What I learnt from my Goals in 2015

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When we were kids, every year on December 31st or January 1st, my mom would ask us to write down our resolutions for the new year. It was a good exercise, but there was a major flaw. The resolutions were unattainable, unrealistic and would fly out the window probably in the second week of January 🙂 As I grew up, I gave up on this tradition because nothing good came out of it, only regret and guilt :-/

In the last couple of years, I’ve discovered how to be realistic in setting goals and how to accomplish them. You might have heard of the SMART rule while goal setting. Your goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound.

I read a book called Live for Him by Leigh Ann Dutton on how to have individual mission statements tied to the goals and have action plans for them. You can read more about the book here. You can click on the following affiliate link to buy the book.

IBG Live For Him

This and few other resources helped me understand what goal setting really means. I’ve learnt how to set goals and actually work on them. I’m going to share a few examples of my goals below and how I worked on accomplishing them.

Goal 1: Read 40 books

Now, this might seem like a huge and unrealistic goal. But the reason why I chose the number 40 was because I had read 15 books in 2014 and that was only in 9 months. In addition to that, I have 2 hours of commute time during the weekdays. I did the math and came up with the number 40. I haven’t accomplished this goal yet, (I am close to 30 books), because of something else that has been in my radar to work on during my commute. Still, this is a smart goal and I will know better when I plan next year’s reading goals. I should also mention that GoodReads has been an excellent tool in tracking this goal. Check out my GoodReads reading challenge here.

Goal 2: Prepare and Execute Meal Plan

I had to start making a meal plan because my work life and commute were consuming my personal time and I had to bring a system and reduce time spent in the kitchen. I also wanted to adapt some whole foods and healthy eating practices. So I decided to start planning my meals. There are several methods to achieving this, by I have adapted one that works for me. It still requires a lot of corrections and alterations. I’m learning week after week, but I could safely say I’ve attained this goal. My husband and I use Google Keep to share our grocery list and Meal Plans.

Goal 3: Continue Writing in the Blessing journal

I say continue, because I started a blessing journal in 2014 and I kept it very well and up to date. Not only is it a reminder of God’s blessings in our life, it is also a reminder of the important incidents and events that changed our lives. I’ve kept that journal through 2015 and it has been a tremendous blessing in itself! I might in 2016, write one thing everyday that I’m thankful for because God’s mercies are new every day!

Goal 4: Write at least 2 blog posts every week

This is a specific, measurable and achievable goal, but I haven’t been taking it seriously until almost the end of this year. I guess, I will keep this as is and try to work on it next year.

I hope you have been able to glean something for yourself from my experience and experiments with goal-setting. Take note that each goal needs to have a tool to measure them. This can be both for accountability as well as self motivation. I look forward to my new goals for 2016 and hope to share them with you sometime!

Live for Him: A Grace-filled Look at Planning

This post is linked to Inspire Me Monday and Testimony Tuesday.


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As I look back at 2015, I’m humbled and overwhelmed as I reflect on the following.

First, I’m reminded of the goodness of God! He has been an all sufficient God, providing for me and my family, keeping us sane through difficult situations, providing us guidance and wisdom in important decision making moments. His all-sufficiency has been overshadowing us throughout this year and for that I’m ever thankful!

Second, I’m reminded of His grace! Every moment I live, every step I take and everything I am, is by His grace. I’ve been reminded of this throughout this year through books I’ve read and sermons I’ve heard and personal experiences I went through. His grace was sufficient for me. Through the abundance of His grace, I’ve learnt to show grace to myself and others.

Third, I’m reminded of the memories we made together as a family, places we explored and new adventures we made together. You can find some of them under my Journal or Photography.

I’ve linked this with Five Minute Friday.



Citrus – Book Review

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Citrus is the first recipe book that I had ever read cover to cover. Maybe I read it because I had to write the review but then again I realized that the book was exciting and not just another recipe book.

Citrus by Valerie and Victoria

Citrus by Valerie Aikman-Smith and Victoria Pearson unravels the entire family of citrus fruits, lemon, lime, grapefruit, mandarin, orange, you name it! Each recipe is wonderfully and uniquely crafted with utmost passion and creativity. The recipes are categorized by fruit type. You can also find an index with dishes by course which I find very helpful. There is this whole array of food you can make with citrus fruits as a main ingredient that I had not known or imagined before. This book is an eye opener, especially as the winter approaches. I can’t wait to try more of the recipes from this book.

This book was given to me by Blogging For Books for FREE in return for my review.

blogging for books

A birthday like no other!

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This birthday was like no other because we celebrated this birthday by going to New Hampshire. It was the best birthday gift I could get! I love going places and seeing new things. This time we went on the Cog rail on the White Mountains, World’s first mountain climbing train, built in 1869.



It was great to be part of a historic masterpiece. The weather was warmer when we started the ascent at about 2000 ft from the baseline, but as we went up there was snow and eventually we couldn’t go to the summit because the winds were at 70 miles/hour that day. At about 5000 ft we stopped at the Skyline switch for pictures. There was nothing but snow everywhere! I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a wonderful experience 🙂




It was one of a kind birthday experience and I am thankful for yet another year in my life!

Biking on the South County Bike Path

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Note: This post was drafted few weeks ago and I just found time to post it 😉

When my husband surprised me by serving coffee in bed for me this Saturday, that’s when I had a feeling that the weekend was going to be eventful and memorable!

After much debate, we bought bikes this summer and it was not until this weekend we had a chance to really enjoy them. After a late breakfast, we headed to Kingston train station and started riding on the South County Bike Path

Its a 8 mile bike path and after that you could ride on the road alongside the traffic to head down to the Narraganset Town Beach. This is the farthest we have biked so far and it was a wonderful experience. The path was well laid with rest stops along the way.


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Inspiration from Julie and Julia

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The first time I watched this movie, the title drew my attention and so did the trailer. You see, it resembles my life on 2 levels. First, my middle name is Julia and family and dear friends call me Julie. Now you see why the title caught my attention! Second, my blog started out as a food blog back in 2008. I was offered a job and I was waiting for my joining date (which took several months, as the great depression of 2008 happened). So day in and day out I would experiment new recipes, watch food shows and blog them. Thus started my blogging story. Julie in the movie started her blog after the 9/11 incident. Not all parts of the movie align with my story, but you get it right?

Yesterday, I wanted to watch the movie again, because its been 7 years since I started blogging and my blog has branched into several directions. I’ve been blogging about my recipes, craft, travel, photography, books and all random stuff. It has become so diversified, that I have difficulty trying to write something because I can’t decide if it aligns with my blogging goals. I am an “either everything or nothing” sort of person. So you can imagine the trouble I go through to publish a post, let alone write on a series.

So I watched the movie again yesterday, in an urge to gain inspiration as the October write 31 challenge approaches very soon. I had written once in this challenge and it was an absolute delight. Check it our here : 31 Bible Verses you should know by heart. It helps you stay motivated as many bloggers are writing alongside you, it helps practice discipline because you don’t want to miss a day and most of all at the end of it you get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. The movie helped and I am all pumped up. I’ve narrowed down the main subject and I’ve come up with titles for 25 days. I hope to find the rest somewhere down the line. But I want to write 31 days in October this time!

If you haven’t heard about the challenge, take a look here and hopefully you can join too. See you soon with my new series 🙂

I’ve linked this post with Inspire Me Mondays


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It’s the first day of fall 2015! Did summer get past so quickly? It might have. But it sure did leave some good memories. We have a bucket list for every season in our lives. While we are chasing through the list we should remember to pause and cherish the moment.

This summer we bought new bikes and created new memories of our own. It helped us get out and explore some really beautiful and lovely landscapes that could only be possible with bikes!

One more interesting thing we did this summer was start our own hashtag! How cool is that. #claytonandalicesummer2015

We tagged all our outdoorsy adventurous and vacation pictures taken this summer using this hashtag in twitter and instagram and when you lookup you get a beautiful scrapbook of all the fun we had in the summer. Brilliant idea 🙂 Try it.

Checkout the hashtag here… claytonandalicesummer2015

Here are few pictures from the hashtag. Enjoy and happy fall 2015!!!




Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis

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This is the story of Adam discovering a collection of postcard poems written by Gabe to Huck for 60 years after their marriage. Intrigued by the collection and devotion to mail poems every friday to his love, Adam sets out to discover the love story of Huck and Gabe and the secret to their long lasting and devoted marriage. At the end he discovers new hope in marriage.

The Idea behind the book was intriguing. More so was the fact that a husband could send poem postcards to his wife every Friday for 60 years. It is just beyond imagination! Within the book there are pointers to selfless love and commitment to married life. This is emphasized by a strategy the author calls “The Long Division Problem”. The book paints a neat love story between Huck and Gabe, tremendously in love and at the same time going through the ups and downs every couple faces in their life. I liked the parts where I got to know more about life in the early 1900s. I liked it for its story line and fell in love with the love story of Gabe and Huck!

I look Like An Engineer!

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Honestly, until I started exploring the hashtag ILookLikeAnEngineer, I never thought there was gender stereotype in the engineering and technology world, or at least in developed countries! It took me by surprise that even in this era when women are doing research, entering space, making history and reaching heights, we are still fighting the stigma of gender stereotypes.

I am a full stack web developer and I work with Vantage Deluxe World Travel. I have a degree in Information Technology and I have worked as a Software developer for a few companies with experience ranging from integration and reporting services, web application development and database management.

If I need to talk about me being and Engineer then I guess we need to chat a little bit about my background. I wasn’t born a programmer nor did I have the passion to be one. I was always interested in Writing, I still am. I was streamlined in to the technology path by what is called Socioeconomic Status Pressure that exists among Indian parents. A picture is worth a thousand words, so i’ll let you glean all the information from the following picture, which is a Survey taken by HSBC. You can read the entire article here. (Talk about stereotypes huh?! 🙂


That being said, I must mention I don’t hate doing what I do. It was definitely not my first choice, but I’ve learnt to like it. I love programming, solving problems and creating new solutions, so not a day goes by without me fixing something or creating a new solution. Now I don’t think I can live without it.

The reason why the gender stereotype in technology field came as a shock to me is because I’ve never experienced it personally. The men in my life and career path have never made me doubt my potential or think less of myself when it came to education or career.

My dad always appreciated my interest in learning and gave me the best education that he possibly could.

My husband challenges me on an everyday basis to be better at what I do and he never fails to recognize my victories and takes pride in them!

My co-workers and superiors have always encouraged me and entrusted me with challenging task fully acknowledging my potential and that has always been a source of inspiration and boosted my confidence.

I don’t think women are in any way inferior to men in anything, let alone technology. There are tonnes of statistics and research that proves otherwise. But I don’t want to get in to a debate. The only place where this particular stereotype exists is in the minds of people.

If you are a man, encourage your woman a little more, give her the nudge she needs to break open the stereotype. If you are a woman, you have no excuses. The world is filled with inspiration. No one can hold you back.



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It is a three-letter word that has so many strings attached. I try to keep up with ironing, make a beautiful garden before the onset of fall, get the dishwasher loaded every night, hit the gym at least 3 times a week and so on. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. But I keep trying! Again and again. Till I attain perfection? Maybe not. But will I stop? I hope not.

I mentioned earlier that try has many strings attached. Well here are some:

Keeps you going. You set a goal and when you try to achieve it, it gives you something to look forward to.

Gets you one step closer to where you want to be. Your goals may be higher or farther, but trying gets you closer.

Never mind the outcome. Like I said, some days you win, some days you lose. But never mind the outcome and never trying.


Today I’m joining Five Minute Friday and writing on the word TRY in 5 minutes.