what we like this week


  • There are just certain things that I see and think “this has to be a Friday link.” This is one of those things.
  • People are forever telling my mom that she looks just like Meryl Streep, I can only hope that means good things for my own aging. (Also, let’s be honest, Colin Firth is the real star here)
  • Turns out Word with Friends is basically a dating app. True story, I once had a crush on a guy but found out he was an awful Words with Friends player and it was sort of a deal breaker.
  • This article gives a great perspective on the wedding industry and what it’s done to our thinking. “To look at a single day as “belonging” to you, and to look at wedding essentials as party planning, ignores the truth of what a wedding is: a blessing, a sending forth, a promise to hold the life and hopes of two people in the community, the family, that they love.”
  • Pretty sure the pairings box from Turntable Kitchen would help make my life a little more “Kinfolk-esque”


  • If you are one of my friends going to True/False in a couple weeks, here is a handy youtube playlist of a bunch of the trailers for the films. I just watched them all and I’m filling up with anticipation!
  • Downton Abbey’s neighbors (via McSweeney’s). I’m dying…but really.
  • Emily told me that the aesthetic of this music video reminds her of me. Hint: Its grey, bleak, and angsty. May I present the video for Taylor Swift’s ‘Safe and Sound‘ featuring The Civil Wars.
  • “I’m Not Okay with Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys and I’m Not Sure Why You Are.” Right on. (via HelloGiggles)
  • 20 years ago, 28,000 bath toys fell off a ship in the Pacific Ocean. Here’s what happened. 
  • 40 Things that happen to you as a single adult in church. Pure brilliance from Jon Acuff.
  • An incredible story about JFK’s mistress Mimi Alford. (via The Washington Post)

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manifesto: the mad farmer liberation front // wendell berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

One of my very favorites and the kind of reminder I need almost every hour these days. “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts”

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Filed under emily, short words from long reads, small things

what we like this week


  • Looks like i’m in charge while City Kate adjusts to her new big girl job schedule. She told me that I was allowed to publicly embarrass her for her lack of Friday links but I think the fact that last week she posted a video featuring Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens and that her most recent Spotify playlist includes club remixes of popular music as well as Alanis Morrisette and The Cranberries really speak for themselves.
  • Moving on, here are two space stories. One is awesome and one makes me REALLY anxious.
  • What a cute way to document your family travels!
  • Things to worry about: a letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter Scottie (which, incidentally is a great girl’s name)
  • We should all enjoy our jobs as much as this guy
  • True tales of time travel- Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes shook hands with Presidents John Quincy Adams and Kennedy! History is cool!
  • A scorecard for single people in the church. Some of this is just too true, especially “married friends try to live vicariously through you, asking questions like, “What did you do this weekend? Road trip? I bet you went on some crazy cool, singles road trip, right?”

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what we like this week


  • This isn’t a link but I just NEED to tell y’all about Burt’s Bee’s new medicated lip balm. I have some seriously chapped lips that not even the strongest of medicated chap sticks (even one’s labeled “intensive” “severe” “overnight therapy” are not enough) turns out all I needed was a little eucalyptus oil! This stuff is awesome and you should buy it.
  • If you’ve ever had a conversation with me we’ve probably talked about how I grew up in North Carolina which contrary to the erroneous beliefs of basically everyone in the Mid-West is located in the South. This article looks at some the South’s most famous creatives and wonders how we can reclaim “the old melancholy” that was once the hallmark of Southern art.
  • 20 of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, sadly mostly located very far from me.
  • This for breakfast and this for dinner makes me a very happy girl


Sorry not sorry. This is all I can really handle this week.

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Emily for America

First of all, let me say I am no political expert. My main source of news is Twitter and the close-captioned CNN I half watch at the gym. But from what I do catch I think it’s pretty obvious that politicians are straight up nuts. My only thought every time I see anything about any of the Republican candidates debating and name calling is “STOP TALKING! You are only increasing the crazy!” I think we need some new voices in the political discourse and I am happy to enter the conversation. I don’t really want to be president and as my friend Holly pointed out recently, “America doesn’t need a president, it needs a life coach.” So, with tongue firmly in cheek, i’m throwing my hat in the ring and stepping up to run for life coach in chief.

If elected I promise to accomplish the following:

-Every link on a website will open in a new tab

-The word amazeballs will be outlawed those who continue to use it will be fined by the grammar police.

-I will make the grammar police an actual law enforcement agency who’s purpose is to protect the beauty of language and make sure there are no longer adults in our society who think ridiculous is spelled “rediculous”

-Whimsy will increase by 30% my first year in office

-Twinkle lights will be mandatory in all homes

-Overhead lighting will be outlawed because it is too harsh

-Chips and salsa will be available at all restaurants, not just Mexican ones

-“I stayed up all night finishing a book/watching a really good tv show on Netflix/trolling pinterest” will be a legitimate excuse for not going to work and can be used up to 4 times each year.

-Every citizen must read one poem a day

-Aaron Sorkin gets to write all tv shows (I am also appointing him as my chief speech writer)

-Every family must make one home cooked meal a week that they all eat together

-Kids aren’t allowed to have text messaging or use social media until they are 16

-I will subsidize the champagne industry to make champagne more affordable and celebrations more frequent

-I’ll appoint  Wendell Berry, Ira Glass, Eric and Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights to do the actual work of running the country so no one has to be stressed about boring stuff like the budget, terrorism, and health care because they are definitely going to figure it out. We can all kick back, drink champagne, and hang more twinkle lights!

I hope to have your support this November! God bless America!


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what we like this week


  • I know I’ve talked about the Voyager Golden Record before but I just think it’s so amazing. Science is great, but science with a love story is even better.
  • My favorite thing about those “shit whoever says” videos is we all know that it’s becoming too ubiquitous and played out but we can’t stop watching because “it’s just so true!” Let me add to this trend by bringing you “shit Liz Lemon says” and in case you missed it “shit nobody says”
  • Typographer hates Mission Impossible font– someone has to stand up for these sorts of things
  • Speaking of not being able to stop something even though its ubiquitous and played out, I think all of the “twenty-something” articles on Thought Catalog are hilarious. It’s just so true! Check out spending money like a twenty something, seven things a twenty something can do, six things every twenty something is afraid of, and of course twenty things every five something should know
  • So, besides some space news i’ve given up on having links with any sort of substance this week. Thus, I bring you Taylor Swift’s Vogue cover story. I’ve gotten way too many emails the past two weeks asking if i’ve read it because it makes it clear that Taylor and I are kindred spirits. THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN TRYING TO TELL Y’ALL

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the year of small things

A few weeks ago my dear friend Ally turned me on to this blog post about naming your year instead of making resolutions. The point is to live out a unified theme instead of a bunch of benign disparate wishes (go to the gym more/read the whole Bible/ keep up with current events). This idea of having such a focused purpose has resonated with me over the past few weeks and I finally stumbled into what I want the purpose of my year to be. My wish is for 2012 to be the year of small things.

This is not a new idea for me. If you know me, you know I write and talk about this a lot, but since all this writing and talking has thus far failed to help this simple thought take root in my heart, please indulge me as I continue to discuss it. I latched onto this idea a few years ago after hearing this song but had completely forgotten it until recently. The phrase comes from a story in Zechariah about a guy named  Zerubabbel who was trying to build a temple to the Lord. When he started building everyone was excited but a little while later some neighbors got mad and support waned. Soon, what was supposed to be a great temple was just an empty vacant lot. Zerubabbel had given up until one day the prophet Zechariah came and spoke to him. “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. “What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’ “Then the word of the LORD came to me: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. “Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.” Zechariah 4:6-10

God delights in taking something insignificant and turning it into something significant. He pieces together our feeble efforts and redeems them into something beautiful. Zerubabbel had thought all of his efforts had been in vain, he had wasted so much time being excited about the temple- drawing up plans, raising support, reading building codes and zoning laws- but nothing had come of it. But Zechariah came to tell him that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Nothing Zerubabbel had done had been outside the will of God, all of the small things he had done had served to bring him to this place, which was right where he was supposed to be.

So often I am tempted to think that my life would be better if I was anywhere other than where I am. If I was drinking more champagne, getting promotions, owning a house, living it up in a fabulous city. Embarrassing as it is, I want my life to look like the blogs I read- polished and shiny, full of parties and great vacations. Even though I know that their closets are likely just as messy as mine I am lulled into believing that, to quote The Weepies, “Movies, TV screens reflect just what you expected/there’s a world of shiny people somewhere else/out there following their bliss/living easy, getting kissed/while you wonder what else you’re doing wrong.” My life is not very glamorous right now. I spend most of my time studying and up until recently, I had four part-time jobs. I can’t take fancy trips because the rent needs to be paid and I can’t afford to eat out so most nights I curl up on my couch with a bowl of homemade soup. I spend so much time striving to make my life something that it is not and I miss the holiness of the everyday.

How foolish am I to live my life wanting for more when God is in the business of making much of my ordinary things. These days of small things are exactly the place where He uses us. He enters into my every day and turns them into deeply holy moments if only I would be present and aware enough to celebrate them. I don’t think God wants me to live a thin watered-down life where I am constantly searching out the next source of entertainment, barely stopping to rub my thought over any of it. I think He wants to it be full and robust, not because of my circumstances but because I’m aware of His presence and how He is shaping and preparing me for bigger things while I’m chopping vegetables and studying for class.

I think one of the best ways to become more aware is to write something down, so don’t be surprised if you start to see more of these posts popping up on But First, Coffee as I learn what it means to discover the holy in the mundane.

What do y’all think? Any tips for learning to celebrate the ordinary? If you end up naming your year too, let us know what you decide!


Filed under emily, small things