Monday, January 18, 2010

Best of 2009

I've been waiting to re-post this until the right moment.

This is the right moment.

Chrissy's poignant post last week about feeling burned out confirmed my sense that this is it.

Are you feeling burned out? Does it seem as though you can never get on top of it all? Do you feel inadequate? Do you wonder why others seem to be able to do this easily and naturally while you are struggling to get through the week?

You're not alone.

I've felt that way. Often. What I finally realized is that it didn't mean I was inadequate. Homeschooling can make us feel that way because of the high demands and lack of positive feedback and isolation. The feeling of being overwhelmed will occur at low points throughout the year, and it's perfectly normal to experience it.

Maybe you have tried a lot of the things you've read on Apple Pie this month. Maybe none of them have helped. Maybe you just feel flat.

That's right. Flat.

For you, I am sharing the best (and most popular) post from 2009. In your honor. For you I suggest a weekend where you do only things that you enjoy, where you take a complete break from it all. Do things that bring you joy. Not things for school. Not things for the children. Not things that have been bothering you because they aren't done. Just do things that you enjoy doing. Play. Sleep. Treat yourself. Maybe you need more than a weekend. Maybe you even need to get a sitter once a week and just take a break, get out of the house, pamper yourself a bit.

After that, you can get back to solving problems.

It won't fix everything. I know that. But in time, this awful feeling you have will diminish. Just hang in there, and know that every time things don't go as you expected, you can learn a bit more about how you can do better.


When my mama sit down, it's like the whole world be resting.

- from a poem by a second grade-student,
quoted in Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan

It's been a long year. But you have rested a little while, and there are tasks calling. You might, just possibly, gain a bit of leverage by starting to work now, filling your sacks of heavy sand and beginning the line of a wall along the river of next year's demands. The river will rise. We all know it. Not next week, but maybe in a month, certainly in December with the storms of busyness over the holidays, and likely in the spring with all of its expectations.

But now, at this moment, your world is calm. The house rests, because you, Mama, are resting. Didn't you know that? That your family can't really rest, not sink deep into comfort like a downy pillow on a rainy afternoon, unless you are resting, too? Your body at rest, and your mind at rest, and your heart at rest, cast a blessing of rest over your small world. It breathes when you rest, and smiles while it breathes like a child sleeping through a happy dream.

Rest a little longer than you need to. Still that nervous tick which makes you get up to clean the closet, or order the books, or put away shoes left out in the hall. Instead, when you awake each morning this week, notice the dance of green leaves outside your window, the small sounds of your children over breakfast, the rope of muscle cascading down your husband's forearm, the warmth of a chuckle deep in his throat, and the feel of your bare feet on the floor. Savor your first cup like you have all the time of a lifetime. Let the flavor of your fresh fruit charge your senses. Listen to the music around you. Can you feel it? This is the sweetness of home.

Drink in the moment. Your children will never be this age again. One day, they will have forgotten what they were. But you can remember it, and wrap it about you in years to come, if you dare to stop moving and notice it now.

Soon, it will be time to work. Soon, the year will come bustling in with its heavy load of packages for you to open and organize. But no one knocks at your door on this day. The packages have not yet arrived. You do not have to work, not yet.

Most of the advantage you could gain by resting is found here, in the last week or two of summer break, if you know how to use it. The biggest problem you face is not a tired mind or a tired body, but a tired heart. Raising a family is not just a physical battle. Your heart is probably more weary than you know. You may have rested your body, caught up on some sleep, done a few things for family fun, even taken a trip or two. But your heart – how is it? Have you been quiet long enough lately to see what’s there?

What does it show you? What are you longing for? Take some time for it. Nourish the secret places of your soul with stillness, with beauty, with music, with words, with joyful things. Make some personal changes, if you need to. Perhaps you should find a sitter for your children, in order to have some time for yourself.

Often we move out to do more as soon as we begin to feel better. Often, it’s too soon. Rest, instead, just a day -- or a week -- longer. You’ll be glad you did.


Copyright July 2009 by Cassandra Frear


  1. Looooooooooooove this post. So, encouraging. I am planning me a weekend. I might try to see if I can get a day every other week to be able to catch up with friends. Or bake that bread I have been longing to bake. Or play that board game that I keep putting off for math lessons. Thanks. I am so glad I found your blog. You are becoming a mentor to me. Thanks. Blessings to you.

  2. I remember this post, Cassandra. It resonates for me, sending vibrations down into my toes. I want to dip them into solitude and stillness and slip down into them both like they were my lake to swim in for,oh, a time and times. A week or more would be nice. To step off the track of life would be sublime for a time. I'm going to pray about doing this. A vacation for Mom.

  3. What a beautiful post! I'm not a mother but it is really inspirational. I've been very grateful this year as for the first time since we moved to the UK, I made it to January not burnt out and not suffering from the winter blues.

    The one thing I have done this winter is t rush out and take a photograph each time the sky is blue. That way I can kid myself that there are more blue skies than there really are!

  4. My favorite from last summer. You posted at the just the very time I so needed it. I still refer and link to it often. Thank you for how you minister to us. You bless not only us moms but our families as well!


I love to receive comments from my readers, since you are the ones I am writing for! Please feel free to leave one.