Thursday, January 23, 2014

Project 365 Parties and Paints

 It's been another great but cold week in Connecticut. While we've had snow here, it's warm inside and in our hearts. I hope you enjoy this week's pictures.

Day 171: My friend and I went to Panera. It was my first time going since I moved to CT. Yum!

Day 172: I wanted a seashore painting, so I made one myself.

 Day 173: I painted my toenails!

 Day 174: I put a Buddha beeswax candle in my zen garden.

Day 175: A poop pencil. I have the world's best godparents. 

Day 176: I downloaded the demo version of Bravely Default, which is a great, new RPG premiering in a month's time. 

 Day 177: Party night! Aren't we all cute? 

Day 178: I painted a piece to go over my kitchen sink. That empty spot has been bugging me since I moved in. Finally, I took care of it.

I'll see you next week!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Project 365 Finishes a First Draft

It's hard to believe it's already the middle of January. In just six months, my time in AmeriCorps will be up, and I'll be off to grad school. But I'm making the most of my time here while I'm here. 

I hope you enjoy this week's pictures!

Day 164: Jim gave me a 10-ream box half full of peanut butter M&M's, which I dutifully shared with my students. I'm such a nice supervisor.

 Day 165: I finished the first draft of a top secret fantasy series I'm working on with two amazing artists! Excitin' writin'!

 Day 166: I woke up Clarence in his heated kitty bed for PLAYTIME! He stopped glaring and had fun after a little while...

Day 167: Best. Creamer. EVER. And a big thanks to Tom for introducing it to us.

Day 168: I fried up some plantains and sprinkled them with Stevia. Honestly, this little snack cures my cravings for both the salty and the sweet. Yum.

 Day 169: I made Sandi's tonic with the leftover water I boiled for my tea. Just add a fresh lemon, half a cucumber, mint leaves, then sweeten to taste. Cleaning yourself out never tasted so good. Delicious both hot and cold.

Day 170: So...this is what the stretching machine at Planet Fitness is for...Right, Jessie?

It's been a fun and productive week. I have the best coworkers to work (and work out) with. I have the best friends to collaborate on writing projects with. And...I'm having just about the best time possible this year.

Hey, if you aren't enjoying life, then you aren't living it.

I hope your January is going well. Wishing you all the best. I'll see you next week! 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Project 365 Welcomes the New Year

So far, 2014's been good to me. I look forward to the excitement that's sure to unfold in the coming months.

Day 159: I breaded chicken, sauteed spinach in garlic and butter, then threw a mix of peppers on top. of it all Not a bad dinner on the day I was snowed in!

 Day 160: After our big snow storm, we had a clear, if cold, day. I immediately went to the beach for a photo shoot. Here's one of the shots. This gull was HUGE. 


 Day 162: One of the paintings I'm working on...

Day 163: The spread I shared with Jim and Jessie from work. I wish lunch looked like this every day!

And that's it for this post! If you haven't read my post about resolutions versus reflections, please check that out below. See you next week!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year's Resolutions? What about Last Year's Reflections?

Making (and breaking) New Year's Resolutions are always a big deal this time of year. I've listened to several friends remark how they've already "ruined" 2014 because they haven't kept to their resolutions. I admit it; I haven't kept up with all of mine, as well. It's been a busy and wonderful last few days. Sometimes I don't have time to do it all.

I'd like to take a moment to reflect on everything that I accomplished in 2013. I encourage everyone else to take a break from beating themselves up over "failed" resolutions and do the same. :)

1) I joined AmeriCorps and moved to Connecticut.
2) I applied to graduate schools to pursue my life's calling--a career in higher education administration. (Really, it was a DUH moment when I figured that one out.)
3) I exited an abusive relationship, learned from it, and moved on.
4) I visited many places, including San Diego where I saw family, Arkansas where I visited friends, Niagara Falls where I saw the single-most beautiful sight so far in my life, and Hawaii where I spoke at a writer's conference.
5) I completed my challenge on Goodreads to read 50 books.
6) I started Project 365 (where I take a daily picture of my life), and I am more than 150 days into it.
7) I worked more on my back piece, completing the tat that represents my father.
8) I took a vow of poverty.
9) I met Rylan and Kerrington--two beautiful children who light up my life.
10) I learned a lot more about cooking, baking, sewing, car maintenance, home repair,  and relationships--you know, all those things you go over in home economics in 7th grade and then promptly forget. ;)
11) I won a regional award for my poetry and published many more pieces.
12) I finished my first book of poetry.
13) I recaptured my voice and my interest in my writing after losing it.
14) I beat several Pokemon games. (Hey, that's super important!)
15) I worked a bunch on my bucket list--both adding to it and checking things off.
16) I completed the 25cK trainer (a running app).
17) I turned down a high-paying position with Macmillan in order to fill my soul with more meaningful work.
18) I lost my grandmother and realized just how important my time with my grandfather is now.
19) I decorated a new home.
20) I gained wonderful new friends, rekindled friendships with the old, and couldn't be happier about my future or more content with my past.

So, yeah, I might not keep all of my resolutions. Let's be honest. Who does? But I can reflect on last year and see how far I've come. It isn't just about the daily grind. It's how all those days add up in the end.

Don't beat yourself up if this year isn't yet what you want it to be. Think about what you did last year. Then, please, share with me!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Project 365 Writes a Christmas Letter

Consider this post a belated Christmas letter...

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of celebration and travel. I went home to KC where I saw my folks and BFFs. Then we made a trip to Indiana and had Christmas with the family up there. At last, I returned to Connecticut, only to be snowed in over the New Year. 

But so far, 2014 has been a great year. The pictures should explain why...

Day 146: Back home with my folks. I couldn't love anybody more than these two.

 Day 147: The triplets! Oh yeah...We're grown up and professional now. ;)

Day 148: Matching sweatshirts for Christmas. No better sign of friendship.

 Day 149: My Christmas Corgi! Isn't he beautiful? 

Day 150: Christmas day with my cousins. They're a beautiful bunch.

Day 151: My brilliant grandfather's design. I can't believe he's 86. I took a picture of his Peep (Jeep is patented), so I could make one, myself.

Day 151: Celebrating with my second family in KC. Love these people.

Day 152: BFFs forever. I've known these girls since elementary and middle school.

 Day 153: My best bud and I celebrate Christmas Eve a few days late by opening our stockings.

Day 154: My bestie with his Christmas presents from moi.

Day 155: Celebrating New Year's Eve in 1920s style with my bestie.

Day 156: New painting!

Day 157: Isn't Denny's the coolest?

Day 158: I start painting again after years of neglect. Acrylics, one hour. My hands are still covered in is my floor. 

2013 was both a difficult and defining year in my life. I lost my grandmother, and I made the decision to move out of Oklahoma and join AmeriCorps. Since coming to Connecticut, I've found my life's calling, which has spurred me to apply to graduate programs. So far, I've been invited to interview at the first school I applied to. Wish me luck with that!

2014 looks to be a wonderful year. I'll complete Project 365 August 1st. Two artists and I are working on a top-secret book series. More details to come soon. I've signed up to read 50 books again on Goodreads (a challenge I met last year). I've also signed up to take place in the Penguin Plunge--an event to raise money for Special Olympics. It'll take all my nerve to jump into freezing water! (You can donate to the cause here.)

And it's only January! 
I hope your new year shines with promise. I wish you the best. May you find and follow all of your dreams. 

Keep checking back here. More updates next week.