day 20

Last week was supposed to be the end of our New Year's 21 Day Prayer Challenge. But instead of finishing up the challenge, my family experienced one of its' worst seasons of sickness.

It was awful.

Just in case you want to know how bad it was, here's a PG re-cap:

-Adeline first came down with a stomach virus two weeks ago. After a trip to the doctor, she received some antibiotics and by Friday, she looked like she was in the home stretch. So, Raleigh and I left the kids with my parents for a mini-vacation to the beach.  We enjoyed PF Chang's and an easy night to ourselves.

-Then, on Saturday, I woke up with my head in the toilet. Instead of relaxing at the beach, I found myself curled up in our bathroom the whole day. We came home and on Sunday morning I felt a little better. But then I threw up after a prayer gathering for my women's conference on Sunday night. Woo-hoo.

-Monday: I was home from work and Maralee woke up saying that her stomach hurt. By midday, she was sick too so we stayed home together. Adeline was back at school and my mother-in-law had to pick her and Ridley up.

-Tuesday was a blur. If I wasn't sleeping, I was sick. I was trying not to get ill or anxious but I knew how much work I needed to be doing and couldn't. Then, to make things worst, Ridley and Raleigh got the bug too.

-I had hoped that by Wednesday, I would be better but I had a terrible night on Tuesday. That morning, Maralee went to my parents, Adeline went to school, Ridley went to my in-laws and me and Raleigh went to the doctor. We came home to an empty house, took some medicine, and both went to sleep. It was a very romantic day.

-Then, on Wednesday night, Lu Lu got hit by a car going to the bathroom. But she lived! How our little six pound schnoodle survivied a car accident is only for God to know. I honestly think she survived because he knew I couldn't handle her dying this week.


-Thursday: I finally went to work and Raleigh worked half a day. Our vet called and said Lu Lu needed surgery and should stay overnight. Maralee was ready to come home because she hadn't seen Adeline in a whole day and Ridley didn't sleep at all the night before. So, I picked everyone up and we came home. Two hours later, Maralee had a poop explosion while sleeping on our couch (our new couch BTW), Adeline had a meltdown, and Ridley had a temperature.

-By the weekend we were semi-back-to-normal. Everyone's stomach viruses have moved into a cough/runny nose/fever/sore throat but we are making it.

baby dedication

It's been a rough couple of days and I've had to learn how to love my people and be loved by them too. Raleigh and I have had to take care of one another and we've had to rely on our parents to take care of our children. We've been short-tempered out of exhaustion but have had to find a way to speak kindly to one another. I had to let go of certain expectations I had for my work week and focus on the needs of my family instead.

Love is a feeling but it's also an action.

Loving my people while we were sick was something I had to practice. I needed to serve them compassionately. Maralee needed to go on a stroller ride outside each day and when I picked her favorite yellow flowers for her because she was too weak to stand, she smiled and told me, "You're the best." Adeline didn't get my attention but she soaked up the attention of her grandmother. She was loved by others last week and that was okay. Ridley boy, on the other hand, needed me to hold him. He needed to nustle against me and his favorite thing to do was lay his head on my chest. Raleigh showed love and I showed him love by us tackling the stomach bug cleaning together. Maybe I should stay up late more often because our house has never been cleaned that intensely!

Last week, my plans changed and so did my prayers. My prayer was for daily survival for each member of my family. I can't tell you how many times I asked God to rid us of this mess. I learned once again to give God control over my circumstances.

With that said, I want to share with you what is coming up in February on the blog. If I've learned anything over this experience, it is that love is the greatest gift we can both give and receive. I'd like to explore how we show love and who we show love to over the next few weeks with our February series, "Love Your People."

love your people

In February, we'll be exploring how to love our children with a post from Lori Wildenberg, author of Raising Little Kids with Big Love, and I'll be giving away one of my favorite new books, Mothering From Scratch. I'm also excited to offer some practical ways to love your neighbor this Valentine's and how I love to love my husband. It should be fun!

Also, if you haven't received your free copy of my e-book, God's Love for Me, it will be available for download all month long. Back in 2012, nineteen lovely bloggers contributed their own stories about what God's love means in their lives to my first e-book, God's Love for Me. If you haven't received your free copy already, just follow the steps below to download yours today!


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Let us love our people today.


If you'd like to learn more about our New Year's Prayer Challenge, you can read this post about joining us for the next 21 Days.
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Want to go deeper?
                                    • Complete the weekly prayer challenge sent to you by e-mail
                                    • Read Chapters 12-15 this week in The Circle Maker
                                    • Follow along with the New Start 15 Bible Reading Plan.
                                    • Listen to today's song from our playlist as you circle your prayers