It is raining hard this morning, and it matches my mood.

I am tired.

I’ve been on the road speaking a bunch lately, and this week I’m giving four talks in two days–I’m keynoting at the Canadian Christian writer’s conference during the day, and then doing two events elsewhere on Thursday and Friday (one in Meaford and one in Stayner for any of you who live in western Ontario!).

Life has just been so busy lately, with my kids, and with speaking, and with writing. I consider it a victory when there is actually food in the house. And I don’t like that. I’m making plans so that next year will not be this crazy, and I’m looking forward to down time starting next week.

We went away last weekend with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and father-in-law and mother-in-law, and got out in nature. It was indeed very peaceful.

But I find it hard to relax when there are things on my to-do list, like plan a talk. And I was worried about the kids we left at home.

I read an article last week that said that the average family vacations for only 3-4 days at a time, and that’s not enough. After last weekend, I agree. I know I should be grateful for the time we had, but when you’re busy and keyed up it takes longer to relax. I find that what I really need are seasons in my life when I don’t have daily demands, and when I can just concentrate on the people around me.

That’s why I really do try to take the summer off–no speaking, no writing, just blogging my thoughts and that’s it! Lots of knitting, lots of reading, and getting back to cooking.

We’ve found as a family that camping has always worked well for us, because you don’t constantly feel like you should clean something the way you do when you’re at home. And you get to play games and have fun with each other. And there is something about nature!

I need those quiet moments when I can go out early in the morning and talk to God.

I need those quiet moments where I can feel Him talking back in whispers.

I need those quiet moments when I can remember that life is not just an endless to-do list; that I do have great relationships with my family (even though often I feel as if we’re hurrying too much). I need those quiet moments where I can do things slowly and savour it, rather than trying to get everything done so I can move on to the next thing on my to-do list. I just need quiet.

Even when the children were small (and not very quiet) I found that camping did that for us. Being in nature calmed them, and we could linger over meals, and it was lovely.

I haven’t always liked the “busy” trips, like Disneyland or something like that, because it seems too energetic. Trips where I get to just sit and do nothing are high up on my to-do list. And camping doesn’t cost very much, either!

What we’ve done in the past when my husband couldn’t get a lot of time off of work is to camp close to home, so that he can drive in to work and we can stay in the trailer. That way I’m at least away from the internet, and we can relax and read, and I do get downtime.

What do you find works for you? Do you ever feel in danger of burnout? Are you able to take a vacation? Tell me about it!

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