Thoughts on The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

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The Fringe Hours by Jessica TurnerMy first “personal growth” book of 2018 was The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner. Apparently, she is loved in the Christian blogging community, but her name was completely new to me. I picked it up at the library simply because I stumbled upon it looking for something else and as I read the back cover, it looked like something I might benefit from!

“Fringe Hours” are pockets during the day where you can find some time to do something for yourself. They will probably vary from person to person but for a mom of young kids, I find that my available fringe hours are before everyone wakes up, during naps, and after my children go to sleep. Turner also mentions lunchtime as a popular time, especially for people who work and have a lunch-break they can use to read, go for a walk, etc. If children are at a practice or activity, a parent could also take advantage of this time. Lastly, during meals was a suggested time. This was the least likely time for me! (Walking away from a toddler and preschooler while they eat dinner sounds like a disaster waiting to happen!)

It came as no surprise to me that I have these chunks of time during the day that I could use. Except Jessica Turner was able to convince me to actually USE this time to do something for me. I was easily convinced that it was worth it to wake earlier in the morning to start the day doing something I loved, than to continue to wake up when my children wake up, whining about being hungry or needing help with something.

She asked questions throughout the book to help the reader identify passions, which may have been stifled for years or even decades! “What inspires you? Who inspires you?” I struggled at first to identify some of these interests, outside the obvious answers of reading and cooking. I think at this time in my life, these really are my passions.

If I struggled with anything in the book, it was a chapter called Embracing Help. Turner’s solution to create more time and less stress in the day, was to hire out help in areas like food prep, childcare, cleaning, home repair, and even hobbies (as in developing new hobbies). In the subsequent chapter, she discusses obstacles, with finances being the first one listed. It was difficult to read about how you need to look at your budget items and decide which things you can go without so that you can get help from outside the home, thus making your life less stressful. Turner gave an example of cutting her cable bill so that she could afford to have someone clean her house twice a month. I know many people may be able to easily eliminate some items that aren’t necessary or bringing them joy to be able to create room in their budget for services that will help them reduce stress. But I thought of the many families who do not have space in their budget to remove anything because they already have removed all the extraneous items. It felt like a potentially isolating chapter.

The other concept in the book that is a struggle for some, though not everyone, was learning to say no to things. Turner suggested holding activities up Kon-Mari style, asking “Does it bring me joy?” before saying yes to it. There are some situations where you may be able to do this and effectively say no to something because you do not have enough time to do it well. But there are many situations where you just need to figure it out and do it. There are plenty of things I’d like to say no to because they are stressing me out, but that doesn’t mean I can forego my responsibility. Turner might suggest picking up a baked item instead of taking the time to cook it yourself. But again, finances come into play, and not everybody is able to do this. Even while I could see how “saying no” does not always work, I think it is something that I should practice.

What The Fringe Hours taught me about finding time in my day to do something just for me and not feel any guilt!

All in all, a wonderfully challenging book. This genre of books is not my favorite and I can confess to seldom reading through the entirety of a “personal growth” book, but The Fringe Hours came into my hands at just the right time and was powerful for me. I’d love to hear what fringe hours would look like in your day. What times could you identify in your day where you could be doing something that would bring you joy?

What I’m Reading in January 2018

I’ve never before set specific reading goals for myself – reading was simply just something I did when I felt like it! But the joy that was brought into my life in 2017 by choosing to put down my phone and spend more time immersing myself into the world of fiction, was something I wanted to continue in 2018. With another baby on the way, I knew I could put Candy Crush back on my phone or make sure I planned ahead to have a list of books I wanted to be reading while nursing in the middle of the night! Instead, I’ve decided to work through Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2018 Reading Challenge, which I know will help me to diversify the types of books that I usually pick up!

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I’m beginning January with a “classic” and choosing a book from this category was probably the biggest challenge for me this year! When researching books that were similar to Jane Austen, I stumbled across an author named Georgette Heyer, whose work was completely unknown to me. I decided to read The Convenient Marriage, which had good reviews and was available at my local library. Her novels are probably not true “classics” but since this is my least favorite category on Modern Mrs. Darcy Challenge, I decided to go easy on myself. I have a back-up book by Anne Bronte sitting on my nightstand should I have time this month!

 

Next, I plan to read eight “Personal Growth” books, another category that I tend to shy away from. I hope to finally read something by Brene Brown, learn more about Enneagrams, grow spiritually and maybe work on my time management (which doesn’t sound at all appealing to me!!). January’s book is The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica Turner, a book I stumbled across at the library. I’m so glad that I found it! Again, this is not my favorite genre, but I am loving it so far!

 

Lastly, I have an exciting list of what I call “Fun Books,” a list of acclaimed books from 2017, some being YA (Young Adult) fiction. It has been years since I have enjoyed any YA books and I know that the quality of books in this category has grown tremendously. I can’t wait to catch up on such a great genre! My YA January pick is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It received the 2017 National Book Award and is a Goodreads Choice for 2017.

 

I’ve also got some “fun books” on my list that are a bit older and that I’ve somehow missed! Another “fun book” I plan to read in January is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer. I downloaded this on my Kindle years ago and couldn’t get into it. Since I’ve never heard a bad thing about this book, I’m going to give it another go!

 

My goal for the year is FORTY books, which feels a little daunting to me, but this is a challenge after all! In years past, I’ve thought, “This is the year I will finally get through a Russian novel,” but I’ve found that particular goal frustrated me and did the opposite of bringing any joy into my life! This year, I’m hopeful that the books I’ve chosen will teach me, inspire me, and truly challenge me. I’d love to hear if you have any specific goals when it comes to reading!

If you’re interested in following me on Goodreads, you’ll be able to follow along with all the books I’m reading in 2018. I’ll only post about my absolute favorites here.