Monday, November 8, 2010

who was i kidding?

i really thought i could get future posts done, the last time i posted.  even though i posted just days before our next training group came.  even though the internet was out at my house.  i was optimistic.  today i'll just say that this is a post for now and maybe eventually another one will follow.  :-)  how's that for honest!

life, following suit to this entire year, has be characterized by extremely hard circumstances combined with an overwhelming sense of peace from God.  i hope that is what i am exhibiting to those around me.  i have tried to testify to what God has done and sometimes it seems that i let myself get in the way, because, after all, little dramas make good stories - and i like to tell a good story!

like, did i tell you about how i fell over the gas pump two weeks ago?....

but even better, did i tell you how my God has constantly, over and over, provided for my needs, my hurts, and my fears.  how He has seemingly hand crafted a Bible study for myself & the women who come to my house each week to meet our needs each and every week?  how my entire viewpoint on worry seems to be changed forever because of a sermon and a week of opportunity after opportunity to not worry (i'm sure you can imagine what that means!).  God is so good.

an old friend from jbc has been sharing in her blog, "growing more grateful" things she is thankful for everyday.  i love it!  so i'm going to share a few things now, a habit i want to form to testify how great God is!

i'm thankful for these women that i got to teach in SE Asia in September

i'm thankful for this delightful little boy.  it's been almost 8 months since his momma left this world, but he is a testament to how good God truly is!
homeschooling is going well.  right now, between my all the time family, my COAT training family and a family here for processing/debrief after their first term in Africa - I am working with 11 kids daily with school, processing and training!  praise God for an amazing assistant in Brittney!  praise God for cooler weather, so we can stretch outside when the room becomes a madhouse!

praise God for amazing friends - here in the mission, in Indiana, in my wonderful Church family - so many people to uplift me and share the joy of God in the midst of these hard times.
this walk would be so much harder alone.  i'm thankful He never has left me alone.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

life these days

busy busy busy abby - that's what my sister-in-law called me yesterday in an email.  i never think about how busy i am regularly, that is, until i talk to a neighbor that i haven't seen in weeks because i'm always coming and going, or until fridays.

fridays...sigh.  i homeschool kids monday through thursday mornings and so friday is my "i don't have time for that now, i'll just do it on friday" catch up day at the end of every week.  it always feels like i hit the ground running and don't stop the entire day.  our next COAT group comes in next week, so prep is at a crazy high.  aren't fridays supposed to be relaxed??

today i'm sitting at panera using their free wifi, trying to update my life and prepare for church tomorrow.  i was asked to do the communion message for this week a while ago.  the Lord has put something on my heart, now the task is not getting distracted in these final preparation moments.  it's so easy to do.  i have plants that need planted in front of my house, i have to pick up my new-to-me washing machine today, bake a dessert for tomorrow night, do the stacks of laundry that have been piling up since my old washer went kaput, take a table and chairs to a friend...and so it goes.

i want to write a long update about asia, but right now panera is filling up and i feel like i should give some sweet senior citizens my table.  so i'll leave links to my friends' website - they have a podcast about my time in M and you can hear Maggie's thoughts briefly about her first days out of the country for the first time in her 16-year old life!  also there is a short video clip of us petting actual white elephants!  so cool.  they are albinos and asia is where the whole "white elephant" gift tradition came from, as explained here.  and to explain my face in the picture here, that is me masking fear with a smile.  i know how strong elephants are - they are the most deadly animal in africa, did you know that!?  i did not like turning my back to her to be able to smile for pictures.  i thought they were lovely, i liked petting and feeding them, aaaaannndd, i was very very nervous.  please don't hit me with your super strong trunk.  please don't stomp me!  but i made it out alive and we got to do that for free!

as soon as i get internet back at home, i will attempt to write more stories of the time in asia.  God gave me some amazing opportunities to teach and serve.  and He amazed me with His faithfulness in my travels.

pray for my time tomorrow speaking at church.  i'm honored and excited to share, but also nervous.  pray that my favorite nervousness word, "ummm" doesn't overtake me and i will speak only what God wants me to share - and clearly!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


is what happens to your welcome mat when you never use your front door and you live in the jungle.

okay, i don't really live in "the jungle."  but it feels like it.  my house is surrounded by tropical trees and vegetation.  and mosquitos.  so i call it the jungle.  

and it's home.  

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

asia bound

i'm going back!

tomorrow morning i leave my house at 4:15 am.  from there i will travel for almost 2 full days (and nights!) to south east asia with maggie, the wonderful 16 year old daughter of friends.

i am so excited to head back to myanmar and go to cambodia for the first time.  so excited to be with our workers there and encourage all of our M's in asia at our regional conference in cambodia.  cannot wait to work with all of the M's kids at the conference - including meeting several of the kids for the first time, since they've been born since i saw their families last!

for the conference to be uplifting to all of our workers from the asia region.

for wisdom & rest for myself - so i can be an encouragement to all i encounter.

safety in travel - and sanity!  i have a 19 hour flight there and a 23 hour flight back (each has a refuel stop, but no real layover).  i'm honestly dreading these...please pray for me to rest in God's peace and that i actually get some sleep.

matt boden, my friend who's wonderful wife, kylee, died earlier this year is traveling to the asia conference as well, bringing his youngest two children with him.  last year he and kylee, with 1.5 year old sarai,  traveled to cambodia to see if it was a potential opportunity for their family.   matt is returning to those they visited - most of his closest friends in the mission are in asia countries as well.  he is going to help with the conference and to allow others the opportunity to grieve with him and get the chance to meet baby Caleb.  he will be traveling with a 3 year old & 6 month old alone, so i'm sure he would appreciate prayers for the travel and the grieving process with our nationals & M's in asia.

that God will bless my time with Maggie!  And for all the relationships I'll be renewing.  That I will be willing to be used in any way and have my eyes open to God's working!

love you all - see you in 2.5 weeks!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

internet Jesus and the search for answers

“look at me. i need you to give me a verbal answer.  looking away from me silently is not an answer.  even if you don’t know, you still need to respond audibly.”

i found myself saying these words to one of my kids this week.  homeschooling has started back up and all week i’ve noticed that when i ask Micah a question he didn’t know how to answer or thought that the answer wasn’t desirable – he would simply look away in silence.  it was driving me batty.  so by thursday i sat toe to toe with him and laid it out for him.  i needed a response.

funny how God teaches us lessons.  tonight my week with micah and my life group conversation came colliding. we were talking about the one question we would ask God if we could.  most of us assumed that we would be in heaven to do this asking. 

i mused why i, myself, pictured myself questioning God in heaven at the end of my life, rather than on earth, now.

i realized i wanted an audible answer. 

i want the easy way.  the quick direct answer from God, please.

you see, even with Micah, i can usually figure out what he’s thinking without him giving me an audible response – i just have to try harder.  i have to watch his non-verbal cues.  i have to know him.  if i try, i can see when he’s frustrated, disappointed or mad.  it just takes work. 

it takes relationship.

so it goes with God.  i want “internet God.” instant answers.  instant help, when i want it.  

i don’t want to ask God a question and then wait for an answer.  i want it now!  just like the bratty Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka, “don’t care how, i want it now!”  i become a bad egg.  i convince myself that i’m not made to wait for answers.  i’ll pray and 6 seconds later i’m off, frustrated that God hasn’t spoken yet.

yet, there is no relationship in “internet Jesus.”  relationships take work.  and it’s beautiful when a friend “learns you.”  when you understand them – like me understanding that Micah sometimes needs to be silent while I need to slow down my need for instant answers from him and just be around him – you get something far deeper and greater than you could imagine.  

i want answers but i don't want to wait for them.  even more so, i don't want to invest in the relationship with God, to understand who He is.  i'm a child of my generation - microwave food, internet, iphones, atms.  i live in a world that moves fast.  i get antsy when the internet connection is slow or i can't text someone.  yet i try to demand the same of God.  God who took 9 months to painstakingly form me in my mother's womb.  

God is more than worthy to be savored.  

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

small things

sometimes what i do feels small.  very small.  i see little differences.  i hear little encouragements.  yet it all seems purposeless in the grand scheme of things.  i've helped a kid grow from reading 1-3 sentences to reading chapter books.  helped a child come out of their shell.  broken down walls in a little boy so that he welcomes things out of his comfort zone.  helped a little girl learn how to spell her first words.  

yet billions, yes billions, do not know Christ as their Savior.  millions will go to bed hungry tonight.  child prostitution around the world rages on.  people are abused and rejected without hope.  homes are destroyed by earthquakes, famines, floods.  

and i sit in fort myers because God has not told me to "go."  i teach because He has sent me these children to me.  6 kids now, from 2 different families.  

and i try to wrap my mind around the diversity in my mind.  the burden for the world mentally, yet so often my spirit is unwilling.   because deep down - this is what i want:

to be a wife and mother.  and do it as well as i possibly can.  no matter where i am.  

and i don't see how that meshes with solving all the world's problems and it's deep need for Christ either.  

maybe i'm made for the small things.  maybe i'll never end up in any history books.  maybe i'll never be famous (and i admit it, most of my life i've wanted that - drama queen that i am).  

maybe i'm made for the small things.  and the question is, will i do them well?  or will i sit and stew because they feel small?  will i worry that i'm not important, while forgetting that the truth is that i'm actually not important, but the God of all creation is?

maybe it's okay to feel small.

Friday, May 21, 2010

God is so good to me

it's been a crazy week.  how many of us can say that most weeks?

one week ago at this time i was sitting at my desk crying because i had the rude realization that i had absolutely no credit, meaning that there are so many things that i can't do without credit.  i felt so embarrassed that i got to almost 27 before i realized how important establishing credit was.

and then i went home and made cupcakes for my friend's birthday party that night - which ended up also ended up being a surprise early birthday party for me!  

a few days ago i was driving to my friends' house to babysit for their kids when wham - a truck slammed into the back corner of my car.  turns out the truck was trying to make a left turn across 3 lanes of traffic behind me while i was stopped at a red light.  a car coming in the far lane couldn't see the truck coming and they slammed into each other and as a by product, into me.

within a minute, 2 couples from NMSI, the Steiners & the Kuests, on their way home saw me and pulled over to stand with me, calm me, hug me, and help me figure out information to take down and talk to the police.  i walked towards one of the cars and noted how both cars were leaking fluids and were badly smashed.  i looked at Bob (who i call Papa Bob) and remarked, "I have so much to be thankful for."  No one was hurt, I didn't go into shock, and my car was barely scathed.  God's hand was on me!
last night after a great evening with my friends, i put my hand in my purse to check for my house keys and had the sudden memory of tossing my keys to my purse earlier that night at my house and missing my purse.  at the time i thought, "i better not forget to pick those up (and then promptly forgot).  all i could do was look at my friends sheepishly and tell them, at midnight, that i had locked myself out of my house!

my wonderful friend elisha offered to follow me home and see if she could help.  we found an unlocked window that we pried open and she could shimmy into and get to the door (no small feat, these are crank windows, not exactly spacious.  i told her i would never again begrudge her for being so much skinnier than i am - because God provides!  and it was a great laugh.  (i wish i could show you all the pictures, but i promised her i wouldn't).  :-)

and today i held beautiful newborn Madelyn at the hospital, daughter of my friends, the Fosters.  an adorable reminder that life keeps going on.

and my church increased my support without me even having to ask - what an answer to prayer!!

and the showtunes that my pandora station has been playing all afternoon are wonderful and i keep singing along for my poor office-mate.

God is so good to me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

mi casa

i'm all moved in, more or less.  things are still a mess and i'm waiting on an entertainment center to get delivered from friends before i start hanging things on the wall - but, i'm in.  and it is slowly but surely feeling (and smelling!) like home.

oh smell.  that was my one big hiccup moving in.  when i toured the house it smelled, well, like nothing, because i didn't notice a thing.  but somewhere along the lines before the other girl moved out and i moved in, she had guests over who smoked in the driveway with the house door open.  and in a house this small, the smell went everywhere.  smoke is one of my highest allergens and she tried to negate it with 8 glade plug-ins.  again, tiny house, way too much scent.

so i have thrown all the glades out, and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned.  and it's starting to smell like home for me.  slightly lavender and slightly of baked goods.  all is well.

living room (back door to small covered deck & washer/dryer)

close up on thrift store lamp & garage sale sewing cabinet - lamp is new, sewing cabinet has been around a while, aren't they great!

standing on the other side of the living room facing the front door.  kitchen is to the left.  isn't the "library chair" a hoot!?  as with the other furniture, they are all loans from friends.  it may not be my first pick in chairs, but it sure is comfy.

looking into the kitchen standing by the "library chair."  the eat-in counter wraps around.  it's a teeny kitchen, but has a surprising amount of counter space.

looking directly into the kitchen.  notice the little pass-through window that looks into what could be a dining room, but i'm using as a guest room/sitting room.  

close-up of the pass through window and my canisters.

bathroom shower curtain.  i love the bathroom, both it and the kitchen have gorgeous stone work done in them by the owner's father.  

pass through window from the sitting room.  this room is almost all windows and gets tons of light.  it might be my favorite.  it has a double bed that i'm going to use for guests or as a nice big couch.  someday soon i'll have a comforter to go with the pretty green metal tree that will be hung on the wall soon.

my bedroom.  gorgeous bedroom suite left by the previous tenant.  it's queen sized and right now has a double bed in it.  i'm hoping to someday have a queen mattress for it, but right now i am feeling so blessed by such a beautiful (free!) bed that i can wait for God to provide a mattress set that actually fits it.  there is a mirrored dresser that matches as well.  

well, there's the house!  it's hard to tell, but there is a chair rail that goes all around the bedroom and living room.  the living room is two colors (darker on bottom) and the bedroom is all one, which i would love to change, but i'll have to talk to my landlords (the wife is the CFO of NMSI) about that.  it's a cozy little cottage.  

come visit me!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

la vie est belle

it's funny, most people try to do something special for their "100th post" on their blogs.  i happened to notice that my last post was my hundredth.  i suppose it is fitting that i remembered an amazing friend in my 100th post, though it definitely wasn't any of the fun ideas i had toyed with a year ago when i thought of doing that post.  but life often necessitates different options.  my former housemate ashleigh, just wrote her 100th post, from her life in Kenya.  it's a fun read from the mission field.

the past month i have felt like a failure in communication.  i have sat down many times to update my blog and then had no words, or rather, too many words to express all i was feeling.

i have started to pick up the phone, then set it down, because there was no way to speak.

started messages or emails, and then erased them, because i couldn't settle on what to say.

i thought of pictures i could share from my housemate, Kristy's wedding.  i was both bridesmaid and the cake maker, but alas, we did not pick out bridesmaid dresses with pockets, so i took nary a picture.  i will post some soon when i can get some good pics from friends.  it was a truly beautiful day and a bright spot in a hard month of life.

i thought about sharing about the night last week when a cheese grater made me cry in Publix.  that's right, a cheese grater.  the kind like they have at olive garden.  you see, kylee boden had that grater and every time i used it at her house we would talk about how great it was and how i needed to buy one.  so by the time i had reached the household cleaners isle, i was sobbing.  and i reached for a sale priced cleaner to smell it (it didn't smell good) and as i screwed the lid back on, the spray nozzle shattered in my hand.  in shock from my display of apparent brute strength, i burst out laughing.  as Truvy on Steel Magnolias states, "laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."

so i continue on.  all who are left here in this life continue on.  waiting for our true home in Heaven (the link is what Kylee Boden herself wrote about being hungry for heaven).  this week in Bible with my homeschoolers, we are devoting the whole week to Heaven and the beautiful parables about the kingdom of Heaven, such a deep reassurance of Christ at work in us already.

Exciting notes
:  i'm starting a unit on shakespeare with my homeschoolers.  they are preschool - 4th grade age and they are pumped.  we're turning an entire wall into the story of romeo & juliet.

at the same time i'm planning on teaching them fundamentals of drama and speech, helping them become better speakers and  listeners.  i'm already having so much fun with this.  their mom and i talked about how we learned to hate shakespeare in high school because it was so confusing, but the stories were actually beautiful.  we're excited to see how the kid's respond to shakespeare at their level.  so far, so good.

also, i'm moving out!  after a lot of prayer, i've realized that God doesn't seem to be done with me here yet.  i'm still determining what it is that He has for me, but i do have a definite peace about not having peace about going overseas yet.  since i have been getting deeply more invested at my church here and a wanting to be a little more settled if i'm going to be here for at least the next year, i decided to ask one of the women in the mission if her rental properties might be available in the future.  as i'm sure God knew, her tenant across the street from her house was moving out may 5th and she would love to rent to me.  i prayed about it and visited the house and said yes.  in a few weeks i'm moving to my own little cottage!  it is an adorable one (and a half) bedroom house right across the street from two families in the mission.  i'm pumped about the opportunities to host and care for people from my home.  i'll only be a 12 minute drive from the mission and within walking/biking distance from most of the families in the mission.
already i have been blown away by people offering furnishings and i know God will continue to provide for me.  i can't wait to share pictures soon.

lastly, i leave a few pictures of the boden family with beautiful baby caleb, taken a few weeks ago.  
la vie est belle.  life is beautiful.

2.5 year old Sarai, baby Caleb, 5 year old Seth

Daddy Matt with 5 year old Lydia & baby Caleb

Thursday, March 18, 2010


yesterday i lost one of my closest and dearest friends.  she was perhaps the best wife and mom i have ever met, loved people deeply, cried freely with and for others.  i'm having a hard time at this moment even believing this reality, even though i have spent most of the past 15 hours in tears.  Kylee died yesterday from eclampsia, leaving behind her husband Matt (of who she was his biggest fan and adored him in beautiful depths), children Seth, Lydia, and Sarai (who she loved to gather in her arms and tell them, "ohhh, i just love you so much!") and tiny infant Caleb, who she never got the chance to meet.

i am overwhelmed with sorrow.  i know where she is.  she is dancing and singing for the King of Kings, just like she was created to do and loved doing here on earth.  she had such a deep hope in heaven, a delight in Jesus.  she is going to be so deeply missed.  our loss is immense.  but it is not the end.  she's getting the party started, i'll see her in heaven again.  i can't wait for that hug.  

please pray friends.  while our hope is in heaven, this hurts so deeply.  

i want to put this on here because this brings me joy.  Kylee dancing and air guitaring to "God will lift up your head."  She had given me that song to listen to when I was struggling and in a hard place.  I can't think of anything more fitting.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

yummy pie & an adorable friend

last night i made an cheddar crust apple pie because...well, i needed to bake.  i made a pie like this when i was about 9 years old for 4-H, losing highest honors to somebody's cherry pie (that had boiled over!!).  no i'm not bitter about that thank you, but i have always been sad that i promptly lost the recipe and never was able to make that yummy goodness again.

so i tried again and if my housemates give it a thumbs up at family dinner tonight i'll post pics and the recipe.  i'm excited about the dinner that will precede the pie too, lemon chicken with sweet pea tortellini that i got out of my most recent rachael ray magazine.  mmmmm...

now, while this may lower my chances at getting something fun, i do want to share about my friend rachel's giveaway.

because who can resist sharing a friend this adorable with the world?

i dream that someday when we are 50 or 60 we will open a bakery together.  we will change the world one cupcake with a sprinkle of Jesus' love at a time.  can you see it?  rachel, have i told you this before?  are you in?

so head over here to visit her giveaway.  all you have to do is tell her a dream or something you're thankful for...and who couldn't use a reminder of God's goodness in the middle of the work week?

Monday, February 22, 2010

pray for Gigi

my niece, Gianna, had pneumonia recently. her lung hasn't drained properly during her recovery, so tomorrow (tuesday) morning at 11 am she is having a surgery to insert tubes to drain her lung. she'll probably be in the hospital for about a week for recovery.  please pray for a complete and speedy recovery for her.  also for endurance and peace for my brother & sis-in-law, Ashley Wade & Jen.  I'm sure they are worn out considering how long this illness has been, Gigi's earlier hospital stay from the pneumonia and caring for Gigi's baby brother, Dominic.

aunt abby wants her baby girl back to playing and having fun!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

who woke up with her cranky pants on??

i woke up this morning Cranky.  yes, cranky with a capital c.  i can't say that i even woke up that way, because i'm not sure i even slept all that much last night.  instead of thankfulness that i had an extra day off for the weekend yesterday (thanks President's for the day) i was cranky that it was over.  i didn't want to get up and ended up running way behind all morning.

and yet God is gracious to me.  even with my crummy bad attitude.  even when i feel like i'm about to fall over tired.

first off, jennie called and said that a family friend had stopped by and the kid's wouldn't be over for school for an extra half hour.  exactly the time i needed to finish getting ready for them.

(wait, back up a second, Abigail - have you told anyone yet that you are homeschooling full-part-time this semester?  nope?!  that's what i thought.)  ahem.  i'm homeschooling 4 of my former coat kids this semester while their family gets settled into the community here in fort myers and their mom does homeschooling for 4 of the older siblings.  so every morning i am trying my best to pack a full day of school into the lives of a preschooler, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders!  and it looks like this:

okay, not exactly like this.  although the cribs have become their favorite spot for silent reading.

it actually looks more like this, only with less workbooks now - this picture is from during their time with me in COAT when we were doing bare minimum homeschool.  now we are doing all out projects and lessons.  tiring and so rewarding.

anyways, back to ungrateful cranky-pants morning.  

the key to it all is in that sentence.  ungrateful.  here comes the confession - it's good for the soul, right?  just yesterday i cried to my housemate as i told her i realized i had been basically spitting in God's face.  i've prayed for a family of my own and He's told me to look at the family He's given me in my house and i've been telling Him it wasn't good enough.  i've prayed for children and He's shown me all the kids that are in my life and i've been telling Him it wasn't good enough.

how ungrateful i've been!  how untrusting of my Abba Father!

i think that's why it didn't take me so long today to realize the source of my crankiness.  and God opened my eyes.  and so many have blessed me today!  3 people in the past 24 hours have out of nowhere (well 2 out of 3) told me how much they see God working in me and also how excited they are for me to someday be married and what that will be like for me. oh how that spoke to my weary heart.  because i don't see those things.  and i think a girl can start to wonder if they have a giant "gift of celibacy" tattoo on their forehead that she can't see - and to hear others dream for me and to see something good in me - all i can say is that God is overwhelmingly good to me.  i am so thankful that He continues to work in me even when i'm stubborn, sleepy, and capital c - Cranky.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

God's painting

though not intentional, i seem to have taken a nice long break from blogging.  surprisingly, i have not missed it.  yet, i shall try to return.

i was just walking back upstairs into our office building.  (NMSI's offices are the entire second floor of an office building and one large suite downstairs.  we are able to rent out the other downstairs suites to various places, including a coffee/ten thousand villages shop, a hearing clinic, a church and others.)  i took the stairs, since it's better for me and i can avoid our terrifying elevator.  both of our stairwells have a large picture window high up on the second story.  one of these windows is blocked by a tree, but the other one faces south towards the beautiful open sky.

i love looking through this window.  the "picture" changes every time.  sometimes it is clear crystal blue.  other times it has pretty wispy clouds or dark, powerful clouds.  other times the picture is deep blue and full of stars.  i know that all i have to do is step outside and i can take in the view of the sky as a whole.  but outside also comes with trees and power lines and traffic.  inside the stairwell, i get a quiet beautiful glimpse of something glorious.  a painting created by the most amazing creator.

and God knows that i'm limited.  that sometime He must give me His glory in small, yet gorgeous bites.  it's why He "never gives us more than we can handle."  and somehow, looking through the picture window, i get a daily dose of how good God is and how much He cares for me to paint such a beautiful blue canvas for me to enjoy.