i paint i write

Live boldly, laugh and make art

Do you need to practice saying, “No?”

I have to practice saying NO.

My plate is full. I have too many things to do. There are the regular household chores. You know the routine: laundry, folding, cooking, dishes, pots to wash, teeth to brush, teeth to floss, rugs to vacuum, toilets to clean, cat barf to clean up, and seven litter boxes to empty. I need to practice saying no.

On top of all of my regular chores, I have added:  Being the Wicked Witch of the West for the play, Dorothy Meets Alice, writing a book, writing every day for TwoWritingTeachers, month-long challenge, Being the typist for my cat on his blog, the cat who writes, being a contributor to Splickety Blog, sewing black lines on costumes for the play and  setting up a new business selling my paintings.

I realized I needed to practice saying no after I read an article by Stacey Shubitz, “It’s okay to say no.

I will practice now.

“Would you like to make three dozen cookies for the next event?”


“Would you like to start a ministry for homeless cats?”


“Would you like to build my fence for me?”


Okay, I practiced saying no.

My biggest problem is keeping my mouth shut.

I offered to sew the stripes on the costumes. I wanted to be in the play. I wanted to be a regular contributor to an on-line magazine’s blog.

I  have to realize it is not my responsibility to solve everyone else’s problem. Just because I know how to build a fence doesn’t mean  I  have to build all of my friends fences. Just because I know how to sew, doesn’t mean I have to offer to sew clothes for all the children who live on my street.

I need to know where I end, and someone else begins. 

I need boundaries

Time to pull out my copy of  Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life , by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I will read it after I eat my breakfast, clean the seven litter boxes, shower, put away the folded laundry, drive my daughter to school, go see the printer about copies of my paintings, buy the black fabric, sew on the black lines on my costume, and do my bible study for tonight.

I need a bigger plate, or maybe I just need to say no.

Do you need to practice saying no?

Please let me know in the comments.

Disclosure:The book Boundaries is an affiliate link. It won’t cost you any more money if you bought it here. The few pennies Amazon pays me, helps to pay for kitty litter.


I am participating in the March Slice of Life Writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Click on the button to read other stories. If you want to, that is. Please feel free to say no.  🙂

The Slice of Life March writing challenge.

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Pingback: Sometimes you need to say, “Yes,” and change a dirty diaper.()

  • William Shatner tells us to always say yes, because that’s the only way to open the doors of opportunity and connection. Well, yes. Sometimes. It’s tough to discern when “yes” is a good idea and when “no” is a way better idea. Which obligations are real, and which are self-created illusions? Which “no”s shut us off from others and opportunity?

    I have questions, but no answers.

    Very nice to read your writing again.

    • Thank you Paul. Thank you for the suggestion to say yes. I forgot that yes is part of the equation. I just wanted to say “no” to everything. I am saying yes more and learning when to say no.

  • Sometimes I want to say no to the litter box… but that’s impossible!

    Glad you say yes to writng and yes to typing for Pooh. I enjoy knowing you two so much!

  • When you figure out how to say ‘no’ to a litter box, let me know. Your writing is so fresh and witty. Like Linda, I love that line: “I need to know where I end and someone else begins.” It’s harder for some than others. I’m not surprised it doesn’t come easily to you.

    • pamelahodges

      Thank you Mardie.

  • Julie

    Saying NO still is unbelievably difficult to do but I have finally hit the stage in life where I can do it and not look back with regrets. I find it quite empowering in fact. So – here’s to NO! Thanks for the humor today.

  • Nanc

    I too was impacted by the saying NO story. I like that you practiced it with Sharpies too. I sent to the story to 2 of my friends, but I need to send it to me. I guess I kinda practiced it when my daughter sent me this blog page and said I needed to stich this quiet book. Why would I want to have a book that is quiet? She always sends me the the things that she really wants to do. I really would like to see you in a play, in fact, I would say yes to that too! xo

  • elsie

    Pamela, you have such a wit and style in your writing. I always find your thoughts entertaining. I was a little worried you were saying no to the litter box, but relieved to read your comment to Linda. I don’t have a problem saying no, except when the police call asking for a donation. Then it is hard to say no.
    PS: I’ve been buying strawberries for the last few weeks. The birds have been pecking away at the planter, and it’s too cold to walk right now.

  • Most of the time, my problem with saying “no” is to myself. Saying “no” to others isn’t so much of a problem. I look at life like a buffet, taking a little of this and a little of that. The next thing I know my plate is full of my own interests. Far too many, I might say. I’m trying to learn how to scale back. I tend to be a jack of all trades and master of none.

  • Pinkie Up

    I say YES to saying no! It IS important to carefully consider what is worth our while. Well said and good point!


  • writekimwrite

    Pamela you know how I love your honest writing. I want you to be able to say “No” except when it come to the encouraging words you write to me! ( Maybe that is selfish:). I got too good at saying no and now need to practice embracing YES!

    • pamelahodges

      Kim, I always have to time to encourage you. I hope you said yes, to writing every day in March.

  • Pamela, I have to say, sorry for your plight, but you also made me chuckle all the way through. I love this: ” need to know where I end, and someone else begins.” Exactly right. And I wonder which of the litter boxes you will say no to? I think you may need to hide a few of your many talents! Thanks for the book idea!

    • pamelahodges

      You are very welcome Linda. I said yes to all seven litter boxes, and I said no to vacuuming.