Getting Personal #229: Fifth Wedding Anniversary

One of the many photos of our amazing wedding day! This was taken by Amanda MacDiarmid, owner/operator of Stellar Exposures, November 2015.

Happy Anniversary, Al! It’s been five years today since we said “I do.” Wow!

All year long, we’ve looked at each other and kind of marveled at this year being five years of marriage.

We still love our house. Two big things have happened in 2020 – We replaced our washing machine, begrudgingly at first. It was a great Maytag. The appliance guy was sadder than we were! But, we love our Speed Queen! We also replaced our roof in July. I am a less nervous wife now!

Phineas and Ferb have been wonderful additions to our lives for almost two years. A friend encouraged me to enter a local pet portrait studio giveaway during the summer. I figured, “Why not? I never win anything.” Well, we were one of the runners-up, so we scored a free portrait session and an art credit. We splurged on a wall print of the boys, and we got a photo album as well. It was our joint wedding anniversary and Christmas gift to each other – Well worth it!

Portrait Credit: Bonilla Pet Studio

I celebrated a year with Sentara in September! This year of 2020, as I told my mom recently when discussing Thanksgiving over the phone, has truly been “the year of extraordinary circumstances.” With the COVID-19 pandemic, our work lives were altered, and now we’re holding our breath as we enter into the holiday season and beyond. Above it all, I’m incredibly grateful that we both have remained healthy, kept our jobs, and learned to navigate this “new normal” together. And – We’ve stayed married, and still like each other!

The holidays will definitely be different – No large family gatherings – but I’m excited to make my first turkey for Thanksgiving! And there will be chocolate mousse, as always.

Cheers to many more years! I love you!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #228: November Goals

Image Credit: Jen Russum

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of November:

  1. Publish the post about my July Camp NaNoWriMo session.
  2. Celebrate Grandpa’s birthday!
  3. Celebrate our wedding anniversary!
  4. Publish at least two Book Reviews.
  5. Create a solid, stickable schedule for blogging, housework, and downtime.
  6. Put away all the clean laundry.
  7. Make at least one thrift store donation run.
  8. Celebrate Thanksgiving!
  9. Clean off the couch in my office.
  10. Complete my American Girl re-organization project with my blue storage cubes.
  11. Send my completed second draft of my novel to my readers.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of November?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #227: October Goals Recap

Image Credit: Pinterest

Welcome back!


Here were my goals for the month of October:

  1. Donate blood. — Accomplished!
  2. Celebrate Mom’s birthday! — Accomplished!
  3. Publish a post about my July Camp NaNoWriMo session. — Did not accomplish.
  4. Keep up with my pen pals! — Did not accomplish.
  5. Put away all the clean laundry. — Did not accomplish.
  6. Go through my fall/winter clothes. — Did not accomplish.
  7. Designate what clothes to donate. — Semi-Achieved.
  8. Publish my regular TBR Recap post. — Accomplished!
  9. Continue work on the filing system. — Semi-Achieved.
  10. Clean off the couch in my office. — Did not accomplish.
  11. Complete my American Girl re-organization project with my blue storage cubes. — Did not accomplish.
  12. Prepare for NaNoWriMo 2020. — Did not accomplish.
  13. Help my former professor by reviewing and giving feedback on her book. — Accomplished!
  14. Send my completed second draft of my novel to my readers. — Did not accomplish.

October was even worse than September, if that’s even possible. Working took everything out of me, and the weekends were spent doing other things with the house and trying to keep my mental health together. I’ve gone through a ton of guilt, stress, anxiety, worry – The whole nine yards. I’m trying so hard not to complain though – We have remained healthy and still have our jobs!

With all that said, I’m determined to set up a firmer schedule to stay on top of the blog, and finally clear out the literal clutter surrounding me. I’m so tired of looking at it!

To preserve my mental health, I decided to not participate in NaNoWriMo in November. It was a difficult decision, but I’m really glad I stepped away. As soon as I said it out loud to Al over dinner during the last weekend of October, I felt a lot better. I’m looking forward to Camp in April!

I really enjoyed helping Dr. W. with reviewing and giving feedback on her book. That was a really nice change. She was so appreciative, that she sent me the sweetest thank-you card and a very generous gift card on top of it. That was awesome!

I’m writing this on Friday morning because I’m off from work today for the first time in quite a while, and it feels good!

Also, in major celebration news, I finally paid off one of my credit cards. That feels amazing! I’m determined to be more responsible with it going forward, as well as using the 2X points feature on certain purchases (gas and the occasional dining out/takeout) to my advantage.

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only two weeks away now. It seems like the holidays seem to accelerate time!


What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of October?

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for November!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #226: Sixteenth TBR Recap

Image Credit: Good Housekeeping

Welcome back!


Here’s what I’ve read since my last TBR recap:

  1. Elliott, T.E., Loved by the Beast: A Historical Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

Removing from Laura Beth’s TBR

  1. DiAngelo, Robin, White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism
  2. Wilkinson, Lauren, American Spy
  3. Zailckas, Koren, Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood *Re-Read*

Keep & Re-Classify – Laura Beth’s Updated TBR

  1. Oviatt, Didi, Sketch
  2. Thomas, Angie, The Hate U Give
  3. Weilert, Benjamin M., Buried Colony (ARC)
  4. Westover, Tara, Educated
  5. Whitehead, Colson, The Underground Railroad *Re-Read*
  6. Whitehead, Colson, The Nickel Boys

Adding to the TBR

  1. Harr, Jonathan, A Civil Action *Re-Read*
  2. King, Stephen, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft *Re-Read*

So, my current TBR is 8 books.

Do you have a TBR?

What are you looking forward to reading next?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #225: October Goals

Image Credit: Centre for Collaborative Health

Hello, October! I’m loving the cooler weather. Fall is on its way.


Here are my goals for the month of October:

  1. Donate blood.
  2. Celebrate Mom’s birthday!
  3. Publish a post about my July Camp NaNoWriMo session.
  4. Keep up with my pen pals!
  5. Put away all the clean laundry.
  6. Go through my fall/winter clothes.
  7. Designate what clothes to donate.
  8. Publish my regular TBR Recap post.
  9. Continue work on the filing system.
  10. Clean off the couch in my office.
  11. Complete my American Girl re-organization project with my blue storage cubes.
  12. Prepare for NaNoWriMo 2020.
  13. Help my former professor by reviewing and giving feedback on her book.
  14. Send my completed second draft of my novel to my readers.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of October?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #224: September Goals Recap

Image Credit: BeautyBeyondBones

I’m back, with a vengeance!

I fell into a terrible slump in early September. Dealing with my generalized anxiety, COVID-19, work stress, and feeling like a failure. But, I’ve picked myself up, and I’m ready to get back to the blog!


Here were my goals for the month of September:

  1. Celebrate our 10-year dating anniversary! — Accomplished!
  2. Get the photos and other wall hanging items off the floor in my office and get them on the walls. — Did not accomplish.
  3. Make at least one thrift store donation run. — Accomplished!
  4. Finish getting my P.E.O. President materials organized. — Semi-Achieved.
  5. Publish a post about my July Camp NaNoWriMo session. — Did not accomplish.
  6. List at least one of my three boxes of American Girl items for sale. — Accomplished!
  7. Keep up with my pen pals! — Did not accomplish.
  8. Publish at least one Writing Prompt post. — Did not accomplish.
  9. Put away all the clean laundry. — Did not accomplish.
  10. Finish re-organizing the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
  11. Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet. — Did not accomplish.

Al and I celebrated the 10th anniversary of our first date by getting take-out dinner from a wonderful local restaurant, Lobscouser.

September was full of working from home, going into the office a bit more frequently, paying off more credit card debt, and developing some strategies for the next few months. I feel like I’ve been more on top of things with the house, with the exception of my office. I need to get that mojo back!

I’m also really close to finishing the book I’m reading. It’s been a breath of fresh air, but I’ve been so tired at night that I don’t have the energy to read more than a few pages. We have enjoyed sitting on our porch more often, now that the weather is cooler.

In terms of writing, I made some more notes about my second draft. I need to go back into it and add a few more things before sending it back to my readers. I’m long past my self-imposed deadline of getting it to them (originally the end of August), but I will persevere in October!

I’m excited to participate in NaNoWriMo in November, but I currently have no idea what I’m doing for it yet.


What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of September?

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for October!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #223: Ten Years

Image Credit: BrainyQuote

Today marks TEN YEARS since Al and I went on our first date.

I can’t believe it!

Here are my other dating anniversary posts:


Here are ten photos that are special to me.

November 2010: This was a candid shot taken at the Alpha Sigma Tau Anchor Banquet, just a couple months after we started dating. Photo Credit: Tina Bird Stewart.
Spring 2011: Al and my parents came to Longwood for the weekend when I received my Citizen Leader Award!
Halloween 2011: The love of Star Wars is strong with us.
Halloween 2013: We were on a mission from God.
July 2015: One of my all-time favorite engagement photos!
October 2015: With friends, we did an escape room, played laser tag, ate at Mama J’s and Bottoms Up pizza, and watched movies. This photo was taken in downtown Richmond.
November 2015: Standing in front of the floor-to-ceiling stained glass piece.
November 2015: I love the black and white. Image Credit: Stellar Exposures
December 2019: Al’s company Christmas party!
August 2020: My birthday celebration!

Happy Anniversary, Al! I love you.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #222: September Goals

Image Credit: Entrepreneur Delights

Welcome back!


Here are my goals for the month of September:

  1. Celebrate our 10-year dating anniversary!
  2. Get the photos and other wall hanging items off the floor in my office and get them on the walls.
  3. Make at least one thrift store donation run.
  4. Finish getting my P.E.O. President materials organized.
  5. Publish a post about my July Camp NaNoWriMo session.
  6. List at least one of my three boxes of American Girl items for sale.
  7. Keep up with my pen pals!
  8. Publish at least one Writing Prompt post.
  9. Put away all the clean laundry.
  10. Finish re-organizing the filing system.
  11. Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet.

What about you? Do you have any goals for the month of September?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #221: August Goals Recap

Image Credit: pinterest.com

Welcome back!

Here’s the link to my August Goals post: Getting Personal #219: August Goals

Here are my goals for the month of August:

  1. Donate blood. — Semi-Achieved.
  2. Celebrate my birthday! — Accomplished!
  3. Finish the book I’m currently reading, and publish the review. — Accomplished!
  4. Get the photos and other wall hanging items off the floor in my office and get them on the walls. — Did not accomplish.
  5. Make at least one thrift store donation run. — Accomplished!
  6. Start the second round of editing for my first novel – Translate my handwritten notes from April’s Camp NaNoWriMo session into my computer. — Accomplished!
  7. Get my P.E.O. President materials organized. — Semi-Achieved.
  8. Write a blog post about my July Camp NaNoWriMo session. — Did not accomplish.
  9. Put away all the clean laundry. — Did not accomplish.
  10. Commit to putting away clean laundry in a more organized, efficient manner. — Semi-Achieved.
  11. Participate in a fun pet portrait session that was a giveaway win. — Accomplished!
  12. Finish re-organizing the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
  13. Finish de-cluttering the dining room buffet. — Did not accomplish.

August was a bit of a strange month!

My iron was high enough to donate blood at our drive on August 1st, but I wasn’t able to fill the bag. I got SO CLOSE, and my vein decided to clot up at the very end. I was so mad. But, I’m able to donate again in October.

I enjoyed my birthday, as much as I could with COVID-19. It fell on a Friday. I took the afternoon off of work, started a Jurassic Park movie marathon, and then my mom had us over for Cuban sandwiches, sweet potato fries, ice cream, and chewy fudge brownies. I felt so much love! Debbie D. was there, and I was able to celebrate my birthday with my Grandpa for the first time in years.

I finished reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

At the end of the month, I was asked to take mandatory leave. One of those days was August 24th, so I capitalized on the time off to make some progress on the second draft of my first novel. I was blown away with the headway I made. I was able to edit the first 40 chapters! And then I was able to finish the draft on Friday afternoon. I currently have 48 chapters. I’m excited to send it to my list of readers this week!

The house projects are still works in progress. This past weekend, however, I made more progress with my office, a.k.a. the Lady Lounge. I took out the old set of three DVD shelves, removed a full bag of trash, dusted thoroughly, and gathered several boxes for donation. Al helped me assemble my new six-shelf room organizer and navy blue bins, and it looks so much better. The dogs and I have a lot more room to navigate now!

I also posted 45 photos of American Girl doll clothes and accessories on social media, and made my first sale! I shipped those items off today. I still have three plastic storage boxes of items to photograph and post!


What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of August?

Come back tomorrow to see my goals for September!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #91: “Just Mercy”

I was fortunate enough to find my copy through a friend’s store on eBay. I’d heard about the book for a good while, and knew I wanted to see the movie. But, I’m the type of person that likes to read the book before seeing the movie.

Bryan Stevenson is an incredible man. This book is not only a memoir, but a history lesson.

Stevenson graduated from Harvard Law School, moved to Atlanta, and then heard about a man on death row named Walter McMillan. He moved to Alabama to run the Southern Center for Human Rights operation in Montgomery. He is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). As of August 2016, EJI has saved 125 men from death.

It took me a lot longer than usual to finish this book. I wanted to take my time with it. Ever since the murder of George Floyd in May, I’ve wanted to learn as much as I can about people of color. This book is no exception – Stevenson writes about the appalling history of slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, disproportionate arrests and heavy sentences, and the struggle of getting relief and overturned convictions for significant sentences, along with wrongfully imprisoned people.

Stevenson’s stories of these people on death row in multiple states, mostly men, but also a few women, were heartbreaking. Some were sentenced to death for crimes that were committed when they were children. Others were prosecuted to the maximum, when the laws that should have shielded them were blatantly ignored. There are more than a few people with physical and intellectual disabilities on death row in the United States.

This is a book that I think everyone should read. Even though it was published in 2014, it is definitely still relevant today.

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation soon.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂