Friday, January 02, 2009

Looking Forward, Looking Back

This week I had every day off work. On Monday we went to the dentist at the same time I'd pick up the kids, so that didn't feel much like a day off, but every day since has been pretty glorious. I've been working on organizing the basement, and while I am not 100% finished, I am very nearly there. Just a few more boxes of crap to sort through, one enormous keyboard to move, and we're home free. Next I'll move on to the office. I wish I had next week off, too. And the week after that. Actually, I wish I didn't have to work at all. I love what I do, and I love each and every one of my kids dearly, but it has been blissful to be at home most of the day, getting things done. I've been doing the dishes daily. This is unheard of in normal life.

But normal life is what I've got most of the time, so I'm going to roll with it, right into 2009. I don't generally make resolutions because I feel like they are things that I might wish I would do but would never follow through on. I do, however, make goals. This year's goals are not dissimilar from last year's goals, though I guess there is a difference in that I made many of 2008's goals as the year progressed, whereas this year I have a firm grasp on what I'd like to accomplish, or rather, what I'd like to continue toward accomplishing.

2008 marked the first year that we were really conscious about what we eat and where it came from. Whereas in the past I had rules like "no high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, or MSG," over the past year I've become more purposeful about where and from whom my food is purchased. I got started a little late with the farmer's market, but managed to get quite a few things set aside and frozen. My garden yield wasn't as good as I'd hoped, but still I was able to freeze some from that as well, not to mention making some tasty dishes when things bore fruit. I also got a better handle on purchasing items in bulk. I can get better ingredients for the same price as conventional ones simply by scooping it out of a bin myself. In 2009, I'd like to do a better job of judging how much food we can grow, what we need to purchase, and what we will use in a given amount of time. By winter's end, when the farmer's market resumes again, I'll be able to evaluate what is left in my freezer, as well as make note of what ran out before I was ready. I am also on a quest to waste less food. While it's fabulous that we can compost what ends up growing fur in our fridge, I think it's better to actually eat it.

One of the things I've been really proud of is that we have managed our budget better than ever this past year. Even when unexpected things come up, we generally have enough fluid income to cover those expenses. There have been times we have done without some things or stayed home when we would have liked to go out, but in the end we were able to pay for everything up front. Going into 2009, I'd like to continue to work on our budget, living more on less. I know that there are many things that we have purchased in the past year that we either didn't use or that were unnecessary. I'd like to continue to discipline myself to cut out those things, not denying every small luxury, but recognizing how blessed we already are, how little we still need.

Finally, I'd like to continue organizing our house. We've made solid progress in many ways, but there's still plenty left to do. Since we returned from our honeymoon in September 2007, we've made great strides and cleared out a lot of areas. In 2009, my goal is for everything we own to have a designated spot in our home. What doesn't fit, I'd like to eliminate, and what we haven't used within the past year and a half I'd like to pass on to someone who will. This is probably the tallest order of the bunch, as there's a specific goal. I'll let you know how it goes.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope that 2009 brings good times and good lessons, and that your good hearts will be filled with peace.

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