Comments 13

Never Take a Dare

Didn’t our parents teach us that growing up? Yet, I didn’t seem to learn that lesson very well.  I was the stupid kid that drank the hot sauce at music camp (that’s about as wild and crazy as it get’s at music camp) because someone dared me to.  I just can’t back down.

Whether the dare is spoken outright, or implied, I am a sucker.  Maybe it is a “firstborn perfectionistic” thing.  Maybe it is homeschool grad individualization.  I just can’t seem to back down from a challenge.

This week has been no exception.

First off, I spent my relaxing Thanksgiving holiday making myself a new daily schedule.  Only today did I realize the twistedness of that entire scenario.  But, at the time, it seemed perfectly relaxing to me, so I did it, and did it well.  The improvement on this particular routine is that I refrained from micro-managing my life in 15 minute increments.  This one has only half-hour to one hour blocks of time for each task.  I have been living it for 2 days now, and I love it. Curious?

6:oo   Write

7:00   Breakfast

7:30  Bible – Advent Study

8:00   Countdown to Christmas

8:30   Yoga

9:00   Dress

9:30   Music lesson  {I teach 3 of my children strings and piano}

10:00  Grade papers and teach

12:00  Lunch and read aloud

1:00   Write and post blog

2:00   Email & social sites

3:00   Read

4:00   House Honcho

4:30   Plan next days’ meals

5:00   Rest

6:00   Cook dinner

7:00   Dinner

8:00   Crochet

It looks kinda drab all typed out there for the world to see, but to me, it is an exciting life.  It is what happens within those hours, you know, that really makes each day a surprise.  Anyway, I am happy because I have the time, here, to exercise, write, and read, and crochet.  These are things I have neglected lately.

And, besides daring to get back into a routine, I am fulfilling a long-standing challenge between myself and a couple of great facebook friends.  Kimmy and Shelley promised to hold me accountable for my daily exercise, and I have been falling down on the job.  Literally.  I fell flat on my downward-facing-dogface a few days ago when I tried to get back into it half-heartedly.  The daily stretching and strengthening is really important for my joint health, so I am going to take it seriously.

The biggest dare, though, is one that I, myself, gave out to a great friend of mine and fellow writer in Michigan.  Scared to take my writing career “to the next level,” I asked her if she were interested in joining with me in bettering our craft.  I should have considered more carefully, perhaps, whom I was dealing with.  Not only is Many Hats Mommy a busy work-at-home mother, a savvy business woman, and a compassionate special needs advocate, she is also a cutthroat competitor! I may not be able to keep up with matching her daily word count, or her web-research talent.  But I have already gleaned so much from her skill and perspective.

So, thanks to the Writing Dare, you may see more output on WhateverState. My writing buddy sent me an article listing 101 Steps to Becoming a Better Blogger.  I, of course, took it as a dare (from whom? the unknown blogger?) to better my … blogging.  I have already completed #1 (blog on WordPress) and #2 (sign up for feedburner.  I cheated there and signed up, then tweaked my feed settings here on WordPress. Make me happy and my time worth the effort by clicking on the link at the right to subscribe to my blog in your email!). Now, I am on #3.  The dreaded #3.  “Post at least once a day.”  That is hard, really hard.  But, the upside is, I will have more words to show Many Hats Mommy (so far, this post has over 600).

I also started a secret project (sh-sh-sh!).  Last year, my bosom buddy dared me to watch “Fireproof,” the movie.  That film chronicles a couple’s struggle with sin and marital problems, as well as their salvation and recommittment to one another.  Frequent mention is made of a book, The Love Dare, which the husband reads and uses to demonstrate sacrificial love for his wife.  Well, I am too cheap to go buy the book right now.  I did, though, search for some info on the forty Love Dares on the internet.  I was challenged, of course, and decided to take the dare for my entire family (it must be an overachiever illness I have).  Since there are 5 people I have to demonstrate love towards, I am giving myself a day or two for each dare.  I am on #3 today: Love is Not Selfish. I am to invest in my relationships by purchasing something for each to show love.  *phew,* I already went to the store, and I got organic bunny cereal that the children were wanting (it is usually so expensive that I say no!), and I got David an avocado for the supper salad and more soda.

Focusing on loving my family is a good thing for me, seriously.  I am too uptight by nature, and I tend to run my home on the strict side.  I’ve also noticed since I have been ill that I tend to rely on those around me too much, and I may not extend myself enough in return.

Yesterday’s dare – do an act of kindness – was a big hit.  The children were cranky and frustrated by being back in their work routine after Thanksgiving week with Daddy home.  My challenge was to only speak patiently (!) and to do an act of kindness for each person.  I was ashamed with myself how hard that was.  It took until 5pm for me to think of something to do! Then, I sat at the piano and played with Sweetie Pooh, who was really struggling with a piece.  Within 10 minutes, he was smiling and giggling, then bragging about his accomplishments.  After that, I assisted my oldest with his wrapping paper business.  He changed his moody, grumpy behavior at my unexpected assistance and began helping his siblings and cleaning the house without being asked after that.  I folded and put away some of the laundry for my daughter, then dried dishes for her while she washed.  Then, I simply held my Baby on my lap and read the same book over and over like he wanted. The painful kindness was … I gave my coupon for a free Starbucks breakfast sandwich to my husband, so he could have something to eat today.  I hope he likes it! I was shocked that within a few minutes of my simply doing little kindnesses for the children, their attitudes toward one another and their own responsibility completely changed.  I hope I remember this lesson.

Finally, I made my own, personal dare.  I dared myself to not get all crazy and stressed this Christmas season, to not become frantic and tired, and to not worry what others are thinking. I dared myself to have Peace. All around the house, I posted verses on peace to remind me.  And I’m meditating, whatever I do, on the Author of Peace who gives to us, this holiday season and all year through …

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men.

P.S. This makes over 1200 words in this post, Many Hats. That doesn’t count the nearly 1000 I pounded into my article early this morning. Now, I am out of words for today.


  1. I enjoyed your blog post, Lea Ann~ Do you still read my blog at all? Just curious. I know you’re busy, I just thought it would be fun to know you read it. I try to post as much as possible. Comment if you stop by!
    “Serving others in love/showing love by acts of kindness” not only blesses the receiver but most of all, the giver. You might think that the family is getting spoiled, but it’s really you who will get spoiled!
    And I think we will all benefit by your blogging and writing every day! This post was fun to read! Love the new schedule, too.


  2. Sarah says

    After reading this post, again, I am reminded why we’re friends!!! The part about patience and kindness to your children is something that has been heavy on my heart lately. AND, not getting freaked out this month. I worked really hard (should trying to be peaceful be such hard work?) last year on that and TOTALLY loved it! Yesterday, was a big battle that way.

    Thank you for your vulnerability with your posts.


  3. Ah, perhaps this is why we’re Recovering Firstborn Rule Followers! I just wrote a post for tomorrow (don’t want to take away from my Wednesday’s Woman) about blogging. Only 300+ words. Had a few yesterday–maybe we should increase our goal after all. Just not too high for those days that don’t follow our wishes with our respective children/health. Anyway, I LOVE this post, and I think it is a contender to be made into an article to be published in a magazine. Great work!


    • You are TOO kind. I was full of self-recrimination after posting this one. It felt to “disjointed” to me, since I covered so many topics. It has bothered me all day. That is what has kept me from writing more – too much self-criticism. Thanks for the encouragement.

      Truly, I haven’t been trying to break any records this week. I’ve just been “under the gun” with my articles due and starting up this “blog every day” thing. I have a feeling my word count will go downhill quickly. If I can keep up a 500 wrd a day average, I think I am doing pretty well. I noticed that 1500 took too long to type this morning; I was late for breakfast. : (


  4. I enjoy reading you blog… but, seriously, don’t feel like you MUST write something on you blog EVERY day! Life often gets in the way of us accomplishing those types of goals. If it is something you enjoy and you WANT to do it, then go for it! But, if it is drudgery for you, then don’t do it! I have set a small goal for myself to write on my blog at least once per WEEK, and that is enough for me. Not too challenging to get it done, but still challenging enough to make myself do it. Some weeks, I still fail in that goal, but that is okay, as long as I don’t make it the norm.


    • You are right; I don’t want blogging to become drudgery. Daily blogging has motivated me to write more, and that is helping me hone my craft. And if you look closely, you will notice that I am not personally authoring every one of my posts; I am fortunate to have guest authors once or twice a week. That really helps.

      Who knows how long the posts will always be. Maybe some days I will just get a quote in!

      ~ Lea Ann


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