Let's Catch Up

One of the fun things about the end of the year is looking back. Reviewing the goals. The dreams. The fun moments. The painful moments. Using those as guidance as you head into the new year. And dreaming new dreams and setting new goals.

It's not exactly the new year yet, but I'm impatient and would really like to review my yearly goals. God was faithful this year. I'll never have anything different to say because He's always faithful. In a separate post, I'll focus more on the bad and good times of this year and what God taught me. Today, I want to review the goals I set here in this blog post. I'd also be super interested in hearing your goals for this year as well as the next and how God is working for you, so make sure you reach out to me in the comments.


Goal #1: Decide if sports are my thing or not.

Completed - They are not.

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I did quit basketball. Yes, I quit. I'm not one of those people that thinks you can never give up on something because that's not always true. I like to look at the big picture of things, and honestly, after careful review of my life and where I want my life to go, I just don't see how basketball, something that as I grow older is going to get even more competitive and time consuming, is going to benefit my life. I always did it for fun, and I really did enjoy the time and memories spent on that sport. But it's not a just for fun thing anymore, it's becoming more serious, because everything does as you get older. Only the people that really want that are going to be in it as you get older.

And I'm not one of those people.

I don't consider myself to be that competitive, and I'm more timid, shy, observant. Being in on the action really isn't my thing; I'd prefer to watch. Because I'm a writer. That's what I do. That's what I want to do. That's the talent and gift God has given me; I'm absolutely positive of that because the passion has not once died since I first wrote terrible stories when I was eight years old; it has, in fact, grown stronger over time as I found what I wanted to write about, the stories I loved to tell, and my own writing style.

When you're sitting at a basketball practice dreaming about how much time is left and what you're going to do to your next story, I think that's a pretty good indicator of where your passions are. And with the insane, hectic schedules and growing pressure, I just thought, what's the point? What's the point losing my mind over something I won't go that far with--and something I don't WANT to go far with it? And I do not regret that decision to quit.

I still love to work out. I like running on my own time but, once again, not competitively. And I still do my own workouts because I like exercise and staying fit, and you don't have to be in a sport to do that.

And I still love junk food. Some things never change unfortunately.


Goal #2: Makes Sparkles by Ashlee a brand that points to the hope of Jesus.

Not Completed - because after changing my mind millions of times, I want this blog to be a blog, not a brand.

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I always went back and forth debating whether or not I wanted Sparkles by Ashlee to be a blog or a brand. A brand is more like a website type thing, where the blog wouldn't be the main focus. I decided the brand can come later in my life; for the time being, Sparkles by Ashlee was created as a blog, and for right now, it just needs to stay that way. But one thing is definitely staying the same: it will always point to Jesus and the hope through him. This post helped me discern how I wanted to be real and keep this site a blog.


Goal #3: Get some of my writing out there.

Not Completed - due to a lack of busyness and priorities.


This year, I was busy just trying to keep up with my blog and managing my priorities while trying to still write books. If I could get a system going to do all of that, then maybe short stories would be something I could do, but I think for the time being, I need to focus on my novel writing and maintaining this blog.


Goal #4: Get Uggs.

Completed - and I LOVE THEM!!!

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Uggs are the comfiest, prettiest boots ever, and haters gonna hate, I don't regret getting them at all. They are simply incomparable to all the other boots I've owned. I might just wear them the rest of my life. Like they're on my feet right now as I type this, and my feet are in utter bliss. All I can feel is comfort. It's like walking in clouds. So if you've ever wondered what it feels like to walk in heaven . . .


Goal #5: Grow in my relationship with the Lord.

Completed - I will write another post about everything, but this one was definitely completed.

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I will write a post like this one I did last year where I recap the year and how God worked through it, but I will also do one specifically for what God revealed to me this year. It's funny, because every time I put these goals on to grow closer to God, I know it will happen, but I never know how, and I never know exactly how MUCH I will grow. I grew a LOT this year, and I give God all the glory for that. I was also surprised and kind of in awe at some of the situations and things He orchestrated perfectly to grow me closer to Him. That's all I will say for now, but stay tuned for the full recap. :)


Goal #6: Go to a Minnesota Wild game.

Not Completed - Haha I wish. I need a credit card for this to ever happen.


But honestly, I am not too happy with my team. We didn't do so well the end season of 2016, and then they were all saying they'd turn it around in the Playoffs, which was basically a joke. And this season? So far more of the same. I don't care, though, because I still want to go to a game, and my cousin Kir and I have a certain someone we want to watch. ;)


Goal #7: Get better at saving money.

Haha you can go read what I had to say about this here because nothing has changed. Maybe I can get a job this year though???


Goal #8: Redo my room.

Completed - for the most part.

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Most of my room is done! Yay!! I got a new nightstand, new bedding, new decorations, a new way things are organized. . . . I just have some finishing touches to make and, unfortunately, an entire closet to clean, but, I'll get to that eventually.


Goal #9: Create a bucket list to survive Canada with no internet.

Completed - and I actually didn't need it!

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That was such an awesome trip. It was definitely one of the highlights of my year. Read part one here, then part two, and part three of the recaps.


Goal #10: (a) Completely finish my book and (b) publish it.

Completed (a) - Yay!!! (b) - Not Completed

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I totally finished EVERYTHING with my first novel (read about that journey here). I don't have any revising, editing, perfecting, or anything else to do on it.

So I thought.

One of the great things about time and learning is that sometimes you can look back on your own writing and (a) think it sucks and (b) see a million different things you could do differently or a lot better. I guess that's the beauty of learning, and I'm definitely thankful for writing growth. Unfortunately, I'm thinking I needed to rewrite the book. I mean, I did finish it in December 2014, so I was only eleven.

We'll see what God has in store for it this year.

One thing I've really had to learn is to be thankful where God has me now. For the longest time, I've always thought I NEED to publish it. NOW. But I've honestly learned to embrace where I'm at right now. The book will be published when God wants it to be. Sometimes I worry too much about how far my writing is going, and it just takes all the fun, passion, and purpose out of writing. I wrote some of those observations here.

Too much of my life and my writing career has been spent on being the best or being well known. I don't care about that anymore because I know all of that--popularity, fame, whatever--is meaningless and insanely temporary. I wrote about that and other thoughts in my post over jealousy.

Rewrite my first novel.

The thing about my completed first novel is that while I think in a lot of ways it still sucks, I really do like the story, and I think that instead of just throwing it out and continuing on to the next story, I want to enhance this story and make it even better than what it is. So I would really like to go over this novel, brainstorm some new scenes I can add to make the story come alive even more, rewrite other scenes, and just edit it again with what I've been learning.

Write two more novels.

I have only five million different ideas for books, but I have these two storylines in particular that God has spoken to me immensely about it. In fact, while my first novel summed up all that God had teached me 2014, what was originally going to be my second novel--one that I've had ideas for since 2015 and really need to get going with--sums up everything God taught me in 2015. And now, just this summer, I got a good idea for a plot based on a situation I'd witnessed take place, and God has really spoken to me so much about that, too, and I think that sums up everything I've learned this year. I pretty much have both of these all planned out, and I have so much material from them that I want to write both as soon as possible.

Begin my first book series.

I have a series I've also been wanting to write for what seems like forever, based on my own life and everything I've learned. I want to start working on that this year and hopefully get a lot of those books started.

Get a job.

I would really like to start working somewhere. I still think it'd be cool to make money online with my blog, but realistically, that probably won't happen yet.

Learn to drive.

And 2017 might be the year I die. Also, if I live long enough to survive learning to drive a car, I'm still dreaming about my dream car, aka my summit white 2016 Chevy Equinox. It's going to happen one day.

Completely finish my room.

I still have to clean some areas, rearrange some other things, and there's still some decorating dreams I have. Like a chandelier! I also need to buy some things, including but not limited to: a white dresser with four shelves, white curtains, a white fluffy rug, yes, I want a chandelier, and a king size mattress. I'm especially serious about that last one.

Create my brand.

I would love to do some things to actually create my brand, though I will always keep Sparkles by Ashlee as a blog. Some things I want to do to take action on that:

  • work on creating a website, even if I don't publish it for awhile

  • create a newsletter

  • use my Facebook account to promote blog posts

  • be more consistent on Twitter

  • engage with more people on Instagram and create an account just for my mission

  • publish a short story - I'm actually working on one I'm really excited about!!

Just write.

I want to write way more on this blog--whatever God lays on my heart. So hopefully I can post at least once per week, but above all, I don't want to put pressure on myself to do that. I just want to write. I think the best way for me to do this is write whatever--my daily observations, thoughts, etc., and publish what God wants me to.

Pray. Pray a lot.

I've learned a lot about prayer this year, especially the importance of it. I've been keeping a journal of key moments in my life where God is working and even just answers to the littlest things. For example, I suck at art. Art class was so stressful this year, haha, but I managed to get an A- at literally the last week before grades were turned in for the trimester. And another time I got a perfect score on a project I'd worked hard on and what I'd hope would give me a chance to share my views on important things. And just today, I've been struggling in my math class, and we had a test a week ago, and I knew I had to get a good grade to boost my grade. And trust me, it needed to be boosted.

I thought I did good. The problem with math is that I never say that because every time I think I did good, I don't. So I was thinking, I'll probably miss about five questions, but hopefully that can still get me a decent score. I prayed the entire time I took the test, and I still prayed as I waited for it to be graded. Today in study hall I checked to see if the grade was put in, and I about had a heart attack. I had a perfect score on the test. And my grade was raised.

Of course, there have been times I've struggled--many times this year in fact--and it doesn't seem like God is answering me or working on my problems. Let's face it, not everything ends like the perfect score situation.

But I can say, 100%, God has never left me, even on my darkest nights. And there have been dark nights. There have been lonely nights. But I saw this quote just the other day that said with Jesus, you will never know what it's like to be alone. And that is so true. On the darkest days, He's there. Guiding me through a bad grade, a difficult assignment, another lonely day, a day of heartache, a day of doubt. Always He is there (Deuteronomy 31:6). Always He cares (1 Peter 5:7). And always, sometimes in the littlest ways, I get to see a glimpse of how He is working. Like today with the math test.

I write these things down. I've also gotten better at being totally honest and real with God because He does care, and the Psalms portray honesty all the time. When I'm impatient, I tell God that. When I'm angry at someone, I tell Him that. I even ask Him to hurry on some situations, because David did that in the Psalms, too. I tell Him about my deepest concerns, sometimes concerns that aren't directly my problems, but they still bug me, and I know I can pray about them because I've been told to pray about everything. Isn't this verse amazing?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
— Philippians 4:6 NIV

I love this verse because I've been convicted of how sometimes I place limits on God, or I don't believe He cares or can work through a situation. Let's look at this one situation. I saw it on the news; it has absolutely nothing to do with me other than the fact I just heard about it because it occurred nearby a place I visit. This situation reminds me of 2 Samuel 11, if you read about what David did. I won't go into specifics, but basically, evil was done, sin committed, and two young lives along with everyone who knew those people will now suffer the consequences of that sin.

It's a perfect example of a dark, depressing, hopeless situation.

It has nothing to do with me. I don't know anyone involved. But I do know God. And something my pastor said last Sunday hit home with me. The more you know and love God, you start loving His people (1 John 4:20). And I'm not just talking about the "good" people, the ones you see in church. I'm talking about EVERYONE. Even the most offensive sinners.

So I pray for this situation, I pray for the person who committed the sin especially because I know how full of love God is (1 John 4:8), and because of that, God has taught me what it means to love people. So I pray. About this situation. About situations in my own life. About anything God lays on my heart. God is capable beyond what I can imagine (Ephesians 3:20). So I get honest with Him and pray bold prayers. That's one thing I seriously want you to do in 2017: pray like people's lives depend on it, because, they do. Pray for people you can't stand, situations that look impossible, etc. Pray about all of it. Philippians 4:6 says to pray about everything.

Travel somewhere.

It doesn't take much for me to be content when it comes to travel. While I definitely would love the opportunity to travel, I'm not the girl that dreams of going anywhere and everywhere. I'm content where I'm at, but of course I want to see the world. But seriously, my idea of traveling would just be going up to my grandparents' house and staying with them for a few weeks again. I love doing that. The time spent with them is priceless. So I pray I can do that again this year.

So . . . how did you do fulfilling your 2016 goals? What are your goals for 2017?

God's Animals and Other Completed Goals

This year we decided to go to the Blank Park Zoo, and it was a simple yet fun night seeing all of the incredible different animals that God created.


The last time we went to the zoo was two years ago, and it was a lot of fun!

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE


Going to the Blank Park Zoo was one of my summer goals, also!

So it began with pictures. What else? Hunter is very cooperative. Whenever I want a picture, boom, he's on it.

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This is the red panda, and it is so cute!! It kept walking back and forth, and I have a great video of it.

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We went in this cave that allowed a peek out at one of the waterfalls. It was so pretty! Poor Dad... It didn't go so well for him, though. He ended up smacking his head on the top of the cave because it was pretty low, and it actually bled.

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Then we went over a bridge under the waterfall. Of course we had to stop for pictures!

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So I don't love waterfalls at all. These frogs were so pretty!!

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Can you find the otter??? I barely could, and I was like why did I even take this... Otters are adorable!

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Meet Dad's best friend. We all had to go to the bathroom, and while Dad waited for us, he talked to this llama. Then it spit in his face. No lie. It wasn't Dad's day.

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It could not have been a more beautiful night to visit.

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And I wanted my picture by everything.

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And here is us with the lion. The real ones were sleeping, so you do what ya gotta do.

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I also rode a carousel with Hunter while we were there. I guess I'm not as old as I thought. I loved every minute of it. So now my goal of visiting the Blank Park Zoo has been fulfilled! I actually had some others I finished, too.

Like finding 5 healthy recipes! I don't know how healthy they really are; apparently somebody's idea of healthy is taking an apple and putting frosting and sprinkles on them. Well... At least we're making some progress. Of course I pinned it because that's better than donuts although I will never ever surrender my donuts. Follow me on Pinterest for "healthy" recipes and more! I also did the writing research I needed to, so I've finished about 3 goals out of 300. Yay! Progress!

I'm going to go write now. Or at least open my document and play on Facebook, Spotify, Pinterest, blogs I like, and yeah. How are your goals coming along?

All the Goals

It's the time of year for summer goals and summer bucket lists. I made a rough draft of my goals and bucket list at school earlier this week, and then I copied them into a prettier notebook and wrote them with prettier pens. Because that's obviously a necessity and good use of your time. Enough with that; let's get into them.

Summer 2016 Goals

Fitness

Find 5 Healthy Snack Recipes

I'm counting on you, Pinterest. Don't let me down. You might want to follow me in case I actually find those.

Do a Workout Every Day

I used to be really good at this except for like the last two weeks of school. I need to get back into the groove of things. A little workout really does help.

Walk Willy Every Day

BEES SHALL NOT STING ME. (I hope.)

Walk the Gravel Road

If you followed along last summer, you know there's this gravel road I really like to walk... And I'm going to walk it again. See the times I walked it last year here and here.

Walk Down by the Lake

I live nearby a lake, and I want to go walk around nearby it. Just because I can.

Run with Mom

She gets in shape; she helps me not be afraid of bees. Everybody wins!

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Blogging

Write a New Post Every Day

Even if it's not perfectly outlined. Even if I don't have an edited image for it. I just want to blog and write. I'm boycotting blogging tips and am just going to write and trust God.

Complete All of My Blog Post Ideas

There's forty some of them. If I blog every day....

Finish the Blog Pages

Check out my new homepage and about page. That's all I've got so far.

KEEP the Design

I think I will. But you never know. However, now that it's a goal, I can't back out........

Collaborate with Faith Based Bloggers

Anybody want to collaborate with me?! If so, please contact me!

Leave Heartfelt Comments on Blog Posts I Like

I recently revised my list of blogs I follow, and now I'm only following the blogs I truly love. And I want to let the bloggers know that.

When in Doubt, Pray and Keep Writing

Enough said.

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Fun Stuff (The Bucket List)

Canada

It's going to be great!! I'm finally leaving the country! Remind me to recap you all on preparing for this. Preparation is always so fun. For a flashback, read about when we were preparing for Florida. I can't believe that was a year ago.

Print Phone Photos

Getting the photos is fun. Printing them is not.

Stay with Gramps and Grams for Two Weeks by Myself over the 4th of July

I had so much fun doing that last year.

Walk in Town with Willy

There's so many beautiful places we could take Willy to in town. We didn't do this last year, so I hope we can this year.

Go Shopping with Grams

I'm taking my other grandma shopping with Mom. Hopefully soon. I vote tonight.

Have Friends Over

I also have a faith project I need to finish with one of them, and I'm excited about that.

Go to Blaine and See Relatives

It's been awhile.

Go to Omaha Zoo

I really hope I can.

Go to the Movies

Maybe once or twice or twenty. I love seeing movies on the big screen.

Go to Okoboji

Oh, Okoboji. I love you. I'll be up soon. Hopefully more than once. The Tipsy House never gets old.

Mall of America

It's been awhile since I've been here too, and oh my gosh, this sounds so fun.

Go to Races

I've already been once, and that's another thing I need to recap.

Play Minecraft with Hunter

We are good, and I love that game.

Visit the Pool

The pool is oh so fun, and they have such good food.

Go to Fuzzy's Again

Oh, I have to tell you about Fuzzy's, and I will at your own risk. It may contain excessive eating and spending.

Go to the Blank Park Zoo

Two years ago, we went to the Blank Park Zoo, which you can read about here. We get invited to go for free because of Hunter's lung disease.

Kayaking

I would like to try this down at the nearby lake, and they have kayaks we can rent.

Swim at a Beach in Okoboji

I've been to a beach in Okoboji, but I haven't swam in one. Here's to doing that this year!

Attend a Concert

I've been to one concert (read about it here), and I would love to go to another one. I don't even know who I'd want to see, but I would like to go to a concert.

Do Sparklers

Those are fun, but I don't know if I'd be able to take any good pictures with them.

Good Pics of Fireworks

Which leads me to this. How do you get good pictures of fireworks at night when your iPhone 5c isn't good at taking pictures at night?!

Silly String

It has been awhile since I've polluted the streets with silly string!!

Bike Rides

Gramps got a new bike, and it is so pretty. I really can't wait to ride it and go on bike rides with him this summer.

Do Something Outdoorsy with Gramps and Grams

I don't know why this comes to mind, but I'd like to do something outdoorsy with Gramps and Grams. Even if that's something as simple as looking at the stars.

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Faith (Back to Goals)

Finish the Bible

I've been reading the Bible in order because I think I have a touch of OCD, and that's how I like to do things. I'm in the New Testament, and hopefully I can finish the whole thing this summer. It's been amazing!

Finish the "Living So That" Study

I loved my "Living So That" study. It has literally been a year since the last chapter I reviewed. And I've only reviewed the first chapter. #Winning.

Begin a New Study over Revelation

When I was a dumb little kid, I read the book of Revelation after my mom told me how confusing it was, and I told her, "I don't know what you were talking about; it was easy as ever." Years later at my church we have been talking about Revelation, and let's just say I was a dumb little kid.

The end of the world intrigues me, though. Revelation is interesting. I want to do a study on it.

Attend Church Classes

I love my church and the people there. I want to come as much as possible.

Write a Devotional

This is something I've always wanted to do, and all I really have to do is do it like a diary with things I learn each day.

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Shopping

Find White Jeans

I am loving the white jean trend. I'm not a jean person at all. I'm actually that girl who loves leggings and thinks they're pants. Some argue that they're not pants because otherwise we'd call them "pants". Well you know what, jeans are pants, and we call them jeans. Plus they go on my legs and cover what needs to be covered, so yes they are pants. I will buy white jeans, though. I think it's ridiculous to spend over $50 on a pair, but I want some that are good quality. Suggestions?

Shop for Fall Clothing

There's always something you need. I need new leggings for fall and sweaters. Hopefully that will be all.

New Phone

I really love my iPhone and am really thankful for it, but I think I can upgrade this month, and if we can get a good deal I would love an iPhone 6s simply because better photo quality is so important to me.

'Boji Shopping

Okoboji has some awesome shops. I went shopping there last year and snagged some great deals. This year my mission is sandals and sunglasses. You can never have too many sandals.

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Writing

Query Agents

I'm so close, guys. I just need to finalize a few things, and then I'll be good.

Finish Typing My Second Novel

When I first wrote this as a goal for the summer, I was like, I need way more than two and a half months to type a 60k+ word novel. But I really don't. We don't do a lot over the summer. Honestly, if these goals (not the bucket list) don't get done, it's not because of lack of opportunity but lack of motivation. I probably shouldn't have told you that.

Write Pieces for a Fictional Series Daily

There's this one series I want to try to type on the side because I have a ton of ideas that need to be typed, so I'd like to do that daily.

Second Novel Research

My second novel needs some research around the medical field. I actually have an opportunity to get some research, though, so hopefully I'll get what I need.

Room

Finalize Everything

This consists of putting pictures in collages, hanging up a quote sticker thingy on my wall, and just organizing a basket I have. Otherwise, that's it!!!

Clean My Closet

But here's the catch. My closet. My closet has some really nice things in it, but it is also full of crap - stuff I DO need to get rid of. I think it actually won't be as hard as I think, though, once I get rid of the things that need to be gone.

Oh my gosh, that covers all of it I think. Be sure to slow down this summer and make time for God. He is the most important thing above any goals you might have. Let's keep each other accountable and pray over each other's goals! Tell me your goals in the comments below!

May Goals: An Exciting Month

Ah, April. It was a great yet draining month. I learned a lot about myself this month from deep things like situations with friends to simple things like writing. Let's go over the goals!

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CUT BACK ON SNACKS AND RUN: I did run a lot and did not get stung by a bee. I may or may not have prayed that I wouldn't before I went out every time, but hey, it worked. So far. Last night I got hooked on Dairy Queen chili dogs and forced my mom to buy me one after church last Wednesday, and as I write this, I'm working on a medium sized cookie dough cyclone. Go me.

WRITE NEW BLOG POSTS: I finished a bunch of posts that had been stuck in my drafts forever, so this one got accomplished!

REVIEW SHORT STORY SURVEY RESULTS: I literally got the same results every time: yes, post short stories, and keep them here on my blog, and both were the answers I wanted! I definitely want to write some short stories, but I can't make any guarantees as to when they will be up.

PRINT PHOTOS: Walmart came through for me and let me print my photos. I printed 6o of them out of the almost 2,000 photos on my phone. We're gonna get there.

COPY DOWN PRAYERS: I like the idea of a prayer log and occasionally writing down prayers, but I never want praying to feel like a chore - it should be a privilege, and it is. However, when I have to type or especially write out prayers, that's not as fun. It's not easy. I just want to talk to God without having to record my thoughts somewhere. I will keep the topics I made, though.

ATTEND ONE LAST HOCKEY GAME: I did, and I had so much fun. Did you hear the horrifying absolutely heartbreaking news?! The Wild lost to the Stars in the playoffs, and my favorite player Zach was out the entire time due to a back injury. :( The Hawks also lost, so that makes it a little better. ;) I don't want to the Stars to win!!! Plus, we got totally robbed on that one goal! Here is the pictures I took at the game - they were some of my best!

SHORT SHOPPING:

CLEAN UNWANTED SHELF: I got the top done. Oh my gosh, there was so much crap on there. I try not to refer to my stuff as crap unless I really mean it, but a lot of it really was crap that had just gathered. I can easily prevent that; I just have to do that.

CREATE A "MISSION" PAGE: I'm looking around my blog, and I realize all of my pages SUCK. They could be written a lot better, and oh my gosh, they could be designed so much better so that they're unique and perfect for my brand. Now that I think about it, I've always been redoing my pages ever since I started this blog. I need to make a plan and draw stuff out.

OFFICIAL SUMMARIES: I pretty much got these done! To start out with, I was having a hard time finding my rhythm. It was really easy to sum up my book in a sentence. For the life of me, summing up my book in only 3-5 sentences was harder than ever, so I moved on to the official summary, like the back cover copy. I thought that would be the hardest, and at first I couldn't get into it, but once I did it was really easy and helped me write the shorter one. The longer one was also easy, and I only had a few paragraphs left.

FINISH WRITING IDEAS: I did except for these ideas I had forgotten I wrote online. Whoops. I do need to go back and do those.

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May Goals

May is going to be a really busy as you'll see below, but I'm confident I can do it with God's strength! I also need to finish any goals I didn't this month.

Keep on running.

Especially from bees.

Pin to Pinterest and redo the homepage and footer. Also decide if a new template is necessary.

I made a new Pinterest account for some reasons I felt necessary, and I need to repin all of the images from my blog as well as some favorite posts of mine. That will be pretty easy, though. Then I want to totally redesign my homepage, add a landing page, and redo (and actually have) a footer. I also want to determine if I will need a new template for this.

Write collaboration posts.

Oh my goodness, I need to get my butt in gear with the collaborations I have planned. I reached out to a blog friend of mine awhile ago, and we wanted to collaborate, and it's been forever. I HAVE to write that post this month. Then I also want to check in with somebody else about a collaboration possibility; I met another blogger and want to write a post for her, and another blogger I just met wants to interview me on her blog or have me write something for her, so I have to be thinking about that. I also talked about guest posters on Facebook, and somebody is interested, so I have to email them. It will get done, and it's exciting!!

Shop 'til we die.

This is no longer a shop 'til we drop thing; I need shorts. And when I was at school the other day, my flip flops broke. And I could barely walk. And I had to ask Mom to bring me shoes. They lived a good life, but they were my only pair of neutral flip flops that I could wear with anything, so now I need a new pair of those.

Write down the prayer log TOPICS.

And I will pick certain days to pray about certain topics.

Clean the entire shelf.

The middle rows will be pretty easy, but the bottom row is jammed pack with stuff. And dust. I hope I don't die cleaning it.

Make a list of things I must have for Canada + prepare them.

People, we are already leaving soon. I have to get going on this.

Finish the summaries + do an author bio.

I need to finish writing my book summaries and write my author bio. I have a list of ONE agency to query to! Yay! We'll see what happens.

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More photos...

Because if we're going to Canada, I am going to be taking pictures every second. 60/2,000...

Over the month, God has encouraged me and answered my prayers in so many little yet significant ways to remind me He is there. I don't deserve His love, but I am so thankful. I had a lot of times I was discouraged at school and am still facing that, but I'm learning that in the big scheme of life, who cares? I go to school for an education. If I'm all alone, that's fine. One day something so much greater is going to come, and not giving in to the pressures of junior high will be worth it.

There's also been nights when I get mad at the DUMBEST things. I blame some of this on these lovely girl changes I've been dealing with, but I still have to take responsibility. I've also been writing in a journal because I have this dumb fear that I'm never going to remember my life, so I write about it haha. I wrote one night how I was mad about Instagram because I couldn't find a pretty aesthetic, and I felt like I didn't take good photos.

For my friends who don't know, Instagram aesthetics are a big deal in the blog world. It's like a theme for your photos on Instagram, so you want to edit them similar, and I was getting so mad because I couldn't find what I wanted. Oh, the things we get mad at.

What else? I shot my first turkey. I never knew how big of a deal that would be until I became Bass Pro Shops' Facebook cover photo, and a bunch of people congratulated me. It was totally awesome, though! Especially since I really thought I wasn't going to get one. I had a lot of fun doing it, and now I can say I shot one. Read the story here.

So that was my month in a nutshell. How about you? What are your May goals? I seriously can't believe how fast time is going.... Also, to wrap things up, the worst picture of me ever!

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April Goals: HUGE NEWS

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Did you survive April Fool's Day? Leave a comment below if you got pranked or pranked somebody... Haha I hate this holiday; I don't know how to prank nor do I like being pranked.

Anyway...

Let's get into the goals for this month. I have BIG NEWS (and I promise it's real)...

RUN WITHOUT PUKING UP BLOOD OR A LUNG: To be honest, I can't even remember if I ran or not this month. I know I ate. A lot. Of bad stuff. I considered putting 'eat healthy' as one of my monthly goals but then decided warming up some cookies in the microwave sounded better. Yesterday I also thought Doritos sounded better, so, you know.

Willy and I did go for lots of walks, though!! That counts for something, but it might not help with the whole saving Ashlee from diabetes. Help.

LEARN LOTS THROUGH MORGAN'S NEW E-COURSE: I'm so proud of her because she got an internship in New York City!! Unfortunately, she did have to postpone her course, so that didn't happen this month. I don't know when she'll re-release it, but at least it will happen one of these days!

SPARKLES BY ASHLEE YOUTUBE CHANNEL: I don't think being a vlogger is my calling haha. I go into little phases where I want to do it, but then I'm like what kind of idea is this. I really need my focus on writing right now instead of trying to do five million different things.

PRINT PHOTOS: Shoot. Thanks to Google Photos, I backed up everything and deleted all of my videos off my phone because it's not like I can print those. That freed up like three gigabytes! But I still need to print the photos. Thanks Walmart for not letting us do that. Maybe this month you'll change your mind.

"5 FEARS" PORTION OF FAITH NOTEBOOK: Done! I think it will be a great resource in the future, and now I need to determine what to put in the journal next.

ATTEND ANOTHER HOCKEY GAME: We might be a day late on this. Literally a day. We have tickets, so hopefully we can go soon.

Bad news: There's not much of hockey left. :(

Good news: I hope the Wild win the cup this year!!! We're looking good right now...the Blackhawks haven't been able to beat us once this year hahahaha!!!

And somehow this always changes during the Playoffs. Pray it doesn't this year; they've won the cup enough times.

GO SHOPPING: I got a bunch of new tops this year including a new pair of running shoes, which I am very thankful for. Next we need shorts, and then we're done.

CLEAN THE SHELF: Okay one of these months I will get it done... :')

BlOG EVERYDAY: Whoops, no. For awhile in the winter I would look at my list of like three blog post ideas and bang my head against a wall because I couldn't think of anything new to save my life, but now I just stare at my list of 40+ blog post ideas and think how am I going to write all of these...

COMPLETELY FINISH MY BOOK: YES YES YES!!!

People, I FINISHED TOTALLY EDTING my almost 60k word novel! I'm so thankful God helped and pretty anxious and eager for what's next (keep reading to find out)!

NEW BOOK IDEA: I'm very slow when it comes to recording my ideas. I'll get there eventually.

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April Goals

Cut back on snacks and run when the temperature is above 50.

Last night (minus the two warmed up cookies I had) I didn't eat much else. I did have peanut butter on a plate. That stuff is really good. I also need to quit being lazy and go out and run when it is above fifty. I had a very bad experience the last time I ran...

Write 10 new blog posts.

I have 41 ideas for blog posts that need to be written. Plus a collaboration post. I am going to have no functional hands and or fingers when I am older.

Short stories.

This goal is totally in your hands. That's right, YOURS. You get to decide the fate of how these short stories go! I've been praying about whether God wants me to share some short stories online or not, and I will continue praying.

However, you can help me with this goal by clicking the pink button below and filling out only TWO questions that are SHORT! Thank you!!

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Walmart, PLEASE let me print my photos!

We're going to try this again. Please pray it works; my phone will probably literally break otherwise. One night it kept freezing up, and all of my apps refused to work until I deleted some pictures. They weren't very nice about it.

Move my prayer log to the faith notebook.

I am not even halfway done with my prayer log. There are folders upon folders of things I need to pray for, and now I decide I want to write all of the prayers down?!! Yep. It will take me forever, but I'm going to do this. I'll probably do this in a new notebook, too, because it will take a lot of paper.

Attend one last hockey game before the end of the season.

Tears. This one is pretty much done because we have tickets.

Go short shopping.

I hate short shopping. A) There are shorts that go down way more than I like them to and shorts that make me look like a word I probably shouldn't say. Finding the balance...is pretty much nonexistent. So we'll see how this goes. And B) I grow out of them in a year anyway. Oh well, who can pass up shopping? I'm not talking to you, guys.

Do I dare put it on here...

I will maybe possibly hopefully with some sort of miracle clean that shelf this month... Maybe possibly hopefully with some sort of miracle... PRAYERS NEEDED....

Create a "Mission" page for my blog.

I love to procrastinate when it comes to creating blog pages. I really love writing, but it's super easy to procrastinate. Like, I love creating images and designs. I love designing my blog. What I hate is writing the content. But I love it, too. I know, you're probably lost. That's okay. I want to make a page, though, that informs you about #thesparkledjourney along with that journey so far.

Make the official summaries for my finished book.

Oh, did you miss something?!?! For the haters who totally skipped the beginning of my post where I recap last month's goals, I TOTALLY FINISHED MY BOOK. And I am dead serious when I say I am going to try and publish it. And not self publishing, TRADITIONAL publishing. But first I have to make four different summaries:

1) ONE sentence that sums up the entire book without spoilers. I find this the trickiest, but it's necessary. It will also save me so much time when people ask, "What is your book about?" Is it just me, or do you hate it when people ask what the book you're reading is about? I'm just like, here, read the back.

2) A short summary that is only 3-6 sentences at most. That would be if I were to write a paragraph about it.

3) A back cover summary (or the basic 2-3 paragraph summary). Of all of them, I feel like this will be the hardest. It's pretty easy to get broad and sum up my book in a few sentences. It's also easy to get narrow and tell you exactly what happens. It's finding the right balance of both of those that is hard.

4) A summary that tells you everything, like a book report. This would include spoilers. It's what would go in my query letter.

There's your lesson on summaries, writers. You're welcome. Pray for me, non writers. Thank you.

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Finish writing my ideas.

Because I'm slooow. But we'll get there. God is with me, and He has a plan.

If you haven't already, please like my blog Facebook page with all the blog post updates. You're going to want to know if I eat healthy or not or if I clean that shelf, right? Oh shut up, I know you want to know that.

What are your goals for April? Leave a comment below!!