The New Year is fraught with possibility. Sure the last few years have sucked. Sure this coming year has the flavor of despair on it already, for my tots will almost certainly return to their mother. Sure I didn’t make my goals last year. And yet…I made some of them. And in so doing, I am better off than I was.
One goal is to keep this guy happy. Harder to do with the vicious little people living with me.
Yes, like so many of us, my goal was to lose XX number of pounds. Did I? Phsaw. But I did lose some, and I kept it off. For months even. So, yay me. Am I going to make a similar goal? I don’t even need to. It’s my sort of constant goal, but yes, I’ll add it to the list. Last year, I learned the wonder of writing your goals down and then setting reminders. So many of us have smart phones or tablets. I so recommend using that feature if you, too, are making goals for the new year.
Last year, I set the goal to read the Book of Mormon twice. Studying scripture is encouraged in my faith. Reading scripture often, writing those words in your heart with your constant pursuit. Did I reach this goal? No. But you know what? I read it one and a half times. And I learned and re-learned as I pursued this goal, that reading the word of God affects me dramatically. It affects my state of mind, my ability to be creative, my faith in myself, and strengthens my hope for the future and my hope for myself. Do I have a similar goal this year? Yes. Of course I do. I want to “Have an Experience with the Book of Mormon.” But I also set the goal to read books about Christ during Christmas which I did. And in so doing, decided I needed to re-experience the New Testament as well. So my goal is also to “Have an Experience with the New Testament ” And maybe, as I pursue this goal, the kindness, generosity and goodness of scripture will affect me. For those are attributes I sorely need.
I’ve already told you about my goals of reading classic literature. Mostly so I don’t rot my mind with the junk I normally read. But also, because those classic writers wrote differently. They told stories differently, the action was often secondary to the revealing of the characters via their pens. And I’d hate to see appreciation for those abilities lost. There is a reason books are “classics.” It’s because their stories are so well-told, still so true, that they speak to the hearts of modern audiences as well as the long-dead. And maybe the values frequently illustrated in those stories need to be re-visited. So often, the heroes are simply good men. Mr. Darcy was a good man. Mr. Knightly. Captain Wentworth. Jane Eyre, she was good and true and kind and forgiving. I think we need to value a little more the genuine goodness of people and a little less the ability of a character or man to kung fu over the side of a building while shooting a pistol and romancing a lady. This is not to say my own book does not have a certain amount of violence. And also not to say that I don’t enjoy an action book/movie. But maybe it’s to say that a few more of those doing the kung fu-ing need to value and pursue goodness for the sake of goodness.
The pursuit of learning to cook has been rare in me lately. And, I can–in fact–cook. But each dish is a pursuit in itself. Yes, I can make spaghetti without a recipe. Yes, I can bake a cheesecake without cracks (usually). But, I like to learn to make new things. My abilities in the kitchen were learned, not as I searched out the ability to feed myself and my family–but the desire to try new things. Cheesecake, sugar plums, cup cakes, layer cakes, meat balls. All things I pursued more for the knowledge than for a wish to be constantly making them. (Obviously, you can live off of cheese and crackers, cereal, and toast). In this last year, I haven’t made any of the above but cupcakes. But I’ve added to my list of goals the ability to make homemade yogurt, pizza from scratch, and steamed English puddings. The first two, I hope, to become something I do instead of purchasing.
The last because the British people refer to dessert as “pudding.” Maybe not all the time, I’m no anglophile. But the idea that steamed pudding is such a quintessential dessert it can be used inter-changeably with the general term so fascinates me that I want to learn to make one of these too. So, there are my cooking goals.
I have other goals. I don’t see any reason not to shoot for the moon. I am not going to list the details of each and every goal and bore you with them. But obviously there is one more major goal. The goal of finally, finally publishing my book. This afternoon starts two weeks of vacation wherein I will prepare my book for a developmental editor and hopefully find the right editor to work with me. If you pray, pray for me? If you don’t, send me your best wishes? Pray, wish, hope that I can make the story in my head come out. The story I feel good about. My ability to convey it stresses me to the extreme. I’ve realized over the last weeks as I’ve avoided writing (all the while making story decisions) that I am terrified. Terrified to share my book finally with more than a chosen few. Terrified to throw it out in the world. Terrified that in so doing, I am making a mistake about self-publishing. Making a mistake about it being good. Making a mistake about all of the time and energy I’ve thrown into it over the last too-too many years. Creating things and asking others to give them a chance is the scariest thing I have ever done. And in (hopefully) a few short weeks, I’ll be throwing my book out there, asking the world to read it, and those who enjoy it to share it with everyone they can think of. Maybe will you’re sending me your good thoughts and prayers, you’ll add the hope that I’ll be brave enough to do it.