So, this past weekend, this happened:
Yes, that’s right. For those of you who don’t know, that’s The Nester‘s white barn!!! I’m glad I took pictures because otherwise I might be tempted to believe this was just a beautiful dream. I won two tickets (for me + 1 friend) to this party at Myquillyn’s house/barn to celebrate the release of Emily Freeman‘s 4th book, Simply Tuesday. What an incredible and surreal experience this was! I wanted to take a hundred pictures but I also wanted to a.) not be weird and b.) savor this experience to the full.
My friend, Katie, and I relished the chance to pull away from our kiddos and make the drive from the mountains of Asheville, NC to… well, IKEA first + foremost. I mean, if you have to drive anywhere near Charlotte, NC you had best get yourself to Ikea! It was so much fun shopping with my friend and having time to talk and catch up without six little children running wild around us. We drove on from Charlotte to Midland, NC, driving farther and farther from the bustle and hustle of the noisy city + big interstates to the quiet and small country roads. Already we were feeling a welcome to “celebrate our smallness.” We pulled onto the property, marked only by a small wooden arrow with a breath of flowers and white letters spelling, “Barn.” Giggly and giddy we were joking about how actually sort of crazy strange this was and maybe we should just turn around and head home. We parked on the lawn in front of the Nester’s house, quietly freaking out in the car (especially when I saw Annie Downs just hanging out by the parking sign), directed to our spot by the Nester’s husband and sons.
It took a lot of brave to step out of the car into this evening. As much as I have been impacted and literally changed by Emily Freeman’s words in her last book, A Million Little Ways, as eager as I was to celebrate this new release and engage in the content, it is scary for an introvert to go to this kind of thing. Right away walking up to the Barn, Emily was there, chatting with guests. Her kiddos and husband were walking around. I think Myquillyn was the first to greet us and welcome us, pointing out bathrooms to us. We told her we couldn’t believe how brave she is to open her home to total strangers like this, and she happily told us how everyone they’ve met off of the internet has been wonderful. (You guys, they are the real deal. Just exactly how they seem to be on the internet. Isn’t that the best?!)
This is the moment when I started to feel my nerves melt away: when Emily greeted us with such exuberant and real joy, told us what to expect for the evening, and prayed over the meal we would share together, praying because “we all love Jesus here.” A breath of relief.. yes, we are all family here. There is already this “knowing” between us, this love of words, this love of our Savior. This desire for His kingdom come.
The Nester’s farmhouse.. dreamy and just like she shows it to be in her pictures (I don’t know why that always surprises us).
Dinner provided by this food truck, Small Potatoes, because of course. Small.
I’m thankful the photographer friend of Emily’s floating around that evening offered to snap this shot of Katie and I!
We gathered outside amongst cicadas and lightning bugs and strings of lights. Then Emily picked up her book and began to read about the Kingdom, about sitting in the presence of Christ in our smallness. This was the moment when I felt at home, when my soul began to smile and sing. Somehow in the odd peculiarity of it all, these are my people, this is my place.
Music fell over us from fingers strumming guitars, voices singing out about ordinary Tuesdays and the collision of the Kingdom of God with earth.
Then we lined up to meet Emily + have her sign our books as the light faded and night settled upon us. This was such a sweet moment, just a quiet and simple moment and yet heavy with meaning for me. Emily’s words were the ones that really set me free to dream and to live more artfully in all that I do. I told her this as we met and as she signed my book. Just a brief moment in time when you want to fill 30 seconds with a million words of thanks.
Then the awkward moment when Emily asked if we wanted to get our picture with her and I said “No, it’s okay.” I mean, really?! What is wrong with me?!! (Laughing) If you’re reading this Emily, YES I wanted a picture but I for some reason didn’t think anyone was nearby to take it and I thought it might be too dark? Sorry for the awkward moment.
(Yes, I asked her to sign AMLW because my copy of Simply Tuesday hadn’t arrived yet.)
For more info about Emily’s latest book (I am reading it currently and you won’t be disappointed!) click here for some videos and more info: http://emilypfreeman.com/simply-tuesday/
Also if you’re on Instagram, check out the happiest hashtag on the internet #itssimplytuesday, where fellow journeyers celebrate the small moments of our Tuesdays.
Thank you to Emily Freeman + Myquillyn for giving us such a wonderful evening, for sharing your gifts so generously with us! It was truly incredible to meet you both.