Book Review & Giveaway: The Fringe Hours - Making Time For You

**Giveaway has ended**

"...if I loose sight of myself, the results are a downward emotional spiral that ultimately impacts all the other areas (and people) I work to serve."  ~ Jessica Turner, in 'The Fringe Hours'

I've been waiting for weeks to write this post, and somehow I'm still struggling to put into words how much this book has helped me to refocus my priorities and realize that self-care isn't selfish.  For the first few months after baby girls arrival, taking a shower seemed about as probable as me running a marathon.  So after too many days than I should admit, I would break down and tell Andy I just needed a few minutes.  Of course, he said of course go take a shower, take your time, etc....all those things supportive people say.  But my mind?  It told me things like...hurry up - you need to be there to help with the baby.  There are bottles to wash.  She needs to eat in an hour.  There's no time.  No time. No time for me.  But really?  I was becoming more frazzled the dirtier I got.  And not surprisingly I was shorter with my husband, had less patience for the crying baby, and just flat out didn't feel good about myself.  

Maybe your day to day situation is totally different than mine.  You're a single girl working hard, going to school, investing in relationships but keep taking on more because "we're supposed to".  The disease to please is a real thing.  Not everything good is good in each moment.  Investing in yourself is important.  Don't sacrifice it.  

The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You released this week & I am so thankful I took the time to read it.  Ten minutes here, five minutes there.  But I got it read and my life is so much better for it.  The author, Jessica Turner, is a mom of 3, works full-time outside the home, runs a super successful blog, and is a well-known speaker.  So if she can find time, what's my excuse?  She offers practical tips and talks through some of the barriers women tend to put in front of us that keep us from feeling the freedom & grace to care for ourselves.  You're biggest roadblock might be guilt and comparison.  As much as I love Pinterest, it really does bring me down sometimes....who has time to create that?  I thought when I made this it was original?  I'll never be able to organize that well, etc etc.  My biggest hold up was self-imposed pressures.  

So what am I doing differently?

  1. I talked with my husband.  He's a huge helper in so many ways, and I told him I needed to carve out time for me.  My time away at work isn't "me time".  Just like his time at work isn't "man time".  Having a little one can be intense sometimes - and it's ok to step away & refresh. 
  2. I realized I can catch up the mess from dinner the night before the next day.  I'd rather have the time after the baby is down as "couple time" than spend a weeks worth of nights doing chores and never have a conversation with the most important person in my life.  Baby girl won't remember a dirty counter in ten years, but she will remember if I was too busy to cuddle.
  3. I'm considering testing out the service Plated later this month.  I love to cook, but it seems like I've either got the time to grocery shop or cook.  Not both.  So we eat out way more than I'd like.  Plated sends all the ingredients to healthy and gourmet meals to your door in a refrigerated box ready to ENJOY the cooking process.  Take away point - accepting help is OK!
  4. I look at my calendar for the upcoming week and am trying to be deliberate in scheduling time for me.  Setting aside time to write (either in the morning or night).  Make time for a girls night dinner.  Making a hair appointment and sticking to it.  The way I spend my "me time" might change week to week, but I'm committing to do it.  
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I was carrying tons of mommy guilt on my shoulders.  I haven't taken enough pics of the wee one.  No footprint ornaments at Christmas.  Not enough time left for Andy.  Deep down yearning to write.  To sew.  To read.  To do anything with two hands and eat a meal that required silverware.  But in my most overwhelmed moments trying to come up with a game plan to "do it all", I became more guilty over thinking that I didn't have a right to put "me time" above doing the dishes.  Folding the laundry.  Meal planning.  So give up sleep right?  But then I'm crankier and too tired to use that time doing anything relaxing for me.  It was a sad cycle that left me burnt out and questioning my every move.

But my eyes really were opened to freeing myself up to being a better wife & mom BECAUSE I spent time on myself.

This is one of those books I'll be gifting at every occasion possible because it's such a simple concept that I think touches EVERY. SINGLE. WOMAN today.  

Grab a copy on Amazon ($9.64, the price dropped again today!!) or get an autographed copy from Dayspring ($10.44).  

Want to win a copy for yourself?  Or maybe for a friend?  Comment here on the blog about your favorite way to spend time on yourself (doing your nails, reading, etc).  For a second chance to win, sign up at the top of the page to subscribe to email updates to the blog.  Leave another comment saying you did!  Giveaway ends at Monday Feb 23rd at 23:59.  

{Affiliate links included - grab your copy wherever you like, but if you click over from here I'll make a few cents :) }

Letterpress, Grace, and Fringe Hours

Last year during our trip to Nashville, Andy graciously went along with my plan to tour the Hatch Print Shop.  You may not know them by name, but basically they are the kings of letterpress.  And I love letterpress.  If I could have afforded that style invitations for our wedding I would have. But alas, we are not katrillionaires.  (Yes, that's a number and it totally comes right after bazillion.  Duh.)

The problem is it's next to impossible to 1) find and 2) afford old letterpress equipment.  So I settled for the chance to make my own print on the tour and ogle over all of their letterpress blocks. 

And then Dayspring went and blew my mind and made my heart swell. (PS - Dayspring is the Christian arm of Hallmark)

Picture from Dayspring.com

Picture from Dayspring.com

They introduced their Letterpress Blocks.  You have got to click over and look at these.  You can customize any possible word you can imagine.  Hang them on your wall.  Fill your mantle.  Just maybe not use them to screen print T-shirts.

I had a gut feeling and went with "grace" and it found a sweet home on my mantle just before Christmas.  And folks, those cute little blocks started a change in my heart.  I've struggled in the last few months with trying to be as close to perfect as I can - as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, employee, friend, and the list goes on.

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What I began to realize was I was trying so hard to meet every possible need of the people around me that I started to feel empty.  I needed to cut myself some slack and give myself grace. Our Father has so freely given it to us, and I wasn't so free in handing it out to those around me, much less myself.  So GRACE became my word for the year - my theme you could say.  And since I can't watch the tube without those five letters staring me down, I'm praying it gets ingrained in my soul.  

And in nothing other than providential timing, I got an advance copy of Jessica Turner's (The Mom Creative) new book The Fringe Hours:Making Time For You.  She writes over at The Mom Creative and seriously the words are jumping off the page at me.  Since the baby girl arrived, most days I feel guilty squeezing in time to take a shower.  Forget writing, sewing, crafting, or any other personal passions.  It's love on her, do the laundry, run the errands, care for others, go to work, sleep, and repeat  And to step away from any of that had made me feel like I was being lazy.  Or putting myself first.  Enter my reminder of "grace".  There is always room in the day for time for me.  I just have to choose to make myself a priority.  You can preorder her book for a steal of $9.63 on Amazon - it releases Februrary 17th!  I'll be sharing more about it in a few weeks, but in the meantime you can sign up over here for 3 days of emails with pearls from the book (Jan 27-29).

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In other book news (since I'm giving myself the okay to take time to read), Sophie Hudson's new book Home Is Where My People Are is out! You can read the first 20 pages for free here.  Mine came today from Amazon and I can't wait start laughing along with her.  She blogs as BooMama - add her to your daily reads....she's a hoot!

*Affiliate Links are included - if you purchase anything by clicking through I make a few cents, but shop where you will friends!*

Book Review: Sparkly Green Earrings

Once upon a time I used to read around the world.  Okay, so I was in third grade and wanted to win a ride in a hot air balloon.  How could I turn down moving my name from America to China on a bulletin board by reading an unfathomable number of books in one summer?  Kids today would be happy to put away the iPhones to read for fun right?  But that's beside the point.  I digress. My desire to read is unchanged, but finding quiet time seems impossible.  But let me tell you.  I have an easy, fun, and encouraging read to put on your list.  A little background.  A few years ago, a good (nay - great) friend introduced me to a blog, Big Mama (no connection to Martin Lawrence).  Melanie, aka Big Mama, got her name while potty training her daughter.  Doesn't it make sense that if you tell your kid that "big girls" use the potty, that mom's that use it too are "big mama's"?  Aren't kids just precious?  She has a great voice as a blogger and Sparkly Green Earrings is her first book.  It's a memoir on motherhood - the good, bad, and ugly.  She doesn't claim to have parenting down to a science and shares some hilarious stories to prove it.  And that makes me happy.  Not just because she is funny.  But because, as a not-yet-mom, I find encouragement in women that make hard decisions for their families and who work hard at being great moms  - even if they don't get it perfect every time.  Perfection is a standard we weren't created to achieve, and this book is a great reminder for me that motherhood can be messy, imperfect, and yet amazingly important.  I'm planning to keep my copy handy to read down the road - after a 'I'm a terrible mom' moment (every mom has them right?  I mean I have no clue.....).

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I read this on a road trip - the hubs was ecstatic that I chose to read a few chapters aloud.  But I couldn't stop laughing.  I mean crying laughing and who doesn't want to read that?  And he didn't hate it, though he might deny it.

If you are looking for a great beach (or couch) read this summer, read more about Sparkly Green Earrings here.  Ree Drummond & Beth Moore both recommend it - so you can't go wrong right?   I found my copy at Lifeway, but it's at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  Follow my favorite Texas blogger with me - you'll be glad you did!