It's an art. There aren't 3 magic steps or a handy checklist available to make this happen.
It's a choice that we're called to make day in and day out. To say a wholehearted 'yes' to one thing can only lead to 'no thank you' to another opportunity.
In the midst of a recent 5 Minute Friday writing challenge, my hand was forced in a most gentle way. And I was convicted about my upcoming family time. As I finished up the 300 second post, I knew for certain that I was going to say 'no' to writing for a week.
Because I can't be in two places at once. And writing takes a focused energy and concentration that I wanted to pour into my family instead.
I made the choice to give us all the gift of me being absolutely right there in the middle of the joyful chaos and whirlwind activity, the quiet one-on-one moments, and the winsome surprises that come with living with the 11 people closest to my heart. For 7 days.
So we hung out.
Chased the ducks.
Walked here and there and everywhere.
Savored new experiences.
Created volcanoes and parking garages and birthday cakes.
And flew high.
There were tiny treasures and little shells and wispy feathers to discover on long walks. Squeals of delight in spotting a tiny brown toad on a grassy path. There were games to play and hikes through the pine-scented woods and rock walls that just begged to be navigated. Juicy peaches, frosty ice cream, gooey marshmallows, and sand-covered gummy worms filled little mouths ... right before mealtime. Sticky hands and dirty feet and runny noses and skinned knees and tear-stained faces that required gentle attention. Music to dance to and smokey campfires to poke at with long sticks. Endless hugs and kisses and oh-so-deep theology lessons received from toddlers with visions of Jesus under the water.
Yes, I fortified myself with a nap here and there, lest I be overwhelmed. I soaked up as much of what my family was experiencing as my overflowing heart could savor. Too many conversations to count. Laughter at the unexpected. Exuberant activity. Incessant little voices springing from fully enthusiastic hearts. And precious little pockets of shared dialogues with little ones who eagerly clutched my very willing hand.
P.S. on August 31st