Reflections on 2008, Resolutions for 2009: "All Things Needful"

"But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."--Luke 10:42

Every year, it seems like the mad rush that takes place from November 26 to December 31 makes me overlook the fact that a year is ending. This year, thankfully, has been different. Our two weeks of snow coupled with a change in my assenting to the "mad rush syndrome" has offered me some real time to think back and reflect on God's goodness to us in 2008. This post takes a look back at the changes we've made in our lives this year (some voluntarily, some not!) and my goals to continually hone in all "All Things Needful" as a mother, a wife, and a Thrifty Oreganic!

This morning I awoke peacefully (I'm still away visiting my sister, thus the leisurely wake-up opportunity!) and realized that we are coming to the end of a big year. A lot has happened in the life of my family as well as our nation! At first I sort of cynically asked myself "Did you even accomplish anything this year?"

As I openly waited for the answer to come from within, I realized that yes, there were some significant accomplishments this year. Major challenges have been, if not overcome, at least met with grace and courage.

Major Challenge #1 of 2008: Husband's Job: Earlier this year, God faithfully lead my husband out of a very challenging job situation. He provided my husband with a job with higher pay and better benefits, and that job just happened to be walking distance from our home! The list of pluses was very long, including the fact that we have been able to do fine with one car (we downsized back in 2007 and I don't think we've looked back since!) but there was just one big negative: this job had a huge learning curve. While many blessings have come from this job, the major obstacle has not yet been removed.

Goal #1 for 2009: To be a better support for my husband through his hard, stressful days, and to continue to cut back on our overall household expenses in hope that some day, he will feel free to take a job that is less demanding and he won't feel enslaved to the corporate rat race.

Action Steps: Ways I can accomplish this goal:

1. Listen, without judgement when he talks about his day. Be empathetic instead of always so solutions-oriented. (i.e. "Well, why don't you just.......?")

2. Spend less money. I'm not a lavish spender. I never buy myself or the kids new clothes (and by "new", I mean, "new to me") or toys. We have been blessed by more gifts and hand-me-downs than I could ever use! I don't even spend much on unnecessary food, we rarely go out to eat..... but nevertheless, the food (and herbal medicines) I feel that we need to nourish our family is sometimes expensive, even without all the boxed, processed junk.

How will I do this?

A) I've been inspired by Shannon's blog to have "No Spend Months" throughout the year.

B) My goal is to continue to be ever more austere in meal planning. For example, I have a freezer FULL of meat that I purchased last summer and am thankful to say that my freezer is still FULL because I've been able to use that meat sparingly and make the meat I do use stretch for 3 or 4 meals.

C) In an effort to save money on fresh, organic produce, I am going to have a garden again this year. My 2008 garden wasn't a huge smash of a success, but it was my start at gardening and there was definitely a harvest. I learned a lot from the experience and now I'm armed with more knowledge than before, and will begin planning NOW (whereas last year it was sort of an afterthought that I put in too late!)

I plan to create a Square Foot Garden in our community plot and am excited to chronicle its success (I'm being positive, aren't I?) on this blog. I've learned that with a minimum expense initially, I can grow enough food for my family and have some extra to preserve.

D) In that vein, I'm also striving to be more creative about reusing old things and making them functional and useful. This is called "upcycling" and I've been VERY inspired by my dear friend Michele at Frugal Granola who creatively reuses old items in very functional and beautiful ways. Therefore, I'm going to be doing more knitting, crocheting, and sewing (and will not be buying ANY new fabric, only using what I have stashed over the years) to make gifts for my family and for others. I will share any of my success in that arena on the blog as well.

Major challenge #2 of 2008: Daughter's health: If you've been following this blog, you know a little about my dear daughter's health. Using the GAPS diet, God graciously provided much-needed healing for my daughter's constant tummy aches. Through Gaps, God lead us to a new insight about her health. She was recently diagnosed with an attachment disorder due to perinatal neurological damage and her traumatic birth. back in 2005. It's a long, complicated story, and I might at some point blog more about it, but for now, I'll leave it at that. An Attachment Disorder is highly ironic considering how much I do in the arena of attachment parenting, but neurological damage is neurological damage. Thankfully, God has lead us to a program of healing called Neurodevelopmental Retraining .

Goal#2 for 2009: To carve out specific one-on-one time with each child. For Kirsten, this means doing play therapy (she loves intricate stories we make up through playing dolls) and working on her neurodevelopmental program which includes creeping and belly crawling and other floor pattern exercises which work to reconnect neurons in her pons brain that were damaged during gestation and birth. Our amazing daughter is a miracle, and a blessing. I want to keep a positive attitude and remember that her behavior, when it's out of control, has a neurological component that isn't always "her fault". Although I know that brings up some complicated child-rearing philosophies that I don't want to go into right now, but suffice to say, my goal is to continue to show my children unconditional love and joy in all that I do for them and with them.

For Jonathan, this means patiently allowing him to "help" in the kitchen (even when it seems inconvenient) as well as reading more with him (he's so NOT demanding that sometimes it's easy to take advantage of him mellowness!) and trying to integrate my two children's interests together so we can all play (i.e. dolls and cars!) My boy is such a gift from God, so peaceful, so loving, so helpful. He's so much like his patron saint, John the Apostle! He loves nothing more than to be at my side in the kitchen helping. A future thrifty oreganic? I hope so!

Wow, that's a long post with a lot of info. I guess my last goal is a personal one. I have taken the resolution to read Scripture every day. I am going to try to read through the Bible in One Year with a daily reading each day. My goal is to do this before I get on the computer to blog each night!

May God continue to fill us with His goodness and inspire us toward a life of simplicity so that we may bless all those around us, and bring peace to the world!

For more inspiring resolutions, please visit one of my favorite blogs, The Nourishing Gourmet!


Helenrr said...

Wow, Carrie, that was a really good post. Thoughtful too...
I am going to start thinking about things since you have inspired me too, I am finding life much too busy, but will find a moment or two to do so.
Lets support each other in the goal of reading the bible. A while back I went to a conference and attended Jeff Cavins workshop on reading the bible. As well, I bought his DVD set and book package. Of course, I did not get very far...sigh. However I think this would be a good thing for Pat and I to do together.
I hope Christy doing well (say hello to Daniel and her) and am excited to say the least! How blessed to have a sister along for the ride :)
God Bless,
Aunt Helen

Mimi said...

Beautiful. Happy New Year to you!

Jennifer said...

I love how you've laid out how you plan on reaching your 2009 goals. Most people don't do that. They just say, "I'm going to be a better wife," but don't sit down and come up with ideas on how to actually reach that goal.

Good on ya. God bless, and Happy 2009.

Christina said...

Excellent post. You have big goals, but they are about the most important things in your life (you have managed to incorporate it all in three goals... wow).
a long time ago an orthodox priest gave me a read the orthodox bible in a year sheet with dates, etc. on it. he did it himself. it includes all the Orthodox books of the Bible. I can give you a copy of it if you would like. Or I can put it all up on a blog:) I will definitely get you a copy if I don't set up a blog! May God bless you in the New Year!

Susan Sophia said...

Thank you for sharing!

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Have a blessed new Year.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I should adopt one of your goals for myself -- "Carve out specific one-on-one time for each child."

Blessings to you in the New Year!

vehementflame said...

I'll be praying that you achieve your goals. I share your goal of reading scripture daily and spending less.I love your ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Kristen said...

Carrie your goals are so nice; I liked reading how you want to be more supportive of your husband as he works through tough days - I need to remember to be there and supportive for my man too. Luck with all your goals this year!