Homesong Rest Retreat | Week Two: Establishing Your Non-negotiables


Happy Monday friends, and welcome to week two of our Rest Retreat! My goodness, although my memory is telling me otherwise, it feels as though we haven’t spoken in a month or more, not just a few days shy of one week! Time has decelerated to a slow drip over here, and I am hopeful it has in your corner of the world as well. Before jumping into the content I have been gathering for this new week that centers on establishing our non-negotiables, I thought it would be nice to share how the first part of this retreat has been going for me personally. I also have been catching up on all your thoughtful comments throughout the week, and I must say, y’all are so inspiring! To those who have taken the time to not only take part in this retreat, but also share their own experiences in the midst of all this soul-work and external change, thank you. It’s refreshing to read such candid words from my sisters, and I want you to know that you are helping motivate my personal journey in countless ways. I so appreciate you!

How has this week been going for me? Well, here goes. Like many of you, I have become increasingly aware of the hefty amount of “wait time” that occupies our days, and consequently, how poorly and absentmindedly I had been using those moments pre-retreat. An unavoidable part of life, I am learning how necessary, healthy, and dare I say, life-giving, wait time can be. You will hear more about this in Simon Sinek’s talk further down. Week One has reoriented me to the slow art of waiting, while giving me plenty to chew with regard to how I used to manage that time. Here are just a few examples when I would normally feel compelled, gosh even justified, to hop on my phone to check in, share, or scroll instead of allowing myself to just be connected to the present moment:


  • When in a checkout line
  • At a stop light
  • When there’s a lot of commotion at home
  • Before bed when I cannot get to sleep
  • When I wake up and the house is quiet
  • Watching supper bake or water boil
  • Anytime in the passenger seat
  • When laying with my kids during naptime
  • In carpool line
  • In the doctor’s office
  • And yes, even in the bathroom – no one said the truth would always be pretty


The common denominator above is that these are all times of waiting. They are the moments of in-between where nothing too sensational would be happening, so I’d fill them up with information I found to be more exciting than time spent lingering. Without really even thinking about it, I would grab my phone, click a social app, and let the immediacy of social media whirl me into another world where I felt in control over my time. That being said, my values at the time were ironically giving my phone more control over my time, and the control I thought I was procuring by scrolling was actually perpetuating my insecurities via ego and comparison, like a pseudo control quietly catering to my self-worth built up through a screen. That’s uncomfortable to write, and really uncomfortable to share, but if I want to do better, being honest with myself is the only way.

Week one has shown me quite candidly that I am uncomfortable with moments of stillness where waiting must occur and is necessary, and thereby more comfortable with the feeling and the instant rush that social media is able to give. Yikes, right? How sobering and raw. It’s like a Band-Aid has been ripped off a wound on my soul that has been festering for quite some time—sensitive a sore that simply needs a bit of fresh air and time without a suffocating cover to heal.

This past week Andrew and I were waiting for our plane at the airport when beginning our trip and I couldn’t help look around and notice nearly everyone with their heads down looking at their screens. At first this made me uncomfortable. Not because of what I saw, but because of what I felt I was missing. FOMO, much? I wanted so badly to tap that little IG app and get lost for a bit. I wanted to “connect” and “catch up” and “get ideas” and ultimately, escape that time. But because of this retreat and my promise to myself and you, I didn’t. Instead, I made lists of meals I wanted to learn how to make. I sat quietly. I listened to book about yoga and moonology. And most notably, I talked to Andrew without being uninterrupted or distracted, while my social app-free phone stayed tucked in its new home in my carry on. After that first long bout of itchy discomfort, I was able to fully open my eyes to the world around me and see just how much everyone was defaulting too. We live in a world of defaulters you guys, and it’s pretty easy to see when your own head isn’t looking down at that addicting blue screen.

I took that newfound awareness with me everywhere, even on our mini vacation, and decided to participate in a little experiment with myself. I decided to not only notice how others were using their “wait time”, but to also connect with my moments of wait time to better use them more thoughtfully with intention, even if that meant doing nothing at all. Over the course of this past week I repeatedly asked myself the question:


“Instead of scrolling my phone, what could I do to pass my time, or better yet, enjoy my time of waiting?”


I has been very humbling to recognize just how impatient I truly have been, and unfortunately, the impact it had been making on my relationships, both new and old. Because I no longer have social media apps (nor email) on my screen, I have instead been using my phone in three primary ways:


  1. To communicate with someone via call or text.
  2. To check the weather—admittedly, an embarrassingly number of times.
  3. To get on Audible or Spotify to listen to a book, playlist, or podcast.


Recently my phone has been less of a need in my life, and I can feel my attachment to it physically and emotionally waning. Because of this new mindful habit, the hours in my day feel longer, and the minutes in those hours, slower. I feel like I am on a little vacation in my own home. Can anyone relate? The satisfaction of doing something with care for myself and for my family alone has been a rewarding and empowering gift. To clean the house, to make a beautiful meal, to read an inspiring book, to make art with Stell, to build a big castle with the boys…it’s been just for me, just for us, and that has felt very fulfilling and surprisingly less isolating than I was expecting.

It’s in my nature to share things that I enjoy with others; it comes naturally to so many of us. It’s a part of my value system to feed my curiosities, creativity, and my truth, so unsurprisingly, I feel joy when getting opportunities to help others grow or learn new things. I am a teacher at heart, despite no longer having a classroom, but a veil has been lifted so I can see just how much I was pouring into social media merely because I was not comfortable with times of solitude and/or waiting. While I still think it is important and wonderful to symbiotically share ideas and give inspiration to others, I think there can and should be a better, healthier balance for myself in doing so moving forward.

Something exciting I have noticed this week is that there is a new kind energy flowing throughout our home—we can all feel it! I have been spending so much more one on one time with the kids and Andrew, and because of this I have seen much better behavior from them. Well, not Andrew so much 😉 – Another unexpected treat, I’d say. With the wake of the New Year our family has also been working to establish new sleeping rhythms, and because I have more mental energy, I have been more patient everyone throughout the day, myself included. We are having both boys sleep in the same room (their shared room) and it’s been going better than expected. Andrew and I have been suffering from lack of sleep by co-sleeping with the kid(s) and we’ve wanted to change things up for a long time. Five in a queen-sized bed does not work for us. I have realized that the problem hasn’t been the willpower and determination of our kids to choose their own sleeping arrangements, but rather, our lack of energy in the evenings when it’s time to put them to bed and stick to our guns. Time off social media is spilling into areas of my life I had no idea it could reach. That alone has made this time away so worth it.

I am also learning that a vast majority of life’s goodness comes in the unrest we experience while waiting, which I believe gives birth to the ability to become present and to fully sink into the richness of our days. This leads me to our first daily practice! This video was kindly sent to me from a fellow participant of this Rest Retreat, as she thought it would fit in well our content. I am so thankful for her and her willingness to share it, because it touches on everything I have shared with you above and goes onto reveal exactly why it is we are prone to scroll social media when waiting. But before WATCHING the video below and JOURNALING your reaction to it, take a moment to reflect on this question: why is it that you want to use social media going forward in certain scenarios, and how does that reflect your values?



Better Example: I want to use social media to share this photograph I find to be beautiful and inspiring, because I value collaborative processes and the beauty and inspiration it manifests. Idea: give yourself a 5-minute time limit.

Poor Example: I want to use social media because I am bored waiting, because I value ______?  Idea: pick up a book instead.

Better Example: I want to use social media to get meal ideas for supper tonight, because I value eating well and being organized. Idea: give yourself a 10-minute time limit.

Poor Example: I want to use social media because I don’t want to get something done, because I value ______?  Idea: Turn on some motivating music and get to work on that project!

Better Example: I want to use social media to connect with dear friends, favorite feeds, and loves ones, because I value my relationships. Idea: give yourself a 30-minute time limit after the kid’s have gone to bed.




Finding your why and taking the time to discover and connect to your purpose is a catalyst for positive growth and change. I believe that this is the root of true intentionality, and if we want to incorporate healthier forms of balance in our lives (while moving forward with social media) starting with our why is essential.

Next I want you to make a list of your non-negotiables, aka: realistic things you need and want to thrive within the span of your day or week. Take note of your personality, your circumstances, and the season of life you are in before starting. Here are most of mine:


  1. A hot shower each day, preferably in the morning—I love feeling refreshed and this wakes me up
  2. Morning solitude, if only for 10 minutes, with a cup of coffee before everyone wakes up—as an introvert this restores my energy and a good cup of coffee makes me happy
  3. Making healthy and nourishing meals for our family—cooking is my meditative time and we all feel better when we eat well
  4. Eating together at the table for supper—this is our time to connect as a family and establish rituals
  5. At least 1-2 hours a day to write and feed into creative pursuits and projects—this time is what I use to work on my blog and other job-related tasks
  6. 30 minutes of yoga and/or stretching—I feel so much more alive and connected to my body afterward
  7. Date night every other week—special time to connect with Andrew alone
  8. Weekly visit to the library—a family tradition we all look forward to
  9. One night a week screen free—this helps recalibrate our energy and makes us be more creative with our time together
  10. At least 7 hours of sleep each night—I really love sleep


As you can see, my list is not comprised of complex, idealistic pursuits, but rather simple things done with care. My best day includes all the things I’ve listed here. Did you do that practice during Week Zero? While I know that getting all of this done may seem like a lofty and unrealistic model to follow, I have found that as long as I craft my day with care, and use wait time better, it’s not only possible but easy to do all the above with time to spare. Simple doesn’t always mean easy, but when you value something enough, you make space for it to exist. This is what your non-negotiables are all about.

Next I want you to READ this article about the art of deep play. I feel it is directly connected to the presence we are able to feel when not distracted by our phones. It’s another Brain Pickings article, which I hope is okay! Maria Popova writes about deep play and what are able to do when revitalized and met with more time than we are used to. She writes, “In this small act ablaze with absolute presence, I felt I had been granted access to something enormous and eternal.” Her words echo my sentiments on how delicate, moving, and meaningful life spent lingering in the present can truly be.


And a little note from my journal on this topic…


“Life has reclaimed a vibrant spark that my weary soul was detached from due to the fact that I was living in a constant state of disconnect, always allowing myself to be reached and tethered to a screen, ironically with aim to foster connection in the first place. In this way, the mundane reclaims a kind of transcendent romance that only comes from true presence. The tiny rainbows on bubbles flicker in the sunshine as I wash the dishes has become small blessing from above instead of drudgery, and because of this, I am able to foster more gratitude and appreciation for time itself and for the gift it is in my life. I value small moments of wonder and can only truly see them when given space to simply BE.”




I reason that rest, and the kind that we’re after, can mirror the kind of keep deep play talked about in this article. It doesn’t have to mean sleeping an extra three hours each morning, or building many more moments of calm, because after all, isn’t it rejuvenation we are after? Whatever rest looks like to you, whatever it is that you find to be healing and uplifting, keep leaning on that. If you can restore you weary spirit by taking a walk alone in the woods, or kneading bread with your bare hands in the kitchen, or getting into a good book by the fire, then your acts of play can simultaneously become your acts of rest.


“When one enters the realm of deep play, the sacred playground where only the present moment matters, one’s history and future vanish. One doesn’t remember one’s past, needs, expectations, worries, real or imaginary sins. The deep-play world is fresh, wholly absorbing, and full of its own unique wisdom and demands. Being able to temporarily step outside of normal life—while keeping one’s senses alert — is indeed like being reborn. To erase all memories and yearnings — to be vigorously alive without self-awareness — can provide a brief return to innocence.” – Ackerman 


Such beauty and goodness to reflect on! And lastly, I leave you with another poem by John O’Donohue. I went back and forth whether or not I should find a new poet or share this one during Week Two, but it’s just too poignant and pertinent not to send your way. It was written for those who are exhausted, which I think applies to all of us here seeing rest and rejuvenation. I recommend reading it aloud to let your thoughts dance slowly through the lines of this beautiful blessing.




This was a long one! Feel free to take you time going through all of this material, and whenever you feel called to do so, the door is always open to check back in to share your thoughts and your experience, or to simply ask a question. I am sending you all heaps of love and light as we enter this fresh new week, and I thank you for going along on this restorative journey with me. Oh, and before I forget, so many of you like me are also taking part in this 30 day New Year’s  Yoga Challenge called TRUE, and I really recommend it! As a long time follower of Adriene and her vlogs, I can say that her practices are the perfect balance of challenging and restful. If you are looking for a way to incorporate more physical activity this winter, check ’em out!


With Care,



For those who are catching up or have decided to join, here is…













  • Jane

    Amanda, I loved your better and poor examples on the whys of using social media! In this first week, the loss of connection I’ve felt with some of my long distance relatives and friends has been the most obvious, and I’ve felt like a child learning to walk as I’ve come to realize that social media might be convenient, but not the only way to connect to loved ones. I’ve found myself sending more thoughtful text messages and emails, and even once shocked myself by initiating a lunch date with one of my children in tow (which I often tell myself is not a good idea bc it’s nearly impossible to conduct an adult conversation). But surprise surprise, I’ve found these connections to be deeper and a refreshing change. Looking forward to week 2! Thanks for all you’ve put into this!ReplyCancel

  • Tanya

    I have been loving this retreat! Already seriously trying to figure out how much social media I can leave out permanently when this is done (I will need some form of FB for Girl Scout communication and my business). But I feel more focused, more free from other things or people controlling my thoughts and time! It’s just the best thing I’ve been yearning to do for a long time and you gave me the parameters to do it in. So thank you!
    I also have turned off all the notifications on my phone…even texting! Bliss. No more feeling that blitz of either excitement or apprehension when I hear that buzz or ding sound. Just more space for thoughts and peace…to hear God and myself. To not be distracted from my kids or husband mid sentence. And I put my phone in airplane mode at night in the evening after the kids are in bed to have a few hours of no-phone time and in the morning don’t undo airplane mode til after quiet and Bible time. It’s been so freeing! I wish they made a phone that only had the best camera and maps and an app to hold grocery and to-do lists and that is it! A “dumb” phone without even the temptation of social media.
    I did have one question…I thought you mentioned our needing a small notebook to fit in our pocket for the Rest Retreat, but I haven’t seen a use for it yet? Have I missed it or is it still coming? Just curious!
    Thank you again!!ReplyCancel

  • The wait time distraction is so very true. I have become terribly accustomed to being able to use my phone to fill all those same wait times and then some. It’s like I never give my brain a rest to just think and be and observe! Embarrassingly my best creative ideas and problem-solving comes in the shower these days…because I can’t bring my phone in there! Working hard to stop filling each little moment with distraction. Love your ideas and suggestions!ReplyCancel

  • Samantha

    I want to thank you for putting this together for us. I know you’re participating too so hopefully it feels like a creative outlet rather than a chore, but I know it still takes a bit of time organizing applicable and interesting resources, sharing your personal experiences and creating a weekly guideline for your readers who, if they’re anything like me, didn’t realize how bad they needed this social media break until it started. So thank you, seriously thank you! I truly appreciate you.ReplyCancel

  • Jenna

    This has been such a wonderful life changing week so far already! My husband has been intrigued with my new adjustments and I’m wondering if you have any good books to recommend for him, all my motivational/positive thinking books right now are more geared toward women.. strange as that seems, and I don’t have a good book to suggest bat the timeReplyCancel

  • ‘…the mundane reclaims a kind of transcendent romance that only comes from true presence.’
    Loved this, Amanda. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and inspiring resources. Husband and I are going to sit own with a glass of wine tonight and journal our non-negotiables. xxReplyCancel

  • Rochelle

    Amanda, This REST has been SO good for me!! I jumped onto this challenge the Friday before New Year’s and then in the few days following almost everyone in my family got sick (tummy bug + cough/ throat crud, on a family rotation…there are 7 of us to trade germs). The miracle of it all? I’m so calm. I’m not trying to escape. I’m here. AND I’ve had more *time* to read, shower, knit, talk to my kids, cook sow meals, teach my 7 year old to cook eggs, spend time with my husband or dad, nurse the baby & TALK to her. I’m so grateful. Is life still crazy full and every moment packed? Yes. But, there is enough time to do all I’m called to. Just not time to waste, and that’s what I feel like I’ve cut. PS: I was on the desktop & had to pull up some data that was on a Facebook video, so I saw how many notifications I had and I peeked and you know what? Nothing was compelling. It was a clear message: you aren’t missing out! Go live your REAL life! Bonus: when I call my friend to catch up we actually are because she hasn’t already read about it on Facebook/IG. Haha. Thanks Amanda!ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle

    Yes, Elizabeth, regarding the shower!! Haha. It so good to not see the phone in there…or the piles around the house that scream “pending.” 😋

    I’m also sending more text & emails aka speaking directly to the poeople I want/need to communicate/connect with. 🙌🏼ReplyCancel

  • Aw, you didn’t have to, but thank you so much for that little nod, full of kind, meaningul words; my love language is words and that little blurb filled me up for the day. I was so thankful my Husband lovingly thought to send the video to me, and I was so excited to hopefully share it with the others here because it was so powerful for us (we had some great ‘couple conversaion’ about it later), and I hoped my fellow retreaters would find it helpful too.
    The part about the waiting moments of connecting with humans near us (like in meetings), that we lose when everyone is on a phone especially spoke to me. I don’t even want to miss the tiny moments to connect and grow the relationship with my tiny daughter, while doing things at home that may have a lull I could all too easily fill with a phone check.

    I appreciated your focus on the “waiting” moments here and all the goodness in this long post. Plenty to revisit and comb through during the week.ReplyCancel

  • Chelsey

    This is the best retreat I’ve never been to! Working through some harsh truths today after watching Sinek’s discussion. Social media for me always feels good in the moment followed by a terrible self deprecating hangover. I have wondered why I keep going back…the release of dopamine explains it. Feeling present this week, more connected, and more patient. I also have noticed how awkward and scary being vulnerable with people face to face is, social media allows for a buffer. I’m glad for it and welcoming the raw but beautiful practice of connection. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Margaret

    We have also just changed our sleeping arrangements and moved my daughter out of our bed. What a difference it has made. Surprisingly, she took it easier than we did. It’s funny, my husband and I were just talking the other day(about the high lotto🙈). I said the only selfish thing I would want is limitless energy at my disposal. I’m hopibg some non-negotiables help in that area!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Antkowiak

    I can relate to so much of what you said! Moving away from social media has revealed so much about how I spent my time before this retreat. As I was looking over my goals for the next few months, I realized so many of them would be easier without the distraction of my phone constantly filling my time. I’ve felt for a long time now that I was ready to move away from being constantly “inspired”, as helpful as that may be, and instead take what I’ve learned over the past few years and just enjoy applying it! I’m also a teacher at heart (and in real life as well through home-educating) and it was a struggle at first to feel like I had good ideas I wanted to share but couldn’t if I was off social media. Now, though, I’m seeing the fruit of just keeping those good ideas to myself and passing them on to my children. How much more blessed will they be if I spend my time pouring into them instead of into strangers or friends on the internet?

    I wonder – is your husband doing the retreat as well? I find that doing this without my husband on board is the hardest part so far, but right now I’m praying that God would help me focus on my own struggles in this instead of looking at what I think he should be doing. We don’t always agree when it comes to screens, and it’s definitely been hard to feel like I’m the one constantly moving to spend less time on screens/tv while it doesn’t bother him. Just curious how you handle that at home!

    And I can also relate to the co-sleeping. I’m expecting my 5th baby this spring and my 2 year old was in the habit of coming into our bed every night. It’s taken energy and dedication, but we are on night 3 of him not sleeping in our bed, and I’m so thankful! Good luck with your efforts in that struggle!

    As always, thanks for doing this. I’m enjoying it immensely.ReplyCancel

    • Elizabeth Williams

      Hey Ashley! This is hopingforblueskies 🙂 I wish we lived closer to each other and could be friends in real life. I too have been doing this challenge and could have said everything you did regarding ministering to others on the internet…which for me, has at times meant that I am not being what my family needs. 🙁 The Lord has used this time away from my phone to show me how much I am missing out on with my children. I am constantly seeking for a moment to “escape” on my phone and it has caused irritability and discontentment in my heart which sadly leeks out in my tone and overall demeanor with my family. I am still finding myself longing for that distraction at times, but I am seeking to fill my mind with other thoughts like “I get to do…(fill in the blank).” I think it was Amanda who blogged or posted about that changing our mindset and man, it really has for me!!! I get to nurse this sweet baby. I get to make my children lunch. I get to fold laundry. I have children to fold laundry for! I get to put my three year old down for her nap and snuggle her sweet little body. What a blessing! Thank you, Amanda!
      Oh and I’m glad to know I’m not the only Wild + Free/Alveary homeschooling mama who is out of the IG loop. Thanks for sharing, Ashley! 😉ReplyCancel

  • Jackie

    Absolutely loving this retreat and all of its facets – the articles, podcast episodes, videos, and words left here by Amanda and all the commenters. Also the amazing, restorative collective energy we are all sending out! I need to set aside some time for this week’s retreat activities and journaling, but in the meantime wanted to share a few more synchronistic resources I’ve come across. ps. Amanda, I loved your noticing of the synchronicity in the readings on the airplane ride — I just love those moments that to me show we are on the “right” path for us. 🙂
    This essay:
    These podcast episodes (and the podcast in general, and this woman’s books, etc.):

    Love to all! xxReplyCancel

  • Eda

    I love this retreat and all the reading, listening, watching and journaling. But I must admit – it’s far from easy for me. Everybody seems to be so freed from desire and happy with the changes. To be honest, I cheated a few times with facebook on my computer. And the one time I needed to rewatch a youtube video (it was about mealprep) quickly turned into the same old scrolling and wasting time. But there are some victories too. I listened to podcasts and music, I played with my son and daughter, I got the laundry done in ONE day, … There’s a long way to go and I am trying to do better this week. Oh, and the “boundaries” video was sooo good. I can’t stop thinking about it. My boyfriend and I talk about it ever since we watched it. It gives me hope to get better at setting boundaries in various parts of my life. Thank you for your work and especially for that life changing link! EdaReplyCancel

  • Rachael

    Awhile back I took a Simplistic Parenting workshop that really changed the way I introduce schedules to my children. The instructor spoke about children in correlation to verdant fields and the farming practices that were prevalent until the fifties.

    One year, plant a hearty, active crop. The next plant something irrigating and deeply rooting, a more “quiet” crop. Not the money maker per say but essential to the overall health of the field and ultimately the yield of the active crop. And the next year, let the fields LIE FALLOW.

    She encouraged us to arrange our days in such a way, and spoke convincingly about the importance of the fallow period – the periods where our children might be bored or whiny and with best intentions we try to entertain and fill up for them. But by allowing them time to be fallow or “bored,” we allow time for the creative ideas to foster. Teaching our children about discomfort, even just being still, and having them problem solve their own solutions can be a huge preventative for later addictions. It also just makes them more rounded people!

    It all really made sense and resonated with me … for my children. It’s interesting that I never actually applied this to myself and my own time. I always thought of scrolling through Instagram as rest, as my “little break.”

    This Rest Retreat has been so powerful for me. I am realizing how often I was interrupting my own cycle of thoughts, mismanaging my time, not allowing for that essential fallow time in my own life. Therefore not allowing for the good stuff to happen.

    This retreat has been such a blessing in my life! Thank you so very much for all the meticulous thought and research you are providing. I am beyond grateful.


    • Robin

      Oh, I love these insights, Rachael! I’m a firm believer in allowing children to be bored – that’s when the magic happens – but how often do I allow myself to be bored? Not often. There’s always something to fill that void whether it actually -fills- me up with something worthwhile or not. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!ReplyCancel

  • Elizia

    I been so motivated, making and baking and doing things with care and love. However, I’m worried if I’m doing this wrong. Time has moved much faster for me, before I felt trapped to the couch with my 6 month baby and trying to get things done was so difficult. So I would scroll and loose motivation and energy. Now I have both energy and motivation and time on the clock is flying.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Elizia, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do this as long as you are feeling more connected to your inner rhythm. I love that you are making and baking more, so fun! I seems as though this time has been life-giving for you and the kind of motivation you needed in this season, with more open space and time set aside to create! I can totally relate, but for me…I’ve needed a slow down and foot to the break petal kind of change. It’s wonderful reading how this retreat is affecting everyone so differently! x AmandaReplyCancel

  • Ashley Antkowiak

    Thanks for sharing those other resources, Jackie! Looking forward to checking them out tonight.ReplyCancel

  • Tara

    I apologize if this has already been said. I haven’t had time to read everyone’s comments, but this rest retreat is giving me nothing but anxiety because I’m a week behind. I’m trying to do it all – keep up on organizing, planning, and just plain ol’ enjoying the moment, but most days – today especially, I have failed big time. My sacred place is my car. I’m writing this from inside it. I scrapped my meal plans for the night and I’m currently in line for my town’s best Mexican fast food. I could have made dinner, but I just want this night to end. I only have a few moments to myself every day, so it’s challenging for me to journal all the things, let alone listen to an hour long podcast. It makes me wonder if I have the world’s most neediest children, or if I am really that bad at time management.

    Missing out on social media/screen time isn’t hard for me. Finding the time to get it all done is. Please tell me I’m not the only one.ReplyCancel

    • Kathleen

      Tara, you’re not the only one! I am really enjoying this retreat but I also have not gone through any of the week two materials yet. That’s okay in my book. All those materials will still be there whenever we’re ready for them. We are all on our own journey and are doing what we can within our own circumstances. Hope the Mexican food was delicious. 😉ReplyCancel

      • Tara

        Thank you Kathleen! I need to remember to set a pace that my time will allow. The food was delicious too. 🙂ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Tara, good morning mama! I just wanted to let you know that you are doing great and you’ve got a lot of support here! Don’t worry one bit about doing all aspects of this retreat if time doesn’t for it – we are all in different seasons of life and with that, each of us have different like circumstances too. Your path throughout this journey can be fruitful and not resemble what I’ve shared – that’s nothing to apologize for! The cool thing about all of this is you get to choose how much of this retreat you let into your life, and I certainly don’t want this time to look more like work than rest! Take as much time away from it as you need! For me when I am feeling overwhelmed it’s always helpful to take stock in the things I am doing within the span of each, and usually it’s way too much. I tend to be someone who keeps my plate really full without setting clear boundaries or saying no, and it’s usually only when I take a step back do I realize how much my boundaries and values need shaking. That being said, I don’t think this is a cakewalk for anyone, but it’s not designed to be! I have learned that growth only truly comes from being uncomfortable and because this is a new value system for us all, it’s going to be! But I don’t want you to think you have to do all the material to measure up or do this correctly. You are in charge of what this retreat looks like in your life, dear one – and you are not alone! I hope you have a lighter day today and that you feel uplifted in your energy and sprits! Sending you lots of love, AmandaReplyCancel

      • Tara

        Thank you Amanda! Today was a much better day. I too have a hard time setting boundaries and saying no. I like to call myself a professional volunteer at times. LOL! I am determined to change my ways and really grow from this retreat. I’m tired of not feeling in charge of my own life. Thank you for sharing your knowlege, and for being so comforting during my bad day.ReplyCancel

    • Holly

      I was struggling with the anxiety of getting all of the journaling done & going through all of the resources, but then realized today that they’re just that – resources. I can’t listen to podcasts or watch videos because my kids are screen-addicts too (good job me! lol) & come a-running to see what I’m doing. I don’t get dedicated journaling time to myself because my 5-yo son wakes up halfway through the night & crawls into a sleeping bag on our floor (this was the good solution to his nighttime anxiety), then shoots up the moment my husband or I try to get up early for alone time. So. haha. I do what I can when I can; I don’t get to journal as in-depth as I’d like (it’s usually in one big go when I can) or go through all the resources, but I do the parts I can do. One of my favorite quotes is from Rudolph Steiner: “One should take care to do nothing that lies beyond one’s powers — but also to leave nothing undone which lies within them.” It’s all about doing what we can, but not sweating the rest. I think even the good intention has to be enough some days! Big hugs, fellow mama! (PS. my kids are literally hanging on me while I type right now.)ReplyCancel

      • Tara

        Thank you Holly! I love that quote! I’ve never heard it before, and it’s so true. After I work on my screen addition – I’m moving on to my kids! It’s crazy how addicted they become to their ipads!ReplyCancel

  • Farrah

    Dear Amanda and Homesong Women,
    My week two is going so much more smoothly than week one, I felt some major Instagram withdrawal pains at the start of week one. Week two has brought welcomed clarity, a spontaneous play date with our neighbour, 3 days of no kids show screen time, we did watch some planet earth together as a family tonight (my husband skipped over the predator parts for my little girls), and laughing with my little ones (as well as taking time to be silly & make them laugh more).

    Amanda, thank you so much for this opportunity to rest along side you and so many other mamas and women. I am feeling renewed after a long season of doubt and anxiety.

    This beautiful letter was brought to my attention tonight. I was so moved by Holly’s clarity at such a difficult time in her journey, her journey out of this world. It inspired me that what we are working on together this month is valuable and life giving, not just for us, but for those who need us. Here is the link to the Holly’s letter

    Sincerely, love Farrah.ReplyCancel

    • Michelle

      Thank you for sharing this, Farrah! ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Holly

    One of the things that came up for me this week was realizing that my social media habits & my spending habits have been very much related – the more time I spend on social media & the more things I buy, the more my brain craves that dopamine kick from a “like” or from a purchase. It’s a hard thing to realize about yourself, especially when it goes against your values & what you say you’re striving for (balance, minimalism, presence, etc.). Along with this Rest Retreat, my husband & I reworked our budget to have more aggressive savings goals & therefore, I have less money to spend frivolously. It’s been interesting to see that I have a LOT more time on my hands between these two changes & how my values have actually had the space to be implemented.

    Doing the planning activity has been my favorite outcome so far! We’ve had 9 days in a row of planned meals (that’s pretty crazy for me!), I only go to the grocery store once a week (no running out for last minute ingredients), we got through our leftovers (no wasted food or money), and I’ve finally found a rhythm that works for us & embodies our values (I homeschool our kindergartener & preschooler in a Waldorf/nature school/unschooling vein), which is something I’ve struggled with all fall.

    I’ve had more time to read (something I’ve always loved). I wanted to share this from “Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living” by Linnea Dunne: “It’s about affording our consciousness the space to just be and allowing latitude for change and development.” My social media habits have been out of balance, which has made my days feel somehow chaotic & empty at the same time. I’ve been realizing over the past week & a half that my social media use is not giving me the space to be, to grow, to experience.ReplyCancel

    • Jessica

      Holly, I really resonate with your comment about your days feeling “somehow chaotic and empty at the same time”. I didn’t know how to put it into words, but that sums it up!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon

    The exploration continues this week, and I am still keeping on with the joy and fulfillment this Retreat has brought me. I feel lighter and, most importantly, more in touch with myself and my surroundings. I still cannot believe all of this has come with not being on my phone, as well as these beautiful discussions and thought-provoking assignments.
    Something that stuck with me while listening to Simon Sinek speak was that I am so deeply IN these issues, especially the career facet. I struggled for a long time working at my job and feeling like I wasn’t doing “enough” for myself and others. Bam, he punched me in the gut, and I have such a greater appreciation for the Mountain, capital M. I can honestly say this issue also came from Social Media and seeing people love their jobs, me comparing my situation to theirs, and feeling like I should love my job more. Tough to admit, but easy to work on switching from a weed to a flower. Oh yeah, that weed vs. flower idea has been hammering through my thoughts constantly.
    The one thing nagging at me this week is noticing the number of people with their phones constantly ready and always in their hands. I have felt especially aware of this in the last few months actually, and always try to not use my phone around others, especially in a social setting. Now that I am working on the ways in which I use my phone, my senses are even more heightened. Amanda, I know you mentioned this idea above and how you felt FOMO. I feel more of an annoyance, and the need to tell people, geez, can we put the phones away and off the table for 5 minutes? But, of course, I cannot control or tell anyone what to do, so I am toying with ways to bring this up to friends/coworkers. Would love any ideas if others are struggling with this.ReplyCancel

  • Jackie

    Another quick note to mention something related to this post — I don’t have time right now to go back through and find the exact spot.
    The other evening on a long drive home from a family event, my 6-year old said he was bored. My husband suggested looking out the window and trying to notice things as far out in the distance as he could. He had heard on a podcast recently that because of screen time, we have become so accustomed to only looking at what’s near us, people’s long-distance eyesight is diminishing…so sad! May we all exercise our eyes today and look to see what’s on the horizon! xxReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Sparks

    Hi Amanda!

    Just wanted to let you know how much I’ve been enjoying the Rest Retreat, thank you so much for putting it together. It has been so refreshing. I agree so much with what you’ve posted this week. It scares me how much our devices control us, I certainly won’t be letting it continue to do so, especially since feeling how liberating life has been without it!

    I found this article to be very interesting, though frightening, I thought I’d share it with you.

    Anyways, thanks again for this rest, it was exactly what I needed.


  • Lisa

    Today I met up for tea with a new friend of mine. Not only did it feel so freeing to meet someone in person sans kids, but it felt great to put the phone away for a few hours.

    I was telling my friend about Gretchen Rubin’s book about habits, Better Than Before. There’s a whole section about the difference between people who are abstainers and people who are moderators, and it made me think of smartphones.

    For example, I’m someone who can’t keep ice cream in the house or I’ll eat it every night, or even at lunch. I have to avoid and abstain. The phone feels like the same thing – I find it extremely hard to self-regulate. There are other people who are moderators, and they can self-regulate their habits. Here’s more on the topic:

  • Michelle

    It’s actually making me weepy as I read through these comments and think about how not only is this having such a huge effect on the people who are directly participating in this retreat but the ripple effect it’s having beyond in our families and friends….it’s amazing!
    My days with my girls and husband have been so different. Less chaos and tension. More connected and whole. Yesterday I spent the whole duration of my baby’s nap time outside playing with my 3-year-old making snow angels and doing yoga. We laughed so much. I laid in the snow for such a long time taking in that huge blue sky and the big trees above. It was pure magic. I mean, I think I was a kid the last time I did that?! I didn’t even think to bring my phone… only problem? Now I wish I had a photo. 😬
    I guess I just need to get more comfortable making memories and not documenting them!
    Thank you for the push and facilitating this, Amanda. Forever grateful for this time…

  • Lisa

    Many good things have come up for me with this retreat. But an interesting thing is that I remembered that I like to read magazines! Yesterday evening I picked up some of my old Kinfolk magazines that I used to read right before Facebook/instagram took over my life. I flipped through the pages of an actually printed piece, and it was so therapeutic. Interestingly one of the first articles I fell upon was called “Undocumented Hours” by Rebecca Parker Payne. I can’t find an online version, but here is a quote that hit home:

    “Let us all remember, now in the presence of one another, that our memories are enough. May we live to remind each other to partake of dinner without pause for a clicking shutter or a scribbling pen. Stay here, drink more wine, and let the memories of a time exist by themselves within you, and between you and others. And may your art be a sincere reflection of what already exists, not a post of projection for what we desire…. Keep your hours close, and keep intimacy and trust closer. If we give this a chance, we will surely realize that being present is powerful enough to burn and consume our hearts, minds and memories with fullness unparalleled.”ReplyCancel

    • Courtney

      That’s a beautiful quote from the magazine and so true. As a photographer I seem to innately want to capture everything and have even felt horribly saddened by viewing a glorious sunset without a way to capture it. But then I repeat to myself “Capturing it with my eyes and my memory is enough”.. which seems to help.

  • Dear Amanda and fellow Homesong women, I’m so deeply grateful to be on this retreat with you all. Amanda, thank you for the time, intention, honesty and vulnerability you are pouring into this retreat and into your own reflection on it. My husband is away for his first full week of work travel in a long time, and of course the day he leaves our two young girls and I came down with some kind of horrible cold/flu. Complete with a hospital trip for our one year old (all is well now thankfully) and many long days and sleepless nights, its been a week I’ve wondered often why the timing had to work out the way it did. Ordinarily, in circumstances like this, I would have ‘numbed’ with IG a TON. Just mindless, compulsive scrolling whenever it was feeling like too much or I wanted a little break… a little well deserved ‘me time’. And certainly I had my FOMO moments in the beginning of the retreat, like the one you described at the airport 🙂 But I have to agree with you, and so many of the other women here, wholeheartedly that this space from social media has opened my eyes to the actual ‘time’ there is in every day. The waiting, the space to think, the space to be present, to connect, to be aware. There is actually so much of it! And similar to the truths you shared above, the awareness of this time and my managing of it has revealed both good things to me as well as areas of growth that require tending in my heart. With myself and my girls finally on the mend, and Ryan coming home soon, I’m hopeful to find more time to journal my *many* thoughts and realizations this retreat has afforded me. But in the meantime, I just want to say a sincere thank you for this post! If I had found the time this week to journal the contents of my heart with regards to this retreat, my words would echo so much of what you’ve written here. It was comforting, healing, enlightening and encouraging to read this and the comments of the women who’ve joined in alongside me. Many thanks to you all. xxReplyCancel

  • Courtney

    Really enjoying this retreat and your links to inspiring material. As someone who is self employed on the internet (I have an etsy shop and I’m a photographer & calligrapher), I’m finding it really difficult to turn it all off. Obviously, I keep my shop open but I feel the pressure to constantly have to “promote”. My fear of letting my instagram slide and somehow fall into the algorithm abyss from not posting for a while, seems to be taking over. It’s leaving me feeling “thirsty”. Thirsty for “what could be” if I remained consistent, instead of trusting it will all be fine without the constant babysitting.

    Thank you for this thought provoking retreat.ReplyCancel

  • Ashton

    This time has been so refreshing and so awakening (for lack of a better word). A couple things that I have recognized as I’ve worked through journal questions and the different resources: I have not put enough value on working through difficult things because I too often “self medicate” through social media. There is a numbing effect there that can really steal the joy of living life (even through hardships and trials) because one is constantly allowing themselves the permission to not feel.

    Also, I am just taking the time to work through questions of rhythm and what isn’t working and what I want more of. It’s like I can think more clearly. Partly, I think, because I am allowing myself to declare what I enjoy and need versus what might be a popular response. Lastly, I am reading like 5 books at once and I am loving it. It sounds like such a small thing but being off social media gives so much more freedom to me to read—-something I’ve been trying to integrate more into my life for awhile now.ReplyCancel

  • Robin

    Something truly incredible that this Retreat has done so far is remind me of how much I enjoy journaling and writing – something that I didn’t make time for for years. (I also love the “homework” aspect – I’m a total academic nerd and love being given writing assignments, ha). I feel so much more grounded simply from the process of writing and spilling out my thoughts every single day.

    The Blessing that you shared really resonated with me this week. After being physically drained from some health problems the last few months, my soul was also feeling dimmed and depleted, and at first I was using my phone as a distraction to cope with how awful I was feeling – and it has been a slow, gentle process of regaining myself and reconnecting with the little joys in my life.

    The lines “You have traveled too fast over false ground / Now your soul has come to take you back” spoke so strongly to me, about choosing the false paths to the things we think bring us joy or relief (like social media), but actually leave us “marooned” from ourselves – when what we need is to find those sources that bring us light and energy, the small daily practices that help us maintain our light. After such a dark period in my life, this Retreat has helped me rediscover those “true paths” to reclaiming myself.

    Thanks again, Amanda. And for so many others who have shared their beautiful thoughts during this Retreat.

    Xx RobinReplyCancel

  • Amanda

    Thank you so much for all the hard work you have put into these weekly posts-I have so enjoyed following along and being challenged to recapture the wonder of every day moments the past two weeks. It’s been so refreshing for my heart and mind starting the year off in a different mindset. I am home with two little ones and this connection has been a helpful reminder and challenge to find ways to thrive during this season rather than feel stuck in survival mode-to enjoy the tiny moments of pause with them. Thank you,ReplyCancel

  • Ciarra

    Wow! What a difference a week makes. I seriously feel like a new person. Last week was rough due to old habits dying hard! I love how I am feeling these past few days. I feel incredibly more confident in all aspects of my life. I’m measurably happier and the little things are not weighing me down (i.e. clutter, little people tantrums, etc.). Most of all, I feel more energized and just able to do “things”, whatever it may look like for the day. Crazy, what a step back can do for the soul and mind!

    So far I’ve only watched the Simon Sinek video clip, but it was incredibly eye-opening and also made me feel quite emotional, like on the verge of shedding tears! It is a sad state that we are in due to the lack of strong parenting, filling the voids in our life with mindless noise/images/etc. and empty relationships. I am technically a millennial since I was born in 1984, but I feel like for the most part, I have not experienced the issues mentioned. However, since getting a “fancy” smartphone, I have become more of a millennial in the social media realm. I totally get the “good feeling” or dopamine hit when I see a bunch of likes on my photos or when I get messages or texts. It makes me sad for myself that I have lost the confidence in myself and require validation from others or “likes”, you name it. Obviously, that is not the reason to use social media, but how many of us subconciously use it for that very reason? This observation has inspired me to be more cognizant of how I raise my kids and the importance of instilling the value of hard work and finishing something no matter how long it takes. I want them to be okay in the quiet moments and not feel like they must fill every quiet or empty moment with something. I also want them to know how to create and maintain meaningful relationships. I feel it is so important to master this skill because it allows one to live a truly connected, happy and inspired life. Gosh, this week has been so good!! Thank you again, Amanda!!ReplyCancel

  • Peach

    This Rest Retreat is honestly just what my soul has needed for some time. I am so grateful to you for taking the time to create such a beautiful space with us, deeply. I have to admit the first week was easy for me considering that it was hectic + I was left with little time to myself. However the second week is hitting me hard.I am having the most simple but deep reflections on just how much social media has played a part in my life and not always for the better. It honestly felt like a crutch, I used it to steady my admirations for myself and to lift me up when those said admirations were little to none. It’s been disheartening to admit to myself just how much the negative effects truly affected me. I enjoy sharing however the reasons behind my sharing were selfish and self filling. I allowed social media to become a beacon of light because I didn’t care for myself as I should, because I doubted myself, because frankly I didn’t quite like the person I was. I relied on others to make me feel something and that cast a large shadow on my life. To me this retreat is just that, a retreat for my whole being. I’m learning to look at myself and forced to see the person staring back. This is embarrassing to admit but it’s the truth. This simple act of stepping back has greatly impacted me, thank you again. I am looking forward to what’s in store the next couple of weeks.

  • Jamie

    Because of not spending time on my phone on IG, I have had time to plan a skit to do with my kids as a little entertainment for my husband’s birthday. We have put several hours in to it, and our little family is the only one who will see it!
    Does anyone else consider leaving IG or social media for good? Someone above mentioned that some people are good moderators and some are not. I’m afraid I can never use IG in a healthy way and seriously think my life and my kids’ would be better without..I’ll miss the inspiration but I think the benefits outweigh that maybe for me. Also, has anyone else read “12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You” by Tony Reinke? I love exploring this stuff, and almost always come out in favor of me stopping using social media…I sort of wish someone would encourage me to do so, or even say that they are quitting too and that’s just best for some people, bc I feel so radical and…alone. I mean the whole world lives on their phones it seems. I’m actually a bit worried that if I do quit, I will just walk around all day looking at the tops of peoples heads! Makes me sad. I want my kids to grow up with eye contact.ReplyCancel

  • Ashton

    Hey Jamie! I have started reading that book: “12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You.” I sat it down to finish up some other books during this retreat but couldn’t help but think how obviously applicable it is. I am a few chapters in and can’t help but feel the weight of it. I think he takes a really well balanced approach. But, I was thinking the other day that for some personalities, there might be more of a tendency to idolize social media. I mean, we all have an idol in our life that takes up an unhealthy amount of our time. Whether it’s social media or something else. And you are so right about using it in a healthy way. I think we all need to do what’s best for our emotional health and even our families when it comes to this topic. So, maybe that means extending a retreat for a longer period of time? Or setting up very specific and accountable boundaries that still allow you to be on social media but not allow it to get close to that unhealthy point?

    I know those things are on my list of items to tackle and dive into because as I mentioned in my earlier comment, I definitely use social media as a numbing agent.ReplyCancel

  • Jenny

    Week Two has left me with “time on my hands” to notice how physically tired I am, that the transition between activities isn’t meant to be filled, how bored one feels before doing something meaningful (my cell blurred that) and most importantly that there are enough hours in a day to fulfill. I loved that I had the chance to revise the boundaries and non negotiables. In the past, I would’ve rushed the activity and therefore made its impact less. I’m feeling raw, vulnerable and real. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Erica

    I’m struggling with deciding if social media even has a place in my life anymore. Of course with this retreat I have tried to stay away from all scrolling- but that task is near impossible when you need to shop for new kids shoes or pick out a new mirror for your bedroom. Ya know. Just a couple of the things I can spend hours doing. I have tried to limit it and set boundaries before I even begin my task. The video hit home in so many ways. Dopamine. Ugh. I am an addict living a life of recovery for six years now and hearing what was actually happening in my brain made things clear. I am taking far fewer pictures these days. In fact- I have to remind myself to take a photo. Before I snapped pictures all day for potential posts. Not even 1/4 of what I was taking was being posted- but if I wasn’t posting I was considering a what would make a good post. Such mental time wasted! I’m not sure I will be ready to return to social media at the end of this month and that’s a hard thing to think- because without Instagram I wouldn’t know about this retreat. Without a little mindless scrolling I wouldn’t discover so much of what I find influential in my journey. But being someone who knows addiction to dopamine the way that I do- I know for me- sometimes I just can’t have things in small amounts. It’s all or nothing for me.ReplyCancel

  • Holly

    I resonated with so much of what you said, erica! I’ve also been in recovery for a while, and definitely see my addictive tendencies taking any social media use to extremes, trying to fill that hole with something easy, like purchases or likes. I commented to a friend last week that I may not even return to Instagram, knowing my past behavior & that I’m not hurting without it right now. And less photos as well, with that same exact thought pattern happening in the background. I was surprised to find the only photos i took today were screen shots of thermal underwear for an upcoming cold weather outing that i need to find at the store. We go out into the forest multiple times a week & i used to take photos constantly to post to IG; instead I’ve actually just let myself be immersed 100% the whole time I’m out there. And here i thought i wasn’t actually missing anything. Maybe people in recovery really can’t handle it?? Hahaha!ReplyCancel

  • Joanna

    Hi Amanda,
    First I wanted to say thank you so much for all your posts and blog entries- they are very inspiring to me!
    I wanted to share with you something that has helped me recently with my own struggle with wanting to pick up my phone frequently. Every time I go to do something on my phone I take one mindful breathe- just noticing one breathe, and grounding in my body by feeling the phone in my hand, or the floor underneath my feet- all, if possible, with kindness towards myself. It was hard to remember to do this at first but I find that remember to do it more and more often, and so my phone has become something like a mindfulness bell!
    You’ve helped me and just thought I’d share something with you that could be helpful 🙂

  • Nicole Wright

    Thank you for this retreat. It has been a breath of fresh air. I am currently reading the book, Simplicity Parenting bu Kim John Payne. It feels like this book was meant to go with this series! I started it weeks before the retreat and of course Social media took over my free time and I never got through the book. Now with my extra time I’m reading it along with the retreat. The book is all about slowing down as a parent. It talks about schedules, rhythms and decluttering. I just had to share. Thanks again.


  • Claudia

    I‘m loving this retreat! I stumbled across this article by Jocelyn K. Glei „Why you need white space in your daily routine“ – totally fits into this subject. I really recommend reading it:
    Happy new week, everyone!ReplyCancel

  • Katie Segall

    hi there, happy Monday. Blue skies and a bright blanket of white snow on the ground in my neck of the woods. How are you ladies?

    This week I wanted to share a bit more of my experience with this retreat and where I am currently. I have taken this material almost like a course. I have my own notebook dedicated to this work. Each page is titled by the journal prompt, article, podcast, etc. (I’m an academic, this has been my approach!) It has helped bring each prompt to stand on its own, and this allows me to tackle each one at my own pace, on my own time.

    RIght now I’ve spent the last week focused on my daily rhythm. This is something I have really struggled with but have spent so much energy on in the years becoming a stay at home mother. The first day, I wrote out what I “hoped” my daily flow could be (Realistically of course). The following day, I wrote out EXACTLY my day, in 30 min incr.
    This sounds tedious, but it actually made a day at home fly by! I marked when I let my 2.5yo watch a show and for how long – (*intentional* screen time is something I am striving for as well)
    After that day was complete, I compared the two, and from that, rewrote a final draft (nerd alert hi!) of my daily rhythm. Day THREE: I followed my rhythm and then I journaled these questions and reflected on the last three intentional days:
    1. What did I make time for?
    – (self care, intentional time with Asher and Ava, designated time to clean/tidy, and knowing WHAT to tidy…I also finalized the cleaning routine you inspired)

    2. Times our rhythm is strong..
    -staying present, intentional, not on my phone, alone with the kids

    3. I struggled with our flow when…
    -my husband comes home, when there are changes to the week (husband day off work, etc), when I do something against the natural unfolding of my day, not listening to that current, unaware of my presence/disengagement


    So, that was a long response. But that is where I am at, and what I have been so deeply focused on. I have completely disengaged from social media and my impulse to look at my phone is low. I’m now not always carrying it with me (GASP) and have left it home on multiple occasions when going out! Now all I see are zombies in the starbucks line, quietly shuffling forward with their heads bowed. It’s so eye opening. And a little sad. But it makes me feel like I’m now a messenger of grace and good presence, eager to have a small, genuine exchange with the barista or check out clerk at Aldi.

    I have outlined the areas I need to focus on, and one of them was time for myself. My husband just began graduate school twice a week at nights. I asked my MIL if she would babysit on Monday evenings so that I too, could go somewhere for the evening to work on ME. You only get what you ask for. Of course, she was willing to help. I’ve never looked forward to Monday evenings before, but I’m so ready for tonight to focus on the rest of this material and reflect on the material you have so graciously provided.

    Amanda, I cannot thank you enough.

    Blessings friends! Be well!ReplyCancel

  • Erica

    Holly- I’m thinking maybe we should be friends! Ha! We too explore our forest weekly and maybe I need some of that long underware. To be present in these moments with my children is such an eye opener. To not be on the look out for a great photo- it’s a real change of thinking. It is sometimes difficult but nice to say- just be here with them. Don’t try to get a post out of it. I’m actually dreading the end of January when the “restriction” is lifted and I am free to decide. I’m hoping- praying- the next week or two brings clarity.ReplyCancel

  • Katherine


    I’m playing catch up this morning but I just wanted to share how much I love the reflections you are sharing. It is challenging and invigorating to wade through this material and has given me so much to think about and do. Thanks again for compiling this!ReplyCancel

  • Callie

    Oh man, I meant to post this last week… that video you had us watch was SO good! I’ve already told a friend and my husband about it. 🙂ReplyCancel

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