for when you are running on empty

Sometimes you anticipate your vacation, make plans and reservations, and look forward to your needed time off. You pack a nice bag, shop for a few travel sized toiletries, and ask the neighbors to pick up your mail while you’re gone.


Other times, you work on your projects and try hard to finish tasks but you end up just walking in circles and writing the same to-do list items on seven different 4×6 note cards until you finally realize, Oh. I’m not getting anything done. I suppose I should take some time off.

So here’s to time off – both the kind you take and the kind that takes you.

If you are vacationing, may it be restful. If you are working, may it be fruitful.

And may you have the wisdom to know when to stop if it isn’t.

As I take a few days to readjust to the summer schedule, here are a few things I’m into this week that are helping me out:

I have the privilege of co-leading a retreat with Fil and Nathan Foster this fall (maybe I’ll see you there?)John and I have known Fil for about 12 years now and I highly recommend his books – but I also highly recommend his person. Is that weird? His portion of the interview starts in around 10:00 mins. You can also listen to it in iTunes by searching “Simplicity Podcast.”

“Here’s a guy who’s famous for what he has to say, yet what I remember most about him was how he sat and listened . . . He touched my life with his kindness.”

-Fil Anderson on his friendship with Brennan Manning

  • I’ve been listening to this album by Christa Wells and Nicole Witt on repeat. Track 5 called Pray is The Lord’s Prayer and it is beautiful.
  • I got my third Stitch Fix! I’ll share what came in that box soon, but I realized I never told you what I kept from my second one: so here’s my keeps from my second fix.

What are you into this week?


  1. says

    Emily, This week I am into Beth Moore’s study Mercy Triumphs. I’m wrapped up in her comment that every hole in my heart makes a place for God’s grace and it is my choice to let them sit empty or to allow God to fill them up. I’ve been keeping some of those holes hollow for a long time and I just know God’s pointing at them and telling me “let’s fill that up”. It’s terrifying in a good kind of way. :)

  2. says

    Emily, I’m into getting whipped by Jennie Allen’s book Anything, blackberries and almonds and the swimming pool. Thanks for the heads up on the fall retreat… I’ll be discussing the crazy idea of going with my husband at lunch today! Gotta love that Christa Wells!

  3. says

    this is amazing. learning how to relax and breathe is something i’ve not been very good at doing, especially since i’ve become a mother. it’s hard to find that hush in my day to take care of me and my soul. thank you for this reminder.

  4. says

    I’m trying really hard to discipline myself this summer to stop running myself on empty and refill myself. It’s really tough when the anxiety sets in that says “You’re not doing enough!” But it’s totally necessary.

  5. says

    Emily, I recently found your blog, and I immediately wasted a ton of time by rereading back posts until my eyes fell out! Love it!

    • says

      Awesome! Glad you found us here – and for the record, you’re not wasting time reading the old posts! Think of it as feeding your soul :)

  6. says

    I am into summer reading (just finished the YA novel When You Reach Me), and have a mile high stack from the library. :) I’m into reading your blog :) as well as your podcasts with Tsh at Simple Mom (your podcasts always end up being my fave-seriously! :) and I’m into hanging out at my favorite bookstore (that I just blogged about), spending time with my hubs, and writing more this summer! I won the album you spoke of in your post at a blog giveaway, but haven’t yet received it – looking forward to hearing their music! :) Blessings to you Emily! (Hope we can meet one day in real life :)

  7. Juli vrotney says

    Loved your second fix it shopping blog….the green blouse looks beautiful on you …and the sweater looked.good too. Here is to a wonderful rest of the week. :-)

  8. says

    I’m gonna go ahead and talk Fix right here, is that okay?
    First – I never knew about you and green. But it makes sense, somehow.
    Next – That mintish lightish sweater is RAD. And I’m super proud that you paired it with other kinds of stripes! Next up? A flowered skirt or crops. Swear. Because I’m such an expert. (<<- Not true.)
    Finally – Your hair. So pretty. You make me covet.

  9. Merit Wolff says

    Emily – How awesome! I live 20 minutes from the Cove – I am definitely going to try to come to this retreat! Would love to meet you!

  10. says

    This week, I’m recovering from last week’s vacation. :) It was wonderful but I’ve had a bit of a hard time adjusting to “real life” since we’ve been back home. Ah well, totally worth it. I totally believe in time off, especially when you’re running on empty.

  11. says

    hello! :) this is my first time commenting but i’ve been reading your blog for 3+ months now (and have shamelessly gone through archives of all your posts) and i’ve got to say, the Lord has INFINITELY blessed you with a way with words, and with such a deep capacity to feel, understand, express. i’m sure you knew that though and you hear it all the time, but i just had to also tell you myself. (; there are so many posts of yours that really made me stop because of how closely your words aligned with my heart and my prayers… so many times my eyes felt suddenly open to see a bigger God. so i wanted to thank you for being such a positive influence on my walk with the Lord. (:


  12. says

    Sweet friend, I read this post on the day you posted it, and I’m just now getting around to commenting. That’s the kind of week I had. But now that I’m finally here, I just want to say a few things:

    1. I agree with you–Fil’s podcast with Bradley is just wonderful. But then, Fil is wonderful. And Bradley is wonderful. So what would I expect?
    2. I am so very, very glad you’re doing the Renovaré retreat this fall. It’s going to be such a blessed time. Your work is a gift to the world. (I started to say that your work is a gift especially to me, and then I realized that this is the way so many people feel about your work–that it’s a gift especially to them.)
    3. I don’t think I can wait until October to see you again.

  13. says

    I’m commenting partially because I noticed that Matt was the only “guy” who has left a comment thus far. I listened to the podcast on Renovare with Fil… loved it! So much to consider and chew on. I’m in a unique time of having one full week in an RV alone. Rare for a pastor, husband, father of 3 and papa of 6. I’m taking this time to be still. To embrace solitude. Not so good on the silence discipline yet, but working on it. What stood out for me in Fil’s interview was his remembrance of something Brennan said to him as they were parting one evening, “Jesus loves you just the way you are, not as you should be. You’re never going to be the person you should be.” That was worth the listen for me. Thanks for posting.

    Pastor J

    • says

      Glad you listened to the podcast, Jimmy.

      I’ve been reading Richard Foster’s book on Prayer and just finished the chapter on contemplative prayer. He confesses, when it comes to contemplative prayer, that he fears he is “writing on the edge of unlived truth.”

      He continues: “Many times we all fall miserably short of our goal. Often our attempts at listening prayer never seem to get past our frustration over the unwashed dishes in the sink or the chemistry exam tomorrow. But what little we have experienced encourages us, for we have glimpsed the loving heart of God, all full of grace and mercy, welcoming us to the Communion table of the Spirit.”

      I can relate to this – to the desire never quite matching up with the experience. But these words remind me that the experience isn’t the goal anyway.

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