What will you do this year?

Wow! Wow! I can’t believe my last blog post was in April. I was still reeling from seeing my favorite movie and reading my favorite book of the year (so far). (That would be The Artist and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, respectively.) I had just finished writing a book that will come out in December (more to come on that at a later date). And I had just learned that I was going to have to find a new place to live. A lot has happened since then. But let’s not dwell in the past. Nope, today, let’s look to the future.

But to do that, I have to tell you a little story about the past. (Yes, I so get the irony.)

This time last year, I was barreling down on my 30th birthday, desperately trying to check off items on my 30 by 30 list (as you may recall). Boy there were a lot of things to get done, and I missed my mark by about a dozen. And to be quite honest, while I’m glad I did the things I did on my list, I was quite relieved to see my 30th birthday gone and the slate wiped clean. I was so relieved that I let myself off the hook for setting any real goals for my 30th year.

*from freedigitalphotos.net

Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t exactly done nothing this past year. But I didn’t have a clear focus.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was celebrating a coworker’s birthday. Sitting around the conference room table, eating cake and the birthday girl sat down next to me. Without thinking about it, I asked, “So what will you do this year that you’ve never done before?”

The room got really quiet, and I held my breath. I hadn’t meant to get too personal, but it just seemed like a logical question. Moving forward means trying and experiencing new things, right? You can’t turn the clock back or get back your years, so how will you use them to move forward?

The birthday girl didn’t have an answer for me. But that’s okay, because I think the person I really needed to ask that question of was myself. What will I do this year–at 31–that I’ve never done before? What new experiences will I try? What will I open myself up to that I haven’t ever before?

I can’t fully answer that yet. I won’t be able to until next year, I guess. But I am undertaking something that I’ve always wanted to do but always found an excuse not to. I’m going to volunteer at the Nashville Public Library. Just a couple times a month, but enough time, I hope, to share my love of reading with a few someone elses. Books have always been an important part of my  life, and if I can share one favorite book, one inspiring author, one life-altering story, then maybe I’ll be able to change a life.

At the very least I’ll be doing something new. Moving forward. Investing in lives.

What will you do this year that you’ve never done before?

30 by 30 Update

Here we are on February 25th, and I’m 7 months into my 29th year. That means I have only 5 months left until I’m 30. Five months to check off everything on the infamous list.

At last count, I’ve signed off on 6 of them. And I’m happy to announce that I’ve accomplished a few more.

4. Go to an NFL game – Okay, so I missed my chance. I had tickets in hand and paid for to see the Titans play the Colts. But I did get to see Garth Brooks in concert at the Bridgestone arena on December 22nd. So I’ve decided that singing Garth at the top of my lungs along with 17,000 other crazy fans is a fair substitute.

16. Eat something with mushrooms – Someone suggested eating pizza with mushrooms, and they were so right! On New Year’s Eve, I ate a whole slice of pizza covered with pepperoni, sausage, peppers, and MUSHROOMS! Of course, the day before I’d been eating green bean cassarole and had picked out all of those little tiny mushrooms.

21. Catch up on the TV show Chuck – I just finished season 2 and am jumping into season 3. This is a great show! We’ll count this one, half done.

23. Read a #1 New York Times Bestseller when it’s #1 –  Last week I finished Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo. This little book tells the true story of a little boy who spent some time in heaven and came back after a life-threatening medical emergency. This is a book full of hope and the joy that we have to look forward to in heaven.

26. Write a Christmas short story – I just finished A Star in the Night, a novella that comes out in September in an anthology called A Log Cabin Christmas Collection. I hope you’ll enjoy it. I sure had a blast writing it!

I suppose that puts me at 10 and some of them started. I’m not quite there, but I’m getting closer! 🙂 These next five months are going to be busy!

Teaser Tuesday – Persuasion

teaser_tuesdays1MizB of Should Be Reading hosts the Teaser Tuesdays weekly event

Here are the rules:
* Grab your current read
* Let the book fall open to a random page
* Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12
*You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
* Please avoid spoilers!

This week’s teaser is:
” Whether former feelings were to be renewed must be brought to the proof; former times must undoubtedly be brought to the recollection of each; they could not but be reverted to; the year of their engagement could not but be named by him, in the little narratives or descriptions which conversation called forth.”

pg. 46  – Persuasion by Jane Austen

– Since I finished Pride and Prejudice, it’s time to move forward with more Jane Austen books. Got to get them checked off my 30 by 30 list. And since Pride and Prejudice was like pulling teeth for me to read, I decided next up should be the shortest. Is that lame? Just a little bit. 🙂 So even though the book doesn’t have Rupert Penry-Jones like the newest movie version does, I fully expect to enjoy this book.

30 by 30 – 2 week check-in

Hey there fun-seekers! Well, it’s been two weeks since my 29th birthday and the big reveal of my 30 by 30 list. So I figured it’s a good time to check in on some of the key items on the list ands see where I’m at. Afterall, what’s a goal if there’s no accountability to keep it? Here we go …

#1 – Complete the Nashville Rock and Roll ½ Marathon – okay, so I haven’t done anything with this one yet, but I looking up info on it this weekend.

#2 – Write 2 novels – I wrote a proposal for a Christmas novella this week. Does that count?

#3 – Read all of Jane Austen’s Books  – I only have 75 pages left in Pride and Prejudice, and I picked up Persuasion at the library.

#6 – Finish Caleb’s fire truck cross stitch – I’ve spent about 6 hours in the last 2 weeks working on it. And I’m no where close to finishing. This is going to be a long one. 🙂

# 7 – Visit 3 Civil War battlefields – I’m making plans to visit the scene of the Battle of Franklin and the Carnton plantation in … well, Franklin, when my mom comes for a visit. And it’s going to double as a research trip for said Christmas novella.

#30 – Vacation on Prince Edward Island – I totally rented a car for our trip this week. And when my mom called me this weekend, the first thing she said was “three weeks, only three weeks!” 🙂

There you have it! I have 50 weeks to go. I better get myself in gear. 🙂 There is much to be done, but it’s going to be an exciting year!

Friday Favorite – 30 by 30

I’m almost 30. Well, to be completely forth-coming, I’m almost, almost 30. That’s right. I’m about to turn 29. This Sunday to be exact.

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about making a list of things that I might want to do by the time I’m 30. I started asking questions like, Have I accomplished the things that I want to by the time I hit 30? What do I want to do with this year?

So, what I came up with is below … a list of 30 things I want to do in the next year. Some are a little silly. Some are meant to stretch me. And if I add up all the hours it’ll take to accomplish these, I might have to quit my day job. (Hmm … well, I can’t finance my trip to the Harry Potter theme park if I quit my job. Bummer.)

Without further ado, I present …

Liz’s 30 by 30

  1. Complete the Nashville Rock and Roll ½ Marathon
  2. Write 2 novels
  3. Read all of Jane Austen’s Books
  4. Go to an NFL game
  5. Save $1500 toward a trip to Scotland/Ireland
  6. Finish Caleb’s fire truck cross stitch
  7. Visit 3 Civil War battlefields
  8. See Brandon Heath in concert
  9. Visit Boone Hall in South Carolina (Mount Royal Plantation)
  10. Donate $1000 to World Vision for Micro-loans
  11. Get a contract for a 3-book deal
  12. Find a place to serve at my new church
  13. Take a cooking class at Whole Foods
  14. Give away 20 of the books on my shelves
  15. Buy flowers for a friend for no reason
  16. Eat something with mushrooms
  17. See a show at TPAC
  18. Read the Bible in a Year
  19. Take an adult beginner dance class
  20. Visit the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios in Orlando
  21. Catch up on the TV show Chuck
  22. Volunteer at least 10 hours at a local food bank/shelter
  23. Read a #1 New York Times Bestseller when it’s #1
  24. Go a week without eating out
  25. Host a dinner party for at least 4 friends
  26. Write a Christmas short story
  27. Drop 2 dress sizes
  28. Sing karaoke in public
  29. Drink only water for 2 weeks straight
  30. Vacation on Prince Edward Island

And wouldn’t you know … that list actually looks like it’ll provide material for at least 30 blogs! Score! I’ll keep you all up to date on my progress, and in a year, we’ll revisit. 🙂

(And, yes. Technically my trip to PEI is already planned and mostly paid for, but I’m still going in my 29th year, so that still counts, right?)

Did/do you have a 30 by 30 list? What was on it?