| Cheers to Monday
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Cheers to Monday | September 12th

The Week in Review | September 6 – 12, 2016

Happy Monday, everybody! I’m still in disbelief that it’s actually SEPTEMBER, and that some stores *cough cough Michaels* are already putting out Christmas things!!! LET US ENJOY FALL FIRST, PLEASE! It IS a little hard to get in the fall spirit around here, though, since it’s still in the high 80s and 90s most days, but Luke and I have definitely noticed that the early mornings (obviously this is mostly Luke’s observations….you guys know I’m not a morning person) are feeling less humid and oppressively hot, so we’re starting to get excited about the idea of cooler weather showing up hopefully sometime soonish! 😉

And with that, here are a few of the highlights of the past seven days! 

-My sweet guy researched and planned a whole date day for us this past Saturday, and only told me that we would be driving down to Sarasota and needed to leave around 11am. That was it! Guys, it was the BEST time!!!

Our first stop was this local spot called Coffee Loft, which Luke said he picked after reading through their website and feeling like it was somewhere I would completely fall in love with. And he was absolutely right. Aside from any way that the shop actually looks and is set up, their mission and WHY is incredible. If you have a heart for community and service, you should just go read through their whole website to see what I mean, but the short version is this: they are a non-proft coffee shop, owned by a local church, that donates all of their proceeds to charities, including those bringing fresh water to African towns, rescuing individuals caught in sex trafficking, and providing housing and transforming neighborhoods. In addition, they are passionate about influencing the local community all around their area, which they do in several ways, including supporting local food banks and offering Free Dinner Tuesdays to the local college kids who need a friendly place and a home-cooked meal….check out this statement from their site, and prepare to fall in love with them like I have:

“As a non profit coffee shop, The Coffee Loft’s goal since conception has always been to give back to the community. We are…focused on revitalizing this area in an accessible way. We do this by providing a safe, welcoming, and accepting space for residence of the surrounding neighborhoods to enjoy quality inexpensive food and drink.

We are also making every effort to give the college students in the area a place where they can be social or studious. It’s important to us that we provide a safe and comfortable space for them to enjoy a conversation with a friend or to struggle through a final paper. We want to support and foster the young people in our community and encourage their growth as people, as compassionate members of our community and as the future leaders of our area.”

Not only is there incredible heart and intentionality behind the shop, but the space itself is just awesome! There is lots of natural light, chalkboard walls, quiet music, and a spiral staircase leading upstairs to an open room full of couches, comfy chairs, sparkly lights, an art gallery, and a small stage for local artists. SWOOOOOON.

Even though I would have stayed at Coffee Loft allllllll day, we were also excited to keep on keeping on and head to our next surprise locations! We stopped at a giant metal statue (26 feet tall!) down by the water, depicting that iconic photo of the sailor and the nurse (dental hygienist student) kissing in Times Square in 1945 when the end of World War Two was announced. We explored around a local salvage shop filled with all kinds of treasures, including two boxes stuffed with black and white photographs and old postcards (including one I scooped up of a scenic view in Rangeley Maine, where Luke and I have spent two winter vacations all together with his family! ❤️). We drove out to Long Boat Key and put our toes in the teal water, refreshingly cool and much less like bathtub water than the last time we tested out the beach 😉 And then Luke drove us to our final stop, St. Armands Cirle, a collection of shops and statues and live music spread out across four quadrants, with a park and traffic circle in the middle! He’d planned to end our day there so we could adventure around and then pick a spot for a late lunch/early dinner. We even ended up getting ice cream at a local creamery there before we headed back to the car, and I remember thinking how nice it was to just be walking along together as the day was winding down and feeling so close and connected after such a fun afternoon ❤️

-I know it’s “cheating” to share about something coming up this week when CTM is supposed to be a review of previous days, but since I get to make the rules around here, I’m doing it anyways 😉 ….tomorrow evening, my dear friend Kelly and I are hosting a special Tuesdays Together event that we’re so excited about! Instead of our usual separate meetings that cover a particular topic, we’re having a special joint event at a gorgeous venue, complete with guest speaker and fancy catering, celebrating our one year birthday as a group of local creatives joining forces! More on this next week! ?

-Yesterday was just one of those days for me, where there were a lot of little frustrations that all happened in a row and ended up stacking into one giant pile of messy emotions. I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that I was frustrated, and eventually just ended up lying on our bed crying. I wasn’t exactly sweet and tender in that moment, but Luke came into our room anyways, laid down next to me, and wrapped his arms around me. More tears. He kept encouraging me to just get it all out, to say all the things that were racing around in my mind and heart, and when I finally did, he listened patiently to it all and helped me to sort out truth from perception, real emotion from over-tired-and-just-need-a-nap. I’m not sharing this because I’m especially proud of yesterday but because I think it’s so important to remember the every day moments that make up our life together and continually refine our marriage, and us, into the people God wants us to be. Being vulnerable is hard. Sharing the icky parts of your heart with your spouse is hard. Wrestling through emotions is hard. Taking time for a nap when you feel like you should be “tough” is hard (at least for me). Comforting and loving your wife well when it’s not an ideal situation is hard. Being committed to one another no matter what, forever and always, is hard. But all of these hard things bring with them great reward when they are submitted to the Father and He uses them to shape and mold and mature you. I am so thankful for the partner that He’s given to me to navigate through all these things with, and I wouldn’t change our life together for anything in the whole world ❤️

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