A weekend Retreat

peace

This weekend I volunteered at a retreat center that for two years I spent most of my summer (college and post college).  It was out of the blue a one-time friend, contacted me, inviting me to come back.  God must’ve been listening to my thoughts, as I had been thinking about the organization for a few weeks prior and my desire to return (it’s been 4 years).  It was an organization I love deeply, but after a nasty break-up with a friend (who is deeply involved), I felt that I was not allowed back, even though it had no relation.

Thankfully, that was not the case and I made a joyous return there.  My stay was amazing and I sincerely can’t wait to go back.  The staff has mostly changed, but everything there felt right and I found peace in my time there.  I served as a host and assisted a group of bishops (from around the U.S. and abroad).

I stayed at the retreat in a simple room that, being a minimalist, suited me perfectly.  A bed, good desk, couch and bathroom in a not too big, not too small place was perfect.  Being cut off from technology also aided in my peace and renewal.  As much as I can rely on technology, I’m the sort who has a love-hate relationship with it.  I really wish I could’ve been part of my parents generation before this technology stuff became all consuming in our society!

 

red-coffee-cup-mug-large

As I sat eating breakfast with a table of bishops this morning, the discussion of minimalism came up.  One brought up that she once had a large house, but sold it in favor of a 1 bedroom apartment with adequate space for one.  Another chimed in to say it was hardest to part with her books.  So the conversation went, which made me reflect on my own thoughts of minimalism.

Recently I sat down and began mapping out, on paper, my plans in the coming months and through 2017 to reach my undetermined minimalism goal.  Starting large won’t work, so I’m in the process of setting a few objectives towards minimalism as a whole.  I’ve been working towards this over the last 2 years, but now I’m ready to buckle down more.  This year has been another stride towards that through;

  • Buying high quality items (particularly clothing and accessories)
  • Continuing to go through things every few months
  • Being more considerate of what I buy and use

 

Next year I hope to (this is my ‘so far’ list)

  • Buy less things than I get rid of
  • Invest in only high quality items that I need
  • Replace furniture I don’t want/need with things that will last for a long time
  • Move into a smaller apartment (with hardwood floors)

 

Off-shooting from minimalism, volunteering this weekend reminded me of my true self and calling.  I love helping others and being in a place where I help and travel renewed me.  On a spiritual level, I felt more connected to God (nature has always done that for me, along with minimalism, volunteering and aiding others).  This weekend was meant to be, so to speak and I look forward to the lessons, growth and change I will accomplish in the coming months and through next year when it continues to happen.

 

 

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Writing milestone

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved writing.  Whether it was a list, short story or a research paper, if I could write I was golden.  I can’t even leave the house without some sort of paper and writing utensil.

On September 24th, I completed a major writing milestone, one that I’ve longed to do since I finished my first novella in 9th grade-I wrote a book.  Currently it clocks in at over 300 pages and over 80,000 words, which is pretty standard for a Science Fiction novel.  I told friends about (I kept it a secret save a few close friends) and I was overwhelmed at the amount of support I got from it, plus 6 dedicated beta readers!

Even during the writing/first draft process, I tried to edit at least two chapters a week that I’d already written.  Currently I’m finishing up my first edits with another 8 chapters to go.  My goal is to finish my first draft edits and get the first ten chapters through a second draft edit by Halloween.

I had one of my beta readers sample my first chapter over the weekend and they gave me some great feedback.  The most important thing was that the pacing was on point and there was only a minor edit I had to do to the overall structure.  Everything else involved small spelling/grammatical edits and I used different word choices (synonyms) in a few spots.  That’s one chapter ready for beta reading at least!

One of my friends has written several books and they’ve been giving me a lot of pointers on where to go next.  I’m pretty set on self-publishing at this point, so I’ve started researching into it more as I move through the editing process.  I have six beta readers waiting to read my story, which is motivating me to edit quickly.

Once my beta readers are done and have given me feedback, I’ll do another really good edit, then go into publishing from there.  It’s possible I could have a published book sometime in the first quarter of next year, that’d be amazing!  I’m really enjoying the process overall and if all works out well, I’d love to write another one!

 

Of course, my book does explain my absence (though work and life are contributing factors as well).  Hopefully now that I’m in the editing process, I will be writing more as a reinforcer to finishing a chapter or two.