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. 10


If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I've given up social networks for Lent. If you've clicked over from Facebook or Twitter, you might be wondering how and why it appears that I'm posting to the sites, and the answer is the publicize feature on my blog. It allows me to share posts to Facebook and Twitter without actually having to visit those sites. Anyway, I would tell you that I looked up the rules for Lent, because I thought that Sundays were exempt from fasting. The site I looked up said that whether or not someone fasts on Sunday is up to their individual conscience. Knowing my own lack of self-discipline, this made me more than a little itchy, so I just decided to give it up for good, with no off days, until Easter. What makes this hard is that I basically have zero accountability. I'm alone for long spans during the day, so if I were to log in, there wouldn't be anyone to call me out. But I have to say, I have made it this far (almost a week as of the day I'm writing this section) and thanks to Hulu, it hasn't been that difficult.


If we were on a coffee date, I would ask what your thoughts are on Lent. I guess I never really understood it until I became an adult, and until God sweetly and patiently started showing me the areas in my life where I was worshipping other things. I used to think that that sounded really extreme, but the devil is way more sneaky. I see what other people have, and am quick to believe that I will be more whole once I attain those things. I believe they will make me feel better, but in the end, I only feel the holy conviction that comes with realizing that Jesus is the only true life-giving thing, and that I should be craving more of him.


If we were on a coffee date, I'd share that my husband's hard work and dedication at his new(ish) job was met with the word salary a couple weeks ago. I cannot put into words how proud I am of him. This feels a bit like coming full circle after everything that happened in October. If not full circle, then the home stretch, at least. I'll be honest, I still don't know what God's plans were when C lost his job five months ago, but he has done more than enough to prove himself a faithful provider in the weeks and months since. Even though most days my mind was fraught with worry, my heart knew that we would be taken care of. The company he is working with is a very small business, but they have felt like family from day one, and they have been so gracious to make room for us. I couldn't be more grateful.


If we were on a coffee date, I would gush about the latest episode of This is Us. No spoilers, but of course, I sobbed. The scene with the mailman was especially poignant, because it made me really think about how my life has the potential to impact the lives of those around me. I want to be the kind of neighbor who people can come and ask to borrow a cup of sugar from, and it makes me sad that we don't really do that anymore. In the spirit of transparency, I don't know a single one of our neighbors. We're all so busy coming and going that we forget the simple truth that we belong to each other. Do you know your neighbors?


If we were on a coffee date, I might tell you about a conversation I had with a girlfriend recently about having children. Specifically, about the kind of children we want to raise. My ideal picture of having a family currently looks like adopting in addition to having my own children. I think I've always liked the idea of adopting, but over the past few years, the Lord has really laid it on my heart to open my home to children who don't share my DNA and might not look like me. Anyway, I told my friend that I don't care what they look like, what they wind up being good at, or who they wind up choosing to love.  All I want is to raise my babies to be kind and generous people who follow Jesus.


If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how your heart is. What you're praying for, if you feel seen, how you're growing in ways that surprise you, what you're struggling with, and what you're celebrating. And I'd try to be honest when I tell you about mine. We wouldn't talk about how God doesn't give us more than we can handle, because in my experience (and I'm guessing, yours too) God is always gently nudging me farther and farther away from my comfort zone. I wouldn't offer any bumper sticker slogans, because they just don't cut it. Instead, I would ask how I can pray for you, and I would pray right then and there. And I would probably cry, because when am I not crying?


What would you tell me on our coffee date? Spill your guts in the comments, link up your own post, or, you can always email me.

Coffee Date No. 8

If we were on a coffee date, I'd probably be drinking an extra hot cappuccino. It snowed in South Carolina over the weekend, and the temperatures haven't made it much above freezing over the past few days. All I want is to be warm!

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how you rang in the new year. First, we'd probably talk about the physicality of it. Did you make it till midnight? We were with the Salmon side of the family, and C's eight year old brother was beyond excited about seeing 12:00. As for us old folks, we made it to see the ball drop, and then, well, we dropped. Then, I might ask you how midnight felt inside your heart. Was it hopeful? Did you get any sense of closure to the wild chapter that was our 2016? Did you feel relieved, or did fear and dread bully their way in?

If we were on a coffee date, I'd have to tell you about my word for 2017 and the kindness of God. Today is January 9, and my word has already shown up in my everyday life in one exceptionally meaningful way. I'm telling you, nothing but the sweetness of Christ. I was reading (well, listening to) Steven Furtick's book Crash the Chatterbox, and at the end, he talks about 2 Kings 13, and how Elisha tells King Joash to strike the ground with his arrows in order to gain victory over the enemy they're about to face in battle. If you don't know Steven Furtick, he is the incredibly passionate and charismatic pastor of Elevation Church in North Carolina. Steven brings it home by telling the reader to take up their own arrows to strike the ground before our enemies and never stop. "Pound the ground until you make a rhythm... a heartbeat," he says. Mic drop. Point taken, God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

If we were on a coffee date, I might tell you how heavy my heart is these days. I don't even know how to describe the level of sensitivity I feel towards things that would normally have little effect on me. I feel lonely and frustrated by nearly everything. I can barely scroll through my social networking feeds without crying. I can't watch awards shows on television without becoming emotional hearing the speeches. And don't even get me started on Michelle Obama's last public speech as FLOTUS.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask you if you had read Chip Gaines' recent blog postYa'll, I don't understand why some people have nothing better to do than stir up controversy (something else I'm overly sensitive to lately). Someone recently attempted to get the Gaines' to speak out against homosexuality. Chip's response to them is absolutely flawless.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd excitedly tell you that my friend Erin Loechner's book Chasing Slow comes out tomorrow! Talk about a beautiful book. I loved every single word of it. I want Erin Loechner to be my best friend and big sister and accountability partner and home stylist, please. This woman is just such an incredible gift, and this book is her broken and mended heart on paper. You definitely need to buy a copy for yourself, your sister, your best friend, and the girl in line behind you in the grocery store.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask you a question that a pastor friend of mine asked on Facebook recently: is it possible to make a difference for Jesus while living a seemingly obscure life? I said a resounding yes. Jesus broke the ladder to come as a baby to earth, born in a town that most thought no good could ever come from. And he said crazy and outlandish things like blessed are those who mourn and the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He doesn't measure with the same outlook as the world.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you about an amazing post by Colleen Mitchell that I read last week. 100 Things I'd Rather Hold in My Hands Than My Phone in 2017. Talk about being convicted. I was watching a documentary on minimalism on Netflix the other day and they said that the average person checks their phone over a hundred times a day. Phew. So I love that Colleen took offensive action and decided to make this list, and I have to ask, what would you rather be holding this year?

If we were on a coffee date, of course, I'd ask how your heart is doing. If its anything like mine, it is coming apart at the seams these days. And I'd try to really listen, because I feel like there's no better way to truly honor you than by giving my full attention and carrying your story well. So go ahead, tell me about the funniest thing that happened this week or the thing that someone said that made you cry. I am all ears.


Coffee dates were born and brewed over at Amber's place. She's currently on hiatus, but we are keeping the fires burning right here every second Monday of the month. We'd love to meet you here.

Coffee Date No. 7

If we were going on a coffee date, I'd suggest someplace local. There are a couple of coffee shops near the university that I am just dying to try. Not that I don't enjoy a chestnut praline latte in a cheerfully controversial cup, but there is just something so poetic about holing up where the locals go.

If we were on a coffee date, I might share that I'm playing with the idea of launching a lifestyle blog in 2017. Then, I would laugh and shake my head, because my real lifestyle consists of too much ChickfiA and Netflix. I washed the same load of laundry three times this week. I've never DIY'd anything in my entire life because patience is not a virtue that comes naturally to me. And I rarely use my Ulta card. So, yeah.

If we were on a coffee date, I would share this liquid eyeliner that I am absolutely over the moon for (since we're on the subject of going to Ulta). This stuff dries down fast and seriously stays put.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd have to tell you that my friend Erin Loechner wrote a book and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek! Reading Erin's words, having them in my hand, feels like going to lunch with an old and dear friend. I could sit with her for hours and feel like no time has passed at all. I absolutely could not adore her more. These pages are an invitation to take a deep and healing breath.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask how you feel about the holidays. Are you missing a loved one, pining for someone to love, battling depression or anxiety? Which of your relatives is the hardest to shop for? Do you abide by the whole want/need/wear/read structure when purchasing gifts for the kids? Is there a movie that you watch every year? How do you divide your time between your family and your spouse's family?

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tear up when I tell you how much I love Advent. Growing up, my parents were not well versed in the church calendar, but as an adult, I've come to appreciate it. Advent in particular causes me to slow down and take notice. I want this awe and wonder to permeate every minute of every day.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask about what you've learned in 2016. I love the spiritual discipline of keeping an eye on how God is moving and keeping track of the things that he is teaching you. For me, more than anything, God has shown himself to be a faithful provider. He reminded me that more often than not, the greatest gifts come in the most unexpected packages. And he showed me the beautiful importance of leading with my limp.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask how you do January 1. Do you make a list of resolutions? Do you outline core desired feelings? Do you choose one word to guide you through the year? I've tried all three, and am the self-proclaimed worst at simple goal setting. As an INFJ, I shy away from sharing my goals with others because I hate the idea of anyone seeing me come up short. I also have a love/hate relationship with accountability that makes it hard to involve others in my goal setting process. That said, according to Gretchen Rubin's quiz on habits, I'm an obliger, which, in a nutshell, means that I am more likely to keep promises to others than I am to keep promises I make to myself. So I'm basically ruined for resolutions and goal setting. And while I do have a handful of core desired feelings that I like to keep in mind, what has worked best for me is choosing one word to meditate on for the year. I'd ask if I was rambling and you would tell me to shut up and do the work, because that's what good friends do.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how your heart is today. I saw this tweet the other day, and man, it is so true. We have the opportunity to honor one another with our fully attentive presence, and I want to be someone who does this well and without any hesitation.


What would you tell me if we were on a coffee date?  I'd love for you to share either in your own post (don't forget to link up!) or in the comments below.

Coffee Date | Six

Processed with VSCO with a5 presetPssst! Coffee dates were born and brewed over at Amber's place.She's currently taking a hiatus from the blogging world, but the coffee's always on here. 

If we were on a coffee date, I would be drinking a hot peppermint mocha. I wait patiently while the whole world loses its mind over pumpkin spice, and then become giddy when the wintery drinks come out. Chocolate and mint together is one of my very favorite things.

If we were on a coffee date, I might tell you about how I've struggled with community lately. Is being in community ever not a struggle? I don't know. This past month and a half has just been so lonely, and I still think to myself on a daily basis that I never would have chosen this. But I try to forge ahead, knowing that the growing can only happen through the dying. I'm grateful for the way His love pursues.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you that saying something is always better than not. I'll be the first to admit, it can be tempting to not say anything to someone who I know is struggling. I don't want to say the wrong thing and appear insensitive, and sometimes I simply want to give people their privacy. I believe that people are generally well meaning in this. But not saying anything at all can make someone feel so painfully alone. All it takes is a gentle I'm so sorry, and I'm here. Those six simple words can make a world of difference.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd share that I'm nervous about visiting a new church. Last month, our time with the church we have been part of for six years (our entire adult lives) came to an abrupt end. Feelings are still fresh, and I'm still attempting to process them. One thing I don't want is to bring bitterness into a new body or be hesitant of new connections. I'd ask if you would pray for us in this.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask what you're reading. Right now, I'm knee deep in Ann Voskamp's new book, The Broken Way, and I couldn't love it more. I got to meet Ann at a book signing in Atlanta for my birthday and she is every bit as beautiful up close as she is on her blog and in her books.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that your identity is not a brand. This is something I have to remind myself of on the daily, especially since I spend a fair amount of time on the internet. My virtual village is made up of photographers and artists and strategists and people who make money doing things that didn't exist this time last year. And everyone is worried about marketing and branding, but I am just a girl who loves words and people and my website isn't fancy and so sometimes it can be hard to find my place. But our identities are not brands or trends or fads or movements, and we don't have to hustle to market or pitch our souls.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask if you've seen this study, and I'd tell you that it breaks my heart. I wanted to shake everyone I saw in Target today and say "are you really okay being the driving force behind your neighbor's fear?" Because I'm not okay with it. But since shaking total strangers in the middle of the aisle with the laundry detergent probably isn't the best idea, I'm choosing to write love letters instead. Because I want people to know that they are most beautiful where they're broken and strongest where they limp. We all are, and that is how we'll get through this.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd share this from Liz Gilbert (warning: strong language). And then I'd ask how you make the balance work best for you, because figuring it out is tough.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask how your heart is and how I could pray for you. And I'd really try to listen. I'd leave my cell phone in my bag because the world is distracting but you are more important, and I'd want you to know that by giving you my full attention.

So tell me, friend. What would you share on our coffee date? Tell me in the comments or link up your own blog post below. 

Coffee Date | Five

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Coffee dates were born and brewed over at my friend Amber's place. 

If were were on a coffee date, I would not be drinking anything pumpkin spiced. It just isn't my favorite. I don't mind it, but if there are other options available, I'd surely go with mocha or caramel first. Also, because it is early October in the south, the weather can't make up its mind right now on issues of temperature, but I'd probably go with a hot drink, just because I am nostalgic for these cooler days.

If we were on a coffee date, I might share that my heart is so heavy lately. There has been more than enough loss and pain to go around these past couple weeks, and I'll be honest, I've questioned a lot. I know God is good, and I know that he has good plans, but did his plans have to include this? And I might ask you to pray: for my husband and I, for our friends, for our community, our country, our world.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask how your heart is. And I'd leave enough silent space for you to gather whatever thoughts needed to spill out. Sometimes I think we lack a sense of reverence for that space. And maybe we would cry, because I'm doing a lot of that these days.

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you about transitions (Amber and I have this in common). Because we're in the middle of a huge and unexpected one. We have the opportunity to change a lot of things, and neither one of us is sure exactly which direction we will end up going. I don't tend to flourish in seasons of change, and trust isn't always my first response when life doesn't go the way I hoped, so I would be open to advice.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd tell you I'm really sitting down with Uninvited, and I'm bawling my way through itMaybe because a lot of Lysa's story resonates so closely with my own. Maybe because it is so timely for this season that we've been thrust into so unexpectedly. These words have been a balm.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd ask about your village. I'm grateful that mine includes a couple of people who will take me to Taco Bell at 10:30 at night and listen no matter what. If you don't have those people, please find some. Do whatever you need to do. Be vulnerable. Say yes to coffee dates and trips to the mall and nights spent laughing about old boyfriends over craft beer. Find people who have your back, and who love you just because.

If we were on a coffee date, I'd remind you that you are worthy of loving. I'd tell you about the fire I see inside your bones and how much light you give to the world, and I'd thank you for showing up because showing up is hard as hell sometimes. I'd ask you to please keep showing up, even on the hard days, because we need you. I'd tell you again, we need you.

What would you tell me if we were on a coffee date? Link up your own post, or share in the comments below.