For the Love of Big Sisters



I didn’t really grow up with my three sisters. The age gap between us meant they grew up with each other and I grew up with my brothers.

In my memories, my sisters have always been adults. Even when they weren’t quite old enough to drive, they were old enough to care for me and rescue me and so, of course, that made them grownups.

I often tell people my sister Jennifer was the first adult I ever trusted.

But we didn’t have that relationship sisters often have. We didn’t share or fight over clothes or friends or the TV remote. We didn’t have to take turns using the phone.

My sisters were my caretakers. I didn’t even know what it was like to have a sister until four years ago when I moved in with two of mine.


All the time lost swiping clothes from one another and slamming doors and fighting for the bathroom has been recouped in these four years.

I had never been the sister anyone had a fight with. I was always told where holidays were happening and I was never asked to bring anything.

Then I had to go and ruin it. First, by living with my sisters and then by having this grand idea to open a business with them. The nerve.

I used to be beloved, adored and, at the very least, tolerated.

But now we roll our eyes at each other and argue and bombard each other with group texts. We gossip about each other and then, because we care too much to keep secrets, we tell the others what we’ve been saying.

Our Instagram tagline is “Three sisters trying to open a café and not kill each other.” It’s no joke.

The thing is: now we live.

I always knew unconditional love from my sisters. But now I live it. I live out forgiveness and patience (or I try to). I live out what it means to love beyond what I thought possible and to ask for help and show up even when I don’t feel like it.

Some days it seems like we could not possibly be more different from each other. But scrape off our personal aesthetics and music choices and our ideas for a good vacation and you will find three strong, independent women who want one thing out of life: to love others well.

The three of us disagree at least once every day. We get snappy and snarky and pushy and wounded. But, girl, we love well.

And we learned it from each other.

It is the entire reason we are opening a cafe. We want to love our neighbors well. We have hustled for the past two years to open Red Elm Cafe and it seems this summer is finally when it is going to happen. Finally! A little breakfast and lunch spot right in the Hilltop. A place for community. A place where I can be snarky and kind and comical all the time because I’m the boss.

It promises to be magical. It also promises to drive us all crazy. 

Life will temporarily get a little less global soon. My wanderlust heart is trying not to panic when I think about being planted in one place for so long. It is good. It is sacred. It is necessary. And it totally freaks me out.

It is the first time in my life I have considered doing only ONE job. Just one. Just this business that I am going to be the boss of (and by that I mean I will have to answer to two other bosses because they are my bossy big sisters).

I’m the kind of person who fills life to the absolute brim and then adds more. My cistern has been on the verge of bursting a few dozen times.

This is where I tell you I am stepping down from my editorial positions here with SheLoves. At least, for now. I have spent more than three glorious years creating graphics and copy-editing and sometimes managing and always praying.

At my last meeting the editorial team made me ugly cry when they told me all the beautiful things they think of me. As if I am leaving. For the record, I’m not. I’ll be writing. I’ll be in the comments. I might stealthily copy-edit (shhhhh, don’t tell).

Here I have learned to love well. From my sisters who share my genes and from my sisters who share my heart. Lovelys, you really know how to love well.

Now it is time for me to go back to revising a cafe floor plan. As my friend Tina so generously told me, “Sarah, you say you are going to do something and you just do it.” Hope she is right, because here I go.

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Sarah Joslyn
I’m more likely to answer to Sars than Sarah. That’s because years ago my brothers started calling me Sars and, as the name implies, it was infectious. I’m a self-proclaimed writer-photographer-Jesuslover-painter-adventurer-foodie. I have a near obsession with ending injustice and I’m a sucker for a good cause. I blog about life and building a tiny house at
Sarah Joslyn
Sarah Joslyn

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Sarah Joslyn


  1. I love you, friend. I’m so proud of you and all the ways you just show up and live your life and DO the things you say you’ll do. You’re amazing. Can’t wait to visit that cafe and your tiny house someday (hopefully sooner than later.) xoxo.

  2. I stand by what I said:
    You say you are going to do something and you just do it.

    I’m cheering, celebrating, hollering, weeping, encouraging YOU from the sidelines.

    Can’t wait to see this dream and waffles take shape.


  3. Claire De Boer cjdeboer says:

    Awwww I’m so excited for you girls! We need a Sheloves trip down to your cafe! We WILL plan this! Going to miss you muchos girl. xo

  4. pastordt says:

    Oh, my — ALL the blessings in the world, dear Sarah, as you and these amazing women/girls/friends/sisters step out in love and fire. YES. Your graphics will be missed, but I am so glad you’ll still be writing. I look forward to following this journey!!!

  5. Helen Burns HeleneBurns says:

    Once again your words bring life and joy to us – I love you gorgeous girl. Here’s to exciting, amazing days ahead. xo

  6. Congratulations! I love your writing, so I do still hope to see it.

  7. Keri Underwood says:

    I feel ya about working with your sisters! My sister and I have a blog together ( and it has been a growing experience. Growing up we never got along, the age difference just enough that we never played together or hung out. Now, however, she is my best friend. My partner in crime. My prayer warrior. I love working with her! Good luck to you and your sisters! Here’s to little sisters everywhere!!!

  8. My sister and I have joked our whole life about opening a cafe/bookstore. I know we’d love it and try not to kill each other, too;) What a dream come true (and I get the wanderlust too!) Praying for big and wonderful things to come and you will be missed her (though I know we’ll see you). Blessings!

    • Sarah Joslyn Sarah Joslyn says:

      I love that, Nicole. Must be a very sisterly thing to want to do. I’ll live vicariously through your trips. I already kind of do. 🙂

  9. What an amazing adventure! So glad that you’ll still be writing — I’ve come to look forward to your voice here!

  10. Blessings as you start your new adventure!!

  11. Alia_Joy says:

    I’m excited about your new adventure and you’re close enough that someday I might venture a drive up to visit your cafe. Thank you for the way you welcomed my words here, I’m glad we got to know each other a little bit in passing and I’m sure you’ll still be around and I’ll get to know you more. It’s been an honor to work with you.

    • Sarah Joslyn Sarah Joslyn says:

      I’ve been so honored to work with you. Your writing is incredible. I hope you find yourself up north sometime so you can pop into the cafe. ❤️

  12. Planted like an elm tree, a Red Elm!!!! It’s another kind of adventure. So excited for you (plural)!

  13. Leah Kostamo says:

    I love this sentence: “It promises to be magical. It also promises to drive us all crazy. ” Praying for this new wild ride with your sisters! 🙂


  1. […] Originally posted at SheLoves Magazine. […]

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