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The Art of Gentle Homemaking (Video Series and Maid Service Giveaway)

How many of you would like to have a maid?

How many of you feel like if you just had a fresh start, you would be encouraged to keep going?

How many of you are feeling discouraged and overwhelmed WITH ALL THE THINGS? And how do you get your kids to clean up after themselves anyway?

How many of you ever wonder if you got the wrong personality when it comes to being a “keeper of the home”?

Let’s talk.

For years I thought that being a “good” homemaker meant that I had to act (and let’s be honest, look) a certain way.

I thought I had to fit a mold, one that included aprons and chore systems and cleaning routines. I mean, good moms, good homemakers, they have this homemaking thing figured out, right? Why is it taking me so long, and will I ever get “it” together? What is the secret?

As I wondered and tried and worked at being a “good” homemaker, it seemed like I just kept failing. I’ll just try harder, I thought.

But it turns out trying harder doesn’t actually work as a sustainable way of living. Because every time I tried harder and failed, the crash bruised me up a little more, and eventually, I didn’t want to get back up; I didn’t want to try anymore.

The discouragement was too much.

But I didn’t want to give up, because my heart wouldn’t let me. The same heart that accused me of failing was also telling me to keep going. So I had to learn what it meant to keep caring and trying without the condemnation. I had to learn how to embrace my weaknesses, carry on in my strengths, and rely on God for all of it.

If you’re feeling discouraged or like you keep botching up this homemaking thing, if you feel like you got the wrong personality to keep a home, I’ve got something that will encourage you:

The Art of Gentle Homemaking: Trading in “Good” for Gentle.

This is a new video series I created to encourage those of you who are ready to give up, or have at least begun to settle for some mediocre version of yourself in fear of failing, again.

In the series we’re going to talk about:

  • Homemaking guilt and “What does it mean to be a “good” homemaker, anyway?”
  • The idea that only certain personalities can do this homemaking well
  • The “How-To’s” of trading in “good” for gentle (learning how to be gentle with ourselves and others)
  • Having a deeper relationship with Christ through our {perceived} failures
  • Homemaking and depression and how to get through the hard days without everything falling apart
  • Expectations (for this one my husband makes an appearance)

To get access to The Art of Gentle Homemaking, go HERE.

Giveaway: FREE Maid Service!

Who could use some help around the house? Yea, me too.

If you would like to enter to win a $100 gift card towards a maid service to give you a fresh start, just fill out the form below (and please share this post if you know someone who could use it!). This giveaway is open to everyone. You will received your maid service gift card at the end of May.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

THE WINNER IS ERIKA MERKLE! Congrats! 🙂

Love, Sarah Mae

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Two Matching Socks Walked into a Bar (just kidding, there are no matching socks, ever)

Have you ever done all the laundry in your house in one day, and then sit back and think how great it is and how you’ll never go back to having piles of dirty laundry again? You’re changed, you think, and you love the smell of clean clothes and how nice it is to find something that isn’t wrinkled (because you actually hung it up).

Your kids even have matching socks.

You have figured out the secret to laundry and you can now conquer the world! (It’s almost as good a feeling as when the kitchen is clean.)

Until one day you walk down to your laundry room (because someone says they can’t find socks) and THERE ARE ALL THE CLOTHES IN ALL THE PLACES and what happened? Didn’t you just do laundry, like, a week ago? Why oh why can’t it all just stay clean and put away?!

Maybe you can just run to Target and buy some new socks.

Anyone?

This is my life. I am maybe not the most awesome at cleaning, but I am a homemaker. Can you be a homemaker if you stink at cleaning? Yes, yes you can.

Let’s talk about that for a moment, how you can, in fact, be a homemaker even when there are no matching socks to be found.

How to Be an Awesome Homemaker When You Are Not Awesome at Cleaning

First of all, part of being a homemaker is teaching your children how to do their own laundry.

I did not do laundry until I was 14 and faced with the reality that my mother did not do laundry and I would have to figure out how to do it if I wanted clean clothes. I’ll never forget walking into the laundry room, navigating around piles of clothes until I got to the washer. Which was the washer? I lifted the lid and read the directions. WHO READS THE DIRECTIONS ON A WASHER? Me. I did. I followed the directions and a miraculous thing took place: my clothes got clean.

Here’s my point: kids can do their own laundry.

My kids are 8, 10, and 11, and when they say to me, “Mom, I don’t have any matching socks!” Do you know what I say? DO YOUR LAUNDRY. I love you. 🙂 Get a step stool for them, and BOOM, they can do it.

Next up in being a homemaker who is not awesome at cleaning: Submit to your husband when he insists on doing his own laundry.

So I maybe shrunk some my husbands clothes and I maybe mixed colors and turned some of this things pink. And he maybe told me that I was banned from doing his laundry from here on out, except underwear and socks (of course).

I am nailing the excellent wife thing.

Let’s move on.

My next tip in being an awesome homemaker is to hire someone as soon as you can. 

I am telling you, if you can swing it, GET YO SELF A MAID. (Is “maid” still used? Can we say that?) I am waiting for the day when I can hire someone to clean my house. I CAN’T WAIT. I don’t know if that day will ever come, but if it does, I MIGHT ACTUALLY BURST WITH JOY. See, it’s possible to be a joyful homemaker!

I remember the days a couple of years ago when I had the most wonderful woman come over and clean my house once a week. I miss her. I would walk into my house and it smelled, CLEAN. I didn’t even know what that smell was before her. My husband would come home and say, “Was Missy here?” Yes, yes she was. Bless her. (Missy, come back.)

There is nothing wrong with hiring help my friend. You are the keeper of your home, and if you can keep someone cleaning your home, you are managing like a boss. NO GUILT FOR IT.

Here’s my last bit of encouragement for today for you homemakers who aren’t sure you qualify as homemakers: Don’t be so hard on yourself.

So what if you’re not the best at cleaning. Your identity is not in your ability to clean well or keep a home or be a “Proverbs 31 woman.” Cleaning and homemaking and caring your people, those things matter; your work in the home is good, holy work, planned before time by God for you to do. But it’s not your identity. Be gentle with yourself. It’s easy to look around at other women who seem to have their homemaking stuff together and you’re over here like, “WHERE IS THE OTHER FREAKING SOCK?!” It’s okay. Do what you can. Don’t give up, and don’t beat yourself up.

One day at a time, one thing at a time, one sock at a time.

You know what makes a “good” homemaker? Loving your people. Love your people, love your neighbors, and care. Care about your home and the atmosphere and how you talk to people and how you talk to yourself. These are the things that matter. Care enough to not give up. Care enough to let go of perfection and comparing and just enjoy your people and your home.

Be kind to yourself and others.

And there you have it, the key to it all: love.

Love makes a home. So keep loving and doing the next thing.

Love, Sarah Mae

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Parenting in the dirt of our humanity

The other day I was sitting with my one of my children when they looked up at me and said, “Mom, you look like Rumplestiltskin. Under your eyes are all scaly and kind of purple.”

THIS is the Rumplestiltskin they thought I looked like.

I know.

I said, “That’s not a very nice thing to say.” They grinned. They didn’t mean to be unkind, they just thought it was interesting and funny and fascinating, like they were just making an observation.

We carried on with our day, but a little while later I had a “tea and discipleship” time with each of my kids individually. I had each child come into my bedroom with some hot tea and cookies. I asked them what was on their heart, and then I shared with them what I saw in them and then addressed an issue I saw that I felt like needed to be acknowledged. When it was the child’s turn who told me I looked like Rumple, I began to open the Scriptures when, as though they couldn’t contain themselves, said again, “I just can’t help it mom, you look like Rumplestiltskin under your eyes.”

It was then that I started to cry.

It just happened; the tears flowed out and I covered my eyes and said, “That really hurt my feelings.” As I was wiping away my tears I saw that my child was crying too. So there we were, both crying, and both tender-hearted, and we hugged and my child said, “I’m sorry mom. You’re beautiful. I’m so sorry.”

I looked at my sorrowful child who felt the pain of hurting another person and said, “I know you’re sorry and I know you love me. I don’t mean to cry, but your words hurt my feelings. It’s important that we use words that build people up, not tear people down, do you understand?”

“Yes” came out through the sniffles.

My sweet child was repentant and they felt what I believe to be godly sorrow. They saw that their words hurt someone, and they felt it and they didn’t want to do it again. They didn’t want to use their words to hurt and tear down.

I’m glad I cried in front of my child. I wouldn’t have chosen it, but I’m glad it happened and I’m glad they felt sorrow.

After the sorrow came forgiveness and grace. And that’s the part I love the most, the forgiveness. It’s in forgiveness that my child gets to experience being in the light after something dark. It’s there where I can show them the sweet gift of gentleness and grace and kindness. Forgiveness in purity is the best. My hope and prayer is that forgiveness becomes an ingrained part of their psyche, this knowing that they don’t have to be ashamed or locked up, but that they can experience good guilt and then be set free to keep on in grace.

This is the dirt of parenting: vulnerability and humanity laid bare before our children; honesty mixed with love and grace and forgiveness. It’s in this dirt, I think, that our kids learn to be kind and compassionate and forgiving. I think it’s where they learn they are in it with one another, and this “in it-ness” leads them to know they are loved and that they can love. They are loved in the mess of their sin and humanity, as we are loved by God in our sin and humanity, and they can turn around and love others in their sin and humanity. Love and grace and forgiveness sets people free.

This is why God says to love and forgive, over and over and over, even when it’s hard, even when it hurts.

The hope is freedom.

So I’m hoping today that I will lead my children towards freedom and that you will too. I’m hoping that we will be women who are not afraid of our humanity or our tears or our mess laid bare before our children; that we are okay to not have “it” together. I hope we’ll be women who show our children that we are in this dirt with them. Messy and loved and free.

Thank you Jesus.

SM

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Breathe, Pray, Write | Writing Intensive and Retreat THIS October

“God spoke to me, revealed things to me, and answered prayers through this retreat. It was a beautiful time. The setting was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and the fellowship was incredible.”

Kaylee Vida

I’m hosting a writing retreat and intensive again THIS October! I’m calling it, the Breathe, Pray, Write, Retreat.

What a joy to spend time with women in a beautiful space with delicious food and breathing room to do the soul work of writing.

At the retreat, I, along with my writerly friends, will spend intimate, up-close time with those of you who have a dream of writing and want to find space and grace with other writers while learning and being encouraged in the craft and all that comes with it.

There will be teaching on the art and discipline of writing, inspiring your readers, telling stories, how to incorporate the spiritual disciplines into your writing, organizing, publishing, marketing, and more. In addition to the teaching there will also be one-on-one coaching and plenty of Q & A time.

Here are the details:

When: Friday, October 6th (8:30am EST) to Sunday, October 8th (11:30am EST). You may arrive Thursday night after 6:30 pm to settle in before we begin Friday.

Where: In a beautiful 5,000 square foot home on 30 acres in a small little town in PA. (Free shuttle to and from the Harrisburg airport which is about 45 minutes from the location.)

Who: I am hosting this retreat with Denise J. Hughes and Logan Wolfram. Special guests include Kim Todd (Spiritual Disciplines with Writing and Holy Yoga Instructor) and Don Jacobson (of D.C. Jacobson & Associates Literary Agency). Amy Smoker (A Night to Breathe) will also be there, bringing the hospitality!

Cost: There are only 16 tickets available, and the cost is around $989 (depending on bed choice). Your cost includes your stay in the beautiful Lakeside Manor, all food for the weekend (including endless cups of coffee and tea), up-close and personal time with myself, Denise, and the other special guests, one-on-one coaching, teaching sessions, space to write, and some special gifts. Full payment will be due when you purchase the ticket.

We will stay up late into the night talking about writing and publishing and all the things that go with it. We will eat chocolate and wear P.J.’s and enjoy the best food all while being surrounded by beautiful scenery.

As one of only 16 women, you will have access to Sarah, Denise, Logan, Kim, and Don, and enjoy one-on-one coaching from Sarah and Denise. We will eat together, laugh together, and breathe as we work the words out of our soul.

If this sounds like something you’re ready for, click the button below to secure your spot!

Get Your Ticket!

Eventbrite - Writing Intensive & Retreat Fall 2017

“I’m so glad that I went to this writer’s retreat! I enjoyed learning from other writers and their experiences and had the time and space to focus on the direction of my writing. Sarah Mae and her team did a fantastic job with all of the details to make this a refreshing and encouraging weekend.”

Jamie Chester

Love, SM

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I’m going to screw up so many times

Dear kids,

Yea, so I’ve been losing it the last few days. I know, you know, WE ALL KNOW. Some of it is hormones, some of it is just trying to figure out how to work (write) and raise you all well and keep a decently cleaned home (heh), homeschool you, and make dinner instead of ordering pizza, again.

I’m sorry.

But I’m just in this weird place of trying to figure it all out. I’m trying to figure out how to discipline you all so you listen and honor me and my words and for gosh sakes STAY IN BED. I’m trying. And sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy because there’s three of you and one of me and your daddy is working so hard and I just…am going to screw it all up sometimes.

Right now, I’m locked in the bedroom and one of you is singing in a high pitched voice and I want to scream, “PLEASE JUST BE QUIET.” But you’re also giggling and enjoying each other even though I was harsh with you. You’re playing together and I love that.

Sometimes I just want to hide away, go under, under, under the covers until there’s quiet. I feel guilty for this, because somewhere in me there’s this twisted notion that I should have it all together by now, especially as an adult, a mom, a Christian. But here’s the thing kids, I do not have it together. Obviously. And it’s why I need Jesus and it’s why you do too, because I will let you down. I will fail you sometimes. I will yell and I will regret it, and I will say I’m sorry a thousand times and mean it every time. And I will get better because God’s working in me, but I won’t ever be completed this side of heaven.

I am dust. And dust is messy.

You are dust too.

Here’s the good news: we are dust together, imperfect, prone to screw up, humans through and through, but we have the breath of God in us and the Holy Spirit divinely entwined with us.

I am weak and strong, holy and sinful. We have this in common, you all and me.

So what I really want to say is this: I love you so much it hurts, and I am grateful every day that you are my kids, my people, my team. I love who you are and I see God in you and I love watching you unfold into who you’re becoming. I love you and my love never changes, even when my moods do. Even when I lose it or when I hide away, it’s never you, it’s me. I am learning every day, by faith, how to keep going and mother you well and be okay with this frail me.

And don’t you think for a second that I’ll give up. I won’t. I will keep going because that’s what love does. Love never fails.

Jesus never fails. He will never let you down, and when you think He has, you wrestle it out with Him and cry and go through all the guttural feelings as you pray, “Teach me to see you, God.

When you have wrestled it out and settled it in your soul that He is good, you will see Him. And you will know down into the deepest places of your being that He will never leave you or fail you or unlove you.

Hang on for dear life to Him.

I will too.

Because we’re in this together.

Now, as a wise older woman once said to me, “Go splash some water on your face and get back to it.”

Here I go.

Your mama, SM

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