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Monthly Personal Meetings

Monthly Personal Events are a powerful stepping stone to translating everything you got from your Annual and Semi Annual Personal Meetings into a reality.

For a Monthly Personal Meeting, you are going to need a notebook and pen, a quite location (like your house, early in the morning), and a brain that isn't fogged up with sleep.

You are going to review your summaries from your Annual and Semi Annual meetings, then take the time to be brutally honest and answer the following questions:

1. What do I need to do, this month, to achieve my dreams?
2. Do my routines need altering?
3. Am I living life as intentionally as I could be?
4. How have I done in achieving last month's goals?
5. What obstacles am I encountering, and what am I doing to combat them? How effective are my efforts to combat them?
6. What should I be doing to combat them?
7. What fears are holding me back that I need to conquer?
8. Is my life on track?
9. What events are happening in the next month?

When you finish answering those questions, take the time to write a nine paragraph summery of your notes.

Please take the time to do this well! Take the time to write out your thoughts. Be brutally honest. Face and accept the truth and plan how you can do better next time.

Of course, the Monthly Personal Meeting is nothing without the Weekly Personal Meeting.......

Semi-Annual Personal Meetings

In my last post, I discussed yearly-personal meetings. They are your large scale meetings to determine what's up and what matters.

In your semi-annual meetings, you are going to reevaluate your life, see if you're on track to accomplish everything you determined to accomplish in your annual meetings and see if it perhaps is necessary to change your annual plan. Maybe something big came up, like a life-changing diagnosis in your family that is turning your world upside down. Or a pandemic started. Or a pandemic died off. Or a loved one's death. Or, you know, something major that is changing your life. Maybe it changed your values, or your responsibilities (and thus your time), or perhaps you realized that maybe, your focus for the year is what you thought it "should" be, not what you actually want it to be.

Semi-annual meetings will happen twice a year, in spring (March, April, May or somewhere around there) and in fall (September, October, November or somewhere around there). In order to complete this meeting, find a notebook and pen, a water bottle, an hour or two of uninterrupted time, and a location without SCREENS, MUSIC, LOUD NOISES, or other DISTRACTIONS.

Then take the time to answer the following questions with horrific honesty:

1. How am I doing in achieving what I said I'd achieve in my annual meeting? Am I on track to achieve all my goals?
2. Was I completely honest about what I needed to drop, start, or achieve?
3. Does my plan need altering?
4. What are the biggest obstacles to me achieving what I said I'd achieve?
5. How can I overcome those obstacles?
6. What do I need to do in the next six months?
7. What do I need in the next six months?
8. How can I fulfill those needs?
9. What big things are going to happen in the next six months that will require my time and attention or an altering of my schedule (for example, family reunion, trip to Hawaii, or a one-week camping trip with your family)?

It should take you about two hours, give or take a little, to do so. When you finish, take the time to reflect upon what you've decided, sum up your plans and thoughts, and decide what the "next right thing" to do is.

And then you're done!

Of course, the Semi-Annual Personal Meeting is absolutely useless without the monthly personal meeting... stay tuned for how to do that next post!

Questions on how to do a Semi-Annual Personal Meeting or why it matters? Comments? Experiences with personal meetings? Please comment below and I will get back to you in 1-2 days!

Yearly Personal Meetings

You know, there is a problem with society today.

They don't know what they want, and if they do know what they want, they either (a) don't take steps to get it OR (b) don't know how to get it.

Enter, personal meetings.

In order to maximize personal meetings, they should happen at the following times:

~At the start of the year
~Start of spring and start of fall
~At the beginning of the month
~At some regular, schedule time once a week.

Sounds like a lot to add to your plate? On the contrary, it will SAVE YOU TIME, help you realize what REALLY MATTERS, and allows you to PRIORITIZE, PLAN AHEAD, and CHECK IN with yourself.

So although this isn't the start of the year, today I am going to discuss the YEARLY PERSONAL MEETING.

For the yearly personal meeting (which actually doesn't HAVE to be at the start of the year, it could be before school starts, in the middle of the summer, whenever works for you as long as you are CONSISTENT about it) you are going to find three hours, a notebook and pen, a water bottle, and a quite location without SCREENS, LOUD NOISES, MUSIC, or SNACKS.

Then you are going to get yourself situated, open up your notebook, and set an alarm for three hours later. Then don't look at the clock/alarm and take ample time to be brutally honest with yourself and answer the following questions:

1. How is life going right now? Good/bad? Why/why not?
2. What has been your biggest achievement this past year?
3. How have you changed this past year?
4. What do you want to do better this next year?
5. Is your life going in the direction you want?
6. What do you want with your life?
7. If you have one, now is the time to review/edit your mission statement. If you don't have one, now is the time to make one.
8. What are your passions?
9. What do you want to accomplish this next year?
10. What do you need this year? What needs of yours are unfulfilled?
11. What steps can you take towards fulfilling those needs?
12. What are your priorities?
13. Is there anything you need to drop?
14. Anything you need to add?

When the alarm beeps, you can be done, or keep going. Three hours should be enough to answer all those questions (that is 12.857 minutes per question), but if it isn't keep going.

If you finish before the three hours finish, take the time to pat yourself on the back, and then start reviewing your notes, adding in anything you think of.

By the end of the three hours, you should have a lot of notes, a few doodles, and a soul-wrenching period of self-honesty (yay!).

Well, now what? The yearly personal meeting is useless if you don't sum it up in fourteen paragraphs (one paragraph per question), which should give you a general idea of what you need to do and focus on this year.

And then, of course, you need to act on it.

But... again... the yearly personal meeting is completely and utterly useless if you don't follow it up with the semi-annual meetings, the monthly meetings, and the weekly meetings.

I will describe those meetings and how important they are in later posts... next one coming soon, maybe later today.

Questions/comments about the Annual Meeting? Please comment below and I will get back to you in one or two days. :-) See you in the next post!

How To Fight A Hydra

Here is another quick update for "new way to read." It's been going good, but with quarantine and everything, I do have a smaller limit on books I can check out, so #ProjectOtulissa is being put aside for now.

However, I am deciding to notch up all of my reading by approaching books with a question in mind. For this book I just barely finished (How To Fight A Hydra), the question was, "how can I combat overwhelm and start achieving my dreams?"

And yeah, I got answers. I love books! :-) :-) :-)

And yes, I highly recommend How To Fight A Hydra, it's a really quick and enjoyable read but also a super deep parable.

Here are the seven lessons I got out of it:

~Just follow your dreams! People are going to try to stop you; don't listen to them. They don't know how capable you are.

~Learn from the great people of the present/past.

~Getting a QUALITY EDUCATION matters!

~Your fears may be justified, but they are useful. Acknowledge them, then act in spite of them.

~Go slowly; don't go so fast that you get yourself "killed." Know what you're getting into. But also, don't spend your whole life planning! At some point, you have to stop researching and start doing.

~Learn to recognize your treasure and adapt your plans accordingly; it might not be exactly what you thought it would be, but it's still going to be amazing.

~And finally, take advice from those who have succeeded, not those who have failed or given up. Learn from those who know what they're talking about and use it in their own life!

Shakespeare Bootcamp Done

Sadly, the 2020 Spring Shakespeare Bootcamp is over. I had a lot of fun, understood a lot more Shakespeare, and had some god bonding time with Elisabeta. ;-)

Due to the success of the bootcamp, I think I am going to do something similar every year, although they might not all be Shakespeare based. For example, one year I could read something by Aristotle everyday; another year, I could sight-read through an original Beethoven piece everyday.

And my bootcamps will ALWAYS be in the first weeks of summer... because that's the best time to do it.

Twelfth Night

Elisabeta and I just finished another Shakespeare play... which she approved of more than the last (All's Well That Ends Well). Basically, it's another big tangled romance..... that ends happily.....

Honestly, it's hilarious! I'm not going to tell you plot.... you should just go watch it. I watched THIS production. The actors etc are AMAZING!

So... my favourite lines......

"Methink you are a fool."

"O time, thou must untangle this, not I; It is too hard a knot for me to untie."

"Ay, he does well enough if he be disposed"

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."

"Be not afraid of greatness."

"There is no darkness but in ignorance."

And yeah, this play is such a comical mess.... :-) It's sooo funny.

All's Well That Ends Well

It all starts with a forlorn maiden... one of lowly class... who is desperately in love with one of high status. After having received her love's mother's blessing in her effort to find a way to make the match work, she heals the king of a terrible malady and demands as payment her choice of husband. She, of course, picks her love.

However, her love disdains her for her lack of noble title. After much threatening from the king, he agrees to marriage.

~pauses in telling plot to rant~
FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, is this maiden (Helena) DAFT? Marrying someone who has been forced to marry you is a recipe for disaster. Resentment, anger, and frustration and going to build up and explode into divorce or worse. BAD IDEA!
~continuing on in telling the plot~

Screenshot By ME
Her love, Bertram, hating his new wife, flees to fight in the war, leaving his wife at his mother's house. Realizing what happened, Helena feels horribly guilty for chasing him "from thy country," and decides to leave in hopes that he will return home and be spared from the horrible war, though knowing that she could never be a beloved wife of his.

Knowing that her husband would not call her wife until she had born him a child, and swearing that would never happen, Helena tricks her husband, bears him a child, confronts him, and says she is his wife.

It's a bit of a confusing romance... and also kinda boring. The best line is at the very end: "Mine eyes smell onion, and I weep anon." Other than that, it was just okay.

And here is Elisabeta's two cents: "We keep doing romances." (rolls eyes here...) "I'm sick of them. We need to do something FUN like Macbeth... or maybe we can go do Julius Caesar again..."

Soon, Elisabeta. ;-)

The Merry Widows of Windsor

I just barely finished the Merry Wives of Windsor and am two days behind in my Shakespeare reading! I'll have to do a second play today and two tomorrow, but that's fine. I really enjoy Shakespeare.

Anyways, The Merry Wives of Windsor is a tangled mess of attempted affairs, thwarted affairs, and humor. All in all, it was enjoyable but one of the harder ones for me to understand.

Moving on....

Here are my favourite lines:

"All of his successors, gone before him, hath done't; and all his ancestors, that come after him, may..." XD

"Why sir, for my part, I say the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences" (and then the next line, by another Mr, is, "It is his 'five senses'; fie, what the ignorance is!)

"All is in His hands above."

"Hang the trifle, woman; take the honour."

"Sheath your impatience."

"You were wont to be a follower, but now you are a leader."

More Delicious Cookies

Greetings.... I have been off my blog for a comparatively long time, because I've been extremely busy. But we're back on schedule now!

So today I was bored silly and decided to try a new recipe.

It's a chocolate chip recipe that is processed-sugar free (assuming you use RAW honey...) and it's so good!!!!!! :-)

Because my family eats (mostly) dairy free, I made a 1-to-1 substitution of butter for coconut oil, but you don't have to.
Photo by ME
Also, as you can probably see from the photo to the side, I did not do chocolate chips. That is because 1/4 of my family is allergic to chocolate (oh horror of horrors!). :-(

I plan to use this recipe as a good base to add in anything I feel like, which I think will work really well because, other than the chocolate chips, it's a very basic recipe.

This time, for add-ins, I did 50% coconut shreds, and 50% chopped craisins.They are amazing! It also went really well with the coconut oil.

Some add-ins I'm planning on doing are: walnuts and a little extra honey; oatmeal; carob chips and craisins; dried apricot pieces; and sliced almonds.

For those of you interested in trying out the recipe, you can find it at TheCookieWriter.

Romeo and Juliet: A Tragically Tragic Romance

I just barely finished Romeo and Juliet.

Wowza, wowza, wow.

I mean, almost-fourteen and seventeen is WAY too young to marry............. But I guess Juliet's father was determined to get her married anyways.... BUT STILL.

So here are my thoughts on it...

It's all going well, according to plan, etc., until Romeo shouts "I defy you, stars!" Then his actions get himself and his tragically young wife killed.

Stupid Romeo. (To go on a tangent, at one point, Romeo was totally out of control and had given up all hope and the friar demands, "art thou a man?" My answer: "Romeo art not a man... for he hath the immaturity of a boy." Poor Juliet... she got way less that she deserved.:-()

The friar (a representation of God) had everything perfectly under control, the perfect plan to heal their families and allow them a "happily ever after." But then came the tragic line: "I defy you, stars!" It is at that point that Romeo abandons the plan, and kills himself, causing his distraught wife to kill herself as well.

So basically, everything was running smoothly until Romeo defied God.

Likewise... God has everything in control in our lives. It is all going to plan and it will come out perfectly wonderful in the end if we do not defy his will and try to take fate into our own hands. As we are not all-knowing, we are just going to ruin everything and "kill" ourselves and those we love.

Shakespeare Bootcamp: Challenge Accepted

I just decided to make a change to how Shakespeare Bootcamp works. In addition to reading a play every school day for two weeks (ten plays total), participants also need to memorize a passage, speech, or stanza from one of the plays they read.

Elisabeta is going to do the poem in the leaden casket in the Merchant of Venice; I am going to memorize Mark Antony's speech in Julius Caesar.

And then we are going to recite it... and record our recitations... and post it on here! So start looking for it in about a week... maybe a week and a half.

Yay! Hooray for challenges! (I love challenges... if you couldn't tell already ;-))

Antony and Cleopatra, er, Julius Caesar

As I told you earlier, I had been planning on doing Antony and Cleopatra next. However, I couldn't find a good video to follow along. Too much 'passionate kissing' (it is about an affair, so what did I expect?) and also ten minute clips of productions.

So I went with Julius Caesar, which is my second favourite Shakespeare play.

I found this video... and it was really good. Definitely a tragedy. Like, all the good guys die in the end, usually by suicide or else aided suicide. So yeah. But there's some great speeches in there!

Like Mark Antony's speech "Friends, Romans, country men, lend me your ears" ........ holy cow, what a wowzer. The way he takes a crowd hating Caesar and praising his assassins, to loving Caesar (and, of course, Antony) and going off to murder Caesar's assassins....... just wow.

And holy cow this post is gonna be long... ;-) so grab a few cookies, stretch, and settle down.

Okay, here are some of my favourite quotes from the play:

"Men at some time are masters of their fates: / the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / but in ourselves, that we are underlings."
"What you have said/ I will consider; what you have to say/ I will with patience hear"
"Awake and see thyself[!]"
"and what other oath / than honesty to honest engaged/ that this shall be, or we will fall for it?"
"Cowards die many times before their deaths;/ the valiant never taste of death but once."
"Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more."
"The evil that men do lives after them"
"A friend should bear his friend's infirmities"
"Good words are better than bad strokes"
"This was a man!"

Okay, now to my thoughts on it:

Brutus did it all wrong.

But still, let us learn from him (wow I'm waxing poetic, it must be the listening to Shakespeare for 2.5 hours straight); for in our lives, we will each be called upon to, in one way or another, stand up against tyranny.

Brutus started out doing okay: he considered the matter instead of rushing into it rashly; he refused to form a secret combination ("No, not an oath!... do not stain the even virtue of our enterprise.").

And then from there it went all wrong.

1. He participated in cold blooded murder (okay... maybe this is an exception to the rule... I'm still thinking about it).
2. He attacked other people offensively, instead of defensively
3. He did the same thing expecting different results
4. He gave up and committed suicide

So what should he have done?

1. Persuaded the Senate to give a trial to Caesar (with his "power of speech" I'm sure he could have managed something; plus, he had quite a few friends in the Senate)
2. Allow the enemy to attack first (fight defensively)
3. Tried new, innovative ways to fight the wars
4. Had the end in mind- like, how will government be organized/ who will rule when this is over/ etc
5. Never give up! It is never as hopeless as it seems...

Okay, but now I want to point out something else.

The American colonies rebelled against Britain; the French rebelled against their king.

One revolution worked; the other failed spectacularly.


Allow me to point out a few things that determine the success or failure of any revolution.

1- The rebelling citizenry have a classical education! In other words, they have read all the great books, discussed all the great books, and they are great thinkers! In the American revolution, it wasn't just the founders who had an amazing education, it was, to a large extent, everybody!

2- Bring God into it. The French were, at that time, a people who 'worshipped' science and atheism. The American colonists knew there was a Supreme Being, worshipped that Supreme Being, and believe (to a large extent) that he was involved in the affairs of man.

3- Have the end in mind. The French wanted to not be ruled by a king. The American people wanted to live in a free society. Big difference there, and that difference is clearly spelled out in their results: the French lived without a king (at least for a while); the American people lived in a free society.

So, going through those three things: do you think that the revolution Brutus helped spark had that classical education; a belief and worship of a Supreme Being; and had the end in mind?

I don't know about how it actually played in real life, but it is my opinion, that in the version of events that Shakespeare lays out for us, that he had none of those things.

And that, is why he failed.

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice has been the most interesting of tales from Shakespeare Bootcamp...

Basically, this young man (Bassanio) is in love with this girl (Portia) who is condemned by her late father's will to pick her husband by a queer method: to have three chests (one of silver, one of gold, one of lead) and one will have her likeness in it, and her suitors have to guess which chest has her likeness in it, and if they guess right, then wedding, if not, kick them out.

Bassanio has a friend of his borrow a large sum of money, Bassanio wins his lady but gets news that his friend has failed to pay the debt back and must give, as his penalty, of pound of the flesh closest to his heart (yuck!). And then... No. I'm not telling what happens next.

It is maybe my third favourite Shakespeare play. Macbeth is definitely #1, the Julius Caesar is #2 (because Brutus' speech is the coolest speech ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)), and Merchant of Venice might be #3.

So here are some cool tidbits I got from this play:

"Let none presume to wear an undeserved dignity"
"O! that estates, degrees, and offices/ were not deriv'd corruptly, and that clear honour/ were purchased by the merit of the wearer!"
"Some there that be that shadows kiss/ shall have but a shadow's bliss"
"There is no vice so simple that assumes/ some mark or virtue on his outward parts"
"You that choose not by view..." (to paraphrase) shall get the better part.
"He is well paid that is well satisfied."

Yeah... this play is super good. I highly recommend it!

Two Gentlemen of Verona

The Two Gentlemen of Verona was a very interesting Shakespeare play to read.

It's basically this really 'complicated' loves story.

Guy #1 falls in love with Girl #1; Guy #2 falls in love with Girl #2; Guy #1 goes to visit Guy #2 and falls in love with Girl #2. Guy #1 betrays his friend, Guy #2, and woos Girl #2; meanwhile, Girl #1 decides to surprise Guy #1 by going to visit him (in guys clothes, which is a huge deal in the late seventeenth/early eighteenth century), and learns that Guy #1 is wooing another woman; Girl #2 absolutely scorns Guy #1; and then, somehow, Guy#2 and Girl#2 and Guy#1 and Girl#1 fall in love they way they were in love at the beginning and live happily ever after.

One thing that ticks me off: Guy #2 freely forgives Guy #1 for getting him exiled, and for slandering him. Like, what? How?!?!?!?! I guess forgiveness is a different matter than trust... one can forgive without trusting... right???

I think it was really interesting to see their allegiances.

Guy #1 (Proteus): Self
Guy #2 (Valentine): Good/God
Girl #1 (Julia): Good/God with maybe a tiny bit of self in there?
Girl #2 (Silvia): Good/God
the Duke of Milan, and father to Silvia: Money/wealth/power

Shakespeare Bootcamp: Report

I've told you about Elisabeta and I going to boot camp? Well, we are right in the think of it.... safe at home on my very cozy bed!

The first Shakespeare play I read was Henry V, then Two Gentlemen of Verona, and just yesterday, the Merchant of Venice, which I really enjoyed.

How I did the Two Gentlemen of Verona and the Merchant of Venice was, I found a production on youtube and then played it while following along in my book. So much easier to understand when you do it that way, you should definitely try it out!

Oh, and here are the links to the videos in case you want to do the same:

Two Gentlemen of Verona And holy cow the actors do a good job! Especially whoever it is who played Julia... just wow!
Merchant of Venice One problem here? They totally skip the last scene! Which is a really important scene! So make sure you read the rest of the play as well... if you read it aloud it's way easier to understand that if you read it in your mind. ;-)

And today I'm going to do Antony and Cleopatra.