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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Flourish - Review

I kind of like it when I get a book to review that is just for me.

I got that this time with a book from Apologia Educational Ministries called Flourish - Balance for Homeschool Moms.

What is this book about?

From the back cover:

Exhausted?  Overloaded?  Teetering on the brink of burnout?  Flourish includes customizable planning forms, step-by-step exercises, and special chapters for single moms and families who have a home business.  Find peace in the space between the ideal and reality so that you and your family can enjoy the homeschooling journey!

Want to know, up front, one of the nice things were about the book?

The author, Mary Jo Tate, is not the stereotypical perfect homeschool mom, with the perfect children, who all play violin and speak Latin.  Nor, is she the stereotypical homeschool mom with the perfect loving, supportive husband, who has a great job.  In fact, she is a single mom (her husband actually left her), who works from home.

I know.  Shocking and wonderful, at the same time.  She is able to give real world examples of stuff that has worked or not worked.....based on reality.....not a perfect, dream world.

I am not really exhausted or burned general.....but, I definitely have moments of despair, so finding balance or ideas on how to get things done more smoothly sounded good to me.

I found, to my delight, that I was already doing some of the things the author recommended in the book.

For the most part, I do feel like I am a pretty balanced person.

I try not to be too busy.

I try not to have the kids be too busy.

I try not to put too many challenges or obstacles in our way.

I try not to clean my house too much (hahahaha)....or have unrealistic expectations for what a house with 8 people in will look like.

So, even though I am doing a pretty good job at keeping things in balance, I got a lot of good ideas from this book. (I even think some of you who don't homeschool could pick up a few pointers on how to have a more balanced life!)

I especially liked that it was written to give ideas to stay at home, homeschooling moms that have home based businesses.  That is me.

Who knew that I was a valid demographic?  Not me!

I even feel like the author could have just put together a book of the inspirational quotes and I would have been happy. I kept having little...."Oooh, that was a good one!" moments.

The quotes were great all on their own, but when added into her real life lessons and ideas, they were spectacular!

Like this one from Dr. Richard Swenson, that said, "Interruptions coming to us by way of technology require our permission----we own the technology; it does not own us."  Or, how about one of my favorites from Eileen Roth, "Organized people don't trust their memory ---they trust their lists."  Hahahahaha.....that is so me.  I love my lists.

So, I thought I would just go through a few of my highlights, or "aha" sections from the book.  Maybe you will have a few of your own.  Just so you know, it was hard for me to narrow this down to just  a few highlights.  Take a look at my notes and how many exclamation points and page references I used!

In Chapter 4, Where Did My Time Go?,  Mary Jo talks about all kinds of tips to managing your time better, but I really liked the part where she talked about being paralyzed and overwhelmed by your list of things to do.....which in my case, many times means I don't do anything at all.  Instead of that approach when you are feeling overwhelmed, she says to be a good steward of your time and do what you can, in the situation you are in, with the time that you have.  That is all.  Simple, yet profound.

For me, that simple statement meant, when the living room is trashed, at least pick up the pillows and blankets that are on the floor.  That is okay.  That is enough, right now.

In Chapter 5, What Do I Do Next?,  she talks about goals and "go fors".  Goals, she says, are promises that you make to yourself, and "go fors" are things you would like to accomplish that you know are going to be a stretch.

In this same chapter, Mary Jo introduced me to something that I had never heard of before.

 A Stop Doing List.

Ever heard of it?   It just sort of states that obvious that, you really cannot do you will have to stop doing some things.  Or, in her words, "Whenever you choose to do one thing, you are choosing not to do everything else.  Edit your life to make space for what's really important."

I am not sure I have explained this clearly here....but it was really an eye opening point for me to think about things in a different way.  Just being given permission to write down things that I need to stop doing instead of just continuing to add things to my" to do" list, or my" must fit it in" list.....was very freeing.

In this same chapter (apparently I really liked Chapter 5!) she has a section where she talks about having dreams for yourself....big dreams.  I am pretty sure that this is something a lot of us moms, especially us older moms....have given up on.....or have just jumped on board with our children's dreams.  I haven't jumped on board my children's dreams.....but I had, until recently, given up on any personal dreams for myself.

She really inspired me with her example of Jan Karon (author of the Mitford series).  Jan Karon left her steady, stable, lucrative career, and at age 50, starting writing.  No, she wasn't successful right took awhile for her to write At Home In Mitford.  But, people, she started writing at age 50!  This especially spoke to me because of what I wrote in Thick Skin and my desire to write.

Here is another in a long list of great quotes from the book.  This one is from Jan Karon, "If God has given you a dream, you'd better get cracking because He wants you to use it."  I do have a dream....and I believe it is from I am cracking, baby!

I will give you just one more of my personal highlights from the book.

This one is from Chapter 9, Oxygen Marks and Monkey Bread Days.  (Don't you love the title?)  This chapter opened with a bang for me guessed it....a quote..... from Charles Spurgeon:

"Rest time is not waste time.  It is economy to gather fresh strength.....It is wisdom to take occasional furlough.  In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less."

Aiiiiyiiiiyiiii!  (pretty sure that is not how you actually spell that....but hopefully, my emotion has still managed to come through......)

Rest time is NOT waste time.

Thank you, Charles Spurgeon!

I know we have all heard the phrase, "Nap when the baby naps."  But, somehow when that baby isn't a baby anymore, it isn't socially acceptable to need, or admit to needing, a little rest or nap......unless you are really old.

This chapter goes on to talk about the whole spiel on airplanes where you must secure your own oxygen mask before helping others.  (That whole speech became so much more powerful/scary the first time I traveled with my about you?!?!)

"Monkey Bread Days" are those where everyone wants a little piece of you.  I refer to those days as when I am getting beaten to death by ping pong balls.  I will officially coin the phrase "Ping Pong Days"....where everyone is just hitting you with little questions all day long and you can hardly come up for breath without someone needing something from feels like you are being pulverized with ping pong balls.

This whole chapter hones in on taking the steps necessary to take care of yourself, so you have energy and something left to give to others.  A good message for all of us.....but, especially moms.

I was inspired by lots and lots of ideas from this book, and I took comfort from other things.  Like the part in Chapter 10, Training Your Children, where she talks about teaching independence.  This is one area where I think Rainman and I are doing a good job with our kids.  They are able to do lots of things around the house from cooking to cleaning.  S-girl is always surprised when she hears about a kid who is older than her who doesn't know how to fold laundry or cook, because she does both of those things and has for quite awhile!

Even if you don't completely, 100% fit the special demographic like I do (.....flips her hair over her shoulder.....), this book is a great read for keeping things aligned and balanced in your life......and it is an awesome quote book too!  Emoji

Oh, and there are also customizable planning forms to help you with the organization piece, that are available if you purchase the book.

You can get a copy of the book for $15.00

Find out what other TOS reviewers thought of Apologia's Flourish - Balance for Homeschool Moms.