7 Quick Takes – To-dos, Not Alone Series and more!

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This week! It’s been a blur. I wanted to write my QT on Friday but Friday I was upset. And annoyed. And discouraged and I thought it was related to the God-forsaken abortion clinic re-opening in my town, but, it turns out that it was also the beginning of a truly delightful stomach bug that had me completely laid up all day yesterday and left me with a killer headache and ear ache today. On the brightside, I was able to drag myself out to get groceries today at the Walmart superstore, and I looked like I belonged. My energy is zapped, and my bed is calling for me.

And I’m still really bothered about the clinic reopening. It’s so discouraging. So so so discouraging, prayer is all I can do at this point because I’m at a loss as to what else will help.

I wanted to go to Adoration, but, unfortunately, my town doesn’t have readily accessible adoration so I prayed and read my bible, and found this:

2 Corinthians

I kind of want to find a print of this verse, and get it framed and stick in my office.

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How is my reading resolution going? Meh. I didn’t get much reading done this week because I had several other things going on. I’m working on Recall Abortion by Janet Morana and so far I’m really not loving it. It has a lot of good reviews and I think it would be pretty good if they took out about 2/3 of it because it makes some good points but they got lost in a lot of babble, but, it is on the list and it was a Christmas gift, so I will keep plugging away at it.

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I did, however, end up going to the gym a bunch of times in the last week. So much so that I think I over did it because I was sore for days. I used to go to the gym a lot a few years back and I guess I kind of thought I could just jump back into my old routine and pretend like it hasn’t been 2 years. Hahahahahaha. Nope. So I’m scaling back and for right now I’m focusing on starting an 8-week running program on M/W/F and my bootcamp (which is mostly strength) on Tues/Thurs.

The running program I’m loosely following is the SparkPeople one that I found, but I’m shortening the walking intervals because I didn’t find I needed them to be 4 minutes, I’m also doing it on the “rolling foothills” setting on the treadmill so some of it is done on an incline for extra intensity. This is the tentative plan right now, but ultimately if I need more walk time I’ll take it, of if the 40 minutes is too much I’ll drop it. But I did the SP version the other day and 40 minutes was fine for me.

Run plan pdf

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I haven’t done my Not Alone Series post yet this week, but I’ve already done a look ahead to 2015 post and a reading goals post for 2015 so, instead for this week, I’m going to take a page out of my friend Melody’s blog and do a To-Do list for 2015!

  1. Complete the 52 week savings plan!
  2. Successfully complete a Whole 30 (the one I started 2 weeks ago was derailed and then crashed). Lent seems like a good time to try again
  3. Start decorating & furnishing my apartment more like an adult and less like a college student
  4. Lose 40 pounds
  5. Stick to a budget (I’m so so so bad at this!)
  6. DIY something! I have a pedestal table and a dresser to choose from.
  7. Buy some shelving for my storage room and organize the boxes and such that are in there
  8. Purge some stuff. I have boxes I’ve never even unpacked, so I think I can start with those.
  9. Complete my 2015 reading list
  10. Be more conscious about fasting on Fridays. It probably won’t be from meat though, because I can’t tolerate fish at all
  11. Be more conscious about avoiding foods that I’m sensitive to and start actually focussing on healing my body

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I’m straight up loving the #ProjectBlessed on Instagram. I’ve been super lazy about posting in the last few days, but even if I don’t post I always check the prompts and mean to post something. Reading the prompts make me more aware about the blessings in my life. I’m not really as into Instagram as some others (I think it’s because I’m not crafty, don’t have kids, and the food I eat, while delicious, is not usually photo-friendly) but I check it all the time and love seeing what others post.

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A woman who volunteers at my work once a week (not Catholic) was asking me about my Catholic Adults group was asking me about it. “So, is it a good place to meet cute guys?”, my response was “Uh….not as much as you’d think.”

Apparently my singleness has been really noticeable in the last week because everyone has been making comments or asking questions about it this week. It’s weird. It’s a good thing I’m good at being single because otherwise I might have a crisis and become one of those women who defines themselves by the men or lack of men in their life. Still annoying though.

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I don’t really have 7. Oh! I Skype-d (well, hungout on Google) with a friend of mine last Sunday. She is the director of the National Campus Life Network, and it was really nice to catch up with her and discuss the different struggles of working full-time in the pro-life and engaging more young people. It’s hard. Young pro-lifers exist, but it sometimes seems they don’t exist where I am.

Friends of mine are currently plotting out something that would be so great for the pro-life movement in New Brunswick and it would be so so great if it gets off the ground. I’m not going to go into tooo many details right now because I’m not sure of them myself but pray that it happens, I’ll give more details as they come!

Hop on over to Kelly‘s for more quickies!

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7 Quick Takes – Resolutions Week 1

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So, I figure there is no time like the present to go hash out how my resolutions have been going and using it as an excuse to link up with Kelly over at This Ain’t the Lyceum for this.

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I was so excited to write this post because my Whole30 has been going amazingly well…..and then we had a volunteers lunch today. And it was a potluck. Literally none of the food was Whole30 compliant (I tried!) so now I feel decidedly miserable. Tomorrow is a new day, and I’m so looking forward to getting back on the wagon because I was doing so well, and feeling amazing. Even if I did jump from Day 2 to Day 8 on the Whole30 timeline (how does that even happen?).

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I’ve already finished 2 books from my list, but, to be fair I was already 2/3 of the way through one and the other was just really good and a super quick ready.

Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women was alright, but I didn’t love it. I realised why I put it down after I started it back when I got for 2013 Christmas. It was really anecdotal and I didn’t really feel there was a lot of substance to it. Some parts were good but for the most part it was just meh. Read Mulieris Dignitatem and you’ll get the same the same message as the book in fewer pages. Also it’s free online and written by a Saint 😉

The Loser Letters: A Tale of Life, Death and Atheism was good. I had never read The Screwtape Letters but this is kind of a modernization of those but towards the New Atheists (Dawkins, Hitchens, et al). Now, it wasn’t perfect, some of it felt really forced (the author trying so hard to sound young) and some parts were a little bit ramble-y but some good points were made about the illogicalness (is that a word?) of some of the arguments often made by New Atheists.

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Ah…finances. I stuck to the Gail budget perfectly. Whole30 food is a tiny bit more expensive than I planned and so I had to dip a little bit into the Entertainment fund to round out some grocery expenses (but seeing as I pretty much don’t do anything except for 1 night out a month, it didn’t matter).  I’m still tweaking the budget, but so far, so good. I really want my Visa and my MacBook both paid off by June (which is pretty feasible) and then I can just focus on my student loan. The amount currently split between the computer and Visa is more than my required student loan payment amount, so that works out well. I’ll try to increase that amount as much as possible as I can.

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I’ve been pretty good about the gym. I decided against budget for a weekly trainer because that money can be better spent added to the debt repayment amount. So right now I’m doing my twice weekly bootcamp and am trying to fit some extra gym time in on Sundays and one other day during the week.

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Screen time…..I’ve been pretty good at shutting off the computer by 7:30 (I did it at least 2 times this week…so that’s pretty good. Right?!) There was one evening I had a work webinar so I had no choice, but!, I was still getting in a lot of reading time, but currently I’m writing this at 9:50pm so clearly today was a fail. I’m also still having trouble not compulsively checking my phone before bed after I did my reading and prayers. So, it’s still a process but I’m still trying to be more conscience of the screens. Less is more, but baby steps too. Giving up Netflix will probably help, a lot. I should also be done Friends by then so…that will also help.

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That’s really all the resolutions I have, but tomorrow I definitely have to clean and unpack from all my moving around over the Christmas holidays because…I can’t find my iPod charger. Yeah, I don’t even normally lose things so this is really bugging me.

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Can I give a little shout out to the #ProjectBlessed thing on Instagram? I’m loving thinking about the blessings every day and trying to find little bits of joy in my least favourite (by miles) season. -30? No thanks. Never again. I’ve also finally started reading the Blessed is She daily reflections more frequently, and I’m loving them. Signing up for them on my work email makes sure I see them as soon as I get to work!

  And don’t forget! Check back with Kelly for more Quick Takes!

A Day in the Life – Not Alone Series, vol. 4

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Morning: I usually wake up at 645 or earlier, but my alarm doesn’t go off until 7 so I usually stay in bed on my phone until my alarm goes off. Reading blogs and checking Instagram is kind of a disease that I can’t seem to get over. Plus 90% of the blogs I read get posted at night so there is usually something to read in the morning. Once my alarm goes off I start my before work routine of breakfast and listening to music, or watching Friends while I eat. I leave for work about 830. I walk, which I like, except for this week when it’s determined to be -100 Celsius (yesterday was -30, so I’m only exaggerating a little bit!) I do like to listen to more prayerful music on my way to work but lately I’ve been really into podcasts. More specifically, the Serial Podcast (which sadly I’ve now finished).

Work: I get to work at around 9 and I’m always the first one here so I have to do all the opening up and unlocking, etc. I spend my day at work answering emails, photocopying, answer the phone, getting the mail. It’s not very high stress unless we have a fundraiser or something going on. Currently we are gearing up for a fundraiser starting in February so I had a volunteer come in yesterday and help me with some stuff. I love when volunteers come in because it breaks up the monotony and gives me someone to talk to.

Afternoon: After I’m done work (at 4:30) I walk home and then I get home and I usually eat dinner and watch Netflix. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I’ve started attending a weightloss boot camp at the gym so last night I went there after I finished dinner. I also started a Whole30 on Sunday so my whole life has been consumed with planning meals and making sure I keep my food intake in line. I feel so good already after just a few days (sleeping like a boss!) but it’s easy to get lazy.

Evening: One of my New Year’s resolutions is to turn off my computer at 7:30 in the evening to make time for reading, or cleaning, or just anything that is not passive screen time. I’ve been mostly successful so far, but it’s so easy to fall in to the trap of just one more episode, or one more article…etc. Writing out my daily routine has made me realise how often I have Netflix on in the background as I go about my life, Netflix is currently speeding to the top of my what to give up for Lent list.

Bedtime: I usually shower and start my bedtime routine around 9. Then once I’m all settled I try to spend some time in prayer and writing in a prayer journal. Then I go to sleep.

 

 

 

Fave part of the day? The mornings before work, or mornings when I don’t work. I really like waking up in the morning and making a plan for the day ahead and think of any goals I want to accomplish that day and things like that.

Least fave part of the day? Being at work on a slow day.  It’s just drags and I feel like I’m wasting so much time. Even though I know I’m really not.

Any changes to my daily routine? The only recent change is the computer shut off at 7:30 pm thing. And starting to go to the gym again after a super lazy junk-food filled, sleep deprived Christmas break.

2015: Reading Goals

Melody over at Melody’s Harmonies recently posted about reading 12 books that are collecting dust on her shelves that she intends to read in 2015. Which got me thinking about the books on my shelves that are currently dust collectors. And there are a lot….so, I am going to say that I’m going to try to finish each of these books,(I also talked a bit about my reading goals on my resolution post but the books below are the ones I’ve made the decision to finish). My goal is 1 a month, or 2 if they are small. And, I’d really love to say that 2015 will be the year that I don’t buy any new books and just focus on reading the books I have but…I’m a realist and books are my #1 impulse buy. Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far:

    • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (completed February 3rd, 2015)
    • Sinner by Lino Rulli (removed, gave it back to the owner)
    • Truth and Tolerance by Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI)
    • Rooted in Love: Our Calling as Catholic Women by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle (Completed Jan 08, 2015)
    • Catholicism by Fr. Robert Barron
    • St. Thomas Aquinas by GK Chesterton
    • Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Ross
    • The Loser Letters: A Comic Tale of Life, Death and Atheism by Mary Eberstadt (Completed Jan 06, 2015)
    • How Can the Dream Survive if We Kill All the Children by Dr. Alveda King
    • Great Christian Thinkers: Early Church through the Middle Ages by Pope Benedict XVI
    • Recall Abortion: Ending the Abortion’s Industry’s Exploitation of Women by Janet Morana (Completed Jan 19, 2015)

That’s only 11, but Pope Benedict’s books are quite dense so sometimes they take a bit longer to read than others. Also, some of these are definitely from Christmas 2013, don’t judge, and almost all of them are started.

reading goals

Books not on the list that I’ve read:

Pope Awesome (re-read for my books & breakfast club) (February 2015)
Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades (March 2015)
Not God’s Type (April 2015)
The Fellowship of the Ring (technically a re-read, but it had been more than 10 years) (June 2015)
Go Set a Watchmen (July 2015)
The Child Bride (don’t remember the month)
Under the Banner of Heaven (July 2015)
My Sister’s Keeper (August 2015)
33 Days to Morning Glory (August 15, 2015)
My Sister’s Keeper (August 2015)
Loved as I Am (September 2015)
Pro-Life 101 (September 2015)
Persuasive Pro-Life (September 2015)
My Secret Sister (October 2015)
Gail Vaz Oxlade’s Money Rules (October 2015)
7 Women (November 2015)
Subverted (November 2015)
Girl Alone (November 2o15)

 

Books I’ve Started and Haven’t finished:
The Church and New Media
The Two Towers
Love and Responsibility

2015: A Look Ahead

2015 ALA 2Linking up with Natalie over at Here I Am for her link up and look ahead to 2015. I’ve blogged a lot in the last few days which is super weird for me because I’m not generally very prolific, but 2015 maybe this will be the year I actually put real effort into my blog and blogging regularly.

1. Do you think you will be going to school at any point in 2015?  If so for what?

Nope. I think I might be done with school, which makes me sad because I love being in school, but I don’t miss exams and essays.

2.  Will there be a job change for you in 2015?

Nope, because I started a new job in November and I’m still getting the hang of it. So I really don’t like the idea of doing that again. I had been at my previous job for exactly 2 years when I applied for my new one. I’m still technically in a probationary period at my new job but I’m pretty sure I’ll make it out.

3.  What adventure or event are you most looking forward to during this coming year?

Paying off my credit card & computer. It’s not fancy, but once done it’ll just leave me with my student loan debt and that’s exciting. I’m also really hoping I will have the opportunity to chaperone the trip to Steubenville Atlantic again this summer, like I did last summer because I loved meeting all these high school girls who were so much like me 10 years ago.

4.  Do you think there will be a move to a new house/apartment/city/state/country in 2015?

Nope, I really like where I’m living now. I moved here with no plan and no real reason 2 years ago. I see now that the hand of God was all over that decision, which at the time, seemed spontaneous and really pointless.

5.  What do you see as the direction of your blog in 2015?  Design update plans?  Link-ups coming down the pipes?  More or less posts?

I have no real blogging plans except maybe blogging more. I have no direction or real forethought for my blog, all of my posts are just in the moment things that I just feel the need to write down. I’d love to carve out more time for blogging and planning posts, etc. I don’t anticipate any link ups or design updates.
6. If you could guarantee that one thing could happen this coming year what would it be?

Meeting more single Catholics in real life (especially men, if we are going to be honest). All of my friends in this town are married. With kids. Sometimes it just seems so foreign and so disconnected from my life and experience because it is hard for me to relate to. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends dearly and love the examples of young Catholic families they give, but I’d love to be able to hang out with people who are good Catholic singles for once. It’s in God’s hands, we will see what happens.


I’ve been following Blessed is She over on Instagram and their #ProjectBlessed photo a day challenge for the new year. Day 3 is “Song” which got me thinkin’ about songs, naturally. I don’t generally listen to a lot of Christian music because I find it fairly…lame.

Anyways, not the point, I heard this song when I chaperoned Steubenville Atlantic last summer and I really like it. My 2015 goals are about getting my life together because I’m finally in a position to do so, and I find this song calming when I get overwhelmed and stressed out. Which happens a lot. I live in a constant state of anxiety and stress and I really want to be able to have more faith to turn that over to God and to live a life more fully and more peaceful. Also, another reason why I want to get back into my exercise habits because that helps too.

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7 Quick Takes – Blessed Holiday Edition

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The holiday season, as most people know it, has come and gone and I’m back at work but as Catholics Christmas is still happening. I totally thought Christmas was just 12 days but my friend (who happens to be a priest) was like, nope it’s actually 8 weeks. Learn something new every day, I guess. This was my first year that I had a job which provided me a decent amount of time off for the holidays and they were full and busy and wonderful.

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I’m blessed because even when I am away from my real family, I can have a family Christmas. Theoretically, I could’ve gone home for Christmas but it would’ve cost money I didn’t have and I would’ve had to travel on Christmas Eve and, well, I hate crowds.  I was invited to spend Christmas with my best friends’ family. This family has been so good to me over the years and I am so lucky that they so willingly open their home to me.

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Is it just me, or is Christmas just better surrounded by little kids? Their joy and their excitement is the best part of Christmas for me. Even though I would’ve rather stayed in bed for SEVERAL more hours, their joy was infectious and I’m so happy the family I celebrated with has 11 children, and I could be surrounded by children. It was noisy and loud and exhausting and wonderful.

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I got some really wonderful gifts. Some books, an iPod, a wallet/phone case, a snazzy dress, the warmest mittens (a necessity in Canada), and some giftcards for books and Cineplex and a beautiful icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I am always so overwhelmed with other people’s generosity. I never really have a Christmas list and I never really want for anything. My favourite part of Christmas is being around people that I love, that’s it for me. That sounds kind of lame, but it’s kind of the truth.

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I hear a lot (a lot!) about how being single on the holidays sucks and is ultimately the worst thing ever, but I politely disagree. I actually really enjoy it (for the most part). Do I want to be married? Yes. Do I want children? Yes. Dwelling on these facts, however, is not going to make either of those things happen faster. For right now, I’m content in leaving the child-raising to other people and work on being okay in my solitude. To focus on growing in my relationship with Jesus and the Church, to grow my prayer life. To read more. To grow in virtue. To deepen friendships. It’s not all fun though, I would really like to be married and have a home and family and start developing my own traditions and such, but, in God’s time.

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After the boisterous and crazy that was my Christmas I was lucky enough to be able to get away a visit with a friend who lives a couple hours away. He’s a priest so he was busy with the Church stuff and the homily writing (New Year’s day being an obligation and such) so I was able to enjoy the quiet. There was movie watching, late nights, hilarious conversations and lots of quiet. It was a really nice change of pace after the Christmas crazy.

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I was so happy to be home. After 9 days (plus a weekend) off and after only spending 1 day and 2 nights in my apartment coming home last night made me happy. I was so full of happiness and exhaustion (and a stomach ache from the sugar and milk I was eating in all the chocolate!). I thrive on routine so getting home, and going back to work and building a new year around my resolutions makes me so happy. I’m such a introvert it’s kind of crazy.

Ultimately, I loved the reminder that God is good and he has blessed me abundantly. Sometimes I lose sight of that and the reminder is really nice. I rang in my New Year surrounded by friends, laughter and joy. 2015, I’m ready for you to bring me some more of that. I’ve also completed 1 of my resolutions, boot camp & Whole30 start next week!

And before I forget, linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum!

Resolutions for the New Year

New Years Blog Post
January 31, when a person’s mind turns to resolutions. Or at least mine does. 

 I’m thinking/hoping/praying that if I right them down and try to make weekly (or monthly, undecided as of yet) accountability posts then maybe, just maybe, I’ll follow through this year.

I’m breaking it down in to sections, first up, food.

Eating

I’m going to kick off my New Year with a Whole 30. I’ve started these before but I’ve never committed to 30 full days because half way through I always get derailed, however, I have nothing upcoming that could potentially throw me off and I’ve already got a week and a half of a meal plan done and I bought a new cookbook I can’t wait to try (Paleo Takes 5). I’m short on time, a lot, and I hate using tons and tons of ingredients. Also, I’m going to try to get in the habit of batch cooking now that I consistently have weekends off.

Next, as it often goes hand in hand with food, exercise.

Exercise

I was doing a bootcamp at my local Y, but then with Christmas and changing jobs, I sort of lost momentum part of the way though. So, I’m signing up for the same bootcamp’s January – April session and plan on committing. It’s only 2 times a week for an hour so I would need to fit in at least one other work out. I’m currently looking at Sunday. I have money budgeted that I’d be able to purchase 5 sessions with a personal trainer a month, but that wouldn’t be until after January.

Which brings me to my next resolution:

Financial

I’m committing to a Gail Vaz-Oxlade budget. I’ve already made one and it balances and all that jazz, so now, it’s following through. This will likely be the most difficult resolution for me to keep because I can get a little impetuous when it comes to small purchases here and there (mostly Tim Hortons, or books). So planning meals and snacks is key. Come March or April (depending on how the weather goes) I’ll need to buy some clothing for spring. I did do a capsule wardrobe for winter because even though I live in an area that has fairly distinct seasons, my wardrobe was never seasonal and I was always cold in the winter or warm in the summer and I also purged a bunch so I no longer have much in the way of spring or summer clothes.

I’m finally in a position with my new job, that I’m making enough more a month that I can start to work towards paying down some debt. Previously, my jobs were essentially allowing me to survive but it was impossible to think about things like saving or debt repayment. I have a pretty hefty student loan (currently I’m deferring payments) and a credit card and my new laptop, thankfully, I’ve have very little consumer debt with high interest. My computer is on a fixed payment schedule and will be paid off in June. My credit card will be paid off shortly after once I get my computer paid off. Once those are both paid off, I’ll have to sit down and rejig the budget to work out student loan payments.

The budget also accounts for saving and an emergency fund. (I am also considering a 52 week money challenge, but if I do that I’ll likely do it in reverse or, just do it “bingo style” where I commit to an amount for a week even if it isn’t the amount that is specified for that week).

Reading

I have a lot of books, and I haven’t read all of them. My goal for this year is to read more. I’ve been getting better at reading more in the last year but I want to keep this resolution going forward. Just off the top of my head I can think of at least 6 books that I’ve started and not finished that litter my bedside table. On the Shoulders of Hobbits, Salt, Sugar, FatRooted in LoveCatholicismMoby Dick,  and , not to mention the books that I’ve been gifted over this holiday season including: Recall Abortion, How Can the Dream Survive if we Kill all the Children, and the Loser Letters.  I have countless other books as well that I’ve never read or are half read. So, I’d like to finish them all. None of these books are very long (with the exception of Moby Dick) but they are mostly non-fiction and are quite dense so they aren’t quick reads. My goal would be to finish 2 books a month.

Other

My other resolution is probably the one that will be the hardest. Reducing screen time. This will also help with the read more books goal, but I sometimes find myself in a funk when I get home from work that leads to mindless eating and wasted hours. Over Advent I committed (and was mostly successful) in shutting off my computer and phone at 7:30pm. The phone was harder than the computer, but I would definitely like to keep up that resolution until it becomes habit.

Another plus I noticed during Advent, is that when my screen time was reduced I prayed more, which is always something that I know I should be doing more of but can never actually seem to do.

And that’s it. None of these are particularly earth shattering or difficult but I’ve got a tendency to be extremely lazy so the goal for the New Year is to eat healthy, move more, and watch less.