Looking back and looking forward

Categories: Books, Education, Exercise, Gospel, Life, Quilting/Sewing/Knitting/Crafting, Science & Tech
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I wrote a Christmas letter looking back at how 2008 has gone. It can be found on my web site. I’ve also put together a composite image with a picture of me from every month in 2008. It’s a fun way to see a few of the moments that marked the year.

January – moving to Tucson
February – teaching college
March & April – living in the desert
May – Brett graduates with his Masters
June – ward camping trip at the lake
July – running the Deseret News Marathon
August – 30th birthday party
September – meeting my nephew
October – Halloween
November – voting
December – Christmas

Looking back and reflecting on where you have been can help in figuring out where you are and where you want to go next.

Since 2003 I have set five goals for myself at the beginning of the year, five things I want to have accomplished when the year is over. I have yet to get all five of them accomplished, but the trying has often proven just as exciting.

This last year was my most productive year. I only accomplished two of my five goals, reading 52 books and reading the whole Bible. But I made good work on my other three. I didn’t qualify for the Boston marathon, but I did run a marathon. I didn’t learn 12 new recipes, but I learned quite a few, and they were all very tasty and nobody died eating them. And I still haven’t finished my spool quilt (hand quilting takes a long time), but I made some good progress on it during the Olympics.

The Bible was read in an interesting way this year. I loaded the Old Testament onto my MP3 player and listened to most of it while I was training for the Deseret News Marathon and other running throughout the year. That meant I got it in large chunks and got more of a big picture view of it rather than focusing on smaller pieces. It was real interesting. I especially enjoyed reading the books of Moses at roughly the same time I was reading the Gospels in the New Testament. Reading how the law of Moses was set up gave new insight into the culture of the time of Jesus.

The New Testament I also heard outloud. But that was because Brett and I got together every Sunday night from the first of March through the end of the year and read it together. We read about ten pages a week that way. And the time it took varied from an hour to sometimes over four. The tangent discussions we had inspired by what we were reading were fascinating for me. Those were hours well spent this year.

My other reading goal this year was to read an average of a book a week. I’ve been keeping track of the books I read since the end of 2003. I wasn’t doing half bad there at first, but the two years I was working on my Masters were abysmal, and I needed to change that.

So I challenged not only myself, but several friends as well, to read this year. I read on the bus to and from school. I’ve kept a book by my bed to read before going to sleep. I’ve grabbed books from all over my book shelves – old favorites I haven’t read in years, new ones I hadn’t gotten to yet, old ones I hadn’t gotten to yet, Church related books I’d inherited from my Grandpa Nelson. The variety was so much fun for me.

One person said she wouldn’t accept the challenge because then she’d be reading for speed rather than for content. But I didn’t find that the case at all. I read some absolutely amazing books that gave me many moments to pause and ponder. I read books that made me laugh out loud. I read books that brought tears to my eyes. And I also took a better look at how I was spending my time and realized there were many hours that I could probably allocate better, not just to read but to do other activities as well.

Amanda has challenged us now to read just 26 books in 2009. Twenty-six, one book for each letter of the alphabet, and a topic to match each letter. And to make it more of a challenge, do them in alphabetical order too. I’m sure I’ll read more than 26 books, but this should prove interesting.

So that’s my first goal for 2009, to read 26 books about 26 different topics. I’m also going to have my research proposal for my dissertation ready to go and hopefully approved by the end of the year. And I’m going to finish that darn spool quilt (among others that need to be finished this year). 2009 is International Year of Astronomy, so I want to learn more constellations and take more time to look up at night. Maybe I’ll even find a local amateur astronomy group and go look through a telescope a few times. And I think I’m going to keep at my goal to learn more recipes, I’ll aim for twelve again this year. I’ll post the ones I try and how they work.

Here’s to a great new year!

4 shared thoughts about Looking back and looking forward

  1. mom says:

    Your goals sound good to me. and I love the picture that is under your blog. For some reason I think I’ve been there
    love Mom

  2. Miss Giggles says:

    It’s up American Fork canyon. I took it in January of 2007 I think.

  3. Miss Giggles says:

    A beautiful example of what you can see when you look up at the sky.

    The Sky in Motion with some pretty nice music too.

  4. Mimi says:

    Happy New Year! Those goals sound great. I liked the 26 book one. I might try and do that while I finish my read 30 books in my 30th year. I have already read 15, so I am not sure if I will finish all 26! Mostly I will be working on my 30 goals, but of course I have added a few more. I can’t wait to see what recipes you try this year!


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