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The Truth About the Dark Days


I looked at my iPod. Which playlist should I pick to listen to while I wash my dishes.

My eyes went back and forth between my “Cleaning” playlist and my “Rend Collective” praise music list. I decided on the praise because it’s been a dark day.

I propped my iPod up on my kitchen window, pressed play, and as the words came out, something in me opened up.

I turned around, slid down to the floor on my knees and cried.

I think I’m in a bit of a depression.

And depression is this weird thing that you can’t really explain or give reason for. It just is.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me…” Psalm 42:5

I get this way from time to time, it’s just a darkness, and it seems to be a rhythm of my life, and I know it will lift. But it’s been a few weeks of struggling to do basic tasks, and I finally had to admit to myself that I’m in it. And I function. I’m kind of a functioning depressive, or so I told my friend this morning. I can be mostly okay, but in my home, going about the hours, everything is a mountain.

I had a class in college and I remember the professor telling us once that when you find yourself in a depressed place, that everything feels hard, and to just do something small as you can. Maybe you can just make the bed. Do that.

My small thing, right now, is writing this to you, because there is something in the writing that helps. Something about vulnerability and honesty that allows the process to take its course.

So here I am, on the first day of my Longing for Life course sale, telling you that I’m depressed. But I’m also hopeful because God is with me, and He knows all of my heart and every bit of my soul, and He will be kind and tender with me through this. I’ve been here before.

So today, I’m going to be gentle with myself, and I’m going to slowly do my dishes, and I’m going to keep on knowing that I’m not alone.

I’m not going to believe the voice of the enemy and I’m not going to condemn myself. I am free, and I trust the healing in the heaviness.

If you are struggling with a dark day or days, hang in there. Be gentle with yourself. Listen to truth not accusation. You are loved, you are not a failure, you are going to be okay.

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

“…whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” 1 John 3:20

“…the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

“In my failures You won’t walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea”

My Lighthouse, Rend Collective

Much love to you today,


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Motherhood is Easy and Instinctive (and other myths moms believe)

Today is a guest post from Ruth Schwenk. She and her co-author Karen Ehman have penned a much-needed resource for moms called Hoodwinked. Today Ruth shares some wonderful encouragement from their new book. Enjoy!

We had tried about everything.




Nothing seemed to be registering, at least for lasting change.

“Tell me about her,” my friend continued.

I (Ruth) shared with her a little about my child’s personality and what she liked and disliked. I shared our history and some of the stories that would help her understand our parent-child relationship a little better.

My friend looked at me and said, “Well, she just needs to know you empathize with her.”

“Empathize with her?” I said.

“Yes. She needs to know you hear her, understand her, and feel what she feels before you teach her.”

I sat there for a moment, not knowing what to say at this uncomplicated answer to what I had been trying to figure out for months. This was a lightbulb moment for me.

“You mean everyone isn’t just like me?” Hello, Ruth! I had been so focused on how I felt that I never even stopped to consider our differences and how my child was feeling.

I know it seems so simple. But for me it was a tremendous discovery. Up until this time I had never taken into consideration that my children were not like me. Their personalities are all different, and they look at life situations different than me. Everyday life looks different through their eyes than it looks through mine.

We view a situation in two different ways, and instead of faulting my child for that, I need to understand her in order to reach her.  Now I’ll admit it … it’s not easy. Not one bit. It takes every ounce of my being not to burst out laughing at a situation that I find rather humorous, yet she finds tragic. Or feel sympathetic when a situation looks more black and white to me. She is much more of a “feeler” than me. Now of course there has to be a balance, and you have to help your child learn how to handle her personality in light of how God wants us to live, but you can’t help her do that if you aren’t viewing life through her lens. You won’t be able to understand where she is coming from to help her in her journey of growth.

Right now as I sit here at my desk writing, my eye catches a large framed picture. On the picture matting all around the photo are the written words, “I love you, Mom. You’re the best mom ever. Best friends. Bella + Mom = Best Friends.” The framed picture is from my oldest daughter. The child I “just couldn’t figure out.”

I am so thankful that my friend spoke that truth into my life a few years ago. Her wise words changed the way I parented my daughter and helped me embrace our relationship. I had to intentionally (and still do) make an effort to work hard at understanding her. Some children are more outgoing, talkative, and personable. Others are quieter, more reserved, thinking cautiously and calculating everything. These differences are not weaknesses. The goal of recognizing differences is to help our children grow into the unique people God intended for them to be. We need to help them discover that their gifts, personalities, and interests are all a part of his plan and his story.

It has been so incredible to watch God knit my heart and Bella’s together.

I wouldn’t trade all that hard work for anything.

*Taken as an excerpt from the book with slight alteration for blog length from “Myth #9: I Have to Do It All Right, or My Child Will Turn Out Wrong”

My good friend Karen Ehman and I are absolutely thrilled to share a resource that we believe is a game-changer for moms: Hoodwinked: Ten Myths Moms Believe & Why We All Need to Knock It Off!

We have had ENOUGH of the misconceptions of motherhood!

Myths such as: “The way I mother is the right (and only) way,” “Motherhood is natural, easy, and instinctive,” or “My child’s bad choice means I’m a bad mom.” These myths leave moms hoodwinked and sometimes even heartbroken.

Hoodwinked Cover 2

In our straightforward yet encouraging “we’ve been there” style, we enable mothers to

  • Identify the ten myths of motherhood
  • Replace the lies with the truth of what God says
  • Forge healthy, supportive relationships with other moms of all ages and stages
  • Confidently embrace the calling of motherhood as they care for their families in their own unique way

Ultimately, Hoodwinked equips mothers to stop searching for the secret and develop and embrace their relationships instead- with their kids, other mothers, and most importantly, with God.

You can grab your copy of Hoodwinked today HERE:


Barnes & Noble


Love, SM

Affiliate links are used in this post.

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One of the Smartest Business Women I Know

Yesterday, my friend Crystal’s book, Money Making Mom, came out.

And you all have to know, that I esteem her so highly and I couldn’t recommend her or her work more. She is absolutely brilliant at business, particularly online business. She is genuine, lovely, and a gift to all us moms out there who want to earn an income from home.



If you are looking for ridiculously practical ideas, tips, and inside info on how to make an income from home, you MUST get a copy of Money Making Mom. Crystal knows her stuff like no one I have ever met before. She is always surprising me with her capacity for learning and implementing what she’s learned. And what’s more, she is one of the most generous people I have ever met.

To get your hands on her new book, just head HERE or click the book image above. You won’t regret it. Here’s what Crystal herself has to say about the book:

Money-Making Mom is not a book about about making money as a blogger or even just about making money online. Instead, it’s a hands-on manual to help you discover your passions and talents and turn those into a profitable business — whether online or offline.

Woven through the pages is my heart to inspire women to uncover their gifts, use their gifts, and make a difference in this world! Because you have a story. You have a message. You have gifts and talents. And the world needs your story, your message, your gifts and your talents!”

What are you waiting for? Get yourself a copy!

Love, SM

There are affiliate links in this post.

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Mourning losses, feeling overwhelmed, personality, and who you are after kiddos! (#LongingForLife Periscope)

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.15.35 PM

Well I’m at it again! In this video I answer these four questions submitted by my Longing for Life gals:

1.) How has your husband found his new career after his disability. I too am disabled. I just recently realized that I never fully worked through the grief of loosing my career. (Sarah Mae here! The whole story of my husband is found in Longing for Paris)

2.) Sarah, I am feeling overwhelmed since I have two many ideas and projects that God has placed in my heart. But can’t even set time to write those ideas and begin working toward them. I feel tired, without energy, sometimes stressed, guilty, a lot of feelings and emotions. I feel so sad and exhausted. I feel I have all the resources but there is something stronger that keeps me stuck. Help?

3.) How do I get back to embracing and letting my personality shine through? I feel like I became a completely different person when I had kids. Less joy, less personality, less excitement, less alive. What changed? Is it just the nature of this life season? Is it because I’m not making time for things that fill my soul?

4.) I am wrestling with who I am. It’s hard to embrace me right now because roles are changing, God is changing me from the inside out (healing the scared, abused little girl that didn’t need anyone…just trying to be safe at all costs). My INFP personality wants to help others all the time but is it ok for a time to just help me? Struggling with the selfishness of that. Help?


Can’t see the video? Click HERE! :)

Want to join the course and walk together? Learn more HERE!

Keep on! SM

Sarah Mae's Longing for Life Course

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One of My Big Mom Regrets (and What I Learned From It)

How I've Learned to Live an Unregrettable Life

UPDATE: To see who won access to the course, scroll to the bottom!

My friend Lynn told me that she read somewhere how parents often think about and get excited and focus on their children’s firsts, but don’t about their lasts.

Yes, I see that. I’ve done that myself.

One of the big regrets I have as a mom is that I stopped nursing my sweet Caroline at seven months because I wanted to go a blogging conference and not have to pump. My poor Care fought the bottle that were trying to train her on, and it was a tough switch. But finally, the weekend of the conference arrived and she was taking a bottle.

I had an okay weekend.

And when I came home I tried to nurse her but it wasn’t happening.

I tell people now I must have in some hormonal, fog-brain state of mind because I would never make that decision in my right mind. Yes, I know Care is fine and healthy, and will have no clue about the nursing situation, but I know. And it hurts my heart and I regret it.

I regret it because I loved nursing. Nursing was always such a precious, sweet, sacred time for me. Yes, it was often inconvenient, but I sometimes think it’s supposed to be because it forces you to get quiet and alone with your child. But mostly I regret it because it was a last. For whatever reason, I never considered that it would be the last time I ever nursed a baby. So instead of quietly and gently releasing my nursing time, enjoying it fully, savoring the time and the gift, I rashly just stopped. And I’ll never have it again.

It was her last and it was my last. And it’s gone.

Now I’m not going to live in my regret because that would be a waste of my life. But I can (and have) learned from it. And I can, hopefully, encourage others with what I’ve learned.

For example,

I’ve learned to go a little slower.

I’ve learned to pay attention.

I’ve learned to take my time to think things through (“Life is not an emergency”)

I’ve learned to make choices that are good and healthy and loving for myself and my family.

I’ve learned that even though I will have regrets (because I’m human and way not perfect on this earth), I can live an unregrettable life. I can live, on the arc of my life, a life that isn’t filled with regret or people-pleasing or poor choices made out of fear or guilt.

I’ve learned how to live satisfied.

And if I can pass any of this onto others to help them to keep on, make fully-awake decisionslive a well-spent life, I’m going to.


if you struggle with making good and healthy choices, or you fear you may regret your life is something doesn’t change, I’d like to encourage you with something very special I’ve been working very hard on: Longing for Life.

It’s a course I created to inspire you to live an unregrettable life, one that on the arc of it all you chose it. You didn’t stay stuck, or let people-pleasing or fear or lies hold you back. See it matters how we live and the choices we make because God has a purpose for us on this earth, and if we are stuck in past wounds or pain or fear, we are not truly free. When you are healed and free you will bring relief to a weary world…and to your own children.

To check out the course, just go here.

I’m also giving away three courses today. To enter, just leave a comment letting me know where you most need to be encouraged when it comes to making healthy decisions for yourself and your family. Oh, and if you purchase the course and then win, I’ll refund you. I’ll announce the winners tomorrow evening. THIS CONTEST IS NOW OVER.

Here’s to living a well-spent, unregrettable life!

Love, SM

P.S. If you know a friend who could use this course, share it with her? Thanks!

P.P.S. The woman who wrote the article about “lasts” emailed me! Here is the article my friend Lynn was talking: When Did I Last Wash Your Hair?

The winners of the course are….

Hannah Mallery, Julie Johnson, and Melody S.! CONGRATS!!!!!

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