It's been a hard month.  We all have them.  Some days are just better than others, some months, some years.  I recently was struggling and told a friend I was so overwhelmed that I just wanted to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head.  She said, "YOU CAN'T! There is too much to do!"  She is right.  But sometimes I give myself permission to Retreat.  Even though I know it is temporary.  Even though I know the four day headache will eventually subside, or the children will stop their five day bickering streak, or the dog will get well, or the baby will stop teething and sleep through the night again, sometimes, occasionally... I need to retreat.  I need to pull the covers over my head and metaphorically put my hands over my ears while chanting "lalalalala" So I can block out all sound from the world, for a moment.  

As a JOYsister, one of the things I appreciate is that life is REAL for us.  On any given day you will probably find a sink full of dishes, a dishwasher that is full and needs to be emptied, 10 loads of dirty laundry in the garage and books (my 3 year old loves them, there could be worse things) all over the house.  This is my beautiful life.  There are ALMOST NEVER clean towels, although it seems I wash about Three Dozen of them a week. We are a family of 9. That has its ups and its downs, its immense JOYS and its overwhelming and sometimes tear evoking challenges.  Does it seem stupid to cry over spilled milk {the literal, not figurative kind}, or fall apart when a Lego almost projects itself all the way through my foot? Maybe.  Sometimes I just need to retreat...

The first dictionary definition of retreat was:
Withdraw from enemy forces as a result of their superior power or after defeat.  My children aren't the enemies, though some days I feel like there is a secret double agent, hiding somewhere, paying them big bucks to work against me.

I like this definition even more:
A quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax.

And so at times I retreat.  I read, or pray, or listen to music, or rest, or even SLEEP!  And then I fill up that bucket, the one that seems to have endless amounts of love, forgiveness, wisdom, advice, hugs, kisses, patience (usually) and gratitude for the gifts that are so plentiful in my my life.  A wise friend and I were recently discussing how important it is to give ourselves permission to fill our buckets, to love ourselves too.  To step back and even retreat for a moment, catch our breath, gather our strength, fortify our fortress, so we can be victorious!  This adulting and women stuff is a LOT of HARD WORK! 

All you sisters, daughters, moms, aunts, nieces, cousins, friends, neighbors, and besties... give yourself a break sometimes.  Retreat, rest, revive your resolve.  There will be better days, I promise.  I have seen both sides.  Hope, believe and be awesome!  You have totally got this.  And from now on, if you need a day, or even a week to retreat, Hey, you, yes you... our JOYsister, don't criticize and demean yourself, just breathe, take the break and then get back on the horse.  We love you.  We have been there.  We are cheering you on.  

Love and Light,


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