I have trouble turning off my brain. I love planning out pretty much everything, making lists, and charts, and graphs, and checking off little boxes. It’s one of the reasons I love bullet journaling. I can make all the little boxes I want and check them off and I can make planning pages for things most planners don’t leave space for, like “Ethical Consumerism” – a page on which I can list all the companies that fail to live up to my standards (rigorous); the few that do earn my approval; and all the ones in between. Then in the “Homesteading and DIY” planning section, I can plot out ways to avoid the fatally flawed companies by making my own, refurbishing something else, or just inspiring myself to go without. If it sounds exhausting and overwhelming, don’t worry, it isn’t. For me it’s like washing the floor or putting all the M&Ms in little color co-ordinated piles of perfection: absolutely refreshing! And maybe that’s why the intentional living trend is so very attractive to me…I can use it to put my life into lovely, little piles as well, and then just curate the prettiness.
I don’t expect the prettiness to last. I used to, but reality set in pretty fast. And I discovered a aspect of intentionality that embraces the imperfections and helps me to see them for the beauties they are! The term is “Wabi Sabi” and it is a way of embracing the natural beauty of imperfections and transience. And reflecting on it helps me get my mind into a more stable place as I shape my environment and my relationships. Nothing is perfect, nothing will stay in it’s ideal state (assuming it every reaches it’s ideal state!), and I will end up with a ring of coffee in my bullet journal almost every week. Better to love the imperfections for themselves and allow them to flavor my life than to fight them and long for an ideal that will never be, in this life anyway.
August is my birthday month, which means I usually try to make it into a sort of sacred time of beginning and growing. Coming up to this August, I’m building a ‘Rule of Life’ in my bullet journal, highlighting the areas I want to work on especially in the first 1/3 of my new year. The ‘Rule’ is designed to make my life more monastic, more intentional, more devotional, and more loving. My goal is to give each day enough structure to nurture holiness and creativity in myself and, most especially, in my family as a whole. So I’ve devoted pages and pages to my intentional living goals. It’s been a lot of fun planning it out and gently implementing the structural aspects (scheduling our days and including more time for prayer and reflection). I can’t wait to fall into full swing with it!
One of the areas I am determined to be more intentional in is my homesteading. I am a lazy homesteader. My gardens need way more focus than I have ever given them, out-buildings need to be finished up and refreshed in some major ways (we are working on finishing the studio-building right now!) I’m writing up some plans for what I would like my homestead to look like and be producing within the next few years, and I hoping to spend a good portion of the fall getting the gardens in order, the animals well-structured, and the house and outbuildings in order.
We’ve been getting rid of things left and right. I love the Konmari system, and as we’re going through it for the second time now, we are realizing just how many of our things are just taking up space. As we’re purging though, I’ve realized that my uber-minimal wardrobe (about 15 pieces total) isn’t really working for me. I’m bored with it and I don’t feel as pretty as I’d hoped. So, while we aren’t really in a position to add to it right now, I’m planning on almost doubling it for the the fall and winter! Looking and feeling beautiful everyday is kind of essential for me. Especially since we live off-grid, and off-grid folks tend to have a reputation for looking very much like people who brave the elements all day everyday. I don’t want to be the sort of person who can be labeled “off-grid yurter” by sight. So I tend to my wardrobe as best I can while still keeping it minimal and sort of ‘capsuled’.
Media is a big area of intentionality for me. I need to figure out my balance, I haven’t yet! I’m on more than I should be and I’m too often distracted and unproductive. Because we don’t have a lot of data, being intentional with my time online is essential, and so I’m trying hard to fit in specific times to be online: to nurture the relationships I’ve formed online and to work on my writing as well. But I’m considering moving our phones to a track-phone plan instead of tying them up with the tablet’s data. We don’t have smart-phones, so they don’t need data anyway, and we aren’t big on phone calls either, so limited phone time wouldn’t be a big issue, and it might help us add some structure.
Along with all this intentionality, I’m building in some extra time for some of my favorite devotions. St. Paraskeva has been such a good friend to me throughout my married life, and it’s been years since I did a Paraskeva novena (a novena of 9 Fridays) to her. I started one yesterday, attending Mass with Seth and the kids, fasting through the morning, and abstaining from housework through the whole day. The Paraskeva devotion is such a blessing to me; Paraskeva nurtures women especially, and those waiting for joy or blessings, the earth, the fields, happy homes, and housework, and I adore her. Along with Paraskeva, I’m wrapping up the end of July in the Divine Mercy novena. I love the Divine Mercy chaplet and it seems like such an ideal way to transition from Mid to Late Summer, to help the season slowly pass gently into autumn. Blessings, all.