Loud Art and ‘Longing for Paris’ by Sarah Mae {book review}

“All my longings – this pull that seems to rise up from my soul and make me lean a little more in and a little more up – they are the stir of heaven, the magnet attracting me to itself.” 

-Sarah Mae, Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty, and Adventure-Right Where She Is

Today has been one of ‘those’ days. 

But kinda not, because all that happened was the kids refused to nap and were wild and loud and trompy all day. You know, like kids?

They were mostly happy. Semi-mostly-not-obedient. Happy play morphing into backyard brawls intermittently…but what’s a two or three year old to be except spirited and experimenting haphazardly with independence?

But the overwhelm of the day has left me feeling a need to make art the encompasses the loud and painful and the tiring without omitting it. Something that turns the noise into something beautiful that fills my soul instead of emptying it rapidly and breaking my eardrums in the process. 

My kids are loud. 

And wild. 

I know these are excellent things for future lives once a little self-control and direction has been obtained, but it leaves me wishing sometimes. Life before kids was so free even though then I was wishing only for this momma life and anything out of the uncertainty of college years, career options, and finding a spouse. I wanted this then and now I have it, but I’m always left with that need to escape.

“And He not only knew me; He designed me. He put the very ability to long in my soul; He gave me the gift of dreaming so I could have vision in this life.” p.12

“The Lord tells us that we need vision so we can go forward with a sense of control, with a plan to stay on track. Just like children, if we don’t have a vision or a dream we can feel out of control.” p.147

I think we’re made to dream and wish. And have the moments of this world not really fit. We come into contact with our own humanity, lack of patience and unappreciation for our now-moments. 

The beauty in my own life shimmers past the end of my fintertips and my own tiredness rises to the forefront, obscuring the art that could be. 

I want to make art that encompasses it all and also leaves me feeling beautiful. And my life beautiful.

Because who doesn’t want to be somewhere else while simultaneously wishing to live better in the here and now.

This source of longing was put there so that you and I would never be fulfilled her. Nothing will fulfill us long term on this earth. We will get close, at times, and we will have moments of filling, but those moments will pass.” p.196

image

Sarah Mae’s latest book, called Longing for Paris, tells her story about a dream of Paris and coffee shops and writer’s retreats when instead she is squarely where she is supposed to be in her life with her children and her husband and a writing career that sometimes has to take the backburner.  It’s her story and our story: the longing for more and different while simultaneously wanting our here and now.

It is a fun, wise, and sometimes whimsical book. 

She shares stories of her own search for Paris at home, draws from french life and culture as a playful outline, brings us into her head as she reaches for the meaning behind her longings, and, at the end of each chapter, shares a creative idea to bring Paris (or the idea of it) into your own life. 

Two things I especially appreciated:

  • Sarah Mae encourages us to live freely as ourselves in our dreaming:

“Don’t be afraid of your art.” p.85
“Whe we are fully ourselves, He is fully glorified.” p.138
“Get used to who you are.
There is so much freedom in stretching into yourself, being comfortable in who you are and how God made you. It’s not only freeing, but it’s really just lovely to settle into the you God made you to be.” p.143

  • And to freely trust God with our dreams:

“The grace of release is being able to give our dreams back to God and trust Him with them. Because remember, He cares about us and He cares about our dreams. p.” 147

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone else who is feeling a little stuck in their mom life.

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(I recieved a copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.)

PS– I did not stage the cheerios in my photo. I put the book on the floor and took a picture, because this is mom life and the book cover echoes it beautifully.

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Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads!

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