Why I’m Not Doing 31 Days This Year

31 Days

Let me just say that I love The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing series. I enjoy organizing and outlining posts for the topic, investing time and mental energy into said topic, and the challenge of writing something (public) everyday for a month. Participating last year was a great introduction to the blogosphere – a concept and community I was brand new to. I connected to wonderful people online (like Katie of Cardigan Way) and sweet parishioners at what was then our very new church by writing my 31 Days of Letters*.

We moved into our first house in May and my original plan was to write 31 Tales of a First Time Home Buyer over the summer. That didn’t exactly happen. I found out I was expecting in June and lost all my writing gumption (hence the summer silence on Primitive Roads) for the first few months of pregnancy.

When I regained energy and motivation for things other than couch-sitting, Kindred Grace, a blog I contribute to, was already planning for October’s A Peek Into Your Personality series. I jumped at the chance to review Quiet by Susan Cain (SO good!) and became immersed in all things introversion. All types of posts started whirring through my mind about introversion so I decided that would be my 31 Days series topic.

One small hurdle. Another week in NY was in my future for the beginning of October. I didn’t want to take my computer or write posts everyday or struggle with limited Internet access when i had friends, family, and fall to enjoy. So, I planned to write the first half of my series ahead of time.

And then I got super overwhelmed by schedules, projects, and ministry – life in general. I was overdue on posts for other people and I was eager to get Primitive Roads out of radio silence mode. Looking down the barrel of a September that was fading away so quickly, all I saw was stress. I realized my drive to participate in 31 Days was more about not being left out and the chance to generate some increased traffic to my blog. I was beginning to feel like a failure for not getting my posts pre-written. With some encouragement from those who know me way too well, I recognized that my boundaries were lacking.

So, I am not doing 31 Days this year. I don’t want to compromise time with my husband or time with my family in NY by perseverating about writing blog posts, something I am way too apt to do. That being said, I will absolutely be following along with people’s 31 Days series. Here’s some I’ve already got bookmarked:

What can you expect from Primitive Roads during October since I’m not doing 31 Days? I’m still going to be writing about introversion. I have a couple great guest posts lined up for when I’m in NY. Plus, I’ll be sharing about the Bread and Wine book club my friend, Katie, and I are leading.

* I loved writing my 31 Days series last year. If you missed it, here’s the most popular of 31 Days of Letters.

Waiting Q & A

As part of my 31 Days of Letter series last month, I wrote a letter to high school ladies about being patient while God orchestrates their love life.

However, the encouragement to wait for God’s timing isn’t limited to highschoolers and waiting doesn’t only apply to romantic relationships.

My romantic history taught me the importance of giving God control of my desires.  I’m still learning. I seek to be open-handed with my plans so that God can change them, replace them, or completely erase them at His will not mine.

I got an email from one of my favorite high school ladies with a great question that I wanted to answer here in case others had similar ponderings.

She wrote:

I was wondering – you said  “Waiting is hard, but don’t let the difficulty of waiting distract you from pursuing God whole heartedly.”

Sometimes when I am waiting for something I do get distracted on the thing I want.

Any sugestions as to how I might try to be more focused on God??

I definitely failed more than I succeeded in this department.  In hindsight, I do know what I wish I would have done more often to combat that antsy, agitated state of waiting.

Disclaimer: I have been the recipient of all of this advice.  I did my fair share of eye rolling because it seemed like I was getting a lecture straight out of Sunday School 101.  Sometimes I followed it; sometimes I poo-poo’d it.  If only I could take back every time I poo-poo’d it… 

The key is to distract yourself from being distracted.  Confusing?  Aren’t you trying to avoid distraction? Well, yes.  But, the effectiveness of this strategy is WHAT you distract yourself with.

Distract yourself with God and you’ll be well on your way to being more focused on Him.

Pray – Cry to God.  Yell at God.  Confess to God.  Ask questions of God.  Thank God.  Submit to God.  I found it very therapeutic to be honest with the One who knows my heart more intimately than I do.  Praying may not yield a change in your circumstances, but growing intimacy with God changes your attitude about your circumstances.  The best way to foster intimacy is to communicate.

If words escape you, start praying the Psalms.  David and the other Psalmists struggled with the same anxieties we face.  Let their words spark some dialogue between you and God. (Try these: Psalm 27, 37, 39, 130)

Listen – I always rebelled against this step in the process.  I listened – I just listened to the wrong voices.  My heart and mind were rowdy with hurt and frustration. Those voices weren’t helpful, but they were a way to justify my feelings.

Listening to God required silence, which is the antithesis of what I wanted to accompany my waiting.  Silence made the wait seem stark and never-ending. Learn to be still in order to hear the still small voice of God.  Quieting my heart and mind made space for me to accept God’s comfort and peace.

Serve – Pour into others.  Waiting can become really internally focused. Selfishness is one of the most destructive qualities in relationships.  It’s best to start weeding that out of your life ASAP.  Being active for God’s glory is a great way to start making selflessness a habit.

No matter how much you want to be in a relationship, the “single season” should not be wished away.  I missed out on deepening friendships and creating richer community because I was focused on what I didn’t have instead of the gifts God had already provided.

I also let my single status slip away without maximizing the time I had, for lack of a less cliche phrase, to better myself.  I could have given Tim the gift of a more patient, kind, selfless wife.

Bottom line: Get distracted by God, not the difficulty of waiting.  Enjoy the single season – you most likely won’t get it back.

How do you stay focused on God in the midst of waiting?

Dear Mr. Owl {31 Days of Letters}

Dear Mr. Owl,

You look innocent enough, but I have my doubts.

That bright blue exterior and cute orange beak are hiding something mischievous, I just know it!

You are so helpful during the day.  You keep time and buzz faithfully when I need to take something out of the oven or to alert me that my tea is done steeping. Those little feet remain perched on the ledge like you have no care in the world.

But I see a bird with plenty of shenanigans up his feathers.  When you’re in the glow of the oven light, those big eyes hint at your true character.  You sit there, small and unassuming all day long. Then, when the house is empty, I bet you leave your post.

Do you hide my forks?  Do you flirt with my salt shaker? (She is a lovely gold owl, indeed).  May I suggest that you do the dishes or make the bed?  Before you protest, let me remind you that the birds in Cinderella did so with a joyful tune.

Whatever you’re up to, just know that I’m on to you.  Cuteness won’t cover your bird-business much longer…



You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

Dear HS Ladies {31 Days of Letters}

Dear High School Ladies,

Waiting is wretched.  I get it.  I’ve waited for a lot of things.  Many of them had to do with guys – or lack thereof.

I waited for someone to ask me to dance at 8th grade promotion.  I waited with baited breath for my 7-year crush to IM me.  I waited for a date to Homecoming. I waited for tryout results.  I waited for a guy to seem interested.  I waited for a date to Prom.  I waited for a boyfriend.

Many of those things never materialized.  Actually, most of those things never happened.  That crush did IM me and I did make some teams, but I didn’t get asked to any dances and I spent 24 years boyfriendless.

Those times of waiting with no results were a major knock to my womanly pride. I cried.  I filled pages in my journal with prayers and pleas and pain.

Before you feel sorry for my dateless, crushless high school existence, let me say that God absolutely knew what He was doing when He withheld what I wanted and waited for.

I made sincere commitments about purity and set high standards.  In my naiveté, I didn’t realize how small I was making my pool of acceptable guys.  My infatuations were far from meeting my requirements (yup, I had a written list and highly recommend doing so!).

While I spent mental and emotional energy trying to 1. smoosh my current crush into the box created by my standards, 2. manipulate circumstances to fit my personal agenda, or 3. figure out why none of it was working out, God was perfectly orchestrating His plan like only a master conductor could.

God was using the absence of what I desired to mold me more into the Godly woman I also wanted to become.  He arranged my romantic life in a way that guarded my convictions and boundaries, when I probably wasn’t willing to guard them myself.

Your romantic situation, or lack thereof, may seem depressing.  You may wonder if a guy will ever like you.  You may be dating up a storm, but, for what purpose?

Wherever you’re at on the spectrum, waiting isn’t a bad thing.  Waiting gives God control.  Waiting says God can pick the timing.  God’s timing will be different for everyone.  Waiting is hard, but don’t let the difficulty of waiting distract you from pursuing God whole heartedly.


Emily – a fellow waiter…

You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.

Dear AJG {31 Days of Letters}

Like I mentioned before with Dear JAG, this is NOT a cute way to announce that I’m pregnant.  I just have some thoughts for my future daughter.

Here’s to hoping you are as chubby as I was. I love baby rolls!

Dear AJG,

If the thought of your brother terrified and thrilled me, I have no idea how to explain how I feel when I think of you, my sweet one.

My heart trembles at the privilege of raising a little girl to become a woman after God’s own heart.  How do I communicate what a precious jewel you are in God’s sight, as well as mine?  How do I help you understand that you are loved, valued, and adored by an earthly family and a heavenly family?  How will I ever let go when I want to hold you close forever?

I know the trials and turmoil that come with being a woman (in any season), trying to follow Christ.  I know how difficult it is to ignore all the worldly voices and listen to God.  I know how easy it is to place your value in corruptible things and how vastly empty and dangerous those things are to your spirit.

My heart aches for the first time you experience those hardships.  Everything in me wants to take all of the hurt and pain and tough decisions away, to carry your burdens for you.  But, pressing stronger than my urge to shelter you from suffering is my desire to see you take solace in our Savior.

Your Abba is the source of comfort, love, dignity, and strength.  He, alone, gives you eternal value.  I pray that His truth is imprinted on your heart, mind, and soul.  I pray for peace to surround your heart, for gratitude to be ever on your lips, and for joy to spring up like a well inside your soul.

Your Grammy is a fantastic example of what a mom should be.  She has pointed me to Christ in all manner of circumstances.  She models a heart that yearns to know God more intimately.  I can’t wait to share my mom with you!

I can only hope that God will reveal Himself in my imperfect, broken, fumbling attempts at motherhood.  I hope that you see God’s redemptive power in my life, a life with which you are so intimately intertwined.

And what I really want you to know – like deep down in your soul, at the core of your being – is that you are a beautiful creation, an exquisite masterpiece, loved imperfectly by me and loved perfectly by an adoring Father.

With love to my beautiful girl,


You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.