Are you interested in HOMESTEADING LIFESTYLE?  Then you might find one of these articles handy:

Dutch-oven Cooking by Catherine Lugo

Easy as Pie: The Myth of Simple Living by Sheri Dixon

Non-Electric Dreamin’ by Barbara Bamberger Scott

I’m From the Universe, and I’m Here to Help by Sheri Dixon

What I Learned From Poultry by Diana Barker

American Farmers Today - Part One by Karyn Sweet

What is Your Homestead $ Number? by Tony Colella




Realize Your Resolutions


by Jenny Flores

December 31st. New Year's Eve. Another year is behind us, a fresh slate is in front of us. Most of us will participate in the time-honored tradition of making resolutions. Statistics say most of us will give them up by mid-February. It doesn't have to be that way.

A majority of people report making the same tired resolutions their friends and family make, year after year. How can all of our resolutions be the same when we are so different? As homesteaders, we have an advantage, as we have already somewhat bucked the system. But it is still easy to get sucked into the trap of wanting to be, or do, or have what friends and family are, or do, or have. This is why resolutions so often leave people with a sense of failure. Of course we fail! Just because we think we are supposed to want something doesn't mean we actually want it. And if you don't want it, you won't put in the time and effort to get it.

The secret to happiness is to please yourself in everything you do. No one can define the “good life” except the person living it. To make lasting changes, real resolutions, you need to first be clear on what the “good life” means to you.

Research has shown that there are four main areas that contribute to or detract from our happiness. We all seem to need happy relationships, interesting and challenging work, financial independence, and good health. By setting clear and specific goals in each of these areas we are able to make continuous improvements in our lives.

As you begin to think about the things you want to accomplish in 2017, I encourage you to keep a notebook where you will record the things you have accomplished, as you accomplish them. For each of the four areas above, assess where you are now and where you would like to be in a year from now. Ask yourself, “What changes do I want to make this year? What things do I want to do? What new skills do I want to learn?”

For each area, make one long-term goal. This is where you want to be in one year. For each of your long-term goals, create up to six milestones that will help you achieve your long-term goal. These milestones are to be accomplished in two to four months. Finally, for each milestone, create specific, short-term action steps that you can accomplish within a month. As the year progresses, record any wins or forward movement on your projects and goals.

Happy relationships are important to our physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Although we have been given multiple opportunities to practice healthy relationships, they can still be tricky for us mere mortals. Some common relationship barriers include the need to be right, the need to control others, the perceived need to protect others, and the need to please others at the expense of our own happiness.

As you begin to think about what you want for yourself in the coming year, examine the relationships you have. What can you do to create a happier and more harmonious home? Remember, you can't change anyone else; you can only change your behavior. Spend some time observing the dynamics at work in your home. What is happening on a consistent basis that brings you and your family joy? How can you create more of those moments? What is happening on a consistent basis that doesn't feel so great? What is your part in that? What behavior can you change to make it better? The changes you are looking for don't need to be huge. Sometimes all it takes to create a happier home is to commit to giving a compliment before you say good morning. The anxiety of hectic mornings may be solved by waking up just 20 minutes earlier. One thing that has a proven positive effect on relationships is to pursue something—a hobby, career, or long-term project—that you are passionate about, and allow others in your life to do the same.

Our homes are ground zero for relationships but they are not the only place we interact with people. Is there a group you would like to join this year? Would you like to get more involved in your community of faith or begin a volunteer project? Are you interested in taking or giving a class? Is there a neighbor you have been meaning to get to know better? There are unlimited opportunities to meet new people and to improve the relationships you already have. Relationships are the cornerstone of homesteading communities. How can you strengthen the bonds of family, friends, and community in the upcoming year?

Whether or not you work outside of the home, interesting and challenging work that aligns with the values you hold is imperative to a happy and fulfilling life. By committing yourself to the development of your natural talents and by pursuing a path that truly interests you, your work life will become more enjoyable and more successful.

In order to become a success in any field, you must put forth the effort required to gain more experience than others in the same field. Because it is often difficult to step out of your comfort zone in order to gain the experience you need, calculated risks are something you can purposefully work into your plan in the form of milestones and action steps. By taking small steps towards a large goal you put yourself in the position to continually assess your level of mastery before moving on to another step. There is nothing that can replace experience. Don't be so afraid of failing at a new skill that you don’t even try.

What large, work-related project are you interested in pursuing this year? What does success in this area look like to you? This is your long-term goal. What do you need to do to get from where you are now to your vision of success? These are your milestones. Brainstorm as many ways as possible for you to gain experience. These are the action steps that will help you achieve your big goal.

Continuous learning is another important part of a rewarding work life. It is impossible to know everything about anything. There is always something to learn. Continuous learning not only positions you as an expert or leader, but keeps you feeling passionate about the work you are doing.

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