One Word Blog Challenge 2015

I’ve honestly never been one to relish the New Year’s holiday, as it follows so closely after the holidays of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas.  By the New Year, I tend to find myself all “holiday-ed out.”  My New Year holiday tends to consist of watching both the New York Times Square ball drop and/or the Moon Pie drop in Alabama.  Big, fancy nights out with a new baby in tow:  Not so much.

However, after reading the inspirational “One Word Goal” challenges on the SNAP blog http://snapcreativity.com/category/blogging-tips/  I’ve decided that I would also like to partake in a one word goal challenge this year.  My one word goal for the year 2015 is HEALTH.  This word, as I address it as my goal, means not only physical health, but also reaching for optimal health in the areas of mental/mindfulness and spirituality.

First let’s start with the physical:  I plan to take better care of my body, because all bodies are sacred.  Bodies are the vessel of our soul which was given to us by G-d.  I have changed over to eating a 90% natural diet, free of most preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial coloring.  I am trying desperately to give up all caffeine, but I realize that this may be the part of the goal that will actually be the most difficult.  I’ve trimmed caffeine usage to one cup of coffee or diet soda per day, but would like to soon ditch the stimulant and bid its unhealthy fizzy friends goodbye.  I’ve also turned into a regular H2O freak, guzzling bottles of water to try to stay as hydrated as possible, as well as to help my kidneys function at maximum capacity.  In addition to changes in my eating and drinking habits, I have begun to work out each and every day for an hour.  Right now, it’s mostly just a combination of swimming laps, walking the track, and participating in an occasional gentle yoga class.  However, as I continue to work at my fitness goals, I plan to increase the rigor of my fitness activities.  I’m looking into investing into a digital fitness tracker with my sights set on either the Garmin Vivofit2 or fitbit Plus to provide that extra push.  After all, it’s the dopamine-reward system center of our brain that causes us to reach and push for more as a reward to our self, and, ultimately, a feeling of achievement.  Lastly, I’ve signed up with a work partner for our “Commit to Get Fit” coordinated school health initiative at work.  I’m looking forward to watching those numbers on the scale decrease, as my health and energy levels increase.

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Mental/mindfulness/spiritual health:  I now realize the importance of a hyper-scheduled day.  Don’t get me wrong, a day with relaxation and as little stress as possible is always a good thing.  For me, those times should be scheduled into my day to create an environment that is as peaceful and predictable as possible.  I’ve begun the practice of having a more goal-directed, mindful environment in terms of practices I put forth.  I have started a journal to my son to record all of the small, meaningful moments and thoughts that, without being recorded, will likely escape us like the sands of time.  I hope to be able to preserve these memories so we can look back when he is much older, and, we will be able to smile sweetly at the preciousness of a simpler time when he greeted me with smiles and tiny baby giggles in the morning.  In addition to these writings, I’ve also begun to keep a goal journal with what I call “landmarks” along the way.  Each “landmark” is a special place that I would like to get to one my journey.  These “landmarks” will help me know that I’m on the right track, or, conversely, that I need to reassess where I am currently at and take a different direction to get to my goal.  Lastly, I plan to meditate and pray more often.  This should most likely have been mentioned first, however, I would like it to be something that I eventually incorporate into my morning routines upon waking, and my evening routines before going to bed.  The Shema always brings me comfort, as well as the verse from Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your G-d will be with you wherever you go.”  I am currently working on a painting of this verse to be hung on the wall in my office as a constant reminder that fear and discouragement have no place in a life well-lived and full of HEALTH.

Publish or Perish: My Adventure Begins

 

I have a predicament of sorts:  I would like to publish an academic book on exemplar texts and arts integration using the Common Core State Standards.  So what is the problem, you may ask?  Well, the market for educational academic texts is currently cornered by, well, academics.  That’s right, in order to find a reputable publisher in the educational realm, you need that omnipotent doctoral degree.  I happen to be one degree short, as I only possess a master’s degree.  I have seriously researched doctoral programs, only to discover that: 1) They carry a hefty expense, and 2) I have no desire to go into school administration, so the expense would not pay off in the end.  Blessed be the excellent and hardworking school administrators, but I am a proud librarian.

So what’s a librarian to do?

My husband has suggested that I write children’s books.  This would be a fabulous idea, if the children’s book publishing market was not in the state of decline which it is currently.  Your odds of having your children’s book published may, in fact, be less likely than being struck by lightning or winning the lottery jackpot.  So that’s a no.

The last type of book that I would be interested in writing is of the creative nonfiction genre.  That’s right, a personal narrative.  My first thought was, “Who on earth would want to read a book about my life?”  I’m a wife, librarian, scrapbooker, reader, teacher, daughter, and friend.  All of these topics have been written on a thousand times over.   So those are out.

Yet, hold that thought, the one topic that I have been searching for several months to find guidance and personal advice/information/relief is quite scarce.  That is, the conversion to Reform Judaism.  Firsthand accounts are rare, except for a spattering of blog posts and titles concerning conversion after marrying a Jewish spouse.  But what about a firsthand account of coming to Judaism, meeting/coming into a congregation, practicing Judaism in an overwhelmingly Christian South, and the list goes on and on?  Even if published anonymously, this type of text would be a great respite to those beginning their journeys or seeking to connect their experiences with that of another layperson.

So, here I am.  I’ve already written my chapter headings and have so many things to say.  I believe this book will flow from me easily, and, hopefully, help my fellow converts who feel called to Judaism.  I hope it is an inspiring text, an honest, raw, and spiritual text that lets others know that they are not alone.

And so I begin to write…