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Bucket List of a Farmer’s Wife.

Winter 2012:

Learn how to make bread.  check.

 

Finish knitting my sweater.  check.  worn exactly twice before it got too hot.

Spring 2012:

Create a garden.  a work in progress.

Summer 2012:

Tend the garden and eat from the garden.  see above.

Make a wearable item of clothing with the sewing machine.

Fall 2012

Make a quilt.

For the year:

Stick to a budget without going crazy.**

Volunteer.

Make friends.  slowly but surely.

Find a church.

Read an intimidating classic. slowly reading Jane Eyre, there’s just so many other books that I also want to read.

Feel comfortable and confident as a Nurse Practitioner.  not quite.

Run/walk/bike/do yoga consistently.  Not all of these, just be active consistently.

And I’m adding:

Join/start a Book Club.  This can go along with making friends.

**During Lent, Gregg and I saved all of our receipts.  We are working towards having and sticking to a budget.  This has been a topic of conversation for us ever since we were dating.  Reimagine, the forward-thinking community that we were a part of in California, considers budgeting a spiritual practice.  They even share their incomes and budgets with each other.  Talk about accountability.  When this topic first came up in San Francisco, I got defensive, and even said aloud that I didn’t have a budget.  Gregg asked me, “Well, do you want to have one?”  I didn’t at the time, but after trying a few different ways of budgeting over the years, I see the value in actually knowing where our money is going.

Since we have moved to the Eastern Shore, it seems like our cost of living has skyrocketed.  I already mentioned my Speed-bus gas tank.  Also, we were a part of a meal-share co-op in Knoxville.  We only bought and cooked dinner one night a week.  15 or so people, mostly from our church, came over with their tupperware and ate the meal we had prepared.  Every other night of the week, we went to someone’s house who had prepared a meal for us.  (We called it Food 4 All, and we even made the newspaper.)  All that to say, we are spending more at the grocery store.

Yesterday, we categorized [groceries, eating out, gas, other] and counted up our receipts.  So depressing.  But, then we set some goals for ourselves for next month.  We’re going to try to spend less on groceries and less on eating out.

Something that I realized during our receipt calculating is that  my tendency to want to win and be the best could be applied to budgeting.  I could say let’s try to spend as little money as possible.  I could do all of our grocery shopping at Wal-mart, never leave the house (to save on gas), and not contribute a bottle of wine or whatever when someone invites us over for dinner.  All of these things would save money.  But, that’s not the point.  Generousity completely gets thrown out the window with that approach.  Balance in everything, right?  Maybe the point is spending well instead of spending as little as possible.

And, I’m still trying to figure out how to buy food well.  Organic and natural versus cheaper.  Reimagine (I learned a lot from them.) hosts a workshop on Simplicity every year.  During this workshop, they talked about food.  They discussed the difference between cheap food and natural food, and said that even though its cheaper, there’s still a cost somewhere.  In other words, someone is paying for the cheaper food, it just may not be you at the check out.  That someone could be the worker in the field, the farmer, the grocery store employee.  Someone is getting paid less so that we can buy our food cheaper.  (Rant.)

Any budgeting advise is welcome.

Okay, marketing time.

I’m turning into a little bit of an iPhone geek.  There is one app that makes my life so much better.  (I can’t believe I’m doing this.)  This one app, called PageOnce is awesome.  You can put all of your bills/credit cards/loans/bank info into it, and it will show you all of your info on one little page.  How much total cash you have, how much debt, when your bills are due.  Its awesome.  (I already said that.)  I know that some people are dubious about putting all of your bank info into a system like that, but I think its safe and trustworthy.  That’s all I’m gonna say about it.

I have an interview on the Eastern Shore February 27th.  We move to the Eastern Shore January 24th.  If my math is correct, I’ll have over a month before my interview, and, then, if hired, probably another month before I start working.  I quit my job in Knoxville over a month ago, so I feel like my stint of fun-employment has run its course.  But, obviously, with an interview that won’t happen until the end of February, that is not the case.

Today I started thinking about how I wanted to spend my time on the Eastern Shore during my continued run of fun-employment.  My first thought was to get a job.  I’m not quite sure what the logic was here.  I think it was more fear than logic that was driving me.  Then, other ideas came to mind: walk, read, unpack & settle into our new house, write, knit, explore our new place.  These sound more fitting.  I’m not sure how scheduled I want to be, but I think some structure may be helpful.

Our conversation at small group last night led me to these thoughts of how I can be intentional with my time.  We were talking about financial planning as it relates to our life goals.  A community that Gregg and I were a part of in San Francisco has been using this budget worksheet to guide their conversation.  We followed their lead.  For me, naming my life goals was surprisingly helpful in guiding my financial goals.  My life goals involved family, life/work balance, art, and prayer.  My goals are not really about money at all.  If anything, they more about spending or giving than saving.  I think this is what came up for me because I tend to hold onto my money tightly.

While saving was one of my goals, giving was a bigger one.    Specifically, I wrote on my worksheet “spend freely, but not too freely.”  As in, feel free to splurge every once in a while.  On a meal, on a person, on art.  I won’t be able to spend too freely during my fun-employment, of course, but our conversation served as a stepping stone for intentionality, both with time and money.