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(For an explanation on this and other posts under “Raw, Real and Unplugged” see this post.)


The following dialogue and journal entry is the one that instigated the birth of “Raw, Real and Unplugged”.  It made me realize how valuable it is to share the good, bad and otherwise with one another–how encouraging it can be on so many levels.  This dialogue is between myself and two of my three sisters (the two that are married with kids… our baby sister is currently stretching her wings at University and couldn’t be bothered by our Mom-talk… although…*note to baby sis… I think you’ll find this dialogue entertaining too :).  For the rest of you… this is a good example of why I’ve been given the name BigSis or BS (I think sometimes the pun is intended)… I’ve struggled to embrace this title because to me it often means “know it all, bossy, talk-a-lot”… but whatever.  It is what it is, and you can’t fight who you are.  So I’m learning to BECOME the BigSis I was designed to be…flawed and silly as I am along the way… I’ve got to start somewhere!  

I’ve copied and pasted from Facebook, thus the format.  

Be blessed and entertained.

This time with Love from BigSis, Pol and Bets.

Conversation started April 5


  jeremyNpolly parrie  
for my sissys… the only ones who will care or understand 
jeremy gone all week (again)…CHECK 
all 3 babies awake at 4:30am (and didn’t fall back asleep)…CHECK 
no grocerys because mama hates shopping with 3 kids…CHECK 
load kids in car in attempt to make them fall asleep; did it work…NO…
foolishly mama drives to the fun grocery store where kids can push their own carts while mama shops to attempt getting food..did it happen…HELL NO…. av and aliyah start fighting and hitting one another and throwing nasty fits.. sooo i calmly leave my entire cart and tell them we’re leaving… the screams get as loud as i’ve ever heard them…mama uses every last ounce of muscle and energy to drag them to the car as they will not walk (while carrying brekken)….barely get them buckled because of the fits… get home … hate my life…. now i’m eating a milky way dipped in leftover ganache … tell you the rest after i put the rats to naptime … after all we all know thats all they need (and mama too)

April 5


Betsy Burns
  Pol!! Omg! I so wish I lived near you so you could drop your cuties off while you shopped!!! I hope soon jer won’t have to leave anymore!!!! Little rascals, all they needed was a nap or for jer to play with them a bit…at least you have the ever faithful ganache to lean upon when times are tough jkjk lol can’t wait til we get Internet so we can talk these things through! Love you so much! You are still my idol of a momma and I LOVE your babies…that’s exactly what they are though, not brats just needed a little snooze…

April 6


  Dustica Schad
  Ha ha ha ha ha! Not very nice of me to laugh, I know, but I TOTALLY get your kiddos right now… In fact I think my entire family is downstairs eating ganache right now. 
I’m going to bed, where I should be… Hopefully I actually sleep or tomorrow’s gonna be a doozy!
  Buddy-nudge to the kiddos for being Real… High five to the Mama for being AWESOME… and thumbs up to the Daddy for getting the heck out of there (Jer… You’re awesome too by the way)…. You are all right where you need to be for THIS moment. Grace is with you all. Don’t fret. 
And certainly feel free to get yourself another spoonful of ganache… Though Dusty tells me a shot of whiskey will do the trick a whole lot quicker.
  Love you! And keep the messages comin’.

April 7


  Betsy Burns
  Big sis is definitely the winner in her response…Hers makes mine look like a teenage comment from someone named Ashley with blond highlights…although I do wish I could’ve been there for you…I definitely agree with all that bs wrote. Love you both!

April 9


  jeremyNpolly parrie
  oh believe me!!!! all 3 of those responses were perfectly timed!! i’m still smiling after re-reading each of them and loving every single thing about you two!!


  jeremyNpolly parrie
  so we all took 3-4 hours naps that day… after 3 hours of being passed out on the couch, one of my eyes opened and i realized my shirt was drenched in sweat (the sun had moved to the couch and fried my pastey face and bod!! i couldn’t move off the couch for like 15 min… i had that sleep where you wake and feel paralyzed because youre soooo sleepy still but know it’s due to oversleep.. anywho- the day ended up fun and we went to get grocerys later that night (with jers help)…..

my next embarrassing adventure is happening today


  jeremyNpolly parrie
  our out garage here is this nasty pea green color and it is seen through each huge window in the back of my house…soooo… it was my #1 priority to strip, prime and paint to match the house. – so jeremy and brian got the old paint all stripped this weekend so i could prime and paint all week while they’re away again (as a need huge projects in order to handle life without jer here)… lets see … the entire week calls for rain, snow and sleet…DON”T PAINT POLLY… long story short, whenever the rain stops for 5 minutes, i keep rushing out there and painting, thinking just because it’s not raining at the time, that it’s ok to paint .. i just did it for the 6th time today and i’m making myself stop ! the neighbors were stairing and i need to work on my hugest character flaw “impatience” and my biggest pet-peave these days “incompletion”….. sorry for the annoying story but the only thing i’d rather be doing than painting is talking to you guys over a foamy breve latte.


  jeremyNpolly parrie
  oh…. and i almost forgot to mention… yes i did buy sunless tanning lotion ( not sure why the H i thought that was ok).. but have used it for like a week (not sure why the H on that either).. maybe just in denial that i live in winter 9 months out of the year? but… i definitely feel like i’m 17, named rhonda, insecure, and possibly trying to cover some extra winter “gain” by being orange… i mean tan


  Dustica Schad
  Sorry to not respond completely… Had to do a quick a read in my 45 second trip to the bathroom between tasks… Am writing this while listening to kids speaking to me and trying to respond to them and you at the same time… Will read more fully later and respond appropriately… Something about a shed and painting and Rhonda … Mainly got this though… Thick frothy breve latte with my sisters…. Can’t get past that. Oh Jesus!

April 9


Dustica Schad
  Ok. Have read it properly now. And have shunned my responsibilities for the rest of the morning to reply… 
First of all. I’m still stuck on the latte. That’s my whole heart on the situation. Would love nothing more than a quiet breve-latte with my sissies . 
Next… I Love you girlies sharing your days… makes me feel closer, and I LOVE it… good, bad and ugly! even if I don’t reply. In this case I will just confirm that what you (Polly) are labeling as a negative pet-peave is also one of your strong qualities that I try to replicate on a regular basis… its called EFFICIENCY… If there is a task to be completed and I am struggling to get it done swiftly and timely, I pretend I am Polly and Whalla! job done lickity-split! Nuf said.
 And Rhonda, sunless tanning lotion?!… why the H not?! Do whatchya gotta do girl!
 FINALLY… My last response to Polly’s confessions will be confessions of my own… in the spirit of long drawn out conversation over coffee.
  Grab yourself a latte for this one. Could be long… 
(straight from this morning’s journal entry)

April 9, 2013 Tuesday 11a.m.ish

Have been feeling REALLY low.

For years we have been fighting negativity as life’s circumstances continue to spiral down and down and down… Mostly I think we are winning (against negativity… not so much against life)–keeping our heads up and smiles on our faces in spite of it all–but these last days have been wearing me out. Not because of any particular situation or circumstance, but have really been feeling the duration of our journey. Feelings of sadness and injustice rising up causing me to wonder if I have not appropriately or maybe just not thoroughly grieved our past season. 
And then comes DESPAIR as I think of how much longer this leg of the journey is going to last! Or perhaps this IS the journey and it will NEVER CHANGE– “DAMN IT!” That’s how I feel about that!

 This morning I was encouraged by an unlikely person.


To be more precise the movie “Barbie in the Pink Shoes”.

Although we were “supposed” to be doing school I chose instead to watch Betsy’s new birthday movie (the kids have been asking me to watch it with them). Turned out I needed it!

The story takes place at an elite ballet institute where Barbie never seems to make the cut for the leading roles. She’s a very talented dancer but just can’t quite fit the mold that her instructor tries to fit her into.
  A quiet and wise woman who designs the studio’s costumes notices this and instigates a magical adventure by having Barbie put on a pair of ‘special’ Pink ballet Shoes; Barbie is brought into a fairytale land to discover WHO she IS. At the end of the fairytale Barbie is being controlled by the Ice Queen to perform a dance precisely as the Queen choreographs it. She begins to break free of the Queens control when she dances from her heart and lets her feet move from that place of Passion. The Queen is furious! And exercises more power over her to bring her back under control. The struggle continues until finally the dance in Barbie’s heart is fully released and she is no longer able to be controlled by the Ice Queen. This shatters the Queens power over Barbie, and ALSO over many others that had been under her control. The fairytale portion ends and Barbie finds herself back in the real world just moments away from her solo on stage as the ‘milk maid’ (an insignificant dance and role compared to others that have already performed). After her adventure and the Courage it gave her to live her Identity, she dances her heart out HER WAY with no regard for consequence nor opinion. She takes the show (of course)… and although, she is not awarded one of the roles being competed for by the dancers, she is called out anyway and asked to star-in and help write a NEW production to be built around her unique style. Everyone else was competing for coveted roles in Classic Ballets, but she was invited into something that (for her) was even better!

Inspired by Barbie Nalia and I danced to the credit music for about five minutes. The “regular” day was pretty much demolished after that. And here I am writing and pondering when I’m “supposed” to be homeschooling. But something’s got to give somewhere! I can’t keep functioning in this depressed place. It feels dead. I want my kids to love learning and to love life! And right now, I am not a good example of either. I’m more an example of drudgery, grumpiness and depression.
I am reminded of a saint’s quote that Kathie Walters has posted at the end of her letters and articles… something like… “Be who you were made to be and you will set the world on fire.”
I feel like I’m Barbie as she battles the Ice Queen wavering between functioning under the control of what “should be” vs. Dancing the Dance of my Heart. I can’t dance both for much longer–it is utterly exhausting!!! I realize that I remain in the tension of the two dances because of fear. To follow the directions of the Ice Queen has a predictable end–potentially leading to starring roles and great success! To follow my own heart has no predictable ending–and could potentially end in disaster… in fact, it appears that it already has.

……… BUT………

It worked for Barbie!

I know it’s a made-up story, but the lesson is one I believe in… “be who you are and set the world on fire”… I believe this wholeheartedly for others, why not fully embrace it for myself?! What does that look like for me? Day in and day out… moment by moment… as a wife… as a mommy… in this pregnancy… as a homeschool teacher… as a friend… as a sister… as a daughter… in business…???
I gotta be honest with myself… I just don’t fit the mold. I’m not doing any of these things “right” already! Can I afford to follow my heart even further and lay caution completely to the wind??? Maybe the dance of my heart is not altogether bad, but it certainly isn’t acceptable at this time. Do I keep leaning toward the dance of my heart and carry on with its performance or should I wake up to reality and conform???

O Lord, I think I need a pair of Pink Shoes to help solidify COURAGE and IDENTITY. I want to BE–fully!–who You made me to be! And once and for all break the power of the Ice Queen over me… to set the world on fire! And to melt that icy control over others as well! What say You Lord??


Still pondering…


  Dustica Schad
I found the actual quote… It’s by St. Catherine of Siena… “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

April 10


  jeremyNpolly parrie
  AMAZING! i am so proud to call you big sis… you are the only human being i have ever met who has such a full plate and chooses to see everything on her plate as God does.. not the scewed world…. each item on your plate is a delicacy…those beautiful babies, your marriage, your business ventures, your dreams, your siblings… i can just see the greater picture and am amazed at what your little flame has started!!!! without your flame, there would not be 9 little flames chasing your flame to be just like it… there would not be the flame you started in your marriage had you not sparked what you did recently, your flame has sparked questions and controversy in everyones mind as to what a “perfectly organized/controlled family and home should look like”… just want you to know i believe you’ll get your pink shoes.. not sure about timing on all the details or if you’ll see the fruit soon, but i know that your legacy (how you live day to day and how you show your husband and babies that conforming to whats “right” will not keep a flame growing) will live much longer through your children and grandchildren that most people i know… around me i see parents sending kids to 3 activities a night, gossiping, spending more time away from home than with their hubby, worrying about keeping their kids on track with everyone elses, trying to look like someone else, and allowing their husband to live a separate life as well. i see those ones being controlled by the ice queen… even me i see being led that way often.. but you… not tica..i think you’ve done your part in setting this world on fire already by the choices you’ve made… love you so much… not sure what i just wrote but i’m sending it anyhow!

April 10


  Betsy Burns
  First of all I LOVED reading this…how do I have such beautiful women to look up to in every single way, I am overwhelmed right now with pride at being called your sister…not only did I snort reading what jeana ray wrote, but big siss’ response was equally as entertaining…all I can say is Tica, you are truly dancing a beautiful dance that people are very slowly started to turn their heads and seeing how wonderfully perfect it actually is…I have seen this it two very specific ways lately…in your response to polly vs mine( yours brought freedom and joy, but wasn’t the typical sympathetic one) and I just spoke to Liv about the freedom you brought them in your simple text about laughter(again I responded in a woe is you sort of way, which is ok, but your response again released them into joy and freedom) this is what you are doing right now by dancing with the Holy Spirit…you are so far from being under ice queens control it’s not even funny!! I truly look up to you and aspire to be as strong and steadfast as you have been. Good job big sis, you are living as all of us are called to live, in freedom utterly lead by the Holy Spirit.


  Betsy Burns  
I don’t have Internet, so when I do we’ll put photos up…but here’s a lil taste of my life lately….1. Haddy is my best friend, she is a dumpling(someone compared her to winston Churchill the other day!! I wouldn’t have her any other way 2. We have the coolest house( James is amazing!! Doing so many cool things to the place can’t wait to show you! 3. Our neighbours are amazing!! We’ve been given so much cool stuff, produce etc…our next door neighbor(83 year old from London) whistles at us across the fence to give us treats, already he’s made us scotch eggs(deep fried egg wrapped in sausage!), muffins, prawn cocktails!! Seriously you guys would love all our quirky neighbours!! One of which has no teeth and always shuffles by with her walker eyeing what we’re doing to the place wish you could come sip a creamy raw milk mocha with me in my sun drenched kitchen and we could all giggle while our cute kids race around with sage in the backyard! Thanks fir being so wonderful…i want to be just like each of you!!!



jeremyNpolly parrie
love love love these notes! thanks bets!

i i need to hear ticas response to cody and liv because mine was one of despare also bets… and i want to learn to not feel/respond that way in those situations! HELP



  Betsy Burns
  I know sissy! That’s how I was feeling too! I think sometimes that response is necessary, but i want to be led by the spirit in these situations…sometimes he may say to do what we did, but sometimes he may come at it from a very different angle…I want to be confident and bold enough in him to act on what he’s doing…I think we’ll have to brace ourselves for looking very silly at times cuz hs seems to work that way Liv just told me Tica said to bring laughter back into the house and didn’t even address the actual issue…that one comment broke the fear and is bringing some freedom in the midst of turmoil…man we have a wise big sissy!!



  Dustica Schad
Wondering if part of this dialogue might be worth posting on “unplugged”… what do you think???



jeremyNpolly parrie
yep! get it on there! it’ll be great to look back on…



  Betsy Burns
Perfect…what’s unplugged?


  Dustica Schad
Its the section on the blog (I just created this section)… to post the rugged raw stuff of life. Thought our dialogue would fit in well there.. make some giggle… encourage others… Thought ma and pa and sibs would appreciate it… But definitely want to have you girlies’ permission before I expose us… as it IS on the www. AND, so you know, I don’t intend to post ALL of it… just a couple bits. Nor do I intend to do this ALL the time.. so don’t stop writing for fear of Tica “posting”… I WON’T! (unless I ask first ) I am totally happy either way (posting or not) so BE HONEST.


  Betsy Burns
  Put er up


  Dustica Schad  
p.s. Had to look up Winston Churchill and had myself a giggle. What a cute little round face! But more importantly… what a great man! Perhaps a bit of prophecy over little Miss?? Not as much in looks as in performance. She’ll be the gorgeous strawberry blond kiwi-american that makes waves for the world.

…and so goes the conversation… to be continued… for us… maybe not for you 🙂

I LOVE hearing from you… all the juicy bits… whether you agree or disagree or just need to rant… keep the comments coming!  

Alternatively, if you do not want your comments posted here for others to read, you may send me your thoughts and/or questions via email to thetommyproject@gmail.com.

Love BigSis