About this author:

Sara Buffington

Sara Buffington

In April 2013 Sara started leading worship at New Covenant, and she considers it a joy and a privilege. She lives with her husband Peter, their three children, and Poppy the dog.

Bless This Messy House

January 25th, 2022 by Sara Buffington

My husband and I built our dream home on 10.5 acres in Virginia. We contracted the whole thing ourselves, and Peter himself laid all our heart of pine floors.  I picked out all the colors of paint. The walls were mostly a creamy yellow, which I consider the happiest color.

We planned to raise our family there. We installed a full swing set in the backyard even though our oldest could only use the baby swing. We had plenty of space, extra bedrooms, and scenic views from every window. We joked that this would be the house we would die in. (That's pretty dark humor, I know.)

We lived there for 1.5 years.

Our entire lives turned upside down at that moment. The life we were building in Virginia? God decided to close that door abruptly and without much warning. 

We sold out dream home in a week and moved to Florida. We shoved our furniture in a storage unit and moved into 2 bedrooms in my inlaws' house. Our two kids in one room, Peter and I in another.

The whole thing was shocking, sad, and God-led.

Why Do We Celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas?

December 28th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

My Christmas tree is a fire hazard.

I look at it and simultaneously have two thoughts: "Oh, you are so lovely with your twinkling lights," and "Please don't kill us all."

I suppose that is what I get for buying a live tree right after Thanksgiving. My children picked it out, and when I pointed out the brown bits on a branch, they carelessly brushed my concerns aside.

I asked the tree lot manager, "Is this tree dying?"

"Lady," he replied brusquely, "this tree's been dying since it was cut."

I was not appeased. And then he said the magic words, "But I'll give you 50% off."

Why You Should Put Up Christmas Lights

December 10th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

The weekend after Thanksgiving my husband pulled down our "four boxes of Christmas" from the garage shelf. Storage is limited in our house, so we have gone a bit minimal when it comes to Christmas decor.

We also have a live tree. I'd like to tell you it's because we like the look and smell of live trees (and this may be true for everyone else in my family), but my main reason is that we don't have to store it January through November.  Plus, we save it for kindling in our outdoor fireplace; it burns like flash paper (which is a little unsettling, I must say).

So over the years we have whittled Christmas down to four boxes. One box holds the Nativity set. One box holds the Carollers.  One box holds the ornaments.  And the last box holds the lights and the tree skirt.

We untangle the colored lights for the tree (yes, we are a colored light family), and then we untangle the white lights for the porch. They are the worst.

But the lights are also magic.

Remember to Say Thank You

November 24th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

My daughter and I both overslept this morning. That was the direct result of having stayed up late watching a cheesy movie together. Holiday weeks are wonderful.

We both padded around the kitchen making our morning drinks: mine a chai latte with milk, hers the same but with almond milk. She mused, "I feel like everything in my life is going well. School is going well. My running is going well. My friendships are great. I worry that something bad will happen, that God will take it away to show me that I should be dependent on Him or something."

"God doesn't operate like that," I mumbled as I poured milk in my mug. Did I mention I am not a morning person?  I do not have all my words in the morning.

"Yes, but how do you know that?"

"Because He is a good father. He delights to give good gifts to His children. All we need to do is remember to say thank you."

It sounds so easy, right? Just say thank you.

So how come we rarely do it?

Spending Quiet Time with God

November 6th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

I have long wanted to be a person who wakes up in the early morning to start the day with productivity.  

I can see it now:

While I drink my morning cup of chai, I would have my quiet time with God.  I would read the entire Bible in a year, have focused prayer time where my thoughts don’t wander, and keep a prayer journal.

Since I still have time in the morning before my kids are up, I would leave the house for 30-60 minutes of aerobic activity.  Who knows?  Maybe I am training for a half marathon.

I would come back home revived, refreshed, and ready to greet the day (after a nutritious breakfast, of course).

Can you tell this is a fantasy?

How God Speaks Through Nature

August 11th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

Have you ever driven I-87 through New York?  It’s called the Adirondack Northway, and, as highways go, its views are spectacular.

The summer after my junior year I worked as a nanny for a family with three children.  I even traveled with them to their summer home in the Adirondacks.  They drove with the older kids in the first car, and I drove behind them in their second car, with a sleeping preschooler in the back and a chocolate lab as my copilot.

I was nervous about caravaning to the Adirondacks.  Would I lose them along the way?  I purposely drove in silence (no music!) so I could concentrate.

As I drove along the Adirondack Northway, my thoughts were hardly quiet.  Huge peaks rose on either side of the highway.  Each curve in the road afforded a new, awe-inspiring vista.  I found myself whispering, “Oh wow,” to no one in particular.

And then I found myself speaking to someone...when I realized he was speaking to me.

Kids and Computers:  Spending Your Resources

June 29th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

This summer my rising 10th-grade son, Levi, is teaching kids how to code.

When he was 9, a NASA engineer friend held a class for kids 8-12 who wanted to learn how to code using the program Scratch.  This program was designed by MIT to take the principles of coding and present them in a user-friendly way (almost like stackable Lego blocks).  Levi took to the program like white on rice.

Since then he has made all kinds of games, animations, and graphics with the program.  He loves it!  Now he is learning formal coding languages.  Learning Scratch sparked something in him—passion.

What do you do with a passion?

Let Silence Do the Work.  Then Listen.

May 26th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

I am a nervous talker.

If there is an uncomfortable moment, a dramatic pause, a conversational lull, you can count on me to fill in the gap with chatter.

Once I was given a massage gift card by a relative.  During the massage, I was so uncomfortable being touched by a stranger that I talked through the whole experience.  60 minutes of my incessant talking. 

It was awkward, not relaxing.

For me, silence is a hostile stranger, not a friend.  

So these words slap me on the hand:

"Saying nothing sometimes says the most." -Emily Dickinson

"A fool is known by his speech and a wise man by his silence." -Pythagoras

"The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly-timed pause." - Mark Twain

If I want to love my neighbor by listening to them, I have to let silence do its work.

Looking Up and Looking Out This Summer

May 3rd, 2021 by Sara Buffington

What do you associate with summer?  Here in Florida, we get to do certain summer activities year round, like go to the beach or barbecue.

I do go to the beach year round, but I only go in the water in the summer!  I hate cold water.

One of my favorite things about the summer: the fruit.  When the watermelons go deep, deep on sale, my heart skips a beat.  It is my favorite fruit by far.  When I was pregnant with my third child, I cut up an entire watermelon, propped the bowl up on my swollen belly, and ate the entire thing while I watched So You Think You Can Dance.  

Ah, summer memories…

This year New Covenant has a new way to launch into summer.  It involves looking up and looking out.

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

April 28th, 2021 by Sara Buffington

Did you grow up on Sesame Street like I did?  Then perhaps you too know the song:

Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
In your neighborhood?
Say, who are the people in your neighborhood?
The people that you meet each day

It’s an outdated song because we don’t meet the people in our neighborhood each day.

At least I don’t.

I live in Winter Springs Village.  It has green spaces, a community pool and mailbox area, and front porches on every house.  My family has the smaller sized home—a bungalow—and our houses sits on a zero lot line.  That means I can almost reach out and touch my neighbor’s house.

And I still don’t know my neighbors.

We live in an age of looking down at our phones, electric garage door openers, and minding our own business.  Gone is the neighborhood economy (“May I borrow X?”) and the front porch leisure while kids play on the sidewalk.  With the pandemic, talking to strangers is more than odd—it’s hazardous.  

Is this a problem?  Not for some, but it is for me.

Because God tells me to love my neighbor.  

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