It’s been a year since we left our home of eleven years and moved to the farmhouse.
What seemed like such a long and stressful process to get the old house sold and the new house purchased is just a distant memory now.
We have done a lot to the farmhouse over the last year, including our biggest project of adding a second bathroom upstairs and our most recent addition...the screen door I’ve been dreaming about my whole life.
In some ways, we miss the house on the hill...living on blacktop, having a shop, and having the fence complete so we can have our cows on the property with us.
However, our new shop plans for the farmhouse property are in the works and the fencing supplies have been purchased, so the cows will be back home sooner than later.
I suppose the gravel road is just a trade-off for the four bedrooms and basement we acquired when we purchased the farmhouse.
We have been blessed beyond measure over this last year and look forward to many more years making memories with our girls at the farmhouse.
Just last weekend, we celebrated our first small town Independence Day with family friends at our home.
We grilled out, the kids did the slip & slide, and we watched our town’s fireworks from the farmhouse backyard.
We’re so thankful for the men and women who have sacrificed for us to have freedom in this country.
We’re so thankful to see God’s hand working in all and through all and for the freedom found through Jesus.
Happy 4th of July from the Farmhouse, friends.
Back in January, I made the goal to read 30 books in 2018.
Well, it's mid-April and I am in the middle of books number SIX and SEVEN.
Book number six is The 7 Experiment (Jen Hatmaker).
And book number seven is The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact (Michael Fullan).
I will post a completed list at year-end, but for today, I would love to talk to you about the book I finished just last week, The 12-Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Get Done in 12 Months (Brian P. Moran & Michael Lennington).
I immediately downloaded it and started listening to it that night.
The concepts in the book were so obvious and yet, I needed to hear them so badly.
How many of us wake up on January 1st every single year with so many hopes and dreams for the year?
We make goals (New Years' Resolutions, if you will), whether on paper or in our heads.
There are so many things we want to accomplish by December 31st, and yet by the time February hits, adequate progress towards most of our goals has not been made.
We don't have to work too hard in January and February because December is still SO...FAR...AWAY.
We push through March and April, making excuses as to why we are not moving towards our goals.
It's so cold.
When it warms up, I will get to work on those goals. I promise!
When the school year ends, I'll have so much more time to focus on my plans.
There's still PLENTY of time to meet my goals before the end of the year! We're not even halfway through the year!
May, June, and July come and go.
The summer is just so busy. When school starts, I'll be able to focus more.
It's too hot!
Summer is for rest and relaxation.
By the time we hit August and September, we are ready to get the kids back into the routine of school and get to work on those "New Years' resolutions"!
But it's just crazy when everyone is trying to get back into the grind of school.
On October 1st, it hits us...we only have three more months to reach our goals.
We start to get a glimpse of the urgency that is needed if we're going to hit our goals before January 1st, but by this point...it feels like it's too late.
We'll try again next year.
I knew I couldn't continue this cycle forever.
With all of the changes coming in our life over the next six months, I knew that I needed to get it together.
I'll be starting a new job on August 1st and life will be different at the farmhouse at that time if we don't start to mark some things off of our giant to-do list.
The basic premise of the 12-week year is that we get rid of our "annualized" thinking when it comes to goal-setting and working towards making our vision for our life a reality.
We start to think of each 12-week section of time as a year.
Instead of putting off tasks until the end of the year when the urgency starts to take over, we keep that sense of urgency year-round, while setting realistic goals and focusing on the execution of daily tasks to help us reach our desired result.
"If you want to know what your future holds, look at your current daily actions. Those are the best predictor of your future. Not your hopes and dreams and visions. Your daily action. Because daily action is what moves a person forward."
We can have the most well thought-out vision and the most wonderful plan in the world.
However, if we don't execute well...none of that matters.
So remember as you think about your vision, your goals, and your plan that we need to also think about the effectiveness of our execution.
We have to DO the hard work every stinking day. Even when we don't feel like it.
Just do it.
We are in Week 2 of our first 12-week year and we are LOVING the results we are seeing.
I'm going to take you through the process of how Mr. Farmhouse and I set up our first 12 weeks.
This is, in no way, a substitution for you reading the actual book and following the plan.
But I'm hoping it can at least inspire you to get started!
1. Write out your personal vision for your life 10 or 15 years down the road.
Be specific! Close your eyes and picture the life you've always dreamed about! There's no goal too lofty. Just write it all down!
2. Based on that vision, think about what parts of that vision you could work towards for the next three years.
We are zooming in at this point.
We're taking that lifelong vision and breaking it into more measurable and attainable chunks.
We went through our vision and wrote some attainable goals.
I'm not going to share every single part of our personal family vision because your vision should be your own.
However, on our long-term vision, we wrote that we want to be completely debt-free in ten years.
So for our three-year plan, we want to work towards having everything paid off except for the farmhouse and my student loans.
3. Based on your three-year goals, set goals for the next 12 weeks.
We are zooming in even farther at this point.
What can we do to move ourselves closer to meeting that long-term vision and that three-year goal in the next three months?
At this point, we broke down our 12-week plan into fourteen very specific, small, and attainable goals.
It includes blogging goals, a plan to get my classroom completely cleaned out before I move into an office next year, and a plan for our first garden here at the farmhouse.
On this step, be specific.
And be realistic.
4. Create a weekly plan including activity that needs to be completed every week to help you reach your goals.
We did this on the Sunday evening before we started into our first week.
These are very specific tasks that will move you toward your 12-week goals.
Here's an example of this from our 12-week year.
We want to finish the wall and closet for the fourth bedroom.
During week 1, we needed to measure the closet and wall space and make a materials list. We needed to order the supplies from Sutherland's. These are the only two tasks for that goal that we could realistically finish in Week 1.
But we finished those two tasks and moved farther along in the process than we have in the last six weeks.
We aren't putting that task it off any longer because now it seems manageable.
It seems attainable.
We can do this!
5. Every single week, check your progress from the previous week and plan the next week.
This part is crucial to the success of the 12-week year.
What daily action did you carry out regarding each goal?
How much progress did you make towards your goals?
Were you diligent in doing the hard work every single day?
If not...OWN IT and vow to do better this week!
After checking your progress, make a new weekly plan!
In the book, Moran talks about three different blocks of time we need to religiously schedule each week.
Strategic Blocks - 3 hours of protected time early in the week where you knock out a lot of your weekly activity work (1 time per week)
Buffer Blocks - 30 minutes to one hour blocks of time where you do those mundane yet necessary daily tasks like checking emails and social media (1-2 times per day)
Breakout Blocks - 3 hours of time later in the week where you BREAKOUT of the work cycle and focus on pouring back into yourself (1 time per week)
I tried this schedule this week and could not believe how much more I was able to accomplish during that first strategic block when I wasn't distracted by emails, my phone, or other daily (sometimes meaningless) tasks that I spend so much time on each week.
Week 13 in the 12-week year is for reflection and celebration!
Because you're not thinking about the annual goals that are looming over you, you are able to be more focused on a few attainable goals and the tasks that will get you to the end result you desire.
I would encourage you to grab the book or at the very least, try to plan your own 12-week year soon.
You won't be sorry.
Happy Windy Saturday from the farmhouse, friends.
Week 2...here we come!
"I have no idea how you have stayed positive through this whole situation. You are almost six weeks past your closing date with a smile on your face."
Our loan officer texted me to let me know how surprised he is that I have kept a good attitude through the ups and downs of our home sale and purchase.
Of course, he doesn't know about the late-night stressed-out texts to my dear friends, the tears that I've held back more than a few times, and the numerous conversations Mr. Farmhouse and I have had about whether or not we were making the right decision with this whole situation.
However, in the end, I've never really worried that it wasn't going to work out.
I just knew that eventually, the right thing would happen.
I wasn't worried about being homeless. After all, we could always take our three kids and our three dogs and move in with my parents. 😳
No matter what, we would figure something out. We always do.
My friends often refer to me as "Polly-Hannah" because I just don't get worked up about too much.
In fact, the time that I feel the most "worked up" is when one of my friends is going through something difficult that I can't fix for them.
I can usually talk them down, even when I'm really struggling to keep it together myself.
My mom always used to tell us, "Happiness is a choice. Every morning when you wake up, you have a choice to have a good day or a bad day. It's up to you."
And I really think she's right.
It doesn't matter what happens in the day-to-day events of life...we can choose how we react.
We can't control one thing that happens around us, but we can control how we choose to deal with whatever is thrown our way.
This whole house sale and purchase has seemed like one tough situation after another.
Documents not where they needed to be when they needed to be there.
Inspections, inspections, and more inspections.
Appraisals and repairs and...did I mention inspections?
There were hiccups and hurdles and bumps in the road.
We were supposed to close on June 16th and then June 30th and then July 5th...yet here we are.
With a final closing date of July 26th.
However, I have tried to keep a good attitude.
To trust that God is in control.
To know that no matter what...I have a choice in my reaction to our circumstances.
Life isn't always rainbows and butterflies, I know.
There are really, really rough situations.
There are really, really hard days.
But no matter what someone is going through, a positive attitude sure can do a lot for a one's outlook on life.
I choose happiness.
I choose patience.
I choose joy.
I choose Polly-Hannah. ❤️
We'll be closing on the new house in a few short weeks.
We are looking forward to the memories to be made at the farmhouse, but also excited for the couple who will be purchasing our current home.
Our stories line up pretty perfectly.
We've known these "kids" for several years and we've always joked with them about how their relationship has really mirrored ours.
They were high school sweethearts.
They got married young.
We share a lot of the same hobbies and our tastes in decor are very similar.
So when they contacted us with aspirations to purchase our house, we felt very "at peace" about the whole situation. We decided to pray about it and look at the budget, as we discussed all the possibilities of where we might end up.
One possibility was my parents' house, staying in their basement.
With three kids.
And three dogs.
We also talked about buying some land and building a house, but there was the issue of going from a house with three nice big established outbuildings to a property with none.
For most of the land we were looking at, we would have to fork out about as much as we will be spending on the farmhouse for the land alone. And we would still have the expense of a house and shop added on top of that.
Plus, we have really loved taking this old house we live in now and loving on it to make it our own. The thought of starting with something brand new just didn't really feel like "us" at this point in our lives. We both love the character of older homes, so we were trying to build that character into our house plans which can get pretty costly.
So when I was sitting at Claire's softball practice one night and my sister-in-law mentioned her neighbors getting ready to put their house on the market, my heart leapt and a smile began to form on the corners of my lips.
After practice, the girls and I drove out there and we fell in love.
That's when the dreaming began.
The "Bungalow" Pinterest board was created.
I started sketching ideas of how to divide up the pasture and yard.
I emailed the realtor and set up a showing.
I began praying that if this was the house for us, that God would work it out.
And He did.
In a big way.
But that's a story for another day. ❤️