40 Days of Writing the Everyday

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash
Along with Callie Feyen, I started this lenten season with a writing exercise called Forty Days of Writing The Everyday. Forty word prompts to “reclaim our days, and find the thrill in them, or perhaps if that is too much, to feel content to create something from our everyday lives.” These posts are a little more stream of consciousness — little reflections on life in its redundancy and glory.

Day 1: Breakfast

I turned out okay. Poptarts and Little Debbies didn’t ruin me and, come to think of it, I wasn’t ever ruined at all. Even things less than ideal, painful as some were and even are, did not undo me. They made me.

Day 2: Laundry

At the bottom of my laundry basket, there is usually a layer of things that simply go unwashed: sometimes for months…entire seasons of the year. Sometimes it’ll be a spare set of sheets that won’t get washed until the next company is due to arrive, or unseasonable clothes that I know won’t be needed for …

Day 3: Dishes

We may go through another season when we use Ikea or Goodwill dishes and that would be okay. For now, I’m enjoying these —gifted right at the start of our journey together — and teaching me that what’s important can be preserved with a little effort and a lot of grace.

Day 4: Water

We went tonight to the Rivers of Light show at Animal Kingdom for the first time since being gifted season passes. We had attempted to go one other time, but decided to leave early as a natural consequence of some non-cooperation from one of our little loves.  After a little pep talk about what happened …

Day 5: Hair

I often think that so much of growing up is just learning to tolerate life’s discomforts. We have come up with elaborate procedures needed to take medicine that tastes bad (honey spoon + medicine + immediately followed by another honey spoon, if you’re interested); we have offered lollipops for hair detangling sessions, abandoned entire packs of underwear or socks that were bothersome for some inarticulable reason, and all of this is usually after trying to reason until we’re blue in the face.

Day 6: Frost

Frost. It’s March 2nd and it was a high of 79 degrees fahrenheit today in Orlando. I feel like I’m basically a Florida girl now, but Aubrey reminded me that, even if we were in Georgia, we still wouldn’t have much cause to write about frost. My mother-in-law suggested Frozen, and yes, we have lots …

Day 7: Music

My hair brush was my first counselor. That make-shift microphone was the one to whom I sang all my heart’s first songs.  With her, I could try getting loud and unselfconscious. I could work out being scared, and mad that I’m scared, while belting “I’m Just A Girl;” I noticed the longings of a girl …

Day 8: Dirt

“Please, Momma, can I go bury this?” she asks with a pumpkin seed closed into her fist.  “Where?” I respond with a question, buying myself time to think of ways to say no.  My sweet girl has an interest in seeds becoming plants, but  we’ve lived in apartments for so long that I haven’t known …

Day 9: Shoes

I came across the pair of shoes that I wore down the aisle. They were tucked in a keepsake box, along with our vows from that day, inside my Pa’s old hope chest that now serves as our coffee table. Those shoes are other — other than anything I’ve worn in years, now that life’s …

Day 10: Frame

Back in college, we had this Discipleship Group and sometimes we found the materials to be a little bit cheesy.  We’d be reading some illustration and then some not-so-subtle transition would tie it back into the spiritual or Biblical principle at hand, something as smooth and artful as “And so it is with God.” It …

Day 11: Drive

Back when we were dating, we lived overseas (in separate apartments…for the record) with no car. I’m not sure I ever really rode in a car with Aubrey driving until we were pretty much engaged and, especially as a person who struggles with anxiety, I’m seriously glad he turned out to be a good driver.  …

Day 12: Paper

A drawer stuffed full of crafts and worksheets from school A post-it on every surface with lists and requests that you’ll Scribble quickly, then hold up “Hug me please,” “Play tickle monster” Or “Time to color.” The counterfeit money that you made So that Irene wouldn’t crinkle your dollar,  Or the heap of paper on …

Day 13: Carpet

About a year ago, I finally got serious about washing my face. A few comments from Gilmore Girls about looking scary when we don’t wash off our make-up really stuck with me, so while I didn’t have access or money for lots of skincare products, washing my face and moisturizing is the least I can …

Day 14: Plant

My favorite plant is a fake plant (as I wrote here, I’ve never had much of a green thumb). It’s an adorable crocheted succulent gifted to me by one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever known, my friend Hannah (whose birthday is tomorrow — Happy Birthday, Hannah!). I wanted so badly to join the …

Day 15: Sheets

On a night like tonight, I tend to look for comfort in two kinds of sheets. The first, made of paper— or recently,  a folder on my desktop called “sheets.” They’re filled with words and notes that somehow my brain has learned to transform into music — isn’t that a small wonder? Music is like …

Day 16: Breathe

Sarah Bessey just sent out “Breath Prayers for Anxious Times” and it’s a timely reminder. There have been several seasons in my life when my anxiety was so high, I actually had trouble breathing. Not so severe as a panic attack, but more like living 24/7 (or, all my waking hours is probably more accurate) …

Day 17: Door

“Don’t let the —,” I start to holler over to the girls. But the sound of the door slamming cuts me off. The entire apartment shakes and I know our neighbors can feel it, too.  “ — door slam.” I finish, deflated.  Some doors are designed to close themselves if there’s anything less than like …

Day 18: Diapers

It’s come to my attention in the past week or two that I am a bit disconnected from my heart. There’s a great deal of loss happening — both clear and ambiguous — but I’m having trouble connecting with it emotionally. The feeling I do recognize I am seeking to insulate from is fear and …

Day 19: Mug

Next to my bed lay a stack of books, my phone (I haven’t yet adopted the good habit of “putting it to bed” outside of our room like my husband), water bottle, candle, and some clutter. This morning, I awake with a dull resistance to going to my phone — even for the Lent devotional …

Day 20: Trash

A couple of years ago in preparation for a Bible study on the book of Galatians, I read Tim Keller’s excellent book Galatians For You. When he gets to the end of chapter 3, he stops and camps out on how Paul uses the imagery of clothes all over his letters and helps us understand …

Day 21: Fence

She leaves the paved sidewalk and opts for the grass, doing cartwheel after cartwheel — her new bodily compulsion. We come to the pedestrian gate of the neighborhood, but she’s off the path again — running up the hill and climbing over the fence, then cartwheeling some more. She’s gotta do things the most difficult …

Day 22: Lunch

As a person who delights in partaking of interesting and delicious food and drink, my qualm with lunch has been that it usually feels like simply a means to an end. When you’re short on time and/or money, lunch becomes merely about  filling our bellies until dinner, when the slightly more interesting food can be …

Day 23: Band-aid

Typical of little people, my children have both believed in the power of a Band-aid. Not just for broken skin, band-aids are requested for all kinds of boo-boos. Bug bites, scratches, or burns, and bruises, soreness, or bumps — the act of adding a bandage has magical powers to soothe. It’s not just band-aids either, …

Day 24: Lotion

When we lived in Asia, we would head south to Thailand around Lunar New Year. Where we were, everything shuts down and it is cold and dreary so it was a perfect opportunity to let our souls thaw out with friends, food, and SUN! We would often be gone for at least three weeks, with …

Day 25: Toys

    There’s this strange phenomenon where my kids prefer food off of my plate more than their own.          And a friend’s toys are usually much more fascinating than the ones overflowing from bins in their own room. How is it that we seem to be hardwired to be discontent with what we have? Or at …

Day 26: Walk

I change out of pajamas and into “workout clothes,” grab my hat since the sun already sits high in the sky, and check with Aubrey to see if it’s alright if I go for a quick walk. I slip on my tennishoes, grab my phone and earbuds, and step quickly out the door.  I select …

Day 27: TV

:: an ambivalent haiku:: Oh, television My hero, my nemesis God’s gift to steward

Day 28: text

The sense of wonder and expectation has been slowly growing in my gut as the weeks have passed. Maybe we’ll all look  back at this time and begin to describe stages of grief in a global pandemic: from disbelief to shock to anger to action. Or, at least that’s been my privileged path to walk …

Day 29: Dinner

“I don’t like that,” she said as her eyes graze over the food, then turned straight back around to march out of the room.  “I don’t need a treat,” she adds from her bedroom. My husband and I exchange looks of unsurprised displeasure tinged with resignation. Despite meals being the way we keep time during …

Day 30: Bud

I have sometimes wondered  Why the pet name for little boys is so often bud or buddy While little girls get one of a thousand iterations of loveliness, sweetness, beauty or preciousness. We want our sons to be kind and We want our daughters to be friends And still, when I see my friends’ boys, …

Day 31: Dust

The whirring of the sound machine beckons me into my girls’ room. Their beds have already been abandoned, in favor of climbing up next to my husband or I as we sip coffee and read or journal. “It’s bright, Momma,” is Irene’s way of announcing a new day has begun and she is ready to …

Day 32: Pen

The family happened to be all occupied. With what, I’m not sure, but it was calm and I decided to try slipping onto the porch without being missed. I grabbed a few quick supplies: drink, phone (always), book, and pencil and headed out to the swing camp chair. The pencil — I’m pretty sure my …

Day 33: Mailbox

There are many things that come into focus as the dust of our overly busy culture settles in the midst of quarantining and “social distancing” — one of those is that human beings are created to celebrate.


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