The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner is the pleasant entree into book writing from the popular lifestyle blogger at The Mom Creative. More gentle encouragement than rallying cry, Turner invites women to rediscover their interests, take time for themselves, and embrace the demands of whichever stage of life they are in. This is the book to read for women in need of permission to care for themselves. If you are lost, if you are drowning, if you cannot remember that there is a uniquely crafted individual underneath the shifting mass of external responsibilities, here is your permission. Here is your prescription. Rescue yourself!
About the Author
Laura N. Turner is a married, Christian, working mother of two. Naturally, that is the perspective she brings to the material. But the voluminous scenarios offer guidance to any woman. Turner spotlights the real issues single moms, homeschoolers, retirees, and single women face in chasing (or not chasing) that elusive unicorn: self-care. The lasting message of the book is this: Self-care is neither superfluous nor selfish; it is necessary.
The Fringe Hours
In the first of four sections, Turner compassionately presents and decimates the negativistic self-talk that keep women from pursuing their interests. She encourages the reader to examine the areas in life that are out of balance, and open our eyes to the issue. Giving more than we receive. Now, this is not a hedonistic call for self-absorption. Turner celebrates the joy and privilege it is to minister to others, to care deeply, to give of yourself to another. But through the skilled use of scenarios from her own life, and those of survey respondents, Turner demonstrates a simple truth. Just as you cannot pour from an empty cup, caregivers’ cups must also be refilled. What that looks like will vary from person to person, according to their preferences and stage in life.
After alleviating our needless guilt, Turner guides the reader to reawaken long-dormant passions. Some of us have denied ourselves creative outlets so long, we have lost touch with our creative selves. In The Fringe Hours, Turner lists over 30 different interests women might have once had. She also provides ideas for visual planning, to inspire visual learners seeking a new or long-forgotten passion. Hobbies, skills, pursuits, and interests retired to the dusty shelf of “when I have the time”. Turner harkens readers to the fact that the time is now. There is no better time than this season of life, in which you care for so many, to kindle a dimming spark of creative joy.
Now that you have an idea of where your interests lie, Turner assists the reader in prioritizing which activities to pursue and how. This is the practical portion of the book. Where other books may have left you impressed by grand scenarios and inspired by rah-rah pep talks, The Fringe Hours makes the wonderful workable. You can make efficient use of time by finding overlooked pockets and eliminating time-wasters. You can look beyond the usual suspects to offer and ask for help. Best of all, Turner devotes an entire chapter to systematically presenting and decimating common obstacles to finding time and filling it with joy.
The final section is a peaceful counterbalance to the previous sections’ call to action. All this work. Changing preconceived and received notions of what it means to be a good mother, good wife, good worker, good whatever. It means nothing without someone to share it with. Life is best lived in community. It is possible, perhaps even preferable, to share your passions with others. Strengthening each other, enriching and investing in each other, is how you build a life worth sharing.
Why this book?
Where this book excels over others of the genre, are in the numerous reflection questions laced organically throughout the text. They elevate the book from merely absolvatory to actionable. I often become immersed in a book, trying on other people’s lives, and forgetting to hold up the advice against my own life. The frequent, thoughtful questions redirect my thoughts. I examined my own life more. The questions enlarge the principles of any given vignette, and make them actionable. The Fringe Hours would be a healing choice for a woman’s book club, informal salon, or any woman who feels stuck in the stifling trenches of caregiving.
Psst, at time of writing, the eBook is only $2.99 on Amazon kindle. If you don’t own a Kindle, you can download the free app for any smart device. Check out the link in my sidebar –>