Almost 2 weeks into the new year and after plenty of thought about my priorities, lots of distraction dealing with sicknesses one after the other, and finding a few quiet moments to actually distill my thoughts into real practical ideas, I am excited to say that I have my 2017 goals for my herbal study!
I want to share with you how to create your own goals for enhancing your use of herbs in your family, and give you a peek at my goals for the year!
I was hesitant to even bother trying to set goals this year related to herbal things because like you all I am sure, it felt like this new year was already going to overwhelmingly full of change and activity. A new baby in April, growing our craft business into a successful online enterprise, working through health issues, adding animals to our little homestead, gardening, parenting my baby girl as she grows into a little girl & we’ll need to work on potty-training and some preliminary homeschooling, maintaining this blog, the always there-priorities of growing in my walk with the Lord, building my marriage, and homemaking. It’s tiring just writing it all out. And as we all know,
when you don’t have anything to aim at, whatever you end up hitting can become the “good enough I meant to do that” target
. That can be satisfying in that you don’t have anything to get frustrated with yourself about, but it leaves much to be desired. Really, it is so much more fulfilling to put in the effort to think about what you hope to accomplish, set goals, and turn them into workable, reasonable steps that you can actually complete. Actually complete being the key here; I’m trying to shoot for practical projects this year!
With that said, I want to share my priorities and herbal goals with you and encourage you to develop your own!
The process I used to develop my goals for this year included praying about and determining my priorities, looking at what I already know is going to happen in this coming year, thinking about how herbs could improve those events/activities, and THEN thinking about what additional things it would be totally amazing to accomplish this year and breaking them down into hopefully reasonable steps.
My priorities are the things that are important to me, the first things that come to mind when I think about how I want to spend my time to the glory of God.
Crystal Paine describes them as your “best things” in her book “Say Goodbye to Survival Mode”. My best things are without a doubt my relationship with the Lord, my husband, my children, my more extended family, and because this relates specifically to herbs, our health.
As a side note, after dealing with chronic illness for far too long, and seeing how it affects my family, I have finally convinced myself that it is not selfish to make your own health a priority because it affects everyone! (My husband and family have been awesome about encouraging me to take care of myself too!) I need to be healthy to have energy to provide healthy food for my family, to have energy left to spend time with my husband after a long day, to be able to keep up with my kids, to have healthy pregnancies & give my babies a healthy start, to be able to nurse & feed my babies the best possible breastmilk I can . . . ENJOY LIFE, the list goes on.
So, with my priorities listed I began thinking about what is going to happen this year. I’ve already listed a few things above.
I want to be encouraging you to look ahead and think about what is happening in YOUR life this year,
so I won’t bore you with the details of mine, but I will give you a couple broad ideas about what to look for that could be positively affected by your use of herbs. Consider . . .
- Any big changes in your life like starting a new job or school, marriage, moving. Using herbs to build your immune system can help your family successfully overcome stress and sickness often associated with big life changes.
- Any new additions to your family if you are pregnant! Having our little Sadie come springtime is going to be one of the biggest foreseeable changes this year, and I’m so excited!
- Trying to get pregnant; giving your body a healthy start can obviously make a huge difference in carrying a healthy pregnancy
- Any health goals you have already set like lowering your blood pressure, losing weight, getting off a sleeping pill etc. Herbs are obviously your friend when it comes to improving your health!
- Any projects or goals you have for your property. Maybe you have plans for your garden that will bring you outside more & you need a natural tick spray or bug deterrent. Maybe you need to tackle some abandoned space that is overrun with poison ivy and you will need a skin lotion. My thoughts naturally run more toward what happens on a bigger property because that’s what we have, but think about what fits your life.
Once you have your priorities listed and have thought about what this new year is bringing, you can begin to set some goals for the year. Don’t worry about breaking them down yet, or even whether or not you know how to accomplish them; the practical stuff can come later. Here are my herbal goals for the year.
- Use herbs to help me have a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum recovery
- Grow a productive, low maintenance garden, including herbs.
- Be prepared with herbal remedies for typical flus & colds for my husband, daughter Elsie and I
- Be prepared with herbal remedies for typical newborn concerns like colic, teething issues, nursing problems, skin issues etc.
- Keep learning about herbs.
- Attempt to make an herbal energy drink
- Maintain & grow this blog as I learn new things
- Use herbs as I work on switching my household cleaners over to more natural, non-toxic DIY products. This is especially important as my toddler/tiny shadow has decided she likes squirting the cleaner out of the spray bottles and helping me clean things. And that is definitely something I want to encourage from a young age!
So as you can see, my goals are broad, vague, and as of right now I’m not even sure what the remedies for some of the things I have listed will look like. That’s the whole point of an herbal HOMESCHOOL; I have my goals and will be using my herbal resources to learn and grow in my knowledge of herbs.
Establishing Practical Projects
To help myself work toward specific things I took the next step and broke down my goals into actions, definite things I can pencil into my planner/journal and actually accomplish! Here’s my practical projects list:
– Related to having a healthy pregnancy, deliver & postpartum. These need to happen sooner than later, especially starting any tinctures so I can have them ready in time
- Make a pregnancy tea and drink it regularly for the last trimester. That’s now, so I will be posting my recipe next week!
- Make an herbal Labor & Delivery kit. Include things to jumpstart/encourage labor like Cohash, stop bleeding, help deliver the placenta etc. Even if I buy extra herbs & don’t use them for this pregnancy, Lord willing we’ll have more little ones, and I always have friends & sister in laws having babies who may want some.
- Make an herbal postpartum kit. Include things for toning the uterus, helping establish a milk supply like Fennel, self care things for hygiene like witch hazel and my chamomile/calendula spray, relaxing herbs like a Chamomile tea mixture, etc.
-Projects related to growing a productive low maintenance garden:
- Research and plant 5-10 perennial herbs that will grow well in zone 6b-7. I want to start a garden that I do not have to continually replant every year.
- Order seeds and start all herb and vegetable plants by March.
- Plant my early spring garden before Sadie is born.
- Plant a “special plant” that smells good (lemon balm or mint?) with Elsie so she has her “special pot” to take care of and hopefully doesn’t damage my plants as much.
- Actually harvest, dry, and label all herbs that I harvest. Don’t get lazy!
– Projects related to preparing a herbal cold & flu attack kit. (Sounds effective, doesn’t it?) I found with this last bout of sickness we have been dealing with that trying to sort through information & crazy remedies online is NOT FUN when you are miserably sick or have a sick baby hanging on you, so I am determined to be prepared for this new year.
- Keep up with making and taking preventative doses of our Elderberry syrup. This actually did seem to head off a cold about 2 weeks before we got sick (yes I had run out of Elderberry syrup)
- Research & make a cough tincture/ tea that actually works.
- Research & make a congestion tincture/tea that actually works.
- Research & make a stomach soothing tea/tincture
– Practical herbal projects related to having a new baby! These might be good ideas even if you are not having a new baby but know a family who is who you would like to bless.
- Make a gripe water to prepare for tummy issues. This worked great for us with Elsie, but was so expensive in the little bottles it was sold in that I want to make it myself this time.
- Finish & maintain a supply of my Chamomile tincture for teething. This will be for both our girls.
- Maintain a supply of our Chamomile/calendula diaper spray. This will also be for both our girls (as well as for me in my postpartum kit!)
- Make a soothing sleepy-time massage oil to use as part of our bedtime routine as needed
– Some practical activities related to learning more about herbs and maintaining this blog.
- Learn about one new herb each week, write a blog post about it, add it to my herb collection in monthly herb orders, and make any necessary tincture/ tea blend to have on hand. This is something I would definitely encourage you to follow along with if one of your goals is to learn more about herbs!
- Take monthly herb walks around our property to look for new herbs growing wild during the spring, summer, and fall months. I did this once last year, but didn’t harvest any, and found at least 6 different herbs on our 10 acres of property. I am hoping to be able to identify more this year, and spend some time instilling a love of exploring in my girls while I’m at it!
- Research and add 3 carefully selected new herb books to my collection of resources this year.
- Write 1-3 blog posts each week about new herbs, new recipes, new projects I am using herbs for, updates on my herb garden etc. Keep checking in for new info and updates!
Projects relating to using herbs in my household cleaning projects; I will also be including essential oils in these projects. There are some things that I do not want my daughter helping with like cleaning the toilet or cleaning up raw meat that I will continue to use my Shaklee basic G and basic H cleaners for to make sure that I am maintaining a sanitary environment.
- Make an herbal room spray that actually smells good and has a scent that lasts.
- Find an alternative to store-bought antibacterial hand soap that includes natural anti-bacterials & anti-viruses.
- Make a window cleaner that is safe for my toddler to use to help me keep things clean!
- Make DIY cloth diaper safe laundry soap that actually works and saves money.
Last but not least, one of my projects is going to be making an herbal energy drink . I need to research and experiment with different ingredients, but I am hoping to use herbs like nettle, add coconut oil, etc.
As you can see, I have a list of practical, doable projects that I can pick at and blog about each week to keep myself on track.
I would strongly encourage you to set aside some time and set some goals for yourself this year as well!
As a summary, I first set my priorities and picked my “best things” then I looked at what I knew this year held in store for my family, then I set some broad goals based off my priorities & calendar, then broke down my broad goals into practical, doable projects. Doing this for your own life will make you take a realistic look at the coming year, give you the opportunity to set reasonable but exciting goals for the future, and help you break down the steps you will need to take to reach those goals.
Feel free to leave a comment with your herbal goals for the year!