Note: Over the next week, I’m going to take you with me on a meander through my day. No two days look alike around here, but this will give you a glimpse on my daily rituals of cherishing life. I do this very imperfectly. I would love to hear about your own rituals in the comments. And don’t forget to check out my favorite resources on the bottom of these posts.
Our favorite evenings are those where we are all safely tucked into our little house, spending time together doing something fun or even doing nothing. Of course, those evenings are not very frequent, but we treasure them and try to make them happen as often as possible.
We believe the home and family is God’s first and most important institution. I’m sure there are those who disagree with me. However, He created the family before He created the church or the government. Without healthy families, all the other institutions suffer.
For this reason, we guard our time together as a family. We know that only by spending time together and with our children will we be able to disciple them properly and invest in their lives. Family life is largely enjoyed in the evenings in most families, when the family is together–back from work or school. Here are a few ways we guard our evenings in order to guard our family life:
1. We limit outside commitments.
I mentioned earlier that we do not involve our children in sports, including gymnastics and dance. These activities work well for some families, but from our vantage point, games and practices take up a lot of evenings in a week. When we multiply that by four children it simply does not fit into our lifestyle.
We have always wanted our children to be involved in music. We require them all to start with the basics of piano lessons before they choose another instrument. At this point, all of the children do not wish to take on more than one instrument. In our case, I can handle the lessons for basic piano, so we don’t even have to leave the house for these lessons.
Our children do have a few individual commitments besides these which I’ll address when we talk about cherishing our week. However, we try to limit them to once a month instead of once a week when we can.
2. We release the need to be scheduled in the evening.
I used to have a pretty rigid schedule in my mind for the whole evening, but frankly, it exhausted me and everyone else. Now, I don’t worry about any certain time except for children’s bed times and simply work through the routine of things that need to be done. If we do have to be out of the house for the evening, I relax it even more. This also allows us to be spontaneous if we want to do something fun at the last minute.
3. We realize being together doesn’t necessarily mean doing the same activity.
I don’t want to sound too Currier and Ives about our evening schedule (or lack of one). Some evenings we are home, we’re all off doing our own thing. Sometimes we’re in the same room, but we’re all doing different things. Some evenings, we are together and go somewhere away from home. We do what works for us so everyone enjoys being a family and enjoys being home. Those are important goals to us.
Resources for Cherishing Life:
Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider
Own Your Life: Living With Deep Intention, Bold Faith and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae
Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest by Bonnie Gray
Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look by Emily T. Wierenga
Simply Tuesdays: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily P. Freeman
Soothe by Jim Brickman
Disclaimer: Of course, I don’t agree with everything in these books, but I have gleaned some helpful information from all of them on cherishing life.