Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April goals

Here we go again!!! Another month of goals, which I plan to write out and put up on the wall in the kitchen to help me stay focused!

1. Read the bible and 4 other books
Stay on track with bible reading and start another book.

2. Take a meal to one family/person a week
I have 3 families lined up already, so I just need to pick one more.

3. Get off TANF
I have set my income goal for the month and also want to lower my expenses by at least $50.

4. Grow or produce most of our food: grocery goal budget is $200 or less
Grocery budget goal: $300

Steps to get us there:
~Get lots of starts going
~build at least one raised bed
~build milk stand and keep milking Pepper Rose
~get rid of wild rabbit

5. Get involved in another ministry at church
I'm just going to continue to help out where I can.

6. Work on house: paint interior, replace carpet, upgrade some insulation
This month's to do list:
~touch up laundry room
~paint girls room
~install outlet/switch insulators

7. Build up stock for craft fairs: completely 10 projects a month, not including orders
Projects to complete: all orders (5 items), 1 blanket, 1 plarn bag

8. Eat better: more organic, no soy, mostly GF, less sugar
At this point, this is one I just keep making progress on. We've accomplished no soy, now I'm focusing on the gluten free part and always buying as organic as the budget allows.

9. Stop smoking
No smoking. At all.

10. Expand animals and their housing: 3 ducks, 1 goat pen
~Add 3 duck hens
~Build second goat pen

Friday, March 14, 2014

Let it go

Let's not talk about how that title completely reveals my love for the movie Frozen. Let's not even talk about the movie... let's just talk about letting go.

The Christian life as so many choose to see it is a life of adding and multiplication. Add Jesus and you'll get everything good and wonderful on earth multiplied unto you.

The problem is the Christian life isn't about earth.

Yes, we need to use the time we have hear to reach out and save as many souls and heal as many hurts as we can.

But this life. This flesh. This stuff... it's all fleeting.

The truth is on earth The Christian life, when lived as Jesus calls us to, is one of subtraction and division.
Subtract the sin, subtract anything that divides you from God, divide the resources to help those in need.

Then one day in heaven all the good and wonderful things will be multiplied unto you.

Because heaven is what it's all about. Living for eternity, not living for now.

I'm in a place now where God is calling me to remove something from my life. It's not an inherently bad thing. It's part of many lives without problem. But for me, it's become a stumbling block that I never saw coming.

I don't care what it is; if it comes between you and God, if it takes some of the glory due Him, if it deters you from doing good works... it needs to go.

It can be certain people, television, coffee, a hobby, a goal, a place you go... they're not bad, but the take a place in our hearts and focus that belongs to the Lord. For that alone they need purged.

Join me in prayer that the Lord purge each of our lives of all things that don't bring him honor and glory.

Monday, March 10, 2014

March summary

I aimed really high this month... and then I forgot to stay focused on the specific goals for this month. So, while this looks like I did almost nothing, I did accomplish projects just none of the ones I had planned on doing. I may need to work on that area of self control!

1. Read the bible and 4 other books
I'm staying on track with my bible reading plan, finished the devotional and book I was reading and started a new devotional.

2. Take a meal to one family/person a week
I accomplished 4/4 this month.

3. Get off TANF
I have continued to find small ways to cut my spending, none are big money savers but each one helps. I lost one of my smallest baby sitting jobs, but have managed to still reach my income goal.

4. Grow or produce most of our food: grocery goal budget is $200 or less
I went over budget buy $2.19 but I can live with that.

I have garlic in the ground and raised beds laid out, but not much got finished.

5. Get involved in another ministry at church
I signed up for the church work day and figure I'll be as much help as I can be with 6 kids in tow and I reached out with an offer to help one of the few women I know who are just as exhausted (if not more so!) as I am.

6. Work on house: paint interior, replace carpet, upgrade some insulation

This month's to do list:
~paint living room
~touch up laundry room
~paint boys room
~install outlet/switch insulators
~pull up boys bedroom carpet and made the vinyl presentable

Things I actually got done:
Worked on getting rid of mice
Nothing else

7. Build up stock for craft fairs: completely 10 projects a month, not including orders
Completed: nothing
Projects to complete: 1 blanket, 3 plarn bags, 6 dishcloths, 2 hats

8. Eat better: more organic, no soy, mostly GF, less sugar
Tried a new pancake recipe, it was awful! The black bean and rice enchiladas were a success though! And the pumpkin cake was a big hit! I'm getting the stock pile worked through and slowly ridding us of the things I'd rather we not consume, but I didn't always stick to the meal plan.

9. Stop smoking
I smoked on 9 days in March... longest smoke free streak 11 days and counting!

10. Expand animals and their housing: 3 ducklings, 1 goat pen
Rabbit cages are finished, barn rearranged and old cages moved out.

I bought ducklings and there was a disaster that ended in me almost killing my cat. So I'll have to start over there.

The idea of raising broiler chickens as come up and I'll be contemplating that and maybe adding those to the list.

Friday, February 28, 2014

2014 goals... take 3!

I'm really not proud of how last month ended... so I'm going to buckle down and hopefully no one gets the stomach flu (or anything else!) this month so I can accomplish what I'm setting out to do.

That would this stuff down here...

1. Read the bible and 4 other books
I want to stay on track with my bible reading plan, finish the book and devotional I'm reading and start a new devotional.

2. Take a meal to one family/person a week
I've got 3 out of 4 people picked already, so I just need to pick another family and get them done! No excuses!

3. Get off TANF
This month I'll be continuing the job search, set a higher income goal and I'll be scrutinizing my budget to find a few more areas to cut. If I can't make more, I'll have to spend less.

4. Grow or produce most of our food: grocery goal budget is $200 or less
This month's grocery budget is: $300
Also need to build a stanchion to milk the goats, build 2 of my raised beds out back, start at least 2 more indoor edible/medicinal plants and try my hand at putting together a cold frame and getting some garlic and onions in the ground.

5. Get involved in another ministry at church
I just need to step up and volunteer for some stuff. I'll admit, I get afraid to try because I have to bring the kids along, and I don't think I am really any help to anyone when my attention is divided.

6. Work on house: paint interior, replace carpet, upgrade some insulation
This month's to do list:
~paint living room
~touch up laundry room
~paint boys room
~install outlet/switch insulators
~pull up boys bedroom carpet and made the vinyl presentable

7. Build up stock for craft fairs: completely 10 projects a month, not including orders
Projects to complete: 1 blanket, 3 plarn bags, 6 dishcloths, 2 hats

8. Eat better: more organic, no soy, mostly GF, less sugar
I want to try one new recipe a week and I'm meal planning around what's in the pantry and fridge to use up some things.

9. Stop smoking
I'm going to push myself hard and I'm done smoking. No more. Not one.

10. Expand animals and their housing: 3 ducklings, 1 goat pen
Rabbit cages will get done and 8 ducklings will be added this month, hopefully those 8 ducklings result in at least 3 hens and not all drakes!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Pinching pennies

I like to save my pennies.

I'll put extra work into it because working to earn money and working to save money are pretty equal to me.

I spent several nights reading through list of money saving tips and ideas while knitting.

Sadly, I discovered that everything on these lists short of living in an RV or my van, I've done or do.

I have no cable, no internet, no gym membership.

I don't eat out, buy $5 coffees, or use paper products.

I'm frugal. I put effort into it. But I still want (and at this point, need) to cut my budget lower.

So I began brainstorming once more for my own ideas.

I came up with a few ideas to implement over time and a few more ideas to cut my grocery budget (that $200 a month goal takes effort!)

The first idea I decided to run with was air drying the laundry.

Sure, I line dry during nice weather, but this Oregon. We're known for rain and rain and more rain. So I've still been using the dryer a lot.

Not using the dryer saves me about $30 a month, or $360 a year! And that's just on electricity, if we added in the savings because clothes last longer and require less mending we'd probably be closer to $500 a year!

I'm on day 2 of not using the dryer at all, and the day before those 2 days I only ran the diapers through the dryer because it was urgent.

I even unplugged the dryer.

I'm determined to make it to the end of the month without putting another load in the dryer.

What are some extreme ways to be frugal that you have tried?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Never Forget

Forgetting happens.

I've forgotten where I placed something.

Forgotten the date.

Forgotten groceries in the van.

Even forgotten which name I bestowed on which child.

Forgetting happens.

But we should never forget the testimony of what the Lord has done in our lives. We should never forget to give Him the glory every time, all the time and as often as possible.

I was reminded today that I often lose sight if what He's done and only see how far I have to go. My faults and short comings are readily apparent to me, but remembering where I was hurts. It requires remembering things I'd rather forget.

But God didn't bring me through so much so that I can hide away what used to be and pretend my life has always been puppies and rainbows. He brought me through some of the worst times in my life so I could share the wonder and awe and magnitude of His power and glory and mercy with others.

Four and a half years ago God took a selfish, lazy, suicidal, alcoholic, drug addicted sinner who had very little in the way of morals and showed her how broken she was. He showed me just how much I needed help, the kind of life changing help only He can provide!

Two years later when my husband walked out, my life was in shambles. I was pregnant with number 6, homeless, jobless, scared and broken. In these last 2 years God has provided so many things to me that felt so far out of reach. A home that I'm buying, a van that's paid off, means to reach toward self sufficiency, comfort and completeness in the trust of His word and plans for my life. Things I couldn't have gotten on my own.

If God can take my life, in its supreme brokenness and lift me up to where I've come, how can anyone doubt His power and goodness?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Goals: February Summary

I didn't reach all my mini-goals for this month, not by a long shot. But I'm okay with that because I made progress anyway and I learned what I'm able (and not able) to do in one months time as I'm adding more work to my schedule.

1. Read the bible and 4 other books
I am on track with my bible reading plan, finished the devotional I was reading, read an entire book and started a new book and a new devotional.

2. Take a meal to one family/person a week
I failed big time on this one this month. Between kids getting stomach flu and other life events, I let this one slip through my fingers and only managed 1 week out of 4.

3. Get off TANF
I got another babysitting job and several leads. I surpassed my income goal for this month.

4. Grow or produce most of our food: grocery goal budget is $200 or less
I have $1.45 left in this months grocery budget. We planted wheat grass in a window box for out smoothies. The terrarium is planted with spinach and kale for salads and smoothies and should produce year round if I plan it right! We put together 2 potato towers, one outside and one in the greenhouse to see how both options work for us.

5. Get involved in another ministry at church
I failed at this one as well.

6. Work on house: paint interior, replace carpet, upgrade some insulation
I got the accent wall in the living room painted and the entire laundry room, I decided not to paint the cabinets. Got an estimate and consultation on insulation options that I'll need to consider. Looked under the carpet in the kids rooms: girls have sub floor but the boys have vinyl flooring that may be salvageable, not beautiful but better than the carpet. I did not get the main part of the living room painted.

7. Build up stock for craft fairs: completely 10 projects a month, not including orders
Projects completed: 0 stock but all except 2 orders are done.
Projects to completed: 1 blanket, 3 plarn bags, 6 dishcloths

8. Eat better: more organic, no soy, mostly GF, less sugar
All new incoming food continues to be organic and I brought in nothing with soy, which was easy since we consume so little anyway. The pantry got cleaned out and most the wheat flour is gone.

9. Stop smoking
11 smoke free days and smoked less on the days I did. My longest smoke free streak was 5 days.

10. Expand animals and their housing: 3 ducklings, 1 goat pen
I added an adorable new goat, a doe named Butterscotch. We also added 8 chicks (a few more than planned), we got 5 cuckoo marans, 2 molted java and a speckled Sussex. I've also decided not to expand the number of rabbits I have due to other income streams that have come my way and the time commitment. I got 3 out of 5 rabbit cages finished.