I am laughing as I recall my Joyful friend and I talking so many years ago about the books we had in stacks beside our beds.
“They read like the self-help shelves at the bookstore.”
Yeah. They did.
You know those books where an author proclaims they can tell you how to become a better person in 5 days or how to lose 25 pounds in a month or how to parent the perfect child……by a week from Saturday, just in time for the family picnic?
Been there, started to read that, rarely finished a single one of them.
The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Turner
I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the launch team for this book. Which means I got a copy (ooohhhh, a new book–y’all know how much I love books!) of the book in advance back in January. I was excited to read it and share my thoughts.
So here goes.
First of all, I haven’t been reading it alone.
This has been my reading companion.
I have been underlining and starring all through this book. (And toss in a few “Yes!” and “Amen”‘s for good measure.) This is not your ordinary “expert tells all the have nots how to get it” book. This is like a conversation with your friend. She laughs, she confesses, she shares, and she cares. I don’t know how she does it, but in this book, as I’ve been reading, I had this sense that she really, truly cares about me and how I carve out time for me. To be. Me.
Much like a dear friend would.
She’s also not just sharing her own stories. Ms. Turner surveyed over 2000 women from all 50 states and over 30 countries around the world. She asked questions and she took time to hear their stories, many of which are shared in the book.
And that’s why this book won’t leave my shelves. Because of the message I got as I read page after page about women, like me, who crave some time to express themselves but feel guilty taking away that time from the family.
The message that I am not alone.
As I read story after story, I kept thinking, “Me too.” “I hear you.” “Oh my land, I thought I was the only one.”
Have you ever wondered if you were the only one who felt the way you did and then found out you weren’t? That feeling. That grace. This book is full of it.
In one chapter, she remembers reading under the covers with a flashlight as a child–oh the joy of that memory for me! And when Ms. Turner admits to leaving supper dishes in the sink until the next morning, I laughed with gratitude. When she talked about her fabric “stash,” I knew we could be sisterfriends for life. I live that. (well, okay, with yarn instead of fabric, but still)
Here are just a few of the quotes from the book that resonated with me:
“Just because something is a good thing doesn’t mean it is good for this moment in your life.” Chapter on Pursuing Balance
“In the end, I just had to let it go and not worry about the state of my home. She knew I was on a book deadline, and she wasn’t coming to see my house–she was coming to see me. Relationships are the currency that matters, not the conditions of our homes.” Chapter on Letting Go of Self-Imposed Pressures (oh AMEN!)
“Self-care needs to be included in what you should be doing. It is not a privilege. It is a necessity…..Choosing yourself is not wrong.” Chapter on Eliminating Guilt and Comparison
“…..I have learned that while I sometimes regret saying yes, I never regret saying no.” Chapter on Prioritizing Your Activities
“Yes is so often the expected response that a no can be difficult to both give and receive. We get emails asking for volunteers, and if the slots don’t fill up fast enough, more emails come pressuring us to respond because not enough people have signed up. If we still don’t volunteer to help, we’re looked at as ‘uncommitted……’ Women need to be kinder to themselves and one another…..What I am telling you is that if someone says they cannot help, do not judge her. Instead, ask if you can help her. Ask if she needs anything. Or just say, ‘It’s really great that you know your limits and said no. I respect that.’ And mean it.” Chapter on Prioritizing Your Activities
“Maybe we don’t need so many apps.” Chapter on Using Your Time Efficiently
“Asking for help can feel very vulnerable. I sometimes feel like if I ask for help, I am not being a good wife. This is a lie. Who I am as a wife is not defined by whether I can get all the laundry done.” Chapter on Embracing Help
“Sometimes we have to let go of self-imposed have-tos and settle for good enough.” Chapter on Overcoming Obstacles
“You can feed your passions by running a hundred miles or sewing a dozen dresses, but if you don’t take time to be still and rest, you will eventually suffer.” Chapter on Finding Rest
Something tells me she might need a nap sometimes too.
We all do really, just as we all need to read this book. It is empowering and encouraging. The list of gracious ways to say no presented in Chapter 7 makes it worth the time spent reading it all by itself. I think one of my favorite “guides” for knowing when to say no to was also in that chapter. Ms. Turner shared the story of Mandy, who said “she says no to things that will make her yell at her kids.”
That right there. My new rule of thumb. We’ll all be better off, really, to be rushing to the car and to the “next” thing on the agenda a little less often I think.
This book is one I will thumb back through a lot. For the funny stories, for the wisdom, for that list in Chapter 7 when I get asked to do something. 🙂 I want all of the folks I care about to read this book. And be encouraged. And to chase their passions. To find what feeds their souls.
While I can’t send everyone a copy of this book, I am going to share a copy with one of you. The book is being released today, February 17. You can enter by sharing a dream that you’d like to pursue or one that you are making happen in the comment thread here or on the post on the I Might Need a Nap Facebook page. Be sure to like the page and sign up to follow the blog, so you won’t miss anything. One winner will be randomly selected from all entries. Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. EST on February 18.
If you are eager to get your own copy or twelve, you can head over to http://www.fringehours.com or any of the major booksellers to order now. You can read the first chapter free on the website. There are other resources also available.
Tonight I am thankful for the opportunity to read this book. I am thankful for the woman who wrote it and for the women who were brave enough to share their stories too. Most of all, I am thankful for being reminded of the grace we can and should offer each other, encouraging and empowering each of us to be joyful and better at living and sharing the journey with peace-filled hearts.
Wishing you all the surprise of finding some Fringe Hours in your week.
Love to all.