Enter to Win a Copy of Four Gifts

I used to think that self-care was all about adding something to my life, like adding some time to read, or going to the art gallery, or taking a Sunday afternoon stroll around the park.

But to add in self-care meant that I also needed to stop some other things, like watching less  television, or turning attention away from social media to greet other people in real life.

In Four Gifts, I note that for busy people, spiritual practice begins quite simply with stopping. And that’s true for self-care as a spiritual practice too. Sometimes we just need to stop before we add anything. Instead of adding anything.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In terms of self-care, I think of it as stopping to rest in God’s care.

I’m excited that Four Gifts officially releases by Herald Press on September 4, and to celebrate, I’m giving away two free copies. To enter to win, you can either:
1) Share this post on your favourite social media site, then come back and leave the link in the comments so I know you’re entering that way,
2) Respond to this in the comments below: In what ways are you adding self-care to your life? In what ways are you stopping something in order to take care of yourself?

This giveaway contest remains open until Saturday, September 8, midnight Pacific Time. I’d love to see your responses!

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50 thoughts on “Enter to Win a Copy of Four Gifts

  1. I am stopping listening to podcasts on my drive to work. Part of what I need for self-care is to “turn off” all the noise in my life (which is chaotic enough) and spend time doing two things:

    1) Allowing myself to just exist. To take that moment to “be still” and stop doing for a while. There is so much that I do, that this time to recover and recharge hasn’t been happening.
    2) Along with that, I am working on deliberately spending time and giving myself permission to “feel”. I’m an ISTJ on the Meyers-Briggs tool and, as such, I tend to be very much driven by logic and reason and rationale… But lately I’ve found that I need to deliberately give myself permission to feel the emotions that threaten to overwhelm me and let my emotional self do some of the processing. Logic can only do so much… Emotion can process as well.

    1. Silence is definitely part of my self-care too–especially when I’m feeling information overload or emotional overload. Silence allows me to step back and breathe before re-engaging. I pray that those times of turning off the noise would help you take care of yourself and rest in God’s care.

  2. I’m stopping watching TV as the main thing I do to relax in the evenings, and not checking social media. Instead of ‘zoning out’ with TV I instead am using that time to read, to paint, to craft. After working on screens all day taking time to do something with my hands, to create something physical that can’t be sent via email, feels fulfilling in a different way.

    1. That’s beautiful, Kristina, and an inspiration to me, since I’m often at my computer during the day, then relaxing with more screen time in the evening. For me, the content/context is different, but it’s still sedentary and I need to be deliberate to get up and do something else.

  3. I’m rededicating myself to a weekly Sabbath without electronics and with walks, reading, and other restorative practices. I’m hoping to observe from sundown to sundown.

    1. I love that, Tina. I most often take my social media Sabbath from 6pm to 6pm, but going from sundown to sundown would make me more aware of the rhythm of the natural world, which might be good for me to try too.

  4. I like to go for a walk every day along a nearby small lake, usually around sunset and observe nature. It calms my spirit and puts things into perspective. This summer, due to an arthritic foot and a host of visitors I neglected that part of my routine. Now that I’m back at it I realize how good it is for me, and how healing.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I also find that building self-care into my routine is helpful–not that I always keep to it, but it gives me a base to come back to that I appreciate.

  5. I decided to stop hitting the snooze button! And I am practicing better self care by taking that time when I would have slept in (and felt guilty about it later) to enjoy sipping coffee and reading a few pages of a good book!

  6. I shared your post on Facebook. I’m working on self care mainly through connecting with nature : puttering in my garden, walking on various city pathways and golfing with my husband and/or friends.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Linda. I’ve read some articles on how gardening can help us feel more connected to creation, can help us relax, and improve mental health. That’s a great way to practice self-care.

  7. I find mindfulness helps me focus on different smells, tastes, sounds, etc. in God’s creation. That gives me space to focus on others’ pain, needs, concerns and lifting those up to God in prayer rather than focusing on my own pain.

    1. In Four Gifts, it was important for me to relate self-care to caring for others and to resting in God’s care. I love the way your comment does that too, Maria, where mindfulness can be a way of caring for yourself, caring for others, and turning to God in prayer all at the same time. Self-care doesn’t have to be selfish, but can connect us to other people and to God in a beautiful way.

  8. In the past year I have been meeting with a lovely woman who has become my spiritual director. With her help, I have been learning the gift and value of self care – giving myself permission to re-engage my artistic interests, learning to sit quietly, journal and simply allowing myself time to slow down and not always be “doing”. This is a steep learning curve for me that loves being on the go and doing It’s been an adventure and process but so worth it.

  9. This is such a valuable lesson to learn and a gift to all who take it seriously. I’ve shared on Twitter:

    The last few months of pulling back from social media and blogging have been some of the sweetest times I’ve had with God. It certainly benefits our souls to slow and pause. I hope the book does well, April, and reaches all who need to read it. Blessings. x 🙂

      1. You have? Oh that’s good to hear! There are times when I neglect self-care to my detriment. It always pays to recognise when we’re running on empty, and rest and refuel when we are depleted. It can feel like withdrawal without any reward but it’s effects are beneficial to body and soul. Blessings on your new book, April! It’s one I look forward to reading. 😊💜

        1. I’m with you there, Joy – “it always pays to recognise when we’re running on empty,” and with good self-care, I hope to rest and refuel before it comes to that. Thank you for your word of blessing. I’d love to hear what you think of Four Gifts!

  10. Taking time to exercise, eat healthily, and get enough sleep.
    Intentionally stopping negative trains of thought to retrain my brain to think more positively.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Joy. Have you been using a gratitude journal? I find that it helps cultivate a positive attitude and thoughts. I don’t always do it, but I find it’s something that I keep returning to.

  11. This summer I have taken up running. It has been good to start to get my body in shape. It means waking up early in the morning, but it is always worth it.

  12. I’ve begun weekly Centering Prayer with two other women.
    I find it helps me to be still to calm my body and soul, so that I can be the care-giver I need to be.

    1. Even as you engage in care-giving, I pray that you’ll take care of yourself and rest in God’s care, Nancy. May your practice of centering prayer keep you grounded and centered on God.

  13. I’m looking forward to reading this book. Self-care is something I intended to work on when I retired 3 years ago. Since then, I’ve done better in some areas but am not near where I would like to be.

    I shared about your book on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/linda.r.rush

    Thank you and God bless you.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Linda. While our self-care needs may change at different points in our lives, the need for it remains. Many retired people tell me that they’re busier now than when they were employed, and I hope Four Gifts speaks into their experience and every stage of life. I welcome your feedback any time.

    1. Thanks for sharing this with your church, Wendy. I really appreciate that! While Four Gifts isn’t a sequel, it’s a good follow up to Sacred Pauses, so I hope you’ll enjoy it and be encouraged.

  14. I am learning step by step to do many things… One very new one whose impact has actually surprised me… has been switching my phone into flight mode when I am deliberately taking time out from looking at it.. rather than just making the decision not to… I am surprised the difference that made especially at night time. Even though I had already started deliberately turning particular apps off… Actually turning the internet off has been helpful for me…

    1. Good for you, Jennifer – I know one family that actually switches off their router overnight, so everyone in the household is offline together. I imagine that must remove some of the temptation of checking in, just like your switching to flight mode. Making the decision to do that means that you don’t have to make a new decision multiple times over and over.

  15. I have discovered how good it is for me to colour a page of a Psalms colouring book I have while listening to classical music. I also want to spend some time simply being loved by the Beloved.

  16. I have shared on Facebook.

    For self care I am trying to balance wants and needs in my daily diet. I exercise regularly. I have cut out one kind of volunteering to allow more time and energy for another, and I am looking for new community and intellectual stimulation by joining a spiritual book club.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Deb. It sounds like you’re making some deliberate self-care decisions in a number of areas. If your spiritual book club ever decides to read Four Gifts together, I’d be happy to Skype in for one of your meetings 🙂

  17. From Sue Kehler: Some weeks ago I asked to have a copy of this book; I’m especially interested in the two sections of “tending the heart and soul’. And thank you for the description I’ve read about thus far. Who would not want to enter their name for winning a copy.

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