Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taking a break - wrapping it up

This is it, the last post on taking a break, which wraps up my topic of the month for April.
There are many ways of taking a break, some mean going far away, some mean just going outside, and for some, we can just stay where we are and our imagination is the only thing that goes on a journey.
I'd like to say my favorite break is going on an ocean cruise, except I've never been on an ocean cruise. I'd like to, though. Except I get motion sickness really bad. Okay, never mind that kind of break. Maybe I'll just take a nap instead. Or maybe I'll hide in the basement and close the door and play my upright bass, and not do stuff I should be practicing for concert band, but just fool around and play what I want to. Which usually means The A&W Root Bear song. Root beer, anyone?

After everything is said and done, after all we've said this month, what's your favorite way to take a break?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Taking a break - from the computer

Oh, this is an interesting comment I got from my friend Bob Kaku. The thing he needs a break from is his computer, and this is something I'm sure many of us bleary-eyed computer users can relate to.
Bob Kaku: Taking a break for me means taking my eyes away from the computer monitor. I’m an IT worker, which means I spent about 95% of my workday in front of a computer. It’s gotten worse. Face-to-face meetings, even with people on the same campus, have been replaced with virtual meetings where we’re staring at the monitor and talking into a speakerphone. While I enjoy writing, it also means my evening hours in front of the computer.
I don’t want to think about all the electron particles and radiated waves that are bombarding my eyes. Oh God help!
To take a break from this, I go get a cup of tea. But I don't do that frequently enough. I tell myself to take a break every hour or so. I've even set an alarm on my computer to flash a reminder. But that doesn't work that well, because sometimes I'm right in the middle of concentrating on something, and I just hit the Dismiss button. It's the same with writing. I don't want to lose my train of thought. Alas, it's a hopeless battle. :-)

I can relate to Bob on this one - and what I find myself doing is getting up and running to the washroom when I don't really need to. Or is that more than you wanted to know?
With that in mind, here is my thought/question of the day. Do you do what you can to save your eyes in this electronic age? If you decided to get your eyes unglued from the computer regularly, how would you do it?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Taking a break - when the day has gone to the dogs

There are many ways to take a break, and my next guest who is going to share with us how he takes a break is ... my husband Tim Sattler.
Tim Sattler: My best break is getting away from it all. There is always work to do and there are always schedules to keep, which unfortunatley means that my breaks can't be very long. My solution is to take the dogs out to the dike, which is a five minute drive from our house, where we walk along the water's edge, away from people and the hustle and bustle of my daily routine, and let the dogs run and explore while we walk along the path, often accompanied by the sounds of ducks, the jumping fish, and occasionally the neighborhood eagles.
What isn't quite a break is when we see a coyote in the bush or on the other side of the water. A few times we've seen deer, and once, a bear, which was on the other side of the river, which suddenly wasn't all that wide, or deep.
Not only is it good exercise to walk and breathe in the fresh air, it's a way to truly get away from the hustle and bustle.
What is an even better break is when my darling wife can come with us, even though she has an inflated opinion of the athletic abilities of her little dog who needs to go on a diet and barks too much.

I don't think I'm going to comment on that, except to say that his dog has a nose like a doorknob, and my dog's nose is as cute as a little button.
So that brings me to my thought/question of the day. There is no doubt that walking is good for us, and even though walking is better with a dog (or another person, right dear?) it also is a good break just to go out for a walk, even if it's only to the mailbox (for those of us who don't get mail delivery to the house). Have you ever gone for a walk just to take a short break and get away from it all, even if your destination is only the corner store? Besides, the corner store sells chocolate...
I digress. Chocolate... that's a break, too. Chocolate aside, I invite you to visit Tim Sattler's website at

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Taking a break - with idle hands...

We all need to take a break from time to time, but for some that doesn't come naturally.
My friend Kay Strom has an interesting perspective on that.
Kay Strom: Work, work, and keep on working. I learned the lesson well at my mother’s knee. You know—idle hands are a devil’s workshop and all. So taking a break doesn’t come naturally to me. I iron while I watch television. I jog in place while I talk on the phone. I know… disgusting, isn’t it? Even to me!
When I lived in Southern California, I used to relax by walking on the beach under the palm trees and watching the dolphins dance. I loved it. It was an opportunity to collect my thoughts and think and pray. Well, I moved up north and there is no beach close by. Even if there were, there isn’t predictable sunshine or dolphins or palm trees.
I do get exercise, but it’s not the soul restoring kind. It’s the cross-it-off-my-list type. But last year my husband and I purchased a price-slashed-end-of-season hot tub spa, and it has revolutionized my break time. Almost every day I carve out half an hour or so—sometimes double that—to sit and luxuriate, read, consider, and discuss life with my husband. In the winter, I cradle a cup of hot cocoa or tea. In the summer I may go all out and sip on a root beer float. But the great thing is that my stress bubbles away.
Sorry, Mom. Sometimes idleness is a virtue.

I think idle time takes on a new meaning after reading that. Kay Marshall Strom is the author of 37 books, many with a global reach, and includes prize winning screenplays and curriculum. I didn't think she had idle time, but the point is well made - she makes idle time.
Which brings me to my question/thought of the day. For all those busy people out there like Kay, do you mix activity with things that should be a break, or can you just stop and take the break?
I invite you visit Kay Marshall Strom's web page at

Monday, April 19, 2010

Taking a break - with nature

Taking a break means different things for different people, and likewise, different people find time for those breaks in different ways. For many of us, taking a break means needing to escape, and there are many ways of escaping.
My friend Valerie Comer takes a break by getting back to nature.

Valerie Comer: I've heard it said that the core difference between extroverts and introverts is that extroverts draw energy from being around other people while introverts draw strength from within.
Color me an introvert.
When life gets stressful, I pull back to nature. I'm thankful to live on a farm in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada, a place with truly some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. My dog and I walk our road every morning and night, listening to the trills of red-winged blackbirds and the calls of ducks and geese. We hear the wind rippling through oats and corn and poplars, and the buzz of insects--including the bees whose hives are on our property.
We watch hawks and eagles swoop for mice in the fields, and great blue herons doing their best fence-post imitations. We admire the neighbors' Border collie as he herds their cattle from one pasture to another following only hand signals and whistles. We see the ever-changing clouds and, in the late fall, shiver as we notice the snow line creeping down the mountain across our valley. And then we see our breath in the frigid air, and walk faster.
In the spring, the sap of the trees smells so sweet. In summer, it is the wildflowers; in autumn, the tang of frost-tinged leaves and woodsmoke curling from chimneys. Winter smells of crisp snow in the air.
I feel the changes in temperature, but the dog, Brody, doesn't. He doesn't care if I'm in shorts and a tank, sweating profusely. He doesn't care if I'm bundled in long johns and my parka, with a tuque pulled low over my ears and forehead. He doesn't care if the wind bites my cheeks and freezes my fingers. To him, it is all the same.
In these walks, I am thankful that God created the beauty around me. Whether it is windy and cold or humid and hot, I'm thankful to fill my lungs with cleansing air and to expel the worries and tension that have crept in. I find peace and, with it, the strength to resume my tasks.
I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order. ~John Burroughs

By the way, to all the non-Canadians reading this, a tuque is a knitted pull-on cap/hat. Picture Bob and Doug McKenzie.

I found if I closed my eyes, I could see a lot of what Valerie said, and that means I've had my break for the day.

So this brings me to my thought/question of the day. Can you see those birds and bees and other wildlife, and does that picture help you relax? Or is what makes you relax the project of knitting that tuque?

I invite you to visit Valerie's website at

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Taking a break - in the sunshine

We all need a break, and being outside is one thing many people agree on.
My friend Stephen Bly has more to say about going outside for a break.
Stephen Bly: When I need a break I go to the nearest golf course or driving range. There's nothing like a bit of Vit. D sunshine, clear air, and a full body swing to clear the mind and relieve any stress. Many of my writing and sermon ideas come while searching for a lost ball, cruising in the cart, or following behind a foursome that's slower than evolution, plodding like a glacier.
I can't say I'm a golfer, but I do understand the value in going outside and moving to clear the stress away. Although I tend to get my Vitamin D from a bottle.
Which brings me to my thought/question of the day. If you wanted to clear some stress outside, what would you do?
I invite you to check out Stephen's site at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Taking a break - in the five senses

Taking a break can be done in many forms. Just reading what my friend laura O'Connell from Australia sent me made me close my eyes and see and feel it all. I opened my eyes and sighed, and it was like I was sitting there beside her, half a world away.
Laura O'Connell: I know I need a break when I’m feeling scratchy – everyone and everything seems to have taken more from me than I can give. I’m on a tight budget, so that means fancy holidays are out.
I go to my back veranda and sit in my favourite chair with my feet up on the railing and before me is a view I never grow tired of – the glorious Gold Coast of Australia.
I hear God in the sounds of the birds; the dog next door nosing his metallic bowl along the concrete; the laughter of children playing at the local school; and the cars tooting letting me know the world is alive.
I smell God in a neighbour’s cooking; the damp earthiness of my potted plants after watering; jasmine scent; and a hint of smoke from a distant fire.
I touch God in my wooden chair that was once a seedling; the fibres of my cushion that were once a plant; and my skin that was made in the image of Him.
I taste God in the velvet water I drink, cleansing my tongue that has indulged more than it should have .
Taking time with God is the perfect break for me. I’m reminded of where I’ve come from, what it is to be. This simple break refreshes me ready to be part of the chaos that is our world today. Sometimes all we need is a few minutes away from the every day.

Wow, I've had my break today. My thought/question of the day is, when you sit in your back yard, what do your own five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste tell you?

I invite you to visit Laura's website at

Monday, April 12, 2010

Taking a break - in the middle of mayhem

As I previously said, my way to take a break is to read a book, but... some of us just can't be still for long enough to get into a book.
My friend Sarah Hamaker has a unique twist on reading a good book.
Sarah Hamaker:
Juggling four young kids, a household and part-time at-home work can leave little free time in my schedule. One of the things I miss the most is relaxing with a good book. Several years ago, I discovered audio books. Now, one of the ways I find little breaks in my day is to listen to audio books on a portable CD player while cleaning the kitchen, making dinner or performing other mundane household tasks. I've "read" many books this way and have enjoyed the stimulation from hearing books while my hands are busy with other things. It has certainly made household chores not so onerous. As a bonus, the earphones help me tune out some of the normal kid noise.

You know, I got tired just reading that. But for Sarah, not only does it work, but I love her comment that the earbuds help block out some of the noise that makes her need to take the break in the first place. Go Sarah!

Which brings me to my question/thought of the day. Sometimes, even a little quiet is a bit of a break as we still continue to do our normal things. What can you do to block out some of that noise and busyness, and still keep going?

I invite you to visit Sarah's website at

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Taking a break - accepting limitations

One thing about taking a break is knowing when to take that break. That means, not taking the break too late to do any good.
I love what my friend Dave Longeuay has to say about that.
Dave Longeuay: My biggest challenge is not what to do when I need a break, it's how do I find the time in my busy day to take that break. Years ago I developed a practice of priorities. One of those goals was to learn my limitations and say no when asked to take on certain non essential commitments.
I was convicted by the Lord as He graciously pointed out in Genesis that even He took a rest after creating the world.
Now I have made breaks and rest one of those priorities on my daily list of important things to do. Because of that, I am more productive, less stressed an irritable. I'm still dead tired at bedtime, but my journey toward the end of the day is a better one.
After noticing great improvements in my marriage when we went out, a Friday night date night became my next big goal. At the time with two small children and very limited funds that was a challenge. Through prayer and determination we eventually had every Friday night to look forward to and now as the kids are not kids any longer, we take Saturday night out as well. What a tremendous blessing it is.

I think there is tremendous wisdom in Dave's words. Everyone needs a break, and knowing when to take one before something destructs isn't just a luxury, it's a necessity. After all, even God took a break because He knew He needed one.

My question/thought of the day is, when you know you need a break, what is something you can put aside in order to take that needed break? After all, sometimes taking a break is the biggest priority.

Visit Dave's blog at

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Taking a break - and can't...

We all need to take a break, that's a fact. But sometimes we just can't. Here's what my friend Ginny Hamlin says about that.
Ginny Hamlin: I wish I could say that I go lay by the pool every afternoon, sip an iced tea, and watch a gentle breeze rustle the palm fronds of palm trees in my back yard, but I don't. Yet, with the help of the Lord... I will learn how to take breaks as needed.

Short and sweet and to the point. But sometimes, that's all we can do. Take a deep breath, think that one day we can sit with that iced tea, but for today, life goes on.

So that brings us to my thought/question of the day - what do you think about when you need a break, and can't take one?

Visit Ginny's blog at

Monday, April 5, 2010

I need a break, so I'm getting dirty

What do you do when you need a break?
I read, which is nice andn clean. But my friend Linda Clare has a different take on needing a break.
Linda Clare: I’m a workaholic. Or maybe I should say I’m a write-aholic. In order to tear my whirring thoughts away from inventing characters, thinking of plot or how I can “fix” a broken story, I have to get dirty. Really dirty. Last Mother’s Day, I really needed a break. My husband gifted me with dirt. Four yards of it. I jumped up and down and squealed, “I love it!” We set about building raised beds for a backyard veggie garden. Last summer I planted, watered and tended a colorful array of edibles, from tomatoes to broccoli, green beans to red potatoes. I battled aphids and plucked cutworms, fought off fungi and even scared off a couple of raccoons. I harvested a bounty that rewarded my efforts. I relaxed, communed with God and nature and recharged my writerly batteries.

This year may be different. Like thousands of other Americans, my husband and I have to move. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we’re losing the home and garden I love. We don’t know what kind of home God has for us, and at times I confess I feel overwhelmed. How can I leave the neighborhood I’ve grown to love? Can I start over? Will any other place feel like home?

In the middle of this turmoil, I definitely need a break. My spirit yearns for a resting place and in my mind’s eye, I see a beautiful garden. The simple pleasures of gardening refresh my body, mind and soul. But perhaps I don’t need to lose my favorite way to get away from the pressures in my life. Even if we land in some tiny apartment, I’m taking some of that crumbly rich planting soil with me. I’ll be the writer up to my elbows in some of the best dirt on God’s green earth.

Well, if getting down and dirty, literally, works for Linda, then I'm sure it works for others, too. In fact, I know it does because I see a lot of very beautiful and boutiful gardens in my neighborhood.

So here's my question/thought of the day. Would getting dirty work for you? I think that watching things grow, knowing the plants stared from seeds is a pleasant and relaxing thought. I'm not an outdoor gardener, but I have a number of houseplants that I grew from seeds. One is a Basil plant, a garden herb, that grows on my kitchen windowsill. I encourage you to try it. It works.

I invite you to visit Linda's bog at

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I need a break, and I need it now!

I need a break. Don't all of us say that at one time or another? Of course we all know the saying "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Except for most of us, all having worked too hard and too long many times in our lives, know that "dull" is a very poor and inaccurate word. All work and no play makes a person stressed and exhausted. Then, when that happens, not only are we no good to whoever we are working for, whether it be a boss, friends, family, an organization or club, or even our church - we're no good to ourselves as well.
So with that in mind, my topic this month is probably applicable to everyone - What do you do when you need a break, and how do you get to do it.
For me, I'm a person who gets distracted easily, and I tend to get lost in mini breaks that don't do any good in the long run, in fact, sometimes they do more harm than good because then I'm farther behind on the thing I was doing in the first place.
For me to take a good break, since I don't have the time or money to travel or go on a shopping spree or anything wild and crazy, my break is very predictable.
I grab a good book, make a pot of coffee, get my blankie, and curl up on the couch, if there's no one else in the living room, and read. I'm not talking 20 minutes. I'm talking hours.
Disappearing for a few hours with a good book does take planning. It means trying to pick a time when the house is quiet, and a time when I have nothing pressing to do that can't be left.
Often that also means there also can't be exited dogs poking their noses at me, needing a walk.
When all that is lined up, then I can escape to another world that has a nice happily-ever-after ending (I only read happily-ever-after endings), at least for a few hours.
And this brings me to my thought/question of the day. How do you know that it's time to shut down and take a break before you break something that shouldn't be breakable?