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all about love April 29, 2008

Posted by abi in Uncategorized.
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Love – “a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise, and the lips to pucker.”
                                        – Anonymous

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wedding website April 23, 2008

Posted by abi in life, wedding.
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I created a wedding website to help keep all of our family and friends up to date on any wedding related info and let them get to know us a little better.  I just added a blog there too and will try to update that blog every week or so.

www.abiandandy.com

Feel free to check it out!

Fruity Love April 23, 2008

Posted by abi in youth ministry.
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lately I have been forgetting a lot of things….and feeling a bit like I’m drowning, but oh well.

One of the things I’ve been so busy with is planning and leading our church’s annual youth group retreat (last weekend – went really well!). We had a good time and I had a great group of 5 high school students who were my student leaders who helped out a ton. They picked out the theme, “O I Love U So” (from an energizer/song we do that they like) and theme verse – 1Cor. 13:4-8a. I somehow came up with a crazy, creative way to illustrate the 4 Greek words for love by comparing each of the types to a different kind of fruit:

Eros (romantic love) – Strawberry
Phileo (friendship love) Orange
Stergo (parental love) Apple
Agape (unconditional love) Pineapple

It was a lot of fun and all weekend long the youth were asking things like “is that a pineapple kind of love, or a strawberry kind of love?”

I had a great time with the youth and had a bunch of high school girls in my room late every each night talking to me. I am going to miss all these students (and their parents and everyone else at this church) a lot! They’re all pretty upset with Andy for proposing and making me move down to North Carolina with him. But they are happy for me…..they just don’t want me to go.

I’m praying that they find a great new youth leader and that I can transition and leave well.

belated BIG news! March 20, 2008

Posted by abi in life.
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wow – it has been forever since I’ve put anything up on this site.  I have been pretty busy with a little bit of everything.  Youth group stuff is going well – we had an incredible time with our 30-hour Famine.  I was very impressed with the 20 middle and high school students who gave it a try and for the first time in most of their lives, voluntarily went without food for 30 hours to raise awareness, money, and canned goods for the many, many people around the world and here close to home who go hungry everyday.  It was a really neat thing to see them so motivated to let other people at our church know about all they had learned about hunger.

But my biggest news is…….

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Andy and I got engaged!

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On March 1, 2008

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We had been thinking seriously and praying about the idea of marriage for the month or so before, especially since we found out he was moving away.  We took my parents out to dinner the day after Valentine’s day and talked to them about it and Andy asked for their permission to marry me.  So I knew it was coming….but he was really cute – we had a free Saturday afternoon and he wanted to go to the inner harbor again before he left town.  We walked around (it was a little windy and cold) and then we went up to the the “top of the world” (Baltimore’s World Trade Center – which the guide told us was the tallest 5 sided building in the country or the world?  I can’t remember, but something like that).  We were looking around when all of a sudden I turned around and Andy was on one knee!   He asked, I accepted, and we’re both really excited about the future together!

We were already planning to go visit with some friends that night, so we had a great time showing off the ring and sharing our excitement with everyone.

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(thanks Emily Joy for the last couple of pictures!)

about the boy January 25, 2008

Posted by abi in life.
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it was the boyfriend’s birthday a few week’s ago and we had a lot of fun celebrating at a Japanese steakhouse. We invited my sister and her husband to go with us because, interestingly enough, boyfriend and brother-in-law get along really well and he wanted them there. Neither Emily or I had ever been to a Japanese steakhouse before and enjoyed the showmanship of the chefs and the fresh food cooked in front of us.

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My sister had us over to their apartment for cake and ice cream afterwards (a surprise to boyfriend) which was really sweet of her, and we watched the movie Office Space.
After issues with the church and the conference he was with, boyfriend decided he needed a break from the ministry for a little while and he has been pursuing other career opportunities. He was has been pretty excited about a possible job with the Red Cross where he would be stationed on military bases, first here in the US for a couple of years, then anywhere after that helping the soldiers as an assistant station manager. He found out he got the job last week and was waiting for the final offer in the mail to find out where they were sending him. n500134402_333665_2783.jpg I was hoping it would be somewhere nice and local to this area…like Quantico or Ft. Meade…but apparently he’s heading down to a base in North Carolina. Which is kind of good for him since he’s from there…..I just don’t like long distance relationships. Oh well. We’ll see where this whole thing goes. I’m really happy for him about the job though – it seems like a really good fit and something he’s excited to be doing.

“christianese” w/definitions January 25, 2008

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Just read this on a fellow youth worker’s blog and thought it was pretty funny:

For
those unfamiliar with this strange dialect, I have compiled a helpful
Christianese-English Dictionary so that you can find out what your
Christian friend is really saying to you. If you have any other
troubling Christianese phrases, please post them and I will happily
translate them and add them to this list. (Please read this with a
grain of salt.)

1. I’ll pray about it = NO!

2. We need to pray for so and so = Guess what I just heard?!

3. I’m waiting for God to open some doors = I’m living in my parent’s basement.

4. God gave me a word for you = I have advice to help you with your disaster of a life.

5. I’m going to have my quiet time = Leave me the heck alone!

6. God is good = My life sucks.

7. Bless his/her heart = What an idiot.

8. I have the gift of discernment = I can judge people without even talking to them.

9. I was having fellowship with them = We had beer and pizza and watched the game instead of going to church.

10. I’m saved by grace, not works = I can do whatever the heck I want.

11. She caused me to stumble = What a skank.

12. I kissed dating goodbye = I couldn’t get a blind date, literally.

13. Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth = I can’t believe you said the real curse word!

14. I don’t mean to judge but… = I’m going to judge.

15. I’m dating Jesus right now = Are you kidding? I’m way out of your league.

16. God wants me to take some time off from this relationship = I met someone else and I’m too coward to break up with you.

17. I’ll pray about marrying you = NO!

18. God told me that we are supposed to get married = Maybe you’ll say yes if God is behind this.

19. I’m fasting = Your spiritual life is miniscule compared to mine. Try to keep up.

20. God has called me to minister to her = She’s really hot.

21. I think you should pray about it = You’ll see that I’m right.

22. We’ve decided to court, not date = My parents have a death grip on my life.

23. Courting = Homeschool dating.

24. Lord willing = My plans are His plans.

25. Take this with a grain of salt = I’m about to really offend you.

26. I’m feeling convicted about this = One day my actions might change too!

27. Have I offended you? = Why are you treating my like garbage?

28. Who wants to pray? = I don’t want to pray right now.

29. Jesus turned water into wine = Jesus turned water into grape juice. (Southern Baptist Dialect)

30. Jesus turned water into wine = I can drink whatever I want. (Presbyterian Dialect)

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epiphany stars January 14, 2008

Posted by abi in life, ministry.
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was celebrated last Sunday, Jan. 6th. At my church they have a neat tradition of actually giving out “epiphany stars”. These stars are simply a laminated stars with different words written on them. These words are supposed to be something to think about – journey with – throughout the year and see how God uses them in your life. Then on epiphany Sunday, whoever wants to can share about their journey with their stars from the previous year before we get new ones. There are always really interesting stories about how God spoke to people in different ways through the word that was on their star. My star last year was “power”. I didn’t have any amazing story of anything God did through that word….but I kept it all year up on my mirror in my bedroom and was reminded that it’s not by my power that I can do anything, but by God’s power. This year I got the word “Attitude” in parentheses underneath of it they had put “(positive)”. I am sure I will need to remind myself to have a positive attitude many times throughout this coming year!

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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).

trying not to be depressed…. December 5, 2007

Posted by abi in life.
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anyone who knows me, knows I strongly dislike snow.  Some have even seem me cry upon seeing snow….nurmerous times.  I just hate the cold wetness and the bleakness of it all….the white sky and world do nothing to inspire anything but sadness in this artist. 

When I left my house this morning, it wasn’t snowing.  As I drove to work, the white flurries started.  I decided that I was going to try and not be so depressed about it this year.  And today hasn’t been so bad.  I still strongly dislike snow, but I’m trying to just deal with it and pretend like it doesn’t bother me so much.  It has snowed all day.  But I decided to go out on my lunch break and buy a fun warm hat at Ross (since I forgot one this morning and to help with the cheering up).  Now I’m waiting around work since I have a meeting at church that hasn’t been cancelled as far as I know.  I don’t figure that there is any good reason to deal with all the traffic to go home, only to turn around and come back out again. 

Last night my friend Erin came over for dinner.  We had a good time catching up and talking about our weeks.  After dinner, she helped me put together my advent wreath.  I love advent!  Our church gives us an advent wreath kit each year with fresh greens, candles, and a devotional.  We made the beautiful wreath below (sorry for the picture quailty – it’s a phone pic) and then read the advent devotion for yesterday.   My family grew up doing advent and reading devotions after dinner.  It was nice to be able to share that with a friend!

Advent 2007

friends, youth group planning, and thoughts from this weekend December 3, 2007

Posted by abi in life, youth ministry.
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This weekend was slightly a blur.  A good blur, but a blur nonetheless.  Friday was a relaxing night in with the boyfriend over for dinner.  Even though he’s going through a lot right now, we both just had a great time relaxing together and not doing or thinking about much of anything.  Saturday morning I had good intentions of getting to the gym…..but didn’t wake up until after 10am….so it didn’t happen.  I had lunch with my artsy friends, Jennifer and Alex.  Alex was in town for Thanksgiving during her off-shift (she works at a wilderness therapy place down in the mountains of NC) and always has great stories.  This time was no exception – she was telling us about the girls she works with and how she was recently stalking Ani Difranko in Ashville.  Good times.  Then Jennifer and I went to a bridal shower for a girl from our Bible study.  Made it home just in time to go grab dinner with boyfriend and head over to another one of my high schooler’s plays – Romeo and Juliet. 

After church on Sunday, I met with my 2 parent volunteers to go over scheduling and events for spring.  It was supposed to be a brief meeting, but ended up being nearly an hour and a half.  It was good to get so much done though and we were all glad we had taken the time to get it (mostly) squared away now – before all the holiday craziness.  I’m excited about what we have planned – but it also a little intimidating, because I know its a lot more than I did last year and going to be a lot of work.  But I think it’s still all manageable.  Especially when, as we are leaving both the parent volunteers start divving up all the tasks, such as scheduling, emails, getting parent chaperones, etc. – so that I can simply plan and run the activities and be there for the kids.  Which is great – because the details are what bog me down. 

Some things we’re planning for next spring:
– In January: my Bible study group of girls (young adults in our 20s-30s) wants to do a sleepover for my youth group girls where we share with them some of the things we’ve recently been studying about women of the Bible – maybe focusing on Esther and watching the movie “One Night with the King”.  I think this will be a really neat thing – I love to expose my youth to young adults who are living their faith – since there are very few young adults at our church right now. 
– In February: 30-hour Famine – which will be another first for this church.   The youth have been begging to do a lock-in and I decided if we were going to do one, it may as well have a good purpose!  And I just think it will be a good, new experience for them in fasting and thinking about hunger in the world. 
– In March: The youth have annually cooked, served, and provided entertainment for a fancy dinner to the senior citizens in our church.  It’s a favorite event for both the youth and the seniors. 
– In April:  Our church’s annual youth group retreat.  It was an incredible time last year – and a first for me to plan/write material for the whole retreat weekend.  A lot of work, but very worthwhile. 
– and we’re gearing up for our second High School mission trip.  And I’m really excited because I already have a parent chaperone on board!  Last year I was begging and God provided at the last minute – this year I’m really praying for more youth and we’ll need more chaperones….

It was a “big” youth group night (middle and high) – Sunday Night Live – this week.  And I had been praying about it and had done a little thinking/planning during the week.  I had a vague idea about the scripture point and thought illustrations through enough to know that I was going to play some games and do some activities with newspaper – so I had spread the word to parents to save their recycling for us.  But that was about it.  I unfortunately waited until Sat. night/Sunday to do most of my planning.  But it surprisingly didn’t take long to come up with the programming and talk for the night.  I was kind of amazed and wondered if I was slacking off and not going as deep or interesting as I used to…but after the night went off well, I realized that maybe I’m just getting better at it.  What used to take me days and days to think through just to come up with the ideas, then setup the details hours and hours ahead of time….seemed to have taken me so much less stress and time this week.  I guess I know a lot better how to plan activities that will last long enough, but not too long, know my youth well enough to know what they will “get” easily and what they won’t, and just am a lot more comfortable with it all.  We ended up playing games and making snowmen out of newspaper.  Then finding happy vs. sad stories and talking a little about them.  We talked about advent and Angel Gabriel bringing the “good news” and then they dramatically retold the Christmas story using newspaper costumes and different themes.  Sounds a little cheesey – but I’ve got a pretty crazy bunch that likes that sort of thing.  We did some worship and I read them the lyrics from the song Rebel Jesus by Jackson Browne (Bebo Norman recently did a neat cover of it on his new Christmas album).  We discussed the song and their thoughts about the Christmas season.  

The Rebel Jesus

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
They’ll be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all god’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

          Well they call him by the prince of peace
          And they call him by the savior
          And they pray to him upon the seas
          And in every bold endeavor
          As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
          And their faith in him increases
          But they’ve turned the nature that I worshipped in
          From a temple to a robber’s den
          In the words of the rebel Jesus

          We guard our world with locks and guns
          And we guard our fine possessions
          And once a year when christmas comes
          We give to our relations
          And perhaps we give a little to the poor
          If the generosity should seize us
          But if any one of us should interfere
          In the business of why they are poor
          They get the same as the rebel Jesus

But please forgive me if I seem
To take the tone of judgment
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.