Cream and sugar?

July 12, 2012

It turns out something unexpected happens when 20,000 people read your blog in one day.

You panic.

Because, for all you knew, you were meeting a few friends for coffee, and then twice the population of your hometown showed up at Starbucks.

But here’s what I’m thinking: I’m me whether 20 people are witnessing it, or 20,000.  And I kind of like me.

So if you showed up to my coffee date, I’d love for you to stay.  Sit down on a cushy leather sofa.  Huddle in with a hot drink, and let’s talk.

I’ll go first.

My name’s Faith.  I’m American, but I live in England.  I’m in a really happy, hard-working marriage, and I’ve got a little boy who makes me laugh out loud every day.  I love writing and photography, comfort food, sweet tea, and strong coffee.  I get way too excited about old episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond, back issues of Real Simple, and collecting supplies for craft projects I’ll probably never finish.

There.  Now, who are you?


Update: When I try to respond to your comments, it ends up just getting all jumbled up and out of order, so I’m going to save us all some confusion and not do that anymore.  But believe me: I’m reading and appreciating every single one, and I’m so. stinking. glad. you’re here.

65 responses to “Cream and sugar?”

  1. brooklyntobrussels says:

    Another American living in London. A Bethel alum told me about your blog at a writing conference in Shrewsbury when I complained about not finding good blogs that incorporate faith :o)

  2. Ashely says:

    I’m your dose of southern when you need it! PS – I had Bojangles for breakfast today.

  3. whitney says:

    Ha! Hi, Faith! I’m Whitney — a fellow North Carolinian with a terrible case of Anglophilia, so I’m happy to live vicariously through your stories of merry ole England. Love your writing and your blog — I totally get how scary sharing yourself with the world can be, but that is ultimately why we write, right? Glad to meet you!

  4. Mathieu says:

    Hi, my name is Mathieu, I’m a young guy who’s interested in going places. Not just on one level but on all of them, I’d like to see the world, enjoy life, work hard, get romanticly envolved and build a carreer. So basicly I want to experience life while staying true to myself, my morales, my believes and values. I love to write, eat, get creative, act like I’m athletic and enjoy good company and conversation.

  5. Hannah King says:

    Hello Faith, this isn’t the first time I’ve commented here, but I thought I’d respond to your call to finding out just who are the people behind that ‘20,000’ number.
    I’m Hannah, I live in Bristol, England (and am about to visit The States but just for a road trip), I live with a brilliant man who I am proud to call my husband, I am a teacher to very small, very wonderful children, I absolutely love to bake and take photos (often of cake & clouds). I love a good coffee and I love to read blogs that inspire and encourage me in my faith : )

  6. Jen says:

    I came across your blog from Staying Awake. I lived in Waco for years and went to the same church Sarah did, but we never actually met. My husband and I dream of spending a few years in England someday. I also love Everybody Loves Raymond, Real Simple, and good coffee.

  7. Hi Faith! I’m Jen. I’m an American living in America =), New Jersey. I’m a mom of a toddler too — a little girl, Chloe — and I work full-time as a graphic designer. My husband is a teamster, aka, truck driver. He works a lot. Long hours… so many nights it’s just me and the girl. I don’t have as much time for crafting as I would like, so lately I’ve been trying to concentrate my creative efforts in the kitchen. I love to cook and I’m trying to be healthier and teach my girl healthy habits. But I also like to zone out with suduko / solitaire / scrabble / mah jong … and I enjoy True Blood (Sookie!), going to the diner for coffee with my friends, and working on my new garden.

    Nice to meet you!

  8. Federica says:

    Hey there! I’m Federica, Italian attending university in the Netherlands. Uncommonly pale and strawberry-blond, sometimes I doubt about my mediterranean origins, also because I do not eat lasagne or drink coffee 🙂
    In love with Woody Allen’s movies and Paris. Ambitious and passionate writer, one day I know I’ll be a journalist!
    Best of luck with the blog!! 🙂

  9. Hey Faith! I am your friend Brooke. We used to have good God talks in college and lots of fun laughs. I think you are fantastic and love who you are! Keep up the good work mamma! 🙂

  10. I’m April, another American in London, enjoying the English ways of the world here! So funny they play reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond on Channel 4. I’m personally a fan of the 9:30 am runs of Frasier on 4 +1 🙂

  11. Helen says:

    Hello Faith, I’m another reader from Bristol (hi Hannah!), where I live with my wonderful husband and our cat. I love coffee, trapeze, reading and Frasier. I’m also developing a slightly worrying obsession with the Tour de France. I found you via the Freshly Pressed post, which really resonated with me as I’ve just been made an editor and feel that most of the time I’m making stuff up as I go along!

  12. Hi Faith! My name is Rebecca and I came across your blog the other day and I really enjoy reading it! I live in America, Tennessee, not far from the North Carolina border. I am a History major who will graduate this December. I also love photography, sports, and being an activist. You’re blogs have also inspired and encouraged my faith. 🙂

  13. Curtis says:

    Love your blog truly inspirational

  14. My name is Korey. I’m sneaky and would love if some of your 20,000 viewers would meander over to my blog after they’re done here 🙂

  15. Keri says:

    Hey, I’m Keri. I hail from your neck of the woods. We bonded over a trip to SC where we learned about the Lord and heard stories of how our mommas fell in love with our daddies 🙂 I miss you!!

  16. Hey Faith, I’ve commented a couple times in the last few days. I live in Ohio, lived (past tense) in Florence, and want to go back to Europe (and the rest of the world) super bad. And don’t freak out 🙂 What you’ve managed to do here, and that you’ve managed to hold on to all those readers since Freshly Pressed, just means that you’re a fantastic writer and we like who you are 🙂 My dog, Peanut, says hi, too.

  17. Patsy says:

    Hey Faith! I’m one of the 20,000 viewers. I’m Patsy and I’m from the Philippines. I love to paint, write, read, and watch musicals whenever I can. I’ve been living in the Philippines for 18 years and all that’s about to change since I’m going to a university in Pennsylvania this fall. I feel like a lab rat whose about to be sent off to space. Nice to meet you! 🙂

  18. Emily says:

    Hey Faith! I’m Emily and I’m from Colorado. I live in Iowa currently, but I studied abroad in Germany in 2011 and I loved every second of it. I want to travel abroad again more than anything, and I would love the chance to live there. I just graduated from college with a degree in journalism and am both excited and terrified about what’s to come. I loved your “How to Rope an Englishman” series, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts! 🙂

  19. Audrey says:

    I’m Audrey. I’m from the Sweet Carolinas, but I lived in Germany for a while as a teenager and in college, so I’m fluent in German. I wish I could go back. I have a dog who I over-photograph. With my 25th birthday looming and my marriage failing, I’m trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Also, I like reading your blog a whole lot, and I’m glad I found you through Naptime Diaries :).

  20. Hi, Faith. I’m dre. I was born out West, but grew up on a farm (the animal variety) in the Ozarks. I’m a homeschooler, seed-grower, natural dyer, and knitter—all of which makes me sound way more earth mother than I really am. Unless I’m in denial… I just took up kayaking, which is kind of exciting. I have a wonderful husband and two brilliant children. I like old British tv, dogs, and listening to cicadas in the long golden evenings of summer. It’s nice to meet you.

  21. Hi! I’m Anita. I live in a beautiful Victorian village in Ontario, Canada, and I’m married with a two year old girl and a teeny little boy in my belly. I’m looking forward to reading more!

  22. HI Faith. I’m a Brit married to an American living in the US. Love to hear your take of an American living in England, especially Bedford, which happens to be my home town.

  23. hunting for bliss says:

    Pleasure to meet you, Faith! I’m Tobi and I sort of love all of the things you love, but I like my tea strong, not sweet. I would add dogs, horses and dark chocolate to the list too. I live in Montana, which is absolutely dreamy-most of the time!! I’m happy that you were freshly pressed and that I found your blog, it’s delightful.

  24. midgardarts says:

    Well, now that I have been called out on lurking, I should speak up.

    I found your now famous / infamous blog entry through Ravens March and his blog. I don’t read many blogs, mostly because they are crap (mine included, I’m sure). I thought your take on the imposter syndrome was original and refreshing. I’m a former academic failure who is successfully impersonating an over-achieving grad-student. I’m Canadian, starting a DPhil at Oxford in the fall. I spend a fair amount of energy working on my own writing, for personal and professional reasons, so this blog appealed to me, beyond that first entry that drew me here.

  25. Hi Faith! I believe I commented and tweeted to you before, but thought I’d introduce myself in more than 140 characters. 🙂

    I’m Kate and I live in San Diego. I’m married to a soldier and have only furbabies thus far. I, too, adore a good cup of tea or coffee, love to collect Real Simple back issues and have way too many unfinished craft projects… and blogs. I’ve had over a dozen blogs come and go over the years, but recently found my real blogging passion on Pinterest… I love finding new and/or creative recipes and craft/DIY projects and sharing them. I’m really excited about this new blog, so I’m kind of telling everyone about it. 🙂

    I really do love your writing and your photography. I’m trying to work on my food photography… it’s coming along slowly.

    Also, my best friend is from London and just recently became an American citizen this last month and London has always been on my bucket list. 🙂 Okay, I’ll stop now. I think I’m rambling. 🙂

  26. Terry-Ann says:

    HI Faith! My name is Terry-Ann. I’m an IT Professional and a budding writer. I live in the South Florida area. I love music, history, astronomy, geography and Bollywood movies. I also love a good cup of herbal tea. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on “faking it”. It’s made me feel much more comfortable in my own skin 🙂

  27. I’m Becky,
    I manage our churches coffee shop. I also love coffee, Country Living Magazine, and Martha Stewart Living. I read your story about meeting your husband and thought it was so interesting I couldn’t stop reading. Congratulations on your new found blogging fame.

  28. Rod Arters says:

    Hey Faith – I’m Rod, divorced dad of 3 awesome kids living in Columbia, SC. You need to visit the Lake District of England – particularly Keswick. Amazing part of England! Keep up the great writing! Sadly, there are a lot of bloggers out there – but few that are worth reading. Oh, and I made the mistake of responding to your last blog and clicking that little box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments via email”. Yea, I’m not doing that again!! 20,000 email notifications to my inbox because of YOU. ugh, thanks a lot!!! lol

  29. Matthew Tapp says:

    Hi Faith! I’m Matthew, a 19yr old “young-man,” living (and from) southern California. I’m a Biblical Studies major; training and preparing for ministry 🙂 I hope to become a youth pastor, missionary, writer, teacher, and anything else I dream up. I must admit, I followed the large crowd to Starbucks and I decided to stay for more of your coffee dates. I like what you write, I hope to enjoy more and learn from your style! 🙂
    Live by Faith,
    Matthew Tapp
    (love your name btw).

  30. Franco says:

    I lived in Battersea for 2 years. Now back in Toronto. Your blog is superb.

  31. Hi, Faith. I’m Lydia, a twenty-something from Texas. I also love coffee and writing and art in general. I facilitate a ministry dedicated to reaching and equipping artists for Jesus Christ.

    I saw your post “What My 20s Taught Me” and was really encouraged by it. I then read your story “How to Rope an Englishman” and I just liked your style of writing so I decided to follow.

    Love it!

  32. Hi Faith! I am one of those unexpected guests at coffee, and thank you for your invitation to stay awhile because I absolutely love your style of writing! You caught my attention on the homepage “What My 20s Taught Me” because I am a twenty-something 🙂 I am from the West Coast about to move to South Carolina for school. Keep writing because I love reading!

    It’s a pleasure to meet you!

  33. Go Jules Go says:

    Very cool follow-up to your Freshly Pressage, and congrats again! I’m totally obsessed with the idea of visiting England, so will need to catch up on some of your old posts about that story.

    I’m Jules, from New Jersey, born and raised. I just turned 30, am married, and have a 2-year-old Labradoodle named Uncle Jesse. I went to school for writing and have some part-time writing jobs, but work full-time as a project manager for Big Pharma, because NJ is expensive. Like I-might-just-sell-my-soul expensive. My pie-in-the-sky dream is to make a living as a writer, and travel, travel, travel!

    Mmm. Pie.

    My blog is a humor blog with mostly memoir-style writing and a focus on guilty pleasures. Which is why this comment should have been a lot funnier. Whoops.

  34. Ashley says:

    I wish I lived in England, because I think we’d be friends if I was just a little bit older. I loved the post on Freshly Pressed, so naturally I wanted to know more about how you roped an Englishman. So I read the stories and had to fight back tears of happiness since I’m nannying for two boys at the moment who just wouldn’t understand the wetness running down my cheeks. I’ve got the whole waiting-on-God situation right now, and I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to read how God dropped Mr. Amazing and British right in your lap when you were totally set on being satisfied in Him. That’s really the way it ought to be, isn’t it? 🙂 Anyways, thanks for being a great blogger and for detailing your story. Best 20 minutes of my day thus far.

  35. Recently starting writing a blog and just started reading them when I bumped into yours…lucky for me! I’m a stay-at-home mom of two great girls. I love being a mom, writing for fun, experiencing anything beautiful and everything funny. I love your wit and style…Congrats on 20,000!!!!

  36. Hi Faith!
    Nice to meet you, too! I’m a Hoosier, although I really don’t know what that is other than someone from Indiana. I’m a recovering journalist who has gone to the so-called dark side of PR… I blog for writing therapy between work, grad school and fun with friends. I love to write about things that humor me and inspire me, especially when they involve people. I’m an adventurer who is just learning to play drums, and is now officially a skydiver! I proudly display my skydiving video on my blog!!! And for the record I highly recommend free falling at 120 mph out of a perfectly good airplane! : )

  37. Viki says:

    Hi Faith, in Viki. I’m a North Yorkshire girl, living in West Yorkshire. I met a southern boy 3 years ago and I’ve been reading your blog almost as long. I think him and your husband would get on. I’m a charity fundraiser, I love it and I can’t imagine doing anything different. I sometimes wish I was creative, could photograph well, or sew. But I do cook and I’m starting to bake, and think these other things will come when they’re ready. Right now, I’m happy. Really happy.

  38. Hi Faith,
    I love your humble and gracious attitude. You are just the kind of person I’d love having over for tea. I am an older mom with 2 teens and a 12 year old. I do lots of laundry-but the kids fold their own and round up the laundry in the first place. My husband (of 28 11/12 years) and I love the simple life. We live in BC, Canada in the Comox Valley where the weather is like yours, but with more sun in summer and probably a bit more snow in the winter (mostly rain). Our whole family loves to read. My daughter and I like to write. I will definitely follow her blog when she is old enough to have one–she is hilarious! Gets it from hubby. I am not that funny but I sure do like to laugh. We do a lot of that in our house. I love your blog. -Wendy

  39. saraheoliver says:

    Hi faith. I’m your friend Sarah. We saw each other twice today and I just wanted to say i am so proud of you!! 🙂

  40. Carla Vitorino says:

    Hi Faith! My name is Carla. I am from Portugal and moved to California last winter. I am married and at the moment I am at home. I discovered your blog recently (in WordPress) and I just fell in love with…. I love the way you write and I can identify a little myself with you. I am thinking that I should write a blog too because we moved so much the last 5 years. My English is not very good and I still have to improve it a lot. Reading blogs is a good exercise!!!! You are so honest and humble person! I would definitely follow you with a nice cup of coffee….. Thanks a lot for your amazing blog and making me smile each time I read it!

  41. Amy Jean says:

    Hi Faith! I’m Amy from Illinois. I’m a Social Worker by day and wannabe writer by night. I have two beautiful daughters who are my inspiration to keep writing. I can’t encourage them to follow their dreams if I don’t follow my own. I look forward to more blog postings from you!

  42. Andrew Thompson says:

    Faith, I really like Great Smitten and am glad to read new posts from you. Don’t change, because what you’re writing is fun and well crafted. Best wishes, from an American living in Southern Michigan (the Indiana Riviera), working in a hospital and having a great time blogging about life’s weird minutiae.

  43. I’m Skye, from New Zealand. I write about things that matter to me whether they matter to anyone else or not. I write for me. However I do love to inspire people and teach them about the experiences I have had in life. I have an amazing boyfriend who treats me better than I could ever deserve and my two siblings are the light of my world. Thank you for writing for you not for everybody else

  44. I am so incredibly grateful I stumbled into that Starbucks and found you. Your faith is absolutely magnetic and even though I am not a girl, I was deeply moved by your continuing saga of “How to Snag an Englishman”. Your trust in God’s timing waters my hope. I look forward to admiring from afar for as long as you choose to share your joy and wisdom.

  45. Hi Faith, I saw your blog on FP and really really enjoyed it. I live in Essex in the UK, I’m 30 and expecting my first baby with my man who I love truely. I have recently started to embrace the new direction that my life is going to take and reading your blog on what your 20’s taught me was great. I really connected with it. Hope you contine to blog and enjoy life.

  46. Courtney says:

    Hey Faith. You know me from high school. We’ve ridden a mini-3 wheeler together at a pep rally and dyed our socks together over burnt SoftBatch chocolate chip cookies.
    I am married to Ben, a fine fellow you also know. We live in the big town of Coats with our dog Vidalia (like the onion) and we hope to build a house soon. I am currently not using my Parks & Rec degree to dental assist. I enjoy my job because I love the mission-minded, God-loving people I work for and with. We recently did mission work in Romania and visited London along the way. England is a beautiful place and I plan to visit again.
    I love your blog and the idea of living overseas. Congrats on the 20,000! You’re famous girlie! 🙂

  47. Leah says:

    Hi Faith, we don’t know each other. But I went to college with your sister, Catherine, and I’m a big fan of hers. I’m sure you’ll agree – she’s a triple threat. Gorgeous, hilarious, and pretty stinkin’ smart. Anyway, I stumbled upon your blog ages ago and have been secretly reading in the shadows since then – your raw, yet light hearted approach to life kept me wanting to learn more from you. I imagine all of your posts read in a beautiful Southern twang, which I can only assume that all of the McDuffie girls have.
    Happy writing!

  48. joiedevivre74 says:

    Reblogged this on This beautiful life and commented:
    Love your energy and you sound exactly like me! Except I live in American but want to live in England!

  49. joiedevivre74 says:

    Love your blog! You sound like me but I only desire to live in England!

  50. Kei says:

    Hello Faith! I’m Kei, from Singapore (I’m at the other side of the planet! *wave wave).

    I’m in my 20s and I’m trying to chase my dreams now so I particularly like the posts in “What My 20s Taught Me“ and “Do Your Dream“! Heh.

    Happy writing and I’m looking forward to your new posts! 🙂


  51. misslavallee says:

    Hey Faith! I’m Chantal. I’m Canadian, I’m 24 and I’ll be moving to England in a couple weeks to teach for a year. I stumbled upon your blog and absolutely fell in love with you! Keep posting, we’re here because we like what you have to say, not because we want to judge you! I love the way you write, and am anxiously awaiting the next instalment of “How to Rope an Englishman”…maybe you’ll have a few hidden clues on how I can rope my own 🙂 Looking forward to reading your stories!

  52. Sybille says:

    Hello Faith! You know me, I am Sybille from Belgium, we studied journalism together and I fed you with Belgian chocolate and with a particularly generous Saint Nicolas speculoos (“the world’s biggest cookie”)… I like to read your blog to see how you are doing and to see the direction that you have taken after we graduated; I liked you a lot as a person but since we haven’t seen each other much after we moved to different countries, your blog feels like a way to keep in touch. I think I started to read you around the time you lost your magazine job, which I was very sorry for, but I am glad that it opened other doors for you. I also love to read your more introspective posts, because I like the way that you think, but mostly because your writing is beautiful and meaningful… It already was when we studied together. I am glad that you married Simon and started a family with him, you always looked right for each other!

  53. Faith — I LOVE your blog! So. so much. I cannot tell you how much. You are wonderful!! And you’re such an inspiration, and an encouragement. I’m seriously so happy I ran into this blog.

    On a side note, I’m 21 years-old, and growing. I’m a woman, I know the Lord, but I stumble in knowing His expectations. I hurt but I also can say in the most authentic and truthful way that I’ve ever been able to say before that I’m happy and healthy. I’m on a journey, and it feels like I’m kind of crossing dense jungles right now… Anyway… I guess that’s one way to describe “who I am” right now. 🙂

  54. Hi Faith! It’s so nice to “meet” you! I’m 22 years old and from Washington state. I started reading your blog after I found it on the WordPress homepage. I’ve fallen in love with your blog. It’s so refreshing and inspiring to see the faith and love you have for God and to see how much your family means to you. Every time I come here and read one of your posts, I feel like it was just what I needed to hear. Thank you for your optimistic view on life! It’s strange the connection I feel to you, just from reading your words. Anyway, thought I would introduce myself! Looking forward to more! 🙂

  55. Hello Faith!
    I’m Rhonnie, 24, I live in Northern California but I love the South & dream of being back there; I was born in So. Carolina & had some childhood in Florida. 🙂 I love dogs, sharks, books, poetry, & writing & I’m a bookkeeper/ dreams have always included writing & travel but now my one desire is to follow Christ wherever He leads! Don’t know what that will look like yet but i’m praying about missions & other ministry. I’m one of the new 20,000 & I love Great Smitten. Your JOY is infectious and you’re a great writer!! I love your completely open & honest heart. Such a gift. (Speaking of gifts, have you read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp?You must!) Nice to meet you…!

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