July in the Books

July seems like just a blip, it went by so fast. Let’s see if I can even remember what I did!July 2017

1 – Book finished, The Prosperous Heart {affiliate link} by Julia Cameron

1.2 – Pounds gained, I might have to do something drastic to get back on track

3 – West Coast Swing lessons, I have a lot to learn, but it’s so fun!

4 – Papers written from my Marketing class

8 – Social events

12 – Hours of mandatory overtime

20 – Pictures on Instagram

27 – Workouts in July

28 – Projects completed

Maybe July is such a blur because there was so much going on! Progress is good and I’m striving to finish the year strong.

 

May and June 2017 in the Books

June 2017 ends and the year is half over. This is the perfect time to check in with our New Year’s Goals from January. I’m doing well on a few of them, there’s a few I’m clinging to and a couple that I’m struggling to achieve. But I’m doing what I can, and staying optimistic.

MayMay 2017

.4 – Pounds lost, my weight loss slowed down but it was still a loss

6 – In our group that went West Coast Swing dancing – and then to ice cream

10 – Social events, mostly hanging out with my family

16 – Donuts to celebrate birthdays

22 – Pictures on Instagram

28 – Projects completed

29 – Workouts in May

June

Mountain Retreat.2 – Pounds gained. I need to go back to Italy to start losing weight again

2 – Books finished in June:  {Affiliate links} Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly and the pretty illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

4 – Days in the mountains at a writer’s retreat

7 – Social events, only half of them were with my kiddos

15 – Projects completed

25 – Pictures on Instagram

28 – Workouts completed in June 2017

The last couple of months have been filled with successes and some challenges. But my future is what I make of it. There are so many opportunities to learn, grow and improve. And so it is for you. I hope the first half of 2017 has been full of joy and fulfillment and the rest of the year will follow suit.

 

Take Time for Creativity

Creativity CactusFor the last few years, I make it a point to read self-improvement books over breakfast. Many of them tout the benefits of making time for creativity. The Artist Way {Affiliate link} encourages a weekly ‘Artist Date’ to prime the pump for creative juices. The Creativity Cure {Affiliate link} prescribes 20 minutes a day of using your hands to keep sharp. During her Happiness Project {Affiliate link}, Gretchen Rubin discovered getting off the path is beneficial. Through my own research, I’ve learned that two keys to my sanity are daily writing and creativity. I’ve done well in adding writing time into my daily schedule. But I’m still streaky about setting time aside to be creative.

The Value of Creativity

Creativity flowersInitially I struggled to wrap my head around the concept of an ‘Artist Date’, thinking it only counted if I was actively creating art. I had slipped into a funk that I couldn’t write my way out of. One day on the spur of the moment, I stopped at Hobby Lobby. As I walked the aisles, I saw amazing pieces that sparked all the remarkable things I could create! When I left the store, I was transformed. I felt alive again. I remembered I am unique, creative and valuable, that I can do things no one else can. My unique way of looking at the world is something to treasure.

Should Versus Want

Knowing that I should go take pictures to improve my photography skills wasn’t enough to motivate me. Knowing the boost I’d get once I was outside snapping away wasn’t even enough to make me want to go. My brain wanted to get out and take some pictures, but not enough to make it happen. I watched a photography You Tube video instead and decided to stay at home and practice depth of field skills. Somehow I broke through and Creativity Waterfallwent to the park to practice depth of field.

It felt good to be outside and walking around the lake, with frequent stops to take pictures. The fresh air and sunshine were invigorating. I learned more about using my camera’s settings, now I have more control and efficiency. But most of all I felt the creativity flow. I gave myself a needed recharge and came home with a clearer focus on my photography, some personal issues, and a big project I’m working on.

I knew getting out taking pictures would be good for me, but I still struggled to get over that hump to actually do it. Coming home, overheated and all, I am in a better place. I’m repeatedly impressed with how much I need creative flow. Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles to listen to my own advise.

April 2017 in the Books

Can you believe the year is a third of the way over? April 2017 was full of catching up, laying the ground work for a new project, and missing Italy. I can’t wait to share my new project, but I want it to be awesome before I reveal it. I hope you love it at much as I do.

In the meantime, it’s time for a quick pulse on my progress on this year’s goals. A monthly review is extremely helpful to actually accomplishing them, instead of letting them slip into the realm of most resolutions.

2 – Pounds lost, I’m almost down to what I weighed this time last year!

2 – Books finished in April: The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George and The Creativity Cure by Carrie Barron. Both books were great. As I read the Creativity Cure, I noticed several threads woven through other similar kinds of inspirational books like The Artist Way and The Happiness Project. {Affiliate links}

3 – Nights of chasing sunsets (with my camera). {Affiliate link} April 2017

14 – Social events, our family’s birthday season has arrived.

21 – Workouts completed in April 2017.

22 – Projects completed, I got a lot accomplished around the house.

38 – Pictures on Instagram

Have you dusted off your New Year’s goals? How are you progressing? I’d love to hear about how you’re doing. If you didn’t make any, it’s not too late to set a monthly goal or two. Be sure to share and we can support and encourage each other!

February and March 2017 in the Books

I was hoping to share my February 2017 before I went on vacation, but I’ll share February and March 2017 instead. It was the trip of a lifetime with 12 days in Italy. I spent most of my time in Rome and still didn’t get to see everything I wanted, not even close. And now April is flying by.

February

.6 – Pounds gained

1 – Class started, I’m enjoying Marketing 101

2 – New recipes, another salad in the jar and Honey Buffalo Meatballs, which were delicious!

3 – Social events, including paint night

February Muffins17 – Workouts in February

22 – Days of eating at least on veggie

24 – Projects completed

33 – Photos on Instagram in February

72 – Sealed with a Kiss muffins, most of them were mini muffins that I shared with my comrades at work

March

1 – Book finished and it was for my class

2.4 – pounds lost! Rome does a body good! I decided if I lived in Italy for a year, I could get back to my target weight.March Rome

4 – Papers turned in for my Marketing class

10 – Days in Italy

47 – Pictures shared on Instagram

4100 – Approximate number of pictures I took in Italy

 

We’ll leave the catch up work I came home to for another time. I’m slowly catching up, but I did get my taxes done on time!