A Mom & Son Trip: Our Next Daring Adventure  6

On Friday, I will board a plane to Haiti.  I have been meticulously going over details for weeks and as we wrap up preparations, I want to make sure I record what’s going on in my heart.  This will be my fourth trip in 3 years… the first I attended a funeral, the second a wedding.  Our third trip was in the middle of a presidential election (that never resolved) and this time may be the most devastating in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.


But there’s another detail that makes this trip different.  This time I’ll have my son William by my side.  And because I am a Mom, this makes me so emotional.  About six months ago, as Peter and I were praying about this trip, we sensed that God was prompting us to ask Will to go.  He has been asking for years to travel to another country, so when we presented it to him and he said yes with wide eyes, it was an answer to both of our dreams.


If you were to peek into my heart and my brain, you would see my swirling thoughts and emotions.  Most of my thoughts are just details: food.  lesson plans. passports. underwear.


But there are a few other thoughts when I wake up in the middle of the night:


I’m crazy excited. I cannot wait to take Will to the place that has my heart. I can’t wait to see him walk those roads and love those kids.  As a mom, more than anything I want to guard against the sense of entitlement that comes with being an American.  I want my kids to grow up with a heartbeat for the poor and powerless, to have their hearts break for the things that break the heart of God.  I want them to experience the phonemenon that having less does not mean less joy.  To have this opportunity to go with him to Haiti is unbelievable.


But I’m also apprehensive, and doing my best to be brave.   My default is to protect my kids, so exposing Will to such deep poverty makes me anxious.  We’ve done some intentional things to develop compassion in our kids, but we still become so sanitized.  On our living room mantle is a big framed print that says, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” (Helen Keller).  In my heart of hearts, it’s what I want our kids to live out, but I would be lying if I said it was easy for me.  When I get apprehensive about the “what ifs”, I imagine the end.  What do we as parents desire for William?  We want him to choose the daring adventure, every time.  That means that I must be brave.


I’m praying big. We are on the precipice of some amazing years with Will. These are the years he’ll begin to form who he will be in adulthood.  So I’m praying that this trip will be formative to him.  God has a way of speaking so clearly when so many of our familiar scenes are erased.  I’m praying this will bring our close relationship even closer.  I’m so overwhelmed with the gift of being able to serve alongside him.


At the same time, I’m keeping my expectations low. I’ll just tell you right now I’m so bad at this.  I’m the queen of daydreaming something grand and then when it falls flat, I get so disappointed.  I know that this trip could have huge implications on Will’s life.  I’m confident that he will thrive and we will have an amazing week.  But I also know there are going to be some hard moments.   As his mind processes so many new things, I’m going to be tempted to tell him how to process.  But I can’t.  I’ve had some wise people warn me that this trip may not immediately affect him and to not be disappointed with that.  The implications will work themselves out in time.


I’m doing my best to step back.  When the hurricane hit the country of Haiti just a few days ago, I started to have doubts.  But God gently reminded me that our surprises are no surprises to Him.  He does the work He needs to do, no matter what.  So I’m relying on Him.  I don’t know what kind of devastation we’ll face when we get there.  I don’t pretend to think we’re going to go and fix anything.  My prayer is that I’ll step back and see how God is working.  I simply want to be an encouragement to those who are there doing the hard work day after day after day.


I’m packing a lot of food.  Seriously.  We bring mostly our own food, which usually is not a big deal.  But anticipating what a 12 year old boy will need for a week makes me dizzy.  He is hungry all. the. time.


I’m asking you to pray.  I know you will, without me even asking.  It’s why I value you all so much.  I will do my best to post to Instagram next week.  I’ll share the stories I can, while allowing Will to share his stories also.  damaska_family_2015-341-of-475 It’s going to be incredible.


P.S. We will be in Port-de-Paix, Haiti, which is in the northwestern part of the country.  While the hurricane did very much hit that region, it was not hit as badly as the southwestern portions.  I am quite confident that it is safe and good to continue with our trip.  Peter and the girls will remain in Michigan, keeping the home fires burning.



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

The Pain of Living in the In-Between  8



It’s inevitable and I know better than to fight it.  As the end of September draws near, the anniversary of when our daughter Annie died, my thoughts turn toward those last weeks and days when she was with us.  I try my hardest to remember and also forget, if that even makes sense.  It’s almost been seven years since I last smelled her sweet breath or captured her smile.  The hurt isn’t as sharp anymore, but it certainly doesn’t disappear or diminish.  Even so, I’m thankful.  Thankful that I could love her, that I have memories, that Jesus has used her life to change mine.


A few days ago, we sat the kids down and gently told them a man in our church died. Except we knew how deeply they would feel this one.  Little did we realize the depth of sorrow we would feel as we bury a string of people who have loved our kids like their own.  Tomorrow Peter will bury Grandpa Sam just a few feet from our Annie.


I was reminded something I had written just two weeks after Annie died.   It seemed like the right thing to re-post as we approach a painful anniversary of our own daughter and as fresh tears fall for a man who has meant so much to us.



We spend a lot of time at the Cemetery.


It’s right across the street, actually.  I can look out of my front window and see it.  I love it and hate it all at the same time.


The day after we got home from the hospital, we walked over the the Cemetery to see Grandpa Sam.  Grandpa Sam is a surrogate Grandparent to the kids.  He’s the one that brought a pony over for William to ride on his first birthday and who dutifully feeds my children chocolate donuts on Sunday mornings while I’m in Worship Practice.  He’s also in charge of the Cemetery.


And so we walked over to see him the day after Annie died.  William wanted to ride his bike over, so he did.  And then we cried because we didn’t want to talk to Grandpa Sam about where to bury our daughter.   He didn’t want to talk to us about it either.


In the end, we received a beautiful gift.  You see, in 1954, Grandpa Sam and Grandma Donna buried a sweet baby of their own.  Her name was Jane Ann.  And right beside little Jane was an empty plot.  That’s where our Annie Jane is now.


There’s already grass growing at her grave.  It’s so green.  I guess I take note of the green-ness since everything else around us is turning brown.  I hate that the grass is growing there– a reminder that time is marching on without our Sweet Girl.  But the green grass also reminds me the God has not abandoned me.  There is new growth on top of death.


The price we have paid is oh, so high.


I have to admit that as I hear of lives being changed, of ways that Annie’s story is impacting lives, I have a hard time being glad.  I mean, I’m thankful and grateful.  But couldn’t there have been a different way?  Sometimes I find myself asking God why He couldn’t accomplish His purpose by doing a miracle instead.


But God will redeem it.  Someday I will know the full story.  It’s the waiting between now and then that is so hard.


“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
 1 Corinthians 13:12


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

The Discipline of Slowing  0



The very last week of our six week sabbatical we dropped off the camper then drove to a small lake cottage.


For over 5,000 miles we had driven 55-60 miles per hour, hauling our little camper. We crossed rivers and mountains, two lane back roads and six lane highways through big cities.  We got used to the cars whizzing past us.  We had heard too many horror stories of trying to drive fast with a trailer.  So we took our time, sometimes with sighs because even the short days of driving seemed to drag on longer than we’d anticipated.


But a funny thing happened. When we began to go the real speed limit after weeks of traffic flying past us, we were shocked.  We hadn’t realized just how slow we were going and the ACTUAL speed limit seemed out of control.


Of course, you know where I’m going with all this. Because it’s September and chances are your calendar looks just like mine.  It’s filled with good things— practices and dinners with friends, meetings for good causes and school functions.


As I rushed to get dinner on the table tonight, in between one thing for one kid and another thing for another, I couldn’t help but go back to those lonely Kansas roads.  The ones with no cars and almost no towns and wind that would not quit blowing.  I thought about the early mornings, when Peter and I would take our coffee outside and sit with our Bibles, talking and dreaming while the kids slept hard, way past their normal time.


I thought about the bike rides in Wyoming, through the pasture where the cows lazily watched us dodge cow patties as they chewed their grass.  I remembered the night we sat at a Lake Superior beach for hours, waiting to watch the sunset, the kids playing in the sand with a fast food cup and a football, happy and content.


We’ve been home just over three weeks and I’m finding this transition time like a tug of war.  Our summer was amazing, but it was for a time.  A sabbatical can’t last forever.  And yet I want to hold on to the slowness, to the savoring.


We came home to full speed ahead, plus a little more.  And I know this about myself— when I’m moving at a crazy speed, I find it harder to be intentional and purposeful.  Words spill out of my mouth and feelings get hurt. My lists give birth to new lists until there’s a List Pile, which happens to hide the Very Important Paper that doesn’t get sent to school until it’s too late.


It seems we’re living in an in-betweeness, processing a sweet season as a family and a trip that helped us really step back and look at our lives.  On the other hand, we’re also starting school and jumping back into our everyday life. Our rhythm right now seems to be off as we try to reconcile the two seasons.
Can I whisper something to you?   I refuse to live in the fast lane.  The squares on my calendar may be full to overflowing, but I’m fighting for the things that really matter.  I’m going to get it wrong more than I’ll get it right.  But I won’t give up trying.
I’ll slow the car down, look in the rearview mirror and pretend there’s a camper back there. Want to join me?


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

#damaskasontheroad: H O M E  1


IMG_8978I know, I know.


If you only follow me on this blog, you may be thinking we fell off the face of the Earth somewhere between Kansas and Colorado.


Don’t worry.  We didn’t.  And we’re home now. The car may be dusty and road weary, but he made it.


Here’s the thing: About the third week into this trip, my words seemed to just dry up. It was so strange. I had nothing.  The only way I can describe it is that at that point our whole family just seemed to take a big exhale and we grabbed onto it for as long as we could. We realized just how stretched thin we were, just how much we needed to realign and we went for it.


And it was so good.


We’ve been home for a little over two weeks.  We’ve been rooting through all the things we forgot we had and enjoying all the extra room of our house (I don’t have to duck when I take a shower! We all fit around the table!)  But also? It’s like we’re trying to find our family rhythm all over again.


School started this week and with it comes the rush to gather supplies and find shoes and get dinner on the table before 8:00.


It’s nothing new– it just takes a bit to adjust.  And it turns out that it takes every single one of my brain cells to parent my children, even during the hours they’re away from me!


So I promise to keep up with the travel posts until they’re done, but it may take me awhile.


While I’m busy catching up at home, here are five fun things I don’t want to forget about our trip:




One of the things I miss most?  Doing laundry in an hour.  Fill all the washing machines, come back and fill all the dryers.  And done.  Why does it take me so much longer at home?




If you have a few minutes while you’re driving, here’s a good podcast on suffering and hope with Katharine Wolf (Jamie Ivey keeps me company while I run and do dishes and make dinner.  Love the Happy Hour!).  We enjoyed Revisionist History, too (Malcolm Gladwell is always interesting) and we’re probably the last people on the planet to start listening to This American Life.





This is how I ride in the car.  Always.  I can’t seem to ever reserve space for my feet. Where would I put all my bags?!





I brought plenty of books to read (and got them almost all finished!) but I also read a few almost-released ones that were amazing.  If you haven’t checked out Edie Wadsworth’s All the Pretty Things or Shannan Martin’s Falling Free, I give them both five stars!  Edie’s book speaks of growing up in a broken, alcoholic family, with poverty and violence.  Her style is amazing and it’s easily the best book I’ve read this year.  Falling Free is a book that was written by the sister of a friend, about places that are familiar to me.  It’s a journey of a family realizing that we’re meant for more than building a life of dreams.  Both books reminded me of the healing work of Jesus and the way He leads us to places we never dreamed.





We packed pretty light (we even had an empty cupboard!), but even still there were several things we never touched in the camper.  There were also lots of things we didn’t necessarily have room for that we brought.  Like this ice cream.  A friend gifted me with two blessed pints and I allowed myself just a few bites a day and made it last the entire six weeks.  Sometimes if Peter was good, I’d share, but it was a sacrifice.


We continue to shake our head at how amazing our summer was. We still shake our heads that we were able to pull this thing off.  But we did it and we had a blast!  As I process all the ways God was faithful to us, I just get so excited.


#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.

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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.


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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.


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Then we explored the Garden of the gods.


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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.

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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.)




How to Develop Compassion in Your Kids  1



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 : Kentucky & Kansas  4

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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.

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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.


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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!?


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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).



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


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….



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


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

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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:



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.


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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


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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