The Story Isn't Over


“Hey lady, are you coming down to help me make coffee or not?”

It’s early morning and I open one eye to see my nine-year-old niece Devon standing over me. I'm in Atlanta for the weekend and she wants to serve her mother coffee in bed but she's not sure how to make it.

{By the way, it’s our little joke that she calls me lady when she thinks I’m being particularly bossy to her so I'm amused when she says it.}

But now it was my turn to be bossed out of bed to provide instruction for the little barista-in-training.



The minute we arrived at the loft apartment we booked for the weekend, Devon ran ahead, checking out every room and telling us how beautiful she thought it was. She said she wanted a place just like this one when she’s a grown-up.

She reminded me of myself.

When I was in fourth grade, I visited the apartment of a friend’s sister and was captivated by it. 

There was a tiny balcony where a wrought-iron table and chairs were set up just beyond the sliding glass doors. 



The closet doors looked like shutters {and even back then I had a thing for shutters} that were so different from the closet doors at my house. And it had the tiniest, cutest kitchen I’d ever seen.

I dreamed of living in an apartment just like that one when I grew up.

The future couldn’t come fast enough back then so I could get down to the business of making my dreams come true {which mostly consisted of decorating my own place}.




But at what point do we start to look in the rearview mirror and think the best might be behind us? 

Maybe you're like me and see a sheaf of blank pages of the life in front of you but the inkwell is dry. You worry the exclamation points are pointless and only the question marks are what now mark your future.

Where now? What then? If not, then how?

Whether a chapter is closing, or you’re in the midst of pages bursting with action, or you’re on the brink of just beginning your story, we’re all part of a bigger story that starts and ends with God. 



Sometimes I need to remember that.

I’ve seen enough pages re-written, new chapters begun and surprise endings in my own life story to know that our stories aren’t really ever over.

God’s always writing something that’s powerful and breathtaking and fathomless, a deep mystery that invites our investigation, consideration, and exploration. 

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. - Ecclesiastes 3:11

There are still pages in this life-book to fill, chapters to author, scenes to script, and words to write. 

Even -- and maybe especially -- through a weekend in Atlanta, making coffee with my niece.

And that's why I know your story has new plot lines, too. Because we're all a living story.


So even though I’d like to stay in bed a little longer on my weekend away, I head to the kitchen of the apartment and make coffee with my niece. 

She carefully measures the coffee but spills some grounds in the filter, so we dump it out and start over. She waits impatiently for it to brew and tells me I’d better pour it in the mug because she's worried she'll spill it. 

She picks up the little digital camera her dad gave her and takes a picture of the coffee. 

{She’s taken her own photos during the trip --see the squirrel she captured below! -- and says she wants to make a photo album to remember the weekend.}





She pours too much cream but I send her upstairs anyway and I hear her announce to my sister that she made the coffee. 

I remember just how magnificent the feeling of a future filled with glorious and brilliant things can be.

Because sometimes I still feel that way too.




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






Comments

  1. I also wanted to live in a small neat space when I was a young girl. It must be the coziness that draws us in!

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    1. Hi Michele,
      Yes, those tiny spaces seem so homey and maybe it's because we're small that they look so appealing yet when we're adults the space seems too crowded!

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  2. Hi Valerie,
    What a beautiful weekend to share with your sister and niece! You are helping to create such wonderful memories for her. And I love that you let her take the credit for the shared task of coffee making :-) But this: "God’s always writing something that’s powerful and breathtaking and fathomless, a deep mystery that invites our investigation, consideration, and exploration," is the encouraging thought that I needed to hear today! Thanks for reminding us that God is never finished with the writing! Blessings and Hugs to you!

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I don't think I had a choice about giving her credit for the coffee -- she made it clear I was only assisting with the coffee-making! {She's kind of bossy that way - -and I wonder where she gets it!! :))

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  3. Just love the details of this place, in words and pictures Valerie! And they gave me much comfort. Our story isn't over is it? And twisting plot lines we couldn't have designed ourselves make it an adventure if we choose to see it this way, always believing in His bigger plan and purpose in the full story. May you continue to have many moments, hours, days that you feel that magnificent feeling of how glorious and brilliant the future can be. I'm holding onto those words today. Thank you!

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    1. Lynn,
      I knew you wouldn't mind a few more photos of the place! Sometimes those optimistic moments are fleeting, but I wish I could hold onto them longer when they arrive! xo

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  4. You have such a sweet relationship with your niece, Valerie. It sounds like she really treasured this adventure with her mom and aunt. :) I have to remember, too, that we're part of a bigger story that starts and ends with God. You encouraged my heart today, my friend. This especially gives me pause to reflect on - "God’s always writing something that’s powerful and breathtaking and fathomless, a deep mystery that invites our investigation, consideration, and exploration." I want to open my heart more to see that and to dig into it. Blessings and hugs to you! Remember God holds you in the palm of His hand and all those blank pages of the future will surely be filled with His presence and beauty in you!

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    1. Hi Trudy,
      Sometimes I get so focused on my own narrow perspective that it closes out the bigger story God is writing with his big bold strokes! Thank you for these sweet and encouraging words, my dear friend! xo

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  5. I love this, Valerie! No matter how old we get our story is progressing and there are dreams to be made and lived. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful weekend and for encouraging us to keep dreaming and telling our stories. Blessings!! I host a weekly Link Party on Fridays and would so love it if you would consider sharing this there.

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    1. Hi Deb,
      I'd love to link up on Friday -- I will check out your site then! Yes, it feels like our story starts sliding downhill when we pass a certain age but maybe it only gets richer then?! :) {That's my story and I'm sticking to it!} So grateful for your words here!

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  6. Dear Valerie ... those blue chairs, that brick wall ... bliss.

    Thank you for sharing your niece with us again ... she's a wise one. Yes she is.

    You can tell you're her auntie ...

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    1. Linda,
      I just can't wait to see what kind of decorator Devon turns out to be because right now she's pretty good at giving her opinion over at my place! And she wants to wallpaper her own room in polka dots at the moment (which her mother is objecting to!) xo

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  7. Valerie,
    Love this post, the photos, and your metaphor of how we are all "living stories"! Yes, because God is a living God. I've been wanting to visit you and I couldn't remember your blog's name so I'm happy I found you again :-) Like you, I have more pages written than left but I'm trusting God to write new story lines. Blessings to you :-)

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    1. Hi Dolly,
      So glad you stopped by and I sometimes think about changing the name of my blog! :) It is hard to remember! So happy to see your words here and know that you were here! xo

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  8. Hi Valerie! This speaks just to some of my deep heart questions! Strange season for me and I do wonder if the best is behind me sometimes! :( This is so beautifully said and so so good to think about God’s bigger story and how he promises good and that the best is ahead - This sounds like another very cute place- (You could have a travel and food blog too-) I need someone like you in my life pointing out cute places to visit and eat!( and I would love your scone recipes! ) We have such a hard time with vacation planning! Anyway blessed by all the beauty here! xoxox :)

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    1. Hi Susie,
      Thinking about my place in the larger story is difficult since my focus is so narrow and attuned to myself at times but it's eye-opening to reverse the perspective! I enjoy travel planning too, but I'm not always successful at finding clever places but it's fun to explore! xo

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  9. So sweet and so much fun for her to play a little at being grown up.

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  10. I used to dream in Fingerhut mags and the like, picking out which comforters I would have when I "grew up" so I could decorate my own space. I took my own bedroom decorataing to high level as a teen. It was my sacred space, my apartment if you will LOL. I love reading your art of storytelling, Valerie. But I have a funny one for you. This morning as I checked my email, precaffeinated, I read your newsletter/blog post title and thought it was an urgent message from a friend about a "get-together" I had missed or something! It had my heart pumping for a moment until I came to. I just had to laugh and share that!!

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    1. Hi Meg,
      I know you were a kindred spirit in decorating! I too, pretended that my bedroom growing up was my own little apartment! :) Ahh - I'm sorry you thought there was an urgent message awaiting but I can imagine your relief was great that it was just a little blog post from me! :) xo

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  11. I think there is a nesting instinct that kicks in at some age with girls. We want to make a space cozy and ours!
    Love that she wanted to make her mama coffee. :)

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    1. Sarah,
      We all want our own pretty spaces, don't we? :)

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  12. Hey there! That has to be the cutest apartment ever...and the cutest niece! ♥ It certainly feels like I'm in the midst of a long and boring story sometimes - that keeps repeating itself...It's been a rough transition- getting back to a normal schedule/life after vacation. (and apparently I have lost all sense of what day it is!) But I'm itching to play decorator with some of the new trinkets I picked up in my travels and dream of the possibilites for the future just as you did when you were a girl! To throw open the doors and windows and drink in the beauty of this fall weather and wait expectantly and patiently (easier said than done!) on what God is doing next! Here's to turning the page with hope dear Valerie! I hope you have a lovely weekend! xxoo

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    1. Hi Heather,
      I'm anxious to see the treasures you picked up on your travels so hopefully they will appear soon in a future post?!

      More and more, I'm thinking that what's right in front of me is the beauty and marvelousness that I was hoping for and maybe I'm living it right here, right now. At least the little weekend away in Atlanta seems to say that to me! Hope to hear about your Nashville experience soon! xo

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  13. Valerie, when I was a girl, I also dreamed of living in a posh apartment, wearing suits and carrying a briefcase to my job as a fancy businesswoman. Isn't it funny what seems so glamorous when you are 13 and have no idea about anything? :-) I've interviewed plenty of businesswomen over the years but never was one myself, nor have I ever lived in an apartment (a tiny, decidedly UNglamorous duplex does not count).

    Seriously, though, I love these thoughts that you've shared here ... especially as another year of my life fades into the shadows this weekend and a new number looms. How thankful I am that God truly does make everything beautiful in His time. :-)

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    1. Hi Lois,
      Oh yes, I dreamed of being a sophisticated career woman too, with just the same post apartment you dreamed of! :)
      And I know how hard those new numbers hit when another birthday approaches! But I think he places us in our stories and so much of it depends on how we choose to live within them.

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  14. Valerie, what a needed thing this was for my heart today! I am right there, looking at these blank pages in front of me and wondering what will come as the story is not unfolding at all the way I thought it would, and it is so easy to forget that even in the hard moments and hard circumstances, God is writing this story and something powerful and beautiful will eventually come out of it. Thank you for this encouragement, Valerie! God bless you!

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    1. Hi Ronja,
      I'm praying for you, friend, and that your story beautifully comes together and unfolds as only God can move aside the obstacles in your way. He is the God of the impossible!

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  15. I loved reading this Valerie you are a wonderful aunt. Hope is so necessary. It really is it something my dad continues to drive into me this idea of hope. Telling people their story is not over and will continue to be written all of their lives is a message of hope. Thank you for this

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    1. Hi Somer,
      I think our families are kindreds as I read of your girls and their relationship with your sister! I've tried living without hope (for a little while) and it's just not possible. I think that's why our hope must rest in God!

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  16. I always love hearing stories of you and your niece. You have such a special relationship!

    Yes He does have everything written down for our lives. I was even reading a verse this morning that He delights in every detail. Imagine me among the billions of people that He cares about every detail of my life. What a powerful but loving Father we have!

    I hope you are well. Been kinda feeling sick lately. But am surviving : )

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    1. Kristina,
      Hoping you are feeling better soon! I love that about God, don't you? There are so many people in the world yet he has the capacity to care about each one of us and in individual ways that speak to our hearts!

      Delete

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