Sharing the Torture

After yesterday's post about the sitcom 'Alice', this song has been forever in my head. Sing along!:

Early to rise, early to bed.
In and between I cooked and cleaned and went out of my head.
Going through life with blinders on, it's tough to see.
I had to get up, get out from under and look for me.
There's a new girl in town and she's looking good.
There's a fresh freckled face, in the neighborhoood.
There's a new girl in town, with a brand new style.
She was just passing through, but if things work out she's gonna stay awhile....ba ba bum bum bummmm

Then today I started thinking about all of the sitcoms I used to be addicted to and could almost sing all of the theme song to:
The Jeffersons
Laverne and Shirley (you've gotta love a good "Schlemiel, Schlamozzle")
Facts of Life

If I think of any others I will also cause them to play ceaselessly inside your head.

My Little Voice

As you can probably tell from most of this blog, I have a tendency to WAY over-analyze any situation. I'm pretty good at sucking the joy out of anything just by thinking it TO DEATH!

Does anyone remember the sitcom "Alice"? Okay, I'm about to confess to you what an absolute TV JUNKIE I was (this is why I limit my kids' TV so much -- my brain is STUFFED with stupid TV trivia). I LOVED "Alice". And, Google has found for me that you can find anything you EVER wanted to know about "Alice" here. I remember that when Diane Ladd joined the cast her character's name was Belle. Belle used to talk about her conversations with herself: "So my little voice said, 'Self' -- that's what my little voice calls me is 'Self' -- . . ." I think it may have actually called her "Lulla-belle" or some other horrific version of "Belle".

I thought of Belle today, because myself had to have a very stern talk to myself!

We've already established that I'm busy -- nutty, crazy busy. So this morning I got everyone to school early so that I could help Riley's class sell Valentine's before school, then I hustled to the gym where I had to cut my work-out short so that I could get to Ladies Class to teach at church. I hurried away from there to make a return and then pick up one grocery item to use for dinner. I scurried home to throw together dinner and Troy was actually here so we ate lunch together. I finally made it in to work! The WHOLE time I was doing all of these things, I'm trying to figure out how to cut short what I'm doing so that I can get to the next thing. As you might imagine, my attitude continued to downward spiral.

This is where the over-analyzation came in. It's also where I proceeded to have a stern conversation with myself:

Whiny self: This is too much! I am doing too much! When can I get a break? Who lives like this. Who can I blame for all of this?
Rational self: Good question: Who can you blame? Who exactly signed you up for all of these things? When are you going to stop doing so much?
Whiny self: Well I signed myself up -- good point. And I don't plan to drop any of it -- you and I have already discussed this! There's nothing that I want to drop, because I enjoy all of those things.

This is where myself got just a little testy with myself. I think she actually yelled:


Truly a revelation to me.

I sat next to one of my precious Valentine's while listening to precious children ask for expressions of their love to go to their moms, dads, and friends -- and I was only worried about how long it was taking. I visited with a dear friend on the treadmill at the gym -- and was stressed out about not getting all of my weight-lifting in. My precious husband was hoping I could spend 7 minutes eating lunch with him -- and I was only worried about not being at work. I can honestly say that I had no grinch or worry or stress over teaching Ladies Class -- and I truly believe it was because of the confessional prayer I led before I ever started teaching. "Lord, your word is not meant to be rushed through, but savored and treasured." Amen!

So, I had to shake myself by the shoulders earlier today. Yes, this crazy nutty life is the one that I signed up for. It's pretty much exactly the way it should be. And myself has reminded myself that now all that's left is for me to put my happy face on about it!


I've Stooped

Yes, I've been the haughty SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). I laugh at the tube of cookie dough -- how hard is it to throw together some flour, sugar, and eggs? But I can certainly appreciate the need for convenience. But when they came out with the "pre-separated" dough? Like it's REALLY that hard to scoop it out of the tube with a spoon? Give me a break!

But -- uh, oh! Look what's on the shelves now! Pre-cut-out cookie dough in cute seasonal themes (currently Valentine's). Yes, my family just scarfed down $2.59 worth of cute (but not super-tasty) cookies in heart shapes. I feel the most guilty that I actually paid that much for so little, that wasn't very good anyway. Okay, they were hot chocolate chip cookies -- they weren't exactly BAD, either. I try to look at it (by rationalizing) that that's about how much a bag of chocolate chips would have cost, but would have made WAY more, which no one in this family needs. So, not only was I paying for some festive holiday shaped cookies for my family, but I was paying to not have leftovers for the rest of the week. How's that for rationalization?


Idle Threats

The list of what I do wrong as a parent is so long I won't even start in on it, but one thingI have done as a parent that has served me very well over the years: I don't make idle threats. I make sure that whatever consequence I promise for an action I am willing to carry out. Or, as in the recent case of the barefoot children in 42* weather, I assure them that the next time it happens the consequence will be very bad -- so bad I'm still deciding what it will be.

This serves me well because when I tell weepy, whiny child who is too cold/tired/grouchy to get out of bed that they WILL be in the car when it pulls out of the driveway at 8 a.m., with/without breakfast, with/without clothes on -- they're afraid to push me on it for fear I'll physically throw them in the car in their undies and make them go to school.

This week I had to utilize a serious threat such as these -- and my evil-mommy self half-way hoped I would have an opportunity to follow through. As I mentioned earlier, when Troy is out of town, the kids and I have a limited shelf-life of congeniality. If he leaves town during the school day on Monday, by Wednesday afternoon we're all pretty tired of each other. Wednesday afternoon was awful! I did my best to act as a concerned citizen and offer logical solutions when the neighbors of one driveway-chalk-city voted out their mayor and only citizen. I did my best to put out the fires of angry re-count demands.

I wish I remember now what was my breaking/boiling point. I'm pretty sure it had to do with the anger being directed at me when jobs were required before we could leave for our dinner out (we usually have one dinner out when Troy is out of town). A family meeting was called. Those are never good.

Unfortunately for my family -- well, anyone that has to listen to me rant, I guess -- I love words. I love using LOTS of them in heated situations and finding the precise one to convey my meaning. Along with this lingual fascination and skill, I am trained as an educator. All that to say, "Family Meeting" at my house generally means, "Mom has a speech".

And did I ever:
"Here's the deal. Neither of you deserve a dinner out tonight. Neither of you deserve for me to spend any extra money on you when we have perfectly good food in the pantry. But I do. I deserve for someone to say , "Yes, ma'am -- will that be all?" when I tell them what I want. I deserve for someone else to cook for me and bring me my food. And I'm going to get it. But if you two don't put your happy faces on and deal with life a little better, you will find your food in the pantry while I go pick up my dinner and eat it while I'm sitting in the car in the driveway so that I can have a little peace and quiet. Are we clear?"

And I would have -- and felt guilty for about 2.7 seconds.

The evening was most enjoyable from that point on!

Here's Erma

I remember the first newspaper column I read on a regular basis -- it was Erma Bombeck. I found her hysterical -- even when I was in my early teens. Now that I'm a mother, I see that her humor is just to veil the thorn she'll use to prick your heart. We truly lost a genius when she died, but thankfully she has volumes of her material to remember her by.

I saw this piece a few weeks ago, but this week it has really hit home. Troy just got back in town yesterday from a 4-day trip. The kids and I usually manage just fine until that 3rd day. Later, I plan to let you know about the huge "Come-to-Jesus" meeting the kids and I had so that we would all survive one more day! Until then, enjoy some Erma wisdom (and notice that it was first published almost exactly 37 years ago -- her wisdom is timeless!):

Erma Bombeck
January 29, 1969

A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome, that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"

OK. One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you guys grow up and act your age!" And they will. Or, "You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do...and don't slam the door!" And they won't.

You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy: bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way." And it will.

You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company." And you'll eat it alone.

You'll say, "I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?" And you'll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti. No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms. No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps. No more clothespins under the sofa. No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent. No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathroom. No more iron-on patches, rubberbands for ponytails, tight boots or wet knotted shoestrings.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No babysitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.
No PTA meetings. No car pools. No blaring radios. No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night. Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste. No more sloppy oatmeal kisses. No more tooth fairy. No giggles in the dark. No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?" and the silence echoing, " I did."


The Green-Eyed Monster

Is it only a female thing to need to tread lightly when you have good news to share? "Good news! Good news!" and you'll relay the good news -- pregnancy, job happy, weight loss, life happy, whatever. The smile freezes, the eyes glaze, and you get the automaton: "That IS great news! Congratulations!" A few days or weeks later, friend and/or loved one returns to discuss why such hasn't happened to them, and they truly are so very happy for you, but when is it my turn in the sunshine?

Do only women do this to each other? Or are we equally self-centered to generally think of other people's successes as our own personal failures? Why do we do that?

I've heard one speculation that it's because (this makes it only a female thing) in the old days -- when I was growing up -- little boys played team sports and little girls competed in pageants, causing girls to be eye-clawing competitive. I've never played a team sport or competed in a pageant, but I have had to confess envy at others' good news.

I have no answers, just a discussion topic. And if you have to ask, then, yes, I probably am talking about you -- but I thought I was talking about myself!


I'm Pathetic

I'm drowning in ministry-type stuff I'm doing. Four different ministries need everything all at once. For one ministry, I'm supposed to be recruiting people for a particular thing to do this Saturday. My notes say we need 40 people. We've made announcements from the pulpit (well, not me, but the ministry), we've passed around sign-up sheets in different classes. I have 15 people.

So, my thoughts:
"Why did I agree to do this? Why did he ask me to do this? I am
too busy for this, I can't put anymore time into it. This is just going to
have to do. Lord, this is what I have, these are my two mites, do
something fabulous with it."

Today I went to talk to the minister over this event, expressing my concerns that my folks were going to be few on Saturday. The minister relayed to me that everything is going fine, 15 would be plenty, any more than that would simply be icing on the cake.

Now, my thoughts:
"Why did he give me the 'icing on the cake' job? Did he not think I
could handle the real-for-real job? Did he KNOW I would botch it up?
What's with THAT?"

I am pathetic.


Random Thoughts

Y'all is a contraction for you+all. The apostrophe is between the 'y' and the 'a'. If you don't know where the apostrophe goes, leave it out altogether.

I don't have caller ID. I know that you believe that all of the free world does, but since free is one thing caller ID isn't, I choose to be surprised when I pick up the phone. I do like the surprise to end there. I don't know who you are until you tell me. (actually, most people that read this blog, I DO know who you are when you call -- just pass it along, would you?)

Overheard a gal at the gym totally put her foot in her mouth: made some joke about what you could do the next time your boss made you mad. . . while her boss was standing RIGHT there. She immediately turned red, started apologizing, and said, "I thought about that after I said it!" Yes, the optimal time to think about something is BEFORE you say it, but I just can't quite get that one down, myself. She has my sympathies.

At work about once a month we have a program called "Hour of Magic". Heard this conversation today:
"Have you ever been to an Hour of Magic?"
"They're asking all staff to go that haven't been to one yet."
"How long does it last?"

Sadly enough, I don't even think that's the same person that referred to something and said, "It's not rocket surgery, you know."

Work should keep me in blog material for weeks to come.


Jack's Famous!

Jack, who I've mentioned here several times, and who also has his own blog here, was on the cover of an Abilene-area newspaper supplement this week with the lovely Sophie, his precious twin. Read the article entitled "Jack's Big Battles" at the Abilene Families website. The reporter did a fabulous job of relaying the faith that has sustained the Marcelains throughout their "adventure".

Tammy, Rob, Derek, Sophie, and Jack -- you have all blessed us with your faith and courage. God bless you for shouting from the rooftops that it was your God who sustained you in your storm. I know God will continue to do great things through all of you.

Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." Joshua 3:5

I'm pretty sure He's already started.


Worn Out

Yesterday I talked about my need for solitude and this morning among friends we talked about how being around people can be draining. This afternoon hit home the point that some people are much more draining than others. I'm exhausted, my brain is tired, I need solitude, and Ashley wants to bake a cake. After she ran 2.5 miles in PE. To be 10 again.


I would love to tell you that earth-shattering things are taking place in my life currently and it is keeping me from blogging. But that would be a lie. I am, as usual, crazy-busy, and I am becoming painfully aware that makes me not very nice to be around.

I taught ladies class at church today and made a specific note to point out John 6:15: "Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself." This man had just fed 5,000 people, they were clamoring to hear more and know more, and he went to be alone. Right this minute, I believe that single act is what makes him Jesus -- or, more aptly put -- what distinguishes him AS Jesus. I doubt he even felt guilty about doing it, either.

I really need to withdraw to a mountain, hillside, street corner, or couch to be alone. I've also figured out that Working Sarah -- who, we've already established, only vaguely resembles Real Sarah -- is around people too constantly. And the more I'm around people, the less I like them as a human race. People are very funny from a distance. Up close, they're a little disturbing.

Okay! Now that I've accepted my Miss Congeniality award, I will move along. Glory Road. Go see it. Too bad you can't see it on MLK day like our family did. Oh, and I don't think I've written about Narnia here, either. See it first (they have nothing to do with each other, but if you're going in order of importance and wonderfulness, start at Narnia). There are many things the book is able to discuss about thought processes that the movie, obviously, has to sacrifice, but it is still an EXCELLENT production. I heard someone mention that they were thankful Narnia wasn't made 10 years ago when it would have seemed cartoonish. Truly, it is very well done! And Aslan -- done beautifully!

So glad that there are finally some movies I can take my children to see. Yes, my kids went to see Glory Road which is PG -- only because of the racial slurs and hate language. Movie Mom says there is "mild sexual content". Other than the coach's wife in her 1965 nightgown and a player kissing his girlfriend good-bye at the bus on the way to a game, I evidently slept through any sexual content, mild or otherwise. Go see it. (insert "Let's Go to The Movies" from the Annie soundtrack here!)

That's the news from Lake Wobegon. More when my brain starts working again!


Quote for the Day

God does not waste an ounce of our pain or a drop of our tears; suffering doesn't come our way for no reason, and He seems especially efficient at using what we endure to mold our character. If we are malleable, He takes our bumps and bruises and shapes them into something beautiful. -- Frank Peretti, The Wounded Spirit


Lame Brain

I have all kinds of things that I would love to share with you -- like why irritations at my place of employment keep my brain from being able to blog. But the thought of going through all of it again just wears me out. Suffice it to say, the blind leading the blind would be a huge improvement.

I have fared okay this week getting back into a routine of school for the kids and my work. To prove my point, it's 10 p.m. Thursday and I'm still awake AND typing. I have way too much going on in my ministries at church, yes, I'm involved in way too many, one of them was supposed to be OVER last November, and I'm getting out of as many as possible.

One ministry that I don't want to get out of is teaching ladies class. I really enjoy that, though right now it is REALLY difficult to spend as much time planning as I need to. The last time I taught ladies class before now was fall of '04. That previous summer I was asked if I could teach one week. I picked out a week that would work, which happened to have me teaching on the woman at the well. Awesome -- great story, lots to learn! So, by the time I teach, the preacher is on week 3 of a 4-week series on the woman at the well! Obviously, I had to really stretch to come up with a new angle!

Last fall, I was asked to teach ladies class. I will be teaching through the beginning of March. I opted to teach on the disciple John starting with the gospel of John as my text. Guess what the sermon was about on Sunday? Guess what every adult Bible class started studying Sunday? Hello!! We have an entire Bible, folks! Thankfully, God can breathe a fresh word into material that we hear 3 times in a week! Later someone pointed out to me that ACU lectureship is also on John this year!! Wow! We must all really need to hear from John!

Some answers to questions I have gotten regarding previous blogs:
  • the couch: on hold indefinitely. nobody at this house has the energy to shop, much less compromise on couches. we're not desperate yet -- please do not bring us your old one.
  • Ashley's room: turned out SO cute! If I ever finish painting the scripture on the wall, I will post some pictures here. I hope to finish the scripture this weekend.

Finishing up with some ACU business: Randy Vaughn has started a blog for the class of 1991 since this is our 15th reunion year. ACU Class of 1991. Stop by and check in, and/or pass it along to others from the class of 1991.

Calvin for the Day


Things I Did Not Miss During the Holidays

  • Ironing
  • Dragging bleary-eyed children out of bed while it is still dark out
  • Rushing everywhere
  • Work
  • A to-do list
  • Feeling as if family time was "wasting time"
  • Meetings


Ten Years

I remember it as if it happened yesterday.

People told me these years would fly by in the blink of an eye, but the sleepless nights with breathing treatments, vomitting, and emergency room visits kept me from believing it.

The scene I remember most vividly was standing in my spotless kitchen putting away the glass I had been drinking out of. It was the only dirty dish in the house. I never went through the nesting phase, but Troy did. Everything had been done -- the house was clean, Troy had put my bags in the car and started the car since it was cold out. There was nothing else left to do except for leave. So I stood and cried.

I was SO overwhelmed and frightened -- not just at the thought of labor, though that didn't sound like a lot of fun, either. I was the only one who really knew exactly how woefully inadequate I was for the role of Motherhood that was before me.

I remember walking in from the hospital with this tiny, very unhappy bundle in my arms, thinking, "Now what? Please don't send her home with me. I have no idea what I'm doing!"

I remember watching my parents pull away from my house after a week, thinking, "You REALLY don't want to leave your only grandchild with me. I have NO idea what I'm doing!"

I remember the pediatrician, after the 2-week check-up, saying that all was great and he should see me in a few months. I remember thinking, "MONTHS?!?!? Are you kidding me? Please don't leave me alone with her! I really don't know what I'm doing here!"

I remember precisely what I was wearing the day I went back to finish teaching the school year with my 2nd grade class. The children applauded that I was back! I remember being in the middle of a lesson and thinking, "I only thought I didn't know what I was doing as a teacher until I became a parent and found out what 'clueless' REALLY means. THIS I can do. Parenting -- don't think so."

The first piece of jewelry we ever gave her was a little silver pendant in the shape of a gift box to remind her of what we always tell her -- she is a precious gift from God. She is truly such a blessing as I watch God mold her and grow her in Him in spite of my glaring shortcomings as a parent.

I had that overwhelming feeling again yesterday as I heard her having a giggle-fit with some of her friends, and deciding who exactly was her "BFF" (Best Friends Forever, you know!) Where has it all gone? The time is going too fast!

Thank you, Lord, for this blink in time that I have had my angel at my house.

Happy Birthday, Ashley!


Don't ya hate it. . .?

You know how you can be carrying something large -- big box, or one of those crazy exercise balls at the gym -- and you underestimate exactly how large it is and ram it into a wall or counter, thereby ramming it further into your body, which in turn then rams into an opposing wall or counter as it reels from the first blow? Not only do you look ridiculous, as if you are in a life-size pin-ball game, but you are injured, perhaps internally from cramming a box into your rib cage, and bruised from then bouncing into the wall.

This is all pretty much me as I put away my Christmas decorations. Actually, it's pretty much me as I go through life.

Does this happen to ANYONE else?


Life Lessons

Over the past few weeks, Troy and I have been trying to pick out a new couch and decide how to invest some of our money. I have come to the following conclusion: After 13+ years of marriage, Troy and I agree on virtually nothing.

I'm a fan/proponent of pre-marital counseling. I think that couples should spend time examining their relationship and how to work things out before marriage. However, in the same way that college does little to prepare you for any actual work-place, pre-marital counseling is lacking covering every situation.

I think the following scenario should be included in pre-marital counseling:
  • Couple receives a sum of money and must decide what to do with it: travel? invest? furnishings? Let's settle on furnishings, let's get a couch. Okay, well that's settled!

No, no, no -- not so fast!! NOW:

  • Couple goes to furniture store and with complete honesty each points out which couch they LOVE.
  • He and she now list all the myriad of reasons the other's couch will never cross the threshold of their home.
  • NOW the negotiating comes in: what don't you like about it, what about this one that is a little different.
  • Spend all afternoon visiting every furniture store in town seeing that they all have the same couches and you each still love and hate the same couches.
  • Notice on your driving around town that your car is on it's last leg.
  • Take car to repair shop where repairs cost the exact same amount you were planning on spending on a couch.
  • Be thankful you have the money, and decide you sit in the car a lot more than on any couch anyway.


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