Wednesday, April 25, 2012


When I hear the word margin I immediately have two mental pictures: the first, well, involves looking for  ways to make a one page report, uh, longer. Increasing the margins, wondering if two inches all around would make the teacher suspicious. Oh goodness.

The second picture -- thankfully a bit less embarrassing -- involved my job once upon a time. I was responsible for the lay-out and design of newsletters, brochures, etc. Margin -- or white space -- was a very important design element. Without enough white space, a brochure looked cluttered, was hard to read and lacked eye appeal.

So when our pastor announced a sermon series on having margin, I immediately began wondering about the white space in my life. And I knew without a doubt that this series was going to speak to my heart. (You can learn more about our church here.)

Without white space -- without blank time in our lives -- we can not be available when an emergency happens with a friend; we can not make time for impromptu gatherings when a dear one needs an ear; we can not sit and cuddle when our children need an extra hug. Basically, a life without white space is cluttered, hard to manage and lacks appeal. Period.

Four kids. A husband. Friends. Family. Homeschooling duties. Official driver for my crew. Cooking. Cleaning. Laundry. More laundry.

Not a lot of white space. Not much at all. This past week, we zoomed from one activity to another. We had no extra time. We left one place with less time to arrive at the next place than was required. I was a mess. Screeching. Completely at wit's end. On edge and snappy.
So not a pretty picture.

In the midst of my crazy....the triplets turned 15. Theater rehearsals on the triplet's birthday meant we couldn't spend the day doing our usual "Field Trip". And I knew that we really did not have time for a day off school anyway. So I waffled. We should just forego our usual "day of birthday fun" for school.

But sometimes, forced margin, is exactly what we need. So I loaded up my three 15-year-olds, and my sweet six-year-old...and headed to the Phoenix Zoo.

Shockingly big tortoise!

The bear was playing games in the water right at our overlook! He reminded us of Pluto!

Cate pretending to be a baby Hornbill...

I wish I could say I have the whole margin thing down pat. Sadly, I rushed out of the zoo, fed the kids, changed clothes, fluffed my hair, and raced across town for a fundraiser dinner with my husband -- with absolutely NO white space.

Remembering to breath. To allow time for the unexpected, for the time to just "be" with family, friends and dear ones. For making sure our activities line up with our priorities -- and those that don't get swept away. That is the blessing of margin. Will you join me as I work to expand mine?