Ring in the New Year – 2018

I’ve been giving my goals some thought (some less than others) but here they are.  I’m also going to tape them to my mirror so I remember what goals I set.  Here we go:

2018 Resolutions

  1. Query 5 agents by August
    1. Finish the 1st draft with necessary edits
    2. Have 3 BETA readers (at least)
    3. Research agents
    4. Write and polish query letter
    5. Send
  2. Reach goal weight by August 31st by cutting back sugar and working out more.
  3. Make my marriage a priority by having at least 12 dates with my hubs and holding family counsels.
  4. Go to the temple at least twice (DC will be closing in March until 2020 – just thought I’d explain the low number).
  5. Service – do one service activity a month.
  6. MOVE!
  7. Read 25 books.  At least two need to be on writing and three be church books.
  8. Mommy/Son dates – Take time for just Nicky and me by going on at least 6 outings together.

As you can see – I’m making dating my family a big priority this year – someone’s desperate… I’m excited and nervous about my goals – mainly the writing one.  I realized a few weeks ago that I hold back because I get anxiety about the whole submission process.  I figure if I make it a goal then my pride and stubbornness will overpower the anxiety and I’ll finally take the next steps.  We’ll see.  An unwritten goal is to blog and journal more – so hopefully you’ll hear from me more (if that’s what you want).


Light the World

I kind of knew when I started the 25 days of service that not every day would be blog worthy. What I’m trying to learn this year is to serve despite “ambition”. Serve even when it’s something small and also – recognize that small things are service.

On Mormon.org, one of the suggestions one day was to say nice things behind someone’s back…I would have never thought of that being an act of service. But it is nice that on the really busy days, I can still squeeze in a small act of service. I can donate, I can let someone know I’m thinking of them, I can smile at every person I pass in park (which I did, last Friday). I’m trying to break out of the mindset that service takes a lot of time or money. Although I’m still doing things that take time and money in addition, just not every day.

We’ve made and delivered Christmas cookies to a neighbor, we donated gift cards to our bishopric to give to members of our ward who may need them, bought Christmas stocking stuffers for the missionaries serving in our ward, made a donation to a children’s hospital, etc.

I’ve been trying to mix my service between community, ward, friends and family. I think the hardest to recognize and to do is with my immediate family, the ones I share a house with, the ones I’m always doing things for anyway so it feels like cheating if I use service to them one day.

Overall – it’s been a positive experience so far and I’ve been working on my list of service ideas to do throughout the year. I think I mentioned in the last post, I’m hoping to do one service project a month with Nicky. But hopefully I’ll also be able to teach him how to serve everyday by helping out the people closest to him.

Day 1 – Freely Ye Have Received, Freely Give

On LDS.org they have an advent calendar. So I’ll just use those quotes as my titles for my service posts.

Jesus taught:

“Freely ye have received, freely give.”

—Matthew 10:8

Jesus made it clear that everything we have is a gift freely given from God. We should be grateful for all that we have and be willing to give just as freely to others. (From Mormon.org)

For day one, I decided to clean my mother’s oven. When I was over at their house on Thanksgiving I saw the dismal state of their oven and I knew then that I would clean it when Nicky had preschool again…which happened to coincide with December 1st.

So for my first day I gave my time and cleaning supplies to show my gratitude to my parents by cleaning their oven. Hopefully it will be a nice surprise for my mom when she gets home and sees it.

Because I’m a nerd, I took before and after pictures.


25 Days of Service

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to lead a discussion/ramble about service. We discussed the “The Needs Before Us” from this previous General Conference.

I loved this talk when I first heard it and reading it over a million times in preparation for my lesson. Sister Oscarson talks about doing service for those closest to us. She says: “Sometimes it’s easy to miss some of the greatest opportunities to serve others because we are distracted or because we are looking for ambitious ways to change the world and we don’t see that some of the most significant needs we can meet are within our own families, among our friends, in our wards, and in our communities.”

I underlined the part that I’m guilty of. It’s like I want to change the world but don’t know how and don’t really have the opportunity (unless I leave my family…) and sometimes this ambition to do something great actually leaves me inactive and doing nothing at all. I want to serve more, but I think I’ve been looking “beyond the mark” so to speak.

I loved this quote as well:

“What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most? How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice? Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.”

Also – our church released its 2017 Christmas initiative “Light the World” – this is basically the same as last year for those familiar with it and there’s a “challenge” to do 25 days of service between December 1st through 25th. I decided I wanted to do it and incorporate it with the talk. So I want to do service, big or small, covering the four areas mentioned by Sister Oscarson:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Ward
  • Community/neighbors

I think the thing I need to remember is that service doesn’t have to be big and time consuming, there are a million little things we can do to serve. They seem little to us but big to those we do them to.

As much as possible, I’m going to involve Nicky. I don’t know if he’ll really understand what we are doing but I think it will be good for him and I’m hoping to find things to do with him each month to serve so that we are doing this all year round.

I’ll try to remember to post often about the things I’m doing and if anyone else decides to do this “challenge”, I’d love to hear what you are doing (plus it will give me ideas).


Fall into this update – see what I did there?

A lot has happened since my last post. At the beginning of October, I was released from my calling with the Young Women. For those of you unfamiliar with how callings work at my church, everything is volunteer. We receive a call from a member of the bishopric and then we serve for a number a years and then we are released. The Bishopric prays about who should fill what callings. A relief society president could become a primary teacher – it’s all based on inspiration and revelation.

I served with the young women for three and half years. We knew the release was coming, just not exactly the when. I got a heads up two weeks before and I didn’t take it well – LOTS of crying. But it was nice knowing in advance so I could just enjoy the time I had left with the girls. This basically sums up my feelings.

The Sunday I was released I was the one teaching- I gave a lesson of Gratitude…which I thought fitting, since I was sad but also very grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know the girls and be a part of their lives.

The next Sunday, I was asked to teach Relief Society the following week. I was beyond stressed. When I first left singles ward I thought being a relief society teacher would be a pretty sweet calling. But after years with the youth I was nervous about teaching adults again. I didn’t have much of an outline, just taught from a conference talk – no other guideline. It was awful! I asked a question and got absolutely NO response. I moved on and I was most of the way done with what I had prepared with 20-25 minutes left!! Luckily I asked a question that seemed to get people talking (or they finally took pity on me) and we only ended a few minutes early. The next week I got a calling to be a Relief Society teacher the second and fourth Sundays…so there’s that. They are changing the curriculum in January to be more the way the youth program is so I guess they thought I’d be a good fit since I already have experience with that. Oh and the YW President was called as the 1st counselor and so she’s still my “boss”- which helps me be more comfortable right off the bat.

Also at the beginning of October, my oldest nephew came for a weeklong visit, followed by a one day visit from his parents. So I was spending a lot of time in the West End with my family there.

Stormy/Nicky (Its easier just to use their real names) started “preschool”. It’s one day a week and they basically just play. But social skills are learning too and I already see a big improvement. Every couple of weeks I get to help out in the classroom and that’s more fun than I thought it would be.

Gertie/Izzy will be 6 months old next week! I can’t believe how fast time has gone. She’s at a really fun stage. Super cute, smiles all the time, and so curious about everything! She reaches for objects and is rolling over. We’ll be starting solids in the next week or so.

Chewy/Matt and I are in a weight loss competition with each other. Not really, but we are both losing weight and I’m very competitive. At first I wasn’t because I had so much extra, you know, having just had a baby. But over the last month or so I’ve really closed the gap. I still weigh more than my husband…but I’m only a few pounds away from him and my pre pregnancy weight.

Let’s see- what else. I’m still writing whenever I can and meeting with my writing group. I still take family photos and continue to work on my photography skills. Oh – and I’m making Nicky a new quiet book. We’re trying to be better about keeping him in the chapel during sacrament meeting – so I thought making a new quiet book might make it fun/easier. I’ll take pics when I’m done. So far it’s not too bad, as long as I don’t compare my work with my Pinterest inspirations of course.

That’s it for now. Here are some photos for making it all the way to the end!


Don’t Stop Believing

Today I had the opportunity to help out at the Special Olympics, RVA style.  I’ve done this several times before and this year was my second time as a youth leader in charge of some teenage girls.  We kind of found out about it last minute so I only had four girls sign up but that was okay with me, less people to keep track of!

Love these girls
We got put to work on the field passing out water and directing athletes where to go
After all the races were finished we went to cheer on the athletes at the awards ceremony
Then we went into the arena and ran into the Richmond Spider (I hate spiders)
This young man saw the girls getting a picture with the Spider and asked me to take his but he doesn’t have email or a phone and he couldn’t find his coach…if you know him, please pass this photo on to him.

When we went into the arena, this kid was belting out “Don’t Stop Believing”.  It was fantastic!

The whole day was exhausting but a lot of fun.  I think all of us ended up a little sunburned.  We finished earlier than we thought so I got all the girls milkshakes while we waited for their parents to arrive.

I absolutely loved working with the athletes and other volunteers.  It’s great to see the athletes accomplish their race, cheer on their friends, and show great sportsmanship.  It was incredibly hot today and they all did such a great job and I’m glad we were there to help them stay hydrated and to be a part of their proud moments with them.   I can’t wait until I can do this again!