Thursday, December 17, 2009

the three-legged, peg-legged sheep

a long time ago i used to sit at my grandparent's house at christmastime, completely entranced by grandma's nativity.  to be honest i think i have always had a love of nativities, relishing in the role of setting up my families and having my own tiny glow-in-the-dark set by my bed year round.  it was like playing with dolls with the added awe of being close to something holy.  through the years i have collected quite a few nativities of my own.  i'm even trying to win a new one from this blog this week.

this beauty in my living room

this one on my tree

this one i found in Myanmar this year

and this one, that was my grandma's too, just not the one from grandma's.

back to grandma's house.  her nativity was old.  and chipped.  and fragile. and she let me play with it whenever i wanted.  i'm sure she accepted the fact that with 17 grandchildren and, at the time, over 30 great-grandchildren (i was the youngest of the grandchildren, but the great-grands were the ones my age) her things were just going to be played with.  oh, i was ever so careful with them, but i was a child, so chips and dings happened.  there was just something so special about her little cardboard stable and holy family.

a few years later, that nativity was given to me.  and i cherish it.

torn stable. only two wisemen and a mismatched set to say the least.  i borrowed the camel and donkey from the brown set from earlier to fill out the stable.  the shepherd, maybe he's another set's joseph, but here he is an unpainted shepherd.  and then little mary & joseph, bowing, in awe of baby Jesus in his cotton lined stall.

and yet my favorite part of this nativity?  the three-legged, peg-legged sheep.  i know there are no stories about him in the Bible.  but he's a very important part of my christmas.  if you look closely you'll see him there at the feet of Jesus.

he would have been thrown out years ago by any sensible person. he's missing one leg.  the other is only a wire. another leg is badly cracked.  he's chipped and he's ugly but he has become more dear to me in every passing year.

it dawned on me a few years back.  i am the three-legged, peg-legged sheep!  broken, cracked and ugly i dare throw myself at the feet of Jesus.  and i welcomed in to worship.  if you notice the other two sheep, they are proud looking, heads up or turned away.  but this sheep's head is bowed.  i'm sure the original maker intended this sheep to be eating grass and that's why his head is low.  but i see a broken, hurting sheep bowed before a Savior.  One who will bring him ultimate healing.

so every christmas i'm reminded by the three-legged, peg-legged sheep how deeply loved i am by God that He would send His Son to the world, to help broken, awkward and ugly sheep like myself.  and how welcome i always am at His feet.

Merry Christmas Friends

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

calm christmas

my new background was entitled "calm christmas."  i couldn't think of anything i would want more.  i'm trying to sit here calmly for a few moments, not thinking about the 2 pies i need to make tonight or all the errands i need to run for the children's celebration tomorrow.  i'm taking a few minutes to slowly eat my blueberries and not think about how we are going to get the pinatas made in time or what games i can come up with at the last minute for tomorrow.

i'm not thinking about my surgery on friday and how i'm going to be healing still on christmas day.  i'm not thinking about how i'm going to have to tell my nieces and nephews that i can't play around with them like normal because i have to protect my nose and i will even have to be careful about which way i hold them on my lap.

no, i'm thinking about calm this christmas, just for a few minutes until...


never mind.

i can hear the children coming.

time to go back to my happy flurry of activity.

it was fun while it lasted, right??

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

almost wordless wednesday

a few pictures of late:

wonder kitchen woman - "the fate of dinner lies in her hands"

silly times in COAT kids

and this beautiful sweetness is my newest nephew - i'm in love.  that adorable little faux hawk is 100% natural!  7 more days till i get to hold him!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"it's a morton salt day, God"

that's what i found myself praying just a few minutes ago.  oh i could write tale after tale of how wonderful these kids are and how good it has been going.

but today is a morton salt day.  my momma used to collect morton salt collectables and still has a few.  morton's picture was always of an adorable little girl under an umbrella holding a spilling container of salt.  their slogan?  "when it rains, it pours."  now, while it's been cloudy all day, there has been no actual rain. but oh how it's poured.

my kids are getting to the point where they are realizing that this move is permanent, they have to do their homeschooling with me instead of mom, and the novelty has just plum wore off.  one of the kids is showing anger that they have never really shown before.  one bursts into tears at the least little thing.

and in my house, there seems to be sorrow after sorrow as well.  roommates deeply hurting.  roommates believing satan's lies.

so i feel a good bit helpless in both cases.  i want to cry, but don't know whose shoulder wouldn't break under the weight of one more thing.

so as i was walking today, i just prayed, "it's a morton salt day, God."  He knew what i meant.  and He's here.  He'll be present as i scramble to get dinner on the table for my housemates for our "family" dinner.  He'll be there as i process and plan for tomorrow, hoping for a better day, but finding a way to trust if it isn't.

pray for my hurting kids.  pray for my hurting roommates.  pray for me, please.  pray for stuff that i don't even know how to articulate.  we're having some morton salt days - and i could use the strength from your prayers to help myself and others remember that Jesus is here, scooping up the mess of salt and rain that are falling down.

Monday, October 26, 2009

a taste of fall up north

i went up to atlanta two weeks ago for the catalyst conference.  in a word, it was awesome.  i got an amazing reassurance of my ministry.  it became so clear that i have been judging myself for not having this stellar, rock-star perfect ministry by now.  instead, the past few years have had many struggles, pitfalls and setbacks.  yet, i was so reassured that i'm being grown and molded by God in His perfect timing and ministries take time to build.  i'm still so young!  society tells me that i have to have it all together and be climbing whatever ladder is before me right now, but God tells me to rest in His grace and trust His timing in my life in everything.  and oh, what amazing things He can do in the things i think are struggles, pitfalls and setbacks.  that's when i have to throw up my hands and say You're right God, i'm not in control, i can't do this, it's all You. and how HE MOVES!!

after that i spent the weekend with the lovely binkleys!  i got to see emilee and kelsey - and had lots of hanging out girl time with Nina!   too bad bethany and mary were out of town!

the awesome oreo chocolate cream cake kels and i made for her husband travis's birthday!

then i headed on up to knoxville
i wanted to spend some time with my best friend, kristen, her husband cameron and baby Jenna - well 2 year old baby.  :-)  i figured i could plan for COAT kids just as easily from her house and the JBC teacher ed resource center as i could from home, so off i went.  kristen and her husband just lost a baby and kristen has beautifully written about her experience and God's faithfulness here.  i have been so encouraged by their faithfulness and trust in God.

trying to get a picture of jenna, kris and i proved to be tricky.

very tricky

but i did get one of a sleepy jenna & me


all in all a great trip up north.  didn't see everyone i wanted to see but i had amazing quality time with kristen, which was totally worth it.

coming, i almost promise that it will be this week, pictures of my first week of coat kids with my family with 10 kids and my family with 2.  i'm homeschooling 6 kids daily!  it's crazy wonderfulness.

Monday, October 5, 2009

in between quilts

i have to keep busy.  the same baby shower that i made the green cupcakes for, i made these.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

are you there God? it's me, Abigail. it's 3:30 a.m. and yup, i'm still awake

i chose a new background. again. i seem to be on a quest for constant redesign, yet no new blog entries.

this background seems fitting. crumpled up paper. that seems to be where all my blog ideas go lately. down in the bottom of my purse on sticky notes stuck on my journal, yet not written in. short disconnected thoughts. my whole self scattered on bedside tables, in purses and somewhere between my two offices. and in the kitchen. i always have things in the kitchen.

to say my insomnia has been bad of late would be a massive understatement. it's horrendous. the not sleeping i could handle if i could still remember things in the daytime. if i could still function enough to work.

instead i have bursts of energy, short sweet bursts, and then i proceed to sit and stare - or worse i get up to do something and then stand in the middle of a hallway or mid-sentence, completely blank. then i start all over again.

but i'm thankful. right now i don't have any COAT kids. so while the next COAT is right around the corner and planning time is at a premium - i'm thanking God that i can go home and take the occasional mid-morning, i-can't-function-anymore, who-am-i-again, power nap to get me through.

so until then, my 'brilliant' journal scribbles will have to wait in their crumpled holding spot in the bottom of my purse - while i continue to get by on my sweet tea and a dream (now if that's not a book title, i don't know what is.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

bind up the broken hearted girls

a few weeks ago my friend megan sent me this quote from the book, The Papa Prayer that I've had on my shelf since october, but have yet to open.
"Women yearn for beauty, for an internal reality that makes eternal impact by drawing others to cherish and honor and protect what they see, by awakening in others their desire for ultimate beauty. Nothing terrifies a woman more than to feel that there is nothing unique about her being that another could esteem or treasure."
now of course my initial reaction to this came from my semi-sorta-feminist thinking that says i am strong and can do anything, roooaaar! then about two seconds later a deeper part of me's true. in the deepest core of me, it's true.

and i thought about my friend's matt and kylee who were at that very time in cambodia, seeing if they might possibly move there. they were spending time at Rapha House, a place that rescues girls out of the sex trade and brings them hope, healing, and trains them in new trades. those girls, of all ages, have been on my heart so much lately. my heart breaks for them and i wonder what i could do for them. i think of my friend corey, who is actually there full-time - teaching the girls trades.

i think of the hurt and i wonder what can i offer? how do you let these girls know they are worth being esteemed and treasured. that they are esteemable and treasurable.

just a few days ago i was driving down my street. our office and houses are in the "rough" part of town. there is a lot of life here. kid's playing basketball in the street, families sitting outside talking to their neighbors - things you don't see in the suburbs as much anymore.

and there are things that break my heart too. the thing that may make me the saddest is the prostitution. it is such a mix of anger, sadness and helplessness every time i see a girl or a 'pickup.' i call the police but wonder if it even makes a dent.

so the other day i drove and saw a girl walking down the street. i knew by her walk and that ever so slight slump in her shoulders that she was a prostitute. i knew by the downcast look she had that got masked every time a car drove past, turning it into a look that i don't know how to describe other than "pick me." as i drove i saw a police car coming down my street, slowing towards her. i slowed to let him pass, thinking that he would do something, stop her, maybe this could be the wake up call she needs. she stopped and leaned into his car and i saw him smile. i couldn't help thinking it was odd. then i saw her get in and in my dismay as i looked through my rearview mirror, i realized that it was a taxi driver, not a police man. i burned, i cried, i wanted to whip my car around and blare on my horn and stop what i knew was happening. but they were gone. they whipped out so fast. i was brokenhearted that i had slowed down. that i had helped him stop. all i could think was, "Lord, what can I do?"

and i don't have the answers. i don't have them when new missionaries come and live with me broken from their pasts. i don't have answers when missionaries come off the field broken from how hard it is.

Christ quoted this Isaiah passage:
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

i can't help but wonder what my role in all of this is. i know i don't have the answers. i can only pray to be faithful to the One who is. to show them that God finds them esteemable and treasurable.

pray that i can be faithful to the girls in the next training group that comes. that i will care deeply for the children that come, 10 in all - 8 of which are girls. (pray for their two brothers as well!) pray for my housemates, that we would love each other and spur one another on to love and good deeds. pray for my friends, that i can rejoice with them in their joys and weep with them in their sorrows. and pray that i will have the wisdom to reach out in my neighborhood and around the world at the opportunities God gives me to do so.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

adventures in cupcakes

a few weeks ago was my roommate, Bri's birthday. she loves the combination of raspberries and chocolate - so i put on my thinking cap and whipped up chocolate cupcakes with pureed red raspberries in the center and then used the juice drained off of frozen raspberries as the liquid in a buttercream frosting - topped with a fresh raspberry. Voila, cupcake wonderfulness.

and for the baby shower? that was today over lunch. i made plain old yellow cupcakes, but filled them with sweetened cream, frosted with a pale green buttercream, topped with a tart (gigantic!) blackberry and sprinkled with a dusting of green sugar. mmm...

excuse me now, while i go brush my teeth a few thousand times.

Monday, September 14, 2009

baby cakes

okay my dear baking friends - i've been asked to (okay, lets be honest, i begged to) make the cupcakes for a baby shower on thursday. i want the cupcakes to be fabulous - so does anyone have any ideas for flavors or decoration for this beautiful baby boy and his wonderful family??

Thursday, September 3, 2009


A sewing blog is giving away fabrics so I had to post it so I could have 10 more chances to win beautiful fabrics! Sorry for those of you who don't care about sewing, but I saw this on Emilee's blog and I couldn't resist getting my name in the hat as well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

final indiana update - number 3

when i was in indiana i got to go to the theater twice! if you know me well, you know that this is one of the more exciting things in my life. i love theater. the first time was at beef & boards with a group from my home church. it was a riot. the second time was at the red barn theater. i've added a few pictures, because just as the name suggests - this theater is in fact in a barn in the middle of the country. it is definitely one of the coolest places i know to see live shows.



towards the end of my time i had an event for my supporters who lived near burlington. it was a "dessert" thank you party. we had some non-sweets as well, but mostly it gave me a chance to thank people and bake, bake, bake! rachel and mom gave me a ton of help with the food prep and it was a blast. here's some of the yummy-ness.

white chocolate spice cake bites

red velvet cake bites

lemon berry puffs

white chocolate hazelnut tarts

salad tartlets

chocolate marshmallow brownies

the spread

Sunday, August 23, 2009

genesis 29

i have always been drawn to the story of leah and rachel. as a child i remember being stunned at the nerve of laban, cheating jacob from his "princess." i, being a child under the influence of disney princessdom and being the best friend of a rachel, always sided with rachel - as if, somehow, i believed that leah deserved her fate as the "ugly sister." because, after all, shouldn't beautiful rachel get everything? she was the one that jacob desired. he never asked for weak eyed leah.

and then as i got older, my heart broke a little for leah. poor leah, played like a pawn by her father. unloved by her husband. yet i always skipped forward into the story where she and rachel got petty in their child bearing turf war.

tonight, though, i noticed a nugget. a little gem in the story of leah. something from before babies started flying out from every corner of the household from every woman in the household.

leah had four sons, right in a row. the first three she names respectively - he has seen my misery (or see, a son), he hears, and attached. each son she responds with the hope that her husband will now love her for each son she provides him. she hopes in what she cannot change.

but then her fourth. she named him praise. Judah. she said quite simply, "this time i will praise the Lord." for all the times later that she didn't get it, for this moment - leah got it. somewhere she learned that her hope was in the Lord. that she couldn't change her circumstances, she couldn't make her husband love her and her sons would never fill that void, but she could praise the Lord. because the Lord saw her.

how many paths do i try to take - my reubens, simeons, and levis - trying to make my own happiness happen? instead let me find real joy in Judah - in praise. let me wake up each morning saying the words of leah, "this time i will praise the Lord." let me face each trial saying, "this time i will praise the Lord." and let me face each joy saying, "this time i will praise the Lord."

Friday, August 21, 2009

indiana trip part 2

one of the main purposes of my trip was to do a vbs at one of my main supporting churches - main street christian church in russiaville. i had a blast with the kids, teaching them about what i do and about kid's just like them in missionary families all over the world. all the nervousness i would have the night before left as soon as the kids entered the room. i will say though, that it probably was a measure of nervous energy and cherry coke that got me through the rapid pace of vbs.

my classroom set up and empty

my classroom with me in it

my classroom full of the "almost kindergarteners" group - i had pre-k through 6th graders every day, 20 minutes for each age group. it was very busy and very fun.

i got to speak at the church the sunday following the vbs - i rushed through my 5 minutes very nervously because all i could think of was the fact that i was speaking during the sunday school hour for 45 minutes. i had never had a 45 minute slot to share before - so i was nervous! yet, somewhere in the midst of my sharing in that sunday school, God stepped in and peace came over me. i had one of those beautiful moments where i felt like God was teaching even me as i shared. i was in awe of what He had been doing in my life in ways that i hadn't thought of before. it's a weird thing to have new things revealed to you as you are the one doing the speaking - so i can only say it was a God thing. pretty cool, huh?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

all the other kiddos

or, my time in indiana part 1.

i decided, based on the length of time since my last update and how much went on during my time, this would be a multi-parter. i will do my best to make it not mind-numbingly boring by using lots of pictures. :-)

aunt abby & sydney

sweet sydney who turned 12 yesterday!

Photobucket Photobucket
nicholas with his twister game face and attempt of a smile through the pain of the game.
sweet ethan played the spinner.

ethan giving a sweet grin.

ethan lending cousin gigi a hand at king's island.

though not technically their aunt, my cousin justin's kids are niece and nephew in my heart. handsome aidan and little lily.

lily giving my hat a try.

making up for the months of january through august that i missed of her life.

they love each other to bits!

niece lily and another little one who calls me aunt abby - my friend kaleena's adorable little girl mckynzye!

i love love love these kids!!