I said yes to a little green house with a big garden and two rows of fruit trees. It’s like a mansion if your standard were teeny tiny houses. There’s a clothesline here, and the breeze beneath my shade trees is a gentle one. We’ve been waiting for a gentle time. We’ve been waiting for our own space and for silence. We just didn’t know how to find it until I learned how many nos it takes to make a yes.

I said yes to quiet. The drive into town is longer than I’m used to. I drive in silence. I come home and tell the boys to read. I sit beneath the ceiling fan or on the patio. I reach for my cell phone and jerk my hand back quickly. I sit and watch. Doves blow up from the harvested corn. The pears are beginning to fall.

These are little things that remind me that I am small: the silence and then the burst of insanely loud laughter and wrestling, a dish-stacked kitchen with no dishwasher, a hydrangea with heavy laid-down heads, four hall drawers to fit what used to go in an entire room. My best yes has taken at least a thousand nos. Only half my clothes fit in the closet. Half is all I needed. When half was all I had, it was all I wanted.

When we said yes to scaling, slowing, and quieting down, it wasn’t really saying yes to less work. We said yes to better work. I said yes to picking squash and researching how to harvest hazelnuts. These are things I love. I said yes to the work of closeness, the children always within the reach of a whisper.

These are little things we’ll look back and remember. I said yes to living small. I said yes to what I call a beautiful life, and it surprises me. Work boots and scrub-gloves on, I can hear God in this place.

What is your best yes?

This week if you buy a copy of Lysa Terkerust’s The Best Yes, she’s giving every dime that would normally come to her as an author to a wonderful organization called 99 Balloons. You can learn more about the campaign here, or head to DaySpring to purchase your book now {psst…buy two or more copies and use code BLOOMBOOK at checkout for FREE shipping!}.

  • Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    My best “yes” was to live simply within our means (on one person’s salary) so that I could stay at home and raise my children. I know this is not an option for many, but I said no to newer cars, bigger house, more stuff in order to have days when my children and I would pull up our lawn chairs (theirs pint-sized) to the end of our driveway in order to gaze at the clouds, talk and watch the world go by. These are memories I can’t buy back. Thanks for an inspiring post!

    • Polly

      yes.. sounds like our family totally.. more time with the kids, one parent working and I just said no to the friends thought I was nuts, but why do we need more and more to be happy ? I don’t think there was all this stuff in the garden of Eden where we were suppose to be happy in the beginning….its all clutter and doesn’t bring real happiness but frustration in the end. heres to living more simple and enjoying the real life.

  • Rachel

    Just watched the Notable documentary…my world has been wrecked. Absolutely wrecked.
    As the Auntie to my autistic nephew-of whom I helped raise til he was 8-, I can appreciate the very real struggle of “disability”. Unfortunately, I can honestly say that I haven’t EVER thought about raising a special needs child in a foreign country. My heart is broken over the short sightedness & pettiness of my human nature. To say I have had a paradigm shift, an epiphany, is an understatement. I don’t know what all will come from this, but I know I will do my best to raise awareness for these kids & their families. I can do something. And I will. Even if it’s just for one. I will.
    Thank you so much for what YOU are doing Lysa Terkheurst.

  • Kelly @ Love Well

    This is for your flourishing, I just know it.

    Love this and love you.

  • Kate Carman

    Thanks for sharing your little bit of peace with us and the reminder that when we say the best yes, the nos that come with seem less of a big deal!

  • Allison

    Rachel, you have put to words and incredible reality. As a mom of a 6 yr old beautiful boy with autism, I admire your strength and determination. May He continue to bless you in your journey.

  • Lysa TerKeurst

    I love this quote… “my Best Yes has taken at least a thousand nos.” So, so true. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post today, Amber. Blessings… Lysa

  • Kathy @ In Quiet Places

    I am not sure what my best yes is right now, although God is stirring something in my heart and I am paying attention. I know some nos I need to follow through on, and I wish they were easier. I can have peace in my heart about saying no – until I have to say it the person who is wanting me to say yes!

    I don’t think your life sounds small at all, it sounds full of many wonderful blessings!

    • Babs

      Been there, still here! That’s where you’ll learn to say no with grace, with tenderness, and maybe with an explanation if needed. Blessings to you. Babs

  • Linda

    It sounds exactly right Amber.

  • Brandi Luiz

    Thank you!

  • Babs

    We’d no tv for the first several years of our marriage, inn the ’70’s, so my late husband and I, and our two children experienced much togetherness. The world we’d lived in was/is ‘ending’, so we didn’t have a phone in any bedroom, saying yes to night-time peace, Nor answer the phone during meals. Now, when my family visits me, they switch off their cell phones – if we (can be 8 of us) are eating together, saying yes, to ‘just us’. Funnily enough, when I discovered the no word, my husband was greatly taken aback. It took a little longer to find the yes concept then word, hidden behind the no-s. I thoroughly enjoy how you’ve written this ‘blog’ or ‘post’ – not sure of the right word – lol. Thank you.

  • Brandee Shafer

    I’m so happy for you, Amber.

    My best yes was Jesus, but right on the heels of that my husband, and his name was first in my mind.

  • Beth Williams


    I am right there with you on this. My best yes would be to find a less-stressful job and start enjoying life again. Wouldn’t mind having a garden, just taking life slowly day by day and soaking in all the goodness God gives us!

    I have never been one who wanted a lot of stuff. Now later in life I find myself giving away things I have & don’t need to help others.

    My best Yes is time with Jesus my hubby family and friends!

    Blessings :) :’)