Upon returning to America, we wanted too avoid slipping into the pace that it seems most people today are living. But how could we do that? The post I linked to above details the guidelines our family was going to try to adopt to keep that going.
A big way that we hope to avoid the normal hustle and bustle of life here is to move to the country! You can read about our dream to do that by clicking here. I am so excited to announce that we are now basically, completely, ready to buy our land. We are headed to check out a few properties that really excite us next month as a family. The city we have chosen is about four hours from where we are now and our goal is to be there next summer!
I read a fantastic article online today entitled "3 Ways to Say Yes to Rest." The author offered three broad tips for embracing the slower life. She writes that you should try to:
1. DIVERT DAILY: Spend at least 15 minutes each day to, as Sir John Lubbock wrote, "Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water or watching the clouds float across the sky is hardly a waste of time." It seems impossible, but truly is 15 minutes of nothing time a day not possible? If it is, that would be a major indicator of too fast in my opinion.
2. WITHDRAW WEEKLY: Take time each week to pull away from your busy life.
3. ABANDON ANNUALLY: Go on vacation once a year! And I want to add that I think this vacation should be RELAXING not a demanding check-things-off-your-list trip.
But I want to spend some time specifically talking about #2. One of the biggest things JB and I decided to do when we moved back to the States was to take an actual day of rest. It is actually a Commandment to honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy. When JB and I really sat down to think about it, the other nine Commandments were things we were always trying to do. But keep the Sabbath day holy? We'd never really tried to do that at all.
A big reason we chose to do this is because JB is working shift work. He doesn't have the same days off each week, and I was really starting to feel, during the first few weeks here, that each day was exactly the same for me. I didn't feel any different on a Saturday or a Sunday than I did on a Monday or Friday, and I don't think that is how we are designed as people.
We try to make Sunday our Sabbath each week. But if JB has to work that day, we will consider picking another day to unplug as a family. If he has to work, then we'll spend some time doing a family Bible study on the day we choose to replace the church service he missed. (We have actually chosen a church VERY close to our house that I feel like I can take the kids to by myself!)
So we decided to try to take one full day "off" as a family. For us, we decided this would mean no electronics or activities. We've done about a month worth of Sundays now, and I must tell you I LOVE IT! It feels so good to basically unplug from the world for 24 hours. We attempt to not drive anywhere or go anywhere or put anything on our calendar. We instead spend time reading and playing games as a family. Maybe we go to the pool or on a bike ride.
I got some weird comments and some funny looks from people (and I still do) when I tell them about our Sabbath day goal. They honestly think that we are (a) a little weird and overboard or (b) legalistic or (c) a combination of both.
The truth is, I hope you will see that we are not either. But I want to respond to each of those thoughts.
(a) I have decided that I really don't care if people think we are a little weird or overboard or fuddy duddies or whatever you want to call us. If I am not stressed and rested, then weird is worth it. I don't think we are weird, but if other people do, I'm okay with that.
(b) We are not creating rules that we have to follow. If someone invites us over to their house for a birthday party on a Sunday, and we think it will be a fun and relaxing family activity, we'll do it. If someone is coming to visit us and wants to spend Sunday at the zoo, we might do it. If JB needs to check his email and deal with something, then he will. None of our rules are actually rules -- they are simply guidelines that we hope we can implement to keep our pace slow.
(c) Read a and b above!
I keep reading Facebook posts and blog entries from people who are just so burned out. Heck, I wrote a post detailing how I feel there aren't enough hours in the day earlier this week. If I am feeling that way with NOTHING on our calendar, how are you other ladies doing it with a jam-packed calendar?
I really want to encourage all of you to try to at least do #1 on this list this week. And then, maybe work your way into #2 as well. Even if it is just a few hours a day once a week, try to unplug from the pace that we all cannot possibly keep.