A New Year's Revolution

Top of the morning to Farmgirls everywhere!!  I feel like standing on my mountaintop and yelling at the top of my lungs that it’s a new day, a new year and with it comes a whole new lease on life … Yee haa! Now that our ‘yesterdays’ are over, past errors are forgiven – (even if it’s WE who have to forgive them) … it’s time to move on into fresh uncharted territory!!! Join Mountain Farmgirl Cathi Belcher as she revolts against well-meaning resolutions that don’t get finished and starts the awesome New Year out on the right foot … with true-grit Farmgirl attitude!

I love the clean break and the fresh start of a new year, don’t you? It lays ahead of us as pure and clean as our newly fallen winter snow, ready for us to make our unique footprints in its smooth powder and miry drifts. (Girls, if you live in the desert or near the beach, just think sand!!).  But this year, as I enter into the new year, I am revolting against “resolutions”.  As a goal-oriented person I ALWAYS make them, and as well-meaning and challenging to me as they are, urging me on to greater personal growth, sometimes by listing them we set ourselves up for failure. Personally, I am the opposite of a procrastinator, and I have the stick-to-it-iveness of a barnacle to keep me focused, but gosh, life is busy!! Even the best of intentions can get overridden by the daily stuff of which life is made, and then we so often feel discouraged with ourselves or downright depressed. Enough!!
This year, instead of resolutions I’m focusing more on habits and daily rhythms. Now if you’re a mom, a homestead farmgirl or have a job that requires lots of your attention as I do in the service and hospitality business, the interruption of even a well-intentioned ritual is only a phone call, or a knock-on-the-door away. Fortunately for us, a sure-fire farmgirl trait is flexibility and multitasking.  Interruptions and intrusions are a part of life we can’t change and we can’t let them ruffle us too much. We just have to make allowances for them and keep marching. So, what’s on my mind as I start this brand new year?

I’m an early riser, and that’s a good habit for me that will continue for me. I love early mornings, and can seldom sleep past 5 a.m. The quiet stillness centers me, gives me strength for whatever may lay ahead. Another priority for me is my art. One of my strengths is creativity with my hands, and I’ve decided it’s time to get back into creating again. Through all my years as a homesteader, a mother, a homeschooler, and a professional, there were never any moments left in the day I could call my own to paint or create physical works of art. So over the years I’ve tried to live my life as art, making meals beautiful, creating scarecrows that were more like sculptures, writing letters with a flourish of calligraphy here and there to garnish a particular feeling I was expressing …. and this was great … it is a blessing to live life like this and I hope  I’ll never stop. But a deep-down urge within me has been rumbling for some time now,  something that wants to  express itself in other ways than just how I do what I already do each day. The artist in me wants to be let out and given free reign, and this year I’m going to make time for her. Call that a resolution if you like, but it’s more than semantics; I want to foster an attitude and a perspective of traits I would like to encourage within myself, rather than a list of resolutions, a subtle difference.  For quite a while I have had Julia Cameron’s books on my shelf (The Artist’s Way). It’s an art awareness self-study ‘program’ I’ve never had time to pursue until now. Am I any less busy this year to incorporate it? No … but it’s important, so this year I’m going to make time for it.  However, I’m going to make it a ritual rather than an item on the To Do list. The difference is often as ------ as success and failure. Here’s why: The art program is optimally designed to take 12 weeks, about an hour each morning.  Will I do it in that time? Probably not, I may have to skip days at a time or do it at night. If I had made it a black and white goal, I am sure it would be nearly impossible to keep the pace. Then again, the super-motivated part of me might become my taskmaster and I would make myself do it come what may (that’s how I tend to be!); but then it would become a chore rather than the artful awakening process it is meant to be.  Actually, if it takes me a year to complete it, who really cares? The wonderful thing is, it will have been part of my life this year, and I am a winner!


A few other habits I will make part of my life are reading more; my writing; my children and husband. And Kindness. I have noticed that there is altogether too little of it in the world … even in myself sometimes. Without boring you with details about how I hope to incorporate each of these things into my life, suffice it to say that I am going to paint all of these things wherever and whenever I can, with abandon … with broad and colorful strokes!  Holding ourselves to our self-imposed high standards must be balanced with self-permission to forgive ourselves when we don’t measure up, or when we occasionally fail. The best kinds of new year’s resolutions to make are individual and personal to each of us …  but with kindness and forgiveness. It’s not necessarily WHAT they are that’s most important, but HOW we allow them into our lives that matters most.  I hope this foments a revolution in the way you think of resolutions from now on!!

But enough of me; I’m just a tiny voice from one of the myriads of homesteads and farmsteads across America. Although  I’ve been blessed with the opportunity of a voice in MaryJane’s farmgirl community through my blog, I know that farmgirls everywhere have a hankering to get into certain projects that have been simmerin’ on the backburners for a long time.  I know that we’d all love to hear about some of the things that farmgirls the world over are focusing on in 2011.  What’s important to you? How are you going to incorporate them into your life?

During the past year, I have been so touched by all the wonderful comments you have shared on the Mountain Farmgirl blog. I am only sorry that I haven’t been able to respond to each one, but I am slowly getting caught up. Every single one has meant so much to me.  Please keep the conversations flowing, and while you’re at it, let me know if there is anything special on your mind that you would like to see addressed here in the coming year.  Being a part of MaryJane’s Farm is one of my top personal missions, and I am really excited as I begin this second year! 
Mountain Bounty, Mountain Blessings in 2011,
Cathi Belcher, The Mountain Farmgirl


By: Annie
On: 01/10/2011 10:09:55
I love your posts -- you inspire me! As an artist-at-heart, I, too, LOVE "The Artist's Way," and would like to start integrating her wisdom back into my daily routine to allow my creative energy to really flourish. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful thoughts with the world!
By: Lynn
On: 01/10/2011 10:52:47

Enjoy your blog. I have never left a comment so this is a first. As I was reading, I thought of the things I have longed to do but have them simmerin on the back burner also.
Your writing is motivating and I enjoy your enthusiasm. Love also your love for creativity and it comes through clearly in your writing.

God bless and I just know you are going to create a beautiful piece of art this year!

By: Malinda
On: 01/10/2011 13:27:15
Snowy Greetings from the foothills of Colorado!

I want to thank you, Cathi, for your wonderful
blog. I really enjoy reading it!
As you have posted, I have also been re-evalutating
my organization, my homeschooling, my priorities, etc.
It has been wonderful mentally, spiritually & physically!

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and adventures
on the eastern part of the U.S.! Hope you enjoy all
those wonderful ideas you have this New Year!!

Malinda @
By: Cat Livingston
On: 01/10/2011 13:50:27
I am always amazed at how similar our lives are! I also have put off my passions for the time of raising our children and everything that requires in life.
The other day I dug out my old easel and paints and set them up in our loft (outta sight, outta mind!), so that I could start painting, again.
I have done my creativity, here at Badger Creek, through gardening, cooking beautiful presentations, and writing, when I can. You go girl! I love your blogs, and will always look forward to reading them from time to time.
By: bonnie ellis
On: 01/10/2011 14:45:33
Cathi: My priorities are faith, family and others. I love to quilt, bead and create (drawing and painting too) I love the Artist's Way book and use it with my classes. I have deacided that the one new thing I am going to do new this year is to keep an "inspiritationss" diary: words, sketches, ideas, recipes,travels, sayings: everything I think of as a cool idea. But all kept in one book. I can carry this with me and look at it when I am waiting or in line at the store. Just let it all perkolate. What comes?
By: mary
On: 01/10/2011 15:52:54
Love your blog. Kindness. Yes. Too little. Thank you for this gentle reminder of its importance.

I'm going to get back to my "intentional joy road map". Started it last fall and then was derailed by life. This is my own personal road map of everything that brings me joy, beauty and all I am grateful for, along with my wildest dreams, and getting it all out of my head and into a tangible place that I can look at every day. It also incorporates developing a folk art school for myself (just one of my places of personal joy).
By: Jana Jopson
On: 01/10/2011 17:53:52
Hi Cathi,
It is clear that you have lived your life as art ... how lovely. I also celebrate giving the artist in you free reign this year. Wow ... wonder what she'll do first?!

While I've set down some of my desires for 2011, like you I want to make the little changes in my daily round that will make me feel happily expectant, celebratory, and present. Slowing down. Taking time. Noticing.

Thanks for this thoughtful send-off into the new year!
Farmgirl #67
By: Mary Anne
On: 01/10/2011 20:12:33
Dear Cathi,
Thank you for the posting today, the picture are lovely. It seems these days are full of challenges and to know yourself well enough, and accepting the role that creativity fits in everyday, is essential. It can bring such joy, peace, discovery, and love is really a miracle. To see the beauty that surround us is also a gift. I wish you a wonder-filled year, full of all the blessings you stand in need of.
By: melissa
On: 01/11/2011 06:28:07
What a well thought out post! Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all could make goals for ourselves without rules and deadlines? I have so much I feel I need to accomplish this year. I am going to do my best to keep your positive perspective about things. Thank you for the reminder of self awareness.
By: Heather :) :) :)
On: 01/11/2011 09:30:15
Oh, I think for me it's more of a goal than a resolution. I want to do as much at home as I can cooking,..amking meals at home, sewing etc. I'm an apartment farmgirl at heart :) :) :) You always write so well...so I really don't know what you could write about. Whatever you write about, I enjoy reading ;) :) :) It's good to read your posts again. Happy New Year. Extra love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)
By: Julie
On: 01/11/2011 09:43:02
The art of sharing tranquil moments is an art you do so well...the art of living well...
Thanks so much for sharing...we now have a new blog...http://lifeatfirelakecamp.blogspot.com/ hope you have time to look at it and would love any comments....
By: Kristy~.. Farmgirl #2339
On: 01/11/2011 09:59:07
Dear Cathi,
This is my first time reading your blog. I love your post. I find it so awesome that I had a very similar challenge for the sisters at MJF. My term for resolution is my Bucket List. I too am sitting time to unleash my enter Muse. My husband passed away this past July. My muse passed away the day he did. It has only been in the last month that she is returning to me and I am letting her run wild. I now sit aside time to just play. To try new mediums and styles. I am so loving it. I am encouraging you and my Sisters to do the same. The blessings flow when you include creativity in our daily lives.

God bless you on that mountain top. Thank you for letting us into your world !

Sister hugs... Kristy...aka Eggfarmgirl
By: tracy
On: 01/11/2011 12:24:52

I enjoy your posts ...thanks for sharing with us. I am not much into resolutions I feel like I set myself up for failure but I am a big goal setter. I too have lost touch with my creative side as family and work seam to monopolize my time, but I set a goal to do more of what I love so I dug out my sewing machine the first of the year and plan to make a gift from the heart for each of my children this year.

I was really bothered this past year that I did not create one project or any thing handmade to share with my family.

For that I vow to spend more time doing and creating things I enjoy. Taking so well needed time doing what I love.

Thanks again!
By: Janeen
On: 01/12/2011 15:35:33
Thank you for introducing me to Janice Holt Giles in a previous entry. As it turned out I had read Believers when I was studying the Shakers. Her books have led me to a study unit on the Appalachians and their people. Julia Cameron sits on my shelf as well. I thoroughly enjoy my artist dates!
By: Michelle
On: 01/14/2011 15:52:02
How refreshing your blog is. I just found it today. We are all friends on this earth, sharing our feeling and thoughts that lift and help one another. Your inspiration is touching. Our creativity is what keeps us alive inside, pushes us to grow and learn. Life is a journey and we may as well be creating beautiful moments and things along the way. It brings such joy!

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Cathi Belcher

Cathi Belcher,
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.

“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”

Column content copyright © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.

Mountain Bounty

“Keep close to Nature’s heart ... and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
– John Muir

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