Every year Julie and I write down our plans for the next year. Plans change, priorities change, things come up but it gives us something to shoot for. For example, we may say we want to put $X toward savings every paycheck, buy a milking machine, buy a shotgun and expand into a new market on the farm. Every year the shotgun gets pushed off. Like I’m supposed to be happy with the guns I’ve got or something. We remain open to changes in our plans.
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Our 2013 list is not yet final but includes a shotgun (again), exercise our option on the remaining 40, fix the roof on the back addition, seed clover in the pasture, buy as many as 8 beef cows (shorthorns would be awesome!), set up a Facebook page for Chism Heritage Farm and a few other personal and financial goals. I would also like to try raising quail this year, though they are not cheap and require a high-protein feed. During our summer lull I would like to pick up 50-100 of them from our friends at Cackle Hatchery and see what it’s all about. This will also be the year of planting trees. I plan to plant many more trees than I cut down and I have to cut down a lot of thorny things out there. But, though all of these things are good they may not be the best thing for me. All of these are subject to the will of God. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. He does.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.
Don’t resolve to lose weight this year or give up chocolate or promise yourself to write a post every stinking day to your family farm blog. Avoid guilt-driven goals. Consider things you can measure and actually complete. Things you know you need to do but won’t if it is not written down somewhere staring you in the face every day. Make plans that are their own reward. Don’t congratulate yourself for losing 5 pounds by eating a cupcake. Prevent yourself from mowing the pasture and lower your food bill by getting some cows. Then lose weight by managing the cows. Then eat the cupcake!
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’.
We list out our plans. We pray that our plans are inspired by God and not by greed. We work toward our plans. Sometimes God redirects our work. Sometimes things just come up. Even if you don’t believe in God, it’s far better to take a moment to think about where you are trying to go rather than allow yourself to drift aimlessly. So here’s a quote from Alice in Wonderland for those who don’t share my beliefs.
The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good- natured, she thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.
`Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it’s pleased so far,’ thought Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
`I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.
`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
`–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
`Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’
We maintain our plan. We have direction. We reference, update and maintain our plan. We take steps each day to achieve our goals. Even a little at a time.
What’s on your list for 2013?
I love all the Proverbs you found about God’s plans for us. I have a lot of trouble discerning God’s plan for me – makes me feel like a dog running ahead of the family, running back all the time – this way? are we going this way? or maybe over here? Like Julie said, I’m learning that I just need to DO. We do make plans, written down ones like you – that cover financial, home, farm and family goals – because if we didn’t, I for one might never get anything done – the commitment to paper seems to help me overcome the procrastination. My list? I posted it on my blog – go check it out and hold me accountable – at least for the darned chicken house. Happy New Year to you and your family.
Thanks Dawn. The chicken house will be no problem. You’ll knock that out in no time and be back inside by the fire playing Wii-U in your housecoat before you know it.
Thanks for the encouragement. No Wii-U (just regular old Wii), but a book by the fire sounds like a good incentive.
I went to sailorsmallfarm and read her list. Thanks for the inspiration. I love the blackberries but hate the brambles. One of my goals for this year is to clean the perimeter of my yard. This is a goal I will need strength to complete and I’m told I no longer may use my strength to do things. God has supplied us with a very nice grandson that I intend to employ. Possibly other grandchildren can also help, but the oldest is taller than I am, so I will depend on him. I would also like to give various charities a bunch of our stuff. (I’m cleaning the “brambles” out of my house, too.) We seem to have a lot of stuff. This will also be an opportunity for our granson to make a little money by carrying stuff to my car so I can take it to the charities. My other goals include things that will allow me to retire in a very few years. My husband is concerned I won’t know what to do with myself, but I don’t think that will be a problem. If I had the time I would make a list of things to do when I retire. Goals are good. They give us a path to follow and, hopefully, help us avoid the brambles along the way.
@caretaker – I love the bramble metaphor for clutter – I am definitely enmeshed in the house, but I’d never thought of it like that. Makes me think of the parable of the seeds sown in the thorny wastes as well. Hiring the grandson is a great idea. I definitely appreciate the energy and willingness (especially for pay!) of my daughters.