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    I find it easy, in the hustle and bustle of my life, to let the important things slip away in my rush to do the mundane.  I forget to exercise regularly or email my Mama.  Periodically, I find it worthwhile to set aside some special time for what is really crucial, not just urgent.  This summer I did that twice.

    Silent Saturday, inspired by this fantastic book, was a revelatory experience, and has led to other, smaller, attempts to bring silence into my life.  A long walk (sans iPod) early on a Sunday, or just doing the dishes without the TV on, have really awakened me to my own life.

    My week practicing the Liturgy of the Hours using a pocket breviary has adjusted how I pray.  Stopping seven times a day, morning and night, to praise and petition the Lord brought Him more fully into my life than He had been for a long time.  I purchased the full three volume breviary, and have been praying the Offices now for two weeks.  I feel lighter and more grounded simulatneously, and I especially feel the Spirit more at work since I take time at lunch to pray the Midday Office.

    There are several excellent books to craft your own at home retreat, doable on your time frame and with very little expense (a recession retreat, if you will…).  My Mormon friends might enjoy 21 Days Closer to Christ, Evangelical Christians should find The Purpose Driven Life a good fit, and Catholics can gain new perspective from The Rosary.  In truth, though, I’ve read all of these books and done the spiritual pracitices, and found so much good for my life.  All of the books left me increasingly aware that Christ is real and present, and cares for me.

    Have any of you experimented with an at home retreat?  Or if you pick up one of these books, please comment on your experience.  May God bless you on your journey.

    5 Responses to “At Home Retreats”

    1. Maryanne says:

      “time for what is really crucial, not just urgent.” I LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Seriously, an aha moment for my Sunday morning.

      I love the idea of a retreat, Brandy. I REALLY love the idea of an actual, away from everything revelation in solitude kind of retreat, but that’s not really all that plausible for me right now, and besides, I need that inspiration and revelation happening in my everyday life, not just on special occasions. (And really, I’d probably just use the time to sleep anyway, so that doesn’t really count.)

      I think the Suffering is Optional exercises we did worked like a retreat for me, and I enjoy trying things phrased in a way that I am unfamiliar with, they make me see things in a new way. I’ve received some great insights from the Rosary, for instance.

      I’ve been thinking about trying 21 Days Closer to Christ, maybe I’ll move it a little farther up my to-do list. :)

    2. Brandy says:

      I love the idea of an actual away from everything retreat, too, but it’s not feasible for me either. (

      Let me know about 21 Days Closer to Christ…

    3. Jessica says:

      I love the idea of a retreat also and your comment about what is crucial vs. urgent is brilliant. I think my retreat is my time each morning at the gym. It’s not so much a spiritual retreat as I probably need. However it really helps me get motivated for the day and I feel so much more healthy and just all around “good” when I go.
      I am intrigued by your mention of praying the Hours. I haven’t really heard of this concept and would like to know more. I think any time we focus on the Lord, especially on a regular basis we can’t help but get closer to Him. That is something I need to work on more frequently.

    4. Brandy says:

      I’ve recently started getting up early so that I can exercise before work, so I totally agree with you that it can start the day off right.

      I love this pages’ explanation of the Hours:

      especially this quote:

      “Praying the hours enjoins us to stop, let go of all that occupies us, and focus on the sacred at regular intervals throughout the day. Suddenly, every day becomes holy, for every day is laced together by our appointments with God.”

      You can buy the pocket edition at Amazon for not a lot of money:

      It gives you a week of seven prayer times…the full version doesn’t include the middle of the night hours, but perhaps a mom use those if she’s up at night with a wee one :) If you check it out, let me know!

    5. Carolyn says:

      “special time for what is really crucial. not just urgent.” –

      We listened to part of “The Seven Habits” unabridged while crossing the desert on our trip. Didn’t get to “Sharpen the Saw” yet (which is where your retreats would fit in perfectly) but your phrase reminded me of Covey’s time management quadrant. The goal is to increase the amount of time we spend doing things that are “Important but not urgent”. This requires reducing the time we spend doing things that are not important, whether or not they are urgent. When he says, “First Things First”, that’s what he means.

      As you suggest, this takes planning.