Sunday, January 5, 2014

Reflections on 2013 and Goals for 2014

I have had fun reading over my list of goals for 2013 lately. It is fun to think back over the year and reflect on what went well, the areas that we have grown in and some of the struggles I have had. It was a good year and God again blessed us abundantly. I can never say thank you enough!

  Simplifying and Organizing were big goals that I had for 2013. These went well in many areas- we did continue to go through the stuff in our house and clear things out and use things up. We ended up having two garage sales though one of them we did with some others from church and we ended up dealing with all the things that didn't sell and I think we may have ended up with more in our home afterwards that we put out to sell in the first place possibly. Anyway, it wasn't all that successful for decluttering.

  We did do very little shopping (other than food this year). I think I bought a total of 3 clothing items that were needed one for each of the oldest kids. (Ken did buy some things for himself - he does his own clothes shopping and isn't into challenges like I am.) We concentrated on mending things and using what we had instead. We were also blessed with some hand-me-downs and a few other gifts as well. This week I decided to do a thorough going through of our clothes to see if we did need to make a buying trip after this year of not buying. I had a paper and pen ready to make a list on but nearly found that unnecessary. I did write down that Jonathan needed some dress shoes (we found some cowboy boots yesterday at a second hand store that he is quite happy about), and would be needing tennis shoes and socks pretty soon. Mara needed one undergarment and would like some new sandals come summer, Aaron said he didn't need anything (and he didn't - neither does Megan) and I don't really need anything but I would like some dress boots, some sandals and a couple of nice new tops. I did find a "new" sweater and jeans for me at a second hand store too. Still looking for boots - I am quite picky and don't want to spend money on something I don't like really well. So instead of finding that we needed very much stuff instead we filled several bags with stuff to donate that we don't need. I am just amazed at how well God provides for us.

   My goal to not drive more than 3 times a week rather went by the wayside a few months into the year. It isn't that we went all the time but we only walked to places like church a few times and then we didn't bike around nearly as often as I would have liked either. It seemed like our schedule got rather busy and we were running far more than I hoped. Oh well, things like that can happen.

 This ended up being a really good year for us at keeping up with dishes (I have actually kind of learned to like washing dishes) and laundry. The kids chore charts were updated and we have put them to use quite faithfully. The kids are helping far more than they used to and it is so nice for me! Sometimes I can feel a little lazy with the kids even taking care of various meals.

  Menu planning went fairly well and life certainly went more smoothly the times that I did have a menu made. With the kids cooking ( a total of 3 breakfasts and 2 suppers) it was very important for us to have the meal figured out on the menu ahead of time.

  We did do a lot of "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do or do without". We saved money but didn't end up paying off the mortgage early - instead we made our emergency fund bigger and saved up money for buying new land.

   I had a goal to pay more attention to others and minister to them. I still have lots of room for growth in this area but it sure was a fun one to work on!  One of the areas I did really concentrate on was my marriage and I feel very blessed in this area. I think this has been one of our best years yet.

 This year....

2014 will probably be one with quite a few changes and some times of uncertainty. Yesterday we did buy some land (near here- on the Mississippi) that we hope to build a new home on. We will need to sell this home before we build so we will have quite a bit of limbo time which we are not quite sure how we are going to handle just yet. Thinking and praying on that one! :-)

Because of the fact that we could be spending the Summer (or another time this year) camping out or in a rental house or something like that I don't plan on making any major goals for certain projects or big challenges because I simply don't know what we are going to be facing this year.

I do have the goals of:
  • Being patient. I think this will be a big one this year. So many changes ahead- patience will be needed!
  • Serving others (with my children). It is so easy to get caught up in our own lives and what we need and want - I want our focus to be broader than that.
  • Encouraging the elderly at the nursing homes. I have been wanting for a while now to see about doing a program every so often there (like singing and playing music for them) as I think they would like that. I just need to get it down.
  • Learning more about harvesting and using wild foods. Ken got Mara and I mushroom books for Christmas so we are ready to go looking. There is quite a lot of foraging opportunities at our new place. I am excited about that!
  • Keeping my focus on Jesus even in the midst of change.
  • Being better prepared for times like sickness or other changes so that life doesn't get chaotic.
A couple of years ago I thought it would be fun to see if some year we could enter something in every class of the Home arts department at the county fair. We choose this year as Mara is now old enough to enter as an adult and so she and I would cover the adult categories and the younger 3 would do the kids. I don't know if it will work this year since we will probably be moving and building a new house. It is however still a fun dream that we have. Who knows.... maybe we will accomplish it anyhow.

  It is fun to think and dream about a new year. It feels like a fresh slate that God has given us. Let's use it to His glory!

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