What I Learned on my 6-Month Sabbatical

Hello, old friends! I’m back!

I have been gone for six months and some days on my sabbat. During that time, I wrote a book, slept more, homeschooled better, got caught up on some junque, got pregnant, traveled through a dozen states, and made a little real money writing articles. It was an educational experience on some level, and I can’t have an experience without sharing it with all of you.

That said, here’s what I learned:

1. After I announced my sabbatical, many of you were encouraging–super encouraging. Go read my comments and Facebook page if you want to know who you are. You people are amazing! Encouraging words (not empty flattery, but truth and encouragement) do more than you can ever imagine. They fuel me. They fuel your spouse. They fuel your kids. They fuel that mama in the grocery store struggling to train children and stretch $2 and fill tummies and grow strong bones. They fuel that teen that is two seconds away from giving up. Keep encouraging.

2. I have trolls. I have trolls on Facebook, and sometimes on my blog, and I have trolls in real life. Trolls affect me almost more than the encouragers do. The comments of one troll can wipe out the encouragement of ten positive people. I want to say that trolls aren’t worth my time, but Jesus died for trolls, too. Sometimes we’re all trolls. Sometimes trolls say something worthwhile. Sometimes trolls aren’t actually trolls, but people with really good advice and really poor delivery. So, trolls, I read what you say, say a prayer for you, and 98% of the time mentally stuff you back under the bridge from which you emerged. The rest of the time I heed your advice, yet blame your mothers for not teaching you better manners…even though sometimes it really isn’t Mama’s fault. 

3. Sleep is amazing.

4. Everyone needs a task. As soon as I announced my sabbatical I dove straight into writing my book. Because I’ve been thinking about it and taking notes and doodling on it for a few years, the book poured out of me like…well, like a fast pouring thing. Then I was left with…what? I had to do something in those early morning hours, so I slept. That worked well, since I was pregnant and exhausted, but eventually the exhaustion subsided and I popped awake early while everyone else was sleeping and I needed something to do. Writing is my something that I could do in the early hours without waking up the other 8 people in our 240–square-foot home. We weren’t designed to do nothing.

5. Nobody’s task should trump their relationships. That’s self-explanatory, but when my writing goes beyond the magical hey-it’s-time-to-get-up-and-be-a-family hour, then I need to not only shut down my computer (which isn’t so hard, because it overheats and shuts itself down pretty consistently), but I need to shut down my writer’s mind and truly listen to my family. That’s the hardest part–the brain switch.

Nobody's tasks should ever trump relationships.

6. The sabbatical was nice, but it’s great to be back. When we lived in a normal house like you normal people (assuming some of my readers fall along the normal curve), my kids asked for a summer vacation one year. I gave them two weeks. The first week was great. The second week was mostly spent waiting to get back to school. The first few months of my sabbat were wonderful (apart from the throwing up). During the last few weeks, I was a little anxious to get back to “work.” Of course, in a few weeks when that baby comes, I’ll forget all about you guys again. Wink wink.

7. You’re good folk. You’ve all found a place in my heart. For some of you trolls, it’s a dark place, but it’s a place nonetheless.

8. Breaks are vital. Even Jesus got in a boat or found a quiet place to take a break from his “job.” It’s not selfish; it’s like eating. Of course, it’s selfish if you eat all the pie and don’t share–moderation in breaks is important, too.

I’m sure I’ve learned other important lessons during my sabbat, but I took the test and promptly forgot them. Thanks for sticking around while I was kicking my feet up and living in luxury focusing on family and other projects.