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Happy 2008! (a few days late) January 4, 2008

Posted by abi in blogging, just for fun, life.
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Me and my second cousin at a Birthday/Christmas party for my Dad Happy 2008!

Hope everyone had a great holiday season. I had a good time of relaxing, sleeping late, hanging out with family, friends, and the boyfriend.

I know I’m late in posting holiday greetings and haven’t had anything up here in a while. I can’t even say that December was any crazier busy than usual….I just think I needed to take some time off to relax and refocus. I didn’t do or have a lot planned for the youth group and they were all pretty busy anyway – so it worked out well to take a short break. Now I’ve got to get back in gear!

The family (and attachments) a few days before Christmas

Annual Family Christmas Movie and Dinner
(and we celebrated my brother-in-law’s birthday)

Original artwork

Here’s a pic of an original painting I just finished on Dec. 30th.

My friend, Tiffany, commissioned me to do this painting as a Christmas present for her boyfriend (who happens to be my “adopted” red-headed brother, Steve). Tiffany asked if I would do it way back in May, and I said that I would love to and thought I would have plenty of time over the summer to paint….well that didn’t ever happen….so as usual, I work best under pressure and I just barely got it done in time for their gift exchanging on New Year’s eve. I am not so good at cityscapes, but that was Tiffany’s only idea/request of subject matter – something Baltimore. So I decided to do a impressionistic view of the pub where we hang out most Wednesday nights down in Fells Point. I couldn’t resist adding Steve and Tiffany in the front….

He liked it. Tiffany was happy. It was fun to do and fun to get paid to paint (usually I give paintings away as gifts).

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weekend pics October 30, 2007

Posted by abi in just for fun, life.
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this past weekend…

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was my sister and brother-in-law’s “grown-up  Halloween party”.  Emily was a referee, Katie was Rosie the Riveter, and I don’t know what I was, I just liked the wig. 

On Sunday afternoon we went for a hike at Harper’s Ferry.  The weather and falls colors were beautiful. 

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Sunday evening was dinner with my good friend, Erin.  I brought over 2 pumpkins for us to carve.  Erin did a spider/moon that looked really nice.  I liked the pumpkin I had picked out and thought it looked tree-like because of the green veins going up it and the long, curled stem.  pumpkin.jpgI was carving mine to enter in the pumpkin contest we had at work yesterday (Monday).  I was trying to beat this one co-worker who had won several years in a row.  I did end up beating him, but came in 2nd (not 1st like I was hoping…yes, I am way too competitive for my own good sometimes).  I won a $20 gift card to Target though – so I was pretty happy! 

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amazingly supportive church = growing youth group October 11, 2007

Posted by abi in just for fun, youth ministry.
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Last Sunday night we had a lot of fun with a big event called “Hunt for Red October”.  It was a local scavenger hunt that involved bringing back a lot of random stuff, a little bit of service (helping 3 people carry groceries to their cars, picking up a certain amount of trash), and taking some digital pictures to show me when they returned.   We had a great group of parent drivers who I asked to tell me if their team should receive bonus points for outstanding teamwork when they were finished.  It was a lot of fun to see how resourceful all the youth were and a good time of relationship building.   

It’s only October and we have already have several new youth and their families coming consistently to youth group happenings.  We have also had quite a few new visitors and I have been amazed each week at how many students are showing up.  The thing I’m more excited about than the numbers though, is the fact that my youth are so excited about being there and are inviting their friends to be a part of what’s going on.  And it’s not just the fun crazy activities – they are showing up on Bible study nights too!  In fact, on my beginning of the year survey, that’s what nearly all of my high schoolers wrote in – that they wanted more Bible study going on this year.  

I am so thankful that I am working at a church that is incredibly supportive of ministry to youth and also to me.  I know that the church community is a large part of what is attracting new youth and families.   I’m excited to see more of what God wants to do there!

technology that I’m thankful for October 2, 2007

Posted by abi in just for fun, life, reviews.
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So I’m currently loving 2 new technology items that have recently become a part of my life.   The first one was brought into my life through unfortunate circumstances.   Just another example of how God works things out for our good.  After my car accident in June, I was able to use the insurance money I recieved to pay off my totaled car, buy a used SUV from my father, and have a little $ left over to buy something I have long wanted and desparately needed.  I bought a great little GPS for my car.  His name is Jason (no, really – he told me so when I turned him on!)  and I am in love.  He gets me everywhere – even in mixed up, crazy places like the planned communities of Columbia!  He also has all sorts of great features like millions of restaurants, gas stations, cultural places, parks, schools….just about everything one would ever need he can find.  And my siblings and I also use him for entertainment purposes as we have discovered the fun of geocaching.  Below are a few pics from when Katie, Patrick, Andrew, and I went to find our first cache one Saturday a few weeks ago.

Here is a pic of my brothers and I trying to figure out how to use Jason to find the cache… 

and here we all are, excited after finding it!  So much geeky fun!

Another new toy is an ebay special….I have joined the ranks of busy people everywhere and am now the owner of a palm pda.  I got a model that is just barely out of date and is not wifi or anything – but it works for what I need it to do.  I am able to use it to keep up with all my scheduling better, contact lists are now not only on my phone, and it can store photos, games (Scrabble!).  I’ve even recently uploaded a Bible and some Bible search/dictionary resources so that I’ll have all that with me anywhere.  And I can track nutritional info through one of the programs.  It’s great!  And a great price – $40.00.  Gotta love ebay! 

Another intresting part of all that, was that when I got the palm, it wasn’t completely cleared…so I had to spend a little bit of time clearing off some of the previous owner’s stuff.  In doing that, I can across a few entries that were labeled “youth group”.  So when this guy emailed me to make sure I had gotten the palm ok, I asked him if he was a youth pastor or something.  He actually was!  I thought it was a pretty interesting coincidence, and we’ve actually chatted and emailed a few times about youth ministry stuff.  

languages September 19, 2007

Posted by abi in just for fun, life.
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The Five Love Languages

My primary love language is probably
Words of Affirmation
with a secondary love language being
Physical Touch.

Complete set of results

Words of Affirmation: 10
Physical Touch: 9
Quality Time: 7
Acts of Service: 2
Receiving Gifts: 2

Information

Unhappiness in relationships, according to Dr. Gary Chapman, is often due to the fact that we speak different love languages. Sometimes we don’t understand our partner’s requirements, or even our own. We all have a “love tank” that needs to be filled in order for us to express love to others, but there are different means by which our tank can be filled, and there are different ways that we can express love to others.

Take the quiz

Abigail – my hero August 21, 2007

Posted by abi in blogging, just for fun, life.
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I recently read an old blog written by Carolyn McCulley called  Abigail’s Initiative and thought it was worth sharing on here since its about me!  No, not really – but it is about my namesake – Abigail.  I have always loved the story of found in the Bible, 1 Sam. 25 and hope that I follow her example of being a bold, yet humble woman who is following God so whole-heartedly. 

January 15, 2007

Abigail’s Initiative

Fairy tales often portray femininity as a passive concept: Sleeping Beauty is unconscious until kissed; Cinderella is miserable until a fairy godmother appears; Rapunzel is imprisoned with her flowing locks until she is rescued. But that passivity is not what we see of women in the Bible, and Abigail the Carmelitess is one of my favorite examples. We find the account of her wise initiative in 1 Samuel 25.

Abigail is described in verse three as being “intelligent and beautiful.” That order is important because it’s her intelligence and initiative that are on display in this account. Her beauty is secondary.

Abigail was the wife of a very wealthy man who is called Nabal, which means “fool.” Nabal was very rich, owning 3,000 sheep and 1,000 goats. When David and his men were living in the wilderness of Paran after the death of Samuel, they took it upon themselves to protect these herds from attacks by wild animals or raiders. According to the IVP Bible Background Commentary on the Old Testament, sheep shearing was a festival time when a count of the sheep would be taken and rewards would be given to the shepherds. David’s message to Nabal is a claim for a portion of that compensation. But Nabal spurns the request and insults David, instead, saying, “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?” This commentary notes that Carmel, Nabal’s town, was taken from the Amalekites by Saul, and therefore it’s not entirely surprising that a Carmelite resident would be loyal to Saul and question who David was. However, David’s fame was widespread so Nabal’s unwillingness to do what was requested was no doubt motivated by other reasons, perhaps greed or pride.

Stockxpertcom_id183912_size1 Abigail, on the other hand, must have had a reputation for wisdom because one of Nabal’s shepherds comes to her and reports all that has happened, as though he expects her intervention. Her husband had listed bread, water, and meat as the rewards for his shearers, so Abigail loads her donkeys with what must have been some of these prepared rewards–200 loaves of bread, two jugs of wine, five prepared sheep, five measures of roasted grain (about a bushel), 100 clusters of raisins, and 200 cakes of figs. Then she rides out to meet David.

As Abigail encounters him, she gets off of her donkey and bows low before David. Her persuasive speech reminds David of God’s work in his life, God’s standards for shedding blood, and the promises of the Lord for David’s future. Her bold appeal calls David to a higher standard–and he hears her out. In fact, he blesses her for it.

“Now since the LORD has kept you, my master, from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, as surely as the LORD lives and as you live, may your enemies and all who intend to harm my master be like Nabal. And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my master, be given to the men who follow you. Please forgive your servant’s offense, for the LORD will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my master, because he fights the LORD’s battles. Let no wrongdoing be found in you as long as you live. Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my master will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the LORD your God. But the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. When the LORD has done for my master every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him leader over Israel, my master will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the LORD has brought my master success, remember your servant.”

David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. Otherwise, as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” (1 Samuel 25:26-34 NIV).

Abigail models for us a pattern of initiative that honors God and blesses others. She didn’t appeal to David for some vague sense of personal obligation. She did not trade on her physical charms to distract him. She did not emotionally manipulate him or throw a diva fit herself. What she did was honor him with a symbol of respect (bowing low) and then point him to God’s promises. She appeals to him to avoid doing anything to jeopardize his future or throne or, more importantly, violate God’s standards. Not only does she show us what wise communication looks like (a topic we’ll explore in further posts), she also shows us that godly women are called to know the Lord and His Word, to take action to right wrongs, and to inspire men to be godly themselves. She is direct but humble, clear but gracious, and bold yet feminine.

The immediate result is that David praises the Lord for her and blesses her for her judgment (a word translated as “discernment” in the NAS and “discretion” in the ESV). And the long-term result is that after she is widowed, David marries Abigail. I believe he appreciated what a valuable helpmate she would be.

you might be a nominal Christian if… August 16, 2007

Posted by abi in just for fun.
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I saw this on someone’s blog and thought it was funny….

Top 10 Ways to Be a Nominal Christian

1. If you view life as a list of check boxes with the following parenthetical statement at the top (Check at least 5 of the following 500 requirements to be saved)…you might just be a nominal Christian.

2. If you put a fish on the back of your car but drive like a maniac…you might just be a nominal Christian.

3. If you believe that helping the poor is something done at the church office rather than on the street…you might just be a nominal Christian.

4. If you let Christ into your holidays but not your heart…you might just be a nominal Christian.

5. If you think sacrifice means you attend some Wednesday nights…you might just be a nominal Christian.

6. If the frequency of your prayers matches the frequency of your struggles (No struggles = no prayers…many struggles = many prayers)…you might just be a nominal Christian.

7. If you send your children to church but stay home and do your own thing…you might just be a nominal Christian.

8. If you come to church because it is good for business and social climbing…you might just be a nominal Christian.

9. If you boldly wear the name “Christian” when it is convenient (I am sure glad Jesus didn’t just stand up for us when it was popular or convenient!)…you might just be a nominal Christian.

10. If you think fellowship most effectively takes place in pews…you might just be a nominal Christian.

What do you think?  Any others you might add?