Vidalia Onion Sandwiches and Bravery

“When I was a girl, when you graduated high school, you only had three choices. You could be a wife, a teacher, or a nurse.” My grandmother proudly displayed her nursing degree on the wall of her den.  As her brothers went to war and her other sisters married or went to teacher school, she left North Carolina to go to the University of Maryland—such a long way away from home—away from her Mama and ten brothers and sisters.

I don’t think I’ve ever thought about how brave my Grandmama was. Maybe I’m a little like her.  When I was nineteen, I moved almost three hours away from my parents and lived off of spaghetti and apples for over a year. But I had the luxury of coming home for visits every time I missed my parents. Eighteen-year-old Marie went to Maryland and stayed there. There were no visits home—except at Christmas and the end of the school year. Some of her precious memories were when her Navy brothers would make it up to visit her (as in the picture above, circa 1942.) And with money as tight as it was in wartime, her and her roommates’ greatest delicacy was slices of Vidalia onion with mayonnaise on bread.

Marie didn’t let other people write her life’s script and I hope she would be proud of me for saying the same. I think long and pray hard before I make decisions, but when I make them, I make them with all of my heart—and I make them regardless of what public opinion will be. And that’s not always popular. And it’s not always easy.

I’ve been working my way through the book of Acts recently and I came across a story that I’d surely heard, but never paid attention to before. Paul had traveled all over the Mediterranean and parts of Asia because he knew with all of his heart that he was supposed to. Then came the day that it was time for him to return to Jerusalem. His friends begged, cried, and pleaded for him not to go—they knew he would probably be arrested and maybe even killed. But in Paul’s heart, he knew that he was supposed to. He had a purpose in Jerusalem. So he wiped the tears of his friends and hugged them good-bye—for the last time. And he went.

I haven’t been in the same position as Paul. I’ve never faced imprisonment or death, but I’ve faced fears and major changes. Moving away from my parents at nineteen, when nobody understood. Starting college as a twenty-two-year-old freshman, when I was completely terrified and didn’t know what I was really supposed to do with my life. Buying a house as a single twenty-something woman, when it seemed like the last thing on earth I was qualified to do. But like Marie and like Paul, I did all of those things anyway.

My friend Rick often tells me, “If you have to do it scared, just do it. Do it scared.”

And I do.

This week, Katie tells us about the agonizing struggle inside herself. Her heart was torn between her daughters in Uganda and her parents in America. She—like I—thought long and prayed hard and at the end, realized that her life’s purpose was to do the unpopular thing. She was to do the very thing that didn’t make sense. And she was to do it with all her heart.

“A scripture I had memorized for years kept creeping into my heart and mind: ‘No servant can serve two masters’ (Luke 16:13). In context, the verse pertains to serving God versus money, but I realized as I read that I could not serve God’s eternal purpose and man’s earthly desires. I couldn’t fulfill both God’s call on my life and my parents’ desire for me…” – from Kisses from Katie

Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” Marie did. Katie is. And so am I.

This post is part of a weekly discussion my buddy, Jason Stasyszen, some of our friends, and I are having about the fabulous book, Kisses from Katie. You don’t have to read it to join in the convo! The more, the merrier! If you did write a response to the chapter, please link up at the widget below. And definitely be sure to zip by Jason’s place and read his thoughts on the topic. Thanks for stopping by!

About Sarah Salter


  1. Kerri (Earringopia) says:

    I like what Rick says, “do it scared.” There are so many great stories of inspiration to get out and change life, and I really enjoyed hearing about your grandma’s story and your story.

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank you, Kerri! Rick’s been telling me that for years and still tells me that today. And I enjoyed telling my Grandmama’s story. I hadn’t thought before about how brave she was or how much we’re alike. Makes me miss her more than usual, but also makes me more grateful for the time we had together. 🙂

  3. Praying as you go and do Sarah… May you always follow Him regardless of where it appears to lead.

  4. His leading, path, and grace are perfect for us. Public opinion is swayed by so many things, but His word and truth is swayed by nothing and no one. That’s what God has been reinforcing for me lately–if my experiences or opinions don’t line up with His word then I have to go with His word. It’s the only way to not be shaken. Good stuff, Sarah. Thanks.

  5. Carolyn Salter says:

    Your mama is SO proud-LOVE you and will continue to follow you as you go where God leads-I guess it is time for the REAL empty nest!

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