Thoughts on 2017

The beginning of a new year naturally triggers introspection and reevaluation. I’ve approached this in many different ways over the years. Formal resolutions, S.M.A.R.T. goals, informal resolutions, sorta-kinda wishes. I like the path I’m walking on currently. There’s not an existential desire to step off the path and blaze one in a new direction. What there is in my mind today is a desire to reflect on the path and balance out a few things.

Balance will be one of my mantras in 2017. I like where I’m at individually with Maria, the kids as a father, the kids as a teacher, the homestead, but I feel like these are too often disparate arenas of my life, not a cohesive hole. Priorities juggle, time spent on each comes and goes in fits and starts. I want to blend my life better.

While on the path I also need to open my spiritual senses better, understand my faith as it stands, as I wish it to be. I’m comfortable saying that I believe in a god, that I pray, that it is a personal relationship. There is a spiritual presence that has walked with me for many, many years. A presence, a voice much like conscience but which does not feel wholly internal. I’ve long struggled to interpret it and think all of my interpretations have so far been mistaken. It is what it is. I am who I am. God is, whatever it is. I’ve talked in other posts about forms of magic, about ways the divine clearly (to me) emanates in the physical world.

There is no need to have answers on this by the end of 2017. Indeed, one of the best things about spirituality is the need to accept mystery. The restraint to keep it at that rather than formalize and sterilize into ritual and doctrine.

Simply, I want to be a better person. We should all wish this, each and every year we journey on the earth. For me, part of becoming better is cultivating this spirituality. Make it a part of my every day life instead of something I’ve partitioned off and only occasionally remembered to re-examine. I’ll likely write more about this through the year but I think that is enough for today.

A few of my favorite pictures from 2016 (in no particular order):

First baby rabbits born!

First baby rabbits born!

First homegrown egg

First homegrown egg

Posing one of our first rabbits.

Posing one of our first rabbits.

A look at our crazy urban homestead early in the summer.

A look at our crazy urban homestead early in the summer.

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The day I finished the chicken run, though it's seen a lot of changes since.

The day I finished the chicken run, though it’s seen a lot of changes since.

Last day at the rural garden before everything froze and snowed. Excited to see what this will yield in 2017

Last day at the rural garden before everything froze and snowed. Excited to see what this will yield in 2017

Spreading compost with the kids in March.

Spreading compost with the kids in March.

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Resilience

30 years ago today I came into the world.

I nearly died in my first two weeks.

Later on, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Albeit mild, the prenatal damage to my brain was enough to nearly paralyze an entire side of my body.

But life finds a way. One of my older brothers worked with me to teach me how to walk. A doctor recommended Tae Kwon Do to improve balance and coordination. My brain slowly rewired itself.

And now, in 2014, I’ve biked 3,000 miles already this year.

Never give up.


Budget Depression

sandSometimes you get ahead of yourself. Sometimes the unexpected shows up and thrashes you. Sometimes you just plain dropped the ball.

When you’re a homemaker, it’s up to you to hit the numbers. I’ll be honest, running an ERE-oriented household gives me a set of metrics far more demanding than any corporate mandated bullshit. And some months I just plain suck at it.

To stick within our grocery budget for the remainder of July, I’m going to have to get really creative, but I want to. Badly. My love affair with ethical and locally sourced food is great. I’m passionate about it. But it’s very, very easy to get ahead of where our finances are right now. Ditto canning and preserving.

With another year of experience, maybe I’ll be able to know the flow of the seasons better and plan accordingly. But I can’t keep blowing past our budget limit – it makes me feel like I’m doing a crappy job running our household.

So the next few weeks I may do some refactoring. Look at where I can still buy the ethical animal products, but use less of it. Eat differently. Still hit my own demanding numbers.

Then again, the goblins are growing. Especially since we use bikes as a major source of transportation, we all need more calories. So maybe the plan itself is flawed. But I won’t know until I try.