The Joy of Half-Assery: Day 3 of Lent

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Today’s 15 Minute Project is a corner. 

One corner of one room. Any room you like. Because, no matter what Patrick Swayze said in Dirty Dancing, sometimes we do put baby in a corner. Baby and EVERYTHING ELSE. All the Things in corners!

I could, in fact, spend the next 40 Days of Lent purging nothing but corners, but I picked my bedroom because this pile o’ crap has been sitting between my desk and my closet since summer.

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SUMMER. And more likely the summer of 2012 than the summer of 2013, but I’ve decided to give myself a break and just say summer, pleaseandthankyou.

After 20 minutes, I managed to get it all put away, recycled, thrown away or marked for donation.

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Which reminded me what I’ve intended to do with that corner for two years but haven’t done because I couldn’t ever seem to finish all the pieces I needed.

After an additional hour – but a MUCH more enjoyable hour than cleaning – I managed to turn the corner into a reading nook, complete with our very threadbare, much-beloved Velveteen Chair

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…and the wood screen I never did manage to finish staining. Do you see that light wood bit up there? Yeah, me, too. But I decided to take myself seriously about yesterday’s lesson in HAGE; Half-Assed is Good Enough. And guess what? The feeling of being in this space is SO MUCH BETTER. Sure, the screen is incomplete. It’s not done. There’s a glaring error right there on the outside. A physical admission I can’t do All the Things. 

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And I LOVE it.

I think we should call this the Spiritual Discipline of Half-Assery, friends. And I think Jesus, and all the Wild Grace Givers like him, would approve. Because we have days when we are sure we’re incomplete. Not done. With glaring errors right there on the outside. And we know we cannot do All the Things. But we are deeply, truly worthy of Love. Exactly as we are. Even with all the messes in the corners.


ID-10057427NEW for Lent!
Environmental Living Section

Today, I’m excited to introduce my friend and cousin, Leslie Hodgdon Murray, to you.

Leslie.pngLeslie is a Quaker pastor who is pursuing her Master’s of Divinity with an emphasis in Christian Earthkeeping. Her passion in life is helping people reduce waste, simplify life and reduce their ecological footprint, and I’ve asked her to weigh in here on all matters environmental. 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some of Leslie’s easiest tips for those of us who want to live more sustainably but are just totally overwhelmed by where to start and what to do.

Since Leslie and I spend a good amount of time at each other’s houses, trading our 1st grade boys back and forth, I asked her to begin by answering a question that might give you a teeny, tiny insight into my Awesome Environmental Prowess. I mean, we live in Oregon, after all, epi-center for Herculean Ecological Feats, so I am bound to be good at this! 

My Question: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being “Environmental Master” and 1 being “Single-Handedly Ruining the Earth,” how would you rate my family and me on Sustainability and Eco-Friendliness? 

Leslie’s Answer: Um…really? You want me to answer that? Like, are you going to be hurt? Because, if so, don’t read any further. That said, I would rate your family either a 3 or 4 …so maybe a 3.5. You recycle glass bottles and cans for the most part but other than that your recycling could go up several notches. As far as I can tell (not living in your house with you for quite some time!), your family wastes a lot of food. I’m not sure about water/energy consumption (lights, screens left on, etc.) One of the reasons you weren’t a 2 is you have belonged to a Community Supported Agriculture project and sometimes buy your meat locally.

Sooo… if you’re an Environmental Novice, too, don’t worry, OK? We’re clearly going to be learning together. 


And Congrats to Melissa who cleaned her buffet for her 15 Minute Project. Melissa writes, “My project was the top of my buffet. On it were, (including but not limited to) a foam sword, a broken lamp, a working fan (not used since summer) and LOADS of kid papers…”


“…It is currently the only clean thing in my entire house! But I feel so AWESOME every time I walk by it!  (That is the permanent parking spot for the firetruck by the way, so no need to move it!)”


Nice work, Melissa!

I am randomly selecting your 15 Minute Project photos to feature in our Lenten posts. You can send yours to me at


P.S. You can see Leslie cleaning her sunglasses with her son’s red Wolverine undies here. This is one of many reasons I love her.

P.P.S. For those of you who’d like more in-depth information on sustainable living, I encourage you to check out my friend Cherice Bock’s blog, Quaker Oats Live, and, specifically, her series on Eco-Lent

“Green Leaf Lamp” image credit Meawpong3405 via

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13 responses to “The Joy of Half-Assery: Day 3 of Lent”

  1. OK, this thread has seriously made me think. I thought about it for at least fifteen minutes, then I think I quarter-assed a job, but I do like it very much. I dumped out the utensils and cleaned my flatware holder–the white-plastic-in-a-drawer type–with a baby wipe (a clean one, obviously). I had it around, it did the job, and my utensils and drawer look a little bit better. Never mind the fact that I did NOT even attempt to clean the much larger and more obvious other two cooking utensil trays–one of which is right next to the small, and now, clean one. Still, it was a baby step, even if it was a quarter-assed baby step. I’m now thinking maybe I can attack sections of my messy desk, but not the whole desk since that would take much longer than fifteen minutes. Thanks for the great relief of validating HAGE. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the blog shoutout, Beth! And I (predictably) love the new Environmental Living Section! Excellent. Yay Leslie! AND I was inspired by your Lent choice and also your half-assery, and I folded all my family’s laundry tonight while watching 2 episodes of Parenthood (I only cried once! New record!). It took a little longer than 15 minutes. I drew the line at putting away the laundry. That’s where the half-assed part comes in. This after my eldest said to me this morning, “Maybe you should think about doing something with the laundry at some point,” at which point I told him I was not his maid, and he brightened up and said, “I wish we had a maid! That would be awesome!” So, maid-me folded laundry tonight and wrote a blog post instead of putting it away, which made me think of you. =)

  3. In the midst of my feelings of incompleteness, and my desire to strive for more, constantly feeling like I’m not doing enough, and KNOWING I’m capable of achieving so much more,I stop myself and my “spiritual discipline” sets in. Through every struggle in my life, Jesus has been there, wiping away my tears and calming my fears. It’s then I realize, I will always be complete….In Him.

  4. Now, how long until you have stuff piled on that Velveteen chair? That’s my problem!
    But I’m going to find a corner tonight definitely! Just don’t ask us to do the laundry room for another couple weeks so I can get a head start… please? 😉

  5. I’m not participating in these 15 minute projects because I… I don’t know why. I was going to say I’m lazy, but I’m really not. I was going to say I don’t have time, but I have time to be on here so I do have time – I just am choosing not to spend it cleaning. LOL I guess I’m not participating because I just don’t want to this year (I also thought about giving up chocolate or diet coke for lent, but decided I also didn’t want to do that). My house is good enough (no you can’t come over and check). Anyway I really just wanted to comment about how Melissa feels walking by the only clean area in her house… When I go on a cleaning binge (and often, that’s how I clean), and when I get tired during the binge, I find the first room I cleaned and just sit there for awhile and it makes me feel so good – so accomplished. Sometimes I can get through the whole house (visible areas only) in one day, but not usually. And even though the whole house isn’t clean, I can still have that “aaaahhhh…” moment just by walking into one of the areas that ARE clean.

  6. The months really do add up to years when you stack enough of them together. But I come bearing glad tidings: It gets better. When your kid is old enough to stay home with grandparents, while you take your spouse to snorkel in an undisclosed location.

    Of course, if the Residency of Your Mother In Law doesn’t make you do a HAGE on EVERY surface of your home…you may not have a half-ass left to give.

    • I’ve always wished I had a grandparent who could come and babysit but have never had that. I’d trade a local MIL anytime for no grandparents or family around to help in a regular way.

  7. I am practically crying because this series inspired me to FINALLY clean the bathroom counter that has been taking over our private space for…um…we’ll go with months, but there might possibly have been enough months to measure in years :-/ THANK YOU for this brilliant idea and the daily reminder to participate! Maybe tomorrow I’ll actually do the right prompt 😛

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