Allow me to pull back the veil, friends. Behold, my slice of right here.

My office is what no one would call a bastion of “a place for everything with everything in its place.” I write at a computer in a nook adjacent to our play room/family room. In spite of best efforts, it is a landing place, an overflow spot with glitter glue and hair clips covering work surfaces.

I prop up my feet on a cracked nursing stool, circa 2002.

To my left are a stack of bills to be paid and filed, a journal, books. Next to them, financial planning documents we haven’t followed up on since we received them a year ago.

Panning to the right, various books, directories and files, business cards and paper scraps, a synonym/antonym dictionary I didn’t realize was here until this minute. A camera charger, cords, cough drops, copies of paintings by my grandfather, stationery, a label maker, the printer.

From where I sit in the rolling chair, I see the magical photo of a leaning tulip taken by my mama, a tall, skinny lamp with a square shade, notes and hand drawn pictures made by my girls, vintage flashcards and photos strung up with clothespins, laundry style.

Below that, on the ledge, a once beautiful terrarium indicates it needs loving (you know it’s bad when the air plant begs water, as they exist on you know, air). Then there are the framed family photos, a stack of CDs, various piggy banks and charity collection jars, bulletin boards and all manner of what my dad calls flotsam and jetsam.

Right next to the computer screen is my peace vignette: a chunky bergamot candle that burns alongside a bubbly green glass bottle labeled Patron. The bottle holds a single sprig of flowering coleus and several lengths of lavender cut for me with pride and the big kitchen scissors by my youngest daughter.

As I write, my eyes seek out the beauty glimmers because they help me stay grounded, sane. The candle, the special photos and artwork, the flowers bring my focus to the good, to my own breathing, lest the stacks of junk overtake me.

Because if stacks and junk always took precedence around here, I would never do so many other things that matter. Like write, and for now, this is my commitment. This is what 31 days looks like.

Lest you imagine I go with the flow, all laid back and writerly, I will tell you that it’s far easier for me to pass judgment on all this than I’d like.

(Right now, my inner voice sounds something like this: How dare you indulge yourself in right here? Look at this mess!)

I find it more natural to condemn myself for all this, for all the imperfect spaces of this house, and by extension, this life. It is far less natural to receive the gift of right here.

Yes, too many of us live by the tallying of moments.

Orderly ones: good. Messy ones: bad. Clean ones: success, a balanced life. Dirty ones: failure, failure, failure.

Sometimes right here can be an exercise in futility for me because the more I see, the more I judge.

But today. Today, in this little nook of the world, as I feel the judgment come in, particularly as I reveal it to all of you, I choose to thank.

Thank you for life, for love, for fullness, for freedom, for the piles that indicate people are doing life work in this living breathing place. Thank you that we live in a home and not a museum.

Thank you, God, that right here I can choose gratitude over shame.

So I’m writing line after line even as I see all the mess. (Yes, I see you, mess.)

There will be a day to clean, purge and make order (and that will be good and lovely in its time), but for now, I’m embracing what is as the candle burns and casts glowing light upon all of it.

Right here.

This is Day 12 of Right Here. Throughout October, I’m joining with a community of other bloggers (over 1,500 strong! with The Nester), writing for 31 days about the same topic. To find all posts in 31 Days of Right Here, click here, or see the listing below.

To continue receiving these daily words, subscribe to this blog on the sidebar at left, click here to Like Draw Near on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @AshleyMLarkin. I’m immensely grateful to share the journey with you.


An introduction: Welcome to 31 Days of Right Here
Day 1: For You, Too
Day 2: Fear’s Invitation
Day 3: My Portion
Day 4: Five Minute Friday – Write
Day 5: Rise and Shine
Day 6: My Joys Mount As Do the Birds
Day 7: A Mother’s Fierce Love
Day 8: When Life’s A Mad Rush – How To Slow Time
Day 9: The Fight For Right Here Told Through Two Tales of Epic Whining (Part I)
Day 10: The Fight For Right Here Told Through Two Tales of Epic Whining (Part II)
Day 11: Five Minute Friday: Ordinary
Day 12: When Right Here’s A Mess

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