Please pray for Ava. She’s had a fever for four nights now. It was 102 an hour or so ago. Sunday night she was up most of the night. Kept her home Monday. She got better. Monday night–fever back. Home Tuesday. Much better. Threatened to send her to school Wednesday even if she was vomiting. Fever back Tuesday night. Kept her home. Today it seemed a little worse. Tonight even worse. (It just broke, and I helped her change out of her sweaty t-shirt). She wants me to hold her All Day Long. I’ve been trying to as much as I can. The slowing down is good for me, but I’m ready for my spunky girl to get her spunk back.

I had an emotional day (Wednesday). God and I spent some extra time together, and I kind of expected to feel a little fuzzy and joyful because of it. Instead I felt like I was being attacked from all sides. Some hurt feelings, some bitterness boiling up inside, some weariness and frustration. I don’t suppose the enemy likes concentrated prayer time.

Have I mentioned that I’ve been reading some missionary (auto)biographies? Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, The Savage My Kinsman (Elisabeth Elliot) and now Shadow of the Almighty (also E.E.). God’s messing with my heart. And my mind. I think this is my lot in life (the perpetual swirl). I’m learning to be okay with that.

Another prayer request: I’m speaking at Livi’s school tomorrow at 10 a.m. to grades 2-5 (1st grade is at the z-o-o). I’ll be talking for 30-40 minutes about writing books and going to ZOOS. Gabe made a slide show for me on his Mac laptop, and the plan was that he’d run it for me while I talked. But now that Ava’s sick, he can’t come. Technology is not my forte. Prayers would be cool. I can’t really talk to these kiddos about God, but I can pass out cards for which might lead some of them to dig a little deeper into what I’m all about (and hopefully, they’ll see that I’m all about God).

I wanted to share some pics from our visit to the zoo with friends last Tuesday. I plan on doing a post one of these days about my friends from church. We’ve moved 10 times in 11 years, and this is only the second time we’ve developed really neat friendships with people we do church with. We’ve been at Vista for almost a year now, and we love it.

Anyway, the zoo. This is Nina’s dearest friend, Kara.

They’re just four days apart in age, and I knew the first time I met Kara’s mom, Kim, that we’d be great friends–and that our girlies would too. Kim’s hubby, Brian, just joined the Vista staff full-time, and Gabe works for them 10 hours a week, so they get to spend a lot of time together.

Please pray for sweet Kara. She’s on medication for some health problems, but the medicine makes her sick. Once every three weeks, like clockwork, she gets a migraine headache, then throws up over and over again. Then she’s back to her beautiful, sweet self. Please pray for God’s healing hand on little Kara. And for wisdom and strength for her mommy and daddy.

This is part of me, then Kim, then Amy. Nina took this pic for us. I think we have a budding photographer on our hands. (To her credit, Daddy’s camera is a little bulky. And she took a really good one a little bit later.)

Amy teaches first grade and took the day off for some Girly Time in the Sun. We laughed at the irony of a first grade teacher taking a personal day and going to the ZOO with small children. But Amy’s awesome like that.

I want to talk about Amy a little bit. She may not like the attention, but she’ll forgive me, because she loves me. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you might remember me talking about Amy and Billy whose baby Abigail went to be with Jesus a couple months ago. You can read the story of me meeting Abigail here. It was such a deep honor for me to meet that precious little one–even though the real Abigail was already up in heaven dancing with Jesus.

I can’t tell you how much her short little life has impacted me. My heart just aches for her darling mama who misses her little girl like crazy yet has such peace and joy that can only come from Christ. Amy had never been a mom before, so she wasn’t prepared for how much she would miss the daughter she never got to know outside her womb. But once a mama, always a mama. And oh, what a hole Abigail has left in her heart. Please pray for God’s overwhelming love to comfort Amy and Billy in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

After the zoo, we got lunch and took it to a park. We talked about life and church and writing and zoos and our girlies–all five of them. I asked Amy to bring her photos of Abigail, and she was so happy to share them with us. It hurt to look at them, because we want her here. But it was a good hurt–the kind where you remember her sweet, short life and trust that God has such a perfect plan for her mommy and daddy’s future. I love you, Amy.

Whew, this is long. Three things before I go:

1. Don’t forget to enter the give-away for the super SWEET personalized quilted backpacks.

2. Thanks so much for your awesome feedback on When my dear Web Master has a free moment or two, I’ll ask him sweetly to make some of the changes you suggested.

3. My friend, Kaye, the Mastermind behind Engraved Euniques (see sidebar), is doing a super-cool TILE GIVE-AWAY on her blog. These things are awesome. Trust me. You need one. Enter at her site, and if you don’t win–good news! I’m giving one away here next week!

Happy Thursday, all!

12 thoughts on “this-n-that

  1. Teresa

    I have enjoyed reading your blog.
    I am new to the blog world, but have seen the miracle of the blogging community and prayer in the last two days. Hope you will stop by my blog and pray for little Maggie.

  2. Kim Webb

    So I am a few days behind. Thank you for the wonderful post, we feel the same way about the Tavianos – we are truly blessed to know you and to share life with you. Our girls will be forever friends. And the great thing is that gives us a reason to spend time together.

    And yes I too was very emotional reading and remembering our time with sweet lil’ Abigail and her beautiful mommy and daddy.

    Love you guys, praying for your families health!

  3. Kelli

    I can not even imagine the kind of pain that Amy has, is, and will be feeling. Lord please hold her and heal her heart as much as possible on this earth. What a sweet friendship she has with you girls!

  4. Kaye

    Oh Marla, please know I am praying for Ava to get well and for you and your precious friends. Prayerfully all will go very well today for you. Thanks for the sweet ‘shout out’! Appreciate you more than you know.
    Blessings today and always,
    Psalm 46:10

  5. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    Thank you, friend. I was sitting here kind of grumpy because when I was holding AJ and drinking my first cup of coffee, she bumped me and I sloshed hot coffee all over myself. (Who drinks coffee while holding a toddler? Only the severely addicted, that’s who.) Anyway, this was the attitude adjustment I needed.

    I am praying right now that God’s hand would be on punky, spunky Ava and that she would be restored to her usual vibrant self.

    I am also praying for your presentation this morning. May God’s spirit show you EXACTLY what you need when you need it!

    And for your sweet friend Amy . . . oh, what an honor to pray. I have to tell you that the thing I look so very forward to the MOST about the way the end of time as we know it plays out in Revelation is that in the end, our victorious Lord Jesus casts Death into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). When I read stories like Amy’s and others who have suffered so incomprehensibly at the hand of Death, my heart just cries out, “Come, Lord Jesus! Rid us all of the sting of death forever!” I pray that each day Amy and Billy will experience more grace, more healing.

    The girls and I sat on the front porch for a while playing last night and I couldn’t help but think of you and the girls (especially as AJ pulled up marigolds by the root. again.) We miss, miss, miss you guys.

    May you experience the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way today, Mar. That’s my prayer for you. Love you, sister.

  6. David Noble


    Love the Zoo52 project. Like the backpack with the firetruck on it in primary colors. Going to talk to Traci about taking out an ad. I look forward to seeing your posts from your Cali trips. May God Bless your family and your work.

  7. Ali

    Darn you, Marla. It’s not even 7am and I’m an utter mess. Crying. Snot-oozing. Breath-catching.

    Why did this stinkin’ post do that to me? If only you wouldn’t write so well this might not be a problem.

    I love you, and I hate Satan. I hate Satan for a lot of reasons, but right now, I hate him for attacking you yesterday.

    But I love God. And I love Jesus. And I pray that they are busy at work in your overflowing heart – busy showing Satan who’s boss.

    {blows nose}

  8. Holly B.

    Hey Marla, praying for Ava and for your presentation right now. I love The Savage, My Kinsman (definitely changed my life–watch out)!

  9. gitz

    There is nothing sweeter than the smiles of friends who are happy just being together. Great pics… and hope that fever breaks for good this time.

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