Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When Your Plans Get Toasted


It’s Monday morning and my coworkers ask how my weekend was. 

I’m silent while I think for a minute. Should I admit that my weekend plans fell through and what I did was a whole lot of nothing? 

Well, that’s not exactly true. I did decide on the spur of the moment to go to the library. I spent the afternoon perusing the non-fiction aisles. I checked out seven books. I wonder if anyone wants to hear about the library? 

But instead I say with considerable enthusiasm, “It was good!”

As I turn back to my desk, I remember that I also had a really great sandwich. I wonder if my colleagues want to hear about that?


Not having anything exciting to report from the weekend makes me feel like a big social zero.

But truth be told, I kind of enjoyed my bland little weekend. 

After the library, I stopped at Toasted, a sandwich shop in my neighborhood, and ordered a blackberry melt with bacon, arugula and fontina cheese.

I took in one of my library books, Why Italians Love to Talk About Food {at long last I'll find out the answer!} to keep me company as I waited for my food.



And I thought about how sometimes these unscheduled nooks and crannies in my schedule, free of work and obligations and social dates and activities, open up little hollow spots offering me space to ponder. 

Different considerations to contemplate and alternative perspectives to mull over.

About myself. About God. About this adventure called life that God and I have embarked upon.

These unexpected stretches of time can stretch my faith across uncertainty and doubts.


Do you ever wonder how God is working in your life? {I know I do.}

You glimpse bits and pieces during rare times of clarity but the big picture still hasn’t come into focus. 

Maybe you imagine he has abandoned your work {that’s still in progress} for someone who catches on to what he’s doing {a lot quicker} than you.

But what if things are the opposite of what they seem? 

Maybe things that look impossible aren’t and what seems unlikely isn’t. What would happen if we believed God really does have good things in store for our stories?


What if when we want to give up, we give in and give God access to change our hearts? 

What if when hopeless waves pull us under, we hold on to God’s hand as he pulls us closer to the hope only he can provide? 

What if when we don’t see our prayers answered, we answer the call to persevere and pray all the more passionately? 

What if when we want to follow a new path away from what God’s calling us to {because it’s just too hard and it's taking too long}, we follow through to obey what he has asked us to do?


I’m convinced there’s always more here than meets the eye, on this journey of faith. 

This God-guided adventure I’ve been swept up into is other-world-holy. It’s not always easily explained and even less easily understood. 

But I’ve decided this in my heart: even if God’s plans are different from what I’m praying for, experiencing him is worth it.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. - 2 Cor. 4:18

So I decided to eat my grilled cheese in Toasted’s little dining room with cheese grater light fixtures hanging over my head and the periodic table of cheese facing me. And I ordered their scrumptious fries, too, dusted with truffle oil and rosemary to accompany my sandwich. 

Even if my weekend plans consisted of only a delicious stack of library books and a highbrow grilled cheese, it was still good.

I wonder if I should make the same plans this weekend? 

Maybe what I've already got scheduled will fall through. 


{Tell me your plans for the weekend!}


I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join me there to read posts from my blogger friends!



26 comments:

  1. What an awesome weekend!! I miss the library!! And you know I was reading this morning about how Jesus retreated from the crowds to pray and ponder...ALONE! It's important!! Love your observations --->especially "What if when we want to give up, we give in and give God access to change our hearts? "<---
    I have not idea what I'm doing this weekend-- the last one left me feeling a little 'toasted'! ... Parents for dinner on Thurs. Trip to NC Fri thru Sun filled with family, shopping and baby dedications. And still going on Monday back in VA with a nephew's soccer game. I think maybe I'll do a little retreating this upcoming one!
    p.s... tucking Toasted away in my 'places to visit' file for when we work out our girls weekend! [wink wink] ♥♥♥

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    1. Heather,
      Yes indeed Toasted will be an ideal lunch spot to intro you to! :) Your weekend sounded quite invigorating with all that activity that I can see why you'd need a little solitary time for a sandwich! I love how you reminded me that Jesus had to get away from the crowds to be alone, too, so I'm sure he understands us introverts! (That and of course, because he made us this way!) xo

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  2. Love this, and the photos! This weekend is my one free weekend before a flurry of filled up weekends. Looking forward to finding some unscheduled nooks and crannies that I too can treasure!

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    1. Brittany,
      I really cherish the slower weekends slid in between the busy ones -- makes me appreciate them even more!

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  3. Sounds like a great weekend to me! (I know that wasn't the point, though!) It is amazing to see God's faithfulness even in the little things. Maybe the very thing your soul needed was time to breathe and soak it all in. Maybe He's trying to show you more of who He is. I love when you talk about the unexpected stretches of time stretching your faith. Visiting form Coffee for your heart today!

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    1. Hi Becky,
      I do crave the space in my schedule and try to turn my focus to what he might be waiting to show me or say to me. So grateful you dropped in from Coffee for your Heart!

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  4. Your post brings tears to my eyes, Valerie. Yes, I, too, wonder what God is working in my life. Thank you for reminding me of the bigger picture that I need to trust Him with. This line really encourages me - "What if when hopeless waves pull us under, we hold on to God’s hand as he pulls us closer to the hope only he can provide?" I tore my Achilles tendon, so I'm going through a tough week of pain, weakness, and fatigue. Those hopeless waves keep trying to pull me under, but I will keep trying to hang onto His hand and to fix my eyes on the unseen! Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy,
      A torn Achilles sounds so painful -- what a tough week you are having -- I'm keeping you in my prayers for healing and that your spirits would be encouraged too. It's so hard to see the work in progress God does sometimes, isn't it, but I'm so glad you're with me in holding onto hope that he will work all those things for our good in his own way in his own time! xoxo I hope you have a restful weekend and heal quickly!

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    2. Thank you, Valerie. I appreciate your compassion and prayers so much! And I will keep praying for you, too. Together we will hold onto hope. :)

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  5. Absolutely love this ---> "But I’ve decided this in my heart: even if God’s plans are different from what I’m praying for, experiencing him is worth it." Amen. I'm with you, Valerie. Hope your toasted cheese was delicious, time with God too...every weekend. I'll be spending time this weekend on a date (with my favorite boyfriend also known as "hubby") and at the fields watching two of our blessings play football. And even if plans get changed, I'll be thanking God. Good post!

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    1. Kristi,
      What a lovely weekend you have planned -- watching your kids play football with your favorite man -- sounds wonderful! Thanks for stopping by and I'm hoping your plans DON'T get changed! :)

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  6. It sounds like you've reached contentment in your life. It's a wonderful place to be in, yes?

    Joy and contentment those two things I've been thinking a lot on these days--How to better have both and keep them.

    Oh my goodness!! That sandwich sounds AMAZING! Where do you live again? ;)

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    1. Alecia,
      Oh I have a few rare moments of joy and contentment but I'm still figuring out how to have it stay permanently, too (wouldn't that be the great secret to life??!) I live in Orlando -- and anytime you are here, we will head over to Toasted! :)

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  7. One of my favorite places is the library! And I especially love the way library books smell. I would give anything to wonder the aisles looking for my next great {book} adventure. That sounds like a fabulous weekend! Enjoy them. :)

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    1. Bree,
      I love the way they smell too -- it's better than perfume isn't it?! :) Books always hold such possibility within their pages -- they take me anywhere and it's always an adventure!

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  8. Hi Valerie :)- first of all that lunch spot looks so cute! and sounds so yummy!! I love the cheese grater lights! how cute is that! What a lovely weekend that sounds like! The library is a happy place for me too. I love your thoughts as always bringing me closer to his heart and to what life is all about! I loved this"This God-guided adventure I’ve been swept up into is other-world-holy. It’s not always easily explained and even less easily understood. " Such a good way to think about the things I just don't get! I can stuck on them and then get discouraged. Thank you for reminding me to trust his plan and I am deciding with you tonight (if its ok ) that He's worth it- that knowing Him is better than anything! Thanks for this beautiful and yummy post! :) xoxox

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    1. Susie,
      I really wish I had decided to be a librarian -- I think digging in archives or historical treasure troves sounds like a dream job! Discouragement is so easy for me too, but I'm trying to lift my eyes to a higher place and I welcome you to join me there! I think he knows our hearts are sincere! xo

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    2. (Thats so funny because that is a job I would like too! I worked in the archival collection at my University - My job was to sort through boxes of old photographs and organize them.One of the jobs I've always though would be fun is to be a children's librarian - :) Happy to have you as a friend on the journey toward more of him!

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  9. Love your honesty in the blog! I want to try Toasted now! Yum! And, I think I want to go alone and take a book. Nothing wrong in that! :) Jenn

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    1. Jenn,
      We could meet in the middle at the Winter Park location! :)

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  10. Hey Valerie ... aren't those the best moments to savor, the unscheduled nooks and crannies tucked away with a bit of a surprise leaning out, ready to welcome us in?

    I love a leisurely visit to the library. And that sandwich sounds sublime. Anyway we can meet there sometime? The northeast coast can't be all that far away!

    Meanwhile, I guess I'll be content with these weekly conversations together. 'Cause they always bring a smile to my heart ...

    Hugs, friend.

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    1. Linda,
      I'm always delighted that you enjoy the food posts (because I truly do think it's in my Italian genes, as the book I'm reading infers!) since I love talking about food -- I only wish I could cook it better! I think a trip to Orlando in the winter sounds like something you ought to schedule sometime and a trip to Toasted would definitely be on the agenda! xo

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  11. Valerie,
    It's so good to stop by your cozy corner of the world...I would love to have a toasted cheese sandwich with you. My weekend plans...I'm supposed to be in Greenville at the Allume conference but instead I'm at home with my dying dog...wondering each day if today is the day I need to take her in and say goodbye? You are so right when you say there is more to life...our faith journey than meets the eye. Trying to figure our this wrinkle in my plans. I was so looking forward to going...but instead my heart is aching. Not sure why I'm sharing all this, but You just are a safe place to share, I guess. Hope you are having a good weekend!
    Blessings,
    Bev

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    1. Hi Bev!
      I am so sorry to hear you weren't able to make it to Allume! What a disappointment but making a decision about a beloved pet is so challenging -- I know it isn't easy! It's so difficult to understand the why when something happens to send our plans awry {especially something we are so looking forward to!} but I guess we can only trust that God's ways are more mysterious than we can understand and leave it at that, until he reveals more to us. I'm praying for comfort for you and that God will redeem the lost trip to Allume with something that shows his great love for you! Always love having you stop here, Bev! xo

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  12. Books and a yummy sandwich? Sign me up!

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