Pamela Llano Zesty Mom
The days are winding down until my Eldest Girl Child heads out into the world for her 8 month adventure in Ecuador~ to live with an unknown host family in an unknown part of the country and work an unknown internship. I’m realizing as I type this just how many unknowns that is, and what a brave and amazing young woman I have been blessed with.
A number of our young family friends are also flying from their nests this fall, but most of them know exactly where they are heading, where they’ll live and who with and for the most part, how they will spend their days. Most could also drive home for holidays or even long weekends.
My Girl has none of these cushions. But even though it’s a lot of trust in the unknown, as her mama, I know in my heart she will do great.
At 18, my Girl Child has already been navigating young adulthood pretty darn well, but all of the prep work, paperwork, bureaucracy, and loose ends she has to deal with to make her upcoming adventure happen are like adulting on steroids. Understandably, there’s been a bit of stress and emotion permeating our happy home life lately.
On a recent random day, I noticed that she was terribly frustrated and annoyed ~ and if her burning glare and verbal barrage were any indicator, she was about to karate kick her brother in the throat. Around that time, something in my mama instincts revved up and told me that I needed to get my family out of the house and into some nature.
We have lots of nature, quite literally in our backyard, but there is also wifi and the view of the home and the impending feeling of all the things that need to be done.
I knew that wasn’t going to cut it this time. I needed to get her away from all of it, someplace where she literally couldn’t do anything about all the distractions and where she could sleep uninterrupted and under the stars. In my vision, we would preferably be next to running water.
So, I posed the idea of taking her and her brother camping~ just for a night to someplace nearby~ a little last rendezvous to the woods.
The three of us have had so many good times (and some not so great ones) adventuring near and far in a tent. We’ve dreamed and schemed, laughed and planned, philosophized and grown together, and seen so much of our beautiful country with our cheap fabric walls as shelter.
Taking one last trip before the Girl headed out sounded good in theory, but with all the to-do’s and life in general, we were were all a little wishy washy about my lukewarm presentation of the idea.
But as the stress and exhaustion wore on my kid, I knew I needed to do an intervention.
The Boy, had been busy most of the summer, and had just returned from several days of backpacking himself. He was tired and reluctant to pack a bag and leave the comfort of his bed again so soon. But I knew what we needed was to be together~ both kids and me.
So, I gave the Boy a hard stare and told him that we needed to go support his sister. He knows where my hard stares go, so he sighed and repacked his backpack.
I scrambled to finish my work for the day, threw together a random assortment of food, clothing and shelter and kidnapped them both.
Well, I couldn’t exactly kidnap them because they could easily overpower me, but I firmly told them to grab their bags because we were going. I took the dogs too, knowing that they are going to miss the Girl in her absence and that the Elder Dog doesn’t have as many adventures left in her.
We loaded the car, and hit the road~ And as with our 6 state Southwest adventure years ago, our destination was not exactly known~ except this time we’d only be gone one night and only traveling a few hours from home. But still, the feelings of freedom, exploration and escape with my chillens were there, and honestly, they were quite refreshing.
We drove about an hour into the mountains, watching the scenery change as rapidly as our moods. As our car went up in elevation, our stress levels went down.
The first two campgrounds we stopped at were fine, but there were people and other dogs, and realizing that we don’t always like people and our dogs are really rather ill behaved, we kept moving.
Thankfully, the third stop was a charm~ we found a spot along a huge and fast flowing creek and we were the only people in the whole campground.
Just me, my kids, my dogs and nature. Perfect.
We set up camp, hiked around and explored a bit, created a decent dinner from random ingredients, and hiked some more to watch the sunset. Then we roasted marshmallows over the fire and told stories and laughed under the dark starry sky.
The bickering floated away and we were all just happy and together and I was so, so, so very glad that I had followed my instincts on this one.
They were both glad too~ I could see it in their beings, but they said so as well. They exhaled, relaxed and smiled all the way from their inner souls.
We had all that I had wished for. Stars overhead, trees all around, clean water flowing and each other. As I looked at my offspring, I realized how very much things had changed since their younger days of tent life. Now, they could share in the driving and wander off as they pleased, But some things were also still the same. Goofy jokes and a whole lotta making fun of each other and life in general was still a prominent part of our time.
The next day, we ate breakfast and took a short walk along the creek before we packed up and headed down the hill towards home. As if on some GPS location activated system, when we rounded the corner a few blocks from where we live, the bickering started back up.
All I could muster was a sigh and weak request to please don’t. I still don’t know really what was up with this, but it wasn’t how I wanted to spend the last few days with my Girl Child in the nest.
Thankfully, they somehow must have realized they didn’t want to spend their time that way either, and we got back to the business of living, mostly happily.
I am ever so glad for that, but still, there’s a sadness in my heart. As we prep for her looming departure, I can’t really fathom her absence for such a long period of time. I don’t really want to.
I’ve spent her whole life encouraging her to spread her wings and know that she could fly. And she’s doing it. She’s doing exactly what I worked and hoped for, and I couldn’t be prouder of her than I am, but still my heart aches.
I know I have so much to do before I drive her to her pre-departure trainings, but my motivation is fairly non-existent, and a fairly big part of me just wants to stop time.
But I can’t stop time and I know it. I sort of feel like curling up in bed with an alcoholic beverage, but I realize that in the middle of a weekday afternoon, that would be both socially unacceptable, and a bad example for the kids.
Besides, that gives the impression that I’m all sad, and I’m not. I’m more like a big mixed up potion of emotions~ happy, sad, proud, excited~ it's fairly volatile and possibly explosive in what could just as likely be laughter or tears at any minute. The force of either would most likely frighten anyone who didn’t know me.
Anyhow, I realize that the thing I am sad about~ the thing that I’m grieving... it’s that my family will never ever be the same again. It will be beautiful and it will change and grow and do what living things do, but it will never ever be the same. And I will miss that.
My kids and I had a great run, and a whole lotta fun living and learning together. I hope they loved it as much as I did.
Since I love new experiences, adventures and traveling, the idea of hosting a foreign exchange student is something I've toyed with for years.
Bringing another culture into our home and sharing our culture and family life with a young person from another place all sounds great.
While we travel often, this could bring a taste of someplace we might not go into our home, and we would learn way more than we ever would through a book or video.
And despite the worries some extended family members had about my kids becoming Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers, my kids actually like meeting new people.
Also, we finally have a home that is conducive to being hosts, and our lives are in a pretty good place to share.
But, being tied to a school calendar and dealing with a year full of school stuff would be hard for this family of free birds. With one kid taking high school science and music classes a few days a week at a charter, and the other kid taking Spanish and art at the community college, we are already tied to enough external constraints.
Also, while I really love being a hostess, I don't think I have the stamina of many of Colombian relatives who offer up their homes for extreme lengths of time. I lean towards the thought that house guests are a bit like fish in the fridge. They both have about a 3 day window before they start to get offensive.
So, when I was researching this article for North State Parent Magazine, I was super excited to learn more about short term summer stays. Some programs are as short as 2 or 3 weeks, and since it's summer, you can just roll with your usual vacation fun and bring the foreign exchange student along.
That's waaaaaaay more up my alley! As long as they were up for adventure and not prone to complaining (which I would think would be a requirement for a kid to participate in such a thing as travelling overseas and living with strangers for an extended period, but I suppose you never know....) we could totally make room for another person on our road trips.
Since my family will be spending a chunk of summer volunteering in Nicaragua, I'm not sure if we'll be available for the dates needed this year, but I'm definitely opening up the window of possibility.
If you are open to considering the idea of bringing the world to your doorstep, check out my article, and see what's available near you. This could be a fantastic opportunity for many families, but for homeschoolers especially, this could be a great learning experience!
If you've had any experiences on either end of a foreign exchange student program, whether as a traveler or a host, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!
And if you haven't already Liked Zesty Mom on Facebook, please Do!
I started writing this post over the summer, and actually finished in Sept. Then, somehow, I deleted the whole thing, which I found ironic since I was writing about abundance.
It began on a hot summer afternoon, as I knelt down in the orchard of the property I was preparing to move to, looking at literally dozens of apricots that had fallen to the ground. All around me was the color green~ leaves, grass, bushes, trees~ all so alive and healthy and such a contrast from the browns and yellows of the dry land I was leaving.
This new landscape was so much easier on my eyeballs than the much harsher beauty of the foothills I had lived in for over a decade~ so much so, that almost overwhelmed me.
Little things, like knowing I would have enough water for the whole family to take showers AND to run a load of laundry ALL IN THE SAME MORNING. I could even run the dishwasher the same day and still be OK. Like knowing I could buy plants if I wanted to and actually put them in the ground because there was real soil that actually contained dirt and not just rocks that bend and break metal tools, and yeah, there was WATER to keep them alive.
And being only 5 minutes from a coffee shop or a store~ many, if not most Americans probably take these things for granted, but I had been without them for so long, that I actually felt weepy with joy about it all.
As I sat there looking around, pondering my blessings, and wondering when I had become such a sentimental and emotional person, it hit me.
Literally…. Like, “BONK!” I actually got conked in the head.
It was a peach that fell from the tree and hit me right on the noggin.
The actual hit to the head came with what I guess would be called a simultaneous epiphany. Just a single word came to mind.
That was my word for 2014~ That was how I most wanted to feel, and that was definitely what I had all around me.
Before I could relish too deeply in this thought, I noticed something mildly disturbing. A rodent~ some sort of mole, vole, mouse like creature. Something other than a rat, and it was lying in the hot sun in my yard, looking for all purposes, dead.
I began thinking of all the reasons (fears) of why there would be a dead rodent lying there in my perfectly lovely orchard. What if the lawn mowing guys had used some sort of poison that could be a potential danger to my dogs and cats? What if it had a hideous, painful and contagious disease? What if it was a trick and it was going to jump up and bite me in the face? Then, I noticed a twinkle in the rodent’s eye.
Not a mischievous or playful twinkle or even a menacing one. Nothing like that~ just an indicator that it might, in fact, have a bit of life left in it, but not much.
As a liker of animals of all kinds, even rodents, even if they do sometimes carry hideous diseases and plagues, I couldn’t just let the poor thing wither in the sun and die.
But, as much as I wanted to help, I certainly wasn’t going to touch the mystery rodent. So, I picked up a peach from the ground next to me and threw it toward the creature to see if it would move.
I didn’t think I would actually hit it, but I did, and it did a sort of writhing wiggle which made me jump and flail about in shock, doing my own sort of writhing wiggle thing.
Once I caught my breath, I noticed that the little creature appeared to have its’ two right legs stuck under a peach (not the peach I had thrown, but yet another one~ they were all over the place~ seriously, I’m not kidding with the abundance)
The poor thing was trapped. I still wasn’t going to touch it, so I got a stick, and poked the peach until it rolled off and the second it was free, that half dead looking rodent sprung up, dug a hole and disappeared faster than I could even blink, let alone speak (and that’s fast!)
I gave a verbal warning / request to the ground he disappeared into, asking him to move on to different pastures before I moved my cats and dogs in with their sharp teeth and love of shaking things, and lesser appreciation for the life of a rodent.
So, there I was, left there alone with the fruit falling in this wonderful new yard that surrounded the home I would soon occupy. It was a real, grown up house~ surely the nicest thing I had lived in since I moved out from under my parents’ roof. The street was paved, and flat and there was good internet. I was home.
As I contemplated how wonderful all of this abundance was, and how miraculous that my word for the year was once again coming to fruition (literally) I couldn’t help but think of the little rodent and wonder if there wasn’t some metaphorical symbolism in all that. (My mind just works that way. I can’t help it.)
That little creature was also surrounded by abundance, but it seems he’d been trapped by it, and nearly smothered under the weight of it. Theoretically, he could have tried to eat his way out, which I like to think I would have done in his place. Unlike the rock climber who had to saw his own arm off, or the Donner Party, it was a peach, so it would have been pleasant, albeit overwhelming since it was almost the same size as he was.
Anyhoo, I think there must be some lesson on paying attention and not getting stuck or being creative or maybe all of those things. In any case, abundance in the form of fruit trees, ability to do laundry and proximity to coffee isn’t going to solve all of life’s problems, but it sure is more than enough to be grateful for. And I am so very grateful.
Life is good, indeed. In fact, it’s down right abundant.
Journal in my lap, coffee cup in one hand and purple writing pen in the other, I’m soaking up the quiet of a morning that feels like autumn. Even though the neighborhood is awake and chattering, all of my nocturnal household is still sleeping, so it still feels almost like silence. These moments where no one wants anything from me are worth skipping sleep for.
A friend asked me the other day if I’m still writing. As I’m randomly clearing my head on paper, trying to start the day with gratitude, and to process some of life’s questions without over thinking them, I realize that I’ve not finished, let alone published a single piece of writing over the entire summer.
I’d like to say I took a summer sabbatical. I’ve always liked the sound of that… “Sorry, I won’t be able to do that (insert whatever thing someone wants from me here)... I’ll be on sabbatical.”
Although that word does sound fabulous, it kind of implies that one is getting a paid rest. Or a rest at the least. But restful would not be an adequate description of my summer.
Time off was not on the agenda. Moving on was.
Since May, I’ve packed up my home of 11 years, the place my children spent the majority of their formative childhood years and put it on the market. I dealt with cleaning and showings and offers and counter offers and more paperwork than seems possible.
I’ve found homes for my sweet goats and chicken, some of whom have been a part of my life almost as long as my Boy Child, and all of whom were loved.
I sold our house and moved my family and their lifetime’s accumulation of stuff, driving my big 24 foot moving truck with Sacajawea painted on the side and seemingly no shocks into the night.
I’ve gone through roller coasters of legal nonsense and headaches that cost ridiculous amounts of time, money and pain.
I held our beloved dog and good friend as he took his last breath. Then dug for hours in the night, and laid him to rest by moonlight.
I didn’t do any of these things alone though. I had peeps. Awesome kids, super kind partner, loving friends and supportive community.
With them by my side, I also did lots of other things that made my life feel full, but in good ways. There were summer concerts, big & small, camping in lovely locations, water parks, meeting my partner’s parents, a couple of quick trips to pretty places with nice people, and getting settled in our wonderful new home.
It’s felt a lot like a roller coaster with highs of awesome good stuff and lows of really friggen hard things. The ups and downs can be sort of overwhelming at times, but as soon as I start to think my life is intense, I get on Facebook for 5 minutes and see that I am far from alone. Life, apparently is intense.
A friend who’s still in her 30s is dealing with breast cancer. She's not a smoker or drinker, but a homeschool mom with 4 kids. Another friend has a son almost the same age as my Boy Child, and while I am flipping out about my kid going to the store without permission and getting into tussles, her boy has spent months in a hospital bed in pain that doctors can’t fix. And then there’s a friend with a marriage that you have visibly seen the love in, who confesses that life has broken them to the point of separation.
How the friggen heck does this stuff happen?
It’s incomprehensible that the same life that hands out the laughter and friendship and smiles on the faces of our children also hands these crazy and unimaginable intensities. But whether I can understand it or not, it still happens.
So many of the things in my own little life that I pondered and over analyzed, I also started to write about, but never finished. Of the 9 drafts that I started over the summer, I only finished one, and then I somehow managed to delete it in a formatting error with no back up. Ironically, it was an essay on abundance.
But, moving on….that’s the theme here. I guess we all just keep moving on. That’s the beauty of it, and that’s the oppressive part of it. I wonder how we do it, and the only answer I can think of comes from a children’s book called “We’re Going on A Bear Hunt” which I have read aloud 9,475,682 times. (There is no actual hunting and no bears are harmed in the making of the book :-) )
“We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. We have to go through it.”
And we do.
As we were decorating the grave of our sweet old dog friend, My Girl Child pointed out how exhausting grief is, but that nothing stops~ the world just keeps moving on.
If we're lucky, we have people by our side to love us when we are grieving and who we can also love up when they need it. Having people to laugh and cry with is what keeps us moving.
I’m more grateful than ever for those smiles and laughs and all the huge love that surrounds me.
And I’m super grateful when I see the sun shining on the shoulders of a sick kid who hasn’t seen it in too long, and when I read the courageous words of a mother who is planning her scarf wardrobe to cover her head that she knows will soon be hairless (and whom I think could rock a neon pink wig) and when I see a photo of a date night with the faces of people who you can tell still love each other no matter how hard life gets.
These people don’t know it, but they are giving strength and courage and hope to so many of us who witness their stories and hardships and triumphs, whether up close or from afar. When you don’t talk or see each other on a regular basis, you might not realize the complicated ways that your stories are woven together with other people.
When my friend asked me about writing, I had been selfishly thinking that I should get back to it because it helped me heal and process. She told me that I should get back to it because stories helped other people.
And they do. I don’t mean my stories that roam and ramble and often have no discernible point, but all of our stories of being stuck and of realizing that sometimes you can’t go over it or under it~ Our universal stories of finding a way to go through it, and eventually moving on.
So, I have this “real job.” It’s actually a pretty cool one and it came to me in a pretty amazing way. But that story is for another time. For now, the point is just that I’m super happy to be able to support myself and my kids with a pretty flexible schedule and to do it mostly from home.
I’m blessed beyond measure and I know this, but just to clarify, it’s not all sunshine and roses. It takes some creative arranging and discipline (which has not always been my strongest gift) to manage getting the job done and dealing with kids, homeschooling and single mamahood / rural farm girl living with a petting zoo full of animals.
I’m not complaining~ I’m just saying…
Anyhoo~ one of the things that my job requires is monthly trips to the office, which is 175 miles over a winding mountain road to the small coastal town where the company is located. At first, I found myself whining, which was lame, I know, but still I was thinking...
“Oh my gosh~ I have to drive over to the coast every month. How am I gonna figure out what to do with the kids and their transportation and activities and the animals? Waaaahhh, blah, blah, blah."
In the midst of my complaining (side note: I almost referred to my complaining as wanking, because for years, that’s what I thought it meant. But, I was informed by my teens that it has a very different meaning. Oops….That explains the strange looks I’ve gotten when using that term in public. Learning all the time indeed…..) So, I was inspired by something the lovely and wise Marie Forleo said about re-framing our thinking.
I realized “What the heck am I talking about? I get to go to the coast every month....”
I love the crazy things my offspring have come up with~ wishes, plans, and hare brained schemes.
A lot of them just fall into the category of "Kids Say the Funniest Things" and others are more along the lines of "I can't friggen believe you just said that."
But once in a while, even kids realize that one really should be careful what they say, let alone what they wish for.
For example, when a little boy wishes that his mom would just lighten up and let him poop in a hole in the back yard, he may years later find himself without a flushing toilet, and realize that his dream no longer sounds as fun as he had once thought it would be.
You see, we live in the woods. The back woods you might even say. My kids have grown up very familiar with nature and natural functions and life processes and all that.
When my kids were little, and would play for hours outside, they thought I was quite unreasonable for requesting that they actually come inside to use the bathroom. By their reasoning, there were acres of perfectly poopable land around them. Besides, the cats, dogs, goats, ducks and chickens all pooped out there. (Moms can be so stifling, I know)
For the record, I can completely understand exceptions when back country camping with no facilities available, but if there's an indoor bathroom around, I just think that's where humans should do their business. I have a sneaking suspicion that there were occasions when I had my head buried in a book, or was gabbing on the phone, and the ground I was attempting to hold was fertilized by humanure though. Crazy kids. (....)
I realize that I've been writing a lot about philosophical life lessons lately, which is fine, except I'm neglecting some really important things that I want to share~ like the day to day fun that's found in a FunSchooling lifestyle.
While life seems to be full of all of these deep things to ponder and challenges to figure out, it's also full of adventures big and small, and really good times with the people I love most~ my crazy offspring.
Last month, we had a super fun adventure to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for their generous homeschool days. I had to reserve the tickets months in advance, but they were Free~ Yes, FREE! For the 2 adults and 6 kids that were in our friendly adventure party, this would have totaled close to $300 just to get in the door. (In other words, we probably wouldn't have gone otherwise. Thank you Aquarium~ you guys ROCK!)
After having made reservations so far in advance, and getting all excited, life threw a few bumps in my plans. An unpleasant appointment and a funeral came up, and it turned out they would both land on the day we would be returning. Oh~ and we'd be getting in at 1 AM, AFTER spending a full day at the aquarium AND driving over 5 hours.
I actually considered cancelling the trip due to overwhelm, and the realization that I would be heading straight into really hard stuff already exhausted and on no sleep.
Then, I got a grip and realized that neither the appointment nor the funeral would be any happier for me if I skipped out on my fun. Those unpleasant things would still be unpleasant, and I'd rather have the good times than sleep. (.......)
Can someone please explain to me what exactly is the deal with misery and company? I get that complaining is infectious and addictive, but what really surprises me is when misery is an expectation~ when people actually seem to resent others who don't appear to be as unhappy as they should be.
I first noticed this crazy concept a few years ago when my family had been going through some fairly public hard times. Aside from the rocky patch we were in, my offspring and I had been working on our Explore All 50 States Dream for a couple of years.
At one point, we had put together this Pacific Northwest Adventure~ it would take us through Big Foot territory to the Redwoods, to see friends on the Northern California coast, up the entire coast of Oregon, along the Lewis and Clark route, and to visit friends, family and cheesy tourist traps in Seattle and Portland.
We didn't have a lot of time or a huge budget, but with some crazy planning skills and flexibility, we had an amazing 9 day adventure with pouring rain, washed out roads, cheese and ice cream galore and sites that were both historical and hysterical. We slept in tents, in yurts and on couches, and ate out of an ice chest. We saw people we rarely get to, laughed until our bellies ached, got a break from our troubles, continued working toward a big dream, and all around had a wonderful time.
Then, we got home and I posted the pictures on Facebook. Oops.
But, that's what most people do when they have happy things to share, right? Thankfully, most people were happy to see us smiling and having fun, but there were a few (there always are) who felt we should not be enjoying ourselves quite so much. At least not publicly under the circumstances. (.........)
The first few days of a new year always have such hope, such promise. By a week into it (or by the 3rd day) I know a lot of people are already feeling over it with the idea of anything new or different happening.
I may be a little late to the party but personally, I'm feeling like my 2014 scheme fest has just begun, and I'm super excited about all the possibilities.
I've been spending a good deal of time playing with ideas and dreams~ looking back and releasing, looking forward and brainstorming. It's been a bit yo yo-ish, but in a pleasant and rhythmic way rather than a spastic one.
Since I really like crazily scribbling my schemes onto paper, preferably in rainbow colors, and often accompanied by pictures, I've been having a fantastic time playing in my 2014 Amazing Life Planner. I also did a wall spread of 2014 calendar pages, and am starting to sticky note in dates and details.
There's just something about writing stuff down that seems to make things more likely to happen. It's crazy. For example, one thing I put on the list of things I'd like to do in 2014 was to get a disco ball. They're shiny and fun, and I've wanted one to spruce up my chicken coop for years.
Well, a day or so after I wrote it down, not one, but two came into my life. They weren't anything that had graced the ceiling of a swanky night club, but rather 2 small Christmas tree ornaments that I knew needed to be liberated from a future of being attacked by a friend's cat. (I left a note explaining that I took them, and was pretty sure the friend would be OK with it. They were. Plus, they had like 20 more, so it's not like there was a shortage.)
Neither disco ball is going to go in to the hen house because I decided I really would rather demolish that coop and get a new one, and for now, I'd rather they spread the shiny light around my bedroom and my car. Or, I may wear them as earrings at some point, I'm not sure.
Yes, my disco balls are little and silly, but the point for me, was that it happened~ not in the way I might have envisioned, but nevertheless, I got what I hoped for, and more even! And I'm noticing that this kind of thing seems to happen in lots of ways, and in things much bigger than tiny sparkly decorations.
Setting intentions, then being open to the way things unfold without getting hung up on an exact details can lead to some amazing positive results.
It's almost a New Year, and like many people, I'm dreaming and scheming for my next chapter. I’m a big dreamer and schemer year round, but this season, it all feels so shiny and full of potential.
In the past couple of years, I've been realizing that while I like to dive into new stuff, it really helps to look back before I move forward. Hence the annual review. I can come up with hare brained schemes all day, but it's worth figuring out what’s worked well in the past, and what hasn't if I ever want them to become a reality.
So, that's what I'm doing. Reflecting. Looking forward. And trying to find a healthy place that doesn't cross into over analyzing the whole thing.
Some years, I look back with a sense of nostalgia. Not so much with 2013.
Not to make it sound like it was an awful year. It actually had all kinds of good stuff, fun and love, but it also had all kinds of big friggen hard stuff.
2013 gave me some major opportunities for huge growth. In fact, I'd say that it's been my biggest year of personal growth ever. And growth, by it's very nature can be painful, especially the personal kind.
Especially when you're trying to learn to be a nicer person, to avoid scalding people with your words, or frightening them with your evil glare and to generally avoid the fate of becoming brittle.
As I've mentioned before, this is hard stuff.
There are a bazillion tools to help and lots of ways to go about the process of New Year planning, but I like to look first at what people who get things done are doing, and incorporate some of their approaches in my process.
Chris Guillebeau just asks two questions. What went well this year, and what did not go well?
So, what went well is that I had lots of fun adventures with my kids, camping, beaches, mountains, lakes, zip lining and river rafting, concerts and fun on wheels. I met some fabulous people, had lots of fun and felt very loved. Oh, and I started showing my self some love too.
We painted our house "luscious mango" (all by ourselves) and did a whole lotta work to improve our living space (with a bunch of help from awesome people.) I balanced several jobs fairly well and managed to keep a stable funschooling lifestyle for my kids. I helped a number of people, volunteered, had some successful writing gigs and made a good deal of art.
What didn't work so well? Well.....I still have a good deal to learn about juggling and time management and business type skills. I sometimes lost sight of priorities, got sidetracked and distracted along the way, felt overwhelmed at times, and sort of flipped out on occasion. Those are all things I'm working on, and I'd say that I'm a bit better in most of them than I used to be. I'm calling that progress, and hope.
Danielle LaPorte simply asks you to think about how you want to feel. Not what you want to get or do, but how you want to feel about it.
What I want to feel is abundant. I'm done with lack and scarcity thinking and the fear based mindset they breed. I have plenty of everything, and if I unclench my claws, I'll probably enjoy all that I have even more and maybe even attract further abundance. Life seems to work that way.
As for planning for 2014, I'm using Leonie Dawson's "2014 Create Your Amazing Year" book because I'm a big fan of trying to make life more colorful and fun, and that woman combines rainbows and fairy wings with some mad business and productivity skills.
My goal is to have my workbook filled out by January 5th, and I'll be sharing some of my goals after that.
All in all, 2013 gave me some awesome adventures and huge blessings. I have lots and lots of stuff to be grateful for. I hope it gave you many blessings as well, and that you'll take a minute to count them before looking ahead.
I know I'm glad for the lessons I learned, and all the fun I had, but I'm ready to bring on 2014! Happy New Year!
Who is Zesty Mom?
I'm an Artist, Writer, Funschooling Facilitator, Empowered Living Advocate, Wanna-be Organic Gardening Foodie, Travel Loving Life Explorer, Former Goat Herding Chicken Lady, and Full Time Mamacita Extraordinaire to a Couple of Cage Free Kids.
I Made This For You:
Other Places I've Been Featured:
Stuff I Like: