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2014 Goals

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hi Sparkfriends!!

I always stay in on January 1 and reflect on the previous year and decide what I want to accomplish in the new year. I suppose you could call them resolutions, but to me they are goals. I have a big binder with all the things I ever said I wanted in my life, categorized into six buckets. Each year I review them, reminisce a little (I'm a little past being a rock star...), and then pick one or two from each of those six categories.

So here's what I'm going to work on this year:
1. Get a promotion (financial/career) - some of this is out of my control, but there is plenty I can do to make myself as promote-able as possible. So I'm going to focus on learning my industry inside & out, hone my skills, and request side projects that will enhance my experience.
2. Eliminate debt (financial/career) - I don't have a ton of debt, but now that I'm done with school, my student loans need to be paid back. I just want to get organized and get this stuff paid off as quickly as possible.
3. Weigh less than 200 pounds (health) - I haven't weighed less than 200 pounds since 1993. It's a tall order, but I have been making steady progress toward that goal for 5 years. I will continue the fight by getting better about logging my food, drinking plenty of water, and being more consistent with exercise.
4. Run a 5k in less than 36 minutes (health) - My best 5k time is 41:30. I'm focusing on losing weight and adding a little speedwork into my training program to try and cut that time down.
5. Record 6 songs (mental) - A friend gave me the new Beck album, which is not recorded music...it's sheet music. I want to learn at least 6 of the songs and record them, add in additional parts from friends, and post them on YouTube. This one is a strange one for me, but it should be fun!
6. Improve my marriage (home) - I have a great husband and am looking forward to our 14th wedding anniversary this year. But things can always be better, and I've neglected our relationship for 4 years while I finished school. Time to remind him that he's important to me.
7. Organize my house (home) - I have too much stuff. It must go.
8. Let go of the past (spiritual) - I have too much baggage. It must also go.
9. Improve my ability to participate in small talk (social) - I'm an introvert in an extrovert's career. It's important that I be able to socialize, but I really struggle to come up with anything to say after "hello." If I'm going to keep advancing my career, I've got to figure out how to socialize. This year's focus is research and practice.

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So that's it - 9 goals for 2014. I'll check in periodically with progress reports. It's going to be a great year!!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMY-MIMI77 1/21/2014 4:14PM

    Best of Luck on achieving your goals - I know that you will do your best
keep reaching for them

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TKOVACH1 1/12/2014 6:17PM

    I think you have some great goals to strive to achieve in 2014.
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FORBANDE 1/12/2014 4:22PM

    Wow! Those are some fantastic goals! I totally love the idea of your big binder! (I may steal it.)

I have no doubts that you'll make significant progress and tackle these. I picture you as this project management tough mudder rock star!!
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You are amazing and I know you got this!


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SASSYLJB 1/12/2014 4:12PM

    Wonderful goals Jen! You have put some great thought into them. I will be doing your number 7 as we gear up for a move on the next 4 weeks! Also working on your #4 I would like to be around a 222-24 mind 5k so we can sure support each other in our journeys diamond girl! Keep Dazzling!

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ORCHIDLADY56 1/12/2014 3:55PM

    Good goals! It is obvious you really thought these out!

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DBALZER 1/12/2014 2:22PM

    These are some awesome goals. I love how organized you are to have a binder with all that. I would have to say that type of organization is something that I strive for. That may just have to go into my goals for this year.

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2014 Goals

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hi Sparkfriends!!

I always stay in on January 1 and reflect on the previous year and decide what I want to accomplish in the new year. I suppose you could call them resolutions, but to me they are goals. I have a big binder with all the things I ever said I wanted in my life, categorized into six buckets. Each year I review them, reminisce a little (I'm a little past being a rock star...), and then pick one or two from each of those six categories.

So here's what I'm going to work on this year:
1. Get a promotion (financial/career) - some of this is out of my control, but there is plenty I can do to make myself as promote-able as possible. So I'm going to focus on learning my industry inside & out, hone my skills, and request side projects that will enhance my experience.
2. Eliminate debt (financial/career) - I don't have a ton of debt, but now that I'm done with school, my student loans need to be paid back. I just want to get organized and get this stuff paid off as quickly as possible.
3. Weigh less than 200 pounds (health) - I haven't weighed less than 200 pounds since 1993. It's a tall order, but I have been making steady progress toward that goal for 5 years. I will continue the fight by getting better about logging my food, drinking plenty of water, and being more consistent with exercise.
4. Run a 5k in less than 36 minutes (health) - My best 5k time is 41:30. I'm focusing on losing weight and adding a little speedwork into my training program to try and cut that time down.
5. Record 6 songs (mental) - A friend gave me the new Beck album, which is not recorded music...it's sheet music. I want to learn at least 6 of the songs and record them, add in additional parts from friends, and post them on YouTube. This one is a strange one for me, but it should be fun!
6. Improve my marriage (home) - I have a great husband and am looking forward to our 14th wedding anniversary this year. But things can always be better, and I've neglected our relationship for 4 years while I finished school. Time to remind him that he's important to me.
7. Organize my house (home) - I have too much stuff. It must go.
8. Let go of the past (spiritual) - I have too much baggage. It must also go.
9. Improve my ability to participate in small talk (social) - I'm an introvert in an extrovert's career. It's important that I be able to socialize, but I really struggle to come up with anything to say after "hello." If I'm going to keep advancing my career, I've got to figure out how to socialize. This year's focus is research and practice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So that's it - 9 goals for 2014. I'll check in periodically with progress reports. It's going to be a great year!!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUNNER4LIFE08 1/13/2014 11:07AM

    Jen, those are some pretty fantastic goals and very realistic too. I like how you picked goals that related to your self as a whole. Not just body related but mind and spirit.

I look forward to cheering you on and seeing how you progress through the year.

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PEZMOM1 1/12/2014 9:55PM

    Those are some really fantastic goals. Have a great 2014!

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Life Lessons at Christmas

Saturday, December 28, 2013

This year, I had high hopes for Christmas. For the first time in years, I had no schoolwork, no work work, and no overwhelming housework to take over my year-end vacation. I was going to focus on me. Hit the gym. Relax. Take baths. Read books. Light candles. But, as always seems to happen when things are going well, plans change.



My parents got sick. Nothing major - just colds. My mom got better. My dad did not. He went to the doctor and got antibiotics but kept getting worse. On the 15th, 9 days after his first cough, my mom convinced him to go to the ER. They didn't let him leave. Why? Pneumonia in both lungs. He couldn't breath and he was failing fast.

The first few days were very scary. I dropped everything and spent each day in the hospital, listening to the doctors and trying to console my mom. My family hasn't had to deal with serious illness before - and we aren't emotional. The stress, the uncertainty, and seeing my mother cry were all new to me and I struggled to be the daughter my mom needed. But I was scared - the doctors thought my dad might not make it. I checked stats for double pneumonia...30-50% mortality rate. I had to come to terms with the fact that I might lose my otherwise extremely healthy father a week before Christmas, while still maintaining hope that things would be ok.



On his 7th day on the ventilator in the ICU, he had yet to respond to any of us. My dad has a strong Catholic upbringing and is very active in the Lions Club. That afternoon, the Lions pastor stopped by for a visit. He didn't stay very long, but asked if I would mind if he held my dad's hand and shared a healing prayer. While I don't share my father's beliefs, I knew he would appreciate that so I of course consented. After the pastor left, I took my dad's hand and told him about the pastor's kind visit. I felt a squeeze on my hand and then my dad opened his eyes. It was the most emotional moment I have ever experienced. I knew then that he would recover.

He healed enough over the next three days to come off the ventilator. He was so weak and exhausted from his ordeal, but still had his sense of humor. We knew he wouldn't be home for Christmas, so we brought Christmas to him. It was the best Christmas I could have ever hoped for.



Yesterday, they released my dad from the hospital and he is now home. He has a walker and oxygen, but that is temporary. He'll regain his strength and get back to his life. I feel like the happiest person on the planet right now, and I'm sure my entire family feels the same.



This Christmas, I learned a lot. I learned to roll with life's punches, and stay hopeful, strong, and optimistic in the face of adversity. I learned to keep a sense of humor even when the situation seems tragic. (Always maintaining proper decorum, of course.) I learned to ask for help when I needed it, and that my friendships are stronger than I had thought. I learned that personal faith is incredibly strong, no matter its form (I believe my dad responded to the pastor's visit because it reflected his own belief). And I learned that happiness isn't defined by the absence of challenges, but rather it is the challenges in life that make you cherish the happy moments.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMY-MIMI77 1/2/2014 7:01PM

    I am so glad to hear that your dad is home; you guys have been in my morning prayers.
hugs to you and glad you had a good Christmas

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FORBANDE 1/2/2014 7:31AM

    Amazing! I am an emotional person and teared up while reading this. Such wonderful lessons learned. The best part is that your Dad is going to be fine. What a great Christmas gift!!

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SASSYLJB 1/1/2014 11:53AM

    So glad your dad is home, and what a true holiday season you have had, things that we all need to remember!
Here is to a Dazzling New Year, full of wonder and hope!

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RUTHIEBEAR 12/30/2013 8:41AM

    FIrst I am so happy your Dad is healing and at home!!!! THis is very inspirational blog! emoticon

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VALYNN26 12/29/2013 2:08PM

    So glad that you're father has improved. Continued prayers that his health continues to improve. emoticon

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ORCHIDLADY56 12/29/2013 9:59AM

    So happy that your Dad is on the mend! Inspiring blog to read, and your last paragraph was very uplifting.
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ANNMACP0212 12/29/2013 9:53AM

    Wow--you are so right! I'm so glad your dad is feeling better!! Sending prayers for a full and fast recovery.

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BRENDAF761 12/29/2013 8:11AM

    So glad your dad is going to be okay! Wishing you and your family a very Happy New Years! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PEZMOM1 12/28/2013 9:02PM

    Saying a prayer that your Dad continues to heal and regains his health.
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Comment edited on: 12/28/2013 9:02:47 PM

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Goals for BLC - Go Dazzling Diamonds!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wow, I haven't thought about goals for awhile. I've been chasing my main goal - being able to do a pull-up - for so long I haven't thought about much else. While I'm getting close to that, other things will help me along my path. So here goes:

1. Lose that healthy range of 1-2 pounds per week. To do that, I'll:
a. Drink 10 cups of water per day emoticon
b. Log my food daily emoticon
c. Eat 5 servings of freggies per day emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
d. 3 sessions of cardio + 3 strength sessions per week
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2. Run a 5k in less than 40 minutes.
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3. Get to know my Dazzling Diamond teammates!!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMY-MIMI77 12/17/2013 9:40AM

    you will dazzle and achieve all that you reach for

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RUTHIEBEAR 12/17/2013 8:31AM

    I know you are going to dazzle us as you work on these goals!!! I believe in YOU!!! emoticon

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SASSYLJB 12/17/2013 7:01AM

    Great goals, and I am sure that you will meet them all! Running will certainly help! In case you had not figured it out I LOVE to run! It is my newest passion since I have been on Spark! Most of your fellow diamonds run as well! Lets make some diamond dust!

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RUNNER4LIFE08 12/16/2013 3:54PM

    Those are great goals Jen and very attainable. I have been working on doing a pull up for a while now too. I can do it on the assisted pull up machine with no problem. Just can't lift my own full weight yet. But I will get there soon!

Keep going strong! So glad to have you on the Diamonds team!

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FORBANDE 12/14/2013 9:39AM

    Great goals!!! I'm so thrilled you are a Diamond!!!

A pull up is huge!! That's not an everybody thing.

You are going to kick some challenge butt!

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VALYNN26 12/14/2013 6:46AM

    Those are some great goals & I am sure you will meet them all. I am so excited to have you on our Dazzling team & can't wait to get to know you! Shine Bright!

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VALYNN26 12/14/2013 6:46AM

    Those are some great goals & I am sure you will meet them all. I am so excited to have you on our Dazzling team & can't wait to get to know you! Shine Bright!

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SUZIPAM1 12/13/2013 12:20PM

    good goals

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Done with School, Aug 1-10

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Wow, this free time thing is AMAZING!!!

Most of my days have been pretty much the same as the first few: work, hit the gym, then do something relaxing before hitting the sack. I'm getting great sleep.

At first, my husband and I were going out to eat since we had time. But the scale started creeping up on me so I had to nix that. But it was really nice while it lasted!

My very first weekend of total freedom was fantastic, too. I caught up on sleep (really shocked that it took over a week to feel fully rested, but it's been years so I guess I shouldn't be surprised, right?), and then, on a whim, called up friends and headed out on a bike ride. We covered 20 miles that day - woo hoo!

The next day we went to Six Flags for some mega-fun. I haven't been there in years! The last time I was there, I was too big to ride some of the rides. I was so embarassed and dejected after being asked to get off the ride. How humiliating!! So no surprise that I wasn't super-excited to go. But hubby bought us season tickets as my graduation gift, so not letting that go to waste. After waiting in line for well over an hour, I was scared to get into the car, but I fit in the seat and the harness went over me just fine. No embarassment, no shame. Just a fun-filled day of roller coasters and carnival games! Yay for losing weight!!
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Nothing as exciting as all that this past week, just really enjoying life. I took some time to buy some new makeup, which I haven't been able to do in awhile, and spent some time playing the piano (wow, am I rusty!). I even hit the garden for a little while and weeded out the 4-foot high thistle...I'm guessing the neighbors are shocked.
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Last but not least, my friend Peggy and I sat down and registered for our fall races. We are doing the Lake Country Half Marathon, the Tough Mudder, Al's Run (an 8k race), and the Lake Country Duathlon. I've never run an 8k or done a duathlon before, so this should be fun!

I am cooking again, though not with as much gusto as I used to. I'm hoping that I will learn to love cooking again as I settle into a rhythm. My routine was completely disrupted with graduation, so now I must form new habits. I'm trying to make them all good ones.

What do you guys do after work? What good habits do you have that I can adopt?
I'm thinking about doing a little yoga every night before bed. Anyone have any tips?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUNNER4LIFE08 8/12/2013 10:55AM

    My after work routine varies depending on the day. Some nights when we have sports I have to get home and start on dinner right away so that we can get out of the house on time. Sometimes I have time after work to get my grocery shopping complete, extra cleaning, laundry, etc....

But on some really good nights after work I can fit in another workout which always feels great!

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I am glad that you are feeling stress free and feeling like you have more time. That is a great feeling! Keep up the good work! And yoga before bed.... AWESOME! Great way to stretch and calm down good before hitting the sack. I should take your lead...

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PEZMOM1 8/12/2013 10:34AM

    emoticon emoticon

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