Faith, Family

why anxiety, fear + control aren’t allowed anymore

May 21, 2015

I don’t know about you, but I have spent a good chunk of my life scared and anxious. Will people accept me? Will I be understood? Will I have enough (money, food, time, resource, capacity, maturity… fill in the blank)? Will my kids make it? Will my marriage make it? How will (insert any given situation in which I am not totally in control–which is pretty much never) work out? How will this situation that I have tried to have total control over work out, considering I am a mess and usually make a ton of mistakes? What do I do with my dreams? What do I do about the fact that I am totally broken-hearted about the girls in ISIS territories and yet feel totally powerless to help them? What do I do with the power I do have?

You get the idea, most of the days, most of the weeks, all year round, ad infinitum. Its exhausting, taxing, has led to seasons of depression and ill-health and, lets be really real here, most of the mistakes–and then subsequent anxieties around their repercussions–center around my lack of ability to manage myself well in my fear. My choice to partner with control and fear in the face of pain produces anxiety and fear about how those I love will be affected by my choice to partner with control… Yea, sit on that one for a while. That pattern right there is a downward spiral of yuck and destruction that I hadn’t even noticed I was choosing on a daily basis. When I did, when that reality dawned on me, I pulled the emergency brake. Seriously. I am DONE with fear and anxiety and control. Done.

There are really only two choices to make in any one situation, will I respond out of fear or love. For example, impatience is basically control because of fear, “I have to do deal with this now to control how I (or the other person) will feel or react later.” Whereas patience says, “Right now we need some hugs and some security and waiting until our love tanks are full will mean that we are better able to learn from this situation and find a good and loving solution for it.” Fear looks like: distrust, self-protection, loneliness, self-reliance, co-dependency, escape, numbing, anger, toxic behaviour, control, manipulation and intimidation to name a few. Love looks like vulnerability, authenticity, courage, trust, acceptance, interdependence, being present, being honest, managing yourself, peace, hope and deep joy.

This choice of love over fear is not an easy one at all, not at all, and I do not write this post glibly. Everyone reading this, including me the author, have stacks of pain in our lives. Past pain, present pain, ongoing pain. My comments are in full awareness of the gravity and reality of each person’s individual pain. The reality of the choice between love and fear is that it is never made in the absence of pain and always requires a powerful choice in the midst of pain. And to make matters “worse”, choosing love is not guaranteed to have a good result, mostly because the commitment to love means a letting go of control of outcomes. To put it frankly, it is bloody hard work and something that I fall on my face in most days, multiple times a day. However, my line in the sand on fear and anxiety is a result of this one very real, life altering reality:

I have come to know, and trust, the absolute and irrefutable goodness of Father God and His complete and perfect love for us. He is not only the embodiment of love, He is love, and all who chose to live in love, live in God, and God lives in them. This is my paraphrase of 1 John 4:16 in the Bible and it is the rock on which I am setting my intention to chose love everyday.

Like I mentioned above, I fail at this daily, but no matter… I do not need to fear my mistakes because His grace is all I need. His power works best in my weakness (2 Corinithians 12:19), so in fact I can laugh at my screw ups and clean up my relational messes in a loving and powerful/responsible way because the truth is that this amazing Father God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him. Everything (Romans 8:28).

This is the good news really. That humanities immense screw ups have been paid for by the perfectly loving Son of God, as part of He and the Fathers plan to get us back in the family, back into a place of peace and relationship with God, with no fear of punishment or weakness or mistakes. It sounds insane and to many it seems foolish BUT I have come to know this message as the very power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18) and this is why I love Him and why actually I refuse to consciously partner with fear and anxiety anymore. It is for my freedom and the freedom and wellness of humanity that Jesus did what He did and I have come to believe with everything in me that the above truths are not only worth betting my life and reputation on but are the bedrock for sustainable, healthy, whole and happy relationships.

I care so deeply for the people in my life, and so, with grace my feet and faith my eyes, I walk through each day choosing to trust that each of us is worthy of love, that mine and their sins have been covered and that mine and their mistakes are being perfectly worked into the Father’s master plan for the good of all who love Him. I totally think this is what David meant when he wrote in Psalm 18, “He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and lets me stand on heights high above my fears… He makes the path broad beneath my feet, so my ankles don’t turn and ruin me,” and this is totally why His praise will ever be on my lips. How can I hold onto fear and anxiety in the face of such utter goodness, how can my response be anything other than gratitude and happy partnership in this undeserved kindess?!

I would LOVE thoughts, ideas, comments and (kindly worded) objections!

Happy Thursday Y’all,




why food matters + the mind/body connection

May 13, 2015

Our bodies truly are incredible. They can run, they can hug, they can build and and innovate and explore. They can reproduce and save lives and they have inbuilt systems designed to heal and repair itself. In fact, our conscious minds have barely a part to play in a lot of the bodies processes. Can you imagine having to consciously control and sort out all the healing and homeostasis of all the organ systems in your body? Or consciously design and grow your child in your womb? With my organisational skills, I would have been dead long ago and my kids would look weird as hell! I’m sure I would have forgotten an eye brow or toe or something.

Anyway, I digress. The point is our subconscious mind and our bodies are constantly working together to keep our body functioning and functional and to what end? I would argue that it is so our minds and spirits can pursue and accomplish the dreams and adventures we think up and live out the purposes and destinies we have on our lives.

When our bodies do not work right or well or in a way that allows us to pursue the things in our hearts and minds, we start to slowly “fall asleep”. We become depressed and lethargic, unmotivated, tired, anxious and often find ourselves trying to numb the pain that those feeling evoke or escape from them through chaining entertainment or drugs or any other of the myriad ways there are to numb and escape these days. These things all work to reduce pain, but they do not help us stay awake or alive in our hears, many of them (junk food, recreational drugs, excessive alcohol, processed sugar) are toxins that act as anaesthetics on our bodies. Sure there is no pain, but lets be honest, there isn’t much life either.

This is a road I have walked. It is a tough and unforgiving road and I am so thankful for the life circumstances that brought me to understand the reality and importance of the mind/body connection. Forging a new path takes resilience, tenacity and a lot of support from friends/family who have gone before you and who can cheer you on and offer solutions. It is a road that am continually tempted to walk as well because it is familiar and in many ways a lot easier. However, I have also found such a freedom and motivation in seeing almost immediate results from dietary changes. I suppose our bodies are like cars. If I put the wrong fuel into my car it will not work properly and eventually break down. But if I put in the fuel that was made for it and look after it, my car can take me on all sorts of adventures. Cutting out unhealthy, toxic foods and adding in a whole lot of plant based foods has brought clarity and strength quicker than expected and has been hugely motivating.

Our family has been on this journey of eating real, whole and clean foods for almost 4 years now and in that time, Richard has been cured of an “incurable” digestive disorder, my anxious and “dark cloud” days have become increasingly infrequent, Rae’s ear problems have completely disappeared, we hardly ever get sick and when we do, the sickness does not last very long at all. There is more joy, there is more dreaming and adventure, there is less “vegging”. There is a happiness and a wellness that we all feel and I for one feel like I finally have space in my mind to dream and plan and think about the contributions that I want to make to this world and my tribe with my ONE life.

I do not think that food is the only answer and I will be writing about that more soon. I have not become one of those people that only talks about food and I do not prioritise physical health over mind and heart health. But I do think that mind, spirit and body work symbiotically and if one is limping along, so are all the others. Equally, if one is strong, you have the ability to focus on the others. Sometimes the emotions of the mind and complexities of the heart seem too overwhelming to tackle. I definitely found that. Researching health and wellness and making positive choices about what I put into my mouth felt like a manageable task for me. In the process I have found that the strength in my body has brought strength to my mind and actually a lot of the things that used to feel cripplingly overwhelming to me don’t seem so large and scary anymore. The healing in my body has given me strength and courage to tackle further healing in my heart and mind, and for the ability to stay awake and alive and thriving, I am so very grateful

If you want more details on how and what we eat click here or if you would like to know where we have done some of our research please check out our real food resources page and the health section of the blog, both of which we will be aiming to update regularly.

How do you guys feel about food? Do you notice differences in your mind and spirit when you eat/drink in different ways? I would love to hear!

Happy Wednesday!





Family, Olivers Go Northwest, Simplicity

simplicity + rest in chaos

May 7, 2015

Hello and good morning from rainy England!

This morning I am taking a break from the chaos to rest and write. It feels a bit like immigration paperwork is taking over my life and I needed to grab back a bit of control. It is so easy, with looming to-do lists and deadlines pending, to forsake all rest and to forget to enjoy the simplicity of today. To grab a quick, processed cereal bar instead of taking a few more minutes to make a fried egg on avocado. To rock the dry shampoo one more day instead of just taking a bit of time to enjoy a longer shower. To sit down and give a 5 minute snuggle to your two year old instead of saying, “Hold on a minute honey, Mommy needs to finish this form.”

It is so hard to make that choice, when the mountains of work seem so insurmountable. But we must, because now is now. Now is all we have and if we constantly say to ourselves that we will “enjoy life when (fill in the blank)”, that day will never come. There will always be an urgent task, a demanding email, a relational pressure, and we will always have the choice to choose a sustainable, simple, love filled life, or to choose to bow under all the pressure and fire-fight and trouble shoot ourselves into a crazy place. I have chosen the latter more times than I can count and it has never worked out well for me.

My house isn’t super clean right now, our clean clothes are folded in piles going up the stairs, we’ve had pasta more times than I would like to admit and I have pages of tasks that have no line crossing them out, still outstanding. But I like to think that my choice today, my choice to write, to do something that brings my soul life, instead of ticking off a few more things from my list, is a weapon. My rest* is a weapon against the untrue fear that plagues me. The fear that says my destiny is solely dependent on me. My rest is a weapon against my desire to control my circumstances and future instead of trusting that there is abundance to be had right now, even in the journey. That life does not start at the end, that this process, this transition is a valuable part of my life.

The truth is that I do not walk alone. The truth is that if it is not our time to go, then nothing I do can get us there. Likewise if it is our time to go, no mistake of mine or “taking breaks” will hinder us. We do not walk alone. We walk with a good shepherd who is as interested in the journey that He has with us as much as He is interested in the destination or destiny He has called us to.

To slow down, to pare down, to do less of the urgent and more of the imporant, to pursue dreams, to accomplish tasks to see those dreams come true, to participate in the beautiful mundanity of daily life… to do these things well and at a pace that maintains the flow of love and enjoyment, this is what it is to truly be awake.

Happy Thursday,


*Rest is not checking out, being lazy or ignoring others. Rest is living from a place of inner peace, living with intention, choosing to take time to do activities and tasks that bring life and enjoyment and beauty into your life. Rest is remembering that we are human beings, not human do-ings. Rest is remembering that the seemingly urgent tasks can wait because life is happening around you and you are determined not to miss it.


Adventure, Faith, Family, Olivers Go Northwest

Olivers Go Northwest Continued and Why Dreaming is So Rad

April 19, 2015

Put the kettle on, cosy up, click here if you missed the last bit and lets get on with the story shall we?

In our last Olivers Go Northwest post, I laid out how the opportunity to move to Edmonds, Washington felt both exciting and terrifying. How Richard got offered his dream job at his company during the same week and how this amazing situation we found ourselves in exposed quite a large area of disconnection and distrust in our marriage.

It was brutal y’all. Seriously. But one thing Richard and I have been good at is honesty and authenticity. We like to do life with people and we like to invite others into our messy, crazy, loving family life because we think that is what life and church and God is all about. So we shared. We shared our fears and thoughts and process with our friends and our small group and in return we received wisdom and prophetic encouragements and support. It was really awesome and in that season there were no words about direction, which thing we should choose, what the right decision was. Not from others and not from the Father. What was being said was, this is about the journey, not the destination. God is going to do things in you during this decision making process that will define you and change you forever. And all the Father was saying to us was, “You can choose. What do you want to do?”

Now at first sight, that sounds awesome right? We get to choose! Fabulous! Right?! Yea not so much for us. How many of y’all know its easier to follow rules than to risk on your dreams? How many know its easier to just follow a well laid out path than to forge ahead into new territory? It wasn’t who we were made to be, these people who just wanted to get it right and have someone choose for us, but its what we had allowed ourselves to become. So we prayed and talked and fought and shared some more and kept asking for direction from God and still He said, “You can choose, what do you want?” I remember saying to God one day how scared I was of making the wrong decision because I would ruin my life or His plans if I got it wrong and I immediately felt Him remind me of the times we are going to the park with our kids. The destination is the park but we often give our kids the option of whether to go left down one street and up another or whether they want to go up the other road and left to the park. Whichever route they choose doesn’t matter one bit because the destination is the same and the point was always about adventuring as a family. I was floored in that moment as I realised that there is something about the nature of God that cannot and will not be seen if we robotically follow orders we have been assigned to perform. This life is a relational journey, not a step by step robotic journey and in this relational journey the Father literally puts Himself at risk by giving us freedom to choose and a promise that we can ask anything (John 14:14). And He puts Himself at risk like this because His dream, God’s dream, is that we would be so filled with a joy that is not contained, restricted or confined (John 16:24, Hebrews 12:2).

As Richard and I processed that word together we realised how much freedom we actually live in with God. As the fear of making a mistake fell away we realised that we were safe, we were being taken care of, we were being guided by a good Father who sent His son to die so that He could have His kids back fully engaged, alive, dreaming and adventuring with Him. We couldn’t “get it wrong” really because in this specific season for us, there wasn’t a request to be obeyed but an invitation to dream. There is something about our dreams and our desires as His kids that, when pursued and realised, are supposed to unveil Him and manifest Him and so our job right now was to dream, to figure out what we desired and longed for and wanted and to make a directional choice out of that place. As Bill Johnson says, “Because God is so good, we are required to dream big,” so Richard and I’s prayers and chats shifted from, “what do you think we should do?” to “what do you want to do?” We started to dream together and it was POWERFUL. The broken trust and disconnection began to heal as we risked vulnerability with each other. As we handed each other our hearts desires and dreams and fears, we began to be knit back together. It was so cool. It was in this place that we realised that although we are so incredibly different, our hearts long for the same things. It was from this place that we realised we wanted to start writing together and it was from this place that we both looked at each other and said, “We really want to do this!!!!!”

Isn’t this a fun story?! Check back next week to hear the last bit! And also don’t forget to check out our Olivers Go Northwest crowdfunding page to see how you can help to practically get us there!

Happy Sunday y’all, we love sharing life with you!



so what exactly do we eat?

April 8, 2015

Alright, the moment of truth!

I get this question a lot from friends and Instagram followers, especially when I talk about why being healthy is so important, so I thought I would do a quick post outlining what we actually, really eat!

I have done a crazy amount of research over the years (which I have complied most of here for your ease!) AND I have a very high value for moderation and flexibility so just be aware that we are always ebbing and flowing according to our current needs and adhere to a very healthy and important 80/20 ideal. I firmly believe that if we eat mostly healthy, an infrequent unhealthy treat, meal out or cheat will do no harm. Its when those treats turn back into the daily routine that I get worried. Like recently, croissants and pain au chocolates on a bi-weekly basis crept back in… what? I blame the move and have adjusted back to our norm now that my kitchen is unpacked!

If I had to put a label on it, I would say that we eat a plant-based, gluten free diet supplemented by happy meat, eggs and fish only a few times a week with bone broths and raw milk as staples.

Animal Products and Dairy

I see value in healthy animal fats but think that our society eats way more than is necessary and healthy so meat and cheese are infrequent, once a week affairs. Fish is a once a week staple because of its super, amazing brain benefits. Pasteured eggs are a daily nutritional power house, as are raw milkshakes (fruit, milk and honey) and bone broth, which is used in a weekly soup and to cook all of our wholegrain rice and quinoa meals.

Fats and Grains

We make sure we buy healthy fats like olive oil, butter and coconut oil, eat healthy, gluten-free grains like brown rice, quinoa and oats and include amazing suppliments like chia seeds, nuts, hemp and flaxseed.

Sugar and Sweeteners

We sweeten with honey, maple syrup and dates.

All the rest

We try to have tonnes of fresh or frozen fruits and veggies!!! We make green smoothies daily, fresh soups, roasted veggies, sauteed veggies, salads with gorgeous dressings (ANY of Ella Woodward’s dressings are to die for!), homemade guacamole and pico de gallo. Basically any and all ways of having mostly veg at every meal.

If our bodies have at least 50% of every meal raw they stay in an un-inflamed, alkinalised state. So we do this when we can. It’s tricky with the kids so I sneak as much raw goodness into smoothies and hummus as I can and keep trying them on more raw veggies as we go.

Its not as hard as I thought it would be and I have found Deliciously Ella’s resources invaluable. She is a gluten-free vegan and so all her recipes are veggie loaded!

Hope this helps give y’all and idea of what we do. If you are interested in exploring the why of how we eat, check out my post on the mind/body connection. Also, if you have any questions at all please feel free to ask below! I’d love to help out!

Happy Friday,


Adventure, Creativity, Design love, Dreaming, Simplicity

My Tiny House Dream

March 29, 2015

About four years ago, Richard and I decided that our house was too small, or rather I decided our house was too small after taking a trip back to the States and realising that I lived in a matchbox compared to the rest of my family. We rented out our small, Victorian terrace and rented a huge plot of land with a gorgeous, albeit very old, farm house. Interestingly, the house itself was not much larger square footage wise. Yet, the layout of the interior and the surrounding outdoor space gave us one of the most enjoyable 18 months we have had as a family. We lived outside in the warm months and bundled up together in our only warm living space in the winter. We would honestly probably still be there if the man who owned it hadn’t decided to sell the land to developers–there are now FOUR large family homes on the plot with postage stamp sized gardens, its a shame really.

But that little 18 month stint planted a dream in my heart. A dream of open plan family living on a large plot of mature land. Financially this seemed like a pipe dream until I discovered the tiny house movement about a year ago. I have been chaining shows like George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and Tiny House Nation getting inspiration for and planning my very own small family home. I have dreams of designing and building it ourselves, having creative and innovative storage spaces and multi-functional, designer furniture.


Fusing design, modernist minimalism, functionality and simplicity all into a space that suits our young family of five, large dog, my husband’s home office/studio, guest bedroom space and room for hosting dinner parties. Being the fearless optimist that I am, and knowing my own design and building experiences have given me ample doses of reality into the world of building and interior design, I am dreaming it up in my head most days. Whilst I do the school run, whilst I do dishes.

It is so fun to dream, and so important!!! (lots more on this topic coming soon as its a huge, HUGE part of our family life and culture)

But suffice to say, one day we will have a tiny (I’m hoping 500-600 square feet) home on a plot of land that we can use to play, grow our own and enjoy the lovely simplicity of living with less and feeling the massive freedom that allows.

To follow my inspiration and dreaming process check out my Pinterest boards, specifically the small spaces and creative ideas boards, check out those TV shows above and watch this awesome TED Talk.

Keep dreaming those crazy, wild dreams!! They are in your heart for a reason!

Happy Sunday!


Adventure, Faith, Family, Olivers Go Northwest

Olivers Go Northwest: The First Bit

March 23, 2015
It's happening!!!! SO many more details to come SO soon. I promise!!!! #edmondsorbust #oliversgonorthwest

Hi Y’all. Thanks so much for being patient with us whilst we repopulate the site. We are having to manually re-enter each of my over 300 posts so its a pretty big job!

But today we are taking a break to start sharing the news that has been hinted at on Instagram and lightly mentioned on Facebook. If you do life with us here in Bedford, not much of this news will be new to you, but perhaps some of the heart journey we have been on through this process will be fun to read. For all the rest of you, this is the great reveal.

It is a long and incredible story, so I am going to tell it in parts, a saga, if you will, of how we came to be leaving our life of eleven years in England for a new adventure in the Pacific Northwest. However, I am a big fan of knowing the end of a story at the beginning. I find I enjoy the details of the story more when I’m not in suspense about the end. So, for those of you who love suspense, sorry! I’m going to spoil it for you in a sec…

Our young family of five, including our lovely dog Ozzie, are immigrating to the States at some point this calendar year. We are hoping that it will be July/August time, but US Immigration is being particularly vague and cryptic about timings so we wait for letters through the post and hope that it is sooner, rather than later. We are going because we fancied a big adventure, we are going because we are big believers in family and we want to go and do life with my family for a season, we are going because we feel like we have grown and flourished and become strong and robust and we want to share the love and freedom we have found in the Father, during this past season in Bedford, with others.

We have no desire to leave Bedford or our family here, as in there is nothing we want to leave, we adore our life here. We love the city and love our friends and church family so dearly. It has become home to us in a way I honestly never dreamed possible in those early years as a very young, newly wed American in a strange and far away country. So many dreams have been birthed and come true in this place. I have found myself and built a family here, but we also have such a dream in our hearts to go on this adventure. So we must. We may be coming back here one day, in fact we are certain that this place will always be our family and always be part of us, how that works out practically we will find out on the journey I am sure! But for now, we dream big and love deep here and we will continue to live that way in the Pacific Northwest as soon as we are allowed to go!

And now that you know the end, the story can begin.

About 18 months ago, my sister and brother-in-law contacted us with the exciting news that they would be planting a church in Edmonds, Washington. Kristin and Brian had been building and doing life in Seattle for many years as part of an amazing church family and, over a series of months, many of the leaders there were feeling a real purpose and excitement in their hearts about extending the church family further north to Edmonds. During this process, they got in touch with us and asked us if we fancied joining them in their new adventure, to be a part of the church planting team.

Richard and I were thrilled and daunted by the opportunity. Throughout our eleven year marriage we have always had the dream and option of moving back to the states and had many opportunities over the years but never felt it was the right time or location for us so we have remained in Bedford, building our lives and investing in the city and loving our church family so much. But the dream still remained in our hearts and this opportunity to build a church family with my actual family really hit a sweet spot in our hearts. It also scared the crap out of us!

Moving a family of five, a career and leaving a decade of history, life and friendships–most of whom had become like second family to us–was a huge choice to ponder and process and it exposed quite a few things in our own hearts and in our relationship that we had not realised were there. Disconnection, distrust, fear of making the wrong choice, fear of failure, anxiety over finances and provision for our family, the list could go on. Those first few conversations we had were tough. There were tears and yelling and lots of silence as we realised that we didn’t know how to trust our hearts desires and fears, dreams and worries with each other or God.

It was pretty sobering to see this chasm in our relationship and to see how self-reliant we had become and how little we trusted the goodness and fatherhood of God. To intensify matters even further, in the same week that we had the conversation with Kristin and Brian, Richard was offered a chance to pursue his dream job role within his design firm and set up a department doing strategic planning. In one week, two longstanding dreams of ours were offered to us on silver platters and they were both–it seemed–completely incompatible.

There was so much we couldn’t see. The Father had signed us up for an adventure, much like Gandalf signs Bilbo Baggins up for an adventure in, The Hobbit, we were reluctant from fear and anxiety of the unknown, He was peacefully determined. As it turns out, there was a lot more in in us than we guessed, and a deal more than we had any idea about ourselves.

Check back soon for the second bit, the part when we realised that this process was all about the journey and not about the final destination.

Happy Monday!




Adventure, Creativity, Family

We’re back!!!

March 1, 2015


After a very long break to reconfigure, rebrand and regroup, Staying Awake Blog is back!!! Even the kids are super excited!! Check out our about page for all the past years details and thanks for being patient with us as we update the archives and pages. We were going to wait until the site was all singing all dancing but actually, we just wanted to get going and take y’all all on the journey/process with us. You guys are the best!

Happy Sunday, Richard and Sarah



life, renovation and a rebrand

October 1, 2014

things have been super quiet around here, for a long time. adding a third child to our family, or rather specifically adding max to our family, was a game changer on so many levels. i have written about the challenges a few times over the past year and a half (you can read about them here and here) and have planned to write about all the positives several times but time in front of the computer to write and process has become a very illusive activity!

although it may seem that this space has been abandoned and left dormant, it has not. i have been thinking and dreaming and planning and writing thousands of posts in my head as i do the dishes or clean up at the end of the day. i have asked god several times about this space and its future–whether it was worth keeping or whether i needed to leave this season behind me and pursue other things. this blog was a catalyst, a vehicle for my own journey of deliberate living, it was a journal and a place to be accountable as i chased my dreams and explored interests. as an external processor i find it so helpful to get thoughts and ideas out of myself. often times i do not even know what i think about something until i either say it or write it. it is a testing process, and through this blog i have been able to test and explore so many different interests as well as being able to process a lot of life.

what is so amazing is that over the past year and a bit i have really settled on some specific areas of life that keep my heart alive and keep my soul awake. the beauty of a chaotic and demanding season is the clarity and focus it brings. in this time of being pressed and stretched, i have learned so much about the importance of thriving, dreaming, being present and pursuing connection. these are the things i want to write about, these are the keys to living life to the full. i will totally still be sharing personal journeys and fun stories, but this space will also be used to inspire and resource others in their own journeys of staying awake.

things are still a while in the making: practicalities of websites and brands, as well as the beautiful chaos of home life that i am sure will not slow down while i renovate and add on to this space. we are still a few months off from the full relaunch of staying awake blog, but i wanted to let y’all know! in the midst of seeming inactivity, there has been a lot of strategising and dreaming with god and i am so happy to say that you will soon get to see the fruit and growth of this dormant time. life is brewing under the surface, i have fresh vision and i am really excited to share everything with you all!

in the meantime, you are welcome to keep up with our daily lives on instagram (@stayingawake) where i post regularly.

lots of love and happy saturday!!


credits | the beautiful image above is one of my favourite f scott fitzgerald quotes and was designed by marilyn nimz at


lessons from my kids: identity

June 5, 2014

i just had one of those moments. you know, the ones where you hear yourself coaching your kid about something and you think, ‘i need to listen to my own words.’

sam was being crazy and whacking rae’s ‘happy birthday’ balloon with the handle of the broom (don’t ask….) and all the sudden the handle ripped through the balloon and it quickly deflated. he looked at me with such sad eyes and said, “i feel really bad about myself.” ahhhh!!!

(i mean just quickly, that immediate awareness he had hurt someone. what a sweet heart!! what five year old boy responds like that?! this is one of the myriad reasons i love this kid. his heart is HUGE.)

this is what came out of my mouth, “oh bud, you don’t need to feel bad about yourself. you made a bad choice but that doesn’t change who you are! you are awesome, such a good boy and such a good brother. when mommy makes a mistake and yells at you guys she doesn’t think, ‘oh I’m such a bad mommy’……..(insert very dramatic sound of record scratching to a halt)…….oh wait i TOTALLY do say that to myself. i paused and carried on anyway……. “mommy’s a good mommy, she just makes mistakes and you are a good boy, you just made a mistake.”

i led him outside, and he apologised, and rae was ridiculously sweet and gracious and they are now watching a show together to chill while i, twenty minutes later, am still trying to recover.

i totally react to my mistakes the way sam did. i do not separate the action from my identity, i totally slam myself for my mistakes and i very often, if not the majority of the time, let them define my perception of myself. and honestly, i feel justified in doing this because it almost feels like my penance for my mistake.

but i got a window into the heart of god this afternoon. watching sam immediately feel bad about himself as a result of an innocent, albeit careless, mistake, brought such sadness to my mothers heart. of course he should have been a bit more thoughtful about his sister’s balloon, but he is a five-year-old boy! i honestly wouldn’t expect much else and of course he is still awesome and the best big brother i know. it was really sad to see him lose sight of all that because of a small mistake. and my number one priority in that situation was to speak to his identity. when i saw it at risk, of course i swooped in to speak truth.

holy cow, how much more compassion and grace must god have on me in my mistakes, and how sad must he feel when i beat myself up time and time again for losing my rag with the kids and richard. how much more is he standing there waiting to swoop in and speak truth into my identity! i would have been absolutely heart broken had sam run away from me in that moment and ignored me and said i was wrong and that he actually was just awful. i mean really i would have freaked out in sadness if that had been his response. and yet that is exactly how i respond most times to god! i ignore him or don’t even come to him to ask or listen to his perspective. i just beat and beat and beat myself down until i feel gutted and defeated and ready to fail the next day.

tomorrow. actually scratch that, TODAY, i am going to try to stop and have the courage to ask him, “ok god, i feel pretty bad about myself right now, what do you think? will you encourage me and help me clean up my mess?” if i, being a human, jumped at the chance to encourage sam, how much more will our good and loving father god swoop in to speak truth into our identities?!

let’s try that together today. and the next day. and the next day. i have a feeling things will get pretty awesome! please leave a comment if you want to do this too and we can support each other! mom’s or not, women or not, this is for everyone. lets not let the world or the enemy or our own twisted views of ourselves hijack our identities anymore!

happy tuesday y’all, sarah