For Your Weekend

augustIn the warm close of summertime, may the colors of nature remind you that you, too, are created. May you find peace in your body and soul this weekend as you move about in your world wholly accepted, loved, and seen.

May you remember how Christ came down to be with you and makes your heart his home. And may your life be the kind that brings his presence near to others. Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Come back Monday where we’ll be sharing together What We Learned in August, a fun monthly community link up we practice, sharing the fascinating, ridiculous, sacred, or small things we’ve learned. For an example of pasts posts, visit the What We Learned archive. See you then!

For Your Weekend

For Your Weekend

May I stop dreading small beginnings and embrace the importance of my right-now work. May I understand the difference between good and best. May I remember to write down the gifts found today incase I lose sight of them tomorrow and may I be willing to be the gift for others, no matter what that may mean.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

  • Who is Your Neighbor? (Kingdom Come) - by Alia Joy, who writes about the invisible kingdom in a powerful way.
  • The Best Yes Webcast Replay - I so enjoyed spending some time in Charlotte to celebrate the release of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, The Best Yes. Here is the Webcast of her teaching and a fun Q&A with us at the end.

A Staying Prayer for Mothers of College Freshmen

staying prayer for mamas

The next few days may be marked with lasts,  but soon her grown-up child begins a new set of firsts. She helps him pack his bags with clothes and his boxes with books. But you see what the mamas carry in their hearts – anticipation, longing, love, regret, anxiety, nostalgia, and resolve.

They are a mix of excited, terrified, and closed-eyed hope.

As she watches her child look for a fresh start, remind her to make her home in you.

As she sends her freshmen off into the world, make her feet steady to stay behind – sure, confident, and at peace.

As she prays for her daughter to find good friends, may you bring prayerful friends to her own side, to remind her she is not alone.

If insecurity, fear, or disappointment knock on her empty-nest door, may she turn to you with her questions rather than get busy doing.

If she receives calls from her faraway girl, though there may be tears and heartbreak on the other line, may she not set out to fix, rather may she sink deeper into you. Weave your wisdom into the fibers of her soul, bearing the fruit of confidence, clarity, contentment and a light-heart.

a staying prayer for mothers of college freshmen

May she have the patience to believe even when the reports sound grim.

May she not be quick to judge, rather may she be patient and curious.

May she remember what her daughter needs more than answers is to know she’s not alone.

May she remember what her son needs more than advice is to know he’s got what it takes.

May she not despise her weakness, rather may she see how weakness brings a daily reminder to trust.

May she feel the freedom to feel what she feels without the pressure to be more happy, more sad, or more anything other than simply who she is in this moment.

If she is struggling to let go, in your time replace her fear with courage and her confusion with peace.

And if the not-enoughs haunt her in the night, the fear that she didn’t love, teach, do, or instruct enough while the kids were under her roof, comfort her with the assurance that you are the Artist who weaves together good from all things.

Help her release her children into your hands.

For the parents of college freshmen all over the world, may your grace surprise them kindly in this time of newness, waiting, and love.

Amen.

This staying prayer for mothers of college freshmen was inspired by a post I wrote last year around this time: A Sending Prayer for College Freshmen. May you find peace and joy in this season of transition.

A Free Night Out at the End of Summer

Here in North Carolina we have two full weeks left until school starts and I’m working hard to soak them in. If I’m not careful, I can have my eyes trained so carefully on our fall schedule that I forget to look down at where we stand today, hanging on to the tail end of pool days, long mornings, and late night movie times.

summertime

Another way I’m trying to soak in summer is to be intentional with some of our friends, as I know once school starts back it might be more difficult to coordinate schedules. In the past several weeks, we’ve had a few different families over for dinner as well as spent time with our community group from church.

A few weeks ago, my friend Kendra and I left town for a few fun nights away – oh the luxury! In the six years we’ve been friends, that was the first time we’ve taken a trip together. 

I love my girlfriends and long to have more time with them, but with families and jobs and life, it isn’t always easy to find the time (or let’s face it, the money) to do something fun with friends.

Maybe before the fall schedule kicks in, you’ll find a way to squeeze a little friend time into your weekends or your lunch times or your Sunday afternoons.

Might I even suggest a specific event? If you’re local-ish, you can grab your girlfriends and join me for a girls night out event in Charlotte!

charlotte ncI’ve never lived in Charlotte but sometimes I forget that for as much as it feels like home. This fall I’ll be spending even more time in the Queen City as New Life 91.9 has chosen A Million Little Ways as their fall book club pick. To kick it off, they’re hosting a girls night out and I hope if you’re local-ish you’ll be able to join us.

919 Girls Night Out

The even more fun part – and this is where I get giddy – is the artists who will be performing that night. First up, Dara Maclean. I met Dara last fall in Florida during Girls of Grace. I liked her instantly. She is warm and approachable and super talented.

Dara Maclean and Emily P Freeman

And then, THEN I found out a second artist will perform that night and I almost cried when I learned who it was:

ellie holcomb image by @texturephotophoto by @texturephoto

Ellie Holcomb! I haven’t met Ellie yet but I’ve been hoping to for a while now, ever since I bought her first album and listened to it on repeat for several months straight.

emily, ellie, dara
Seats are limited but tickets are free with a donation to Bright Blessings. All the information you need to know to reserve your ticket is on the New Life 91.9 website. Let me know if you plan on coming!

Hope to see you there. But if not, I hope you’re able to find some time to spend with friends sooner rather than later.

On Taking a Break From Being the Grown Up

We load up the car and drive half-way to Charlotte, straight to the crowded parking lot of a Chick-fil-A. It’s mid-July and that means it’s time for Grandy Camp. Years ago we decided this exit was the half-way point and so this is where we meet my parents, trade sleeping bags and children for an empty car and several days together, just John and me.

John and Me

Not used to this kind of spacious time, we re-aquaint ourselves with one another in the form of him taking a nap on one end of the sofa while I read a book on the other. We leave our empty house for an early dinner at a little Greek restaurant right near our house and marvel at the space and the quiet that has now descended upon us.

After dinner we go shopping for him some shirts, spend exactly 20 minutes in the store from the time we walk in to the time we leave, including dressing room time and checkout.

Man-shopping at its finest.

We browse through the Whole Foods, a place we rarely shop, and buy not one necessary thing – not one egg or gallon of milk. Instead, we leave with individual slices of over-priced dessert and a bottle of wine. We head straight to his Mom’s house to eat our fancy cake and watch Tiny House Nation on her cable TV.

When the kids aren’t around, we turn into kids a little bit.

john and meIn a way I don’t think about until later, I realize it’s good for the parents to have some time away from the kids for lots of reasons, not the least of which being so we can remember how to be kids ourselves.

And I think of how Jesus tells us grown people to become like little children, always inviting us downward with gladness, always pulling us closer to Him, welcoming us to the small places we sometimes forget to go when we are so busy being the grown ups.

“I would not choose to become a child again but I am looking to children and searching in them for a simplicity and ordinariness that makes being an adult easier to accept and miracles easier to see.”

Macrina Wiederkehr, Seasons of Your Heart

For Your Weekend

for your weekend

May I be quiet long enough to stop caring what my own voice sounds like. May I have courage enough to be small, to be still, to wait. May I be gracious enough to forget myself and see others instead. May I be open enough to let go.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Hello!! After nearly seven weeks of silence here on the blog, I’m happy to be back. I’m sharing what I’ve learned so far this summer on Wednesday July 30 and I hope you’ll join me. We’ve got two months worth of goings on to catch up on and I can’t wait.

Welcoming Summer and All Her Gifts

“We stop, whether by choice or through circumstance, so that we can be alert and attentive and receptive to what God is doing in and for us, in and for others, on the way. We wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”

-Euguene Peterson, The Jesus Way

On Instagram, I mostly only follow people I know. But there are a few feeds I can’t resist and one of them is a farmer named Ben Hole who lives on The Isle of Purbeck, England. In the tangled trail of clicking, I don’t know where I first saw his images. But when I did, I wanted to see more.

benjaminhole instagram

screenshot of @benjaminhole’s feed on Instagram

When I’m scrolling through and see one of his shots, instinctively I pause. I stare. I recognize a longing deep within me that is stirred. For what? I’m not sure. But I like to pay attention to it. There aren’t many things on the internet that bring about this response. So when I find words, people, messages, or images that do, I hang on to them.

I hope Chatting at the Sky is that kind of place for you – a place where a little bit of frantic falls away, a place where you leave a little more calm than when you came, a place for your soul to breathe.

The summer of 2014 - chatting at the sky

To make this that kind of place, I need to take regular breaks from posting. I’ve already been posting less for the past month but slowing down isn’t the same as stopping. So I’m just going to stop for a while.

Soon my kids will be home for summer and we’ll head to the coast, spend a little time letting the sea smooth out the jagged edges that have formed within and around us, letting the salt burn the wounds, letting the sand rub off the dead skin, letting the nighttime hold us still and quiet until the first light of morning shows up with all her promises. We’ll follow the advice of Eugene Peterson and let our souls catch up with our bodies.

sunrise

We’ll skip the What I Learned in June post this month and maybe just do one big one at the end of July, perhaps a What I’m Learning This Summer link up? I’ll let you know.

While I won’t be writing here, I’ll still be writing because it’s how I know what I think about things, how I learn what’s hiding beneath the surface, how I see. Most of that writing will be private, for now. Some will be shared.

For example, new Hopeologie content will release July 1 and if you haven’t joined yet I have to say that June is my favorite collection so far. The way our words and thoughts came together with one another seemed especially serendipitous this month since our theme is hospitality.

Here is a photo my sister took of one of the prints Annie designed for June’s collection:

DSC_5726-2-753x1024

Maybe this will be the month you decide to join us as we practice embracing hope no matter how things appear in our homes, our families, our own souls. (If you join and don’t like what you see, we offer a full refund if you cancel in your first month, no questions asked. So really you’ve nothing to lose.)

I’ve been working on a Recommended Reads list for a while that I plan to send out to my newsletter subscribers. If you would like to receive that, you can sign up for the free newsletter here. Until I return to Chatting at the Sky, you can find me on Instagram, a medium I rarely take a break from. Maybe I’ll see you there.

I’ll leave you with a sampling of posts on quietness, waiting, and rest:

“It’s much easier to spend a lot of time making your microphone louder than it is working on making your message more compelling.”

Seth Godin

Here’s to long days, thoughtful words, and more compelling messages. Dear Summertime, Welcome. We’re so glad you’ve come.

For Your Weekend

summertimeMay you enjoy all the blues of summertime and find someone to share them with. May you notice and receive the gifts that present themselves to you in hidden ways, gifts you may not have even known to ask for. Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Here are some good reads for along the way.

For Your Weekend

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Before the sun is even high enough for shadows, we wake up to read. This one wakes up, too – reads his Bible next to Daddy, asking questions about pillars of salt. May I be ever curious, open, willing to ask and to learn. May I remember where to go with my questions and rest in God’s presence even when I don’t understand the answers.

***

On the last day of May, some reads for your weekend:

  • The Masterpiece Mom :: A new website and podcast about motherhood created by two lovely women I met at She Speaks last year – Amanda Bacon and Anne-Rene Gumley.
  • Fiction & Non-Fiction Book Proposal Tutorials :: Writers, if you’re looking for help writing that book proposal, look no further than Mary DeMuth. I used her non-fiction tutorial when I wrote my first proposal that later became Grace for the Good Girl. She knows all the things and shares them generously. Well worth the price.

Hopeologie

  • Hope*ologie :: Tomorrow we’ll roll out the third month of content in Hope*ologie – new podcasts, posts, videos, and printables to take you through June. Join us and you’ll have the whole month to read, watch, listen, and download. We’re having a lot of fun over there.

Local Interest

The One With the First Sugar Box :: If you live in the Triad area and are also a Friends fan, you need to order a Sugar Box stat! Kendra has re-imagined the monthly box of happiness to make it even more fun – basically if Hollywood and sugar had a baby, it would be The Sugar Box.

This month, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series finale, the theme of the box is Friends, so all the edible goodness in the box will somehow tie in Chandler, Monica, Rachel and the gang. Could this BE any more fun? Order your box today and pick up June 20!

Enjoy your weekend!