Earlier this year, I shared my 2016 goals publicly. I wanted to roll back around and see how I went with those goals.
I wanted to share as well – I’m not particularly having a Big Goal year. I’ve done a lot over the past eight years… and had some years where I’ve gone ballz-to-the-wall with goals. After so much moving and growing, this year, I’m much more about sweet domesticity and settling. So my goals reflect that. There ain’t no wrong way to do goals! They are really just the structure to help build a life and business you adore… however that looks for you and your family!
Overall, I’m really happy with where I ended up. There’s much more that I would have liked to have done… but when I take into account how life and health and business/staffing challenges happened in 2016… I feel pretty fucking rad at what I did do and where I’ve ended up!
It’s been a huge spiritual lesson for me over the years to be motivated by my goals, but NOT have my ego and worth tied up in them. I talked more about this with Kerry Rowett in this interview if you want to hear more!
And, as always, I’m so super grateful for my own goals workbooks… even though they’ve been used by over a quarter of a million people worldwide, I wrote them for myself first and foremost… and they’ve been one of the biggest blessings and guiding forces of my life and business over the last eight years.
Go on a health retreat
Increase my immunity
Tint van windows
Do a large painting
Get fans installed
Do a picnic by myself
Do art date/workshop with Starry @ NGA
Get family photographs taken
Have BBQ with old work mates
Set up Wii and play games
Get painting for above bed
Have creative side projects (decide on some!!!)
Have a solo mama retreat
Do a digital illustration course
Do a daily creative challenge for 20 days
Experiment with Jade Egg
Get Lile to teach me knitting
Do some woodwork
Take Starry to something sacred (it’s in the works!)
Try Tigress Yoga or Yin Yoga
Read 52 books
Re-read “What We Say Matters”
Go to Cockington Green (planning to do it these school holidays)
Go on a road trip with Deb (we didn’t…. but we did spend so much time together! It was lovely!)
Go to Kingston Foreshore or get a Freakshake with family
Fix bicycle + go for ride (planning to do it these school holidays)
Replace curtains and blinds
Get shelves installed in wardrobes
Go to a concert or show
Read a good money book
Pay off mortgage on Property #1 (really close to that… feeling good about where we are financially)
Make our house feel like a home
Plant tomatos and beans
Create poster for Golden Rules of Success + hang in studio
Stop sleeping with iPhone in bedroom
Declutter and get boxes to op shop
Get phone fixed/get new phone
Prune roses before Spring
Rearrange house and put bookcase in lounge
Order electric blanket
Order non-slip rug for long hallway rug
Finish Brené Brown e-course
Put up Zen Habits poster in my office
Have weekly solo mama retreats in bed
Get coat racks
Watch the seasons change
Max out super contributions
Quarterly financial planning meetings
Work out watering system
Make a creative nook for myself
Discover a new creative passion (planners!)
Go to Questacon
Go to Balloon Festival
Go to NLA exhibition
Finish “I’m Off Then”
Finish “Something New”
Read “Zim Zum of Love”
Keep regularly art journalling
Go on regular girl dates with Lil
Try San Churro
Get new king size bed
Get new headboard
Find a pilates instructor + do pilates weekly
Weekly food delivery
Get wedding ring re-sized
Go to women’s circle
Get rugs + carpets professionally cleaned
Christmas Bucket List:
Order 2016 Instagram album (I usually order through Blurb, but its software is currently shitting its pants for the Instagram integration… waiting for it to de-bugify!)
Come up with advent calendar
Get family Christmas cards done
Write Christmas letter and send cards
Goals I Canned:
See the Christmas lights (didn’t. Daylight savings means we would have had to keep the kids up 3 hours past their bedtime to see them. #nope)
Read “5 Love Languages For Kids”(nope, wasn’t called to it)
Finish “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving A Fuck”(nope, wasn’t called to it)
Finish “Quiet Power”(nope, wasn’t called to it)
Finish Bill Bryson’s “Home” (nope, wasn’t called to it)
Do quarterly personal plans (nope… decided it wasn’t the right thing for me)
Run 12 webinars (Didn’t… recurrent throat infections have annihilated this year…)
Earlier this year I met an incredible earth angel… a woman who had visited Kenya 12 years ago as a young woman… and who, like so many, was deeply affected by the poverty, AIDS epidemic and tragic circumstances she found there.
Unlike so many however… she did something huge. She started an orphanage and school, and has supporting it ever since. Jacinta is one very special soul… I love her heart, her guts and her big laugh.
Jacinta, on the right, at this year’s Shining Academy conference
I was just talking to her a couple of days ago. And her stories had me crying. There is an ever growing need for this service as parents die from the AIDS epidemic and leave behind so many helpless orphans. Her orphanage and school will continue helping as many as they can.
When I asked her what we could do to help, she said:
“We need water. The drought has worsened and we need to make 12 trips a day to a place several kilometres away just to get enough water for the children. If we could drill our own bore, we’d be able to have our own safe water supply.”
“There’s no such thing as other people’s children”
So I thought:
This is what we need to do. We need to get the children water before 2017 begins. These children have already been through so much. Jacinta has already pushed so hard to make them a safe, supportive home and school so they can rise out of poverty. The least we can do is get them some water!!!
Jacinta has gotten quotes… it will cost them $5,000 free for safe, clean water.
I’ve just donated half of that. I need your help to fund the rest.
P.S. Honestly… reading about this is such a huge wake up call. There’s so much to complain about in our developed world (Christmas dramas, Trump, NBN, traffic, the line at the shops)… I know I do it…
And then to remember that so many of our sisters and brothers don’t even have access to drinkable water, the nectar of life.
“Water pathogens are a huge health problem in Kenya, as the people have been left unprotected against regular epidemics such as cholera, typhoid and parasitic worms. The rate of exposure is extremely high because the water is not only contaminated where water is collected but the containers are almost always second-hand, often previously used for oil, fertiliser or house hold waste.”
My team are so beautiful… they were the ones answering all the emails…
they got so behind it… and before we even hit our goal, one of them said:
I laughed it off… I loved how big she was dreaming… but didn’t believe it could happen…
I asked… you made miracles happen…
Within just a few hours… I shared this update…
I called her this afternoon. She was sitting in the cool dark of her house, breastfeeding her tiny baby. “We did it”, I say. “We bought a well!” Jacinta is crying and laughing and so am I. The orphans at Suluhisho Children’s Village in Kenya will at last have clean water. Life changing. World changing. It only took us a couple of hours… but we have changed the lives of so many forever.
I asked Jacinta how we could keep in helping. She shared she had another weight on her shoulders – over $4,000 in school fees for the year due in a week for all the children in the orphanage.
This mama may have given birth to just two children, but she is a mama who takes care of so many more. Even with a wee baby on her lap, she is taking care of motherless children a world away.
We’ve already nearly halfway to paying all their school fees. Can you help take care of them all?
By the time I went to bed at 1am, we had paid for half the school fees.
I know both me and Jacinta were both in a delirious, weepy, delighted state.
I woke up this morning.
The first message I see is from my team:
I cry. I text Jacinta. We both cry.
Soon, she sends me photos.
The children at the orphanage have been told the good news.
There is celebration there today, a whole world away.
The children are dancing and smiling.
Fresh, clean water is coming. A whole new school year is paid for, stretching forward before them, filled with hope and possibility and education.
The staff are beside themselves:
Jacinta said her heart can rest now. The children can go to school. The children will have fresh, clean, safe water. The staff won’t need to do 12 trips a day to get water. They can concentrate on the important things: taking care of these beautiful kids and giving them the very best start in life possible.
I’m not sure what it is I need to say, and yet I know I must say it.
I want to say:
I hope you are having a merry Christmas filled with love and kindness and laughter
but I also want to say:
It’s okay if you’re not. Truly, it’s okay.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be good. Whatever it needs to be, it is.
I think for a long time I hunted and yearned and grieved over Christmasses being imperfect. How in some way, how good one single day was would be the measurement of my life.
But it’s not. It’s truly not.
The measurement of my life is the ordinary days. The little moments adding up with each other to culminate in a life well loved.
I want to say it’s okay if things aren’t perfect. If you don’t have everyone together. If you don’t have a big, happy, functional extended family (or any kind of family at all). If everyone isn’t happy. If the kids are whiny or you are whiny or there are no kids and instead of noise there is silence.
It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay.
You’re not broken, you are whole.
Christmas wasn’t meant to be anything but what it is:
Whatever appears for you. Whatever your day is composed of right now.
Sometimes it can be so hard to actually just genuinely relax and have fun and enjoy when there’s so much external pressure for Christmas to be HAPPY! FULL OF FAMILY! PERFECTLY COMPOSED! NO PROBLEMS EVER!
And the pressure builds up until we inevitably feel overwhelmed, crabby and heartsick at why our life doesn’t look like the way we think others’ lives are.
(Extra resources: I like what Sarah Wilson said about Christmasses: that without fail, she cries at each one just from the build up of energy. The ever lovely Ask Moxie also shares a free guide for parents going through a divorce at Christmas.)
If nothing more, Christmas serves as a time for us to pause in the stillness before another year begins. To look back and see what just happened. The blessings and the shit and the hard stuff and the miracles, all tied together in a bundle of a year. Who you were a year ago. Who you are now. You might be feeling a little more war-torn but I can bet a hundred bucks you are wiser, deeper and lovelier than you could ever know.
That’s all my darlings.
Wherever you are:
in the midst of the BEST DAY EVER or the Shittiest Crapfest of the Century or something I like to call a Festival of Awkward, or something in between:
I want you to know you’re okay. You’re whole. Everything is going to be okay. It’s okay for things to be how they are today.
Your whole life is waiting for you. All the ordinary days to come.
One rainy glorious day, a little meditation for healing came into the world. And it had gossamer wings, and it wanted to fly out to be heard. So I listened, and here it is… just for you. Use it whenever you’re feeling depleted, or in need of some revitalisation.
many of these books have been around for a good while. This isn’t a list of 2015 best new releases. This is an autobiographical look at my own personal reading list.
if you are looking for common sense reviews that concisely detail the thematic undercurrents of the book… you’re in the wrong place. Leonie-reviews are a blend upon themselves.
THE STATE OF THE READING HABITS
But first – a my regular report on my reading habits.
HOW MANY BOOKS I READ
I read 85 books this year, 35ish of those being trashy romantic novels. Specifically, my genre of trash is sweet Victorian/Regency romance (think spinsters fucking dukes) where there’s a bit of smut, but not the whole plot.
My goal was 52 this year, so I feel groovy with that. It’s not my biggest number yet – I think I read over 250 the year that I discovered trashy romance on my Kindle. Still, much of those were small novellas, whereas now I read longer trashy romance.
WHAT I READ MY BOOKS ON
Over the years they have gone from:
paper books only to
Kindle obsessed to
a turn back to paper books (keeping Kindle to read trashy romance novels on) to
paperbooks and including audiobooks in the mix.
I didn’t change how I read this year apart from I leant even further away from Kindle. I think I only read one or two books this year on Kindle.
I discovered instead that I could buy my beloved trashy romance novels fairly cheap at bookstores, and in second hand stores, so I’ve taken to buying them by the barrelful, and then exchanging them at the second hand store when done.
Honestly, I love reading on paper, and feeling like I am totally away from screens. Feels more relaxing.
I’ve also started taking regular long baths. Paper books are way better for bath reads than Kindle!
WHERE I BUY MY BOOKS FROM
Most books: Book Depository (cheaper than stores, bigger range, free international shipping, cheaper than Amazon for Australians)
Books bought IRL (more expensive but dammit I love swanning about in real bookstores): Dymocks Tuggeranong and Paperchain Manuka