Monday, May 21, 2012

Trying To Have a Nice Weekend

Saturday morning coffee with Darling Bride,
one of the best hours of the week
Darling Bride took her coffee from my hand an smiled.  "Cheers!" as we sat down together outside on our back patio/deck, Saturday, 7am.  A little cool outside, just right for Mid-May, just perfect for a coffee mini-date.

"What makes you happy?" she asks me.  We have been working through a problem.  How do we have nice weekends, a family enjoying each other's company, instead of an overbooked, overworked schedule?    While I think through that simple and profound question, she continues.  "Simple things like this.  I don't need Starbucks."

Sure enough, this was simple.  No fancy deck, we have a concrete patio with older decking a little farther along.  Old unsightly leaves were cleaned away last night.  Our coffee is from Costco, Sumatra, ground ourselves and brewed using a French Press.  Simply wonderful, a quiet hour together before the kids wake up.  After the kids wake up, today we have no outside commitments; no soccer, no baseball, no rehearsals, no meetings, nothing but whatever we want.

Searching for the perfect non-grocery store eggs
at the Carmel, Indiana Farmers Market
I answer her question.  "I like avoiding 'calendar clutter,'" so many items on a weekend schedule that free time is no longer free.  We have three active and intelligent kids, so we get busy quickly with art, dance, martial arts, youth groups, and more.  We also have our church and family commitments.  Fortunately, with the school year winding down, today we have a healthy mix:
  • Breakfast as a family
  • Farmer's Market
  • The boys playing together
  • Darling Bride, Daughter and I reading
  • Wii games
  • Favorite TV shows
  • Church on Sunday, including 14 year old's graduation from Jr. High Youth Group to Sr. High Youth Group
  • Youth choir rehearsal for 10 year old. 
We left out
  • Soccer, baseball, organized sports
  • A civil war re-enactment at our local living history museum
  • A major national conference at our church
  • Countless who knows what else
 Note - Having limited commitments helps keep what we do have as a joy, not "one more thing..."

We got yard work out of the way Friday between dinner and sundown so that we wouldn't be working too much instead of resting and playing.

We left out good things.  Living history, nationally known speakers at your own church are all good things, but not the best things for us more often than not.  We enjoy sports, but organized sports programs can really mess with a family's schedule.  Like many works of art, such as a sculpture, a painting, or an essay, what one leaves out is as important as what one puts in.  

Some, if not most, weekends are busy with camping trips, family events, home improvement, gardening, deadlines and commitments.  We were intentional about it not being so for this weekend, at least.  A simple thing.  Darling Bride and the rest of us slowing down.

How about you?  How was your weekend?  Do you have "calendar clutter?"  Are you in a position to take joy in the simple ebb and flow of family life?  What can you do about it?

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