I don't know if it was for my job or for one of my ministries, but I went to a church-sponsored Halloween party tonight. You just don't get too many of those, you know? The college kids were the "bigs" for some "littles" that haven't been matched yet. We played some games, then went to our church's "trunk-or-treat". I have some pictures to share, but you will have to wait. . .

In answer to Jeff's comment -- yes I DO feel guilty for not posting! Especially since some of my friends feel it necessary to harass me when I don't. I just need someone I can call from time to time to tell them, "send me an email to remind myself to blog about what i just saw -- it was the funniest thing I've ever seen". Right now the only things on my mind and heart are very personal -- and not just for me. So no blogging allowed on those topics. And the only thing I can think of is that my body thinks it's after 10 p.m. -- which is WAY late for my weary brain. Especially after a day of Halloween frivolity. Yikes.

A lady that helped decorate for our party -- I think she was specifically brought in because of her specialty -- is evidently CRAZY about Halloween. I say "brought in" because she's a member of our church, but not involved in any of the ministries or organizations represented tonight (that i know of). She's just nutty, nutty, nutty about Halloween. So she brought her plastic snake, rat, and spider collection to decorate the tables that had Halloween fabric on them. She also brought her inflatable Frankenstein, spider, and jack-o-lantern. Of course, there was a cauldron and a fog machine. And all the people that know her said, "Oh, you should see her house!" What, it's not all here? There's MORE?!?! I buy a pumpkin for Halloween. Sometimes we carve it.

Troy and I decided at 4 this afternoon to actually dress up, as well. You'll just have to wait for the pictures to see what we were -- I'll give you a hint that it all came straight from our closets. I think that makes Troy the easiest to guess. I think it's the same thing he has dressed up as any time dressing up has been required since we've been married. (people in Abilene are guessing a Jr. Executive! :-) Someone at work suggested we "dress '80's" for Halloween. I have no idea how that would differ from my day-to-day wardrobe.

Did anyone see (or have) a great costume this year? I think (currently bald) Rob Marcelain with his curly mullet wig was my favorite, but I thought the lady who was Cruella that had minimum 5 kids with her all dressed as dalmatians was pretty cute (and brave).


News Flash!!

I'm posting a new blog post!!

That's pretty much all I have the time or energy to write. I've got scads of topics floating through my head, but precious little time to ponder or write about any of it.

Some hints at what MAY come (or maybe just a note to myself not to forget all of this):

  • Things I have learned on my job -- we're all VERY much alike as parents!
  • I'm ready for my children to outgrow dressing up for Halloween
  • Last night when I had cotton candy, popcorn, and Skittles for dinner I felt the worse I have felt in months (I think I really need someone to help me re-word that sentence). Perhaps I have finally gotten used to eating like a grown-up.
  • Women really do need girlfriends. This is a concept I have balked at most of my married life. Lots of reasons -- my pride probably being the biggest. Be on the watch for more about my coffee group.
  • I'm a nicer person when the temperature is below 90*
  • I already miss summer (contradictory to previous statement, it would seem)
  • I love the fall time change -- for about a week. Then I really hate how dark it is so early (someone please remind me that before the time change I really hated how dark it was so LATE in the morning!)

That's all I've got for now -- and I guess there will be the laments of a deer-hunting widow, the excitement of hosting my family for the holidays (I really do like that!), and fishing with 30 little people as part of my job!

Stay tuned and keep stopping by!

It's an Illness

BEAUTIFUL song that we frequently sing at church, "In Christ Alone" contains images of Christ's life on earth and all that it means to me and my eternity. Unfortunately, however, it contains a word that takes my mind in a completely opposite direction. Not lewd or sinful, just definitely not worshipful. There is a phrase that refers to Christ "bursting forth (from the grave) in glorious day". That phrase IMMEDIATELY turns my mind to the movie "City Slickers" in the scene where Billy Crystal has his entire arm inside a cow trying to assist her in delivering a calf. (See? Not at all a reverent image, is it?) Jack Palance becomes even more gruff and yells at Billy Crystal to quit talking and hurry up: "Can't you see she's bursting?" Horrified, Billy Crystal replies, "Bursting? Nobody said there was going to be bursting!!"

Seriously, I have probably heard and/or sung that song 30 times and, try though I might I always end up there in my thoughts. And, just as I am trying to get back to focusing on the song it contains the word "pluck". So my train of thought scoots on over to KFC or a Wallace and Grommet film. It's an illness.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand


Missing Sarah

We all have the crazy times. Days that turn into weeks where most conversations are in the car on the way to basketball games or practice or a school activity or a meeting at church. Sometimes after a few days or, heaven forbid, weeks of crazy time at the Stirman house Troy and I will collapse into bed and I will cuddle up entirely too close to Troy and tell him, "I miss you!" His response is always, "I'm right here!" Of course I'm saying that I miss the real him, the him that I can sit in his big green chair with, the him that tells me about his day and the him that listens to my funny stories of my day.

I realized today that I miss me. Most of you aren't even aware that I'm gone! Oh, I'm still here, and you may see me in passing but no one has seen me for long enough lately to realize I'm not the me I used to be. Remember the Sarah that used to write funny things? Remember the Sarah that would ponder the deeper things in life and God's hand in all of it? Was I ever really clever and witty, or was I deceiving myself? (I'm trying to think of spur-of-the-moment kind things I have ever done for people but I'm drawing a big blank on that one). I miss the me I used to be.

I've become the Sarah whose lunch menu has become Tums with an Ibuprofen chaser. I'm the Sarah that is unable to talk to you unless I have it on my day planner. I'm the Sarah that feels guilty no matter where I am or what I'm doing because something else somewhere desperately needs my attention. I've become the working Sarah. She is not a pretty picture.

Recently, however, it was made clear to me this is my current task. I have no idea if this is my life's calling -- but it's my Fall 2005 calling. Because of how I approached accepting this job I feel certain I am where God would have me be. It scares me to think that perhaps God didn't just ALLOW me to be where I am He actually WANTS me where I am. But I feel certain He would have me do my job with a little better perspective on job and life and the precarious balance of the two. For now, that is my prayer.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as
working for the Lord, not for men,

Colossians 3:23


Continuing on the Disgusting Train of Thought. . .

Special thanks to Matt Elliott for providing me the link to this Nascar picture. I am almost at a loss for words -- and even if I tried to speak I'm afraid I may be ill. Does anyone have a great caption for this picture?


Things You Really Don't Want to Know

This afternoon:

Riley: "Mom, do you know why my hands stink?"

Let's pause right there, shall we? Anyone who has been a mother for 10 minutes knows better than to engage in this discussion. No good can come from this question. A proper mother answer would have been: "I don't want to know, but you had better wash your hands." I was evidently asleep that day in Motherhood 101.

I was pre-occupied, so I fell for it: "No, why?"

Riley: "Because I touched my socks and I've been wearing the same ones for 3 days."


Was That A Weekend?

We had quite a weekend!! Try to keep up, 'kay?

Friday Night -- ACU Homecoming Carnival

We saw precious little Natalie Jones get her face painted with a wildcat paw. Here she is "saying cheese to daddy" so I could get a picture. We also ran into several old friends and spent a lot of time talking.

Riley was on some crazy backwards-tug-of-war thing. He wore himself out! There was a kid attached to the other end of that rope, trying to do the same thing. He was a smaller kid, so he was kind of hanging by his waist. It was a hoot!!

Riley also climbed on the faux rock wall. I wanted to try, but didn't want to stand in the line! Ashley was in attendance at the carnival, but I never caught up with her long enough to get a picture. We usually go to the chemistry circus which is a blast with lots of smoke, loud explosions, and fun. We missed it this year. We tried to get in bed early because. . .

Saturday Morning -- McMurry 5k

A big goal for each of us. It was Ashley's third 5k, I wanted to run one, and it was Riley's first. We all accomplished our goal -- FINISHING, and without whining or crying! Yeah!! for us! :-)

We each had at least one "running buddy" that we knew was running with us. Laura Ashlock was my running buddy. We didn't stay close together, but I think we finished within 30 seconds of each other. I think it may have been her first 5k. In the last 2 years, Laura has lost 30 pounds and gained all kinds of muscle. I'm really proud of her -- but at the same time I fear she will blow right past me in our next 5k!!

Riley and Nelson Bruce were running buddies at first. Nelson took off so Riley ended up running with Lindy, our next door neighbor who is the same age. Riley (remember Mr. Angst?) had a great time and a great attitude the whole time. I'm so proud!

Ashley and M'Lee (the older girl) are running buddies. M'Lee is a very gifted athlete and came in a few minutes ahead of Ashley. But there are never any hard feelings between them and they are still the best of buddies. We really love all of the Grahams at our house. Sweet, sweet people. M'Lee's little sister, McCall, is also in the picture. McCall was supposed to be MY running buddy, but she left me in the dust. She did great!

This is a picture of the kids from Austin Elementary that ran the McMurry 5k (MOST of them are pictured here -- some had to leave afterwards to still go to soccer, etc.) Mrs. Sanderson (K-2nd PE teacher) and Mr. Graham (3rd-5th PE teacher) are also pictured with them. Obviously, Mrs. Sanderson and Mr. Graham have a fabulous PE program that encourages the kids to develop life-long healthy habits. Mr. Graham is M'Lee and McCall's dad (also Malone, but she is too young to run this year!) Check out little Sam, #40. He's 6 years old! Riley, standing right behind him in maroon, is 7. Sam ran the whole way, though, and his little legs were going about as fast as my little legs! He came in about one minute behind me!

Ashley placed 2nd in her age group! The McMurry PE department was most kind and made 2 age groups for kids since so many ran in the 5k. Ashley placed 2nd in the 9 and under division. That is M'Lee in first! Then McCall in 4th and Abigail Zeller in 5th. Way to go, girls! I don't know the cute little 3rd place finisher, but what a great job!

Moving on. . . while we were running, Troy was eating with old band friends at the Big Purple reunion/ reception! The 3 runners ran right home, then got cleaned up and dressed. We headed to Homecoming chapel -- Troy sang on a praise team in chapel. The weekend also included the football game, the Perkins' visit to our home, a Sunday lunch at ACU and concluded with Seussical, another fabulous production by the ACU drama department. I don't have pictures of any of these things. But now I really need a nap!


Who Are You?

You are Marcie!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

I really hoped I would be Snoopy or Sally. Don't we all want to be Snoopy? I want to lie on the couch and have someone bring me dinner! But I guess I could be worse than being described as "a great friend through thick and thin!"


Quotable Quotes

My favorite part of Reader's Digest is Quotable Quotes. I've already shared with you my favorite Gwynneth Paltrow quote from there. They have an annual issue about humor. Last year, they had 50 one-liners. I loved these:

"Women don't want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what
they think, in a deeper voice."
Bill Cosby

"I always wanted to be the last guy on earth just to see if all those women
were lying to me."
Ronnie Shakes

"This is a strange country we live in. When it comes to electing the
President, we get two choices. But when we have to select a Miss America,
we get 50."
Jay Leno

"When you're 8 years old, nothing is your business."
Lenny Bruce

"Never lend your car to anyone to whom you've given birth."
Erma Bombeck

"Football combines the two worst features of American life: violence
and committee meetings."
George Will

"I've been on a calendar, but I've never been on time."
Marilyn Monroe

And my 3 favorites, in descending order:

"Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?"
Phyllis Diller

"We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters
will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to
the Internet, we know this is not true."
Robert Wilensky

"It's so simple to be wise: just think of something stupid to say and
don't say it!"
Sam Levenson


Why Is It. . .?

Why is it that the only thing they can get along doing is getting filthy together?
They're digging a hole so that when I "make them play outside" they can crawl in it and keep cool. They've seen the dog do it, but I think a freshly dug hole is much cooler than a hole it takes all winter to dig. I'll let them figure that out. It's far too peaceful at my house to interrupt the work.


Honor Where Honor is Due

This morning our church honored our "Prime Timers" or "Senior Saints" or, as our family said, "old people". Whatever you refer to them as, what a blessing those that have blazed the trail before us and continue to live as glorious examples of Jesus with skin on. The entire worship service was geared to that generation, so it was a bit different than we are used to. Several "golden oldie" songs, and many of the Prime Timers participating in the worship. I heard a fabulous summary of the continuous rebellion and redemption of God's people all throughout the Bible, encompassed in a prayer that was quite lengthy yet full of wise petitions. My favorite: "Lord, knowledge that isn't used is simply trivia. Give us the wisdom that is the application of knowledge, and the wisdom of when to speak and when to be quiet." And the church says: AMEN!

My favorite moment, however, was the innocent wondering of my precious Ashley. All of our family, of course, loves our dear preacher, Phil. He has grown children which, to my children, means that his age is anywhere from 40-100, I guess. I don't know Phil's age, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't even qualify for the senior citizen discount at McDonald's. When Phil got up to welcome us at church (not his usual time to be speaking to us) Ashley grabbed the order of worship and noticed that another person was speaking this morning.

"Why isn't Phil preaching?"

"Because we're honoring old people."

(sympathetic understanding dawns on her as she seeks to clarify why this excludes Phil from preaching)

"And Phil doesn't want to admit that he's old?"

I laughed all the way through service about that! But truly a beautiful service, a GREAT lesson, and a time of honoring a worthy couple of Senior Saints.


Precious Pic

When I mentioned that I re-connected with some old friends, David and Whitney, I did so by stumbling onto the website for Scott Photography. I confess, I internet-lifted this pic. Credit where credit is due -- this pic is the work of Scott Photography. But aren't they GREAT? I have no idea who the little angel is, nor what the wooly mammouth sitting next to her is, but I think I need to take both of them home with me. Kudos to the photographer, the parents, and the trainer of the beast!


How did this happen?

I thought it was a baby doll head. You know, the little bald plastic-y ones that are that non-descript beige color. Tucked under some junk under our desk, I thought I spotted the head of a baby doll. I was thinking how odd that is because we don't have any baby doll entertainers at my house anymore. When did that happen? When did the dolls, blocks, and blankies littering the floor turn into baseballs, school books, and dirty socks? What comes after this stage? Bigger sports equipment? Then packing it all up to move out? What will I do when it's only my own things I'm tripping over on the floor? Perhaps the joy of the journey is the bodies that go in the dirty socks, and the laughter, hugs, and insight they bring.

It wasn't a baby doll head. It was a baseball, left in the sun too long. Funny, when I am left in the sun too long I look NOTHING like a baby doll!


Joy of the Journey

Yesterday I did a blog re-run. I didn't have any takers on requests for re-runs, so today I'm just going to steal someone else's blog. This morning I was praying about joy. One time in a Bible class, Rob Marcelain mentioned how more than anything, he wanted his kids to know the joy of living in Christ. That really struck me. Too often we simply muddle through. But life in Christ really is a joy and I have to believe that Christ also loves a good side-aching laugh (he caused my children to believe that burned dog food is baked potato smell -- definitely funny stuff). I think the world isn't beating down our door to get what we (as Christians) have because we fail to remind our attitudes and our faces that it truly is a joyful journey. Mike Cope speaks of this on his blog today. Since I don't trust you to click and travel, I will lift the whole thing:

At our home, we are Shel Silverstein fans. Here's one for today:

I went to find the pot of gold
That's waiting where the rainbow ends.
I searched and searched and searched and searched
And searched and searched, and then--
There it was, deep in the grass,
Under and old and twisty bough.
It's mine, it's mine, it's mine at last. . . .
What do I search for now?

So often we think that there is some great destination that we're waiting for. We find ourselves "killing time" (a horrible phrase) just waiting for that destination. We forget that it's the journey itself that is full of life.

You can't wait for your kids to grow up so you can have a little peace and quiet. There is the joy of the journey.

You can't wait for retirement so you can play golf. There is the joy of the journey.

You can't wait for your church to "do things right" so you can be happy. There is the joy of the journey.

You can't wait for America to get back to the good old days. There is the joy of the journey.

Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Lion, and the Scarecrow are headed to Oz. But the heart, the courage, and the brain they need come from the journey--not from the diminutive wizard behind the curtain.

Bilbo Baggins' walking song has it right:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

I have my eyes on an incredible destination. But the journey is filled with joy--even in the midst of pain. I don't want to miss that joy!

What's out there on the road for you this day? Don't put off today waiting for Friday. Don't blow off this week waiting for next week or this month waiting for next month or this year waiting for next year. Too many people miss life waiting for something better.

Look out today and smile at THAT spouse, THOSE kids, THAT job, THOSE friends, THAT church, THOSE neighbors.


"Her children arise and call her blessed. . ."

(blog re-run: I'm tired and I like this one. feel free to write in for your favorite blog to re-run) Ashley: What stinks in here?

Riley: It's either Duchess. . . or mom.


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Speaking Info

The following topics can be tailored to your event or need. Other topics available upon request.

Getting the Most out of Every Day: Living with Enjoyment, Not Exhaustion (general, for women of all ages): Women tend to feel as if each day is a long to-do list, never completed. It doesn't have to be that way. Sarah gives specific ways to sift out the extraneous in your life and leave that which gives you joy.

Hearing the Whisper (Christian emphasis, women of all ages): With music piped in over the cable TV blaring while customers shout into their cell phones, our world is full of constant noise. When God speaks in a still, small whisper, most of us have to be trained to hear. This talk will call you to hear the whisper, and call you to a life of every day holiness.

Privilege and Responsibility: Being a Daughter of a King (Jr. High to High School): Hearing God's call on a young woman's heart; learning how to live like royalty.

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About Me

I love to tell my own God-story and encourage women to find their role in the story. I have a passion for helping women hear where God is leading them in life, knowing that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Women need easy yokes and light burdens, amen?

Throughout scripture, a precious collection of stories itself, we are told time and again to tell each other and our children our story. I like to remind people of scripture stories and allow each listener to find her own story within. Using humor and transparency, I draw in each listener to see Jesus in every situation, from the mundane to the overwhelming.

Why "The Cleft of the Rock?"
In the Old Testament in Exodus Moses asked for confirmation of the Lord's favor as Moses is leading the Israelites.

In Chapter 33, verses 18-23 goes like this:
"Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

I believe that every day the goodness of the Lord passes in front of me and it is my task to write about it and tell others about it. And He has me covered there with His mighty hand.

I post on my blog on topics such as marriage, raising teens, and learning to laugh through this life the Lord has given us. You can see a few of my current top posts here.

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I live in McKinney, Texas with my husband, Troy, and our children, Ashley and Riley. I am a certified elementary school teacher. I currently work for a marketing firm while pursuing a Master's degree in nutrition (which majorly cuts into blogging time!) I have taught 2nd grade and special education classes, as well as worked for the non-profit organization Big Brothers Big Sisters.

I'm a bit of a fitness nut and a wanna-be runner, so you may hear about a race I'm training for or, more likely, some aches and pains I'm working through, as well. Besides fitness and writing and reading to learn how to write and keeping up with my family, I think sleeping is my other hobby.

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