2013 Wrap Up and Plans for 2014

What a blessedly hectic year this has been.  By offering my views on 2013, I can gauge how 2014 is going to go, where I can improve, what I need to change, and what is going well.  I am focusing on my reading/reviewing, my fitness/health, and my personal life with areas of success and areas where I can improve.

Reading/Reviewing

I read 65 books this last year.  That is a lot but 8 of them were children’s books.  So that still leaves me with about a book/week.  Which was my ultimate goal.  I realize there are people that read a lot more than that, but with my busy schedule I think that is pretty darn good.  Every month consisted of a book club book and one or two review books as well as once in a while a book that I wanted to read.  That is what I want to change for this year.  My bookshelves are overflowing with books that I WANT TO READ.  But, they always get tossed aside for review books.  So, even though I appreciate all the great books that have arrived from authors and publishers, I’m going to be really, really picky this year about the books I choose to review. I am currently sitting on 44 review books that I have either committed to reading and reviewing or just showed up in my mailbox.  That is clearly most of my reading for this year.  I don’t even want to mention the number of other books on my shelf that I purchased because I wanted to read them.  This doesn’t even include all the new books yet to be published that I will get requests for. *SIGH* So, needless to say, I really want to do some reading for myself, continue with my book club, and read those books that sound really great and I want to promote.  I must say, if a book wasn’t resonating with me and it was difficult to read, I stopped reading it.  That was something I hadn’t done before.  I use to feel like I HAD to finish a book.  But, I realized there are way too many great books out there to waste my time on a dud.  That doesn’t mean it is a dud for everyone, but just that it was for me.  I don’t feel guilty about leaving a book unfinished anymore.  That was a huge revelation for me.

I am touched by all the great authors that asked me to read their books this last year.  I even got one of my reviews quoted in a National New York Times ad for SWEET SALT AIR by Barbara Delinsky.  My reviews have been published in our Sunday edition of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.  I’m getting more review requests on a daily basis than I can keep up with.  I feel blessed.  But, at times I am also stressed.  I don’t ever want to feel stressed about reading, so will definitely be changing my approach to review requests and commitments this year.  I am hoping to read 75 books this year and get a chunk of my personal to-reads off my shelf!

Fitness/Health

I did a better job of keeping track of my fitness this year.  Every time I ran, walked, biked, or worked out, I wrote it down.  I got a bike for my birthday this year.  I rode a bike for this first time in nearly 20 years.  I’m looking forward to more bike rides with our family this spring/summer.  I finished two 5K run/walks this summer, beating my time for the June race from the previous year. I can run longer and faster than previous years and feel like running is getting easier.  I want to do more weightlifting this year and really strengthen my muscles, especially those core muscles like my back and arms.  I didn’t see really any change in my weight this year, so I am looking for ways to change up my metabolism and really seem some improvement on the scale.  Overall, I ran/walked/biked 141.46 miles this year.  I can honestly say, this is the most I have ever done in my life.  I know it isn’t a lot when you break it out into days or weeks, but still more than I have ever done.  My most active months were January and August. My least active months were March, May and November.  I am hoping in 2014 to show consistent activity across all the months and to at least double my number of miles in 2014.  
Personal Life
There are days and weeks where I feel like I am doing too much.  But, most everything I am involved in, it is because I want to be.  Finding time to do what I WANT TO DO is a challenge and I imagine it is a challenge for most people.  I want to find more time to have fun with the kids, more time to read, more time to be spontaneous, and more time to go out with my husband.  But, there are only 24 hours in day and this girl can’t sacrifice sleep! 
There are commitments that I plan to continue:  Running the After School JAMS program at our church, giving Storytime at our library, Subbing at the school, Secretary of our church circle, community member of the school communication team, 
There are commitments that I am giving up:  Planning/Organizing our city-wide garage sales. 
I want to have more personal quiet time studying the Bible.  I gave up attending a weekly Bible Study and even though it was time-consuming and the schedule no longer worked for me, I miss it.  I want to finish reading the whole Bible.  I got as far as Jeremiah and haven’t gotten back to it.  
I want to be a better housekeeper.  That is always the first to go when my schedule gets busy and I need to make that more of a priority.
There is always room for personal growth…always striving to be a more loving, caring and generous person to those who need it most.  
I’m certainly excited for 2014.  In the coming year my mom will turn 75, our son will turn 14 and become a driver, our other son will enter the teen years, our daughter will get her ears pierced at age 9 (I had to wait until I was 16), and my husband and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage.  All moments that I look forward to and will cherish. It’s going to be a great year!
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