During my early days as a mom, I worked part-time as a physical therapist.
For many years, I worked Saturday and Sunday twice a month.
I volunteered in the classroom and at church.
I tried to be at every practice and game.
I organized play dates and slumber parties.
It’s the mom thing.
Our calendar was often difficult to decipher as there were entries written on top of entries.
I finally realized that I was exhausted and a bit burnt out when I heard myself
answering “no” to many of my daughters’ requests.
It was either too messy
or too something.
I took a look at our life,
I took a look at our calendar,
and I tried to peek inside my soul.
It was time to make some changes that would
allow me to say yes and no when it mattered.
I had the joy of reading Tsh Oxenreider’s newest book
In this book, she chronicles her family’s decision to live life intentionally and
against the grain of our American lifestyle.
She draws from experiences living in Turkey, Kosovo, Austin, Texas and Bend, Oregon.
She tackles the areas of food, work, education, travel and entertainment
in her attempt to live with thoughtfulness and intention.
I appreciated that Tsh provided such a balanced look at each area.
She explains how her family is choosing to live but also gives other suggestions
for how to incorporate intention into these weighty places in our lives.
In honor of the February 4th release of Notes on a Blue Bike,
I thought I would share my pursuits towards living intentionally
by learning to say yes and no in the right places.
Let’s call it my Yes and No Manifesto:
- Yes to Sabbath
- Yes to play
- No to over-scheduling
- Yes to big empty spaces on the calendar
- No to guilt making me say yes
- Yes to spaces for reading
- Yes to being a deliberate lifelong learner
- No to allowing the online world to steal away time from pursuing my dreams
- Yes to the gaps in my life so I can easily and with joy bless others
- Yes to being intentional about our garden
- Yes to expanding our travel/vacation horizons and letting our imaginations soar.
Tsh recounts meeting with one of her mentors who was very accomplished in her field.
She had the opportunity to visit her home and walk along the grounds.
At one point they were walking towards her chicken shed turned office and just before they
reached the door, Tsh noticed “a crooked obelisk of a tower, a hole punched rock” looking
She asked her mentor,
“Oh that’s my boundary stone. Before I head into my office to write, I touch it to remind
myself that just because I’m good at something, and just because someone asks me to do
something, doesn’t mean I have to.”
Here stood a tangible symbol of the very meaning of working with intention—knowing both my gifts and my limits, my callings and my opportunities that need a “no”, and being at peace with understanding the difference. To give myself the time and freedom to create my best art, and to confidently turn down those roles and opportunities that aren’t the best fit.
May we all learn when it is best to say yes and when to say no.
This post is part of the Blue Bike Blog Tour of which I am delighted to be among other
bloggers helping to spread the word about Tsh Oxenreider’s latest book
Notes From a Blue Bike is written by Tsh Oxenreider, founder and main voice of The Art of Simple. It doesn’t always feel like it, but we DO have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions.
To learn more about the blog tour click here.
Read a sample chapter and grab your copy here.