My First Advent

I have a confession to make: I’m a pretty horrible Presbyterian.

I grew up in a non-Presbyterian church that didn’t really follow a “church calendar” outside of an annual summer revival series (can I get an AMEN?) and an epic Vacation Bible School that could not possibly have been a vacation for the volunteers who put it on.  Sure, we celebrated Christmas and Easter, but the more important calendar was the Wednesday night dinner calendar.  Only a fool would miss the monthly fried chicken night.

As a result of my upbringing, I don’t know the slightest thing about the church calendar and often find myself saying “what?!! ANOTHER special Sunday?!! What is it this time?! Presbyterians!!!!”

Clearly, I don’t have a clue.

So when David asked me a few months ago for suggestions on how to make this year’s Advent season more exciting, I made the perfectly logical suggestion of cutting its length in half or skipping it all together. “Why do we have to prepare for Jesus’s birth for so many weeks?” I said. “He was already born.  It seems a little unnecessary.”

After collecting his jaw off the floor, David earnestly explained the importance of the season of hope, of waiting, of anticipation.

I laughed and shook my head as if to say you poor misguided fool.  

“There is literally no suspense in this story.  IT ALREADY HAPPENED.  Why the anticipation?”

He didn’t ask for any more Advent advice.

Resigned, I settled in for another season of ritual prayers, inward scoffing, and a pervasive sense of guilt about my lack of enthusiasm.

And yet? This year, despite my opposition to Advent candles (fire traps!) and moving closer to Bethlehem (while staying in the same place) and anticipating something that ALREADY HAPPENED, I got Advent-y.  The most Advent-y I’ve ever been.

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Here’s what happened: I did my first-ever Advent themed Bible study. And although I have been a week behind the entire time (Jesus will be born in a few days…I’m getting excited!) it has actually been really, really cool.

I like the Bible.  I’ve read it in its entirety, I believe it all fits together and that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies.  I’ve believed it for years.

But now, I’ve experienced it in a new way.

I’ve read a prophecy in the Old Testament that corresponds with an occurrence in the New Testament.  I’ve read parallels: God’s frustration with our sin and His love for us regardless.  His calling us out, desiring for us to repent, and the sacrifice and solution that enables us to return to Him.  His telling that something was coming and His sending of that something.

And instead of rushing through it…I’ve savored it.  I’ve maintained a slow pace corresponding with the season.  The season of anticipation.

You see, right now, I’m in a waiting season myself.  And my tendency is to rush, rush, rush.  I hate waiting.  I want to get directly to the outcome and know what happens.

But in the rushing, you miss the beauty of anticipation.  And that means you miss the full gift…the full joy.

When you read the scriptures slowly, you feel the build up.  You feel the darkness that they lived in, the inevitable entanglement of a sinful world that tries to stamp out everything good and destroy us all and you think, will this darkness win? And when I look at our world sometimes…I feel the same way.

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But their story doesn’t end there.  Like I said, there is build up—not to destruction, but to good news:

“See, darkness covers the earth
   and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
   and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
   and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

No longer will violence be heard in your land,
   nor ruin or destruction within your borders,
but you will call your walls Salvation
   and your gates Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day,
   nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
   and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set again,
   and your moon will wane no more;
the Lord will be your everlasting light,
   and your days of sorrow will end.  (Isaiah 60:1-3, 18-20)

I’ve read this scripture before.  But this time, after weeks of anticipation, a strange thing happened.  I felt the excitement that Simeon and Anna felt when they realized, FINALLY.  He has come.  FINALLY.  This world is redeemed.  We are made right again.  Sin is defeated and we are free. FINALLY.

It was all I could do not to jump up and down.  In fact, I raised my hands in the air, shouted “Praise Jesus” and laughed out loud over my coffee.  (I told you I didn’t grow up Presbyterian.)

You see, all this time I thought I knew the end of the story.  But what I really knew was the beginning.

Advent reminds me that He has come once.  That He has fulfilled His promises once…and that He will continue to fulfill His promises because that is what He does and who He is.  Advent reminds me that I no longer wait alone…that He has come, that He is here, God with us.  That I have a living hope.

And so instead of rushing through my season of waiting, I choose to sit in anticipation with Emmanuel by my side.  Instead of groaning about the waiting, I am ready to be built in the waiting.  Instead of doubting in the waiting, I beg for the faith of those who have gone before me.  Instead of anxiety, I choose trust.  Instead of running through worst-case scenarios, I patiently and joyfully anticipate His provision.

I choose the fullest joy possible.  I choose the gift.

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“Joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God…He keeps every promise forever.”–Psalm 146:5-6

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Day in the Life: 12 Months

If you’re just joining us, I’ve been trying to post a “day in the life” post every 3 months so that I can keep track of how Zoe is growing and developing over time! Feel free to read our 3 month6 month, and 9 month posts.  And now…12 months!

DECEMBER 19, 2013

5:30 Zoe begins crying.  She has been asleep since ~7:45 the night before.  I get up and make her a 6 oz bottle of whole milk.  She lays on my lap and I give her the bottle (Zoe has never shown an interest in holding her own bottle–diva) while I catch up on emails and Facebook posts.  Then I make a pot of coffee.

5:50 PLAY TIME! We play with balls, a new “cookie jar” sorting tool that a friend gave us the day before, stacking cups, and Zoe’s activity table.  Zoe has recently learned about our iPod docking station, so at one point she crawls over, points to it and says “dat” (that.) I oblige and we rock out to Jamie Grace together.  As we play and dance, I get through a few passages of scripture and my cup of coffee.  This is my favorite part of the day.  When David gets up with her and lets me sleep in, I am genuinely sad to miss it!

6:30 David wakes up and comes out to join us.  We play for a few more minutes and then everyone eats breakfast: a yogurt, berry, and cereal bowl for David; an oatmeal pancake with yogurt and berries for me; and bite-sized pieces of a whole wheat pancake, banana, pear, avocado, and yogurt for Zoe.  I finish my Bible study as we eat.

7:15 I shower and get dressed while David plays with Zoe.

7:30 It’s David’s gym day, so he heads out to get his workout on.  I give Zoe a bath and wrangle her into fresh clothing.

8:10-8:55 MORE PLAYTIME! Zoe and I do some physical play in her room with her pop-up tunnel and her favorite toy—plastic clothing hangers.  At one point, she decides (without warning) to fall onto her pop-up tunnel hoping it will hold her weight.  No such luck.  Tears.

8:55 I prep us for our morning activity—a trip to the zoo—and we get in the car. I also realize I haven’t taken any pictures yet this morning, so I run back inside to get my camera.  Oops…

9:25 We arrive at the zoo.  Zoe has fallen asleep in the car, which I expected.  She typically takes two naps a day, and this outing is actually during her normal nap time.  I find it almost impossible to go out and do fun things with her if we are strict with the nap schedule every day, so I compromise: I am strict with her afternoon nap schedule every day of the week and have her flex her morning nap around 1-3 days/week so that we can go out and do some mid-morning activities.  Today is one of those “flex” days.  I let her take a 25 minute car nap before we head in to the zoo with our buddies.  As she naps, I listen to the radio and text with my friend Jess.

Nap time

9:40 We stroll into the zoo with our friends Heather and Quinn.  Quinn is adorable, and hence deserves a photograph.

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9:40-10:50 Total fun.  The kiddos love the animals, especially the penguins!

Zoe penguins10:50 Snack time.  Quinn has a bottle and Zoe and I each have a quarter of the PB&J sandwich I packed.  Heather and I chat about life and how fast our little ones are growing.

Happy mamas

After this, we visit other animal exhibits (manatees, fish, turtles, bald eagle, snakes, monkeys) and discuss Montessori, Reggio Emilia, and Waldorf at-home activities before heading out.

11:40 Ready to head out.  When I put Zoe in her carseat, she immediately cries (which is her response now whenever we leave somewhere “fun”) so I’d call our outing a success! Zoe falls asleep on the way home.

12:15 We arrive home and say hi to David, who is home eating lunch too.  I wake Zoe up, which takes a few minutes of concentrated effort.  We each eat lunch–bite-sized pieces of a whole-wheat quesadilla, avocado, mixed veggies, and banana for her and a melty avocado/goat cheese/tomato wrap with a side salad for me.  Zoe is NOT happy to be awake and eating lunch.  THE HORROR!

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It’s amazing what a little food can do to your mood.

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1:00 After lunch, I feed Zoe a 6 oz bottle of whole milk while catching up on blogs and emails.  Then…dog time!

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It’s hard to keep these two from French kissing.

1:10 Play time! I used to do “reading time” after lunch, but now Zoe wants “crazy physical time” after lunch.  First, she crawls around the kitchen opening the cabinets that aren’t childproofed and finding the surprises I hide for her in them. Then we go back to her room.  General mayhem ensues.

busy girl

Finally, we wind up on my bed for 10 minutes of her favorite game—“1, 2, 3” (she falls backward on 3.)  Massive giggle fits from both of us.

2:00 I try to help Zoe calm down with a few books on the couch.  She looks exhausted.

2:10 I put Zoe in her crib with her sound machine on, say “goodnight,” and walk away.  Instantaneous sobs.  I try to ignore them as I collect the trash.

2:15 Still sobbing.  This week, she has needed me to rock her to sleep for her afternoon naps because she has a little cold.  It’s SO sweet, but I am really on the fence about whether I want this to become a habit.  Regardless, I go in and rock her until she is almost asleep.  Then my nose starts bleeding (random!) I ignore it for a few minutes but the situation is becoming dire, so I stop rocking her and put her in bed.  Her sobs die in 2 minutes as she settles into sleep.

2:30 I finish emptying our trash cans and indoor recycling bins into our outdoor bins and clean up the kitchen and living room.  Then I light a candle and listen to worship music while I write some thank-you notes, respond to a work email, write a few emails related to a project I’m working on and start working on the winter newsletter for the club I am president of.  I also have some yogurt and pear slices.  It’s a great 40 minutes of peace and stillness in my day.

IMG_03523:20 One of my favorite high schoolers shows up.

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We are headed to her house this afternoon for a Christmas party.  We catch up for a few minutes before I wake Zoe up (I know–I am being awful about respecting her naps today but I usually am REALLY good about it!) 

3:45 Head to the Christmas party, which is geared towards the three 10 month–13 month attendees and a 3 year old.  There are presents, jingle bells to shake, stuffed animals to hug, a nativity scene to play with, and cookies to decorate! SO MUCH FUN.

Christmas party

While there, Zoe eats almost an entire sugar cookie.  It’s a party, after all.  (I eat a cookie, too.)  I also get a phone call related to my project.

5:05 I put Zoe in the car.  More tears.  We head home and I start chatting with my mom on the phone.  David gets home around 5:20.  I finish chatting with my mom and we take the dog for a walk.  Zoe loves our neighborhood right now with the Christmas lights and inflatables.  Who am I kidding—I do too.

6:00 I start prepping dinner—calzones.  I had a lasagna fail earlier this week (apparently the noodles were “pre-boil” noodles, which I don’t usually buy) so I scraped out the totally functional sauce, pesto, cheeses, and sautéed veggies from around the burnt noodles to re-use in calzones.  Making lemonade out of lemons is so 2012—the cool kids of 2013 make calzone out of burnt lasagna.

6:20-6:50 Dinner time.  Zoe eats bite-sized pictures of calzone, mixed veggies, and finishes her yogurt from earlier today.  David and I eat calzones and salad and make plans for the next day (which is his day off…I am working until 2:00.)  I begin prepping for the high school girls Bible study that I lead.  Tonight, our theme is “holiday party” so prepping involves cleaning up from dinner, getting hot chocolate and mugs out, and preparing our cookie-baking supplies.

7:10 David and I are getting Zoe in her PJs when the first student shows up, 20 minutes early.  We catch up as I finish prepping for the party.  Zoe is slowly melting down.

7:30 The sound of high school girls (and a few girls who are back from college and wanted to come too!) fills the house as David puts Zoe to bed with her last bottle of the day (8 oz.)  She is tired, probably because I didn’t respect ANY of her naps today, so she falls asleep in spite of the noise.

7:30-9:15 PAR–TAY.  Cookie-making and eating, Christmas music, YouTube video watching, stories, and laughter occurs.

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I eat another cookie and wash it down with some soy milk.  Yum.

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9:25 The last student heads out.  I look at my dirty kitchen and decide to clean it in a few minutes.  I sit down.  I’m an introvert, so I always need a few minutes after events to recharge.  This time, I write an email to my prayer group.  David comes out and starts cleaning the kitchen, which is very nice of him.  I eventually get up to help him.

9:50 David and I cuddle on the couch for a few minutes and watch Tuesday’s episode of “The Daily Show.”

10:15 We get ready for bed and hit the hay.

What a fun day!

On Having It All: My Journey

I love reading about women’s issues.  As a woman, feminist, and person with an interest in psychology, sociology, public health, and personal development, it’s kind of a no brainer area of interest for me.

A question I keep coming across: can women have it all?

The answers differ.

You can’t.  You can.  You can, but just not all at once.  You could if our government provided a system of subsidized childcare options or if maternity and paternity leave policies were different in this country.  You can if you can afford a nanny.  You can if you have a feminist husband.  You can if you don’t have a high level position.  Lean in.   It takes a village—use your village. Put your big rocks first and then the sand.  Bla, bla, bla.

At first I was really into this debate.  As someone who feels the tug of war between the privilege of motherhood and an aptitude for a meaningful career outside of the home, I felt invested. But lately, I’ve grown sick of it.

It’s not that I don’t care about equality or women having opportunities to succeed.  I do.

It’s not that I don’t understand the history of feminism or the ground we still have to cover.  I do.

And it’s not that the concept of “having it all” isn’t appealing.  I would love to have a fulfilling and financially rewarding career on my terms, opportunities to advance to high level positions, rich friendships, a fabulous romantic relationship, all the time in the world with my child(ren,) AND time to work out, blow dry my hair, shop for awesome clothes, have my own hobbies and pursue philanthropic work…with no stress or strain placed on my relationships or health throughout it all.  Who (male or female) wouldn’t want this?!

Our culture says that if we work hard enough, we can live this dream.  We can have it all.  I bought into it, and it was my goal when I thought about becoming a mom.

But slowly, I’ve realized: having it all isn’t a good enough goal.

And the fact that we have a national debate about our right to “have it all” may say more about our entitlement than our interest in equality.

And although we may cloak this conversation in terms like “justice” and “the right to self-actualization,” what “having it all” really means is “if I can’t simultaneously have everything I want, I feel deprived, angry, and like my rights have been violated.”

In other words, my personal fulfillment and satisfaction at any given moment is the most important goal.  

Here’s the thing I’ve realized as a person trying to follow Christ: it’s not.

We aren’t called to pursue our vision of personal fulfillment—we are called to obedience to God’s call on our life.

We aren’t called to “have it all”—we are called to have right hearts and right actions.

We aren’t called to create our own dreams, but to ask God what His dreams for us are and partner with Him in living them out (they are much bigger and cooler than ours anyway!)

Scripture never promises that we can “have it all.”  It offers no formula for attaining this, no encouragement to strive for this, no affirmation of this lifestyle goal.

What we ARE are told in scripture is that God will meet our needs.  We are told to seek His kingdom first and that everything else will be given to us as well.  We are told to deny ourselves, to consider others as more significant than ourselves, to be humble, to be content, to look not only to our own interests but to the interests of others, to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

What it doesn’t say is “seek yourself and your own self-fulfillment first.  Your happiness is most important.  You deserve everything you want, so go ahead and put others’ interests beneath yours while you try to attain everything you want all at once because you’re terrified of not being satisfied.”

Yet it is so tempting to live life that way–to move ahead with your ideas and your vision of what life should look like without checking in with God about His vision.

When Zoe was born, I had a nanny hired, a return date for work, and a plan–MY plan.  After my 6.5 week maternity leave was over, I would be back at work balancing everything. The intensity required by my management position would be hard for my family, would likely put some strain on my marriage, and wouldn’t allow me a lot of time with our baby, but I needed to make money and be satisfied professionally and not hate my daily life (because I just knew I would HATE being a stay at home mom…who could possibly like that? 🙂 )  I had a job that made me feel important and a team to supervise and professional goals and I would accomplish it all and be an awesome working mom because I had worked hard and that’s what I deserved.  I didn’t really check in with God about it, but it was my plan and what I wanted, so it had to be okay, right?

Then I spent the morning of my 27th birthday sobbing in my bedroom because I couldn’t deny God’s call.  He was gentle but clear.  And He was telling me that I couldn’t have it all.  That for my family and my personality type in this stage of life (not a prescriptive statement, just my story) it was best for me to stay at home, to focus on one thing at a time, to stop striving for a life that was all about ME and my sense of status and self-importance, to make a decision that was best for the people I have been given to love instead of just looking at what I wanted.  That 27 would be different than every other year because this year, I would surrender to God’s plan for my life even where it differed with mine.

I’ve had to mourn this dream of having it all.  I have.  It hasn’t been easy to walk away from an idea that is so entrenched in our culture, so attractive, so positively phrased.

But as I’ve walked away, I’ve found a surprising paradox: that as I turn away from my own goals and vision and hopes in favor of His—I find the fulfillment that I’ve been looking for all along.

Instead of trying to cram everything in and fighting a constant battle for balance, I have a sense of clarity about my priorities and am able to enjoy and be fulfilled by the present.

Instead of worrying about my next move and whether or not I’ll meet the goals I want for myself, I am learning to trust His provision and His ability to satisfy me in the opportunities He brings me to.

Instead of feeling bitter about opportunities I’m missing out on, I find myself thankful for the gifts I already have.

When you realize that everything you have is a gift, you’re less concerned about “having it all” and just so, so grateful you have any of it.  

We are guaranteed nothing in this life.  Everything we have is a gift.

I want to live a peaceful life of gratitude and offering to others, not a restless life of grasping and striving for my own goals.  I want to be passionate about personal growth—not personal fulfillment.  I want to view my children and husband and people in my life as the gifts they are, not as objects to work around and obligations to balance in my calendar.

I don’t want people to look at me and say, “wow! She is Superwoman.  She really has it all!” Instead, I want them to look at me and say “wow, she loves the people in her life well and I feel loved when I am with her.  I wonder if there is something to this God she talks about.”  

I don’t want to have it all—I want to steward what I have well.

And so my takeaway message, to you and to myself as well: God has a special plan for each of us.  Be obedient to God’s plan for you–don’t be a slave to your pre-scripted plan for yourself. And don’t fear His plans–God doesn’t call us to boring and unfulfilling lives.

(A few cases in point: I LOVE every day as a mostly stay-at-home mom and I actually find it to be a perfect fit for me right now despite it being my worst nightmare for years!  Another friend of mine recently went back to work after maternity leave even though it wasn’t her initial “life plan” because she feels God has given her the job she has as a way to provide for her family.  She works hard at her job, is intentional to spend time with her baby every day, and her family has been blessed because of her efforts.  A friend of mine is single in her 30s, has no kids, and lives pretty much paycheck to paycheck—a far cry from the “all” that society talks about having.  Yet she isn’t trying to get more–she is trying to GIVE more.  She impacts others every day through her career and spends her evenings working with youth who need a positive role model—evenings she has to give because she isn’t frantically trying to climb a corporate ladder or meet a husband.  And her life is so, so rich.)

I don’t think anyone (male or female) can have it all.  But with His guidance, I think we can have the right things…and that’s what I’m striving for these days.

Goodbye, 11 Months

Here are some words that encapsulate Zoe’s 11th month.

HUGS.  She loves to give hugs, especially during mealtimes.  Sometimes she will give up to 15-20 hugs in one meal 🙂 She reaches forward with her hands to show you that she wants a hug and if you comply with her wish, she gets SO excited and squeezes you really hard.  Also, if you say “give mama a hug” or “give dada a hug” she will usually reach forward and give you one.  It’s SO SWEET.

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WALKING.  She wants to walk everywhere.  She constantly puts her hands up to grab yours for support.  Walking her wherever she wants to go creates the biggest smile on her face.  Lowering her down or refusing to walk where she wants to go causes tantrums.

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GOOFY.  She does things to be silly.  She likes to roll around on the bed giggling, will tackle us, makes noises and then laughs at herself, puts books on her head to get a laugh, etc.  Then she claps for herself.  I fear we may have a class clown on our hands…

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She can also do tricks (“clap” and “so big”) on command, and also squeezes my nose when I ask “where’s mama’s nose?” She will sometimes mimic me if I show her how to blow a kiss, but she won’t do it on command yet.

CHATTY.  I had nothing to do with her genetics, so I don’t feel like it’s tacky to say that Zoe is verbally gifted for her age.  She now says the following words with consistency and clarity: dog, duck, dada, cat, fish, and “dis” (this) and “dat” (that,) the latter two accompanied by pointing to the object she wants.  She consistently recognizes and will sometime say the following words: kiss, hug, keys.  Where is “mama” on this list? Don’t ask. It’s becoming a sore subject.  She sometimes says the word as babble, and she seems to recognize that I am her mama, but she doesn’t CALL me “mama.”  I’m so excited to hear it…eventually…

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OBSESSED.  She is obsessed with reading and with “dog.”  (This is what David and I call our dog 70% of the time now, thanks to Zoe.  Sorry, Java.)  She has memorized which flaps to lift in all of our board books; luckily, our library has a great board book selection and Zoe loves picking out new books.  I sanitize them with antibacterial wipes (I AM a first time mom, after all) and let her go to town.  Within a week, she has those memorized too!  Zoe is also obsessed with anything outside and with nature in general.

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DETERMINED.  Zoe has strong preferences.  If you get in the way of what she wants, she’ll throw a frightening tantrum.  Most of the books suggest that babies need consistent rules/guidelines and a system of reinforcement, or they will become frustrated and confused about the inconsistency of the world, so David and I sat down a few weekends ago and came up with rules for Zoe.

Her rules are:

(1) No biting.
(2) No putting the dog toys in her mouth.
(3) Safety first (we stop her if she is doing something dangerous.)

It felt ridiculous to come up with rules for an 11 month old, but it has really helped to have a plan about what to react to and how to react (we say “no” and try to redirect her attention.  If she tries again, we move her to a different part of the room.)

I have noticed that she looks for a reaction now when she tries to “break a rule,” whereas before she didn’t look at us any differently when performing the same actions, so I think the consistency is helping her learn something about her boundaries.

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Or maybe not.  I wasn’t trying to pack for the beach or anything there, Zoe…

Overall, her 11th month has been fun.  I finally felt recovered from the shock of her sudden 10 month mobility and tantrum-throwing, consoling myself that she hasn’t learned how to run away from me or say the word “no” yet so I still have the upper hand.

My overall highlights: Everything I already wrote.  Also, after flirting with 8:30 and 9 pm bedtimes throughout month 10, Zoe got back to a 7:30 pm bedtime, meaning that David and I had some night time to ourselves.  She also started taking a predictable afternoon nap: 2:20-4:00ish.  YAY! I loved her new words and tricks, and we had a great time as a family vacationing at the beach…

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…and working the finish line/water stop at a 5K run (two of Zoe’s favorite things to do are clap and play with water bottles, so she was ALL over this…although she may have been devastated when we had to actually hand the water bottles over to other people.  The horror!!)

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I can’t believe that this strong, beautiful, brave girl will be one year old tomorrow.

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IMG_1658And I still can’t believe that I’m blessed enough to be her mama.

 

Notes from My Sick Bed

I’ve had food poisoning for the last 72 hours.  Yesterday on the way to urgent care, I remember thinking, I’ll never feel better.  I will just never eat again.  My stomach will always hurt like this and I will never be able to eat anything again.  

We drove by Panera and I lay my head on the window pane of my car looking at it and thought, goodbye old friend.  It’s been a nice life.  

Today, three doses of antibiotics later, I’m up out of bed making toast for myself and writing a blog entry to keep myself awake as I eat it.

Maybe I need to cut down on the drama in my inner monologues juuuuust a little.

***

I remember growing up and thinking that romance was flowers, a guitar being strummed as a boy sang a song he wrote for you on a romantic picnic (that one actually happened) (#itwasntdavid) (#oops), and breakfast in bed.

But really, romance is your sweet husband who has been pulling your slack all day coming into your room at 8 pm with a piece of toast, your meds, and a glass of water that he coaches you into drinking in its entirety, earnestly praising you as you sip and chatting to keep you awake long enough to get that glass of water swallowed.

That is love.

***

My in-laws are in town and I prayed for (and had a few friends praying for) me to have low anxiety while they were here.  I tend to fuss and get all worked up when people are at my house and I wanted to savor and enjoy the company and stop being so anxious.

In response I get put on barbiturates (to slow my stomach spasming and cramping…but with the convenient side effect of lowering my anxiety.)  Someone has a sense of humor.

***

Anyway, as you can see, reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated, most likely by me.

But really, I just finished my toast and actually am sleepy again, so off to my sick bed again…join me the next time I am feeling better for a post on Zoe at 11 months.  I had almost finished it before I got sick and I HAVE to post it tomorrow or it will be too late as she turns 1 on TUESDAY.  AHHH!

Thanks for passing the time with me…