Fringe Hours

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.

Until now.

Fringe Hours

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.

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My reading companion–so many thoughts have resonated with me that I’ve been underlining and starring all over the place.

 

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

relationships currency

“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.

Growing Up With Grease

Grease has been on my brain today.  No, not the movie.  Or the song.

In cleaning things out from Blackberry Flats, the homeplace, I wound up with two bars of Lava soap still unopened.  They were my Daddy’s.  When I asked Aub to help me by putting it away in my bathroom, she asked, “What is this stuff anyway?”

Lava soap and memories of my Daddy

Lava soap and memories of my Daddy

Lava soap.  Only the best go to soap EVER for folks who worked around cars and grease.  Well until they put Gojo on the market.  I remember Daddy keeping some of that out in his building and using it after working on one or another of the cars that lived in his yard.  But before that, Lava–the green stuff.  Lava soap reminds me of days working outside around my Daddy.  Of getting grease or pine tar off my hands.  Lava soap reminds me of Daddy.  Period.

So I now have two bars.  I don’t find myself with car grease and the like on my hands much anymore, but I will find a reason to use this soap.  Until then, I’ll keep it tucked away.  For just such an occasion.  And to keep a bit of Daddy close by.

As if I needed soap for that.

This evening I was reading a post by my scarf-maker friend called, “What’s Your Excuse?”  We’ve both been thinking about what we tell ourselves that gets in the way of us working towards our dreams.  Yes.  That.  Things like I say–“I don’t have enough time.”  “I wouldn’t be any good anyway.”  “I don’t have what it takes.”

Bull.

Yes, that’s right.  I said it.

I’m calling myself out.

My parents not only taught me what could wash away the grease but also what the best kind of grease is and what it is capable of.

Elbow grease.

My folks led by example, and they showed us that if you put your mind to it and put some elbow grease behind it, you can get things done.

I remember when it was my turn to wash the dishes after supper.  One of us girls would clear, one would rinse and load, and one would do the dishes that had to be washed by hand.  Or something like that.  I can remember when Mama came back through and handed me a pot that I’d given a half-hearted scrubbing to.  I whined that it was just too hard.

“Grab that sponge and give it some elbow grease.  It will come clean.  You can do this.”

And she was always right.  Always.

If my heart is set on something, and I get my head wrapped around it and make a plan, all I have to do is apply some elbow grease–work on making it happen–then I can do it.  I can.  But head and heart only aren’t going to get the job done.

The magic ingredient.

Elbow grease.

A little stick-to-it-iveness and putting some hard work into it.

And it can happen.

Especially if I use that same elbow grease to heave all the excuses out the window.

Love and wishes for dreams worth using elbow grease to all.

 

Making Facebook Work for Me (but not that video)

When I talked with my Daddy three years ago about Facebook and the idea of me signing up, he shared his words of wisdom:  “As long as you make it work for you, and you don’t work for it, I think it could be all right.”

I’ve tried.  There have been times, I will admit, when I have let it lead me astray from what I should be doing.  But most of the time, I handle it pretty well.  And I am thankful for it.

We have friends all over the world we are able to keep up with, watch their children grow, and celebrate milestones with because of Facebook.

I saw a picture of my writer friend with the “hot off the presses” first copies of her latest book, all the way across the country from me. That was awesome.

I keep up with my nephews who are growing up way too fast further up the East Coast.  The oldest wants this for this birthday.  An “heirloom quality” stuffed dragon for $13000.00.   Only it’s not Amazon Prime eligible, so that’s a no.  Among other reasons.  Ahem.  My point is that I found out he wanted this because of Facebook.  And my brother and I had lots of laughs over this one.  (The reviews alone are worth clicking over and checking it out.) I’m thankful for staying connected.

I also am inspired by thoughts shared by Bob Goff, Frederick Buechner, Matthew Paul Turner, Hugh Hollowell, David LaMotte, and Thom Shuman, among many others.  If you love beautiful poetry, you should follow Mr. Shuman–what a gift he has.  I love the art and thoughts shared by Brian Andreas of StoryPeople.  He never fails to make me laugh or cry each day–and sometimes it’s both.

There are funny memes and great pictures to share with others on Facebook.  I can share my stories and special moments there.  Friends share their favorite blog posts and very often, their own, which I look forward to catching up on in the next week or so.  *sigh*  So much to read, so little time.

If it weren’t for Facebook, I might never have heard of ABAN or Love Wins or Love 146 or Trade as One.  I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the great things they are doing.  Places like Bare Bulb Coffee and The Book Exchange in Marietta let folks know about the special events they have going on through Facebook.  Love it.  And I love the sharing of ideas among the different communities–ones for homeschool parents and another for spouses of military members and yet another for posting things to sell.  You name it, and more than likely there’s a group page on Facebook for it.

A wealth of information, right?

I mean, without Facebook, I wouldn’t have seen one of the most precious things ever–little Ella Mae singing one of my favorite songs ever–the American Trilogy by Elvis.  Y’all it’s worth the five minutes to watch.  She and I have so much in common.  We both love Elvis, belt out that song when we hear it, and adore our Daddies.  (She’s a far better singer though.)

Oh my land.  How adorable is that?

It’s almost enough to make me overlook the game requests I get.  (I just don’t have time y’all, and besides, I have an addictive personality–I just cannot get started playing one of those games.  I really wouldn’t get anything at all done then.  So no offense, but yeah.  No thank you.)    And the folks who vaguebook.  You know, mention something but not with specifics, leaving the rest of us to wonder, “Huh?”  I won’t say I’ve never done it, but I will apologize for the times I have.  I know.  I’m sorry.

However, there is one thing that I just cannot take anymore from Facebook.  The video that has been shared over and over and over.  I never watched it before because, well, in the words of Bubba, my wise brother, “It’s never that serious.”

But tonight I did.  I decided if I’m going to write about it, I’d best do my research.  And well, yeah.  There’s four minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

*sigh*

Fitted sheets were NOT made to be folded, my friends.  Don’t stress yourself out over it.  Just wad it up and tuck it in the back of your linen closet or a drawer, or take it and the top sheet and stuff them in the matching pillowcase until you need them. I think I saw that one on Pinterest.

Ahhhh, Pinterest.  ❤

But that’s a story for another night.

Wishing you things that work for you rather than the other way around, including those blasted fitted sheets.  (And if you’re one that can fold them neatly–hey, I’m impressed.)

Love to all.