Tuesday, November 15, 2011

First post

I've posted my first post in my new (future?) blog.  Someday, soon, I'll post a link.  Message me if you want to see it sooner - but know that it is in it's veeeeerrrrrryyy  early stages.  I believe it will be my main blog as of next year, pending the start of my next adventure.  It is something dear to my heart and that is all I'm saying for now.

In the meantime, look how beautiful my niece is!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I completely forgot what I was planning on writing about in my last entry about follow through (aside from my haircut)!  You see, last month when I was in Indiana, I was hopeful.  I was motivated.  I even downloaded an app on my phone.

I was going to run.

It seemed so possible back then.

Of course, optimism seems to rise when the temperature is a high of 85 degrees with a lovely breeze.

Then I came back to Southwest Florida and the humidity hit me, a hot, balmy, reality check.  I don't even want to walk in this weather.  I feel like my whole body slows down.  Mowing last week literally almost did me in.  And I don't mean 'literally' in the overused for exaggeration purposes.  I mean 'literally' in the "I had to stop multiple times from dizziness, couldn't drink enough water, blacked out in the shower afterwards" sense.

So, running was out.  At least until January.  So I thought, "I'll buy a bike!"  So I found myself a simple used bike with every intention of starting a new routine.  Insomnia woke me up early so I decided I would go for a ride.  I glanced at the weather - 78 degrees!  Wonderful!  Oh wait, what is that?  Feels like?  It was "feels like" 92 degrees!  At 7:30 in the morning!  Sigh.  I'm probably still going to do it, but uuugghh.  

No girl should ever have to choose between being overweight and heatstroke!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

follow through

As I've gotten older, I've noticed that I talk out my ideas.  When I say, "I think I will audition for a play" or "I think I'm going to make a skirt out of a men's dress shirt" or "I think I'll cut off all of my hair," what I mean is that I've thought of an idea and I'm throwing it out there so I can process.

I'm afraid people may think I'm a bit of a flake when I don't end up doing even half of the things I say I will .  I love a good idea.  And I get interested in far more things than I could ever hope to accomplish.

But every once in a while I actually do one of the things I say I will.


And After!:

Now the question remains - will I make that skirt or audition for that play or recover my dining room chairs or mow the lawn or put in plants in the front yard or use mason jars for everything or make every recipe I see or start a bakery or become a public speaker or ....  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Fern and Leon

You know a story is going to be sweet when the main characters are named Fern and Leon.

And this is the real kind, not made up.  Although I may someday write a children's book with main characters by those names.  Because I'm smitten.

On Saturday I was struggling with our little lawn mower to try to mow a few weeks' worth of grass and weeds.  I'm not exactly known for my physical prowess, so I was struggling a bit.  Every few minutes I had to stop and dump grass clippings.  

Then slowly a white car pulled alongside my yard and stopped.  The window came down and a white haired man hollered at me, "You look like you have your work cut out for you!" 

I wasn't really in the mood for commentary, but I looked up and put on my brave face and told him I was doing the best I could.  He and his wife told me that they lived two doors down and began to make small talk with me about being from the midwest and whether I was of British descent.  They told me their names, Leon and Fern, and I told them mine.  

Then very conclusively Leon told me that he had a great riding mower and that they were going to the store but afterwards ("If it's not raining," said Fern) I'll come here and mow your yard for you.  I tried in vain to talk him out of it, but it was settled.  He told me that I would still have to do trim, but that he would be back. ("And if it rains, he'll come tomorrow," said Fern).  

He was.  A white haired angel on a riding mower.  I had mowed for an hour and half already.  I think it easily would have taken me another 5-6 hours to finish.  What a blessing he was.  

As Fern put it, "We're neighbors now, we might as well get to know each other."  I'm just excited that I have neighbors like Leon and Fern.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

pithy little complaints

I made beignets Monday night.  Pillowy, doughnutty, wonderfulnesses.  Yes, I am aware that every word in my last sentence is made up.

 These aren't mine.  I forgot to take a picture of mine.  These are Paula Deen's.  But they don't have butter in them.  Go figure.  So - one of these days I'll remember that I have a fancy phone now with a camera and I will take pictures of such things.  Someday.

The oil popped when I was making them, however, and my face and hand are now graced with some tiny burns.

And honestly?  I'm just a little put out that my two little face burns look like zits and my hand burn looks like a big ole wart!  It is really nothing to complain about, but as a card-carrying girl, I just don't like it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Oh my prec!

Preciousness.  I wish I had my camera with me all the time when I was up north.  I met 5 brand new babies and several of my friends' older kids for the first time.  Silly me to not get any of them on camera!  Some of them did, so I'm hoping that slowly but surely I'll get some pictures.

I did, however, get pictures of my nieces and nephews.

surprised by lilies

gathering for Grandma's table

learning from Uncle Craig

getting the hang of it

sweet sassy molassy

bubblegum, bubblegum, in a dish

sweet cousins, matching bangs

intent on his next move

blessed to be family

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fine Lines and Acne

There is something I've noticed in the mirror lately.

Little tiny lines around my eyes.  No, not the ones when you smile - the ones that stay after you smile.  Also, huge honking zits, that keep showing up in the oddest places.  Teenage zits are respectable, they come in normal places, like your forehead and nose.  Late 20's zits? Totally unpredictable.  Farthest corner of my jaw?  Check.  Near my ear?  Check.  Inside my nose?  Really?  And yes, Check.

I've decided that if there is ever a book to be written about this stage of my life it has to be called "Fine Lines and Acne - Negotiating Your Late 20's/Early 30's."  Did anyone ever warn me about this?  I clearly wasn't listening.

There are many quirky things about this era.  I always thought that erm...shape shifting...would occur after I had babies.  I am now convinced that this happens regardless of babies.   Gray hair, curves, and fine lines all seem to be taking their rightful place on me.  I "can't eat what I used to."  Of course, I still do - but I am sure that somewhere 16 year old Abby is in shock at the hips on 28 year old Abigail.

Yet, I have a face that still fools people into believing I am in high school.  Ticket takers are rarely close enough to see these little lines creeping in on my face and those few stray gray hairs.  And today, when trying to wrangle my pre-haircut hair into something manageable, I came up with braids.  Two of them.  Surely there is a hairstyle out there that would make me look older than 14?  But do I want it?

You see I can't decide if I want to look older or younger.  I'm not wishing my youth away.  I still hope to be a blushing bride someday.  But I have no desire to be a teenager again.  Those days are gone.  (I wish the acne was too!)   My body clearly can't decide either.  Hence the fine lines.  And the acne.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Stats

Well, since May, I have:

- Eaten about a million of the mangos mentioned in my last post.

- Added another year to my life.  28!?  Really?

- Decided to try to use proper capitalization again in my blog.  Stylistically, I liked all lowercase.  But, it might be time?

- Went through Partnership Development training (yes, 5 years into living as support based missionary - maybe a tad bit overdue?).

- Visited 5 billion potential rental houses, found one, and moved in - with my roommate Tara.

- Had the first moving day in 5 years where I didn't break down and cry!  Not once!  Praise God and the amazing team of people who helped us.  By NOON on moving day everything was out of our old house, kitchen was almost completely unpacked, beds were set up and made, living room finished and everyone was eating lunch.  I took a nap on moving day!  How awesome is that?

- Took a day away with God to focus my 28th year - He gave me a verse on His mercy - "He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." My prayer for this year is that I would understand God's mercy and be generous with it myself.  And that I would stop focusing all my efforts on the "righteous" things I think I'm doing!

- Spent a last hurrah day at Busch Gardens with my roommates as we went from a trio to a duo.

- Made cute baby things.

- Started really enjoying the new house.

- Started really disliking both of my neighbors dogs' barking.

- Given the communion/offering message twice - stood in amazement in how God provides the words I need, when I need them and somehow uses bumbly me to speak to other's hearts.

- Worked.  A lot.  Hard.  Cried with people.  Celebrated with them.  Crossed another name off my board as they went to the mission field.  Stood in anticipation of reports of the gospel being shared globally.

- Did a mini photo shoot to get a new picture for my prayer card.

- May have figured out what to do about all my little short hairs (re-growth from the hair that fell out last year due to stress, I kid you not)!

- Dressed like a cow to get free chicken.

(how cute is my preggo cow friend, Helen?)

- Discovered how deeply I love Mason jars.

- Became addicted to Pintrest. It's so helpful and fun!

- And most recently, decided to totally nerd-out and watch all the Harry Potter movies for the first time.  (I was never opposed to them and realized that someday if I read/watched and enjoyed them, I would kick myself for never seeing any of the movies on the big screen.  I would prefer to read first, but this time I'm going to have to do it the other way around.  I'm sure I'll still read them someday, probably when my kids read them.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

it's May...

and it is hot, hot, hot!   We've been rockin' 90+ degree temperatures daily for a while now and my struggling deodorant is proof.  I just spent a few minutes outside chatting with one of the ladies here at the mission and I am steamy mess right now.

What can I say though?  I love the sunshine.  It's a beautiful thing that I enjoy greatly (ahem...from indoors).

We chatted about house rentals (so hard to find the right one!) and the guilt we feel during our many moves (I've averaged at least 3 a year for the past 10 years) because we feel we shouldn't have so much stuff.  All the while I was blowing kisses with this pretty little pixie -

She was just a baby last year when she came through Orientation at the mission with her two big brothers.  It's a ball watching her bubbly personality shine through.  She's all bubbly, dainty, giggly, chatty, and a total ham.  

Something good is coming from all this hot, hot, hot too.  Can you spot them?

I'll give you a closer look - 

Mmmmm...it won't be too long now until they are ripe!  Do you know what they are?

Monday, April 4, 2011

it's a...

saturday i made almost 80 cake pops to help my friends Shane & Helen announce their baby's gender.  for two weeks i've carried the secret around, no one, including mom and dad-to-be knew.

so what would it be?  blue or purple?


almost everyone, including Shane & Helen thought that the baby was going to be a little girl - so watching the shock on everyone's faces as they bit into the cake pops was so much fun.  it was so exciting to see everyone, from little kids to grandparents, get in on the excitement.

can't wait to meet you baby boy Kingery.  your aunt Kylee would have been so excited to meet you.  i hope you have a whole lot of her love and spunk.  (Shane is Kylee's brother).  

Friday, March 25, 2011

swamp boat

mom and dad were in town a few weeks ago.  during that time we decided to do a "swamp boat" tour on the everglades.  it was exciting for all of us, including me, since i don't often do the "touristy" things around here.

just on the boat - momma & her sister, my aunt marilyn

daddy & i after we took off.  the boats were loud - requiring our awesome headgear!

another boat with an unexpected ride-along!

(a funny bird is a pelican...his mouth can hold more than his belly-can!)

beautiful waterways we zoomed through!

our whole group - my parents, aunt, me, and two strangers!

and at the end of the trip we got our own visitor on our boat.  his feet were literally about 2 feet from mine - if that!

he made me a wee-bit nervous.

another part of me just wanted to pull on his stretchy neck - but i didn't think that would end so well!

Friday, March 4, 2011

baby shower

i threw a baby shower for my co-worker brittney a few weeks ago.  we had it just in time, their little girl, Ezra, was born 4 days later!

it was so much fun to host at my new place, crowded, but fun.  we had 15 people RSVP and almost 30 came!   good thing i tend to over prepare!

mommy-to-be getting food

 paper heart garlands!

 we painted onsies for baby lohman - who NMSI folks nicknamed "Bohman" because we didn't know the baby's name or gender!

"TWEE"  how cute is that?!  and yours truly made the blocks onsie. 

helen drew a treasure chest on the bottom of hers and labeled it, "precious booty inside!" and wrote "Treasured" on the front side.  

even the mommy made one!  (while looking amazing at 9 months pregnant!)

and finally, sweet Ezra Nichole after she made her appearance - in her "Love" onsie made by Beth!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


i can remember as a little girl taking in a quarter for nursery school offering at Faith Church.  very happily digging it out of daddy's coin basket on his desk, carrying it in my little longaberger basket purse, and placing it in miss peggy's little, white, church-shaped piggy bank.

years later, as a babysitter and waitress, i wrestled with and then turned to proudly giving my tithe.

i'd always been a saver, so not having money was not so much a problem for me.  but i've had to learn lessons about what to do with my other 90%, post-tithe.

i didn't have a job during my first two years of college, i worked in the summers and i knew my parents had my back.  my junior year i happened upon 2 jobs.  a resident assistant job in the dorms (that i didn't really desire, but applied for because i thought it would be fun and we'd have a bigger room) and a teaching assistant job with the new mission's professor, who my roommate was working for.

something changed in me.  somewhere after earning money i started feeling like a "poor college student."  i took the position of my friends.  "i can't do that, i'm a poor college student."

i remember vividly my dad sitting me down over a break and telling me it made him sad to hear me say that.  he told me i was not a poor college student because i had him and my mom.  that instead, i should go out to eat or whatever, from time to time and if my friends couldn't afford it, then i should treat them. if i couldn't afford it, then i should charge it to them.  the lesson was learned.  rarely did i have to fall back on my parents, but i knew i could.  instead a great lesson was learned.


always find ways to be generous.  God will always provide.

i think back now and wonder how destructive it would have been, had i enter mission work without this mindset.  how many times would i have said, "oh, i'm just a poor missionary."

sometimes i need the reminder.  but i am so thankful for the lesson to be generous and the joy that God allows me to have every time i give something away.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

dying breed

when i first came to NMSI the singles complained that the "era of the singles" was dying out.  so many had married and the heyday of it being an organization of singles taking over the world was fading.

yet i looked around and we still had two full girls' houses and a full guys' house.  we just had a lot of young couples and families too!

recently i found out that with more people leaving, i will be the only single, non-dating, full-time staff person at the cgo.  we have 1 person each in a girls' house and a guys' house.

now.  now the heyday is over.  it's an interesting thing to be the only person in your bracket.   i don't know of any other single, late 20s men or women around here.

don't get me wrong.  i am BLESSED beyond belief at the people who God has put in my life.  wonderful roommates, co-workers, amazing church family.  and the reality is that, until God provides, no one truly can understand my life position but God.  so here i stand and i depend.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

God timer

for the next two months i'm taking part in an experiment of sorts.  it's been done before and it is described in the book Soul Revolution.  as of yesterday, my small group is doing a 60/60 experiment.

one of those 60's stands for days, the other minutes.  every 60 minutes i have a little kitchen timer go off telling me to stop what i'm doing and connect with God.  we are doing this for the next 60 days.  some people are using stopwatches, some are getting text messages, i'm using a small kitchen timer in my pocket, purse, or on my desk or counter.

no big deal, right?  already i'm amazed.  yesterday was emotionally rough.  i'm not sure how i would have made it though without the constant reminder of God's presence.  many times when that timer beeped i just prayed, "God, You're really there, right?"  and then peace would wash over me.

one of my roommates said she got so annoyed yesterday, each time her phone went off.  she was always in the midst of changing a poopy diaper or some other mess.  i wholeheartedly agreed that - yes, it feels inconvenient to connect with God.  i've already thought ahead to certain meetings and events and wondered how do i do this.  and yet, at the same time, it's connecting with God - just once an hour!  that feels like a definite less-than-minimum.

and yet i'm excited.  yes, sometimes i know that timer will drive me nuts.  but i can't help but think and hope that this little experiment has the makings of being transformational for us.  because we are connecting to the Vine.  and i am praying for fruit.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

my kitchen is mocking me

seriously.  my kitchen is mocking me.  while the rest of my house is packed up or already bare in preparation for my move across town today, my kitchen sits, untouched.

it's listed on my to-do list as, "Pack Kitchen - ugggg!!"

maybe it was that can-do spirit that got me to this point.

magnets still on the fridge.  pan of brownies on the stove.  avocado ripening on the counter.  full cabinets, stocked fridge.  i don't even know where to begin.

it think it's my 20+ moves since i moved out of my parent's house that has done this to me.  because now i know.  kitchen moving is hard!  everything is breakable or perishable.  everything is heavy.  lots of little utensils.  oy.

so did i come out of 3 months of no blogs to complain about kitchen packing?

of course not.  this is my round about way of letting people know i'm moving into a cheaper, yet bigger house, with 2 friends from church - a blessing!

and also, to let people know my kitchen is mocking me.

i swear i just heard a chuckle from behind the fridge.