#write31days {Learning to Rest…Plus a Giveaway!}

When I moved to my permanent village in South Africa, Kudunkgwane, I quickly developed a new sleep pattern. It had little to do with my work schedule and more to do with the crazy-chicken-crowing schedule and cold. I’d wake up before dawn with the chickens for the first several months, until I stopped hearing them.


As winter approached at the end of my first year of service, I found myself becoming more and more rested. You see, in the village, there is really nothing to do at night. Furthermore, being outside after dark isn’t safe, whether because of animals or people. So at dark, I’d lock my burglar doors and be in for the night.

In the summer, this wasn’t a big deal because it would be light until 8 or 9 pm. In the winter, dark came between 5-6pm.

Sometimes I'd lose power during the cold-darkness of night...so I had a solar jar!
Sometimes I’d lose power during the cold-darkness of night…so I had a solar jar!

Furthermore, it was cold. And by cold, I mean, below-freezing-wind-blowing-Kalahari-Desert cold inside a cement block room with a cement floor and metal roof.

So, cold.

And in the winter, I got so much rest I started to drive myself crazy. Why?

A moment of rest on vacation...with a hippo.
A moment of rest on vacation…with a hippo.

Because the only warm place was beneath several blankets, inside a sleeping bag, cuddled up with my hot water bottle. (I’m not exaggerating) So I’d crawl in bed to read or watch movies on my laptop at 7pm. And sometimes, I’d fall asleep at 7:30pm and not get out of bed again until 6am.

That’s village living for you!

Resting in my hammock, inside my South African home in the summer.
Resting in my hammock, inside my South African home.

So, for 2.5 years, I was well rested. Sometimes, too rested. But with the physical rest, I found mental rest. After 4 exhausting years of college, I enjoyed the slower pace and freedom to simply rest.

Do you feel like you’re in need of some rest? Is life running you ragged? Oh how I’ve been there!

This week, I’m hosting a giveaway! It’s a wonderful book I recently reviewed, and I hope that the winner can find a few minutes each day to rest and read about Ruth, that courageous woman from the Bible. I wrote my review about this book, Colliding with Destiny, by Sarah Jakes, and now I’m excited to share a copy with one lucky winner.

It's a beautiful book, y'all!
It’s a beautiful book, y’all!

So, for the nitty-gritty details….check out this Rafflecopter for info on entering. This giveaway will be open until Friday, October 17th, at 11:59pm. So enter, share, and good luck! (Sorry, but only USA mailing addresses are eligible to win)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



24 thoughts on “#write31days {Learning to Rest…Plus a Giveaway!}

  1. First of all, that book is AWESOME and looks sooo much better in real life with its almost metallic teal color and the raised (embossed ?) writing on the dust jacket! Someone is going to be so happy to win!

    Second, I had no idea it got that cold in Africa, especially the south… see how westernized i am? to me the south equals WARM not cold! My bed had three down duvet covers on it, an extra blanket if i need it and a throw that i use as a regular blanket. If i don’t need them all they make great pillows. I can in a way understand how that cold must’ve felt, at my old house, there was little insulation, no insulation on the floor and anything on the floor, like a bottle of water would freeze solid on me. It caused actual PAIN to walk to the washroom without slippers and the hours deciding if uncovering to use the washroom were just as torturous as leaving my little nest. Like you I learned to stay in bed where I knew I would survive.
    I am loving your stories of Africa and am excited to read more!

    1. Maybe someday I’ll tell you what it was like taking a bucket bath when I could see my breath in my room. Worst. Thing. Ever! šŸ˜‰ #peacecorpsproblems

  2. With a three month old in the house I certainly could use some rest! When she naps I rush around trying to get too much done. I should just be still sometimes.

  3. Love your blog, Jen! I think it’s interesting that so many people wrote about rest this week. God must be trying to get something through my head. šŸ˜‰ I’m so glad I had a minute to stop by and read about your adventures in South Africa!

    1. A few months ago, I was hearing about rest left and right! Sometimes God isn’t so subtle šŸ˜‰ Hope you find some rest Chandra!

  4. I am loving your insights to life in Africa. So much to learn. I spent 6 months in Peru and remember sitting down to write my stories. Sometimes when I re-read them I feel closer to my home there.
    Thank you for sharing!
    And yes, I could always use some down-time. I would just love to sit and read for a little while without feeling guilt about my messy house or work that hasn’t been finished. But I suppose that’s a part of this chapter of life. šŸ™‚

    1. Sometimes chocolate and a good blanket are more important than folding laundry or washing the dishes. šŸ˜‰ Just tell your guilt that! šŸ˜€

      And yes, re-reading my journals and writing about my experience brings them home. Makes me feel less homesick too.

  5. Yes, at 6 months pregnant I totally need some more rest. It’s hard to get with a 5 year old and 2 year old at home and a busy FT job plus blogging. But when I DO get good rest, I can tell the difference.

    I loved reading about your years of a slower pace of life and having to slow down and rest more. What a blessing that time in your life must have been!

  6. A few minutes of downtime – I can hardly imagine. Some nights, I’m fortunate enough to grab a few moments before the lights go out, and then, I’m usually trying to cram in more reading time. These days, I spend my spare moments on my art. I suppose if I had some absolute free time, I’d love to drive down to the water and stare at the ocean.

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