Resolve. What a word... Yeah, I guess I'm not one for jumping on trendy bandwagons and doing things like making resolutions at the end of the year to work on in the new year. Heck, I was too busy crafting up a storm for my Handmade Christmas. But I think as we move through Lent, it's a good time to look at getting into better habits for the sake of my family. I actually wrote this before Lent started, so it's about time I get moving on it...
I was really inspired by the three-branched approach to Lent of Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving. I've done a lot of fasting Lents, giving up chocolate, pop, even my beloved Parmesan cheese (I eat the heck out of it on popcorn.) This year, I wanted to incorporate a bit of all three. For the fasting part, I am giving up microwave popcorn. I'd all but quit eating it several months ago, then I got sucked back in. I am about to start research for a post on food additives, and heaven knows there's a lot of "stuff" added to microwave popcorn. Popcorn is actually a pretty healthy snack that I really love, and I need to learn how to enjoy it without all the junk again.
My method of almsgiving this year is the 40 Bags in 40 Days decluttering challenge. I've already Freecycled some stuff, and given a number of things away. Lots more to come!
The prayer part is a bit more sticky. My theory is that I need to do a LOT of work to overcome the sin of sloth and focus on caring for my home and family, which I am blessed to have as my primary job. I'd also like to tie in the way my own body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and I need to care for it as such.
Last year, I got inspired, and wrote some Mid-Year Resolutions. They didn't work out so well, to be honest. To refresh my memory, they were:
1) Eat a good breakfast every day.
2) Cut down on eating between meals by eating *healthier* meals. Make healthier snacks when we need them.
3) Plan out a menu and shop for groceries less frequently.
4) Walk over to the farm (Goose in a borrowed jogging stroller thanks to Hubs's sweet cousin - our farm is about a mile from our house) to feed the kitties at least 4 times a week.
5) Go to bed earlier and get up earlier.
6) Lose about 25-30 pounds. I added this as an afterthought - I was hoping that if I was successful with the above, this would have fallen into place on its own.
I succeeded in the following:
1) Gave up cereal for breakfast and ate oatmeal most days.
Don't get too excited, it was instant. Ouch.
Hubs gave me a nice nudge toward healthier eating with a Christmas gift of a Nutrimill. I was pretty surprised (thank you, dear!) and was really expecting a dehydrator, so it was a double surprise. [Much thanks is due to Laura at Heavenly Homemakers for her posts on Should You Buy a Grain Mill? (and the money saving aspects of it) as well as part two, Which One Is Best and Where to Buy a Mill.]
The bummer thing is that I can't bring myself to pay money for wheat that is the same thing as what we have sitting in the bins, and we've not yet figured out a good way to clean it, so I haven't used it yet. That's OK. I've been busy working on my other Lenten resolution, a decluttering challenge to get rid of 40 Bags in 40 Days.
So while all the above resolutions still apply (except for walking to the farm, I'll be giving up custody of the jogging stroller to another of Hubs's cousins), here's what I've been thinking about lately.
1) Stop making excuses. When I read about someone who has a clean house, who works hard at exercising, who does better at making food from scratch, who does (insert X here) better than I do, I tend to think that their house is easier to keep than mine. That her back doesn't hurt like mine (or her neck doesn't crunch like mine). That she lives closer to better grocery stores. And the excuses go on and on. The truth is, we all have our crosses to bear, and mine is a lot lighter than that of many others.
2) Quit reading about "it" and do it! "It" is a lot of things. Improving my prayer life, improving my housekeeping schedule, exercise routines, organizing recipes. Along those lines, I'm due for another weeding out session in my Google Reader. I read a lot of blogs that I love, but I need to live my life, not yours! The way I add to my reader is by visiting a blog a few times (to the point that it's a bit familiar, I know I've been there before) and if I've really enjoyed the posts - or if I've linked to several of them in my Reading The Whole Internet posts - it goes in the reader.
But periodically, I try to evaluate the blogs I'm reading. I ask myself "does this bless me? How?" I'm thinking for Lent, I need to narrow down to the ones that truly, truly help me in these resolutions and not just provide enjoyment. (I'll admit, I'll keep a blog or two like Stuff On My Cat that don't take much time to read and REALLY make me happy. And they make Goose happy, too...)
3) Make better use of my Home Management Binder. About two years ago, I was inspired and worked up a very pretty and thorough HMB, using sources such as Bethany at Happy to Be Called Mommy (see her main binder post here, and you can pull more posts out here), Large Family Logistics (check out the sidebar - the blog has since moved here), and Home Ec 101. It has sat on my counter for two years, pretty much untouched. I have the tool, now I need to USE it! Since it's been sitting for so long, I'd like to tweak it and then post it here.
4) Get to bed on time. I tend to want a few hours to dink around after Goose goes to bed, and if it isn't until 8:30 (as it is when she takes a good nap), then that really pushes my bedtime back. I also find myself wandering kind of aimlessly around the interwebs at that hour, and I don't know that does anybody any good. I'm thinking I need a much more concerted effort to pick a time (say 10 o'clock) to start getting ready for bed, and then just wind down and go. to. bed. We'll see how that goes.
It seems like I had a few more ideas in mind, but I think they could be lumped under these broad strokes anyway. Hopefully I'll do better than I did last year! You can see a lot more Lenten resolutions over at Kitchen Stewardship.