"Do you just drink tea and light candles all the time every day? When do you get work accomplished and what do you do with the rest of your time?" was the question of someone who had read a few of my posts but didn't know much about me.
I am 59, almost 60, and I have never been busier in my life. I am a cook by ideals, personality and taste and so I cook most nights, still have 2-4 adult children living at home or coming in and out, am married to a visionary husband who has an endless list of ideals and books and projects he wants us to accomplish in the next 10 years. Every day people make messes around here and bills have to be paid and blogs written, speaking trips, talking to each child or writing them every day and friends and Bible studies and holidays, and new books each year and mentoring. And the list goes on and on--just like yours does.
Why wouldn't I want to light candles and listen to music and try to have some moment in my day that seemed quiet and peaceful?
When I was in my mid-40's, I suddenly realized that a wise woman keeps her own soul alive as no one else was looking out for my soul but me. This is a long-distance race and doesn't slow down so far as I can see, so it must be run with wisdom. Sabbath rest for my emotions, my body, my soul--my everything, is necessary for me to last well.
Unfortunately for me it means, not leaving comments on my own blog with women whose stories and comments I love to read--because I would have to sacrifice my personal time at home if I did. It means not answering important messages on facebook and letting many emails go--as no one, especially me, can keep up with thousands and thousands of messages a year and keep a balanced life and still have a quiet time and walk daily for my health and look my children and husband in the face and listen to them and not go crazy from always being busy--I had to cut somewhere. And I rarely answer my phone, no matter who or how often, unless it is my children or Clay.
Now, after a busy season I find my soul desperately needing to relax and rest and just be quiet without any new adrenalin-filled ideas or people needing me.
When I can, I sleep! Sleep keeps a body from getting ill and keeps it healthy.
I must take care of myself and intentionally step back and enjoy a few favorite things-because in giving out the past months, I am empty and so I must fill myself back up so I will have more to give--it is an endless cycle of giving--filling up--giving--filling up, that must take place for life to flourish.
When I travel, especially if I'm to be alone, there are a few things I intentionally pack and bring along to help me feel at home, while away so often--a rose table covering or scarf and vanilla candles; Yorkshire gold tea and a china tea cup (keeps it hotter!); my favorite flower-covered lap throw as I hate to be cold on planes or in a hotel room or anywhere; lots of music--celtic, soundtracks of Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Potter, Ladies in Lavendar; Joshua Bales and of course my wonderful Joel's music and lots of indy artists.
When I get home I will take long walks in the mountains and enjoy more of the things I've drawn close at home--surroundings in the color blue and also rose;
sweet friends who love me and care about me-
-I need them so much with not so much family in my life--my children are some of those best friends, and there are a few special buddies who love me no matter what;
great books and stories, Victoria magazine;
salad with lots of veggie's and avocado and walnuts or pecans and always onions;
chocolate--especially any chocolate with nuts; (dark chocolate salted almond) and especially Lindt--the dark one with the blue foil wrapper; if it isn't going to be with nuts.
a hot bath that covers my whole body--I love baths;
talking with Nate and Joy to see how California and the other far places in the world are doing;
sitting around my dinner table or in the den talking and laughing every night with Clay, Sarah, and Joel--and of course, Kelsey, our beloved, neurotic golden retriever.
reading encouraging letters or emails from friends; Calling my loved ones for long talks, to keep up, when I have planned it;
studying the Word and being with my precious Jesus and pondering Him! Reading soul stirring books and captivating novels.
I know it's time to surround myself with these things so I can be restored.
Comfort for me will be something of a rhythm. Scrambled Eggs with cheese, home made, whole grain bread, potato soup, French Food and Mexican food and fresh food (love fruit and veggies).
Old fashioned chocolate chip cookies with pecans that Sarah makes ... (The secret to good cookies is to always whip the butter, vanilla, sugar and eggs by themselves for 5-10 minutes on high and then don't bake the cookies too long--they will cook a little more after they are out and on a stone and they will dry out a little, and you don't want them tough!)
Of course there must be pots of strong tea. And good strong coffee. And some great English drama series or mysteries or dramas that we can be romantic or adventuresome with and enjoy the countryside and dream.
Some favorites that we have watched over the years (we almost have them memorized!) are:
Pride and Prejudice (the new and the old 8 hour one!)
Sense and Sensibility
Larkrise to Candleford--so wonderful and new, but they are canceling it after its 4th season!
Wives and Daughters
Victoria and Albert and Young Victoria
These are some books we've found which paint delightful pictures of life-giving homes ...
Brambly Hedge--delightful children's picture book series from England--more contemporary than Beatrix Potter and has the most inviting pictures of the inside of an English Home that is lived in by precious animals--lovely-- and worth buying second hand for your own library.
Pilgrim Inn--a favorite book from an old English author, Elizabeth Goudge, whose story is about the redemption of people in a home, and family after World War II-a book for adult readers or older teens. Also shows the mending of a marriage and grace that comes through acceptance. Makes the home come alive through a window into loving, giving grace, and living as a family. (All of Gouge's books.)
Wendall Berry books to harken me to ideals, community, real relationships, a technology free life and centering on what matters.
TV series on Net Flicks about history, mystery, great stories, drama, story--things that are fun for my soul.
I love Edith Schaeffer's books--The Hidden Art of Homemaking and What is a Family for instruction and stories about her own family and the life of using her home as a place of ministry and of course the story of L'Abri; a must-read for families to picture the hand of God at work in the life of people who live by faith--heart warming stories.
Also, I collect old Eloise Wilkin (an artist) books because her beautiful pictures of children in family, playing, doing chores, helping mommy and wonderful pictures of home are a great way to put pictures in your children’s minds of the importance of family and home. These are simple children’s picture books, and the first imprint I put on my children’s brains about family, home and Mommy!
Loved the melted cheese passages in Heidi, another must-read-aloud–a picture of salvation through a great story. It gives us a beautiful picture of creation. This author wrote purposefully, to give children literature to lead them to Christ. (We translated one of her stories into English for the first time in our book that we publish called The Gold Thread–the story was called The Rose Child and can be found through our website.)
Just David–also one of my favorite books in the world–such a picture of a child’s heart redeeming a whole village because of is wonderful integrity–we published this, too so you can find this through our website also!
The Little Princess–also a must read-aloud in our home–the meal she took on her porch was especially delightful!
I could go on and on about things that bring me pleasure, but these a few of my favorite things. And I will continue building into the treasure chest of these jewels so that my soul can stay healthy and strong, because a mature woman takes care of her own soul.
So I am off to rest and lie down in green pastures and let the Lord restore my soul while I give him a little practical help by pulling back and waiting till I am filled up again!
Even with Elijah, He touched him, fed him, let him sleep and then repeated it all over again.
So, use this weekend well and choose those things which will fill the drained places.