Sunday, January 13, 2019

Goals and Dreams for 2019

Life certainly is a journey. Ken and I have been visiting and lately it rather seems like we have left the walking/backpacking part of life and are on to riding in a jet - things go by so fast! Loosing Ken's dad a couple of weeks ago was a reminder of how life moves on and doesn't stay the same. We need to really enjoy each moment as it comes and use all of our life in a way that matters - to glorify God! In April we face the momentous day when all of our children are teenagers! In May there is a wedding planned (or getting planned anyway)! Mara got engaged to Thomas on New Year's Day. Teenagers, weddings, new experiences and growth is all good - just takes a little getting used too. I am so thankful to have Jesus by my side as we go through the changes ahead.

   I like to think about the year ahead and what we will be doing, areas that I would like to challenge myself and ways I/we could grow. I like goals, I really think they help me to grow and accomplish more. It can be so easy to just drift through life but I don't want that to be my story. I really want to live to my full potential for Jesus Christ.

  So here are some of the things I want to work on in 2019.....

  Focusing on Growing closer in my relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years I have been convicted of my need to have regular prayer time each day - that is such a blessing to me as I start out each day to give things over to God in prayer. Memorizing scripture has also been important to me through the years and something we have gotten better at as we have raised our children - I want to continue to press on in this. Pretty much as long as I can remember I have spent time in the Word each day and several years back I was encouraged to do that even more. I feel so blessed that we have been able to make it a habit to dive in to God's Word several times each day. It has helped us a lot in our knowledge of the scripture. Here are the things that I really would like to improve at this year:

  • Each time I read God's word to think about how I can grow in my love for and closeness to Jesus Christ by what I am reading. Making sure that all the knowledge I learn and share is based on my love for Jesus.
  • Spend time each week digging in deeper to some area of Scripture. Spend some time looking up more verses on the topic, using my cross references, checking out a commentary or a dictionary- in general just observing more than I would just casually reading.
  • At least once a week sharing from God's word with others - whether it is through having a Bible study with a friend or neighbor, teaching a class at church or writing about God's work on this blog or elsewhere. Hopefully I can do it both in person and in writing each week.
  • Overflowing with Joy, Thankfulness and Praise! God is so good to us and we need to respond to His goodness in a way that points others to Him as well. I want to do better at that.
  • Growing in unity with the body of Christ. Truly building others up and working together as a team. I want to serve them more and listen better. This is an area that I have a lot of room for improvement in.
In Physical Health. I feel like I am pretty well blessed with physical health but as we have worked on trying to help Mara get better and as I observe the health of others It has made me want to be more intentional about taking care of our bodies. Here are some things I would like to work on:
  • I am trying to do 25 jumping jacks each day out in the fresh air no matter what the weather. I have been already working on this for a month now and I have missed some days but I do it more often than not so I am making progress. I like the idea of doing something that makes me use my lungs ( I really want to keep them strong and my family seems to have struggles with that) and strengthens my bones. 
  • I want to source even more of our food locally and organically. We have done well at that but I want to get better. I hope to grow and forage a higher percentage of our food. I am going to set a goal for growing/raising 50 percent of what we consume and then with local sourcing of other food going up to 90 % that is locally raised.
  • Drastically cut the sugar consumption in our home. We have never been as heavy as your average family but I think we still eat more than we should. Especially after our not so great honey harvest of last year we used more sugar instead. I need to get out of that habit.
I would like to grow my business creatively using online advertising and stuff like that. I am also trying to figure out how I can create less waste with my business.
  • I am setting the goal of creating a bouquet each week using items I foraged from our yard, woods or roadsides. 
  • I want to work on notebook where I can log what local things I could use in bouquets and start sourcing as much of the cut flowers/ greenery as I can from things around here.

There are many other important areas of my life: Family, homeschooling, friends, crafting, music, etc. and I could come up with a lot of goals in those areas but I don't have time for that right now so I am going to simply share with you some other goals that I have been considering and thinking about for a couple of months now.....

Enjoying the wonder of God's creation in Glacier National Park
The last couple of years as I have worked at going through the stuff we own and getting rid of things we didn't need I have been amazed once again at the over abundance of stuff in our lives. I also get amazed by the wastefulness that happens so often in our culture - and not only by others but by me as well. We have so, so much stuff yet we think we still need more. I found this year (as I tried to get rid of excess in our life) that often second hand stores were overflowing with stuff - they had to often say "Don't bring more right now, we have no space. " So many people saying they have to much stuff and then I would often hear of them buying more anyway. And sometimes that was me. Why????

  I truly believe that God provided all things for us to enjoy and that what He made was good! God does bless us abundantly. God also provided us with the ability to discern and make wise decisions and he will give us the wisdom that we need. We do need to ask and to seek His leading. 

   I also believe that we need to be very good stewards of the world that God gave us to live in. It is our responsibility to do our best to hand it over to the next generation in a way that honors God. Leaving it piled high with toxic trash or with trash floating through the oceans doesn't fit in my mind. Half of the plastic that is produced each year is for single use plastic items (plastic bottles, plastic cups, plasticware, take out containers, plastic wrap, plastic bags, plastic packaging and much, much more!) many of which cannot even be recycled.
 90.5 % of plastic waste is NOT recycled. 

   So that is some of the background to why I have the goals below:

  • Creating as little waste as possible.
  • Not spending money. Exceptions would be giving, traveling, paying for experiences, paying our mortgage, insurance, utilities and anything else of that nature, buying gas (though I hope to drive less and bike more) and purchasing necessary food and consumables like toilet paper and soap. I can barter for other items or use money earned at a consignment shop to get other items there. I will try to grow or forage just as much of our food as possible and we will work as hard to use up food that we have rather than buying. Also - things will come up -such as a wedding. I will be doing my best on this one (in trying not to make a lot of needless purchases or create trash) but will try to use common sense and not be overly fanatical when it comes to this event.
  • Eating local low or unpackaged food just as much as possible.
  • Continue to get rid of 25 items each week and sort through 5 spaces each week. I am happy to report that I did accomplish getting rid of 25 items a week last year plus way more. I almost cleaned our 5 spaces a week but was 7 spaces shy for the year.
I like to use my blog as a way to be accountable on the goals I set. Sometimes I have done a good job on that and sometimes I don't but here are the things I hope to post on here to hold myself accountable:

  • I am encouraging all of my family to create less trash but I am going to focus on my trash creation. I am putting anything that I throw away into a 4.5 quart ice cream bucket. Once I fill that (my goal would be for that not to happen for the whole year) I will report that and start again. Once I make it the year I will show you my total amount of trash for the year. I emptied all the trash cans in the house last night and so today we start afresh. I had thought I might keep track of all the trash produced in our household but I am kind of thinking that might place strain on my relationship with other family members who really would rather not participate in a zero waste challenge. I will still encourage and try to help train them to do things like compost their coffee grounds, use handkerchiefs, compost the sweeping scraps and not buy heavily packaged items but I am not going to stress over it and I will not be reporting their trash creation.
  • I will try to report every month the amount of money that I have spent. This report will not include any gifts (monetary) as I don't think that is something to report broadly also it will not include our normal bills (mortgage, insurance, utilities, etc) that Ken takes care of anyway. It will show any purchases made including food, animal food, recreation and gas and anything else if I have to cave on my plan in some area.
  • I hope to share a lot concerning zero-waste, from scratch eating and ideas for sourcing local unpackaged or low packaged food.
Some exceptions: 
  -Ken and I have a trip planned to the Virgin Islands soon (We are pretty excited - it is to celebrate our 20th anniversary and I am excited about the deal I found on flights and an Air B and B to stay at) and when we travel like that we like to find a piece of blue pottery to add to our dish collection and a magnet for our fridge. We will most likely continue that trend. We also will most likely eat some meals out though I hope not to do that much this year otherwise. Also, we may manage to take a trip this summer out East and if so those same purchases will quite likely happen.
  -I plan on buying bees (to make us honey) and chicks (to turn into meat) this spring.

   I have all sorts of ideas of things I want to blog about to go along with these goals and just all that has been going on in our life. Hopefully I can find time to blog regularly this year! :-)

   But I  had better let you go for now. Do you have any goals for this year? I would love to hear them. Also, just for the record, just because I have goals like living "zero" waste or "zero" spend does not mean that I think everyone should. Those sort of goals inspire me and help me to think more creatively and reach goals that I want to reach. That is not for everybody. I do encourage everybody to live within their means and to evaluate their priorities when it comes to spending and make sure that their money is truly going to what is important to them. Also, if I can inspire others to be a little more conscientious of the trash that they are creating and reuse things a little more and buy a little less of single use items then I would be happy about that as well.



Brenda Fricke said...

Congratulations to Mara and all of you! How exciting! I'm already looking forward to wedding pictures and all the beautiful creations you will make for her special day! Your post was very inspiring and I wish you well in reaching those goals. You got me to thinking about all the waste I create. That is definitely something I should work on improving. Abbi, I just want to say how very much I enjoy your blog. You are such a busy, industrious mother with 4 children, your own business, teaching music, (just to name a few,) I really appreciate you making the time for this ministry the Lord has given you. You're such a blessing and a godly example to many. May 2019 be a wonderful year for you and may the Lord continue to bless you and your family!

Amy and Mark said...

OH how exciting! We will be praying for Mara and Thomas. I found your blog while planning our wedding and now I realize just how long I've been reading as Mara was just a girl when I started! I look forward to reading about your goals and all of the creative ideas you have for the wedding. - We are also focused on reducing waste, spending less, and paying more this year in only one category (our home mortgage so we can pay it off more quickly)

Nola said...

My goals for this year are to have as much joy and peace in my home as possible while adjusting to life with a newborn (my 4th). I had a baby boy! Everything else is going to be scaled down this year except what is most important.

Nola said...

and I have to add that time goes way too fast...I've been reading your blog for who knows how long (years...I remember reading it when I was pregnant with my 7 year old...could be longer than that...) how is it possible Mara is getting married?! Wow congratulations

Abbi said...

Thank you all so much! You are an encouragement to me. Thanks for all the well wishes for Mara and Thomas. We are excited for them. It is pretty fun to help with a wedding for your daughter too- I have looked forward to that day. :-)

I love the goals you all shared. Joy and peace in the home is so important. I also love the idea of paying extra on the home mortgage - that is a dream of mine. We were blessed to just get a 15 year loan on the house so the years will go by pretty fast for paying it off. If we get a chance to pay it off even faster I am all for it however.


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