Sunday, December 26, 2010

snowy day

What an incredibly beautiful Christmas we had! I'm glad I have a little brother who helped me enjoy the snow on Christmas Eve by throwing snowballs with Tim and I at a tree. If I was eight again, forts upon forts would have been made and stocked for snowball fights that never came.

The above photo was taken with my Diana F+. I got an Instant Back for Christmas and can now take polaroid shots with it. Looks like the photo was taken in the 60's... I love it.

God with us...

I wept during our Christmas Eve service on Friday.

I had been worrying all month about missing Jesus. At the beginning of this week my husband wisely told me I should just focus on growing closer to Him, whether I truly understood Christmas or not this year. So I spent time in prayer and study, and just focused on being with Jesus.

Then God gave me a gift on Christmas Eve. We took communion, and as I sat with the bread and grape juice... I pondered the body and the blood. The body and blood of Jesus, the baby, the man, the Messiah. Joy and sorrow together washed over my soul. I know that I can't express this completely, but Jesus was there.

And Jesus is always here. He is Emmanuel, God with us. And I get to be with Him everyday, all year, all my life, for eternity.

Christmas.

Monday, December 6, 2010

out of my hands

I realized this weekend that I really don't like "feeling out of control."

I don't like worrying about money. I don't like having piles of laundry and a messy apartment. I don't like having spoiled food in the fridge. I don't like facing my social anxiety and cell phone. I don't like worrying about what other people think about me, who I am, and the job that I'm doing.

I realize I trust God really well when I've got things under control. Wait a second, that's not trust at all. Trust in myself maybe, but certainly not trust in God.

I don't want to come to Him messy. I don't want Him to have to fix me. I just want to do it myself. But I can't anymore. I'm too tired.

I don't want to freak out any more because things are out of my hands. I want to trust God recklessly. No more weak-hearted trust with doubt on the side. God's got this one, and all the other ones that came before it.

Lord, please help me trust You when bills are due, when the kitchen is a mess, when the phone rings, and the goat cheese is moldy. It's in Your hands, let me never forget that.

"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements-- surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" Job 38: 4-7

"My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand." John 10:29

These passages tell me very clearly that the Lord, Yahweh, who created the foundations of the world, should have control over my life. It's in His hands, forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

orchard house

On our trip to Boston we went to Orchard House, the home of Louisa May Alcott. Louisa wrote Little Women, one of my favorite books as a young girl.

It was so amazing to see where she lived and hear stories from the guide about her life. My favorite part of the tour was seeing her desk by the window where she wrote her books. Very inspiring.

It's a great experience to see the home of someone you look up to, it makes them more real, and more normal. It cuts away at their idol status when you see that their life is not always too different from your own. They just ran with their ideas and dreams, something that is not always easy to do.

This side trip was definitely encouraging to me as I've been dreaming about stories again (and hoping to write that novel one day). I just need to sit down and write, write, write.

Seeing Orchard House the day after Thanksgiving reminded me that is time to break out my Little Women dvd. I don't know what it is about that film, but I absolutely love watching it at Christmas time.

I am very grateful to my husband Tim and brother Isaac for making it possible for me to see Louisa's house. My brother kindly drove us there and waited for us while we took the tour (he had already been on it), and Tim made sure I got to see and hear everything about Louisa (even though he hasn't read the book yet:-)

If you are ever in Concord, and you love Little Women, go see Orchard House. It's well worth the trip.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

christmas is coming!


Tree is up. First snowfall. Lights are glowing. Christmas music. Chocolate. Hats, scarves, boots, and mittens. Friends. Family.

Jesus. Still trying to rethink, realize, understand, feel what it means that He came to earth as a baby 2000 years ago. Grace and Love in a manger, no crib for a bed. I love Thee, Lord Jesus. Be near me this day.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

boston road trip playlist

I had big plans to blog on the road while we were on our road trip over Thanksgiving. But, life is not a slave to the blog (thankfully), and I didn't have the time. It was a very fun trip and we had a great time being with my family.

There are two things that I still want to post, despite their untimely fashion. The first one is our playlist... Tim and I must have listened to it 20 times or so on the trip. I'm not exaggerating. It was that good, at least we liked it anyway (a lot).

The 11 songs on this playlist we bought the night before we left, here they are:

1. The Water- Johnny Flynn with Laura Marling
2. Maps- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
3. In These Arms- Swell Season
4. Home- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
5. Solitary Gun- Rogue Wave
6. The Suburbs- Arcade Fire
7. Little Lion Face- Seabear
8. My Shepherd- Neko Case
9. Lisztomania- Phoenix
10. High Horses- Swell Season
11. Until the Twilight- Franklin for Short

So that's it. We especially love "The Water." I don't know why we are not tired of that song yet, but it sure is great.

What songs (or albums) do you like to listen to on a road trip?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

nesting dolls

I still have a set of nesting dolls that my Uncle Mark gave me while he was studying in Europe. I always loved playing with them... opening them up, finding the wee baby one in the center, re-nesting them together. I was always afraid of losing the pieces, luckily I still have some of my doll intact. Hopefully with this card, you'll never lose one of the dolls.

Unfortunately when scanning this card in, it washed out the pink cheeks on the dolls. They are much brighter in real life.

I think I'm going to try and get this design printed off into multiple cards before it goes onto etsy, it took a good bit of time to make so I'd like to have more.

When you were a kid, what toys were you worried about losing the pieces to?

trains

Yesterday we went to our nephew's 2nd birthday party. It was all about trains! He received lots of Thomas the Tank Engine trains and tracks with a table for his birthday. I must admit, Tim and I want to go back over and play with his new toys, they were pretty cool.

At the risk of giving away what his gift was, I made this card for him. Hopefully I will be putting up some cards like this in the shop soon!

I hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

the question you're never asked

Tim and I like to give each other quizzes, interviews you might say. We think up questions for each other that we want to know the answers to, simple, complex, silly, or deep.

Here are examples of the type of questions we ask:

Would you rather live in a houseboat or a treehouse?

What kind of neighborhood would you like to live in someday?

If you could take lessons to learn any skill, what would it be?

When you were a kid, what was your favorite thing to do outside?

What makes you feel most loved?

Questions like that. Questions that make us think, questions that help us continue to grow in our relationship. It's fun and eye-opening to know those things about your husband, and interesting to learn things about yourself that you never knew until you were asked.

One question we asked each other recently was what question do you wish you were asked more often? That might sound like a strange question, but think about it for a second.

Have you ever walked away from a conversation, feeling like you didn't really talk to the other person at all, feeling like they didn't listen, feeling like you didn't get to express the things on your mind and heart?

I know that I love it when people ask me about my art endeavors, ask how I'm feeling and wait for the real answer, and ask me about my faith.

What do you wish people asked you more often? What do you want to share with your family, your friends, the world?

I'd like to hear about it. Write me a message, comment on this, send me a text. I'd love to know what question you are just dying to be asked.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

to write a novel


I have been thinking about writing a novel. Problem. I don't know what I'm going to write about. I dream about the day I will be struck with that golden idea.... an idea that has the depth to last for two hundred or more pages.

I have had thoughts on what to write a novel on, and sometimes I think they have potential. But I worry that its me, not the idea. I don't know that I will ever have the skill or stamina to write an epic story. My efforts have been short and brief at best. Probably two pages.

How do I become Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Ernest Hemingway, etc.? Maybe by not watching television, wasting time on the internet, etc. Regardless of how I currently spend my time, how I can I shape my mind to think like a novelist?

I like thinking about the book Les Miserables for the purpose of novel idea formation. This story has one of the best redemptive story lines, ever. It paints a beautiful picture of the human condition and the effects of grace without being heavy handed. I would love to write a story like that... a story that is full of grace, true to life (Flannery O'Connor-esque if need be)... real.

I want write about characters that are full, so well-developed that they rise from the pages and permeate your imagination. They stay with you, you reference them, you admire them, you loathe them, you love them.

I want to write a story that is familiar, in that it reminds you of life, of people you know. But it is unexpected, it looks at things from another viewpoint.

Les Miserables is a masterpiece, as well as all the other books by the authors I have mentioned. I doubt that I could ever light a candle next to those brilliant fires. I do want to try and write one good story before I die though.

Just writing this now brought to mind an idea I had long forgotten about... maybe I'll kick it around this time, sketch it out. You never know.

Monday, November 15, 2010

mittens




Here is a new design I've been working on... mittens! I love mittens, they remind me of the years my family spent in an old farmhouse. When I was a little girl my brother, sister, and our neighbor friends would all spend hours in the snow. Making snow forts, piling up snowballs for a fight that never came, making snow angels, and so on.

It's crazy to think about how long we used to play in the snow, and hardly seemed to suffer at all from the cold. My aged limbs now freeze at the first chilly days of fall. Ah, youth.

My mom used to let me borrow her ski mittens to play in the snow, a lovely black pair. They were fleecy and warm on the inside and black suede on the outside. They were definitely superior to mittens I have tried on since then.

One of my goals for November/December is to find a decent pair of mittens for my wimpy hands. The quest begins!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

hat


The hat:

I want that.

new in the shop



I added a few new cards to the etsy shop today. A couple for Christmas and one birthday card. I'm hoping to work on a few more tomorrow. If you have any design requests, send me a message!

I hope you all are having a lovely Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

hancock



In the last three days I have been to the John Hancock's observation deck twice. At work a couple groups needed an extra person to go on their field trips downtown and I got to go. I was pretty siked.

Monday I turned my camera on and it was dead. Today I was prepared, battery charged and ready. I also took some shots with my Diana. Both days were a little hazy and not the best for photographs. But I still loved the view.

I like the shadows in the picture above, the view of Lake Shore Drive, and that I can see where Tim and I got engaged... almost two years ago now.

I went up the Sears Tower in high school... and it's funny the difference the years have made. Back then, I lived in California and didn't have any idea what I was seeing. Now, every where I look is full of memories.

I love this city.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

lion of judah


"And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals." Revelation 5:5

I love thinking of Jesus as the Lion of Judah. I think the contrast between Him being the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah is beautiful. His strength and majesty, contrasted with the humility and sacrifice of His earthly ministry is so different than anything else on earth.

I love how magnificent the Lion is as a symbol. It's strong and powerful, and strikes fear into our hearts. And yet we wish we could be close to it, pet it, caress it. But it is untameable....

No one illustrated this better than C.S. Lewis in the Chronicles of Narnia. He created Aslan, who is all at once feared and loved, strong and gentle. A wonderful picture of Christ.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

I like how this describes how I want Jesus to be. I want Him to be "safe." I want to be able to tell Him what I want to do. I want to make Him promise me that I won't get hurt if I do what He asks me to. I want Him to not ask too much of me, just enough so that I will feel good about myself... not so much that I would actually have to give up anything I care about. Safe, tame.

But He isn't.... but He is good. He is the King, from the royal line of David. He can ask me to do anything, no sacrifice would be too much for Him to ask of me. He has already done everything for me.

I don't completely understand what it means that Jesus is the Lion of Judah, but I do love thinking about it.

Lion of Judah. Powerful, strong, and good.

Monday, November 8, 2010

pre-christmas thoughts


This post suddenly seems a bit ridiculous on a beautiful sixty degree day in November. Still, it is one thing that has been on my mind lately. Christmas.

I'm indulging this year in early Christmas planning. I'm hoping this will make me a bit more organized in December and allow me to make more things by hand (gifts, cookies, cards, etc). December budgets are tight and I need to be careful and wise.

More importantly though I want to prepare myself for Christmas this year so that I don't miss Jesus.

I don't know what it is about December, part of it could be having my birthday and Christmas in the same month makes me self-centered. Maybe its all the parties that create organized wrapping paper/cookie chaos. Maybe it's Santa.

Whatever it is, I struggle to focus on Jesus. I experience sadness on December 25th too often. I realize that day that I have once again wasted an advent season and missed the Christ Child.

I worry that this is a symptom of my everyday, all year. Missing Jesus.

In church the other day I was thinking about all the awesome names that Jesus has. King of Kings, the Good Shepherd, Water of Life, Emmanuel, Lamb of God, Lion of Judah. I want to know this Jesus.

Jesus. His name is filled with power, grace, and love... and I pass over it daily, tacking onto my prayers "In Jesus' name, Amen" hardly giving a thought to what it means. We pray, "In Jesus' name" because Jesus became our High Priest, our Mediator between us and the Father through His sacrifice on the cross. And it all started in the stable. The Kings of Kings in a manger. And I forget that all too often.

I want to focus the next couple months on Jesus... learning more about Him. Learning about His attributes, His names. Falling in the love with Him. Getting ready to celebrate His birthday with joy and love.

This next Christmas I may experience some sadness. Sadness because Christmas changes each year as our families get older, traditions vary and change. Even though I may feel down, I don't want to be sad because I missed Jesus this year.

Jesus, please meet me, not just at Christmas, but every day of the year. Teach me Your ways, You are Truth, You are Life, You are the Way. You are amazing, and I love You.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

liquid smarties

I love sparkling water. I love apple cider. Mixing them together, I didn't realize they would make such a delicious combination. I told Tim it tastes like Smarties. I haven't had a roll of Smarties in the last ten years. Does that make me doubt my tastebuds? Yes. Am I worried? Not at all.

I love hot tea and cider in the fall... what's your favorite?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

beautiful gifts




Two beautiful things from today.

The rain on our car as I waited to go into training for work. I love the sound of rain on the car and seeing the droplets accumulate on the window. I've always loved being in the car while it rained, taking long drives especially.... watching it stream down the windows, feeling the cold glass against my hand, my cheek.

The pink sunset sky. Tim and I ran downstairs to get a picture of it before we ate dinner. Within minutes it was gone. Glorious.

God's gifts to us are many, and beautiful.

Monday, November 1, 2010

our weekend



We had a very fun weekend. I realize it more and more as I look back on it.

Saturday we:
  • Baked banana muffins
  • Watched "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown"
  • Took a nap
  • Attempted screen printing for the first time (definite fail, but we will try again!)
  • Watched a movie
  • And ate ice cream sandwiches.
Sunday we:
  • Went to church
  • Painted signs and carved a pumpkin
  • Dressed up like we were tailgating
  • Walked to Starbucks with Anna (pumpkin spice latte for me and a mocha for Tim)
  • Hung out at Trunk or Treat
  • Admired the cute costumes (personal favorite: triplets dressed as dalmation puppies)
  • And went to McDonald's with Pete and Rachel. As Rachel said in her sweet blog, we got to see God's love at work. Though I was reluctant to go to McDonald's at first, it was clear that we were meant to be there to help a sister in need.

This weekend was short, this weekend was good. Thank You Lord for friends, rest, and love.

*Photo courtesy of Anna Bobalik

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

autumn song


Last night Tim and I wrote a new song. Last night we recorded it. Today, I'm sharing the lyrics with you and a link so you can hear it for yourself.

autumn

cast off shorts, naked feet
cover skin, arms and legs
the wool, the tweed, the sweaters
button up, in the middle meet

in shades that match the darkening sky
earthy hues as faces pale
the leaves, the ground, the trees
we live while summer dies

the wind has left us breathless
hair unswept and scattered
chilled but not yet frozen
we love you nonetheless

your colors fall for one last dance
one cool blast, your time has past
the frost, the wind, the cold
so it ends, this short romance

the wind has left us breathless
hair unswept and scattered
chilled but not yet frozen
we love you nontheless

Hear it here at our myspace.

Monday, October 25, 2010

forgiven

"To err is human, to forgive, divine." Alexander Pope

I have been pondering the difficulty and blessing of forgiveness over the last two weeks. Not just pondering, I guess, more like living forgiveness. Its pretty interesting too that I had to be on both sides of it. I have needed forgiveness and needed to give it on two separate occasions.

Somedays I don't know which is worse.

It is difficult at times to forgive. To forgive someone who has wronged, particularly when you have been wronged repeatedly in the exact fashion of the previous offense. Saying this I feel myself echoing Peter's question, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answers Peter and I, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."


It's a hard saying. It feels as though you have no protection from the pain. Seventy times seven, the ultimate number isn't important, it's the idea that forgiveness is unlimited.... and when I don't forgive, the resentment simmers, threatening to boil over.

I had to work on this one last week, I needed to forgive. I had forgiven previous offenses, but the last couple were festering in my soul. I knew it wasn't holy, and I asked God for help. He came through. Forgiveness.

I forgave and let God calm my stormy waters. And I must forgive repeatedly until the wrong is forgotten, lost in love.

I also struggled with being forgiven recently.

I hate making mistakes. I weep my eyes out and beat my soul and mind silly over them. Hearing that I'm forgiven after I have personally flogged myself is always so wonderful, but I always have to take care that I don't continue the torture after I'm forgiven.

Maybe I think the self-punishment will merit forgiveness. Maybe I just feel too deeply. Maybe it's pride. Whatever it is, I don't always just take the forgiveness easily, it works itself in slowly.

I particularly hate it when the person I wronged is the person I love the most in the world, my husband. Hurting him is one of my worst nightmares. And I punish myself thoroughly for it. He is always so quick to forgive when I ask him. It puzzles me. I expect anger, frustration. But he forgives and reminds me that he will always love me, and he loves me just the same as he did before if not more.

Why is this unexpected, even confusing? Because it isn't our nature, remember what Pope said? It's divine.

God forgives, humans don't. We hang onto the pain when we ourselves are hurt, or we punish ourselves for the pain we have caused.

Jesus Himself, who carried the sin of the world on His shoulders and was wrongly killed though innocent and perfect... forgave us while on the cross. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34


How powerful, how divine. It puts my efforts at forgiveness into perspective. God has forgiven me all, can I not forgive my brothers, my sisters? God has forgiven and taught others to forgive, can I not accept forgiveness from others?

Forgiveness is the kind of thing I think I have under control when there is no one that needs my forgiveness. These last couple weeks were a good reality check. Forgiveness must be a way of life.

I am so thankful that there are people in my life that have taught me forgiveness first hand. Tim, thank you for showing me what forgiveness looks like again. I love you.

My prayer is that I will be quick to forgive and eager to love. Jesus, please make me more like You.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

new in the shop


I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend, and a blessed Sunday morning! I just wanted to share a new card that I posted yesterday in my etsy shop: Mother and Child. I think it would be a great card to send to a new mother, your mother, or even as a Christmas card.

If you would like me to make you more of this card, or even have a design you would like me to create for you, send me a message!

You can find this card at my shop http://etsy.com/shop/abbyophus

Enjoy your Sunday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

road trip-the wedding and the end


Congratulations Jesse and Kristen! The wedding on Saturday was beautiful, and the church was quite stunning. It was the oldest church in the diocese and the architecture was impressive. We are so happy for the new Mr. and Mrs., and we wish them all the best!

The road trip was great fun, we got to hang out with our dear friend Chuck (good conversations, playing lots of Boggle and Epidemic, as well as going to Starbucks) and we met new friends too. We got to know the great city of Buffalo and see Niagra Falls... all in all, it was very fun and relaxing.

Can't wait until the next one.

*This is the card I designed for Jesse and Kristen... both of them being excellent poets, I copied a few Elizabeth Browning's poems to create a Chicago skyline.... more coming soon.

road trip-niagra falls, canada

On our trip to Buffalo, Tim and I took a jaunt across the border to see Niagra Falls. It was so sweet. It was pretty cool being in Canada, and the falls were amazing. It is one of those things you just have to see, I can't explain it... so I will leave you with these photographs.






















Thursday, October 14, 2010

top ten: buffalo road trip

My top ten favorite things about a road trip to Buffalo with the husband:

1. Unforced, quality conversation-time, if you don't have anything to say for an hour, no problem, still have eight hours to go.

2. Listening to music, especially picking out songs that fit the mood- just leaving joyful songs- moody moonlight songs- autumn leaf songs-etc.

3. Filling out a mad lib with words like squirrels, bologna, pants, boisterous, and chinchilla.

4. Stopping at a rest stop and discovering interesting, new things. For example, a woman shaving her armpits in the ladies bathroom. No joke.

5. Going to a Chik-Fil-A in Cleveland, finding it had the most leisurely, friendly, happy service at a fast food chain, ever. Delightful.

6. Laughing about many, many things. So many I can't remember them all.

7. Reminiscing about childhood, particularly what were our favorite things to do when we played outside and what cartoons we watched.

8. Planning our next road trip.

9. Admiring the beautiful, absolutely incredible autumn colors. The crimson, the orange, the gold, the green.

10. Being with my favorite person in the world for ten hours straight. Glorious.

And that was just the ride to Buffalo! More coming soon about our adventures in the city of wings.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

secret garden card


I'm slowly working on my etsy store again. I've been working on some cut-out collages. Here is one I made over the weekend. I like to think it's the doorway to the "Secret Garden," full of roses and violets, or maybe just the door to your sweet thoughts.

Hopefully more coming very soon!

Monday, October 11, 2010

interludes and adventures

I love music. I love listening to it, singing, playing music, and writing music with Tim. As early as I can remember, there was music playing all around me... at home and at church. And before I can remember, my mom has stories of how I responded to music (particularly the soundtrack to Amadeus). I remember singing along to Phil Keaggy, Say-So, and Jacob's Trouble. I remember singing in church, during Sunday services or Christmas plays. I remember my first radio with a tapedeck. My first discman. My first recital. The first song Tim wrote for me. Our first show. On and on. Music.

One thing I didn't love about music when I was young was the interlude. When I would listen to a favorite rock song, I hated the parts where there weren't any lyrics. I wanted them to get back to the words, to the story. Stop messing around with guitar solos, I want to sing a long... this is boring.

I don't really feel like this anymore. I enjoy beautiful interludes, weeping strings that swell with emotion, intricate guitar parts carefully picked, and passionate melodies from piano keys. Sometimes it is the interlude that moves you to tears, the music can speak what words cannot.

However, I do think my childhood dislike of the interlude sheds a little light on my tendency to be, well, a little impatient during waiting times. Times when life is an interlude. Nothing is really changing, just waiting for the next direction from God.

I get excited for changes. Moving around with my family instilled a little wanderlust in my heart. I get ready to move on to the next adventure. But sometimes, its not time for an adventure. Sometimes, its time to wait, be still, know that the Lord is God.

I think my impatience sometimes gets in the way of what God wants to do next. I'm so busy trying to peek around the corner, I miss what is right in front of me. Maybe its a small adventure, maybe its a heart change, maybe its a friend that needs an encouraging word.

The last couple weeks I have been striving to take more time to be with God. I have found that being more faithful in the day to day is making the day to day more purposeful, and dare I say... an adventure?

I forget that being a follower of Christ is all the adventure I need. Everyday following Him is beautiful, be it an interlude or sweet lyrics. I do not need a change to find purpose, following Christ provides my life with meaning everyday. Days I feel joyful, days I feel depressed. Days I'm ready for, and days I'm too tired for. He can handle all of them, especially the ones that are too big for me.

"My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me." John 10:27

I'm His sheep and He has a plan for me everyday. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I stuff my ears with my own wool.

I'm ready to wait on my King, my Shepherd, my Love, my Songwriter. What do You have for me today Jesus? Interlude or lyric, rest or adventure.... I'm here.

october


I took a walk today with Chewie (Tim's childhood dog) through our neighborhood. I believe the time of day was what our wedding photographer called the "bewitching hour." Everything looked beautiful outside so we ran back upstairs to get the camera. I was a little disappointed at my attempts to catch the gorgeous lighting, but I still thoroughly enjoyed my walk with Chewie and the beautiful leaves.


It smelled like cold weather was rolling in, and it mingled deliciously with the smell of perishing leaves. I truly love autumn, I love the cool days, sweaters and khakis, changing leaves, pumpkins, apple cider, etc. It reminds me of days spent running around outside as a child, thrashing through leaves and building forts. It reminds me of when Tim and I started dating three years ago (it seems like forever ago, that sweet exciting time). It's such a lovely season filled with wonderful memories....


What do you love about autumn?

Monday, October 4, 2010

wuthering heights


I got a nasty cold this weekend. Headaches, congestion, sinus pain, bad dreams. Nasty. To combat this I took echinacea, vitamin c, tylenol cold, chicken noodle soup, clementines, watched the Bears, and started re-reading Wuthering Heights.

You may or may not have read Wuthering Heights. Some of you may have read it for English class, if you are an British Lit nerd, you may have read it for fun. Either way, this is one of the greatest novels, ever.

I haven't read many novels since graduating with an English degree, you kind of read novels until they are coming out of your ears as a lit major. The other day, however, I was sitting next to the bookcase staring at it. This is an old favorite pastime of mine, I used to spend time just staring at the bookcases in my parent's home... thinking about the books I had read and speculating about the ones I hadn't. I sometimes get caught staring at other people's bookcases.... all I can say in my defense is this, you can learn a lot from a bookcase. I happened to rest my eyes on Wuthering Heights, and began to read it while Tim worked on homework.

I have really enjoyed re-visiting the Yorkshire moors and the sad characters contained in the pages of Emily's classic book. Re-reading a book is like visiting an old friend. It brings back forgotten memories from the first read. I remember the first time I read this book very vividly. My family had driven out from California to visit our family in Illinois. We were at my grandparent's house in the country and we made a trip into town to visit my old favorite bookstore that doesn't happen to exist anymore, Pages for All Ages. I picked up a paperback of this book at my Mom's suggestion and brought it back to my grandparent's. I couldn't put it down. I believe I finished it in two days. It really is that good.

Although I read this book for the first time in the summer, it feels like fall to me. What books can you read more than once? What books contain old memories for you? What are you reading now? I'd love to hear about it.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

i will be grateful


Yesterday I had a serious case of the down in the dumps. Work wasn't bad, the day wasn't awful. I was just low. This is usually a sure sign that I need to be closer to God. And, as usual, that was true.

Today I started the day following more faithfully. And it made all the difference. I felt joyful, and grateful. Here are a few things I am grateful for:

1. I am grateful to be alive, talking, and walking.
2. I am grateful that God never gives up on me.
3. I am grateful to have an understanding and ever loving husband.
4. I am grateful for our wonderful families.
5. I am grateful for friends.
6. I am grateful for art projects.
7. I am grateful for food on the table.
8. I am grateful for beautiful weather.
9. I am grateful for music.

This list goes on, but I know that it is important for me to stop, breathe, and reflect upon the beautiful things that God has given me and my loved ones. It's definitely something to sing about. What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

tastes like autumn-roasted vegetables


Tim and I made roasted vegetables and herbed chicken tonight for dinner. I have to say this is one of my top favorite cold weather meals. It just tastes so good, especially when the temperature drops outside. I really can't get enough of these veggies.

We chopped and roasted butternut squash, baby red potatoes, mushrooms, and cauliflower and tossed them in olive oil, sea salt, and fresh garlic before putting them in to the oven. So tasty.

Monday, September 27, 2010

heaven's worship



"No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever." Revelation 22:3-5

I can't say I always get excited for worshipping God in heaven. As a kid I used to think, "Singing to God forever and ever? I love Him, I know, but I can hardly make it through Sunday morning worship, and that is only 6 0r 7 songs!" How will I worship God forever and ever?

Reading the above verses gives me hope... Revelation is incredibly beautiful, and there are verses that resonate deeply within me.... "They will see His face." I know that I long to see the face of my sweet Savior, and I'm sure that seeing it in glory will give me something to sing about for a few thousand years at least.

Also, I don't know that my childhood vision of singing forever and ever will be perfectly realized. There will be the wedding feast, and I'm sure we will do all kinds of wonderful things in heaven, just like we do on earth, just perfectly, and each thing we do will be worship because it is heaven. Maybe we will paint, travel, run, write, and more. You never know.


On Sunday, I felt like I got a taste of the coming glory in heaven. Tim and I were blessed with the opportunity to lead worship. We gave our regular worship team (who is amazing by the way!) a break and sang several songs and played guitar and mandolin.

I can't say I was siked for this on Sunday morning.... I was absolutely terrified. My stomach hurt and I was ready to panic. I couldn't do this, I'd never done this. Sure, Tim and I have played music before, but never worship. This was important!

We prayed about it before the service started and gave it to God. It was all for Him anyway, it was wrong of me to worry and worry about messing up. So we sang and played for Him with the congregation.


I have never been in front of church to hear the congregation singing like that... and it was so beautiful. And one point during "Blessed Be Your Name" it was like the heavens opened and I got a ethereal taste of what it will be like when we are all singing to our Beloved.

I'm not afraid to worship God forever anymore, I think it is going to be the most wonderful, most fulfilling and amazing thing we will ever experience.... and it will go on forever and ever. How beautiful is that?

Maybe you don't think so... maybe worship still seems.... difficult. That's ok, I've been there and I'm still working through this process. I don't always worship very well when I do things I don't like to do. Worship seems more inviting somedays than others. I think that is why it has to become the theme of our whole lives. Worship when we rise, worship when we speak, worship when we do the dishes, worship when we create, worship when we care for our families, worship when we sing, worship when we rest.... and on and on.

This life was meant for something else. It was meant for Christ. What would it look like if we were all worshipping all the time through every task and chore. I'd say it might look like heaven... what do you think?

Monday, September 20, 2010

lovely september monday

Today I am grateful for many things, and that makes today lovely.

1. Tim and I had a wonderful, beautiful anniversary weekend.
2. I am so grateful that I have been married to the love of my life one whole year!
3. I am grateful that Tim has the opportunity to go back to school.
4. I am thankful for fall and all the beauty it brings.
5. I am thankful for chili and tomato soup.
6. I am grateful for God's grace and patience, He never gives up on me.
7. Jesus, precious Jesus. I am so thankful for You and Your sacrifice.

What are you thankful for today? May your week be blessed with the presence of God and full of His joy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

one year ago

I love you more than ever Tim. Thank You Lord for Your Love and for bringing us together one year ago.

"This is my beloved and this is my friend. His banner over me is love."

Friday, September 17, 2010

sounds like fall-fionn regan

Here is another artist that sounds like autumn... Fionn Regan. We discovered this artist a few years back on iTunes. They gave away his single "Put a Penny In the Slot," it was one of the better songs that they have given away for free. Maybe they should give away a Tim & Abby song??? (*hint hint*)

Right now, I'm looking forward to seeing the leaves change on more trees on our commute (I've already seen some orange and red!) and to getting my first Pumpkin Spice Latte at our local Starbucks tonight. Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

beloved

Saturday night I thought about heaven. Thinking about heaven always fills me with longing, hope, and bitter sadness all at the same time.

It feels me with longing because I know that I have been tainted by sin my whole life and my relationship with God is hindered by my present state of being. In heaven, this mortal coil will be shed, and I will know and love God the way I was created to. And it will be beautiful.

It fills me with hope because I know that death is not the end, eternity will follow. I will be reunited with my loved ones who have passed on, and there will be no more tears. All will be made right when Jesus reigns over us in the new heavens and the new earth.

Unfortunately, I also feel deep sadness. Verses like this "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." This is upsetting to me. I waited all my life for Tim, my one true love... and there will be no marriage? I worry that Tim will not belong to me as my husband, that each will know each other as deeply as anyone knows anyone. I worry that there will not be anything special about our marriage in heaven. I worry, and I worry.

I know that there is a disconnect in my heart. My love for God is not my driving passion most days. I'm not in love with Him the way that I want to be. I can say it, and sing it. But I do not trust very often that being with Him for eternity will make me happy. My love for God is not as real as my love for Tim... and that makes me protective, and fearful.

Like I've said before, Tim becomes an idol for me, I want his love to save me. Because he is here, and I can talk to him face to face, and hug him.... hear him.... see him. I don't want things to change in heaven, I want my relationship with Tim to stay the same. Deep down I know our relationship will be better than it ever can be on earth, but I remain fearful.... when will I stop falling back into a spirit of fear instead of power, love, and a sound mind?

I ask God daily that I would fall more in love with Him everyday. I know that I am farther along than I have been in the past, but oh, I have a long way to go.

How tragic it is that God loves me and sacrificed for me, and I find it difficult to love Him back? He is truly the Lover of my soul, even writing this at this very moment is making it sink in deeper than it ever has.

"God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love." - C.S. Lewis

Lord, please overwhelm my heart with Your love. Please help me know and feel what it is like to be consumed with You. Please let my soul know You as its first love. I know that You are the only way, that it is only through You that I will truly love and be loved the way You have created me to be. I know that I will never love Tim the way that You want me to, and the way that he needs me to unless I love You first.

I love You Lord Jesus, please help me love You more.

sounds like fall- fleet foxes

This month I'm going to be posting songs that make my September playlist... this one from the Fleet Foxes is .....awesome. I don't know if there are many bands that sound more like autumn than these guys.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

bridges


Tim and I have been working on some new music lately, particularly on an ep project we are calling "Fear." As you may have guessed the subject of this mini-album is fear, and we have been taking time to explore some of our phobias, some more intense than others.

We wrote a song about bridges, which happens to be one of my fears. I can't help feeling like I'm going to fall... whether I'm crossing Hoover Dam, Coronado Bridge, the Chicago River, or an average overpass... I freak out inside. So, that is where this song came from.

You can download this Tim & Abby song exclusively here, we haven't yet posted it on our myspace. Enjoy!

Friday, September 3, 2010

dear autumn

Dear Autumn,

It seems you have returned to us after your lengthy absence. I must say I didn't realize how much I missed you until I walked outside this morning and felt the crisp cool breeze announcing your arrival. The wind and clouds were lovely today, and I enjoyed wearing my light jacket. I can't wait for a trip to the apple orchard and pumpkin carving with my beloved husband in the next couple months. I hope you stay for awhile this year. Don't rush out, Winter can wait.

Your friend,
Abby

Monday, August 30, 2010

every good gift

Yesterday I posted about a week with Jesus. Today, I gave the day to Jesus. It's funny, even though today wasn't free of the trials I have been experiencing day to day, it was different. I found myself praying, over and over, at the darkest point of my day. And it made all the difference. Jesus was with me today, and it was beautiful.

I have hope for tomorrow, and I can say without a doubt it is because of Him.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17

Thank You Father, Thank You Son, Thank You Holy Spirit. You took today and made it good. Tomorrow and everyday is Yours.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

a week with Jesus



For the days I wake up with bags under my eyes, greasy hair, and a nasty film over my teeth. The alarm startles my dreams and remind me it's time to leave my husband and cozy bed to hit the shower. Tim and I get into the car and commute to school/work and I say "I don't want this day, I'm ready for tomorrow."

Tim has graciously told me on several occasions that I should just give those days to God, especially since I don't seem to want them. Maybe He can make something good out of a day that seemed like a waste before it even began.

Sometimes I take this advice well, I pray and the day is new. Sometimes I don't. I insist that all I want to do is u-turn, go home, crawl into bed, and sip chamomile tea until evening rush hour is over. Since jobs pay the bills, I go to work anyway, and wander my way through a purposeless day, tired and ill-humored inside.

I don't want to live another day like this. I want to change my perspective on life, where everyday is lived for Christ and given to Him... whether I am ready for the day or not. It's hard to remember this when circumstances are rough, be it small (I didn't get enough sleep) or big (spiritual trials at work or home).

I'm sure, as always, that the answer lies where my heart is.... focused on myself or focused on Christ. Can my whole life revolve around Him the way it has revolved around me the last 23 years? What if I breathed, spoke, dreamed and lived Jesus all day long? I know this would change the look of my everyday, and this week I'm going to pursue this reality.

How do you feel about this? If you are anything like me, this probably seems impossible. And it is. I can't do it myself, neither can you. Don't feel bad, descendants of Adam and Eve are notoriously self-centered. I think the way to live like Jesus is to give every part of your life to Him. Let Him work in you.

So, it is easy for me to write this on Sunday, a day that I slept in, went to church, and have a free evening. It is difficult to live this tomorrow, an early Monday back at work, staring down another week. Everyday this week my goal is to verbally give the day to Jesus in the morning, whether or not I am ready for the day... and see where He takes it.

I think, regardless of alarm clocks, long hours, greasy hair, and traffic this is going to be a good week. Why? Because it doesn't belong to me anymore.

"Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise."

I love You Jesus.