Through the years we’ve learned many things as a family, but one that continually sticks out – is that we do things a bit differently. While yes, at one point in our lives we were balancing a lifestyle of auto pilot meets hustle to build the American dream, we realized it was just that – the American dream, and while, despite what may or may not be going on in our current societal setting, we are still proud to be Americans. Sam and I both have strong military backgrounds in our families, and we are forever grateful for those who have served and continue to do so. What we weren’t proud of was letting our dreams die. Home ownership, babies, careers, moves, it all takes a toll on your day to day, a grating that can lead to complacency and numbness. For us, it became a journey to get to a place of freedom; to step out of the flow, and move forward with hope.
We certainly don’t have it all figured out, but we know we are right where we’re supposed to be, and stewarding well what we’ve been given – at least that’s the goal. We honestly weren’t sure we’d ever buy a homeagain after all of our moving around and financial shortcomings, but we laid that desire on the table and said, “Whatever you want God” …funny how your life seems to radically change after those moments.
Nonetheless, here we are. We’ve purchased a home just outside of downtown Cincinnati, and it couldn’t be more suited for us. I think when it comes to creating an intentional home and lifestyle, it can sound overwhelming at first, but I promise it’s not. For us, we started to focus on three questions:
What do I want to be doing with my time?
What do I want to be doing with my money?
What do I know I’m supposed to be doing, but am not?
Once we were able to answer these questions, we were able to set goals and begin creating a family vision. That vision, not only shapes what we we’re working towards as a family, but how we choose to live out our day to day. That, in itself, is the very essence of intentional living. Since making a decision to be more mindful with our living, we’ve set aside time near the beginning of each new year to flesh out two focal points:
Optional: Family Motto (If you don’t have one, it’s kind of fun, kitschy, and keeps you focused on why you do what you do).
By setting goals of what all we want to accomplish for the year, we know where we’re heading. Everyone gets a chance to write out what they hope to accomplish and/or participate in, from conferences and trainings, educational certifications, vacations and adventures, to simple house projects or new habits. We also spend a lot of time around vision casting. For us, that looks like a lot of time in prayer and asking for discernment of who we are and what we should be doing with our time, money and talents. We all share what we believe and try to formulate that into a simple sentence or two for the year. This year, and throughout the last few years, God has really been challenging each of us around identity. Our vision/verse for this year has been John 8:14, “For I know where I came from, and I know where I am going.” Jesus spoke these words to the Pharisees when they challenged his identity, and we are clinging to them as He radically draws us into ours. So be patient, slow down, think about who you are, and what you were made to do. Have that conversation as a family, and I promise you, you won’t regret it.