Revolutionary Reads: “Rest”

**Freebie Alert!**

A month of so ago, author Keri Wyatt Kent asked Carla and I if we’d be interested in reviewing her newest book, Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity
Since Keri’s a friend of the blog and a Revolutionary Mom herself, we said sure. While we’ve never tackled this sort of thing here before, we thought we’d give it a go. Besides, she offered to thrown in a free book to one lucky commenter (see, Obama hasn’t even been president one whole day yet–and already your fortunes could be changing!).

So, here’s our go at this. It’s not so much a “review” (though we did like the book!) as it is a quickie Q&A. Consider it how the Mommy Revolution does books (at least this time around!):

Caryn: The day your book arrived was one of the craziest I’ve had in a while–though it wasn’t entirely atypical. Just a busy day trying to wrangle the kids, rushing here and there, trying to meet some last-minute writing deadlines, all on about 5 hours of INTERRUPTED sleep. I remember looking at the cover (at a stoplight–because I intercepted your book from the UPS guy on my way out the driveway), hearing two of my three kids snap at each other in the backseat, and seeing the words “rest” and “simplicity.” In that moment those ideas seemed like more of a joke than a reality–or at least something that was not attainable in this stage of life. What do you say to other moms who might think these concepts are just out of reach?

Carla: I love Caryn’s question and it echoes mine. Keri, I LOVE the ideas behind your book and I so want rest and peace and calm and balance. But it does feel so out of reach. Even finding the peace to read about how to find peace feels out of reach. So what are some “in the middle of the chaos” secrets you can share with moms who might not have or know how to make the time to get time to themselves?
 
Keri: I guess I would answer those this way. Living a life of Sabbath Simplicity doesn’t mean that you are always resting. There will be times when you are busy or even overwhelmed. God told us to work hard for six days, and then rest for one. So that means we fully engage in the work we are called to do–whether refereeing squabbles, doing laundry, running errands, doing our jobs (such as writing those articles). But we set aside one day to rest from all of that.

It’s a rhythm of life. But what does that look like? It looks different in different seasons of life. I encourage people to build their Sabbath practice slowly, one step at a time. I imagine that as you were in your car, you were off to run errands, with your little ones in tow. You sometimes have to do that. But what if you decided that on Sundays, you won’t run errands? Sabbath is about freedom, and you can set yourself (and the kids) free from that stressful experience on that day. Choosing not to do things like housework or errands one day a week will set that day apart. And it’s hard to explain, but that experience will provide a peace that you can hold on to that during the stressful times.

You mentioned sleep, which is huge. For some of us, the first step on a Sabbath Simplicity journey is to get enough sleep one night a week. You can endure a lot if you know that one night a week, you’ll get enough sleep.

Caryn: Cool. Thanks for stopping by, Keri! So what do the rest of you Revolutionaries think? Do you like what she has to say about rest and sleep and “Sabbath Simplicity”? If so, she says a lot more in her book, Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity. You can buy it at bookstores or at Amazon. OR you can try to win it by leaving us a comment!

Maybe tell us what how rest or sleep or simplicity or Sabbath observance has revolutionized your life. Or tell us how you think it COULD revolutionize your life. Or tell us a revolutionary way to find rest or to get sleep or live simpler or observe the Sabbath… You get what my own tired, tired brain is saying here.

Carla and I haven’t decided how we’ll pick the winner, but we’re certain it will become obvious. So we’ll tell you how we decided, after we decide. Comment away!

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16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Stacy B. on January 21, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I would so much love to be the winner of this book! 🙂 As a wife, mother, pastor’s wife, teacher, and….well, seriously the hats are ever changing, I find sometimes that I cannot rest until
    -the children are fed, happy, clothed, and sleeping soundly in their beds
    -the husband is happy, laundered (ha!), and happy with is relationship with his wife
    – the church….well…just won’t list that….
    -students are supported, listened to, etc.
    -friends….
    -family…extended…keeping in touch….and…
    -school work….completed? ha!

    Where am I in this? Where is God in this? And these are the good days….without crisis or sudden anythings…

    I realize that my personality is one that will constantly create a busy schedule until I crash (like last night), so how to avoid it?

    When we first came to Minneapolis and took our first pastorate, I started off in a rather calm approach to life…and I honestly realized that I wanted more…and more…and more…and now I’ve started to resign from things…but I don’t fill the resigned spaces with quiet.

    I just had a 10 hour night of sleep, and I feel great! 🙂 But that won’t happen very often (mostly because I can’t sleep some nights…still trying to figure out that one), so how do I feel great, rested, etc. without 10 hours of sleep every night?

    Reply

  2. Posted by DAVID on January 21, 2009 at 10:22 am

    My wife has a book called Finding Balance that she has read most of and often glances at it and rolls her eyes. Some of the suggestions in the book were obvious while others seemed unobtainable. I’d be interested to see Keri’s perspective. I’ve come to realize that it takes a consistent closeness to God to come close to the feelings of peace and sanity that is so needed when you are a parent/spouse/etc. runnning around like a squirrel. I’ve also come to realize that you cannot acquire such momentary tranquility by oneself. It’s next to impossible. Being open with your needs and seeking help from your spouse or family and friends is so important. My wife and talk about our schedules and what we wanna get done ALL the time. We include “Me time” for ourselves in the conversation as well as what all needs to get done. Of course, there are curveballs and not everything always gets done but we make the most of it. I do believe that God surprises us every now and then with opportunities this Sabbath observance.

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  3. Posted by April G. on January 21, 2009 at 11:35 am

    My first impression while I began to read this article was a sense of the unobtainability of peace or calm while raising toddlers. But, by the time I was half-way through, I had already disagreed with myself. This very moment I am sitting in a house of quiet because I dropped my lovely children off at their grandmother’s house. I do this approximately one day a week so that I can get things done that are normally nearly impossible, or quite stressful, for me to do when the kids are around. I find all kinds of things to do with these days: SLEEP, clean, shop, work, read, rest, rejouvenate. (Yes, work is truly a break for me these days.) I realize I am insanely lucky to have such a day. But, it is absolutely needed for my sanity. It carries me through the rest of the week. In the inevitable crazy moments, I can remind myself – “my day” is coming. That thought reduces my stress and allows me to enjoy my children more the rest of the time. So, without even reading the book, here I am completely agreeing with the need for days of rest. I would love to read this book because, quite frankly, even though I do have these days, I am soooooo far from having a life of complete peace lately. It is reassuring to know this phase does not last forever, but I would love to learn some more coping skills for now as well.

    One of the biggest lessons I have learned thus far in my mothering journey is the importance of taking some time for myself. Mothering can be so draining; we need time to fill up again so we have the strength to continue pouring into our families. Too often, mothers are told by society that we are not really good enough unless we are completely martyrs. Everything and everyone comes first. But, unless we push that “stop” button and insist on what we need for health, we’ll never get it. Good job once again ladies!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Chiara on January 21, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I’ll delurk for this chance! I have just found this blog and am so excited by the attitude and, yes, balance here about the mother as a whole person.

    I only have one child (at this time) so a lot of my lack of rest is totally self-inflicted. And I know it, but…I still stay up late doing my own thing because I love the silent house and freedom to focus my attention, but I curse the morning. Well, I would do that anyway, but it’s worse when I only went to sleep 5 hours before the child is up crying for me.

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  5. I can’t wait to read this book! I was so excited to see this post today on my reader! This is a topic near and dear to my heart. Moments of rest, let alone entire days, are hard to obtain. Rest on the Sabbath, with getting the kids bathed, dressed appropriately for church, fed, getting ourselves ready and appropriately dressed, making it to church on time, teaching sunday school or whatever service we may be involved in, coming home with a hungry family who wants lunch NOW!…. Well, doesn’t that sound restful- and that’s all before noon! I am anxious to see how Keri suggests ways to adding rest to our days in small ways. It has been a quest of mine to find ways to add peace and bring fruitfulness to life. In fact, I am launching a blog this weekend (with the help of friends) to give moms resources to overcome busy and be fruitful. I can’t wait to read this book and share it with my friends and readers!
    Looking forward to rest!!!

    Reply

  6. Posted by Heather on January 21, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I’ve commented in a previous post that I don’t believe that actual balance is possible, but why not try for it, right?

    Also, Sunday mornings are my day to sleep in. On Saturday’s I get up with the kids and we let Daddy sleep until he wakes, which is only until about 9am. On Sunday’s Daddy gets up with them and I sleep until I wake…which the last few weeks has been until 11am! It’s wonderful.

    Reply

  7. Ah, rest….this is definitely a huge area of need for me. My life feels absolutely the opposite of restful! But if I must be frank, I know that my lack of restfulness results from choices that I have made in life. Yes, life is busy and challenging with three kids six and under, and caring for them is draining in and of itself. But I think the overstresses I feel in life are largely due to a huge discipline problem, namely in two areas: 1) my inability to say “no” to other other demands on my time, largely from our church (which has less than 100 members and thus a constant need for volunteers); 2) my lack of willpower to get the rest I need (i.e., staying up too late to do things that while enjoyable, such as Facebooking, are not adding too much value to my life!) Of course, we need to have those outlets for fun and entertainment too, but I know that in my own life, too often I waste time that really could be better spent sleeping. Then it’s no wonder why I’m feeling so exhausted the next day!

    I do some intentional things to create time and space for rest in my life–Sunday dinner is a no-cooking day–and for the short time I have during the day when the kids are sleeping/in school, I try to give myself a little mental break from domestic duties. No matter how messy my kitchen might be, I turn my back on all those dishes and use the time to do things that are fun and enjoyable, which helps me to make it through the rest of the hours when I am going, going, going, and serving, serving, serving all those around me!

    But back to my earlier point, I do know for myself that the lack of discipline issues are huge. I have a covenant this year with a friend who also tends to stay up too late, that we will keep each other accountable to go to bed at a decent hour. I haven’t figured out a way to “just say no” yet when I’m asked to do this or that, but as this problem has plagued me since I was a kid there are no easy answers. Maybe I just need to get to a therapist to probe the depths of my “saying yes” syndrome. I’m sure it stems from some deep-seated need to either gain a feeling of significance through my efforts or an equally deep-seated desire to be liked and accepted by my peers! My husband, who is as well-adjusted as they come and suffers from no such similar syndrome himself, knows how to set limits and is quite good at not getting overcommitted, because he has no problem saying no to all the demands that come on his time. This is a skill I need to cultivate in my life and may become my motto in 2009…umm…after I fulfill all the commitments I’ve already made…OK, maybe this will become a resolution for 2010. =)

    Reply

  8. […] theme through the book and corresponding scripture. And what just popped up as the topic over at The Mommy Revolution? A conversation about a book that focuses on rest, the Sabbath and simplicity. Yes, interesting […]

    Reply

  9. Posted by Tina on January 21, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    ok. So the title of the book is just enough for me to “chew on” for a long time! 🙂 Think about those words independently. Living. In Sabbath. Simplicity. AHHH…. that is beautiful isn’t it? Living is a word that is fluid and means to be alive. Simplicity means “lack of complication.” And the word Sabbath just resonates such a feeling of rest and peace and of course worship. Worship means respect and reverence. (Ok. stay with me here.) What I love love love without even reading this book yet, is that when I live my life in Simplicity I am showing my respect and reverence for God by choosing to stay in his rest and peace. No matter what is going on around me or what I may be “knee deep” in! That his yoke is truly light! I am just to take hold of it! You know Beth Moore has a saying about the “captivity of activity.” This thought about Living in Sabbath Simplicity is the perfect antidote to that! 🙂 I can’t wait to read the book!

    Reply

  10. Posted by Ellen on January 22, 2009 at 9:55 am

    I am definitely looking forward to reading this book. I am really focusing on organizing and simplifying my house and my life in general currently. I really think the concept of Rest on the Sabbath could work for my family to bring some peace into our busy lives and a closer connection to our loving Father.

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  11. Great conversation, Revolutionaries! I’d like to just address what Helen said, because we all wrestle with it–how to say no. I think we say “yes” because we think it’s “nice” or, sometimes, because we are worried about making other people happy. But everytime you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to countless others. So “yes” is not nicer. It’s just a choice. And when you say “no” to being too busy, you say yes to God and to your family. You can’t please everyone!
    “no” sometimes feels a bit blunt. So I recommend saying “let me get back to you on that.” That buys you some time, to pray, look at your calendar, ask a friend or spouse who is good at saying no what they think. Then, get back to the person, and say, “I’d love to, but I have too many other commitments right now, so I’m going to have to pass on this opportunity.” Or, you can say, “I’m not the right person for that job.” (often what drains us is not that we’re doing too much, but we’re putting our energy into projects that don’t fit with our gifts and passions–but that’s a whole other topic!)
    keep those comments coming! And thanks for letting me visit!

    Reply

  12. I have played with this idea on and off during my spiritual journey. Not always sure what to do or what it should really look like. I was so encouraged just to hear the words it is your choice, it is a journey, etc. That helps me so much ! Thanks for the inspiration and for your blog. I love the format, the questions, and the conversation.

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  13. i am so excited to find this blog. i’m kicking myself for not knowing about it before now! good grief.

    in all honesty, i do sabbath/rest horribly. i have always been this way, even before becoming a mother. i work from home doing freelance copyediting and proofreading, and in between sitting in front of the computer i try to be a mom.

    i dream of having more time to do more mom things, like art or reading or playing outside. we do these things on occasion, but truth be told it’s my husband who gets to do all the “fun” things. my daughter, who is in 1st grade, wrote a paragraph at school at the beginning of the year all about how “dad takes us to the library and mom works on the computer.”

    and when i don’t have projects on my plate, i fill my time with other stresses–oh, not like cleaning the toilets (who wants to do that?!)–and keep myself up late at night “piddling” as my husband likes to call it.

    as a family, we are committed to a simpler lifestyle, and we have been for a long time. but resting, however that looks, is a huge challenge for me.

    so i think reading a book like this would maybe offer a little perspective…thanks for sharing it!

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  14. Hey Kristi: If it’s any consolation, when my daughter plays dolls (which is often), she’ll put her babies down and tells them, “Mommy has to go check email now.” Or she’ll pretend to nurse and be plunking away on her toy laptop.

    I actually thinks it’s cool that our kids have a new view of motherhood, but it can be disheartening when we feel like we miss out on fun stuff. And it certainly IS exhausting.

    We’re really glad you found us–and hope you come back!

    Reply

  15. Posted by May on January 23, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks for a great website!

    My thoughts echo previous comments – what Sabbath? The busy-ness of a mom of a preschooler and a baby seem to get in the way of true rest. I too would love to read Keri’s suggestions on how to take a Sabbath in different stages of life.

    I have started a small exercise that seems to help calm me at the end of the day. For each child, I write a couple of sentences about something I observed that day. Anecdotes range from the preschooler cutting her own hair to the shape of the baby’s eyes. This exercise becomes a natural step towards praying at the end of day and thanking God for my blessings. And I hope it will be a nice collection of anecdotes that I can look back on (since my brain cannot keep memories very well due to lack of sleep).

    Reply

  16. Posted by Amber on January 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    St. Augustine got it right when he said our souls would never find rest until we found it in Christ.

    I thought I could do without Sabbath working an 80 hour week, caring for family, living on junk food, not exercising, volunteering, and sleeping with my eyes open during sermons – yes you know what I mean…

    Eventually my health and relationships crashed and almost a decade later am still feeling residule effects from lack of Sabbath.

    The beautiful, strong women who read this somehow find time to eat, bathe, care for family and a bizzillion other things. “I don’t have time” is code for “it’s not a priority.”

    Sabbath is us humbly relying on Christ for our strength in mini spurts throughout everyday and in a long rest once a week.

    Humbly saying God I need you… You are God and I am not.

    Reply

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