In Which I Ask for Your Opinion

chatting at the skyIf you and I ever go to a movie together, I’m sure we will have a lot of fun. We will share popcorn and I’ll forget the napkins so one of us will have to run out during the previews to get some. And by “one of us” I mean you because I love me some previews.

Half-way through the movie, I will pull out the king-size bag of peanut M&M’s from my purse and you will pull out the family pack of Twizzlers (red not black, obviously) and we will share and share alike as we enjoy our film and gain exactly 14 pounds each and promptly pass out into a sugar coma.

When the movie is over and we wake from our coma, I will be so glad we came and it will be a lovely night together. Unless you turn to me just as the credits begin to roll, eager look on your face, loud words in your mouth, and say, “SO? WHAT DID YOU THINK?!”

If you do this, I will still like you, but I will not answer you. I will stare at you with wide-eyes, willing  you to stop all that talking. I will continue my silence at least until we leave the theater, preferably until we get to the car. Because Emily doesn’t talk about movies while she’s still in the theater.

Strange? Yes. Absurd? Probably. Controlling? Absolutely.

Offering my opinion while the credits are still rolling is not something I do. I would prefer to wait a week until I gave you my opinion, but that’s ridiculous and I am a reasonable woman. It isn’t that I don’t have opinions, I just like to hold them close at first. And I certainly don’t want the strangers behind me to hear them.

Today, this blog is our movie. And I want to respect your right to your own opinion because I know how important that is. I also don’t want to be your annoying (but well-meaning) friend who loudly asks you what you think in a way you aren’t comfortable with, which is why I pretty much never ask you your opinion on this space.

But the truth is, I would like to know what you think about some things. In the car. On the way home.

After eight years of writing online through various seasons of my own life, I have found a comfortable rhythm here, what I sense is a fairly strong connection between what I enjoy writing and what you want to read. I’m thankful for that, thankful for you. 

This Howard Thurman quote comes to mind, the one that has made its way around the internet about a billion times about not asking what the world needs. Incase you haven’t seen it, it goes like this:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

Howard Thurmond was a smart and accomplished man. And I agree with him, I do. Too many times in my life I have looked outside of myself to figure out what other people think I’m supposed to do rather than listen to my own life and move as an artist who actually has a mind of her own.

But when it comes to a group of people I already connect with and serve – you – it could be helpful to ask now and then what this particular world needs. Now that we’re several years into it, it seems wise to venture out of the theater, find our way to the car, pull the door closed and look you in your eyes.

So, what do you think?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to answer that cold. I would be ever so grateful if you would take two minutes and answer these 8 multiple choice questions to help me sharpen my focus here a bit. I don’t plan to change things as much as I plant to focus. Of these 10 things I enjoy writing, which ones do you most enjoy reading? That kind of thing.

If you also subscribe to my newsletter, you received a link to fill this survey out yesterday. If you did already, thanks so much! Your answers are already surprising me a bit. I can’t wait to see what the rest of you might have to say. Would you take a moment and give me your anonymous and optional opinion? (I can’t wait to see which TV show you are!)

take the survey

One question that isn’t on the survey but that this post has made me wonder about – As a readerwhat do you need? I’m not going to put any restrictions on that question, if something comes to mind, would you put it in the comments? You’re the best.


    • says

      Previews are so fun. Except when you are at a kids movie. Then it gets to be a bit much when it’s been 20 minutes and your kids are all “when is the movie gonna start?” Otherwise, they’re great.

  1. says

    Thank you for this space and for what you’re doing. It’s always a highlight of my day and I know that whatever you do in the future, that will still be true.

  2. says

    Savoring… all that is lush and rich about the visual bounty of a movie; that’s what my quiet is about.
    And here, I read to hover over a lovely photo and walk through cleverly written inspired perspective and encouragement; which is the garden of your art.

  3. says

    What I need? I need your words. Not every day. But every day, I read. EVERY DAY. Because so many times in the last couple of years, you have had the answer right there on the screen that I have been looking for – even when I didn’t know I was looking. Your honesty is welcoming. You struggle with the same issues that we all do. And you make art – all the while, encouraging us to do the same with whatever we do. You have changed how I look at my photography. You assure us that whatever we do, if we do it for love, it will be beautiful.
    So, thank you.

  4. Grace says

    Emily, I have one little suggestion for your survey. I hardly ever watch TV, so I don’t know a lot of the shows in your last question. Could you maybe add another option for those of us who are unable to answer that question with any insight or relevance?

    I subscribe to a number of blogs, mostly from women. Even though I’m middle-aged and single, a lot of your writing resonates with me, more so than any other writer. For me, your posts come at the right frequency and are just the right length, and like a previous commenter, I often leave your emails open to reread later.

    Thank you for being you and sharing your art with us. I look forward to more!

    • says

      You’re so kind, Grace!

      That last question was more for fun than for insight, although I appreciate your desire to be thorough! I’m so pleased to know the writing resonates with you. Thanks for reading and for returning!

  5. Megan says

    What I need…? A place for my soul to breathe. The relaxing, refreshing, encouraging place you create with your posts is what initially drew me to your blog and books and has kept me coming back. Thank you for sharing your art with us in so many ways.

  6. Susan says

    just so you know – I did take the survey yesterday. I appreciated that you wanted our input. I am not one who follows a lot of blogs – why? basically time is limited. so I read what nourishes, encourages, educates and challenges me. I do read your blog – but what has most touched my heart (and is saved in a points to ponder file) are your weekend blessings. They touch my heart, soothe my soul, make me breathe and slow down. I love those sweet, sweet words.

    thank Emily, for ministering to me.

  7. Dawn says

    Emily, you always seem to know exactly what I need – I love when your email pops into my “IN” Box! I connect with you on so many levels, and am SO GLAD I found “Grace for the Good Girl” which brought me to your site. I took your survey yesterday and want to thank you for this opportunity. I appreciate your honestly, your spiritual insight, and the blessed gift you have been given to express yourself through your books, your photos, and your life. Keep up the great work, girlfriend!

  8. says

    I only recently found you a couple of months ago. I enjoy all your posts and especially your writing! I have A Million Little Ways and plan to soak it in this weekend, because I feel it is definitely something I need to read at this moment in my life.
    Thanks for being an inspiration! I can relate about the movies. I just recently discovered at 34 years old that I’m actually an introvert, and now see why I have my ways about things such as movies, and books.. I read a book and I have to let it soak in a few days before I can start another one! I mean, if it’s really good. I feel like I’m betraying that book if I can so easily move on! Is that crazy?

  9. Lara says

    I am purposefully skipping the comments already written, so I can give you my opinion from my heart and not what I think I should write based on what others think. I’ll enjoy them later:)
    As a reader, I need to feel like I relate or resonate with what you write, which I do and that’s why I love coming here, to your welcoming space on the interwebs….and I feel that connection the most when you speak/write from your heart. Sharing the everyday, the sometimes vulnerable and mostly your unique way of thinking really is interesting. I enjoy when you explain your process … Above post, case in point. Most times you put into words what I unconsciously do and feel which results in an ‘aha!’ moment.
    I enjoy when you write from your gift, share your spiritual perspective and create your particular kind of art with courage, inspiring me to take that step of faith and see my art for what it is.
    I first heard about you from reading Bye bye pie, and then your sister’s blog 5 plus years ago, and I would have to bookmark your blog and click on to check if you’d written something new, as I was clueless about feeders, subscribing etc. Now your posts in my inbox are favourites to receive and savour! I feel like we could be in real life friends which I don’t want to come across as being stalky or presumptuous. It would be difficult anyway being in South Africa;)
    Thank you Emily.

  10. says

    Emily, Can we really go to a movie together one day?! Say Yes!!!! You don’t ever have to worry about napkins. I grab a large stack all of the time! A movie must for me is Raisinets. Lisa Jo and I are obsessed!

    I need for you to always be honest, genuine and relatable. I also need for you to always speak biblical truth, encouragement and yet challenging in a grace filled, loving way. Also, communication is key. I think it is so valuable to engage with the community that the Lord has entrusted you with.

  11. says

    I eagerly look forward to reading your posts because of the connection I feel. I know there will be beautiful photos, well thought out words and a something that says “Yes,” in my heart. I also love it that there is laughter.

  12. says

    Sounds odd perhaps, but I come here to be uplifted and to feel regular, to know that the world is filled with other regular folks and they’re wonderful in spite of – no, because of – their regularness, and maybe there’s just a little bit of wonderful in my regularness, too. I love what you do Emily, how you hold us together with your unique mix of regular and wonderful.

  13. says

    What I need here? The gracious space to breathe. To tear up when you share a truth that resonates to the depths. I trust the resonance because it is evident to me that you sit long and quiet; you are a Mary. I let in your words to ponder in my heart; your soul quiet is a restful place that brings joy as I read.

    I took your survey yesterday and am glad to have had the opportunity; although my responses may not be particularly instructive as I love all your writing!

    Thank you for your honesty, your humor, and your willingness to invite me into the quiet space with you.

  14. says

    Red Twizzlers? Yes, duh.

    But I would have poured my bag/box of M&M’s over the popcorn while it was still warm. My fave movie treat. The candies get all melty and squishy and inevitably end up stuck in the folds of my yoga pants or jeans. Whatevs, it’s worth it.

  15. says

    I think it’s great that you’re finding out what your readers are interested in, and I did fill out the survey Emily :)

    I also wanted to mention that the people who read your blog do so because they are interested in what you write – if they didn’t they wouldn’t read it. you can’t please everyone, so I think it’s important for you to write what makes you alive, and what’s relevant to you. if I didn’t want to read a post you wrote (which has never happened yet ;)) then I wouldn’t. there will always be posts that some people love and others dislike.

    we want to hear from you about what you want to write about and that’s why we’re here :)

    blessings to you! and thank you for your encouraging posts!

  16. says

    What I need is what I very often find here: that I am not alone, nor am I crazy; that I need to keep plugging away at making “art” even if it makes no sense, what so ever (to me anyway).

    Here’s hoping that you will carry on!

  17. Liz says

    Hi Emily, from Australia!! Just stopping by to say I really appreciate your blog and your writing. Thank you. And in answer to your question, what I need/would like from your blog…
    – your honesty
    – the assurance that I’m not alone in my Christian walk
    -gentleness and sincerity
    These are the things I already love about Chatting At The Sky :-)

  18. says

    funny when i read this yesterday i was traveling back from florida and had just pulled out my favorite snacks to munch on – yep. peanut m&m’s and twizzlers {red, not black, obviously} ;)))

  19. says

    Emily, I have been reading Chatting at the Sky since 2012 when I found Grace for the Good Girl and couldn’t put it down. I felt like you were writing that book for me. :) I hadn’t followed or read any blogs at that point. (can you believe that?) After seeing your blog listed in the book, I took a look and have never looked back. As one commenter said above, I can tell through your writing that you sit long and quiet. You contemplate the deep things in life, in faith, in art. You have a gracious artful way with words and pictures. I truly feel like my soul takes a deep breath here. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Your life and writing are gifts!

  20. Aimee says

    I just took the survey and wanted to add some clarification. The “if you could only choose one topic” question was challenging, because I love everything you write, but I chose teens because I have been leading a high school girls’ small group with a friend for just over a year, and I would LOVE to hear more of your insights on mentoring teen girls. Here in New England, it doesn’t seem like there are many people intentionally discipling teens, and it’s difficult to find solid resources or even just people who understand what we’re doing. So–you can write whatever makes you come alive and I will gladly read it, but if you ever find yourself at a loss for a topic, you could write about mentoring. :)

  21. says

    Emily, I really enjoy coming here and reading your posts. For me, visiting here is like taking a walk on a quiet beach, where I can spend time alone with my thoughts and calm my soul. Thank you for providing us with such a wonderful space to connect and reflect. Sometimes your questions tap deep into my soul, so deep that I need to come back here to read the same article over and over again and process slowly.

    I’d LOVE to hear John’s story of becoming – what it is like to be waiting for God’s guidance, waiting for his life to unfold on its own – as I am currently going through a very similar process myself. Please extend my well wishes to John :) I’ll be praying for his life to fully blossom, the way he is designed to be. ox

  22. says

    What I need as a reader? To feel both encouraged and challenged. To feel okay to be who I am but to still want more….more intimacy with God, more alive and awake moments, more freedom. Wow those are high expectations but really that’s kinda how I feel when I read you…and, most especially, when I spend time with the Lord. Thanks for asking. :)

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