Saturday, September 27, 2014

quotable | lazy...

In my defense, I was up at 7:42am.  So sue me if I want to stay in my pajamas and drink my cup of coffee for a few hours after that...  It's the weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

thoughts | twenty six

My birthday is the one of my least favorite days of the year.

I know how ungrateful this sounds.  God chooses to give me life and breath for another 365 days, filling my life and lungs with purpose, giving me grace upon grace and this is how I choose to react.  My parents and siblings put up with my shenanigans and grumpy moods all while loving and taking care of me and feeding me the occasional donut.  It's really quite pathetic.  I'm quite pathetic.  But hear me out.  This struggle is real in my life.

Every year, as September 23 draws closer, the same thought is on repeat in my brain...

"I thought I'd be farther along by now."

That's the hardest part.  Surely by 24, I'd be married to some dreamboat, probably have a cute little monogrammed baby with a hair bow the size of Texas, surely I'd have written that book, lost those 50 pounds, conquered public speaking, skydived and worn out 2 passports.  Surely.  Go ahead and laugh, I know that I'm crazy.  

A younger Abby (yes, I used to spell it with a "y"), would never have guessed that at 26, she'd still be a single girl, living at home, having opened and then closed a business, still trying to figure out if she is a round peg or a square peg and what hole she needs to fit into, and how, for Pete's sake, does one properly launder a wool sweater?.  The same crazy questions that I had at 12 are alive and well at 26.  You'd think I'd be farther along by now...

25 was good to me.  Scratch that.  GOD WAS GOOD TO ME.  25 held so much life.  So many beautiful moments when I thought I would burst from happiness, and hard moments when I thought my heart would break from it's burdens.  The loud laughter and the silent tears.  And God is always good.  

Coming to grips with the fact that I am that 20-something single girl that I always looked at with pity has been hard.  I mean, the day to day isn't so hard, but being "that girl" is a blow to my pride.  I've never really wanted to turn this into a single girl blog, but as you get older people ask more questions about your love life and it's my thorn in the flesh, so here goes.  I grew up wanting to be a wife and a mom, spent several years as a feminist disgusted with it and then had an encounter with God that changed my mind again.  I could see that family was a big deal.  That the only way we change culture is by getting married, having babies and doing government (thank you Candace Waters!).  And of course God would want to make all of my wishes come true.  Of course!  And year after year it seems that I'm in this same place.  Unmarried, wondering where I went wrong.  Both of my grandmothers married in their late teens, my own mother married at 22 and I seemed have completely missed out on that "charming and irresistible" gene, my being an awkward duck is another post for another day.  I've run the whole gamut of emotion and have come to rest upon the rock that is God's Will.  He will use whatever He needs to in our lives to make us more like His Son.  He knows how to design and use our struggles so that in the end its all for His Glory.  

These past few years have been of momentous growth in my life.  I've been in this valley of waiting for what seems like forever.  And God has used it to teach me things that I probably wouldn't have learned through marriage.  Some of us are really hard to get through to, which is why I'm still single.  God is trying to show me that He is enough and that a gorgeous husband isn't the end all in life (what what?!?).  He is Enough.  That is all.

It's hard for me to look forward to another year, when I feel so inadequate.  So immature, so "not-26" (whatever that means!).  When all I want to do is go back and make sure that I got "25" down perfect before moving on.  Sigh.  Wouldn't that be nice.  And it all makes me think of one of my favorite quotes from Elisabeth Elliot (that woman has become one of my dearest friends over the past year...). "Maybe this year will be the year of desire radically transformed".  Oh, how I pray this is what 26 looks like for me.

Well, today is my birthday!  I have no idea what I'll be doing with the rest of the day, but I can tell you that chocolate croissants will be involved.  Now that I've gotten all of my grumbling out of the way, I'm planning to thoroughly enjoy today.  To approach it with gratitude and lots of coffee.

Sorry for all of the words.  I've been feeling lots of feelings and thinking lots of thoughts recently.  Now back to our regularly rescheduled programming!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

quotable | "antelopes"

Envelopes.  He was totally asking for an envelope.  Golly, I love 5 year olds.  Good thing we figured it out because my next guess had to do with those orange colored melons...

Monday, September 15, 2014

thoughts | goodbye august... wait! september is half over?

Oh August.  I wasn't ready for you to leave.

I dream of summer all year long.  And then it comes, and before I have a chance to really, truly, actually, thaw out, it's gone.  And like some unspoken, "North of Chicago" rule, the calendar page flips to Sept. 1 and it's all over.  We go from 80 degrees and neon green grass covered golf courses to orange topped trees and a choppy wave covered grayish blue lake.  The leaves seem to instantly wither and jump off the trees before you have a chance to even get used to writing "September" in your checkbook (are the cool kids still writing checks these days?).

It was 40 degrees when I woke up this morning.

I realized that it's nearly the middle of the month and I never updated my summer bucket list (five for August).  I could sit here and type out some pretty fabulous justifications on why I didn't do half of the things I intended.  But I won't.  I would like to cash in my "get out of jail free" card.  No excuses.

And someone should probably stop me the next time I start coming up with a list of things to get done in the next 30 days.  Yeah, its probably not going to happen.

We moved.  

The above sentence seems very innocent.  I should add, we moved 11 people, 3 cats, 1 horse and a huge house into boxes, freight trucks, storage units, and a rental house.  Oh, and a barn.  The horse is staying in a barn (not a freight truck, I haven't researched it, but I'm quite sure that would be illegal).  We also were gifted a donkey two days ago, but this is another story for another day.  You would think that moving less than 10 miles from one house to another would be an breeze, but I am convinced that cross-country is the easier task.  I think my little Jeep was loaded and unloaded approximately 1 million times.  Today was the first time I realized that the backseat was empty.  Completely empty.  Okay, fine, so my giant L.L. Bean tote was still in there, but it gets to stay because it holds important things (like extra cardigan sweaters, newspapers and stuff like that).  Yes ma'am, we are just winning at the game of life over here.

The past month has felt overwhelming.  And I hate to even say that because I know that there are real people out there dealing with truly difficult situations, and I feel like a wimp.  My version of "overwhelming" just happens to be a pile-up of fancy problems.  When my parents first started talking about moving early this year, I figured it would take some time, that our house would never sell and that everything would be fine (glass half full) and I went on with life.  Then the next thing I know, our house sells, Mom and Dad find a new and very historic home that they want to add onto, start meeting with architects and builders and I'm googling best "portable storage containers".  We found a rental house to stay in for the next year.  Then U-Line started delivering pallets of cardboard boxes to our door and we had kids playing with sharpies and rolls of tape.  It got a little dicey there for a while when we realized that Cal was missing and the last time anyone had seen him was three days ago when we packed up the sleeping bags.  Totally kidding.  No children, or animals were harmed in the moving of this house!

It all moved so quickly and seemed very surreal that we would be leaving our house.  Life was really good for us.  We had plenty of space to spread out and we were constantly entertaining guests, and sometimes our house felt like a bed and breakfast due to the amount of friends staying overnight.  But we loved it.  I had my own little room that was more like a nest than anything.  Neat, tidy, all to myself and life was really good.  EVERYTHING. WAS. TOO. GOOD.

A wise man once told me "Sometimes we get too comfortable, and then God needs to move us".

Let me tell you, that was a WORD.  True in my life and applicable to the right now.  I needed to hear that.  I feel like God had given us a sweet season of life and (though not without pain, and I should also add, that this new season is not without its sweetness.  The Christian life is a mingling of the two.  And God is always good.)  But because He loves us and because its easy to get soft and to stop depending on Him for our strength, He chooses to move us.  We leave the familiar for the unfamiliar and we are once again forced to rely on God for our only solace.  We see beautiful story after beautiful story in the bible of how God takes His children from one place to another, because those in-between places teach us some of the most important lessons we'll ever learn.  More about ourselves and our weaknesses, and more of God's grace and faithfulness.  Moving requires faith.  But God provides everything we need because He is the Faithful One.

I've tried to keep all of this in perspective as we've made the transition.  As people and friends ask how things are, I'm quick to remind them that everything is fine.  Really it is.  Sure, our kitchen may be half the size, but hey! it takes half the time to clean!  I'm sharing a room with two messy girls who shall remain nameless, but hey! I now get to enjoy the "late, late show with Gracie" every night (oh golly, she is animated!).  I'm also five minutes away from the office and more importantly, Starbucks.  Oh, and pizza delivery.  It has been ten long years since we've lived in range of the pizza delivery man.  You should have seen my face when I realized that I can order a gluten free pizza from my couch and have it delivered in twenty minutes.  Welcome to the big city Abbe!

I know that a year flies by like nothing and I want to be able to look at this time in our little rental house and say "it was hard, but it was good".  To dwell on the sweetness.  I know that I will fail miserably at being gracious and that I will miss nine out of ten lessons that God is "clearly" trying to teach me.  But my heart's desire in this season, is that God would use it (ALL. OF. IT.) in my life for His own glory.  And He will.  He already has.