Getting Personal #138: September Goals

September

Image Credit: Etsy

Hello, September! I’m so excited for cooler weather!

Every year, I can’t help but think of the famous Earth, Wind & Fire song, September! I always dance around when I hear it.


Here are my goals for the month of September:

  1. Celebrate eight years together with Al!
  2. Welcome our greyhound home!
  3. Write at least 1,000 words for my WIP.
  4. Read at least two books.
  5. Finalize our New York trip plans.
  6. Buy a new crock-pot.

Here’s the breakdown:

Celebrate eight years together with Al!

  • Our dating anniversary is September 4th. Hard to believe it’s been eight years!

Welcome our greyhound home!

  • We are expecting to get the call either September 9th or 10th. So exciting!

Write at least 1,000 words for my WIP.

  • Breaking it down into smaller chunks seems more manageable.

Read at least two books.

  • I’m about four chapters into one that I’ve been working on since the beginning of July. It’s high time I finish it.
  • I bought three new books with one of my birthday gift cards. I really want to read at least one of those (if not more), before I allow myself to spend the other birthday gift card from my parents.

Finalize our New York trip plans.

  • We’re visiting the Big Apple in November!

Buy a new crock-pot.

  • I discovered a huge crack in our crock-pot insert recently, so we need to buy another one.

Do you have any goals for the month of September?

If so, I’d love to hear about them!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #137: August Goals Recap

Goodbye Summer - Quotes Ideas

August felt like a really long month, but maybe that’s just me. It was really hot, humid, and made me ready for the fall!

Here’s the link to my August Goals post:

Ready?

Here we go!


  1. Make progress with cleaning the garage. — Accomplished!
  2. See Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again— Accomplished!
  3. Celebrate my milestone birthday! — Accomplished!
  4. Start preparing for our greyhound’s arrival. — Accomplished!
  5. See Christopher Robin. — Accomplished!
  6. Get to 50,000 words with my 2012 WIP. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Participate in Laura Beth and Kristian’s Blockbuster Challenge! — Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Make progress with cleaning the garage. — Accomplished!

  • We only spent a little bit of time on one Saturday, but it looks a little cleaner, and I was able to make two thrift store runs. Yay!

See Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again— Accomplished!

  • I went to see it with my mom and our good friend Kathy on my birthday.
  • It was a decent movie – I loved the music, and the scenery is just gorgeous!

Celebrate my milestone birthday! — Accomplished!

  • It was such a whirlwind weekend!
  • My in-laws came to visit, and we spent time with Nick and Savy at their house with their new puppy, Xeno.
  • My mom and dad bought flowers for the church altar, which were beautiful.
  • My mom made the best homemade dinner for a host of people, including beef tenderloin, my uncle’s awesome Caesar salad, roasted vegetables, and more! Plus, there was ice cream cake!
  • Al scored free tickets to the Norfolk Tides game that was on my birthday, so we enjoyed stadium food while cheering on the home team.
  • Many people gave me thoughtful gifts, also.
  • It was an awesome long weekend! It was really hard to go back to work on that Wednesday, though.

Start preparing for our greyhound’s arrival. — Accomplished!

  • So far, we have two dog beds, multiple toys, a comfy fleece blanket, a bright orange leash, and a Star Wars collar.
  • We are supposed to get him either September 9th or 10th!

See Christopher Robin. — Accomplished!

  • We saw this with our friends Beth and Casey. We ate a delicious dinner at Gianna’s, an awesome Italian restaurant down the way from the movie theater.
  • If you haven’t seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It’s sweet, fun, nostalgic, and a nice respite from all the doom and gloom in the world.

Get to 50,000 words with my 2012 WIP. — Did not accomplish.

  • After working so hard in July, I wanted to make more progress. But, I didn’t make any time to write. I’m finding myself having a hard time trying to finish it. I’m sure I’m not alone!

Participate in Laura Beth and Kristian’s Blockbuster Challenge! — Accomplished!


Final Thoughts

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to six out of seven goals – Woohoo! Productivity at its finest.
  • The one goal I did not accomplish: Ending things are hard! Especially something I’ve worked on, off and on, for the better part of six years.

What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of August?

Come back tomorrow to see my September Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #134: Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 Recap

Camp 2018 - Participant - Profile Photo

I was very excited to do Camp NaNoWriMo again for the month of July!

Since I was very close to the 35,000 word mark at the end of June, I decided to set my Camp goal for an additional 15,000 words. I felt like I could finally reach 50,000 words! This has been a dream since 2012!!


Previous Stats

May 2nd

  • Current word count: 33,507 words

June 16th

  • Added 623 words
  • Current word count: 34,130 words

June 23rd

  • Added 339 words
  • Current word count: 34,469 words

June 30th

  • Added 250 words
  • Current word count: 34,719 words

And, now, here’s how I did!


Day 1

Today: 539
Total: 539

It wasn’t until that evening that I could sit down and write for the day, but I was happy with my first word count! Onward and upward!

Day 2

Today: 0
Total: 539

I didn’t write anything on this day, mainly due to hosting our friend Mike for the evening!

Day 3

Today: 624
Total: 1,163

Another evening writing session. I felt really good about this one!

Day 4

Today: 742
Total: 1,905

I’m really getting into the groove of writing in the evenings. More progress!

Day 5

Today: 208
Total: 2,113

I made progress, but not as much as I hoped. I felt distracted, a bit sidetracked. Plus, I wrote later this evening than I have during other nights. But, there’s always tomorrow!

Day 6

Today: 676
Total: 2,789

Today was much more productive! I felt really good about the scene I wrote today, too. Excited to see what happens this weekend.

Day 7

Today: 830
Total: 3,619

I wrote this afternoon, when Al was in the shower. Here’s to more words tomorrow!

Day 8

Today: 1,131
Total: 4,750

Al mowed the lawn today, so I took advantage of that. This was my highest word count so far!

Day 9

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

I felt like I hit a wall.

Day 10

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

Lacking inspiration.

Day 11

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

Not feeling this writing thing at all.

Day 12

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

This week at work has been exhausting, and it’s Thursday now. Maybe tomorrow?

Day 13

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

I feel a bit guilty, but I just haven’t had the energy, or desire, to write.

Day 14

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

I thought for sure the weekend would bring some inspiration, but not today.

Day 15

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

Today was so busy with church and other things, I wasn’t even thinking about writing.

Day 16

Today: 0
Total: 4,750

Now I’m super irritated with myself. I didn’t make any time to write this morning, and I didn’t have any time to write this evening. Hopefully, tomorrow, this wall can come down!

Day 17

Today: 595
Total: 5,345

HOORAY! The streak of zeroes is broken!!

AND – I passed 40,000 words overall! I’m a very happy lady!

Day 18

Today: 0
Total: 5,345

Stupid writer’s block.

Day 19

Today: 0
Total: 5,345

Still no inspiration.

Day 20

Today: 0
Total: 5,345

No time today!

Day 21

Today: 622
Total: 6,022

A later-evening writing session was a success!

Day 22

Today: 0
Total: 6,022

I felt uninspired again today.

Day 23

Today: 0
Total: 6,022

Pure exhaustion today. However, I felt a bit of inspiration rising throughout the day. Hopefully I can put my fingers to the keyboard tomorrow!

Day 24

Today: 451 + 825 = 1,276
Total: 7,298

Yay! I’m so proud of myself. TWO writing sessions in one day?! Woohoo!!

Day 25

Today: 0
Total: 7,298

I was hoping to write a little bit this morning, but with all the preparations needed for Thursday, it just didn’t happen.

Day 26

Today: 752
Total: 8,050

Having a rare Thursday off from work was helpful for a productive afternoon writing session!

Day 27

Today: 853
Total: 8,903

I’m finally feeling more consistent!

Day 28

Today: 845
Total: 9,748

Yeah, baby! Getting there. Excited to write some more tomorrow – Maybe hit 1,000 words?

Day 29

Today: 530
Total: 10,278

Woohoo! I passed the 10,000 word mark tonight. Pretty excited!

Day 30

Today: 345
Total: 10,623

I’m still here, still writing, word by word. I’ll take it! Also, my husband is the best cheerleader!

Day 31

Today: 1,293
Total: 11,916

I closed out Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018 with a bang! I’m so proud of myself!


Final Thoughts

I was so happy to add nearly 12,000 new words to my novel! I fell a little short of my overall goal, but I’ll take what I can get.

I can’t wait to participate in Camp again next year!


Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #133: August Goals

August Goals

Image Credit: Blissful Gal

Welcome to August! One of my all-time favorite months, because it’s my birthday month! Yay!!


Here are my goals for the month of August:

  1. Make progress with cleaning the garage.
  2. See Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
  3. Celebrate my milestone birthday!
  4. Start preparing for our greyhound’s arrival.
  5. See Christopher Robin.
  6. Get to 50,000 words with my 2012 WIP.
  7. Participate in Laura Beth and Kristian’s Blockbuster Challenge!

Here’s the breakdown:

Make progress with cleaning the garage.

  • We talked about it enough in July, so I’m convinced it will start happening this month!

See Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

  • My mom is taking me to see it for my birthday!

Celebrate my milestone birthday!

  • I turn 30! I’m excited to celebrate with Al, my family, and friends!

Start preparing for our greyhound’s arrival.

  • Since we’re waiting for the call now, we’ll be buying things like dog bed(s), comfy fleece blankets, and other dog-related items!

See Christopher Robin.

  • This is another movie that I’m excited to see!

Get to 50,000 words with my 2012 WIP.

  • Bolstered by my success with Camp NaNoWriMo July 2018, I’m determined to finally reach 50,000 words!

Participate in Laura Beth and Kristian’s Blockbuster Challenge!

  • It’s already started!
  • Come back to our blogs every day in August to see our answers!

Do you have any goals for the month of August?

If so, I’d love to hear about them!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #132: July Goals Recap

July Goals Recap

Image Credit: Success Magazine

July flew by! It’s crazy!

Here’s the link to my July Goals post:

Ready?

Here we go!


  1. See Ant-Man and the Wasp. — Accomplished!
  2. Curb my spending. — Accomplished!
  3. See Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Submit our adoption application to Old Dominion Greyhound Adoption— Accomplished!
  5. See Mission: Impossible – Fallout— Accomplished!
  6. Spend at least two hours cleaning the garage. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Make sure the Household Bills Spreadsheet is updated before the end of the month. — Did not accomplish.
  8. Spend at least three hours working within Evernote. — Did not accomplish.
  9. Meal plan as much as possible for the month. — Accomplished!
  10. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2018. — Accomplished!
  11. Update my TBR. — Accomplished!
  12. Start another writing challenge. — Accomplished!
  13. Plan a special challenge for the month of August! — Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

See Ant-Man and the Wasp. — Accomplished!

  • We loved this movie! It was almost better than the first one.

Curb my spending. — Accomplished!

  • I’m so proud of myself!

See Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. — Did not accomplish.

  • This one is just delayed – My mom is taking me to see it on my birthday!

Submit our adoption application to Old Dominion Greyhound Adoption. — Accomplished!

  • We mailed it off on a Monday, and got a call to set up the home visit on that Friday!
  • The home visit happened on Saturday, July 25th. Now we just wait for the call that they have our dog!

See Mission: Impossible – Fallout. — Accomplished!

  • We saw this with our good friend, Mike! What a thrill ride!!
  • To me, it’s one of the best movies in the whole franchise.
  • Tip: Make sure you go to the bathroom before the movie starts. You definitely don’t want to miss a minute of this movie!

Spend at least two hours cleaning the garage. — Did not accomplish.

  • This was set with good intentions, but didn’t make time for it.

Make sure the Household Bills Spreadsheet is updated before the end of the month. — Did not accomplish.

  • This didn’t happen. I may re-evaluate our strategy in August.

Spend at least three hours working within Evernote. — Did not accomplish.

  • I didn’t make time to do this.

Meal plan as much as possible for the month. — Accomplished!

  • This was successful!

Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2018. — Accomplished!

  • Look for a Camp NaNoWriMo recap post later this week!

Update my TBR. — Accomplished!

Start another writing challenge. — Accomplished!

Plan a special challenge for the month of August! — Accomplished!

  • Check back in tomorrow for more details!

Final Thoughts

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to nine out of 13 goals. This was awesome! I feel really good.
  • The four goals I did not accomplish: This was all timing.

What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of July?

Come back tomorrow to see my August Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Commentary #77: “There’s a severe shortage of mental health professionals in rural areas. Here’s why that’s a serious problem.”

Mental Health - Quotefancy

Image Credit: Quotefancy

I recently read another CNN article that I felt was worthy of sharing. It was published on June 20, 2018.

Here’s the link to the article:


For years, I’ve been fascinated with the Appalachian region of the United States. Part of it is because my grandmother (Mom’s mom) was raised in West Virginia, and other extended family members have lived in West Virginia and Kentucky, to name a few states.

The mountains are beautiful. Grandma Grace was raised during The Great Depression, and they survived. I have vague memories of visiting Great-Grandma Laura Bethany (whom I’m named after) on her farm in Ripley, and seeing Mom’s aunt’s and cousins in Beckley. These two areas aren’t deep in the mountains, but you can definitely see and feel the hills and valleys.

With all that said, Ripley and Beckley are small, but mighty. Other areas of West Virginia, and other states in the Appalachian region, have certainly struggled with the volatility of the coal mining industry, among other issues. The limited amount of research I’ve done shows years of struggles with poverty, unemployment, access to health care, and more. However, the Appalachian people are steadfast. I don’t want to be prejudicial, but research-based.

Along with difficulties accessing quality health care, and affording that care, mental health care is somewhat tied to that. It’s fascinating, as well as immensely frightening.

When I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in the summer of 2015, I started taking a bigger interest in mental health, including news articles about the topic. I’m grateful that I have a stable job, with good health insurance, and access to good mental health resources and services.

I’ve seen several counselors since I was in college, for a variety of reasons, but the counselor who diagnosed me with GAD was a watershed moment for me. She helped me unpack a variety of issues that were causing significant stress, and in turn, contributing to my anxiety. I’ve been able to better understand GAD, and to work to figure out the best ways to limit and control my anxiety. It’s a daily exercise, but I’m proud to say that I’m not taking any medication, and I’m able to live a fairly productive life thanks to a powerful and helpful support system. I realize that my situation is very unique, and I’m grateful for everything!


The article is packed with statistics. I won’t go through all of them, but the main point is a majority of non-metropolitan counties do not have a psychiatrist, and nearly half do not have a psychologist. The best definition of a non-metropolitan county that I could find is one that does not have a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and has a population of 10,000 or less (Health Resources & Services Administration).

One of the interviewees, a clinical psychologist, pointed out that many rural areas only have generalists, i.e., primary care providers (PCPs), and there’s little to no specialized care. People are left on their own due to a lack of community mental health care, and nearby relevant hospital services.

The services that are available are focused on crisis intervention, not prevention. These services attempt to address the crisis as it’s happening, but nothing is available to prevent the crisis.

In addition to the lack of services and resources, health care funding cuts are exacerbating this problem. Roughly 80 rural hospitals closed between 2010 and 2017. Hundreds more are at risk.

Another problem the rural population faces is isolation. Isolation can spark downward spirals, which can lead to drug addiction, overdoses, depression, and suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), rural areas have a higher suicide rate than non-rural areas, which has been widening since 2001.

This is a significantly complex and challenging problem that can’t be addressed with a single solution. However, there’s one bright spot that is starting to emerge – Telebehavioral health. The article provided the example of a patient in Wyoming “seeing” a psychologist in Pennsylvania via virtual sessions and online portals.

As promising as telebehavioral health appears, the article points out a host of other issues that rural residents face. Access to the Internet is one, being proficient with computers / technology another, and having the financial resources to access these mental health professionals.

To me, there needs to be a series of steps to tackle these issues. I don’t have all the answers, and I try to be as objective as possible.

There needs to be consistent investment in mental health services across the U.S. Every rural area that does not have a psychiatrist or psychologist should probably have at least one of each. The currently practicing doctors should be linked up to the existing mental health services, as well as be / become advocates for improving those services. Continued work to reduce the stigma of mental illness, addiction, and other mental health issues will also be beneficial.

Those support systems that people turn to in the event of a crisis – Family, friends, ministers, chaplains, and even first responders – should also have connections to mental health services. More mental health training for these support systems, specialized if possible, is also a good idea.

Throughout the network of ideas and potential solutions, the idea of making and sustaining connections and cooperation appears to be a common theme. In order to help the neediest residents, everyone involved with helping them should be educated, connected, and cooperative.

Example: Someone in a rural area is struggling with isolation and drug addiction, and overdoses. When the family member calls for an ambulance, the first responders take the resident to the local or nearest hospital. While recovering in the hospital, a series of people work behind the scenes to quickly identify others that can help – Family members, the hospital chaplain, the resident’s pastor, the resident’s primary care physician, and anyone else. Together, this network of resources work together to locate the nearest psychiatrist or psychologist, or even the nearest behavioral health center. The idea is to build a strong support system to get the resident the best mental health services possible.

This is strictly an example, but ideally, there needs to multiple levels of support and accountability for this to work. Every situation is different – Sometimes there’s no family, no primary care physician, difficulty accessing a behavioral health center, among other things. Regardless, if we invest in building these networks and support systems, maybe there can be a shift in crisis prevention, and less crisis intervention.


For more information, check out these resources. Several of these were also cited in the article.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #129: July Goals

BeautyBeyondBones 11

Image Credit: BeautyBeyondBones

Hello, July!

Al recently reminded me that Christmas is less than six months away. It’s wild. Every year gets faster!


Here are my goals for the month of July:

  1. See Ant-Man and the Wasp.
  2. Curb my spending.
  3. See Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
  4. Submit our adoption application to Old Dominion Greyhound Adoption.
  5. See Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
  6. Spend at least two hours cleaning the garage.
  7. Make sure the Household Bills Spreadsheet is updated before the end of the month.
  8. Spend at least three hours working within Evernote.
  9. Meal plan as much as possible for the month.
  10. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2018.
  11. Update my TBR.
  12. Start another writing challenge.
  13. Plan a special challenge for the month of August!

Here’s the breakdown:

See Ant-Man and the Wasp.

  • We can’t wait to see this! Hopefully next weekend.

Curb my spending.

  • I went a bit overboard during the month of June, so I’m placing similar spending restrictions on myself like I did during the month of May. This will give me time to go through my closet again, my bookshelves, and our garage!
  • Goals: (1) No more new clothes, (2) no more new books, and (3) no more American Girl items.

See Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.

  • I’m looking forward to taking my mom to see this one!

Submit our adoption application to Old Dominion Greyhound Adoption.

  • Now that our HVAC work is complete, we’re ready to submit our application! We’re excited to add a furry member to our family.

See Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

  • This is a tradition of ours – We’ve seen almost Mission: Impossible movie in the theaters since we’ve been dating.

Spend at least two hours cleaning the garage.

  • There are still way too many boxes in our attached garage, mostly my stuff! It’s high time to go through as much of it as I can.

Make sure the Household Bills Spreadsheet is updated before the end of the month.

  • I’m determined to keep up with this spreadsheet on a monthly basis.

Spend at least three hours working within Evernote.

  • I really liked my introduction to Evernote last month, so I’m determined to spend more time with it and get more comfortable with it.

Meal plan as much as possible for the month.

  • I have several recipes that I want to try this month!

Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2018.

  • After my rousing success with my first Camp in April, I’m so excited to be participating in Camp again!
  • Look for another Camp NaNoWriMo recap at the beginning of August!

Update my TBR.

  • It’s that time again! Look for my updated TBR post very soon.

Start another writing challenge.

  • I’m hoping to have the first post ready tomorrow!

Plan a special challenge for the month of August!

  • I don’t want to give anything away, but I’m partnering with a special blogger friend to make a fun challenge for August!

Do you have any goals for the month of July?

If so, I’d love to hear about them!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂