There is so much to adore about this city in the heart of Virginia-- from the food, the art, the coffee and beer and cider, the endless festivals, the outdoor options, the tattoos... it's a hipster heaven.
There are two people in this Internet world that I just can't get enough of lately...and their names are Holly and Taylor. They're my assistant editors for The Rising (I'll never stop bragging about them) and two of the most talented, genuine, hilarious, and sweet people I know. They host this Five Finds Friday link up every week, and I love it! Join in-- it's fun and easy and great!
My mom sent me this video this week because I am not at ALL a morning person, and I loved it. Who knew otters made that noise and had such personality?!
I have a major crush on this coat. I do not, however, have a crush on its $200 price tag. WHY, MADEWELL, WHY.
"This superwarm parka is perfect for woodsy walks and urban strolls—and has a bold buffalo-check lining that can be found here and only here."
And I swoon.
This post from Emily Freeman is beautiful: "A Prayer for When We Want Answers"
It might be cheating because she's one of the hosts of this little link up...but THIS POST from Taylor just floored me this week. After the latest video of violence against a student from a police officer, I was shocked and sickened and speechless. I didn't know what to say, but I knew I had so many strong feelings in response. Taylor found words to wrap around all of that, and it's everything I needed to hear and wanted to say but didn't know how. Find that post on The Rising here.
If there's somebody who can make you feel all the feels with their writing, it's Ann Voskamp, hands down. This post is heartfelt and raw and so stunning.
What have you found online lately that you're loving? Share it in the comments!
Today's prompt (the last one!): A farewell coffee date. Take some time to breath, sip a warm drink, and share with your new blogging buddies. If you'd like a prompt: how did the Blog-tember Challenge go for you? Any surprises? What was your favorite prompt, or what would you like to see included next time?
My dear friend Amber does these coffee date blog posts, and every single time, they are wonderful. Now this prompt is a farewell coffee date, and I get to share my own take on it. I'm modeling mine like hers, because every time she does it, I swoon. Amber spills pure gold from her fingertips, if you didn't know that already.
If we were on a coffee date, I would probably still be cracking myself up. I posted an Instagram for #nationalcoffeeday (even though every day is basically coffee day in my book) and it was a photo from a while back, with my Bible and journal on the table too. After I posted it, I realized my Bible was open to Hebrews. HEBREWS. Like He-brews. I HAVE NOT STOPPED LAUGHING ABOUT IT. I'm a huge fan of puns and the total coincidence of this one just has me dying still!
If we were on a coffee date, I would apologize for being half-hearted in this Blog-Tember Challenge. I should have learned from The 100 Day Project that yes, it's hard to show up consistently, but yes, it's worth it...but I fell short. I saw the posts flood my feeds and I wished I was joining in with them, but time and life got away from me and now September is over. Friends that followed along with my posts when they happened, thank you! Friends that I met through this challenge, I'm so glad we connected! Bailey, thank you for pouring your heart out over this past month and being such a gracious, welcoming host.
If we were on a coffee date, I would hope it's at one of my favorite coffeeshops in my beloved River City. I made it one of my goals this year to try 10 new Richmond coffeeshops. I've visited 9 and there are a handful more still on my list. They're quaint, they're cozy, they're quirky, they're full of character, and there's a new one popping up all the time. I love this city and I would want to show it to you one coffee stop at a time.
If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you what you've read and loved lately. I'm a bookworm, it's no secret, and I always want to hear recommendations. Some of you shared yours this month when you linked up with Bailey, and I added a bunch of them to my to-read list, but there's always room for me. Leave your current book crushes in the comments!
If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you I'm still learning about waiting. I wrote about it and I'm reading about it and I'm still in the thick of it. What have you learned about waiting in your life? I would ask. What has reassured you and kept you hopeful?
If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that lists are everything. To-do lists, bullet journal lists, pro/con lists, grocery lists... they're all worthwhile. I always have a pen in hand (these are my favorite kind, if you were wondering, but maybe I'm the only person who wonders things like that) and I'm always making lists, and it keeps me functioning. I would forget everything otherwise. Lists on phones just aren't the same.
If we were on a coffee date, I would ask what word is stuck in your head right now. Maybe you aren't someone that gets stuck on words like me, but I'm about to start a new project (Write 31 Days) and I just decided tonight that I'm going to write about one word every day. What word has your heart struggling or soaring? What word makes you feel fired up or afraid? What word seems so big and so good that you want to just ink it into your skin?
If we were on a coffee date, I would gush about my latest baby, The Rising. It's my pride and my joy and my greatest honor in my work. The people on my team are some of the very best people I've ever met. Their words make me better. It's a privilege to be a part of, and I would just go on and on about my love for it all. Oh, and I would probably ask if you wanted to be part of it with me. If you did, I would point you here.
If we were on a coffee date, I wouldn't hug you goodbye. Because hugs aren't my thing. They're awkward and weird and uncomfortable. I would just tell you I love you and it was so good to talk to you and that I want to do it again soon. And I hope we do.
Selah. Pause and praise. Be still and know. Stop, wait, rest, worship.
2015 has been wild so far. Three months in (how...) and I've found myself seeking selah more and more and more. My soul needs it. My heart longs for it. Everything within me yearns to just stop and be still, to pause and to praise.
Schedules are crazy, hours fly by, and the pressure to hurry mounts with each passing second as the stress builds. I don't want that.
I want selah.
Evenings where the to-do list is a mile long, but I know it can wait until morning, so I stand in the front yard just to watch the sunset. Mornings where emails crowd my inbox, begging for my reply, but I keep the screens off and soak up Scripture instead. Commutes in the car with music just a click of a button away, but instead driving in silence, my heart spilling prayers and worries and wants to my listening Lord.
I want selah.
It's a choice, this selah thing. It's a choice to be still. It's a choice to be silent. It's a choice to worship. It's a choice to find joy.
I choose selah. I loosen my white-knuckled grip on control. I let go of the tasks and the to-dos. I exhale all the pent-up stress that's kept my breath shallow and shaky.
I choose selah. I sink into the true rest my weary bones desperately need. I let my heartbeat calm, surrendering to its Maker, as I let His words flood me and His mercy comfort me. I let my words be few. I let my spirit soar with His. I choose to pause and praise. I choose selah.
Though the cities will always be chaotic, though people will always hurry, though the world flies by in a mess of noise and motion, creation reflects the Creator. Beautiful. Still. Indescribable. This video shows the contrast wonderfully.
After an exhausting day of nannying combined with stress about deadlines and a dozen things that needed to get done yesterday, this sunset was ahead of me the entire drive home. And instead of worrying about the things I needed to do, instead of stressing, instead of drowning out my thoughts with the latest Mat Kearney album, I drove home in silence, just watching. Just staring at the glory of God on display before me. Just choosing selah.
This playlist was on the top of my Spotify page when I opened it up, and I turned it on as I started to work on some writing and blog updates. I expected songs with lyrics, but there were none. Before long, I felt calm and at peace. Before long, I felt my eyes welling up with tears. The simple melodies were all my soul needed to finally breathe, to finally let go, to finally release. I stopped working and just sat and listened as the music filled the room and filled my heart. Who knew a simple "Stress Relief" playlist could bring such sweet selah?
It helps me to get out of the house, to be in a place where there are people around and the smell of roasting coffee beans and the white noise of conversations and clanking plates. It helps me to change my surroundings. It helps me to sit at a new table, pull out my Bible and journal, and pour my heart out onto paper. For an hour or so before the real work of my day begins, this helps me. Intentionally making an effort to pause. Intentionally making an effort to praise. Intentionally carving out room and choosing to devote my time to selah.
May the next three months (and the rest of this year) be even more devoted to selah. May I choose to pause and choose to praise, no matter what comes. May I choose to make the Lord the focus of my days, today and every day.
Yesterday, the sun finally broke through what had been a week of gray skies and ice and (unnecessary) snow days. Since one of my #RAD52in52 goals is to visit 10 new Richmond coffeeshops, I set out to find one where I could spend my morning. I visited good old Yelp and found Black Hand Coffee Company which was near where I would be picking up the kiddos I nanny, so I decided that would be my spot for the day.
It was an unassuming little corner coffeeshop tucked away in the downtown Museum District with just a few tables inside, but I loved it. I ordered a dirty Chai (the Yelp reviews sold me on their Chai!)-- my first "dirty" Chai ever (they add a shot of espresso)...so good. It was such a relaxing morning in a great new little spot. They even had a free little library box outside where I picked up a new book to try (but I'm a few chapters in and not liking it all...so that might be a flop).
I continued my solo morning at my favorite Richmond vegetarian restaurant where I got the BEST vegan "chicken salad" wrap (gluten-free too!) with mustard potato salad...to die for. All in all, it was the perfect Friday morning and everything I needed after a gloomy and draining week. Here are some snapshots from the morning.