Intentionality

Intentionality is a philosophical concept defined as “the power of minds to be about, to represent, or to stand for, things, properties and states of affairs.” – Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy

What does it mean to be intentional? Both in my daily comings and goings as well as an overall approach to life? How do I dig deeper to lead myself, and those entrusted to me, with greater awareness? How do I shape my personal, relational, spiritual, and physical goals in a way that pushes my boundaries?

These are all questions I’ve been grappling with as I set goals for the year ahead. What am I hoping to accomplish in 2020? How do they shape who I am today, who I will become, and how that impacts those around me? Existential much? You betcha.

As February unfolds I’ve been thinking and praying over the word* that will shape this year and intentionality has hit me over and over again. No matter what goal I set, no matter the topic, the theme presents itself. As I increase my self awareness the importance of being both conscientious and proactive comes to the forefront. And there’s no better word to summarize those two concepts than the word intentionality.

*A special thanks and shout out to Pastors Jeff Thompson and Ed Ollie for challenging me to pick a word to guide me through the year.

So what are some of the areas in which I want to put intentionality in action? Here’s a small sample:

– Relationships: more time with God, my family, and friends

– Waste: minimize use of plastics, compost. invest in reusable and refillable products, buy less, make more, switch to “the cup”

– Health: eat the rainbow, run weekly, strengthen my core, take daily vitamins, uphold the sabbath

– Finances: take control, make a budget and stick to it

And that’s just a handful! So where to begin?

To be intentional requires a magical mix of elements: awareness, attentiveness, and discipline. I hate that last one.

To be aware means constant re-education on the topic I’m unpacking. Whether that’s health, sustainable living, relationship building, or another area I’m looking to grow in, I have to be in-the-know, all the time. That can be exhausting but the alternative is going around blindly and becoming complacent. Awareness also includes doing a regular self inventory so I know where I stand in my quest for greatness. Just kidding – it’s not about ego – it’s about self accountability.

And that leads to attentiveness. This one’s tricky because I love “newness.” I’m like a magpie spotting a shiny object on the ground. “Ooh, ooh, forget my flight plan there’s something sparkly down there!” This includes the excitement of adding a new bit of decor to my home as well as the thrill of a new idea or endeavor. So remaining attentive to the goals I’ve set is crucial if I hope to stay on track. One of the ways to increase my focus is by having a plan which includes developing routines and checkpoints to keep me in line. If the goal is to eat a wider range of colorful foods, for example, than being impulsive will result in immediate failure. I need to make a weekly meal plan before I pick up groceries and that plan needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Recognize this as a S.M.A.R.T. goal? That’s because you’re of so clever!

Ugh. Discipline. Lack thereof leads to the demise of many goals and resolutions. Developing good habits starts with the painful realization that success requires having a plan (see above), focus, and a community to keep you on task. That can be a friend, family member, coworker, your cat, or as in this case, a blog post. Over the course of this year I will be sharing my goals and progress updates here each month. And I will be doing it with intentionality.

Do you have a word that’s guiding you through 2020? If so – what is it? Share below!

DIY Seed Bombs

In honor of Earth Day we’re bringing you one of our favorite kid-friendly crafts: Seed bombs!

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This fantastic project allows you to beautify your neighborhood while also providing additional green space for wildlife in your community. Plus, if you have a little at home, this is a great way to keep them occupied on a rainy day. Win – win!

Here’s what you’ll need to create your own homemade seed bombs:

  • Newspaper
  • Bowl
  • Baking tray or candy molds (if you want to get fancy!)
  • Water
  • Potter’s Clay
  • Chemical-free compost
  • Wildflower Seeds (make sure there are no invasive varieties in the mix!)
  1. Determine where you’ll be doing the project. A low table, bench, or windowsill works best. Then, line your work surface with newspaper.  Soil + little hands = A big mess!
  2. I recommend portioning out the water, clay, and compost before setting them out in front of your toddler. This way they can grab the ingredients and mix them up without too much fuss. Once everything’s ready, pop your toddler next to the work station with a bowl and let them mix the first three ingredients together. The texture should be shape-able, like a chunky dough, but not too moist.
  3. Show your toddler how to form balls from the mix, or if you’re using a candy form, how to press it into the tray.
  4. Once your balls or shapes are ready, set them out on a high windowsill or table to dry overnight. And that’s it! once they’re dried out they’re ready for you to use.

The next time you’re out for a stroll, pop your seed bombs into a basket, and have your tot throw them into abandoned lots or planters. Ensure they’re not chucking them into private plots or landscaped spaces. As the days go by, visit your bombs to view their progress. If you have a tech savvy kid, have them take photos of their plants in each stage. In just a couple of weeks, under the right conditions, you should see bursts of wildflowers in bloom.

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When seeing this project through be sure to speak with your toddler about the importance of plants, especially in urban environments. It’s a great way to impart knowledge about science and nature while teaching them how to be stewards of creation. And, as an added bonus, describe the importance of caring for the community you live in too! That way, you won’t just have plants in bloom, you’ll also have a budding little social activist on your hands.

Voila! You’ve now trained a mini guerrilla gardener!

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