Martha Speaks and Blisters Me A Good One

It’s not everyday that I hear the Holy Spirit on PBS.

But this morning, as I sat on “the girl side” of the secret fort (formerly known as the couch), with Teyla tucked into my side and Natalie at my feet, I got spanked by “Martha Speaks.”

And it wasn’t even 8:00 AM.

If you haven’t seen “Martha Speaks” – and really, if you haven’t, you are missing out – it’s a show designed to enrich kids’ vocabulary while enthralling them with the adventures of a talking dog named Martha. (She was given the gift of speech when some alphabet soup got lost on her way to her stomach, and the letters ended up in her brain. Which might be my most favorite premise for a show ever. It’s brilliant.)

This morning, Martha was more than a little irritated with her owner, Helen, since Helen was captivated by a handheld video game. She was so interested in trying to reach “the next level,” Helen forgot to walk and feed Martha, blew off her homework and basically lived and breathed the video game. Vocab words for the episode included: addict, obsessed, preoccupied, restraint and hooked.

Talk about hitting a blogger where it hurts.

If you were with me last fall, you might remember I had a small freak-out when school started. I can still feel the clammy fingers of disbelief running up my spine as I walked Natalie into her second grade classroom. It was like living a nightmare.

“Summer can’t be over yet! We were just here! This can’t be happening!”

Yet it was. Time is funny like that.

Determined not to let summer slip away from me this year, I’ve done a fair amount of brainstorming and praying over the last few weeks. One thing I realized pretty quickly is that I need to slash my computer time in a drastic, horror-flick way. "Martha Speaks" just confirmed that.

Shaun Groves posted yesterday about the tendency he has to live in his own head. And while I’m not nearly as creative as he is – which is a little like saying I’m not as in shape as this model – I get what he’s saying.

I, too, am often a bad listener. I, too, tend to think about writing and stories and ideas all day – even as I’m playing Uno or reading a book or placing orders in the imaginary restaurant in my basement. (If you can ever get a reservation, I recommend the grilled corn on the cob and the chicken. Avoid the milk. It’s not refrigerated.)

I need to get better about this. (The living, not the milk.)

And summer is the perfect season. It offers an assortment of tempting real-word distractions – the beach, family camp, homemade ice cream, fresh tomatoes. I want to work on some photo books and write in my journal and dream something big. I need to focus on my children and my husband and let the rest of the pieces fall where they may.

I want to love well.

What this means for the blog is – well, honestly, I have no idea. I think it means I’ll blog less. But to be truthful, I’ve been a pretty sporadic blogger this spring already. Is there less than every-so-often?

The only thing I know for sure is that I’m going to try to blog small stories from this summer, a la Amy Beth’s Daily Peeks. I like the idea of sharing small snippets of my day. I especially like the idea of a photograph being the impetus for the story. I’m visual that way.

Otherwise, I’m going to stay offline as much as possible. That means I’ll be a irregular commenter, a erratic Tweeter and an inconsistent blogger.

But hopefully, that will also mean a full summer. A refreshing summer. I’m looking forward to not being preoccupied or distracted or hooked.

Plus, if I can get this under control, I might just feel strong enough to watch "Word Girl." Because, really, I'm not up to being called out by a dog and dealing with Chuck the Evil Sandwich Making Guy at the same time.


  1. I think this is a top-drawer goal. Here's to your summer!

    (Also: I wake up to kids snuggling in my bed watching Martha Speaks every morning, too.)

  2. I love Amy Beth's Daily Peeks! And what a fun way that will be for you to look back at the days of summer. Looking forward to whatever is coming up. Blessings!

  3. So much wisdom here, Kelly. ( From you, not Martha, although I'd have to give a talking dog some serious credit any day of the week.)
    You have made the choice you won't regret. I do that thing of living in my own head too. Something I'd love to move beyond, b/c while it might be nice for writing fodder, it's not remotely supportive of my goal to "be all there in the moment".
    I tell myself the season will come when I will have plenty of time to be alone with my thoughts, to write and pursue stuff that's "just for me". Summer with young kids is just not going to be one of those seasons!

  4. I think all of us need your goal. Blogging is fun, but living well-- far better! Have a super summer!

  5. I was thinking on this VERY thing this morning. I used to pray as I did all my household chores. Now I write posts in my head. It bothers me greatly. While I do need an outlet for my creativity, I also need to be in better contact with the one who gave me that creativity.
    Have a super summer!

  6. I think all of us with kids are thinking along the same lines. Have a wonderful summer!

  7. Ah yes, the stashing of the computer for summer. Hard to do, indeed.

    I love Martha Speaks.

    And I too hope to fill summer with off-line life.


  8. Even Anja, at her age, seems to love Martha Speaks. I don't regret for a minute my own step-back from my blog. I write what I want when I want, and it makes so much more sense than writing for some random "audience" to me. I hope your summer is fabulous, and that you get time to go to the Fair!

  9. There is, in fact, less than "every-so-often".... it's "hardly ever".
    Love you!

  10. Yeah, my mind made the same parallel comparison to the computer and blogging the first time I saw that episode of Martha Speaks - we usually watch it while eating breakfast.

    Real life is far too important to let it slip away by disappearing into the cyber world. If the blog drops by the side I'll miss reading your words but at least I know that it was for a great reason.

  11. Word Girl is one of my favorite kid shows right now. Great humor!

  12. Well said. I appreciate your desire to number your days and gain a heart of wisdom. May your summer be filled to overflow with all things precious...

  13. Wow. I'm glad I didn't see that episode. Hey, you're not on Facebook are you? DO NOT GET ON FACEBOOK, whatever you do. Yet another sick addiction to kick.

    Great post and wonderful thoughts. I'm right there with you.

    Hugs --