January 2016 - Sarah Mae
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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Teaching Our Kids Self(ie) Control

Today’s post is by the ever-inspiring Kristen Welch of We Are THAT Family. She has a new book out titled, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World and it’s Fantastic! Enjoy!

I only did it to get a like.

I read this on a t-shirt at Target the other day.

I guess it’s supposed to be cute, the only problem is, in many cases, it’s true.

Our kids are growing up in a selfie society with technology in their back pocket, on their wrists, and just about every room in the house.

Media and technology are amazing tools. But when our children are just a click away from scary and damaging stuff, we have to be proactive in allowing them access.

Anything else is just simply irresponsible.

I’ve talked to moms who have 4th grade sons addicted to pornography and middle school girls who are suicidal because of hateful instagram feeds. We need to know what our kids are looking at–not so we can control everything they see, but so we can empower them to look away when they need to.

Here are some of our technology restrictions:

We get final say in what social media accounts our kids have, and we get to be their “friends” or follow whatever they sign up for.

We can read our kids’ texts if they give us reason to.

We don’t allow FaceTime or other video chatting, chat rooms, etc.

We won’t let our kids interact online with people they don’t know, whether it’s gaming or followers on Instagram we don’t know. Privacy settings on our accounts help control this.

We don’t allow apps to be deleted, so we can monitor what’s being downloaded.

We reserve the right to ask our kids to put their phones or media away at any time. After all, they are our phones that we are letting them use. I love what blog reader Kim Adam said: “I pay for it and that makes it MY phone. I am the parent and I will say when and where they can have it.”

We require our kids to pay part of a bill if it is associated with technology.

We don’t allow devices at the dinner table. And please, don’t walk and text.

Ultimately, it is ours and we are letting our child use it. We can and will take technology away if we need to.

We have a no-media day every week. When we first announced this several years ago, I wish I’d videotaped the response. At the time, it wasn’t funny. My kids flipped out—which proved the need for creating media-free hours. It took time and consistency, but they got used to it.

As far as social media and our kids go, we carefully consider each “new thing.” The problem I see with social media is that it creates an alternative world that offers an inflated view. We can easily distort reality and show only the edited or filtered parts of our lives. I’ve certainly succumbed to unhappiness after a hop into Facebook, so I get it. I’m a middle-aged woman who feels the pressure, and considering that kids are more impressionable and naïve than adults is exactly why we need to be careful and involved.

I have mostly been really proud of my kids’ choices, but they are human and we aren’t done raising them. I know they will make mistakes and learn from them. We’ve discovered many teachable moments by getting involved in what they are seeing or saying on the Internet.

social media conversation

Here are 10 Technology Guidelines to Teach Our Kids:

  1. Nothing is ever really private. Statuses and pictures can be shared and altered.
  2. Or permanently deleted. Everything is traceable. I read something really disturbing on Facebook the other day from an old friend, and when I went back to show my husband because I was alarmed, it had been deleted. But it definitely wasn’t forgotten.
  3. Some things are better said face-to-face (like apologies or confrontations). Social media makes it easier for us to be cowardly. We need to teach our kids the value of looking someone in the eye and making things right. Sure, it’s harder, but they won’t forget it.
  4. Remember there are real people with feelings behind every avatar. Lately, I’ve been on the receiving end of some harsh words. And sometimes I just want to remind the offenders that I’m a real person. I think it’s good to teach our kids that our (online) words can hurt.
  5. It’s okay to disagree with someone’s opinion, but kindness always wins. “If you are not kind on the Internet, then you’re not kind.” —Glennon Melton. It’s as simple as that.
  6. Don’t let negative comments to your pictures, statuses, or no likes at all change how you feel about yourself. This one is especially important to teach our girls. There’s this whole secret online code between mean girls, and we have to remind our daughters that who they are doesn’t change because of how people see them.
  7. It’s easier to attain a bad online reputation than a good one—so watch what you say. We’ve all probably done something online that we regretted. Our words follow us.
  8. Avoid drama. We all read and see things we don’t agree with, and I want my kids to use self-control and click off that page.
  9. Don’t ever mention your location. Predators don’t lure kids at the school bus nearly as much as they do online. Our children need to know the dangers of over sharing.
  10. Take a day of rest from social media. Recently, I asked my teen to take a break from social media. She wasn’t in trouble or doing anything wrong. I just noticed she was isolating herself and thought it would be healthy for her to take a couple of days off. Later, she thanked me.

Available Now

-excerpt from Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead To Life’s Ultimate Yes

Kristen Welch blogs at wearethatfamily.com where she shares about parenting, marriage and inspirational encouragement. Her family founded Mercy House, a non-profit that empowers impoverished and oppressed women around the world. Kristen is an author and her newest book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is now available!

There are affiliate links in this post. Read my disclosure policy here.

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I’m Looking for 100 Dedicated Readers (Book Launch Team)

bloggingold house

I wonder how many of you were around in the beginning? This was my old blogging station in my old house in 2008!

Many of you have been readers and friends and supporters for a long time. Some of you, years.

I started blogging over seven years ago (remember Like a Warm Cup of Coffee?!), and over that time one of the most successful, crazy fun things happened: I released my first for-sale eBook, 31 Days to Clean. It went on to sell over 40,000 copies. It struck a nerve, and I know why. The reason it resonated with women is because SO MANY OF US aren’t awesome, natural cleaning types, but want to have a warm, cozy, welcoming, decently-clean home. It was a way to say, “Hey, me too, I’m not a great cleaner, but I still want to do it and be hospitable and not trip over the laundry!” The other reason it resonated is because there was a soul element to it; it wasn’t just about the cleaning. It was about the heart of the woman as well, because the truth is, that’s what I care about, the heart and the soul behind anything we do as women, as mothers, and as homemakers. And when I say homemaker, I mean any woman who cares about making a home, whether she works outside of it or not.

Now, all of this to say that 31 Days to Clean is now Having a Martha Home the Mary Way and IT WILL BE AVAILABLE IN MARCH thanks to Tyndale! (Don’t buy it yet, please, because I have goodies for those of you who wait!)

Here’s what I need from you faithful readers, I need a group of 100 dedicated women who are willing to hang with me for a month as I prepare to bring this baby into the world. More specifically, I’m looking for those of you are WITH ME and believe in the art of hospitality and homemaking and having a soul at peace secure in God’s love, whether you rock at cleaning or not.

If this sounds like you, keep reading…

A Strong Team of 100 M & M’s

Yep, I’m looking for Mary’s and Martha’s, because I know that God wove both personalities into this world, and we can learn from and with each other. I want some M & M’s for my team!

If you get chosen for the M & M team, this is what you’ll get:

  • A PDF and a paperback copy of Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean Home and a Satisfied Soul
  • The PDF of the new journal, “31 Days to a Satisfied Soul”, a companion to the book
  • a private FB group with me to share ideas and missions to get the word out about the book

What I ask my M & M’s in return is:

  • That you will read the book in a timely fashion
  • That you will write a review on Amazon, B & N, and Goodreads
  • That you will be dedicated to me and the team for one month, doing missions, sharing ideas, and being an encouragement to each other

If you are ready to join me for some fun in getting this book to the world, please head HERE and fill out the form. M & M’s will be chosen and emailed on Friday, February 5th.

Thank you so much!

With love, Sarah Mae


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The Surprising Gift the Lord Gave Me

Today I got a Christmas card from my mom.

You don’t know how significant that is.

I know, it sounds so normal to get a card, right? But for me, it’s not normal. Normal for me has been having a mom who didn’t know how to be a mom. Her wounds clouded her ability to parent; her heartache led her to alcohol, and alcohol led to the near destruction of her mind, her liver, and our relationship.

Also, she should be dead.

Read the rest over at (in)courage today.


Love, SM

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A Night to Breathe UPDATE (Event Postponed)

Well. Apparently the East coast is about to have a full on Snowpocalypse.

Which is kinda fun if people are safe (Sledding! Hot chocolate! Little Women!), but it just so happens that the impending snow will land on the Night to Breathe weekend. Therefore, Amy and I have decided to postpone the event and will instead host it on March 19th (Mark your calendars!).

We have sent out an email to all the attendees, but I’m trying to cover my basis with this post because we wouldn’t want anyone showing up and wondering where we all are! If you have any questions about the date, please email me.

In the meantime…

Happy grocery shopping and stock piling!

Love, SM

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On Expectations, Silver Linings and Choosing Joy

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 11.57.35 AM

Today is a guest post by a Mary Carver. She is lovely and funny and her words here are such a balm to the soul. Enjoy!

I call myself “a recovering perfectionist,” but the truth is that my recovery is an achingly slow process.

While I’m more gentle with myself – and others – today than I was a few years ago, I still have miles to go before I am living in and with grace the way I long to. One of the biggest obstacles in this journey is the expectations I have about just about everything: my husband and my children, my career and my ministry, my home, my hair, my weight, myself in general.

Over the past two years I’ve had the honor to work on a book, a compilation of blog posts and stories written by Sara Frankl, a friend and fellow blogger who passed away in 2011. Reading her words once again has challenged me to think about expectations differently – and to realize how much I miss when I hold onto my dreams and hopes with a death grip rather than letting them go to receive the actual gifts I’ve been given.

Sara faced incredible pain and loss every day, but she also determined to find the blessings in her every day. She lost the ability to have a family, her career, the ability to sing and dance the way she had as a young woman, and eventually even the ability to leave her home. But rather than linger on what she’d lost and what she’d hoped for but would never have, she turned her eyes to the blessings she’d been given – and to Jesus.

I’m starting to think that life mainly consists of learning to accept things we say will never happen to us. I’m sure you have your own examples. I have friends who swore they would always work but now love being stay-at-home moms. I have friends who were sure they’d want to stay at home with their kids who would go crazy if they didn’t have a job outside of the home to challenge them. A good friend of my family got married, and both he and his wife are successful doctors who never wanted kids. They are now captivated by their three beautiful boys.

Life takes us by surprise, and we learn to embrace what is meant to be, rather than what we meant to create.

I write a lot about the silver lining. That’s not just some sort of “Pollyanna-ish” way to look at life for me. I have a quote on my wall by Maurice Setter that says, “Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold.” I love that quote not because of the optimistic silver lining, but because of its focus on the expectation of something better.

I think our expectations of what we want life to be often overshadow the good things that are already in front of us – and that’s when we miss the silver lining.

All God asks of us is to live the best life we can with what we are given. In other words, we are all given different blessings and different crosses to bear, which means we can only take care of what’s in front of us in that moment and do the best we can.

As my life changed over the years these truths proved to be something I needed to hear. I needed to remind myself that my old gifts were gone, and they didn’t serve me in living my best life anymore. I had new gifts and crosses given to me, and I had to rethink how to live my life with them. It took a while to find my new normal, and that continues to change on a daily basis.

But when my focus is on living the best life I can with what I have in that moment, I always find my silver lining. I’m not expecting the gold I used to have. I’m not looking for the gold that I think I should have. I’m looking at the silver right in front of me and saying thank you every day.

What unexpected silver lining are you be grateful for today?

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 11.59.59 AMIf you enjoyed this excerpt from Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts, you can learn more about the book and its authors at TheChooseJoyBook.com.

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life, at www.givinguponperfect.com


There are affiliate links in this post. You can read my disclosure policy here.

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