Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Trying to Focus

To be honest I haven't gotten it together much since my last post.  I just put in one of my co-op orders.  It included a one pound bag of hot cocoa.  So, there's still hope.  Seems I'm anticipating this coming winter like I used to look forward to summer.  I am not alone in my longing this year.  Bella has been asking when it will snow again ever since spring began.  A girl after my own heart!

I have some changes in mind that have little to do with our homeschool and more to do with the sanity that comes along with a life more savored than rushed through.  This mindset is bound to effect our approach to education, but for now the planning of our academics remains the same.

We live about 20 minutes from everywhere.  In this diligent planning of excursions is of high importance so as to not waste time or money.  Years ago when it was just us and the first seven children in The Crew I did my grocery shopping once per month.  It's been on my mind to switch to that again.  The funny thing is that I kept that shopping format when we lived in the city where good shopping and frequent sales were plentiful.  It was just nice to knock it out once a month and not have to think about shopping for a few weeks rather than heading out every Sunday, the worst day to shop, gathering up our supplies for the week.  Also, we had a nice produce market within walking distance.  It made replacing perishables on an as needed basis very easy.  This time around we do not have such a convenience.  Where we are now, convenience costs more than I'm willing to pay most times, and it doesn't include anything fresh.  So, I've been giving this some thought.  Maybe once every three weeks would be more realistic.  I'll really have to figure this out soon since I want to get this started next month.

There are SO MANY benefits of shopping monthly as opposed to weekly, or even bi-weekly.  The biggest for me is the savings.  It also teaches you patience and learning to "make do"; the real essence of truly being thrifty.  We can be much more productive around the homestead when the bulk of our time is spent here.  There's time for games, spontaneous creativity, movie nights, baking together, and on and on.  Ultimately, I hope to use my time in the effort of food preservation, cooking ahead, pursuing my writing course, and working more on my love for photography.  Not to mention the natural health course I purchased nearly two years, yes that's YEARS, ago and never even opened yet.

We'll be learning how to over winter animals for the first time this year.  This is our first time ever, like in our whole lives, raising livestock.  We have chickens and sheep now.  Our oldest female is expecting sometime next month, and we're anxiously awaiting the new experiences a new lamb will bring to the homestead.  With the winters we've had these past two years I am a bit anxious about what caring for these critters will entail.  That's a huge change, going out side every.single.day no matter the weather.  Negative 30 can be really brutal.  Keeping them fed, watered, and sheltered will be a chore, I'm sure.  We are, however, enjoying the dynamic they being to our lives despite the work they require.  There is something to be said about raising your own food.

That brings me to the next thing I hope to achieve this winter.  Garden plans!  I managed to grow a little bit of food this year.  I did get 50+ bags of zucchini shredded up and put in the freezer, and we enjoyed the fresh cucumbers.  However, the chickens have managed to destroy the last of my cukes and are working at my tomato plants.  Jerks!  It's my fault.  I know.  All summer they left my small garden alone.  It's the old flower beds around our front porch.  That is, until I picked four zucchini and forgot to bring them in.  Seeing them laying there was just too much temptation for them to resist, apparently.  Ever since then I have been shooing them off the front porch and out of my vegetables.  UGH!

Next year we plan to have at least a few raised beds built with a fence erected around them to protect our food from the vultures, er uh chickens.  I've been drooling my way through my seed catalog and dreaming of the different things I'd like to grow next year.  I'm hoping my mom with partner with me in this project.  God blessed her with two green thumbs, and a couple of toes I think.  She plans to retire after her birthday in March.  Would be SO AWESOME to have her around more.  There are many, many things we can learn from her.  She's a work horse and would not be thwarted as easily as I when it comes to canning pickles on the hottest day of summer or braving the mosquitoes and humidity to harvest the bumper berry crop in the woods.  She has a way of keeping me moving forward.

Come to think of it, too bad she can't come over and get me motivated.  There are so many things eating at me right now.  I have not finished our school plan for this year, and we are slated to start in just a week and a half.  Then there's the housework.  I really wanted to do some deep cleaning.  My windows look like they've never been cleaned, and there are cobwebs giving birth to more cobwebs in the corners.  Oh, and the books!  I did make a lot of progress with my collection, but there is still more to be done.  How I dream of a fully cataloged library.  Key word dream!


How am I dealing with this jumbled up conglomeration of dreams, wants, and needs that keep tripping me up on my course to a peaceful and prepared start to our new school year?  Sometimes it feels like I'm not, but I know that isn't true.

I've been giving myself A LOT of grace.  We are often times more hard on ourselves than anyone else, so it is appropriate to be the first in line to cut ourselves some slack.  We shouldn't expect perfection from ourselves anymore than anyone else should.  So, why do we do that?  I am actively trying to quit using the word lazy in reference to myself.  I am not lazy.  Repeat.  I am not lazy!  I am tired, overwhelmed, pressured, and a lot of other things, but I know that I am not lazy.  That negative self talk needs to hit the highway.

I make my morning studies a priority.  I have a collection of small books and bible studies that I like to start my day out with.  It helps a great deal to put my mind in the right place before I begin my day.  When my mind is more on Christ and less on my struggles it helps my feet to be firmly planted facing the direction they should be when I step out to face what lies before me each day.  Being grounded means something totally different to me as an adult.  It's a good thing.

I lean on a friend...or two.  Good friends are a real blessing, and I am thankful to count for myself a few.  It's so nice to have at least one person that will tell you like it is; set you straight when your thinking gets skewed.  Sometimes we just need to vent, or we need to run something past someone before we can more forward, especially when it comes to the challenges of life.  I'm willing to bet that most everyone faces difficulties and trials that they never could have imagined they would in their entire life.  Having at least one good friend that you can trust to protect your heart and guard your soul is more valuable than any earthly possession we could have.  Don't be afraid to learn on someone when times are challenging.

I enlist professional, or not so professional, help.  Maybe someone comes and watches the kids so I can take a day to myself.  Maybe I seek the advice of a therapist.  Maybe I get a massage.  Maybe I hire someone to clean my home a time or two.  Maybe I hire a local teen to do garden work or help me organize.  This falls in the realm of grace as well.  Sometimes we don't want to spend our time or resources on someone's help.  Sometimes we feel we don't have time to take off to take care of ourselves.  Let me remind you of the airplane and the oxygen mask.  Enough said.

I throw out the routine and change the plans.  Well, not every day, but here and there when we need to.  Sometimes the time is just right, and I allow myself to go with the flow.  Those are the best days!  No stressing over what wasn't done.  No worrying about falling behind.  Behind what?  Exactly!  No worries, period.  Just go with it.  Those are the times that make memories and rejuvenate the soul.

Now, I am going to go finish preparing dinner.  I am not going to worry or stress over the things weighing on my shoulders.  I am going to be present in the moment, do what I can, and take life moment by moment.  I will do what I can as I am able.

No worries.


annette @ a net in time said...

I need to learn to grant myself more grace as well.

I grant it easily to others... so there should be no reason I can't grant it to myself. Thanks for the reminder to do that.

Just wanted to add...you'll need to add rabbits to that mix soon! :) Easy raisers for small homesteads. :)

Tina Smith said...

Glad this got you thinking. You're right. It's so much easier to give grace to someone else than ourselves. I'm working on it too. :)

We do have one bunny, but he's just a pet. His name is Phineus, and he lives in the house. He's pretty awesome! We may have more one day. Do you eat the ones you raise, sell them? Where do they fit in your homestead? I'd love to learn more.

Kym Thorpe said...

We live at least 20 minutes from everywhere (except our church - haha!) too, and I am reading this just as I'm about to leave for the grocery store. An extra trip - because I didn't buy enough of a few staples when I was in town earlier. Once a week grocery shopping is most realistic for me, but I do need to plan better so that I don't wind up making these extra trips! And I probably need to offer myself more grace for days like today, when I do need to make the extra trip. :-)


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