I can’t say I fully managed to find the deep Christmas joy this year after searching for it HERE. But I did have genuine snippets of joy, periods of contentment and laughter. Sometimes that's the best we can manage.
Gingerbread house making - a family tradition.
We had a wonderful time at a couple of carols with dear friends, made our gingerbread house, did the present thing. The kids had a special Christmas day with extended family kayaking on the lake. It was beautiful to watch and have a paddle about with them. We played new board games, drank cold refreshing drinks and listened to the wind and the rain on the little old caravan roof.
The old van on christmas night....All is quiet, everyone sleeping, no one stirs not even a mouse!
a boxing day midday nap!
But I am glad to be home. The boys are playing with new games, Lego, books and toys. There are tea parties, puppets, and building being done. This afternoon the tree will be neatly packed away, freeing up much needed space in the little old cottage. I am glad to be facing a new season. One filled with hope, rest, contentment and hopefully a slower pace.
Now that Christmas has been and gone I find myself pondering next year. What goals to set? What can we work on? What have we done this year to survive that doesn't fit in with our "why"? what can we alter next year to bring in a deeper sense of contentment and free up tension and time?
As I was wrapping our Christmas presents I discovered amongst the bundle of books I had ordered from the book depository/fishpond a book I had bought myself and completely forgotten about. What a timly find!
The month by month layout of this book is just perfect. So this book will be my "guide" if you will, to help me stay on track as we take stage two of renovations at the little old cottage and try and bring our life back to a slower simpler pace then we were able to manage over the past year.
I have been pondering a great deal about our "why".
What does the life we want to live look like?
Why are these things important to us?
Why are we making the choices we are?
Why are we not doing some of the things we want too?
My why statement is simple enough.
I want our lives to reflect the love and grace we have been given through Christ. I want to care about others like He cares for us, to live our lives being fully present, generous, kind. I want to live gently on this earth we have been given the opportunity to be caretakers off. I want to teach our children how to be strong, and fierce about what they believe in and who they are, to be warriors for the poor, the lost and the vulnerable. To be kind, gentle and practical. To be good stewards of the many blessings we have in this world. To continue to learn how to build our lives so they are gentle on the environment, to learn how to be more sustainable. I want to live slowly and sit in the moments that make up our lives, to be deeply satisfied with life. The happy, the challenging, the sad. I want to do meaningful work. Work that resonates with my why. To do my hearts work.
So now as we make the decisions about the next 12 months - this is what we line them up with.
Decluttering is something we are going to continue with, to simplify further. I have decided to sell some furniture that is simply too big for our little old cottage and scrounge and buy a couple of smaller pieces. My beautiful kitchen dresser is too big for our kitchen wall. So It will be sold, the items inside and on it will be halved and only the most precious kept and a smaller simple dresser bought for a fraction of the price. Our TV unit which ties in with the dresser will also be sold and I will source one second hand which half the size and re-arrange the lounge so the TV is tucked in the corner. Our coffee table will also be sold to open up the room. I just want less stuff and more space to actually live in. In a small house, space is at a premium.
Grant and I have tried various forms of shopping this year now we live 30 mins from the big centre. Some stuff I can get through our shop, but not everything. After much discussion, I am re-taking the reins for the food budgeting/menu planning. We have tried him shopping - he forgets stuff, it drives me seriously mental. I'm the main cook, it makes sense I do it. But I don't have the time to commute, study, work and do it all. So, I have been trialling click and collect. It's a massive compromise. They use way too many plastic bags, but it is their system. It can only be done though Coles when I much prefer to shop at Foodland....BUT it is a massive time saver during the day in a season I need to pick sanity and simplifying procedures so I can spend time being present with my boys. This is not my ideal option. I would love to shop at markets, but in the aim of always keeping it real and honest on this big wide often superficial internet world, its where we are at in this very point of time. Its ok to make do, to keep the bigger goals of your "why" in the picture.
So, to try and make up for the less than ideal shopping, I hope to continue reducing our waste in other ways around the house. I have been greatly inspired by Zero waste living and have in mind the next few changes we can easily make. Like getting beeswax food covers for the things that don’t fit in my glass containers. Purchasing better quality stainless steel lunch boxes and picnic containers. Getting a little more organized and always bringing picnics with us, ensuring there are always homemade snacks in the house, and more than just a couple of spare meals in the freezer.
This year with so many things going on with work, the business, renovating and studying we have not eaten as well as usual. There has been too many last minute take away meals, not enough bone broth, not as much organization in the kitchen. There are many contributing factors including being kitchen-less for a couple of months, but the main thing is we have plans and systems in place to help us overcome this "flying by the seat of our pants". We know we have done a much better job of this in the past and are more than capable of doing it. We have just struggled to find a system that works. But we have now. I'm really looking forward to being more organized. In both the slowness it provides, the nourishment and the health benefits - I'm getting far too chubby - gah! Why is it always easier and more fun to get fatter rather then skinnier?! Haha!
We have some interesting projects in the pipe line this year. Re-building and fixing the back half of the little old cottage and opening it all up to the gardens, new garden beds, plans for our business to streamline and improve procedures. Grant has been slowly building up his wood roaches ready to expand his little side business, and we have some interesting little family plans. The first little one will hopefully be revealed in a few weeks! Another we have a lot of prayer and conversations to have before we share, but I am deeply hopeful. ;)
Well board games are summoning so I best get going.