Monday, February 28, 2011


Way to go Marshall.  I don't know how much time he has now, but Eminem is showing that you can get clean & sober in Hollywood.  I hope Charlie Sheen follows his example.

Eminem Wore A Sobriety Necklace To The Grammys

Friday, February 25, 2011


My daughter's sobs woke me this morning. She got the message before I did. Debby has passed on. At 2 o'clock this morning, she left this life, and is now with Jesus. So happy for her. So heartbroken for us. She was one of the most amazing people I have ever known.

We are blessed that we do not mourn without hope. We are comforted in the knowledge that Debby is walking, pain-free, in Heaven right now. What a blessing! How blessed we are to know His comfort.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Miss Debby

I'm quiet this week because I'm waiting for someone I love to die. It's so painful to even type that, let alone think it. Miss Debby has been fighting cancer for a long time, and is now being made comfortable. It could be a few weeks, but they don't know. We went to visit last night. She's out of the ICU, which is good.  There's a waiting room adjacent to her room, and it was full of visitors waiting for her to wake. The pain relievers make her drift in and out.
She told a friend that she wanted a 'parade of visitors' so she could say her goodbyes. When she was lucid for a few minutes last night, Tom told her that we were her parade, the line of us around her bed. She said she wanted a real parade, with a firetruck. She asked where the boys were. We didn't bring them because we thought she was still in the ICU, and could only sneak A in there. (age limit is 14 & up, but the nurse said she would look the other way) I want to take them up to see her, but don't know if I have another visit in me today. Maybe tomorrow. I don't know.
Miss Debby is the heart and soul of our old church. You will never meet anyone who is a better listener, with a bigger heart, than Debby. She has run the day care and youth ministries for as long as I've known her, and she loves those kids. And they love her.
I don't know if you should pray for a miracle when someone is this close to death, but I know I want to. I know if it were me, I wouldn't want to be in pain anymore, and the desire to be with Jesus would be overwhelming. I couldn't sleep last night, laying awake thinking of all the memories I have of her. She was my first boss, back when I was a drunk & a horrible employee.  She loved me and prayed for me anyway. Years later, she wrote me an amazing letter when I was on the Walk to Emmaus. I tried to read it today and just fell apart over her kind & loving words. Oh God please get us through this. I love her so much.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hooray for Shay!

There aren't a lot of Shay's out there, so anytime I come across someone with my name, I get a little giddy.  Unfortunately, most of the Shay's seem to have daddy issues, because they're either porn stars or felons. I can't link you to them because, well, they're porn stars or felons.  I did an image search for my name on Photobucket, and here are some examples of what I found:

Ok, so the first several dozen images I won't share here. Nothing actually rated X, but just lots of cleavage & booty.

I loved finding this, because Shay-Bay was my sister's childhood nickname for me:

I admit to watching & loving this show:

Seriously people, learn how to use a mirror to take your picture correctly already. Your camera should not be in the picture. And this poor girl in the first one, I don't know what that expression is supposed to mean. Did her piercing get caught in her teeth or something??

I like these girls! Cute & sassy, well done.

This one, not so much. What the heck is happening here??

I don't understand this. Why would you doll yourself up, look so cute, only to stand in front of your toilet for the picture?

I enjoyed watching Shay Sorrells on the Biggest Loser last year, but reality show contestants are pretty common.

So after all this, I was very happy to run across Shay Doron: "Shay Doron, the two-time Academic All-American who was selected by the New York Liberty in the 2007 WNBA Draft, finished her four-year career at the University of Maryland ranked second in career scoring (1,878), trailing only all-time great Vicky Bullett." Shay now plays for the Israeli National Team.

Thanks for redeeming our name Shay!

Then & Now

Just thought it would be fun to compare pictures of Tom and I from when we started dating to now.

I know, we're pretty adorable. Together for over 16 years, married for almost 14. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011


God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Your will, not mine, be done.

I have prayed that prayer countless times. It has been a great comfort & help to me many times. This morning, in fact, I really needed to focus on the acceptance part of it.  E was asleep in bed last night around 11pm when I checked on the kids, but at some point he got up. I found him asleep on the couch this morning, covered in Frosted Flakes crumbs and a Wii remote on the floor. We had set up our computer with a password so he couldn't get on there at night anymore, since he would stay up literally all night on it. Apparently we need to hide the Wii remotes now too.
I woke him and sent him upstairs to turn off his alarm clock, and get dressed. He of course simply went back to bed. The normal drama ensued, and by 9am, when I needed to take him to school, he was nowhere near ready. He has to have a meal before his meds, or his stomach will be upset. The Old Me would have freaked out because it was simply unacceptable that he be late. The New Me accepted that he had to eat, had to be medicated, and would just have to be late. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but a big deal for my OCD brain to accept. Being late is one of my biggest pet peeves.
I emailed his teacher to give her a heads-up, and took him in a half hour late. If I am rigid I will never survive mothering this child. I have to accept that things are sometimes messy and he will go to school late. It is what it is.

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by SouleMama.

This & That

Get the Facts or Shut Up - I could not agree more with this blogger's post about misconceptions about kids with ADHD.  I loved reading this! It really touched my heart. E is an amazing and brilliant child, and I wish everyone could see that.

Corey Haim's Mother tells GMA about his life and death - Corey Haim died a year ago from pneumonia, most likely related to his drug addiction that compromised his immune system. Another Hollywood star lost to addiction.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Couple's Retreat

Tom and I had a lovely time away at Sandy Cove Ministries on the Chesapeake Bay. We went with a group of about 20 couples to hear Bill & Pam Farrel speak. It was inspiring and fun, but most of all, it was RELAXING. I felt so calm and peaceful the whole time, more than I have in a very long time. We needed that time away together.
Of course, coming back to reality is hard after a retreat, and I feel like I am more scattered than ever. I can't seem to be consistent with the good things in my life. I know I will have a better day if I pray every morning, but I get rushed and forget, and hours later I'm elbow deep in life drama, and getting nothing done. I hate that I need some kind of crisis to remind me. I need routine to make a new habit, and my life doesn't have a ton of that. I really don't want to go back to office work, but having no forced structure on many of my days isn't doing me any good. I did apply for a job last year but knew I was totally under-qualified for it, so it was no surprise that I didn't get a call. Ideally I'd love to make writing my career, but I am doubting more and more my ability to keep myself on task and disciplined. Anyone want to come over every day and order me around? I need a boss....
So enough of my rambly stream of consciousness, and on to some pictures from the retreat....

Tom and I were able to head down early, since he had taken Friday off. I packed a lunch, and we ate in between puttering in the town's antique stores. I found some new kitchen treasures, and had a great day with my husband. It was the perfect way to begin the retreat together. The time at Sandy Cove was priceless, and we really felt spoiled. It was hard to come home and realize that no one was going to serve me coffee and cheesecake after dinner!

Alcohol Kills

Alcohol kills more than AIDS, TB or Violence

"Approximately 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol related causes, the WHO said in its 'Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health.'"

Numbers like this, combined with my personal history, are why I talk to my kids about alcohol. I haven't shared a lot of details yet, but just some basics about why I go to meetings, and why it's important to wait until you are 21 to try it. My parents are awesome, and I adore them, but they never talked to me about alcohol. The first time I got caught drinking in my teens, my father said to me that he had always worried about my brother, but never thought to worry about me. (Since it was the men in his family that all had drinking problems, his father & uncles included.) But that was literally all he said. He's a recovering alcoholic, but didn't talk to me about it. I don't judge him or my mom for it; they were raised very differently, and just didn't talk about certain things. It is what it is. But I also don't want to leave my kids in the dark about why it's important to stay away from alcohol in their youth, and to be smart about it when they are adults. I pray that none of my kids will have the disease that I have. But I'm well aware that statistically there is a good chance that one of them will struggle. And there are other statistics that say that E will struggle with it, being a person with ADHD. I can't control what my kids choose to do, but I will do everything I can to educate them ahead of time, and try my best to guide them now while I can.
I can honestly say that I have never had a hard time talking to my kids about tough subjects. I'm not a nervous person by nature, so it's a God-thing for sure, and not anything I've worked at. I hear people say how nervous they were to discuss the birds & the bees. I do think it's a mistake to reserve a topic of magnitude for a one-time-only discussion or lecture. I have used a hundred teachable moments with A to prepare her for the changes her body will go through soon. We read Christian books on human sexuality & puberty, and she has always known that it was safe to ask me questions about anything.
I've taken my kids to AA meetings and have not hid this part of my life from them. E and TC are too young to understand, but A knows and we've talked about it. At 11 years old she is too young to understand all of the ramifications of her mother being an alcoholic. But I do know that someday, when she is grown, she will truly get it, and will be thankful that her mom was sober. I'm so grateful that I can stay sober for my kids, and be the mom that they need.
Don't avoid the hard subjects with your kids. I know it can be intimidating, but you'll be so glad later that you were the first voice they listened to about it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Decisions in Early Sobriety

Charlie Sheen says Sobriety Bores Him

"I was sober for five years a long time ago and was just bored out of my tree," he said during the rambling 28-minute phone interview with "It's inauthentic -- it's not who I am. I didn't drink for 12 years and, man, that first one [drink], Dan. Wow."

This guy is clearly a genius. They should bottle that kind of hubris and market it to people. It's really sad that he believes any of the nonsense coming out of his own mouth. And not to sound like one of those annoying granny-types, but only boring people get bored. Get some interests outside of partying, get some real friends, get a clue and get a life! I don't want to be arrogant towards him, as if I know it all and he's an idiot, but really, his attitude is slap-worthy.
I have a friend who is making a questionable decision in early sobriety. And by questionable I mean something that every freshly sober person is told not to do.  I have tried to talk to him, and he appreciates that I do care about his well-being and his sobriety, but he just tells me that he has thought it through and it will be fine. I am by no means some kind of genius/expert, but I do know how to stay sober, and I do know that that is because I listened and took suggestions from people with more time than me. Anyone with time in this program could tell him why this isn't a good idea, but he somehow thinks that he knows better, in spite of his track record. It frustrates me, but I have done what I could and have to let it go. I wish him the best, and I hope he will stay sober.

"If the kind, loving, responsible, and honest people in your life are upset with you, then you had better look at the choices you are making. But if the controlling, hot and cold, irresponsible, or manipulative people are upset with you, then take courage!" --Dr. Henry Cloud

Monday, February 7, 2011

Graph Jam

While waiting for the commercials to come on during the Super Bowl (since that's really all I watch), I entertained myself by making my very first pie chart for


"Mom told me that Transformers aren't real. They're side effects." ~ E.

"Mom, do you want a coconut made of poop?" ~ TC

On Sunday we were supposed to host a Super Bowl party for our small group, but E got sick and the party was moved elsewhere. Since Tom is away for work, none of us went to the party. I had cooked up two pounds of bacon to cover in chocolate for our new favorite party food.  I mentioned to A that I needed to get it into the freezer so I wouldn't keep snacking on the bacon.  She said, "Don't do that, you should give it to the homely."

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Organization: Family Notebook

My friend Mary recently started blogging, and her main focus is on how being creative & thrifty saves her family money. She has some great ideas, and being that her four children have all survived to adulthood, or near adulthood, she's an inspiration to me. I have a certain four year old whose mouth is going to get him sent to boarding school very soon. Come to think of it, Mary told me last summer that she covets him, so maybe I should just drop him off on her doorstep. Don't judge me, I would punch airholes in the box first.

Anyhoo, Mary's thoughts on thriftiness made me think about my own strength, which is organization. I love organization. I mean, I really ♥ it a lot. My house isn't perfectly organized, mostly because of the kids who undo all my work, but it's pretty great I think.  I spoke at my MOPS group recently (as one of a panel) on this topic, and specifically on our Family Notebook.

I got the Notebook idea from Organized Home. It's pretty much what you think it is: a notebook for our family full of important information and papers that need to be saved. I have a stainless steel refrigerator and you can't put magnets on the front of it. It's also giant (yay me!) so it encroaches on the walkway next to it that leads to the living room. This means that if I hang papers on the side of the fridge, Tom will inevitably walk past and send them all flying. This makes him very cranky. So I started putting important papers on the corkboard in the same walkway. This didn't work very well either, because I would have to flip through the stack under the push pin to find what I needed. I have a low threshold for tedious things, and this was right up there.
So I went hunting for another way, and found the Family Notebook idea at OH. (They have printable pages if you want to check them out.)
I was going to post a picture of ours, but it's nothing to look at: just a plain green binder with dividers.  Here's what I've put into ours:

emergency numbers page: I leave the binder open to this page when the neighbor girl sits for us. Every number you can think of, including other neighbors and grandparents along with police, etc.

schedules: small group and shuttle (Tom drives the church shuttle once a month). The shuttle schedule also has a contact list on it, a must keep piece of paper!

finance: We just started this section since we started taking the Financial Peace University class at church. ( This section includes budget, allocated spending, debt snowball and so forth.

kids: I have a main section for them, with three subdivisions. Anything that applies to all three kids goes in front. This includes the Awana calendar and policies, info on swim lessons and head lice info (please God, let me never have to refer to that page!)  A has papers on student council, class schedules, chorus info, teacher agreements (each of her teachers seem to have a policy she has to sign, which seems awfully high maintenance to me, but whatever). We also have her Reading Olympics info in there, so she can keep track of the books she needs to read for it. We have a parent access center in junior high, so the page with my login information is vital. I can check her grades on every single assignment, as well as any disciplinary info. I'm sure this will come in handy when E is a student there in a few years. Thankfully the girl is a good kid and behaves herself.  Speaking of E, I have schedules and school info in his section, but because of his special needs I have an entire separate binder for him as well. (If you ever want to impress a special education teacher, show up to a meeting with one of these. They will love you.)

recipes: The final section is all about food. I titled it recipes, but I have a lot of other things in there: powdered milk conversion chart, alcohol substitution chart, spice & seasoning inventory, pantry inventory & deep freezer inventory

The list goes on and on, including TC's asthma medication papers, but you get the gist. The notebook is for anything that you need to keep, but need to refer to often and don't want cluttering up your kitchen or filing cabinet.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Technology for the Boy

I was asked the other day if I would attend a team meeting for E. They usually do this in writing with a lot of advance notice, so I was a bit worried at getting a phone call just a few days ahead. My fears were unfounded, however, and the meeting was excellent.

His teachers feel he would benefit from some technology when it comes to putting his ideas & work on paper. He has been in Occupational Therapy at school for a year and a half, and although it helps, he is still behind. He has an immature pencil grip, and because his mind flies while his hand crawls, he gets frustrated. The idea is for him to continue with OT, but to bring in a writing tool as well. The man from the Intermediate Unit had several suggestions, and we will be trying out two different types of writing tools.  I've seen them called notebooks or portable keyboards as well, but they're mostly referred to by their brand names, the Neo or the Student Mate.

Here's an example of what they look like:

He would keep it in his desk, and just pull it out when he has an assignment. It would also come home for work as well. They will be teaching him how to use it today, and he'll get a loaner from the state for 4-5 weeks. It will take 6-7 weeks for the permanent one to come from the state, which won't be ordered until we know which one he wants.

E absolutely loves computers & techy stuff, and I really think this will be a great tool for him. They asked if I thought he would feel uncomfortable using it in front of the other kids, who may realize he needs extra help.  I assured them that he would feel like a rock star if he got to take that out to work on every day.  So that's the update, and I hope to report back soon that it's working very well for him. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I read this quote from Jon Acuff, who I swear I do not have a crush on even though I talk about him a lot, and it really moved me.

"If you're going to risk and maybe fail, fail at something that matters. Fail gloriously so that even in failure, lives change."

That's a pretty powerful idea, one that I will chew on for a few days I think. It goes along with my Reckless Abandon theme for the year. If God is for me, why should I be afraid?


Being a lover of words and books, I often find myself annoyed with people when they overuse certain sayings, or misuse certain words. (ex. cavalry instead of Calvary) There are many quotes that I hear people use that I find tedious. I feel like Mr. Heckles with my Big Book of Grievances, but it is what it is. (And maybe I have had one too many snow days with the kids, and just feeling like griping, I don't know.)

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." 
— Marilyn Monroe

I see this posted on Facebook by women who want to feel empowered. I really hate this quote. I get the concept that we all are flawed human beings and we all want love, but taking an obnoxious stance about having the right to be a giant pain in the butt, based on a quote from a woman who slept with married men and died of drug addiction? Really? She's hardly someone I want to emulate.

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." 
— Maya Angelou

Yeah, I don't measure my life by either of those things. And I'm sure I'll be crucified for not joining the Maya fan club, and I don't care.

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." 
— Friedrich Nietzsche

That which does not kill us has no power to make us anything, let alone stronger. We choose how we will respond, and we choose if we will become stronger or weaker based upon our experiences. Otherwise, you are just some sap along for the ride, with no say on your emotional compass. No thanks.

So I leave you with a quote that I do appreciate, from Oscar Wilde:

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."