Evenings are for Inspiring

Last week I re-published a bunch of posts from years past around the theme of winter inspiration and action. While in that frame of mind I wrote this newsletter. I liked it, so I'm sharing it here also.

kids drawing at table with tablets

A few years ago I read the book Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning by Oliver DeMille. If you follow my blog at all you know this book has been instrumental in supporting and articulating our homeschool philosophy and practice.

One nugget of wisdom from this book that is especially applicable this time of year is the principle that evenings are for inspiring.

winter snow pile

Five years ago I read that phrase and underlined it in fluorescent blue.

Evenings are for inspiring.

It's a simple idea but its genius is in its simplicity. That phrase helped give structure to an otherwise unplanned, and probably wasted, part of our days. Instead of "crashing, rushing, veg-ing, facebooking", evenings are for inspiring.

marvel wasp

Last week on the blog I re-published blog posts from previous winters, around the theme of winter inspiration and dreams (and then making those dreams happen).

Winter is the time of the year to be inspired and to dream.

Making big things happen in our life, making changes so that our lives line up with our values, can be intimidating. It's hard to know where to start.

drawing Hawkeye

I could suggest a couple places - going for a hike in the winter woods or taking a winter backpacking trip with your family. But these aren't necessarily applicable nor accessible to everybody, are they?

So here's a place you can start: set aside your evenings to be inspired.

Canadian History Project

If you have babies, you can inspire yourself with good books (before you crash from exhaustion, right?). As your kids grow this can be a time for family reading and yes, watching, together. (Olympics anyone?)

Dara Howell Olympic Gold

As children become young adults, Oliver says this:

Youth very naturally long for the passion of being inspired...This is one of the reasons they so often want to be away every evening, to do something fun, to feel alive, passionate, real.

Why not make your home the hub of inspiration in their lives? Why not make it the hub of inspiration in your own life?

kids drawing at table

Building your evenings around inspiration is a simple and doable change you can make. You don't need special gear, you don't need to live in the woods. In fact, if you live in a city you'll have access to evening concerts and lectures, lucky you! (For the rest of us, there's TED talks.)

Hawkeye and Black Widow

Make time in your life to be inspired. This inspiration will give birth to dreams. It will also motivate learning and scholarship, personal growth and forward movement in your life.

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  • Jess

    Jess on Feb. 13, 2014, 1:59 p.m.

    Hawkeye! My son's favorite and one of the most underappreciated characters, my husband (also an artist/illustrator) tells me.  Laurent's talent is stunnning as always. 


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 13, 2014, 2:58 p.m.

      How wonderful you recognize him! I hear so much about Hawkeye (and Celine loves Black Widow - she's working on a piece right now that is stunning). Brienne's current obsession is My Little Ponies. Which I admit, I have less of an appreciation for (smile).


  • Nana

    Nana on Feb. 13, 2014, 2:08 p.m.

    What a great frame to explain a pattern that totally fits for me. Sometimes in the evenings I end up having to finish off "thinking" work (like writing - newsletter, blog or related material) but most often I save those hours for catching up with webinar replays or searching out new projects, etc. However, I do try to wrap up "the inspiration" an hour before bed so I can read or relax my mind to get a restful sleep!


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 13, 2014, 3:02 p.m.

      Mom, I don't know if you you two are watching the olympics but I'm thinking next winter olympics it would be fun to be living at your house again (smile). We have become winter olympics fanatics and it would be so much fun to be sitting on your bedroom couch - knitting, watching and chatting with you and dad, while Dad dozed of course while we all cheered on our fellow Canadians.

      As for evening inspiration in general, yes! I love how this idea fits really well with the natural flow of a day. The active work happens in the day - the body work (exercising, cooking, eating), the mind work (writing, school stuff), etc. and then the inspiration to fuel that work happens in the evening. This schedule doesn't work for everyone of course. But I like it for myself and the kids. 


  • Nana

    Nana on Feb. 13, 2014, 3:09 p.m.

    Oh yes, the moment we're out of bed the live Olympic action is turned on. I love the idea of a family Olympic-o-rama. Schedule it into your 15-year plan: February 2018 at Mom and Dad's!


  • Danielle

    Danielle on Feb. 13, 2014, 3:41 p.m.

    I've been reading your blog for a few months now and I finally have the time to comment. My kids are outside playing in the snow while my husband shovels. I should be getting some hot drinks ready for when they come in but I had to stop at one of my favorite blogs for some inspiration. You see, I am a homeschooling mom of 4 and I am creative (in my mind). When I found you, by way of a youtube video, I felt peace. Finally, someone who gets what I have been thinking in my head. You are truly heaven sent. Your ideas and transparency really speak to me. I'm sorry if this is rambling, I want to get everything out but I can't...I need to go but I just wanted to finally comment and say HI and Thank YOU!!! Hopefully sooner rather than later I can comment again. 



  • Michelle

    Michelle on Feb. 13, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

    Yes!  Excellent post as always - simple and inspiring.  I love evenings and all the dreaming they contain.  


  • angi

    angi on Feb. 15, 2014, 2:13 p.m.

    We've been spending out evenings insprired byt the Olympics. It's great seeing all my kids wowed by the commitment, beauty and strength that these athletes exhibit.  My 4yo stayed up until 10:30 last night and fell asleep in my lap the night before....yikes.  I would have never allowed my older kids to do that but since all the others are teens now, I've learned that this kind of ebb and flow is just fine.  Thanks for your newletter this week, it really struck a chord with me.


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 15, 2014, 2:41 p.m.

      Angie, exactly, "the ebb and flow is just fine". I think we learn to relax and let go as our kids grow, yes? We know that one week of late nights or junk food or whatever doesn't mean it's always this way and it doesn't mean family life is falling apart :)


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