About Rest for the Weary

I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My word for 2014

Many people love to choose a word for the year, a way to narrow the focus of goals.  Over the last several years, I have chosen joy, balance, and trust.  While I continue to need to work on those (daily!), I finally have settled on receive.  I was hesitant at first to choose such a passive word.  Being my addicted to productivity self, it just didn't seem important enough.  It is not really something for me to actively do.  And I'm a doer, a fixer, a controller, a ....fill in the blank.   I really believe God is asking me to rest, be still more, and receive.   Receive His Love, His Grace, His Mercy, His Healing.
I'm not sure this will be an easy word to keep.  I will have to stop myself more and notice the little things and not do so much.  That is going to be hard, but His grace is sufficient.

What is your word for 2014?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It's official: Two more going to school

If you have been following along on this blog, you know I have been considering school for two more of my kids and finally made a decision to put them in after Christmas.  I feel so much at peace about this decision, and as soon as we finished up our last homeschool day before Christmas break, there was such relief and no sadness this time.  I really believe this will improve my relationship with these two children who do much better answering to someone else.  I am ready to just be their mom, although I will still teach them many things. 
So, I will now have 4 in school and 1 at home, a foot in both worlds.  It will be busy for sure.  I hope in the coming months to share what it is like having children in both school and homeschooling. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Most posts of 2013

Sarah, over at Amongst Lovely Things, is having a "most" posts of 2013. Although I have only had this blog up and running for almost 2 months, I thought it might be fun to participate.  Plus, some of you may not know that this blog has a specific focus, but I combined my other 2 blogs into this one, adding relevant posts to homeschooling burnout and putting children in school. 

So, here ya have it.

Post with the most clicks:  Autumn changes about my discernment of sending a few more children to school.
Post with the most comments:  Discovering peace and trust in which I reflect on the positive decision to send them and how I don't need to worry because the God who took care of Mary and Joseph can surely take care of my situation.
Post with the best picture:  Getting a handle on homeschool burnout:  Emotional and mental needs . I used this picture of the lake overlooking my parents home.  I love it because it reminds me of my dad--he recently passed away. 
Post that was hardest to write: This was a toss up between Who is the Author of your life  and The gift of trust and grace because they both deal with my pride and my control freak personality. 
Post that was my personal favorite:  Getting a handle on homeschool burnout:  Spiritual needs. I had a hard time writing this--even though it wasn't painful for me but because the words wouldn't come together right.  I finally gave up trying, prayed for the Holy Spirit to pour out of my fingertips, and it finally came together. 

Head on over to Sarah's and add your link!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Gift of trust and grace

As God has peeled away the bitter pride layers of my soul, I have been left raw and exposed.  Burning eyes with hot tears have visited my cheeks more than I care to admit.  But once all of the layers of fear and doubt have been stripped away, I hope to be left with something beautiful. 

Already I can tell I am a more open and forgiving person. I realize God works in many ways.  My pre-fabricated homeschool-is-the-only-way-lifestyle is not the only path.  I have learned you can't always tell what is going on with someone or a family by the way they school, dress, or how the kids behave.  Parents love their children and take their responsibilities for raising them seriously.  Choosing an option differently than mine should not be a threat or a sign of holiness or lack thereof. 

God is also asking me to trust Him in a very profound way.  He wants me to release my children to Him, realizing He can care for them better than I ever could hope for.  Just as He took care of Moses, Isaac, Daniel, and many others before me, I know He has a plan for each of my children.  He offers grace for me today---not for future problems I dream up or crazy what if's I invent---but for what really is--now--today.  And that is enough.  I must walk on water--release my children to Him. This is my gift to Him.  My trust--even when it is hard, even when it is scary, even when I don't like it, even when I don't understand because then I receive His gift of grace. 

E-book update

Someone recently inquired about the status of my e-book. I have completed the writing portion (both the book and the study guide), but I am still working on formatting it as an e-book.  I have never done this before so it is taking a bit of time.  Please be patient. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Who is the author of your life?


When did I think I became the author of my family’s life?  Why did I think I could write the script with a happily ever after ending?  In my little mind, I had the whole manuscript laid out before they were even all born.  Down to the year they would be born?!? (which didn't work out)

I like predictability.  I enjoy a bit of suspense and action from time to time, but by and large, I like consistency and safety.  Part of that is because I have always been a fearful, anxious person.  I don’t trust enough. I want to compose the story so I know what will happen and won’t have to face the uncertainty.  I don’t want to have to look in the mirror and think You messed that up.  Like a rejection letter from an editor, I take on the burden and think I am no good, don’t mother well, etc. if my children choose differently than my preconceived idea of a story. 

The God who planned and created the universe has this all under control and can write a much better script than I can.  But sometimes we don’t always like every story, and I find that I don’t like how he writes mine quite often.  Because I don’t like the sad, painful points.  I like my happily ever after to run through the whole story. 

How can I learn to let Him be the author of my life story?  Like so many other areas, it is a matter of trust, of slow finger-prying-off-the-wheel-letting go.  I need to remember that He has the big picture in mind, and I can’t see into the future and definently I can’t read ahead in the story.  Can I hold on and look forward to how it is plays out, waiting for each thrilling chapter in the book of life?  Can I savor the joy, the pain, the loss, the good, as one all-encompassing, beautiful story ?  Isn’t a new story, one we have never encountered more exciting than one where we know the ending?  The God who created the universe and keeps it all in balance is the best author with the best selling stories. 
Maybe God is re-writing your story or adding a bit of suspense to it.  Please share how your story is being composed.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Getting a handle on homeschooling burnout: Spiritual needs

When life becomes overwhelming, I tend to shove my spiritual needs into a corner like the oft-forgotten pj's my kids leave in the bathroom each morning. And just as they need a reminder AGAIN to pick them up, so too do I need a reminder not to forget to tend those needs most vital to my well-being. I know that prayer is food for my soul, and it must be fed lest it die or malfunction. But why is it so hard to attend those needs? Maybe it isn't for you, dear mother, but I find that in the busyness of life I have a hard time slowing down and being still. Maybe it's my over-achieving, addicted to productivity self or maybe it is because I may have to face something I don't want to, but in any case, I find it hard. Mornings find me groggy yet this is the best time when my house is quiet. Later in the day, I find that with the bustle of activity, the day can get away from me, and I have only managed a desperate plea for help thrown up to go during a fit of frenzy. Part of the problem for me, I believe, is a fear of being still and quiet and an endless search for the answer anywhere but in prayer. Because often times, I don't like what I hear. Other times, I think He doesn't want to hear the same old thing from me---again. Logically, I know He wants to hear from me--- and from you. God longs for a relationship with us and is there anytime we need Him. He calls us to come to the well often ,and we should drink deeply. Find that time, sweet mama, if only brief snatches to refresh your weary soul. Partake in daily soul food.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Getting a handle on homeschool burnout: Emotional/mental needs

Emotional needs are so important, but we often forget to pay attention to them.  But they are like cell phones; they need to be charged often to be of any use.  My battery has been run down for so long in this area.  I crave quiet and solitude, but in the name of penance, I stuffed this need into a corner.  But I was just going through the motions.  Could my children spy my fake fine?  I hope not, but children are very perceptive.
Each day, take some time, even if it is just a few moments to sit alone and be quiet.  I really like to get up before everyone else is awake so I can have quiet to begin my day.  This may not be possible when one has a nursing baby.  Perhaps, an hour in the evening when dad is home would work.  OR a mandatory quiet time for everyone after lunch so mom can lock herself away from the chaos to rejuvenate. 
 Sometime you have to get creative, but this is so vital to your well-being.  Introverts seem to crave this more, so the time needed may vary greatly from person to person.    I say go for it.  It won’t hurt your child to watch movies once in a while so the children can have happy parents who love each other.  Once there are no more nursing babies, try to hire a neighbor girl or girl from the homeschool group and get out of the house with your spouse at least once a month.  If money is an issue, try bartering with another family or person.  Could you offer piano lessons, errand running, tutoring, in exchange for babysitting.  As soon as the kids are old enough to be left overnight, it is vital to take a night or weekend alone with your spouse.  I have found good friends and grandparents a good choice.  I especially like to do this with friends so the children are happy and so this can be an exchange between friends.  It is amazing what a weekend alone with your spouse can do to rejuvenate a tired mama. 

Friends also are another special need that we mothers have.  If we are homeschooling we tend to focus on our child’s need to socialize, but moms need this just as much as children.  Being a stay-at-home mom can be a lonely place to be.  For me it is essential to get together with my girlfriends because I live in the country isolated from people.  Even phone calls on hard days is a great pick-me-up.  I try weekly to get with friends along with our children.  That way both moms and kids get their needed socialization.
  I think too, though that getting out alone, without kids, is so beneficial to us as well.  This is where dads can step in as a way to help with homeschooling.  This is such a taxing job physically and emotionally that we need time just to remember who we were before children. 
Remember the hobbies you were involved with before kids?  Try to re-ignite some of those or pursue a new one. It is good and healthy for our children to see us engage in activities that don't revolve around them and let the know what their mom likes to do besides cooking and cleaning.
 Time out with another woman can really lift spirits because they understand where you are at and what you are going through.  They also can see things you can’t at times.  Again, get a little creative if you need to to arrange care for the children, but make it a priority.  You are worth it.  Remember, you can’t pour from an empty vessel.  You must replenish.  Your family will thank you.
What do you do to fill your emotional needs?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tuesday's unwrapped: Discovering peace and trust

     Today I woke to what appeared to be another ordinary day except that there wasn’t the heaviness in my heart that has been there the past few weeks.  It felt light, free in a sense, and I began my day with praise; praise at finally making a decisive call to send 2 of our 3 homeschooled  children to school after Christmas break.  We had been praying and discerning for a long while and wondering where the money would come from.  (they will be attending a private school) And I didn’t feel peace until he said it.  I think they need to go to school because I am worried about you.”  It is amazing how one can feel once a monumental decision has been made—relief, peace, and yes, a bit of fear of the unknown mixed in.  But an overwhelming sense of peace and thankfulness. 

     So during my time with the Lord today, I pondered the cyclical nature of the seasons both the natural and the supernatural.  Thanksgiving is just being swept under the rug and Christmas lies ahead like a blanket of snow waiting to be plunged into and tossed around. 
First Snow
What lies ahead for us, I whisper to Him.  The little what ifs try to sneak into my ears, but quickly He reminds me who He is.  The unknown yet to be discovered is a part of the mystery like Christmas.  And I, like Mary, can ponder these things (and hopefully more supernatural ones) in my heart during this advent season.  I can also trust like Mary did as well.  She had to have enormous faith to go along with this whole plan, not knowing what was coming and dealing with all of the whispered gossip behind her back.  She rode on a donkey, large with child, in the freezing cold, and gave birth in a smelly barn.   And she trusted.  So I will try to trust and believe in something greater than I. 

     I thank the Lord for such a simple yet so profound message in this wonderful, ordinary Tuesday.  Please hop on over the Emily’s at Chatting at the Sky to read more Tuesday’s unwrapped and discover the beauty others are discovering.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Getting a handle on homeschool burnout: Physical needs

There are many things we can do to stave off burn out.  Prevention is key to head it off.  Today begins the series of areas to take a look at to see if we can improve and thus prevent burn out in the first place. 

Our bodies are built to be like very efficient machines, capable of incredible work.  But like all machinery, our bodies must be regularly “serviced”. Machines need oil changes, spark plugs, and tune ups, and as mothers our bodies need them to keep running well.  What we put into our bodies affects our performance and our moods.  I am sure everyone is familiar with a sugar rush of energy and the following let down.  Usually makes for a tired, grumpy mama. Hmm, how do I know?   Nutritious food is vital for us to keep up with the physical, mental, and emotional demands of motherhood.  This means 3 good meals a day (sitting down—not stuffing your mouth as you multi-task), eating a variety of foods like good proteins, fats, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Allow yourself “easy” nutritious food; don’t think you have to prepare everything from scratch.  That in itself can be overwhelming for tired mothers.  Many women also need to supplement their diet with vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other supplements.  As with any change in diet, in is advisable to talk to your doctor or a dietitian.

 Along with nutritious food, we need to drink plenty of bottled water.  Many women fill up with coffee, sodas, and other drinks but rarely drink just water.  Water is what I drink (I don’t even care for coffee and soda), but I still have to remember to drink enough of it each day.  Each morning, fill up a water bottle to keep with you and make sure you fill it at least 8 times in a day.  I have found for outings it helps to keep a gallon jug of water in my car so I have it available at all times when I am out running errands or visiting. 

In addition to eating well and drinking water, it is crucial for women to exercise.  Sometimes that seems to be the last thing we want to think of after a long, tiring day, but it can help you feel better in every regard.  It is good for lifting your mood, building self-confidence and body image, a great stress relief and more.  What you do is not as important as being consistent.  Walking is always a good option and a recommended starting point for those who haven’t been exercising.  This is another area to discuss with your doctor.  I find for myself, that it really helps me burn off stress to do some aerobic type of activity.  Sometimes I jog, jump on the trampoline, hike, or do some aerobic exercise video.  Some people enjoy swimming, biking, dancing, tennis, golf, treadmills or other work out equipment, or an aerobics class. I find variety really helps keep me motivated.  Try to make this a priority in your day for at least 30 minutes 4 times a week.  I know how hard it can be to find the time, but it is so helpful to your well-being.  Also, find a time when this works best for you.  As much as I want to do this in the morning, I can’t seem to make it work.  When I wake up, I need a long time to do quiet things in order to funcition well.  Instead, I do better to exercise in the afternoon or early evening.  Find a time, stick to it, and have someone keep you accountable like your husband or friend. 

Another important factor is to get out into the sun and fresh air daily.  Studies have shown that sunshine is critical for people who suffer from depression.  Also, this is the best way to get vitamin D.  Being outside in nature also helps appreciate God’s creative hand.  It develops an attitude of gratitude when we see the fruits of His design.  I like to go outside and work in my garden each afternoon, even if only to pick weeds for 15 minutes.  Other ideas include going to the park with your children, taking nature walks, sit in the sun and read, write, draw, or take pictures, or play a game with your children like ball or tag.  The ole saying ‘mother nature nurtures’ is true. 

A very needy area for busy mothers is sleep.  Sleep helps us to think clearly, remember important things, and remain calm and collected.  Tired moms are more prone to depression, crying, and yelling.  I find this is another point that I find difficult to fit into my busy days.  8 hours is optimal, and I try to ferociously guard this time.  If I can’t or don’t get that much each night, I make sure to take a nap.  I enforce a daily quiet time built into our school day which allows me to sleep or rest.  Make this  a priority.  Stress can really cause us to be tired and completely spent. 

The last area I want to mention is hygiene and personal care.  I know for me, this has been low on the list of priorities because I never thought it was important, especially if I would be home all day with children.  I would dress in sweats, pull my hair into a pony tail, and not put on any jewelry or make-up. What I found for me is that I had a lazy lounge around attitude when doing this, and I would feel ugly, tired, and worthless when I looked in the mirror.  It is amazing how fixing your hair, putting on some make-up and jewelry, and wearing some pretty clothes can lift your spirits.  Also, most husbands enjoy a well kept wife. 
What things do you do to tend yourself physically?  Look for emotional and mental needs next time.