Saturday, May 24, 2008


This little word is such a determining factor in our lives. Just think about how much of a turning point and life change that one word can bring. 

"Yes, i will help you move"...could mean a few less hours of work and some company before a trip ahead, which could mean leaving the road a little less tired and arrive a little bit earlier.
"Yes, you have been accepted into our university"...can mean the sphere of people you will meet, professors you will have, social issues you will face. 
"Yes, you have been offered the job"...means more (or less) pay...maybe a move into a new town...with new working conditions and circumstances. 
"yes, you are having a child"...can mean a whole lot of things and decisions if the child is wanted (or not), a planned part of life (or not), and a life change, nonetheless. 
"yes, you do have cancer"...changes how we view life, how we see our family and friends, our plan of attack to be healed, preparing for possible death, plus massive amounts of change.
"Yes, I will marry you"...can mean a lifetime of love and happiness. Or misery if it is the wrong person.
"yes, i will help you with this project, lead this team"... can mean a new endeavor in our lives, honing in on what we love (or highlighting what we hate), a new amount if energy going toward a task, a lending hand willing to sacrifice time and energy...

"Yes" is a word we all want to hear - for the most part. Yes means change. Yes can mean help. Yes can mean fulfillment. Yes means a lightened load. 

I can be impulsive. I see something I like, i usually will jump at the chance to get it. If I am invited to a function, I rarely say no. If I am enticed...I succumb to the pressure. I say yes. I jump at the chance of something new, fun, creative, goofy, lovely, wonderful, weird. I have impulsively said yes to dates that I should have said no to (and some I firmly said no). I have impulsively taken jobs I knew I would probably hate in no time. I have moved on impulse a few times. I do truly believe that I have mellowed out as I have aged-no longer to I blow paychecks on clothing or anything of the sort. But I do have an impulsive streak that has to be kept in check. To do so...I have to learn to retire the word "yes". 

I am realizing that "yes" is a word that should be uttered cautiously and decisively. 
And it should be rarely said. 

When I was 18, I was exceptionally excited to serve in ministry. I was serving in the junior high ministry, helping out on the events team, singing on the worship team, helping out with women's ministry, plus going to college and working 2 part time jobs. I realized I was on my way to burn out and no one was holding me back. I think I was a young, able bodied person (which as more of a rare sight at my church than it is now) willing to help and lead. But no one was willing to help me say no. 

I think it is a leader's job to tell people no sometimes. No matter how absolutely desperate we might be to have a spot filled by someone capable, everyone is vying for those people. And sometimes it feels like in the church there are about 2% of them and everyone has tapped them for their "thing". And then once everyone has tapped the same 2%, it's like 2% of the people are doing 80% of the work. and basically, it's unfair to them (lives, family, relationship with God, overall health, etc) and to those who do not have a place to serve now.

I have been in positions lately where I have just said yes to those who are very capable, mature leaders where I just needed someone capable to "git er done". Someone I can entrust it all and know it will be cared for and loved. But I am realizing so has almost every other ministry asked those same people and its unfair. To those people, I apologize! i should have said no earlier. Hindsight is 20/20.

yes, i should have said no. but like a good friend said, it is not taught in church. We are trying to hold the staff accountable for that, but i need to do the same to my leaders. It's something that is rarely taught in bible college. You don't have "Boundaries 101" or "How to Say No with Minimal Consequences" as a freshman requirement. And although it is talked about, it is so hard to actually live out. 

So for me..."no" is the new "yes". Let's use it deliberately, cautiously...and as liberal as possible for our own health's sake. 

Saturday, May 17, 2008

verbal vomit for the weeks of April 27th-May 17th

Ok, I truly feel like a verbal vomitter (not sure if this is a word) because I have not blogged in say, 3 weeks and I have bottled up all my thoughts. Ok, so the last two posts were just on the last two day alone. Here's a quick verbal vomit of the last three weeks:

1. I am increasing more hippie-ish and green as I age. I literally was upset that someone who drives a large SUV was just now thinking about getting rid of the vehicle - just because of the cost of gas. Not the fact that we are eating up a resource we can ever produce again or the greenhouse gases they are emitting...I digress. Better late than never. (my nissan, though falling apart, gets good gas mileage-just don't ask me to drive farther than Santa Cruz in it).

2. I am beginning to really love the beach. Ok, i know this is ridiculous. I live a half a mile and I rarely go down there. But Mike and I spent some time baking in the sun on friday, we went in the ocean for a short time in our swim suits (I screamed like a tourist), i laid out and got some color. I could live here forever. Really.

3. I am increasingly more excited about creative arts at Vintage Faith. Exciting things are happening. The artists in residence program has come out of hiding and is back! We created our first video in 2 years this week. I am falling more and more in love with art and its many forms. It looks like I am getting a Sacred Space team again. I can't wait for the teams to be healthy and functioning so I can dream more! I'm living a dream of mine here and it's coming to life! Right now is a good season-I am feeling less overwhelmed and tired. I am feeling like we are finding our goofy Vintage niche again. It feels good.

4. God's just really blessing me with the pure and simple things. I dont feel too caught up in a lot right now. I love life, Mike, the simplicity of summer, warmth, light summer dresses, good food, good friends, a great family and just pure joy. I'm not taking it for granted and truly know these great moments are from God.

5. I am feeling much more myself during this season-i think more than ever. I feel fully alive, fully feeling my emotions, senses, what I am intuiting, and sense what God is doing much more than I have in the past.

6.  I have limited my TV usage immensely. I dont even care who wins American Idol this time. I am not using it as background noise anymore. If i watch something, I watch it and put down the computer or book. If I am not interested, I am turning it off. (for many years I couldn't concentrate without background noise-TV or radio). 

7. I have been meeting A LOT of new people that i really really like, and hope to be their friend. People from different situations, faiths and lifestyles, and it is enriching my life and my view of the missional call. 

8. I HAVE to get back to the gym. I have been busy and tired, but I am lethargic and out of shape. And each time I take an extended break, I gain weight. So...back to the gym I go. :) 

9. I love to have my friends over. I never thought this day would come, but I really love it and want people to come over and eat all my food! I mean, spend time with each other!! I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday party this year and cant wait to have a bigger bash next year. 

10. I like blogging and I want to grow in it. I want to grow in my writing, my wordage, my experiences to blog about. I really want to write a book one day. Yeah. I do. 

11. I am SO tired of election coverage. Will someone just win? I know we still have delegates to fork out and primaries to win...but COME ON already. I can't wait for November. No...wait-i take that back. I can wait.

ok...that's a quick verbal vomit from the couch of sarah martin. Tune in next time...


last night i drove from my dad's house in sunnyvale to my college roommate/best friend/saving grace's baby shower in south san jose. I drove all the familiar streets to get to her party. It felt familiar, as though it hadn't been that long ago. The shower was at my ex-boyfriend's parents house (who are such great people), which I hadn't been to in over 6 years. It was literally a flashback. It was weird looking at the family photos that I remember noticing 6 years ago, and see the new ones, shouting the joy and love from the frame. Not bad at all, just couldn't believe it had been that long ago. I'm feeling old. 

The shower was a fun time reliving some fun memories and making new ones. I couldn't believe Anne and I had been friends for over 6 or 7 years now. I love making new memories now-not to replace the old, per se, but to enhance now. I am so excited for Anne and can't wait for her to have baby Tyrone :).  And I can't wait to continue to make new memories together.

i realized driving back that night that San Jose really is not home anymore. It hasn't been in 4 years. Most of my memories of those times are now distant, with new memories taking space in my brain. Is that normal? I don't want to forget those times, but I know that I am much more attached to these new memories with Anne, and all my friends and family-including you-than the old, and i feel at home more now than ever before. 

I love home. 

looking our nuclear best

I remember sitting in my room as a kid, whimsically thinking about what life will be like when I am older. I was one of two kid who grew up, in my early years, in a nice house, in a good area. Had 2 parents at home. Our house sat on a hill and overlooked the whole city. My bedroom as a kid was considerably girlie. I had a canopy attached to my 4 poster bed. Pink ribbon wallpaper adorned the four walls of the room, where I would sit and play dolls hours on end. I was definitely girlie; squealing at spiders and afraid of dirt. I played barbies and collected dolls (which actions were enforced by family members who were only allowed to buy me dolls with the name Sarah on it). I lived a whimsical, idilic, girlie life for the first ten years in a beautiful nuclear family. 

In 6th grade, I realized that the "cool" girls weren't girlie-they were hardcore. They grew up in the barrios. Their single parents were at work or doing drugs when they were walking home from school. They threw fist fights and used words I had only heard in movies and when my parents were extremely upset at each other. I tried as best as I could to be "hardcore": wearing wet-n-wild 578-a deep, dark purple, getting my first perm and learning how to "do" my bangs correctly, watching all the girls' moves when they'd start a fight. 

During this time, what my parents portrayed to me as a traditional family was just that-a portrayal. We weren't really a nuclear household, we just played one on t.v. And everything that I knew as normal was not. So, I threw it all out the window. I did not want to be traditional. Because most of my friends came from a divorced or single family home, I thought people who had a traditional home was lying. Lying to me, lying to themselves, lying to others. And to be honest, I loved it. I loved being non-traditional. I remember fighting with my grandmother at age sixteen on how I didn't plan to celebrate holidays with my kids because all the ones I experienced was not a happy ordeal. Oh, boy, was she mad at me! 

As I grew, and came to know Jesus, I continued to feel a tension. a tension that was beyond me. I wanted to love-love a man, a child, a family. But I wanted so much to not fold into the "traditional" mold, because frankly, it didn't exist for me. People I knew that were such were secretly unhappy when they closed the door for the night. I hated flowery dresses and was so afraid of losing my own identity. 

I rebelled: i refused to learn to cook, would not give up my dreams for my early college boyfriend whom I thought I'd marry (he believed in a traditional relationship, which meant that I'd have to find a career that I could dump once the kids came), refused to be the housekeeper as I was at my childhood house for many years. I was SO hoping Mike would be mr. mom. It was like I was a punk teenager (and adult, really) with my arms crossed mostly just in one area: gender roles. 

But wonder sometimes that this world that people created for me (intentional or unintentional) of whimsical dreams of girls doing "girl things" and boys doing "boy things" was well intentioned, but actually failed. Maybe only in a few people out there, people actually, happily, live out truly traditional roles. Maybe most of us live a hybrid lifestyle. Maybe because of my uprooting and shaking of all things traditional in junior high has left me a bit jaded. Or a lot jaded. 

I think I might be maternal somewhere inside of me. One day, it will emerge. I don't doubt it. I think it is starting. I think the pendulum in my life is finally swinging back to moderation. But I'm probably going to use a banana sling thing to carry around my kid, probably going to use cloth diapers so our kids will actually have a planet to live on, sing lullabies of Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana to them (Black Hole Sun works well on crying newborns). I'll probably write a book in the wee hours of the night while they are sleeping, never really quit drinking coffee (I have gone back to my wicked ways, friends), mountain bike til I die, hopefully travel part time for work with the other half in the office, baby in tow (ok...that might not happen). 

There are things that I probably won't do as a wife or mom...stay at home 24/7 without some type of outside fulfillment (otherwise, i'll probably go insane), do crazy deep cleaning (that's where Mike's government training steps in), run a Mary Kay/Tupperware/Candle/Pampered Chef company (not that it is a bad thing at all-I definitely will not miss a party, my consultant friends!), own a large SUV to hold all my kids sports gear and use up all the world's natural resources, join a moms-only club, forget to take care of myself for the sake of junior, wear an apron for extended periods of time or adopt male headship theology. 

I know-you are reading this thinking one of two things: 1) it's about time i realize that no matter how hard I ever try, I will never be Suzie Homemaker and am hung up on this whole issue or 2) I am highly opinionated.  And it's true. One and two are very true. and I have been ever since I was a little kid, waking up in my four poster bed, fighting with my grandmother as a teen over traditions, I have always been an opinionated non-traditionalist. And inasmuch as I have been so afraid of upsetting the norm of christian's ok. Jesus will not smite my family for not looking its nuclear best. We plan to love each other and Jesus, keep our commitments, and have fun. That's all that matters really. And it's ok.

And it's ok to be me. 

And to be honest...and I am enjoying finding out what looks like for us. 
(more twisted tales from the non-traditionalist to come!)