Hello!! How is the start of this new year going for you? We have had a bit of a lazy morning as Ken has the day off from work, but it hasn't been completely unproductive, I was able to varnish my new desk, sort through my stash of magazines, and get the laundry started. So that feels good. :-)
I have been thinking and praying about what goals I want to set for this year. I like writing them out and sharing them on here because then I feel a bit more pressure to actually work on them. It doesn't mean that I get them all done - I don't usually, unfortunately. But still usually more progress is made and I think it is more than might happen if I just thought about them.
Here are some of the things I have been thinking about and want to work on in my life and then share about them here on Proverbs 31 Living.
One of my big goals that I wrote about some the other day is to truly simplify and reduce the amount of stuff we have in our home. I believe that was leading to stress and feeling overwhelmed various times this past year and I don't care to repeat those feelings. So here are some of the steps I plan to take:
- Going through one space each day (Mon-Fri) this year. A space may be a drawer, a cupboard, a closet, a box, etc. Making decisions about the items contained within whether we want to keep them there, move them elsewhere, donate them, trash them, sell them, give them away or repurpose them. Many clutter issues stem from putting off making decisions and allowing ourselves to go through the same items over and over again. That is a personal habit I am working to break.
- Getting rid of (either giving, selling, recycling, trashing) 5 items each day (Mon.-Fri.). I wonder a little if I can keep that up all year - Do we really have that much excess stuff??- but I think I can. That would be 1,300 items.
- Try and sell on item per week - either on Etsy (you can check out my store on the side-bar), Craigslist, local Facebook selling sites, maybe Ebay. We will see what I come up with. This seems a bit challenging to me but I think it would be fun to try. Earning a little extra here and there would be nice.
- Going through 5 photo file folders on the computer each day (Mon-Fri) and deleting bad pictures and better organizing the files so I can find things later. I worked on this some yesterday and deleted around 600 pictures. We have oodles of pictures on there which helps contribute to a slow computer which gets frustrating.
- Empty my e-mail inbox every day. Respond to e-mails promptly! Don't make myself look at them twice unless I simply don't know the answer immediately.
- Stop the flow of stuff coming in to our home. Things that I am doing/have done to help with this are: Unsubcribe from e-mails, stop subscribing to newspapers or magazines (obviously there might be some that are really important to you but don't over-do the getting of them - we are currently getting WORLD for teens on a bi-monthly basis and that is it as far as what we pay for -some others come for free), think long and hard before buying ANYTHING even if it is only 10 cents at the thrift store.
I would love to have you join me on this journey if your home and life could use work in this area too. Fine tune the goals in a way that works best for you. I hope to blog about this each Tuesday - sharing the progress that I am making and hopefully sharing some inspiration for you. :-) I would love to get reports and tips from you as well!
- Praising others more and criticizing less. With my children, my husband, my music students and just everybody.
- Becoming more patient.
- Reading the Bible through in a year.
- Studying more deeply about Biblical prophecy. My mother-in-law wrote a book (it isn't published yet but she printed off a copy for me) on prophecy which I have started reading so this will be a start to this study. Prophecy has never been something I have either feared or been obsessed by (and I see both of those reactions pretty often) but I do want to understand it better so I will be studying on it this year.
- Work on one habit a month to help me be a better wife. For instance this month I am working on going to bed earlier and getting my shower done and out of the way so that Ken isn't waiting on me to turn off the light. This causes both of us to get a little more sleep which is good.
- Praying more for my husband. A habit that I am working to develop is to pray for him as I lay in bed falling asleep each night.
- Working to encourage my boys to be leaders. They are both teens now and I see in them a desire to lead and a struggle with being bossed around by their mom. I am working to figure out the balance of encouraging them in their responsibilities as a man and respecting their ideas and building them up and yet still requiring the obedience that they are supposed to show as children.
- Training my girls in running the home, ministering to others and fulfilling their purpose in life.
- I would like to reach out to others more through hospitality. I have some ideas for goals there but need to discuss it more with my family first.
Another area that I want to work on is two-fold - for our family's benefit and for the benefit of others (I hope!). It has to do with finances and the area of contentment and making use of what we have.
Concerning our family.... We are planning (well me anyway, I tried to talk Ken into and he almost agreed but these sort of challenges just aren't his thing - maybe he will do it somewhat - we shall see) to have a JANUARY SPENDING FREEZE. These are my rules for that:
- We still pay our bills - mortgage, electricity, insurance, phone, internet, etc.
- We can still buy gas though we will try not to use it excessively.
- We will still buy milk as needed.
- We did already commit to buying Mara contacts today and perhaps glasses if she needs them.
- We can still give to the church, missions, etc.
Otherwise - we eat out of the pantry, we make hand-made gifts, we simply don't need to go shopping.
If you would care to join me in this that would be fun. Or maybe you are already doing it. Or maybe you just want to cut back. I would love to hear your thoughts.
This challenge will quite likely extend to longer than January for me - at least for the most part. This year looks like it probably won't be as good of one for Ken's business (He has an insurance agency and things aren't looking as good for them just now) and yet we are working to pay off our home rapidly and also have some other projects we would like to tackle (like paving our driveway and putting in a dock) and so I think this would be a good time to cut back in other areas.
Concerning others.... I feel passionately that it doesn't take lots of money and new things to live life fully. I believe that living in a financial responsible way is largely dependent on your attitude. I have come across so many people of late (through volunteering at the homeless shelter and just through friends and aquaintances) that are struggling financially. I truly would love to figure out ways to mentor others on how to live fully on less and make decisions that we enable you to provide for yourself and your family in a good way. I haven't yet figured out the best way to do that but I figured this blog is a start and my goal is to find others ways to do that as well.
On Thursdays on my blog I plan on talking about "What do you have in your hand?". Those posts will be focused on making do with what you have - and doing that joyfully!
Along those same lines I also hope to have a Freebie Friday post every Friday.
- Figure out how to get rid of tummy fat and then do it! :-)
- Research and work on ways to strengthen my lungs.
- Work on posture and good stretching and spinal health for the whole family.
- Eat less processed food (and I know to those that know me - they already think we do that - but I think we can improve.)
I also hope to write on my blog more this year - I so enjoy the interaction that I get with all of you and just writing helps me to organize my thoughts. Besides the topics I listed above I hope to have posts on: Homeschooling, cooking, gardening, sewing, crafting, God's word, homesteading, traveling, hospitality and more. I would love your feedback on what topics are most interesting to you!