Slow and Steady

slowandsteady

If I let my house go for a few days, it becomes overwhelming to clean. I look around at the piles and the papers and I purpose in my heart that I am going to become a minimalist and just throw everything away.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed with my house and my to-do list, I think, “Slow and steady. One step at a time.” My friend Amy taught me that, and I’m learning…slow and steady. Pick that up. Put it away. Wash that dish, sweep, put on some music, fold clothes, do a little dance with my kids, keep on. Slow and steady.

And when my heart hurts and the waves of discouragement come full on, I have to slow and steady myself. Slow, seek Him in the still place. Steady, lean on the firm One. Slow and steady is how I make it through some days.

Whatever it is today, your home, your seemingly out-of-control child, your work, your marriage, your soul, think, “Slow and steady.

One step a time, one day at a time, slow and steady, you’ll make it.

Love, SM

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Here She Is, My New Book! (Or, What It Feels Like to Stand Naked in Front of People)

I have been really neurotic about something lately.

My book cover. And the fact that my new book is on Amazon.

That’s not actually the neurotic part. I have been trying to figure out WHEN to show you the book the cover. Do I wait until close to the release date? (August 4th.) Do I show the cover but not mention that it’s on Amazon? There must be some strategy to all of the this, right?! Timing! I know it seems silly, but this is what we author’s go through.

Finally, I decided to go for a walk.

It’s a beautiful day here in PA, and I just needed to get out and think and pray and feel the sun on my face. I took a stroll around my neighborhood, and as I was rounding the last curve, heading back up to my house, it occurred to me to ask myself, “What would bring me joy?” 

Such a simple question. One I had neglected in all my over-thinking and worrying about strategy.

“It would bring me joy to share my book with my readers.”

And there it is, because I want to.

Friends, I have been holding onto this secret of a cover since September! And I have been working on this book for two years. TWO YEARS. And it’s finally finished.

Yesterday I wrote a post about choosing to wake up to my own life and live. My new book is about that choice, and what I did and how I woke up and how I am now changed.

I am living. I am choosing. I am happy. Happy isn’t always a word we like to use in Christianity, and I get it, but I’m happy. And I’m finally okay with that. I enjoy my life, not because everything is always great, but because I’m here. I’m in it. I don’t want to miss it.

This book is my story and my awakening and my life. And I am so excited and thankful to be able to finally share it with you.

Here she is!!!!

Longing for Paris

Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure – Right Where She Is

Okay, now I’m naked and there is my book. I mean, I’m not actually naked, but it feels like it when you show the world your new book. But I love her. And I love her cover. Isn’t she so beautiful?!

I have prayed over this book, that it would bring relief to those who need it, who need to know that their longings matter to God.

This book is my unfolding, my evolution from being stuck to getting unstuck, to learning how to live and choose and enjoy my life, right where I am. And it’s for you, the woman who feels like she’s going under, the woman who wants to live but isn’t sure how to get out of feeling that life is rolling over her in waves. It’s for you, the woman who is longing for something maybe she can’t even name, but her soul is aching for it. And it’s for you, the woman who is craving beauty and art and travel, but is in a reality that doesn’t allow for that right now.

It’s all for you, and for me, because I believe that fully-alive women are not only able to keep on, but they can (and will) change the world. (Tweet that.)

Soon I will be able to share even more, and of course there will be fun and surprises, but for now, here she is.

If you’d like to pre-order her (YOU DO, YOU DO), you can do that here…

Get it on Amazon

Get it on Barnes & Noble

If you just pre-ordered, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! Also, hang on to your receipt…there will be goodies coming your way as we get closer to the release date… ;)

Well, there it is. And now you know what would bring me joy? A salted caramel mocha and a salad, while sitting outside watching my children play on this beautiful day. So I’m going to do that.

If you want to do that too, leave a comment (and maybe share this post?) and I’ll randomly pick 5 winners to get a $5 Starbucks gift card.

Here’s to life and longings and our stories and joy!

Love, Sarah Mae

#LongingForParis

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Choosing to Wake Up to My Own Life

I remember the morning I sat up in my bed and thought, “If something doesn’t change, I’m not going to make it.” Life had become like water. I couldn’t catch it; it just kept slipping through my fingers. I felt so behind, so robotic, so stuck. Why couldn’t I change? Why couldn’t I get myself together? Why couldn’t I do the things I wanted to do? I just felt tired and overwhelmed, and many days, defeated...

A hotel room, pizza, and my girl. Great choice.

I remember the morning I sat up in my bed and thought, “If something doesn’t change, I’m not going to make it.”

Life had become like water. I couldn’t catch it; it just kept slipping through my fingers. I felt so behind, so robotic, so stuck. Why couldn’t I change? Why couldn’t I get myself together? Why couldn’t I do the things I wanted to do?

I just felt tired and overwhelmed, and many days, defeated.

But that morning in my bed, I decided I wanted to live; I didn’t just want to go through the motions.

And it was that day I purposed to wake up to my own life and choose it. No one was going to do it for me. Whatever it was that clicked in me that morning made me see that I didn’t want to regret my life. I didn’t want to look back one day and see that I missed it.

It’s such a funny thing when you become a mom. You lose yourself to it in the most beautiful way. You give of yourself, you sacrifice, and it’s good and you wouldn’t change it. But then one day you wake up and you think, “Who am I now?” You have to figure out a new normal. You’re you, but you’re different. So this waking up I was doing was more then just getting out of a funk; it was figuring out a new way to live in this mother-self-skin.

“Daily life is very seductive. Weeks go by and we forget who we are.”

Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones

I committed to making small changes over a period of several months in order to wake up to my life. I experimented with myself, trying all sorts of things having to do with self-discipline, diet, mothering, spiritual depth, figuring out who I was (and accepting myself), and learning to serve out of who God created me to be. I basically boot-camped my own life. And it worked. It woke me up.

I haven’t shared too much about here, but overtime I will. But what I want to share with you today are the two initial things that changed the course of my life: 1.) I chose to live, and 2.) I fought for it.

Choosing to Live

I literally had to say out loud, “I’m going to choose to live my life.”

It was a light bulb moment for me to awaken to the fact that I could choose my life. That God, in His kindness, gave us minds and hearts and guts and bodies to be able to choose how we want to live; He gave us the ability to think and make decisions and act on them. It seems so obvious, right? But life does this thing to you sometimes where you just feel like you have no choice, like you just have to roll where the waves take you.

I know now that’s not entirely true.

We might not be able to change our personalities or our circumstances, but we can make daily decisions that affect our whole life. We can choose to say and believe that we were made for more than a mediocre, just-get-by existence. We are made to live and live fully; a half-dead people cannot be effective in the Kingdom, but a fully-alive people? Watch out. Life calls forth life, and if you are alive, you can call forth life in others. (Tweet.)

I am choosing to live because it matters. It matters to God, it matters to my family, and it matters to me. I want to enjoy life, and God, and His people, and the glory all around me. And when I do that, I am in a soul-alive place where I can help others. Yea, it matters.

But you have to choose it or life will pull you under.

Choosing to Fight

Once I chose, I had to face the reality that it wasn’t going to come easy. I was going to have to fight. I had to make plans, and begin again and again.

And again.

Because my plans fail and because my body sometimes fails, and my hormones course through me and make me crazy. But I keep on. I’m fighting. I have a vision to live and enjoy and be delighted in and bring God’s Kingdom to bear on this earth in creative ways. So yea, it’s imperfect, but it’s faithful. It’s something. It’s slow and steady, one day at a time. I will live today.

And when I can’t fight, when I’m feeling battle worn, He fights for me. And He will fight for you.

He sees our broken places; He doesn’t forget.

You are not alone, and I am not alone. We are in a sisterhood, together, and together we can make it.

“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”

Victor Hugo

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10

Love, SM

Related: 

My new book (releasing in August), Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure – Right Where She Is

Longing for Paris

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Moms of Little Ones, Hang in There! The Best is Yet to Come!

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Today was a glorious day.

I sat on a big white blanket under a glorious sky and watched as my children fished, bicycled around a park, and played. But I didn’t always watch. Some of the time I lied down, closed my eyes, and enjoyed the sun warming my face. My husband sat on a bench and read a book.

The kids played and they were fine and I didn’t have to watch them the whole time. I didn’t have to chase after them. I didn’t have to entertain them.

Every now and then my oldest would come over and sit with me and we’d laugh about something or talk or just rest together. It was wonderful.

I kept thinking how much I wanted to tell moms of little ones, “It gets better!” The kind of better where you can not only breathe and relax on a beautiful day, but that your kids are your friends.

Not only will you not have to watch them every minute, not only will you get to close your eyes under the sun, not only will you be able to get a full night sleep, you will be able to enjoy a sweet friendship with your child. A friendship where you have actual conversations and share opinions and personality and tenderness and giggles. It is wild and awesome and such a gift.

So here it is, moms of little ones: It gets better! Your time is coming. Hang in there. The best is yet to come.

Love, SM

P.S. If you’re in the desperate stage of mothering, this might help. ;)

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Dear Parents, Do This For Your Children (Before It’s Too Late)

meandella15

Making memories with my beautiful Ella

A couple of weeks ago I read a post on Facebook from a friend of mine that so moved me that I decided to act. She talked about losing her father and all the things she wished she had of him to remember him by. As I read her words, I realized that I don’t want to take anything for granted, especially my life. What if something happened to me, would my children have pictures and recordings to remember me by, to see and listen to if I can’t be with them? So often I take pictures or videos of my children, but I don’t get in them, usually because I think I look terrible and don’t want to be recorded. But the thing is, our kids don’t care about that; they just want us, mess and all.

Because my friend’s post so impacted me, and caused me to get on the ball with intentional memory making, I asked her if I could share her post with you in its entirety and she said yes.

Please welcome my beautiful friend Sarah Jessica Farber

Dear Parent Friends,

Here is what you should know. I got 23 years, 2 months, and 11 days with my dad, and they were not enough. Forever, of course, is not enough – all of our parents leave us too soon. I was reminded of this first thing this morning, when I got a text from a friend saying she was crying. My email had the why: our mutual friend has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. All I can think about are her two little boys. So…

Here is what I wish I had, since I don’t have my dad:

I wish I had his voice, recorded, preferably telling the kind of jokes and stories that my mom would scold him for. I wish I could hear him pronounce human “yoo-man” one last time, and wrinkle my nose at the awkward sound.

I wish I had video of him, doing anything. Even talking on the phone to his best friend while watching golf on TV would be great. He’d call Jesse “honey” and Jesse would call him “dear” and they’d gossip and talk about their motorcycles and who knows what else and it would put me to sleep. I’d love to hear that again, to be bored by the mundane conversation, to see his quirks captured on camera.

And photos, I wish I had more of them. I have precious few-he was behind the camera a lot, and didn’t much like having his picture taken. But what I wouldn’t give for a picture from the early 90s that isn’t the incredibly awkward family photo where Alex is the only one smiling and my lips are totally chapped.

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Most of all, I wish I had his stories. God, he could tell a tale. Some of them were embellished, but the strangest ones were all true. I still don’t know how he ended up on the Kennedy’s yacht but danged if there isn’t a picture of him on the Honey Fitz hanging up at mom’s house. And I wish I knew more about his time in Korea in the Peace Corps. I have the fantastic picture with his mutton chop sideburns and a bunch of Korean people who are strangers to me. All I know is they were his students at the university. That story will remain unwritten.

I want you all to tell your kids your stories. Write them. Let them video you. Use the awesome StoryCorps app – it will help. Your children can interview you.  And get in the pictures – get a selfie stick if you must, but take pictures with your kids.  Have pictures taken.

Please do this for your children. 1 in 2 women will have cancer; 1 in 3 men will have cancer. Most will survive it, but no one lives forever. I beg of you, please think now about leaving your stories for your babies.

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P.S. Resources I have found since posting this on FB:

Recordable Storybooks from DaySpring and Hallamark.

Every Story Media - Turning your family stories and history into video.

You can read this post on Sarah’s blog as well by heading HERE.

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