Getting Personal #214: July Goals

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of July:

  1. Participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, July 2020.
  2. Publish my updated TBR post.
  3. Re-organize the filing system.
  4. Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven.
  5. Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet.
  6. Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation.
  7. Send at least five cards, letters, and care packages.
  8. Continue preparations for P.E.O. Virginia State 2022 Convention.

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

Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #213: June Goals Recap

Image Credit: jenny collier blog

Welcome back!

Here’s the link to my June Goals post: Getting Personal #211: June Goals


Here were my goals for the month of June:

  1. Give blood. — Accomplished!
  2. Finish the second draft of my novel. — Did not accomplish.
  3. Send the second draft of the novel to my readers for additional feedback. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Clean out and organize the linen closet. — Accomplished!
  5. Send the box of consignment items to Darby. — Accomplished!
  6. Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Send at least four cards or letters to friends. — Accomplished!
  8. Publish a post about The Ebony and Fire Writing Club at least once a week. — Did not accomplish.
  9. Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
  10. Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.
  11. Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet. — Did not accomplish.
  12. Spend another hour on American Girl items inventory. — Did not accomplish.

This month was weird. I was more deeply affected by the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests than I anticipated.

However, I was able to give blood! Yay! Al made steak the night before the drive, and my iron level was 14.3, one of the highest levels I’ve had. The baseline requirement for women is 12.5. And, my favorite phlebotomist, Spencer, was at the drive and helped me through it. I struggled to fill the bag, which is completely my fault. I forgot to drink enough water. More fluids!

I shipped off the massive Walmart box to Darby. It weighed almost 25 pounds! I paid almost $95 in shipping costs, but Darby offered me $164 in store credit, so I jumped on it. I’ve gotten a lot of pretty things this month, and I found a beautiful shirt with a flower on it and “Mom” on it for my mom.

I did a lot of other things with the house the month. The linen closet is finally clean and organized the way it should be, at least in my mind.

Al and I also went through our closets, filled two garbage bags full of outgrown clothes, and gathered several other things to donate. I dropped everything off at the thrift store on Sunday.

I’ve been slowly making my way through Just Mercy. It’s a good book, but it’s heavy. Look for a review on the Netflix documentary “13th” coming soon.

The Ebony and Fire Writing Club is currently on hiatus. I was disappointed at first, but one of the organizers wanted to take a break to focus on Black Lives Matter and some other priorities for a while.


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

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for July!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #211: June Goals

Image Credit: Fueled By Carrots

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of June:

  1. Give blood.
  2. Finish the second draft of my novel.
  3. Send the second draft of the novel to my readers for additional feedback.
  4. Clean out and organize the linen closet.
  5. Send the box of consignment items to Darby.
  6. Begin the binder of university newspaper articles for preservation.
  7. Send at least four cards or letters to friends.
  8. Publish a post about The Ebony and Fire Writing Club at least once a week.
  9. Re-organize the filing system.
  10. Finish cleaning out the cabinet above the oven.
  11. Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet.
  12. Spend another hour on American Girl items inventory.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of June?

Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #210: May Goals Recap

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Welcome back!


Here’s the link to my May Goals post: Getting Personal #206: May Goals

Here were my goals for the month of May:

  1. Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
  2. Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Semi-Achieved.
  3. Start a new writing prompt series. — Semi-Achieved.
  4. Spring clean my closet. — Accomplished!
  5. Publish at least one Book Review. — Accomplished!
  6. De-clutter the dining room buffet. — Accomplished!
  7. Spend at least one hour on American Girl items inventory. — Accomplished!
  8. Start re-organizing the garage. — Accomplished!

I made a lot of progress this month. I’m really pleased with the number of posts I published here!

I threw out all the expired products in the cabinet above the oven, and made a list of needed replacements. The job isn’t finished, but I’m happy with the progress.

I learned that my favorite consignor, Darby, was going to be accepting new consignment boxes as early as June 1st, so I rushed to sign up for a box. I’m mailing it to her new house in Washington State next week. I had a lot of fun going through everything in my closet, and I nearly filled the huge box from Walmart that our new Blu-ray player came in. Plus, everything is now organized for the summer!

We made a ton of progress on our garage. I’m so happy with it. Everything has a place. We filled our trashcan. And we can walk around freely without tripping. Al also was able to move the refrigerator from the detached garage out back to the attached garage, so we can have drinks out there and some overflow space for freezer items. We also worked together to clean and sanitize it.

I published THREE Book Reviews! Yippee! I’ve finally gotten back in the habit of reading between 15-45 minutes every night before bed.

I also embarked on a new Writing Adventure with joining the Ebony and Fire Writing Club. Stay tuned for more posts every week!


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

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for June!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #209: Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020 Recap

Image Credit: NaNoWriMo

This was my fifth Camp NaNoWriMo session!

This Camp session was different. After getting valuable feedback from my two main readers of my first draft of “Experiences From Camp,” I knew it was time to start the first round of editing.


Original word count: 51,960 words (161 pages)

On April 1, I printed out my first draft for the first time ever! I made the 161 pages double-sided, hole-punched them, and put it in a binder.

Almost every night for the first week, I sat down with a blue pen and pink Post-It notes, and read through the draft.

I added page numbers, designated chapters, page breaks, questions about the plot, sentence structure, and recommendations from my two readers.

I was very pleased with my efforts. I faltered a bit after the initial read-through, but I read through nearly 52,000 words!

Because I was editing this time, and not really writing, this Camp session was very different. However, I met my goal!


Final Thoughts

I have a lot of work to do now that I’ve completed the first round of editing. I also started using one of the beautiful journals that I received for my birthday last year to ask additional questions about the work and jot down other notes and thoughts.

My main goal is to send the second draft of the novel to my two readers, Amanda and Mike, by the end of June.

Before I do that, though, I need to translate my handwritten edits and other thoughts from my journal into the Draft 2 document on my computer. For some reason, and I think it’s mainly fear, I’ve been resisting doing this for the entire month of May. However, I do have a couple of days off of work coming my way, so I’m hoping to finally sit down (Well, stand up at my desk, LOL) and knock these edits and additions out!


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 πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #206: May Goals

Image Credit: Centre for Collaborative Health

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of May:

  1. Re-organize the filing system.
  2. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  3. Start a new writing prompt series.
  4. Spring clean my closet.
  5. Publish at least one Book Review.
  6. De-clutter the dining room buffet.
  7. Spend at least one hour on American Girl items inventory.
  8. Start re-organizing the garage.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of May?

Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #205: April Goals Recap

Image Credit: quoteslike.com

Welcome back!


Here’s the link to my April Goals post: Getting Personal #202: April Goals

Here are my goals for the month of April:

  1. Celebrate Dad’s birthday. — Accomplished!
  2. Complete Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020. — Accomplished!
  3. Hang photos in my office. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
  5. Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Did not accomplish.
  6. Spring clean my closet, top to bottom. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Drop off thrift store donations. — Accomplished!
  8. Purchase new glasses. — Accomplished!
  9. Finish the book I’m reading, and publish the review. — Accomplished!
  10. Start a new writing prompt series. — Did not accomplish.
  11. Commit to less screen time, especially in the evenings. — Semi-Achieved.

I accomplished quite a few things this month. I’m very pleased.

We celebrated my dad’s birthday virtually. We called and sang to him. We can’t wait to celebrate in person once the virus risk lessens.

I think Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020 was a big success, especially with the recent circumstances around COVID-19. Look for a recap post soon!

I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made with my home office. I gathered up several square feet of donations, and Al helped me drop it off at Goodwill. I can sit on the couch for the first time since we moved in our house! Al also helped me hang up some of my sorority memorabilia.

After working from home on a card table for the first two weeks, I was over it. Al found an amazing sit-stand desk on sale through Office Depot, and I took the plunge and bought it. Look for a new installment in my home improvement series, coming soon!

I bought two new pairs of glasses through Zenni Optical. They were shipped this week, so I’m excited to finally have a proper set of glasses with the correct prescription. The glasses I currently have are at least 6-7 years old.

I finished reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and published the Book Review. I started reading two new books, and I’m excited to finish those soon. Reading before bed nearly every night is something I’m committed to. I’m sleeping better, and also feeling better in the mornings.

I’m still working on less screen time in the evenings. I noticed recently that my body is giving me signs, in a way. I find myself naturally putting down my phone and/or iPad about an hour or so before we go to bed. So that’s good! I’ve also noticed a big difference as soon as I was able to set up my laptop in my office. It’s a dedicated space. No more laptop on the couch!


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

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for May!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #202: April Goals

Image Credit: Maria Estes Photography

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of April:

  1. Celebrate Dad’s birthday.
  2. Complete Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020.
  3. Hang photos in my office.
  4. Re-organize the filing system.
  5. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  6. Spring clean my closet, top to bottom.
  7. Drop off thrift store donations.
  8. Purchase new glasses.
  9. Finish the book I’m reading, and publish the review.
  10. Start a new writing prompt series.
  11. Commit to less screen time, especially in the evenings.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of April? Let me know in the comments!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Getting Personal #201: March Goals Recap

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Welcome back!

Here were my goals for the month of March:

  1. Print out the first draft of my novel, and begin editing it by hand.
  2. Clean out the cabinet above the oven.
  3. Go through at least three boxes in my office. — Accomplished!
  4. Make at least one thrift store run with donations.
  5. Purchase new glasses.
  6. Help my parents get ready for Grandpa’s arrival. — Accomplished!
  7. Publish at least one Book Review.
  8. Finish out my term as P.E.O. Treasurer. — Accomplished!
  9. Prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020. — Accomplished!

I made amazing progress with my office this month. I have a temporary set-up of a card table and Al’s old office chair, and these will stand in for now until I get my stand-up desk from IKEA. I’m excited to have more space.

This weekend, I hope to get all of the donations out of the corner, hang up some pictures, and make progress with some filing.

I’m grateful that I was able to help my parents when I could, before COVID-19 took hold in Virginia. It was one Saturday – Moving the dryer back to its proper place, moving the dresser from downstairs to upstairs, disassembling the desk at our friend’s house and getting it back to the house for Grandpa – but it feels like it was a lifetime ago.

I’m grateful my dad and grandpa arrived home safely earlier this week. That took away a lot of anxiety.

Now, I’m eager to dive head-long into Camp NaNoWriMo, April 2020. And get back to blogging. I’ve missed it.


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

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for April!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Commentary #102: “More Pizza And Fries? USDA Proposes To ‘Simplify’ Obama-Era School Lunch Rules”

Image Credit: Politico

NPR is one of my go-to sources. I’ve written several posts on articles from them. When I read this headline a while ago, I knew I needed to write about it: More Pizza And Fries? USDA Proposes To ‘Simplify’ Obama-Era School Lunch Rules


I also saw this article as a challenge to myself.

I’m not a parent.

I grew up with eating some school lunches, but most of the time I brought food from home, since my mom made big meals that turned into leftovers.

In elementary school, we learned about the food pyramid and how junk food was “bad.”

Since I graduated from high school in 2007, the rules and guidelines around school nutrition have changed. In addition, the United States weathered the worst economic downturn, among other things.

So, I wanted to dive in, do my research, and educate myself. And then share that education with you!


I’m not going to go into the entire history of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), but know that the USDA is the government agency that sets the rules for school nutrition. These rules apply to breakfast and lunch served in U.S. schools.

One of most landmark pieces of legislation on nutrition and schools has been the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. It became Public Law on December 13, 2010. It has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on August 5, 2010.

However, at the end of 2018, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced changes. The idea was to give schools “more flexibility in serving meals that kids will eat,” according to another article from NPR published on December 7, 2018.

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

USDA FNS – Nutrition Standards for School Meals

One of the biggest issues that people have with the new proposal is allowing any entree at any school could be served as an a la carte item for students. This means, if the proposal is made into a final rule, schools can offer pizza and burgers as an option every single day, if they choose. It’s a potential loophole to the previous rules that have mandated balanced school meals.

NOTE: While starting to write this post, I clicked on the link to the proposal from the Food and Nutrition Service on the Federal Register. I couldn’t access the Proposed Rule. There was an Editorial Note in its place, stating, “This document was withdrawn by the Office of the Federal Register because it was inadvertently placed on public inspection. The record will remain on public inspection through the close of business on Wednesday, January 22, 2020.”

This post is nowhere near finished. My research continues!