I typically don't make resolutions on New Years. Everyone always talks about how theirs fail in the first month and that was my experience in my younger years, too. I'd make some outrageous resolution like, "I swear I'll get all my homework done before 7pm every night" or "I will stop cussing" and it just never happened more than a couple weeks. I haven't made a real resolution in years, but last year we did say we'd like to eat healthier in 2009 than we did in 2008. That was easy enough and we made the switch to a lot of organics that were just as convenient as some of the other stuff we used to buy--the kids love Kashi fruit and cereal bars, I always buy milk made from cows without the use of hormones, etc. We did start to fall off the wagon toward the end of the year because I was just so darned tired from being pregnant, (what a joke, right?! Just when we need to be eating the healthiest we're too exhausted to cook anything!), but we're hopping back on.
And I've discovered that's the trick. So many times we're so hard on ourselves. We fall off the wagon for a month and eat a lot of frozen pizza and sugary cereals or cuss more than we had wanted to or don't do a couple worksheets and we throw our hands in the air and say, "FORGET IT! I don't know why I try." Well...a little bit of self-forgiveness goes a long way. Christ has taught me more about forgiveness this year and so I'm starting to learn to also forgive myself. STRIVE to be better, but understand that I am human and will fail sometimes and that's okay, as long as I dust myself off and try again. My mom used to always say, "if at first you don't succeed, try try again." So true.
So this year, God has led us in an interesting direction. He's showing us what He wants our lives to look like and it's EXCITING! I won't go into huge detail, because I'm not sure what all this will entail or how long it will take...I'm leaving the details up to Him...but I'll go over it briefly.
We feel like retirement is backwards. For the past 5 years Allan has been in school and we've moved across the country 2x in 6 years and we've pretty much been free to do as we please. His schedule was pretty lax save for 1 semester and the kids always had both of us for special events and we could travel when money allowed, because we had the *time.* He was, after all, retired. Now that he has a job it's not like that. Why do we all bust our butts while our kids are growing up so that they can have *things* and then retire when they leave? Wouldn't they be happier with a little less money so they can have our *time*? I realize that some people don't have the options we do...most people didn't retire at age 32. Most people can't survive on one income. Most people do not feel led to spend their time at home with their children. That's okay. We've already come to the realization we're not "most people." We're the weirdos.
So here's what God has had us mulling over for the last 6 months...what if Allan stayed retired? Since we DO have the option to stay home, shouldn't we take it? No, we won't drive fancy cars or be upgrading our house, but we'll have enough love and time for all the kids while it's really important. Furthermore, He's had us looking into buying some land and becoming homesteaders. Yes...this would tie us down. It would be a lot of HARD work. It wouldn't be fun most times, but it would be so rewarding and so purposeful. We've been so convicted through reading The Word and through various events that have taken place in this country this year and through just being fed up with the things this world calls "good." We want to be set apart from the world and do God's work. There are some details I'm leaving out, but like I said, I'm leaving those to the Lord to iron out.
So for the next year we'll be on a journey to make this happen. If it's God's will we'll meet resistance because satan just loves to put up road blocks and make us think God doesn't really want us to do that. If it isn't really God's will, then we'll ask Him to make that abundantly clear during our prayer times. After all that has happened in the last 6 months, though, we're pretty sure it is.
So we'll take you on our journey with us. We've already taken 3 steps to being more self-sufficient/natural.
The first step was getting ducks. We get 2 eggs per day from those ducks and have only bought 1 dozen eggs from the store since June.
The second step was making a resolution to eat more naturally. We're not upping our food budget, but we are committing ourselves to not eating out very much, (maybe 2x/mo) and to shopping for more natural/organic foods. I'm making meal plans and basing my grocery list on that. I am eager to get better at this, because I'm not fond of paying 17.27 for 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. I'm looking into local farms to get our meat from.
The third is we finally got our recycling bins. Yes, most of you are shocked to hear we haven't been recycling, (I collected paper at home to take to school when I was a kid so it could be recycled instead of thrown out...I'm really pretty crunchy at heart), but it's such a PAIN down here. We have to get orange bags from the utility company and then they only collect 1x/mo. Too bad, no more excuses! We have 3 bins in our kitchen now and have been working on cutting down our footprint at the local dump.
I am really looking forward to the changes God is asking us to make. It will be scary sometimes, but mostly it's going to be glorious to be more in His will. And if we fall off the wagon here and again, we'll just stand up, dust ourselves off and hop back on. We know He'll be cheering us on ;)