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I’ll just go ahead and say it: this word was an uphill battle all year long. Sometimes, I felt like should have chosen my runner-up word for 2015, Grace, instead of choosing, Margin.


Thankfully, things came together at the end of the year. This wouldn’t have happened without the hard realities that this word helped me work through. (As my sisters would say, #adulting)

I wanted to to a better job of managing our money and my time {in the context of being a new mom} by finding the “extra” in two categories that everyone knows are squeezed thin for all of us.

No wonder it was a hard word for this year!


We were over our annual budget goal by less than 5%, so I’m counting this as a win. The key factors here were using cash instead of a credit card for groceries, my gas, our general shopping and eating out (most of the time). We also switched to a different health insurance plan that was significantly less expensive. I still have so much to learn in this financial area of my life, but I made some real progress here this year.


Looking for “margin time” was harder. Much harder! I was trying to run a very small freelance business and stay home with Joslyn, meaning I only worked during her naps or at night. I won’t bore you with the different solutions I tried throughout the year, because none of them worked. I was drained and frazzled trying to balance the two. For me, doing computer work during naps and nighttime was a surefire way to burn out on both motherhood and a business.

However, finding “margin”, finally came together for me at the end of the year. I decided to find a part-time job in a “real office” in town. To my surprise, everyone in my life thought this was the best idea ever within about ten seconds of pitching it.

I just started a Tuesday/Thursday job as a communication specialist for Legend Seeds in De Smet in December. I am delighted and grateful for this new opportunity. During the time I was job searching, two of my biggest freelance clients happened to pull my work back in-house. This meant that closing my very small freelance business was essentially done for me!

With my new weekly schedule, instead of feeling pressured to complete tasks for clients during naps/night, I simply go to work and focus for eight delicious, quiet hours. Now, when I’m home – I’m home. And, when I’m at work – I’m at work.

Thanks to this challenging word of the year, I finally found a way to create margin for myself in December! Nothing like fulfilling a goal in the final weeks of the year.

As a side note, I’m very grateful to John, my friends and my family for helping me navigate this tricky season!


Lastly, this word is still helping me find ways to make time for things that are important to me. That’s why I recently changed my blogging topics. And, it’s also part of the reason why I decided to quit quilting for this season of life and in this home. I felt with the margin time I had available, I had to choose between quilting and writing. I chose writing.

Book Writing

I did not get my second book finished this year, which was a major “failed margin”. So, this is one area I will have to work on going forward. I believe that for or a short few months between babies, I’ll be able to work in the early morning before Joslyn wakes or during some (not all) of her afternoon naps.

There are a dozen reasons to procrastinate on a project, and lack of time is an easy one to blame. I think that this project was pushed to the back burner, less because of time and more because of lack of direction. In a way, I felt that this book wasn’t ready for a Christmas 2015 publication. It needed to simmer a bit. I needed to take some more time to process my printing/marketing/shipping process. I’m still thinking. The trick with this simmering business is that eventually, I do have to move forward and stop pondering!


This was a tough word and I’m honestly glad to be done with it! Still, I’m thankful for the hard realities that it helped me face, here’s to 2016!

Did you have a word this year? How did it go?



1 Comment

  1. Jill fansler

    Sierra, I always enjoy reading your stuff… you have such a way with words! 2015 word for me was GRATITUDE and I feel like we had plenty of challenges but that I was able to eventually see the blessing in it all. 2016 I am using GRACE. Sure, it could have been planning, focus, patience, etc but that is what I am going with after reading another’s post on FB earlier this week. I’m sure glad you suggested the word of the year bc it really gets me thinking.
    Blessings to you and John, and the growing family in 2016! Jill


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Hey, I’m Sierra Shea! I am so glad you are here. 

Where do I start with writing to introduce this blog? At the beginning, I suppose: I’ve been writing on various platforms online since 2013. I started blogging shortly after moving to South Dakota.

I am a mother and a maker at heart. I’m so grateful to be married to John and mother of three: Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse.

I am a self-taught decorator and designer. I am a brand new shepherdess and a Spiritual Director.

I love living in South Dakota, even though the winters & the wind can be a near-daily struggle.

Blogging is a grounding force in my life and it helps get me out of my head, unstuck and moving in the directions I always hoped I’d be going!