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The “No” Week: Saying No In Order to Say Yes

When I wrote about a need for blank space at the beginning of the year, I wasn’t exactly referring to blanks space here on the blog…but my blank space got misplaced. Chaos is a tough adversary. It wreaks havoc in our minds and our relationships and it hates smooth, clean surfaces and lovely, empty calendars.

At the end of last week I realized just how ‘off’ I had gotten from the course I set for the year. There had been some clues before, like my desk turning into one giant pile, and my e-mail inbox ever lengthening. I hadn’t read a book in over a week. (This is an eternity for me). A more painful clue was the resentment towards me steaming off my five-year-old’s head. I couldn’t understand why until I realized how many times I had said “no” to her when she asked me to make or do something with her. And how many times had I snapped at my son for “being too loud” because the baby had to have nap because she missed her earlier one while we were out doing such and such? Too many times.

IMG_3357So this week I said “no” to everything outside our home so I could say “yes” to the people living inside. And it has been an awesome week. We’ve made bead necklaces and played dolls, raced Matchbox cars, swung high on our swing-set, eaten lunches on the back porch, and just taken time to dwell together. Almost as an unintentional result, I’ve stopped carrying my phone with me all over the house. The kids haven’t watched much TV. My desk is even clean.

I have absolutely loved our “No Week.” It can’t be our norm because we care about people outside our little family circle and we also need them ourselves! But this short time of focusing on just the people in my house has re-centered me in the best possible way. It won’t always be this easy to carve a quiet week out…when the children get older there will be music lessons, soccer practice, meetings, or any number of things like that. Still, I can’t recommend it more. A week to stop worrying about perfectly cooked dinners (or cooked dinners at all–frozen pizza eaten occasionally never killed anyone), a week to stay home from book group, or whatever it is that is stressing your schedule, is the best gift you can give yourself and your family.

Another great side effect of “No Week” is my writing brain is slowly starting to work again. The writing well had run pretty dry in the last few weeks of winter, but the blog will actually have some new content starting in the next few days.

As a side note, here are some quick updates of stuff started and not finished on the blog lately:

31 Days to Clean – This blog follow along didn’t end up working out for me because–and this is kind of hard to admit–it was too slow. It started in January and it is still going. I got the e-book and read through it, which was a good boost, but I abandoned the schedule and just cleaned what I thought needed cleaning. It’s worked out okay. I just felt like I had to let you know I finished but I didn’t finish, you know?

Happier In Winter Project – I went back to this list a lot in January and most of February, but by the end of the winter, I had surrendered to the winter blues. We hit up #22 way too often (movie day). I am ecstatic that warm weather is here, and hopeful that next winter I can add to my Happier in Winter project and make it a bigger success.

Friday Favorites – Still ongoing! I post about our favorite children’s books of the week as often as we find good ones.

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