January: The Goals

Winter is exhausting. The holiday season is exhausting. As much as we are working to try and change how we do holidays and the winter season, which historically are a time of rest and re-energizing for the next growing season, we came short of our hopes this last year. So next holiday season, we’ll work on seeing how we can be better stewards then.

For now, we’re going to slide into this fast for a year with a few simple goals. As we processed the layout for the year, we decided to start slow, and incorporate the more difficult sacrifices once we’ve gained some traction. To begin, we have three goals for January:

  1. No food item: Foreign/Long distance Seafood.
    • Or to put it in a positive tone, ONLY LOCAL seafood. Since we live in Wisconsin, we don’t want to be supporting industries that are irresponsibly fishing our oceans and seas until they are void of life. In addition, the amount of fossil fuels expended to transport fresh and frozen fish from the ocean to our landlocked state is tremendous and unsustainable. Instead, we are choosing to focus on sustainable fishing that occurs in our local region. As we live in Wisconsin, that means for the rest of the year, we will be purchasing or fishing for food that comes from the Great Lakes Region and hopefully Wisconsin specific. As we don’t really eat that much seafood, this will be an easy item to give up, except when I (Jenn) have the occasional sushi craving because sushi is amazing. We’ll get through it though.

  2. Sort through all possessions on the second level of our house.
    • Over the next few months, we’ll be taking a hard look at each level of our home, including the basement and our detached garage/shed structures. We have chosen to work top to bottom, and house to surrounding buildings. We’ve already done a few minimization projects in various rooms, but this is the first time we will be doing a complete house examination. There are so many items that are hiding in boxes and closets, or even in plain sight, that we do not use. This year we are adopting the philosophy to find “usefulness or beauty” in everything in our home. If it is neither useful nor beautiful to us, we will be donating it to organizations who can re-purpose the items for other people. This month we will be tackling our bathroom, bedroom, attic space, and what will eventually become a room for children, but is a junk pile room currently.

  3. Bathroom House Project.
    • Last year, we began the process of remodeling our bathroom. Our home was built in 1940, and it has needed some serious input to get it back into the original loveliness that was intended for it. As we’ve remodeled, we’ve wanted to make the best decisions for the environment and our home, though at times our options have been constrained by our budget. Thus, when it came time to do an entire gut and remodel of our bathroom (the pipes were plugged up and leaking), we chose to buy the most water efficient toilet we could afford, and while we put a great deal of thought into our tub/shower, we bought what we could get. However, since we traded off the shower purchase, we decided to build our own vanity and shelving/storage. Adam’s father is a wood worker, and he had some weathered barn board from an old horse shed. This is the wood we will be giving new life in our home as our vanity and storage. Our sink is coming from IKEA, and that will round out our simplified bathroom. As this has been an on-going project for some months now, our goal is to have this space finished by the end of the month.

As we work through these various goals of the month, we will be considering how these choices will impact both people and the environment. Who are the local fishermen in our area? How do we pay them a fair wage for their work, and what does that mean for the way we buy fish? How do we know that what they are doing is in fact sustainable, and is it better for us to obtain a fishing licence and fish for ourselves?

For our home, what are the items that we are holding onto for sentimental reasons only, and are they worth the emotional tie, or could someone else make much better use of them? What is the purpose of storing items in a closet or box, if we are never going to use them? How do we connect with others so that our donations make an actual positive impact, and are not just getting thrown out? And finally, how do we set up rooms and finish projects in a way that glorifies God and expresses simplicity and love in our daily life?

We’re ready to begin the fast, to be a better steward, to dig deeper this year.

Here. we. go.

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