working on my “why”

julia headshotI read _Start with Why_ by Simon Sinek last year and found that I’ve stayed true to my personal mission or goal statement for years. I didn’t have a personal mission statement for most of my life, but at some point, I got very intentional. From reading the book, I’m thinking that perhaps a “why” for the different parts of my life need a check-up to ensure that I’m working toward my mission in all of my activities.

So beekeeping, teaching, contracting, mom-ing, practicing my faith, volunteering and vice-president-ing, exercising, household things, and all the stuff I do — I want to run an audit. My hope is having auto-pilot operations that are intentionally in line with my why and eliminating or evolving the activities that conflict with the why. If I’m doing things that don’t support my mission, they will keep me from reaching it.

I used to review and create goals every June (before homeschool conventions) and I moved this activity to Lent or New Years. I think my self-improvement time has increased because my kids are out of the house. What was the last goal you set and attained for yourself?

Year in review: 2021 :: the good, the bad, and the ugly

The good. My bees thrived. The weather and my schedule matched up to allow almost weekly hive inspections. I left the bee yard only two or three times without resolving issues, one of which my bee-ple subscribing to my beekeeping newsletter got read about (twice!) :-O

I gave away $500. What was that? Story time: Approximately five years ago, I was prospected on a barter site — life insurance info in exchange for beekeeping info. I happened to be in the market for a policy as a planning and future-minded single woman, and the agent was returning to Iowa and wanted to know about local laws and how-to’s. It was a great exchange.

I bought a policy, and was very attracted to the company’s yearly benefit of two $250 donations. I had never heard of an idea like this. I can give away $500 every year, regardless of how much money I put toward my own policy that year. Despite my enthusiasm, it took me until 2021 to put time and energy toward using the benefit. The experience was satisfying enough to want to use it in the future as time and energy allow. Thank you, Thrivent.

Vaccinations allowed some activities. Some things simply have no substitutes and I continue to celebrate their return.

The bad. My dad passed away late Feb. After years of no contact, followed by a couple recent years of family therapy, we were able to understand each other. That was the best we got. Unlike the difficult and beautiful work when my mom and I went through family therapy a few years ago, my network and I realized that complete healing with my dad was impossible given his conditions.

The ugly. COVID-19 continues to negatively mess with life activities, despite vaccinations and best practices. Personally, it led to being vulnerable myself. Without many public options for the hours and frequency of meetings, I decided to open my house to all winter bee club meetings. Virtual meetings work for some activities, but for bee meetings, it pretty much fails. We all have to weigh our risks against the benefits (which we did previously).

The future. Looking ahead, I see 2022 as a blank slate. I’m blessed to wake up every morning. What are your hopes for the New Year? Leave me a comment.

I believe in local small business

I’ve consumed a lot of training in marketing over the years from my involvement in non-profit organizations and as a contractor/business owner. Some times I am presented with ideas for new practices because the world changes. An example would be the evolving role of the internet in our lives and the rise of social media. Other times I am presented with ideas for old practices that need revisiting as I evolve. Today, I revist the ideas of the “what” and the “why” of my business — both have changed multiple times over the years. Currently, my business is beekeeper education and honey production.

My what is 1) backyard beekeeper education and 2) lavender honey production

My how is 1) bridging current Midwestern research with practical backyard operation — I have belonged to the IPM4Bees Midwest Working Group since its inaugural year, 2019; and continually learn from the academics and the boots on the ground operators; and 2) keeping bees on a lavender farm with conservation-minded land owners.

My why is 1) the value I place on combining local and regional data with hyperlocal practices to produce honest, local food and sustainable apiaries and 2) I was raised in a family of intergenerational small businesses.

TLDR: I believe in local small business and local food.

let’s be nice

I’m going to get vulnerable here. I’ve stated this before in short facebook format, but I want to take the longer blog form to say ….

I am tired of the mindset that “skinny people have no problems and if they do, it’s a mistake. because skinny people have no problems.” (also, “skinny” is extremely relative. and while i recognize that people consider me so compared to what they know, I have not identified as skinny for years)

Things from my real life that I would love to not hear again:

  • I know that shopping for clothes isn’t a problem for you because you’re skinny. (guess we’ve never shopped together, but it would be nice to get invited to join you.)
  • That fits you + <dismissive gesture> (just because an article of clothing can go over my head does not mean that it fits)
  • High cholesterol? But you’re skinny! (most recent offense)
  • You’re two size bigger than you were five years ago? No way! (buying new clothes for kicks and giggles never happens because of the first item above.)
  • You don’t really need to be in this wellness program, do you? (instead of being judgy, being curious would be a better approach, thank you)

Compassionate things that my mother, siblings, children, and friends have said:

  • Well, it’s your body and your clothes, and you’re living it. I think you look fine, but I believe you.
  • She said what? I’ll talk to her.
  • Why didn’t (Grandma, rude co-worker, random person on the street) think you could have an issue? It’s pretty common to be honest.

Where is human dignity and respect? What is the source of the assumptions behind these rude statements?

If you’re married, then you might have marriage problems. If you’re a runner, then you might have runner problems. If you have an occupation, then you might have occupational problems. If you have feet, then you might have foot problems. If you have body, then you might have body problems.

If we’re all human, it’s conceivable that we all have variations of the same problems.

What part of your life needs more compassionate comments from people? Tell me in the comments.