I adore Sundays. It’s by far my favorite day of the week. Somehow–by some miracle–Shaun and I have gotten a system down in which we can get all five kids + ourselves ready and out of the door for church in a reasonable facsimile of on-time without feeling too hectic. (Yesterday, we did it in one hour flat, and every last one of us was bathed and dressed and still in our semi-right minds in that amount of time. See? Miraculous).

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The thing is, though, that I might love Sundays to the point of worshiping them a bit. I love our routine of getting ready together as a family, going to church together, coming home and eating lunch together, taking naps (well, not together, but all at the same time), and hanging out together a bit before eating dinner together and having a family movie night (do I really need to say “together” again?).

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{This is how I feel when someone tries to take away my Sundays}

I cherish all of that togetherness. Yes, my husband works from home. But he’s also incredibly busy. Yes, I home school my children (which = lots of togetherness), but that time isn’t exactly laid back and relaxing since we have at least a loose schedule to keep and goals to meet and, many days, places to go almost as soon as we’re done.

Sunday is my sanctuary from the other 6 days of the week, after all of the necessary busyness and doing-ness has piled up on itself until everything in me is fairly itching for room to breathe. It is truly a Sabbath for our family and one I guard jealously.

Which is why I was kind of dreading our church’s Fall Festival. Actually, there were a couple of reasons for that. 1) Costumes were “encouraged” (and finding costumes for 5 children is no cake walk) and 2) it was on a Sunday afternoon. Which meant no leisurely naps, no movie night, no chance to reset before the craziness of Monday loomed over me with its hot breath down my neck.

I literally did not tell my children that we were going until they got up from their naps/rest time and discovered me in the kitchen making felt Hobbit ears and twisting pipe-cleaner kitty-cat ears together like a woman possessed (my final acquiescence to going was so last minute that I planned their costumes the day before and made them the day of).

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(Such a handsome little Hobbit. Sadly, I didn’t get one single picture of Simon in his costume, since one of his ears came off almost immediately, his cape was itching his neck, and he wanted his foot fur off post-haste).

Ultimately, though, Shaun and I both decided that the experience as a family and the memories our children would make were more important than our potentially fragile mental health on a Monday morning.

So, he made chocolate chip cookies while I attached Della’s DIY Rapunzel hair, and between the two of us, we managed to get all of us out the door for the second time in one day, dressed and in our semi-right minds.

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{Rapunzel, with her frying pan, naturally}

And you know what? I’m glad we went, even though it meant spending my night cleaning up a yarn-covered kitchen.  This one was worth the Yes.

And yet, this struggle–this  battle to preserve our collective sanity while saying Yes as many times as is wisely possible…I can tell it will only get trickier as my kids get older and develop diverse interests.

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(The twins had tails too, but I could barely get them to hold still long enough for this pic, much less for a shot of the back)

I have zero desire to get to the point that we are traipsing from piano practice to Boy Scouts to soccer to dance to horseback riding lessons–eating all of our dinners out of Styrofoam to-go containers in the car and falling into bed exhausted every night only to do it all over again the next day.

At the same time, I don’t want my answer to always be, “No,” just because it sounds like a lot of work to load all the kids up and go sit in the cold to watch yet another double-header.

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{I love that Della was bravely trying to smile through her tears right after she bit her tongue hard enough to draw blood!}

I desire for our family to be a source of rest and recharging for each other and for us to have enough breathing room in our schedules to serve others (because, what good is it if my kid gets a soccer scholarship if it comes at the cost of his learning to love others practically and sacrificially?).

I am just trying to take this new stage of family and motherhood one day at a time, muddling and praying through it and trying to choose the best Yes each day–the Yes, tempered by many necessary No’s, that will both demonstrate my love for my children and my desire to glorify God through my role as a Mama.

I certainly don’t always get it right. Some days, my stingy “No’s” come from selfishness or pure exhaustion. Other times, my “Yes’s” stem from Mama guilt, rather than sound decion-making.

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{What blows my mind most is how much of that hair is actually hers!}

But, by His grace, I hope to continue in some semblance of balance (it requires constant little adjustments, no?), knowing full well that the moment I get in a tizzy about whether I should be in a tizzy, I am doing something wrong.

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But this? This was right. In large part because we still got to do every bit of it–yep, you guessed it–together.

Is busyness something you struggle to find a balance with too? I’d love to hear your thoughts.





  1. So I seem to be a compulsive “YES!” sayer. Someone invites us to something and we usually go. Or at least it feels that way. I’m sure I do, in fact, say no to plenty. But even though we’re childless (assuming you don’t count the 70lb dog, the 3 cats, or the foster dog) we struggle every.single.day with balance. It’s not something I’ve even come close to mastering! Unfortunately I don’t think my husband and I spend nearly enough time together just being together. Something to work on! Thanks for being my inspiration today!

  2. Love reading your blog and all the beautiful pictures! Two of our three kids are out of the house and I’d like to say life is less busy, but I think my drive always has me creating a list of things to do… and if we have down time I feel lazy and unproductive. In other words I must like to feel busy! It’s nice to “stay busy” by making a meal for a family or visiting someone… instead of just “laying around”. When there are lots of little kids in the house… you are busy just surviving! Once our kids started participating in organized sports, I used to remind myself that sitting in the bleachers while the others played in the park was my down time.

  3. I only have two children and I feel like I’m loosing my mind. I’ve put a stop to Sunday afternoon activities.

    Both of my girls play fall soccer…..games are Saturday morning and Sundays around noon.

    In the spring the girls play softball…on week day nights.

    Then add girl scouts and brownies…..and working out side of the home three days a week…. feel like I am forever on the go.

    I’m actually thinking of foregoing winter sports (as much as I like to keep the girls active) because I really am tired of running all over the place.

  4. Oh my goodness, your post truly speaks to my heart. I have two teenagers and even I struggle with balancing all of life’s to-do aka busyness verses important things.

    Two resources I’ve found are two books. The first one is from a fabulous Christian writer named Lysa Terkeurst. The name of the book is called The Best Yes-Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands. Trust me(even though you don’t know me) this is a gem.

    The second book is called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. Specifically speaking in the 3rd chapter or 3 habit he talks about time management. And how to prioritize your day and get the things you think are important accomplished.

    I hope this helps. I’m just in the beginning stages of both these books but feel much more “in control” of where I spend my time.
    God Bless 🙂

  5. Busyness is something I am really, really struggling with right now. My oldest is in first grade and with two activities she is involved with I am already feeling the pinch. I need that down time with the family and by myself (as much as possible with 8 people in the house, soon to be 9) and I am constantly trying to weight my options as to what the best option for us as a family is.

  6. Yep, balancing busyness is always a battle, and that with us eliminating most unnecessary busyness already. Like you we guard our Sunday afternoon/evening jealously, as family super recharging time! I LOVE SUNDAYS.

  7. We raised a boy and a girl and our family time and religion came first. there were no after school activities that involved organized, competitive, or not supervised by us. they were in public school and that was long enough to be away from us. we both detest sports but they both took piano and had lots of friends. we don’t celebrate any holidays in an effort to live as close as possible to the pattern that Jesus set but we always planned tons of fun activities and parties which included learning to be gift givers too

  8. well Simon did make the family photo..sounds pretty good for a life guide to me. having a breath taking schedule for just one child seems like a nobrainer for resched. seems as if getting the sched mastered for everyone will be a fantastic life lesson for the children also.

  9. This was so great! i love your blog and how real you share your journey with us. I struggle with this everyday.. and most i feel like i fail. i have such a long list of reasons why i say ‘no’ and such a short list of times i feel like i say ‘yes’ but your right and we need to choose the best ones everyday or at least try to. thanks for sharing your heart! also i am right with you with being a busy family. i have 4 little ones 7 and under and we also homeschool. i had a great example of a ‘connected’ family growing up and its a high priority for me for my own family too. as we start adding in the ‘extras’ ( baseball, swim lessons, piano lessons..and thats just one kid!) im wondering how i will find a balance with giving my kids opportunities without sacrificing our family dynamic.

I love hearing from you guys!