I really enjoy my time with other homesteaders. I find comfort in how much we have in common. We don’t get to see our country friends too much because we are all so darn busy but now that things are settling down we’ll possibly have time for impromptu visits. Yesterday our friend and neighbor from ten miles down the road came by to visit. He didn’t call (country friends rarely do) and I was frazzled that the house was in such disarray. We had the baby all day and I could either do dishes and clean or play with the baby. I spent too many years cleaning and doing dishes while my children grew up without me playing with them so I opted to play. She had just fallen asleep when Jim came by. We had a nice chat in the sunny living room in front of the Christmas tree and talked about the snow coming, work slowing down for both of us, the holidays, he lost his dad and how sad he was, what medicines we were making (he was one of my students), and laundry. Yes, laundry. You can tell the weather out here by the clothes lines. The day before a cold front comes in we all do our laundry so it will be dry by time the cold hits. He had a load in the washer so couldn’t stay long. I did too. We had a pleasant chat and agreed to get together for cards soon.
I am very content. Despite the cold (which we can handle and are hoping to put in another stove) we have just the life we want out here. As the new year approaches though I find myself pondering what I could do better, what more I want in my life, and how I want to improve as a person. Maybe you are too. Instead of calling these things resolutions, let’s just call them new additions (or subtractions!) from our life and make a personalized plan for success! I have started them now. No reason to wait. Write these five things down on a piece of paper and start pondering them now. They can be easily implemented throughout the next year and help you become your best self.
1. Learn Something New
What would you like to learn in the new year? Let’s not forget that learning goes on our whole lives and that learning new things is great for the brain, the body, and spirit. I wanted to learn how to learn how to ride horses. Now, I have rode dozens of horses on trails that the horse knew by heart and they were already saddled up and ready to go for fifty dollars an hour. Or friend and family’s horses that were in a ring, and again, already to go. I put out on social media that I would like to learn how to ride horses and was willing to barter for lessons. I expected to learn western riding. I would love to get a horse or two in the future (the sooner the better!) and expect to be riding western style. But when one of my friends and past students offered me English riding lessons, I took it. She already knows how to make medicines so I bartered for my husband. His expertise anyway. I let him know he was helping her design a facebook and website for her upcoming business. He is a good sport.
You can find someone to teach you virtually anything and folks are happy to share what they know. You will easily be able to barter or find inexpensive classes. Or splurge and take up tap lessons or go to drawing school. Just learn something new.
What skill would you like to learn?
2. Take Care of Your Body
We can all do the things we love a lot easier if we feel good. Identifying and implementing what we need to feel our best is very important and shouldn’t be put off! We all have different needs and cannot just blindly follow the latest fad or phase. For me, I need to change the way I eat. A year ago, after twenty plus years of being a vegetarian, I decided to start eating meat again. The prairie lifestyle and the organic farms around me, not to mention being out of things to cook, inspired me to try it. It would be a more self sufficient way to eat as well since I could easily pack my freezers with friends’ harvests. In one year, I became depressed, my face showed more wear and tear, my stomach always hurt, I had heartburn every night for the first time in my life, and I was lethargic and tired all the time. My husband wasn’t faring much better. His acid reflux came back, chronic congestion, and breathing issues ensued. He gained weight and was also tired all the time. Enough was enough. I sold every bit of meat in the refrigerator. We are starting our mornings with a quart of green smoothies filled with spinach, aloe vera, frozen berries and rhubarb packed away earlier in the season. Apples, also from Aunt Donna’s, and bananas, pumpkin, spices, anything else I can find filled with antioxidants goes into the fabulous Vitamix and is already infusing our bodies with more nutrients than we have had for a long time. The hole in my stomach is healing and I can sleep now. All digestive ailments have gone away. Doug is detoxing pretty harshly but will feel better soon.
Instead of buying veggie meats (I was trying to get away from them because they have so many GMO’s in them and are owned by the big companies) I am experimenting with more ethnic foods. Dal, Curries, Mexican food, all different cuisines from other countries that don’t eat a lot of meat or have a wide variety of beans, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices. We are still eating and enjoying fish. Not only will be getting healthier again but I have opened up a whole other world of delicious recipes and foods. I will start checking out a different cookbook each week from the library. I can also grow most of these foods. I will increase my bean and lentil crops this year and pack in as many vegetables into my new garden as possible!
How will you make your body work better?
3. Take Care of Emotions
Our bodies are made up of emotions, spirit, and physical and they all need to be working well because they effect the rest of the systems. I avoid the news like the plague. No news is good news. But social media bothers me as well. I enjoy getting onto Facebook and seeing what my friends are up to or seeing pictures of my kids and granddaughter, but then there comes a point where I have to stop. Folks posting pictures of abused and neglected animals out in the snow, and posts of what Monsanto is doing, and what our government is doing, or complaints about various ailments, and this and that, I just can’t take it all in and process it without feeling saddened. Check it in the mornings while I am writing and returning emails then leave it.
How will you seek emotional health?
4. Take Care of Spirit
I love church, I really do. I find myself making it way too difficult. I do not like legalistic and superior feeling folks. I love the Catholic church, but stupid as it sounds, I cannot get down the new prayers and sayings and need to get the new booklet on the changes. I yell out the wrong thing. I also would need to meet all new people. I just want to go, sit in the back, and pray. I don’t want to be a part of a community. I am always disappointed in church communities when I do. I know I am expecting too much. I love the gathering every other Sunday downtown with my American Indian friends called Talking Circle. It is two hours from my house though. We pick up the baby at 11. So I don’t have time (so I say) to go to any of them! Excuses, excuses. What do I want? Go to Saturday evening mass, pick up the baby early and drive to Denver and go to Talking Circle and make a day in the city of it, or just go for a long walk and pray. There are many ways to connect to the Creator. Put it on my schedule and do it.
5. List What Makes You Happy
These are the things we need to do more of. We so often say at the beginning of the year, no more of this! No more of that! Change this! Change that! How about add this and that? It will make all the difference. For me, I love being home more. I do not like running errands and driving all over all the time. We have one more week of craft shows. I love just staying at home and working on my homestead. I love taking walks and being in nature. I love writing. I love reading magazines on the porch. I love being around my kids and around sweet Maryjane Rose. These are the types of things I should do more of.
Now write down yours!
From our farm to yours…wishing you a beautiful and prosperous year to come filled with good health and joy and many, many great memories! Feel free to respond with your goals for the new year. Let’s not wait until the 1st to feel great!
4 Comments Add yours
Hmmm … you wanted to learn to ride western style, but someone taught you English riding. I didn’t know you could ride with an accent. Chinese style would probably be difficult to learn. While I was still pondering that one, I discover that to obtain the lessons, you bartered for your husband. I’m not certain that’s legal. But I’m sure it’s made you very popular among the prairie wives. Did Doug know what “homesteading” meant when you took him out there?
I read further down and came to this: “I love the Catholic church, but stupid as it sounds, I cannot get down the new prayers and sayings and need to get the new booklet on the changes. I yell out the wrong thing.” Don’t worry about it. I frequently yell out the wrong thing at church, too.
I hope you’re having a lovely day out on your homestead. I always enjoy it when I’m able to have my morning coffee while reading one of your articles. It starts my day out just right.
Oh I am mad that we aren’t having lunch today! You are so funny. You really should have been a comedian. Good thing you are a writer!
I LOVE your “out of the box” thoughts on New additions/subtractions. Will have to try out them for myself as well as be more connected with people on a person to person level and not so much a “technical” level ie: Facebook message or texting someone to write, “hi.”. Just need to write a personal letter or pick up the phone to hear their voices or meet them face to face. Girl!! You are inspiration!!
Thank you, Liza. You really brighten my day with your comments and support. 🙂 (and thanks for the firewood!)