31 Days of Real {Day 1}: An Invitation

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A 31-day series from 2011 in which I give you {and me} permission to live with realness and freedom in everything from motherhood and marriage to home and rest. 

{Day 7} Real Motherhood: Feast on Today
{Day 8} A Song for Really Living
{Day 9} Real Change: Just Pick One Thing
{Day 10} Real Writing
{Day 11} Mom-Jeans and Miniskirts: What’s a Real Mom to Wear?
{Day 12} Keep It Real. Wear It Well. 
{Day 13} Real Meals Part I: The Contemplative Cook
{Day 14} Real Meals Part II: For Real Meals
{Day 15} My Real House
{Day 16} Real Rest: An Invitation
{Day 17} Real Rest: A Reason
{Day 18} Real Rest: A Practice
{Day 19} Real Home: Living Large in a Small Space
{Day 20} Real Home: Double-Duty
{Day 21} Real Home: You Won’t Remember, I Promise
{Day 22} A Real “Disorder” {sort of}: Reading Guilt
{Day 23} And on the 23rd day, she rested. Really.
{Day 24} Real Marriage Part 1: Am I Really Doing This?
{Day 25} Real Marriage Part 2: When You’re Struggling
{Day 26} Real Marriage Part 3: On Little Things
{Day 27} Real Marriage Part 4: The Myth of Quality Time
{Day 28} Real Marriage Part 5: Laugh It Up
{Day 29} Real Marriage Part 6: Get Back to Dreaming
{Day 30} Real Marriage Part 7: Choose Life, Even When It’s Falling Apart
{Day 31} Why Real?
Day 1: A Real Invitation

The world is full of advice on how to be better and I’ve always had a tendency to drink it up. 

Walk through any checkout line in America and you’ll see an array of glossy magazine covers touting all the ways you can be more than you currently are. 
You can be a better mom, a better homemaker, a better meal planner, a better manager of money, a better friend. You can have a better body, a better home, a better garden, and a better retirement plan. Morning news segments and afternoon talk shows deliver more of the same. 
Go to your book club, PTA meeting, homeschool conference, sister’s house, Bible study or child’s soccer game and you’ll probably hear or overhear someone giving advice about something or exhibiting their “better-ness” in one way or another. 
Lest you think I’m cynical towards everything from book clubs to my sister, I assure you that’s not the case. I love magazines, the Today Show and blogs. I’ll listen with rapt attention to anyone who’s an “expert” and I get the best ideas from family and girlfriends all the time. 
I’m simply stressing the point that our poor brains are inundated with advice and information and how-to’s all the time. Without even realizing it, we can easily believe that we’re not capable enough to function on our own as we should. 
It’s hard to just be.
When I was newly married I subscribed to Martha Stewart Living. Oh how I loved all things Martha. I read article after article on exactly when to clean your baseboards and how to plan the perfect birthday party and the only way to make a flaky pie-crust.
I felt inspired to do everything just right. And then I felt guilty because I couldn’t measure up to those Martha standards. I internalized magazines and expert advice and then drafted ridiculous standards for myself.
I’m embarrassed to admit that but it’s true. 
What I really needed was permission to be me. I needed someone to say: You know what? The Martha Stewart in the magazine is not necessarily the real Martha. And she has an army of people to help her do all of that stuff. And she’s going to jail in a few years. 
I still peruse Martha Stewart Living but now I simply enjoy the pretty pictures and appreciate the recipes, even though I never make any of them. 
In this 31-day series, I give you permission to be real. {And permission to clean your dryer vent during the wrong month. Or not at all.}
No, this isn’t going to be 31 days to reckless, slothful, irresponsible hedonism. It’s not 31 days to relativism or 31 days to apathy. I’m not an anarchist and I’ve never gone to jail. 
I just talk to so many women who are trying to live a life that’s not really theirs to live, who are trying to force their square selves into round lives or vice versa. 
We’ll talk about how being our real, authentic, God-created selves translates into everyday life. I’m planning to write about real motherhood, real marriage, real life at home with kids and meals and mess, real thoughts about clothes and beauty and books. 
To quote from my last post,

My hope is that this series will inspire you to embrace the life you actually have instead of the one you wish you had or the one you feel like you’ve settled for.  

I’m learning that beauty and acceptance and redemption can bloom full in the midst of messy and crazy and broken. 

Sometimes it’s about unrealistic expectations. Sometimes it’s about choosing to see things differently. Always, it’s about grace and grace gives birth to freedom and joy. 

Daily I struggle to overcome conformity, expectation, doubt, and insecurity. This series is my story and my ongoing journey. I hope you’ll come with me. 


  1. says

    I’m so glad you’re doing this, Scooper. The truth is, there are so many 31 Days series (including my own), that I’m going to have to pick and choose whose to read.

    FYI: I choose you. For real.

  2. says

    I am in the process of checking out many of the 31 dayers. No way I can read 600 and still have a life. So far it sounds as if i’ll enjoy my visits here.

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