Sabbaths and Sidewalks

About tonight’s LIVE hangout…

We’re hanging out, it’s just not on Google. It’s happening TONIGHT (Wednesday, January 21, 2015 from 8:00 – 9:00 pm CST) on Facebook. For more information about what to expect and how to participate, click here.

Now, on to the message of the day…


Today we’re going old school. No videos. No fancy plastic that shrinks in the oven.

Just words.

Today offers an opportunity go a little deeper by reading a few things and mulling them over. Food for thought, if you will.

First, read these…

The links below lead to posts I’ve written over the years, and they all have to do with the concept of time. They were inspired by some big questions, such as: How do you make more time for the things that are most important? Can you really have it all? Can you increase your odds of having good days more often?

1) A new (really old) way to create calm in your world. This is a post about the concept of Sabbath, and how important it is whether you’re religious or not. It details the single greatest thing we have EVER done to keep Adultitis at bay. Seriously.

2) You can’t have it all. So choose what you want wisely. I wrote this after reading the Steve Jobs biography, and had a little bit of a crisis of purpose. These are hard choices, guys. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

3) How to increase your odds of saying today was a good day. We should have really posted this the other day, along with the question about your perfect day. But it contains a neat life hack for making sure you have as many perfect days as possible.

One more thing.

If you recall from Monday’s video about the Time Budget, there were three elements we asked you to do:

1) Estimate your CURRENT daily time dispersement.
2) What would be your IDEAL daily time dispersement?
3) For the next few days, keep track of your ACTUAL daily time dispersement.

I would like to address something I said about step number two. Remember, about pretending you were in Mr. Roger’s Land of Make-Believe? That part is pretty important. Because too often, we don’t allow ourselves to dream big. Adultitis has us trapped in “realistic” mode.

The truth is, the idealized version of your perfect day really may not be possible. But here’s the point: Imagine a city block. Picture yourself standing on one end of the sidewalk, at the street corner. This is you and your life NOW, as it currently looks. Now imagine the other end of the sidewalk, at the opposite street corner a whole block away. This is your ideal, perfect, never-gonna-happen-in-a-million-years, rainbows and unicorn version of your life, the one you imagined in step two.

That ideal picture actually serves a purpose, because if it stands in stark contrast to what our life looks like now, if gives us a direction to start aiming for. The question to ask yourself is this:

What little thing could I start doing today (there’s that tinkering thing again!) that would get me CLOSER to the other end of that sidewalk?

For instance, if your ideal day includes a maid or butler that does every single one of your dreaded household tasks for you (ha!), what one little thing could you outsource right now, or in the near future? If money is the issue (it often is), is there something you could sell, or a line item you could cut from the budget to free up some money? Is there a very small business you could start? Could you trade services with someone else, where you each do something the other person hates but you don’t mind doing?

Quick example: In our household, Kim and I don’t subscribe to cable. We use the money we save to pay someone to cut our grass for us, which is a job we both despise. I can’t even explain to you how awesome it is to play in the yard with my kids on a beautiful summer day, while all of my neighbors are out cutting the grass!

We live in the real world, and we may never be able to get all the way to the other end of the sidewalk. That’s ok. I’m just saying it would be nicer to stand closer to the middle of the sidewalk (and closer to our ideal life), than staying stuck where we are right now, don’t you think?


Here are a few discussion questions. Feel free to answer any or all of them in the comments below.

Do you take a Sabbath? If so what does it look like for you?

Do you think that the more time you spend with your family lessens the impact you can have through your career?

What is one thing you could change today to get closer to your ideal life?


  1. Avatar Dave Timmerman says:

    Okay since the day I was ordained I have given myself a Sabbath day; I call it a day off. I have been very protective of that day and have taken heat for it from people in my parish who think incorrectly that I don’t do anything besides say mass on the week end. I choose Mondays but when someone plans a funeral for MOnday I immediately search out another day in the week. On my Sabbath day I sleep in, lounge on the couch and am very careful when the phone rings. I do what I want to do: browse at Goodwill stores, gamble at the casino, watch a movie in the theater, get a massage. This is just a few things of many. But it is MY day. It has helped me be a good priest for 28 years.

    • Debbie Green Debbie Green says:

      Amen Father Dave!!!

    • Sara Gast Sara Gast says:

      Go Archbishop of Awesome! :) Good for you – and way to lead your flock by example! Have you thought of doing a workshop that you could lead about this subject? I think it would be great…could intertwine the faith stuff with importance of having a Sabbath. This would especially be helpful for young couples or parents to hear…they need to know how to let each person have individual time like Kim & Jason did when first having Lucy or when newly married…then come together and importance of Sabbath time as a couple as well.

    • I know I liked you for a reason. (This is just one, BTW:)

      I wonder how many other pastors do this…it certainly seems like a no-brainer, but I suspect it’s all too rare.

    • Lynn Carter Lynn Carter says:

      My pastor does this, too. He actually leaves town after the 11am Sunday Mass and doesn’t come back until late Monday night. His widowed mom and one of his sisters live about two hours from here, so he’s not super far away, but far enough that nobody is going to be knocking on the door. I think it’s really smart!

    • Avatar Krista Sobieski says:

      I think it is great that you do this and I love that you take time away. I am thinking I would like you well as my priest!

    • Avatar Minette Sternke says:

      My pastor here in Urbana does the same thing – he takes Mondays off and is, like you, extremely protective of that time. My parish is a fairly active one, and we’ve always understood that you need time “away’ – especially now that we share him and one other priest with another parish! You’re very wise to have started that, and kept at it. Archbishop of Awesome, i like that title!

  2. Betty Vogt Betty Vogt says:

    Several years ago, we moved from Wisconsin to York, Pennsylvania, when the blue laws were in effect. Retail stores were closed on Sundays. Gas stations were open, but the only groceries we were allowed to buy were necessities like milk and bread. The ‘no shopping on Sunday’ law really changed our mind-set, and we quickly grew to like the respite from the rest of the week.

    • Interesting. I’ve never heard of “blue laws,” but they sound pretty great. I typically think we have too many laws, but this one seems like a way to force people to do the right thing and just chill one day a week, because it’s clearly a struggle to do it on our own (speaking from experience)!

    • Avatar Krista Sobieski says:

      WOW..never knew of this but think I actually like the idea. Perhaps we would be less greedy in many ways too.

  3. Sara Gast Sara Gast says:

    I don’t really have a set Sabbath day each week, but because of my divorce and 50/50 split of Leah’s time, I try not to schedule anything (or attend anything) just for me on nights/weekends she is scheduled to be with me. That way, that precious time is not taken away further. It works about 99%, I am happy to say…and the other 1% that it doesn’t, Leah gets to spend time with close friends – some with small kids her age and some more like “adopted grandparents” to her – so it is her socialization time as well. And she needs that; we didn’t take vacations in my family growing up, so a quick overnight at my grandparent’s place WAS our vacation, 1:1 time making memories with them. Then on the nights/weekends Leah is with her dad, that is when I attend networking functions, hang out with friends, or do whatever I want…lounge around or sleep in/nap, go to a movie, go shopping, grab dinner through a drive-thru or just have cookies and ruin my appetite (ala Jerry Seinfeld), etc. At first, the thought of not having Leah with me 24/7 was very rough to take….feelings of guilt (because of the divorce and because of just not being with her)…feelings of shame (why do I deserve this time for me when I could be doing X for others)…and so on…but I can honestly say that I realize 1) she needs that time with her dad 1:1 and he needs that time with her to step up and be an active father, and 2) I am a much MUCH better mom the past year+ because I have that down time…when I can decompress…and do things for me….then focus solely on her when she is with me, look forward to the next time she and I are together, plan play dates with friends during those times and plan outings to the park or zoo or trips to see my family over in Green Bay, and so on. It is ironic: I am a single parent now and still have my duplex to upkeep inside and out, laundry to do, meals to cook, etc…but I find I am less stressed (over a lot of things) and have more time for a lot of things than I had before when it was a two-parent household.

    If anyone feels they have guilt or shame over taking this much-needed “me” time, I have a great book to recommend: Brene Brown’s “Gifts of Imperfections”. FANTASTIC book!! Easy read, witty and insightful, and motivational. Comes with great ideas you can put into practice, such as “How do you D.I.G. deep…how do you Get Deliberate, Get Inspired, Get Going?”

    • We couldn’t agree MORE on that book recommendation, Sara. Brene Brown is great. Here’s a direct link in case anyone is interested: Gifts of Imperfection

      This one is also awesome: Daring Greatly

    • Lynn Carter Lynn Carter says:

      Sara, we definitely have a few things in common ;) I also find it easier to be a single mom, but I still sometimes feel guilty for taking real me time. I’m constantly reminding myself that I have to do it when I’m kidless, and I have to make it count, because of course when the kids are there I want to be fully present to them, so I have to have a full cup.

  4. Debbie Green Debbie Green says:

    So the family career question…always a tough one. Speaking of course from the female prospective. I have worked all but aprox. 4 years of my 33 years of marriage as a registerd nurse. I took those few years off because my second daughter was on an apnea monitor for a year and we felt it best for me to be home. My oldest daughter said, “this is the happiest day of my life” the day I quit. insert knife to the heart. I have been part time since, and belive that while at work I am 100% nurse, loving my field and growing on a daily basis. While at home 100% Mom and wife, but also feeling fulfilled and contributing about “my day”. It is all about balance which is nothing new!!!

    • Thanks for sharing, Debbie. It definitely seems like no matter what, being 100% present wherever you are is a HUGE key.

  5. Avatar Krista Sobieski says:

    These are some big questions and as a previous business owner who has great passion for the work I do, I was working at one time probably at least 60 hours a week while a married wife and mother of 4 young children. I was mess. I was not doing 100% of anything I was doing. I thought I had great employees under me but yet was to tired to realize they were not really helping me or perhaps I was not ready to give up the work and just did it so it was done right. Anyways I had to figure out a way to survive and continue to live what I do…so on a happy medium…though a VERY long stressful process, we transitioned that business to non-profit (cause we could), I found better employes who understood my visions and in time (after hearing Jason speak too) started to reduce my hours…now I work about 30 hours per week but am able for the most part schedule hours around the things that are important to me, meaning that I can be very involved when I want for my children and finding that once a while a day home by myself while they are in school is okay to enjoy. It did not happen over night and I felt a lot of guilt in the beginning but I am learning that I can still be a great leader & mentor working less and in return and “giving” more because I am better focused, and much happier. I think because I have such a wonderful work family and we truly have fun now…it makes it more exciting to work. My family time is special to me and though I feel like I am close to my four young children, and I hope that closeness always is there, our ultimate goal should be to help our children to grow into good people and set goals of their own and grow up to live happy meaning though I want them to always need me, I can’t live their dreams, they have to and they hopefully will be inspired by me living mine. On a side note what would make me happy is to live comfortably inspiring others. I would like to always be involved in the business I helped create but seek more than that. I want to speak, I think on some platform to inspire others. I want to find the $6000.00 needed to train with John Maxwell and just go for it…but reality does sink in of the “needed’ expenses for our family/children. While the opportunity is here now, I know the likely hood of the funds right now are not. I am disappointed but my optimism won’t let me say never. I want a life where in the end my husband and I can enjoy life, traveling where we wish, enjoying our children and encouraging them always to be the best but most of all just being happy with out having to worry. I want to believe that I was gift to the world.

  6. Kimberly McCue Kimberly McCue says:

    I unfortunately do not currently take a Sabbath, but it sounds like a wonderful idea. Sunday would be most ideal since I have to work Saturdays sometimes. Currently I use Sundays as a chore day to get ready for the next work week – doing laundry, filling the gas tank, going to the pet store, cleaning up, etc. It feels like half my weekend is lost! I’ve always sort of wanted to liberate Sunday from just being a chore day since sometimes it’s my only day off. Working to make it untouchable as a Sabbath would be great. I’ll really try to make that happen because the way you described a Sabbath sounds much needed!!!
    I do get the conflict in choosing between career and family. I recently found a website with all these free online courses – there’s so much I could learn! I know I could do much more to be valuable as a candidate for potential jobs, and it’s frustrating because the temptation is there to spend much more time looking into these sources. But, then again, as you mentioned, it’s a choice. I know I’d rather have family first, even if it means I can’t expand my skills as much.
    One of my wishes for the ideal life was to have no commute – driving really stresses me out! I could take a step toward it by finding a job that is closer to home, so at least there would be less of a commute. Currently almost an hour of my day is spent in the car – blah. I would happily either take less driving or a job with no overtime – both would be awesome. ; )
    Lots of thought-provoking reading today…

  7. Lora Klitzke Lora Klitzke says:

    I don’t really have a downtime as of right now, Brett and I are involved in a few things outside of work (full time,each of us). When I do get an actual sabbath day I like to go to church in the am, then come home and do nothing. This nothing usually involves pajamas and doing laundry at some point. I like to try to read when I can and I’m currently reading 3-4 books. LOL

    When I was single I focused alot on my work/career. Now that I’ve been with Brett I focus less on work but still enjoy bettering myself. I am good at what I do but I often juggle and juggling makes me feel less than perfect in my eyes. I see it as a sign of weakness. It’s quite possible that others know I have alot going on though too.

    One thing that I wish I could change was the commute to work, I’d love to be able to get away for a quick minute and run home to grab lunch and check on Baxter (our border collie). Right now we live about 20 minutes from where I work and 30 from where Brett works, our must be nice is that we can commute to work together. Now if only I could bring Baxter too.

  8. Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

    The random thoughts I just have to share:
    1. The last sermon I heard at church the guest speaker said there are a lot of promises in the Bible, but the promise of another day is not one of them. Wow. That has been in my mind a lot recently especially this week with an ER trip for our daughter and doing this work on looking at my time budget… or at least thinking about doing my time budget :S
    2. As a family we are committed to “us” time on the weekends and try to only schedule things on one day of the weekend. Sometimes it makes a hectic day, but having one day completely at home together is really nice. It totally freed me up of some guilt reading that Jason cooks on their sabbath because he enjoys it. I love to be in the kitchen and somehow had felt I shouldn’t do that on my day off… well, I’m getting rid of that should/rule that doesn’t exist right now.
    3. I still haven’t formulated my ideal day I know how it starts. I told my husband before reading this that my ideal day starts by waking up to the sound of one year old happy baby babble from the other room. Then I told him that I don’t need to be on vacation or anywhere else but here for that to happen, and because of that I have the chance to have my ideal day start every day. The second part of my ideal day is a cup of coffee, a hot breakfast and a window with a view. So all I need now is to start planning some easy hot breakfasts and I will be two steps closer to my ideal day everyday :)
    4. You know that feeling you have when you are on the verge of some change- some idea coming to fruition? My friend and I call it being pregnant with an idea… well I feel that. This last week has been one of total introspection for me and thinking about what needs to change in life. This well laid out escape plan… i mean escape lab is working on me… i feel on the verge of some tinkering.

    • Love that point about the promise of another day not being one of the promises in the Bible. Also…so glad to hear Escape Lab is having some effect; it always gets me giddy when someone ignores a rule that doesn’t exist! :)

  9. Sarah Welke Sarah Welke says:

    I am an elementary teacher and typically work 50-55 hours Monday through Friday. For a while I was trying to get ahead by working like a crazy person all weekend as well. This past weekend I took a Sabbath on Saturday and played. Sunday I was back at it but with fun music going. Strangest thing happened…I am further ahead!! So the voice in my head that said, “You’ll be sorry if you take that time” can go drown itself in my pitcher of Kool-aid!

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      WOW. So so cool! Being a former kindergarten teacher, I know that it’s almost impossible to get it all done in 45 hours. Do you have the chance to tinker with this concept again this weekend, I hope?

  10. Darla Dernovsek Darla Dernovsek says:

    My wonderful employer gives me the opportunity to work one day a week or so from home. For a while, the pressures of work meant I had to be in the office every day. But now that the pressure is not so intense, I’m going back to making sure I work at least one day a week at home. It changes the entire week for me by slowing the pace. It also makes sure I have at least one day a week to step back and give serious thought to important work issues or tasks, rather than being tugged into other tasks.

    As for question #2, I was fortunate to work from home from the time my kids were in elementary school through college. I was able to adjust my work hours to family needs for most of that time. Yet in the middle of all that, I was a member of the school board and was part of a bruising referendum fight that required many evening meetings. Would I do it again? I don’t know. At the time, I definitely felt “called” to that task. But there was also time lost that can never be regained. Such choices are always bittersweet. I am so glad I had the opportunity to work at home all those years. One of my favorite memories is the time I was doing a telephone interview (I was working on a magazine article) and my youngest son came into my office. He was probably about 7 at the time. I tried to wave him off (he knew he had to be quiet for 30 minutes until the interview was over) but he insisted on handing me a note. It said, “Give me a hug and a kiss.” I did, then and again when the interview was over. The ability to grab moments together is priceless.

    Oh, and if you want to know what my Sabbath is, it involves a lazy morning, a long walk and a church service, followed by hanging out with my husband or, if they’re around, my sons, daughter-in-law and grandson. What it should never involve — and far too often does, because my extended family lives up north about four hours a way — is long hours locked in a car. Sometimes, you can’t have the “ideal” Sabbath if you also want time with the people you love.

  11. Angela Dunlap Angela Dunlap says:

    Here is how I know when I’m at peace with my life: I think to myself “today is a good day to die” and I smile. For obvious reasons, I don’t say it aloud because people already think I’m insane. Let me say this first though: Please do not worry. I am not suicidal and I don’t have a death wish. I behave in safe, if not sane (smile), ways all the time. When I say that it’s a good day to die, I mean that I am satisfied with my efforts, my emotions, my spirituality, and my physical being at that moment. A good day to die doesn’t mean I have everything done on my to-do list (we all know that’s not possible per Jason) and it doesn’t mean I have the perfect body (I don’t) or the perfect mind (I don’t); it means I did all that I could do today in the best manner that I knew how. I told people I loved them. I thanked them for being in my life. I did something good for someone else. I’m not pining for anything. I’m not avoiding anything or pushing anything away. I’m not anxious about anything or worried about anything. I am. That’s all. I just am. On those days, I can say, “It’s a good day to die.”
    I don’t say “it’s a good day to die” every day, but that would be my ideal day every day. Sometimes, I say the wrong thing to the wrong person. Sometimes, I don’t work as hard as I should. Sometimes, I don’t check in with my mom or my dad. I do know what I need to do to have my ideal day, but sometimes I’m too tired, I work too late, or I’m just too lazy. Here is my wish: when that day that isn’t promised to me does not arrive (see Melissa’s comment above), I want everyone to know that I said to myself that day “Today is a good day to die.” To get closer to that ideal day, I have to ask myself with each choice or non-choice I make: Will I regret this later? Will I wish I had done this differently? Will this matter in a week, a month, a year, a decade? The challenge for me is making sure I ask the questions I know I should ask and then listening to my heart when I just am.

    • Love this so much, Angela. Every last drop.

    • Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

      I had a mentor for work once tell me (when I was getting so stressed out about not being able to do it all) that I should check in with myself at the end of the day and ask myself if I did my best with what I had to give for the day. This reminds me of that, but in a much bigger capacity. Why not ask that about life? Did I do my best today and give all I could to those I love? If it’s a yes, then I think it’s a good day :)

  12. Becky Reisinger Becky Reisinger says:

    so I have been pondering still about what to write on this one. Then it hit me. When do I lay my head on the pillow and think “today was a good day?” The theme is always the same…after spending time relaxing and doing something with my family. Whether it was being outside all day spreading mulch and getting filthy together and then treating everyone to DQ. Or maybe going to the zoo. Or maybe spending all day in our PJs, ordering pizza and having a Harry Potter movie marathon. it doesn’t matter WHAT I do with them…when we set aside work and the daily stresses of life, it is a BEST day!

Speak Your Mind

Want to personalize the picture next to your comment? It's free, and it works on all kinds of sites. Set it up here!