The recovering perfectionist in me wants to tie this 31 day series in the most gorgeous grosgrain ribbon. Leave you dancing with a completed work of art, sparkles and moonshine in its wake.
But the part of me that calls you friend would rather be real and shout, “Yi-de-hidee-ho! Woooohhoooooo! It’s October 31st, and I’m NOT writing tomorrow!”
This has been quite the month — an utter joy to meet you here each day and a great emotional exhaustion to walk this unfolding mystery. It’s certainly been 31 days of recognizing the depth of my need and seeing the abundance of God.
If you haven’t already read between the lines, for weeks I’ve counted down the days with Michael (without whom I could not have done this), friends and family and my girls.
Only five more days until Mama won’t be too exhausted to function past 7:30 pm. Only two more days until I attack the junk around here and purge every last unnecessary thing from this house. Only one more day until I get a grip on our tardiness problem.
Yes, things have certainly been a little out of whack-wackadoodle around here, and I’m ready — we’re all ready for a new season. One that involves more space for quiet, more sleeping in, more opportunity for filling that can spill out to others.
I realize I didn’t choose a 31 day theme that allowed for much of the usual rhythms I rely upon, including time for shoring up between my spillages of vulnerability. In my real life, I’m all about sharing the real me, but I ask lots of questions about you, too, because I care about your journey, and I never want it to be all about me and my stuff.
But this month, there’s been a whole lot of me as I’ve tried to share the reality of my right here — delight, boredom and tantrums included — in hopes that it all might be some kind of imperfect gift to you.
And while truth, vulnerability and broken places redeemed are some of what I most desire in this bloggy space and in this life, don’t be surprised if the next time (supposing there is a next time), I write from a theme like, “31 Days of ‘Tell Me More About You.'”
Yesterday, as I considered what I might share today, I felt struck nearly hour by hour by the realities of this imperfect life and the choices I continually hold about how I am going to respond to my right here.
I can see J braiding Lala’s hair for her Laura Ingalls costume as yet another thing I’m not doing, one more failing of a harried mother, or I can choose to see this as a gesture of love from one sister to another. An opportunity for J to grow in her skills and the kind of care that watches for baby hairs, an opportunity for Lala to receive tenderness from her sister.
I can see our pulling up to school late — again! — as a source of embarrassment and shame or a reminder that this ol’ girl’s still got some growing to do, and I can still grow.
I can see Michael leaving town this weekend just as I’m ready for some real rest as a cause of frustration that I won’t be able to “get what I need.” Or I can see it as an opportunity to learn a different kind of rest and offer that to my girls while we go about the activities of our weekend — just us four girls.
And I can see the ever-deepening of my smile lines and “concern lines” (the ones that form a “V” between my eyebrows) as something to silently criticize and imagine erasing, or I can view them as evidence of a woman (and a face) living fully.
We’ve got no shortage of opportunities to learn from right here when we show up and live fully awake — to take what is and examine it from different vantage points, asking the ultimate Perspective Giver for guidance, wisdom, grace.
While we don’t know what’s around the corner, we do know what’s here.
And only in being right here can we really ever be anywhere.
Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
– Frederick Buechner
Say it with me now: This is Day 31 of Right Here! Throughout October, I’ve joined with a community of bloggers (linked up with The Nester) — all of whom wrote through the month about a topic of their choosing. To find all my posts in 31 Days of Right Here, click here, or see the listing below.
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POSTS IN THE SERIES
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
Day 13: O God, We Thank You
Day 14: The Date That Almost Wasn’t
Day 15: One Thing That Makes Us Human
Day 16: That We Might See And Remember
Day 17: In Which I Hit A Wall
Day 18: Five Minute Friday: Laundry
Day 19: When You Can’t Hold All The Moments
Day 20: Let Me Walk In Beauty
Day 21: Tend This Seed
Day 22: Just One More Click Away
Day 23: A Reset
Day 24: What We Hold
Day 25: Five Minute Friday: Together
Day 26: The Middle School Dance
Day 27: A Prayer For Hands, Mind And Heart
Day 28: On Cupped Hands And Giving From Right Here
Day 29: What You Might Say When There’s Nothing New To Say
Day 30: What We Feel, How We See
Day 31: I’m Not Writing Tomorrow! And Some Final Thoughts On 31 Days Of Right Here
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IM DANCING SWEET SIS…. in my pajamas, in my kitchen as my children swirl around me in all our morning glory! LOL!
So proud of you Sacred Writing Sister… YOU DID IT!!!
Thank you, Sis! What a journey. I’m proud of you for taking on the same this month. You are rocking it!
YAY! Congratulations on being done and on being poured out.
Love your heart and your authenticity and the way you wrestle with your words.
such a gift-
Thank you, Lori, for all your encouragement along the way. Maybe strange to say, but knowing you were there — choosing not to write, to be in silence and listen over the month of October — brought me great comfort. I appreciate you.
My dear Ashley – I’ve shared with you each day I think how dear these posts, these vulnerable revelations and tender reminders, have been to me. How grateful I have been each morning to wake to your words and to savor them through the day. You know how I have received them (because we talk and we listen.) Let me say now: I will be SOOO very happy not to see you here tomorrow ! ! : )
This has been a breathtaking commitment – with a family of three children and work – your gift to us has been, and will remain, a part of our treasure. Thank you, God bless you, Rest! xxo
The rest has been good, Mama. Thank you for all the ways you encouraged me to keep plugging along through the month of October. Bless you. I love you.
Ashley: I’m celebrating with you on your last day in this 31 days series. I really appreciate your “right here” because it is both the same and different from mine. I find great comfort in knowing that we are all on a crazy journey that involves mothering, friendship, loving ourselves & our husbands well. Thank you for sharing those pieces with others! Now go take a nap! ;)
Christy @ A Heartening Life
Thank you for your presence here, Christy. I’m continually amazed by how much we all have in common with our sames yet differents. I appreciate being reminded of all of us living with so many of the same intentions and all needing a good rest! :-) I hope you have a replenishing weekend.
I hope you let everything else go tomorrow too—besides writing and have some fun with those kids!!! I have only read a few but as I told you I coming back. :) You are not book (yet) but you are on my “stack” of to read…
My kiddos and I did have such a good time with my hubby away. We always miss him when he’s gone, but it was a great Girls Weekend. I pray you are finding spaces for rest yourself, Dea. Thinking of you often.
Yahoo! Thank you for 31 days of inspiring thoughts. I’ve enjoyed reading them. Now, I hope you enjoy your well-deserved break. :)
It’s been a joy to meet you here, Angel. Thank you!
Oh, dear me. You are beautiful, dear Ashley.
Wrapping my arms around you, jumping up and down with you – CELEBRATING this final day of your wild, brave journey. Celebrating this very RIGHT HERE.
You express rejoicing with those who rejoice and hurting with those who hurt so beautifully, Julia. I can’t wait to see you again and squeeze you in person.
Well done, sister! I read your final post sitting here on my connecting flight in Denver. :) Enjoy your time of rest and NOT writing, but I so look forward to your return here. xoxo!
Thanks, buddy!! Our weekend together is only a few months away and will be here before we know it. Now that’s some rest I’m looking forward to. :-)
You did it!!! Yippee!!!
Love this final post of the 31 days…you Rock girl.
AND I love the picture and Buechner quote.
Thank you, Thank you my friend for showing up for us…for this past month…What a blessing to receive.
You have certainly helped build into me a deep love and appreciation for Buechner, Angela. (And I couldn’t believe how apt this quote was to this 31 day journey.) It would have been so much more difficult for me without your cheering, encouraging and listening heart. I love you.
*clapping* You should put your feet up and have something sweet. Great job, Ashley!
Thank you, darling Tresta! Will I see you again at the Faith & Culture Writers Conference in April? I sure hope so.
I will have to check into it, Ashley – would love to. It was a blessing last year and I need a shot in the arm now and then!
“Sprinkle Moondust in it’s wake”! I almost coffee sprayed my monitor (while The Carpenter’s, “Close to you” played merrily in the background)! I suppose proper “Be Here Now” etiquette prohibits me from asking how you will spend your first unencumbered day, even though I’m quite sure I would not be the only reader asking. More to the point though, what are we-the readers-going to do without something that has become such a part of our daily ritual? But no worries, I won’t start the, “Slow clap” accompanied by shouts of, “Encore” for all to join in on, but instead merely tap out a heart felt, G-O-O-D- -J-O-B- -A-S-H-! it’s been fun!
You are so dear, Uncle Don. ‘Twas a good rest. Enjoying everyday life with the kiddos and Mike, digging into some piles around here, taking care of life details that have been much neglected over the last month. So happy to have had you along for the October ride with me.
Well done Ashley!
31 days of writing on one subject matter is quite the feat. I am sure there were several days that you wished you would of never done it. There is always something I take away from your posts, your honesty. And that is saying something.
Yeah, there were more days of wishing I’d never done it than I expected. :-) But now of course in retrospect, I feel grateful for the journey. Maybe by next September I’ll even consider participating again. We’ll see. :-)
Great job girl. I need to come over here and curl up with the posts I missed and read them by the fire. I know that the days I missed would bless my socks off. Breathe deep and exhale and rest. You deserve it. Well done girl. I just long to catch up with your words, your overflow of that precious heart. Soon, I hope, So Soon.
Dear Elizabeth, grateful to journey with you. A cuppa and snuggle by the fire is just the right way to curl up with YOUR words. Bless you, friend.