excuses, rest, + routines

I was talking with my good friend Liz (of Bramblefield) the other day about what we’d like to get done and what holds us back. Motivational speakers, many entreprenuers and pretty much most of the internet will tell you to hustle, make no excuses, make sacrifices and a few other more punchy phrases when it comes to letting things go and not finishing. I will not tell you any of those things. Recently I’ve read/listened to “For the Love” by Jen Hatmaker and “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist. One take-away from both of these awesome books for me was to slow down, say no to things more and find more time to relax and rest. I’ve been learning that rest is taking a break from good things too because most of my busyness is in things that are really good, but rest is better. 

I can’t recall where I heard it first but Ben and I have been clinging to the motto of, “say no to good so you can say yes to best”.

Rest is not laziness. This doesn’t mean that I’m hanging out in my PJ’s all day ignoring the dishes and the children. It means that I’m finding ways to make more time for my children and be more efficient so that the dishes don’t pile up and take away from the feeling of rest. 
Implementing new routines have been a game-changer in terms of finding time for rest recently. I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (what are your favorites?) called The Simple Show with Tsh Oxenrider (linked below). They were chatting a while back about routines and one was running the dishwasher every night, even if it’s not full. Then emptying it in the morning so there is room for the day’s dishes. Has everyone been doing this? Have we been doing it wrong all these years? Previously we would wait to run a load of dishes until the dishwasher was as full as possible, which meant that the sink was also pretty full. Full sink isn’t my happy place, it’s such a bummer to wake up to a full sink and a messy kitchen. Isn’t it so depressing to have to dig out and wash the french press on a Monday morning? Either that or one of us (usually Ben) would be standing at the sink for 45 minutes washing the “big dishes” that wouldn’t fit in the dishwasher, also a bummer. Our new routine saves us time and energy just by doing small things every day instead of letting them pile up and become big things…every day. Before this new routine I was starting to resent cooking and hadn’t baked anything in ages, blaming it on our tiny kitchen (it really is tiny). Now that there is always room in the dishwasher for the extra dirty bowls and spoons from baking something, I don’t see it as such a chore and enjoy cooking and baking again. This new little routine has made us so happy! We get to hang out together after dinner because rinsing plates and loading the dishwasher takes all of 5 minutes! It’s so funny to me how this small change (that I am guessing most people already do) has revolutionized our household. 
Back to my conversation with Liz. One of the things we were both making excuses to each other about was infrequent blogging. Some of it for me has just been time and not feeling like spending what little down time I had on updating the blog. The longer it had been since I had posted, the more daunting it felt to write again. I always have half a dozen posts bouncing around in my head, but haven’t sat down to write them. There’s also a few more posts I did write but never posted because I haven’t taken corresponding photos or I don’t feel like digging around on my computer for the ones I have taken. Liz’s problem is the opposite, she will have these lovely photos sitting in a draft but no time to sit and write the words to go with them. We joked about collaborating more, she does the photos and I do the words. Maybe someday. So, that’s why there aren’t any interesting pictures sprinkled throughout the post as usual. Maybe these lengthy paragraphs will scare away some readers, but that’s ok. Excuses are okay too. If I don’t feel like writing, then I shouldn’t. If I want to write and not add photos, then I should. (PS if you want photos, head over to my instagram, I post plenty there. ). If my kids need time with us at home more than we all need to go to a certain event, then it’s okay to say no. We can’t do it all and it’s okay to not try. I am so over the world telling us to hustle when what we really need is rest. 
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28
Scripture doesn’t say “come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will show you how to hustle”. Who better to speak to our needs than the one who made us and knows them better than we do. 
Just to make sure it’s clear as to what I’m not saying; I am not saying working hard is bad. I am not saying I don’t work hard or value drive. Finding balance and giving more thought to what really brings us rest is what no one really talks about so here I am, giving you some ideas and some inspriation to find what gives you rest.  
Besides new routines/a less cluttered home,  here are some things I am finding rest in: 
>>> making Bible study time a priority when the house is quiet, versus getting laundry folded and floors swept first. A group I study with is currently working through “What Love Is” by Kelly Minter
>>> finding time for bi-weekly or even weekly unstructured adult-only conversation. Unstructured means my Bible study mornings don’t count. For me this looks like coffee with a friend on mornings when Aurelia is having some grandma time, or taking a bottle of wine over to Liz’s after the kids are in bed. – Ben welcomes the xbox time without me rolling my eyes at the noisy buttons 🙂 
>>> sitting down with a crochet hook and some yarn and accomplishing a small project. (What doesn’t bring me rest? Tackling a big project and never finishing it, I have never completed a blanket, it’s so daunting…so I mostly do small things now.) I’ve been doing this in other crafts as well, dying napkins, weaving wall hangings, creating word art. 
>>> listening to podcasts. I am new to this world and so I don’t have a big list of favorites to share but here are a few that I’ve been enjoying: 
  •  The Popcast. This is the only way I even have a slight clue about what is happening in          most realms of pop culture. I have become so out of touch, they keep me current in a very entertaining way. 
  • The Simple Show. Tsh Oxenrider and her co-hosts discuss travel, home life, education, etc. and I find it so imformative. 
  • Disney Story Central. Ben just found this one and sent it to me today. It is a story telling version of Disney movies. This is amazing to me because we haven’t found a good podcast for the kids yet and I find myself using the library to check out the same audiobooks over and over again. 
>>> Library books/audiobooks. This goes along with podcasts a bit. I mostly use the library to check out books for the kids but have been finding more for myself lately too. There is an app that our library partners with that allows us to check out audiobooks, it’s called Overdrive. The kids love listening to stories in the car, and it really helps curb their arguing. I also just started a free trial of Scribd (click that link and get a 60 day trial of your own!) and have listened to several books for free (including Present Over Perfect). 
>>> mindless pinning. Sometimes I just want to zone out and scroll through the internet and be entertained, I know, super deep stuff. Right now facebook and even instagram have been a little too volatile for me, enter pinterest. When I just want to sit and be super unproductive I will pin crafty ideas and recipes to my hearts content. Some of these projects I will get to, many I won’t. 
>>> baking more. I recently made this homemade pizza recipe and it was pretty easy and so delicious. I think I will make pizza instead of buy it more often. I’ve also made some delicious scones, breadsticks and french bread recently. 
>>> prayer. Ben is having a hernia surgery tomorrow. I was feeling anxious about it before it was scheduled because we felt like everything else was just up in the air waiting to land until we got this on the calendar. It is now on the set, but insurance isn’t covering it. All of these things are stressful and could create a lot of anxiety but instead I’ve been praying and it has made all the difference. I know the Lord has a handle on this stuff and He has a plan, it’s evident in so many details. 
>>> gratitude. Much of this comes out in prayer, giving thanks to the Lord for all that we have been blessed with and even giving thanks for struggles as they shape us and grow us in maturity. I also have a journal that my mother-in-law gave me, inspired by Anne Voscamp’s 1000 gifts and I will jot down things I am thankful for every so often when I remember. 
>>> observing Sabbath. We don’t do this in a legalistic way and we don’t really even talk about it but on Sunday (choose any day, just find one that works for you!) we rest. As often as we are able on Sundays we just hang out. We don’t take on any big projects, we even take a break from laundry and sometimes dishes. If we are really lucky and Aurelia naps we let the kids cash in some screen time and we lay down and take a snooze as well. We are also super blessed to have a standing invitation for dinner at Ben’s parents so we get a break from cooking as well. It is so good for us to rest together in this way. 
I’ve been able to recognize the seasons that come and go in our lives. Instead of getting stressed when we are going through a lot, I just recognize the season we are in and remember that it will eventually pass. Some seasons are longer than others and some have more joy while others have more pain. The Lord is our strength in all of them and that is how I find rest. 
Now tell me, what ways are you making sure to find rest?