The Fringe Hours: Book Review

My friend, Melissa, tried to introduce me to The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner a couple 2-3 years ago. She sent me a copy of My Fringe Hours, a workbook of sorts, that accompanies The Fringe Hours. Melissa is an extremely smart person and knows me very well. I should have been more diligent about diving into the information she sent me at that time. Lord knows I needed. Sometimes it takes a little while longer to get to the point where we are accepting of what needs to be done.

As I read through The Fringe Hours this month it confirmed what I have been working on for the past year. What a relief! It highlights the fact that one should read this book if they are trying to find themselves again *smile, sigh*

Jessica breaks The Fringe Hours into four parts: Explore, Discover, Maximize and Live Well. Below will list out the top five take aways from each section.

Explore: Self-care and Pursue Balance

1. “If you could choose one word to describe your daily life, what would it be” page 23? In the margins the words chaotic, unsettled and unplanned while planned are written. Some work needs to be done on my part yet *smile*

Balance in ones life is ever changing. That is the part that is hard to accept. When one finds balance a celebration can be had and then the expectation needs to be set that it will be short lived, not a pessimistic view, but realistic. Life will be easier once that realization is had.

2. On page 30 she says “just because they are good things doesn’t mean that they are good for you, for right now (or even ever).” Learn to say no to things that do not matter or fit into the season one is in. These words were read the same day I sat in a class and learned about non profit organizations in our community. All I wanted to do was help more, after all, I am an enneagram 2 . Wait a minute Kirsten, you have a hard time meeting the volunteer requirements for the kids’ school, how are you going to volunteer more? Listen, take in the opportunities that may work for the future seasons that bring more available time.

3. ”As women we need to be kinder to our selves” page 44. House chores can wait as we take the time to work out or read a book. It is ok to not have a perfect home if that is not important to you. Maybe cleaning and organizing are your passions, if that is the case, have at it! I, on the other hand, will have dust forming on the top of our ceiling fans and loads of laundry washed- just not folded and put away *smile*.

4. Page 48 says “we were not created to be everything fo everyone”. Or, as it says on the cover of Issue No. 10 of the Magnolia Journal “the world needs who you were made to be”.

5. Trade comparison for celebration (or inspiration) page 68. So many people get sucked into comparing themselves to people they follow on social media platforms. If comparing yourself to other people’s accomplishments (or staged) photos leaves you feeling bad about yourself or guilty, maybe it is time to disconnect or unfollow those people. It is possible to find inspiration from the people you follow on Facebook or Instagram. If negative thoughts and energy are flowing in and out of you as you scroll, if you are not celebrating with those people, it is time to disconnect or click unfollow.

Discover: What Your Self-Care Means

1. So many books I have read talks about what makes you happy today probably made you happy when you were a kid. For example reading books, doing art and dancing still fills my heart. If you feel lost in what makes you happy start with what made you happy as a child. Jessica quotes Brene Brown on page 79, “tell the story of who you are with your whole heart”.

2. ”One doesn’t have to do it all” page 90. This is an important point Jessica makes as it was already mentioned above. We can try to do it all, we might get close to doing it all, but depending on what your description of “all” is, that is a big expectation to meet. Prioritization, perspective and proportion are important factors to keep in mind.

3. Page 105 talks about “not letting fear get in the way”. We may not feel successful at the things that bring us joy. That shouldn’t stop us from doing them. Who knows, maybe we will improve if we keep practicing! The point? Do what makes you happy.

4. Find the fringe hours (pockets of time) to do the things that make you smile. Flip through a magazine while you blow dry our hair, keep notecards/envelopes in your purse to send a little note as you wait for a meeting to begin or for your kids to come out of school, pull out a book while you wait in line at Target (our Target is super busy), take a lunch break (guilty here of not taking a lunch break more than 2 times a week, if that), leave that load of laundry to watch a show with your hubby.

5. Health needs to be put as a priority. How can we do the things we love to do if we are unhealthy in mind, body and spirit?

Maximize: The Time That We Have

1. Learn to say no to the things that do not put meaning into your life. Jessica has a “creative list” of how to say no on page 145. “I am thankful you asked me, but my schedule won’t allow for it” and “That is more than I an do right now, but here is what I could commit to…” were two of my favorite suggestions. In fact, I was added to an email list for work. I was getting 3-5 emails from this new person each day. This may seem like a minimal amount, but when I can get 50 emails in one day it was stressing me out to see those additional ones. I kindly emailed the sender and explained that as much as I wanted to be up to date with her organization, it was causing me to feel a bit stressed with the additional information. I asked her to remove my name until my work life settled down some *ha ha*. She responded kindly and understood the request.

2. Healthy boundaries have to be recognized and set. This may need to occur at home, with family/friends and at work. It is hard to say yes all of the time and then have to say no. Maybe it gets easier?

3. Realistic expectations of myself and what time I have to complete tasks needs to be worked on. This was mentioned on a recent blog post of mine where goals need to be set but then cut in half. For example at work I may need to start blocking time throughout my day to be at my desk to follow up and organize my thoughts after meetings. I tend to bounce from one meeting to the next with no time in between to reflect and prioritize what needs to happen.

4. Jessica is one of the first people who I have heard say that multitasking can be ok. Like she says, it has to be the right mix of items for the individual. Talking on the phone while putting laundry away is ok. Folding laundry while watching a movie is ok. Writing an email when you are on an important phone call? Probably not ok.

5. Asking for help is a must. Perhaps it is a cleaning person, a babysitter or a food service. Those options don’t particularly work with our lifestyle and budget, but one thing I can improve with is delegating to my kids. Last week was a great week. They did a very nice job with cleaning up one item before taking out another. Now, this wasn’t 100% of the time, but it was far better than any week previous. Our “art station” in the kitchen (5 drawers and then some of paper, color books, markers, pens etc) is always a complete mess that takes up 1/4 of the floor and 1/2 of the kitchen table at all times was cleaned up for the whole week. *sigh, there is hope*

Live Well: With Yourself and in Community

1. ”One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood” Jessica quoted Lucius Annaeus Seneca on page 211.

2. Make time to surround yourself with people that enjoy the same things as you. Take inspiration and encouragement from these meetings.

3. Have a regular check in with the following questions from page 223:

-What you hope to do with time for yourself- what are you passionate about? What does your body need?

-How you plan to make it happen- a certain day? Time?

-What areas you need help in- figuring out child care, identify passions, being consistent?

4. Find time for rest. What does rest look for each of us? It is going to be different from all. Earlier this month I read Friendly Deceit , a book that didn’t take any energy from my brain, it forced me to rest, read and enjoy. Yesterday I binged on 4 episodes of Dawson’s Creek after we hosted a birthday party, cleaned up after the party and exercised. Walking outside with my headphones on is not a physical rest, but it does help clear my head and get fresh air. To me, this is a form of rest (snow go away, I want to enjoy this form of rest more).

5. Choose Joy, celebrate victories, give thanks and be you.

If you are at a point in your life when you need to add in your passions but feel like there is not enough time, please read this book!


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