May 12th, 2022 by Sara Buffington
Have you ever sat in a restaurant booth? It’s like being in a little pod. You are so close to the people in the booths beside you, but they feel a mile away. You feel enclosed; you have privacy.
Not so if there is a young child in the booth next to you. Kids don’t respect the privacy of the booth. They stand or kneel on the booth seat and peer over the top to see what their neighbors are doing.
They outright stare.
You are eating your shrimp tacos and chatting with the people in your party, and the neighboring child is watching every move you make. They don’t smile when you smile. They don’t wave when you wave.
They watch you.
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.
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."
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.