‘Tis a New Chapter Indeed

I didn’t stay up until midnight last night. That was on purpose, and I had a delightful time greeting the New Year with the soft light of dawn.

Beginnings of months always make me happy – it’s like a fresh paragraph, just awaiting thoughts, experiences, and adventures to spill on to the page. A new year is even better. It’s a new chapter, fresh, clean, promising to be full of surprises. A new decade? Well, I’ve lived through so few of those that I don’t even know where to categorize them.

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If you’ve been around long you know I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. From what I’ve heard, those don’t seem to stick, and who wants to start out a new chapter with a failure? Instead, I write goals. And normally I’m pretty good at keeping my goals because I’m a very goal-oriented person.

Twenty-nineteen kinda laughed in my face and not only did I literally lose my goals (I’m still not sure how that happened since I had them multiple places), but my life went in a way different – and wildly more exciting – direction than what I’d imagined.

The last known list of goals I have from 2019 was when I reassessed my goals for the year – something I highly recommend since looking at twelve months is important, but kinda hard to predict.

Although I lost my Goal List, I did still have a mental inventory of some of the goals and plugged away at them during the last six months of the year. Since I’m used to recording goal wins and losses here in my little sphere of the internet, here’s what I have/can remember:

  • All writing goals – NO (When I move to Kentucky I decided I needed to put writing on hold until I settled in. Then after I’d finally settled into one job, I was promoted and had to learn a whole new set of responsibilities)
  •  Track all the money I spend for three months – YES (more like six)
  • Walk at least twenty miles a month – YES (December I walked 143 miles)
  • Read two nonfiction books a month – YES (I read forty-two nonfiction altogether)
  • Add all books to Goodreads – YES (I actually changed this do Instagram stories, but for the same reason I was going to do Goodreads)
  • Write monthly reviews – NO
  • Write monthly and weekly goals – NO (I stopped around October)
  • Journal once a week – YES
  • Four Instagram pictures a month – YES and NO (Did until I reassessed in May and decided to drop the goal)
  • Blog twice a week – NO
  • Drink Ionized water and share devotional thought every day – YES
  • Go paleo (in May changed to no sugar or gluten) for 100 days – YES

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Did I do well with my goals last year? Well, that’s subject to debate. Do I wish I’d done better? On some of them (like blogging) the answer is yes. On others (like writing) I knew I needed to set them aside and focus on other things, so I’m more than okay with DNFing those goals.

As a new chapter in life opens in front of me, I’m thankful for the ability to write goals, and the freedom to let go/change/reassess goals as life changes. Goals are tools, not chains, and I’m excited for the tools I have in my bag this year. 😉

Happy Twenty-twenty, folks!

Did you write goals in 2019? If so, how did you do with accomplishing them?

Simple Tips to Accomplishing Goals

By the time this part of the month arrives, it’s kinda like I have my own personal race going on between me and my goals.

When I have a free moment in-between things I pull out my phone and go over my goals for the month. Before I go to bed I organize my day for the morrow, jotting down a to-do list that coincides with my goals. When I think of a fun activity I want to partake in, I match it up with the goals I still have to accomplish, then take a moment to weigh the two and figure out which is really the more important thing to do.

So, pretty much, the closer I get to the end of the month the more I focus on the goals that I’ve written.

It’s a good system, but also has flaws. For instance, if I forget about the Blog 17 times in March goal I made until the last week of the month then there’s no reasonable way I can accomplish it. Same goes with being Paleo for 25 days. (I mean, despite how much I want it to work, I can’t fit 25 days of Paleo into a week.)

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I’ve also discovered the earlier on in the month I knock out goals, the more benefits I reap. These include:
1) Being more likely to actually accomplish all my goals
2) The more choices I have to say yes to leisure activities
3) Being more chill when things don’t go according to plan
4) Being able to exceed my goals if they weren’t high enough to begin with

My system for keeping track of goals is exceedingly simple and easy to deal with, yet rewarding at the same time. I just type out my goals with bullet points next to them, then I get to check them off as the month (or week, or day) progresses and I accomplish what I set out to do.

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I try and give myself a mixture of goals – both those that will take a while to accomplish (Write significant amounts 10 day) and those that I can do easily on any given day (Look for a TCK on Instagram). That means that on days when I just really need a boost of checking something off I can find an easy-to-accomplish goal and finish it. This helps me stay more focused and excited about the longer goals (such as a goal where I have to do something each week).

In addition to my goals, I also have an app for habits I’m cultivating in my life. It’s called Habit Share and is amazing because you can be friends with other people who you know who will help keep you accountable. I have eight habits I’m working on – ranging anywhere from making sure I go to bed by 10:30 twice a week (I’ve hit that fifteen times this month), to drinking a gallon of water at least five days a week (which I’ve done 23 times this month).

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This app is fantastic when it comes to staying accountable and focused. There are many months I would be able to hit my year-long goal of walking at least twenty miles a month, but having a habit of exercising at least 20 minutes for 4 days a week has made me get out there and walk so much more often then I would with just an overarching goal. (Hence the reason I started walking on the treadmill as I blog.)

What are some of your tips to staying on task when it comes to goals and good habits?

Currently
Setting: Haha – Same as yesterday
Listening to: Ditto 

Question of the Day: Have you ever heard of Habit Share? 

Reassessing Goals for 2019

It’s the last Monday morning of January and I finally got around to re-writing my goals for 2019.

I had decided when I wrote my year-long goals at the end of December that I would think about them during the first month of the year and decide what goals I really thought were realistic and good to focus on. I could add, take away, or edit the eleven goals as much as I wanted to before the month ended.

Because, ya know, goals are meant to be used as tools, not to act as chains.

So all month long I’ve been thinking about my goals. Very early on I knew one of the goals wasn’t something I actually wanted to focus on this year so I nixed that one right away. The other ten were solid though, so I kept them as well as adding seven more.

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My handwriting for my new goals is a little bit shaky because since we’re coming up on the end of the month I’m needing to be multitasking in order to accomplish everything left on my month-goal list. That means I’m walking on the treadmill with a built-in desk as I answer emails, blog, write weekly goals, and catch up on the rest of my easily-done but time-consuming tasks of the morning.

It’s a common joke that a lot of people are “over” their New Year Resolutions by the end of January, but a cool thing about goals is that you can have something fresh and new to work on every day. Every week. Every month.

Today, twenty-eight days into the month I’m far more excited about the goals I’ve set for 2019 than I was at the beginning of this year. I’ve found a rhythm that works for me, and although I do have unproductive days where I get behind, I’m eventually able to find ways to catch up and get back in the groove.

Goals are a tool, and they’re a tool I’m really thankful for.

Currently
Setting: Treadmill 
Listening to: Spotify on shuffle  
Random Fact: Papermate Flair markers are my favorite 
Question of the Day: How are your goals coming along?  

Coffee, Goals, and Totally Wrong Footwear

It was the week of my twentieth birthday and we had out-of-state friends visiting. One day as we were sitting around the table talking and munching on apple slices, one of the guys who I really didn’t know well at the time asked me if I was goal-oriented. The question took me by surprise because I’d never really thought about it. I stammered out a reply of, Well, I do like to write goals. But I’m not sure if I’m good at it... Over the course of the evening, his question kept coming back to me and the realization that goals played a big part in my life swept over me time and time again, each time with added force.

A few days later, late on a Saturday night after another friend’s wedding, I excused myself from a lively, chattering group of acquaintances that were visiting. When I came down a bit later they asked what I’d been doing and I answered that I was finishing my goals for the week. That prompted a long conversation about goals and how they can impact our lives.

My family joined in the conversation to laughing relate that I thrived on goals and always had a bunch of them that I was working on.

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Those conversations that week changed the way I viewed life. Until that time I’d never really thought about what I did or didn’t do. I hadn’t realized that goals played a big part in my life. I hadn’t stopped to consider how great of a tool having goals actually was.

Nowadays goals are a daily part of my existence.

Last year my cousin, Aubrey, agreed to be my goal accountability partner and each week we sent each other our weekly goals. We’d text our “big wins”, ask each other what we could do to be more productive and/or focused, and cheered each other on. When I realized that writing daily ‘to-do’ lists for the next day helped me be more productive, Aubrey said I could text her each night after I had finished my list. Thus prompted about 200 texts with the simple words “List done” in them.

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Yesterday, I drove the (nearly) two hours to go and visit Aubrey and celebrate a year well lived. We talked over our 2018 goals, discussed what had worked and what hadn’t, then turned our focus to 2019.

I’m excited for this year. For a year of goals, accomplishments, focus, and growth. Last year didn’t pan out the way I had expected it to, but with small goals and bite-sized chunks it ended up being far better than I could have dreamed of. For twenty-nineteen I’m really not sure what to expect, what to plan for, what goals to set. But I’m pushing on to the best of my ability and it’s a rather exciting venture. 😉

Goals. They can make a fairly big difference in your life and I highly recommend them. Also, accountability partners? They’re pretty much the best.

Amen and amen.

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Why I Don’t Make New Years Resolutions

Folks! Today I had a post I wanted to write, then realized I’d already written the post – back in January of 2015. So, I looked it up, tweaked it a bit to fit the current state of my life, and here you go:
My New Years Resolutions for 2015: None 
 
Resolution ~ A firm decision to do or not to do something
 
I often make resolutions: I’m going to be more thankful, I’m going to eat less sugar, and so on and so forth. I don’t make New Year Resolutions though, because there doesn’t seem much point to that. I mean, why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? 
 
 
 
Goals, though? Goals are a whole other story. 
 
Goal ~ The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. 
 
I am a delighted believer in having goals. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that where there is no vision, the people perish. We weren’t created to wander aimlessly through life. God created us with purpose and I think we’re most content when we’re in sync with the life God meant for us to live. 
 
A goal should be specific, measurable, written down and have a deadline. If you don’t have these four qualities, then you have a dream or a wish, not a real, concrete goal. Studies have shown that you’re 42% more likely to complete a goal if you’ve written it down, amazing, isn’t it? 
 
Let’s say I have the goal to Vlog regularly this year (2018). Now that’s a great thing to do, but not an actual goal. It’s so open-ended that it just ends up being a wish or a dream. Once I add specifics, then it becomes a goal: In 2018, if the Lord wills and I live, I’ll vlog once a week.
 
Having a goal is like having a target. 
 
Take a moment and imagine you and a prize-winning archer are having a competition to see who can hit a target in the least amount of tries. That seems unfair; surely the trained professional will win, right? But now picture this: You take the archer, tie a blindfold around his eyes and spin him around for thirty seconds, then he has to try and hit a target that he can no longer see. That’s crazy, right? I mean how can you hit a target when you don’t even know where it is? 
 
Or imagine getting in your car to go on a trip. If you don’t have a clue where you want to go, how do you know what to pack? What to prepare for? That might be fun for a few days, but not for a lifetime.
 
That’s how a lot of people meander through life. They wander aimlessly; recklessly throwing away their potential by not focusing their efforts on a target, a goal. 
 
The second part of Luke 12:48 says From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. I have been entrusted with a lot. I have a host of people I interact with on a daily basis, I have a God-given talent for writing, and I have all the blessings of living in America where I don’t have to spend my entire life working the ground just to grow enough food to keep me alive. 
 
My life is bursting at the seams, opportunities, and choices abounding. It is my responsibility to seek God’s will for my life and actively listen to godly counsel and then run in the right direction, giving God my everything. 
 
We all have 24 hours each day. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds. Some of us will use those seconds, minutes and hours to bring God glory and make them count for the good of eternity. Others will whittle them away, wasting them with little thought of what could be. Here’s the exciting thing, though: No matter what you’ve done up until this time, you can change and begin making your life count!
 
Y’all, life is exciting! God has an amazing plan for my life and I’m thrilled to watch it unfold right before me. There are several things I feel called to at this time, and almost everything I do each day correlates with at least one of these overarching aims in life. 
 
This year (2015) I have seventeen main goals that are broken down into six categories: Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Business, Financial and Writing. Each one of my goals (big or little) should directly or indirectly tie in with my lifelong purpose, which is to love God with all my heart and to use my life to give glory to Him. 
I believe goals are important because they help me streamline my life and propel me in the direction God has set for me. Matthew 25:23 says, His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the lord. This is what I want to hear one day, and I know my goals are helping me draw closer to being the person who God wants me to be.
Isn’t that an exciting thought? 

2018 Musings and Goals

Today is one of those snowy, icy, you’re-probably-not-going-to-work-today type of glorious winter mornings. It’s also one of those you-just-got-over-being-sick-now-make-today-fantastic type of mornings, and I’m pretty excited about it.

Last night as I was falling asleep I was marveling about how there are only 51 weeks left in 2018. And yes, I know 51 weeks is a long time, but the fact that one week is already gone reminds me of how each day wooshes past at a rather fast pace and after the time is gone there’s no way to get it back.

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(Side note: My Christmas lights that have adorned the perimeter of my room for the last three years just – literally just – gave up the ghost.)

This year I don’t have a lot of goals. 2017 ended up throwing me so many plot twists that when I sat down to work on praying about and planning 2018, I seriously couldn’t fathom many specifics for what I wanted to accomplish in the year.

I have ideas.
I have ideals.
I have dreams.
Hopes.
Prayers.

But goals? Those aren’t as easy to tack down when talking about a whole year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred and sixty-five days. It’s a lot of time, time that I’m becoming more and more aware that I’ll never get back or be able to redo. Each of my moments count because once they’re gone, that’s it. Do you know what the cool thing is, though? That’s enough time to accomplish what I’m supposed to do this year. Time flying isn’t a bad thing, it simply means I need to stay on track and be focused.

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I only have seven goals for 2018. They’re goals I’m excited about and that leave me energized instead of overwhelmed. They’re going to stretch me, but not break me, and that’s how goals are supposed to be.

My Goals for 2018

(If the Lord wills, and I live…)

  1. Write Weekly and Monthly goals – This will help me decide what’s most important each month, and then what I need to do in order to get there.
  2. 15 days of eating Paleo each month (At least)
  3. Review all the books I read
  4. Finish Echoes and When Life Hands You Lymes (both huge, huge writing projects)
  5. Query for o0ne of those ^ books
  6. Teach Junior Church for three months
  7. Vlog once a week (at least until May)

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I’m excited about embracing this year and seeing how I grow and change and how I can help others. January is beautiful, in full swing, and just bursting with potential. #Happiness

Welcome, ​December! {Plus Goals}

Y’all! December has arrived with all its glorious beauty and the last month of 2017 is currently seven hours and twenty-eight minutes underway. Craziness, right? I’m doing that multitasking thing again today where I’m writing this post, but as I think of a goal I want to accomplish this month I jot it down beside me. And I’m listening to Christmas music of course. Because folks, Christmas is only twenty-four days away! (Am I the only one who enjoys the anticipation as much or more than the actual event?)

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Last month flew by so rapidly that I didn’t even write my goals for the month until November 21st. One thing I’ve been learning over (and over and over) again is how much goals help me. When I have a clear set of things set out in front of me that I want to accomplish, well, it helps me say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things.

Therefore I was determined to set out my goals early on in this month, and low and behold I was able to accomplish just that. Over the last week or so I’ve been mulling over what I want to do in December, and although my list isn’t long, with the holidays and all I think it’s fairly realistic.

If the Lord wills and I live, in December of 2017 I will…

  1. Read 4 non-fiction books
  2. Catch up on all reviews
  3. Vlog 4 times
  4. Edit 5,000 Echoes words
  5. Work on setting goals for 2018 (YIKES!)
  6. Write weekly goals
  7. Go to bed by 10:30 15 times
  8. Eat paleo 20 days
  9. (This one is a goal about some of the Christmas gifts I’m working on, so I’ll not specify)
  10. End the year with a clean room, clean bathroom, and laundry basically caught up

What are some of the goals y’all are working on this month? Are you excited about December, too?

September Goals

Y’all I totally thought published this on Saturday, and only just discovered that it apparently didn’t actually publish? So, here y’all go.

This week as I’ve traveled to and from work, I’ve been delighted over and over again at how beautiful this part of the world is. I feel incredibly blessed to get to live here – the gorgeous countryside that not only has four seasons (and we’re entering the most glorious one!) but also graces us with breath-taking views like this one: FullSizeRender-12

So far September has been so chocked full of life and work and happenings that I’ve barely had time to sit down and think and plan. I’ve had a vague sense of what my goals are for this month and even talked about some of them in an email, but I haven’t actually written them down. Since I work so much better with goals, I thought I’d better get on it and make a list of my goals for this month.

If the Lord wills and I live, in September of 2017 I will….

  1. Get settled into my new part-time job/learn the ropes
  2. Stay caught up with work for my other part-time job
  3. Fill out/answer/write all my author interview and “Behind the Scenes” posts for the release of Where Dandelions Grow blog tour by September 22nd
  4. Finish preparing for the release of Where Dandelions Grow 
  5. Release and Celebrate Where Dandelions Grow September 26th-30th
  6. Read 4 non-fiction books
  7. Write 10 book reviews
  8. Have focused family time while visiting my grandparents during the second half of the month

What are some of the things you’re working on this month?

 

(Who Needs Conestoga Wagons?) Traveling by Lawn Mower & #Goals

Yesterday I was cutting grass with Chadwin (who happens to be my lawn mower in case y’all didn’t know) when once again the perfect book idea came to me. And I say “once again” like that because this book idea is a recurring theme that strikes me as being brilliant whenever I’m cutting grass.

You ready for the idea?

I want to write a book where the main character travels across the United States on her lawn mower, mowing people’s yards as she travels to earn money to continue on her way. See. I told you it was a brilliant idea.

What could be more exciting than that?

Apparently, the answer most people think is the correct one to that question is “Basically everything in all of forever is more exciting.” Because I suppose traveling 3,431 at a rate of five miles per hour isn’t what the major population in the bookworm world want to spend their summer reading about.

(Which of course isn’t entirely true, because do you know how many thousands upon thousands of books have been written about going West via Conestoga wagons??? But maybe the realistic, historical, and adventurous elements in those stories help carry them along.)

So, once again I reigned in my brainstorming about traveling across the continent with my mower, and focused on my real WIP (work in progress) that y’all will get to hear about soon.

In the meantime though, I’m sharing my goals for the month of August. I haven’t shared goals on here since April, so it’s good to be back into the routine. If you have goals for August, I’d be delighted to hear them!

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If the Lord wills and I live, in August of 2017 I will…

Health:
1. Be in bed by 10:30 Ten Nights
2. Get up by 6:30 Ten Mornings
3. Eat Paleo (my version) Twenty Days
4. Go on at least Five walks a week
5. Do the PEMF Mat Twice a week
Spiritual/Mental:
1. Read two “spiritual” books
2. Read three nonfiction books altogether
3. Go to Wednesday night church when home
4. Go to Church & Sunday School when home
Writing Work etc…:
1. Plot DD
2. Write at least 30,000 words in the first draft of DD
3. Blog by 9:30 Twelve times
4. Research blogging/vlogging for Ten Hours
5. Post a Vlog every Thursday
6. Work on Writing/Vlogging/Research work for 100 hours (bonus – make it 120 hours!)

Goals for May 2017 {Month of Grace}

Goals are one of those subjects I have a delightful time talking about on Noveltea. I regularly have daily, weekly, and monthly goals, as long as longer term ones. It’s been rewarding, productive, and fun for me to share my goals with y’all over the last while, cause not only does it help keep me on track but I’ve gotten great feedback from lots of y’all regarding setting goals of your own.

Because of that, I strive to always show both sides of the coin to you – both when I do and when I don’t accomplish my goals. I don’t want to look like this girl who has it altogether when it comes to checking off my list of things to do, cause that would be totally unrealistic. I can 100% relate to how it feels to wonder how some people accomplish all they do – especially when everything they post makes them look successful.

If you hang around Noveltea for any length of time it becomes apparent that I don’t have any qualms about sharing the tough stuff and mistakes along with the good. That’s cause I think it’s extremely important to be relatable and helpful and human instead of just looking like a wonder-woman. John Maxwell says “You can either impress people or empower them, but you can’t do both.” So, that pretty much sums it up.

All that intro to introduce the fact that I’m not setting goals for May. 

It became apparent around the half-marathon last October that my body hasn’t recovered all of the way from my seven-year fight with Lyme disease. I’m not still sick (thank God!), but I do get worn out extremely fast and need more rest than the average person. The problem with this is that I might have a slight obsession with achieving and checking things off a list and moving forward toward where I want to be in life. And all those things are good when balanced, but unfortunately balance is still one of those elements I’m working at achieving in life. Which means I might sometimes push my body past what is healthy in order to keep getting things done.

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For the month of May I’m staying near the beach in Mexico. I did this last year and accomplished a huge amount of things – in fact it was one of the most productive months of 2016. I was all excited about being able to accomplish another huge list of things this year. I wanted to re-write the third draft of Echoes, study everything I could find about how to be a successful vlogger, learn how to edit on iMovie, read a stack of nonfiction books, and the list went on. (And as a writer, those things are all part of my job.)

At the same time, I was looking forward to hopefully getting to rest more, because I have been utterly exhausted recently. And, by that I mean that despite being excited about life and enthusiastic about my goals and wanting to check things off my list, I spent hours each day for the last while where I could hardly focus because I just wanted to sleep. I was taking daily naps and had been sick for the last month. The thought of sleeping for a couple of months was quite delightful. Except I didn’t have time to do that, cause of y’know I needed to be doing important stuff like, accomplishing.

Then, a week ago I went to my wellness doctor who has been helping me stay on the correct course to become totally healthy after Lyme disease. Without hesitation she informed me that I needed to take it easy for a while – sleeping more and chilling – because my adrenals, thyroid, and immune system were all so tired they were all deciding to take a break. So, if I don’t take the time to rest now, then my health will decline to the point where I not only have to rest, but I’ll have to rest for a lot longer. That actually made a lot of sense.

After thinking it through and listening to others and praying about it for a while, I decided to forego setting goals for this month. Cause, you see, even though I want to set goals for May, when I step back and look at the long-term picture, and I mean thirty years down the road…. Well, that’s when I get a better perspective. Moment to moment, day to day, checking things off a list is a lot of fun and gets me closer to where I am striving to be in life. But, if I don’t also take care of my health, then eventually I’m gonna totally crash, and there’s nothing productive about that.

Besides, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is sin you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Because of that, I want to make sure I take care of my body instead of just always zooming ahead full-steam. (Cause obviously I would eventually crash if I did that, anyway.)

I’m still looking forward to getting things done this month, but each time I have the urge to push myself to go into accomplishing-mode, I remind myself that this is my Month of Grace. Instead of going, going, going, I’m giving myself grace to sit back and take a nap. To close my eyes and just bask in God’s goodness. To not worry if I don’t blog by 9:30, or even if I miss a couple of days. Instead of rushing to check things off my list, I’m going to stop and think about why I’m wanting to do something, and then think about if I really need to or not.

I realize it’s not possible for all of y’all to take time to rest while needed, but I pray that those of you who are pushing yourselves will be able to gain perspective like I have, and perhaps find a way to cut back a little. And, no matter who you are, remember to extend grace – not only to yourselves when needed, but also to others. Cause, grace really does make life better.

I would be delighted to hear about y’all’s goals for May, and I look forward to being back to setting goals in June. In the meantime, I’m thankful for this chance to “Come aside and rest a while.

And now I’m off to play Uno with my little brother….