#damaskasontheroad: Western Kansas & Colorado  2

I certainly felt that by this point in the trip, we’d be tired of living in a camper, longing for our own beds and a little space to spread out.  But it turns out we are camping people!  Who knew!? We often laugh at our little baby camper next to the monster motorhomes driven by people my Great-grandpa’s age (If my son cannot ride in the front seat until he’s 14, surely there should be a law against 103 year olds basically driving houses down the road?!)

 

We’ve had our share of little mishaps, but we’ve powered through each one like the experts we are (not).  We backed into a pole and bent our bumper a bit (just a flesh wound).  We also sliced our water hose, causing waves of water to gush through the camper (there was a bit of yelling, but we mostly held it together). Once in a while, when our old suburban we’ve lovingly named Grandpa has had enough, he’ll just refuse to turn on.  But Peter baby-talks him and sprays some concoction in the keyhole, and eventually Grandpa decides to cooperate.  Praying and laughing have gotten us through it all.

FullSizeRender 4

After a day of insane wind (note the leaning bikes) on a two lane highway through nowhere Kansas (we seriously cheered whenever we saw a car or a house), we pulled into a little valley, ready to be out of the car, wondering if we would ever see human life again.  We spent the evening climbing rocks and shaking our heads that after hundreds of miles of flat fields, there was this.

IMG_8540

FullSizeRender 6

We pulled out the next day and drove to Colorado Springs.  Everything changed so rapidly– suddenly there were mountains and red rocks and people everywhere.  It was like a big playground and we really loved it.

 

We climbed Pike’s Peak… on a train.  It was only 37* at the top! The lack of oxygen was a little unnerving, but it was nothing a dozen doughnuts couldn’t fix.  My headache was mostly caused by an 11 year old boy who didn’t have the fear of heights I believed he should have.

IMG_8567

FullSizeRender 7

IMG_8573

Then we explored the Garden of the gods.

IMG_8592

IMG_8615 IMG_8598 IMG_8593

Our kids really got into their groove in Colorado.  Traveling and being gone had caused some anxiety, but it completely disappeared on this leg of the trip.  It may have been because basically everyone in the state is high. With marijuana being legal, it just seems to float in the air.  I’m kidding. Sort of.

FullSizeRender 3

FullSizeRender 5

We took a morning to visit Compassion International, and we even got to see Sean who led our trip to Ecuador a few years ago.  The statue of Jesus was such a sweet part of their lobby, intentionally made so that kids would crawl into His lap.  Somehow it just seemed weird to yell, “Stay off Jesus!” and “Be careful.  Don’t fall off of Jesus and get hurt!”, so I held my tongue.  We also visited Whit’s End (if your kids are into Adventures in Odyssey, you’ll know what I’m talking about) and drank root beer floats.  The kids were disappointed that the elevator to the Imagination Station only took them to the bookstore and not to 500 B.C.

 

We are so thankful for this time away.  Slowly we feel the weight peel away as God leads us. It’s hard to know what exactly to expect from a Sabbatical, especially one filled with busy kids and many miles of driving.  But as we travel we feel God’s favor on us so heavily and we do not take it lightly.  He has been so good to us and He has been so faithful.

 

Up next: Peter’s hometown of Buffalo, Wyoming

(For some reason, it seems that my pictures may be loading upside down.  I’m so sorry.  Please be assured, they were all taken right side up.)

#damaskasontheroad.001

 

 

How to Develop Compassion in Your Kids  1

 

IMG_8556

Somewhere in unknown Kansas, we stopped to stock up on groceries and have a quick lunch in the camper.  It was while we were eating our sandwiches that Peter saw a man in the parking lot, sitting against a light pole.

 

We were unloading our groceries almost an hour later when Peter noticed the man was still there in the same spot.  Without a word, he disappeared and returned with the man, asking him if he needed some food.  The kids and I scurried around, tossing out chips and apples and granola bars.  We made him a sandwich and gave him some water.

 

We listened to his story of riding his bike from Georgia to Wyoming and how he was now headed back south.  Along the way, his original bike had fallen to pieces. I noticed he wasn’t wearing shoes.

 

We don’t always have the eyes to see people for who they are when our lives are too caught up in our own plans.  We miss it so easily because we’re  being too efficient or we’re too scared.  Our minds are occupied with the task at hand and the ten tasks we must scurry to finish. But Jesus used a barefooted man in a Wal-Mart parking lot to teach us that being compassionate is a sweetest of gifts. We just had to slow down enough to see it.

 

I watched the kids listen to his stories and I was so thankful for a husband who saw a need and responded.  I was reminded of what I’ve said before: It has to be in us before it will be in our kids.  The best teaching moments come to us when we don’t have a chance to prepare— they’re our everyday acts of obedience.

 

We, as parents, must take the time to cultivate compassion in our own lives so it will leak into the lives of our kids.  Not because there’s an obligation, but because we are called to genuinely care about others.

 

A few days after we met Paul in the Kansas parking lot, one of my kids took some money and bought something extravagant for the little boy we sponsor in Haiti.  I wish I could tell you the whole story, but it isn’t my story to tell.  So you just have to take my word for it— our kids may look like they don’t care about others.  They may seem like they’re self-absorbed, but as we model Christ’s love, they will develop compassion.
There are countless deep needs all around us.  May we, as parents, have the eyes to see them.  May we have the wisdom to extend compassion… and may our hearts leak into our kids’, even on the days we feel like we’re losing the battle.

 

May we have the courage to help others, simply because every person on the planet has value in God’s eyes.

#damaskasontheroad.001

#damaskasontheroad : Kentucky & Kansas  4

FullSizeRender 6

If you’ve been following me on instagram, you’ll know that we’re two weeks into our six-week sabbatical.  We’ve had spotty internet for much of it and I’m not going to complain.  The break has been lovely.

FullSizeRender 5

 

Here’s a picture I snapped of our camper one night as the kids were getting ready for bed.  The good news is that campers are really small and quick to clean.  The bad news is that it takes about 10 seconds to trash it.  So this isn’t a perfect picture, and I certainly wasn’t going to turn around and post the other half, but I’m thankful for the imperfectness of it all.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Except maybe sometimes I wish the kids would voluntarily pick up their clothes.

 

(If you’re interested, we have a 28 foot camper.  It has a bunkhouse in the back with 4 bunks.  We took one of them out to make space for our clothes and I also made curtains for each bunk so the kids can pull them shut each night and have some privacy.  That alone has saved our lives.  We also have a full bathroom and kitchen. The bed Peter and I sleep on is a pop-out and we like the great breeze we get every night.  I made some cosmetic changes, because I abhor camper decor and I figured if we were living in it all summer we should at least like being in it.)

 

We spent the first week of our trip sleeping in guest rooms.  First, a few days in Kentucky with our close friends on my favorite road.  We lit sparklers and perfected the back flip and laughed until the tears ran down our faces.

IMG_8480

FullSizeRender 7

Then we drove to Kansas, to spend a few days with my Aunt Cheryl.  She spoiled us with amazing food and showed us that Kansas doesn’t deserve the bad rap it gets (it was so beautiful!).  She took us to a Salt mine– 650 feet underground– and it was the coolest thing ever.  We loved the history and were so impressed with the size (over 150 miles of tunnels!).  Road salt.  Who knew it could be so interesting!?

IMG_8519

FullSizeRender 4

 

 

I have a stack of books to plow through and I’ve made a dent in several.  Here’s my pile (I’m 100% sure it will take me a year to get through this pile).

IMG_8427

 

And here’s Peter’s (He’s a little more practical).

IMG_8429

So far I’d recommend them all, but I’ll try to go into more detail when I finish.  There are so many good books in the world.  Kate also has a backpack FULL of books that she has been lugging around everywhere, just in case she might need all ten at once.  That girl cracks me up… she’s a lot like her mother.

 

On our way to Aunt Cheryl’s we noticed a particular odor in the camper.  We figured it had sat in the hot Kentucky sun for a few days and it just needed a good airing.  But as we drove, it got worse.  During one stop, after I took the kids to the bathroom, I saw the camper door was open and Peter was throwing things out.  When I got closer, the stench made me gag.  Apparently, one day he had checked the freezer to make sure it was working and a few things had slipped out when he opened the door.  He thought he had picked it all up, but had inadvertently left a package of raw hamburger that had slipped under the couch.  And there it sat for the next 3 days, baking, until we found it.  You cannot even imagine the stench.  I guiltily left it in the rest stop trash can… so if you stop by a Kansas rest stop and notice a particular smell, please accept my deep apologies.

 

I’m so glad you’re following along. We’ve appreciated all your comments and notes along the way.

Until next time….

 

#damaskasontheroad.001

Sabbatical {We’re going on a road trip}  4

#damaskasontheroad.001

Everything looks a little different for us this summer.  And that’s because we’re going on a great adventure!  In just a few days we will begin driving in a great big circle around the country– over 4,000 miles!

 

Here’s the deal: I don’t often write about the ups and downs of being the Pastor’s family.  I keep most of those stories private, because many times the stories aren’t mine to share.

 

We’ve served at our church for almost twelve years now, and many of those days are good days.  We are blessed in too many ways to count and we are deeply grafted into this little town we serve.  But the stakes are high and the demands persistent and sometimes that leaves us feeling very empty.  The daily weight of ministry is heavy and in order to be effective we must be intentional to step back and find some room to breathe.

 

There’s a constant struggle to balance the care others need and the care we give our family…. some days we get it right and other days we don’t. We’ve known for a few years now that we needed to take an extended amount of time away from ministry to regroup and renew our hearts, but the timing just hasn’t been right.

 

Until now.

 

So in a few days, our family will load up our camper and take to the big open road  for six weeks.  It will be time for us to reconnect with one another and recalibrate.  And we are so excited!

 

We don’t consider this to be just a regular vacation– it’s a Sabbatical. An intentional rest from life.  We are focusing on renewal.  This means we have stacks of books to read and several stops along the way built in to talk to others in ministry, to see how God is working in His church across the country.  We have our hiking shoes and bicycles packed. We will be carving out time to seek God, strengthening our relationships with Him and with one another.  We’re asking Jesus to renew our joy and purposes, to sharpen our gifts in ministry.  Plus, we love a good adventure and this trip will have plenty of that!

 

As we scramble to cross tasks off our gigantic to-do list, it’s easy to wonder if it’s really worth it.  But there have been so many gentle reminders from Jesus that this is good and right.  Even before we have pulled out, He has been so faithful to encourage our hearts and send us good gifts.

 

We are asking for your prayers as we embark on this adventure… and we’d love to have you follow along!

 

#damaskasontheroad.002 #damaskasontheroad.003

 

Hello Monday!  1

hello monday slides.002

 

Deep breath…. Welcome to a new week!

For us, it’s our first week of Summer break (finally!).  We’ve been watching others celebrate the end of school for what seems like months now, not-so-patiently waiting for our turn to come!

 

This summer is going to look a bit different for us (more on that later) but something does remain the same: the transition for us all as we go from “school mode” to “summer mode”.  By the end of the year, the routine is in place and we long for a break, but when it actually comes, with free time and unending snacks… it can tend to be a little overwhelming for us all.

 

God is teaching me this truth:

It struck me this week that the Fruit of the Spirit cannot be learned alone, but only in community.  If you grew up in the church, chances are you sang a catchy little song to learn the list in Galatians 5: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

 

We can learn of love ourselves, but developing love comes when we live with others, working through stuff together.  The hard work of kindness is with one another, especially when we think they don’t deserve it.  And it’s pretty easy to be peaceful alone in an empty room, isn’t it?! One after another, you can see how developing these characteristics in our lives takes work, with those who live with us and around us.

 

I should probably disclose that as I’ve been writing this, I’m sitting at a picnic table at a campground.  Our kids have been running nonstop with friends all day for several days.  And it’s all going down right this very moment… they’re exhausted and I feel myself quickly unraveling. It’s amazing how God teaches me even as I type these words.  We are a work in progress, that’s for sure.

 

One of the ways I’m going to be intentional this summer with my kids is to be mindful of the Fruit of the Spirit and the way we’re treating one another.  I don’t know about you, but I feel like I spend a lot of time disciplining and settling arguments during my days.  It can be wearying and annoying.  Too often it isn’t only their fuse that is too short… it’s mine, too.  But I don’t want to be a sentimental Christian, I want to live a life full of the gifts that God has handed to me.  So we’re going to work hard.

 

The Message puts it like this:

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard– things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way.  Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good– crucified.

Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea our heads or a sentimental our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.  That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse.  We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.  Each of us is an original.” (Galatians 5:22-26)

 

 

Eliza really likes this version:

Need to memorize the Fruit of the Spirit?  Eliza and I listen to this often (I’m a big fan of all of the Rain For Roots songs):

 

 

Let’s memorize this verse:

IMG_8373

 

Full Disclosure:

If you think the Pastor’s House is any different from your house, I have a few pictures of how things really go down.

 

IMG_8318 IMG_6333 birthday celebration.004

 

 

A prayer for your summer:

Jesus, On the days when the temperatures and our tempers are soaring,

When we just don’t know how we can handle one more fight,

When our words come out sharp and our patience runs thin….

Give us grace.

Grace to see the gifts you have given.

Grace to hand out kindness and patience along as we wipe the tears and mend the hearts.

Alone we cannot change, but with your help, we can.

Give us humility when we lose it, remind us of how we can ask forgiveness from you and them.

And when we’ve put them to bed, after the books have been read and the drinks have been given, after we’ve answered yet another question and kissed and hugged them one last time,

Remind us of when we’ve done right instead of when we messed up.
Allow us to see how you’ve been working in our souls and in the souls of the ones who live under our roof.

Thank you for the gifts you have given, as we work them out together, may we see the beauty.

 

Well, hello!
I’m so very glad you’re here.  I hope you’ll stick around so we can get to know one another a little more.  Go here if you’d like to receive posts from me via email. I have a few printable verses I’d love to send you to encourage your heart.   –Sarah

How to Give What You Can’t Afford  1

 

give what you can't afford.001
Eliza and I had a marathon grocery shopping trip.  My list was two pages long and I even went to the trouble to group all the like items together, in hopes that it would keep me from constantly backtracking to pick up butter when I had already made it to the cereal aisle (I hate it when that happens!).

 

In spite of my meticulous planning, I hadn’t realized that Friday morning at 10:00 on a holiday weekend was going to be insanely busy.  To top it off, it was like a meandering family reunion, aisle after painful aisle.  Old friendships were rekindled, new friendships formed over what brand of cake mix was the best deal, and carts seemed to block my every move.

 

I had no choice but to get in the zone.  I stacked stuff in the cart like it was my job (because it kind of is).  I tuned out Eliza’s constant chatter just enough to stay focused, yet engage her at all the right pauses (she doesn’t take many). We kept going and going and going.  And when the last thing was crossed off the list, there was absolutely no room left for one. more. thing.  I know this for sure, because I had to make Eliza carry the last two items.

 

We unloaded everything onto the conveyor belt and I watched the eyes of the young cashier widen at the sheer number of items I had packed into the cart.  All I had to utter was “Eleven year old boy” and she quietly nodded in understanding.

 

Suddenly Eliza was by my side, with her new wallet she’d purchased at a garage sale the day before.  It has a monogrammed “M” on it, of course.  She motioned for me to lean down to her and put her hand up to my ear.

 

“I want to help you pay,” she whispered sweetly, pointing to the small mountain of pennies, dimes and nickels inside.

 

I truly tried to keep a straight face.  But the contrast between what she had and what I was going to need to pay was so huge that I had a hard time holding in my laughter for her very serious request.

 

There was a time, after Jesus taught in the temple, that he sat down and watched the people going in and out, attending to their own lives.  He watched them come in and put their offering money in the boxes, many of them making it apparent that they were giving large amounts.  But then there was a widow who put in two very small coins.  And Jesus called His disciples to him, pointed her out quietly and taught them what it means to live in an upside down kingdom.  “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together,” He told them.  “All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford— she gave her all.” (Mark 12:43-44)

 

And I think about Eliza and her purse full of coins she was willing to give to me—  and I wish I hadn’t laughed.  Because Eliza didn’t understand the gap between what I needed and what she had.  She was simply willing to give it all.

 

Somewhere along the lines, we realize the chasm between what little we have and what is needed…  and we start to believe the lie that what we have to offer won’t ever be enough.  We become afraid to give of ourselves generously.  Giving freely can make us feel vulnerable. It can shape how valuable we feel. So when we only have broken pieces to offer, we quietly hide them away, hoping no one will notice.

 

But what if we dared to give like the widow, not some, but all?  What if we gave until it hurt? Not just out of our abundance— but out of our poverty?

 

In our families.
In our time.
In our marriages.
In our finances.
In our church.

In the world.
In our souls.

 

Are we willing to give what we have to God when it doesn’t seem like enough?  When our lives are a mess and we don’t have it all put together, will we be brave enough to still give out of what we lack? Can we truly trust God to use our broken lives for His kingdom?

 

The truth is, we don’t know the end to the story.  We don’t know how the widow ate her next meal or if she went hungry.  The brilliant writer of the story left that part out, because he knew it didn’t matter.  The lesson is not in having a comfortable, wonderful, happy life… it’s learning to live dependent on God, willing to give what little we have, even if it doesn’t seem like much of anything.

 

May you surrender your broken “not enoughs” and find a way to give extravagantly today.  May you see the stark difference between what you have and what is needed and believe in God, who promises to transform it into enough.

 

Well, hello!
I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you’ll stick around so we can get to know one another a little more.  Go here if you’d like to receive my posts via email. I’ll even send you a little thank you gift!  –Sarah

Hello Monday!  1

hello monday slides.002

 

 

Peter and I celebrated our anniversary last week… by going to William’s baseball game. Once upon a time we imagined that every few years we’d return to our honeymoon destination (British Columbia) to celebrate.  Womp. Womp.  We haven’t been back in sixteen.

 

Advice to couples: Plan your wedding date with the activities of your unborn children in mind.  Because one day they will take over your life and if you get married in May you won’t even have time to take a drive-through McDonald’s date. Instead you’ll be running your unborn children to a practice or you’ll be sitting at a game or helping them with homework or feeding them yet again.  But guess what? Even in the midst of all the crazy, you’ll still be thinking of all the good and amazing things about your life. 

 

So instead of a romantic getaway to the Canadian West Coast, we had Pad Thai thrown together so fast that I only tripled the first half of the recipe.  Then we invited a few of our favorite drop-in guests for the quickest dinner ever, including fortune cookies (so fancy that a few of us got the exact same fortune) and gelato.  We sat through a nail biter of a baseball game for Will and went out for ice cream again at the end.  I love my life.

 

Somehow in sixteen years we’ve gone from this:

FullSizeRender

to this:

Damaska_family_2015 (420 of 475) (1)

That is the look of a man who has put up with a lot of my shenanigans.  Clearly I am riveting. I’m so glad he loves me.

 

I’m reading this book.

FullSizeRender

I picked up this book a few weeks ago at the library and then I had to buy it because there were so many parts I wanted to underline and remember.  It’s a story of Madeleine’s life as her husband, Hugh, dies.  She weaves all their memories so beautifully as she faces grief and questions about how to best care for him.

 

“Our love has been anything but perfect and anything but static.  Inevitably there have been times when one of us has outrun the other and has had to wait patiently for the other to catch up.  There have been times when we have misunderstood each other, demanded too much of each other, been insensitive to the other’s needs.  I do not believe there is any marriage where this does not happen. The growth of love is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys.  I suspect that in every good marriage there are times when love seems to be over.  Sometimes these desert lines are simply the only way to the next oasis, which is far more lush and beautiful after the desert crossing than it could possibly have been without it.” — Madeleine L’Engle, Two-Part Invention

 

I’m working on this verse.

IMG_8271

 

 

I’m praying this for my marriage and yours, too.

God, help us love You deeply and fear You greatly.

Teach us how to love each other for Your sake.

May the humility of Christ be seen in the way we treat each other.

Show us how to enjoy each other without neglecting Your mission.

Remind us of the brevity of life so we share Your good news urgently.

Remind us of heaven so we will face rejection and trials joyfully.

When we settle down for too long, prod us to run.

When we are prone to fight, teach us to fight together, and to fight for You.

When we are tempted to run away, bring repentance and renewal.

May we spend our married days reminding each other of Your glory, Your gospel, Your love, Your power, Your mission, and Your promise of what is to come.

Amen.

(Taken from You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis & Lisa Chan)

 

Happy Monday, friends. It’s going to be a great week.

 

Well, hello!
I’m so very glad you’re here.  I hope you’ll stick around so we can get to know one another a little more.  Go here if you’d like to receive my posts via email.  –Sarah

Hello Monday!  0

hello monday slides.002

 

 

 

It’s Monday and the beginning of a new week!

I have a terrible habit of randomness.  But I must share these few unrelated things with you right this moment, or they will forever disappear into the abyss of my brain:

 

 

I’m thinking about rules.

Will and Kate made up a simple game last week.  They were sitting about six feet apart, rolling a tennis ball between them, trying to get it past the other person.  These two are intense and quite competitive, but they play great together, as long as no one tells them.  What struck me most about their game was how many rules they had.

 

“You have to roll it!”
“That one didn’t count!”

“No fair! I wasn’t ready!”

 

The crazy kids fought about the rules more than they played the game.  I was sitting on the couch, watching them,  and it was all I could do not to intervene.  To me, it seemed like they were just bickering.  But to them, I realized working it out was part of their play.  It was as important to the game as getting the tennis ball past their sibling.

 

As much as we hate to admit it, rules are such a big part of our life.  We tend to think rules hem us in, restricting our lives.  They actually give us a wide open space to explore, they are what make us genuinely human.  If we think about it, our limitations force us to be creative in what we have.

 

My husband explains it like this:  Have you ever seen a dog who has worn a track on the very edge of his perimeter?  You can see just inside the fence where he has hung out.  He doesn’t see the whole yard he has, but just looks with longing of what he doesn’t have.

 

It’s the same with us, isn’t it?  We spend so much time longing for what we wish we had that we often don’t see all that God has given us.  There is freedom inside the fence, if we just adjust our perspective.

 

 

A good book I just finished.

 

FullSizeRender 24
Photo credit: Alexandra Kuykendall

 

I’m a big fan of Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall, because she took stock of her life and decided to rekindle her love of her ordinary days.  So she started a nine month experiment of enjoying her actual life, the one right in front of her.  The book reads like a journal, and it’s so real.  She pairs the good with the bad, the failures with the achievements.  It challenged me to really evaluate my life and the satisfaction I feel everyday.  Instead of looking with longing toward the “perfect life” (whatever that is), what if I strove to love the very life I have?  Right now, imperfections and all? (Here’s an excerpt if you’d like to read a bit of it)

 

We did this as a family.

FullSizeRender 25

It’s so easy to lose sight of how much of the world lives.  We tend to focus on what we lack.  When that happens to me, I’m learning to do a hard shift.  To recalibrate.  We go to Flint to hand out water.  I travel to Haiti.  This week we took the kids to the Compassion Experience, where we were able to “travel” through the life of two Compassion kids– one from Kenya and one from the Dominican Republic.  Our kids got to hear how their lives were before they were sponsored and how Jesus changed them as a result of being part of the program.  We often don’t think of the difference food and education can make in a child’s life, but the truth is, it changes everything.  We were also reminded of the crucial importance of writing to our child and how children save their letters from their sponsors.  I will never forget how surprised I was when we met our sponsored child and he knew everything about our family.  He had literally memorized our letters.  I was blown away.

 

Go here to learn more about the Compassion Experience.

Go here to learn how you can sponsor your own child.

 

If you’ve been around here long, you know I’ve said that we must pay attention to our tears because often it’s the leading of the Holy Spirit.  You guys, this stuff brings me to tears every time.  The poverty of the world and the joy Jesus brings– I will never get over it. And I’m paying attention.

 

I’m memorizing this verse.

IMG_8259

 

 

A prayer for you and me.

Father, We all have those in our lives that we don’t see.  We pass them by everyday without a thought.  But they are created by You.

Open our eyes to those who cannot speak for themselves.

Never let our hearts become hardened enough that we stop speaking up for justice.

Remind us that our lives need recalibration.

Give us courage to quit our comfortable lives and reach out.

Take our selfishness and give us compassion.

Take our pride and give us kindness.

Bust open our hearts for those who are helpless today… because we want to be like You.

Amen.

 

Have a lovely week, friends!

 

 

Well, hello!
I’m so very glad you’re here.  I hope you’ll stick around so we can get to know one another a little more.  Go here if you’d like to receive my posts via email.  –Sarah

Braver Than You Think  2

braver than we feel.001

Wednesday, a few hours before Kate got home from school, there was a knock at my door.  It was our neighbor, one of our favorite regular visitors at our house.  She had a strange look on her face and she asked me if we’d seen Seal, Kate’s cat, that day.

 

My heart dropped.  He had been mysteriously missing all day, which happens from time to time, so I hadn’t been too concerned.

 

But there was a reason Seal hadn’t been around.  He had been hit by a car earlier that day.  The thought of telling Kate her beloved cat had died made me want to throw up.

 

Peter, who always gets handed the job of digging the graves of our pets, put Seal in a box and dug the hole.

 

And then Kate was home and we had to break the news that the cat she’d loved for 3 years was gone.

 

There is nothing worse than knowing you are going to break the heart of your child.  To sit them down and look them in the eye and know that your words will cause pain and sorrow.

 

I was reminded, while holding her sobbing body, that death, not matter how small, is always sad.  And these moments are what deepen and mature her.  Sadness changes us, even the ones we may foolishly deem insignificant.

 

She wasn’t sure if she could face school the next day or her baseball game the day after that, but I cupped her sweet face in mine and I said, “Kate, you are braver than you think.  You can do this.” And guess what?  She is.

 

We do our best to protect our kids from the weight of the world, but I was reminded again this week that it’s an impossible task. It’s necessary to let them grieve. If I’m going to raise kids who are brave and alive, I want to be the one who gently teaches them that life has rough and rotten days.

 

In my heart, I know I’m not raising a kid…. I’m raising an adult.  And the way I respond and lead her through this time that is so very sad for her will shape how she processes death and disappointment.  Now, I’m tempted to think I’ve put in my time when her sister died seven years ago, but the truth is, how she processed death when she was two is completely different from how she’s processing it now.  I’ve had to put aside my thoughts of how she should be reacting, and instead let her work it out herself.

 

While I want to take it away, fix it, and protect her, I can’t.  So I’ve done a lot of listening, holding, and comforting this week.  I listen as the anguish pours out and we cry with together.  She texted her teacher, told her friends and made a special frame with Seal’s picture.

 

I don’t always get it right.  I don’t always have the words to say or the patience I need with my kids.  But I do know that when the hard days come, my kids need to know down to the tips of their toes that my heart is busted open for them.  I want them to be confident that I’m on their team and I hurt with them, but I can’t rescue them from the sadness of the world. And while it breaks my heart to see the tears pooling in her eyes, I know that the words I spoke over her are true.

 

She’s braver than she thinks.

 

 

Well, hello!
I’m so very glad you’re here.  I hope you’ll stick around so we can get to know one another a little more.  Go here if you’d like to receive my posts via email.  –Sarah

Hello Monday!  0

hello monday slides.002

 

A few times a year, I know I need to pull back a little, to find a little more margin and quiet.  Obviously, it isn’t feasible for me to just quit everything, so I’ve discovered little ways to achieve margin in my heart, even if my actual schedule is still busy.

 

 

I make soup.

Specifically, chicken stock (based loosely on this recipe).  I get out my big red pot after I roast a chicken.  I put the bones, veggies, spices and a whole bunch of water and I let it simmer all day.  There’s something about soup on the stove that seems right.  It’s low maintenance, just a stir every once in awhile, but requires me to be present.

However, this time there’s a sad ending to the chicken stock story.  I ladled it in mason jars at the end of the day and after they cooled, I put them in the freezer.  Ten quart jars!  I felt so domestic.  Until a few days later, I discovered that six of them had busted in the freezing process.  I’m not going to lie, I almost cried throwing it all away.  Note to self: no more glass jars in the freezer.

 

I read a book.

Now, I am always reading a book.  There’s a pile beside my bed and a basket of books that travels with me, and usually a few under the coffee table, too.  When I leave the house, I usually stick one in my purse just in case I get a few minutes to read a page.  They’re usually books I should read.  You know, the nonfiction ones that are good for me.

But a few times a year, I take one of my classic favorite fictions off the shelf.  The ones that I can flip to any page and know exactly what’s going on.   They’re usually books I’ve read since I was twelve.  And this time I re-read Emily of New Moon.  It’s not only about the story– it’s about the memories connected to being a child and falling in love with words.  It’s about the inscription on the front– books from my Grandma, who read them all before she gifted them to me, because she loved them, too.  And when I’m feeling nostalgic, anything by L.M. Montgomery feels just right.

FullSizeRender 20

 

I listen to something I can’t quit thinking about.

Like this video of Bono and Eugene Peterson on the Psalms.  It was fantastic.

 

I post a verse by my kitchen sink.

 

IMG_8192

 

I pray for you and me.

 

Jesus, forgive us for thinking our busyness will bring us salvation.  We run around, doing good things, yes, but it’s like we don’t believe that the world can go on without us.  Why do we insist on this silly effort?  Why do we have such a hard time drawing back, giving ourselves more margin?  Teach us what it means to turn back to you, to depend on you in ways we’ve been unwilling to surrender.  It’s scary to pull back, because you speak to us in silence, when our hearts are still.  It feels like a risk.  But it’s what you call us to.  May we always be willing to allow you to do Your work in our hearts, because that’s when we see our True Source of strength.