Sparrows and Blogs

“What is the price of two sparrows–one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Matthew 10:29

As much as I’d love to believe that my view of God is accurate–Biblical and true–I can find myself falling into some really basic mental pitfalls. Most of my wrong views of God stem from my own parenting shortcomings. I love my kids to distraction. But I am also easily frustrated by them. I get annoyed by their humanity, even when I’m being a hypocrite about it sometimes (ugh, kids; how dare you leave your clothes in the middle of the floor again, regardless of the fact that I do the exact same thing?). Some days, I’m overflowing with patience and lovingkindness. Others, I’m doing well not to say out loud: “Your voice is like an ice pick in my brain, and everything you say–no matter how normal or basic or necessary–is aggravating the snot out of me.”

It’s easy for me to project my bad days or ill humor onto God and assume that he reacts the same way, even though I know from Scripture that it’s not true. He doesn’t change his mind. He isn’t fickle or hormonal. He’s slow to anger and abounding in love. And that love endures forever. Just like my love for my children. Only, he never has to apologize for the things he said when he was hangry.

LIKEWISE, I can find myself questioning just how much God could possibly care about the minutiae of my life. I mean, there is actual suffering in the world. Surely, my little issues can’t be that compelling. (SUCH a human thing to think when God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, and independent of time and space). But then, I read verses like the one above about the sparrows or Matthew 6, which is all about God’s caring for the grass and flowers and how, if he take the time to give a daffodil its frilly edges and buttery yellow hue, how much more does he care about me? Yes, even the things that shouldn’t seem to matter.

Or sometimes, I get such a sweet glimpse of the way he orchestrates the details of my life that it rocks me back on my heels, theologically speaking.

Take Sunday night for instance. I went to bed at 11:15. I had to wake up at 5 AM to teach my Body Pump class, so I set my alarm, but I did not plug my phone in because it had 65% battery, which was more than enough to make it through the night, my class, and most of the rest of the day.

What felt like mere seconds later, I awoke to find Theo standing beside my bed. Feeling groggy, I hauled him into bed and snuggled his little body close. And then, curious, I checked my phone to discover that it was only midnight (even though he’s my earliest riser, he rarely comes into our room this early, and I don’t remember the last time it happened at midnight). As I stared at my screen, something else registered with me: my phone battery, which had been at 65% 45 minutes before, was now at 15%. Even though I hadn’t been using it at all. Apparently, there was an app in the background siphoning its battery power at an alarming rate.

You guys. If Theo hadn’t crawled in bed with me at midnight, my phone would have died in the middle of the night, and I would have disappointed 20 people who got up early with the express design of taking BODYPUMP the following morning. I would have gotten a call from my group fitness manager asking why I hadn’t shown up to class. And I wouldn’t have had anything else to offer than: “My phone died.” It would have been embarrassing and just all around bad.

Or take my blog.

Yesterday, it disappeared. Just…poof. Wasn’t there anymore.

I came home from errands yesterday evening, and Shaun asked me if I had done anything different–updated something or changed a setting. NO, I said. WHY DO YOU ASK, I said.

Because it’s gone.

Whuuuuuuttt?

I didn’t panic, but I certainly did feel anxiousness begin to simmer in my soul at the prospect of losing almost 7 years’ worth of projects and pictures and memories.

I have the utmost faith in Shaun’s ability to fix all things technical. He’s a wizard. But I still know that, sometimes, technology breaks for no apparent reason, and it can’t be fixed.

We called GoDaddy (our hosting provider), and they spent about an hour on the phone with Shaun trying different things to help him restore the information…with no luck.

It was a database issue. Not a hosting issue. And we couldn’t even log into my account to figure things out because my username and password are stored in the database, which was clearly corrupted.

Here’s the thing that blows my mind, though, y’all.

We’ve been needing to update my blog for ages. You know that. Some of you semi-regularly email me about that. I mean, my profile pic is approximately 4 years old. Two kids are missing. It’s ridiculous. But it takes a lot of time to do much of anything technological, and we just haven’t had it.

Last Saturday, we finally had a free day to focus on the changes. But first, Shaun said we needed to back up my blog to his computer…just to make sure that, if any of the changes caused any problems, we’d have a copy of everything.

This is the first time we have ever done this.

Two days later, my blog crashed. Apparently, there were tables with information in the database that had grown much too large due to a bug in a plug-in, and my entire site just shut down out of sheer exhaustion from having to carry the weight of all of that info (NOT a technical explanation, I realize…but one that many mamas will be able to relate to).

It had nothing to do with our backing it up, and the back up took so long that we never got around to changing anything on the site. In other words, we did nothing to cause the crash. It. was. going. to. happen. We just didn’t know it.

But God did.

And I firmly believe that he prompted my husband to do the backup of everything…two days before…for the first time in seven years. And because of that, once we figured out and fixed the problem with the database, we were able to restore all of that saved info. spilled milk

Are y’all picking up what I’m laying down? It’s hardly water into wine, but I do consider the fact that my blog still exists an absolute gracious miracle of God.

Why do I say all of this?

Well, first of all as an Ebenezer. I want this blog here to be able to look back on when I (inevitably) begin to wonder whether I should take this or that silly little ol’ thing that’s making me anxious to the Lord.

And maybe as an encouragement for you too. I don’t know most of your circumstances. However, I do KNOW that God cares about them because he loves you. I knew that before he used a toddler to make sure I woke up on time or made sure we backed up my blog so it wouldn’t disappear. But I sure am grateful that he saw fit to give me those little windows through which to glimpse his love.

Maybe you’re struggling with something you think is too minor to take to God. Or maybe you’re staggering under the weight of something that feels too big for God. Neither is true.

Like the old song says:

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Is there something (big or small) I can pray for you about? If so, it would be my privilege. You can email me at blogabbie{at}gmail{dot}com.


Flu-mageddon

I don’t know that I was feeling particularly gung-ho about 2018. After the year that was 2017, I was feeling pretty content to take things as they came, instead of constantly feeling like a deadline was looming.

Still, though. I had great hopes to blog more, write more in general, and have more time to be creative with my kids.

And then we got sick.

Y’all.

We don’t get sick like we’ve been sick for the past two weeks. We don’t get sick at all, really.

But the flu this year has been rough, and we can attest to that fact firsthand, sadly.
I know it’s not just our neck of the woods, but Tyler–the closest city of any size to us–is apparently number 1 in the nation for cases of flu (according to Walgreen’s data). Great for the makers of Tamiflu, Elderberry syrup, and Occicilium. Bad for…every last one of the rest of us.

Our first victim (Simon) started heading downhill a little over 2 weeks ago, and that nasty virus systematically worked its way through every last one of us…except sweet Honor. Even as I sit here, typing, sniffing constantly, and trying to ignore my super raw nose and raspy chest, I am still so, so grateful for the mercy of the baby’s not getting sick.

Not that it probably would have knocked him back too much. The littlest ones definitely had the mildest cases, suffering mostly from a day of fever and a few more of general blahness and low energy. Shaun and I didn’t get it for a few days after the first few fell, but once it hit, it knocked us out for a good (actually, scratch that: BAD) 5-6 days, and I’m STILL not well. It’s gone from flu to head + chest cold to sinus infection + chest cold to…just all around mild misery.

I have sipped every Elderberry concoction and slathered and huffed every applicable essential oil. I have swallowed garlic until I created a raw spot in my esophagus and guzzled hot raw honey, lemon, and water. Far from trying to imply that none of them have worked, I firmly believe that I would be in much worse shape without them (I could definitely feel the healing effects as the Lord has hauled me, bit by bit, back out of this sickness hole). But I can’t quite seem to shake the last little bits, so if you think to pray for complete healing, that would be great.

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Don’t be fooled. Those are 6-day-old braids, and even that wan smile is a total fake. 

Today kind of marked our official re-entry into the real world. It was a typical Monday for me. And it’s a legit MONDAY. I teach a BODYPUMP class at 5:45 AM, then race home to get myself ready + help the kids finish getting ready for home school co-op (although, they have come SO far since the first couple of weeks we started going when they pretty much could have written the manual for how to wander cluelessly from room to room without getting anything done for 45 straight minutes; they’re actually impressively efficient these days), head to co-op, where my day looks like: teach, grade, grade, eat while grading, teach, teach. THEN, we hauled it to the grocery story and shoveled all of the essentials into a basket, hustled through the line, and made a beeline for dance class. Let me assure you that, at the end of a day like this, nothing thrills my heart more than wedging 3 little girls into tights and leotards and tap shoes. But they love it. So, what can you do? (Try not to stick one of their at-once-dog-paw-esque-while-still-claw-like little feet through the foot of the tights, that’s what #somanyruinedpairs).

There is this unspoken understanding that all good dance moms should stay on the premises until their daughter’s dance class is over, buuuuuutttt…I have 4 males under 12 with me. And ain’t nobody need me bringing them to hang out in the hallway for 45 minutes. So, I always thumb my nose at good dance mom protocol and run errands instead. Usually, it’s the grocery store at lightning speeds, but since we’d already accomplished that particular feat today, we headed to Goodwill where I rarely (sadly) go anymore but which I still love to hit up for a blitz session every now and then (I came away with good clothes for the boys, including GAP jeans that are actually long enough for my older boys’ constantly growing limbs {for now} + the world’s cutest lion costume for Honor…just because).

If you’re wondering what one feeds 7 children at the end of such a day, the answer is usually something that I’ve prepped on Sunday afternoon. But not today. Today, we went the super classy route of not one but 2 bags o’ burgers from Braum’s (10 burgers, $10, BABY…and not one ounce of real meat among them, I’m sure #meforpresident).

ANYWAY, I have digressed rather impressively by indulging in a play-by-play of our Monday, but I do get asked regularly what a day-in-the-life looks for us, so there’s a typical Monday. Yes, they are all that busy. Yes, I dread them with every fiber of my being. But then, they’re happening, and it’s fine.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, we did manage to achieve a few milestones, intentional or not, during our own personal Flu-mageddon.

1. It snowed. Obviously, that would be one of the ones we can’t take credit for. It very rarely snows in East Texas (maybe 5 times, briefly, in the last 10 years), and this was no exception, since this is all we ever got…

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…and it only stayed that way for about 24 hours. But it was still fun to distract ourselves from our coughs and bedraggled, snotty existences to spend 30 minutes donning “snow gear” (sad little instantly drenched Dollar Store gloves + scarves + hats) only to come running back inside after 15 minutes.

2. I introduced the girls to Pride and Prejudice (the BBC/A&E version, thankyouverymuch), and they LOVED it. That one I take full credit for. Although, I probably would have delayed their induction into Jane Austen hall of fame if not for the fact that all any of us wanted to do was lie on the floor and moan.

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In which we finally got some sun, and Honor showed his appreciation for our constant supply of Kleenex

3. Honor turned 1. And looked incredibly cute doing it. (But then, he generally does…I’ll have to snap a picture of him in his lion suit for you guys).

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He is a CONSTANT source of joy and stress relief in our house. We are all legit obsessed with him, and he doesn’t seem to mind a smidge.

His first word? (at 8 1/2 months, no less?) “STAHP.” And yes, he uses it both appropriately and liberally. He’s also standing, and Shaun tricked him into taking what miiiiiight be construed as his first step before leaving on a work trip (so that he wouldn’t do it while Shaun was gone, obviously), so he’s practically walking. Ha.

And now, you may consider yourself sufficiently bored to death caught up on our lives.

As always, if you’re interested in the day-by-day play-by-play, you need to be hooked up with my Instagram page, where I find it much easier to bang out a post and throw up a pic than I do to vomit up a behemoth of a 1,500 word post (as I am so wont to do when I actually blog these days…need.to.edit).

What about you guys? Any flu (or otherwise) stories to tell?