If I were to describe my life at this moment in time I would probably use words like… dilapidated, drooping and stale.
I’m just a ray of sunshine.
And I’m breaking on my own rules. No Whining! This rule also happens to be found in the latest book I’m reviewing, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms from Apologia Educational Ministries
I’m telling you sistas. This book couldn’t have come at a better time for me.
Here is a brief snippet of an average day.
I get up (I suppose you could see that one coming). However, I have to drag myself out of bed. I’m dragging because I spent too much time on the computer the night before checking out things like how to tile my new bathroom with seashells. Wait! I don’t have a new bathroom! Or how to make a necklace with pistachio shells. Would I even wear something like that?
My to-do list for the day is more like a suggestion list. I do realize that if I don’t get out the door now I will be late taking Josiah to his PE class. What happened to that book report we needed to work on this morning? I also remember that I meant to take out a pork loin out of the freezer. I’ve got to fix The Studly Muffin his supper before he leaves for work at 3:00pm. Do you think he will mind taking Ramen again? I was supposed to go the Y this afternoon to work out with a friend. Right now I feel like I just need to go home and sleep the afternoon away. What happened to my day?
So maybe you have similar issues. Or maybe you just have a different set of issues.
Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms is an encouraging read for Moms. The author, Mary Jo Tate, is a homeschooler of 4 boys. She is a published author, international editor and book coach.
Flourish speaks to those the issues that a lot of mamas face. Take a look at these Chapter Titles.
1. An Invitation to Flourish
2. Change Your Mind to Change Your Time
3. The FREEDOM Toolbox
4. Where Did My Time Go?
5. Aim High: Setting Goals
6. What Do I Do Next?: Seven Essential Planning Tools
7. We Interrupt This Program
8. It's Time for an Attitude Adjustment
9. Oxygen Masks and Monkey Bread Days
10. Training Your Children
11. Making Memories
12. Managing Your Home
13. All of Life is Learning
14. Solo Act: Flourishing as a Single Mom
15. Home Business
16. Moving Ahead
Each chapter gives the reader not only much needed inspiration, but supplies step-by-step plans of action. We are encouraged to be proactive during the course of reading the book. There are plans to make, tough questions to ask ourselves. The book also includes an appendix with a list of resources and an appendix with worksheets and forms. The forms are available to those who purchase the book online.
The book costs just $15.
Fair Warning. I am one of those kinds of gals who researches everything. If I am confronting a particular problem I will read every article I can find. This being said, I have a number of “self-help” kind of books on my shelf. I am always looking for a good piece of advice. Now whether I take it or not…that might be the issue.
This is not to say that I am particularly “needy.” I am, however, high maintenance. I have serious chronic health issues, my husband is a pastor (those of you who are also pastors wives will recognize the challenges that come along with the vocation), Josiah has some special learning challenges, we live from pay check to paycheck…
I am also one of those creative personality types who would rather fly by the seat of my stretchy pants. I develop kind of a rash when folks start talking to me about goals and schedules.
However, saying all this, I know firsthand that my life needs structure. I want to Flourish! Not just survive. I want to share a few of my favorite nuggets out of the book. There are so many!
In the 2nd chapter of the book (Change Your Mind To Change Your Life), Mary Jo talks about Triage. Now I could tell you a few things about Triage personally. You will know Triage as a medical strategy that is used to treat patients. Ever visit the Triage center in an emergency room? According to Mary Jo, I have been using the Triage strategy to balance my life. Here is a quote.
Anybody else feeling like they are just addressing the crisis?
Another terrific piece of advice.
There are so many things we have a vision for. That perfectly sea shell tiled bathroom (well, maybe not). What I had planned for my life is much different than what actually happened. I still need to find the beauty and the purpose in that. Mary Jo, herself, has experienced this. Her husband left over 12 years ago. She is a single, homeschool mom. Her advice is so encouraging.
I mentioned that there is some real practical advice in the book. Mary Jo encourages us to keep a Time Log! A what? Do people even do that?
I feel like I am constantly doing something. However, I was really surprised that while I might be doing something…it might not be all that productive. Even when it comes to taking care of myself. (Mary Jo also addresses this in the book). Instead of wandering around Pinterest (looking for other ways to use my Pistachio nut shells), I could be taking that walk, soaking in a tub, or reading. Mommy Guilt (a bonafide condition) also has prevented me from really addressing those things I need to be addressing.
The step-by-step Take Action! Plan in “What Do I Do Next?” (chapter 6) is an valuable tool. I needed someone to take me by the hand and help get me back on track.
It didn't let me down, but it was this portion book that REALLY was the "Aha!" moment.
Let me tell you. I drew great comfort from reading this section and plan on re-reading it again and again. The Take Action! portion was also very helpful.
The Monkey Bread Days (as Mary Jo calls them) are that time in your life when there are so many people pulling at you. If you know Monkey Bread you know that eventually there is nothing left. Tru Dat!
Another chapter that was helpful for me was Housekeeping With a Grateful Heart. I started out the chapter actively grinding my teeth. This is the bane of my existence. I live in a tiny space. The people I live with live exuberantly. I am also one of those kind of gals who like to create and explore. I haven’t quite embraced the concept of “put away after you play.” In this chapter, we are given some practical advice. I love this exercise from the Take Action! Portion.
Make peace with your own homemaking style. Release yourself from the burden of trying to live up to someone else’s standards.
We aren’t left off the hook. She also encourages us to edit our stuff, make hospitality a priority and designate a place for everything.
There are two chapters that are specifically for single moms and working moms. I didn’t spend as much time pouring over those chapters. I still found them to be useful. We all are “sistas.” There is a wonderful list What Single Moms Need. Those are things I can keep in my heart.
This is a quote from Victor Hugo that Mary Jo uses in the book. I love it. It really spoke to me.
Isn't that good?
You can see that Flourish has a little something for all moms. Not just homeschooling Moms. I think all of us, whether we are schooling at home or not, can benefit from Mary Jo’s advice. She has been there!
My goal is to sit back down with the book and really inhale those parts that spoke to me the most. I was so blessed to be able to review this book. It spoke to many things that God has laid upon my own heart…and has given me some valuable tools to address those things that I need to address.
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