Thank you so much for being here! I’m Sara, an American writer living in the Netherlands. On this blog, I share stories from my life and lessons I learn along the way. I started Sara Laughed in 2012, so if you dip into the archives you can see me come to the Netherlands for my gap year, meet my now-husband, go to college, and grow up!
These days I run the People & Culture team at a tech company and write on the side. On a sunny day, you can find me hiking in the dunes, biking to the beach, or enjoying the view from my balcony with a cup of black coffee and a good book.
Not sure where to start? I’ve got you covered!
Trying to orient yourself after reading an old blog post? Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane so you see how it all fits together.
Gap Year: travel and falling in love
I started this blog and flew to the Netherlands for my gap year. My parents are Dutch, so I’d spent a lot of time in the Netherlands as a kid and was ready to find my roots. Instead, I bumped into my future: I met Ken, my now-husband, the day after I landed.
- Start at the Beginning, my first blog post
- Back From Prague, parts I and II, a funny story from my gap year travels
- Albert Not-True and the Missing Markers, a story from my teenage years about an elaborate story I made up for my little brother, who I then called “Broseph” on the blog.
College and Faith Journey
I headed to Wellesley College in the fall of 2012, where I majored in Religion (want to know why? Read my college application essay here). Ken and I continued dating long-distance, and I spend my junior year abroad at Oxford University. Here’s a few personal posts from that time.
- This Life, a snapshot from my sophomore year
- Man Plans, God Laughs, a look at our long-distance story before we reunited
- Oxford Diaries series, the posts I wrote about my time at Oxford
- Walking at Wellesley, Four Years Later
Around this time, I was also writing a lot of college-focused content and started a college offshoot website.
This is also the time in my life where my faith was finding its footing. I was raised in a “spiritual but not religious” home and spent my teenage years planning to convert to Judaism. When I met Ken, that picture shifted, and throughout college I explored and deepened my faith and was eventually confirmed in the Methodist Church. These two posts capture a snapshot of the start of that journey.
Bible journaling books
That summer, I started writing about a then-new practice called Bible journaling, where people made devotional art in the margins of their Bibles. The post became a series, and in the fall (just six months after my confirmation), I started an Advent challenge that really took off and became a series of seven devotionals, four of which are still available now.
My then-boyfriend, now-husband Ken was diagnosed with MS in the winter of my senior year. I blogged fairly actively about processing the diagnosis in the early months. Fortunately, his journey has been easier than we first feared; the last of the posts listed below is a more recent snapshot of where we are with this now.
- A Good Year to Be Fearless
- I’m Thinking of Getting a Tattoo. Or Buying Sheets, on grappling with a new diagnosis
- A is for Anger, B is for Beginning
- How MS is Changing Our Future, Not Dictating It
- Sacred Ordinary Love
Move abroad and career changes
I moved to the Netherlands in the winter of 2017, just after graduating college, to live with Ken. For my first year in the Netherlands, I worked at this blog full-time. In 2018 I was looking for a career change and taught myself to code, going on to become a front-end developer and later a product manager.
- Welcome Home, my first blog post written in the Netherlands after my move
- What It’s Really Like to Move Abroad After Graduation
- Why I Love the Web + My Programming Goals for the Next Year
In 2019, Ken and I got married and I started navigating my way back to writing and discussing faith online after taking a break. Here are a few recent snapshots from my life:
Phew! You’re all caught up. Thank you for reading, and please comment below with a little about yourself! I’d love to get to know the people who explore this blog.
Hey Sara! nice to meet you 🙂 found you from the peony project! can’t wait to explore more of your blog.
Thank you Renee! I hope you enjoy!
Hey Sara! I read your article on HelloGiggles.com and I would really like to talk to you about the topic. I’m a Dutchy by the way 😉
Hey Hilde! Wat leuk! Ik zou graag met je praten, in het engels of het nederlands 😉 Je kan me hier emailen: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your blog is absolutely adorable, I’m so glad I found it!!
Hey sara!! I found your blog on tumblr, i think it was one of your college posts and let me tell you, your blog has really been helping me prepare for college in a couple weeks! I just wanna say thanks so much and i love your blog it is so cute!
LOVE your blog. I am officially a usual reader 🙂
Seri! I loved reading all of your comments when I woke up this morning! Thank you so much for reading – I love your enthusiasm and I’m excited to check out your blog!
Sara!! It’s Deena!! I LOVE your blog, its as wonderful as you! I’ve added it to my bookmarks and can’t wait to stop by more when I’m not stuck in the pharmacy haha! 🙂 <3
You are an amazing young lady! God Bless You dear one!
Just amazing, thanx a ton…
Hey Sara, you have a very beautiful website!! Would you be up for chatting sometime about design and what service you use? My site is http://www.kelsiestelting.com, and you can get in touch with me at kelsiestelting (at) gmail (dot) com. 🙂
Hope you are doing great!
I find your blog useful, and cute.
I like your name, your blog, your smile 🙂
It’s so cool to see an American living in the Netherlands! I moved to The Hague when I was 12, then to Germany at 16 and now I’m back in the Netherlands studying 🙂 Do you (or anyone else reading this) know of any blogger meetups in the Netherlands? I’d really love to meet other bloggers here, especially expats!
I am going to join University so soon,and all the time I was looking for something that will organize me in a full packed way….and definately I am lucky to find your website,It’s awesome in one words……..Nice to meet you….
Nice to come across this, as a fellow Wellesley student and Christian. 🙂
Thank you Gloria! Nice to meet you (:
I used to love reading and crafting. My creative self has been stifled lately as I became over-involved in ministries at church this past year. But that shouldn’t be an excuse. I am addicted to social media. I take social media fasts and do things like collages or making use of my time to keep my apartment up better so that I have more confidence in myself and to have friends over and entertain. I love all that I’ve seen on your blog so far.
I don’t remember how I found you. I just noticed you in my FB feed recently and when I checked, I had apparently liked your official FB page some while back. Forgive me for that, I may have been a friend through Twitter and crossed over to FB? I also know how one can choose to turn his or her personal FB page into a different sort of page. I’m thinking that may be how I came to be a follower on FB. In any case, keep posting the positive stuff! Loving it! I think we have some things in common, personality wise. Hope you enjoy my blog. I’ve neglected it but I need to return!
Thank you so much for your sweet and thoughtful comment, Christina! It’s possible you liked me for my Bible journaling-related posts, which I was very involved in a few years ago (I founded a project called Advent Illustrated in 2015). I’m very happy that you found your way back — I love connecting with readers from all walks of life, and as a former student of Theology am always thrilled to connect with pastors and those who work in ministry. Your blog is beautiful and I lok forward to future posts!
Sara, I’m amazed that I found your blog! Such an inspiration for me today!
I would love to have time now to explore your blog now, however I’m a couple minutes before starting work, so I will be back soon! 🙂🙏🏻
I love your blog so much? I was so surprised when I read that you live in the Netherlands. I’m a Dutchy myself 😉
Hoi Lieke! Thank you so much for your kind words! Ja, ik woon in Nederland (in Leiden!). Als je ooit in de buurt bent, neem maar contact op via Twitter of IG! <3
Hi there Sara! I’m so glad you happen to be the featured quote on the Clever application (which I just learned about from ANOTHER blogging friend yesterday, and can’t believe I didn’t know about sooner!) because I love your blog! (and scheduled your closet audit post for my FB page next week!) Followed your SM, too – glad to know you and your work exist, because I think my readers would benefit from some of it, too! Keep up the awesome work, and nice to get to “meet” you 🙂 xo – Flossie (supermomhacks.com)
Thank you for your wonderful resources, Sara! I am enjoying the style in which your printables are designed. Thank you for helping ME not to recreate the wheel as I am prepping new students for a new school year!
Hello Sara! I’m absolutely stunned to write to you because your blog is for me like sign frome heaven. My name is Kristýna, I’m from Czech Republic, I’m student of software engineering and I’m planning studying in Netherlands for one semester next year. I must apology because I haven’t even read anything from your blog because when I saw your info I was so excited that I went right here to talk to you. Can’t wait to read more about you and your studies and your life. I would be delighted to get in touch with you to share feelings and experiences with you because I’m kinda struggling with my future and self-confidence in my studies.
It was really nice to meet you, Sara.
Hey Sara, great blog. Can you do a “how to learn a new library or new programming language” guide? The struggle is real!!
Comment: Thank you so much for your blog on Bible journaling. I’ve owned wide margin Bibles before but realizing how much I write a journaling Bible just made much more sense. I really love the system you’ve employed with boxes and arrows and writing information not related to topics but related to things like definitions insight historical background etc. I just finished chapter 1 of James and I found that trying to associate my individual box with a predetermined color got a little dicey. Do you find that it is less restrictive to just mix up the colors so your eyes are able to see the different boxes rather than being beholden to a color system?
Hi, Sara, nice to meet you! I read on Pinterest the way you use to study the bible and looks good, thanks for the full explanations you do with the interest to teach us! God bless you! Athalia Suarez
Hey Sara, found you via pinterest. Loved your blog, its very interesting. Also the way you have designed every minor aspect of the website is very beautiful and inspiring.
hola buen dia, me da gusto encontrar publicaciones coma la suya, que ayudan a personas como yo a introducirce mas al estudio de la palabra de Dios. soy nueva en esto de las tecnologia, podria decirme como puedo seguir su paguina, gracias, soy Nela rodriguez de México.
Nice to meet you Sara. I found you through search for Bible journaling info. Like your style and content.
Can I receive new blogs by email?
I found your website when reading about pens for Bible journalling. Would it be okay for me to reuse your Micron pen image? The file address is http://saralaughed.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/DSC_0503.jpg
Hi Dave! Sure, that’s no problem.