Community garden

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A new season awaits!

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. 

I was surprised at how wonderfully Angus picked up kayaking!

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. 
Much love,
Emma
xx






30 comments:

  1. Sounds like the perfect life plan, Emma. I'm glad you were able to find snippets of joy this Christmas. Any joy is good. My DIL uses one of those shopping services and loves it. You can always recycle the plastic bags. Happiness in the new year!

    Hugs
    Jane

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    1. It is, sometimes I need to lower my expectations I think!

      In a way it's almost going back to the old ways, when you would drop off your list and the store keeper would collect your order and bundle it up. I find I can be far more controlled with "impulse" buys and find it helps my meal planning as I take more time in it.

      Best wishes for your New Years too. :) xx

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  2. Well you might not have found an idyllic joy but I bet everything you did do helped form wonderful memories for your kids to cherish and look back at when they are grown-up! I can see by your example that your kids will be everything you want them to be in life! (btw, they are so cute!) Andrea

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    1. They are pretty cute, I must say. Though will is nearly looking me in the eye these days at the ripe old age of 9. They had a special Christmas, which is the most important thing. :)

      Xx

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  3. Exercising good stewardship is something I value too. I am also aware that I never 'achieve' balance. If life were static and unchangeable I could achieve balance, but as it is not balance is always something I am working toward. We are just doing the best we can Emma with the resources we have. I am glad you have found a strategy that works for the present part of your journey. I really enjoyed readying your 'why statement.' 2017 sounds like another full year ahead for you and Grant.

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    1. Balance, as soon as you have it the tides change! Lol!

      I think next year will be pretty full, though I'm hoping a little more settled now the cottage is half done. To not have to worry about bedroom and kitchen disruptions will be easier that's for sure. We will be closing the back half of the house off for the next stage of renovations. Much easier!

      Xx

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  4. I sat down with Rhonda's book over my breakfast this morning, Emma. Perhaps, like you, looking for a bit of a guide. Last year, I read it from front to back over a few days but this time I intend to read it just one month at a time as the new year unfolds. I don't want to feel overwhelmed by all there is to do, all I want to do, so one month at a time seems right for me. I'm glad you found moments of joy in your Christmas time. Love that gingerbread house...what a lovely tradition for your family. Meg:)

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    1. Breaking it up monthly is a really great strategy isn't it? I might do a weekly post on progress, on what works etc. :)

      The gingerbread house is always so much fun! One we all enjoy.
      Xx

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  5. Emma I love the way you look at the world. I love how you look to the why, and then decide on the how. Looking at the faces of those gorgeous little fellows, says to me that you and Grant are doing a wonderful job.

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    1. They are pretty cute, but Im biased. ;) There is alot more "how" of course, but perhaps a series of posts over the coming months. Thankyou for taking the time out to pop in! :)

      xx

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  6. Emma, it looks like you will have an interesting year ahead. Can't wait to hear what you have planned. Perhaps it will be less hectic than 2016 :-)

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    1. I really think it will be a far more settled year in many regards. Im greatly looking forward to it. :)

      Especially some of them. Soo excited for one especially. ;)

      xx

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  7. Glad you enjoyed your Christmas.
    Give your local Foodland a call and see if they would do a phone order. We used to do them back in the day. I know times have changed but you never know. Maybe to keep your business they will do it for you?
    Fingers crossed your little family plan comes to fruition ;)

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    1. Thanks Becci, hmm, I think they are too big and busy these days, but I'll have a mosey about! :)

      Xx

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  8. Sounds like you had a nice, quiet Christmas. Ours was a busy affair which made it very tiring for me.
    I desperately need to declutter in the new year. I am sick of pushing things in cupboards and trying to close them. They are things that are no longer is use, some haven't been used for over 5 years...so why do I keep these things? I'm going to have a Facebook virtual garage sale. I will take photos of things,price them and see who wants what. Then they can either come and pay for them at my house or at our business in town. I plan to be quite ruthless... :)

    Cheers - Joolz xx

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    1. Good luck with your de-clutter. It's never ending! Take lots of photos of the stuff going, you will be amazed and what you get rid of and how spaces change if your ruthless. :)

      I feel like we have gotten rid of soooo much, and there is still stuff I find that can go.

      It feels so good when the clutter is gone and a space is functional and clear. I feel like I can breathe!

      It's funny what we keep isn't it? Kinda like a security blanket, just in case.

      Xx

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  9. Hi there, if it's anything like click and collect here in NZ, you can request on the order form for your groceries to be packed into banana boxes rather than plastic bags.

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    1. Hmm, that would be amazing. I have not seen that option but I will look again. I did fill out their survey and talk about greener options like boxes etc. hopefully it will happen. :) it's otherwise a really great service.

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    2. For some reason they don't tell you that it is an option to get your shopping packed into boxes but if you ask for it, they will will do it.

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  10. Totally agree with Coles Click n collect! Did you know Nuri Foodland do click and collect and they also deliver!?
    -Kelly B

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    1. Oh wow! That's a great supermarket too.

      Surely they wouldn't come this far would they?

      Xx

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    2. They go to Tarlee,so they might

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  11. Just check your order thoroughly with click and collect - they have left stuff out so many times that we now do not use it.....but this would be the quality of the picking staff I suppose.

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    1. Oh that would be annoying. So far we have been lucky, everything has been on there, and I think they substituted once, but it was a substitute up which was fine. But I will be certain to keep an eye on it. Thanks for the tip! :)

      xx

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    2. That happened to me Mr HM and I was most annoyed, it's a 40min drive for me! Thankfully my sister was going through on her way to me, so she picked up the rest of my order!
      -Kelly B

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  12. I forgot about my book too and have taken it from the bookcase this morning to look at later today. It's been there since I returned form the book tour in March. I hope it helps you in whatever areas you need guidance and encouragement.

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    1. Thanks Rhonda, I was so excited to find it in my book bundle, I forgot I ordered it along with the books I bought the boys for christmas!

      It really is a great book. I have spent a fair bit of time, sitting and reading it through with a cuppa and pondering all kinds of things.

      I love the clearness and simplicity of it all. It's a beautifully calm and peaceful book I think.

      xx

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  13. I do click and collect with the other supermarket and I just ask for no plastic bags in the comment section, it makes it easier to check when you bag yourself but I have never had any problems and as I don't allow substitutions they tell me on the paperwork if that item was not in stock and then if it is something I really need for the fortnight I stop at a smaller supermarket on my way home.

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  14. I really must get a copy of Rhonda's book, it seems to be on just about every blog I read lately. The title is perfect to me.

    Hope your year is a great one Emma!

    xTania

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  15. Oh dear Emma, I read this post at work last week but couldn't comment on that computer, then I forgot that I hadn't commented. Another wonderful post from you, and you know how much I love that gorgeous caravan of yours. Happy New Year to you my friend. X

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