Heaven is for real…and it’s in Duluth.

As you all know, I have been freaking out majorly over homeschooling Monkey next school year.  Which is not next year at all because school starts in August.  Tricky.

Anyways, in order to prepare myself financially and make sure I won’t take a huge hit when it’s time for me to cut back work hours, I have been working like an indentured servant.  Filling in at other people’s practices and networking like crazy to grow my business.  So if you see me, and it’s a day of the week, you can guarantee I’ve worked at some point that day.

In my mind, I keep reassuring myself that this period won’t last forever and that once summer is over I’ll have more time to spend with Monkey…and with myself.  But this week I got to a point where I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I needed an escape.  A retreat.  A freakin’ break.

So I went to Jeju Sauna: Home of Wellbeing in Duluth.  Just the name alone made it sound like it was made for me.  Home of Wellbeing?  Sold.


So on a Monkey-less day, I went through the doorways of Jeju and did not depart until 5 hours later.  It was like a major time warp.  There are no windows or passages to the outside world so you feel like it’s infinitely noon o’clock.  I hopped from sauna to sauna, ate, fell asleep twice, prayed and meditated, stretched, and walked out like:


But, in all semi-seriousness, I realized a few things in my 5 hour trek to the motherland.

Living with Purpose and Intention Requires Sacrifice

When you’re stuffing your life with busyness, working all the time, or just living your life for a paycheck, you will miss moments that truly matter.  Your relationship with God suffers.  You suffer.  Your kids suffer.  Your friendships suffer.  Basically, everything suffers.  And ironically enough, sometimes even your finances suffer.  I’ve noticed that the more I worked, the more money I made, the less I paid attention to where that money was going.  Sad but true and incredibly common.

On the other hand, when you’re living with purpose and intention you don’t mind sacrificing those extra hours on the job if it means making it to your kid’s baseball game or recital.  Or having girls night.  Or creating a budget.  Or going to the Home of Wellbeing.

Someone please take me back.

You see, there were a million things on my to do list.  There still are.  But in those 5 hours I didn’t care.  I sacrificed my to do list for my sanity.  And it was worth it.

Technology has ruined our definition of relaxation

When I say the word ‘relaxation’ what comes to mind?  Probably something like this:

He’s not even looking at the waves, for goodness sake!

And that, folks, is sad.  Why are we so attached to our phones, iPads, laptops, devices?

Before I even walked into Jeju, I was going with the intentions of leaving my phone and other electronics in the locker.  I wanted to not be found.  Apparently, I was the only one who felt this way.

I kid you not, the first sauna I walked into was filled with iPhone lookers, Instagram scrollers, and Tweeters.  And for some reason it made me extra mad.  I just couldn’t believe that someone would come to a Home of Wellbeing and bring connections to everything that caused their being not to be well in the first place.  The nerve.

My definition of relaxation includes completely breaking free, disconnecting, being unavailable.  Call me old school, but I relish the thought of being able to turn my phone off, not have wifi, and just…be.

But for some reason we are scared to be alone with our own thoughts.  Either because we have no thoughts of our own since we’re being fed the thoughts of others 24/7.  Or because our thoughts about ourselves are so ugly we would rather scroll through Facebook in the home of wellbeing than face and defeat these lies (John 8:44).

But here’s the truth: You are a friend – John 15:15.  You are free – Galatians 5:1.  You are known – Jeremiah 1:5. You are beautiful – Psalm 139:14.  You are chosen – Ephesians 1:4. 

And that’s real.  What’s also real is that I don’t think those devices were made for extreme heat.  So their phones and tablets are probably messed up now.  I hope they learned their lesson.  Nah.

Saying no is good for your health

If you’re anything like me, you say yes to a lot.  Yes to being on this committee.  Yes to attending this event.  Yes to volunteering for this project.  But maybe you should start saying no as many times as you say yes.  Not this kind of no:


Just the kind that makes it clear to people that although you value what they’re doing, you also value making yourself and your family a priority.  Most people won’t hate you for that.  If they do, then the above ‘no’ is perfectly fine for that individual.

And speaking of priorities:

You are your second priority (After God, that is).

Some people won’t like this.  I don’t care.  Because I don’t mean this in a selfish, only think about yourself, ugly way.  I mean this in a “when I’m stressed and crazy my kids are stressed out and crazy” kind of way.  For those of you who are parents and have dealt with emotional, crying, stressed out kids you know as much as I do that they are like Gremlins immersed in water.  Meaning they’re not the cute, furry one.

This is your kid on stress.  Avoid this by taking care of yourself.

As parents (especially us moms) we tend to put our kids first pretty much every moment of the day.  When we do this, we put ourselves at risk.  Which is ok, and what being a mom is all about sometimes.  But this shouldn’t happen every time.  Because when I’m stressed, I snap more often.  When I’m tired, I don’t listen as well. When I’m worried, she can feel it and it makes her worry for me.  And then she makes this face and I can’t deal:


When you’re giving so much of yourself all the time, you will eventually run out.  And then what?  What’s left to give your kids if they run your mind, calendar, and social life?  So I’m begging all of the moms out there to make yourself a priority.  Make taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing one of the most important parts of your day.  That’s a plug for Jeju Sauna: Home of Wellbeing, by the way.

And coming from someone who was once a kid, I definitely saw those moments when my mother put herself first and I respected that.  I needed to see that.

Besides the above mentioned points, I also realized that I will never work like this again.  Ever.  And that I must make Jeju a monthly habit.  It’s only $25.  That’s like 3 lunches.  Or 4 cups of coffee for all you Starbucks lovers (ew…).  Twenty five dollars for hours of uninterrupted bliss.

So go ahead and take a trip to Heaven…in Duluth.  You might just find yourself walking out like:


No lie.  No exaggeration.  Until next time, stay prioritized.

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