Margin is a challenging thing to cultivate in family life. As kids age and family size grows (some of you can testify) the margin on the page of each day gets narrower.  I’ve been learning about this in my own walk as a dad, and recently I was reminded of how important margin is in a young / growing family.

Here’s what I have been learning : When we create a margin in “life” – that margin is for the future more than it is for the present. When we think back and look at that particular page later on in life.. the notes in the margin help us remember God’s hand, work, and testimony. It’s the notes and memories in the margin which will provide peace and assurance and a testimony of God’s work for the present.

Lesley had run across a book on our shelves and as she skimmed through it she found some very valuable notes in the margins of a book from a man who created margin in his life and is now seeing the reward (namely peace and assurance) of building space on each day’s page for God, family, and integrity.

Below is an email from Lesley to some friends in South Dakota – the Father of this family has a rare disease called CJD (website) – her email and what she wrote them has ministered to me over and over in the last week, I have frequently have pondered how I am creating margin in my life and family and training my children to be used in God’s Kingdom.

Our next post will be some practical things we are doing in our family / marriage to cultivate margin. Come back soon – until then..


Faith and Charity,


I just wanted to let you know that Cal has been on my mind a lot lately. Which I think is understandable. I did want to share a little story with you all from Wednesday morning. I was to share a little something for a group of moms at our local MOPs (mothers of preschoolers) meeting. I was searching high and low for something that would knock their socks off from within our resources at home (because I had failed to prepare in advance, I thought it would be easier this way). As I perused our book shelves I found a book titled, “Transforming children into Spiritual Champions.” I thought it could hold the secret treasure that I should share with the women. So I opened it up and skimmed the pages and low and behold, there is Cal’s handwriting. Somehow we received the book from the church (CBEFC), I hope it was in good faith and not that we stole it! Anyway, as I read Cal’s writing, more than the words printed on the page, I was reminded of his wisdom and pursuit of it, his tenderness with truth, and his desire to share wisdom and truth with others. Along with that I was also led to believe that the words underlined on the pages and the notes he had written down were not just for the purpose of a sermon or for church benefit, they were a part of his heart with his children and his home. Here are just a few snippets that make me believe that:


Underlined by Cal

“Keep in mind that if children are gleaning, anything at all from their church experience (on a biblical worldview), they will return to their home and watch to see if the principles and beliefs taught to them are consistent with and reinforced by the behavior of their primary spiritual nurturers—their parents.”  I know Faith and Charity, your worldview has been influenced by many, but your parents have led you well.


I see what you, Faith and Charity, are doing for others and reflected on these words Cal wrote in a margin: “Make them (children) feel like the heroes they are!”  You are heroes girls and I hope you know that your dad believes you are heroes too! He smiles so big for the two of you!


Written in another margin: “Are we constantly in a spiritual battle? I think yes!” When I read this, I thought of the words you have shared recently, I can hear him speaking each word.


Written in margin: “Kids need excellent role models!”   Your parents have been excellent role models for you and so many others. This, I believe, is just a part of what led to the amazing commitment you have had to changing the lives of women, children, and so many others. What an amazing legacy you are all leaving!


There were so many other words underlined and written—it was a special moment for me to suddenly be led to the words of Cal. I hope that by sharing these words, you will be encouraged and reminded of the heart and commitment your father has for you. I know his buttons are bursting for each of you, strong, beautiful, determined, and faithful daughters.


What I shared with the women that morning didn’t speak to me as deeply as your dad’s markings in a book. I wish they could all know him and his amazing family. Sending prayers and love to you all.



Written by Jason

lover of: Jesus, @legangw1, 5 sons, lyrics, family humor, and epic blanket forts. Worship Pastor: Blogger: Songwriter:


Paddle the Boat : The Budget Sync (Pt 1 of 4) | At The Speed Of Family

[…] Lesley’s email to our friends, the post on margin, and a late night video chat date with some dear friends about a month ago have collectively stirred some thoughts which has led me to a series I found myself writing called “paddle the boat”. The “boat” being the all-encompassing “family life”.  and the “paddle the” would be Intentionality and Initiative with the “boat”. Powerful image in my mind… more on that later. […]

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