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Hello, there. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Much too long, I think, and I’m so sorry for the neglect. The reality is that my time has been consumed by work, school, and family obligations and the pleasure of blogging always gets pushed to the bottom of a never-ending list of to-do’s. Unbelievably, Christmas has come and gone – I hope it was a meaningful and relaxing one for you – and the beginning of 2014 is looming large on the horizon. Because this year is ending, I feel compelled to address some goals that I posted earlier this year here at Whimsey Pie and then never revisited.  I don’t really feel like doing this because I’ll be forced to face my failures, but I hate loose ends dangling around and I want to start the new year with a clean slate.

In January, I posted a few goals that I thought were pretty doable over the course of the year.  A Cleansing Breath details the seven goals I set for myself but I will list them briefly here with any progress I’ve made:

  • Apply to three graduate programs and hopefully begin classes by the end of the year.  I applied to one graduate school, was accepted, and will be one-quarter of the way through the program by the middle of February.  Because I am a full-time student, it is single-handedly sucking up every minute of my spare time (I just wanted to get it over with!) and is directly responsible for my lack of substantial blog posts and a general lack of fun in my life.
  • Improve my photographic skills.  I didn’t pursue anything intentional and lately I haven’t had to time to practice the skills I already have. 
  • Read My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  I tried, I really did.  And I must be one of two people on earth (my husband being the other simpleton) who was completely underwhelmed with this highly recommended devotional classic. After reading it, I often felt like an incompetent, inadequate, and thick-headed imbecile.  The readings were often very esoteric with snippets of verses taken completely out of context.  Needless to say, it was not beneficial for my spiritual growth so I just stopped.  Life is too short.
  • Regularly (monthly) write to our sponsor child in Ecuador. This was a huge fail – I am so ashamed of myself… 
  • Complete an Extreme Room Makeover for Buddy (the middle child).  We are in the midst of the makeover at this very moment – walls are painted, new carpet installed, and new furniture purchased.  The trim still needs painted and all the details attended to but we are almost there. 
  • Read six non-fiction books. I’ve read two this year(not counting textbooks): Worldiness, edited by C.J. Mahaney and Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods.
  • Eradicate Coca Cola from my diet forever!  Considering the fact that I’m drinking an icy cold Coke as I type, I would say this was another epic fail.

In retrospect, I made more progress than I thought.  Not fantastic, of course, but not awful either.  And for the record, I will not be making any goals this year.  Graduate school is more than enough challenge and stimulation for me at this point in my life.

In July, I blogged about a personal summer reading challenge based on the Facebook meme BBC Top 100 Must Read Books List. The post gave a partial list of books I’d read over the summer but I wanted to give an accurate account of what I eventually accomplished.  I was able to get 6.5 books under my belt before the deadline:

  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • 3 books of The Ultimate Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (only the first book is required)
  • A Prayer For Owen Meaney by John Irving
  • Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

I did begin a Master’s degree program in the middle of this challenge which significantly slowed my progress.  However, the Harry Potter series has been such an enjoyable surprise and mindless escape that I decided to finish the series after the initial challenge was over.  I’m halfway through the sixth book now and hope to completely finish the series before I head back to work after the New Year.  I have officially read 45.5 books on the BBC list.  (That the entire Harry Potter series only counts as one book seems a bit stingy to me, but I didn’t make the list.)  In the next year, I’m participating in another fun reading challenge (look for a post soon!) which should give me the opportunity to cross a few more books off the list.

I feel so much better now that I’ve addressed those few nagging issues.  I can freely say good-bye to 2013 and face 2014 with an uncluttered conscience and a clear mind.  2014, here we come!

Thanks to all of you who drop by this blog on a regular, occasional, or even accidental basis.  I appreciate the time you take to read, like, and comment on my posts.  I enjoy blogging simply for the sake of blogging but your attention and encouragement makes the experience that much more terrific.  To all of you, I offer:

some belated Christmas cheer….

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and my most sincerest wishes for a blessed and prosperous New Year!

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