Welcoming Summer and All Her Gifts

“We stop, whether by choice or through circumstance, so that we can be alert and attentive and receptive to what God is doing in and for us, in and for others, on the way. We wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies.”

-Euguene Peterson, The Jesus Way

On Instagram, I mostly only follow people I know. But there are a few feeds I can’t resist and one of them is a farmer named Ben Hole who lives on The Isle of Purbeck, England. In the tangled trail of clicking, I don’t know where I first saw his images. But when I did, I wanted to see more.

benjaminhole instagram

screenshot of @benjaminhole’s feed on Instagram

When I’m scrolling through and see one of his shots, instinctively I pause. I stare. I recognize a longing deep within me that is stirred. For what? I’m not sure. But I like to pay attention to it. There aren’t many things on the internet that bring about this response. So when I find words, people, messages, or images that do, I hang on to them.

I hope Chatting at the Sky is that kind of place for you – a place where a little bit of frantic falls away, a place where you leave a little more calm than when you came, a place for your soul to breathe.

The summer of 2014 - chatting at the sky

To make this that kind of place, I need to take regular breaks from posting. I’ve already been posting less for the past month but slowing down isn’t the same as stopping. So I’m just going to stop for a while.

Soon my kids will be home for summer and we’ll head to the coast, spend a little time letting the sea smooth out the jagged edges that have formed within and around us, letting the salt burn the wounds, letting the sand rub off the dead skin, letting the nighttime hold us still and quiet until the first light of morning shows up with all her promises. We’ll follow the advice of Eugene Peterson and let our souls catch up with our bodies.


We’ll skip the What I Learned in June post this month and maybe just do one big one at the end of July, perhaps a What I’m Learning This Summer link up? I’ll let you know.

While I won’t be writing here, I’ll still be writing because it’s how I know what I think about things, how I learn what’s hiding beneath the surface, how I see. Most of that writing will be private, for now. Some will be shared.

For example, new Hopeologie content will release July 1 and if you haven’t joined yet I have to say that June is my favorite collection so far. The way our words and thoughts came together with one another seemed especially serendipitous this month since our theme is hospitality.

Here is a photo my sister took of one of the prints Annie designed for June’s collection:


Maybe this will be the month you decide to join us as we practice embracing hope no matter how things appear in our homes, our families, our own souls. (If you join and don’t like what you see, we offer a full refund if you cancel in your first month, no questions asked. So really you’ve nothing to lose.)

I’ve been working on a Recommended Reads list for a while that I plan to send out to my newsletter subscribers. If you would like to receive that, you can sign up for the free newsletter here. Until I return to Chatting at the Sky, you can find me on Instagram, a medium I rarely take a break from. Maybe I’ll see you there.

I’ll leave you with a sampling of posts on quietness, waiting, and rest:

“It’s much easier to spend a lot of time making your microphone louder than it is working on making your message more compelling.”

Seth Godin

Here’s to long days, thoughtful words, and more compelling messages. Dear Summertime, Welcome. We’re so glad you’ve come.


  1. says

    My kids have been home for a couple of weeks now, and words for my blog have just stopped coming. I now see one gift summer is trying to offer me is the gift to stop.

    One place on instagram that I am enjoying is Sara Haggerty’s #everybitterthingissweet (i have no idea if i did that right, still new at instagram). Its daily adoration with beautiful photos. You might like it too?

  2. says

    I love that you give yourself permission to just stop blogging. So many bloggers take “breaks” that really just require more work because they prepare a month’s worth of posts in advance. Maybe that works for some, but I’m struggling with that idea as I approach the end of my pregnancy and what I’ll do with my own blog during maternity leave. I don’t think I’ll stop entirely, but I feel a little bit better about giving myself grace to write less while I get to know our new baby. Enjoy your summer rest!

  3. Renee Swope says

    Emily. Your every word and thought and decision {at least those you post here} inspire me to be. To breathe. To drink life deeply.

    This post makes me want to plan a trip with our family to the coast. I’ve been dreaming of the perfect summer vacation and you just described it. Happy “stopping” friend. I pray it is everything you need and more! I can’t wait to hop over and see what’s in store at HOPEOLOGIE in June!

  4. says

    Enjoy your rest! I have slowed way down on my blog and have been thinking of doing a complete stop for a while. I am feeling the need to do some soul searching and soul writing. I need a chance to find out why I’m really writing and what that means going forward! I will miss your inspiration, but am totally supportive of your time off! Will look forward to catching up later.

  5. says

    Enjoy your blogging break… And your sweet children, they grow up so quickly. Summer time memories are some of the sweetest. I look forward to reading some of your insights when you return. Blessings :)

  6. says

    I hope you have a restful break. I just wanted to pop in and say that I read Chapter 8 of A Million Little Ways last night, just after I’d said the words “I’m not cut out for this” in a conversation with my husband. God moved in my heart. I am not cut out, I am placed in. You’re such an encourager, Emily. Thank you.

  7. says

    Oh Emily. I find your thoughts and words always so in tune with the beating of my own heart. The longing for peace. To run away to quiet and stillness and wide open space. It’s so easy to get caught up in this whirlwind of blogging and writing and being for everyone else and all that it means, and lose sight of the just being. I’ve been feeling burned out and empty and you’re giving me courage (and some odd sense of permission I guess) to rest. Thank you. Blessings to you & yours in the stopping.

  8. says

    It’s great that you’re able to stop and say, “I’m off now,” because in some ways that gives us all permission to do the same. I know we all pray that you have a really wonderful summer.

    And those photos of Britain that have you feeling something? Perhaps it’s a nudge to come over here and share your wisdom – when you’ve had a good rest though, eh? Very much love xx

  9. says

    You are a kindred spirit. My soul exhales when I read your posts. Thank you. Thank you for modeling for so many that taking time to let our souls catch up with our bodies is vital. (such a great book by the way!) I will ever be blessed by our chance conversation last summer at She Speaks; your deep brown eyes focused on me and listening intently to what I said gave me the gift of being heard in the middle of our family’s Abraham summer.
    Please know that I continue to pray for you & John and the littles as you continue to step forward in your journey of faith. Be refreshed as you rest…

  10. Lea says

    I’ve been following that Instagram account for a while too, and it is one of the highlights of my day! It’s like this whole other world. I don’t remember exactly how I started following it, but I think it might have been an Ann Voskamp recommendation.

  11. says

    I love this… I just wrote this morning myself about taking a break… about slowing down… about leaning in to listen and be still. And yes – this space here? Always like a fresh breeze blowing in, soft gusts dancing. A welcomed, refreshing wind. Enjoy the restful catching up

  12. says

    Enjoy your blogging break. I need some rest. I am always on the go. I’ve been reading your posts here for years and they always get me back on track. Here’s to rest…

  13. says

    Yes, Chatting at the Sky is exactly that to me–a restful place that makes me want to be still, savor, rest, and reflect. I hope you have a lovely summer fully enjoying life. Infrequent posts of fine with me–sometimes there is so much to read on the web and everywhere that even things that should make me feel rest add to my hurry because I want to absorb them all. Always learning this balancing act. :)

  14. says

    Emily, I found your words refreshing today. It is so hard to slow down, and it’s so hard for me to give myself permission to actually breath.
    May your break be restful, and may you be refreshed. Say “hello” to the sea for me.

  15. says

    “I hope Chatting at the Sky is that kind of place for you – a place where a little bit of frantic falls away, a place where you leave a little more calm than when you came, a place for your soul to breathe.” Emily, that’s exactly what attracted me to your blog, and why I keep reading it. Thank you and enjoy your rest. Blessings to you and your family.

  16. says

    Grateful you’re taking a break! It’s a lovely reminder to close the laptop every now and then, to make time for restoration and creativity. Today seems like the perfect day for that.

  17. says

    Hi Emily,
    Thank you for sharing your book list, but I have to say, “Really?” We just read Where’d You Go, Bernadette for book club. Argh. I found it so sad and selfish with a most disheartening worldly premise. Did I miss something? I found myself tripping over the show off-y writing and feeling completely starved for good literary technique when I finished. The author is crafty. I’ll give her that, but Bernadette is SUCH a sad protagonist and all the “cool” efforts left me sad for the book club friend that recommended it. What did you like about it?

  18. says

    Hello, Emily! Mike Morrell asked me to contact you because he really appreciates your blog and thinks you’d be an excellent candidate for his Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like: http://thespeakeasy.info

  19. says

    Hi Emily,

    I have just recently found your blog and bought your book, which I’m looking forward to reading. I live on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset, England, so lovely to see you sharing those images :-)

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