Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Simple Saturdays (An Essay)

My boy. He sleeps in the swing, and I slowly sip lukewarm coffee that I’ve let cool too long. The music from the mobile plays for a third time and finally his heavy eyelids fall. I sit on the couch, a small smile creeping on my face.

I can’t help it.

Simple Saturdays

Photo credit: Ashley Goins

I’ve slept less than I should but more than I have in weeks, and so today I choose to be grateful. It’s Saturday, after all, and there’s little to do.

I love these days, because I get to focus on what’s important instead of on what’s urgent. Monday through Friday, five to nine — this is the work week, consumed with busyness and urgency. But on the weekends, we slow down. Mow the lawn. Read a book.

I love the simplicity of a Saturday. It’s the perfect in-between, a moment free of obligation. Because even if you do absolutely nothing today, there is always tomorrow, always another half of the weekend to catch up and strive and prepare for the coming craziness.

But today, there is none of that. There is only now. Only the moment. And we get so few of these moments in our adult life — these guilt-free snapshots where nothing is expected or demanded. So I plan to relish mine. Because who knows when it will come again?

Yes, there are dishes in the sink and a dog begging to be walked. There are bills and unbalanced checkbooks. But all of that can wait — at least for a day. Those worries were never intended for a day like today. A day so perfect as Saturday.

In Spanish, the word is Sabado — literally, “sabbath.” A rest. A break. A chance to catch our breath so that the next note we play can be strong and proud.

Today, we waste hours in the kitchen, preparing pancakes. We squander and slow down, sacrificing efficiency for delight. We turn the radio up and let the music blare. We watch movies until evening, never changing out of our pajamas. We go outside and do nothing but enjoy.

We do all this, not because we have to or need to, but because we want to. And we remember that it’s days like this that help us recharge and retreat and ready ourselves for another busy week. We do this, of course, by forgetting the fact and simply savoring the moment.

If music be the food of love, play on.

How are you spending your Saturday? Share in the comments.

*Photo credit: Ashley Goins

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • UUnfortunately, for now, Saturdays are a scheduled work day for me. But, I am moving towards a new path, a new schedule; less occupation and more family. I desire this Saturday you describe. We all need to “remember the Sabbath and to keep it holy.” Thank you for such a clear description of my goal!

    • You’re welcome. Just to be clear: Any day can be a “Saturday.” 🙂

      • For now, Monday is my make-shift Saturday. But with two children in school and a youth group needing “pastored” on Sundays and mid-week, for me, Saturday needs to be Saturday. And with His help I’ll get there. But thank you so much for the encouragement.

  • Jeff, I’m up and posted a piece of fiction on my blog, which kind of scares me because it’s totally different from everything else I write.  I’m going to go to my friend’s store, buy a Diet Mountain Dew and a paper in a few minutes.  I’m going to take my son to get a haircut.  Then we are headed to the Tennessee-Georgia State game.  We will stand in the rain and watch our team do the Vol Walk 2 hours and 15 minutes before game time.  We’ll share a stadium pizza and wash it down with a couple of drinks.  Nothing much, really.

    •  Larry, sounds like a great day!  The post on your blog today was great.

  • I’ll be hanging with my kids today around the house as we try to get some things done around the house before my wife returns from the Women of Faith conference in Philadelphia.

    • Love how laid back Saturdays can be. Enjoy it, jon.

  • Kandace

    We are going to an afternoon movie, (The Words) they are less expensive, like $100 instead of $200 and then we are going to my favorite italian restaurant.

    • Awesome, but… $100 for a movie?! Do you get to meet the actors or something?

  • I have to work my second job for a few hours today, but grateful to have the opportunity to make a little extra money. And then? A lovely walk with my sweet dog…leisurely, stopping to sniff everything he wants to…and dinner with my kiddos. Treasuring the ordinary today. 

  • Watching my 1yo and 3yo so mommy can sleep in. If I accomplish nothing else today, it’s already been a great success.

    Enjoying family. 🙂

  • We have a ministry at our church called Miracle Lounge where we pray for sick people. My wife and I do it once a month. It’s always an amazing time. This evening we’re having dinner with friends. Perfect Saturday.

  • Daphne Gray-Grant

    Your post reminded me of when my triplets were babies. For the first eight months my husband and I did NOTHING except feed and change babies and try to sleep. (Well, my husband also worked at his paying job, too.) It was a haze. But I can clearly remember sitting in a rocking chair, holding a (briefly quiet) baby  and dozing. Bliss!

    Now they’re 18 and starting college (while living at home, thank goodness!) We’re a family of five with everyone racing off in different directions every day. It’s a completely different life.

    • thanks, Daphne. we’re in this haze now.

  • Oh Jeff. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to take the liberty of slipping you into my Still Saturday linky-link today.

  • Darlene Steelman

    What an amazing photo! This morning I will be listening to music I shall write a review on.  The weather outside is amazing…. 85 and sunny. 
    Right now, sitting in silence with my 17 year old daughter while she anxiously awaits a letter in the snail mail box. Man, they grow up fast! 

    • thanks, Darlene. my wife took that when our son was three days old.

  • Susan Austin

    Love your Saturday essay!! Any chance you will allow me to post for my high school creative writing class to read for inspiration this coming Monday?  Thanks! (I won’t until I get your permission.)

  • Squander! What an excellent word. It plants in my mind the scene of the prodigal father squandering his riches on a wayward son returned home.

    My Saturday has started with reading in the quiet hours and  “Wrecked” was in my reading lineup this morning (shameless attempt to put a smile on blogger’s face).

    Plans ahead include spending an inordinate amount of time in the kitchen with Ellen preparing a new dish.

    • love it. for some reason, this snapshot feels like Christmas, like a holiday where we are allowed to let our priorities shift from the busy to the slow. squander away, Tom.

  • Genie Helm

    How wise of you to savor days off, whenever they come.  Just remember to honor as much of the “downtime” as you can as your son gets older and activities creep in.  

  • I usually spend my Saturdays reading or writing for longer periods of time than during the week. Sometimes watch a movie. Usually watch a soccer game in the evening. Not sure what my plans are today, except that I’ll be writing.
    Jeff, I love the picture of you and your son! So sweet. 🙂 Enjoy your Saturday!

    • sounds like a good day, Sarah. the best part about Saturday is not having to plan every minute (in my opinion).

  • Susan Engebrecht

    Reading your post in my jammies with a snoozing puggle by my side, then off to hang out with writers for lunch – that is after a shower and getting dressed. Life is good.

  • How blessed you are to have quiet time with your son, Jeff! I wish I could slow down, but I am a “Type A” and are recharged by getting things done today…but, that’s me.

    • I’m the same, but there’s not much else to do when you’re forced to get up at 6am with a crying baby. once I rocked him back to sleep, there was a moment of stillness, and this was it. i tried to relish it.

  • Leah

    At the wellness clinic for my dog’s annual check-up. 🙂

    • did that the other week. hope it goes well!

  • I love that photo Jeff. Beautiful. Saturday is about sleeping late. Which usually translates to my five year old waking me up and asking me if I am going to make him banana pancakes. He snuggles up beside me and says he is so happy I don’t have to go to work. In between resting and reading, I am in the kitchen cooking. Pilar’s Cafe opens and doesn’t close until the evening. Saturday is my favorite day.

    • thanks, Pilar. I’ll bet they serve up some delicious cuisine at the cafe. 🙂 (Oh and banana pancakes are my favorite).

  • What a nice message. Exactly how I feel about my Saturdays.

  • bradblackman

    3-yo is playing games on the Wii, wife is out of town, 2-yo is at my mom’s, and I JUST put the 4-mo in the swing. Time for me to take a shower!

  • ndcerda

    Beautiful. Great reminder to shed the feeling of guilt for lack of “go”.

    • yep. i need a day to do that. some saturdays are more successful than others.

  • Mae Lorette

    That is beautifully stated. I love it. I feel the same way, two full days of checking in with myself and gliding through the beauties that life brings.

  • Jeff, very nice piece about being in the now (and that is a sweet shot of you with your little lad). Sometimes new-parent posts slip too deeply into the poopy diapers/spit-up/I’m exhausted realm, which, however true, don’t offer that much revelation. Thanks for the nice perspective.

    And if you want a very different angle on parenting issues, how ’bout this one from yesterday’s NYT: 


    • My pleasure, Tom. Honestly, I feel like parenting for us is mostly scheduling around our son’s sleep and eat times. Sure, there’s poop, but it’s not how we spend the majority of our time. It seems God gave him to us as a reminder to slow down.

  • Sharon O

    That picture is just adorable of you and your little son. LOVE it and love how you are slowing down to enjoy the moments.

    • thanks, Sharon. trying… sometimes, it happens against my will. :-/

  • Jeannie Miernik

    IT’S SABADO! For me, it’s a good day for dancing with my toddler in sparkly tutus, reading, and dressing up for a friend’s wedding. Cuddling and playing with my baby, then dumping her at Grandma’s so I can party like an adult! Today is a good Saturday.
     Your baby boy is beautiful.

  • Carla

     Great essay! I love Saturday too.

  • One of these days … ONE of these days I look forward to adding to our little family! Thanks for making it sound awesome, Jeff. 


  • Christopher Taylor

    Monyana , (a time in the  future)   I remember the first time a boss of mine used the term when I asked him when a report was due.  He said, “Monyana, do you  know what that means?”   I replied, “Tomorrow?!” and he laughed and said, “Not Today!”  So with not today in my mind, I am relaxing also.  No worries about tomorrow or yesterday.  Today is the day the Lord has made, be glad and rejoice in it…  Oh, yes, I’m rejoicing.  Made a wonderful egg, spinach, potato, hot chile mix in a pan and put swiss cheese on a heated nanbread with hummus.  Thank-you Lord for filling my tummy.  Will do a little reading and then get my (thank-you,  Jeff)  my writing on…  

    I might even wonder about my Huskies playing LSU today, or the OSU pokes at Arizona, but won’t lose my rejoicing today…

    Thank-full for the family.

  • erind90

    Writing 🙂  And homework 🙁

    • so does it even out to 😐 ? 

      • erind90

         Haha, I suppose it does…

  • Still in my pj’s and sipping coffee while reading your essay!  Saturdays…priceless!

  • Terry Fenwick

    I really love your writing – so easy to read – and I, at 80, thank you for that.  This one was just a very special one and I am sending it to our sons – 7 of them.  Love to you and keep writing. I have a blog and would love to share it but it is long and . . . you are just great. 

  • Worked in the morning. Xbox & dog walking in the afternoon and then decisions, decisions for the evening – stay in and watch the new series of Dr Who OR meet friends and dance to some Northern Soul & Ska – hmmmm.

  • Deborah

    Oh the beauty of a Friday night packed with gatherings of friends and enjoying them until late. And because we know the next day is Saturday, you enjoy the quiet of the after-party in the stillness of night, when children are put to bed. Saturday, today, our whole family slept in. I am in my pajamas as I write this. My husband is making a wallet out of gaffer tape while my daughter sits beside him singing. My oldest son is washing out the large drink cooler with the outside hose. And my younger son is lounging on the couch. Ah! You have to model rest on a Saturday. You have to seize the leisure of this day and make it your own. Jeff, I loved your post. Yep, the checkbook can wait! :))

  • Don Crane

    Thank you so much for touching our hearts. It resonated in this day as I sit with our four children…one reading a book out loud, one playing with his trains, one pushing his cart around the kitchen, and the littlest one sleeping soundly in the blue chair….it is a good day. Being a dad is the greatest job that God ever created. That must be why God loves it so much.

  • My Saturday morning was incredibly lazy… The afternoon will be spent
    trying to write a memoir essay for my creative nonfiction writing class
    and wishing that I was a better writer… If I could just come up with a
    starting point I think the words would come!

  • So far so good. Woke up from storms last night to *gorgeous* blue skies and white fluffy clouds. About 10 degrees cooler, enough to open up all the windows. Fall is coming soon and I love it!

    My 9yo daughter and I made our way to my favorite coffee house for breakfast and then we stopped by the library, a favorite place for us both. We’ll head up to the city park this afternoon with one of her friends and it’ll be good times. 

  • Joan

    Thanks Jeff, I needed that reminder to slow down and “smell the roses.” And love the photo!

  • Really nice Saturday morning read. Thanks Jeff! (As I sip on my cold coffee too.)

  • DeborahLynn27

    I love that you totally give honor to Sabbath REST and how you do it!!!  Wow !!!  And how your son will grow up with that engrained in his experience.  Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy … so much to do with rest and rejuvenation … the SACRED nature of REST ….  Beautifully done … beautifully spoken … well … written 🙂

    Blessings …..

  • Great reminder, Jeff.  It’s so easy to let unfinished work creep into Saturday, feeling like I’ll be a little further ahead on Monday if I get a few extra check marks today.  But that means I don’t get the refreshment and restoration I need to jump into a new week.  Thanks for the reminder of the need for Sabbath . . . and why it’s important!

  • Allyhawkins

    Usually Saturday on leisurely days, especially since I stepped down from the entertainment column just about a year ago.  I sleep until 9 ish, have my three cups of coffee and decide what time my 10yr old will go over to Nana’ to spend the night.
    This morning, however, E had her first soccer game at 9, so we got up at 7.  So things were a little rushed, I was a bit cranky, but seeing her have so much fun playing was a good moment. It was nice too to get home at 10  30 and still have the whole day ahead of us. I always get less done on the weekends than I had planned, but I don’t stress over it. Saturdays are a time to just be.

  • Kellywiggains

    Great post. We made pancakes this morning, too. Our family tradition. Then, I packed up the kids to take advantage of a beautiful cool day. We played at the park and then threw rocks at the lake, getting wet and muddy and gross. It’s been great.

  • essay

    I went outside, just to enjoy the autumn weather in our normally summer month, and found the invasion from the recently deceased neighbor’s yard. I had the time. I took the time. Four hours later the invading plants were bagged and in the trash can. I’m tired. It’s all good.

  • Good story!
    I’ve been trying to put together a functional computer from various old one’s, so we’ll have at least two working…cooked breakfast…went out to work and tended to my little baby plants.

    Now, it’s off to the beach with the whitest sands in the world.  Well, almost. They were rated #2 at the last testing;-)) Then we’ll gaze into those emerald ‘green as glass’ waters, and catch some waves, if the surf’s up.

    We squander and slow down, sacrificing efficiency for delight. Love it!

  • Matt Lapp

    Ran half marathon this morning , now sitting with my feet up getting ready to watch blue like jazz tonite :).

  • Most Saturdays my idea of a good time is doing nothing.  Today finished music prep for Sunday worship, vacuumed, made my honey a veggie omelet. Now watching the US Open and reading blogs. Tonight – maybe visit the Greek Festival.

  • susie klein

    My Saturday today consisted of sleeping in, letting the dog drag me around the block, then working on a book review and work on another freelance writing project. Actually most of my days look like this because I work at home.
    I need to set a day for relaxing without thinking about work, probably would be a good idea.

  • Debbie Petras

    I always get up early but since it is Saturday I actually went back to bed for a nap after lunch.  It felt so good.  The rest of the day is spent cleaning, laundry and catching up on my favorite blog reading.

  • Sallyannk

    Thank you for sharing your Saturday story….. Such joy portrayed! I listened to my 26yr old daughter wrestling with angst over lost and found hopes and dreams until emergent meanings and laughter washed away the tears..

  • Jose Soto

    I spent my Saturday moving out! New house, new stories, new experiences to write about 🙂 I just took a well deserved break and read your post. Loved it! Reminds me of when my “sabados” were like that. Thanks for sharing:)

  • I love this! I’m spending my sábado much like you described: relaxing and doing nothing in a rush. Sure, I did go for a walk, (try to) balance the checkbook, and wash some clothes but I also read some extra chapters, didn’t turn the computer on until 5pm, and spent some quality time with my fictional characters. I haven’t spoken to a real person today and the introvert in me is perfectly ok with that.

    I love the photo in this post, too. I have a similar one from last Christmas borrowing my cousin’s son. Everyone kept thanking me for taking care of him during the festivities. Really, it was a great excuse to be a recluse and dive into those new books I’d gotten as gifts.


  • Aloha e Jeff!  A great essay–as I read it, I heard your words like a song.  Mahalo for that.  Spending the day being inspired by people’s words and ideas and thoughts and creativity and drinking in the blessings of it all.

  • Sylvia

    I work as a caregiver companion on Saturdays. When my children were younger-it was dance class, or soccer and sleepovers. Enjoy your moments with the baby-whatever day of the week. Now, being a first time grandparent-I try to spend as much time with Baby Jack who lives three and a half hours away.

  • Carmenwilkes

    Hi Jeff,
    I am working on being in the moment and stopping when my children are talking to me. My children range from 27 to almost 12. I like the statement that we need to rest so the next note we play can be strong and proud

  • Savor every Saturday that you have reserved for this kind of stillness, this state of slowing. Life creeps in sometimes, so you may have to fight for it later, when soccer matches or football games might compete with pancakes. And those are fun and relaxed in their own way–at least at the community rec league where my kids play. We take snacks and sit on bleachers and cheer on the kids. That was our Saturday morning, and it was lovely, too.

    Then I came home and graded papers for a class I teach on Tuesdays. It’s nice, but takes time and attention. Your Saturday sounded far more idyllic.

  • Beautiful photo.  I am envious.  My babies are 13, 11, 8, and 5.  Our Saturday was filled with driving.  Literally all day long driving from one soccer game to the next.  I so long for the slow, nothing Saturdays as my brain is fried and I am no where near rested.  The irony is I’m sure that when that slow Saturday comes around in 20 years, I’m sure I’ll long for the chaotic ones filled with my noisy kids.  

  • Kurt Swann

    Jeff, Great photo!  I am a big fan of “moments.”  This morning I went skydiving and on one jump I turned over on my back in free fall.  I looked straight up and watched the plane  as more skydivers were jumping out.  The plane and other jumpers seemed like they were suspended in the sky.  An amazing “moment” although in the big scheme of life sleeping babies always win out 🙂 Kurt

  • So I get to read this at 10pm after a hectic-ish Saturday..oh well, there is tomorrow 🙂

    Awesome reminder.

  • Sounds like you had a good day! I spent the day with my 14 month old daughter. We went for breakfast and than a walk at the mall (because it was raining). When she napped, I napped and when Mom got home we went out for dinner. Great day with the fam!

  • Keith Dugger

    ‘Lord of the Rings’ with my eldest…thinking about my story and those I’m called to love and impact.

  • Deb Van Zelfden

    Jeff,  I love the way you write because it’s just like you are talking with each person that reads your work. It’s personal, slice of life and full of thought. This piece was beautiful as is the picture of you and your son.

    Our Saturdays and Sundays are very laid back. My husband is retired and I hope to be in about a year. So, no little ones around..except the 4 legged one. She’s asleep and her feet are moving so she off chasing something, perhaps a rabbit. 😉 My husband and I stay totally in each other’s presence during the weekend. After almost 30 years of marriage we’re quite content watching movies or just napping the afternoon away. We go out to breakfast and sometimes out to lunch. Sometimes we go to the mall and sometimes just go walk in a park. Weekends are my favorite time with my favorite person.

  • A true picture of a weekend! I usually enjoy doing things that I can’t do during weekdays, like reading, preparing my home assignments regarding my work, cooking, visiting family and friends…it all really provides me with extra fuel to be energetic during the whole working period.

  • Frank

    Your saturdays are my sundays. This morning watched my 6yo make her new toys from Lego as my 7month old is playing in his chair. Savour the moment. Mixtape called Perfect Sunday from a DJ friend in the background. Making breakfast as my wife sleeps late. Knowing tonight and tomorrow will be frantic because I’m the organizer of an event with 300+ students. Today is nothing-day. Tomorrow is tomorrow.

  • Lori K

    Not just saying this, since I am reading this on Sunday. But I spent my Saturday cleaning house in the morning and curled up on the couch reading Wrecked. To me a perfect day!

  • Gracemarshall

    Yesterday, my grandson and I went fishing. He caught three. Me, none. It was a wonderful day with bright sunshine and a beautiful warm breeze.  Too often he and I are caught up in the busy-ness of our lives. It was marvelous to just be.

  • Machetedontext

    Lovely.  I do’t use that word much; I’m a noir writer a lot of the time, tough guy talk outa the side of the mouth, you know.   But that was lovely. 

  • Reading your Saturday post on Sunday. Yesterday, I taxied kids, worked in the yard, read, lounged, prepared meals. Today, I’m recovering from a Nyquil induced hangover, still in my pj’s, willing myself to shower.  

  • Great piece my friend… I too enjoy the weekends to have quiet time with the family.

    I wonder though… how much of the busyness is not because we can’t construct our work lives to be less busy but because there is a mismanaged expectation that during the week we need to be “on” 24/7?I struggle with but wonder, can’t we have some of this simplicity during the week as well?

    • Excellent challenge, Stu. I receive it.

  • This is my favorite thing I’ve read of yours. And I think I’ve read all (almost) of the stuff you offer here for several months. I come back because you’re consistent and I love your voice. But this, well…. 🙂

  • I love this post..especially since Saturday IS my Sabbath. 😉

  • Thanks for writing this reminder to rest, Jeff. I plan to stub to it on Wednesday from The High Calling, sharing your Saturdays with our readers!

  • Anna Rita

    Saturday is beautiful only because is Saturday and I don’t have to work.
    Usually on Saturday I draw or write. This Saturday I made a cake.

  • SewFiction

    Wow this was thought evoking. TGIF. Saturday is long walk in the sunshine day. Provided that it’s sunny. The rest of the day goes from there. =)