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.
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.
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.
March 15th, 2021 by Sara Buffington
Let me tell you a story I am embarrassed to admit.
When I first moved to Central Florida, I was amazed by all the radio stations. Coming from rural Virginia where there were literally two stations (and even they went in and out), I was delighted to find so many options, including a Christian radio station.
One day soon after I moved here I was in line for the drive-up teller at the bank. I was blaring some Christian music. As I approached the teller, I turned the radio down. Way down.
I can sit here and tell you it was because I anticipated needing to hear the teller clearly.
But that wasn’t it.
February 15th, 2021 by Sara Buffington
A life free from worry. To some of us, it sounds like Shangri-La: wonderful and impossible to find. But we aren’t doomed to be worry's prisoner. Read on if you would like to know “How do I stop worrying?”
I am no stranger to this topic. Over the course of my life I have chewed my nails to stubs, bitten the skin around my nails, pulled out my eyelashes, and stress-eaten cheese, chocolate, and jellybeans.
I have stayed awake countless nights, playing out different horrible scenarios. I have had panic attacks and crying jags. It’s not pretty to admit, but I have let worry take over my life.
If someone had said to me in a time of intense worry, “I know the secret of how to stop worrying,” I would have laughed (bitterly) in his face.
January 4th, 2021 by Sara Buffington
“Wait a minute...that’s what I weigh? Is that right?”
“That’s what the scale says, sweetie. Don’t feel bad, that’s everybody this year.”
I knew 2020 had been a year of stress eating. My daily dose of stress relief during quarantine was anything covered in cheese dust (popcorn, Cheetos, Pringles, chips, goldfish, etc.).
And yet I was still slack-jawed in the doctor’s office, staring at that number. I just wasn’t prepared to see exactly how much I had gained.
That was a week ago, right before Christmas. And now...to plan.
December 28th, 2020 by Sara Buffington
This year my son had a Lego Star Wars Advent calendar. Yes, such a thing exists. Each day he opened a little cardboard flap to take out the pieces of a tiny tie fighter or Darth Vader in a Christmas sweater. He loved it: every day a new discovery, something to look forward to.
I need that, too.