Coffee Date No. 16

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you how glad I am that it is starting to feel like fall in South Carolina. You know the scene in You’ve Got Mail when Tom Hanks is emailing Meg Ryan about New York in the fall and school supplies and sending her a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils? That pretty much encapsulates my love for fall. The back to school aisle in Target is my mecca. The weatherman says that it won’t get above 86 degrees all week, and when you live in South Carolina, that means fall is on the horizon. bring on the corn mazes and the crunchy leaves and the warm drinks and the boots and cardigans (imagine Julie Andrews singing about her favorite things).  

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how you feel about September being the new January. I’m a big fan of the idea that September is the new January. The wild of summer has begun to fade and be replaced by familiar routines. Even though I’m long graduated and don’t have littles of my own to carpool, take first day pictures of, and pack lunches for, something about September just feels like a fresh start with new rhythms and possibilities. I’m going to go ahead and blame my love of rhythm and routine on the fact that I’m an INFJ. I’m sure that C would laugh and call this an INFJ ex machina.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd share that this week is National Suicide Prevention Week. To Write Love on Her Arms' campaign this year is about staying and finding what you were made for, and I couldn't be more in love with that. shared a photo on Instagram late last night and wrote about the healing power of staying. There have been times in my life where I have been tempted to jerk the wheel, and I honestly thought that no one would notice if I was gone. There are still a lot of days when I have to scream out loud that fear is not the boss of me. But I'm convinced that staying has been the most healing thing, and that fighting for joy is holy rebellion. And I'd probably go deep and ask what it is you feel like you were made for, because that kind of stuff seriously makes my soul feel so alive.

 

If we were on a coffee date, we'd probably chat about Harvey and Irma. Man, what a crazy, sobering month it has been. I cannot even imagine the devastation in Houston and in our neighboring countries to the south. I've seen the photos, though, and there are two that stand out in my mind above the rest: the first is of a Houston police officer carrying a woman and her infant through the water, and the second is of a black man rescuing two children. If I'm honest, I've been feeling something a little past jaded when it comes to our country lately, but I'm grateful for the America I see in their faces. They make me feel hopeful.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask what you're meditating on in scripture lately. I just love The Bible so much. I don't say that to sound super Christian-y, either. These days, I'm thinking long and hard on Ephesians 3. I whisper to myself about the mystery of Christ and being rooted and established in love as I load the dishwasher, and I know that God is showing me what that looks like.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you about a podcast that C and I are listening to called Blue Babies Pink. It's Brett Trapp's 44 part story of being a gay Christian in the south, and I seriously cry at least once in every episode. I pray that Jesus would make me so, so tender to the needs of my neighbors. I cannot encourage you enough to go download every episode and listen. You can also visit Brett's blog here.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you about the fire in my heart to write. I'm feeling so hotly steeped these days, and there's that line in a Brooke Fraser song that goes "I know I'm filled to be emptied again." I just want to pour it all out, and these words are the only way that seems to fit my soul. I don't know how they're going to come out, but I know I feel ready.

 

If we were on a coffee date, of course I'd ask about your heart. And I'd probably cry when I do this, because I've been crying a lot lately. I just hope that you know that you are the beloved, and that nothing could ever erase that birthmark.

 

What would you share on our coffee date? I am all ears.

Coffee Date No. 15

Hi, friend. It's nice to meet you here! If you're new here or maybe you've been coming for awhile and are curious about these coffee date posts, let me fill you in. Once a month, on the second Monday, this corner of cyberspace turns into a table for us to have coffee over and share what's been going on in our lives. There aren't any rules, and nothing is off limits because there is more than enough grace here to cover our messes. If that sounds like something your soul needs, we would love nothing more than to add a virtual chair for you here. Bring your favorite yummy beverage, and we'll spill it all together. Linking up is easy, but if you don't have a blog, please feel free to share your conversation in the comments below.  

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask to meet up at one of my favorite spots downtown. Brews is a local coffee and craft beer bar that the man and I are regulars at, and the atmosphere there is just the best. I would order a huge mug of something hot because even though we're only halfway through August, I am fantasizing about autumn. The pretty colors and cooler temperatures cannot get here soon enough!

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would probably warn you ahead of time that I might cry. Because the world can be so ugly, but my Jesus, he is so beautiful. So just know that the tears might come. My soul feels so stirred up and my heart is so tender these days, and that has never felt more okay to me.

 

If we were on a coffee date, chances are, we'd talk about Charlottesville. It's all I see on television and social networking these past couple of days. I'm tempted to say that I can't believe what is happening in our country, but the truth is, I can absolutely believe it, and it makes me sick to death. It makes me feel so deeply ashamed of us. I have a feeling I'll write more about this later, but for now, this is all I've got.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd share this playlist I made about life in the wilderness. And I would tell you about how God is keeping me quiet lately. I come here to write, and he says not yet. So I'm trying to be obedient and follow where he leads, because I'm learning more and more about the beautiful plan he has for me in this space.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd talk about the addiction of being distracted. Because it is so real for me right now. I've been opening my Bible more lately, and the moment I do, I'm interrupted by the irresistible urge to check all the things online. I'm tempted to unplug again, or go to a coffee shop with my Bible and a journal and just leave my gadgets at home. I want to crave communion with the Holy Spirit more than cheap likes with a thousand people who aren't actually invested in the inner workings of my heart.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would have to share an incredible podcast with you. Generally speaking, I don't listen to a lot of podcasts. It isn't that I don't like them, I just honestly don't think of them that often. That's starting to change, though. Recently, my friend Megan told me about Jonathan David and Melissa Helser's podcast. In case you don't know who they are, Jonathan wrote a little song awhile back called  "No Longer Slaves." Anyway, the episode that Megan shared with me was a sermon that Melissa gave on being hopeful in seasons of disappointment, but it turned out that wasn't the sermon I most needed to hear. Instead, I scrolled down and listened to the episode entitled "growing roots," and Jesus used it to blow my heart wide open. Even if you're not a podcast person, you seriously have to go subscribe to theirs. Life = changed.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you to go preorder this bookIt comes out later this month, but I was fortunate enough to read it before it is being made available to the rest of the world. It has wrecked me in the most beautiful way, and I cannot say enough good about it. Suffice it to say, God knew I needed these exact words at this precise moment in my life. I can't wait to see them in the hands of everyone I know.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask about your heart. I would ask about the ways it's broken and how God is putting it back together again. I would beg to know about the soil of your life, and whether you're feeling hard or soft these days. And I would ask how I could pray, because lately, that seems like the only thing I know to do.

 

What would you share on our coffee date? Join the conversation by linking up, or by sharing in the comments below.

Coffee Date No. 14

via All In.

 

Hi, friend. It's good to meet you here. Just in case you're new to this corner of the interwebs, let me give you the skinny on these coffee date posts. Once a month, on the second Monday, a group of gals meets at a virtual table for an unfiltered chat about whatever is currently going on in our lives. Nothing is off limits, and there is more than enough grace to cover our messes. So if that sounds like the kind of thing your soul might need, we would love nothing more than to have you pull up a chair, bring your favorite mug filled to the brim with your beverage of choice, and we'll spill it all together. Don't have a blog to link up? That's totally fine. Tell us what you would share in the comments below.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd take you to my new favorite spot. Living within walking distance of one of the biggest college campuses in the state does have some perks -- one of which is All In Coffee Shop. They have a very nice outdoor seating area, but I'd suggest that we sit inside, because the heat in South Carolina has been in the high 90's for what feels like ages, and according to the weatherman, it isn't going to get better any time soon. I'd definitely be drinking an iced coffee -- maybe something with caramel or lots of chocolate.

 

If we were on a coffee date, you might ask about mine and C's recent trip. In the month since we last chatted, C and I celebrated our fourth anniversary by taking a road trip up the east coast. Maybe you've seen the pictures on Instagram. We went to Washington DC, New York City, and Boston. Craig drove up the coast with his dad and brother last fall, but I actually hadn't ever been north of Maryland before he and I took this trip. It was wonderful. We went to the top of The Rockefeller, which was my absolute favorite part of the trip. I was pretty hesitant to go to the top of anything, but it was seriously the most beautiful, peaceful part of our day in NYC. And we topped it all off by seeing U2 in Boston, which was absolutely incredible. Happy anniversary to us!

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how you and God are doing these days. What are you learning at church and from scripture? What has your quiet time looked like recently? How are you engaging culture? Lately, I feel like he and I are on the cusp of something really big. But of course, I don't know exactly what that is yet. Do you ever feel that way? What do you do to unpack it?

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd have to gush about the fact that LG is going to be a big sister! I haven't talked about this on social media at all, so it will probably come as quite the surprise. Her mama is actually due to have another precious girl this week! I have to say, I'm a little bit anxious to think about how much this will change things for us, but my excitement to meet this beautiful new baby far outweighs that nervousness.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how you handle it when friends move away. Our best friends recently told us that they are moving two hours away. I have been totally devastated, even though I know that two hours isn't that far. It just feels far away because of how much we love them. We've pretty much been inseparable since C and I moved to South Carolina, so I know that there will be lots of long weekends spent going back and forth between here and Charlotte to see each other.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask what you're reading. I'm slowly but surely working my way through Louie Giglio's new book, Goliath Must Fall. Have you ever just known that a book was written for you? That's how I've felt about this book from about page seven. With every page turned, I say, "okay, God, you have my attention."

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that we went to an event at church and met two of the nicest couples. Guys, meeting people is hard. I don't consider myself to be a shy person, but I can be terrible at instigating new friendships. For now, I'm going to take the easy way out and blame this on my INFJness. Of course, the underlying current of thought is that it is especially difficult given that we're still adjusting to new surroundings after an ending we didn't ask for or see coming. Starting over is just plain hard, but we have to come to a point where we realize that people are worth fighting for. We are worth fighting for, too.

 

If we were on a coffee date, you know I would ask how your heart is. Because small talk makes me itchy, and I want to get down to the nitty-gritty, no holding back space. You know, the space where you can laugh or cry or curse or pray or whatever your heart most needs to do. And I would ask if you know what you're made for, because I'm starting to get tiny glimpses of my own meaning and there's nothing I would love more than to call out those things that are beautiful and alive and growing in you.

 

What would you share with me if we were on a coffee date?

Coffee Date No. 13

If we were on a coffee date, I'd be drinking an iced caramel latte. And I'd have to ask if you say care-amel or car-amel. I am in the first camp. Anyway, I've been on something of a caramel kick lately. And I might add a pump of vanilla. I'd let you choose whether we sit inside or outside, because I could go either way.  

If we were on a coffee date, I might tell you that I've been feeling pretty restless lately. First, practically speaking, it has just been a busy month. We've seen both sides of the family, C has had a lot of projects for work, and I feel like we haven't had dinner at home in ages. Honestly, a staycation never sounded so dreamy. But then, I've also been feeling restless in my soul. Do you ever feel that -- like you're not where you're supposed to be (or not where you thought you would be), but you can't quite pinpoint the why? I have a nagging feeling that my why has to do with discipline. So I'm praying through some small changes I can make in order to feel more at peace.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd share about the sermon series we're in at church. It's called "No Ordinary Family," and it's all about how God calls the Church to be different: diverse, unified, and living into the tension of being made well. I'd tell you that every single Sunday has just gotten better. Each sermon has made me love the Church more, which is honestly saying a lot, because sometimes that is hard to do. And I'd ask you what you would want to say to the Church if you had the chance?

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that I'm praying for renewed faith. I want to run after Jesus harder than I ever have before, and for the power of the gospel to really transform my life in practical, tangible ways. How are you seeing your faith growing, and how do you want it to grow?

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask you what you've been reading lately. This weekend, I finished "Letter to My Daughter" by Maya Angelou, and let me tell you -- if you haven't read it, you need to. I have loved Maya Angelou since my junior year of high school, when I was chosen to recite her poem "Phenomenal Woman" during our poetry unit in American Lit. Her words are just so lovely and unpretentious, dripping with wisdom and grace. Her thoughts about America are so relevant, even a decade after the book was published.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how your heart is, and I'd try to really listen. Because I think we all just need someone to really notice us. And we would probably laugh and cry, both of which are more than okay, because life is funny and sad and beautiful and really really hard.

 

What would you share on our coffee date? Link up your own post below or tell me in the comments.

 

Coffee Date No. 12

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would invite you over to my new apartment. We love our new place, and being done with this move just feels so freeing. We haven't quite finished unpacking all of the boxes, but I cannot wait another minute to have people over. Naturally, I'd have my playlist from Lent on in the background, and I'd have some chocolate chip cookies to go with our Caribou (or whatever brand is currently sitting next to my coffee pot). There's really nothing I love more than having people in my home.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you about what you're learning lately. What is the Lord revealing to you in scripture or through the people in your circles? Recently he has been showing me areas where I have been holding back in community. We talked community in church yesterday morning, and Meredith said there were three tiers to being known: people knowing your name, people knowing your story, and people knowing your secrets. Brad added an innermost tier, which was people knowing our needs. It is a scary, humbling thing to think about someone peeling back our carefully constructed layers of protection to get to the heart of where we're really at, but it's like Hannah Brencher said: if you want to be found, you have to be honest about where you are. And I really want to be found. Meredith also pointed out that our union was the last thing Jesus prayed for before he went to the cross. And if unity was the last thing he prayed for, it should be the first thing we fight for (serious mic drop).

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd timidly admit that I'm trying to unplug again. Why is this so hard? I want to stay informed now more than I ever have before, and I want my voice to be light -- but the honest truth is that I'm just so frustrated with the world and the church right now, and I'm struggling to see where Jesus is. I feel like my blood has been at a steady temperature of 211 degrees, and the next tweet or status I read is just going to send me over the edge, and when this happens, I know that the best thing I can do is to just shut it down.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask what books are currently making themselves at home on your nightstand. I have Nish Weiseth's Speak, Glennon Doyle Melton's Carry On Warrior (which admittedly, I've also been listening to on Audible, and ya'll, it is just so good), and Jennie Allen's Nothing to Prove. 

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that I've TiVo'd all things Princess Diana. We have satellite television now, and along with new episodes of Chopped, I am obsessed with Di. I feel like she is just one of the most fascinating human beings of our time, and I so wish that she was still here.

 

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask what you're working on right now that brings you to life. Because we need to do more of the things that make our lungs swell big with oxygen and gratitude and the scent of home. And I'd laugh when I told you to look around at my unfinished apartment. Making home is what has been keeping me settled lately. I put on an audiobook and do dishes by hand and try to figure out where to put this or that homeless knickknack (sometimes they wind up in the trash or the Goodwill bin). And I feel like I can breathe.

 

If we were on a coffee date, you'd be welcome to stay as long as you'd like. Because there's nothing that I don't want to hear about what has been going on in your life lately. The hard parts and the beautiful parts and everything in between.

 

What would you tell me if we were on a coffee date? Share all the things in the comments below OR by linking up with your own post!