Virtual Coffee Date

by jenna on April 28, 2013

Lately, I’ve been pulled in so many different directions.

Going against all the logic in my brain, I’ve felt called to step away from the Internet more and instead pour into my local community. My friend, Kacia, calls this living locally and I think that pretty much sums it up. It’s hard to explain, but at the beginning of this year God placed a new burden on my heart and it made me realize how long I’ve been living in my own little safe bubble. As Jen Hatmaker calls it, I was living a “churched up version of the American dream”. My main concern was for my comfort and if something wasn’t pretty, I closed my eyes to it. I’m not proud of that but it’s true.

In the past twelve weeks though, my heart has been changed. A lot of things are happening in my life right now. Some I talk about on this space, some I keep quiet. It’s a new season of my life and it feels different. It should.

Why am I telling you guys all this? Because you say I’ve changed. You say this blog has changed. And to that, I say, yes. I’ve been blogging now for almost six years and in that time, yes, I’ve changed. {thank goodness} What you see on this site has changed. I have no idea what the future holds and I can’t make promises to anyone about anything. Right now, this is my heart. This is where I am at. I don’t plan to stop posting recipes any time soon. I love cooking and photographing and sharing. I love connecting and love this big strange Internet world-community. Currently, I’m at the Big Summer Potluck in Southern California and just being encouraged and inspired over and over and over again. It’s a good place to be.

I love you guys. I really do. Thank you for giving me the space to be honest.

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie K. April 28, 2013 at 8:44 am

Being drawn to live locally and to face what may be less than pleasant sounds both scary and rewarding. I pray you continue in that change, a change we should all consider pursuing. Kudos, and no worries, I’m here to stay. <3

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Natalie April 28, 2013 at 9:17 am

Thank you for sharing Jenna. I too have felt lately that I’ve been keeping myself too “comfortable” and not challenging myself and “getting out there.” It’s nice to know others experience this and I’m encouraged by how you’ve let your heart lead you!

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Angela April 28, 2013 at 9:42 am

Thanks for always being an inspiration! :) I love your recipe posts of course but I love the idea of living locally and invested yourself where you feel called to do so.

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Josy April 28, 2013 at 10:19 am

Good for you. Nothing changes if nothing changes. How boring if you did the same thing day in and day out – life is so much more than a blog. I love the recipes and will be around to see what your are posting.

Have fun!

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Megan April 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

I started reading this blog, at first, because of the recipes. But your inspirational posts are what makes me stay. <3 You're amazing!

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Joelle (On A Pink Typewriter) April 28, 2013 at 10:38 am

Living locally? I think that just means living, my dear. :) Sometimes we can’t social media-ize life – you have to just be present in the moment and experience. I’m with ya, Jenna.

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April April 29, 2013 at 9:35 am

I like this “social media-ize life’, so true! And what a great way to put it.

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Poetesswug (Deb) April 28, 2013 at 11:09 am

For sure, life ‘comes at ya!’…sometimes at full speed! I’ve learned myself that sometimes you have to try to keep up with it, and other times you just need to get yourself out of it’s way!!! :-]

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Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe April 28, 2013 at 11:23 am

Jenna, I keep reading because of your honest voice. I appreciate that you write and share what your heart wishes, and not simply because you think it’s what people want to read. Keep it up, girlfriend. xo

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Elle April 28, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Getting offline and into the world is a good thing! We should worry about people who never change.

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Tracy N. April 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Keep doing the wonderful things you feel called to do. You are making a difference, both locally and through your online community.

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erin @hooleywithaz April 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm

i echo what everyone else up above me has already said. i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, i came for the recipes but stayed for the good, honest person behind them. change away my dear, that just means you’re allowing yourself to grow into the person God is intending for you to be. happy sunday!

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Bailey @ Fresh & Simple Kitchen April 28, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Thank you for such an honest post!

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Katie @ Talk Less, Say More April 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Beautifully said. Besides, who wouldn’t want to continue growing, changing and peeling back new layers of themselves?

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Kim April 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Jenna, you were the first healthy cooking, fitness loving, positive lifestyle blog that I began following. You have lead me to make positive and daring changes in my life. Thank you for sharing pieces of your life with us and just keep doing what feels right in your heart :-)

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Melissa April 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Good for you, Jenna.

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Jennifer April 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I’ve loved “watching” you grow. It’s been especially awesome because I feel like you are experiencing some of the same real things of the Lord as I have been. I love what your blog is turning into — a reflection of the beautiful person you were created to be. Many blessings to you as you walk into this new chapter. I look forward to your blog posts, whatever they may be, because they are always genuine.

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Megan April 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm

You do you, Jenna!!! :)

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Ellen April 28, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Thanks Jenna for your honesty and inspiration. I have read your blog for at least 4 years now, and have enjoyed every post since then. I love watching the transformation to the beautiful, inspiring, loving, faithful person you have become. It inspires me in my life. Thank you. May God bless you and lead you where He wants. <3

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DessertForTwo April 28, 2013 at 4:12 pm

We support you in whatever you do. We all want you to be happy :)

I, too, have decided to ease off the internet crap. Mainly, it’s a source of jealousy and comparison. So, I do one post a week and then step away. I’m sure my traffic will nose-dive, but so what? I’ll spend more time outside and more quality time with my husband. Only good things can come from this :)

Much love!
Christina

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Makenzie Ann April 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Love you Jenna! Keep bein you :) You’re rockin it

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Averie @ Averie Cooks April 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm

It was awesome to chat with you at Big Potluck, Jenna! I wish you and Adam nothing but the best on your upcoming wedding and marriage and whatever you decide to do with your blog, everyone will be here.

And yes, thank goodness we all change and evolve. I’ve been blogging 4 years and I still get emails ‘but what about the old posts that you did or talked about this and that…’ Yes, I did. But life has moved on. And now I do other things in life and on my blog. Growth, change, beautiful. xoxo :)

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polly April 28, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Averie, i love that. :) This is Polly from yoga is yummy (the blog i used to do but then life got busy and i stopped!) anyways, i love what you said and just wanted you to know it. :)
XOXO

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Kristina April 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Thank you for sharing and being honest with us, Jenna. Change is good. It is when you become stagnant there is a problem. Thank you so much for your blog-it has grown into being well-rounded just like you have as a person. Your coffee dates are my favorite because it gives me a sneak peek into your life and reminds me that you are human also. You have inspired me to be a better person and live a better life. Keep on following your intuition. Keep on being the amazing you, Jenna!

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blueberryhil April 28, 2013 at 5:34 pm

I have not heard the phrase “churched up version of the American dream” before, but I like it–it is an apt description of something that many of us are probably familiar with. Being drawn out of one’s comfort zone is hard, but that is when you grow the most. Thank you for your honesty.

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Michelle April 28, 2013 at 5:44 pm

LOVE your blog–change is good! Love the fact that you write from your heart…it’s a beautiful thing.
:)

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Aimee from AL April 28, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I love how this blog has changed! I feel I am doing the same thing in my life right now and it is so refreshing to see that happening on here. Keep it up and enjoy these next couple of weeks. They go by so fast and it is such a beautiful time. I cannot wait to see how married life changes this blog too. I know it is going to suit you!

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polly April 28, 2013 at 7:26 pm

hi baby girl!
just remember that God has already written your amazing story, obviously! I mean, girl, even a hollywood writer could not have written the incredible way God brought you and Adam together. I am just thankful i got a front row seat.

It hurts my heart that we won’t be at the wedding, but i honestly feel like i will be. Cause i’ll be praying and loving you extra much that day! ;)

Anyways, it’s funny how our story is already written but don’t get to know the ending (well except our sweet spot in heaven someday!) but the middle pages are a mystery and an exciting adventure all in one. I think the way you have lived your life and how much you have been open to God’s leading and HIS timing and HIS wisdom speaks volumes to your heart and your character and how incredible the next part of your story will be!!! eeee!!!!

I also wanted to say i bet your momma is so excited. I have never met her but i can just imagine how full her heart must be and how her very own story is being told as she watches her own daughter change and grow. Momma Weber, i love you too! :)

ok, this little reply got a little long, sorry. i just love you so much and had to ramble on a bit. ;) hehhehehe

XOXO
big sis

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polly April 28, 2013 at 7:28 pm

oh and i made your gluten free almond butter cookies AGAIN today. Dan is addicted. I wrap them individually and put them in the freezer so they last… but they never last. boys. :)

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Laurie {SimplyScratch} April 28, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Stay true.. follow your heart and you can never go wrong Jenna. XO

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Elisabeth April 28, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Change is good, Jenna! Good for you for stepping outside your comfort zone to grow. I definitely need a little of that in my life right now – I’ve been stagnant for far too long now (probably about 5 years!). Thanks for being inspiring ;)

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Melissa April 28, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Jenna
I have enjoyed your blog since I first found it in January, it has been so exciting to “get to know you” I have enjoyed your recipes and to learn a little more about you. I too am struggling with a huge change of priorities in my life. I applaud every step you will take in your next chapter, I think for too long in my own life everyone has been so use to me being available for them. A ring is in my near future which means a new chapter of life that will require a change in priorities and time available for all. I am excited but scared about the new challenge, but I know that god has prepared me well for the next part of my life. I know that whatever changes besides the husband that are coming your way everyone who matters will embrace. Best to you!

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Heather @ Heather's Dish April 28, 2013 at 8:11 pm

<3 <3 <3

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Kelly April 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I am a long-time reader who thoroughly enjoys your recipes, but I can be lumped into the category of readers baffled by the changes (not that this means you shouldn’t change!). Have you thought of changing the name of your blog/domain name? Perhaps that would ease up on some of the confusion, especially since your main topics are typically focused on recipes and your religious views. Maybe you could even donate the ELR domain to a good cause? Just a thought! :)

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Sarah @ making thyme for health April 28, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I thought a lot about how you must have felt after everyone unleashed all of their criticisms regarding your blog’s changing perspective. I think staying true to yourself is the most inspirational thing you have done and am also sure that those who do come here for the food will most definitely keep coming regardless of you sharing your other passions. :)

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Amy Walters, aDESIGNdock April 28, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for a little over two years now and I just love coming here again and again. So excited to continue journeying with you and your blog as you make your way through life. Keep on growing, Jenna! You’re a rockstar. ; )

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Jennifer April 28, 2013 at 11:34 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for years. I used to read for the recipes and food journaling, but now I stay for your personal life. I know you’ve been getting a ton of criticism lately, but I say, pay no mind to the critiques! Honestly, I’d rather hear more about your personal life rather than food. It’s so much more personal and interesting. Who cares about recipes! I like your personal posts. So keep on keeping on Jenna! Whatever direction that takes you (I’m extremely liberal btw, and I don’t see a problem with your Christian views–it’s never been secretive anyway!). PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE document more wedding planning!! :)

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Mom April 29, 2013 at 4:37 am

You, my beautiful daughter, have spoken so eloquently. I am so proud and filled with love as I watch you “grow”, and very excited for your “today” and your future. You are an amazing young lady. I am so happy that I am your mother and can share life with you! Love, love, love you!

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kayleigh April 29, 2013 at 6:38 am

jenna, i honestly love the change i’ve seen in your blog recently. i think watching you become more community minded and getting deeper into your faith is so inspiring! i definitely come to your blog and am challenged to be more aware of whats around me and to be an inspiration for others! keep on keepin’ on, girl!

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Rachel April 29, 2013 at 6:48 am

Jenna, your blog is so much different from all the other food and recipe blogs I read, and I keep coming back because you are so transparent and have such a good heart. Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us.

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Amy April 29, 2013 at 7:40 am

Thank goodness you’ve changed! I loved your blog initially because of the recipes, but what drew me in was your honesty and how real Jenna Weber was.

Love that you post about your life & what is going on in your heart. It is refreshing and I feel more connected to you as a person. God is good ALL the TIME!

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dixya@food, pleasure, and health April 29, 2013 at 8:23 am

i love reading your blog and know what a genuine person you are :) we all change and its inevitable because we mature, go through lot of things in life and its a part of life I guess. Keep doing what you love and share it in this space. Will always be here. I was inspired by your Virtual Coffee Dates and did mine for the first time <3

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anna April 29, 2013 at 8:57 am

Jenna, I’ve been reading you forever (you were still in culinary school!) and watched your blog evolve. People change and blogs should too — I couldn’t imagine if anyone stayed static. When you went strictly food blog, I felt like that was a logical transition. You got very private – totally justifiable – and kept it to recipes and such. I think it’s weird to come out of your shell now in a way that seems to promote other businesses and ventures. It seems almost forced or fake only because of your previous desire to stay private. It’s like “i’ll share my stuff with you guys only if I can link to it and make a dollar”. I’m definitely not anti-money or expecting an ad free blog but the change is off-putting for me. I’m not sure if I’ll keep reading regularly (i might check in here and there) as your blog appeals less to me now than before but I do wish you the best in whatever endeavors you pursue.

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Hannah April 29, 2013 at 9:17 am

Beautiful post. Thanks for being honest, transparent, and true to yourself. The world needs more of that. Change is a wonderful and difficult thing, but God is our constant. Blessings to you at this time.

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kristen April 29, 2013 at 9:51 am

Jenna, keep on being yourself – your blog is a bright spot in a dark world. I love seeing you following God’s plan for your life and your blog. You are inspiring!

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Megan April 29, 2013 at 10:14 am

I think blogs started as an online journal. At least, they did for me. Then we feel the pressure to post for more pins or comments or whatever. But getting back to the basics is important. Stepping out of your comfort zone here and at home. You are exactly who God made you to be and He will use you exactly where you are. He’s opening your eyes to something different, something bigger; and that’s awesome. I’m not sure if that made sense. But just keep doing what you feel like He is calling you to do, whether that means posting more or less, feeding homeless people or passing out flowers to people on the street. I’m not sure how to end this, but yeah. God will use you right where He has you. And He may move you to a different place or mindset, and that is awesome!

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Lauren C April 29, 2013 at 10:20 am

You made many honest, insightful points. Food for thought! Enjoy your life, online and off. Looking forward to following your blog into its future.

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Joey Campbell April 29, 2013 at 10:32 am

I’ve been a reader for several years although an infrequent commenter. I enjoy your blog now more than before because of all that you do share. So thanks for sharing some of your life with us :)

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Jessica April 29, 2013 at 11:54 am

I love your recipes but I also enjoy getting to know a different side of you. You have inspired me. I work with young college girls, many who are international, and I have shared much of your site with them. You are not alone in these changes. There is a stirring in this world, albeit small, and I’m happy you’re a part of it.

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Laurel April 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm

I’ve been reading your writing almost since the beginning and one of the things that keeps me coming back for more is your willingness to follow your heart in making changes as you grow with your blog. It is never stagnant, always flowing.

Go with the way the Lord directs you. It is the best way, whether it be in your home life or blogging. :)

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The Healthy Apple April 29, 2013 at 5:39 pm

YOU are fabulous; keep up the amazing work. So happy for al you are doing and for your beautiful life.
xoox
Sending hugs from across the country in NYC!

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Jennifer P. April 29, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Jenna,
From a long-time reader (All the way back to when you were working at that bakery in Florida, hehe), your blog has remained one of the few of my original “Favorite Blogs” on my Favorites toolbar (Which I still use, who needs google reader, ha!)
You are real, honest, and a true positive inspiration in my life. Thank you for changing with your blog. As a reader, I appreciate the raw, truth you share, instead of fake bullshit that people want you to share. Changing makes you human, like the rest of us! Change should not be explained or defended. You rock!
Here to stay!
Jennifer

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Torrie @ a place to share... April 29, 2013 at 11:14 pm

i appreciate your honesty, and can relate in many ways.

and regarding today’s post, yes(!!) “live” is and should definitely be (in my opinion) included in this space!

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Lisa O April 30, 2013 at 6:29 am

I rarely comment and rarely read the comments either, because what interests me is the heart and soul of your blog and recreating your amazing recipes. Not a single recipe has failed me and I repeat your turkey chili, spaghetti and meat sauce, almond butter cookies and brownies and some recipes have been so visually delicious I’ve run away from the computer to make them.
I also loooove your book club posts and have been enriched by many wonderful reads thanks to your tip offs, which I have then passed on to my loved ones and furthered the special experience of a good book.
I have also read your blog since you worked at a bakery and lived with your parents and I’ve loved every single moment. The way the blog has evolved has kept it interesting and thank god you’re going to keep those recipes coming!! You keep my reputation of baked goods top notch and my husband and I are forever grateful :-)
Thank you for all that you give through this blog.
Your faithful Western Australian reader and recipe pilferer,
Lisa x

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Katina April 30, 2013 at 9:22 am

Awesome! God is doing great things in your life and that is evident here too :)

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erin April 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm

I’ve read you for 5 yrs now. I use to read many many many blogs. Now, I read one. YOURS. I check into others here and there, but every morning I still pop on to see what you are up too. I love your blog, always have. Love who you are. Love your life and how you live it. Wish you ALL the best in this new wonderful life you are living, and with your special day coming up. I’ll always be a reader. Change away, change away. Love Erin

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mare May 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Loooongtime reader, since the FL bakery days, as well. I echo the sentiment that your blog is your blog, and I’ve always appreciated your recipes and whatever else you thrown in there. It’s YOUR space, even if some of the newer directions don’t appeal to my interests exactly– but that’s okay, because everyone is different and that’s GOOD! (Selfishly, I hope you at least continue the recipes part, because they are just THAT tasty.)

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