it simple)
*Sign JaiseAnn up for swimming lessons

*Do something fun and different for date night
*Go on an actual date night (Scheduling this one for July if it kills me--and it should cover ^^ too, but I actually have a fun date night at home idea for July as well...so we're covered I think)
*Play a card or board game together one night

*No refined sugar treats (I did great with this until we went to DC. I still did pretty good--the best I've ever done on vacation. But there's a Shake Shack in DC and that's a bucket list place for me, so I had a shake--and then a few other treats on our trip. **The shake wasn't anything to write home about, but the burger was good.** I struggled with the refined sugars this month, but ther's always next month.)
*No eating after JaiseAnn goes to bed with the exception of one night per week. (50/50 on this one.)
*70,000 steps per week (for the summer, I'm removing this. We're spending a lot of time at the pool/water park and my FitBit isn't waterproof so it comes off, but I'm still active and I don't want the anxiety of "not getting my steps in every day" so I'm going to modify this next month. I was worried my FitBit would ruin my trip to DC, so I left it home, but feel confident I got my steps in every day--even on the day that I was in an all day training--because ALL THE WALKING!)
*Get a massage 
*Schedule a dentist appointment
Apparently my health was not a priority this month--which probably contributes to some of the major struggles and anxieties I had. This is eye-opening for me. I did still exercise every day and ate relatively well, but these extras matter. 

*Write a conference schedule 
*Share conference schedule on blog (see it here)
*Nusery Father's Day activity
*Put up a new scripture to reflect on on the fridge

*Defend thesis (This was a highlight of the month for me for sure. It went so well and I am so excited about that! I loved my topic and my paper--my study was so interesting to me and I was really into it. I loved my entire committee, but am especially grateful for my chair! My mom and Zach and a few classmates came to watch and my brother and new sister-in-law watched JaiseAnn on campus. Zach, JaiseAnn, and I went to dinner to celebrate afterward. It was all around a very special day! It also felt so good to be done. I still have some revisions to make (see below) but the weight of having it so close to done with just minimal revisions is definitely something I'm excited about!)
*Revise and submit final approved version of thesis
*Complete trainings for two part-time work-from-home jobs for next year.

How did you do in June?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Spring General Conference Study Schedule

One of my June goals (well and I think May goals as well:) was to create and share a General Conference study schedule. Every year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds a General Conference session in the Fall and in the Spring. Leaders of the church share inspired messages over one weekend. It's truly one of my favorite times of year and I always look forward to hearing the words they have to share with us and then studying them throughout the year.

The Spring conference is held in April and I really wanted to start studying the messages right away, but life happened. Nevertheless, I've got a plan to study the talks each week until the next conference in October. 

A bit about how I created the schedule: Every week before conference, I usually fast/pray about certain things I am dealing with or questions I have with the specific hope of getting some answers/inspiration during conference. This has never failed me. I used to attempt pretty detailed notes during conference, but now I have a toddler, so I've found a system that works for me and helps me feel like I'm still walking away with something, but also not to wrapped up in notetaking for hours at a time. When a new speaker comes up, I write his/her name down on paper and then listen to the talk. As I listen, I try to write a sentence or two that stands out to me or that summarizes something that struck me as important or worth exploring further. It may summarize the talk or it may just be something that I personally took away from it. I write these one-two lines whenever I feel the need/desire--if I haven't felt the desire, I ususally write it at the end as a summary of the talk.

Then I rate the talk. Yes, I rate my talks. Hear me out--it's not about the delivery of the talk, who looked/said it best, or a judgement of the writing style or anything like that. It's a 5 star rating in regards to how well that talk answers questions or provides the insight I'm personally looking for. It's a way for me to prioritize my studying. In the past I used to just read each talk and pretty much devoted the same amount of time to studying each one, but realized more recently that I should spend more time studying the things that I felt I needed to understand and know better. 

When creating my schedule I just looked at my ratings and tried to give the 5 and 4 star talks more time to study than the others. (This was tricky because I have waited so long and have less time tan I would have if I had done this in April). Below I've outlined my schedule (and included the rating of the talk and any inspiration that I feel comfortable sharing that I wrote down at the time of the talk. 

Week 1: I Am a Child of God--Donal Hallstrom (4 stars)
Week 2: Where are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood--Gary Stevenson/Standing with the Leaders of the Church-Elder Rasband
Week 3: Fathers--Elder Christofferson (4 stars)/ See Yourself in the Temple--Elder Cook (4 stars)
Week 4: Whoso Receiveth Them, Receiveth Me--Elder Andersen/The Rescue, We Can Do It--Mervyn Arnold

Week 1: The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness--Kevin Duncan (4 stars)
Week 2: The Sacred Place of Restoration--Jairo Mazzagardi/Tomorrow the Lord Will Do Wonders Among You--Elder Holland
Week 3: Choices-President Monson/A Pattern for Peace--Christopher Waddell/The Power of Godliness--Kent Richards
 Week 4: The Holy Ghost--Elder Hales/Always Remember Him--Gerrit Gong

Week 1: Be Thou Humble--Steven Snow (4 stars)
Week 2: He Will Palce You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home-Elder Uchtdorf (5 stars)
Week 3: Do I Believe--Bonnie Oscason (5 stars)
Week 4: Opposition in All Things--Elder Oaks (5 stars)

Week 1:That I Might Draw All Men Unto Me--Elder Renlund (4 stars)
Week 2: Where Two or Three are Gathered-Elder Eyring/A Child's Guiding Gift--Mary Durham
Week 3: Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins-Elder Bednar
Week 4: And there Shall be No More Death--Paul Johnson (4 stars)/Refuge from the Storm--Patrick Kearon (3.5 stars)

**Due to time I did not get around to adding the talks from Priesthood and Women's Conference--I will do that next time, though.

How do you study conference talks or other spiritual/inspirational messages?
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