Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘goals’

Doing Whatever You Want – Four Perspectives

Lately I’ve been considering the concept of doing whatever one wants.

The Soul Knows

A kind friend (and potentially spiritual mentor) advised me to be gentle with myself. She said that whatever thing I felt like doing at any particular moment, I should do. Her reasoning was that my higher self knows what I want and what I need, and if I listen to that higher self with compassion and grace, I will find my true path. In essence, my true nature knows what is best for me and will lead me to it by giving me desires that achieve those goals.

Be All That You Can Be

My parents always told me that I could do or be whatever I wanted. They did not have the same meaning in mind as my friend did, however. Their meaning was quite different: According to them, I have the capacity, talent, perseverance, and opportunity to follow any career path and become successful at it. (I’m not entirely convinced that this is true. For instance, I very much doubt there’s any hint of a career as a chef in my future, given my “successes” in the kitchen to date! (None. There have been no successes in the kitchen to date … Unless you count NOT accidentally poisoning my family with their dinner each night!)).

That’s okay. I am okay with not being a success at everything, and I no longer feel the heavy burden of striving for excellence at absolutely everything. I can be mediocre at some things. I can be bad at some things. I can be whatever I want, and while I might not *want* to be bad at cooking, I don’t particularly *want* to be good at it. I nothing it.

Let It Go

Then you get the other kind of “doing whatever you want”. This is the bit that trips me up, and it makes me question the true meaning of the lessons my kind friend and my well-intentioned parents tried to impart.

This kind of “doing whatever you want to do”, in my case, looks something like this: I would spend all day on the most comfortable couch or bed I can find, alternately drinking wine and coffee (extra strong, with too much honey), and eating as much chocolate and as many bags of crisps as I can lay my hands on. I’d switch between watching movies, TV series, and YouTube videos, and reading books (both paper and Kindle).

I can assure you, that is NOT the future my parents had in mind for me. And I doubt my friend meant that life of dissipation, either. While there can be a lot of good in reading, and relaxing with a movie is not, of itself, bad, the rest of it is really not good at all – at least, not for my body.

And definitely not for my goals. My family. My career. My life.

Trading Good for BEST

As I juggled these disparate perspectives of “doing whatever I please”, I finally figured it out. I CAN do whatever I please with my life – BIG Picture stuff. I CAN do work I love. And I CAN be good at it – just as good as I want to be.

But to do what I want to do, I have to do a whole lot of what I DON’T want to do along the way.

If you don't sacrifice for what you want, what you want will be the sacrificeAllow me to illustrate. I love to write. I want to write. I want to be a writer – and a good one, at that. What I don’t love is getting up early. But if I want to practise my writing, I must get up early and write. I enjoy watching and reading educational material that makes me better at what I do. I believe it is key to my growth and success. But I enjoy watching Jimmy Fallon more (don’t judge ;)) – and often that wins out over the good stuff.

It’s not that the little distractions and small indulgences are bad. In many cases, they’re actually good! But they’re not the best. They’re not the grand, long-term awesomeness that I really – REALLY – want. So this year, I will not sacrifice the BEST on the altar of the GOOD … or even the not-so-bad.

That stuff will have to wait.



Bucketlist: eight things to do before I die.

Part of my recent rearrangement of – well, everything – was to decide what things I’d like to achieve EVER in my life. These now form anchor points, goals to work towards, instead of the regular grind of just putting one foot in front of the other, hoping desperately to survive.

I now present to you, in no particular order,

Eight things I want to do before I’m done:

  • Travel to Europe
  • Travel to Australia
  • Travel to New Zealand
  • Travel all around the whole of South Africa
  • Live on a farm for at least a month
  • Learn to dance
  • Learn to fight and do serious damage
  • Talk at TED

There’s an amazing opportunity available which could make it possible to achieve rather a lot of these things, and it’s called Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). The South African chapter allows you to work on local farms (and would let us travelt he country AND live on farms. Presumably we could do something similar in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Although I don’t know what we’d do for actual income to get from one place to another, buy clothes and so forth.

Hmm … perhaps we could trade. I’m doing a lot of thinking, experimenting and researching into the practical workings of a functional barter system, starting with one on my business site. I wonder whether we really need all this filthy old lucre after all.

Let's trade

Let’s trade

What do you think?

Action Steps:

  • Achieve at least three things on my TO DO list (so far, so good).
  • Do something creative with my kids (absolutely no progress here).
  • Spend time in prayer and reading God’s Word (this also needs work).
  • Move my body (nope).
  • Read something meaningful (does Game of Thrones count?)


  • Maybe this? Proverbs 20:10 … can you think of any that are more appropriate?

Doing what you love vs the fear of man

only as high as I reach can I growGoldilocks was quiet as we drove home from her dancing lesson. Subdued. Something was brewing inside her, and I decided to wait, and let it spill over when she was ready. Finally,it came. “Mom,” she said quietly, not looking up. “Do you think I’ll ever be good at dancing?” Now, Goldilocks is incredibly flexible and astoundingly musical. When music starts – any music – she simply cannot keep still. She has to move. And she does so with grace and joy.

“Yes, Darling. I think you were born to dance,” I said.

More silent brooding.

“I don’t think I want to go back to dancing,” she admitted at last.

We don’t have spare cash for extra murals. The money for this term’s dancing lessons had been carefully hoarded together since the beginning of the year, after months of pleading for dance lessons by both girls. We’d sacrificed to make this happen – we were glad to do so – and now, neither of them wanted to go back. Ever. She was miserable.

“Are you not enjoying dancing, my Love?” I asked gently.

“It’s not that!” she quickly answered. “I love it! I love the music, and the steps. I love the dances our teacher creates and I really love to dance.”


“What’s making you not want to go then? You’ve been pleading with me to let you go to dancing. Have you lost interest?”

Because I sit in the lessons, I knew there hadn’t been a specific incidence of meanness making her so miserable. But I also know that little girls can be incredibly cruel – subtly so – and devastate one another without thinking.

“It’s not that,” Goldilocks said slowly. Then it came out all at once. “It’s just that I haven’t been to lessons for two terms. I don’t know any of the steps. And I’m the oldest one there! Everyone else must surely think I’m an idiot, making mistakes all the time and being stuck with the younger classes.”


“If there was no one in the class, would you go?”

“Oh yes!”

“Do you enjoy dancing?”

“I love it!”

“Do you know those other girls? Do you know what they’re thinking, what they’re like? Does it affect you at all any time besides that half hour a week in the school hall?”

“Well … no. I suppose not.”

I explained to her that the other girls are probably very nice young ladies with no idea how old Goldilocks is, and no interest in her achievement since they’re all focusing on getting it right themselves.

But aren’t we like that sometimes? We give up our dreams because of potentially unfounded fears of what others will think of us.

Who cares? So what if someone laughs at you. You’re doing something you love, aren’t you? Does it really matter, after all, if someone you don’t know and almost never see thinks less of you for something outside of your control, like how old you are or how often your mom takes you to dance class? Surely not! The truth is that those people probably have no interest in your concerns. If they think about you at all, in all likelihood it’s probably to admire your courage. But the truth is that people are so wrapped up in themselves, they’re probably not thinking about you at all. Are you deriding them in your mind? Do you think less of them because of their age or race or experience or circumstances? I didn’t think so.

I explained to my dear Goldilocks that she needed to decide what mattered more to her: the imagined derision of her dancing partners, or the dancing itself. I assured her I would respect and support her requirements, whatever they turned out to be. But I encouraged her not to give up her dream simply because she thought someone might laugh at her.

Someone might. Someone almost always does. Dreamers unintentionally set themselves up as targets of ridicule. But that doesn’t stop them from changing the world. Don’t let it stop you, either. The mockers are too small to matter, and you are too awesome to let them.

2013. A lucky number?

For starters, I’m NOT superstitious, and I don’t believe in lucky or unlucky numbers. If I did, though, I’d pick 13 just to be contrary.

That out of the way, happy new year! The new year and new month and new week are all here, and with them come some goals:

  • This year I will break through the 5km run barrier – running non-stop for 5km (instead of about 1/3 of that, as I do now). And I will run it in 30 mins or less.
  • This year I will be more organised – in EVERYthing. School. House. Work. Exercise.
  • This year I will have a weekly date night with my husband.
  • This year I will keep my blogs updated more regularly.

This last one may result in some rather short, “light” posts, but I do want this blog to serve as a journal of our frugal home education journey, and it can’t do that if I never update it.

So there it is: 2013’s goals formalised and announced. The rest of today is dedicated to itemising the plans in detail – in spreadsheets and my diary. After that, all that remains is to follow through!

Today’s reading:

  • Gen. 1-3 (creation and the fall of man – a sobering way to start the day).
  • Phil. 4:
    Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
    13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
    The message was: “choose a positive attitude and focus on the good God does in your life each day”.


I just stumbled across this site: http://listuniverse.wordpress.com/

I LOVE it! As a fanatical list-maker and avid reader-of-bullet-points I thought this was a great way to keep track of – well, everything. So I am going to start making lists today.

Here is my list of things I’m starting this week:

Now is the winter of our Discount Tent: why we need electric blankets.

Why we need electric blankets.

  1. I’m starting making lists on my blog.
  2. I’m starting to balance education better. (More on that later).
  3. I’m going to start to manage my time better. Right after this post.
  4. I’m starting to drink less coffee. As soon as I finish the bag of Starbucks Dark Roast Verona I just received as a gift and have nearly flattened.
  5. I’m starting an exercise regime. Seriously. Any day now.
  6. I’m starting the next unit in Konos.
  7. I’m starting to use my electric blanket.
  8. I’m starting to be more honest – with everybody, including myself.
  9. I’m starting to finish the things I start.
  10. I’m starting to get to bed early and get more rest.

That’s all I got. I’m starting all of these things. Any day now. I’m sure of it 🙂

Actually, today I’m starting to be the mother of a seven year old, since my six year old went and got BIG! *Sigh*. Firsts always come right after tear-jerking lasts.

My last day as the mother of a six year old was also the first time I ever piped icing onto a cake.

My last day as the mother of a six year old was also the first time I ever piped icing onto a cake.

Lesson #2: One thing at a time (ctd).

When I posted yesterday’s post about doing one thing at a time, I went off on a tangent and completely lost the focus and point of the post. Let me back track a little and explain where I should have been headed with that.

There is SO much I want to do in life. By my calculations I’m between a third of the way and half way through this mortal coil, and I have accomplished less than that percentage of what I had set out to do at the start (when I became self-aware). I want to learn to play guitar (and piano, ‘cello and violin). I want to learn to speak Zulu fluently – not to mention Spanish, Italian and French. I want to be able to bake anything, draw perfectly, paint like a Renaissance Master, and dance. I want to plant a garden that survives my efforts, have a thriving vegetable and herb patch (that sustains us), build a fish pond and give the girls horse-riding lessons. I want to travel the world. I want to knit toys and blankets and clothes, learn to crochet, and make gifts with that skill. I want to write a book. (Well, books, plural). I want to … well, you get the drift. There’s a LOT I want to do, and in between all of that my deepest desire is to be doing full-time missions work in some remote location (that miraculously has both electricity and internet!). It’s not even that I’m an overachieving perfectionist. It’s just that those things all sound so cool, and we only have a short time here, so why not make the most of it, right?

What invariably happens is that I become so overwhelmed with the range of options and the complete lack of a starting point that I sit in mute horror staring at the whizzing-by-ness of my life, not doing anything at all. In other words, I don’t accomplish a single thing on my list, which is worse than only accomplishing some of it.

That’s what led me to the one-thing-at-a-time philosophy. I have picked a few key things, and I am starting with those. So this week, DD#1 will start learning to write letters. DD#2 will gain a little inner peace when she worries about the Lost. I will start to learn to draw butterflies. And we have all started learning Zulu. We can now say:

  • Sawubona (Hello).
  • Unjani? (How are you?)
  • Ngiyabonga. (Fine thank you).
  • Ngubani igama lakho? (What is your name?)
  • Igama lami ngu [Name]. (My name is [Name]).
  • Sala kahle. (Go well/goodbye).
  • Hamba kahle. (Stay well/goodbye).
It’s not much and it’s far from perfect but it’s a start, and that is the key thing. It is a lot more Zulu than we could speak a week ago.

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