Category Archives: Challenge Accepted!

Making It Happen for 2016

Make It Happen
A friend recommended a book to me, “Making It Happen” by Lara Casey.  As I was looking into the book, I found that it was part of a larger program to help you live more intentionally and realize your goals.  The more I read, the more I wanted to try her whole program, so I ordered the Powersheets bundle with her book.  Not being patient enough to wait for the order to come in, I also got the Audible version and listened to this in the car during my commutes to and from work.

I absolutely loved it!  She does an amazing job of weaving together advice and personal testimony while keeping your primary focus on what God wants for your life.

I identified strongly with Lara herself, and a lot of her personality traits are my own, so her advice based on her experience was immediately relatable to my own life.

There are 7 initial steps to get ready to Make It Happen.

Step 1: Evaluate Where You Are

The very first thing you do in your Powersheets is to fill out a page about yourself.  After your name, it says, “I am a (thing beyond a job title here) ___.”  I filled in that blank with “joyful mess!”  I guess that’s the best descriptor I have for myself at the moment.  Things to tend to be pretty messy and haphazard in my world (which hopefully will be helped this year), but I do tend to be optimistic and joyful, no matter what happens.

After this, I wrote, “In the past, I have ignored, neglected, and put off many things I needed to do but now, I’m ready to make a plan, evaluate what’s important, and MAKE IT HAPPEN!  The things I value most are the people I love, God, and my faith.”

Three words that describe me:  fun-loving, extroverted, and enthusiastic.

My home/personal space is usually lived in, chaotic, and a MESS!  (Probably my mom’s fault…  After all, she used to call me Mess Anne growing up….)

Favorite colors:  yellow, green, aqua

Favorite foods:  chips + salsa, Taco Bell, alfredo sauce, grilled cheese

If I could have someone else’s job for a day, I would be a travel photographer.

My favorite song right now is Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.”  But check back in a couple days and it’ll likely be something else.

Person I would most like to meet:  Right now, I’d most like to meet Lara Casey.  I think we would become friends.  🙂

I get most fired up when someone encourages me or I’m challenged or pushed to soar.  I’m fairly extroverted, so it makes sense to me that I find strength and motivation from other people.

I get along best with people who – yeah, I checked off every option there.  I love people!

My best memories involve spending time with friends and family, experiencing something new, and doing an activity that I love.

I accomplish things best when:  (1) I have a cheerleader rooting me on, (2) someone else depends on me, or (3) I give myself a deadline.  The only one I didn’t check was the one that says, “I have quiet time and space to think,” because I am awful about sitting still.  I never do it.  I am horrible at meditation and listening to God.  But I know that I need to grow in this area.  Still, it’s important to know how I’m best motivated, especially as I try to stick to the plans which I’m making now.

Things I love to do:

  • Be with other people
  • Dance + listen to music
  • Watch movies
  • Read books
  • Take photographs
  • Travel
  • Give random gifts
  • Make others happy

I am most grateful for (in no particular order):

  • The people God has brought into my life
  • My cheerful disposition
  • God’s faithfulness and love
  • My job and boss
  • My best friend
  • My goddaughter
  • Fr. John
  • My faith

It is good to take these steps, these minutes, to reflect upon who I am, what I love, and what motivates me. It’s part of the process to determine what is really important in my life. I only have so much time and energy. If I waste it on something that I don’t really value, then what was the point? I’d be much better off to allocate my resources to things and people that are important to me.

Step 2: Plant the Seeds

I’ve made 12 categories of things that I’d like to work on in the next year:
Make It Happen

  • Blogging
  • Exercise
  • Faith Life
  • Finances
  • Food/Blood Sugar
  • Household
  • Personal Relationships
  • Photography
  • Reading Challenge
  • Thesis
  • Twidget Enterprises
  • Work/Professional Life

Step 3: Clear the Clutter

This section tells you to write down everything that is distracting you or holding you back from realizing your goals. In addition to knowing what’s important to you, what motivates you, and what you want to accomplish, it is good to know what obstacles are in your way. If you are aware of them, you can plan for them (to an extent).

For me, some of my pitfalls are if I am not feeling well or if I let myself become distracted or sidetracked. Plus, I also have a tendency to allow one “mess-up” to completely derail me. Right now, I don’t feel prepared for the next year and the challenges I’ve set for myself. But that’s okay. I don’t have to have the entire year figured out by tomorrow. I *can* figure it out as I go.

I want to change my thinking from “chasing perfection” to “chasing progress.”

Step 4: Meet Your Fears

I don’t have a ton of fears. The couple that I came up with are that I’m afraid that I’ll burn out or compromise my health, as I have a tendency to take on too much, work too hard, and not leave any time for myself to rest and recharge. I’m also afraid that I won’t follow through and that I’ll be in exactly the same place in all of these areas this time next year.

Step 5: Watch the Powersheets Video

There’s SO MUCH great information on her site, LaraCasey.com. Some of the things that stayed with me as I watched was that it’s okay to make a mess. She was talking of working in your Powersheets, but I take it to mean anywhere along this process. The Powersheets, my planners… All of these things are just tools, things that help me. I shouldn’t be concerned about keeping my tools pretty. I just want to make my life beautiful — for myself, and so that I can me a mirror of God’s grace and love to others. At the end of the day (or year), who cares what my planner looks like, or if my handwriting was bad? These things are not ultimately important. If I end the year having grown in faith and love and as a person, then my year will have been a success.

In doing her Powersheets, Lara got on her knees and read Scripture. I need this kind of inspiration. To have God be such a central part of my life. She recalled a passage in the Bible, right before Jesus selected the Twelve. In order to make good decisions, Jesus first spent the entire evening in prayer to the Father. Grounding yourself in prayer and the Word is so important.

In one of her Periscope videos, she talks of the song, Oceans:

While I was waiting for Oceans to load on YouTube, I had to watch an advertisement. It was for Zootopia, and during the ad there was the quote, “No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.” Which is SO appropriate for today and for this project!

Step 6: Decide You Can

This is a very long section in the Powersheets. Basically, you write out what has been working and what hasn’t, what you would like to prune from your life, and what you would like to cultivate. Then, you decide on goals (which I’ve written above). Remind yourself of what you want to achieve and why.

Step 7: Set Purposeful Goals

This is where you break down your goals into actionable baby steps, so that you have something concrete to work on and a way to measure progress on your goal. I am really glad that Lara has you revisit and tweak these goals every 3 months. It will help me re-commit to them (or refine/delete/replace them if that’s appropriate) and also see where I am, like a report card.

I’m so excited for this year and hope that you are as well!

God Bless and Happy New Year!

Make It Happen

Getting Ready for 2015!

I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions a bit this past week. I love fresh starts: New Year, First Day of School, Advent, Lent… and I love making plans for these new starts. But I find that I tend to lack the discipline to follow the plan all the way through. I think because it’s *my* plan and I’m only accountable to myself. I’m very good at rationalizing my way out of my own plans. I know what arguments will sway me.

So…

What if this year I didn’t make any “Resolutions”? Sure, I’ll still make a few plans and try out new things, but…

I think I’ll accept challenges instead!

2011 Best Ranger Competition [Image 2 of 5]

I’m pretty competitive by nature and I like completing challenges. Plus, then I’m accountable to whoever gives me the challenge.

I’m up for it! Are you?

What challenges do you have for me for 2015?

The Fourth Day of Christmas

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree!

The calling birds represent the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and their Gospel accounts.

The suggested activity for today is to call at least four friends that you have been meaning to contact but haven’t gotten around to doing. As for me, I think that I will send a note in the mail and be truly old-fashioned. 🙂 So, four of you, watch your mailbox!

Envelopes de tecido

Mistakes are Funny

I love my friends for many reasons. One of my very good friends has an awesome sense of humor and frequently makes me grin for hours thinking of our back-and-forth banter.

I usually get him and his housemates candy for Halloween. Since I can’t expect them to be any good at sharing… [I once brought a dozen donuts for the guys to share and gave them to my friend. He said, “Oh! 11 for me, and the other guys can split the remaining one!”] …I get them each their own plastic pumpkin filled with goodies.

And I spend hours — really, hours — separating all the candy into each pumpkin. Making sure that each guy gets exactly the same number of each candy as the other guys. Even down to color. Wouldn’t want there to be any fights because someone got 11 red and 9 yellow candies and someone else got 9 red and 11 yellow candies.

Because, obviously, they would be all fighting and pouting, or whatever. And we can’t have that.

But this year, I decided to offer a choice.

Me: And do you guys want tricks… or treats?
Him: Trucks

Clearly, this was just an autotext fail. Clearly. But it made me laugh for about 10 minutes straight. 🙂

Me: Dump trucks? Pick up trucks? LOL!
Him: Yes

Hahahahahahaha!

I can do trucks. 🙂 Watch me…. 🙂

Quarterly Challenge #11

Sorry that I haven’t posted too much lately. I have a good excuse though. I’ve had meningitis. It totally sucks. But I’m getting better, thanks be to God. While I’ve been out — not counting the couple of weeks where all I could do is lie there and stare at the ceiling — I’ve been able to read a plethora of books. I even finished my Quarterly Challenge #10 with a couple days to spare! 🙂

But now we are entering a new month, and a new Quarterly Challenge! Here are the details of #11:

Note: Books listed in italics are ones that I *plan to read* for the particular category. Books listed in regular font *I have read*.

Duration: September 1, 2013 – November 30, 2013

We are a YA Book Club, so all books should be young adult (unless otherwise noted).

You have 3 months to read 10 YA books that satisfy following requirements:

1) Read a book that is a new release published in September, October or November of 2013. GoodReads offers lists of the most popular new releases by month, they might help you to make your choices – September, October and November (If you have difficulties obtaining these new books, you can read a release from the same months in 2012).
Allegiant by Veronica Roth

2) September 22-28 is Banned Books Week. Celebrate your freedom to read by reading a book that has been banned and/or challenged in any country. The American Library Association has several lists available, but you do not have to read from those lists nor does the book have to be YA.
1984 by George Orwell, completed 9/6

3) Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) and read a book with a Hispanic main character. If you need ideas, REFORMA has a great list. Thanks, Neha, for an excellent GoodReads list.
I Will Save You by Matt de la Pena

4) Read a book that has been translated into English. Oliviasbooks has provided a great list.

5) September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Read a book about pirates or seafaring people. Some ideas can be found here.

6) Read a scary or horror book for Halloween.
Drought by Pam Bachorz

7) October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Read a book where any character is being abused or has been abused.

8) Celebrate World Post Day, October 9th, by reading an epistolary novel or real correspondence letters. Ideas can be found here.
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding

9) November 12th is Chicken Soup for the Soul Day. Read a book with a heartwarming or uplifting story.

10) Reread a book that you loved to celebrate Book Lovers Day (first Saturday in November).

I will try to update my progress as I go! 🙂

Quarterly Reading Challenge #10

Okay! I didn’t do so well on the last reading challenge, probably because I started it with only a few days left, so here I will try again! 🙂

Duration: June 1, 2013 – August 31, 2013

We are a YA Book Club, so all books should be young adult.

You have 3 months to read 10 YA books that satisfy following requirements:

1) Read a book that from ALA’s 2013 Teens’ Top Ten Nominations list. The list can be found here. If you find nothing you want to read on that list, you may read from other other years. The full list is here.

2) Read a book that is a new release published in June, July, or August of 2013. GoodReads offers lists of the most popular new releases by month, they might help you to make your choices – June, July, or August (If you have difficulties obtaining these new books, you can read a release from the same months in 2012).

3) Read a book set in summer or that has a summery cover (beach and such).

4) Read a book whose title starts with one of the letters of the word SUMMER.

5) Read a classic title.

6) Read a book with a cover that does not have a person on it. [This may be harder than you think!]

7) Read a book that involves traveling: a road trip, a trip or moving to another state, country, or continent.

8) Read a book that is funny.

9) Read an author’s debut novel (a list of this year’s debut authors can be found here.)

10) Read a book which is a 5-star favorite of one of your GoodReads friends (if you’ve yet to make any GoodRead’s friends, choose a 5-star favorite of a co-moderator – and friend them if you want!)

And, as a reminder to me, I should post my progress on their page. I’m not sure how Goodreads tracks this…. 🙂

I’ll try to keep this post updated with my progress, as well!

What are you guys reading this summer?

Because I Am ALWAYS Up for a Challenge!

I was poking around the Goodreads website and followed a friend’s group page, where I found the Young Adult Book Club Quarterly Challenge #9:

You have 3 months to read 10 YA books that satisfy following requirements:

1) The Edgar Awards are awarded in April. To celebrate, read one of the award winners or any mystery. YA Edgar Awards winners can be found here.

2) Read a book that is a new release published in March, April or May of 2013. GoodReads offers lists of the most popular new releases by month, they might help you to make your choices – March, April and May (If you have difficulties obtaining these new books, you can read a release from the same months in 2012).

3) April is National Poetry Month. Read a book that is written in verse. See here and here for suggestions.

4) Read a book whose title starts with one of the letters of the word SPRING.

5) Go local and read a book that is written by an author who lives in your local area (state, county, province, or city).

6) The end of May marks the beginning of the astrological sign, Gemini. To celebrate, read a book featuring twins as primary or secondary characters. Some ideas here and here.

7) Read one of the 10 books that have been on your to-read list the longest.

8) Read a science fiction, dystopian, or steampunk book
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

9) Read a book with a silhouette or shadow on the cover. Ideas can be found here and here.

10) Read a book written by a male author
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Start Date: February 25, 2013
End Date: May 31, 2013

Although the challenge end date is rapidly approaching, I think it is fair to use any book which I have completed during the timeframe of the challenge. 🙂  As I look, it doesn’t appear that I have a lot of books which meet the criteria, as most of them are either straight-up adult books and not YA, or children’s books.  Nertz.

Keep checking back as I update the list with the books that I have read to complete the challenge! 🙂