last night i couldn't fall asleep and i was thinking about a book i had read about a prion protein disease (like mad cow disease.) the disease made people not be able to fall asleep and without sleep they went crazy and died (and in the book it was postulated that it was what killed the mayans and it was happening again in the year 2012.) but for a few minutes i couldn't remember if it was in a fiction or non fiction book and perhaps i had acquired that prion somewhere and i actually had that disease. yup. that is how crazy i am sometimes. especially when i am tired and can't fall asleep.
seriously, you can drive my car. but just a warning... it may be low on gas.
for the life of me i cannot figure out why i don’t have blogging time. or napping time. so let me just go over today’s driving schedule with all of you. maybe things will become clearer...
1) start our at point a (home) @ 7:00 a.m.
2) take millie to high school point b.
3) come home, point a, and pick up rosie. take her to elementary school, point c, at 7:30. fill up my tank with gas.
4) come home, point a, and get a phone call from adam who has left something at home that he needs. take that to his office, which is located at point d.
5) come back to point a and pick up maxx and go to pick up claire and take them to middle school, point e, at 9:00.
6) on to costco for new tires, point f. shop for the hour that it takes them to put new tires on my car.
7) leave costco at 11. go home, point a, and unload car. receive a phone call that the tire guy at costco left his walkie
talkie in my car. sigh.
8) head to raa, point e again, to volunteer in the guidance office from 12:30-1:30.
9) head back to costco, point f, to give back the walkie talkie.
10) head to point b to pick up my high school student at 2:30.
11) head home which is of course point a. then back to elementary school, point c, to pick up rosalea @ 3:35. bring her home to point a. type this blog post...
12) then @ 5:30 i will make one more trip to point e, the middle school, to pick maxx up from play practice.
13) then i think i will head home to point a, to collapse. and refuel.
i should have calculated my mileage. no wonder i needed new tires. and a new mind.
i am going to have business cards printed up that simply state...
lea marshall, pick up artist.
15 years ago i started a movement. among some friends. we started going away for a girls’ only retreat to scrapbook, laugh, and get away from the everydayness of mommyville.
my friend, jennifer, once told her husband it was a RETREAT- not in the Christian women’s time away for Biblical reflection and edification sense, but in the military sense of we were RUNNING away waving white flags and screaming RETREAT at the top of our lungs so that we wouldn’t die kind of sense. yeah, she nailed it with that description.
and we go RETREAT every february. the first weekend. right after the dust has settled on Christmas and new years. the kids are back in school. there aren’t any real holidays anymore. it is dark and cold. and we need some warmth and perspective or we will never make it to spring break.
a lot of these women are teachers that i used to teach with. and then there is my HOME TEAM that goes also (dina, deaver, and karen). and some various and sundry other characters just to keep it all real and fun.
we used to go to my mother-in-law’s beach house in garden city, sc. but that was far for the nashville girls. we tried some other places that were okay. but now we have got the PERFECT PLACE. and this was our third yerar there. we go to a 4h camp in eatonton , GA. rock eagle. and stay in the founder’s lodge. it is perfect. lots of room to scrapbook. right in the middle of where we all live (only a 5 hour drive for dina and deaver. 4 for me. about an hour for everyone else.) someone cooks and serves all three meals to us everyday. we never have to take off our pajamas (if we don’t want to. and some of us don’t want to). someone makes my hot tea in the morning and hands it to me. let’s have a moment of silence for how wonderful that is...
the whole weekend (which begins on a wednesday, so it is a bit more than a weekend) is just heavenly. we sleep. we eat. we scrapbook. we eat again. we sleep someone. sometimes we never even set foot outside the entire time. my car thinks i have died since i park it and no one drives it for FOUR FULL DAYS.
it is where i recharge. relax. RETREAT.
and make a heck of a lot of scrapbook pages.
and even more memories.
it is fun to have been with these gals through potty training. pregnancies. entering school. and now the teenage years. our stories keep flowing. sometimes we have to tell the old stories over and over again. we have all stepped on each other’s toes enough to just keep dancing because it is all a part of the process. it is comfortable. and reassuring. to have such long term accepting friends is a lifeline.
it is like someone handing you a cup of hot tea. with just enough cream in it. and then handing you another one when that one is gone. rare and beautiful. warm and caffeinating. it is real and RETREATing. and worth repeating every year...
sometimes i miss cassette tapes. i miss the sound that they made when you rewound them. remember that sound...
i need that sound in my life sometimes. like this morning.
here was the status update on facebook...
made 48 homemade cinnamon rolls. woke up someone whose alarm wasn't set correctly. fed 3 children breakfast. weathered a "where is my calculator? i have a trig exam!" crisis. delivered stressed high school student to her exam in the nick of time. delivered cinnamon rolls to middle school faculty meeting. and is ready to run the middle school carpool to middle school. all before 8 a.m. is it Christmas break yet?
and here is the REST OF THE STORY...
i got out of my warm bed at 5 a.m. so i could roll out the cinnamon roll dough that i made last night. i wanted to get them all made and in the oven so i wouldn’t be all stressed when the kids got up. i had volunteered to make cinnamon rolls for the middle school faculty breakfast. a once a year thing for me.
so, speaking of the kids getting up, i am working on all of them getting up to their own alarm clocks. they all have different times they need to get up and it can vary day by day and i just can’t keep track of all that in my middle aged brain. besides it is a life skill that they need obtain. right?
i looked down the hallway at 6:50 (at this point you need to know that millie leaves for school with her carpool at 7:10. she usually appears to pick at her breakfast and drink her hot tea at 7:00ish). whoopsie, her light is still off. not good. i go to wake her. seems she set her alarm clock for 7:00 NOT 6:00. at this point i know that i should at some point let her reap the consequences. but it is the Christmas season and trig exam morning and it is a time for OUTPOURING OF GRACE over the reaping of hideous consequences. we will deal with alarm clock setting lessons at a later date when exams are not occurring. but despite the late awakening she gets ready on time. Christmas miracle.
so now rosie is up and eating breakfast. the rolls are ready. 2 huge pans keeping warm and be iced right before i take them. my schedule is set in my head. 7:10 - millie is picked up, 7:15- lea gets dressed, 7:45- take rosie to school then take rolls to be at middle school by 8. then home to pick up maxx and claire to take them to middle school for their day to begin. check. check. and check. not an ounce of stress. peace and love and warm fuzzies all around.
millie’s carpool came. she left. i went back to our room to get quietly dressed (adam is still sleeping). the phone rings. millie is in the carpool car and can’t find her fancy smancy calculator that she MUST have to pass the trig exam. the carpool turns around to bring her back home. adam wakes up because of the chaos of me throwing on clothes and calling millie back to find out where that calculator might be. now i am going to have to take her to school. and take rosie to the elementary school AND deliver the cinnamon rolls to the middle school. oh, and ice the cinnamon rolls. oh, and find the calculator.
and even though i am relatively calm on the outside during this whole time (except for the icing throwing)... inside i am singing the “dirge of the great martyr named lea”. it goes something like this... oh, if only millie had set her alarm correctly. I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING FOR THESE KIDS. oh, if only adam would wake up early and help me with ALL of this (not that he stayed up late helping millie with her studying and oh, he does WORK ALL DAY!). I HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING AROUND HERE. oh, if only other mothers not as important and busy as i am would take in cinnamon rolls. I AM THE BOMB.COM AND I AM ABOUT TO EXPLODE. oh, oh woe is me. woe is me. OH, WOE IS ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
it is a catchy little tune. a bit too catchy. like the bubonic plague. spread by rats. little fanged thoughts that spread lies through my head. through my soul. suffice it to say that it was not well with my soul.
and whilst this dirge is playing in my head... millie finds the calculator. in her book bag. i am dressed-ish (granted it is what i wear most mornings). cinnamon rolls are iced. adam says he can get dressed and take rosie. and millie arrives at the exam right on time. and the cinnamon rolls are even a bit early. home on time to take middle school carpool. all fine. except in my soul because... i should have known better. i should have reacted better.
had i taken a deep breath at any point in the hyper crazy 10 minutes and thought about it for a second or two, if i had taken a moment to pray, if i had taken a millisecond to seek the Prince of Peace...then i would have realized that there was plenty of time to do it all. without waking adam up. without rushing around throwing icing around on everything. without disturbing the peace of a thursday morning.
but i didn’t take that moment to breath. i charged right through it lea marshall style. conquer with multitasking fervency and utter sheer martyring will of forcefulness. how many times will i just FORCE MY WAY without taking the time to breath? how many times will mrs. GET IT DONE RIGHT NOW AND MY WAY have to rear her ugly head before i learn a more excellent way? will i get to the end of my days and realize there was plenty of time, God had given me MORE than i could ever ask or imagine and yet, i always thought in scarcity. there won’t be enough time, money, me to go around. when will i put two and two together and KNOW, really KNOW that if God is a God of the cattle on a thousand hills that He can rule over the icing of cinnamon rolls and lost calculators. and He can even deal with moms who are at their breaking point before 7:30 a.m. singing songs of death in their heads.
and so then for the next hour i beat myself up about it. mentally. i kept thinking about wanting to hear that rewind sound. just rewind about 10 minutes. that was all the rewinding that i needed. just 10 minutes. this next time, i will handle it better. i will approach it with a calm and gentle spirit. with dignity. with Christ at the center... but i don’t get to redo that ten minutes. i just get to face the next ten minutes. and the next. and all the ones that He gives me.
perhaps an OUTPOURING OF GRACE is needed by everyone at this time of the year, since cassette tapes are passe and rewind doesn’t exist except in one place...
romans 7: 21-25
So I find this law at work:
Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.
What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
ephesians 2: 4
But because of his great love for us,
God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ
even when we were dead in transgressions—
it is by grace you have been saved.
The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
i may not hear the sound of a cassette tape rewinding. but i do hear the sound of someone singing over me... and it isn’t a dirge. it is a love song.
would you like to know my new favorite Bible verse?
first... do you know my old favorite Bible verse?
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
aah, the ole dog/vomit verse. love it. lived it. more than once. need to get it on a coffee mug or a t.shirt. but i digress. into vomit. again. so let’s move on, shall we...
here is my new favorite verse...
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
It teaches us to say "No"
to ungodliness and worldly passions,
and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
i love this verse because it is SOOOOOOO easy to say “yes”, isn’t it? well, it is for me. and now i realize why... it is my default setting. my humanness wants to say “YES” to everything. only the grace of God can teach me to say “NO”. “YES” is automatic, “NO” is the result of being schooled. i never had to be taught to say “yes”. but a holy “NO”... that takes lessons. from God. i have to enroll in “NO 101” under God’s tutorage. hmmm, wonder what the syllabus is? will i need a book? i bet the pop quizzes are frequent...
it must take MANY semesters of lessons to say “NO”. many many many semesters. oh, how many many times i have failed the course. by taking the easy “AYE”. (wow. that was a fun pun).
i also love in this verse how we have two different things that God can teach us to say “NO” to...
- ungodliness: things that are downright sinful
and 2) worldly passions... things that aren’t downright sinful, things that i just want. things that are only of the now. things that i might emotionally want to say “yes” to, but shouldn’t. all those “good” things that aren’t the best.
this verse gives me SO much comfort (and ammunition) as a parent who wants to say “YES” to my three loving and wonderful children. “NO” when what they want is sinful (of course) and “NO” when it isn’t sinful but it isn’t the best for them or for our family. even when they bring on all the emotion that they possess. and they possess a lot of emotion sometimes.
having teenagers means really struggling to know when to say “YES” and when to say “NO”. to a thousand little questions that come everyday. with machine gun rapid fire speediness. a mom needs some ammo of her own. some Biblical bullets.
my favorite little saying to recall (sometimes out loud and sometimes just in my head) when i have to say “NO” is
“a no helps you grow”.
don’t you just know that they LOVE it when i say that out loud after telling them “no”? yeah, not so much.
then there are all the times i need to tell myself “NO”. and maybe say “YES” to something the kids or my husband want to do even though it means “NO” to myself. and my being able to sit on the couch and watch glee (like that was ever going to happen). sometimes saying “NO” to MY worldly passions means saying “YES” to serving someone else. sigh. it gets complicated really fast with these yeses and no’s flying around everywhere.
i have to rely on the Master Teacher to teach me how to say “NO” and when to say “YES”. glad He is always accepting new students. no class size amendment at work with Him.
i hear that He grades on a curve... or actually on a cross. where He said “YES”.