With almost two month of married life under our belts, James and I are realizing that, with both of us not working the normal 8-5, Monday through Friday schedule, we have to be very intentional about spending time with each other. While we don't have any children we are a family by definition that now includes almost 40 different types of familial arrangements.  It is so easy and tempting to work 10 or 12 hours a day, come home, collapse on the couch and heat up a bag of microwave popcorn for dinner!

We both want more out of our relationship and our family!  So we plan on one night a week when we can be together on a date, at home or out on the town. As we looked at our schedules, it became obvious to us that almost every night has the possibility of meetings, classes, services, retreats, and/or working an extra shift.  It's tempting to succumb to letting our schedules rule our lives so we made a commitment to each other to spend one night a week, preferably at home, together.

I know we're not the only family that has these kinds of schedule conflicts because I talk to people every day that can recount a litany of activities and plans that send them off in a million different directions.  It is very clear to me that most of us find it very difficult, if not impossible, to have one night of the week when we can count on the people we love being in one place.  It makes me sad to think how busy our lives have become and how our culture has made it so difficult to be with family. God wants all of us to enjoy our lives in abundant ways, to enjoy the people in our lives as blessings, to find rest and comfort in our homes.

 How can you be with the ones you love at least one night a week?  If you're single, how can you be with those people who you consider "family" one night a week for fellowship?  If you're a single parent, how can you arrange it so that one night a week, you put aside the laundry and the dishes and the outside
activities to play a game or two with your kids?  If you're a grandparent, how can you arrange one night a week to spend with that precious grandchild?  As a couple with no children, like James and I, how can we put down the remote, turn off the computer, lay aside the stacks of magazines and junk mail, to go for a long evening walk, or a swim at the beach?

 You know what works best for your family, and I encourage you to spend at least one (more if you can) night a week together with minimal distractions (phone, e-mail, TV, etc.) just talking, laughing and playing together.  Let me know how it works!

May God bless your long summer days and nights with joy!

Pastor Laurie Arroyo