life where it sits right now

I went to bed late last night after a long weekend with high school students. You would think that I would go to bed early after such a weekend, but when I get into the late-to-bed habit, its hard to break. So I was on my way to bed, but then Hoarders: Buried Alive came on TLC and I was equal parts appalled and enthralled and only planned to watch until the commercial and ended up watching til the end while promising to throw away every. single. item. in my garage that does not sell on Saturday.

I didn’t have a post planned for today because being gone all weekend with over 150 teenagers sucks every living, loving, inspiring cell out of my body and I’m left only with enough attention for mind-numbing television and a couple of Oreos. So I had nothing to say, and I went to bed but then 30 minutes later the dog threw up and the next thing I knew I was outside in my jammies hosing out the dog crate in the pouring down rain at dark-forty-five and I thought to myself that maybe I was due for writing a post that wasn’t all that living or loving or inspiring but just had some of life where it sits right now.

Here is a photo a student took during lunch on Saturday after she made me hand over my camera so she could capture us. So he wrapped his arms around me between bites of camp food on plates partitioned up and we posed for her shot compliantly and it wasn’t until later when I dumped all 200 photos onto my laptop that I realized how thankful I was to her for doing it. I still get a little fluttery in the head when he does that and maybe even a little cheek-flushed. I wasn’t crazy about our wedding photos which is one reason why I think I so love taking photos of brides – I want to give them the gift that I missed out on. And so that is why I think this photo makes me happy and brings tears a little. There are so few of us together.

I am one of those weird people who liked high school, and these girls remind me why. Because it was fun. Because you could act like a fool with your girlfriends and laugh until you couldn’t breathe. Because you would think to bring an old prom dress on a retreat just so you could prance around in your red sequence and knee high socks for no reason except that you can. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t relive those days for any amount of food or money, but I’m happy to hang out with our students and watch them live theirs. And maybe even sometimes have a little breathless laughter right along with them.

While cleaning out the closets in preparation for the yard sale, my son found a small box with this stuff in it. They used to be mine, those red-headed sisters with the green outfits on, that white-haired teacher sitting in the desk, that small doll with the big head in the background, a blonde Dora before her time. I know I should get rid of them, but I can’t. Don’t say it.

31 Days starts this week and it comes at a good time for me. For the month of October, I’ll be posting everyday, something about grace. I need graciousness these days. I need to remember gentle and compassion and patience and love. I need to hold onto those things, especially this week in the midst of a new and more intimate awareness of suffering and life-fighting and fear in the lives of some of those most dear. It really is all grace, each breath.

Because of 31 Days of Grace in October, tomorrow will be the last Tuesdays Unwrapped for a while, so I look forward to having you here in the morning with your stories and photos and glimpses of gifts in the midst of your everyday ordinary. And thank you for listening to me share mine.


  1. says

    I liked my high school days, too. But like you, I don’t think I would relive them for anything. Thanks for sharing a glimpse into your weekend. That frozen laughter is awfully contagious.

  2. says

    Love the weird girl shot! That is so us. I was a mascot and put a bumper sticker under my tail so I could “flash” people. What fun! (Although I’m with you, no desire to relive it!)

  3. says

    Loved a look at your life! It’s always nice to know that I don’t have the only dog that throws up in the middle of the night, and that I am not the only one who saved stuff from childhood… it’s nice to know I am ‘normal’ (tongue in cheek!) just like everyone else!
    Teenagers are a lot of fun (and DO take a lot of energy!) Having spent the weekend with a group of women with who I was felt I was truly able to be myself, and be free and silly and spontaneous, I can appreciate the passion that teenagers have!
    Have a great Monday!

  4. says

    Some things are meant to be kept and I think your little people toys fit into that category. I know that we can’t keep everything from our childhood or from our childrens, but I think we need to keep some things just for the ability to pass the memories on. I still have a small collection of those little people toys that belonged to my kids and will soon be played with by my grandson.

  5. says

    I’d find a place to put that photo in a pretty frame and display it, and I’d definitely keep the retro Little People. I still have mine…they don’t take up much room.

  6. says

    Love the photos, the way you phrase your life, all of it. It’s a beautiful life isn’t it?

    And I plan to come relieve you of some clutter on Saturday. Can’t wait to hug your neck!

  7. says

    Emily, this line “I didn’t have a post planned for today because being gone all weekend with over 150 teenagers sucks every living, loving, inspiring cell out of my body and I’m left only with enough attention for mind-numbing television and a couple of Oreos” made me realize why blogging hurts my brain sometimes. I feel your pain, in my own way as a church planter’s wife. Oh how I would love to just sit next to you and dunk Oreo’s together. Oh, and our dogs could have a barfing fest while we watch mindless TV.

  8. says

    i smiled at your description of feelings when your husband wraps his arms round you~ how precious! we need more marriages where the sparks are still there. :) and i hear ya on wedding pictures – me too. :/

    that box of little toys is a treasure i think.. don’t toss it. :)

    and every breath is grace – AMEN!!! been thinking on that alot lately~ yes, pretty much with every breath in!!

    like to link up tomorrow – – but if i forget my gift unwrapped would have to be our sweet baby born one wk ago today!! God is gracious indeed!!

    blessings to you emily. <3

  9. Melanie says

    I love the pic of you and your husband. I agree, I feel the same way (on the rare occasions) my hubby does that to me. I feel blessed that after more than 28 years, I am still giddy. That picture does speak volumes:)

  10. says

    As a fellow youth pastor’s wife, this line “…being gone all weekend with over 150 teenagers sucks every living, loving, inspiring cell out of my body and I’m left only with enough attention for mind-numbing television and a couple of Oreos.” made me totally laugh out loud! You totally speak the truth, sister! Teenagers are so fun, but so exhausting….sort-of like my toddler. :)

    Thanks for the awesome post!

  11. says

    I love that you wrote even though your brain was numb! I have done that more times than I can recall…I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the picture of you and your hubby. The love and joy and butterflies are written all over your faces! That is true beauty, Emily. Thank you so much for sharing.

    We have a hard time getting pictures of the two of us together too! With a 7 yr old and a 2 yr old…we don’t often hand off the camera! LOL

  12. says

    Perfect post!
    I so understand about not having many photos of the two of you…we are always taking pics of the kids…not so much of US. Looks like a great time with the TEENS too~prom dress made me LOL! :)
    I’m looking forward to 31 days…I need it right now!

  13. says

    I love the photo of you and your man. The smile on his face is precious!! He’s crazy about you girl. I love that it makes you cry to see yourself wrapped in his arms.

    I miss this place. My heart relaxed here. I’ll be back for 31 days of grace.

    If you sold your little people I’d buy them for Aster. But I’m glad you aren’t. They look so at home there on the floor. Except for Ken. He looks like he had a meltdown. He may have been hoping to be matched with a Barbie through the yard sale.

  14. says

    So happy to have stumbled on your blog! I love this post, I can relate…our long weekend with high school students is coming up in October! I too LOVE high school students…I love that time in their lives, and I am so honored to be a part of it in such a fun and hopefully impacting way. I am looking forward to your 31 days of grace, and exploring your past posts as well! So nice to e-meet you! :)


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