i’d love to blame pms

But I can’t. Of the five of us who have melted down today, only one (me) is at that special time of the month. I suppose my hormones are powerful enough to rub off on everybody else, but I’m not accepting blame today.

Instead, I’m swiping away my tears and taking the opportunity to give anyone who cares a peek into our life at the moment. Our happy-go-lucky missionary life.

I don’t want your pity (I’m too prideful for that). I don’t want your Bible verses (I just read the whole book of Mark in one sitting). And I certainly don’t want your advice (I’m doing a perfectly good job of failing miserably all by myself, thank you).

Are you sure you want to keep reading?

Today is the first day of Khmer New Year. (Happy New Year!) It’s the biggest holiday of the year here in Cambodia. Most people leave the city to visit family in the villages, to offer sacrifices to gods (according to Buddhist beliefs, a new angel arrives in power), to eat and party and enjoy each other.

We stayed here. A get-away isn’t in the budget (and by budget, I mean, we raise/make $, spend it, raise/make some more). It’s okay. I didn’t really feel like going anywhere anyway. I don’t feel like getting out of this papa-san chair. Yes, I’m a sweaty mess, but I’m kind of getting used to it. (Okay, I kid you not. Nina just walked over and said, “Do you want me to put a fan on you?” and did. I hate it when people are nice to me when I’m trying to be in a funk.)

So far, the city isn’t as ghost-townish as people told us it would be. We heard that the stores would all be closed, so we stocked up on pasta & spaghetti sauce, eggs, bread & peanut butter, rice & vegetables, snacks. Lots of stuff is open though. It’s kind of like Y2K all over again.

Our girls have been a mess today. One in particular whom I will not name. Holy cow. Her dad took her for a moto ride early this morning before the rest of us got up, and I was hoping her love tank might have been filled for awhile. But nope. She’s bored to tears and annoying the heck out of EVERYONE. Over and over and over I’ve broken up fights and arguments today.

Cannot. Deal.

I washed an overflowing sink full of dishes, made lunch, and want to cry at the brand-new overflowing sink full of dishes.

The smallest things make me feel like my life is a hopeless disaster, that everything will always be hard and everyone has forgotten about us, that I can never make this family work functionally. ETC ETC ETC.

Things I Want to Mope About/Pout Over: (in random order)

  • Since we got our p.o. box almost two months ago, we’ve gotten one package. One. It seemed like so many people were so excited to send us something, but I guess not. Maybe it’s too expensive. Or maybe all the packages got lost.
  • Our girls have no friends their age. We’re together All. The. Time. I don’t know how to fix this.
  • Food stresses me out. I hate cooking. It’s hot. It takes forever. Eating out is starting to get old too. There are only so many places we can walk to. And walking in 100-degree weather is hot. I wish we could just stop eating.
  • It’s frustrating that we’re 11 hours ahead of everyone back home. We have very small windows of time when we can communicate live with people. We get up at 6:30am and leave for school at 8:00. I use that time for getting ready & hanging out with God. When we get home at 12:30, it’s 1:30 am for everyone in the U.S. When they wake up, they head to work/school/whatever. That’s our evening, but then people are busy. Sigh.
  • Support-raising is stressing me out. I kind of want to throw in the towel and just write/edit for $ instead (which I’m actually doing, which is part of why I don’t have time/energy to share our ministry).
  • I’m falling behind in Khmer school (nothing big, just have a lot of vocab I haven’t memorized), because I’m too hot/tired to study.
  • I want to chop my hair all off, but I’m scared. I love pulling it back in a bun, easy-peasy, everyday, but I feel like a 50-year-old missionary marm.
  • (Man, my problems are really rough, aren’t they?)
  • (This is part of why I’m writing them out. So I can see how ridiculous most of them are.)
  • Just when our family dynamics start to fall into place and get really awesome, something hits the fan.
  • I don’t know how to make everyone happy. Or even half of them. Or even anyone really.
  • The ATM dispense $100 bills, so every other day or so I’m at the corner store with a $100 bill buying some random groceries so I can get change to pay our tuk-tuk driver & buy fruit/veggies at the market. Every time I use one I feel very white & privileged & rich & yucky.
  • Nobody comments on my blog anymore. Do I suck? Am I boring?
  • God and I have been talking/working through some things (mostly about how we interpret the Bible & how Christians treat gay people). I feel compelled to share my thoughts online, and the backlash has been exhausting. Also, the slave-to-fear side of me says, “This is not the time to rock the boat, sister. When you’re trying to raise support, you should be making friends, not enemies.”
  • Ants. Everywhere. Even on my toothbrush.

Well, I think that’s enough for now. It feels like this post isn’t complete unless I count my blessings, but I think I’m going to go do that privately with Jesus. Toodles!

37 thoughts on “i’d love to blame pms

  1. Brooke

    i promise i’m still here reading your blogs. i mostly don’t comment because i feel like you are in a totally different world. country, yes. but also spiritual path. i know you have ups and downs like anyone, but you are living your calling. whilst i wake up every morning and think “i’m awesome let’s do this!” or else “dear Abba, help me not suck today.”

    i guess i also have some of that rich person guilt you talked about with your $100 bills. only instead of being hot/whiny because that’s how your climate is, i’m hot/whiny because jay hasn’t fixed the a/c in my car yet.

    1. Marla Taviano Post author

      No pressure to comment, friend, but just know that I love you and I’m proud of you, and I see your name on our donation report each month and smile and think, “Man, she’s awesome. I can’t believe we’ve never met.” xoxoxo

  2. Sharon

    My nickname must be “nobody” because I did comment on the post you linked to 😉

    Don’t know how you feel about spiders, but I recently read that several ants can kill one, so maybe that’s an upside to having ants around???? I am terrified of spiders, but ants aren’t my favorite either, definitely wouldn’t want any on my toothbrush.

    I’m so with you on just stopping eating. It has always just been one more thing on my to do list that takes up my time.

    Is there anything around you like the soccer thing (don’t think I’m making this up that it existed in Cambodia and not just Abbey Lane, am I?) that your girls were doing that they could do to give you a break?

    I know it sounds trite, but I’m praying for you right.this.very.minute, Marla.

  3. Lisa

    I get your e-mail updates and always look forward to reaching what is happening on your adventure in Cambodia with your little family. I know it doesn’t seem exciting right now because of all the adjustments and life just seems hard right now. Thank you for your transparency and honesty and not sugarcoating what is happening in your life…very refreshing and encouraging. I would definitely have a hard time with being hot all.the.time and my hair would totally be a bushy mess, even short!! 🙂 Please know there are strangers (sisters in Christ whom you haven’t actually met in person) who are praying for you and your family and asking for supernatural help for you as you are following God in Cambodia. Inspiring is all I have to say…just wonderful…sorry it is hard but it’s also GREAT at the same time!!

    1. Melinda

      Ditto Lisa! I look forward to your blogs Marla and find you mentoring me, giving me plenty to consider and often blowing me away. I recommend folks follow your posts on FB too. I encourage others to financially support this family who is being Christ in Cambodia (see the Gospels) while simultaneously mentoring us back in the States. Being missionaries in two countries at once! Thank you Taviano’s. Thanks for being hot and sweaty and frustrated and for talking about it with us. God please bring them a cool breeze–of some sort.

  4. Joy

    Once again, thank you for being real.
    Could you and the girls, and even Gabe, put together a list of things you would want sent in a package? You might have already done this but I am wondering if most of us are unsure about what we can send and what will actually get to you.
    Ok, I will start commenting even if I don’t have a really good thought provoking comment. Twisted my arm, 🙂 sometimes I want to comment and then I get all ” oh, I don’t know them well enough, maybe it is weird that I feel like I know them but I don’t REALLY know them”
    Please know that I am thinking and praying for all of you.
    Starting to run low on my Dancing Elephant cards and it makes me think of your girlies and how brave they are to move so far away. Ants on your toothbrush!

  5. Paula

    First of all, having 3 girls in tight quarters is horrific… You would much rather be hot than super cold, with a 800 gas bill like I got this winter.
    Find a pool. Im sure they have them. Make crafts and sell online again. That seemed to solidify your girls and gave them some focus on a daily basis.
    Make your own version of house hunter except post videos of Cambodia and let us laypeople see what you guys are doing.. when your in a foul mood give yourself 10 minutes to scream ,cry,hop up and down like a child. You shake your sillies out and usually feel like a kid again and laugh. Blog posts are harder to comment on btw.. I follow you guys daily and pray daily for you guys.. some of us arent super great with a computer.
    Tell the girls they will have to go one whole day without complaining if they do they have to do some ridiculous chore that will make them think.. like holding hands while being in a together shirt… lol
    It will get better.
    Be thankful for being out of the country.. go exploring..

  6. Dee

    i usually comment on Facebook to your blog, but this post has struck a nerve. Although we haven’t done long term yet, what we are working towards brings the same feelings.
    I feel like I’m in a constant battle with my mind and my heart.
    God gave me a dream, and it’s still working itself out. And it’s hard work. I feel guilty that I’m not doing more, but honestly when you work a job 20 hours a week, another 8 in an intern program, 3 full time study units (3 to go after this), kids, husband, time with God, church, life group, and in the depths of my heart I want more, it feel like I’m zapped of extra energy.
    I miss Cambodia daily. But I don’t miss it. I have felt the realities, and I know that for our ministry to work, we will need to start raising funds.
    I think sometimes the stress of it all just makes it harder. And to make it even harder, most people here don’t get me, or that’s the way it feels.

    Please keep writing, I need it, I feel it helps me process, sometimes it just makes me miss Cambodia even more, but hey, that’s life.
    I will pray specifically for friends for your girls. Each to meet a need in them. I feel this is important.
    I love my kids, but need them to have their own time, and I need my space too. So I feel that this isn’t just for them, but for you too.
    Bless you Marla, thanks for being so real. It blesses me too xx

  7. Cheryl Pickett

    I’ll add agreement to what Amy said above, blog comments are way way down in general. I imagine those that have thousands of followers (like the Huffington Post) probably don’t notice it, but the online world has definitely shifted in the past year or so give or take. It’s a form of media/marketing so it’s to be expected. As mentioned, many people are now commenting on FB (which you’ve seen) or participating more on other platforms. And some are just plain burned out from info/media overload and maybe reading, if that (I have cut back on some online stuff like newsletters and blogs that I follow and rarely use Twitter any more). You’re not the only one trying to figure out what these changes mean and what to do because of them. A bit of it is as it always is, test and see what works. Praying that many of the pieces will fall back into place for you soon.

  8. kim still

    Oh sweet girl I read it all every last word, blog, post, pictures ect I live to read your venture for the day your daily progress of taking this leap of faith over seas! Your problems are real and where do we vent social media and blog. I hit like and want to comment but then my words go on and on like a jumbled mess and forget what I am saying. Kinda like now but I needed to connect with you… Love your outlook and subject of choice on the “gay” girl you know my life I love reading the views but don’t comment cause I feel I would take things to personal and say things I shouldn’t you know my sweet boy!
    Broke my heart I wanna hop over there and chop that hair!! Give you a sassy pixie and free you of a pony… But then again a pixie grows out fast and I would have to come every 4 weeks lol.
    Melynda and I are getting a package together and will be sending it . We figured together cut in half the shipping …
    Please keep posting known in still here and I read it all on my lonely late nights of me and DVR TV.. ( no I haven’t gotten a life yet I still am all over with the kiddos and sit at night) oh and I eat which kinda does the opposite I want gain weight not loose. But hey what’s new!
    The ants hmmmm what can I say your hate for ants is mine for worms so know that worms may not be on my toothbrush like your ants but it is spring and rain here which brings me worms… So sick.. I went out with the dog the other night and thought into mulch was a branch or twig oh no much to my porch light going in showed me it was lots and lots of worms .. ( insert puke ) so nasty… I love hearing you talk of the heat cause all they wanna do hear is complain of cold and can’t wait for spring and now it’s here and now they complain if the rain and wind…. And don’t ya know it in weeks to come im sure it will be barking how it’s to hot!!! And we’ll at least yours is consistent HOT HOT AND HOT

    SO MY DEAR that is my love and comments for now and didn’t even decide to complain of my life lol lol

    So much love and prayer sent your way from the still household

  9. Amy

    Sound like you are going through a lot! I’m just going to comment on the blog comments thing. Lots and lots of bloggers have turned off comments on their blogs altogether because that is not where the conversation was happening. People don’t comment as much as they used to. They would rather use other social means like FB or Twitter and and other things I’m probably not smart enough to know about because I’m not cool. So, the declining number of blog comments isn’t a reflection on you.

  10. Jenny

    I am commenting on your blog to remind you that you are not forgotten and you do not suck! We love you guys and are praying for you!

  11. Sabrina Reinhart

    I got nothing, really, but please listen to John and Anna – great advice (and we know you didn’t ask) also know this is normal when adjusting to a new home/country/living situation. also, ants hate and won’t cross lines of cinammon and ground red pepper. i’m sure you can find these easily in your markets – put a line anywhere you think they’re coming in.
    love and prayers,

  12. Ashley

    I love reading and following along! Thanks for sharing the good and the bad. Such honesty is refreshing. Prayers for you and your family!

  13. Nancy

    I rarely comment on any blogs anymore and this is my second on this post. For some reason the blog commenting feels so old school to me. I’m more likely to hang out and comment on FB. I lost track of the whole mailing situation. Didn’t you find out that it was really expensive to receive packages? I can’t relate to the issues you’re having but I can totally relate to the PMS-like moods. I’m past that stage of life but these past two weeks have been so hard for me. And I can’t even pinpoint any reason for the feelings I’m having. People around me probably wish I’d move to Cambodia! Need a renter? One day you’ll look back on these times with fondness….or something. At least you’ll be looking back, right? 😉 You continue to be an inspiration! And I can’t walk by a Probe game at the thrift store without thinking of you! Hope things start falling in place for you soon. Hang in there — some days are like that — “even in Australia.”

  14. John McCollum

    >I feel compelled to share my thoughts online

    Like you seem to be, I’m an extreme “external processor.” If I don’t talk it out, I haven’t really thought it through. Unfortunately, I’ve found the internet to be a really dangerous place for me to talk about controversial topics.

    Some people will argue with you, and then come to some sort of understanding of where you are. Some people will let you know — then and there — that they’ve relegated you to the bin of heresy and that they’re cutting off all contact and support. Most dangerous are the ones who never say a word, but silently judge you or, worse yet, go to work undermining you without ever giving you the opportunity to respond.

    I’ve had to work hard to think through what I need to share with whom and in what context. Like yours, my work is largely funded by people who need to look at me and me as a co-laborer, not a theological, social or political opponent. So if I go spouting off about things that a) are likely to be divisive and b) are unlikely to serve my ministry well, I risk harming the one big thing I care about — family-style, residential orphan care — for what? An argument that truly convinces a total of zero people? It’s not worth it to me any more. Or rather, the success of the One Big Thing is worth so much I’m not willing to risk it.

    A year or so ago, I gave up being argumentative for Lent. No political discussions on Reddit, no reposting controversial news articles on Facebook, no arguments in person. I found myself thinking a lot about the types of things I choose to oppose or advocate for and the forums in which I would do that kind of advocacy. I certainly had lots of discussions, even disagreements, but found it freeing. Someone on the internet could disagree with a position I held, and I didn’t find it as important to correct them.

    Anyway, everyone has to draw their lines somewhere. I’m choosing to draw them a bit closer than I did before. I often tell people, “I’d be happy to have this discussion with you in person if it’s really important to you, and if there’s some possible chance that one of us could either change our minds completely, or at least come to a greater understanding of another perspective.” If, however, I sense that the person has no interest in actually understanding, or if they’re just going to try to beat me into rhetorical submission, I’m not going to have that discussion, not even in person. And certainly not in public.

    Even Jesus refused to answer questions when his interrogators were simply trying to show him up or put him down. And even when he did answer, he did so cryptically. Despite that, his words had real authority. I’m hoping to become more like that.

    Bless you as you work to manage your public self. I can tell that there is a lot of intellectual and emotional churn, and that you’re grappling with a lot of important issues. I pray that you can find people with whom it’s safe to process these things.


  15. nancy bludworth

    thanks for sharing, my own struggles don’t seem smaller – or any more manageable, as result of hearing about yours….. it is some solace to be reminded that our neediness is a force to drive us into His almighty presents. blessings to you and your dear ones.
    PS: I have “grown” allergic to heat, so very sorry it is a challenge for yall to find relief from it!
    Nancy Bludworth

  16. Andria

    hi! I met you at one of our mops groups last year. First off I am sorry you are going through a rough time, remember this too shall pass. I will continue to keep you and your family in my prayers. Secondly I love reading your blogs and looking at the pics. I never comment but it is very inspirational to me. Lastly of ants were on my tooth brush I would die! You are a strong women to put up with that.
    Best wishes and God’s blessings

  17. Brenda

    Marla. May I be the first to say ‘Thank you’. No really. Thank you! I have been following your blog/twitter, with (repenting here) envy. Seeing you live out, or at least beginning to live out your dreams with your family…seems very awesome and spectacular to me. And many times I think “If ‘______’ (my dream) would come true, and my family would all be in it with me, life would be GRAND!” Thank you for helping me realize that ‘dreams fulfilled’ doesn’t equal ‘life is easy and wonderful’.
    As usual – even in your so-called ‘funk’, you’ve blessed the socks right off of me.
    Continued prayers…

  18. Anna

    Hey girl,

    Well I know you aren’t looking for advice but I am offering it anyway. Feel free to delete. I’ve lived in Asia 20 years, I have also had a number of family members live in Phnom Penh, it’s my backyard. Here’s what I would say to any new missionaries on my team:
    1. You are normal – meltdowns are part and parcel of how it goes
    2. Spiritual warfare is real – this is what happens when everyone else in the nation goes to pray to Buddha.
    3 Worming tablets are your friend – seriously get to the pharmacy now on that motor scooter of yours. Within less than 24 hours you’ll be a happy family who all love one another. The side effect of worms is that they leave you irritable, grumpy and generally PMS-y (which probably isn’t a word.) The good news is that taking worming tablets if you actually don’t need them is fine – it’s recommended that living somewhere like Cambodia you take them regularly. I’ve watched families go through this countless times, I’ve been through this countless times. It’s miserable and common enough that i’m leaving my first comment on your blog to offer advice you don’t want. 🙂

    Deep breath – this too shall pass.

  19. Jessica

    Love you! Let us know a night/morning that would work to Skype! If it’s on Thursday (for us), we can even have an adult skype time with Josh home! 🙂

      1. Jessica

        Probably morning… We’re all usually up and finished with breakfast by 7:30ish. Yay! Can’t wait! We need to figure out how to make sure it is more of a regular happening in our lives.

    1. Nancy

      Marla had a 30 day splurge?? :-D. (I’m guessing that was autocorrect — probably purge?) But that sounds like a fantastic idea to get out of a funk!! Well, until a month later and you’re in a bigger funk because of all the splurging.

  20. Melissa

    Oh Marla, you are struggling with some rough stuff. I would freaaaaak out if there were ants on my toothbrush. We had a real problem with ants in the kitchen last summer and I just wanted to cry all the time about it. Just know that you are not measured in worth by your blog comments. I understand, because comments feel good. I think it’s probably like a little dopamine hit to your brain or something. I went years of blogging with only the occasional comment and now the only reason I get regular comments is because I belong to a blogger group on Facebook where we help each other out by commenting on each other’s stuff. But anyways, you are not your blog comments.

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