Friday, August 25, 2006

Margins 2

This is just a resource I have heard of that relates to the idea of margin. Actually, I heard this author on Focus on the Family and was intrigued by the idea. He talked about how Jesus modeled margin in His life: he took time away and left crowds before everyone was healed...almost as if He was leaving a job unfinished.

I think this might be a good book for our Sunday School class to use for a few months. Maybe I can suggest it to the teacher. :)

Anyone heard of it or read it?

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I had actually started another post, but the draft accidentally got erased when Elisha and his cousin Anna were playing computer games tonight. Maybe tomorrow...but for tonight, the topic is margins.

I just finished reading a play by play of my cousin Deb's day. Packed full. Every minute. Every day, in fact. I remember the feeling. Going from one thing to another with no time to spare, sometimes arriving late at an event because it was not humanly possible (without creating a rift in the space-time continuum) to get everywhere on time. I remember that "stressed out feeling" and the overly tired feeling at the end of a long day. I remember having a short fuse because I had so much to accomplish that if something didn't go exactly right, it would mess everything up.

It's not that I don't have full days now, my days are just full of different things...usually "at home" things that might not get done at all. Sometimes, in fact, my days can drag by and be full of nothing (or at least that is what it seems I have accomplished at the end of the day when I am trying to make a mental list.)

Anyways, all of this to say that I am learning that what my life needed - and still needs - are "margins." You know, like the margins in a book: space at the edges that keeps the words from running off the page. Can you imagine reading a book that had no margins with letters filling every last inch of the sheet? It would be difficult and would probably give you a headache.

In the same way we, too often, live our lives with no margins: filling every last second of our days and weeks. It's no wonder that time seems to go by so much faster as we get older; we fill it up. When I was a child, it seemed that I had more time to play, to think, to rest, to do nothing even. But as I grew, the task-oriented side of me became obessed with what I could DO and how much I could squeeze into the 24 hours of each day. It was fulfilling to know that I had accomplished something - many things. But at what expense? My husband, my children, myself?

It's not that I have perfectly incorporated margins into my life; I still have days where I try to do too much in too little time and I make myself (and my family) crazy. But I think I am learning some things...

  1. At times, the best thing I can do is say "No," as in "No, I cannot help with that project" or "No, I will not be able to attend that event." How freeing to learn that I don't have to say yes to everything (and it only took me 35 years!)
  2. My worth is not determined by what I do therefore I do not have to do everything. (refer to #1.)
  3. Having "free time" or unscheduled time does not mean I am lazy. I grew up with a strong work ethic and can tend to feel guilty for relaxing or not doing something all the time. I don't need to.
  4. Planning in extra time leaves room for the unexpected: spill or accident, forgotten items, traffic, etc...
  5. Living with margins also leaves room for relationships because I can take time to spend with people (family, friends, or even strangers) since my schedule is not maxed out.

I am sure there is more, but this is a start. I have to admit that some margins are built in more easily as a stay at home mom, but it still takes some discipline. And, looking back to the even more precarious balance of work and motherhood, I wish I had practiced margins a bit better before.

What about you? Any thoughts or ways that you create margins in your life?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Watermelon Anyone?

I have thoughts for a new post but don't have (or want to take) the time to type it out right for today, here is a photo of Madelyn in a dress she received from her Great Aunt Patti and Uncle Dan (who, incidentally, actually are a "great" aunt and uncle.) The second pic is a bit blurry...

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Minding Manners

I am sure that someone out there has created a list of rules and regulations for bloggers to follow when posting and commenting on blogs. I haven't looked up any information like this because over the course of my blogging experience I have developed my own ideas concerning blogging etiquette - though until sharing this post, the thoughts have remained mostly in my mind. So, here is my list, in no particular order of importance:

  1. When you read someone's blog, it is nice to leave a comment. Let's face it, we all love comments: they are part of what keep us blogging. Not that we are writing "for" others, but knowing that people are reading our posts and responding makes the process that much more fulfilling. If we all followed this guideline on the blogs we read, we would all have significantly more comments. :) I read Deb Wuertley, Overtly regularly and probably leave more comments there than on any other blog.
  2. If you are blog hopping (or stalking), especially to someone you do not know or would not know you, rule number 1 does not necessarily apply. At times, I can get carried away linking through a list on someone's blog. Many times I know (or at least know of) the person through school, church, or family associations. But I figure, although I know them, they may not know me. Do you ever have a guilty feeling when you are reading an unknown person's blog? I know it is a public forum, but I still can feel awkward looking at family pictures or reading details of a life when the person doesn't know I am there - like spying. Zippy the Fish is one of my favorite blogs to check out every few weks, though I have never (yet) left a comment.
  3. When leaving a comment, remember what Cowboy Bob (and your mother) always said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." I was recently surprised to read an anonymous person comment on a friend's blog about how she choose to respond to her child's actions in a certain instance. I thought to myself, "What business is it of yours?" (I know that's not very nice...but it actually is none of his/her business.) I have also stopped myself from commenting when I think my viewpoint might be misunderstood. Comments on blogs - like email lor letters - can be easily misinterpreted.
  4. Don't leave anonymous comments. If you cannot attach your name to a comment, you might reconsider if you should be leaving it. I am sure people have varying opinions on this topic; but since this is my list of rules, I guess it can reflect my opinion. After serving in ministry for a number of years and reading letters from or hearing about church members who make their thoughts known through anonymous letters and such, I have become pretty much against anonymous anything. (An exception might be an anonymous gift or something where you are blessing a person but don't want to be recognized.) But I the blog world, it seems that an anonymous comment holds no accountablility and can be misunderstood more easily than other comments - whether that be by the blogger or other readers. Why risk it? Just sign your name.
  5. If someone "visits" your blog and leaves a comment, it is most polite to acknowledge their "visit" and their comment by commenting back, preferably on their blog. Most people do this, and I think it is a nice gesture. It takes a bit more time to go to another person's blog to comment back, but it shows that you have checked out their blog and that you were willing to make the effort.

Well, that's what I have so far...what do you think? Do you agree or disagree and why? What major blogging guidelines am I leaving out?