state of a life

We watched the State of the Union address last week, and when I say watched I mean it was on for 10 minutes and then I turned it to American Pickers. But it’s the end of January, a good time to think about the state of where things are right now. My sister did a State of the Nest post last week and I thought how much I enjoy when bloggers I read pull back the curtain a bit and let us in to see things we don’t normally see. Consider the curtain pulled.

I am on a fast road to becoming more of an introvert than I already was. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I filled up a whole book with my own talk and now anyone, from strangers to neighbors can walk into any Barnes and Noble in the country and read it or if it is just part of getting older. But I am slowly beginning to hold my cards closer to my chest as the years are rolling on by.

I’m not saying that’s a bad or good thing, I’m just saying it’s true. I’m thankful for the friends who know me well. I’m craving simple moments with my husband. Silence and solitude are top on my list of things that keep me sane. My neighbor told me about a book that I can’t wait to read – Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. The title alone gave me freedom. It just released last week and is in the top 5 on Amazon so maybe some of you have read it or at least heard of it?

Some other books I’m reading? I’m on the last chapter of One Thousand Gifts. I know it’s been out for a year but I’ve read it with slow, thoughtful intention and now I don’t want it to end. I finished Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak, a small book about learning to listen to your own design as you consider vocation. I’m also reading Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton. All of these books together are changing how I think in a good way. They are all hardcovers and I have taken the book jacket off all of them because I have a hate relationship with book jackets.

Here is my family last month. I have precious few photos of all of us together because I’m usually the one behind the camera. Our family albums are filled with my husband looking like a single dad – poor man raising all those children alone. I’m sure his wife was a lovely creature, God rest her soul. Lucky for me, my sister-in-law always insists I get in the pictures when she’s around so I have just enough photos to prove that I am, indeed, not dead or missing.

The twins are in second grade now, all loose teeth and long legs. Our son will start kindergarten in the fall and then a week after that they will all be driving and getting married because that is just the way things go. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

This spring I will be slash have been speaking at some events and retreats, perhaps adding to the introversion that is going on. The idea of standing on stages and talking makes me want to spend equal time hiding under tables, silent. But I am beginning to embrace the beauty and relevance of speaking out loud the messages that have come in the quiet. There is a different kind of aliveness that happens in those settings. It definitely keeps me dependent and small.

We are currently (as in, today) picking out covers for my second book, the one for teen girls. It is between two beautiful covers and I can’t choose so when I’m done with this post I’m going to print them out, put them both on my mantel, blindfold myself and pin the tail on the cover. I can’t wait to share the winner with you. It’s a great problem to have, two beautiful covers. It could easily be two awful covers and it isn’t. I really love Revell.

Speaking of mantel, remember my mantel before we moved in? Well there it is, in all it’s unpainted, dark paneling glory. I changed some things around this weekend. I took an hour and painted the wall of the mantel white and hung my black and white pictures.

Yes, that is the same house. If you are curious and haven’t been around here much, you can read more about how we knocked down the living room wall wall and painted the dark paneling. This mantel has been through a lot of change over the four years since we moved in. I predict more change in the future. But for now, we’ll let her rest.

I’m considering starting a little newsletter of sorts for anyone interested – just a free not-very-often update on the state of things. It will be a place to tell you of upcoming events, to share some things I may not share on the blog, to maybe offer downloadable photos, to perhaps ask for prayer. See I am very decisive on what this would be. With all the chattering email and other fun online-y things, I can’t imagine that would be something anyone would sign up for which is why I haven’t done it. But I am discovering sometimes I have things I want to tell you about but the blog doesn’t always seem like the best way to do it. Perhaps you have a better idea? I’m all ears. And that is not a joke about how much my ears stick out. Just so you know.


    • Debby says

      I just recently found your site and am amazed at your insight. I love reading your posts because they are so open and insightful. Your communication always feels like a note from a friend. Many Blessings !

  1. Anna says

    That was fun to hear some news. I know what you mean about feeling yourself holding back on some intimate details. Sometimes it’s a little scary how much people share with the world but a bit of the personal stuff always appeals! Somehow you get to care about the people God uses to bless you even if you don’t know each other. So yes, I’d sign up and pray, of course xxx

  2. says

    I’ve been feeling more deeply introverted lately, too. And I didn’t write a book. And, like you, I’m not sure if it is good or bad. I started reading your blog post-house updates, so it was fun to see the before and afters. Actually, it was very good for me to see that, because I think you live in my dream home. I needed to see that it wasn’t always so dreamy. :)

  3. says

    “I am on a fast road to becoming more of an introvert than I already was”. At this point in my life, Emily, I too can so relate to this. I’ve always been fairly introverted, more of a listener than a talker. I find more and more that I enjoy the time I do have to myself, wide open and quiet, time to ponder, reflect, to write down my thoughts or release, let go if necessary, of whatever’s inside at any given moment. It’s nice to know that someone like you who is so talented, who has so much to offer, and has shared so many personal insights into your own life, can feel “introverted”, too, yet you still make yourself available to inspire all of us who visit you here with your words of hope and encouragement. Bless you.

  4. says

    A newsletter sounds good. I’m going to check out the books you are reading, they look really good. (One introvert to another.) It’s so nice to know that other people feel the same way about all the busy- fun – crazy that can be the internet and modern life. Hugs to you dear Emily.

  5. says

    1.) I would LOVE to get e-mails from you about the state of things :)

    2.) I now want to go read all those books you’ve been reading… but I am admittedly reading your book slow, still (I am seeming to take a long while to process each chapter but it’s funny, because whenever I do read the next chapter, it always seems to be what I need to hear in that week, that day, that moment… maybe God is orchestrating my slowness…

    3.) I am the same kind of introvert as you. The more I talk, the more I want to pull back in and hide.

    4.) Your shoes, your kids, and your mantel are all adorable!

  6. JennyB says

    We have the same taste in books and I just began reading Quiet yesterday. Thank you for incouraging this introvert to find her voice and speak up. I’ve praying over beginning my own blog and I appreciate the way you share your voice through words and photos so beautifully.

  7. says

    oh how I love that there are other introverts that speak their truths and then wish to go hide out somewhere awhile…can’t wait to look into the books you mentioned {and check out one fab new cover…} I for sure would get your updates. :)

  8. Jenna says

    Thanks for the peek inside your life. I feel like we have so much in common. I am a super introvert, my husband is a youth pastor and I have small children. I also loved One Thousand Gifts, I read it during a particularly dark season last winter and it helped me so much. I am working on Jesus Calling right now. You are braver than me, hopefully someday I will have the boldness to be a little more transparent with the world. Love your writing–it is evident that God is blessing your obedience to him. Thank you!

  9. says

    We have the same taste in books as I just started to read Quiet too. When my kids were the ages of your kids my hunger for silence and solitude was tremendous. Now with empty nest I still find myself seeking the quiet. I hear God better there. I know we need balance though and try not to hibernate too much – very tempting this time of year. Good thoughts!

  10. says

    I feel like a kindred spirit with you today, Emily. Introvert? Um, yes. But have to go teach a class in 15 minutes that takes every amount of energy I have. Ann’s book? Yep. Just finished it this weekend and will lead a book discussion on it next weekend at our church’s women’s retreat. I had to read slowly, to savor it. And I don’t care what anyone said about that last chapter–I loved it. It made me cry. And your book? It’s sitting next to my reading chair, next to be read. I have been thinking a lot about leading a small group with some girls when your next one comes out. Can’t wait to see what God has in store for that one!

    Just know I’m with you today. Thanks for the pulled-back curtain.

  11. Jennifer says

    I would love a newsletter from you! I have actually been working to unsubscribe to some of the stuff coming to my inbox, but I would sign up for that. I love your words, and I love that you are an introvert, because I am, too. Blessings to you!

  12. says

    You are the cutest. Thanks for a fun glimpse into your world! I’m DYING for the youth version to come out. I lead a HS girls’ Bible study at SIX in the morning (aaaaahhhh!!!), once a week, and I’ve already decided that we’ll be reading that one in the fall!! Cannot wait!

  13. says

    Introvert, Extrovert, or just simply Vert….. your words move me. Thank you, and our Heavenly Father. Thanks for the peak inside your life and the newsletter sign-up. I signed up fo sho. : )

    Bless you!

    • says

      Oh dear. You are hilarious – VERT. Love it. I’m afraid I’ve been misleading – the sign up is simply to receive new posts in your inbox which I keep forgetting is there because it’s a plug in that you can see but I can’t. I still haven’t set up the newsletter sign up. But I will! Sorry for the confusion.

  14. says

    Love your site. And I HATE book jackets too. Unless they are very pretty, or have info that the hardback doesn’t and needs to, they go immediately into the trash.

  15. says

    I’m the same way about book covers. In fact, I’m not a hardcover fan at all. Reason #295302 I loved your book. It premiered in paperback. Holla!

    I, as well, look a behind the scenes look at bloggers lives. Lurv it.

    So, give me more. Give me a newsletter. Keep it coming! Woop-woop!

  16. Shirley says

    I read your blog regularly, but I rarely comment (if I ever have). This post especially speaks to me today because this is exactly where I am…pulling inward. I’ve had a very public online life for years now, but I don’t ‘feel’ it anymore. I’ve closed my blog and shut down some other online activity and feeling this need to snuggle into home more. I don’t know why. And I’m not going to question it. I’m glad you posted this today.

  17. says

    It’s been a while since I stopped and read one of your posts properly instead of skimming it while thinking ‘I don’t have time to read’. I’m so glad I did – there’s something about your writing and topics that slow me and calm me in just the right way. Thank you.

  18. says

    As so many others have said, I love these kinds of posts too. And I’d sign up for that newsletter for sure!
    I know how you feel Emily. I sometimes think I may be turning into a bit of a hermit. I’ve had a lot more years to work on it!

  19. says

    a fellow-introvert/quiet-craver (moi) says yes!, i’d devour your version of the “state of things” (and don’t even get me started on the “pulling back of the curtain” idea…)

    btw – i have a pile of book jackets on the top shelf in my girls’ closet. ha.

  20. Claire says

    My children, a girl and a boy, are two and a half years apart. Within a year they were bot in school full time and they got married twelve weeks apart. TWELVE weeks. Those were two very hard years.

    Thank you for the book mentions.

  21. says

    Oh what a sweet peek into your heart and life. Thank you. I know what you mean about 1000 Gifts. I read it slow too. Every sentence needs to be rolled around in the heart. And fun that your reading Sacred Rhythms right now too. What chapter are you on? I’m just finishing the one on repentance. Loved her take on prayer – especially breathing prayer. I think that’s my favorite way to spend solitude. It’s certainly my favorite way to spend the dinner hour when my kids are all melting down with vigor! :)

    • says

      You’re reading it too?! I’m on the self-awareness chapter – don’t remember what it’s called. So good. I finished one of her other books, Invitation to Solitude and Silence in December. Loved that one, too.

  22. says

    …and on the newsletter idea. I know what you mean. I dragged my feet on that for 2 years, sensing it would be a good way to connect with the relatively smaller group of followers – the most invested in my site. It’s now 3 months old and gets higher readership than a lot of my posts. And all I did was make something I’d want to read and never miss – something fun, reflecting my heart and the affection I have for my readers. Every time I send it, I think, “nobody will read it. It’s just me blathering on about my new favorite book or something God’s teaching me about business… (random stuff!)” and every month, they read it! I guess that’s the faith walk, stepping out of the boat into something wildly new. :)

  23. vicky says

    How I’d forgotten what that room looked like before it was Emily’ed (like that?). You’re home as been so transformed into a warm and “you” place. I love these old home with good bones and just needing a little (or a lot of) vision. Thanks for sharing! No thanks for reminding me that my boys will be grown up and gone “next week” too. They keep promising me they won’t do that!

  24. says

    I’ve heard great things about Quiet! I’m currently reading Introverts in the Church and it’s blowing my mind. I’ve always had strong introvert tendencies but when I took the MBTI for work, I came up as an extrovert. But while reading this book, I’m wondering if I somehow threw the test because I subconsciously didn’t want to be labeled as an introvert due to society’s pro-extrovert ways. Or maybe I’m just an extroverted introvert or a mild extrovert. Who knows?

  25. says

    I think I have always known I was an introvert, wanting to try the extrovert life…I will definitely look up some of the books you mentioned, because I am still trying to figure out who/what I want to be when I grow up! (I hope it isn’t too late…) Thank you for your honesty. Your words always speak some truth to me, and give words to some of my own thoughts and feelings.

  26. Beth says

    I’m sorry to say that with a 17 year old entering college and a 13 year old entering high school, in regard to watching your kids start driving and marrying and becoming adults I am not “going gently into that good night”. It is not so much that it went by fast, but the fact that I will never again get to hold that particular little gentleman, he is gone. In his place stands an “almost man” who I love just as much but whose smallness I greatly miss, especially while watching old Christmas videos. And so I long for, as all moms do, the prospect of grandchildren, that I might catch a glimpse of that particular little gentleman again, and hold him in my arms as I did long ago. The same, but different. While I wait, I marvel in what these boys have become. They are articulate, handsome, creative, sensitive, polite, fun loving and so much more. Although I am still “mommy” (yes, that’s what they call me), I can’t help thinking that if I were not, we would be friends anyway, and I like that thought a great deal. God has raised them to be particularly wonderful gentleman, minus the little. And so, as a wait for the not so distant future to take them away, as I’m told happens with moms and sons but not daughters, I revel in getting to spend time with the incredible creations they’ve become and count myself one of the luckiest women in the world to have even gotten to know them at all.

    • Melanie says

      Beth you have me in tears! Mine are younger than yours, but they do grow so fast and that is the hardest part of parenting, letting go. My kids are going to probably have to pry my white knuckles off them! But, they are only loaned to us for a short time by God.

      • Beth says

        Thank you, Melanie. I love what you said. I am, as we speak, working on an application for a performing arts high school that my youngest son would like to attend next year. This and the fact that my oldest is going to college is really hitting home right now so what I wrote just kind of spilled out. Isn’t it unbelievable that God loves us even more than the love we have for our children? How come it’s so hard to grasp that?

  27. says

    My heart is aching today so I was online looking for a little inspiration. I always find it here. I haven’t left you a note in awhile (why? I keep wondering what I’ve been doing), but today I had to say how much I appreciate you. Thank you so much for allowing so many of us into your beautiful, sacred, introverted life. I treasure you.

  28. says

    Love this post and I am absolutely on board with the newsletter idea…sounds fun! As a fellow introvert, I’m also officially intrigued by the book Quiet and may have to add that to the ever growing “to read next” list.

  29. Jeannie S says

    I read all your posts by email and feel terrible that I never comment, so here goes. I love hearing what you write about and a newsletter would be a great idea. I also love your photos. Thanks for sharing your life and your heart. I am also finishing up Ann’s book and it is beautiful. My phone hasn’t rung in a while with a call from a friend and I was wondering what’s wrong with me. (Of course I could call them.) After reading this post I’m okay with that. Life without other’s drama is kind of peaceful.
    Have a very blessed day!

  30. says

    I am the only extrovert living in a house full of introverts and the other day I declared I have officially gone to the other side – become an introvert. I can really relate to your thoughts about keeping things closer to the chest and wondering if it has something to do with getting older as well. And, like you, I am rarely in any of our photos unless we hire a professional and then I feel weird not being behind the lens. Thanks for showing us a bit of yourself here. My kids will be getting married and driving tomorrow too!

  31. says

    thanks so much for sharing honestly right where you are this minute.

    i appreciate the vulnerability, the williness to admit i-don’t-have-it-all-figured-out even though i’m a published author.
    :) i always enjoy reading your blog—it does open soul space.


  32. says

    Hey – sign me up for any publication you care to assemble/put out. Loved these glimpses into your family and home. Love what you write. Always. So I’d vote for something like a newsletter. Seth Haines does a collective email which is cool – but I imagine you’d have way too many folks who’d want in on that. Thanks for this – and all of your lovely thinking/writing.

  33. Wanda says

    This post was so refreshing. I have long followed your blog and not really commented because there already was so many people commenting and I felt so small…but I just wanted to say thanks for all your words so far. I’d love to sign up for a newsletter.

  34. says

    1. I just said the exact same thing about my husband in pictures, me absent. One thousand pictures of Jon with the kids, looking like he’s spending all kinds of great quality time with them. Where’s mom???? She was never around much, was she….

    2. Bought your book last week and dove in immediately. I’m loving it. Thank you.

    3. I’m off to buy the Quiet book. Sounds so good.

  35. says

    I can understand the introvert, too. I’m 50/50 an introvert, I think, and becoming more isolated every day. It’s an effort to reach beyond my own walls. I’m not sure why that’s happened, but I’m working to overcome and trust in God what I cannot trust in life.

  36. says

    Now that’s a solid reading list. Let your Life Speak is one of my favorite books. I’m a huge Ruth Haley Barton fan. 1000 Gifts is on my nightstand, right on top of Quiet, which I’m reading for the second time. The one title you’re missing is Introverts in the Church. :)

  37. says

    Oh, Emily, you are uniquely you and I love how you’re able to portray that through your posts. I’m reading Grace for the Good Girl and it’s messing with me in the best kind of way. There isn’t much that I haven’t underlined or highlighted and my notes in the margins are numerous. Thank you for writing about you and what God has taught and shown you because it’s helping me. Really, it is. I’m excited about your book for teen girls that will be coming out in the future! I know it, too, will be a great resource for girls!

    Sweet Blessings,

  38. LizR says

    I am in love with you and all the other readers that despise book jackets…even my 6yo and 4yo know that as soon as a book becomes ours, the jacket goes!

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