Making Time For You, Inspired Reading: The Fringe Hours

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: The Mom Creative Blog

 

“One always has time enough, if one  will apply it well.”

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Are you like me? Do your days move at warp speed, and by the time you catch your breath it’s midnight? Adulthood can feel like one long string of obligations, especially for women.Beginning in childhood, society says put yourself last. As kids, how many of us played with dolls that cried or needed their diapers changed? Before we knew ourselves, we learned to care for others – starting with the toys.

Even in the 21st century, with more women in leadership roles, our culture continues to revere a kind of femininity rooted in service and selflessness. Yet moments spent alone pursuing those passions that nourish our souls rejuvenates us. We become better mothers, wives, friends, siblings and professionals. Why? Because there is time to see us fully – not only the roles we fill. I know, you’re thinking, who has time to write poetry, paint, or hit the gym for yoga class? I’m running a household and managing business obligations.

Well, the truth is you and I have more time than we realize. While reading one of my favorite blogs, (in) courage me, I discovered a new book, The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner, mom, blogger, crafter and marketing professional. I wanted to know more. Where are these hours? How can I discover and maximize them?

Fringe hours are small pockets in our days – early mornings before the house is chaotic, lunch breaks, nap times (for stay-at-home / work-from-home Moms), or evenings after the kids fall asleep. These are opportunities to transform mundane moments into periods of creation and growth.

How do we get there though? Well unlike other books tackling time management, Turner doesn’t start out by giving us a system to implement. She urges digging deeper with some critical questions: What stops us from putting personal time at the top of our lists? Do obligations to everyone else feel more important? It is vital to examine these self-imposed blocks.

The late writer James Baldwin wisely said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Balance, then, is at the core of fostering time for ourselves. I hear you mumbling. Who ever achieves this? Well, one of the lessons I am beginning to learn is balance changes all the time, its constant shifting and negotiating, but without it, life swallows us. Here balance is defined in a way rarely heard: “emotional stability (how does what we are doing make us feel) + a satisfying arrangement of elements.”

Essentially, is the calendar full of draining responsibilities, or have you found a way to make self care a priority in the midst of it all?  Oh, yes. Its one area of constant push and pull for me (and I am sure lots of you, too); giving ourselves permission to enjoy me time minus the guilt.

There are clear areas of focus on the road to a more fulfilling life, Turner insists: “Understanding self-care habits and identifying your passions and available time are just the first steps to living a life that prioritizes you and your needs. Once you commit to this lifestyle, embracing additional practices such as prioritization and accepting help can make a huge difference in your well being.”

“Busy people get things done.”
Trudy Leocadio (my very wise Mom)

This is a book full of actions, daily steps we can begin taking to discover fringe hours (track your days for one week) and maximize them (learning to say no, and being prepared to use unexpected time, i.e. long waits at the doctor’s office by keeping your journal, iPad, etc. on hand). Each chapter concludes with a few sentences of motivation to elevate our spirits and assure us others join us in the journey. There are gems of wisdom like this:

“You can organize your time in such a way that prioritizes yourself. Sometimes this means saying no or skipping dishes. Creating boundaries with our time and in our relationships is an important and healthy way to live a life that models self-care.”

I urge you not to stifle your gifts because you wear so many hats. We all deserve a full life, one where creativity, joy and freedom flourish. Getting to this place takes some work, and once we are there, it’s about maintaining boundaries, and consistently reminding ourselves that we matter immensely. But it’s worth all the struggle and organization. God did not create us to blend in to the world, but rather to ignite it with our light and purpose. Your legacy matters. Start building it, minute by minute, today.

Connect with the video series of The Fringe Hours on YouTube.

Originally published in Beautifully Said Magazine, the September issue.

Inspired Reading – Simplicity: Essays by The Minimalists

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Between home schooling our 3-year-old daughter, plus the gazillion other things I do all day, reading books, at times, seems like a distant fantasy. You know, one of those glorious activities in my pre-kid life.

Well I am stubborn. I couldn’t abandon my life-long love of words for Elmo and Abby, so I became more realistic. Instead of lengthy novels, I absorb blogs, articles and essays.

During an online reading binge last year I discovered The Minimalists blog. It’s written by  two young guys who walked away from six figure jobs, because they knew life consisted of more than climbing a corporate ladder.

Their blog posts are beautifully  layered essays, odes to a simple life built on the appreciation of people and experiences, not vapid status symbols.

Minimalism has many definitions and looks different for various people, but I think of it as not only ridding yourself of excess stuff, but those stifling emotional weights. It’s understanding what matters and why.

I’ve just started diving into their book, Simplicity: Essays. Many of these pieces were published on the blog; some appear in this collection with revisions.

It’s not a lengthy read; you can skip around, choosing what resonates most with you. There are varied lessons here, overall though, minimalism helps us understand the fullness of living in the moment, and honoring our voices over the chaotic noise.

Choose to do less and be more, the minimalists seem to say in their own way. And we all have that choice, the question is how do we manage this power?

Here are a few of my favorite passages:

“The white picket fence. The large suburban home. The big screen TVs glowing in multiple rooms…. The corner office.

In exchange for…

The daily grind. The nose to the grindstone…. The cubical farms… The arbitrary goals… The unyielding tiredness.

You can keep your American Dream. Give us back our time, our freedom, our lives.”

– UnAmerican Dream

“Questioning the meaning we give to our stuff is the basis of minimalism. By paring down and getting rid of life’s excesses, we can focus on what’s important.”

  • Questioning Stuff

“This life is short, but it contains everything. There is inherent beauty in simplicity. Choose your path wisely; often the simple route is the most beautiful path to follow.”

  • Simplicity, An Unpublished Essay

“Without growth, and without a deliberate effort to help others, we are simply slaves to cultural expectations, ensnared by the trappings of money and power and status and perceived success.

Minimalism is a tool that allowed us to simplify our lives so we could focus on what’s important. We were able to strip away the excess stuff and focus on living meaningful lives… You deserve to live a meaningful life, too.”

  • Grow Yourself, Not Your Stuff

Red Emma’s Closes, Makes Room for New Space

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Say it ain’t so! Red Emma’s, my source for all things radical in Baltimore from books to an array of cool talks and presentations is closing its doors (800 St. Paul Street) this weekend. The great news?! Come fall, the store reopens in a gleaming new space at 30 W. North Avenue.

In the meantime, get your discount shopping on beginning Thursday, May 16 until Sunday, May 18 with 20% off all books! Plus, those radicals love parties; come out Saturday, May 18 at 6 p.m., and say goodbye while rocking out to music.

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