If you don’t know why I call these days “Treat Yo’ Self” then go back and read prior posts like August or July’s retreat days. 🙂 I’m about 8 hours into this day of solitude and it is so good. I am so grateful for an amazing hubby who sees me and my need to retreat monthly. I am thankful for my mother in law who loans me her apartment while she sleeps at our place. I am thankful for the book Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry that reminded me of my desire to take a day each month for silence and solitude for soul maintenance. I am thankful for the luxury of this day. I recognize others may not have the support system I have nor the resources to make a day like this happen. But it is my hope and prayer that everyone could have this opportunity to reset, refuel and rest.
I have about 14 hours left of this retreat and many of those will be sleeping. I think I am due for an extended retreat of at least 2 nights. I believe it has been well over a year since I last did that. It may even be 2 years. I believe I set out to take 48 hrs to retreat 2 years ago. It was the week we had court for our youngest to decide guardianship. We were also mid packing to move out of our home (with 4 kids and a dog) and into an apartment for the unseen future. My youngest sister (19yrs. old at the time) who was living with us asked, “How can you leave us with all that is going on?” That is was exactly why I felt the need for retreat because things had felt so heavy that I just needed time to be with the Lord. In a fav book of mine, Invitation to Retreat by Ruth Haley Barton, she says if you are feeling the need to retreat than receive that feeling as an invitation from the Lord to get away with him. So I had scheduled 2 nights at a local retreat center. By 36 hrs., I felt ready to re-enter life back at home.
I started my day retreat about noon. I originally planned to leave at 8am. But I forgot I needed to plan next week’s homeschool stuff, take a shower etc. Noon felt like a good time. I packed up my journal, computer and a few books. I always pack too many books but better be safe than sorry. I grabbed a current book I’m processing called Rhythms of Renewal and then prayerfully scanned my books I still want to read. I grabbed Necessary Endings (Dr. Henry Cloud) and The Wounded Healer (Henri Nouwen). I headed off to Caribou Coffee to buy a mocha and sit outside and write. I first quickly ran into dollar tree to get a few necessities. I did not want to make the same mistake I did last retreat by wasting time shopping because at the deepest level my heart does not need more stuff or more distraction.
I enjoyed my time writing about last month’s retreat day or actually lack of it. After I finished that I spent some time reading drafts of my husband Jeremy’s writing. It is a book we want to write together about leading/planting a church together. I was barely into it and already teary eyed at how good it is. It was about 3:45 and my butt had enough of sitting on a metal chair so heading to my mother-in-laws place to have a snack and nap. I set my alarm for 30 but stayed cozy on that couch for an hour.
At that point I headed out to get dinner. After dinner I decided to continue sitting at my outdoor table and flipped through Necessary Endings. It is an excellent book that I originally read years ago. I had bought it and the Wounded Healer through Thriftbooks.com a few weeks ago believing that I would likely need to read them. While reading I came across some very helpful and timely stuff for this season of transitions/endings. It brought clarity on how I can help my kids grieve and process this ending as well. I am so thankful for these retreats that allow space for my heart and mind to think through things. Retreating is so necessary to ponder on things. I love what author Mark Batterson says, “Change of place + change of pace = change of perspective. These retreats always bring more clarity to my life because I have chosen to change up my pace and place. It is literally 8:50 p.m. and I am considering brushing my teeth and tucking in for the night. This is one of the beautys of these retreats- the space and permission to listen to what the body needs. In The Attentive Life, the author shares how he advises retreatants upon arrival to sleep as much as they need. Sometimes there feels like so much to do at home that we push past what our body is asking, which is rest. Or I know for me I have felt silly admitting that I want to go to sleep early. I often only allow myself to do that when it gets desperate like during an anxiety filled or burnout season. But I have to remind myself that I can’t burn the candle at both ends. If I want to start my day in quiet and stillness by rising early then I have to go to bed early. I love this quote I found recently, “The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.”- Henry Ward Beecher. For me if my day starts with a small child standing beside my bed demanding my attention – it feels like I move from one urgent need to the next with taking little time to pay attention to my own body’s or heart’s needs. The wee morning hours are a gift because my attention is not pulled in several directions. It is easier to just “be”. When I stick to this discipline then I am more likely to take daily mini retreats outdoors to just sit and be. I am more likely to pause and be present. Be present to the Lord’s promptings. Be present to my body’s needs. Be present to my family.
Ok this mama needs sleep.
I woke this morning at 3:00am and felt pretty rested at that point since I already got 6 hours of sleep. But decided to sleep some more.
I woke for good at 7:15 a.m. Took a shower in silence which is so rare since someone at home usually knocks or has some pressing question that can’t wait til I am out of the shower. 😉 A little trick I have learned- I now lock my bedroom door then the bathroom so if they are knocking and talking to me through my bedroom door- I can’t hear it. I don’t live in fear of “what if there is an emergency?” Then a butter knife can unlock the door if needed.
I spent a few minutes after that in centering/contemplative prayer before reading some Scripture. I journaled some cool stuff that happened last night. I feel like I received clarity on how to help our kids process the grief of closing down Story Church and how to celebrate together after our last Sunday.
Now I need to pack things up, go pick up our middle daughter then head to our oldest daughter’s soccer game then later our youngest parent visit. And once our youngest is in bed tonight we will head out on a date so I can share all the cool stuff I have been processing on this retreat. Date night always works great after a retreat for the purpose of sharing all I am processing.
Cost of this retreat:
- lodging: free
- mocha and chocolate covered coffee beans from Caribou: $10
- dinner: $9 at Alpaca’s
- dessert: $5 Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Mmmm….English toffee
$24- soul maintenance retreat: priceless