The Hidden Years

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Me with my Ella girl

A year for sure.

Maybe longer. Maybe 10.

My sweet Ella will turn 18 in 10 years.

My boy will be 16, and my Care will be nearly 15. I will be 43.

These are the years I have to teach, train, influence, and disciple my babies. And once these years are gone, they’re gone. I will never get them back.

See, I don’t just want to get by in mothering; I want to mother with clarity and intention, seeking to raise Kingdom-minded children who will, Lord willing, go into the world with strength, and courage, and integrity, and faithfulness and a resolve to be light wherever God leads them. This doesn’t just happen, it takes hard work and time. And I don’t want to miss my chance.

Here’s what I’m saying: I quit.

I quit the public life for awhile.

I had a dream this past weekend, and in it I was yelling at my children, and then crying out of guilt, and then my daughter walked away. And the feeling was that it was too late, and I felt the full weight of regret all over. And it hurt bad. I woke up terrified that that dream was a future feeling I would have if I didn’t change course.

And so this is about faith and obedience and the offer of a gift.

Over the weekend I heard Sally talk about the “hidden years” where she did the work and raised her kids before God used her publicly. Something about that phrase, “the hidden years” stuck with me.

I think hidden years are a gift from God where we can privately grow in faithfulness, integrity and wisdom in preparation for the years where we will have opportunity to teach and influence others. Sally said to me years ago, “We need women who are willing to do the work in their homes, raising their children now so they have something to say later.” This isn’t about working women or stay-at-home moms, it’s about doing the hard work of teaching and training and growing so that we have something of substance to say and teach later. I hear wisdom in that statement, and I want it.

I want to teach and influence and encourage moms one day, but I don’t just want to relate with them, I want to have something of substance to offer them that will help them practically. I want to be a woman of integrity who will speak from the experience of a mom who did the hard work of bringing up her children with intention and faithfulness.

I just don’t want to compromise.

There are so many voices out there that will give permission to compromise in motherhood, and it is alluring and it sounds really good, but I can’t. I am all in to go after my children’s hearts and their behavior. I want to love them practically; I want them to have me available.

I also see a wisdom principle for those who will teach found in 1 Timothy 3:4-5 -

“He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?)…”

Yes, this scripture is out of context as it’s about an overseer or elder in the church. But the principle as I see is that someone who will be influencing and teaching others should have their own home in order. It has to do with integrity and faithfulness.

My home is not in order. Oh, it’s not bad, but my kiddos are little and are in the training years and I have much work to do (plus I homeschool); I cannot be distracted. This is my life, and my kids lives, and how they will interact with the world (I want them to make an impact!). Raising my children well is really important to me. I know there are no guarantees on how they will turn out, but I don’t want to look back on my life one day and know that I didn’t give it my all.

Jesus discipled 12 men day in and day out; he taught them and loved them and did life with them. He has modeled for me what I can do for my children.

Also, this is my calling. I am 100% called to be a mom, and so I want to walk fully and faithfully into my calling. And when I do that, when I mother well (albeit quite imperfectly) I lay my head down at night and experience peace instead of regret or guilt. It is the best feeling ever.

Okay, so does that mean that I can’t write? I don’t think that’s what it means, and I’m not interested in telling others what they should or shouldn’t do. God has offered me, I believe, the opportunity to have the hidden years. I believe He has also asked me to stop writing publicly for a season, and so this is obedience.

That season is at least a year.

And that’s really hard for me, because I love being here and writing and encouraging you all as you encourage me in return. However, my hands are up and this is faith. I trust God with my life and my words and everything. Truth be told, I’m really looking forward to seeking His face more intimately this year as I pursue Him and His Word more diligently.

I will continue to write privately, and I do have a book coming out spring or summer of 2015 (published by Tyndale). It’s about waking up to your own life and really living it, and not regretting it (so fitting right now!). The book is about a journey I embarked on to get unstuck and enjoy my life. It has been a delight to write and I look forward to sharing it with you. If you want to be notified when the book is available, you can click HERE to subscribe to this blog as I will post about it when it is available. I’ll also be updating my Facebook page from to time.

Well ya’ll, I guess that’s it.

Thank you for being faithful readers and encouragers to me. You all are a gift.

See you in a year (or 10).

Love,

Sarah Mae

Recommended (these are my favorite parenting books):

The Mission of Motherhood

The Ministry of Motherhood

Heartfelt Discipline

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School Accessories Giveaway, 10 Winners!

schoolgiveaway I LOVE back-to-school time.

Love it. 

I love the smell of notebooks and pencils and binders and books. I love that every year for the first day of school the kiddos and I go out to breakfast, go shopping for one new school outfit each, head to the park to feed the ducks, make “About Me” books, and then take school pictures in our new outfits. Such fun!

We also have a little tradition of walking to the school bus with the neighborhood kids, you know, solidarity and all. As the neighborhood kids board the school bus, my kids wave goodbye and say, “So long suckas!” I kid, I kid on that last part!

Well, in honor of almost back to school (and for sure back to school in the South, where you all are CRAZY starting so early), and The Type-B Homeschool Planner, I give you DaySpring and some super cute school accessories to begin the year with!

Today, you have a chance to win all of things shown above!

And how about the fact that there will be 10 WINNERS! Yep. 10 of you will get to take home the four items in the above picture, BUT they will be your choice. So, if you don’t want a bearded notebook, you can have a cute owl one, or a mustache one. Perhaps instead of the “Shine” water bottle, you’d like the “Joy’s of Life” one instead. Your choice!

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Get the Planner!

Want to know more about the Type-B Homeschool Planner? Click HERE!

Hold, write in it, love it! Click below to get the spiral-bound physical copy for only $24.99 (FREE shipping, unless it’s international – email me sarahmaewrites (at) gmail.com for international rates!)




(If you have any trouble, please email sarahmaewrites (at) gmail.com)

Want the PDF version instead? No problem! It’s only $9.99!
Add to Cart  

Enter to Win!

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the form below! Good “luck”! And be sure to come back tomorrow for ANOTHER GIVEAWAY! WOOT!

Open to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love, Sarah Mae

P.S. Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win the Type-B Homeschool Planner AND Chevron Scarf from Sorta Southern Boutique! If you buy the planner and then win the planner giveaway, you will get a full refund!

Affiliate links are used in this post.

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The Type-B Homeschool Planner + Chevron Scarf Giveaway!

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Today I have a great giveaway for you in celebration of the release of The Type-B Homeschool Planner!

The sponsor of the planner is the wonderful Sorta Southern Boutique, a sweet little shop that offers “a little something extra for your fun and funky side!” I personally like them because I have a little bit of my heart in the South, seeing as that’s where I spent a few years of my life (Georgia) and where I met my husband (Tennessee). And Paige, the owner of Sorta Southern, is so friendly and welcoming; she has that Southern hospitality thing down saying, “Pull up a chair, have some sweet tea, and stay awhile. Sorta Southern Boutique is a place where you’ll find fun clothing and accessories to match!”

I love Southerners.

In the planner, you will find a coupon code for 50% off the Sorta Southern Boutique!

Today, you have the opportunity to win not only a copy of The Type-B Homeschool Planner, but one of these lovely scarves (yes, you want to look cute while you’re homeschooling!):

FOUR winners!

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“Sorta Southern Boutique is a proud sponsor of Sarah Mae! This adorable online boutique is giving away a prize to FOUR lucky readers! Visit their website www.sortasouthern.com to check out all the other accessories and gift items available to you.” -Paige Yelle

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If you purchase the planner and then win the planner, you will get a full-refund!

The Spiral-bound physical book: $24.99





30-Day Money-Back Guarantee*!


PDF: $9.99

Add to Cart

 

Enter the Giveaway

To enter the giveaway, just fill out the form below! Good “luck”!

Up for grabs is one spiral-bound planner and four scarves. This giveaway is open to U.S. only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love, Sarah Mae

P.S. Tomorrow I’m giving away school supplies…

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Confessions of a Type-B Homeschool Mom (Plus, the Type-B Homeschool Planner is Here!)

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So yea, I homeschool.

And wow am I on top of it. I mean, I am so organized and detail-oriented, and boy do I know how to rock lesson-planning.

You all know I’m joking, right?

Listen, lesson-planning makes me break out in hives. Schedules with 1/2 hour blocks and the mere mention of spreadsheets, and I’m standing in a foreign land where I all hear is, “blah blah blah.” I don’t know what you’re saying!

I’m what you might call a Type-B homeschooling mom.

I jot down my lesson plans on notebook paper (and I use the term “lesson-plans” quite loosely) and I sometimes even follow them.

I like writing up all the ways I’m going to homeschool my kiddos, and then I toss it to the wind (not necessarily intentionally), make hot chocolate, and look up You Tube videos with my kids on how astronauts eat in space. It’s quite fascinating.

Now before you get all worried that my children are fending for themselves in a wasteland of rejected education, I do actually teach them. About subjects. Like history and art and music and geography. Oh yes, we learn alright, we just do it in a…flexible sort of way. No half-hour blocks of time scheduled neatly in our house. Not that there is anything wrong with that at all. It’s just not us.

And I’m finally okay with that.

See I used to read homeschool blogs and you know what I did? I compared myself to those moms. And I compared my kids. I was afraid I wasn’t doing enough; I was worried I would fail my children. I got neurotic. I planned more. I tried harder. I cried and I finally thought, “I am not Type-A enough to homeschool my kids.” I thought that in order to be a good homeschooling mom, in order to be a good mom, I needed to be a certain type of personality. It turns out though, I am fully capable of homeschooling my kids, and being a good mom, just the way I am. And I’m not organized or detail-oriented or scheduled. I despise crafts. But you know what I have? I have heart.

I have heart and excitement and vision, and I love that I get to homeschool my kids. Love it.

I love it because now that I’m comfortable with who I am, how God made me, I can walk in the freedom that God gave my children to me! He didn’t give them to a Type-A mom, He gave them to Type-B me.

However.

I do recognize that I have certain limitations, being detail-challenged and all. I also realize that my personality isn’t an excuse to slack off. Definitely no. Hot chocolate won’t teach my children to communicate and interact well with the world. God has called me to steward their minds, hearts, and souls, and I intend to do just that as best I can.

Which isn’t very best. So thank God I have the power of the Holy Spirit in me to help me and guide me and give me strength as I need it. Thank God for His grace and kindness and gentleness as He leads me by faith in all things, including homeschooling.

And after a few years of doing this homeschooling thing, I’m finally getting the hang of it. Which is to say, I am confident that I can homeschool my children well because I’m not alone in it.

I’ve even gotten pretty good at planning! Which is why I’m writing this post.

About a month ago I was on Facebook and I mentioned how I wished their was a planner for Type-B people like me who didn’t need detailed schedule sheets, but really needed detailed step-by-step “how-to” lesson-plan without wanting to cry in a closet. Many of you responded saying you’d like the same thing.

Well, don’t you know that I am a Type-B gal who is also motivated.

So I took all the planning that I had finally figured out how to do (in a Type-B way of course) and compiled it into what I now call, The Type-B Homeschool Planner: The planner for the rest of us.

Fortunately God gave me a husband who knows my last-minute ways and is willing to step in and get the job done. Specifically, he’s the one made all the calendar pages, formatted the book, and made the cover. In a week. Because he is amazing.

Friends, today I present you with…

The Type-B Homeschool Planner!

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Sweat-free lesson-planning! WOOT!

Oh ya’ll, I am so giddy over it!

My husband and I have worked tirelessly to finish this, and it has been a labor of love, late-night crab dip sessions, and calls to Colorado where I have a very patient printing company owner who was willing to make the planner a for-real, spiral-bound book. You have no idea how difficult that is to make happen in a cost-effective way. Unless you go to China. Or order 10,000. Let’s just say I am a very thankful woman right now. But I digress.

The homeschool planner. That is for US! You and me, Type-B moms who love our kiddos but who struggle with details, get overwhelmed with lesson-planning, and are generally laid back but know we need to get our ducks in a row if we’re going to homeschool well. Yea, it’s for us.

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Features:

  • Spiral bound, physical book
  • 233 pages
  • 8.5 x 11 inches
  • 14-day guide to getting homeschool ready (includes how to lesson-plan without breaking a sweat)
  • Full-year of monthly calendar pages (July 2014-June 2015)
  • Full-year of daily calendar pages (July 2014-June 2015)
  • Planning pages for up to five children
  • Planning pages with question prompts to help you plan
  • Words of wisdom on how to homeschool multiple children
  • Wisdom from seasoned homeschool parents
  • Encouragement from homeschool graduates

Take a Look Inside

Planner Preview (intro and sample calendar pages)

Day 1: Vision (Sample)

Now for some more good news…

The first 100 people who order a copy of the physical book will get this FREE tote bag from DaySpring*(which retails for $16.99)!!!

*ALL OF THE TOTES HAVE BEEN SPOKEN FOR*

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How fun is that?! DaySpring is the best. To get this deal, listen up! You need to purchase the *spiral-bound physical* book and email your receipt (screen shot is fine) of your purchase to: sarahmaewrites (at) gmail.com. If you are in the first 100, I will email you a code to get the tote. I will get emails out as soon as I can.

Yes, I Want the Planner! How Do I Get It?

I’m glad you asked.

I am offering the planner in two versions: spiral-bound physical book and PDF (the PDF is not eligible for the tote bag offer).

To purchase either of them, just click below.

Spiral-bound Planner (hold it, write in it, love it!): $24.99 (FREE Shipping, unless you want it shipped internationally, in which case please email me at sarahmaewrites (at) gmail.com before you purchase so I can help you out!)




30-day Money-Back Guarantee*!


PDF: $9.99

Add to Cart

Make sure you come back tomorrow because I have GIVEAWAYS and I want to introduce you to the amazing Type-B Homeschool Planner sponsor, Sorta Southern Boutique! 

“When I read this quote I knew this planner was written for me: “I love planning, but I’m not always super awesome at following through with my planning.” Um, yeah…. that’s me to a T! I wanted to remember so many sections that my highlighter ran out of ink while reading. I love that this planner is not just for school but for life as well.  Having 14 steps already broken down into manageable pieces was reassuring and helpful in getting the ball rolling. For someone who gets overwhelmed easily, these easy to complete steps (with lots of thought prompting questions) were perfect for me.  I am so thankful to have found a planner that is practical, easy to use, and manageable. Seeing this question “What memories/feelings do you want to invoke in your children during their homeschooling years?” has made me totally refocus and reevaluate why I’m doing what I’m doing. Thank you Sarah Mae from the bottom of my ‘best intentions’ heart.”

Jessica Bish, Mom of Four

Love, Sarah Mae

*The tote is free, but you still have to pay shipping. It’s still a steal!

*You can return the planner within 30 days of purchase for a full-refund (minus shipping) as long as it has not been written in.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

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What Do You Do When You Feel Like You Can’t Do Anything? (A break in the blog break for good reason)

I had a post all ready in my head about praying when there is nothing else to do. When there are girls being kidnapped and taken into jungles, and planes being shot down, and ISIS killing and raping and marking.

All we can do is pray, right? And we should be. We can’t throw money at evil. We can only get on our knees and pray, pray, pray.

But today, there is something else we can actually do. And yes, it involves money.

Hear me out?

God says we are to love our neighbors and our enemies. For Jeremy Courtney and his family and his organization, he is trying desperately to love both by providing Iraqi children with life-saving heart surgeries. Yes, there are kids here in the U.S. who need help, and for that matter, there are problems all around the world, and don’t we know it. Don’t we know it because we are overwhelmed by all the suffering and the evil. But today, right now, ISIS is going door-to-door marking the homes of Christians with this symbol:

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Even in the midst of this horror, the Preemptive Love Organization is still providing heart surgeries to Iraqi children. They are practically and wildly loving their neighbors and their enemies by going after their hearts, literally. This, from Jeremy:

“The rapid advance of ISIS eliminated our ability to serve children in certain parts of the country. But there’s hope. Our highest impact program is still saving children from all corners of Iraq. Today we need your help. The violence across the country has made our work more important than ever as displaced families continue to seek lifesaving surgeries for their children. For many, our doctors are their only option.

Preemptive Love is looking to provide 120 more surgeries between now and the end of the year, Lord willing. Each surgery costs $250. 

Friends, will you help? It’s a big ask, but here it is: They need to raise $30,000 right now.

If you’re willing to help, please, please do it today. You can CLICK HERE to donate.

If you’re still with me, please keep reading…

The Mission of Preemptive Love

To eradicate the backlog of Iraqi children
waiting in line for lifesaving heart surgery
in pursuit of peace between communities at odds.

The Heart

I want to share some of the heart behind Preemptive Love from Jeremy Courtney’s book, Preemptive Love:

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“I no longer accept the zero-sum worldview that says we cannot simultaneously be on the side of the Democrats and Republicans; Americans, Israelis, and Iranians; Jews and Palestinians; Sunnis and Shias; Arabs, Kurds, and Turks. I choose them all. I don’t lean left or right. I lean in. I lean forward, because that’s where love lives.”

“Of these thousands of children whose lives we would save, some would one day carry the scars on their chest to law school and on to the halls of parliament, where a new story of preemptive love would be told and the people of Iraq would turn over a new page with the people of Israel…”

“Preemptive love originates in the heart of God. The one who made the universe and holds everything in it-the one to whom Muslims, Christians, and Jews are all ostensibly pointing-is the first and the last enemy lover. And in the end, it is not our love that overcomes hate at all. It is God’s. And preemptive love is not just something God does as a one-off transaction. Preemptive love is who God is, constantly overcoming our hateful rebellion and our lesser passions that belie the self-interest we suppose ourselves to be pursuing…when we accept God’s preemptive love, that Christ makes all things new, we quit playing by everyone else’s rules and pursue a long, risky journey with the God who loves his enemies-even enemies like you and me…we don’t need power to live in peace. Because even though fear, hatred, and violence conspire to unmake the world, preemptive love unmakes violence.

History

Some context of the Chemical Warfare that Has Led to So Many Heart Defects in Iraqi Children

From the book, Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time:

“On March 16, 1988, Saddam Hussein’s military dropped chemical weapons on the seventy thousand residents of Halabja. Five thousand people died instantly. Anther twenty thousand people were seriously injured and directly exposed to the chemical weapons. Kurds still see rates of birth defects and cancers that rival that of Hiroshima…

It is a widely held notion that Saddam’s chemical attacks-including the less famous ones at Penjwin and Haj Umran that preceded Halabja-were mostly about creating unfathomable terror in revolutionary Kurds and the Iranian military with whom Iraq was officially at war…

The year would continue with Saddam Hussein perpetration further chemical attacks around Bahdinan…later in the Bazi Gorge, where nearly three thousand were gassed, killed, and ultimately burned. Seventy-seven villages were gassed in this August campaing alone. THis went on until October…

As thousands of families continued to suffer after effects of the poison gas, as babies were spontaneously aborted or delivered prematurely, and as countless children were diagnosed with heart and other birth defects, it became increasingly clear that the death toll from Saddam’s chemical warfare could not be strictly limited to the 1980′s…

When the this news reached geneticist Dr. Christine Gosden, she traveled to the area to conduct research on the soil and the symptoms of the still-living population. Even though she arrived in 1998-ten years after the bulk of the attacks-her work revealed the presences of mustard gas and the nerve agents sarin, tabun, and VX…

…She said…”What I found was far worse than anything I had suspected…I found that there was also a total lack of access to pediatric surgery to repair the major heart defects…”

Help

Maybe you only have $5 to give, or maybe you have $250, which will cover one surgery. Maybe you have $1000, or 10,000, and maybe today, right now, you can help those very real kiddos in Iraq who need to fix the holes in their hearts. If you can help, please, please do. To donate, please CLICK HERE.

Nasiriyah-Diptic

Love, SM

Preemptive Love FAQ

What’s Happening Now with the Iraq Crisis?

The book: Preemptive Love (HIGHLY recommend) Affiliate Link.

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That Time I Spray Tanned and Looked Like an Oompa Loompa

So.

I did this to myself today…

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Yes dear readers, THAT is a spray tan gone bad.

Very, very bad.

I asked for level 1, as in, the lightest possible spray tan. Not only did it go Puerto Rican on me, but it decided to put most of the spray on my face!

And here’s the kicker…

I’m going the Mom’s Night Out movie premier in L.A. on Tuesday. THIS TUESDAY.

(Can’t see the trailer for Moms Night Out, click HERE)

Are you laughing yet? Every time my husband sees me he starts cracking up. My daughter said to me, “Well mom, you don’t have to worry about us calling you gray hair anymore, we’ll just call you orange face.”

Awesome.

Now for the good news: I washed my face and it seemed to take off most of the orange. I think it’s going to be alright…I think.

If you want to see how it turns out, follow me on Instagram or Facebook because I’ll be posting pics of the red carpet premier, and I’d love for you to follow along. :)

I’m really done posting now. No more for a good long while. K? K.

Alrighty friends, catch ya later!

Love,

Oompa Loompa, Sarah Mae

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