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.

To continue receiving (a few times a week) words and images delivered to your inbox, subscribe to this blog on the sidebar at left, click here to Like Draw Near on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @AshleyMLarkin.


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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