Saturday, June 11, 2016

Being Swept Away

I'm a big fan of being completely swept away by ordinary life.

It started today at a nine year old's birthday party.  I actually had never met the birthday boy, but his Mom has become a dear friend of mine over the last few months.  I had been nervous about going, but decided to shove away my anxieties and seize the day.  I bought myself a pretty new shirt (that I like so much I will wear again tomorrow!) and loaded the birthday boy's gift bag with lots of candy, since I had no idea what else he liked! When I arrived, I was happy to see that there were a very nice group of parents from our local elementary school all sitting around, nibbling on fruit and chips, and chatting under a cluster of trees on the edge of their lovely lawn.

The kids were happily engaged in bouncy house and trampoline activities, along with zip-lining (amazing fun!) and water games.  And, a breeze came along that cooled my face, and that signaled me to look around and realize that I was comfortable.  I felt peaceful, surrounded by people I didn't know extremely well, yet I knew their names, their kids names, and I knew that it was okay to be me.

And, once I felt that happen, I joined it.  I chatted.  I asked questions.  I cheered kids on during the zip-lining, I talked in silly voices, told jokes, and had a really great time.

Even though I had been scared to go.

And just like that, life swept me away in a beautiful, simple, dance.

I came home, smiling, being proud of overcoming my social anxiety, yet exhausted from it as well.

So, I asked my husband for time to read.  I'm about a decade behind the times, but I have borrowed Eat. Pray. Love. from our local library on my Kindle.  I know some Christians would be horrified that I'm reading that book, but honestly, Elizabeth Gilbert is one of the most captivating writers I have read recently, and the book is has so many interesting characters, descriptions, and moments recorded in it, that even if I disagree with many (maybe even most?) of her spiritual thoughts, the story itself is delightful.  Beyond that, I just adore reading about people who are different than I am.  Isn't that part of the joy of reading itself?  (Half-Joking-Disclaimer:  This is not a push to read this book...just so I don't get blamed for anyone's spiritual demise!)

Anyways, so here I am, on my porch, with my pretty new porch chandelier swaying above me, and my Boston Fern Plant hanging proudly just beyond that, with a delightful read in my hands.  The wind chimes are audibly dancing, and David is playing with the kids in the sand box in the front yard.  One of our favorite neighbors walks by, and several neighbor kids pass by on bikes and scooters.  It's so simple, yet so beautiful.

Nothing life-changing was happening.

Yet,  I'm overtaken.  By the ordinary.  By the blessings that are hidden right in front of me.  And I'm thankful.

I'm grateful for a day that I worked hard, played hard, overcame anxiety, and slowed down just to enjoy life.

I'm amazed by life's beauty.  And the people that make my life so beautiful.  In short, if you are reading this, I am humbled that you are taking the time to read the words bubbling out of my soul tonight.  And,  you, my friend and reader, are sharing in my little miracle of life today.

Hallelujah.  And Amen.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Just one Smile

Writing is hard when you are filled with deep dark emotions.
Actually, writing is perhaps easiest at that point.  It's the sharing of those writings that is incredible difficult.  And, though I have been compiling a big list of things I want to say, I'm not ready to say them publicly.   Yet.  I'll get there.  Because authenticity is one of the character traits I desire most in my own life, and in the lives of others.  

But, tonight, on a lighter note, I just wanted to share a little moment of happy I had.

Tonight, I was sitting in my newly rearranged house, in the little room that we now have entitled the study.  This is the room that welcomes the guests into our house, and it is frequently used, and there are signs of that all around.  One particular give away is the broken blind that is hanging on the front door.  The top part of the blind is intact, but several little fingers and hands have tugged at the bottom and there is about a 15" gap which you can see through the window.

I was making myself busy preparing dinner, hopping back and forth between the computer in the study and the stove in the kitchen. Back and forth I would go, trying to multitask.  One time, as I sat down to check something of dire importance on the computer (let's face it, it was a FB message about tonight's girl's night out plans!) I saw a cute little freckled face peering through the gap.  It's the perfect height for her look in and observe what I was doing.  She raised her eyebrows at me and grinned.  

And, it was then, that I smiled at her.   As soon as the smile has formed on my lips, I felt the heaviness of the day begin to flee.  I  I had a message in my mind for that little girl that I wanted to convey with my smile.  "I love you little girl.  I want to hug you.  I'm so glad you are mine.  You are a blessing to me, and I'm so happy to be your mommy."  I know that seems like a lot for a smile, but today was a dark day.  A hard day.  And, that smile was not only to give Lydia hope, but to stir some  hope up in me too.

I'm thankful that during days when I cry so hard, I am unable to function, that God gives me rest.
I'm smiling because when I feel lonely and unloveable, God provides friends.
I'm hopeful that even though I have lost my dad, I still get to be a mom.

So, I will keep on smiling.  Especially at my kids.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Sting of Rejection

Word on the street is "the letter is in the mail."

I interviewed my little heart out last Thursday for a job that I *thought* was destined to be mine.  I waited a few days and I had heard nothing---so, I did what all the websites and job interview experts tell you to do.  I made a follow up phone call.

In my cheeriest voice, I announced my name, my interview date, and the reason I was calling.  "I was really interested in the job.  Did you have any other questions for me, or have you already filled the position?"

There was a brief pause and a moment of awkwardness.  And, then, she laid the truth all out there.  "We have already filled the position.  We sent you a letter in the mail."

So, I guess tomorrow, or maybe the next day I can be reminded of my failure too.

Okay, that last sentence sounded so dark, but I'm kind of feeling that way right now.  The rejection stings right now.  It really does.  I am questioning what about me wasn't good enough for that position.  I am tempted to call myself inadequate and undeserving.  The word 'loser' has tossed itself around my mind a few times too.  It's hard not to take a job rejection personally.

But, on the flip side, I'm actually really grateful as well.  Interviewing is an incredibly vulnerable thing to do, and even though I struggle with fear, anxiety and 'putting myself out there,' I did it.  I spent time focusing on my good qualities and how those attributes would benefit  a work environment.  I was brave.  I focused on the future.  I worked beyond my anxiety and insecurities, and I took steps  towards a rewarding future for myself.

I really do think that some day I will make an awesome receptionist or customer service representative.  Until then, I will keep being the best Jesus follower, wife, mom, daughter, writer, VBS director, babysitter, neighbor, friend, and person I can be.  And, I'll try focusing on the positives until this fresh sting dies down a bit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


I know as a Christian I should not *need* to see God's miracles.
But, life has been more on the "I could really use a miracle today.." side.
Today, I felt like God heard my earnest prayers.  My pleas.  My heart aching.
And he answered a very powerful prayer.
And, this short post is just to give him glory for that.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Last night, my husband and I went on perhaps one of the most extravagant dates we have ever been on.  It was a benefit for cystic fibrosis.  Everyone was dressed to the nines, my hair was done professionally, my dress was beautiful, and for the first part of the evening, I even wore heels.  We stayed out until past midnight (I know!  We are sooo crazy)  We went with dear friends, friends that we consider family.  We had our pictures done, and there also was a photo booth just for silly laughs.  We even bid (and won!) in a silent auction!  It was so fancy.  We loved it.

This morning (or perhaps early afternoon) I dragged my hiney out of bed, threw on some "not that dirty" clothes and we went for a walk.  We packed a simple lunch of a sandwich, an apple and some water.  David also brought cookies that he had "smuggled" away in his tux pocket for dessert (we are soooo classy.)  We walked about a quarter of a mile deep into the woods and sat on a bench along the path and ate our picnic lunch,  We smiled.  We sat quietly.  We observed nature.  We talked about deep spiritual questions I had been mulling over.  It was so simple.  Yet, we loved it.

One of the things I've been telling myself day by day is that life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.

And, by giving myself that freedom to just enjoy the wonder of life without expectation of perfection, suddenly every day is more enjoyable.

Now, I'm not going to say that my new little mantra has brought joy beyond measure to all aspects of my life.  That's not true.  But, what I will say is that when I'm having a sad day, or an afternoon where Murphy's Law seems to be in full effect, that letting go of perfection is allowing me to bounce back a little quicker.

It doesn't matter if my hair is gloriously held in place by twenty-some bobby pins, or if it is spilling out of a top-of-my-head messy bun.  It doesn't matter if I'm with 400 plus people, or if it's just me and David, or even if it is just me.  Joy can abound anyplace, anytime if we just keep our eyes peeled and our hearts grateful.

May the richness and the joy of Christ be part of your day today.  The sun is shining.  The temperature is pleasant (at least here in NWPA) and it's Sunday---a day to relax and connect.  Take advantage of what is given to you, and remember, even if your day is not perfect, it can be so incredible wonderful!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Introducing Friends

In our writing group we PROMISED each other to write on our blogs on Thursday.  I have started this blog seventeen times, and I keep ending up with a blank screen.
So, I did what I had to do.  I went to this website (click here!) and found an amazing list of blog ideas.  I read through them and still could not decide.  So, I let fate take over from there...
I texted my friend Alison and asked her to choose a number from 1 to 500.  
She chose #379. 
The blog prompt chosen asks a very important question:  "How do you feel about introducing friends from different parts of your life?"

Wow.  What an interesting topic...

I shared the topic with Alison and quite quickly she responded that she tended to compartmentalize.  "Work friends are for work.  Home friends are for home."

"What an interesting way of handling that," I said to myself.  

Because I'm so not like that.  

I think that Alison's way has a lot of merit.  It keeps life from getting too messy, too complicated, and too...uncomfortable.

But, as luck would have it, I'm a messy and complicated gal!

I honestly have a lot of friends from a lot of walks of life.  (I'm not bragging, I promise.  I sometimes scratch my head and wonder why people even like me, but that is another blog post all in itself..) I love lots of people, and I want all the people I love to love each other and make life super lovely! (Can someone make me a t-shirt with that on it please?) And, sometimes, without thinking I invite like forty seven people over all at once.  And, I tend to just sit back and watch what happens.  

I remember my first experience with the mixing of friends.  I think it was my ninth or tenth birthday party, and my parents let me invite several friends over.  That was the first time in my life that I remember understanding what true jealousy felt like.  My friends ended up just adoring each other.  And, as a side result, I honestly felt left out.  I'm pretty sure I pouted, cried and was miserable the entire party!

However, praise God, that as I grew older, the maturity came.  Now, when I see that happen, I consider it a 100% success.  If I can match one of my pals up in a new friendship with another buddy, that obviously tells me that my friends are so amazing that other people want to be with them too!  And, the more my people love each other, the better my life is!  

However, I'm not going to lie to you and tell you this always go so well.  There are times when certain people just don't mix.  And, while that puts me in some awkward positions at times, I also consider it a beneficial place to be.  There have been times when I have friends who pretty much can not stand one another.  While sometimes navigating those waters can be tricky, I consider it my calling to make sure that I can help them "coexist" if you will.  I truly believe that most people are worth the effort to maintain friendships with.  I try to show opposing sides that very fact.

Here is an examples of a conversation I may have participated in once or twice! 

"I'm not denying that person has been (insert not so lovely adjective here), but I will tell you that she also one of the most (insert lovely adjective here) people you will ever meet."

Oh, yeah. I may also have one or two friends that I try to "prepare" my other friends in advance for their meeting.  I mean, there are just some people that it's not fair to spring upon other people.  But, even those that take preparation...well, they are worth it.  They are genuine and amazing people.  I hope someday to grow into the kind of person that takes some explaining before meeting me. :) (And to all my friends who are reading this...don't's probably not you I'm referring too, okay?  And, if it is...well, read this paragraph again...YOU ARE WORTH IT!)

Friendship is a give and take.  It's about accepting people right where there are and loving them and helping them grow into a better person.  It's about teaching people and ourselves to find "faults" endearing instead of agitating, and to find "quirks" lovable compared to irritating.  

I love my friends.  And I think that other people should love them too!  Especially my other friends! :)  People are so very important to me.  And, friendship is one of my most valued virtues in the world.  I love the richness, complexity, wonder and insanity that comes from mixing all of my worlds at once.  And, I mean this with all sincerity---that I hope you get more mixed up in my world sometime soon!  I value people, and to me, friendship is beyond priceless.  It's a gift straight from heaven.

This. Is. Hilarious!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The music festival

I've been waiting for this weekend for months.  The thought of a lively, music infused mini-escape less than a mile from my home has pulled me through an emotionally bleak winter.
Last night, we went to check out the late night crowd at the Riverside Music Festival, and I was not disappointed.  There's nothing like walking into the main lobby and some strumming hitting your ears.  You walk into the hallway leading to the lounge and another style of music floats your way.  You can't help but peek in really quick to see who is producing such unique and interesting sounds.  
After a quick glance, I continue walking down the hallway to another gathering area.  I loved the sight we witnessed.  There were about a dozen artist, and it was obvious they really didn't all know each other, but after a brief conversation, the started playing music and it all meshed.  The rhythmic music made me tap my feet, and I leaned over and whispered to David, "This is what I have been waiting for."  The bluegrassy sound made me smile and cause some reminiscing of my younger days when family jam sessions were occasionally on the weekend schedule.  I was never part of the jamming, because the musical gene skipped me.  However, my appreciation of the sound definitely did not.
We make a right turn, walk through a series of vendors, one which included liquor filled cupcakes (something I had never even heard of or imagine before...but they went unsampled on my  Then, we walk into the ballroom.  The music was, smoky vocals accompanied by every kind of string instrument I can name (which, let's face it, I was not a music major.)  We sat and watched a few people dance their hearts out, while David and I just enjoyed observing, being out past 9:00 for once, even if we were quite tired.
After a few songs, my face started to hurt from smiling so much.  We decided to avoid facial injury, got up, walked around,  and eventually made our way back to the lounge.  We sat down and enjoyed a few more artist.  We shared some laughs about inside jokes between just the two of us, and enjoyed the vibe and excitement of a place filled with music lovers.  In full Sarah disclosure, I did have a little bit more trouble enjoying some of the lounge singers, because, while their talent was impeccable, strong swear words make me sad.  (Hey, just me being me.)  But, the talent was undeniable, and the music itself, completely enjoyable. The last band we listened to was incredible, containing also a saxophone and a beat box.  I loved it, but, alas my mom ears could only handle being close to the speakers for so long, and we made our way home around 11:00.  We walked to our car, amazed by the talent we had witnessed  I'm so grateful that God made music.  And, I'm so thankful that we get to go back to the music Festival again today!