Reviewed My January Resolution Progress

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Can you believe that it is already the last day in January??!

Earlier this month I discovered a really cool idea with regards to making New Year’s resolutions with cool monthly printables via Pinterest.

January’s theme would be organization. I would organize my physical apartment, and I would brainstorm new practices to organize my everyday life actions. My goals included organizing: the kitchen/fridge, digital and physical photos, bathroom/under the sink, chore schedule, meal plan schedule, and various other projects.

Where I was successful:

-Organized my Project Life cards, began a chore scheduling, memory stuffs to include in scrapbooks, scanned physical photos into the computer, created a system for adding digital photos, planned future goals, and cleaned up my Pinterest boards.

Where I was less than successful:

-I only really started organizing the kitchen and bathroom. Honestly, I could probably take an entire month to organize the kitchen. I put it off, so then I ran out of time. Good thing I’ve got other months to dedicate to it!

The real take away from this month was the challenge question:

“What can you check off the list today?”

I often feel so overwhelmed with the projects needing to be done at home that I don’t start…I don’t know where. By taking the time to focus on this one aspect this month, it was easier to coach myself to just try. Instead of thinking “eh…I’ll do it tomorrow” I was more encouraged to say “No, it will only take a few minutes, just do it now.” While I did not accomplish everything I wanted to, I’m hoping to break through my tendency towards procrastination.

How did your January resolutions go? Any tips on organizing and making your daily home life easier/more efficient?

Lobbied For Gun Rights in 2014

January means it’s that time again…time to gather with the rest of VCDL and other organizations and lobby our state representatives and let them know our opinions on current legislation. Husband and I have been doing this now for 5 years. Feel free to check out my reports on our past years: 2011, 2012, 2013.

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This year we decided to stay the night, again. This is much simpler than waking up and driving in at awful early morning hours! To see our Richmond day trip adventures, click here.

One of the most noticeable other lobby groups supporting marijuana reform laws there with puppies!

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Husband volunteered as an official leader this year, and it was a very nice experience! Usually, we meet up with friends, and then visit our representatives…which involves running up and down the entire building. Instead, our assignments included specific people to meet, and packets were provided to us to highlight our stance on current legislation. Our delegates were only on floors 3-4! Which is a much easier hike when you end up using the stairs lol.

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Here’s the process:

You speak with the Administrative Assistants, to find out if the representative is available.

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If they aren’t, you ask to speak with the aide. The first year we didn’t understand that the representatives usually aren’t available and its pretty normal to only speak with their aides.

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Sometimes even waiting for an aide can take a little while, so its important to find ways to entertain yourself while waiting…like reading fun government pamphlets.

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Sometimes you get lucky, and you’re able to steal the delegate’s time for a little bit.

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And, don’t forget to sign the guest book.

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The efficiency of this experience meant that we were quickly done with our task! We walked a couple of streets to get a quick food fix at the 7-11.

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At 11 am everyone gathers in the court-yard to listen to speeches.

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One of my favorite quotes this year was: “The love of Liberty is the love of others, the love of power is the love of self.” My favorite speech was the one that helped encourage how gun owners could be better ambassadors for our cause. He spoke about how to encourage others, instead of focusing on “snappy zingers that would embarrass them in public.” It reminded me a lot of how I approach educating others who confront me.

These gatherings are great opportunities to make new friends, or meet up with old ones.

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One of my new friends appreciated the fact that I was wearing my DSLR AND a firearm. He took some of my new favorite pictures of myself and husband!

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Once the speeches ended we headed back towards the canal. My husband’s work contractors work in Richmond and invited us to try “Richmond’s Best Pizza” at Bottoms Up. The company was great, the slices were huge, but warning, it does take a VERY long time. They were okay in my opinion, don’t know that I’d label them the best.

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My last fun experience of the day before heading home was investigating the Hobby Lobby. I’d never been to one. I did find a couple of products that are not in my local craft stores…but I did find Hobby Lobby more similar to Pier 1 than an amazing craft store.  The scrap booking section wasn’t as exciting as I’d been expecting!

You should come with us next year to Lobby Day, especially if you’ve never been. Our favorite experiences have been to see hour our groups have been different each year. We’ve been able to introduce many people to this practice of “voting all day with their presence” as one of my best friends puts it. Seriously, if you are interested in gun rights in Virginia, you should be out there…especially if you are the kind of person who thinks that voting is important.

Walked Richmond’s Canal

We were in town to lobby for gun rights, as we have for the past 5 years. We’ve discovered that staying the night before make is much easier than making the drive in the morning, plus it means an exciting adventure in a different city.

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Using hotwire.com my husband got a good deal at the Double Tree in downtown Richmond. The hotel gave us warm cookies upon check in!

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I’d been researching fun stuff for us to do, so once we arrived I looked at an artistic style map. I recognized many of the landmarks from my research. Since evening was already upon us I chose a simple activity that was near us: exploring the canal.

According to my research this canal system was actually lobbied for by George Washington at the General Assembly. He thought it would be beneficial for Virginia’s commerce to have these waterway routes. It was neat that he’d lobbied, just like we’d be doing the next day!

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Visiting the Shockoe slip led to perfect reflective images of the industrialized area.

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Wandering around, we actually discovered the pizza place we were going to patron the next day.

It was beautiful to see how the city and rail road tracks intermingled together!

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Along the canal walk you can see the flood walls…they look so impressively tall that it is hard to imagine that the water has ever rose above them..which I believe did occur in August 2004.

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I was sad to discover that tours of the canal are only offered during warm months, though my cold fingers quickly understood the fact that the already cold air is even colder next to the water!

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The trail we walked along is called the “Liberty Trail.” Husband and I found this ironic as we came across a long sign detailing what you could NOT do in the canal.

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Another interesting aspect in this area is the triple rail road crossing, the only of its kind in North America. It is much more exciting with trains on it, but the only known instances of three trains crossing at once have only been twice, and these were posed photo opportunities.

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After we were too cold, we began to try to figure out where to eat. We had a moment of clarity in our personality differences. Husband enjoys doing research for restaurants etc, by simply asking the people that he passes. Meanwhile, I enjoy being prepared by surfing the internet for reviews and options.

In the end I used Urban Spoon to guide us to the Black Sheep. Husband ate a yummy and warm Chicken and Dumplings, while I ate this giant sub. (And did I mention this was the half size?) Their subs were rightly called “BattleShips” and mine was the USS Roanoke.

I was disappointed to not take advantage or more of the hotel’s amenities but the travel and walk in the cold had warn us out! My poor pink vibrams sat unused in my duffel.

One of the coolest things about our hotel was that if offered a swimming pool on the roof, of course this is only available during the warmer months. They wouldn’t even allow anyone on the roof due to liability reasons. So you’ll just have to instead enjoy these neat cityscapes from our window.

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Resolved in January.

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We are 10 days into 2014 and yes, I’m just crafting resolutions now. The problem with resolutions for me is that unless they are super duper specific they don’t happen, and in order to create specific resolutions you have to be willing to actually commit to said resolutions. It is much easier to be introspective and simply daydream about the changes you’d make if you were brave enough to try.

Pinterest to the rescue! I found this great pin ! Instead of just having yearly resolutions, you pick something to work on each month. You can begin over each month, each day. She even designed these printables for each month, with the goal of printing it out and putting it somewhere visible. (Added bonus you can print them off, write your goals, check off goals, and add it to the scrapbook).

In January I will focus on organizing. Having specific locations for things means they are much more likely to be returned to those places. Each day/week will focus on a different area/aspect of organizing. Some of these will be planning and organizing goals in other areas. (Gives me more time to think of and commit to specific goals for future months).

January’s Goals (to be achieved in any order)

Organize Pinterest board about organizing (we all know its the first step). Organize photos. Develop a “system” for adding photos. Organize reading goals. Organize kitchen cabinets. Organize fridge. Organize chore cleaning schedule. Organize bedroom closet. Continue to scrapbook and organize memory stuffs from past years. Organize health and fitness goals. Organize goal races. Organize spiritual goals. Organize travel daydreams. Organize professional goals. Organize crafty goals. Organize under the bathroom sink. Organize meal plan system.

I’m really excited about getting my life “right” especially since I hope to be applying for counseling jobs in the future.

Also, I’ve chosen my “one little word” for 2014. Anchored. This year is about clinging to God, staying in His hope instead of the wavering-ness of the temporary things around me and my emotions.

I’m excited to see how this month wraps up. This means I’ll be able to report back next month how I did, taking this time to continue organizing my life, the apartment, and my future goals!

Let me know about your resolutions, we’ll encourage each other together!

 

Waved Goodbye to 2013

How do we wave goodbye to this crazy year? By introducing the cutest 1 year old that I know to the amazingness of sparklers. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very entertained/expressive. I blame the fact that she skipped one of her afternoon naps.

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Either way, we all had fun toasting the new year in with great conversations and sparkling grape juice!

This past year has been one of the most eventful of my life!

In January I “really” began my internship.

Outside of work I got to really develop my photography skills with my new DSLR…probably one of the main things that I’ve always wanted. Learning to take pictures has been an adventure in patience and baby steps.

Finally, I purchased an inside the waistband holster, and I figured out how to conceal carry on the feminine person.

In April,  R and I decided to try walking a fun 5k…the joke was that we enjoyed it more than we were expecting and began to train to jog a 5k later in the year!

May meant that I could walk for my Master’s degree…even if I wasn’t completely done yet. It was a fun time to see my dad.

June was a month that took us by surprise. I was in a car accident that injured my spine, and then I spent the next several weeks recovering at home. I wouldn’t have wished for another car accident (especially since I’m still getting used to driving without anxiety) but it was a huge event in our lives together. I saw my husband quickly jump into action to take care of me, no questions asked. He took care of all of the details, calling everyone. It was incredible to see his faithfulness when I was incapable of walking myself to the restroom that first week, and picking out clothes for me. I want that care-taking image to be seared in my brain to remember whenever we have stupid tiffs over unimportant “roommate issues”.

The car accident was also just an incredible “restart.” It helped me remember the importance of true joy and gratefulness that I came to realize how much I truly struggle with.

Then, randomly (to us at least) my husband had an incredible new job opportunity. It was neat to have another relationship milestone…of walking by his side as he left the company he’d been with for 7 years to begin a new job.

By far the biggest accomplishment in 2013 has been finishing my Counseling Internship and by proxy my Master’s degree! I can’t believe that it is finally over.

2013 was easily one of the biggest years in our married life. Can’t wait to see what 2014 brings us. :0)

 

 

Completed My Counseling Internship

All of 2013 has been about the culmination of my Professional Counseling Master’s degree, begun in January 2010.

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This has been an incredibly long journey through which I’ve really struggled. I’ve wrestled with papers, tests, rejection from internship opportunities, no shows, insecurities, and it finally came down to the wire. The question of the hour was “would I get all of the needed face to face hours?!” Would I have my full 60 hour degree, or would I get bumped down to a 30 hour Human Services degree?

The last few weeks there were moments of worry, doubt, and extreme anxiety. However, I clung to the promise that God had started me on this journey, and that He’d finish it with me. The last few week there were so many moments with clients that were supernaturally filled with the Holy Spirit, that truly reminded me that God had ordained me to be at this place at this moment in time.

It was evidenced to me that He’d allowed me to struggle through my own issues in my personal counseling sessions, to be able to become a more secure and competent counselor.

He’d allowed me to grow into my retention skills, allowing me to experience a greater diversity of counseling while working with other therapists.

The last day I was filled with peace and excitement, waiting in expectation for God to really show up! I was nervous as good byes can be awkward, especially in this new professional sense. By the end of the day 4 out of 6 schedule clients had shown up for their appointments…and I’d earned my face to face hours by 1 hour!

It was so incredible, it just felt surreal. I don’t know if it will feel completely real until there is a diploma in my hand!

Everyone keeps asking me, “What’s next?”

I’d decided to take the rest of December off, due to the erratic schedule of cotherapy (during the other counselor’s schedules) and stress of it all. Come January, I’d start applying places.

Sadly, I’ve been enjoying my time off probably more than I should. I weigh through the different options. At this time there was not the possibility to continue at my site, as there are already 2 Masters level therapists. I’m interested in pursuing my licensure…but its difficult to commit to a new beginning know that the journey is 4,000 hours long. I’ll just have to look around and see what is available, see what doors God opens.

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The coolest thing was that our Christmas party was on the same date I began my internship in 2012! It was awesome as I rushed to complete my hours, to have an opportunity the following week to really savor time with everyone. We played Christmas games, and the December birthdays were given gifts. I was floored by the generosity shown by my peers. They spoiled me with Amazon and Kroger gift cards. I will really miss all of them and I hope to save all of the lessons that they taught me!

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Decorated a Live Christmas Tree

This season the curiosity of a real live Christmas tree got to me. I kept chattering about it so much that my husband decided to surprise me with one after a grocery store trip.

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It was so exciting getting it set up. At first we weren’t sure if it would even fit in the stand, but husband got it to fit.

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It wasn’t a giant tree. I’m taller than in, but I like its size and the derby way that it holds our tree top.

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Husband had real live trees growing up, and made me promise to take care of it, as he find its care annoying. Seriously, it was like he’d gotten me a puppy or something.

The first few days I kept watching the tree, waiting to experience the magicalness of it all, and I was feeling let down.

After the internship I purposely tried to spend more time in the living room during my scrapbooking madness, and there it was. The gorgeous smell of the Christmas tree filling the living room. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience this as much as I would have wished…as I developed a cold the week of Christmas and lost the ability to smell or even breath for that matter.

Once we finally got the tree decorated it was fun to take advantage of for some classic Christmas light photography!

First the blurred bokeh, easily created by using manual focus to create the lack of focus.

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Then, the sparkling lights picture. To create this picture you need a tripod, a long exposure (like 20-30 seconds), and a high aperture. So much fun!

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Welcomed My 26th Year of Life

With the stress of completing my internship it was hard to focus on my birthday… but because of my all of my loved ones…I did manage to span the festivities over an entire week!

My presents arrived early from my mother in law, wrapped in the traditional Disney princess wrapping :0).

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My birthday was in the middle of the week, and I decided to spend it “in” with our best friends. I’d seen a larger gathering of my friends a few days before for A’s 21st birthday and in that moment I was able to appreciate everyone and realize I didn’t need to see them again “just for me.” It was a cool secure moment.

All my life I’ve struggled with looking so much younger than I am. Its frustrated me when people retort “you’ll appreciate when you’re older.” This year I realized that there was no other age that I was “going to look forward to” there wasn’t another “adult age” milestone to hit that would validate my age anymore than now. Therefore, I decided to appreciate my fountain of youthfulness NOW. So what if I’m 26 and look like I’m in my young twenty’s. I’m the age that I am, I’m an adult, and I’m just going to live it up and appreciate it now!

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We got take out to go, and we just hung out talking. They also decided to surprise me with a cheesecake…and some odd gifts. Its only your friends who truly know you who get you your comfort foods: dove white chocolate, triscuits, and a block of Parmesan cheese. Its awesome when people want to let you know how loved you are.

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That weekend I got kidnapped by another amazing friend for a perfect goodbye friend date. (She’s spending next semester as a fantastic intern in D.C. instead of on campus). We went to go see the new animated Princess movie Frozen. We even randomly matched in pinks and greens.

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OH MY GOODNESS! I was not expecting to love this movie half as much! The animation was perfect, the songs were epic, and the story was truly meaningful. There were spoofs on many of the traditional Disney romance plots, and great twists in the story line. I’m afraid to admit how much I identified with the eldest daughter, in recognizing how much anxiety has won in my life.

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We sat analyzing and discussing every detail of the movie over milkshakes…the way only true Disney fans can do. I’ll be sad to not see her around, we’ve spent so much time together working in the Xtreme Impact office, and accidentally becoming really good friends preparing for our Italy trip together.

Pretty epic way to turn 26!

 

Disliked Fall

Fall is probably one of my favorite seasons. I’m pretty sure that every season I find something to like and dislike as I eagerly await for the next season, but fall is pretty awesome. I love the changing leaves that make the mountains around here look like they are on fire. One day I’d love to go to Maine and see their changing leaves. Until now I’ll enjoy the fall opportunities around here!

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This past season it consisted of photographing for a fall church festival. Here every church seemed to have a sign that they were going to be a hosting a fall festival, on their property. Something that I love about my church is that we hosted a fall festival in an apartment complex, where the people are. I’ve really enjoyed branching out from my stereotypical role in details and administration to follow the passions of my heart through my camera lens!

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Speaking of camera adventures…I wanted to check out the foliage at a local park. The one where we had a photo-shoot a few years ago. In doing so I also brought a wedding icon with me…my Cinderella shoes. It was a fun experiment, and a neat way to combine my wedding symbol and that of my cousin in law’s.

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We were also able to day trip to a local winery/vineyard. Its a creative place using different types of fruits in their wines. Another neat thing is that this location is also an apple orchard.

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There is a small farm on the property filled with farmyard animals, so of course the hubster needed to go interact with them!

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And finally I bring you our matching Halloween costumes of 2013. Hippies! (Also, since our party was technically in November weekend…we got our accessories on clearance!) Last year was the first year husband actually wanted to have a matching theme…I’ve realized that it works better if I let him come up with the costume and I figure out how to make it a duet.

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Attended a Piano Guys Concert

I’ve never actually attended many concerts in my life. The ones that I have, have been Christian ones with my youth group or at college. I’ve enjoyed those…but it was fun to go to a different one.

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I was a little nervous planning this event with two of my friends because of the time required to get to the city in the first place (trying to estimate traffic), and I’d never been to this venue before.

It was exciting when all of the plans fell into place! We got there early, we were able to enjoy the parking right in front of the concert hall (despite its limited availability), and the fun restaurant that I scouted out was literally only around the corner.

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We had a quick desert before the show.

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Oh my goodness! The show was awesome! We were grinning/laughing the entire time. These are a group of performers who really enjoy what they do. (As if that wasn’t believable from their youtube videos). They played pretty much all of the songs we were hoping to hear…though my favorite is the star wars melody…and since he can’t clone himself it is somewhat difficult to do live :0(. I really appreciate the creativity involved in their music…its incredible to see someone break the bounds of what the “norm” is. I would highly recommend anyone to their concerts!

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The venue was the Jefferson Center, a refurbished high school. I have to say all of the different volunteers who greeted us were so nice it was refreshing! They easily were available to take a picture of the three of us, and you could tell that the genuinely enjoyed sharing the building with us.