It's surgery day, so I can't promise when the next post will be, but since it's close to a weekend, I thought this might give you all something to think about! Love and good wishes to you all...and thank you so much for your blessings and good wishes!
In Jewish tradition the Sabbath is sundown Friday and ends on Saturday when three stars are visible in the night sky. Sunday is then spent for either family activities, doing work around the house, errands, etc. Basically, switch what Christian families do--whatever you do on Saturday, we do on Sunday and what you do on Sunday, we do on Saturday.
The Duggars have brought to light a great idea of actually acknowledging the Sabbath as Christians in addition to the Sunday day of worship. Not speaking as a Jew, but as someone who grew up in a Presbyterian Church, I know what Sundays can be like. You get up, rush through a breakfast, rush to get the kids dressed, off to Sunday school where everyone is off to a different room for a different age--parents in one room as well. Then they all gather for the worship service, but part way through the kids are called up for the children's sermon and afterwards they leave to go downstairs for more learning or games--basically to get them out of the sanctuary so they don't disrupt the main sermon for everyone else. All told the family doesn't really spend the church experience together except for the car ride to and from. However, our family did have the tradition of going out to breakfast afterwards--if you got up and went to church Mom would take us out to eat--that made it all worth it.
But the rest of Sunday the family still rarely spends the day together, unless something specific was planned. Dad would be watching sports on TV, mom would be working in the garden (depending on the season,) and I would be playing with the kids in the neighbourhood, working on homework (depending on my age,) or watching tv and/or going back to sleep. All in all not a family kind of day. And then if we're talking my senior high years I'd be back at church by 7pm for youth group. So again, no more family time.
Saturdays around my house were always house cleaning in the mornings followed by marathon grocery shopping to at least 3 different stores and then yard work or special house projects and Dad watching whatever sporting events were on TV. Depending on the season I'd be skiing, playing with neighbourhood kids, or watching TV. If it was high school I'd be at a ski race, a speech tournament, or sleeping after the shopping part (because I was the one that was usually in charge of it.)
When I was 15 my father had a stroke so our family dynamic took a different turn. I became very independant very fast and we had very little "family togetherness" other than a lot of dining out. I was given a lot of money and a lot of copies of credit cards as well as a new truck and told to be a good girl and take care of myself, because Mom had to take care of Dad. Mind you this was a small town where they knew everyone, so getting into trouble was not an option, so it wasn't as if I was about to run amok. But close and cuddly family time really never happened after age 15.
Getting back to the Duggars, I like their idea of bringing back the family Saturday. Or in my case, the family Sunday. This works well for us since my husband has Sundays and Mondays off and we do actually take many day trips to take advantage of his schedule. For Mother's Day last year he bought a Year Pass to Yosemite/Sequoia/King's Canyon and we drive up there often (it's just an hour and a half) with a picnic to either one of the 3 parks and have a nice drive through, walk one of the many trails and make a nice day of it.
Michelle's point is that you don't have to do it up big. Going to a local park and watching your child play on the swings and go down the slide is magical. You never realize how fast the time flies until you see them go down the slide week to week not needing your help. And it doesn't cost a thing. Taking a walk around the block through your own neighbourhood after dinner on a spring evening hand in hand or go for a bike ride together. Even a picnic in your local park, or even your back yard--something different--together is always a way to bring the family together.
You can always find endless free events in your local town. There are tons of things you can do with your family. I took my daughter to a free car show while hubby was at work--not very girlie but she loved it! We saw all the tricked out classic cars and it didn't cost a thing! Great way to spend a Saturday and a nice wholesome family afternoon. There are so many things out there that don't cost anything that you can do as a family; check your paper, your local news websites, even try your local colleges for events---or spend a day yard saling!! Pick up some bargains, but set a limit before you go :) Or HAVE a yard sale :)
Start thinking about ways you can turn off the TV, shut down the video games, tell the neighbour kids that it's "family time" and decide that you're going to build some Sabbath time. Even if it isn't on the true Sabbath, G-d doesn't really mind, he just wants you to build your family bond.