Happily (N)Ever After

by Sarah
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As a young woman, I told God I trusted Him to choose my spouse. I desired to give that aspect of my future to Someone who was wiser and more well-informed than my own heart. When I married, two days after graduating from university, it seemed God had clearly answered my prayers. I’d submitted my […]

The Shame Antidote

by Sarah
joy+shame+sarah+mcdugal+easter+sunday+psalm 119

It’s Easter Sunday. For people of faith, Easter is a day of rejoicing. Ecstasy. Delight. Hope. Joy… I’ve done a lot of pondering about joy this month. You know, the whole month-long theme of #embraceJOY. About those people who always seem to wear a smile, even when they face devastating difficulty. What brings joy when […]

When Beauty Makes A Mess || Guest Blog

by Sarah
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#embraceJOY || day 10 Any mom will tell you — creating something as significant as a child is all fun and games… until it’s not. First trimester sickness, fatigue, medical appointments, swollen feet, food cravings—these are just the prelude to childbirth, where hard work and struggle are par for the course. And yet, despite the risks […]

#SaturdaySong

by Sarah

Every weekend, I post a #SaturdaySong in my Facebook group. It’s a way to reflect over the challenges of the week, ponder the questions we’ve tackled together, marinate on the stuff that has bubbled to the surface in need of processing. Music has a way of doing that. Digging down deep under the facades of […]

When Love Hurts Like Hell

by Sarah
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#lovewell || day 27 The Strategy of Love (Contributing blogger: Nicole Parker) Like the rest of us, in His humanity Jesus was limited by hours in the day. But this was not purposeless: Jesus was to be our Example in all things. He had to model for us how to engage in balanced, healthy relationships with […]

5 Steps to #LoveWell When You Feel Unsafe

by Sarah
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#lovewell || day 20 We’ve talked a lot about what it means to #lovewell. We’ve stretched and grown and explored and reflected. We’ve asked brutally tough questions and dug deep under layers of self-sufficiency and self-protection that keep our hearts from genuine connection.  Some of our key discoveries include the call to do hard things: shed the […]

I Don’t Judge, I Just Love

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+blog+author+lovewell

#lovewell || day 13 “God is love.” I John 4:8 “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:10 (Contributing blogger: Nicole Parker) Love is the atmosphere of heaven. It is the force that connects the universe in one glorious community of peace and harmony. It is the law and character of God. It is […]

How Tossing My Alarm Clock Taught Me Trust

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+alarm+author

For most of the last decade, my wakeup routine has looked something like this… Every morning, my alarm jangles by 6:30, unpleasantly jarring me from deep slumber. I stumble groggily to the sink, drink a glass of water to wash my vitamins down, and tiptoe to the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot. The kids hear me and […]

day 30 || Listen to the Hard Stories

by Sarah

Yesterday, we talked about telling our hard stories. The ones we’re afraid to share. The ones we think no one will listen to. The ones so painful we have spent a lifetime clutching them close and protecting ourselves from the pain. But what if your story, your journey through healing, your tale of redemption — is exactly what someone else […]

But What if My Mask Is Polite?

by Sarah

Shedding the mask doesn’t mean tossing good manners out the window.
It isn’t liberty to speak every cruel or unconstructive thing that I may feel.
It isn’t a requirement to broadcast details on every mistake I’ve ever made, or a demand to publicly share my darkest secrets and struggles — unless God calls me to do so.

Perfection Isn’t The Goal

by Sarah
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Flowers are perfect. Clouds are perfect. Babies are perfect.
You and me? Not perfect. Not when we try. Not even when our halo seems pretty convincing. Not even when we obsess on it.

Why You Choose What You Choose

by Sarah
choose+shed+the+mask+sarah+mcdugal+author

Time for some deeper questions on this whole #ShedTheMask thing. Instead of just asking about choices and filters and masks, let’s look at what’s lurking underneath.

What motivations drive my daily life choices?
Why do I choose what I choose in life?

Is my underlying motive to make other people happy?
To avoid conflict?
To stay comfortable?

When You Don’t Feel Chosen

by Sarah
chosen+shed+the+mask+sarah+mcdugal+author

I know what being thrown away feels like.

Falling to the bottom of someone else’s priorities. Coming last in line, after all the things that provide the instant gratification, the hit, the high.

When addiction is present in a relationship, it doesn’t matter how supportive you are, or faithful, or encouraging — deep down there’s this suffocating knowing — no matter what you do, if they are given the choice they will choose the other women, or the women on the screen, over you. Every time.

Embrace Your Evolutionary Experience

by Sarah
evolutionary+experience+shed+the+mask+sarah+mcdugal+author

What masks do you need to shed? What filters are layered onto your soul? Any time you’ve been deeply wounded and you’re trying to heal, your one face is going to experience multiple evolutions as you progress through stages on your journey toward wholeness.

I Think it’s My Turn to Shed the Mask

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+author+shed+mask+one+face+book+values

For me, shedding the mask starts with sharing my story. My story behind the scenes, the one known by only my closest friends and family.

Until almost two years ago, I was the wife of a senior pastor at a large church, mother of two amazing kids (that part hasn’t changed!), partway through international adoption of a third kiddo, and an entrepreneur successfully growing my small company in branding and marketing.

Then my life blew up.

A Birthday Letter to My 5 Year Old Little Girl

by Sarah

Dear Beautiful Sophíe,
Today I watched you.
I basked in your quick eager smile, megawatts lighting up the room.

You are tenacious. You are beautiful.

As you grow, our warped and bitter world is going to do its damnedest to pound those qualities out of you. Our world says you are worth nothing more than your body, or how you flaunt it. Our world gives lip service to the message that you can achieve anything, but then will slaughter you with criticism and condemnation for attempting.

You can succumb to those mixed messages.
Or you can reject them as the nonsense they are.

What Does Success Look Like?

by Sarah
sarah mcdugal success

A few weeks ago I spent two days talking about success with business and marketing students at my alma mater. It was an intense experience to walk the halls where I once studied and explored and dreamed toward the future I imagined ahead of me. “What does success look like?” one of the bright-eyed ones […]

4 Integrity Lessons From Top CEOs

by Sarah
integrity lessons top CEOs sarah mcdugal

Last year I wrote my first book, on integrity lessons from top CEOs and leaders. ONE FACE doesn’t hit bookstores until June 7th, but here are a few key lessons I learned while writing. When I started the laborious and daunting process of writing about doing business without sacrificing values, I got plenty of push-back […]

5 Critical Characteristics Every Young Entrepreneur Should Cultivate

by Sarah
leadership social entrepreneur entrepreneurship sarah k asaftei branding

Recently, I participated as a panelist on the subject of social entrepreneurship. Perhaps 85 college students were in the audience, hoping to absorb some shred of wisdom to catapult them into the entrepreneurial stratosphere sooner than later. Young Entrepreneurs Want to Know… The other panelists and I mingled with students afterward, answering questions like how […]

3 Simple Ways You Can Avoid Going Up In Flames (Like Volkswagen)

by Sarah
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Until this morning, Volkswagen might have been one of the most trusted names in the auto industry for sustainability. That was then. Back before we all discovered that they’ve been rigging their emissions tests and lying to pretty much, well, everyone on the planet. Before VW stock crashed after plummeting 20% or more. As the biggest auto-maker […]

Are You A Contented Leader?

by Sarah

This summer, we hosted two teenage orphan boys from Ukraine. Early in the summer, my fifteen year old asks if he can have an iPhone. We say, “Not a chance.” He says, “Can I get a job? I’m willing to work to earn the money.” Taken aback, we agree. You work hard, you can buy […]

Chatting With Chipotle (part 4)

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+chipotle+monty+moran+ebook

SARAH: How did the slogan “Food with Integrity” come about? It’s so clean and concise, and it says everything it needs to say. Those are the hardest slogans to develop! MONTY: Yes, isn’t it beautiful? I love it. SARAH: It’s a terrific descriptor and tagline, and I know those don’t come easy. MONTY: I would […]

Chatting With Chipotle (part 3)

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+chipotle+monty+moran+ebook

SARAH: Let’s talk about this phenomenon of how Chipotle has managed to connect strongly with millennials. Everybody everywhere is trying to crack the formula to engage millennials, and you’ve pulled it off. How? MONTY: Millennials are highly ambitious, sometimes almost utopian in their ambition. They want what they want now, they want it fast. SARAH: […]

Chatting With Chipotle (part 2)

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+chipotle+monty+moran+ebook

SARAH: Tell me more about your Restaurateur Culture. MONTY: I believe the general manager position is the most important position in Chipotle, period. Because GMs hire 99.9% of our people. They decide who comes in the door and who doesn’t. They’re either effective at developing people into future leaders, or not. They have complete ownership […]

Chatting with Chipotle (part 1)

by Sarah
sarah+mcdugal+chipotle+monty+moran+ebook

SARAH: Thanks for meeting with me, Monty! I’m in the final stages of authoring a book on values-driven leadership. My premise is that whether you are a celebrity, an individual leader, or a corporation managing your brand reputation – if your internal reality and your external marketing is not governed by the same set of core […]