Day 31: Paying attention as a way of life

I struggled to think up a topic for the Write 31 Days challenge this year. It was on September 28th, during a brainstorm text session with my sister Ashley, that the seed was planted in my mind.

“Maybe it’s something like a practice in gratitude,” I typed. “31 days of paying attention.”

It could have meant a lot of different things. My immediate thought was that it would likely translate into taking note of beauty in the mundane of my daily life and being thankful for it.

That felt doable.

Or, I thought, if nothing else, it would be good practice in descriptive writing and then in forcing myself share whatever I came up with, even if it felt too raw and unfinished.

Both of those turned out to be true, but somewhere around day eight I understood there would be more to it. This journey might lead me somewhere unexpected. Continue reading

Day 30: The Red Dragon

Approximately two hours of my average day are spent in the car—that is, my minivan, dubbed the Red Dragon when we brought it into our family almost seven years ago.

The van makes a cameo in many of my stories (like this one just the other day). It’s where the conversations happen, where the singing happens, where my children still occasionally nap, and where they like to ask hard questions about life and faith while I’m trying to deliver them safely to our next destination. Being in the Red Dragon brings out the best and the worst in all of us, drivers and passengers.  Continue reading

Day 29: Two Sunday afternoons

It was crowded, windy, and surprisingly cold. Everything was a bit overpriced. The food trucks had run out of staple items—it was the afternoon of the last day of the fall festival. The petting zoo contained one horse, a bunny, and a pig. The pony ride line was an hour long. The pumpkin patch wasn’t a patch at all, but rows of pumpkins lined up on bales of hay. The kids argued over who got to ride in the wagon, which was becoming more and more cumbersome to pull around. The little one cried off most of her face-paint because the hot, fresh donuts weren’t chocolate. We had to park really, really far away.

Or. Continue reading

Day 27: Getting older

It’s almost my birthday. Next week I turn thirty-something.

(See what I did there?)

I don’t know if it’s the long week I’ve had, at home with a sick child, or what—but today I’m feeling particularly tired and well, old.

I stand in front of the bathroom mirror and examine my face. It doesn’t look all that different than it did when I was younger, does it? Yet when I see photos of myself, I think, Is that what I look like? Which one is more accurate—the photo, or the mirror?  Continue reading

Day 26: The need to create

I’ve never considered myself a creative type because I’ve never been “good at art.” I could trace the roots of that belief all the way back to childhood. It’s taken me into my 30s to learn that there’s so much more to creativity than the ability to paint or draw.

There’s something about the act of making that stirs up excitement in me—writing, organizing words on a page, taking and editing photos, building a webpage, even the occasional craft project. (Earlier this month I shared about my slow return to knitting.)

Maybe that’s because we’re all wired for creativity in one way or another. We bear the image of our Creator God.

This website used to have a different name, a different purpose, and (much) different content.

You ready for this?  Continue reading

Day 25: We went looking for fall

You’ll have to forgive us Floridians today as we lose our minds over the cooler temperatures that arrived this morning—it’s been a while since we’ve walked from the grocery store to our cars without breaking into a sweat.

I’m still quarantined with a sick kid, day three. But I’ve known this cool-weather day was coming for more than a week now, and I was not going to miss out.

It struck me today that while writing on this topic, I run the risk of presenting my days as all wonderful, all the time—because this series is about intentionally focusing on the good, the praise-worthy in the mundane. (What I’m finding, of course, is that all of it is praise-worthy.) But I hope I haven’t led you to believe that my life is all rainbows and sparkles, that my children are 24-hour-a-day angels, or that I am in a constant state of singing, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice!”

None of the above are true; in fact, these last three weeks have offered their fair share of lows—though God has done a serious work on my attitude and perspective. (And we’re not even finished yet!)

Today required a bit of scraping myself up off the floor of my very own pity party and dragging myself out the front door, into the fresh air and sunlight.  Continue reading

Day 23: Still singing

I’ve got a miserable 3-year-old on my hands today. She spiked a fever last night out of nowhere (though I guess that’s how it usually happens, right?) and woke up before the sun just not herself, toasty as could be, with a “hot potato” voice (the pediatrician’s words—let’s just say Phoebe Buffay would be jealous).

As I write this she’s sound asleep on the couch beneath a Winnie-the-Pooh comforter that belonged to me as a child, arms wrapped tightly around her three, yes three, blankies and a stuffed lion named Louie (who is, I am often reminded by an offended preschooler, a girl—pay no attention to the mane).  Continue reading

Day 22: No coincidence

On the Instagram account for The Drafting Desk, Lindsey and I, from the very beginning, have posted a scripture verse every Sunday. It was Lindsey’s idea, and I immediately agreed it should be something we do consistently. After all, where better to discover freedom than in God’s Word? (Learn more about The Drafting Desk, our monthly email, here!)

We fell into a pattern of taking turns, each selecting verses for one month at a time. I took October this time around, and at the end of September sat down at my computer to plug five weeks’ worth of verses and captions into our calendar.

This morning, I opened Instagram to post our Sunday verse—a verse I chose for today’s share almost a month ago:

Oct 22

As I reread the words and the accompanying caption, a smile spread across my face, and I began to laugh. Continue reading

Day 21: Autumn bouquets and brown paper

On top of my piano sit two vases: one full of eucalyptus sprigs, the other containing a mix of sunflowers, daisies, azaleas, roses, mums, and sea holly.

Both bouquets came home with me late tonight, leftover table decorations from a women’s dinner at my church—the first event I’d ever been assigned the task of organizing.

For most of the week, I battled nerves and doubt. Why in the world did anyone think I would be the right person to take the lead on this—to take the lead on anything? Me, the introvert. Me, the girl who’s been logged out of Pinterest so long I don’t even remember my password. Continue reading

Day 20: Sitting together

When I settle down in my favorite chair in the living room, one of my little people inevitably climbs onto my lap. My sitting seems to send out a beacon of some sort; it calls to them. Sometimes when one sees the other in the coveted spot, she’ll attempt to pile on as well—a feat that usually ends with squeals, or someone getting kicked in the face, or both.

I hear myself saying, “My lap isn’t big enough for both of you!” and I’m hit with a pang of grief for days past. When they were babies, I avoided thinking much about them someday getting too big for this—when the thought did surface, I pushed it away. Savor the moment.  Continue reading