Not a slacker …

I haven’t been writing much this month, which is going to really hurt my goal of writing 500,000 in 2014, but it’s not because I’m a slacker.

Well, not 100%.

For two weeks I was fighting a seriously bad cold. I barely was able to get my “day job” work done. And, the cold was all nasal congestion which seriously seemed to disrupt my thinking patterns at times.

In addition to the cold, I’ve also been prepping for a couple of big presentations in March. I’m looking forward to them, and working hard on them, but it hasn’t left a lot of mental time for much else.

In addition to all of that, the presentation and another bit of a writing I did earlier this month (not for public consumption at the moment) have left me in a mental funk. It’s not anything that I can’t handle, but it doesn’t leave me much mental space for writing other things.

I’m hoping to get back on the daily writing bandwagon sometime soon.

Book Review: 1913: The Eve of War by Paul Ham #emptyshelf

This thankfully was another book that I wouldn’t have known about if it hadn’t been for the #emptyshelf challenge. Someone else read this book as part of their challenge, and I also was able to get a copy of it.

I’m a bit history and historical fiction reader. History, historical fiction and science fiction are about 90% of what I read.

I’ve been rather neglectful over the years about my knowledge about World War I. I could tell you a lot about World War II, but I knew very little about what led to World War I.

Thankfully, 1913 was a great read that has changed that.

1913 is only available in eBook from Amazon. I believe I got it as part of the free lending library, but even if you had to buy it the cost is only $2.99. The book is about 83 pages.

Ham explores the different countries involved in the war and what they were doing in 1913 that led them to War.

One of the most interesting things about the book was how long the countries were preparing for the war and why no one country or one leader seemed willing to do something to stop it from happening.

It’s a quick read, and a good read for anyone interested in what lead to World War I.

Being interrupted …

I’m participating in the 2nd phase of Jon Acuff’s #30days to hustle group.

Today’s post was exactly what I needed to hear. It was all about not letting interruptions sidetrack us from our long-term goals.

This past week, I’ve been fighting a massive cold and its been a huge interruption. It’s been a interruption not just in my writing goal, but also in some of my other goals as well.

Most of my days this week have consisted of me:

> Trying to be awake and alert enough by 8:30 to start work.
> Struggling through my mornings a bit, and trying to be as productive as possible in the afternoons.
> Taking a nap starting around 5:30 pm. One night, this was a 5-hour nap.
> After my nap, getting some work done to make up for my really unproductive mornings.
> Dealing with a very stuffed head and garbage bags of tissues.

This means that I haven’t been to the gym in 9 days.

Writing has been a huge challenge both because of my general brain fatigue from the cold and/or my unproductive issues at work have meant that I need to use my normal “writing” time to catch up on work.

I’m really hoping this cold goes away soon, and I can get back on track with my goals. In the meantime, I’m not going to let these interruptions keep me from moving forward.

Don’t get me down …

One of my goals over the past several years is to not beat myself up over things, especially little things that I have no control over.

This has not been easy.

And, there are days where I definitely still struggle.

But, just over the past couple of weeks I’ve had some examples of me actually accomplishing this goal.

I recently made a mistake when reserving my car for my business trip. It was a pretty easy error to make, but kind of stupid. I could have let it completely ruin my whole business trip worrying about the slightly extra expense. But, I was able to shrug it off. It’s not something that I could fix. It’s definitely something I’ll be more mindful of in the future.

My handle on my suitcase broke when I got home to Nashville. Thankfully, there were some people in the airport who were willing to help me navigate my luggage from the baggage carousel to where I had to catch the shuttle. I haven’t figured out if it’s broken permanently or if something was preventing it from extending.

I left something in my rental car that will be annoying to replace. It’s not super expensive, but expensive enough that it wasn’t just something casual to lose either.

These types of issues run very deep. One of the reasons I hate carrying cash is that I’m so afraid I’m going to lose it. I remember one Saturday when my mother had given me a few dollars to buy bread and somewhere between home and the checkout line, I had lost the money and had to leave the bread at the store. I got in so much trouble that day for what was a very small mistake, and it was frequently brought up as an example of my “irresponsibility” — even years later.

I continue to work to fight against those old messages and show just how awesome I am.


Getting off track in working towards my goal

My goal this month was to write 25,000 words. Part of the process in getting towards that goal was to write a minimum of 500 words per day. 

So far, of the 28 days of the month, I’ve only successfully written 500+ words on 13 days. There were another 7 days that I wrote words but didn’t hit the 500 word goal. There were 7 days that I didn’t do any writing at all. 

I did a horrible job this month of “sitting in the chair”. 

I think I’ve produced some good work this month across all three blogs, plus some writing for other projects. 

That good work just wasn’t consistent. 

Add to it that I did a really horrible job writing while I was visiting Maryland for work. 

I plan on participating in Jon Acuff’s 30 days challenge next month, and again my goal will be all about writing. 

Being patient with the process

When I wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning with a migraine, especially one caused by my neck being subluxed, there is a very specific process that I have to go through to get “better”.

  • I have to find Advil. This morning, that involved walking from my hotel to the gas station next door to get Advil.
  • I have to eat something. It can really be anything, but I have to eat something. Eating something with a migraine is pretty difficult, especially when the nausea is bad.
  • I have to wait until the food settles a little bit in my stomach.
  • I have to drink a bunch of fluid.
  • I have to wait until the advil settles a bit.
  • I can rest a little.

This is the process. Rushing any step in the process can cause more problems than the migraine.

I am not patient. There are days when I just want to grab the Advil as quickly as possible and get the migraine to go away.

I am not patient about a lot of other things in my life as well.

I want a quick fix to my pain.

I want a quick fix on my religious path.

I want a quick relationship fix.

I want a quick fix on my weight loss journey.

But none of these fixes are quick. All involve a process and a journey. And, some of them, like a quick fix to the chronic pain, may never happen. It’s my attitude about the pain that needs to be fixed.

On each one of these, I’m working through a process and trying not to jump ahead on any of the steps.

Thoughts on the Parable of the Rich Fool

I’ve been thinking quite a bit since I got back from Utah about the Parable of the Rich Fool from Luke 12, specifically Luke 12:19-21 …

19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

There’s also an LDS version of this from the Book of Mormon which I grew up hearing. From 2nd Nephi 28 …

7 Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us.

8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.

Right now, in many ways, I feel like I’m living the life of the Rich Fool. I’m choosing to live my life a certain way and to worship a certain way. It’s easier. I don’t feel conflicted all the time. I don’t walk around feeling like I have this cloud of guilt hanging over my head because I’m not “good enough”.

I had a conversation in Utah with someone whose opinion I respect a lot. She said some things about this life being short and eternity being long, but how important the choices we make in this life are for eternity. She also reminded me about certain promises and covenants I’ve made that I do take seriously.

I’ve struggled for several years with trying to reconcile my feelings and feel like I belonged where I was, and all it seemed to do is move me further and further away from God. For the first time in a very long time, I feel like my spiritual path is taking me closer to God. I’ve felt closer to God in prayer than I possibly ever have. I feel like I’m getting the knowledge from the Word that I’ve never received.

But, being on this path is taking me further away from the covenants that I made as part of my relationship with the LDS Church and that’s hard for me to acknowledge. I’m struggling so much with the idea that the path that seems to be taking me closer to God is taking me further away from the LDS Church.

My plan is to continue on the path I’m on and see where it leads. I hope that I will have acceptance from those in my life that I care about and love.

My choices tonight

As my afternoon progressed today, I was trying to decide what to do with my evening.

Prior to leaving for Utah, I was spending most my Mondays training at the gym. But, the gym workout for tonight was “Lower” and that’s not how I wanted to kickstart my week. I signed up for Tuesday’s upper class, and I’m excited about that choice.

My other option was to attend my small Lifegroup.

But, as the afternoon wore on all I really wanted to do was crawl into bed and read my book. I know when I get these thoughts, it’s important to listen to them. Since moving to Clarksville, I have been pushing myself to ignore them and “be social”, “go out and do things” … but, I’ve also paid for that with my autoimmune issues kicking my butt on more than one occasion. I’ve had the flu twice this winter. I really don’t want to get the flu again or push myself too hard that my muscles start reacting negatively.

I scoff a bit at the phrase “self-care”, but as an Introvert I’m conscious of when I do need downtime.

Starting on Friday, my life is going to be full of very little downtime for 8 days. I’m going to be on an airplane — never a great experience for me. And then I have plans with a friend in Baltimore once I arrive in Maryland. Saturday is our big holiday party with all of my coworkers. Sunday will be a day of rest in more ways than one. Monday & Tuesday, I’ll be working from our Maryland office. That always involves a lot of interaction. It’s really great to be in the office, but also draining. On Wednesday, I’m spending my day with one of my clients — followed by a dinner that night with the same client. Thursday, we’re doing a big happy hour for our clients and friends. And, on Friday, I get to get back on an airplane. Oh, and I’m also sleeping in two different hotels, driving a car that’s not mine, and having to deal with DC traffic on at least two of the days I’m in town. It’s going to be a great week, but it’s going to be a long week.

Also playing into all of this was that I had a pretty blah week last week. It wasn’t really horrible. Nothing bad happened. But, it was a great week either. Client work was slow, which I hate. I billed more time to “admin” / nonbillable time than I like. Because of the weather, I wasn’t able to see my chiropractor early in the week, so my pain levels were really high — including a headache that was constantly aggravating all week long. Because my pain levels were high and also partially due to the weather, I didn’t make it to the gym, which was disappointing. And, I was feeling the blah feeling I get anytime I leave Utah after an extended stay.

So, tonight, when my body and my brain said “rest” & “read a good book”. I listened.

Should I cut my goal in half? #30days

Yesterday, as part of the #30days to hustle, Jon challenged everyone to cut their goal in half.

My goal for the #30days to hustle is to write 25,000 words in January. To keep on track with my 500,000 word goal for the year, I should actually be writing more than 25,000 words this month. If I only write 25,000 words, I’m going to be behind and not on track to get to 500,000 by the end of the year.

I believe goals should be SMART, but they should also force you to stretch.

Could I write 12,500 words instead of 25,000 – almost definitely. But, 12,500 words is only about 400 words a day and would allow me to slack off and not necessarily write every day.

Between #30days to hustle and #my500words, I’ve already written almost double what I wrote in December and we’re only 10 days into the month.

One of the other interesting discussions on the #30days to hustle facebook group is people that set up goals to do something every day — like read the scriptures, write or some other activity. It’s interesting to see the discussion about whether they should just do something every other day or somehow change up their plans.

For now, I’m going to stick with my goal of 25,000 words for the month. I feel like that’s attainable, but also a stretch.

Travel Adventures Part II #my500words

In the fall of 1997, my grandfather was kind enough to loan me the money to buy a car. I bought a used, black Civic hatchback. This car was barely off the ground, but it was the perfect car for getting around DC and Maryland.

My first road trip in the car was to visit a friend for Thanksgiving in Columbus, Ohio. That trip added Pennsylvania and Ohio to my list of states.

I also can’t remember when the trip was, but I decided to visit a friend in Mississippi and also see my friend Chan Goshorn in Louisiana. That added another two states.

One trip that I didn’t mention in my first post is that before I got my car I had gone to Delaware and to the shore while living in Maryland. We had gone to stay at the beach with a group of friends.

In the spring of 1998, I decided to move back to California. I drove my car with a trailer attached to the back. In addition to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio, that trip also included Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa (briefly), Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California.

In 1998, I also decided to take a trip to meet a friend up near Seattle. That added Oregon and Washington to the my growing lists of visited states.

In 1999, I went to visit my friend Duncan in Denver. That added Colorado.

In 2000, I drove to Utah to visit the Checketts. That didn’t add any states, but my trips between California and Utah would become a regular thing.

In November of 2002, I upgraded my car from the Honda Civic to a Honda CR-V.

I took several trips between the Bay Area and Utah (at least once a year), and I also took a trip up to Portland, Oregon and another one to Hermiston, Oregon.

I also flew to Jersey for my friend Duncan’s wedding.

In May of 2012, I decided to make another cross-country move. As part of that trip I drove through California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.

Since I’ve been in Tennessee, I’ve been on trips through Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, West Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.

I also took a train from Tennessee to Chicago to Fargo, North Dakota. I took one business trip and flew to Minnesota.

In alphabetical order:

  1. Alabama (no)
  2. Alaska (no)
  3. Arizona (yes)
  4. Arkansas (yes)
  5. California (yes)
  6. Colorado (yes)
  7. Connecticut (yes)
  8. Delaware (yes)
  9. Florida (no)
  10. Georgia (yes)
  11. Hawaii (yes)
  12. Idaho (yes)
  13. Illinois (yes)
  14. Indiana (yes)
  15. Iowa (yes)
  16. Kansas (yes)
  17. Kentucky (yes)
  18. Louisiana (yes)
  19. Maine (no)
  20. Maryland (yes)
  21. Massachusetts (yes)
  22. Michigan (yes)
  23. Minnesota (yes)
  24. Mississippi (yes)
  25. Missouri (yes)
  26. Montana (no)
  27. Nebraska (yes)
  28. Nevada (yes)
  29. New Hampshire (no)
  30. New Jersey (yes)
  31. New Mexico (yes)
  32. New York (yes)
  33. North Carolina (yes)
  34. North Dakota (yes)
  35. Ohio (yes)
  36. Oklahoma (yes)
  37. Oregon (yes)
  38. Pennsylvania (yes)
  39. Rhode Island (no)
  40. South Carolina (yes)
  41. South Dakota (no)
  42. Tennessee (yes)
  43. Texas (yes)
  44. Utah (yes)
  45. Vermont (no)
  46. Virginia (yes)
  47. Washington (yes)
  48. West Virginia (yes)
  49. Wisconsin (yes)
  50. Wyoming (yes)

So, the big states I’m missing are Florida and almost all the states in the northeast north of New York. I’m hoping to take a trip to Florida this spring to see Morgan and Adam Checketts, which would take care of Florida and another trip through Georgia.