grateful heart monday

A Grateful Heart (+ weeklong linkup!)

November 17, 2014
Good morning and happy Monday 🙂 I hope you all had the best weekend! I am still in Indy but will be heading back to Chicago later this afternoon. I made this little weekend trip to Indiana by myself this time …. there was no Christian, no little babes to keep me company in the car. As weird as it was for the first 40 minutes, it wasn’t until I pressed play on the new Taylor Swift cd for the second time in a row that I thought, “Hey! It’s been awhile, this is kinda nice!” Just me and the open road. And Taylor. And lots of lip syncing. With a quick pull over at a rest stop to apply hot pink lipstick. Because you simply cannot (and truly should not) blast and sing your heart out to Tay Swift without bright lipstick.


Today, I am grateful for road trips. The ones where it’s just you and your car and the open road.

It is true – I really did listen to the new Taylor Swift cd two times in a row (even though I’ve already listened to it a million times since it first came out), but then afterwards – I just turned everything off and it was quiet, and I was alone with my thoughts. For a moment, I pretended I had no destination and that I was just driving to drive, without a plan. To get lost, to make my own way. And to find something that just might grow my heart, to make more room.

I drove for probably 20 minutes in silence, deep in thought before I realized that even solitude needs company in certain situations, and the perfect company for a situation like this was clearly coffee. But not just any kind of coffee – gas station coffee. I pulled off at the next exit in a town I’d always passed on this route but had never visited before. It was total country – literally the only thing that could be seen for miles and miles was this teeny tiny gas station. Highway gas station coffee is actually my favorite… it’s always hot, it’s always fresh because they’re making it so often for the truckers, and the people who are taking your money when you pay for it actually give you eye contact as they make small talk about the weather and then thank you and wish you a nice day. It’s only in those instances I don’t mind the weather small talk. Because even though it’s small talk, it’s genuine.

I pulled back onto the highway, breathing in the aroma of the black coffee, sipping it even though it was way too hot still, and admiring the gray skies… the cornfields…. the wide open spaces. I drove quite a ways in silence. I gave thanks to God for my life. I gave thanks for my parents. I gave thanks for my husband. I gave thanks for a lot of people and a lot of things. I prayed. I prayed hard for a friend who would be laying her baby in the arms of Jesus within the next 48 hours… and I cried. Hard. And I prayed some more. And then I was quiet again, my thoughts drifting off and thinking about things that were so random I can’t recall now what they were. It wasn’t until I drove past a cop car, hiding behind the trees, that I think I woke back up – snapping out of my daydream. Clearly it was time for the silence to be over, so I put in my homemade cd of all of my favorite Bob Dylan songs and I blasted them loud as I took a deep breath, continued to sip the coffee, and wondered if I’d ever learn to play the harmonica some day.

What are you grateful for?

Link up below and join the rest of us in starting each day this week with a grateful heart. Not enough time to write a Grateful Heart post today? No worries! This linkup will be open until Friday! 

1. Link up to your Grateful Heart post, not just your blog’s homepage, and please link your post back to Ember Grey (via link or GH button) so that others can link up too! *Any posts that do not have to do with this GH topic or those that do not link back up to this blog will be deleted. 

2. If you use #gratefulheart on Twitter, tag me and I will retweet! @embergreyblog

3. Carry on and be grateful! XO!
Ember Grey: Grateful Heart

You Might Also Like

  • What a great way to start the week! Solitude road trips sound awesome when you describe them. I've never done one alone… even just a few hours away. I've always had Josh with me, but I'm OK with that. 🙂 I'm glad you were able to spend some time in Indy. Be careful coming home!

  • Hope you had a wonderful trip and love that you pulled over to put your lips on!!! Happy Monday 😉

  • Elizabeth Spenner

    Love this! I always say my prayers in the car, when I am alone, usually on the way to work. Like you wrote; just me and the open road, even if my destination is only 20 minutes away 😉 Hope you had safe travels, especially through this unexpected cold and snow and enjoyed your adventure!

  • I absolutely love road trips! I always feel like that's the best time to have that one-on-one with God and solve some of life's issues 😉

  • I have not had the opportunity to take a road trip alone, but it sounds like you had fun with all the different things you did. It is nice to have time when you can think, prayer, and just be silence and enjoy your surroundings. It is refreshing to have that kind of time and moments. It helps me realize all the things I have to be thankful for even more.

  • I love road trips. I have been trying to find a place that Walter and I can road trip to, together. Some place with a dog friendly hotel and places for him and I to explore together. Haha..doggy road trip!

  • It's so rare that I drive by myself anywhere now…I always used to love road trips! I drove the 4 hrs home from university pretty often, and those drives were such great ways to clear my head – open road ahead, singing along with the radio, biiiiiiig coffee in hand to stay awake 😉 The unexpected quiet times were pretty great. Some big moments of 'aha' happened on those drives.
    (I am so sorry for your friend, Emily…I can't imagine what she must be going through. I'm lifting her and her family up in prayer)

  • Road trips are so good! I love that you're enjoying it to the fullest (plus the bright lipstick). Road trips can have some long stretches, but whenever you look back to them the open space makes it all worth it! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip 🙂

  • Gotta love a good road trip. I too really enjoy driving in silence occasionally to reflect.

    The Taylor Swift album is amazing. It gives me chill bumps every time I listen to it!


  • My friends make fun of me so much, but I love gas station coffee! They have great flavors and you can mix in some of the fake cappuccino stuff! I mean, I wouldn't stop anywhere, but 7/11, Pilot, and a few others are always dependable!

  • I am playing TSwift a lot myself lately, especially in the car. And you are so right about country gas stations! It's nice to have genuine small talk every once in a while.

  • T Swift is THE BEST. Especially her new CD. Loved this post, so honest. It's true, sometimes we just need time by ourselves. In those moments it becomes so evident what our blessings are. Happy Monday, soul sister! xo

  • All of this…YES! Truck stop coffee is by far my favorite..not to mention it's usually $1! I try to go there sometimes rather than starbucks…girl on a budget still needs coffee! Also, I was reading this and I felt like I was deep within a book. Your writing is beautiful. I know I've said it before and I will probably say it many more times.

  • You make road trips sound amazing. 🙂

  • Absolutely love this post! I love gas station hot cocoa it's so good!

  • I often find that in solitude I can notice more gratitude. Does that make sense? When it's just me and my thoughts I can reflect on so much more and I realize how fortunate I am!

  • Now I want to take a road trip— the beauty of silence– love it! HAve a safe trip back.XO sarita it's my girls' world

  • Hey, we did that too! Listened to Taylor Swift's new album, probably twice, on our trip to WV this weekend! Aw! 😀

  • You're making me want to take a road trip! As always, your words are beautiful!

  • It's a good thing I have a road trip planned for next week, because your post has gotten me in the mood for one. Safe travels, girl! 😀

  • Great post….those are truly some of the best moments on the open road, alone with your thoughts. Truck stop coffee reminds me of my sweet daddy…especially if it's one of those mom and pop country stores where they still allow everyone to smoke!

  • YES! Road Trips! I love them too! And not just because I hate to fly. Well, maybe that also…

    My heart and prayers go out to your friend that is saying goodbye to her child. I can't image the sorrow.

  • You should do one alone sometime, esp now that you have a new car! 🙂 Even if it's just for an hour or something, it's such a nice reset!

  • Thank you, Charity!! 🙂 Hope you're having a great week!

  • I've been praying more and more when I'm in the car 🙂 I drove through a snow storm on the way home but had lots of time and tunes, so it was all good! 😉

  • It definitely is!! 🙂 I'm looking forward to new road trips in TN, discovering our new state 🙂

  • It's definitely refreshing – that's such a great word for it. I always feel re-energized after trips like that. I hope you get to take one someday!

  • awww yes!! That would be so much fun, esp if he likes the car! (Oooj loves the car). Hope all is well, Steph! 🙂

  • I think that's when a lot of my road trips started too… back in my university days.

    (Thank you so, so much for praying. It's a horribly sad situation… one of those things that just came out of nowhere and the baby could not be saved. He passed on Sunday. If you think of it, please continue to pray for my friend and her husband… I cannot imagine what they're going through. Their names are Molly and Josh.)

  • They always do seem worth it, don't they?! 🙂 I've done a lot of traveling this past year, and have tried to appreciate each one.

  • It really is amazing, right?! When I first heard it, I wasn't sure and then I went back and listened to it again and haven't been able to stop listening to it since. Obsessed! (Plus, I just like her so that helps.)

  • Yes!! haha!! It really is the best, it's always fresh!

  • I have always loved her and I'm LOVING this new album. I'm glad she officially switched over to pop… I kinda feel like she was always pop.

  • THE BEST!! 🙂 I love her.

    I would imagine you are SO much fun on a road trip! Maybe one of these days we will take one together – wouldn't that be the best adventure?! Love you, soul sister!

  • It is really cheap, you're right! Starbucks is fun (for me) for the specialty drinks but when I just want a regular coffee, gas station is the way to go 🙂

    (And thank you, Kenji. That means so much to me) 🙂

  • You need a road trip, Nina!!! 🙂

  • ooooh YES! The hot cocoa!!! I'll need to do that next time 😉

  • That is SO true, yes it makes perfect sense!

  • aw!! Hope you get to take one soon, Sarita!! 🙂

  • haha! I love that your hubby was such a great sport about it! Christian loves Tswift too but I don't think he would've listened to it two times in a row 😉

  • I have been getting lots of ideas for my novel on these trips… does that happen for you too?!

    (Thank you, Chelsea!) 🙂 xo

  • haha! Have sooooo much fun on your trip next week!!! I hope you write about it when you get back, I want to hear!

  • I love driving by myself and just enjoying the quiet time! It's always a great time to reflect and just talk to God.

  • That is so sweet – your daddy knows what's up, Shelly! Those mom and pop stores ARE the best! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for praying for my friend, Brettni. I've been asking my family and friends to continue to pray. Their baby passed away on Sunday. The entire thing lasted not even 2 weeks from them finding out this "random" diagnosis to him passing… it was very sudden and I just really cannot imagine what they are going through now. They've had family and friends staying with them this entire time and I'm praying hard now that when all of those people leave, Molly and Josh still feel the comfort and hope that is Jesus our King. (They are very strong in their faith too.) Thank you for your prayers xo

  • me too, lady!! Company can be fabulous but quiet time without feeling like you have to entertain is so nice.

  • That photo could be a postcard 🙂

  • Thanks, Patricia 🙂

  • chall1018

    I am loving the new Taylor Swift cd!! And love that you put on your pink lipstick.
    You go girl! Haha! This post is great! Nothing like a great open road think and pray!! Love that picture!