Why it’s Worth it to Fight for Rest


It’s taken me twenty years to learn how I need to rest.

And once I paid attention, I had to fight the urge to think I was resting all wrong.

What looks like rest to me might look like boredom or even work to someone else.


Our little family left town for an entire week and drove toward water–I’m slightly ashamed that it’s our very first week-long family vacation with just me Chad & the boys. Why didn’t we fight for this years ago?

And it was something we had to fight for. We had to say a difficult no thank you to a trip with extended family this summer, since Chad has limited time off, so that we could protect this time with just our family of five. We had to save for this trip and plan ahead of time and figure out how our animals would be cared for.

I promise you it was worth it.


One of the perks of waiting so long is that now our boys are older–17, 15 and 14 and we chose a place close to a happening spot for them to explore on bikes or even with our car. They had the free reign to do whatever they felt like and so did we. It was exactly what we needed. All of us.

dolphin watch

The boys were able to explore and sleep and make their own schedule while Chad and I had a vacation fit for the elderly.

The five of us visited Savannah one of the days and we had four items on our agenda:

1. eat an early dinner (it was in the fours on the clock!! my dream dinner time!)

2. stop by and say hi to some friends (just a quick 20 minute hello)

church of the cross

3. Chad needed to see a certain church

majestic oak

4. and I needed to see a certain tree.

majestic oak



We’ve figured out we don’t need exotic islands that are plane rides away–not that there’s anything wrong with that and if anyone would like to gift us with that free vacation we’ll be there. Most of all we need to fight for the time to do nothing so that we can truly rest.


We’ve learned the hard way the difference between recreation and amusement–one that Sally Breedlove defines so perfectly…


Perhaps we can see the difference between God’s true rest and our “rest” by considering the difference between the words recreation and amusement. Embedded in the word roots for recreation and amusement are vastly different concepts. Recreation is the state of being re-created. It is something we do or choose that fills our soul and body so that we are stronger and richer as a result. Recreation nurtures us. Amusement, on the other hand, literally means “not to think.” When we choose amusement we shut down, we disengage.

Even more pointed is the ancient meaning of amusement: “to deceive.” Could it be that we are deceived when we think that the answer to our weariness is amusement, not recreation? Life is not meant to alternate spasmodically between exhausting frenetic activity and mindless states where we have no energy for anything. We must learn to say no to relentless schedules and cultivate places in our lives for true recreation. Only we can make choices for what refurbishes our souls and our relationships.

–sally breedlove // Choosing Rest

I tried to pay attention to the things that turn us toward re-creation–our kind of recreation…


Here’s what helps us rest:

  • two chairs
  • a view of nature (water or mountains get extra credit here)
  • shade
  • books
  • plans to not have to think about dinner
  • no deadlines
  • less phones, less computers
  • no crowds
  • something for the boys: freedom, nature to explore, a place to hang out

No passport required.

We’ve realized when the place that we are staying feels like the vacation (like how the cottage has a great view even when you are inside) then we feel like we are vacationing the entire time we are there and that’s really rest inducing. But, when the place we are staying feels removed from nature, we have this nagging feeling that we need to ‘get out and do something’ so that we can feel like we are actually vacationing and resting–and that’s exhausting.

house of light

As a person who sees the world through house colored glasses my obvious next step is to ask “how do I apply this to my home?” Can my home be a place of rest? Can our home be beacon of hope after a long day that welcomes people in to be re-created? Not everyday can feel like a vacation, but some of our homes we’ve lived in have felt more restful than others.

How I’m bringing our vacation & restfulness home:

  • pay attention to what triggers rest for me & Chad & the boys
  • create rhythms where my computer just will not be open (hello 5 o’clock and on)
  • give our family the gift of books because we get a huge amount of joy from reading
  • try to make dinner not require a bunch of planning
  • create comfy shady spots outside in creation where we can sit
  • pay attention to ways I’m making life more difficult for myself and consider how I can change those things


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  1. Thank you!! Your ability to see this and share it brings perspective to why as our kids are getting older they are craving less of the “go and do” and more of the “just be”

    When they are small they spend a lot of time at home and seek a change, but as they are teens already stressed by schedules and pressures they need re-creating time as much as we do.

    Just awesome! Thank you.

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. This is really timely for me. My husband and I have been talking about a “just the 5 of us” vacation and hoping next summer is the year. We’ve also never done this! I’m glad you brought up the added element of having something to fit the teens too–good reminder. Do you have rules or guidelines for phones/screens for your kids on vacation? Parenting through this “media age” is kicking my tail, even on vacation! Thanks Nester:)

  4. Laura Vance says:

    Thank you for this post!

  5. Good words! I think I’ve been living in “amusement” instead of “recreation.” I will start looking for ways to promote re-creation in my home as well. Thanks!

  6. Thanks for this insight – I’m now inspired to find the restful aspects of vacation and integrate them into our daily life.

  7. So good. Thanks for the reminder! Our family could definitely use a little more rest in our lives.

  8. Thanks for this post! You’ve made me think about the vacation places (cottages, condos, etc.) where we’ve stayed and how they impacted the rest the vacation produced………and how I can bring those elements into my home.

  9. Your best blog post, that’s saying a lot, I love all of them! Thank you!

  10. Nester dear, this is so lovely, inspiring, helpful and all around soul-friendly! Thank you for this!

  11. My hubby and I are both 64, and we learned many years ago that our best “rest” occurred when we were in the mountains and close to nature. We love the Highlands and Cashiers, NC area….lots of gorgeous views and waterfalls. Coming home from there is always hard—both of us going back to work, schedules, demands on our time, etc.—it is always a big dose of reality…like a kick in the face! Like you, I have learned and incorporated ways to try to keep the vacation feeling at home. We eat outdoors in the evening as often as we can—who cares if it’s our small front porch and traffic is going by!!? (The back of our house faces West and a hot afternoon sun!) Recently, I challenged my hubby to go one evening without the TV blaring…..he always falls asleep in front of it anyway! To my surprise, he accepted the challenge and stayed awake the entire evening! He was using his tablet but at least he stayed awake and the TV wasn’t “on”. We discovered that we enjoyed the quiet so much that now the TV stays quiet at least one or two evenings a week. Thanks so much for the post. Glad you all had a wonderful time, and I enjoyed reading about the church in Bluffton.

  12. Amen and amen.

  13. Love this! I am taking note of what you said about where one stays when getting away and what kind of rest it cultivates. This is so good! And the thought of applying that to my home for my every day? Again, so good. Thanks for sharing this. Your pics are beautiful and I am so glad your family had a wonderful time away. We did this last summer with our boys (age 20, 13 & 11 at the time), and we are still talking about how fun and restful it was for our family. It’s creating space for these moments that will reap rewards for years to come.

  14. Bethany E. says:

    Myquillyn, I want to bottle up this post – every word and every picture – and put it in my pocket for easy reference and vicarious relaxation within reach. Ever since yours and Emily’s words on the last hope*ologie podcast, I’ve had Sally Breedlove’s words “Rest is about allowing the present to be imperfect” and the reminder of “recreation v. amusement” plastered above my laptop wall. They have been slowly seeping in for the last month.

    Your words and pictures here are so refreshing and give renewed encouragement to fight for rest in a new way. Thank you so much.

  15. This part so resonated with me: “But, when the place we are staying feels removed from nature, we have this nagging feeling that we need to ‘get out and do something’ so that we can feel like we are actually vacationing and resting–and that’s exhausting.”

    I must remember it for future vacations. Thank you!!

  16. Oh this post spoke to me! Recently, my husband and I started Sunday night dinners. We get everything done that we need to earlier in the weekend. Then on Sunday night, we leisurely make dinner. (Sometimes it is only cheese and crackers.) We open a bottle of wine and eat dinner on the deck or the porch. We do nothing else but talk and relax. I’ve realized how much I need that time to get ready for the upcoming week. It’s a little bit of “recreation” during the week.

  17. I had the vacation of a lifetime in Sonoma County this past March, and when I came home I asked the same things; how can I bring that rest home, what keeps us from having it? I’m still working (and failing!) my way through this, but your post was a lovely reminder and made me feel like I had a little recreation in the middle of a busy morning, thanks!

  18. Amen! I,love your message here. We live this way but do struggle with wanting to stay connected with community when we are home. Any suggestions for connecting with friends who are always “crazy busy”?

  19. When I was a child our priest said in his homily, that a family needs vacation alone. Not with grandparents, cousins, friends. Alone. Your nuclear family. I didn’t think much of that. But, my parents were pretty much like that when I grew up. Now that I have kids, we do alone time for vacations. Even if it’s bookend by Nana and Pop Pop. Friends. Cousins. But, we always get at least 5 days of just us. I’ve also started taking it a step further.. ….just me and the two kids. We miss my husband (who has to return to work usually) but, it’s fun when it’s just the three of us eating dinner at 4! Or doing something off schedule. So fun! Glad you had such a great trip and discovered why fighting for rest is the best.

  20. Seriously, one of my favorite posts of yours!! Beautiful thoughts and pictures!! :)

  21. Wow, what a thought inducing post. Thank you for sharing and making me really think about rest.

  22. I could not agree more! And thank you for sharing the bit from Sally Breedlove. I’ve been working to have a full rest day each week of at least not driving anywhere and at most reading all day long. :) It’s really helped me deal with the craziness, and I can tell when I’ve let one pass me by. Not pretty. I’m happy for you and your family, Myquillin!

  23. So timely. We just moved to NC two weeks ago. Before moving, I was moving at break-neck speed with 3 jobs. Now that I’m here and have no job (or friends) at the moment, I have realized that I have no idea what recreation or amusement looks like. I’d like to crawl out of my skin at times with the quiet. I am resisting the urge (or panic) of jumping into another job in order to figure what indeed God has planned for me.
    Thank you for your encouraging words.

  24. Wendy McMillan says:

    Love,love,love this… We had this same epiphany this summer when my husband and I had a few days solo at Captiva Island and it rained most of the time. Instead of go,go,go, we rested, walked on the beach in the rain, read and spent time just gazing at the ocean. So magical and truly restful. You are right on track as usual- I am doing the Cozy Minimalist course and used those principles to do our sunroom which is elevated in the back of house overlooking the woods. It is now the place everyone gravitates to. You nailed why- I used neutrals, organic woody items and let the windows be the focus with nothing but the green pulling your eye. It is so restful! I’ll try to send pics but I don’t instagram… Anyway, how right you are!!
    Did I spy the Angel Oak on Johns? That is a magical,spiritual place for sure!

  25. Myquilyn, I enjoy all of your posts, and they’re all beautiful. But THIS ONE. This one really speaks to me on a deep level and I’m bookmarking it to return again later. Thank you for sharing this. I’m so glad your family had such a beautiful, restful vacation…Love that you took us there with these breathtaking photos!

  26. Shannon C. says:

    You have such an amazing way of reading the minds of me and my good girlfriends! I was just talking about this today! My family and I went on vacation this year at Surfside Beach in SC and while it was fun (4 families renting a big beach house!) it was not “restful”! I am still seeking a summer rest before the craziness of school begins again. Love it! Thank you for your wonderful insight.

  27. that last quote = so good.

  28. I am so glad you wrote this post! A few years ago my husband and I went on a cruise. We left the ship for a couple of excursions but spent most of the rest of the time lying by the pool reading books and magazines. Some people thought we didn’t make the most of our vacation, but this is exactly what we needed. Your family vacation sounds delightful!

  29. Oh my gosh I just love this post and those words about recreation vs. amusement. I think this is why I chafe against the idea of taking my family to Disney. All that money plus time and it could never help “re-create” my soul…it’s an amusement park! Thanks for sharing – i always come away with something valuable from your posts!

  30. That vacation looks lovely!

  31. Thank you so much for this insight!! Just got home from a “5 of us only vacation” & I almost cut it short because I thought it had to be amusement instead of recreation!!! So glad I did not and learned exactly what you just told us!! Love the idea of trying to incorporate it at home too!!

  32. What kind of tree is that? It looks like something out of a fairy tale! I think I will show this post to my husband, after our latest rather disastrous holiday :-/

  33. Great post! I started to take time off for rest as well and life has never been the same. I learn to pay attention more to stuff that truly matters, and to see that the little things around us are indeed worth our attention.

    Rachel x

  34. Lisa Mothersead says:

    Beautiful pic’s and memories for you! I like that your own family did their own thing. It’s so important to make your own family memories and, if necessary, say no to the pressure from extended family.

  35. My thoughts exactly. Thank you for putting them in words. These pictures alone take me away. No one really wants to age, but as we get older, because we have some life experience, we are able to see things from different perspectives and therefore,do things that are more fitting for our life.

  36. Love, Love, Love this way of thinking. You could have taken the words from my heart – this is exactly how we love to vacation. As often as possible we get away to a little retreat place near Roan Mt. TN, about an hour from Boone NC. It is in the mountains and unplugged. No cell reception. Wonderful little chalets and cabins. Plenty of views and peace and quiet. We usually go in the fall or Spring. Books and plenty of time to reflect are involved. We are close enough to other places if we want to venture out. We can prepare simple meals , or go out. I always want to just move there and stay forever. Thanks for reminding us just how wonderful it is to take time to rest and thanks for motivating me to find ways to make my home feel more restful. Our homes should definitely be a place for retreat and re-creating.

  37. So inspiring! The thing that resonated the most with me was how I am making life more difficult than it needs to be. Great post!

  38. Love this thought! It took me a LONG time to LEARN how to rest. Now i meditate every day and teach it as well. I was the frenetic, “busy,” anxious, and unfulfilled person running around from one distraction to another. Learning how to sit quietly and observe what’s there is the best thing i ever did. And I can even relax on vacations now without wondering, “What’s next??” But vacation or not, meditation gives me to the opportunity to drop in to a place of quiet every single day. Here is the latest piece I wrote on 100 days of meditation for elephant journal: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/07/100-days-of-daily-meditation/


  39. This is a great post! I especially like oh you talk about bringing the restfulness home. So important! So many good points here!

    I recently wrote on my blog about our big Summertimeout, saying “no” to all extra activities for this summer and how good it has been for all of us. I just had my fifth baby, and I couldn’t keep up the pace we see doing this past spring. But Ive learned so much during this break, I am so thankful for it! We need to talk more about rest, I think, and start incorporating it more in our lives instead of looking down on it as a waste of time.

  40. You know I’ve been reading all of your house posts for years now but this one about rest is one of my favorites. Read every single word of it out loud to my husband. Thanks for sharing your hard-won wisdom.

  41. So very well said. Such beautiful photos. Happy you were able to have a time of rest ❤️

  42. This is beautiful.

  43. One word struck me from your first sentence: HOW.

    I’ve wrestled with what rest looks like for me too. Especially during seasons of extreme busyness (little kids, working, relationship stress). I learned a vital prayer that leans into the truth that Christ is my rest. I would say, “Jesus, if this is the only moment of rest I get today – leaning into you in prayer – then let me know that you are enough.” I can’t tell you how much I felt at rest because of that prayer.

    Your connection of recreation and rest has intrigued me to sit there longer and possibly give myself permission to add 1 or 2 items like that into my day.

    And I’m with you – dinner in the 4’s is the best! I love long evenings to unwind slowly with intention and go to bed early. Ah sleep. One of God’s sweetest and most humbling designs.

    Anyway. Sorry for the long comment! First time for me, and I’m so glad I found your blog space. I’ve been listening to the podcast for a while now. (visiting from a link @ModernMrsDarcy)

  44. Beansie Clark says:

    Check http://www.art.com. Search for Three Brothers. Spectacular print of a clipper ship.
    Order four – one for each of your boys and one for their parents. You will love it..!

  45. Where is that church and tree? Colorado?

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