2016 Word of the Year

I’m still ruminating on this, and I’ve never been one for haphazard declarations of intent, but I do believe in intentionality…

2016 word of the year: margin - intentional living

2015 was a very full year.  My kids turned 1, 3, and 5.  Mr. Pax started a new job… in a new city.  We moved to join him after a few months.  My oldest started kindergarten.  We started life over: new home, new schools, new church, new city, new friends.  It’s been good, but it’s been very full.

Maybe a bit too full.

lovely white master bedroom with touches of greenery, warm throws, and texture for winter | maisondepax.com

So I’d like to start this year off with a word.  Before I do, though, I have a confession: I have a tendency (ok, maybe more like a compulsion) to stay busy.  Very busy.  In fact (and here’s where my confession gets ugly), I think I perceive not being busy as being self-indulgent.  And in reality, I think it’s the opposite.

Which brings me to my word for the year: margin.

room for margin

I actually first heard a friend at Bible study use this word a few months ago, and (again – the ugliness) I think I very much misunderstood her at first.  My initial thought was something like, “isn’t it a little selfish to need so much time for yourself?” (Don’t hate me friends, I’m just being transparent here…)  But as the year has proceeded, I am completely eating my words.

Let me clarify, I don’t want more “me time.” Or more pedicures.  Or more naps.  (Actually, all those things sound lovely…)  What I mean by margin is more room in my schedule for those moments.

You know the ones…

-three extra minutes to answer my children’s questions.

-time to ask the grocery store clerk how her day has been.

-twenty minutes to catch up with a friend on the phone.

-half an hour to study my Bible and pray.

-fifteen minutes to hear how my husband’s day went.

-room to breathe.

-and snuggle with my kids.

-and connect with my husband.

-and create out of inspiration rather than need.

cozy white master bedroom with touches of greenery, warm throws, and texture for winter | maisondepax.com

So margin.  That’s it.  What this will look like in reality, I’m not sure… but I’m trying to take the time to figure that out.

In the meantime, I hope you and yours have a beautiful New Year.


PS I want to give credit to my sweet friend Liz for inspiration for the accompanying photos to today’s thoughts.

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  1. Thank you Rachel. I think we all need to take time out to feel the moment. It seems like everyone rushes through everything and that leaves little time to enjoy anything. In the end it will be the moments you remember not the rushing around that mattered.

  2. What a great word for the year – I could use some more margin in my life too!

  3. Bless you for listing Bible Study on your must dos. That is so important for all of us. Life just runs so much smoother with giving God the chance to lead us no matter our stage in life. I’ve never thought of the word margin in this context. Thank you. It goes along with my husband’s favorite word. Moderation, moderation, moderation! He always says it 3 times. Ha!

  4. Happy New Year Rachel!….A beautiful post, thoughts and a word to live by to start of the New Year!

  5. Exactly me so I Thank You for spelling it out.

  6. Teddee Grace says:

    I grew up in a family that believed in busyness as well. During the last quarter of 2015 my friend of three years was diagnosed with bone cancer and I thought I could do it all…for myself and him. I made myself sick and have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I am still shopping for his groceries and taking him to his medical appointments but have stopped cleaning for him and have put him touch with a cleaning service. I am finding, since I “bowed out,” that he is much more capable of taking care of himself than either of us thought in the beginning. Me time is not selfish. It’s a necessity.

  7. Happy New Year! What a great way to put it…..MARGIN! This hit home
    with me just because women seem to do so much for so many. Thanks for
    this insight.

  8. It is hard to do this, just keep working at it and it does get easier. I was in
    a Bible study that used this exact word and the study as well as the word has stuck with me. The Lord grabbed my attention with the whole study.
    Have a wonderful 2016 and enjoy every moment with those little ones and
    your husband.
    Tana Lewis

  9. Thank you for such a beautiful post. In the midst of running around, remodeling, errands, working full time….your words reminded me of who I’m doing all this for…my family. My word this year is memories. I want my kids and husband to look back at 2016 with a smile at all the memories we made. Happy New Year and Happy New You :)

  10. I found if I get up a little earlier than the rest of the household I can take that time for me and The Lord. The Lord and I? If I don’t get that fifteen minutes to half hour of quiet reading, praying, meditating, the day feels off. Prayers for a successful 2016. Success being accomplishing what’s important to your heart and soul.

  11. Rachel, I pray you find time for the things that matter in life. First GOD, then family and friends. Life is too short to live in a hurry as we do, not realizing. I pray you have a year of spiritual, healthiest, and happiness!

  12. Happy New Year to you and yours Rachel! Your word of the year has an imact on me. I think as we get older we start to prioritize. I sit here writing to you in a messy house but I’m having a moment with you, my sweet young friend who has shared so much of herself with us this past year. So the house can wait! I just want to say thank you for the great year you have given to us. Looking forward to a fantastic 2016 and it’s ok to slow down and have those moments, after all these are the ones that remain in our memories when we get older. I promise you that!!

  13. you are so right that ‘self’ is more promoted by busy than by margin. Self says I’m important and to prove it just look at how busy I am. Allowing for margin in our schedule says my agenda is not as important as God’s agenda and I need to build in some margin to allow space for what He wants for me. It also says your health, your family’s health and your relationships deserve time to breathe, to happen, to unfold, even time to rest. A hammer has two motions..hitting-resting. You can’t get life done just by hitting that nail!

  14. I love this Rachel! Happy New Year sweet friend! xoxo

  15. You have found the key, although for me the word was always “balance.” We are not as important as the here and now in your life.

    I have no idea how you kept up your pace during the holidays, posting your blogs, as I will admit that I didn’t have time to read them all.

    I put my shop on vacation for 2 weeks before Christmas. That’s like certain e-commerce death, right? But you know what? I enjoyed the holiday preparations this year. We traveled over Christmas and I wasn’t thinking about business. Then, when I re-opened Dec 26. There were people and orders waiting for me. Lots of orders. 😊 and they waited until I got home December 30th to ship them.

    Point is: your kids will grow up and move on. They won’t wait. We will. We will be here when you find time, so blog one less blog, do one less project and in time, it will flip back around.

    Love you and I wish a very blessed 2016 to you. May it be filled with peace and happiness. xo

  16. Love the word and your intent.

  17. Hi sweet friend!! a) i love that your word is margin. i struggle with it, too, and i’m the type who loves just sitting around doing nothing…pretty much every day i wish i was more like you because it seems like things would get done so much better around here! 😉 b) i love your long hair c) i miss you!! d) i want you to come decorate my house, okay? :) wish i could give you a hug!!

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      Awwww… I’m so glad to hear from you! You really MUST tell me next time you’re in town. You can all come hang out at our new place! Pretty please???

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