Friday, 8 January 2016

Some Un-Resolutions for 2016, and Reflections on 2015

So much for a post about how fun and meaningful our Christmas was this year--our Internet has been down and the mood has passed. Last year I didn't get time to do a post about what I hoped for the new year. Oddly, the year had that same sense of unspoken intentions...we had a productive, positive year and advanced in everything that I wished for but I never put my wishes into words. Our progress was the result of much hard work. Husband has remained busy throughout an industry-wide slow down and for that we are very grateful. We are on the same page financially-speaking, now more than ever. We both want to save money and prepare for the worst as our economy flounders. Perhaps most important of all is the fact that 2015 was book-ended by health concerns for our 5 year old. As the year began he was receiving what were, to me, devastating treatments to put his childhood nephrotic syndrome into remission. As the year ended, he relapsed and once again had protein in his urine (the sign that his kidneys are malfunctioning). To our unending relief, his little body handled the relapse on its own and he did not require treatments aside from antibiotics for a throat infection. This progress, alone, in 2015 makes it the year we became free of fear and began to live fully in the moment with gratitude and grace.

There are many posts out there about hopes and intentions for 2016, all of them more eloquent and succinct than I can muster here. But it is important to me that I outline my plans for the year. I've realized of late that the areas where I am most easily flustered and frustrated (paperwork! saying no to people!) are the areas where I must allow myself to learn and grow. Putting things off and allowing them to take up space in my mind is just not working for me, and it is not how 2016 is going to roll. So with that, here are a few family, personal and business goals for 2016.
  • Get Better At Keeping Records
Papers and files grate on my nerves and unfinished paperwork weighs on the back of my mind. It is not the doing of the work, it is the procrastination and dread that leads up to it. Every month. This stems from the fact that I have no real system of keeping track of receipts, invoices, warranties, etc and I feel overwhelmed by the prospect of even getting started. For Christmas, Husband bought me an antique filing cabinet that I had been longing for. Not only is it beautiful but it is going to play an important role in taking the stress out of keeping track of our files. In the next week I plan to get files colour-coded and moved into the new-old cabinet.  done!

Aside from tax/work related files, I also need to improve my record-keeping in the garden and for this blog. Every year I intend to record what I plant and try to keep track of the yield and what worked/didn't work. Perhaps taking a quick picture of seed packets as I am headed out to the garden would help. Generally I end up using the packet to mark my row, which doesn't work because it degrades to the point of being unable to read it when I want to remember what variety of seed I had used. My kids are more independent now so I have no excuse not to be more methodical in keeping track of my garden and home. Related to the blog, I MUST get better at reporting on my kitchen budget and filing all receipts/tracking spending. Likewise, a return to menu-planning and lists, lists, lists! The last few months of 2015 became completely unorganized and directionless, although the rough tally I kept in my mind led me to believe that I was spending less on groceries and doing better at stockpiling and using in-store coupons. Although I felt I was doing okay with it, I would like to share my results in this space and that can't happen when receipts are lost in the bottom of the big ole purse! My first step towards a better record-keeping system is 1. download a bookkeeping software and learn to use it and 2. learn to do spreadsheets. I MUST schedule some quiet time in the next week where I can concentrate and get this done. Found a bulletin board with wire baskets for sorting mail/bills. Now, where to hang it?

NOTE: it seems like blogger has changed something and I can't figure out how to add pictures now. So I will add "get current on blogger" and "take better pictures" to the list of things to do!
  • New Learning Experiences
It wasn't that long ago that I worried there would never be time or money for me to pursue my own interests. For a time with little babies it is true that a mother's needs are waaaay down the list of priorities. But I recognize now that nurturing my creativity and interests is not only healthy, it is essential to being a complete and happy person. In my case, my interests and pursuits are of the homesteading/crafting/farming variety. I have an ever-growing list of things I want to try in 2016 and I am excited to get started! Today's challenge: break down a chicken into pieces for baking :) Perhaps I should keep a list of all the new things I try this year!
  • Make Better Use of My Evenings
True, I do some wintertime crafts and quilt bindings in the evening while I watch TV. Some gardening jobs in summer might happen in the evening. But all too often I get my kids to bed and sit in front of the TV with a cup of tea and proceed to waste a couple hours of time before bed. I want to give myself half an hour of exercise in this time slot, and read more instead of watching TV. I think if I schedule 9-10 pm my only TV time I will be happier, more fit and productive!

  • Concentrate on Things That Make Me Feel Good 
Something about getting older, perhaps, but feeling rotten after eating fast food or "pub grub" is just no longer an option. I want to fuel my body with food that makes me feel full and invigorated. I MUST spend more time doing yoga, Pilates, walking and exercising (how many times have we heard that?!) I want to visit people that inspire and motivate me to learn and do better. I want to give more, learn more, do more. People and activities that suck the energy out of me will continue to be pushed to the margins of our lives. This is an area that really progressed in 2015 and I expect more of the same this year. I vowed to "invest in people that invest in me" and I worried less about why some friends always left me feeling used and unappreciated. By taking the focus from those relationships and putting my energy into relationships that make me happy, I felt the toxic anxiety fade away. Friends, work and play that brings us together and leaves a lasting feeling of joy will be a permanent part of our routine. All of the things we have enjoyed in years past shall see more of our attention this year. We have picked a direction that works for us and every step of our journey has made us happier and convinced us that living simply and authentically is right for us. 2016 will be more of the same.


  1. All Good Things -- a very noble list indeed! I hear you on the paperwork woes.....i'm trying not to think about the tower o' paper {stacked on top of my filing bin} and the maple syrup tin stuffed with receipts....but at least I know where everything is, right? :P

    I'm also on the eat-better train....the holidays have left me feeling very sluggish and I blame the excess of sugar and hastily scarfed meals. Winter isn't my best season anyway and I'm sure I'd feel less blue if I took better care of myself.

    Here's to a fab 2016! xoxo

    1. Oh Mel! I'm so happy to hear from you! It's nice to know you are still out there--I miss your blog but have enjoyed the tiny letters. I only read them on my phone and don't see a place for comments, but know this: I enjoy reading about what you are up to and your commitment to your writing continues to inspire me. I hope all is well out in your neck o' the woods! Thanks for stopping in and yes, wishing you a fab 2016 :)

  2. Great list Jill! There is something about getting older that allows you to truly focus on what is most important to you and put aside the rest. I feel that your list encapsulates this! Wishing you the very best of luck in 2016 - I am looking forward to following your journey.

    Also, a huge wish for health for you and your family. I am very happy to hear that your son's body was healthy and strong enough to handle the relapse without treatments. It's things like this that put EVERYTHING into perspective.

    ~ Pru

    1. Thanks so much, Pru :) you're right--it keeps the important things in focus!

  3. Very glad that your wee boy is holding his own - such a worry for you!

    I totally agree about eating better - as I age I just can't tolerate food that's not healthy. I had a rare treat of some very good quality dark chocolate yesterday afternoon and I could NOT SLEEP for the life of me last night! I felt horrible in every way (not just awake) so that's confirmation enough for me - we are on the right track with healthy eating. I sleep better and have so much more energy not to mention better mental clarity.

    Paperwork is my nemesis, too. It's so hard to stay on top of all of it with a busy family. I am purposing to be more diligent this year as well - every year I am seeing improvement so it's worth the effort.

    My best to you in 2016 - hope your son stays healthy!

    1. Thank you so much! It seems to help me get to the paperwork if I save a favorite job as a reward for when the paperwork is finished. Right now that is quilting ;) it also really helps to have peace and quiet...haven't found a source for that yet though!