#30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 30… Final

What is next?

How amazingly satisfying it is to finish something fully to completion!! And while writing is something I really enjoy and even look forward to doing each day…. (well, most days) finishing this challenge strong has given me even more motivation to try something a bit harder for next month…


Every day.

For 31 days.

(Of course….)

I’m having pretty good success in a few other areas of my life… but exercise hasn’t been one of them.

So, for the next 31 days… I will challenge myself to exercise for at LEAST 30 minutes per day. Any kind of exercise. I will not put any other restrictions or requirements on it other than that. There are many ways I could make this challenge a LOT more difficult, but I want to make it easy to do something that I’m already really not going to want to do.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 29

Over the past month, what has been the easiest AND most difficult part of writing every day?

I can hardly believe tomorrow is the last day of June! And that today is my 29th post! It is completely amazing how taking things one day at a time… can REALLY add up to something a lot bigger!

The easiest part… was committing to doing this daily and knowing that, no matter what, I was going to write every day. No matter how tired of writing I was, or whether or not I felt like writing what the prompt wanted me to… I was going to write! I know most of that motivation came from declaring my goal publicly. (People could see if I failed.) Also… I wanted it to count for my 40 T.B. 40 list, which meant fulfilling it completely. These two motivations kinda halted my procrastination (Though, I fully admit, some posts have been written toward the end of the day.)

The most difficult thing… which surprised me… was feeling like I had run out of words. Things began to feel a bit redundant. But that also challenged me to figure out other ways of writing about them… or choosing a different topic altogether. (After all, the goal has been to write a blog post every day for a month…. and not that I would adhere to a list of prompts for a month.) It was freeing to realize I could change what wasn’t working.

Overall, I’m glad I did it. I learned some things about myself as a writer that I didn’t know before. (Like, maybe I don’t need to feel guilty about not writing every day, because that isn’t my preferred way of doing things- which is OK!.) And I also learned how strong the external motivation (public accountability) needs to be to accomplish a new, daily goal! (I’m wondering how waking up early or getting on the treadmill every day would work with this?!) Even if no one ever read my blog… or cared… I think the fact that the goal is ‘out there’ is enough of a push forward. (I feel like I might need to test this hypothesis.)

I’m looking forward to my last post of the challenge tomorrow!

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 28

Today was a good day…

I had a picnic lunch with my girls and our friend and her mom. Connecting with people in person is still a bit foreign…. and I love it more than I ever did.

I got to try to fix a few things I found in our basement… as I dug through memories and boxes this weekend. A few things landed in the “I accidentally left batteries in this for 27+ years… and that is definitely corrosion seeping out” pile. I have one 100% fixed item… my electronic Dream Phone game. I’m waiting for two different sized batteries to try to fix two other games. And I’m really hoping my husband can solder a metal piece in my preskool Alphie II… because he is still dead, no matter what I tried to do today.

I also found an old Game Boy that belonged to my sister… and it was NOT stored with the batteries inside! (Woohoo!) So it worked without any problems!!

Aaaaannnnd, I got to teach my kids proper protocol for what to do when you accidentally burn microwave popcorn. (Which is a good life skill to have.)

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 27

W.O.T.Y Update

My ‘word of the year’ is PROGRESS. I haven’t updated in a while about it… but it is going VERY well! Having my ’40 Things Before 40′ list has made it especially easy to move forward and make PROGRESS in a LOT of different areas. This weekend I’ve spent in my basement purging and sorting…with the goal being the organization of the entire basement. (That’s on my ’40 T.B. 40′.) I’m reading more, cooking new recipes, making adjustments with my sleep and eating that will hopefully lead toward PROGRESS in my health. I’ve also scheduled two trips that should take care of FIVE things on my ’40T.B.40′ list!! And of course… I LOVE being able to plan travel again!

It feels SO good to be moving forward and working toward a goal!

30 Dat Writing Challenge: Day 26

I’m a bit late writing today. I’ve spent most of the day in our basement… continuing a deep purge and organizing effort that I began earlier this week.

Some things are really easy to get rid of. Some things are really easy to keep. But the last thing I opened tonight was a box of memories from all stages of life… infancy to college. Baby blankets and college awards. Homecoming Mums from Texas and artwork from elementary school. And suddenly I’m stuck.

It is SO HARD to get rid of things that I can’t use, and don’t necessarily want anymore… but the nostalgia is like a drug that I’m addicted to. And what if I get rid of “the thing” and forget? Or in 20 years, suddenly I want to find it for some reason?


My brain is mush… I’m physically tired too. So I know it is time to stop and rest and come back to it tomorrow.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 25

Share a recipe that you LOVE to make in the summer.

I actually love this recipe ANY time of year! (I’ve made it in the dead of winter.)

The Pioneer Woman’s Kid Friendly Pasta Salad

It a recipe I can make, eat numerous portions of, and never get tired of! Also… my kids will eat it (deconstructed, of course… without the sauce/dressing) but my husband and I love it as is! (Though, I’ve never had any basil on hand… so we don’t usually add that.)

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 24

I don’t know how people do it.

How do some writers post every single day? Even with prompts that are already written out for me, I’m becoming more and more weary of being told what I should write about.

I struggled writing papers in school because of this very thing.

I LOVE to write. But I really don’t like to be told what to write, even if it is for fun. I prefer to write when I’m inspired and have something (I feel) is worthy to put out into the cyber-universe. The difficulty with that… is finding the motivation to sit down and actually write! It’s even more challenging when I’m not in the habit of setting aside dedicated writing time.

All of that said, I’m 24 days in with 6 more days left of this challenge.

Today, I was supposed to write 30 facts about myself. But I kinda feel like I’ve already provided plenty of facts in the last 24 days of this blog. Instead of me listing them all here… maybe go on a fact scavenger hunt through these pages. 🙂 I’m sure you’ll find more than 30! 😉

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 23

Write about something exciting that happened today.

This morning, at 6:15 am, my husband (who is NOT a light sleeper) jumped out of bed yelling at our cat to leave something alone.

I asked him what was going on, and he said he thought he saw something little scurry across the floor.

We’ve had mice before… the cats always find them and ‘take care of things’ before we can catch and release them. But it is very unusual for mice to make it all the way back into our bedroom.

Suddenly, I jumped out of bed… realizing what he probably saw… and walked to our elder daughter’s room, turned on the lamp and peered into an empty hamster bin cage. There was a new hole in the lid that covers the bin… where we didn’t think she could reach.

She woke up as soon as she heard me open the door… and when I told her what I thought had happened… she started panicking. I reassured her we would find the hamster, and she needed to stay in her room to look for the hamster there.

I went back to the master bedroom and searched with my husband. I reminded him we needed to check under every piece of furniture, in every corner. (I’d had my childhood hamster break out a few times, and knew the drill.) He checked the closet, but didn’t move anything. When I checked again… there the little rodent was…. peering at me like, “What? Is there a problem?”

I scooped her up and returned her to her cage, to my daughter’s relief. And then I went back to bed… because 6:15am is waaaay too early for such surges of adrenaline and worry.

The hamster is safe and sound.

(And I get to keep my jailbreak-hamster-recovery-rate at 100%.)

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 22

Think of a word, Google it, choose the 11th image that comes up, and write about it.

photo by Oscar Durand for The New York Times

I chose the word ‘avenue’. It is fitting this image was the one I ended up with… especially after my post yesterday. (I wrote about an experience I had in Tokyo and also mention how I loathe big cities in general.)

After Tokyo… (where I only stayed 3-4 days) I figured I’d had enough exposure to the big city. I had ZERO desire to ever go to New York City… EVER. Even with all of the history and sites to see.

But then a Broadway show I hoped to see ‘someday’ opened in 2018, (my bestie got tickets)… and since she had been to NYC before… and knew how to navigate all-the-potentially-scary-things/places/etc. we might encounter…. I put my big girl pants on, and we made the trip out.

And it was one of the most amazing trips I’ve experienced! I felt like Chandler in the episode of Friends where he doesn’t want to do the site-seeing things, and then he does them and LOVES them. (Seriously, watch the clip I linked… that is almost exactly how it was for me…)

We stayed near Journal Square in New Jersey. We took the subway/train into the city. We ate breakfast at the cutest little bistro/café on a Sunday morning. We spent an entire day/evening on Broadway. We walked through Central Park and down Wall Street. We toured the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and even visited Times Square, more times than we thought we would, actually- because touristy crowds = discomfort, but it wasn’t too bad! (The NYE ball is SO much smaller (from a Times Square vantage point) than I’d imagined!!) We also spent the better part of a day re-living 9/11, experiencing it through the memorial and museum where it happened.

I ate some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life on that trip.

I even got to experience what it is like to chug a full, hot, VENTI, chai tea… because we didn’t realize drinks couldn’t go to the top of the Rockefeller observation deck. (I mean, it totally makes sense… but I wasn’t prepared.) So, that’s a thing I know I can do now.

Even walking around in the early evening hours wasn’t as scary as I had imagined. (Bad guys don’t actually come out and mug people at sunset… shocker.)

The city lights, the movement, the architecture, the people who live and work there… I fell in love with it all after a few days and was actually sad to leave.

The biggest surprise of all… that I hope to go back someday.

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 21

Write about a time you were scared and chose to be brave.

There was a moment, a couple of days after I arrived in Tokyo, that I had a minor panic attack. There wasn’t much down-time during our first orientation and when there was, we JETs went together in groups. But on the second afternoon, I found myself alone. I had maybe an hour to myself to get a few errands accomplished. I needed stamps to mail letters to family and my husband (then boyfriend), since I had didn’t have a Japanese cellphone yet… or a computer… or access to internet… and wouldn’t for the foreseeable future. I also NEEDED money (BADLY). I had wanted to wait until I arrived in Japan to pull money from my US account (at the time, getting money from an ATM was a pretty decent exchange rate). I knew that post offices had ATMs that had an English menu… I just had to get to one. In Tokyo. By myself. Before google maps.

So, I asked the concierge where the closest post office was. And thankfully… it was straight out the hotel doors and down the sidewalk, only about 5-6 blocks. I wouldn’t have to cross any major streets AND I already knew what the post office sign looked like! This would be a piece of cake.

I had my purse, my letters, and my debit card all ready to go. I went down to the lobby and stood in front of 8 sets of glass doors… and at least one revolving door. (It was a pretty fancy hotel.) And I froze. I’d never been anywhere in Japan on my own. Throughout the mission trip the previous summer, I’d always had at least one friend or adult-in-charge with me. And the second the JET programme participants got to the airport (in our home countries) to depart for Japan, we were under a leader’s supervision. Not only that… I hate big cities. (Big cities are intimidating to me. I have never loved being downtown in ANY city…. and Tokyo is GINORMOUS. From my quick research, as of 2015, it is THE largest, most populated city, in the WORLD. )

I had to talk myself through it. I knew where to go. I knew what to do. It wasn’t that far away…. and I also knew I needed to be able to do this. I wasn’t going to be with any other JETs where I was going to be living and working, so I had to get used to being on my own. And I absolutely needed the money… I had no idea when I’d have the time or ability to get to an ATM before I had to start paying for things at my town. (Which was pretty soon after I’d arrived.) But I also needed money in order to pay for dinner that night.

I have no idea how long I stood there… having this internal pep talk with myself… completely freaking out, while also trying to be outwardly calm. But eventually logic won. And a glance at the clock told me it was now or never.

I took a deep breath and stepped out the door. I walked the 5-6 blocks. I passed so many people… but also felt completely safe. Seeing the red post office sign brought an instant wave of relief over my entire body. I stepped into the building, used the ATM like an old pro, and then got in line to mail my letters. I was in and out in less than 10 minutes.

The walk back went a lot faster… and was almost enjoyable! I was still aware of the crazy tall buildings and thousands of people. But I was able to look around and take things in and breathe. I made it back to my hotel in one piece. Triumphant.

This was my first experience like this in Japan… but definitely wasn’t my last. (Not a week later, I had run out of the groceries my supervisor had taken me to buy on my first night in town… and faced an equally panicked moment of knowing I had to brave the grocery store solo… or starve… I chose to get food.)

With each opportunity to be brave… I grew stronger and felt more capable. It’s probably one of the many reasons why I felt so changed (like, a core piece of who I am) after my time in Japan.