If you start on I-40 in California and keep driving east, lots of days later you’ll end up in Wilmington, North Carolina. A few years ago, I traveled with my friend Alisa to Wilmington. We didn’t start in California, but that’s where she’s from. I remember her being excited about finally making it to the other end of I-40 and seeing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

When we arrived in Wilmington, we drove straight to the beach. As we got out of her car and reached the sand, Alisa said out loud but kind of to herself, Wow, you really do have grass on your beaches. It wasn’t a big deal of a thing and I’m not even sure she was talking to me. But her words come to mind every time I see tall grass on sand. To me, it’s normal. But I carry California Alisa’s comment in my pocket and remember that my normal is someone else’s weird.
Next week I’ll be traveling to California for the first time. I won’t be driving 1-40, but it will be my first legit trip there. When I traveled with Compassion to the Philippines last year, our team met up at LAX so I got to see California from the air. But that doesn’t seem to count.

While there, I’ll be speaking at a retreat for a group of women in Carlsbad I absolutely can’t wait to meet. We’ll talk about grace and Jesus – two of my most favorite things. And also? I would really like to find an In-N-Out Burger because that just seems like something that needs to happen.

Preparing to travel and speak and get the kids calendars in order so my mom and mother-in-law know what to do while The Man and I are away, I’ve realized my capacity for thoughtful writing is about as deep as Cookie Monster. And also me want a cookie. I leave you with a few bullet points because everyone likes a bullet point.

  • I really liked this post by Mary Carver: It’s All McDonald’s @ Giving Up on Perfect
  • My April e-letter will go out next week. I’ll share links to stuff, write a blog post just for subscribers and maybe something else I haven’t thought of yet. Who wants a cookie? Subscribe to the monthly newsletter here.
  • I changed my twitter name to @emilypfreeman because that’s my name.
  • Speaking of Compassion, their next trip is May 6-11. They’ll be traveling to Tanzania this time and my sister will be going with them. Check out the rest of the team and follow their trip.
  • I got the page proofs for my second book, Graceful {For Young Women} which gets me all over again excited.
  • So there is no grass on the beach in California? Really? What is something you have learned is normal to you but weird to everyone else?