Thursday, January 20, 2011


Have you read A Minute of Margin by Richard A. Swenson, M.D.?  It is 180 Daily Reflections on "restoring balance to busy lives".  I started reading it last May and found it so inspirational that I sent a copy to Superman.  Then I returned my copy to the library.  School started again, the holidays came, snow came, my teeth acted up, and here we are in January and I'm out of balance again.  I don't feel frazzled, but I feel scattered and out of focus.  My life is beyond my emotional means.
Click here to see the book at Amazon

Reflection 7 in A Minute of Margin begins with this quote:

"Still another step to simplicity is to refuse to live beyond our means emotionally.  In a culture where whirl is king, we must understand our emotional limits.  Ulcers, migraines, nervous tension and a dozen other symptoms mark our psychic overload.  We are concerned not to live above our means financially, why do it emotionally?"                        -Richard Foster, Quaker Theologian, Author

That is where I am right now.  Reflection Number 7...  Somewhere between putting the house back in order after the holidays and restarting school with the kids, I've lost my rhythm.  I think I introduced too many hard-scheduled new things at once.  We have homeschooling skiing (an amazing deal we couldn't pass up) on Thursdays, we volunteer at the animal shelter on Tuesday mornings, Buttercup has Drama class on Monday evenings, we've reinstated Friday Celebration on Friday mornings, and we meet up with Charming every Saturday afternoon and evening.

The house is clean and well-kept, the laundry is up-to-date, and the school-work is getting done.   My days seem to be passing in a blur.  Meals feel slapdash and I'm not getting to exercise the way I "need" to in order to feel sane.  Projects are moving along slowly (because I am not insane and only do a little bit at a time) and I'm not having much time to devote to them. 

On the outside, we're making things happen and meeting our commitments.  On the inside, I'm unsettled and feeling rattled.   Does that sound weird to you?  My days are running together as the weeks race by.  Sometimes I look around and wonder how people do what they do.  So many families I know do so much more than we do and seem to do it well.  But we're readers, dreamers, and we need unscheduled time.  We don't do well when we're overbooked and "overbooked" to us means something different than it might mean for them (or you).  How do you do it?  How do you decide when you've had enough?  No one really talks about it, but we're not superwomen or Stepford wives.

So, I'm rereading the book and  I'm looking at our schedule.  I've got to figure out a) how I might make it work better or b) if I have to get rid of something, what will we be getting rid of.  I'm figuring out how to hit the "reset" button...we need it.  We can't do all the things we want to do right when we want to do them.  Sometimes, we have to say "no" in order to say "yes" to a fuller, richer life.   Less really can be more.


dawne said...

Does that sound weird to me? It sounds like someone has finally articulated my feelings perfectly. I'm feeling very out of balance too. NO, NO, NO - why is it so hard to say???

Alicia said...

That sounds like a book I need right about now!! I feel like I'm always playing catch up around the house on the weekends. Hate that!

I love your new layout, and the artwork by your daughter! So beautiful, ERin!

Dragonfly Treasure said...

Out of balance...that is exactly what I feel right now. Not because of overscheduling just because my world has turned upside down. I was whole? for 34 years now half of me is gone....not a good half either, but my choice. Why was I finally able to 'get out'? I'm scared as hell, feel lost and so out of balance. I need to we (the kids and I) need to find our new balance. Think I'll look into that book, maybe it will help.

yikes, so sorry, din't mean to be debbie downer :(
Today is a melancholy day...hoping by the sun peeking thru it will change that.

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd let you know I was thinking of you and seeing how things were going.