new year

“Just Wing It”—My Word for the New Year

I don’t make new year’s eve resolutions . . . ever. They don’t work. I think we do these things to make ourselves feel better, but then we end up feeling worse. What I do practice, however, is the New Year’s “word”. For years now, I’ve chosen a word that I wanted to focus on or that I felt would be a resemblance of the new year to come. And every year it has played out exactly as it should.

So it’s no different for the coming 2019 year. Except, it is.

This year I’m not choosing a word. Instead, I’m choosing a phrase. And what is that phrase, you ask?

Just wing it.

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My 2017 New Year Goals for Homestead &Life

Last year’s goals were pretty awesome. I honestly didn’t have too many goals for last year. And all but 2 or 3 of them, I accomplished. I like to set realistic goals for myself, and then a few crazy ones just to make it fun.
I don’t do the whole “lose 30 lbs” resolution and such. Each year, my goal is to become a healthier version of myself. And each year, I slowly accomplish that. And that’s good enough for me!
But what I do like to do is set goals—homestead goals, professional goals, and personal goals. All of them, ultimately, go hand in hand, after all.
This new year is a year of shift. I can feel it. And typically, in years of “shift”, chaos precedes it. The year 2016 started off grand, but very quickly began to spiral out of control for me. My job switched around a lot, my time was wasted on certain issues and people, my health was a little wonky, I lost friends (or who I thought were friends), but I gained even better ones, and my emotions ran high this year, big time.
It’s the cycle of life. Every few years we all go through these cycles, and it’s because we’re growing. Often, in order to grow, you have to leave the “dead” behind so that you can take on the new.
New job. New friends. New projects. New interactions. New travel. New adventures. New new new.

It’s not a bad thing. In life, I’ve learned to embrace it instead of pity myself because of it. When we realize that dead things must go before new things can grow, we are more thankful for the trying times in our lives.

So, what are my goals for 2017? They are pretty simple and straight forward. But I know this year will be a time shifting year for me. I really need to prioritize my time. I find that I fill my time with things or conversations that are of little use to my ultimate goal this year. I find that I get distracted on my cell phone, or run here and there without accomplishing much—social media and text messages are the enemy. This year, I’m getting rid of that, I hope.

I’ll split out my goals in two different sections—homesteading and personal. This is a little different than last year’s post, but not anything different for previous years. For some reason, last year I didn’t make too many personal life goals, which allowed me to become stagnant in who I had become from the year before. This year, that’s changing.

So, without further ado, here are my homestead and life goals for 2017….in no particular order.

Expand Our Homestead

We’re expanding this year—the garden, the quail, JR wants rabbits again, and we’re hatching more chickens. And maybe, just maybe, this may be the year where we say “let’s buy some land and put a house on it.” But, we’ll see.


Keep a Record of Cost Analysis and More

Yeah, I suck at record keeping. Let’s just be real here. However, I came across these incredible printables from Reformation Acres. You can see them here. These printables will helps us keep track of yield, harvest, preservation, egg laying, feed costs, meat production, expansion and sales. Talk about organization. This will allow us to really dive into where the bulk of our money goes, and maybe we’ll be able to cut costs as well.

Expand My Holistic Knowledge of Herbs & Essential Oils

This has been on my list for the past few years now. I love herbs, and you can read all about my essential oils here. But this year, I’d really like to get serious about possibly getting a certificate in herbalism or aromatherapy so that I can help people more and gain more knowledge myself.

Live More Intently

This is big on my list this year. I feel that I waste a lot of time. It causes me to become overwhelmed, moody, depressed, oppressed, overly tired, and angry. If nothing more in the year of 2016, I have learned that I was not created to be someone who just lives life. I must live with intent. I must have a purpose. I do have a purpose, and I must never forget that the purpose isn’t about me, but about Him. About an almighty savior. Jesus.
Living more intently looks a lot like putting my cell phone down during the day. It looks like spending only one day per week on my computer, or limiting screen time for myself. It means focusing on my family, bettering myself, and making conscious decisions about minute details every single day. It means paying attention to those who really need me, instead of pouring into those who are a drain. It means making better decisions based on my health, rather than just grabbing that bag of chips off the shelf because it’s easier than making a meal. I want to intently make my lunch, the way I intently prepare dinner for my family. I want to intently pour into others the breath of God, rather than mindless ramblings from my own brain.

Become More Organized

I am not an organized person. Hence, the “become more organized” life goal this year. That could go along with the “homestead management” and “live more intently” goals as well. Clearly, 2017 needs to be my year of organization and time management, especially now that I’m planning a large homesteading conference.
The reality is that work and projects are all distractions. I think back about the Proverbs 31 woman, and how her household was taken care of before she began working on other things. Her children and husband were fed, even her servants! Her home was cleaned and tidied, and she made sure her home was in order before setting out on her day. Is that really unrealistic? I don’t think it is. In fact, I know it’s not, because I personally know women who literally live in homes that are exactly this way. I used to judge them and make fun of them, as if they had no life at all. But in reality, I did that because I longed to be like them.
I find more often than not, that I spend more time thinking about cleaning my house than actually cleaning my house. I need to clean my house better. I find that I spend more time on work projects that could be better streamlined than paying attention to the things needed inside my home. It causes us all to be grumpy. My kid acts out. My husband gets annoyed. I get annoyed. It goes downhill from there…
It’s not one of those situations where “everyone is lazy and it’s all on mom”. No. The reality is that mom just sucks at time management and needs to streamline the process better instead of expecting her very hard and labor intensive working husband to have to help her when he gets home. My husband works his butt off to provide for our family every single day, allowing me to be home (though partially working from home), the least I could do is have a clean floor for him, clothes put away, and dinner on the table when he comes home.
Growing my blog, social media, youtube channel, and other things can wait.
How does that begin? That begins with organization. I want my house to be un-cluttered and free. I want this to be an open and safe space for my family. It is extremely hard not to have clutter in a very small home, but it isn’t impossible. I would venture to say that this is probably my biggest goal in 2017—my biggest task.

Be More Conscious of My Words

I got very comfortable with a handful of people in 2016. When you open yourself up to the world, it is bound to happen. I found myself trusting people more than normal. I found that I got comfortable in freely allowing words to flow out of my mouth before tasting them around these people. Or, before wondering if those people could turn my own words against me—twisting them in ways I could have never imagined. In real life, this is what happens. We become so comfortable with people, that we show no restraint for the things we say or do—be it friends, family, co-workers, or within your own household. News flash—your words are your words….not anyone elses.

The year 2016 proved to me just how precious and yet vindictive words can be. Jealous, bitter, and angry people roam this earth. We must never be caught off guard and fall into the snares that could entrap us into being someone we don’t want to be, no matter how well we may get along with someone temporarily. People who go back and forth between the same friends over and over again, and then toss them to the side until they are ready for them again, are people you need to stay away from.

If someone brings out the worst in you, chalk it up to a lesson learned—about yourself, and about them. Better yourself, and move on. You’re not in charge of them.

I also learned that people will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat, and that they will do everything within their power to tarnish your character to others, rather than worrying that their own ugly is showing in the process. This year, I learned that God sorts it out, you need only be silent. Apologize if necessary, and then, move on. Never look back.
I am constantly training my child, every single day, to choose his words and actions wisely. It is a never ending training process, because he so easily gets involved with his emotions. But he’s not much different than most adults. We are constantly learning, constantly training, and we must constantly be aware of our words. They cannot be tossed around like confetti.

Pray More Often

I often share my struggles with others online without going into too much detail in hopes to help others who are struggling through the same thing. But believe it or not, there are quite a lot of things I struggle with that I wish not to blast on social media because, quite honestly, they don’t concern any of you, nor should they. I truly believe that my husband and I made it through the first 5 years of our marriage simply based on the fact that we didn’t air out our dirty laundry on social media, to our families, or to our friends. And trust me, we had a lot of dirty laundry that no one will ever know about. Why? Because it tarnishes peoples ideas of who they want to define us as. People define other people on their past often, rather than looking at how far they have come to the here and now.

Here we are, almost 11 years later, two completely different people who are thriving in marriage more days than not. Though we have hard days sometimes, like everyone else, but over very minute issues.

One evening this week, I was struggling with a personal matter. As I sat on my bed, I didn’t know if I wanted to cry or be angry or lash out. I had all of these motions—I need to correct this person, I said to myself. They didn’t realize how much they had hurt someone else. They didn’t realize how unacceptable their behavior had been. They didn’t realize how harsh the words were that they spoke in the presence of this person. I was livid! And yet all these emotions, my goodness, all of them.

I sat in silence, closed my eyes, and in the midst of the chaos I silently “heard”, but you are not their Holy Spirit.

Whoa. Wowza. Ouch. Bing. Heard ya. Loud and mightily clear, God. I got it.

Often, when I am at my worst, it is when I see God more abundantly in my life. I often like to talk about living a holy life, but more often than not, I myself forget to pray. It is a dangerous place to be in.

That night, I began to pray. The following day, I saw God take hold of these two people in a way I had never witnessed before, and I cried. Their journey is not over. Their harsh words echoed but it did not shake them. They apologized and learned from their mistakes. It doesn’t mean they won’t ever make the mistakes again, but they are consciously aware, because they were graciously convicted in the night. Me? I tossed and turned all night long wondering how I could open my big mouth and make things better.

There I go again with my big mouth.

When really, all God wanted me to do was pray.

I am not God. I am not someone’s Holy Spirit. I cannot make others see His ways or become convicted, nor should I ever try to.

Pray. Pray more often. That’s a good goal any year.

…and last, but certainly not least…

Glorify God in Everything I Do

This seems like something we should be doing on a regular basis, right? But it’s often not.

Glorify Him in the hard times, the good times, the dirty times, when you’re gardening, when you’re cleaning out chicken coops, when your kid is sick, when you’re angry, when you’re sad….

Glorify God.

When I began blogging over 10 years ago, people often would comment to me, “oh, you’re going to be famous, you just wait.” They did the same thing when I began writing songs (which is just a hobby). I constantly heard as a teenager, “you’re going to make it big one day.” And others went as far as “prophesying” when I would cut my first album. I laughed at it then, and I laugh at it now. I said it then, and I’ll say it now—I have no desire to be famous. If I did, I would have committed to being on the 3 tv shows we’ve been contacted for by now. Sorry, it’s just not me. If God brings me to it, then I want to know that it is for His glory, not my own, or anyone elses for that matter.

Now that I have some sort of following online—that means you, the one reading this—people seem to think that I may act differently than before. Or maybe I think more highly of myself. I assure you, I still have my outbursts of anger. I may cuss like a sailor when you piss me off bad enough. And I could really use Jesus a little more each day. If anything has changed, it is that I have more confidence in my ability to live this life. My outlook on life has never changed. However, they’re right, I’m not the same person.

I am fierce. I am adventurous with writing and helping others. I am ambitious on the journey of natural healthcare and living a better lifestyle. I am courageous in standing up for what I believe in. And I am flawed like every other person in this world. If this makes me some kind of monster, then by all means, cast the first stone. But let me remind you, that the only difference between new me, and old me, is that I am now courageous enough to put my life on display for all to see—the successes and the failures—in hopes that my stories will help every other average day wife, mom, woman, and homesteader in this world.

More importantly, however,  I want to glorify God in every single detail of my life.

I was speaking with someone about the time and effort I’ve put into this upcoming homesteading conference. He asked me if he could interview me about it, and I said sure. But the next thing that came out of my mouth was this — …at no point do I want to bring glory to myself in any way. I truly want to bring glory to Him and the benefit of the organization in the long run. While I know that requires I tread lightly (I want to appeal to all homesteaders whether they are Christian or not), I think, ultimately, people know where I stand.

I stopped dead in my tracks and thought to myself, this is a new year goal I need to make. To consciously and intently make sure I am bringing glory to Him in all things, in all works, in all deeds.

I cannot please everyone. Nor will I ever try to. But I can be more conscious of whether or not my post could be seen as self-glorification, or God glorification. Ultimately, there will always be those people who think you talk about yourself too much, or who think you’re a selfish know it all. We all have those people in our lives. But that’s another portion of glorifying God in everything you do—let the distractions fall to the wayside, never taking your sight off of the main goal in life….to glorify Jesus and speak truth and life into those who surround you.

I’ve made some pretty hefty goals for my life this year. The homesteading portion of it seems easy compared to the life portion of it. But that’s just how some years go.

I wish you joy, happiness, love, blessing, and prosperity in the new year. I pray you see the beauty in every single little detail around you. I pray you see how much others truly love you. And I hope that you’ll realize that life is far too short to be bothered with the distractions and chaos.

Here’s to a brand new year—Happy 2017.

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