Snow, Stomach Viruses, Salt & Pepper Shakers, & A Texas Schmexas Update

These days, my life isn’t affected much by the weather, except that it often seems the temperature is inversely related to the number of times the Bean points to the window and asks to go “Ow-Side.”

Still, there’s something fun about the idea of snow days, don’t you think?

Lying awake from pregnancy insomnia in the wee hours of the morning, I think back to that early-morning feeling I always had growing up in Pennsylvania when there was a forecast of snow. We lived between two really busy roads (our backyard butted up against an interstate), and when I woke up in the morning after a snowfall, it would be quiet. On other mornings, the roads were never quiet. Just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, that there wasn’t just a break in the flow of traffic, I’d lay in bed and wait, listening to the eerie silence, hoping to hear that grating of the snow plow. The sound of the plow–dull and thudding, rather than twangy and metallic–let me know if there was enough snow on the ground to warrant a two-hour delay or–gasp!–a day off of school.

Here in Kentucky, the road in front of our house is unimportant and rarely gets plowed. Now I use the neighbors’ snow-covered van as the indicator of school cancellation.

Today was one of those days. The neighbors’ van stayed covered in snow. School was cancelled.

Since we are still recovering from a nasty stomach virus this weekend, it feels appropriate to be huddled under a quilt and sipping hot tea. And my child is sleeping soundly, which is a blessing. About half an hour ago, I picked up my laptop to write a few blog posts that have been percolating over the last few weeks.

One was about the weather. I don’t feel like writing that post right now, so I’m not going to.

Another was about stomach viruses and how thrilled I am to have a child who loves to go to the nursery at church and pick up germs. And suck on the rim of trash cans. And drink from other kids’ sippy cups. I don’t feel like writing that post right now either.

Another was about this little gal and guy:

salt and pepper ksa

That is, the other post was about my family and how we make the long-distance thing work, even when it’s hard.

Now, granted, Kentucky and Pennsylvania aren’t that far away. But my brother and his family live in Saudi Arabia, and that adds another dimension to the difficult reality of keeping a close family close.

These little figurines are the awesome salt and pepper shakers they brought us from Saudi Arabia.

Stephen and Kelsie and the kids are in the US for a few weeks to catch up with family and friends, and they decided to drive to Kentucky this past weekend to see us. Nine hours in the car with a five year old and a two year old. To give us hugs. To give the Bean some time to play with her cousins she usually only sees on the computer. To give us some awesome souvenirs.

Not to catch a stomach virus. Which we had. All weekend.

So they stayed in a hotel, kept their distance, and then drove back to Pennsylvania after a short meal at Panera with us.


So that’s all the blog post I can conjure up at the moment about family and keeping in touch. It’s hard work and the timing is not always great. But we do it, and we make it a priority, because it’s important.

I’m learning something about priorities these days, mainly because all the time I’ve been tired and sick over the last six months has made it nearly impossible for me to do anything. Or that’s what it feels like.

I mean, I’m keeping a 20-month-old alive and clothed and fed and diapered, and I’m making a baby, which is something. Obviously. But it doesn’t feel productive.

So when I read about pregnancy and the idea of Sabbath being similar, it struck a chord with me:

Instead of doing everything that we think might be good and helpful in the world, we are forced to narrow our focus. In my limited time, I have to choose what to do. I have to ask, “What would God have me value most this day?” Sabbath rest and the rest of pregnancy teach us to believe that God is in control, that God can be trusted with the workings of our lives. In learning to give up some of the good things we want to do, we learn that even the things we are able to do are not necessary. They are a gift from God.

— Sarah Jobe, Creating with God, p. 36

I don’t feel “able to do” very much these days in the two or three hours my child is sleeping in the afternoons, so I need to prioritize. Sure, the laundry or dishes need to be done sometimes. Phones calls need to be made and e-mails need to be written. People need to be visited with. Showers need to be taken.

But sometimes?

Sometimes all I’m able to do is rest and reflect. Sometimes all I’m able to do is pray and journal and read. Sometimes all I’m able to do is just be.

But you know what? There’s one thing I’ve realized just this afternoon that doesn’t need to be done or fretted about.

Blog posts at Texas Schmexas.

Not by me, not right now, not in this season.

So I’m taking a break, my friends. I might come back to it, or I might not. I might start up a blog in some other form at some other place in some other month or some other year. Or I might not.

We’ll see.

Right now, though, I do know what I’m going to do. I’m going to go snuggle with my Bean, who began chatting in her crib a few minutes ago.



10 comments on “Snow, Stomach Viruses, Salt & Pepper Shakers, & A Texas Schmexas Update

  1. Terri says:

    I have enjoyed reading your words. I have always been in favor of snuggling. Enjoy your family now.

  2. Katie says:

    I am resting and “just being” at this very moment. I felt guilty about doing this almost every day, but my family gets fed (some pretty awesome meals, I must say), my home is relatively clean, and my girly and I have some pretty awesome play time when she isn’t napping. Seems like both of our Babies #2 require lots of rest. And that’s ok 🙂 Keep growing that sweet little angel!

  3. Darla says:

    I have been a big advocate of “just being” for years. It really takes some effort of the spiritual kind. Many cannot not be “doing”. We must do some “doing” to keep our lives moving along (e.g., household chores, paying our bills, etc.) But a life without some “just being” time is not as rich as one with it. I remember an evaluation I received from my department chair years ago. I had listed some “being” things and he told me they didn’t count because they could not be measured objectively!!! When I think back on that now, I realize what a shallow view that was of life and of nurturing students. Never did like that guy.

    On a practical note, I admire you for not having a major meltdown because your family’s illness prevented having more time with your brother and family. I’m not sure I would have handled it as calmly. I have no idea what their situation was on this visit, but maybe they enjoyed some alone/down/being time??? I am fully supportive of your putting the Texas Schmexas blog in limbo for now. There is no reason you should have to make a decision right now with all you have going on. See how you feel and what happens. We do need to get together and catch up—I think there are some changes coming for me too! The mystery builds!!! Happy snuggling and focusing on what is really important and maybe Jonathan will do those dishes—hoping O’Neal will too!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi, Darla. Thanks for sharing your response to this post. I think that the things we do that can be measured objectively are much less worthy pursuits than the “being” ones! Hands down.

      J does actually do the dishes around here most of the time, thank goodness, especially since we don’t have a dishwasher. My serious morning sickness with this pregnancy kept me avoiding the sink for quite a few weeks. Something about the sink just smelled weird to me and brought on much unpleasantness.

      And I do think Stephen’s family enjoyed the alone time. Luckily, the kiddos were good on the drive, so it didn’t add to the stress of the trip for them. I think I handled it all rather calmly, mostly because I didn’t want them to get sick and have kids throwing up on the drive back to PA. How miserable would that be?!

      Looking forward to hearing your upcoming mysterious changes, friend!


  4. Dad (Stephen Sands I) says:

    Totally agree with the hiatus. Enjoy the lack of stress. I will miss the occasional foray into your thinking and as much as I will look forward to their return, I really look forward to the new, healthy grandbaby. love you!

  5. Craig Crowder says:

    Finally got a chance to read this post this morning. As always, I find myself proud to have a friend with such a penchant for descriptive writing. I know you well enough (I think) to know that you’ll come back to writing in some form soon enough, and that’s unequivocally a good thing. And even though I want you to come back to /this/ blog, to share your writing publicly, for entirely selfish reasons, it will be fine if you don’t. You’ll write for you, or for whatever audience you choose, and everyone involved will be enriched as a result.

    Sending you, J, and the Bean warm thoughts on a cold morning in Kentucky,

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks, Craig. I certainly will keep writing, even now, just not here. I will keep you posted. You keep in touch, too.

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