Book Review:: The Fringe Hours

I’ll admit it. I chose to read this book because I really wanted some more time for myself.

As a mom of four, that’s practically a pipe dream. I mean, what mom truly has time to herself? Between the laundry and the cooking and the potty training accidents and the working and laundry and the requests for help with homework (did I mention laundry?), some days feel like I either need more hours or more me.

As it turns out, I really do have more time than I thought.

Jessica Turner’s book, The Fringe Hours, is a helpful tool to getting your priorities back on track. She tackles finding and maintaining balance, ridding yourself of guilt and comparison, ridding yourself of time wasters (or at least managing them) and learning to embrace the small pockets of time, a.k.a. the fringe hours, to invest in your own self-care.

I struggle a lot with the whole concept of investing in me. I feel rather selfish about it – I mean, I’m already pretty self-centered, is it even possible to think of myself more?

But as I continued to read about the value of making time for the things we love to do, I realized it wasn’t a selfish concept at all. Truly, when we take the time to do things we love to do, for however short a time, we finish feeling refreshed and ready to face that never dwindling pile of laundry with new energy.

The Fringe Hours has made me really analyze how I use those small moments in my day – and I was surprised by how many I actually have. It’s made me think about the things I do and whether they are life-giving or life-taking. And more importantly, in doing so I am able to begin to look at the have-to’s as things I get to do, because I am more able to be thankful for the mundane again.

I was provided with a free, digital copy of The Fringe Hours from Revell Publishers for my honest review. You can also join the (in)courage Bloom book club to check out what other readers are saying about this book.

On refreshing

I mentioned a few days ago I am currently reading the book, The Fringe Hours.

I’ll admit, at first I was mildly skeptical. It just seem so selfish of me to try and carve out more time for just me. I’m already pretty good at that.

But as I keep reading, I’m beginning to understand the heart of what she is saying. In order to have more to pour out on others, or even just enough, we have to be taking care of ourselves, spiritually, physically, and mentally.

So here’s the thing. I’m usually pretty good at carving out quiet time first thing in the morning for just me and God. And I’m usually pretty good at taking care of myself – you know eating properly and exercising (although I could probably eat a little less chocolate. Just keeping it real!).

But when it comes to how I spend the rest of my down time, I’ve realized that the things I am doing are more draining than life-giving.

I love to craft. I really do. A few months ago, I grabbed my hot glue gun, some sticks, and a couple of old votive holders and made the cutest little rustic candle holders ever to grace my piano top. It took me maybe a half an hour, but it rejuvenated me for days. I still smile when I look at them.

As a rule, however, I tend to spend my extra moments wasting time online, or playing the most annoying solitaire game on my iPad (I say annoying now because I am stuck on a level. When I’m winning, it’s not so annoying). Too much of this leaves me feeling drained and empty and unable to cope with daily stresses. Like a three year old melting down because yes, his big brother really does have to go to school and can’t stay home and play trains.

It’s causing me to step back and really evaluate how I am using my fringe hours. I usually avoid dragging out my scrapbook albums or my knitting or the book I am reading because I dread the interruptions, or I feel like I won’t get enough done to feel like I’ve accomplished something.

But I think I need to do just that. Not to selfishly wile away hours while neglecting my family or leaving chores undone. But to spend even just a few moments refreshing my spirit in ways that are meaningful to me.

I forget that sometimes those little things can be every bit as spiritual, because God created us with the desire to do them.

On #mothergood

I’ve been thinking some more on this whole concept of mothergood. So much so, I want to declare it a movement. Even if it’s just me moving.

When I think about what it means to mothergood, it’s more than just being supermom. In fact, it’s NOT being supermom at all. It’s not about having the perfect home or perfect kids. Rather, it is about finding joy in being a mom, about serving our families in the way God has equipped us to without worrying about what others are doing and if we measure up to those standards, about raising our kids to be followers and lovers of Jesus.

If I could, I’d take all the books and articles and pins that make us moms feel less than, that make us feel like we are failing because we aren’t doing all those things someone else says we should do, and I would toss them out with last week’s leftovers that no one wanted even when they were fresh. I’m tired of striving to do, when God has called us to be.

Be women who love Him with all our hearts and souls and minds. And when we don’t, be women who come to Him with repentance.

Be mothers who love our kids with the kind of love He offers us – unconditional, just, true. The kind of love that offers itself even in moments of incredible trial, that drives us to our knees in prayer and praise when we really just want to give up.

Be women less concerned with what the world tells us and more with what God tells us. Women with eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, the One who died while we were still sinners because of His great love for us.

We mothergood when we follow the One who is good. When we say no to the joy stealers and yes to the Joy-Giver.

Our kids won’t be perfect, but then neither will we. But the glory we will bring Him will cover over our failings like nothing else.

I want to mothergood.

Embrace The Little Moments

I woke up this morning dreading the fact I had to take the girls to the orthodontist today. Sometimes my husband can manage it, but today the task fell to me. It’s not a horrible place, this orthodontist office, but they did manage to suck thousands of dollars out of our bank account in the blink of an eye and I have yet to recover.

Also, I was feeling lazy. It’s a beautiful, sunny day. The lawn should be cut.  I need to ice our 15 year old’s cake for her belated party tomorrow. The floor has too many sticky spots to be ignored anymore. And my Amazon wish list is begging me to lighten its load. So a half hour drive to the city for a fifteen minute appointment and another half hour drive home really didn’t sound fun.

But you know what? It ended up being fun. My girls filled me in on all their little details that usually get left unspoken in the noisy chaos that is our home. I forgot what street the office was on and we laughed as we half ran, half walked the three blocks I parked too far. And because I accidentally parked on the same block Starbucks is on, of course we stopped in on our way back to the van. Who am I to ignore the signs pointing to more coffee?

The morning reminded me that in our quest to be more intentional as moms and women in general, it’s so important to be intentional in stopping and enjoying the little moments. I’m so tempted to try and do things bigger and better – as I think about the upcoming summer holidays, I wish we could do a big trip or big activities, but the reality is we don’t have the resources to do so. These little moments, the ones with smoothies and giggles and extra city blocks, these are the ones that we’ll treasure the most.

These are the ones I want to embrace today.