Monday, March 31, 2014

What's Been Going On In 2014

For 2014, I have been keeping a personal journal, so I've not posted anything for a while. My major goal for the year has been about creating a spirit of gratitude. I have found this to be very difficult because well, I am human. I have moments and thoughts that I'm not proud of. I recognize these things, but the difference of course is acting on them versus correcting my thoughts and actions. Also, apologizing if I need to is key when I don't correct my thoughts and actions. Take care of what you love, and it will take care of you.

I had a thought earlier today that I wanted to express, and it has escaped me like a runaway going to Canada. It was a good thought too. It's the reason why I'm writing anything at all and now...Poof! So what has been going on? Here's the highlights reel: 

1. I had surgery on Feb. 20th. The details are in the previous blog post. I'm at about 85% I guess. I have not fully tested my physical abilities. I get to see just how weak I've become in these last six weeks with today's workout. My flexibility is atrocious! This can be rectified with some good old fashion stretching and foam rolling. The green devil taunts me from its corner every time I see it. I'm still waiting on it to start feeling like a massage again. 

2. I got accepted into graduate school to pursue my PhD in financial planning or consumer economics. I applied for financial planning, but the consumer economics looks like what I really want to do as far as research and areas of interest. The awesome thing is since I'm a newbie, I can change later on. It's America, so I have some rights and freedoms. The most amazing part of this experience is that a couple of weeks after being accepted into my program, I received a letter from my graduate coordinator telling me that they didn't have any money for me at that time, but they were working on it. Story time! Once upon a time, I was going to go to Florida State University, but I changed my mind because Florida A&M University said I could get a degree for the free.99 because I was a good little student in high school. Why not? I really didn't want to go FAMU because I wanted to be with more than just black people, and the school was notorious for financial aid mis-handlings (like all HBCU's, but a major issue is that students don't fill out their FAFSA's on time, so for a school where 90+% of students receive aid, and only 40% of them do right....) Well, that was one of the best decisions I could have ever made because I was able to go to school for free not once, not twice (mostly), but three times. The Graduate Feeder Program was created to help underrepresented groups enter into graduate school. Oftentimes, this means full rides or some financial assistance. Well, I wasn't worried after I got the e-mail because 1. The Lord provides. 2. I'm a Fellow, surely I will get a fellowship, right?! (Okay, I was a little worried.) Two weeks later, I received my letter in the mail letting me know that I would have a fellowship. Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord! Honey, I only pay $25 a semester for tuition, I pay my student fees, and for 16 hrs of work a week I will receive a nice stipend every month. Won't He do it? It was done!  

3. Dan and I have been going through a book titled "Why Don't We Listen Better?" with another couple. Originally, our plan was to do it together, but I saw that a friend and I could benefit from it as well. He's married, so she could probably benefit too. Let's do this. We've been meeting since the beginning of February, and we're almost done with the book. It's been an interesting experience. I've always been a good listener, but now I'm trying to become not just a person who can recall what is said or lend an ear. I'm trying to do it without advising, agreeing, disagreeing, or defending. That is pretty tough. In general, I keep an open mind to most things. I'm happy I let Daniel convince me that this is something that I could benefit from. It seems to be helping everyone. I'm not sure if we're all fully understanding the principles, but I feel that it has been an added benefit for most. Gosh darn, I'm growing! Lol. 

4. Team Watkins has been reading a book titled "Fearless" by Max Lucado. Originally, this was a book that I was reading with a small bible study group I was in in VA, but we left shortly after we started this book. Dan and I picked it up because we needed to start being a little bit more radical with our faith and going after happiness. I have let fear conquer my quest for happiness for far too long. Most times there is something from the book that resounds with us and others not so much. I attribute this to us just getting out of our box more. We're almost done with this book as well. I think our next book will be The 5 Love Languages or a book about worthiness from Brene Brown. I have a huge girl crush on her. 

5. The usual stuff...ya know, lose weight, floss more, yada, yada. Lol. I am truly trying to meet new people. I finally went to my first meetup last Friday. It was cool enough. I met one girl that I really liked. She told me I reminded her of her best friend. (Well, I am pretty awesome! Lol.) I'm going to try and stay in touch with her. The meetup helped me to achieve a goal of meet five new people this year. Hey! I should reach a little higher than having dinner with strangers who I am perfectly fine with never seeing again, so I'll keep going to the meetups. Maybe something more will develop. I can stand to have some new friends. It's so hard because I really like Dan, and we have so much fun. Also, my friends are so much better than your friends...unfortunately, they aren't here (MOVE). Sigh.  

6. We booked a trip to go to wait for it....Dublin, London, Paris, Florence, Venice, and Rome. Yes! My passport hasn't been stamped since October 2012 when we went to China. It's past due, and now it's about to see some major activity. I have so much to plan! We'll be gone for a little over two weeks in May. So much to do, so little time! (Yes, I do have a month, and I don't work, so I do have time to plan...) 

7. We're still debt free. We need to ramp up our savings again, but last year took us a while to get our footing after the move. We did some savings, but not what we budgeted. Dan's income is more than enough, but we were just doing things without a plan.That's the fastest way to end up broke. This year we've had major medical expenses (PTL for FSA), car repairs, big trip/little trips, and other things. Although we've not saved like we should have, we are far from broke. I'm so happy that we did FPU, and I can't wait to start teaching it again. We've been doing the darn thing for Baby Step 4. I set up an automatic deduction to save 15% of our income in retirement. This year will be the first year that we will max out our Roths. :) 

8. Dan came up with the idea of creating a goals group with our friends, so I setup our FB page, Hangouts, and we checked in with each other for six weeks. We start back up again today. It's been great reading about our friends' successes. I love that most of these people didn't know each other, but we've been encouraging to each other to achieve the things we want in life. This 6 weeks goal is to do P90X3 and run three times a week. I'm doing the program with Dan, so I'm looking forward to that. Working out with him makes me step my game up. 

That's all I can think about right now. I'm going to try and do better about writing in this thing. I need to track my life! 

Toodaloo for now!