Three Words- 2012

January 25, 2012

For the last few years, I’ve chosen three words in January that I wanted to use to center my year.  Last year, my words were learn, pray and write.

My words for 2012 are margin, focus and mission. They’re three separate words, but they really work together. I want to do a better job this year of protecting my margin so that I can focus on my mission. I’ll unpack that a bit.


White space. Room at the edges of the page so that your words don’t fill the whole page. Time. How am I going to protect my margin this year?

  • I’m going to say no to the good so that I can focus on the great.  My goal is to focus on the core of what I’m good at and on the things about which I’m passionate.  In order to have time and space to do that, I have to say no more often.
  • I’m hoping to protect my physical margin by working out more frequently.  I’ve had a shaky start with this in 2012.  Please ask me how it’s going.  Helps me drag myself out of bed!  I also see working out as an investment in future physical margin.  I’m already fairly ruthless about protecting sleep.
  • Protecting margin is sticky- this business of saying no.   For the next year, unless it’s a core value, I’m not going to do it.


In order to get what’s most important done, I have to make choices.  If I don’t make conscious choices, I settle for the default or for the priorities of other people. The pickle is when I have to decide if I’m going to focus on a worthy endeavor that’s core to my mission, but that threatens to spread me thin.  The tension of margin and mission.  It’s this business of choosing.


Fair Trade, Family and Friends.

Charlie and I have signed a letter of engagement with our attorney, and we’re moving forward with starting our soap business.  All I can say is that now is the time.  We were ready to start the business in the autumn, and family circumstances made it clear that the timing was wrong.  But, our lives have calmed down a bit, and we have the resources to give to this business.

Proverbs 25:14

Like billowing clouds that bring no rain is the person who talks big but never produces. 

I’ve been feeling like the billowing cloud for a while now.  Charlie and I have to try this business and see if it will go.  Right now, it feels like my ability to make beautiful soap, along with my administrative gifts are what I have to give in terms of doing something about poverty.  My loaves and fishes, if you will.  There are a thousand reasons why it might not work.  But, I think that the business has heart.  I’m praying that God will multiply the input of our work and resources to bring people jobs in Palestine, Kenya and Uganda.  My worst case scenario is that we’re out some money and a couple of years of hard work- I think I’m ok with that.  My best case scenario is that the business goes and we get to be involved in alleviating poverty.  That, frankly, would rock.

Then, there’s loving on the people who I care about.  Charlie and I homeschool our kids, and we need to make sure that they’re getting what they need academically and socially.  I want to love on my husband and invest in experiences with him.  I want to love on those around me.  That’s enough for one year.


4 Responses to “Three Words- 2012”

  1. A Fair Trade Place Says:

    These are great words. I would like to hear more about your soap business and share about it on my blog as well. Promoting Fairness is what its all about. Keep us posted!

    • Robin Johnson Simpson Says:

      Hey there- Loving your blog! Can’t wait to sit and read for a while. If you click on the “soap making” button in the category cloud on the right, you’ll see some posts that I’ve written along the way in the soap making journey. I’d love to chat with you.

  2. Linnaea Says:

    Robin – thanks for stating so clearly what I’ve been wrestling with for the last year plus… I’m putting this on my wall…

  3. […] the past couple of years, I’ve chosen three words to center my goals for the year.   I sat down this afternoon to reflect on how I did with my 2012 words. Here are my […]

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