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When You Long for Faraway Adventure {but find it in your own backyard}

Ever long to go to a faraway land? You know–to “find yourself”? You’ve heard tales of those who have. They had a sudden “aha!” moment that snapped their soul to attention and gained them a fresh new perspective on life. And it happened in a place far, far from home.

Meanwhile, you aren’t far from home in an exotic place. You are up to your eyeballs in kids and laundry and your seemingly mundane life. And by comparison, you feel you’re missing out on something so ahhhhh-mazing and instead living a life that is beyond blah. :-(

Wife, mom, and ordinary girl Sarah Mae has been there. I’ve asked her to share with you today a bit of her thoughts on this topic and not only did she agree, but she is also giving away 5 copies of her new book: Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure–Right Where She Is.

Long for adventure and excitement but you're up to your eyeballs in dishes and laundry and life? Check out Longing For Paris book giveaway with Sarah Mae on karenehman.com


GIVEAWAY of 5 copies of Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae on karenehman.com

I have read about women taking off to travel the world in order to discover themselves.

They journey to beautiful places and they meet interesting people, try irresistible food, and gain perspective into their souls. I have often thought about how much I would love to do that. I would love to go somewhere beautiful and release myself to it. I would love to go to Paris. But I have a family and a life that calls me to the normal everyday lifestyle, so I need to figure things out in my soul right where I am.

Some of you might relate. Some of you might feel suffocated and are just about dying to get away or figure out your life or do something that gives breath to your soul. I get it. And so I’m asking, how do I navigate the tensions between my longings and my reality? How do I figure out how to enjoy my life right in the middle of the normalcy of it all?

As I wrestled through these questions I discovered that there were pieces of my soul I had hidden away, parts of me that I had decided years ago to snuff out in order to live right. And those pieces, those parts of me that God wove together, were not content to stay buried. They wanted out; they wanted to breathe and be resurrected from the dead. No, they wouldn’t stay underground.

Thumping on my soul, these longings for beauty and art and adventure wanted to be seen; I couldn’t ignore them. But I didn’t know what to do with them. Were they just selfish things trying to make a comeback into my life, or were they justified in wanting to be acknowledged? I could push the longings away, but it was clear they weren’t going to heed my instruction.

I began to gently peek at them in order to discern if they were real or just something I was going through—a phase that would pass. Nope, not a phase. I asked the Lord about them, and I discovered that there was a yearning in me that wanted something more, something I couldn’t quite place. But on the surface, it looked like a desire to explore more of life. I was desperate to see and experience new things. I wanted to get out of the dailiness of life and into an adventure. I wanted to travel and see and touch and do, but my life didn’t afford me that luxury. I couldn’t just up and leave my family in order to figure out what was going on in my soul.

On the outside, I wanted Paris. But on the inside, what I was really searching for was a filling to the deepest parts of my soul.

And I wanted to know what to do with Paris and my soul and my every day. This book is the story of me untangling my life and figuring out how to experience and enjoy the good things all around me. It’s me doing something about the fact that a half-dead life is no life at all.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with longings and the desire to understand them and do something with them. I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to live like a zombie. I believe we need each other if we are going to keep on. Life is hard enough; we shouldn’t attempt to survive on our own.

We need each other and to hear each other’s stories to know that there is hope and that our being alive and awake to life matters. It’s what the world needs. So this book is me allowing you to watch my evolution, to come into my unfolding story, on the chance that your soul has some longings and questions and color that wants to come out as well.

Thank you for coming along. It’s so much better doing this together.

GIVEAWAY of 5 copies of Longing for Paris by Sarah Mae on karenehman.comGiveaway!

Sarah is giving away 5 copies of her new book. {Winners announced Monday}

To be entered to win, tell us your thoughts on longing for an exciting adventurous life. Have you ever felt this way?

Or, tell us the details of your blessed ordinary life. Your kids ages. What your daily days look like.

We’re all in this together.

And….as a little bonus. Enjoy this video. Sarah’s book release jogged my memory about a song from the recording artists Out of the Grey. I did a few events with them a few years back, LOVE their music, and their song “So We Never Got to Paris” mirrors Sarah’s book so well.

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  1. I have been very guilty of wanting to get away from it all,
    sometimes dreaming about running away. I don’t have any happy
    memories as most wives do of their honeymoon or first few months of
    wedded bliss. My husband had some problems from past sexual abuse,from his childhood, and as a result, he did not consummate our marriage until 9 months into the marriage,and then it was only at the strong words of a counselor that he even needed to ‘try ‘to have marital relations with me. Through much extreme humiliation and shame, I have lived. Although we have them now, it still is not what one may call normal. So with my self-esteem at rock bottom for years, yes I can honestly say to go to Paris or anywhere sounds like a dream come true to escape all the pain. But I know the Lord would not be pleased with that so I stay and live in a quite suffering of rejection. I’m sorry if this is TMI but I am speaking my heart here. I would like to read your book, it sounds wonderful. Thank you so much.

  2. sadly, i do find myself longing for something more or something better. learning to be content in all circumstances is a life long process.

  3. ive been wanting to read this book! I long for a long trip to the mountains. It’s my favorite place to be. :)

  4. I went through a phase when I focused on this very same thing. It is such a hard longing of the heart but thankfully Jesus helped me through. I needed Him then and so much more now.

  5. my longings are for kids that just get along… ;) My ordinary life is full of 4 kids (ages 7, 8, 10, 12), reading, heading back to school (#studentmom), writing, and dreaming about doing it all well!!

  6. Oh my gosh. This is just how I feel most of the days of my life. My soul longs to do more, feel fulfilled, feel like I matter more, make a difference. I have a full-time job as a parole officer, am the mother of two, have a wonderful fiancee with a son of his own, but struggle with the mundane of everyday life and am an awful perfectionist and get stuck feeling like everything has to be perfect all the time, so when things don’t work out the way I feel like they should or the way I had planned, then depression settles in. I forget that God usually has his own plans and that his timing is better than mine and my plans may not be his at all. However, I can’t help longing for something more and wonder if it’s that I’m not allowing God to show me something more by handing it over to him. I struggle.

  7. I am in the same place right now where the soul things I have buried are wanting to get out and see the sun. Thanks for this devotional. Timely indeed.

  8. there are days when what I do as mom of four littles feels mundane and unimportant. I think this book would hit me where I am at. I am rediscovering some of my artistic talent while learning to love the normal-crazy-mommy life! :-)

  9. I often think that I need to go on a mission trip to a far away place so that I can strengthen my faith and glorify God. But my mission right now is raising my family so I need to embrace where I am and find ways to glorify God where I am right now.

  10. Sometimes I just want to fill up the gas tank and drive until it’s empty, but that’s just a temporary escape. My dream would be to travel to Ireland and walk until all I can see is green and find the town my ancestors came from, and then spend all my days scrapbooking and doing genealogy. I’d like to spend time in the mountains and dip my feet in the cool streams every day.

  11. My dream place to go would be Hawaii with the beautiful flowers, beaches, sunrise, sunsets, food, of course the hula dances and laid back lifestyle. I went as a little girl but would love to go as an adult. I would also like to go to Japan with the cherry blossoms and scenery. True life is at home with 3 adult children. One that just graduated college and is starting her career job, another one that went to college, graduated and worked and is now starting back for a Master’s degree and one that is just trying to find out what life is about for him. Loads of laundry, mounds of dishes, the house always seems to look like several tornados have gone through at once but I am enjoying this phase of life and also the fact that the kids want to still come home or be home. I can’t imagine trying to start over with a baby or even elementary age child though as those years have so many great memories but seems like so much has changed with schools anymore. For now I will enjoy this time and dream of those beaches and palm trees in Hawaii.

  12. I have actually been to Paris and stayed for 2 years. I left my home and family problems at 18 and tutored English and went to school. There, God found me. A bad break up with a boyfriend, very vocal gut cries brought a concerned neighbor to my door. She asked to come in. She spotted an unread Bible on my bookshelf, inquired, and talked to me about faith. She asked if she could pray and then a blanket of peace descended on me. I thought this is God, the lover of my soul who had chased me down in Paris France of all places.

    After I found a church family (rather a member invited me and I found a home).

    Coming back to the U.S., not having a church home or Christian friends made me feel discouraged. I went to college, got lost, got married, had a child, got a job, out of necessity not the calling I had searched for without direction. I had wanted to know God’s will when I met Him in Paris, but after hearing so many different ideas, I found myself confused. I’ve lived a very shallow life. 3 years ago, I began to read my Bible again. I started praying again, rediscovering my first love I met in Paris. I joined an online Bible study, and met Christian friends who dispelled the thought that God was mad at me. I thought I’d taken the wrong path and for 7+ years I thought I’d ruined my chance at following God’s will.

    I prayed for a church and a small group. A little over a year ago, a church opened near me. I invited my husband who’d only been a few times and he agreed. God has been redeeming my life and is gently guiding me through a relationship with Him. For the first time since I first tried to find His will in Paris, I finally feel I’m following Him. Now, I still long to revisit Paris. But more than that, I long to be with my Savior. I still want to know what the future holds and want to do something more significant with my career, a true calling, not just a paycheck. I want to serve God. I want to use my gifts for Him.

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