Beauty in the Mundane: An Introduction to Ordinary

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It’s finally quiet. It’s just a sliver of time to think, to write, to just be. To be more than my current roles of mother, homemaker, pastor’s wife. And so although the dirty floor and dirty dishes call loudly for my attention, I’m sitting down to write because, for me, a moment of quiet is like a salve for my weary soul. It’s here that I find out again who I am, why I’m doing what I’m doing and how to continue to pour myself out for those around me.

I’m living a rather ordinary life. I guess I never thought I would. Raised on a diet of “you can do anything!” growing up and with a culture and economy that promoted a sense of vocation as the highest means of personal fulfillment, I guess I never thought I’d have such a ordinary dailyness. I no longer walk foreign streets to sit down in lectures about literary theory. I no longer teach those lectures either. I do quite ordinary things like driving and feeding and caring for my four little ones, not thinking all the grand thoughts I thought I thought. Or living overseas (which I have done and thought I would do forever). Or even sitting in an office with “Dr. Hales” on the door (since I have a Ph.D.). None of that is right now. Right now is the endless monotony and hard work of relationships, of tying little people’s shoes, of making meals and trying to infuse a sense of holiness into the mundane tasks of life. Right now is spilled spaghetti and gunk on the floor, trying not to lose it when a child screams he hates me, the endless trips to the grocery store and these lovely gifts of quiet where it all makes sense.

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Because here in this quiet, I’m just me. Me, with all the same hopes and dreams and yes, work to do, too.

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I hope you’ll come with me on this journey this month — to seek and see beauty in the mundane. To reclaim the mundane as glory-filled. It was easy to see the beauty of Scotland with its Georgian architecture and rolling hills; it’s easy to see the beauty in a fulfilling job; but how can we see the beauty of the daily when we are so concerned about every teeny thing our kids put into their mouths? Is there HFCS/sugar/gluten/food dyes in what they’re eating? How can we appreciate beauty in the mundane when Pinterest is what tells us what a successful party looks like? When we’ve lost real connection with others because we shuttle our kids from activity to activity? Where we value our bodies because of how they look rather than what they do? When we feel like failures because we don’t measure up to some standard of perfection that we’re burdening ourselves with?

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It’s time to stop. To listen. To savor moments of quiet, and a cup of hot coffee, and a good conversation. It’s time to notice the world around us even as you work through your agenda for tomorrow’s meeting or step in to referee fights. It’s time to put down the phone and realize that the number of “likes” or “shares” does not define us. It’s time to notice and care for people instead of fussing over your countertops or the deal you just brokered. Join with me to notice again the beauty in the mundane.

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This is the first post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series will be linked to below.

Day 2 — Am I enough?: the god of the scale

Day 3 — Stories save us

Day 4 — A Marriage made of little moments

Day 5 — Weekend link-up

Day 6 — The final letting go

Day 7 — The gift of quiet

Day 8 — Flowers

Day 9 — In pictures: Beauty in the Mundane

Day 10 — Choosing faith

Day 11 — Vulnerability; or, stories save us, pt. 2

Day 12 — Stories for your weekend

Day 13 — How vacuuming and doing the laundry makes us more human

Day 14 — Bread and wine

Day 15 — Mama to littles, I got your back

Day 16 — Kale, kombucha and food guilt

Day 17 — In pictures: beauty in the mundane

Day 18 — The necklace

Day 19 — Stories for your weekend

Day 20 — Invisible women

Day 21 — Changing seasons

Day 22 — Do you want to run away too? 

Day 23 — In pictures: beauty in the mundane [10.23.14]

Day 24 — Vulnerability and the question we’re all asking

Day 25 — Home and daily presence

Day 26 — Stories for your weekend [10.26.14]

Day 27 — Life in and of the body

Day 28 — Thank you starts here

Day 29 — In pictures: beauty in the mundane

Day 30 — “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” 

Day 31 — Writing — finding beauty in the mundane

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47 Comments

    1. Thanks so much for commenting and reading, Lisa. It’s a good topic — one that’s challenging and hard and a discipline for sure! And thanks for liking my voice; it’s good to know I finally have one. 🙂 I’ll check your blog out too!

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  1. Ashley – Yay! Can’t wait to read your daily posts! I am doing 31 days, too (for the first time).
    Heading back to read your second post now. 😉

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  2. […] This is the third post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  3. Love this and relate to it so much. My 31 day topic is reflection, but my day 2 posteoporosis talks some about where to look for beauty, too. Looking forward to following along!

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  4. […] This is the fourth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  5. My three “little ones” are now 22, 24 and 30. I saw the beauty in the pictures you posted of your little ones. I know you will discover the beauty of the mundane as you look into those precious little faces. I was blessed with these three young men every day, and if I could go back, I would take a closer look at those freckles, those twinkles, hear those giggles a little bit more. I am now blessed to know they all love and serve God, and are finding beauty for themselves! You’re finding the beauty, and we will all enjoy the journey with you!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment and your wisdom from “the other side!” I do love catching little moments with them and help remember how great and creative and fun they each are.

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  6. […] This is the fifth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  7. So excited about this topic! It’s one I’m really passionate about too! Life is an adventure, no matter what our vocation! As a stay at home wife and mom, I too need this reminder though sometimes. Looking forward to the rest of your series!

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  8. […] This is the fifth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  9. […] This is the seventh post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  10. […] This is the eighth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  11. […] This is the ninth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  12. […] This is the tenth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  13. […] This is the eleventh post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  14. […] This is the eleventh post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  15. […] This is the thirteenth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  16. […] This is the fourteenth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  17. […] This is the fifteenth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  18. […] This is the sixteenth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  19. […] This is the nineteenth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  20. […] This is the eighteenth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  21. […] This is the nineteenth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  22. […] This is the twentieth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  23. […] This is the twenty-first post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  24. […] This is the twenty-second post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  25. […] This is the twenty-third post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  26. […] This is the twenty-fourth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  27. […] This is the twenty-fifth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  28. […] This is the twenty-sixth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  29. […] This is the twenty-seventh post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  30. […] This is the twenty-eighth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  31. […] This is the twenty-ninth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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  32. […] (This whole write-for-31-days thing started with the “Nester,” Myquillin Smith, and her series this year is on vignettes.) This is the thirtieth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post. […]

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