This is day 27 in a 31 day series on hospitality. Start from the beginning here.

When we listen to another, we catch a slight glimpse of their soul.  We create an open page where they are free to write their story.  We help people remember who they are.

If there is one gift you can give another human being,  it is a listening heart.   Nothing validates us, makes us whole, helps us become who we are meant to be, as much as to be heard.

But we don’t listen well, do we?  We are busy, distracted, stressed, overworked, overburdened, anxious,  and selfish.

We don’t listen because we don’t have space for others.  

Our lives are chaotic and cluttered and full.

We lack margin.  We don’t know how to quieten the buzz.    We don’t really even want to.

But when we lose margin, we lose our humanity.

Margin is the space between us and our limits.   It’s  what gives us the time and compassion to listen.

Margin gives us time to play…..


time to paint pumpkins…..

time to learn to crochet…….

Time to bake cupcakes….

Time to be sisters…..

The margin of our lives is where the garden grows….


and the sun sets…..

It’s where we learn to stargaze and bird watch.


It’s where we sing and dance…..

It’s where we linger to feel the magic of the everyday.

It’s where we remember so keenly that these moments are fleeting…..



It gives us the space to breathe……


To read……

Or even nap….


Maybe every good thing that happens, happens here, on the sidelines, in the space between us and our schedules.

And we miss them because we haven’t learned to listen.

Because we’ve made lives with no margin.  No room for what might be.  No room for the soul to breathe.

And this place, as you might have guessed is where hospitality lives.  In the margins.  Where we make room for others and their beautiful struggle.

Where we learn to really listen—-to incline our hearts to someone else.

So, my question for you is this?

Is there any room between you and your limits?

Are you exhausted?  Always on the verge of tears?  Spent? Irritable?  Lacking joy?

You need margin.  And you may have to fight for it.

I gave my family the gift of margin when I quit working.

And everytime I am willing to listen.

To slow down.  To learn to say no to all the noise.  To stay home.  To choose the path less traveled.

But it’s not natural in our modern world so I fight for it everyday.

And some days I fail miserably.

But some days………

I see it.  I hear the beautiful symphony of life.  I hold onto  joy and I listen well,  like my life depends on it.

And I’m starting to wonder if maybe, in some ways,   it does.


I recommend this book if you long to create space in your life.   Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives

29 comments on “31 Days to Hospitality::Day 27 On Listening and Margin”

  1. Yes.
    “And this place, as you might have guessed is where hospitality lives. In the margins. Where we make room for others and their beautiful struggle … I fight for it everyday.”
    Onward Christian soldiers.


  2. I live for the margin. The time to look at the birds out the window, that moment when you see a gopher poke his head out of a hole. I love it when the girls and I can take it all in and just quietly observe. Staring at the big full moon; laughing on their beds at night time; having peach cobbler with Grandma and Grandpa. I cannot survive without the margin. I go a little crazy without it. Even my husband knows when it’s time to tell me to quit and get out and find the space. Life is much sweeter when you take the margin from the busyness of life. It makes it all worth it when you take the morning off from the laundry/dishes/cleaning the bath tub to go to the park and swing your kid as high as she wants to go. Her joy transfers to you and your day becomes wonderful. Or you can relax and enjoy the company of a friend.
    I love this post – this is just so me and how I think/live – thanks so much for putting it into words 🙂

  3. It is complete truth and yet we miss this so very often. Margins may become a new favorite word. In the midst of it all, a moment of time to break away.

  4. I found your blog through someone else’s blog. I have followed you since the fire. I totally admire you and all that you do. As corny or stalkish as it may sound you inspire me. I love your philosophy on life, your writing, your new house and all the cooking stuff you do. I don’t post as frequently as you do, but you are more than welcome to jump over to my page and see the craziness I live in. Maybe one day our paths will cross. I think you have alot to teach the world. Your family is very lucky to have you. God Bless!

  5. oh, edie, i am right there with you. I love this post, perhaps it is now one of my favorites on your blog. it is so true that margin has to be fought for. I’m right there with you on quitting work. and isn’t it funny how the whole world just wants to fill our schedule right up?

    I’m officially visiting local schools this fall as my oldest will be K4. I’m trying to keep an open mind, but I know what i’m drawn to, and that is schooling her and the ones that follow her at home. one of the big reasons that i am preferring it is that the schedule of the school day–standing in lind and waiting turns at the water fountain an doing “seat work” busywork while other kids catch up–the children are losing their margin earlier and earlier. I want to preserve it as much as possible. I know I have an idyllic view of the whole schabang. I imagine lengthy read alounds while we all lay on a quilt in the backyard, the birds singing and such, maybe even fawns emerging from the forest playing violins.

    so i know it won’t be that chipper all the time. If life at home with a 2 and 4 year old is any indication, there will be chaos as well. but the chance to life freely, to teach them to read, calculate, paint, love history and nature and science. but to embrace the margin.

  6. I am loving your blog and couldn’t agree more with you on this post. There is a really good book that I read related to the subject that you may like. It’s called Not So Fast by Ann Kroeker.

  7. I so needed this post. This is a prayer request I have every day! Thank you for always being an encouragement.

    Homeschooling Mamma to 3 little ones age 7,6 and 1

  8. I have been a follower for a couple years now, and never comment on blogs, but what you said when you wrote: “So, my question for you is this? Is there any room between you and your limits? Are you exhausted? Always on the verge of tears? Spent? Irritable? Lacking joy? You need margin. And you may have to fight for it.” absolutely spoke to me. I am in a phase now where there is much more margin in my life, but I find myself often getting depressed, stressed, and overwhelmed and it not only affects me, but it affects my husband and those around me. What a good reminder that margin is so important. Thank you for this.

  9. oh edie! I have been following you for a long time but really haven’t commented on anything. But this has touched my soul so deeply today and brought me to tears. Because that’s where I am – in that exhausted, verge of tears stage. Thank you so much for this today!

  10. I’m with Lindsey right now. I feel like every time I read your posts it was as if you wrote it just for me. Thanking God for you and your inspiring words again today. After your fire, or maybe it was near the end of your renovation, I read one of your posts that included a video montage to a song that I (at the time) had to immediately look up online – it was by MaMuse “I’m gonna let myself be lifted…”. I bought the album on iTunes. I don’t know how to find that post again but the soundtrack plays in my head whenever I open up LifeInGrace.
    “Every time I feel this way …” I look for a new “Edie post” and am indeed “lifted up”.
    Thank you,

  11. Edie, you continue to amaze. I needed to find this today. Thank you. This year I have been really trying to just let it all go and enjoy. Not always easy, yet so rewarding when I just breathe and live in the moment. Thank you for doing this series. I have learned so much and my family thanks you for the great bread recipe-they love it. ♥

  12. I struggle greatly with margin….don’t most women? Andy Stanley (Northpoint Community Church) has a great study on margin. It definitely helped me.

  13. I just cried a little reading this. You are such a beautiful writer and a lover of the good things. Your faith and love of your family is truly inspiring. Thank you! God Bless you!

  14. I so believe in this post and you’re right that the world is pulling us in so many directions. I love taking care of my family and have these margins in my life. Today was a super busy and I didn’t have time for anything and I know it’s definitely how I want my life to look. Thank the Lord tomorrow is a new day and I have a few hours of margin…

  15. I had glanced at this briefly yesterday and came back to really read it.

    All I can say is WOW…AWESOME…and thank you!

    How did you know what I needed to “hear” and how I feel? Thank you for blessing me with this reminder. You do have to fight for it and some days really really hard. People will look at you like you’re gone mad…but I think when they stop to consider it, they see they’re missing out and I know I/we’ve been missing out, by not having the margin.

    Thank you, sweet Edie for giving from your heart yet once again.

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