Another year dwindles away and a new rises from the ashes like a phoenix.  Bright beginnings, hope for new opportunities, and a chance to start fresh.

For me, I like to pause and reflect on the previous year.  Some things make me proud, and others do not.  I think I met some of my goals while others I fell far from the mark on.  In 2008, maybe I can work harder and do more.

Last year I did away with resolutions.  I decided to just try to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to work on my individual worth, which I must admit most days circled the drain.  Somewhere along my path of life, I lost my sense of self and did not know how to share anything anymore.

Some of this deals with some trials facing me.  Some trials I wear on my shirtsleeve, others I do not.  There are just some things that I do not want nor need to share with the open world, let alone the blogosphere.  I do know that there are many of you who would quickly come to my aid and let me cry on your shoulder, that means the world to me.

My children are older.  They turned 11 and 9 in 2007.  My how the time flew by!  It seems like just yesterday I held these babies in my arms, fresh from my womb.  I quickly race to a time where they do not need me near as much and one day will leave my home.  What shall I do then?  My whole self that I knew at the start of 2007 was as their mother.

I love my time with them, and I would not change anything about being their mother.  That is the best blessing in my life.  However, I do need to take time to focus on me some.  And so I did.  I wanted to become braver with my writing and photography.  Share it more.  Seriously work on it.  In 2006 I worked on my first NaNo book, 50,000 words in one month towards a novel.  I achieved that goal.  I decided that in 2007 I wanted to do that once more, but also to continue working on my writing.  Furthermore, I wanted to actually SHARE my writing.

Things I did to accomplish this goal?  I attended a writers workshop at a convention.  How that terrified me!  Especially as one of the writers has become somewhat of what I hope is a friend.  I value his input greatly.  Did I dare to share this side of me and risk disappointing him?  I also shared two poems I wrote with another writer/editor.  I put one poem up on the Goodreads website.  I did head towards that second NaNo goal and I made it for the second year.  I also joined LJ-Idol, a blogging contest which definitely brings more awareness to my writing as well as challenges me with topics.

There have been other things I wanted to do, that sadly I did not accomplish.  I never have shared my writings on this blog, though I mention it sometimes.  This disappoints me.  Also, none of my current four books are in any stage of completion.  I about chew my nails off each week as deadline approaches for idol, completely stressed over my attempt at an entry.

So for 2008, I am joining a real writing group.  OK, I am also working on the forming of said writing group from my circle of NaNo friends.  This will get me to not only work more on my projects, but also finish them, and share them.  I must admit, my stomache churns even now at the idea.  Why do I find it so hard?  What happened to the days when I wrote for newspapers?  Why do I fear sharing my work so much?  My goal is to have at least one book nearly finalized if not finalized.  (I understand that editing takes quite a while on a work that large.)

Next up?  My photography.  My husband gave me my dream camera for Christmas in 2006 at great sacrifice.  He sold an entire week of vacation days for the money to do this.  The cost of the camera caused me a horrendous case of buyer’s remorse, but I love my camera.  Then, halfway through the year, he came home with lighting options for me, allowing me to set up a studio in my home that I have used twice.  My goal with my photography was to also work on improving as well as sharing my passion.

Once more, I find moments of pride in my accomplishments while also deep regret.  I shot some photographs that I love with all my heart.  They now hang on my walls and many people compliment me on them.  Several ask to purchase copies, something that amazes me.  I came to the rescue on several occasions when no one had cameras.  I took pictures that were highly complimented of every woman in my church, a project that exhausted me but satisfied me.  My shining moment was having a world famous actress, Nichelle Nichols rave and request a photograph I took of her.  (Hello, that’s Uhura.  She changed the face of television, knew Martin Luther King Jr, pays people to shoot photographs of her that are simply stunning.  And she liked MY photograph!  My eyes well up even now thinking about it.)

Yet I also failed myself.  While I did these things, and people praised me, still I found it hard to share.  Many hours I sat in front of a computer screen hemming and hawing over which photographs to print for people and if I should send out others to close friends.  Agonizing over small details, unable to make any decisions.  Knowing someone would see the photographs robbed me.  My photolab workers, at one point, gave me multiple entry forms for the nationwide contest their company puts on each year and encouraged me to submit photographs.  For two months I tried.  My MIL also gave me an entry form for another contest.  In the end, the thought of entering the contests, of choosing a photograph nearly caused me to have a nervous breakdown.  I missed the deadlines and kicked myself in the pants.

Yes, sharing.  That seems the hardest thing for me.  I fear people criticizing me, ripping my work to shreds.  I am terrified that while I think something might be amazing, it is really absolutely nothing.  Rejection, I do believe it gets to all of us.

In 2008 I plan to work on this as well.  I want to reach out to more people.  Enlarge my circle of “clients” shall we say.  Take more photos, do more with my work, and improve my skill.  A friend found a photography club meeting this week, and I plan to attend.  Yes, I am even now shaking in my boots.  OK, I’m not wearing boots, I’m shaking in my fuzzy bunny slippers.  You get the idea.  I also want to find a way to enter one of these contests.  I want to, once more, find that courage within myself

Spiritually, I want to continue to progress.  For over a year, I felt promptings to study the women of the Scripture.  That in doing this I might find more strength in myself, grow in my own womanhood, more relate to women around me, and also to help with some trials in my life.  I did this, sometimes.  Sometimes I would find myself slacking for a few weeks and even a couple of months.  Somewhere along the way, I also felt inspired to write about my thoughts on each of these women, my sisters.  My thoughts were not the normal thoughts when reading the stories of the women.  I must admit here, I failed miserably.  I kept saying, “Sure, I’ll do that.”  Something always came up.  So this year, I plan to continue on my journey, walking with these women and learning from them.

Will I write?  Gosh, I hope so!  Several asked for me to share my thoughts on my blog.  Perhaps that will keep me honest and working hard on this endeavour?  Well, I shall do it.  Only I promise this time, I will come through.  Several know where I live, you have permission to come to my house and tie me down until posts are made!  I already have two things written up, an introduction to the series as well as my thoughts on Eve.  I decided to set aside Sunday as my day to write about these things.  My goal is to write on Sunday and then edit, most likely not on Sunday due to my church falling in the afternoon.  By the time my first draft will be completed, I know it will be late.  I also know that some women have long stories, that might take several weeks to read while others have shorter stories that might only take a day or two.  Starting hopefully this weekend, I plan to publish roughly once a week on this talk.  A series of entries entitled “Walking With Women.”  I hope you join me in this walk, and please, let me know your thoughts.  If there needs to be lapses, I’ll try to remember to post a little something to inform you.

Today, I spent some quality time with myself setting up my goals for the next month or two with homeschooling the boys.  While I feel that I achieve what I want generally, I know we fell behind last year with the events of the spring.  I want to get us back on track, and that will take a lot of work and catching up.  I need to be diligent.  Though I am sure some of my friends will tell me that I overload my boys with too much schooling, I wonder if that is even possible.  The only thing you can take with you from this life, other than your family, is your knowledge.  I want my boys to learn as much as they can!  We are going to study the Dark Ages, outer space for earth science, and more on oceans and sailing ships.  Currently we are reading Treasure Island, followed by Mysterious Island, followed by Journey to the Center of the Earth.  As things warm back up, I hope we will be wrapping up our units on sailing ships and oceans and head right into lighthouses and flight units.

One other aspect of my life I want to touch on.  My marriage.  I do not post a lot about this aspect of my life.  It is a deeply private matter, and generally speaking we have an unspoken promise that I will keep that dirty laundry to myself.  My husband and I experience ups and downs in our marriage, as do all relationships.   The last few years have definitely felt more down than up.  Last year I tried really hard to find ways to improve myself as a wife and mother, hoping to improve the relationship between my husband and myself.  I do not know how successful this was, but I intend to continue on this tact.  I changed the things I prayed for, the things I focused on, the things I expected.  I suppose I could have read the Power of a Praying Wife for some ideas, and maybe I still might.  I can say that as I prayed for my husband in different ways, I noticed some slight changes here and there.  I don’t know if he felt them or realized them.  It could just be in my imagination, but I sincerely hope not.

I plan to continue trying to make myself a better wife.  Goodness knows I am not the wife he expected.  I am most at home with my head stuck in a computer rather than applying makeup and wearing fashionable clothes.  I couldn’t tell you the difference between Aeropostale or American Eagle.  I definitely couldn’t tell the difference between a pair of Jimmy Choo’s and Givenchy.  I only know those names from books I read about fashionistas.  My husband constantly buys me girly things, fizzy soaps and fragrant lotions that sit collecting dust.  I started wearing my hair more curly, actually spending some time on it during the day.  I plan to step this up and start using those fancy things, discover the girl inside the geek.  Hopefully, along the way, he will discover he married a woman!  OK, maybe I’ll discover he married a woman!  Doing these things for him, hopefully he will feel appreciated, because I do love him so very much.  I think of him continually throughout the day, amazed at how hard he works, grateful for all he does. I need to show that to him more.

The year 2007 could have gone better, but I am proud for the progress I made.  I hope to continue along these paths in 2008.  Mostly, I hope that in 2008 things will start to drastically turn around.  Doing so many positive things will hopefully help in that.

Hello world, it’s 2008 and Lady Ozma is ready!

–Lady O



Originally posted on ladyozma.vox.com