Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review ~ Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms

I recently had the opportunity to read  Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms written by Mary Jo Tate and published by Apologia Educational Ministries.  What a wonderful book! It's 288 pages are filled with inspiration. I found this book to be not just for homeschooling moms but moms in general. I know that every mother out there has probably at one time struggled with balance in life. This book had me evaluating how I was spending my time, helped me set appropriate goals and showed me practical ways to deal with inevitable interruptions. I was also able to fill out an great pre-book self evaluation. The questions were wonderful and challenged me to really be honest with myself. By the time I was finished with the evaluation, I was ready to start reading through the book's 16 chapters to find balance and ways to flourish.

The author, Mary Jo Tate, is a single, homeschooling veteran of four sons, and successfully runs a home business. In this book she shares her story of how God provided for her and helped her move forward, find balance and flourish. She shares what she has learned on her journey through her inspiring, encouraging words and practical, real-life principles. I found this book to be a true blessing. Mary Jo Tate has a gift of writing in a way that not only helps the reader understand but inspires one to make changes to flourish themselves. 

As I started reading this book, I reflected onto my own life. I started thinking about the many times I have struggled with finding balance, wondering how I was going to get it all done. One of the first things I remember reading that really, really jumped at me, was when Tate stated that the short answer to the question, I'm sure every homeschool mom hears - "How do you do it all?" is a simple I don't, and I redefine "it all." I pondered that! Redefine "it all."   I sat for awhile wondering what it meant for me. Reading on I read - Nobody does it all. Four simple words that really seem so simple, but in reality how many times have I, along with many others, truly thought we had to do it all! There always seems to be this and that, this and more that's. It sometimes gets to be so much, I want to just crawl in bed and come out for dinner, but then who would cook dinner, ha!  I loved reading that in order to flourish, we have to change our mindsets. Mary Jo Tate does a marvelous job showing ways to change mindsets and redefine "it all."  

I loved how she detailed three main categories that circumstances fall into. 

  •  Irreducible Facts - Things you can't change
  •  Non-Negotiables - Things you won't change
  •  Preferences - Things you can change and are willing to change. 

Reading these really helped me put things in perspective. Since I can't change or won't change many things, I was reminded that changing my attitude towards them would benefit my life. I am choosing to move forward with this better attitude and looking forward to prioritizing and changing the things I can. 

I also want to add that at the end of each chapter is a great little area called - Take Action. In this section questions and step-by step exercises are presented. They really helped me reflect and start a plan of action. I think somethings I was able to say "I'm doing okay in this area" while other things inspired me to honestly want to take action. 

My favorite chapter in this book was the What Do I Do Next? Chapter. In this chapter Mary Jo Tate presents seven essential planning tools. So many times I will read very encouraging words that will make me want to make a change, but am left wondering well that was nice, but what do I do now or how will this work for me. I didn't feel this way with Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms. I felt that each step and idea was laid out in a way that was doable. I also loved how Mary Jo Tate added that if it was overwhelming, to feel free to tweak them to fit our situations. 

The book also includes customizable planning forms and special chapters for single moms and families who have a home business. While some chapters didn't pertain to my situation, I still found them to be very encouraging and a wonderful read.

Every time I would read something and have a "ah ha" moment, I would place a sticky to mark it. I finally realized that perhaps a highlighter would also work, because I seriously would probably have a sticky on each page. I was truly amazed at the amount of encouraging material. I loved it! I needed to read it and I feel blessed that I was able to. I know that this is a book that I will come back to time and time again.                                                                                                              
I believe Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms would benefit all mothers. I hope that if you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or perhaps just need a little balance in your life, that you would pick up a copy of this book. I believe you will be just as blessed by it as I was. 

You can currently order a copy for only $15.

In my opinion this is a wonderful price! The amount of encouragement and real-life principles in just the first chapters alone, make it worth it to me. 

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