Just Say No

Good, great and beautiful Sunday morning! I love mornings in general, but Sunday mornings? There is just something about those precious few peaceful hours that makes all the world right.

Life continues to be absolutely crazy. A week ago, I finished my fifth MBA course marking my half way point in the program. Then Monday, I rolled right into my sixth class with Computer Information Systems…no rest for the wicked they say. I’ve taken on some new professional challenges, determined to continue growing and move forward with my skill set and work experience. 

We’ve had golf camp, art camp, VBS, baseball and Cub Scouts. After a sedentary year of adjusting to being back in school, I’ve started running again with my sister (see the photo below…I made her run in the rain and then take a makeup free picture 😲…she thinks I’m trying to kill her but she’ll thank me later!). And finally, I’ve started reading again (for fun!). I’ve decided to go back through the classics that I “cliff noted” my way through in high school and to try to actually appreciate them this time. I just finished Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (absolutely fantastic) and am now reading To Kill a Mockingbird.


I feel a shift within myself. There are no more hours in the day today than there were a year ago. But today I feel more productive and happier and thankful for the energy to do all of the things I’m passionate for. This change, these happy moments with my children, with my husband, in my career, in my schoolwork, they haven’t been without a cost.

I have learned little by little to start saying no. Let me clue you in to the fact that I hate saying no. I want to do it all. Be involved, support all good causes, be a strong leader in my community, church and work… But in order to be happy, in order to be content, in order to be the Christian, wife, and mom that I am designed to be, I have learned that I have to pick and choose where I am spending my time very wisely. 

Sometimes the no’s are obvious and sometimes they’re painfully difficult. Some of my no’s were easier than I imagined. I say no to TV today. I say no to social media. The truth is that I  have better places to spend my time, and when I’m focused on television or social media, I losing time on something I find more precious. You may be reading this blog via a Facebook link thinking “what a hypocrite, ” but let me tell you that these are not hard no’s. If my day is done, and my husband has settled into bed to watch a good murder mystery, you better believe I am by his side. If my child has done something adorable (as children often do), I will make a post on Facebook to share with my friends and family. But gone are the days of spending an afternoon on a Netflix binge or blindly scrolling through a Facebook feed while sitting with my family. I’ve turned off all notifications to my cell phone and try to leave my phone put away any time that I know my focus should be on my family, work and/or school. So of all my no’s, this was an easy one. This no has brought me many moments of great joy and peace.

However, there have been other no’s that hurt my heart. I had to resign from some volunteer work; volunteer work that I know is important, that is vital even. But I saw myself swimming…drowning in commitments that I could not follow through. My joy in life was slipping. I was missing out on too many tuck-ins with my kids, too many opportunities to grow mentally, emotionally and/or physically. Right now, at this point in my life, I have to make difficult choices. I am happier today for the no’s I’ve forced myself to say. I am a better wife and mom. I can feel God’s joy in my heart because I am taking moments to just sit in his peace. I can share that joy with my family and friends. That is my number one responsibility in this life. 


When was the last time you had a moment to sit in God’s peace and love? Are you making quiet time to just be? It’s difficult. It’s one of the hardest things in life for me. I also believe it’s one of the most important. Saying no isn’t always easy, but the rewards are exponential. Make today a joyous day. Say no to the things that aren’t on your priority list (and if you don’t have a priority list, make one). Say yes instead, to the things that bring you peace and joy. Here is a list of my “insteads” since I’ve started to say no: a walk with my kids, a bike ride, a run, planting a garden, reading a great book, listening to my favorite podcast, dancing with my children, coloring a page with my daughter, washing my dishes, sitting on the front porch with my husband…the list will continue to grow. I am so thankful. I’m wishing you the best of days over this holiday weekend. Happy 4th of July from my family to yours! 

MIA Thanks to an MBA

I’m not sure what I thought getting my MBA would be like. Whatever I thought, I’m certain in this moment that the reality of working toward my graduate degree, while working full time and being a mom and wife, Cub Scout leader and Sunday school teacher…is actually much, MUCH worse than I imagined.

I wore Betty Boop Christmas socks to work today. In public. Sure did. My son wore the same pair of pants to school two days this week, unwashed. (Don’t tell him…he doesn’t know.) I’m fairly certain I hear my son coughing down the hall right now, but I would have no idea if he’s sick because I literally haven’t seen him in four days. There are dirty dishes on my counter. 

Today I worked 9 hours. I studied and did my homework for an hour while on my lunch break. I studied for two and a half hours after work….and then took a three hour quiz. I came home with everyone asleep, ate dinner alone, took a shower and now I lie here, exhausted but entirely unable to sleep. My mind is still racing, thinking about alpha and standard deviations and variances. Ugh. 


And this is an ordinary day these days. 

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Five more weeks of Statistics 601 and then one summer session and then…finally, a summer break. I’m thinking baseball, beaches and camping. Sun on my skin. My children’s voices in my ear and their hands in mine. I’m thinking of my husband’s handsome face and seeing him with his eyes open and conscious…that’ll be nice. 

I don’t share to complain. This is my choice, my privilege. My hope is that this work will benefit my family. That my children will learn what grit and determination look like. That I will grow in knowledge and capabilities. That I will learn exactly what I’m made of. This journey is difficult and I truly couldn’t be doing it on my own. My husband, parents, in-laws…without them, an MBA would be impossible for me. 

So tonight, rather than complaining that my house is chaos, my laundry is undone, that I’m utterly drained….I will be thankful. Thankful for my family who are helping me to achieve my goals, thankful for my friends who encourage me every single day, thankful for the capacity and drive to learn. Thankful for technology and education. Thankful that tomorrow is a rare occasion that I get to curl up with my family and relax for our weekly Hafele Family Movie Night. Thankful for another day in this crazy world living this crazy life.

By the way, I’m down to only my fuzzy, penguin striped socks…so when you see me wearing them tomorrow, don’t judge me. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Enjoy the time you have with those that mean the most and don’t take a moment for granted!

MBA – Day 1

I started my first class for my MBA today….Masters of Business Administration…Graduate Degree…it sounds so nice, so fancy. Right? I always thought I would get my Masters. It’s always been a part of my plan, at the back of my mind, tapping me on the shoulder, saying “hey you, busy wife, mom and employee, remember me??? We have work to do.” 

At four and seven, my kids are quickly becoming self-sufficient. The days of diapers and bottles are long gone. They can feed themselves, bathe themselves, dress themselves. So there’s no time like the present to put a little focus on me and my goals, right?


I vaguely recall what it was like to work on my Undergraduate Degree when Jace was a small child. I was working full time and commuting  to school at night. I remember spending weekends parked at the computer. I remember the late nights and early mornings. I remember missing the parties and gatherings because I had to study. So I should have known what was coming…how quickly we forget.

I had my first night of materials tonight. I completed my first assignment, hit the discussion board and began to study our first chapter. I worked on my course from 5:00 until I called it quits at 9:30. The material was fascinating and challenging and overwhelming. I felt parts of my mind come alive that I haven’t exercised in years. I focused only on the task at hand and I couldn’t have been more intrigued and excited. I’ve always been a real nerd for school….

Then I came home and found my whole sweet family asleep. I crawled into my kids’ bed and kissed their heads. They didn’t even stir. I ate and I lie restless now. 

It dawns on me…so this is what this is going to be like. This is what being in school is like. It is so strange that you can talk about a reality over and over again, but until you experience it, until you feel it, you don’t know. I’ve been away from my kids for exactly one night. So why I lie in bed, my heart squeezed tight, tears sliding down my cheeks, I have no idea. It must be the realization that there are going to be many nights like this. Nights that I don’t get to do their homework with them, hear their mealtime prayers, help them into their PJs, read them their bedtime stories. Those moments are my favorite moments in the world. Missing those moments truly breaks my heart.


So why? Why am I doing this to myself? Why is it so hard to be everything you want to be? The best mom, wife, daughter, friend, the brightest student, hardest working employee, the most loving Christian…why can’t we be all things to all people? Or better yet, why do we feel like we have to be? 

I’ve always wanted to get my MBA. I love to learn and grow and stretch myself beyond my limits. I certainly made things hard on myself choosing to start my family first and complete my education second. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. I wouldn’t give up all that I have even if it hurts to do things my way at times.

My hope is that my children see what is possible. That my accomplishments mean more to them than my time away sacrifices. My hope is that when my kids have a goal or potential they do whatever it takes to reach it. I hope they see how important it is to never stop learning, growing, pushing yourself. I hope that they are proud of their mother. And I hope they know how very much I love them. 

So I have one night down. Approximately 917 nights to go. No sweat.