motherhood is the epitome of &

i wrote this today on the socials. and ever since hitting the button on it i have thought of a million more &’s that go with mothering. so i thought i would add it on to my blog. because i never post anything here anymore and i am always thinking about writing things & how much i miss writing. and i added a few new ones to the mix because they came to mind and are true.


motherhood is the epitome of the power of &.

it’s moments of exclamation marks & question marks.

highs & lows.

holding & scolding.

it’s shown my strengths & weaknesses.

there have been moments where i was called the worst mom ever when i was probably at my best & moments i was hailed as the best mom and it was clearly at my worst.

i keep a thousand memories of the past & a million dreams for the future.

i wait for welcome home days & weep over all the good bye moments.

i have merely listened when i should have spoken & spoken when i should have listened.

seen His hand in more than a few miracles & mostly in the mundane.

i’ve been profane & prophetic (sometimes at the same time).

prayed for them less than i needed to & preached at them much more than i should have.

i’ve been honored & humiliated. and i’ve done the same to them.

forgiven much & been forgiven for even more.

remembered & forgotten.

said NO when i should have said YES & said YES when i should have said HELL NO & said MAYBE when i didn’t want to give an actual answer & said I DON’T KNOW about a million times more than i ever thought i would have said for a grown up who is supposed to know things by now & spoken straight out lies when i should have said I DO NOT KNOW because really, i DID NOT KNOW.

found lost things & lost things i thought i had found.

given all i’ve had & been given more than i deserved.

stayed up too late & gotten up too frequently & always too early & slept thru moments i wish i hadn’t.

i’ve won & lost. and been confused on whether things were a victory or defeat.

it is simultaneously too much at once & you are never enough. or you are too much & it is monotonously the same thing over and over.

i have laughed & cried. laughed while crying. cried while laughing & also peed while laughing because of giving birth three times & cried while peeing because it was the only place i could have a moment alone to weep.

i have changed all the things that needed changing & slowly realized the thing that needed changing the most was me.

i read all the books & made it all up as i went along.

quoted Scripture at inopportune times & clung to it when it was all i knew was true and the only thing that kept me tethered to something true.

i’ve watched the tide come in & knock down all my well formed castles & then noticed that it had left me some exquisite treasures gleaming in the wet sand.

despaired that i seemed worthless & declared that it was worth it all.

breathed in the beauty & had the breath knocked out of me by some really ugly moments.

i set high goals & then lowered all my expectations.

marveled & mumbled.

grinned & grimaced & grumbled.

complimented & complained.

i have charted & planned & written it all down & then watched it all get erased/torn up/lost in the shuffle.

thought i was raising them & was the one being raised all along.

i’ve held them close & now, i’ve let them each go...


the enthusiastic jumper (at the top right) left this morning to hike & camp. i won’t hear from her until june.


the recent graduate is forging a future of music & words & rhythms & rhymes.


the philosophical one will be in berlin most of the summer learning a new language.

they are each entirely their own & a bit of adam and i.

i’ve hiked and camped through motherhood for 25 years.

attempted to forge & forest a future with words & rhymes.

& i’ve philosophically learned new languages to speak with each of them over the past 25 years.

but hopefully most importantly & ultimately relied on the oldest language of them all.


may it be so for us all today&forever.

pichard.a.thon 2012

once upon a time there were three cousins... laura lea pichard murphey, ley ann pichard laface, and lea noblin marshall. all with similar names. and a GREAT family heritage that they wanted to preserve.

so the concept of the pichard.a.thon was born. there would be competitions. each "family unit" would play for the honor of their "pichard bloodline." my family is team clarence. for clarence pichard, our grandfather. there is team marion. and team david. and we added team claude in the last two years bringing in some more family members.

each team brings a highly secretive and highly competitive game for us all to play. and points are tallied and smack is talked. and a pink tree is handed out for the victors to keep for a year. and the point of the whole exercise was for the cousins to all learn to love each other and know who they are in this lineage and where they came from... and for us all to have a great time.

and i think it is working. we meet at laura's house. they have a lovely little house on some lovely spacious land. it was cold last night. but clear. which is good. because we all could NOT fit into laura's house. or anyone's... we are a bunch o' pichards...


and here are the competing teams in our team colored pichard bros. tshirts...

first there is playing around while we set up crock pots of soup. greet everyone. and comment on how HUGE everyone's kids are getting... and talk a lot of thsmack talk about how we are going to RULE the pichard.a.thon this year.

then the games begin. game 1 was brought to you by team clarence. it was a fear factor inspired eating competition. adam visited his friend who owns a korean grocery store in town and procured some lovely tasty "treats" for this event. each team submitted its best and least picky eaters. and then there were 4 rounds of play. every player ended up eating every thing... until the last round. the ash cooked duck egg. only team marion's was able to have EVERY contestant eat that egg. with those noses held. though my brother max made a valiant effort to get that duck egg down....

next was team david's "dress the elf" relay... the photos speak for themselves...

then came an alphabet game and a fishing for the candy cane game. and i am sad to report that team clarence did not win a single game. we came in second to team marion. they are strong competitors. we are going to have to go into strict training this year to best them next year. or plan to cheat.

then it was time to eat. the call to the table with conch shells horns. a short? speech by uncle david, prayer by uncle jay, then crock pots full of soup. corn bread. hot chocolate. hot cider. dessert table. and the pichard.a.thon champion cookie cake.

family... it is one of the reasons why we moved to tallahassee. to live in a place where we are related to half the town (or so it seems sometimes). we are a group with diverse political, religious, and every other kind of view. but we don't choose our family. we learn to get along because we have to. iron sharpening iron. they are a good gift from God. a difficult gift at times. but that makes these times of joy and laughter and bowls full of soup even the more wonderful.

You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.  {Desmond Tutu}

not sure i agree totally with this next quote... but it is worth thinking about.

The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit.  No two people - no mere father and mother - as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child.  He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.  {Pearl S. Buck}

social dropout? (part one)

i have been thinking and praying about whether to take a social media sabbatical...

i LOVE social media. and not to brag (but bragging nonetheless), usually i ROCK social media. at times i think God created it just for me...

i attempt to use social media in an encouraging way to love on people. i try not to post things to create an image that my life is perfect and wonderful. which as of late is pretty easy to do... i think i use it responsibly and it a way that sort of glorifies God and loves on other people. just like Jesus would use facebook. ha. i can't wait till He has a chat with me about that line when i get to heaven. 

i LIKE facebook. and twitter. and instagram. it fulfills that "know and be known" gene given to me by God. in my case it is more a desire to "stalk and be stalked". i like to think that someone might be stalking me (in the way i stalk people. which isn't creepy. right?) i LOVE wishing people happy birthday.  i like posting corrie ten boom quotes. or "complaining about early morning cross country meets". i like posting photos of cross country runners. or engaged couples. or my dog. or trees. i am especially good at tree photos.

what i don't like is that for a myriad of reasons (none having to do with anything good in me. we are done with the part of the blog post where i appear to be sanctified. note that the "so much like Jesus part was fairly short. the rest of the entry is much longer.) lately i have been unable to "rejoice with those who rejoice" on social media. i have entered a "seethe with jealous rage with those who rejoice" stage.

this is a toxic mix of my own "need for approval and applause of man". stirred in with a dose of  "poor pitiful me" attitude. (i do so love to be a martyr. though i would rather other people THOUGHT me one that me actually do the martyr suffering part.) then there is the last ingredient of a heaping helping of ye olde "comparison trap" that i like to get in there. where everyone's life looks better/easier/prettier/more exciting/more worthy than mine. i drink it down at "bitter, table for one."

i have some great and awesome friends. who do some great and awesome things. and i LOVE LOVE LOVE them and wouldn't trade them (or their super cool lives) for anything. they bless me with some pretty cool things as well since they truly have some of the coolest opportunities in the world (like remember when i went on a cruise for a week and hung out with frank perretti. yeah, i have friends who MADE THAT HAPPEN FOR ME.) well, imagine if EVERY day you had friends who hung out with super cool people and instagramed and tweeted and facebooked it up (like i instagrammed, tweeted, and facebooked it up when i had my week of fame and fortune. you all hated me then. right?!?!?) yeah, i know a lot of people with those exciting lives. not just for a week in the summer. for almost every week in the year. 

i also have friends with really extraverted children and extraverted husbands who love to praise them publicly on social media. "DATE NIGHT WITH MY HOTTIE WIFE _____________ (insert tagged name here)!!!!!!" in direct contrast my husband likes posting photos of airports he is in. not date night or delicious family dinners or yogurt runs at midnight.  he is an introvert and would not ever post a photo of himself and i out on date night and brag about how cool his wife it... sigh. i don't know why not because obviously his wife is SUPER DE DUPER cool. 

adding to that "job like existence" is that my teenagers are not the type that like to update their statuses with loving (or at this stage i might even settle for perfunctory) updates like "best monday morning muffins ever" and tag me in that post (and maybe instagram a photo of said awesome monday muffin). then i could comment back, "no YOU are the best ever." and they would comment under that, "no you are." and this would go on all day (except whilst they were in class making straight A's.) how adorable... especially since i DO make the best monday morning muffins. up at 5:30 to make these marvels of muffins and one teen doesn't ever eat breakfast and the other one "wasn't in the muffin mood" and ate a poptart. YES, they turned down made from scratch, straight from the oven with love onto your breakfast plate that even says "i love you" right on it. it even had a BROWN SUGAR CRUMBLE ON THE TOP OF IT... turned that down for a POPTART. oh, the inhumanity.

ps. i have some extra muffins at my house if you want one. come by later.

i also have a lot of friends with little children. and they post adorable pictures of their little children doing all the adorable things little children do. i think my adorable children USED to do those things but there wasn't social media then, and my memory is fading due to the early morning muffin baking sessions, so i couldn't show the world their adorableness and get instant feedback about being the best mom ever. which might be a good thing... God introduced social media AFTER my kids were past the pinterest birthday party boards for a reasons... my sanity. and theirs. and yours.

last week my social media need for approval/pity party/comparison trap smoothie came to a triple threat envy crossroads of insanity... (that sentence alone should explain why NO one tags me in any posts. sigh.)

facebook envy point #1... a friend was in LONDON (which we shall now refer to as LEAndon forever because for some reason i think i OWN that city. or at least should own it because i am the world's hugest anglophile. i love england more than the queen loves england.) my friend's hubby took her to london. he planned the whole trip for their 25th anniversary. now i am sure my hubby (who in his own way does totally adore me) will BRING it on my 25th anniversary (insert time for skeptical laughter here)... but i don't think he will BRING IT TO LEAndon. and by "it" i mean "me". the fact that for our 20th anniversary we didn't even go out to dinner may shed some light on how much he likes to BRING IT around on anniversaries... he did build me two couches though. i think i may have put photos of those couches on facebook. and tagged him. in fact i just did a little facebook fact checking and realized that NO ONE IN MY FAMILY has ever posted a status that included me in it. sigh. early on i posted some tagging them in with me. i learned quickly that if i wanted them to EVER speak to me that kind of behavior had to stop immediately. i am a fast learner. because i like people to speak to me.

and since no one in my immediately family reads this blog i will also go and say that you can check all my birthday facebook posts on friday. none will be from my family. introverts.... don't they know that us extraverts LOVE to be publicly praised? that my love language is "words of affirmation"? i try to understand their introverted/perverted need for internet silence on their part... IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK that one day a year they could come out of their shells and acknowledge the woman who birthed three babies (one without drugs), makes muffins every monday morning and  just ran a pair of running shorts up to the high school even though she was in the middle of typing up this blog post? IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?!?!?!??! come friday, it will be too much to ask of them...

facebook/instagram envy #2... then a dear friend's daughter got engaged. and both families were present and they prayed over the couple and everyone posted photos of the big moment. and somewhere deep inside me i realized that my more introverted children are more likely take out a restraining order to keep me and my camera away from any or all engagements than to plan it so that my presence is imminent. sigh. and i take such nice photos... and i pray so very well...

instagram/twitter envy #3... then some other people (that i don't really know but i follow and read their blogs) were all at the catalyst conference. like my life is ever going to take me to catalyst west/east/south/north. the music seemed awesome. the speakers were raved about. MATTY CHANDLER WAS THERE!!!! all their kids were running around soaking in the catalystness. and being instagrammed within an inch of their young lives. certainly those kids will grow up and invite their parents to pray over their engagements and instagram those engagements... and i bet they will have a catalyst in LEAndon next year. and THEY WON'T INVITE ME TO SPEAK. or listen. or instagram. or tweet.

EVERYONE'S lives look cooler and more fun than mine right now. and more validated. and more loved. and celebrated. and more exciting. and more. just more. than mine.

and maybe they aren't. perception isn't always reality.

but my perception of all of these things is making me really ungrateful for my cute dog photos. and all those beautiful trees in my life. and the fact that i did hang out with frank perretti for a little while this summer. on a boat.

so i am thinking and praying about what to do. because i don't like being so jealous of other people's lives. and it isn't their problem. it isn't my family of untagging introverts' problem. it is my sinful heart's problem. sigh.

one would think a girl with her own blog and .com address WITH HER OWN NAME ON IT wouldn't have such a need for validation. insert sarcastic laughter here...

stay tuned for part two...

and don't forget to send me facebook birthday wishes on friday. 

race face part 2...

so do you remember this painful and yet adorable race face from last year...


here is one from more recently... last night...


running is hard. and she came by that pained look on her race face very naturally, she got it from her mama.

i make that face whenever i have to run the race of life (which is pretty much daily.) i grimace. i sweat. i cry. my stomach hurts. i feel like i might throw up. or give up. or hit someone up for an easier ride...

but thankfully rosie was making that face seconds from the finish line. she hates to run. but she loves to finish. she got that from her mama too.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

at least God doesn't tell us that we have to run the race with any other emotion other than perseverance. whew. though He could have said "walk the race." or "have someone carry you through the race." or "the race has been cancelled and there are doughnuts instead." but even the message version still uses the word RACE. and RUN. darn you message version. where are the doughnuts?

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (the message) This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause!

maybe in the "leamarshall get the message" version it reads... all that's left now is the shouting and the doughnuts- God's applause.

first day of school...

which could be entitled LAST first day of school with three children under my roof. but who's counting? yup, i am counting. counting and trying to remain calm about all the changes that i know are coming at me . 

i remember when i used to always document FIRSTS... first steps, first solid food, first day of preschool.

now i document LASTS... last school year. last birthday at home. last time we will be the marshall family all living in one place.

i am not a big fan of LASTS.

but my girl made it a bit easier on me. by wearing a sweater that she KNEW i would love. i also liked maxx's thematic shirt for the first day of school.

i may have done a LOT of things wrong whilst raising them. but teaching them how to be ironically thematic goes in my gold star category...


and would you like to see 12 years fly by in an instant? pass the kleenex...


and then 2 hours later, rosie went to school....