About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. I am really good at accepting people’s offers to help ( which do not come often) but I am not good at asking for help.I do see using others help as a way for them to bless me and my family, grow in connections, and bear each others burdens for a time. It is like I do not even acknowledge I need help until I am overwhelmed. This is something I actively work on.

    I want to begin by asking my husband for help in the matters of me getting ” alone” time. I am a SAHM of a 4 year old and my entire world exists around and in my home. I literally do nothing for myself outside of the house. Every errand I do my son comes with me. My husband does his errands when he is alone and out and about for work. I need to release the guilt and ask for the same “alone” time to handle some of my personal matters.

    I have many of the obstacles discussed in this chapter and my strategy has been to just realize this is a season I am currently in. As our son enters kindergarten ( August 2015) some of the obstacles will naturally be removed. I am going to add to my strategy to work on my own inner dialogue about it being ok to have me time and to find and savor The Fringe Hours.

    Favorite take away : ” You can’t do everything, so don’t fall into the trap of trying. Instead, find the moments in each aspect of your life that invigorate you, and imbalance your life towards those.” Marcus Buckingham

    • I can totally relate! I am a stay at home mom of an almost 3 year old. She goes everywhere with me! I also teach part-time online, which is still at the house! I try to schedule playdates a few times a week so we can at least get out of the house and I can chit chat with other moms (even if you are constantly interrupted). I also recently found a lady who runs a daycare out of her home in our neighborhood. She is super flexible and so I take my daughter there about 4 hours a week to get some of my teaching done. I have been considering taking her a couple extra hours to just of me time, but everytime I send her I always just end up working or cleaning. =-)

  2. It’s so much easier to give than to receive for me…and the majority of us ladies, I suspect! 🙂 But aren’t we denying others of a blessing by not allowing them to help us, too? Something I need to keep reminding myself! Also, that even in hard times, fringe hours are needed…or maybe fringe moments! 🙂

  3. Hi Friends! What a GREAT idea to write a blog post about how this book study has impacted our lives! I hope to do that, yet if I do next week (since I’m behind on the book) it won’t be a full report. It’s common for me to get “behind” in studies. Anyway, I’m on chapter 6 and loving it. My life has changed and I’m enjoying working out and reading more. Also it has helped me realize I have time that I didn’t realize I have. Thanks Jessica for writing the book, thanks Angie for leading the study, and for all the other ladies in the video~ and Robin for your prayers and sending these emails. You are all faithful and beautiful women of God.
    ** This study also makes me realize how grateful I am that I do have “me” time (with the Lord) each morning. Have been doing it for so many years, I had forgotten how much of a blessing that is. Thanks for everything!!

    • Amber!! DO write a post, regardless of whether or not you’ve completed the book. You’ve read enough to be able to share some challenging and inspiring thoughts and I would LOVE for you to be a part!! 🙂

      What a blessing that this series has led you to a place of gratitude. THAT is lovely :).

  4. Q1.
    I was raised to make my own decisions. Not than any other person’s decisions are not right. I was raised to learn by my mistakes. To seek God in all things. It’s not that simple really. Think about this.
    When you seek the LORD, you find HIM. By yourself. With HIM. In HIS Presence.
    But when there are other circumstances or ideas or voices.
    It hinders the purity of God’s voice being the only ONE voice.
    Not that other’s cannot help.
    More, seek the LORD for HIS divine intervention.
    In helping others. I use the same method. I try to let the LORD work in their hearts, rather than my worldly voice.
    I would leave my sons and grandsons to grow and make mistakes and correct themselves. It makes for really good relationships in the family and close friends.
    To give someone the freedom to do what they want to do and not do what they do not want to.
    I don’t know if this makes sense or whether you know where I’m coming from.
    Nice discussion btw.

  5. Q1. I have not considered not asking for help was robbing someone of a blessing. However, I do enjoy helping my friends. I still doubt I will really ask for much help, I really only will if its an emergency. I want to save the help for when its a have to!

    Q2. I would love to higher someone to come clean like 2x a month. Right now as I stay home and only work part-time I can handle the have-to cleaning. And really it would probably be cheaper to pay for extra childcare and do it myself than higher a cleaner (although I feel guilty sending my daughter to daycare). However, when I go back to work full-time I will definitely consider this!

    Q3. I already only use the library for books. In fact, our library is pretty good about doing inter-library loans or even purchasing a book if they do not already have it. It just takes a while longer to get it. So besides finances my other obstacle is maybe creativity and skill/effort. Sometimes I just feel like it takes too much effort to do a hobby. Like it becomes too much work and is more stressful than relaxing. Like I have a sewing machine and I enjoy when I finish a project, but setting it up, going to the store to get supplies, and actually cutting it, that seems like too much effort when I am just tired and want to do nothing! LOL, how lazy does that sound?!?! Well, I guess I rather run by myself (without stroller) than sew, and running is not lazy. =-)

    Q4. The robbing someone of their blessing if you don’t ask for help. Really struck home. I never thought people would enjoy helping.

  6. It’s hard for me to ask for help. I compare the financial cost or final outcome with what I could do, and the math doesn’t always add up in terms of money. It does add up when I consider the greater value of time.

    In terms of reaching out to my friends and family, I really wrestle with who to ask for help and what to ask for help with. I almost need to brainstorm and put together a list.

    The only dedicated fringe hours I have managed to tuck away for myself are the early morning hours. There are already obstacle to that, like working too late at night, children waking up in the middle of the night or other interested sleep, children waking up super early, etc. I think it is going to get more challenging when baby number two gets here. I am trying to think of ways to manage and be proactive about that.

  7. I don’t have much family, and what I do have isn’t nearby, plus, we’ve moved a lot, so I’ve kind of grown used to having to be strong. (Fact is, though, I’m not. Strong. Not necessarily weak, but worn. Spent.) The thing that I took away from that particular part of the book was (paraphrasing because I can’t remember the exact words Jessica used, but this was the sentiment that I took away from it), by asking others for help, you’re essentially building community. Thanks for planting that seed in my heart. I hadn’t thought about it in that context before.

    And, another yay moment for me ~ This week, I’ve been intentional about not trying to color the whole picture before starting another. I love to write, but being that whole-picture-page kind of gal that I am, I struggle with having two different writing projects going at once. I get all invested in one, and it consumes my fringe time until it’s finished. It’s a baby step, but a big-footed, 12 pound baby. 🙂 (Probably seems like a small step, but, for me, it’s a big step.) 🙂

    You ladies are a blessing. 🙂

  8. I don’t think of asking for help as gifting someone else! What a great concept! I definitely have home maintenance things that I cannot do. I am held back by finances. This chapter gave me the oomph to want to get estimates and save. As for the obstacle of finances when pursuing a passion I have found YOUTUBE!! I have a side business in photography and learned most of what I know from watching tutorials. What a great asset and it’s free. It’s now my go to for learning about things that interest me.

  9. Jessica wrote, “our passions can sometimes be obstacles…sometimes we have to let go of self imposed have-tos and settle for good enough. Just because you’re passionate doesn’t mean you have to do it.”

    That struck me so hard because it’s exactly what I feel about my church’s Christmas production. For the past two years, I produced a Christmas musical that we performed twice. I love Christmas and musicals and theater, and loved the process of putting our own musicals. I loved directing it, I would have loved to act in it, but it was just too stressful. I have kept asking for help, but nobody stepped in, and it was too much for me to handle everything: from directing the actors, scheduling practices, making props and sets, and even the marketing and passing out flyers to the community.

    So when the associate pastor asked me if I wanted to be in charge of the Christmas production again, I said no. I knew – because of the wonderful (in)courage bloggers and from Annie’s “Let’s All Be Brave” book – that when I say no, I’m saying yes to something else. And Jessica’s words above are a confirmation that I made the right choice.

    Christmas is my favorite holiday, but being in charge of the production took up so much of me. I distinctly remember this past December the feeling that I was not enjoying Christmas. There was a point, at the store, buying set design materials, where I cried. This year, I am resolute to saying yes to enjoying the holidays, which is a no to the Christmas production. I’m passionate about it, but I don’t have to do it. And if whoever’s in charge does something completely different, that’s okay.

  10. Q1. This is a tough one for me because my husband is an introvert, and although he has the spiritual gift of “helping,” he does not receive well. We’ve had long talks about it, and God is stretching him in this direction… because we’ve had a lot of crisis in the last 5 years of our marriage, so God has kind of put us in a place where he had to cry “uncle” and learn to start accepting help a bit.

    Q2. I would love to have someone come clean our house (but Bruce would clean the whole house before they arrived. — He does this when we go to hotels, too. I wonder what the maid thinks when she comes in and finds the bed made and everything looking like a museum. HA!) — When I was growing up, my best friend’s mom did not do laundry. They took everything to a laundry mat down the street where it was washed and folded and everything. Then, they just had to pick it up and put it away. I am not sure how much the paid for that, but it might be a great help to working moms. — When my mother in law was sick, we decided to pay our neighbor to do the yard work, and it was such a life saver.

    Q3. We’ve spent a great part of our marriage caregiving for family who are in their final days. One thing we learned quickly was that we needed to create space for self-care. You can’t add on crazy and not let go of something. So, we both stepped down from serving at church — because caring for or family was how we were serving. — We also learned the glories of takeout, long drives to nowhere with the radio on, and sitting outside looking at the blue sky — When you are in crisis, you need to make time for being still and rest.

    Q4. “..sometimes we have to let go of self-imposed have-to’s and settle for good enough. Just because you’re passionate doesn’t mean you have to do it” (p. 205).

  11. My favorite resource that helps me tremendously is shopping online – even grocery shopping. For $4.95 an order, I can do my grocery shopping and schedule what time I will be picking it up. It saves me at least an hour and as a bonus I don’t have to go inside a grocery store with my kids! 🙂 When I first started this, I felt guilty and even lazy but now I see it as such a convenience and even a great blessing. And in the end, even though I am paying a fee with each order, I save money because I am not picking up extra items as I walk by them. I shop for what is on my list, what we really need what is on weekly special and that is it!

  12. I am enjoying the book and the videos, and there are lots of good practical tips for women in all stages of life. I am an “empty nest” mom of a college student and still have to be intentional about making time for things that “fill my tank,” and are good for my well-being (like hobbies, Bible study, exercise).

    When my son was in middle school and I had returned to working full time after my divorce, I struggled with finding time to do housework and take care of the yard. I was hesitant and had trouble justifying getting help with these chores, but a friend encouraged me that the money would be well-spent and it really lifted some weight off of my shoulders to be able to come home to a beautifully cleaned house and a freshly mowed lawn. In the case of the housecleaning, I was able to help out a friend from church who needed to earn money, so it was a blessing to both of us.

    Now that I have more time (in theory) to take care of these things around the house, I still hire out the yard work because I am just not one of those people who finds working in the dirt to be therapeutic.

  13. Asking for help is something that I definitely learned how to do though am struggling again … more so because we have moved to a new area and are just getting to know people. Though one thing that pops into mind recently is shortly after we moved I asked neighbors to use their dryer since ours was not getting any power. Building community definitely goes a long way into asking for help and in many ways it is a great way to get to know people (both asking and helping those you don’t know well).

    In the areas of embracing help … we have definitely had seasons of this. One area that we consistently have help is that we have had a lawn care service for years. We wanted to protect our weekends with my husband’s work schedule. We have also had someone come into clean twice a month when we were both working. I am now a SAHM so it’s more of a struggle (like Jessica, cleaning is definitely not my strong suit). I have been thinking about getting a mother’s helper once a week to either clean or work on home projects that are hard to do with interruptions from the kiddos (I have an almost 2 year old, a 5 year old and expecting #3). One thing I am working on with the cleaning is having my kids involved so that it doesn’t all fall on me. Meal planning has been a life saver for me … dinner is not stressful in that way … can still be a bit stressful with little ones around but I usually know what the plan is and that helps a lot.

    I know I’m rambling a bit but taking the time in my fringe hours to interact is also very satisfying 🙂

  14. Q1: I find myself challenged with asking others for help because I am that Type-A, Perfectionist, I can do it myself faster than someone else can type of personality. And honestly, I’m nervous as to whether my friends would come to my rescue if I asked…Majority of my friends have kids, so I don’t want to impose on their time or take them away from their family. But, it is always such a blessing to me to be able to help others and I offer all the time. And it is so fulfilling to help a friend or a family in their time of need! I just need to have the courage to ask others for help when I need it.

    Q2: I hate to clean and cook, but I know that our budget right now will not allow for those services to be something that I pay for. I have considered asking around to see if there is a friend or a friend of a friend that loves to cook and/or clean and would be willing to barter with me for babysitting or some other service that they need that I can provide! I MISS not having someone clean my house SO much, because I hate spending my fringe hours to do it! Same with cooking! Like Jess said, I missed the spiritual gift of cooking, providing for my husband with homemade cooking. I hate it, I don’t enjoy spending my time doing it, and I need to find a way to either make it enjoyable or locate a service to help!

    Q4: I LOVED the quote by Marcus Buckingham, “You can’t do everything, so don’t fall into the trap of trying. Instead, find the moments in each aspect of your life that invigorate you, and imbalance your life toward those.” Any excuse to be able to imbalance my life and do more of the things I love, I’ll take it!