seven reasons why I can’t keep my eyes dry

A big week. Thanks for being awesome and supportive and putting up with me and my big self talking about the new book. I’m feeling small and thankful and emotional. Here are some reasons why, besides the obvious stuff.

1. Friday Night Lights is over. It’s been over for nearly two years for normal people. But I’ve been waiting to watch it on Netflix because I didn’t want it to end. This week I finally said goodbye to Tami and Coach Taylor and Tim Riggins and Buddy Garrity. It’s sad is what it is.

2. Annie Downs wrote a book. I spent some time with Annie this past weekend. Her book and my book released on the same day for the same audience and can I just be very honest with you? We are technically competitors. But it doesn’t feel that way. At all. The truth is, I’d rather do this with her than without her.

You’ve heard me talk about her book. It’s called Perfectly Unique and y’all? Annie is. She is all kinds of crazy brave and courageous without being obnoxious about it. She has a sweet mix of funny and normal and faith. She is a true friend and a great writer. So I’ve been thankful for her, for the unique relationship we have as writers of books for teen girls. It’s a gift to have a partner in this. Buy her book. And then? Read her letter to her teenage self. It is exquisite.

3. I’ve been thinking through things about church, about the shape of our souls, the beauty of community, the sacredness of truth. Lately, I feel like I’m changing a little everyday. It hurts and also is lovely. The Man and I pray together every morning and there’s something about love, coffee, prayer, and front porch sitting that gets me all teary and thankful.

4. My sixteen year old self needed a lot of tenderness and I didn’t realize it. I wrote a letter to her and I tried to be as honest as I could, to put myself back in that time and feel all of those emotions. It worked. I am a hot mess. And also?

5. Reading other people’s letters is slaying me. I still can’t tell why yet. Even the funny ones are bringing out weird emotion in me that I didn’t expect, can’t explain, and won’t try to.

6. On the Shores by Melissa Helser and Johnathan David Helser. First of all, they were so gracious to let us use their song for the Graceful video (by the way, the video was directed by Jason Windsor and was awesome). This song is powerful and living and every time she sings hallelujah, I have to raise up my hands.

7. The twins have made up a language. It’s ridiculous and awesome and just sounds like a lot of z’s. But they are 8 and they have their own language that they understand. I watch them and I am overcome with emotion, thankful they have a person, a sister. A gift.

What is something bringing out weird emotion in you lately?

graceful for young womenStill writing those letters. If you would like to join in, we would love to read it. Simply write it on your own blog and come here this Friday, September 14 to link up. Here are all the details. Some of my favorite writers who are writing letters today:

Annie Downs – I linked to it up there but I’m putting it down here because I don’t want you to miss it.

Stephen Martin – I love Stephen’s writing and his letter does not disappoint (you should check out his book, too) And also I feel kind of awesome that four men agreed to write letters. Stephen is one of them.

Mary DeMuth – Mary is an early mentor of mine. I’m thankful for her and her willingness to join in.

Kristen Strong – She read Sweet Valley High books as a teenager. Automatically love her. Her writing is lovely and kind.

Gary Morland – My dad wrote a letter. He is also a man. You can learn a lot about your family by having them write letters to themselves.


  1. says

    It’s funny you should mention Friday Night Lights. I just started watching it for the first time this weekend (I can’t possibly admit to you how many episodes I’ve watched so far!), but it is bringing out the craziest emotions in me. I feel sixteen again, when everything felt possible and I felt invincible and at the same time everything was falling apart. My word. That show is doing my head and my heart in. I kind of feel like I need to dig deeper into why.

    • says

      It did the same thing to me – I actually started watching it way back in 2006 when it was on TV – my son was a baby and I was nursing and just thought that was why I was emotional about it. But now he’s 6 and I can’t blame it on that. I think you’re on to something for sure.

  2. says

    Emily, how cool of your father to write a letter. I just read it and the last few lines were, well, incredible. “No matter which way you go, it’s a train wreck that God puts back together his way. I don’t want you to miss a thing.”

    Thank you. Truth is hard and deep and worth it.

    All His best with your new book and emotions right now :),

  3. says

    your list of seven things made me teary too…and you just might get me to write that letter…

    p.s. my cure for no “friday night lights?” watching “early edition” (11am on the scifi channel?) i can’t help but love kyle chandler… and if i could get my hands on “homefront” i’d be watching that, too…

  4. says

    Oh my goodness, I love FNL (did you know I ran a fan site and got to visit the set and interview much of the cast? swoon.) What was your favorite season? Mine was 3 for sure. I cried for like the last 5 episodes straight.

    I’ve been writing the letter to myself in my head through the week and I already feel emotional. I’m hoping to get it “on paper” before Friday.

  5. says

    Oh my goodness! How fun to know we aren’t the only ones who watch a TV series on netflix long after it’s over. We started watching FNL a few months ago – one or two per night with our high school age son after his younger siblings are in bed. We are a few episodes into the last season (Tim Riggins hasn’t come home yet) and we will be so very sad when it’s over too. It’s such a phenomenally well-written, acted and produced show…love, love, love it. We have even started saying “ah’ight” to each other in our most southern-est drawl we can manage…(we live in the south….east corner…. of MN)

    As I mentioned, we have a high schooler ourselves now, playing in his school drum line, so we attended our very own “Friday Nights Lights” last Friday, our first high school football game since I was in high school myself. A flood of emotions that I can’t explain. And I kept thinking about things we had experienced with the Taylors and all the players of Dillon/East Dillon High.

  6. says

    Em, I had no idea no idea you were a fellow Friday Night Lights addict. We’re at the beginning of season 3, so I don’t have to let it go, yet. I always tell my husband that we need to watch Coach Taylor and the boys. I’m completely hooked.

  7. amanda says

    “What is something bringing out weird emotion in you lately?”

    three things:

    we are in the middle of the adoption process.

    my first born son is playing TACKLE football this fall (what kind of mom allows that?)

    writing a letter to myself at age 16 in my head, determining whether or not it will make to the blog

  8. says

    I’m a total hot mess myself lately. Just thinking about writing a letter to my teen self when I’m just days away from dropping my teen daughter off at college? My head and heart are both a wreck. I can’t really explain all the emotions I’m going through – but lots of tears are involved for sure.

    And Friday Night Lights? I’ve never seen a single episode, but maybe I should.

  9. says

    I never watched Friday Night Lights but now you’ve got me curious. Maybe it was because I was a huge Homefront fan and because Kyle Chandler was the main actor, I was afraid to commit to a series again for fear it would get cancelled. I have to admit, reading these letters is stirring the emotional kettle for me too. It’s hard to go back there. I want to join in on the fun, but not sure I can do it. Love to you Emily.

  10. says

    I have cried most of the day writing to my 16 year old self. She is so happy, life is so good, and my heart aches at the thought of what she will be facing in the years to come. I just want to tell her to not let the enemy steal her joy. She will spend most of her life trying to get it back.

    I also discovered that a lot of what I had to say to her I still need to hear today at 43.

    Thank you Emily.

    PS. I love thr necklace you are wearing in the picture above!

  11. Marcy says

    What’s up with the weird emotions? I too am on a roller coaster and feel the lovely and the growing and the gut-wrenching. I’ve chalked it up to finally caring for myself the way I care for others. Lots of tiny conflicts that leave me feeling depleted yet taller. That and the fact quite possibly I sleep less now that my peeps are 4, 10 and 12 than I did when they were babies!

  12. says

    What is bringing out weird emotions in me?
    Getting a call from an agent that I did not query. Who I had no idea saw my work. But by the gracious hand of God she saw it, liked it and wants to meet with me.

    So many different feelings running through me right now, can’t even describe them all in a sentence that makes any sense.

  13. Lindsey says

    These letters are WRECKING ME.
    They are shaking up my soul in the both the best and worst way.
    Jesus and I are going to have a long talk about all this.

    And then I’m going to send your book to my teenage sister. I hope it shapes her heart the way Grace for the Good Girl is still reshaping mine.

  14. says

    I tried writing a letter to teenage self and it was so hard. I put it away and began reading everyone else’s. It’s made me an emotional wreck, but in a good way.

    I thought I was the only one watching Friday Night Lights for the first time. I’m still in season one. It brings so many emotions to surface. My boyfriend was center on the football team and I was a cheerleader. We ended up getting married almost 32 years ago. Wow.

  15. says

    a couple things.
    i like you. as a person. you are real. believable. touchable.
    i am a twin.
    i have twins
    i sleep with my pastor, just like you do.
    i am a growing writer.
    i want to use your new book with the teenagers in my life, including my 14 year old. she is the age i was when i was abused. i want to hold her. protect her. keep her.
    and yet, i know i get to trust HER maker for more of that, than i could ever give.
    my twin and i still have our language. people don’t get it, and we are misunderstood. i guess every writer, speaker, voice opener is.
    thank you.
    for u.

  16. says

    oh, this is so sweet. you are so sweet :) i love that your kids have their language. i always wanted to do that and never got around to it. it’s never too late though, right?

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