Savoring the Unrushed

Now that I’m home from my trip to Italy, I’m back to my usual after-work dining habits. I grab a handful of crackers and a couple slices of cheese and call it an appetizer. 

Then I toss some olives, corn and avocado on a bowl full of greens {the kind that’s pre-washed and comes in a bag at the grocery store}. 

Sometimes I remember to take my salad outside to sit on my courtyard, but some nights I just stand at my kitchen counter and sort through the mail before heading out to yoga. 

Dinner for one just isn’t much of an affair for me.

But in Italy, dinner was a pleasurable slowly savored meal. 

Every night our retreat group gathered to eat together and three hours later we would say our good nights. 

No rush, no hurry, no haste.

Instead of crackers out of a bag with precut cheese slices, I sampled baked mounds of cheese on grilled vegetables or fresh arugula as my appetizer. 

I ate main courses of pasta or fish or chicken.

And instead of almost always declining dessert like I do at home, I lingered over every bite of tiramisu, coconut ice cream and peach sorbet.

Dessert was a work of art, where at our finale dinner, the staff created nitrogen frozen ice cream in front of us and served it with a delightful flourish.

Then after the dessert, came the coffee. I could barely keep my eyes open yet I didn’t want the evening to end.

Dinner in Italy was an invitation to relish, not race for the finish line.

I think there’s a secret in the savoring. That some of the Italians I met have already discovered.

Savoring this life. All of it. The good, the hard, the joy and the sorrow.

So often I want to rush out of what troubles, questions and stretches me, to hurry to the other side.

I find I want to say phew, that hard journey’s over and I’m now free to savor all the joy I can find in an easier, better place. 

But what if I’m missing the scent of sorrow and taste of tears that could offer me the depth of an experience of God that my soul is craving? 

What if lingering in the uncertainty without scurrying to get through it, offers the faith, grace and perseverance I seek?

What if I learned there's a cost and sacrifice that I didn't think would be required of me, but now even though it's hard, I realize how valuable it really is? 

This idea of savoring life's difficulties might seem like it doesn’t make sense. 

But I keep reminding myself {and maybe you need a reminder too?} that God’s way of thinking and working are so different from my own. 
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. - Isaiah 55:8
And most baffling of all, his sense of time is not at all like mine. 

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. - Ps. 130:5
He can’t be hurried. He doesn’t mind waiting. And he invites me to join him. 

For it’s there that I see his tender loving care and I catch the nearest glimpse of how he sees me. 

So instead of rushing, I’m savoring. 

I get to keep praying {boldly} about God’s promises to me.

I’m relishing staying right here for a while longer, perched on the edge of my seat to see what God will do.

Here is where I’ll delight being in his presence and wait for him to show me what he desires for me, no matter how long it takes.  

{And maybe you'd like to join me in the wait for the promises God has made to you?}

In Italy, one of our retreat group dinners ran extra late and we all voted to skip the coffee and start shuttling back to the hotel. 

The servers, who were already at our table with coffeepots, returned to the kitchen and the chef — who inexplicably was also the shuttle driver — drove us back to the hotel, full of jokes despite the late hour. 

Now that I’m back home, I think about that magical dinner under the canopy of vines and lamplight on that sultry summer night. 

I only wish I’d had time for a last cup of coffee to finish off a perfectly unrushed evening.

But slowly savoring the memory of it is almost as good.

I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart and with Bonnie Gray at the Faith Barista. Click the images for more posts from my blogger friends!


  1. Delicious pictures -- and descriptions!
    Glad to have found your blog today!

  2. I so enjoyed this post and your pictures.It makes me want to savor it all with sit and rest in the moment and soak it in, because it is all precious. Your words are an inspiration to take in moments of preciousness and to relish them, to delight in the gifts He has given rather than covet ones that were never mine to hold.

    Thank you for sharing memories. I can't got to Italy today, in person, but your photos are a brief blessing that can both tempt and satisfy the desire to see and partake of the beauty and the savoring.


    1. Dawn,
      I'm grateful for your lovely words here! I'm wondering about the gifts that were never mine to hold, too and instead enjoying the ones I already have. Thank you for your thoughts!

  3. You had me at the title.

    And then here --> 'But what if I’m missing the scent of sorrow and taste of tears that could offer me the depth of an experience of God that my soul is craving?'

    You wrote this just for me ... I just know it.

    1. Oh Linda - how sweet of you - -your encouragement is priceless! Praying for you during this time of difficulty and transition in your life! xo

  4. Wow!! Those pictures look amazing, I want to reach through my screen and try a bit and sip of everything. Isn't it funny how other cultures know the benefit of slowing down and savoring, and yet here it would be considered lazy or wasting time? Italy is on my bucket day...So glad you had a great time.

    1. Alecia,
      It's true, isn't it, how savoring is part of everyday life in some places? It's so inspiring! And I know you'd just love Italy! :)

  5. Valerie- this is so beautiful and so well said-I have been thinking some similar thoughts about savoring God and experiencing Him with all of my senses and all of myself. :) I love this part-Here is where I’ll delight being in his presence and wait for him to show me what he desires for me, no matter how long it takes. So good! I also found myself wanting to remind myself of his promises again and ask Him to show me which one I need to cling to now. Love the verses too! And the pictures are amazing as always!! thanks for all you share here -such goodness and a sense of His presence too! so beautiful! xo

    1. Hi Susie,
      I'm with you! I think savoring him is more of an art and practicing it will make it come easier into our lives. Reminding myself of his promises is something I aspire to daily! So glad you could journey along with me via my photos! :)

  6. Wow! I'm so jealous (in a good way) right now! ;) I have always wanted to go to Italy more than any other place. My husband is determined to take me one day. Everything looks absolutely amazing. I love the thought of savoring the moments. I pray that I will not forget to savor all the sweet moments I have with my children during their younger years. It's so easy to get caught up in getting things accomplished or cleaning up the mess, that sometimes I forget to just enjoy the beautiful chaos. So glad to meet you today! Blessings, Tasha

    1. Hi Tasha,
      Oh you should definitely start planning your adventure to Italy! I love what you said about enjoying the beautiful chaos -- it's an art of savoring that I overlook many times. So grateful for your visit here and so happy to meet you too! :)

  7. Oh how He does beckon us to savor the good and the bad...though we would rather skip the unlovely parts...there are lessons to take in for sure. Dinner is a challenge for us too! Even when I labor over cooking, it seem it's gone in a split second and everyone goes right back to doing what they were doing before the meal. I would love to find the trick to being able to savor more time with my guys over a meal. Right here waiting with you my friend learning to bask in His presence- whether we face sun or rain! Thanks for sharing lovely pics and thoughts : ) ♥

    1. Heather,
      I'm kind of glad to hear you say dinner is a challenge for you too! That would discourage me from cooking for sure, and maybe the thought of a leisurely savored dinner is just a romantic dream of mine?! So grateful to know you are along on this journey with me, facing sun or rain! :)

  8. Valerie, I love Italy. You pictures made me smile remembering a family trip we took 11 years ago. I want to go back! Your thoughts on savoring all of life challenge me. Solomon wrote that we learn more in the house of mourning than in the house of feasting. It looks like he agrees with you and I need to remember that. Thanks for the encouragement. I will begin now!

    1. Debbie,
      Before I visited Italy, I thought Paris was my favorite place but now I'm not so sure since I loved Italy just as much! So glad you love it too! Thanks for sharing your encouraging words here!

  9. Interesting, Valerie, and what a lesson in it! :) Savoring life. I need more of that. This really struck me - "But what if I’m missing the scent of sorrow and taste of tears that could offer me the depth of an experience of God that my soul is craving?" I love the thought that God uses sorrow and tears to give us the depth of experience with God that we're actually craving. Truly His thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are higher than ours.

    1. Trudy,
      Although it seems counterintuitive, that's how God works sometimes as we live out his purposes in our lives, I think. I also think we can take great comfort in the truth that his ways ARE much higher than ours! Always grateful that you're here, Trudy! :)

  10. Valerie,
    Your trip sounds relish and savor and not to rush...and I relate to this: "So often I want to rush out of what troubles, questions and stretches me, to hurry to the other side."....Slowly, I'm learning, God is there waiting for me to come to Him with my questions and troubles and we're building relationship there together :-) Nice to meet you :-)

    1. Hi Dolly,
      Nice to meet you too! :) Building a relationship together with God . . . yes, that is what happens when we come to him with all of our questions and in that relationship, we are changed - I so love that!

  11. Right there with you! I am always trying to rush through the pain even though I know it will make me stronger and more resilient.
    Let's go to Italy together!

    1. Sarah,
      Yes! Italy . . . again! I might love it even more than Paris! :)

  12. Memories are perfect aren't they? God gave us memories to make us smile, I think. And they can also motivate you when you feel creatively spent. I am so loving all of these photos Valerie. I am so happy to hear you had a wonderful time in Italy :). You definitely deserved it.

    Kia / House of KTS

  13. So glad I get to savor this post unrushed. I am at my parent's house this morning. I am flying to va later this a.m. To visit my sister for her birthday and some unmoving help with my niece and nephew. I love being an aunt! Like you...savor the meals and the memories...good reminders here and photos oh my! I want to plan an Italian adventure now, jenn

    1. Jenn, What a fun weekend planned with your sister and niece and nephew! So happy to share my Italy adventure with you! xo


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