Finishing Strong

Ace, my youngest son, plays the upright bass.  This is good and bad.  The good is the beautifully deep and mellow sound that resonates from the bass’s belly whenever Ace applies himself to practicing (which isn’t nearly often enough).  The bad is the lugging of said ungainly instrument back and forth to school every Cycle Day 6 for lessons (which seems to happen entirely too often.)

It usually rains on Cycle Day 6.  By the time I get the bass and Ace tucked away in school and climb back into the car, I am drenched.  (I challenge anyone to carry an umbrella and an upright bass at the same time.)  To my complete amazement, it didn’t rain a single drop the last time the bass went to school.  Instead, the morning was graced with moody clouds, shy sunshine, and muted autumn colors.  It was so lovely, I took the long way home just to revel in the subdued beauty a little longer.  Driving past the harvested fields, the farm stands piled high with pumpkins and chrysanthemums, and the trees tipped with ochre and rust, I suddenly realized just how deep into fall we’ve progressed and how quickly 2012 is fading away.

With only ten weeks left in the year and the holidays barreling down on me like a runaway train, I’m feeling the need to refocus my efforts on some goals I made earlier in the year.  Burn out and a lack of enthusiasm is interfering with my progress.  I also have a few short-term new goals I’d like to complete before 2013 rolls around.  I’m sharing my goals here on Whimsey Pie because writing the list down provides an accountability I don’t have if I just keep the ideas in my head.  Don’t expect anything overly ambitious.  Most of these eleventh hour aspirations are just little things that offer some focus to my fragmented and harried life.

Last Ditch Efforts for 2012

  1. Finish the 50/50 Reading Challenge.  Do I need to offer an explanation?  I didn’t think so. (But you can check out the details here if you’d like.)  I’m just 13 books and 13 movies away from the Finish Line.  I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can……
  2. Finish reading through the Bible.  In January, I began a year-long Bible reading program.  It has been an incredible experience so far but I’m about three weeks behind schedule.  It’s going to take some effort and dedicated reading time, but I should be able to catch up; I’ve been farther behind than this before.  I plan to use the Bible as one of my 50/50 Reading Challenge books when I’m done.  Bonus!
  3. Walk 90 miles.  This sounds ambitious, but it really isn’tIt’s just 3 miles a day, 3 days a week for ten weeks.  I’ve been walking as a form of exercise for years so I’m not really trying to develop a new habit.  I’ve just been a sloth lately (I keep blaming it on my busy schedule) and I’m rather sick of myself.  We’ve been enjoying sublime fall weather around here and I’m completely missing it!  It’s time to start putting one foot in front of the other for better health and a fresh attitude.
  4. Begin the process of applying to two Master’s degree programs.  The ultimate goal here is to begin a Master’s program in the fall of 2013.  I need to apply first and the application process requires some leg work (letters of reference, transcripts, letters of intent, essay questions, etc.).  So that I don’t become overwhelmed, I’ll take baby steps – fill out applications, approach individuals about writing references, and begin the essay.  There now. That should be a solid start toward my next (and last) significant educational goal.
  5. Memorize one Christmas solo to play on the piano.  Studies by experts who know infinitely more than I do on the topic say that this type of activity will help to protect my brain from all sorts of dementia and memory loss.  I consider this a very good thing.  However, it is not the main reason this goal made my list.  Memorizing a difficult song will challenge my skills as a piano player and give me an excuse to play for uninterrupted chunks of time – something I love to do and rarely have the chance.  The hard part will be choosing the song.  How about “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”?
  6. Participate in a service project with my family.  I want each of my kids to develop a servant’s heart.  That can’t happen when we are rushing from one self-centered activity to the next.  Even though I haven’t completely fleshed out this goal, we ARE going to take a day and give freely of our time and energy to an organization that serves people in need.  Hopefully we can take the experience and turn it into a regular habit.
  7. Clean and organize the kitchen.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, baking will soon be kicking into high gear at the Whimsey home.  It would be so wonderful to have fresh spices, baking soda and powder, and plenty of parchment paper on hand.  Being able to easily locate measuring spoons, scoops, and spatulas would be quite nice too.  And a clean oven?  Heaven.  I won’t sugar coat it – the kitchen needs some major TLC – but the tidy rewards will be worth every ounce of sweat.  I can almost smell those delicious spice cookies.

Well, now, so much for nothing too ambitious.  LOL!  The gauntlet has been thrown down, though, and I’m taking up the challenge.  Wish me luck!  Better yet, pray for me!

Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish before the end of the year?

6 thoughts on “Finishing Strong

  1. An amazing blog. I have to say your list is daunting even to me but also inspiring. I don’t have all the kids and their extra curricular schedules either! I will definitely be praying for you but somehow I think that you will find a way to make it happen and I don’t even know you. BTW, what will you be studying for your masters degree?

    1. Thanks! I wasn’t intending to sound so ambitious (the kitchen is probbably a pipe dream). Honestly, I’ll be happy if I just accomplish the first three things. For my Master’s degree, I’m investigating programs in Adult Education, with a focus in health careers. Thanks for following, too. I’m returning the favor. I love to take photos but often feel technically inadequate. You blog is a great combination of information and beautiful photos.

  2. As I said before, Stephany, I love your way of writing. It’s so warm, human and interesting. Please don’t ever be tempted to let “burn-out or lack of enthuiasm” deter you from writing more, will you – PLEASE!
    Kindest regards,
    Dingo has asked me to send you his love!
    Cheeky dog!

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