A call to prayer

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” - Lamentations 3:22-24

We recently switched Internet providers, and during the process of the switch Internet provider #1 cut our service about 24 hours before they were supposed to. This really irritated me because I’m at home all day, and we like to use Netflix and check e-mail and look up whether or not Jessica Biel is older than me (she is) at my leisure. Tom was irritated because he had worked really hard to make sure there wouldn’t be a cessation of service so that he could avoid that annoyed look I like to give him when my Instagram usage is interrupted. I realize that 24 hours isn’t that long; I decided to get over it and pretend it was 2013, back when I didn’t have an iPhone.

This hiccup in service wasn’t convenient, but it was helpful. It was helpful because whenever I had a quiet moment, instead of checking my e-mail again, I prayed for my friend.

Would you join me? My dear friends Jessi and Nic have three kids. Their youngest, Sarah, needs prayer.


Sarah is Mary Virginia’s age. Here are the two mischievous girls sneaking watermelon at Sarah’s first birthday this summer.

Last Tuesday morning, Jessi found sweet Sarah in her crib having a seizure. Sarah has no prior history of seizures. Initially, doctors hoped the episode was simply febrile seizures, but the seizures continued for eight days despite high doses of medication. After more than a week of long days and nights in the PICU, Sarah is recovering, but she needs prayer.

So much is still unknown. Nic and Jessi are awaiting results of genetic testing, and waiting for Sarah to be well enough to leave the hospital. Friends and relatives are caring for their two older children, and they are all waiting to resume normal, busy, mundane, joyful life. Much is unknown, but we do know some things for sure — God loves Sarah and her family, and He is in control. Prayer is powerful, it is effective, and it is what we are called to do.

I’ve asked Jessi and Nic several times in the past week how Tom and I can help. They’re always clear — they are grateful for continued, fervent prayer for their baby girl. Many people who are reading this already know and are praying for this family, but many do not. I ask all of you to pray for Sarah. Not the way people often do — the way I often do — you hear a need, agree to pray, then feel sad for a bit and go make dinner. Please, stop what you’re doing, take a moment right now, bow your head and ask the God of the universe to heal Sarah and care for her family.

Pray that Jessi and Nic will be encouraged and strengthened by the truth that God is at work.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”Isaiah 41:10

For more details about Sarah’s condition and updates on her progress, visit her CaringBridge site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/sarahbvonbank

To help the VonBank family with medical expenses: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-sarah-von-bank/294887

To make or send a meal: http://www.takethemameal.com/meals.php?t=AWNM3390


Like mother, like daughter

When my mom describes me as a baby, she usually says I was, like, the sweetest baby ever. She says I was mild-mannered, chubby, bald, cuddly, and a great sleeper; I slept every night from 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. without fail. So when our kids wake up at 4:55 a.m., skip their nap, and push against bedtime, Tom looks at me with tired, weary eyes and says, “Why are they doing this? Where did they get this from?” And I just look back at him and say, “I have no idea because I was a perfect baby.”

David has a lot of his daddy’s characteristics. He’s focused, a little bit introverted, an observer, obsessive, and he gets frustrated if he can’t immediately figure something out.

I keep watching Mary Virginia to see if she’s like me, and nothing really sticks out. But, who knows, it’s too early for sarcasm, or a proclivity for reality television. I suppose we’ll know when we see how she settles into her role as a middle child. If she exhibits even a little bit of maturity then we’ll know for sure that she is her father’s daughter, because I can’t relate to that at all.

Then I remember that one of Mary Virginia’s first words was “Cheeto”, and that she’ll crawl across the kitchen table for a bag of chips, and suddenly it’s like I’m looking directly in the mirror.

cheeto 2

cheeto 1

As if I needed another reason to spend all day on the couch

Tom got me an electric blanket for Christmas.

I can’t figure out why my skin isn’t made of the same material as this blanket.

electricblanket (1)

It’s the perfect gift, the sort of gift that helps me know Tom really knows me. I’m always cold, and I can’t stand being cold. I’m the kind of person who has an overwhelming urge to curl up inside the fireplace anytime the temperature dips below 50. I don’t really understand Global Warming because I stop listening when I hear it doesn’t mean I’ll be attending pool parties on Christmas Eve. Here in Richmond we have pretty mild winters, so mild that everyone else gets really excited the few times it snows. I can’t relate to those people, not at all.

The only teeny tiny exception about this being the perfect gift is that electric blankets are only sort of ok if you’re pregnant. So instead of throwing it over my head and passing out from heat exhaustion, I only put it on my legs.


But if you need me in mid-May, I’ll be on the couch with a glass of wine in my hand, eating real sushi with ibuprofen chasers. And I will be completely snuggled under my electric blanket, which will be turned up to high. And when Tom looks at me and rolls his eyes, I’ll respond, “No, dear, I’m not doing this because I’m cold. I’m doing this BECAUSE I CAN.”