Writing Prompt #79: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 41)

Week #41: Hobbies.

I absolutely love reading. Books give me so much joy! I love the fact that I’m able to read almost every night before I go to sleep. I have quite a personal library that runs from my childhood to the present, but I also love libraries!

Writing is another hobby. I’ve been writing since I was 10 years old. I do regret throwing away a lot of my old journals. However, I did keep the blue binder, covered in stickers from doctor’s offices and gifts. Those have both handwritten and typed stories from fifth grade through high school. Who knows, you may see some of them here on the blog.

Last year, I restarted my hobby of American Girl dolls and books. It took off like wildfire. I have more dolls, clothes, shoes, and accessories now more than ever. Al is helping me design and build a custom doll cabinet for my office.

Those three are my main hobbies. But, I also love traveling, photography, cooking, playing computer games, riding my bike, playing softball, trivia, and spending time in nature. I love using my camera, and I’m learning how to take better photos with mu phone. I would love to be on a softball team again. Eventually, I would love to have the Carmen Sandiego games, and the Roller Coaster Tycoon games on my computer – So many awesome memories! I also enjoy watching game shows – Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! will always be my favorites.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

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Writing Prompt #78: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 40)

Week #40: Greatest Accomplishment.

I took a risk in eighth grade. There was a new program that had just started at one of Chesapeake’s high schools, called International Baccalaureate (IB). The program coordinator, Mrs. Ingersoll, and two of the ninth-grade students came to Jolliff Middle to tell us about it, and how to apply.

I remember being so excited  that I couldn’t stop talking about it.

I completed my application, took several tests at Oscar Smith (and left my purse, school ID, and house key there by accident! I got it back, but I had to call the school on my own and explain what happened), and crossed my fingers.

I still remember the day I found out I was accepted. Mrs. Lyons, the guidance counselor, showed up during orchestra class. I nearly screamed in the hallway when she told me the good news. I wanted to call my parents, although they already knew. I felt like I was on cloud nine.

My euphoria was shattered a bit when several of my friends were very upset that I was leaving. I was excited for the challenge – New school, new friends, new ways of learning and thinking – but I was also sad. I leaving everything behind, except for my house and my parents, for something new. I was basically alone on the giant school bus – No one else from the Western Branch area was in the program when I started in 2003.

Despite begging my parents to go back to Western Branch probably every week for the first six months of my freshman year, I persisted. I struggled immensely, especially in the very beginning. At first, I had D’s and E’s on a lot of quizzes, and a even a few tests. I went to so many tutoring sessions, my head spun. My test anxiety was through the roof. I cried quite a bit. Everything was hard!

However, being part of IB was completely worth it. It isn’t for everybody, but it ended up being a really good fit for me. I enjoyed myself – It fostered my life-long love for learning (with the exception of math). Plus, I learned to think critically, and challenge myself to do better and understand the concepts presented before me. There wasn’t a lot of memorizing or teaching to the SOLs, although we still had to take them!

Learning that I would receive my IB Diploma in 2007 was one of the big shining moments in my life. I felt a sense of massive accomplishment – Two years of prep work, and two years of application of the prep work paid off, in spades. Although the IB exams were immensely stressful, I wasn’t alone. There were 40 of my peers taking them with me, and our teachers did their best to prepare us for all of them. We all celebrated at the end of exams with a massive party!

I learned so much about myself during my high school years, and I truly believe IB made me a better person. I started off college in a better place, and I did really well at Longwood due to being in IB. I didn’t have to take as many gen ed classes! I was able to get math and science completely out of the way by the end of my first year, and then I was able to focus on the classes I truly enjoyed – Creative writing, history, and communications.

Back in June, a good number of us got together for a 10-year reunion. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, reminiscing about our experiences from 2003 through 2007, while also catching up on our careers, aspirations, marriages, children, and hobbies. I’m excited to see what happens when we plan our 20-year reunion.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #88: October Goals

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Image Credit: Pinterest

Hooray – October is finally here!

There are so many exciting things happening this month!!


Here are my goals for the month of October:

  1. Donate blood.
  2. Celebrate several birthdays!
  3. Celebrate Mary Lauren & Jeremy’s wedding!
  4. Celebrate Nick & Savy’s wedding!!
  5. Write at least 400 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt.
  6. Write at least two blog posts on home improvements.
  7. Make / purchase photo canvases.
  8. Attend Hampton Comicon!
  9. Finally start moving items from my parents’ house to ours.
  10. Keep our kitchen table clean!
  11. Update my TBR.
  12. Be a successful co-hostess for the October PEO meeting.
  13. Write some snail mail!
  14. Celebrate Halloween!
  15. Enjoy Little (Lane) when she visits for a week!
  16. Order the Desert Mist Diffuser, and more Savvy Minerals makeup!

Here’s the breakdown:

Donate blood.

  • Our next blood drive is Saturday, October 7th!

Celebrate several birthdays!

  • My mom’s birthday is this week, as well my good friend Ashley’s.
  • Mia’s birthday is in the middle of October. She’ll become our niece in two weeks!!

Celebrate Mary Lauren & Jeremy’s wedding!

  • Their wedding is October 7th – It’s gonna be a blast!

Celebrate Nick & Savy’s wedding!!

  • October 14th!!
  • I’m so excited for Savy to become my sister-in-law!
  • Mia will be my niece!
  • We get to trek to the farm, eat, drink, bounce in the bounce house, and celebrate!!

Write at least 400 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt.

  • I’m chugging along. It’s felt really good to sit down and pour out my thoughts. I’ll reach 50,000 words yet!

Write at least two blog posts on home improvements.

  • I’m determined! It’s been over a year worth of work!

Make / purchase photo canvases.

  • I’m excited to pick several engagement photos and wedding photos with Al, and then hang them up!

Attend Hampton Comicon! 

  • We’ll head to Hampton for the day on Saturday, October 21st.

Finally start moving items from my parents’ house to ours.

  • The weather’s finally cool enough, and I’m beyond ready to make my office what it’s supposed to be! My dolls deserve to be in one place!

Keep our kitchen table clean!

  • Our kitchen table has been a perpetual mess for a long time. I’m determined to clean it up, and keep it clean!

Update my TBR.

  • It’s that time again! My final TBR update of 2017 is coming soon!

Be a successful co-hostess for the October PEO meeting.

  • I’m excited to co-hostess the meeting next week at Susan’s house. I’ve already bought Reese’s pieces cookie dough, and I’ll buy some veggies, crackers, and pretzels at the end of this week.

Write some snail mail!

  • I’m long overdue to write letters to several special people in my life.

Celebrate Halloween!

  • Al’s co-worker, Kathryn, and husband Tim, open their house every year for a Halloween bash! This year, the theme is Stranger Things. So exciting!
  • We’re excited to hand out candy to our neighborhood again – The kids’ costumes are awesome!

Enjoy Little (Lane) when she visits for a week!

  • My Little is coming home to visit toward the end of the month. I can’t wait!
  • We’re participating in a fun wood door hanger paint class!
  • She gets to see our house for the first time!

Order the Desert Mist Diffuser, and more Savvy Minerals makeup!

  • I updated my monthly order late last week, and it usually processes around the middle of the month. The plan is to put the Desert Mist Diffuser in the living room, and move the Dewdrop Diffuser to my office!
  • I’m starting to experiment with the Savvy Minerals eyeshadow, but I’m excited to get my hands on the eyeliner, blush, and misting spray!

Do you have any goals for the month of October?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #87: September Goals Recap

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Image Credit: Kara Cozier

September was a mix of busy and relaxed! It’s finally starting to feel like fall!!

Here’s the link to my September Goals post:

Ready?

Here we go!


  1. Celebrate seven years together with Al! — Accomplished!
  2. Enjoy Savy’s bachelorette weekend! — Accomplished!
  3. Make / purchase several photo canvases. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Make a series of home improvement blog posts. — Semi-Achieved.
  5. Write at least 300 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Accomplished!
  6. Move my bookcase from my parents’ house to ours. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Inventory my entire personal library. — Did not accomplish.
  8. Make and start using homemade deodorant. — Accomplished!
  9. Start using my Savvy Minerals makeup. — Accomplished!

Here’s the breakdown:

Celebrate seven years together with Al! — Accomplished!

Enjoy Savy’s bachelorette weekend! — Accomplished!

Make / purchase several photo canvases. — Did not accomplish.

  • I spent way too much money on other things this month.

Make a series of home improvement blog posts. — Semi-Achieved.

Write at least 300 new words for my 2012 NaNoWriMo attempt. — Accomplished!

  • With the journal I wrote about in my recent Writing Prompt post, it was an excellent motivator!
  • I wrote approximately 554 words!
  • Current word count: 11,216 words.

Move my bookcase from my parents’ house to ours. — Did not accomplish.

  • Argh. A few missed opportunities to make this happen. Soon!

Inventory my entire personal library. — Did not accomplish.

  • This goes hand-in-hand with my bookcase. Soon!

Make and start using homemade deodorant. — Accomplished!

Start using my Savvy Minerals makeup. — Accomplished!

  • See the Getting Personal post, above, for more information!

Final Thoughts:

  • I was able to put Accomplished next to five out of nine goals! Woohoo!
  • The one goal that was Semi-Achieved: I’m happy with this one. More to come!
  • The three goals that I did not accomplish: Like last month, most of these involve time. I’ll keep chipping away at them until they happen!

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

Come back tomorrow to see my October Goals!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #77: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 39)

Week #39: Your Heritage.

This post took some thought, and some research. On the outside, I’m an ordinary white woman.

But, my history / ancestry lays throughout Europe. My maiden name, Stricker, is descended from the German language. I’m fairly certain my dad’s family came from Europe. Grandpa Stricker was in the Navy for several years, and my dad was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Shortly thereafter, his family – Grandpa, Grandma, Auntie Marn, Aunt Nancy, and Dad – moved to St. Petersburg, Florida.

My mom’s paternal grandparents emigrated from the Ukraine, and my grandfather was raised Jewish in New York City. After starting college in Ohio and meeting my Grandma Grace, Grandpa Madan was in the Army during World War II. After the war ended, he got out of the Army, and they also settled in Florida, near Miami. My grandpa’s sister, Aunt Marilyn, lives in Boca Raton. Her daughter, Sherri, lives in Manhattan.

Besides the evident European ancestry, religion is a big part of my family history. My Grandpa Madan was raised Jewish. My mom was raised in the United Church of Christ. My Uncle Richard considered going into seminary. My dad’s family includes Methodists and Lutherans. I was raised in the United Methodist Church. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to attend services among several denominations – Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Russian Orthodox, Congregational, Presbyterian, and United Methodist, to name a few.

Writing this post has inspired me to learn even more about my family, their experiences, and their history. I want to learn as much as I can, and document everything along the way.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #76: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 38)

Week #38: Music You Love.

In addition to the songs I mentioned in my recent Getting Personal post, here’s a few more insights into my musical tastes.

Contemporary Christian Music

Country Music

Glee

  • I loved Glee from Day 1!
  • I have almost every CD that’s been released.
  • If I need a pick-me-up, one of these CDs usually does the trick.
  • There are waaaaay too many songs that I love from this show to list! I should make a separate post.

Soundtracks

  • A Chorus Line (1985)
  • Back to the Future (1985)
  • Batman (1989)
  • Chicago (2002)
  • Dirty Dancing (1987)
  • Enchanted (2007)
  • Flashdance (1983)
  • Footloose (1984)
  • Footloose (2011)
  • Forrest Gump (1994)
  • Ghost (1990)
  • Grease (1978)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1 & 2 (2014, 2017)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
  • Interstellar (2014)
  • Jurassic Park (1993)
  • Mamma Mia! (2008)
  • Night at the Museum (2006)
  • Purple Rain (1984)
  • Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  • Shaft (1971)
  • Space Jam (1996)
  • The Bodyguard (1992)
  • The Guardian (2006)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  • Top Gun (1986)
  • Tron: Legacy (2010)
  • Wicked (2003)

Here are links to other blog posts I’ve written about music:


What about you? What are your tastes in music?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #75: “52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge” (Week 37)

Week #37: Something You Created.

Going away for a long weekend is really discombobulating! I was definitely not prepared for this week’s post – Haha!

This is my “new” novel-writing journal. I’ve been so lucky to have received so many wonderful journals as gifts, and I’m starting to fill them up. However, I’ve had constant thoughts of actually finishing the three novels that I’ve already started, plus having a good idea for a fourth one.

So, a few weeks ago, during a lunchtime trip to Dollar Tree, I decided to do something about it!

I fell in love with the cover the minute I saw it!

I’ve been following several bloggers that use bullet journals, and I’ve always admired how creative they are, and how pretty they look. They’re taking planners and notebooks and turning them into works of art.

That’s part of my goal, as well. I want this notebook to be a source of inspiration, as well as a path to finishing these novels!

I’m really excited to dive in and write freehand, for once. I type so much now, between my work computer and my laptop at home – I think my cursive needs a workout!


What about you? Have you created anything recently?

Have you tried a bullet journal? I would love to hear from you!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂