I know I have been absent. I have been on Facebook and I hope that counts. It is just so fast and finding time for other things has been hard. The good news is that my book is now available for sale and will be shipping out now. I am pretty darn excited about it. In case you did not know, I spent the last year writing a book on the in’s and out’s and how’s of Eastern Christian Fasting and it has an extensive, soy-free, busy family oriented recipe section. You can find out more HERE on the Ancient Faith Publishing website. I also am creating a new video podcast for Ancient Faith and I will be talking about fasting and feeding your family. I am always thinking about, reading about, and talking about food so this is pretty natural. Keeping the kidlets reasonably quiet might be something of a challenge but this is life and I am talking to real moms so, I think they will be pretty understanding. Then I also developed real food (and mostly gluten free and always soy free) menus, recipes, and shopping lists for a fantastic holistic Orthodox Lenten program called My Beautiful Lent. I also started teaching art one day at week at my kids’ tiny country school where they are almost half the population. All good things but all a lot of work.

I was feeling super run down and in the beginning I thought it was just stress. I was working out this neat little blog post in my head. I was planning on telling you all about self care and I was even practicing some self care but then I realized I was not stressed. Well, I was, but it was not primarily that the stress was getting to me. I was getting sick. I had known that another family at the school had confirmed RSV but I was not terribly worried. We might have had the flu but I am thinking it was more likely the RSV since the school and church and pretty much all we do. My father had the old saying, “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses and not zebras.” Since we knew people with RSV and they were the sick people that we knew, we probably have RSV. It was like being hit by a truck. A big ugly upper respiratory virus truck that hunted us each down and smacked into us in turn. I am pretty crunchy, having come by it honestly with a pretty crunchy mom. I did the usual tea with cinnamon and cloves and honey, the Oscillo (life changer, get a coupon HERE), and for the couple of kids who did vomit, ginger root tea. In the end, we needed to pull out the big guns and resort to things like Advil and Mucinex because, dang.

I remember when I first had children and I got sick. I would struggle through caring my kids while sick and I would think about how I thought it was hard to be sick by myself. When you have kids, you dig deep and find a new strength and just push through, You do it because you have to and even if you did not know that you could do it until that moment, you could. You did. I learned that there is an even greater depth I could find. We have large animals. This means that twice a day, we could scrape together all the kids who who were well enough to help a bit and assign someone to look after the little people and if there was anyone left, we would take them to go out and milk and haul water and feed the cows. With overnight lows in the negative digits and daytime highs in the low twenties, there is no water and there is no food. The cows have thick fur and as long as it is not windy, they enjoy getting out in the sun and air. Zeus, the steer, he even likes to go for a bit of a run and smash through snow drifts like children do. They they will eat a bit and drink a bit and then lay down next to each other and chew their cud. The cows need us. We have to make sure their water heaters are working and that their water is full and that they have they hay they need; not too much because they will play with it then not eat it. We needed to put fresh wood chips down in the barn stall to give them a nice dry place to sleep each night. There was work to be done.

It is a funny thing. Sometimes we break, this is true, but sometimes we scrape by and that is a victory in itself. Just realizing that we found just enough strength to crawl just a bit further should not be a moment of doubt or even an opportunity for self-pity. I always thought I was doing a lot that I was doing pretty much all I could handle and then I did more. This was a very hard couple of months topped off with one of the worst weeks I have had since my father died. Pretty much the worst. But I am here. The kids are fed and the dishes are done and there is even some clean laundry and one load is even folded. It is on the table but, hey, I am counting it as a victory. This was a hard week and we are coming out the other side. I think we did good.