• Make a decision and respond quickly. Most of the time, I know right away if we are able to attend. If I wait to respond, the decision becomes a drain on my mental energy - and it usually doesn't change my response.
  • Do not feel pressure to explain. A simple, graceful "no, thank you" is all that is required. The more "reasons" I share, the more they begin to sound like excuses.
  • Be very clear. If  I know for certain that I don't plan  to attend, I am clear in my language when I decline. I don't leave it open by saying, "We'll try to stop by" or "Can we play it by ear?" This only creates false expectations and more negative energy for me to carry around.
  • Don't worry. Be happy. With clarity and purpose, I can gracefully decline any invitation. But I need to let go of the reaction of others. I can't waste valuable energy worrying about what others think of my decision. If I've made the choice based on my personal and family priorities, I take heart in knowing that I am honoring this time as a family. 
  • Don't look back. Once I make a decision, I am confident in my choice. Even if I am disappointed, I let go of the belief that I am missing out on something. And I have faith that there will always be another invitation.

4. Sunday Solitude: With all the free time I create by turning off my computer and keeping my schedule open, I am able to find time for myself. As a busy mom of three, I treasure any time I spend alone. So every Sunday, I carve out a few minutes of solitude to journal, read a good book, practice yoga, get a pedicure or take a bath. My favorite solo activity is sleeping in.

5. Sunday Funnies: When I was a child, I loved reading the Funny Pages. My favorite cartoons were Family Circus and Cathy.  (Perhaps that says something about my life path! ) Nowadays I don't always read the Sunday paper until later in the week, but the gift of the comics is in the laughter therapy. I know I am biased, but I happen to think my kids are the funniest people on the planet. And my husband is hilarious in his own way. So, spending time with them always leaves me doubled over with laughter that relieves stress better than any massage.

So, next Sunday, when you are trying to decide if you should run to the grocery store or finish that proposal you've been working on, imagine yourself instead - quietly writing in your journal or laughing with your kids. If you think you don't have time for it, I encourage you to give it a try anyway. You may discover the benefits of a Simple Sunday.

September 3, 2010

About Theresa Ceniccola:

Theresa Ceniccola is a mother, writer and entrepreneur with a passion for connecting other Christian women and helping small business grow. As a marketing and PR professional, she launched TGC Communications, LLC in 1994 and has been working from home to serve clients and follow her passion while raising a family.  She is also co-founder of www.writetohealth.com, a guided journaling practice dedicated to helping people discover the health benefits of writing. You can connect with Theresa on her blog at www.theresaceniccola.com.