Favorite Day of the Week

This post is part of a series called “35 Days of Favorites”, in honor of my 35th birthday. You can read more about the details here

I haven’t had a favorite day of the week since I was in high school and living for the weekend. I’m very glad not to be in high school anymore, but I miss the magic of Fridays.

Being a stay-at-home mom makes every day kind of the same, and kind of awesome, except when I am seriously needing a break.

Which is why I now love Sundays, with all my heart.

I am happy to say that I once again have a favorite day of the week.

Weekends, in general, make me pretty happy, because we all love having Ben home. Saturdays are nice, too – there’s pancakes in the morning, and happy music, and there’s some playing, but there’s also a whole lot of housework, and yard work, and getting things done.

But then, there’s Sunday. On Sunday, we rest and play, and nothing else, unless we absolutely have to.

If we do Sundays right, I can enter a new week feeling ready for anything. Around here, “doing Sundays right” means:

1) Napping

2) Spending time as a family

3) Going outside

Yesterday was pretty much a perfect Sunday. After a good nap, we went to the park for an impromptu soccer game with some people from church. Since Kaylia wasn’t really into the soccer game, we picked dandelions for an hour. I figured out how to make dandelion crowns, and suddenly had a line-up of little girls placing orders.

dandelion crown

After the dandelions, Kaylia and I lay in the grass and enjoyed the warm sunshine for half an hour. I think Nap #2 might even have sneaked  up for a moment or two.

lying on the grass

When the soccer game was over, we felt like going on an adventure, so we drove to the city, picked up some supper, and went to the duck pond. It was the most perfect evening ever. The sun turns that duck pond golden right around suppertime.

duck pond June 2013 011 June 2013 014 June 2013 006 June 2013 007 June 2013 009

And that was our Sunday. I am ready for the week.

Here’s the thing: I know there are many opinions out there on how Sundays should be spent – what “Sabbath” means, and how to go about keeping it holy. There are lots of ideas on what kind of work is okay, and lots of ways to justify the things we want to do, even if other people would not agree with our idea of how to do Sabbath.

Someday, I will read the awesome book about Sabbath which Ben tells me I would love, and someday I will write a post about Sabbath, but for now, I just have to say, from personal experience, that how we do Sunday affects the whole week.

I know what I need to do in order to feel rested and refreshed. I know what happens when I don’t do these things. Sometimes our schedule just does not permit my perfect little list of things.

But because we’ve figured out how to rest well, we can be intentional about making it happen as often as possible, and each week is better for it.


Do you have a favorite day of the week? What about a favorite way to rest? If you could list the requirements for a perfect day, what would they be?

Saying “Yes” to Rest

My wise friend once reminded me that every time we say “yes” to something, we are saying “no” to something else.

After talking about this for a little while, we decided that obviously, the opposite must also be true: Every time you say “no” to something, you’re saying “yes” to something else.

You might be thinking, “Good grief, what’s the difference?”

For me, the difference lies in what is verbalized.

When I verbally say “no” to people, choosing to take more time for rest and space and family, I don’t go back and verbally commit my “yes” to myself or to my family. I feel like I’m saying “no” all the time, to everything, when in reality, all those times I say “no”, I’m actually saying “yes” to other important things, even if I don’t speak it out loud.

I get tired of having to say no. But if I think about what I’m actually saying “yes” to, I start to see what I am gaining.

Last weekend, I had a choice to make regarding a “yes” and a “no”.

I had reached my limit. I had pushed and pushed myself the whole previous week,  and it had been a crazy one.

By the weekend, I was just done.

We were invited to a potluck on Sunday afternoon, and I had really been looking forward to it, but I knew I needed to stay home. If I didn’t, my sweet family would pay for it the next few days. I needed to make sure I got enough rest to be ready for Monday morning.

So, I said “no” to the potluck, which made me feel disappointed and a little bit guilty, but I kept reminding myself of how the week would go if I didn’t just stop.

I sent my family off to the potluck with a pan of brownies, and I went to bed for a good nap.

When I woke up, I spent as much time as I wanted and needed for reading my Bible and praying.

I ate whatever I wanted to, without any unhappy girlies around to tell me how much they did NOT want to eat pasta with raw tomato sauce. (It’s my new favorite food, and it tasted about 10 times better without the complaining!)

I spent a few hours writing.

And then I took my camera, put on my rubber boots, and I drove to every spot I’ve been wanting to take pictures of for the last month.

So many times, we’re rushing off somewhere, and I see something beautiful, and think, “Oh, I wish we had time to stop so I could take a picture!”

I don’t need to think it anymore – at least until I find some new spots! But the old ones are all covered. I tromped around in the fields and ditches to my heart’s content, and it was absolutely wonderful.

I got all filled up with fresh air and sunshine, enough to last me through the next few days of clouds and rain.

I said many, many yes’s that day, and I loved it.

By the time my family came home, I was ready to greet them, feeling rested, refreshed, and ready for another week.

When I heard what a great time everyone had at the potluck, I felt many twinges of regret. It would have been great to be there. But I also knew how necessary it was to spend some time by myself.

Our yes’s and no’s always cost something. I keep forgetting that, because I need to choose one or the other so many times in a day.

This week, I’m hoping for the wisdom to see which choice to make, which answer to give – for the sake of my sanity, and for the good of my family!

How are you doing? Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed because you said “yes” a few too many times? Are you finding space and time to say “yes” to the things which bring rest and refreshment?

Redefining Seasons

Almost exactly nine years ago, I held our sweet new baby in my arms, and I rocked her to sleep while I listened to the geese honking outside.

Inside, it was so warm and cozy, snuggling with our baby girl, and outside, the world was alive with all those geese, flying through the crisp fall air.

I had anticipated Anika’s birth so much that fall, and the beginning of her new little life held such excitement, that fall held a completely different meaning and feeling for me.

I wrote last week about how fall is a difficult time for me, and when I think of fall, I think of a drab, ugly brown landscape, of darkness, and depressing, cloudy days.

I think of fall, and I feel as though all joy and life is getting sucked out of me.

And yet, nine years ago in fall, I held all joy and life in my arms. We even called her “Joy” – Anika Elisabeth Joy.

As her birthday approaches, and the geese fill the air once more, I am reminded of how attitude and outlook can make all the difference.

Depending on my outlook, fall can be depressing, or it can be a time of beautiful excitement.

Last week, I was feeling the darkness of fall creeping into me, pulling me down, and yet, when we spent Sunday afternoon exploring, my heart was full of joy and life once more.

Instead of drab browns, I saw golden sun, and warm grasses.

On Monday, when it was cloudy and rainy, we wandered through shops at the Forks, and chatted inside with friends. I was reminded all over again that”light” comes from other sources than just the sun. It can come in the form of connecting with wonderful, warm people.

On Tuesday, Ben hung up Christmas lights, and finished our deck.

We’re caught up in a bunch of projects to quickly finish before winter comes. And suddenly, everywhere I look, I see fall as a Season of Preparation, rather than of a Season of Nothing. The world around me is getting ready, just as we are, and strangely enough, this is giving me…life. My anticipation is growing.

I am anticipating winter. Not just Christmas, but winter.

How odd. I don’t think this has ever happened to me before.

I’ve always thought of winter as far too long, and far too cold.

But now, as I look around me, and see how everything is preparing and anticipating winter, I am seeing winter as a Season of Rest. I think of winter, and I see soft white fields, and snowflakes falling in complete silence.

I have never been as aware of Rest as I am right now.

We left camp because we felt God was calling us to rest. There are so many opportunities and activities with which to fill our calendar, and we are starting to join in with some of these things, but most of the time, I feel something holding me back inside. I still feel the need to keep things simple, stay close to home, and enjoy many quiet evenings on the couch.

I feel myself….I don’t know how to describe it, exactly. Being replenished, maybe. I feel like my insides are drinking up the quiet. I’m a sponge, soaking up rest.

It’s quite wonderful.

A Season of Rest sounds perfect.

We’ll still probably jam in a whole bunch of wonderful things to do in winter, but I also hope to follow nature’s lead, and settle in close for a time of stillness.

I just reread that sentence, and thought it sounded like pure foolishness. Stillness? Heading into the Christmas season in a few months?

But yes. Stillness.

I am learning that feelings in my heart do not have to match the craziness around me. It is possible to take moments to enjoy nature or quiet and calm, in the midst of everything.

My outlook and my attitude can affect the way in which I approach this fall or coming winter.

I can replace Ugly” and Cold” with Anticipation” and Rest”. And maybe it won’t instantly and completely change the ways in which I struggle with seasons, but I believe it is the start of making a difference.

In other words, beauty can be found in everything, if you look hard enough!

Please share! I am so curious to hear what words you use to define fall and winter.


What is a sanctuary?

Anika was asking me this last week when we were getting ready to visit the goose sanctuary near camp. She’s been there many times before, but this time she had a lot more questions about the purpose of it, and wanting to know why geese need a sanctuary.

Trying to explain it to her got me thinking a lot about the word “sanctuary” in a different context than one for geese.  A few years ago, I read a book called Soul Sanctuary (which I can’t find on Amazon, and can’t remember the author – too bad, it was so good!) It was about creating space in your life for your soul to “breathe” – for peace, quiet, worship, and rest.

What would it mean for your soul to rest?

I got out my dictionary to dig deeper into the meaning of “sanctuary”, and I found words like refuge, protection, haven, harbour, port.

I like that – the thought of a safe port for my soul to sail to.

Life gets so noisy sometimes, and I don’t even think about whether my soul needs some rest.

As I stood there at the goose sanctuary, looking out over the peaceful lake surrounded with beautiful rocks and trees, I was thinking about how lucky those geese are.

Maybe I need to get away to the goose sanctuary and join the geese a little more often! I need a sanctuary, too.