It's quiet in this early morning. I can hear the rattled breathing coming from varied bedrooms, but save for that, it's quiet. Apparently, a virus has taken up residence in my house. Fevers have been raging and little bodies shaking since last Thursday (each in their own turn). Last night, the baby was hot--very hot. And so we sat together in the dark and the quiet and I prayed. All night long. I prayed that she would recover quickly. I prayed for the children in hospitals. I prayed for children who need hospitals but aren't there. I prayed for mothers of children who don't get better. Sleep deprivation and forced wakefulness are great motivators for prayer. I knew that I'd be running below empty today (hey, come to think of it, I had a half-asleep dream last night that the van ran out of gas;-). So, I spent a whole lot time praying for strength and for grace. Strength to do the work that comes with a household this large and many needy bodies. Grace to do it with a gentle smile. I hear them stirring now. I'm off to begin my day, a day sure to be filled with tired, sighing prayers sent heavenward. A day filled with extraordinary grace. Because I asked.