Knee Deep in Dirty Laundry - Writing Prompt

My friend, Joy and I used to have fun speed writing from prompts, then sharing our stories with each other. We hadn't done that in a long time, so today, we picked a prompt from my book, Wake Up Your Muse - 1001 Story Starters for Fiction Writers (JUST .99 CENTS FOR THE KINDLE VERSION TODAY) and wrote for about 15 minutes.

The Prompt - "Knee deep in dirty laundry, she wondered why _______________."

Here's my story... (Joy's story follows mine.)
Dirty Laundry Mission Field

I was knee deep in dirty laundry, wondering why or when or how my  life had been reduced to sorting, washing, drying, ironing and putting away twenty loads of laundry a week.  This was not my dream life, but I’m sure I am Tide’s dream customer.

Once, so very long ago, I’d dreamed of being a missionary. Of going to far off lands to teach children about the love of Jesus. To tell them about the heroes of the Bible. To make a difference.

The ringing phone snapped me out of my daydreaming. I jumped over a pile of whites sorted on the floor, then hurdled a load of darks to reach the phone by the third ring so it wouldn’t go to voice mail.


“Oh, good. I caught you at home. This is Sue.”

“Hi Sue, I was just doing laundry. What’s up?”

“I was wondering if you can teach the 3rd grade Sunday School class for the next 4 weeks. Wanda is on vacation.”

I rolled my eyes.  Why would Sue call me? Doesn’t she realize I have 5 kids at home to take care of? “Sure, I’ll teach the class.”

We hung up and tears filled my eyes. I was tired, worn out. I dropped to my knees. “Lord, what happened to my life. You know the dreams I had to be a missionary. My life has turned out so much different than I’d imagined. I really thought that was your calling for me. Why would you call me and then not open the doors for me to be a missionary?

And then I heard that still small voice within me. “I did call you, I did open the door and you have been on the mission field since the birth of your first child. You’ve done such a good job, I’m expanding your mission field with a group of 3rd graders. Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

I went back to my laundry with renewed vigor…still knee deep in dirty clothes, but seeing it as a ministry, not a drudgery.

 And here's Joy's story...

She was knee deep in dirty laundry and she wondered “why” ….. Caroline looked around. It was grey outside, no sound of the birds singing. The dishes were piled high in BOTH sinks and there were dirty clothes strewn from the entryway to the bedroom. She was tired, just plain tired. Why … ? She wondered why?

Why had she thought that marriage consisted of a white knight carrying her off to his castle? Why had she imagined she would be the “Martha Stewart” of White Creek? Why was there more to do than there was day to do it in?

She sank onto the overstuffed sofa and dropped the bowl of leftover popcorn to the floor. Why … she mused as she settled back to a place of refuge, into her own thoughts. Why was she here? Why wasn’t she out with her girlfriends? Why not going shopping or out to lunch or over to Wonder Nails for a manicure well deserved? Why did her life seem so useless? Why did each dreary day dissolve into night and then repeat itself with utter abandon? Why … as she drifted off to sleep?

She must have been dreaming when the doorbell rang. She woke with a start to hear pounding on the front door. She jumped up and tried to “quick arrange” her disheveled hair and walked to the door with the best composure she could come up with. When she opened the door, the delivery driver had left, but on the front porch table she saw the biggest bouquet of roses she had ever seen in her life in a beautiful crystal vase.

She walked slowly over and plucked out the card. As she read it her eyes started to sparkle with thankful tears. The card read, “Sweet Caroline! I love you soooo……!!! Words can’t always convey what flowers can, so I hope these roses say to you what my heart knows to be true. I love you! I love the way you are so patient with me. I love the way you greet me with a smile every day when I come home from work. I love the way you take care of me, feeding me with delicious, healthy meals, washing my filthy work clothes, cleaning my dirty tub and making my life beautiful with your presence. I know it’s not always easy to love me, but I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate all you do in love, just like the Bible says to do “Do everything in love”. Thank you! Your soiled “Knight” Jeremy

Okay, then she started crying. Why had she lost sight of what she was there for? Why had the doubts and disappointments taken over her very life, dragging her down to the pits.

Up went her hands praising the Lord! Thank you Lord for dirty dishes. You provide so much for us! Thank you Lord for a husband who loves me and works hard to take such good care of us! Thank you Lord for loving me in the middle of the puddle of my self-pity. Thank you Lord for being God! Thank you Lord!!!

So, what do you think? What would you write from that prompt? Feel free to share your story or story idea in the comments.

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