Friday, December 28, 2012

Thanks for distracting me!

I hope your Christmas was as perfect as ours was. Friends, family, food, laughing, parties, tacky sweaters, gifts, movies, advent and a little bit of cold weather to top it off! I think Harpers's first Christmas was a success.
As I write, we are in the car on the way home. What would normally be a 4 hour trip has turned into a 6 hour trip, and counting. TRAFFIC. This is definitely not the most pleasant thing I've ever done. But we're all trying really hard to have good attitudes. Even Harper, who is very hungry and has a FULL diaper, is staying pretty calm. Thank you Lord.
To take my mind off of my current situation, I thought I'd make a list of things that would be worse than this.

5. Running. The biggest running goal I've ever had was a 5k. I did it. Now I'm done.

4. Cleaning up hazardous waste. I've never done it, but I'm sure it would be worse.

3. Driving the car. Standard transmission, y'all. Jake should get a massage for all the work he's doing.

2. Eating blueberries. Yuck!

1. Cheering for Alabama. Nothing worse than that! Geaux Tigers!!

Happy New Year!
Abigail

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Christmas High Five

I lovelovelovelovelove Christmas. I mean, it's absolutely my favorite holiday.  It's possible that we would get into an argument if you disagree.  I love presents, lights, snow, Jesus, traditions, music, surprises... what is there not to like?  I would like to dedicate this High Five to my favorite Christmas movies and their quotes.

5. Charlie Brown Christmas.  I think it's a given. My favorite reading of the Christmas story, by far. "And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid."

4. Home Alone.  I know some people (you know who you are...) don't appreciate the family dynamics in this movie, but I just laugh SO hard when I watch it.  Plus, I'm pretty sure I picked up the habit of talking to myself in the mirror from Kevin. "...including all my major crevices; including in between my toes and in my belly button, which I never did before but sort of enjoyed."

3. Elf. It's so outrageous that it almost feels real. "I like to whisper, too."

2. It's a Wonderful Life.  It definitely is wonderful when you're watching this movie.  Jimmy Stewart is magnificent.  The time period is perfect.  The story is moving.  "I wish I had a million dollars. Hot dog!"

1. White Christmas. I only need to say Bing Crosby, but I will say more.  I love musicals.  I love the WWII era. It's funny.  It's romantic. *Spoiler alert* There's snow. Yeah, I think I'll watch it again now.  "I looked at the this big ski lodge, and I thought, 'isn't it ideal?'"

I can't wait to introduce this little one to her first Christmas!


Do you have any movies I should add?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Difference in Days.

This week has been, well... I don't know the word.  Crazy, shocking, full, short.

Monday, I was worried about getting clean sheets on the guest bed.  Friday, I was holding my baby and tearfully offering prayers on behalf of the mothers and fathers who don't have that privilege anymore. My prayers have ranged from pleading for comfort to crying out for healing for our nation and repenting for closing my eyes to the wounds of the people in front of me.

I've been reminded once again that this life is short, and very far from heaven.  When something so tragic happens, it's easy for me to want to just shut down and move on from the hurt and pain. I don't want to deal with the rising feelings of past personal tragedies and hopelessness in the world. I'd rather just forget.  But I'm learning that forgetting is a short term solution.  Remembering is the real key to healing and peace. Remembering the present and intended goodness of God.  Remembering His faithfulness in the face of this senseless loss.  Remembering His promise of heaven. Remembering His nearness in the midst of miscarriage. Remembering the hope that abides in the person of Jesus. Remembering that prayer is powerful and effective.  Remembering doesn't make everything magically better, but it, sometimes slowly but surely, brings restoration.

Prayer might be the only thing we can do for the families, friends, and community of Newtown, CT and for our nation right now. So, please pray with me. Pray that God would heal their broken hearts and bind up our wounds (Psalm 147:3).  Pray that what the enemy intends for evil, God would use for good (Genesis 50:20). Pray that people would find hope in Jesus (Hebrews 6:19-20)  Just pray.        

Abigail        

Friday, December 7, 2012

Schooled.

Y'all, I was in college for 6 years.  And no, I do not have a masters degree. But I guess I really only took 5 years of classes.  It went like this: two years at Baylor (meet a hunka hunka burnin' love), do Elevate (the discipleship training school at Antioch in Waco), one year of more pre-reqs and retakes, two years of nursing school. In that time, I took a lot of finals. And I always loved finals week. I'm sure you'll understand why after this week's high five.

5. Two words: dead days. Nothing to do; nowhere to be. Classes are over, but tests haven't started. It's only a couple of days, so it's perfect because any longer would just be lazy, you know.

4. In the winter: you have to bundle up and drink tons of coffee and hot chocolate and sit around all day. And your friends do, too. You're looking forward to Christmas and family and the new year. It's magical.

3. In the summer: you get to lay out by the pool for hours on end, studying of course, or make sno-cone runs for a study break.  School's (about to be) out for summer.

2. Study parties. Pancake break.  Finals baking.  Junk food.  Coffee.  Library pranks.

1. Relief and hope. It's as if you can breath again after that last question on the last test.  The semester is over.  You can look forward to whatever is coming in the next season. You get a clean slate.  It's so wonderful.

That being said, I am so glad not to be in school right now.  Because I'm not, I'm living vicariously through the college students at church.  We've had a study party, made coffee, sat around and gone to bed late.  So. Much. Fun.  You can hate finals, but I think we should all agree that finals week is the best.  

Friday, November 30, 2012

Head-butts and Harper's cold

Babies.  They are sweet and cuddly and mushy for about 2 months.  Then they start lifting their heads and kicking their legs.  Head-butts and kicks in the stomach are not conducive to cuddling.  Add that to a baby that is somewhat independent and increasingly mobile and you find yourself wanting to go back to those newborn days when she literally could only lay in your arms... or you find yourself wanting her to get sick.  Wait, what? Yes.  I said it.  There is a small percentage of my heart that enjoys a sick tiny Griffin.  Sorry grandparents and those of you who think I'm heartless.  But at least let me explain myself before you get all, "oh no she didn't." Here are my reasons:

5. The humidifier acts as a sound machine.  Brilliant.  She takes awesome naps! I'm not convinced yet that it's serving its intended purpose, but who cares?
(I don't use a sound machine all the time, though I know many people who swear by them, because I try to avoid sleep props)

4. Flushed cheeks.  They're so cute and edible! Truthfully, this happens some when she's not sick and so I get a fix and she doesn't have to be ill.

3. Cherry-flavored clear tylenol.  Harper likes it and I think it's funny that she lunges for the syringe and sucks like the world is ending tomorrow.

2. Harper's mood doesn't change.  So far in her short life, her illnesses have been mild and it doesn't seem to affect her demeanor.  I think that if she was fussy or crazy, I probably wouldn't be saying any of this.

1. CUDDLES. I love when Harper just wants to lay on me.  She sometimes strokes (read: pulls) my hair and lays very still.  It's unbelievably sweet.

In actuality, I don't want her to be sick, but those things just make it bearable, I guess.  So you can stop questioning my fitness as a parent now...

Abigail

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ode to Thanksgiving pt. 2

Last week for high five, I shared about my favorite foods. I hope you enjoyed a little taste of the holidays at my house.  This one will be a little bit deeper.  These are the things I'm most thankful for, in no particular order.

5. Dr. Pepper. The drink that will be in heaven. If you know me, you know I love humor. So, sorry, but I couldn't be exclusively serious.  

4. The Church.  I've learned to love the Word, the person in front of me, and the people across the world by being in the church. I love the way God uses the church to shape us and the world around us. His plan is the best plan and I've been blessed to be part of it my whole life.  Celebration, Antioch-Waco, Antioch BR: I would not be who I am today without you!

3. Family.  McBrayers, Griffins, team, old and new friends. Some we are blessed to be born with and others come beside us in different seasons. Whatever category you fall into, I am rich because of you.  You bring security and fun and refreshment into my life.

2. Jake and Harper.  How could you not love those faces?  I love that they both are so sure of themselves and know what they want.  It's helpful to an indecisive person like me.  This has been a big year for our family. One that proves to me we can do anything relying on the promises of God. I love them more everyday!



1. Grace.  I've been given the most selfless, loving, and personal gift. This gift is Jesus and He offers himself to all of us.  I am eternally and daily changed by this grace, this gift.

What are you thankful for?

Abigail

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ode to Thanksgiving

Slap hands! It's high five Friday.

I love the Fall/Winter.  The weather, the clothes, the festivities! I especially love the holidays!  This week our lifegroup had a Thanksgiving feast.  This was another reminder of how much I love community.  And food.  I'm not really a foodie, but I love some good southern holiday food! There is something so right about eating dressing (stuffing, in case you're confused) and my mom's sweet potatoes. I've been known to refuse to make something, like mashed potatoes, in April because it's not the holidays... It makes sense in my sentimental head. Here are my top five favorite holiday foods.

5. Dressing. I make the dressing in my family.  My hands are the mixers. Cornbread, toast, sage, boiled egg, turkey drippings... what's not love?!? I'm not sure if I like it more raw or cooked. You can stop gagging now.

4. Layer salad. Water cress for crunch, peas for sweetness, and mayonnaise (some people accuse me of being northern for liking it...). Annnd it reminds me of my Grandma Hassell.

3. Buttermilk pie.  If you've never had this, please come to my house and have some immediately.  You will never be the same!

2. Sweet potatoes. My mom's are by far, hands down the best. I'm not hating on the marshmallow topped, but her brown sugar/pecan goodness is like heaven in my mouth. And Harper will be having her first McBrayer sweet potatoes next week. Stay tuned for how it goes...

1. Mashed potatoes. The best, most satisfying, and utterly delicious food on the planet.  I'm not exaggerating.  My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it. Allison, if you're reading this, double the recipe this year!

I wanted to add canned cranberry sauce to this list, but I didn't want you to judge me. Now you know.

Maybe I should expand my list. What's your favorite holiday food?

Abigail

Friday, November 9, 2012

'Merica, y'all.

Now that election season is over and it's once again safe to share my opinions on social media without getting karate chopped in the mentions, I thought I'd do it. Here's why I love America.*

6. Reality t.v.  Had you going, didn't I...

5. Air conditioning. This one is serious. Please, don't judge me.  I live in Louisiana, so it's pretty much a necessity. I like to think I'm not high maintenance, but I know I'm a lightweight in this area.

4. Diversity. So many thoughts, ideas, personalities, passions, gifts, talents, cultures and experiences. I believe this is the way heaven will be!  

3.  It's the land of opportunity. You can be nothing and then become something.  Almost anything you can dream, is a possibility.  Of course, this creates Beanie Babies and Toby Keith, but I'm not going to pour the baby out with the bathwater.    

2. Courageous men (and women).  People who believe in our country enough to fight for what they believe in. Red, blue, green, white.  I'm not saying I agree with all of them, but they are strong enough to stand up for what they think is best. They give up years of their life to lead and serve us. That is honorable.

1. There is freedom.  Countless brave men and women have laid down their lives that I might live in a country that has all these things and more. I can love and serve God without fearing for my life or my livelihood. I can vote for those courageous men.  I can create and fail and create again. I have a voice.  I can use that voice to stand for those who don't have one.  This is beautiful and hopefully a foreshadowing for Americans of the freedom found in Jesus.      

Thank you for your time. God bless you and God bless 'merica.

Abigail

P.S. I love all the countries on this planet! And I'm positive that they all have equally awesome qualities, but that's for another day and another list...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy 6 Months!

It's time for the second installment of High Five! I can hear the applause all the way from Baton Rouge...
This one is dedicated to my sweet and funny 6 month old! You know what happened? I blinked.  A second ago I was trying to keep tiny mittens on an even tinier baby. Now, I'm trying to keep sweet potatoes off of all my clothes. I know you all told me this would happen, so I just wanted to make sure you knew you were right. I blinked and she is half of a year old. I'm going to try to keep my eyes open for the rest of my life.  Maybe then she won't get any older. Or something like that...
Anyway, here are the top 5 things I love about having a 6 month old

5. You get to cut in line to vote. Shaved a good 45 minutes off my wait. I need to time it to always have a baby during election years...

4. Attachment.  She loves me. She really loves me! It is so sweet that she has attached herself to me and Jake. I'm soaking it up now because I know that one day she'll have a car and be all like "later, playuz."

3. Three naps and 11 hours of sleep at night.  This is probably the pinnacle of sleep that we will get in her life. I literally thank God every day that she is such a good sleeper.

2. Singing fixes everything. Boredom. Sadness. Anger. Restlessness. All of these can be remedied with This Little Light of Mine or a good Postal Service song.  Wouldn't it be nice if this worked for adults?!?!

1. Seeing things like they are new. I get to see things through Harper's eyes every day and it makes the ordinary so much more special.  I had forgotten how funny Ruby is and how cute Jake is in the morning. Harper reminds me to find joy in the little things.  

Don't be surprised if this little lady shows up on Fridays a lot.  She's fun to talk about!

Happy November,
Abigail

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Series of Fortunate Events

I had the realization (in the shower, of course) that I'm pretty fond of lists. Grocery, packing, gifts, set, pretty much any kind of list. Most people like crossing things off of their lists. But I don't get a ton of satisfaction out of that.  I'm hooked on the organizing of those tasks/thoughts, etc.  Which led to another revelation (same place) that I should make lists RIGHT HERE! I know you're constantly wondering what I am thinking... so I'll put it in list form.  You're welcome.  

This series of lists will sometimes be humorous, other times serious, but always thankful. I want to remember all the things I have and the things that make me laugh.  I'm going to call this the High Five.  I decided on five because ten is a lot when you don't have a team of writers to be funny and witty and insightful. We can't all be Dave, you know.  In honor of alliterations, I'll be posting the High Fives on Friday every week. 

I recently celebrated my birthday. I began the downward slope of my 20s. Weird. Anyway, this High Five will be the top things that have changed since I began the decade.

5. I had a nose ring.  I think there are still some picture on the Facebook that I haven't untagged.                                            Disclaimer: I loved that thing when I had it. No, I won't get it again. And... sorry Mom. 

4. Harper. Duh. Sophmore year in college vs. motherhood.  My roomies were quieter, the work less rewarding, but equally sleep deprived.

3. My skin care regime.  Amazingly, I never washed my face, took off my makeup, or wore sunscreen until I got married. Please don't leave me hateful comments. I've since realized the error of my ways.  

2. On my 20th birthday, I was living single.  A few months later though (or a year...), I was swept off my feet. I'm thankful that I have spent most of the decade with my best friend!

1. I lived in Texas.  Moment of silence.  Now open your mouth... and take a big bite of gumbo.  Long live Louisana!

Life is, obviously, good. More to come next Friday!

Abigail

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Livin' Large

So many things have happened in these last few weeks. Our lives have been very full.  Not in the how-you-view-the-glass kind of way, more like the after-a-chinese-buffet feeling. You know, extremely satisfied and maybe slightly uncomfortable.  As the title suggests, we view this fullness as "living large." Now onto the good stuff.

Harper is almost 6 months old.  6.  Months. Half of a year.  We really are in shock.  She is so fun right now!  Her little personality is starting to show itself.  She does not prefer being cold, taking baths, or being stuck on her stomach.  She loves singing (hers or anyone else's), chewing on her toes, grabbing everything, and Ruby! She had her first sickness, a little cold.  It was so sad hearing her tiny cough, BUT it made her a snuggler which she is not normally.  So it was sweet. We took advantage of it.  No shame.


And she's teething.  Chewing on everything, clearly.


Another thing growing bigger by the day is our church! As you probably know, 9 of us moved here from Waco.  We started getting to know people in the city, inviting them to church, lifegroup, LSU watch parties, and pretty much anything else we were doing. We now have two lifegroups, good friends, and a growing presence in the city. The real story here though is that we have people coming to church whom the 9 of us have never met!  And we love that.  Our friends are bringing their friends and their friends' friends. It is FUN.

My birthday was this month.  I now feel like a twenty-something mom.  Because that's what I am...
I felt so celebrated. Harper surprised me by waking up at 5:30.  AM.  Yes, welcome to my first birthday as a mom.  It really was a great day, though.  Friends brought me coffee, lunch, and gifts.  I got mail, phone calls, tweets, and texts.  LSU beat South Carolina.  And Jake gave me this awesome gift:


A new bed! A friend of ours, Jacob, designs/builds furniture and made this headboard.  And Anthropologie supplied the bedding (after I paid them...) Have I mentioned that we have an Anthro here?  It is fantastic. And Jake is incredible. A few days later I, also, had a birthday party (with the lovely Jillian, whose birthday is 3 days after mine), complete with firepit and s'mores bar.  It was perfection.

This last part is that slightly uncomfortable feeling of being full.  Our family lost a very important man at the beginning of the month.  Don "PawPaw" Hart, Jake's grandpa, went to be with Jesus unexpectedly.  We traveled to Houston to be with family and to celebrate his life.  He was a fighter, so loving, and never met a stranger.  He left a legacy of faithfulness and kindness.  We obviously feel deeply saddened by the loss of PawPaw, but God is always faithful and gives beauty for ashes.  What feels painful and hard to understand now, we know to be temporary.  We believe in the unfailing and eternal goodness of God and gratefully receive every reminder of that. We miss you PawPaw and can't wait to see you again!


Now you are caught up on our lives.  Stay tuned for more frequent updates and possibly a weekly series... Intrigued? So am I.

Abigail
   

Thursday, September 20, 2012

a pain in my neck

A few weeks ago, Jake got this awful pain in his neck.  I thought it was a crick, he thought it was from working out.  Whatever caused it, it was a doozie! He couldn't sleep very well, was in pain most of the day, and even a massage didn't help.  But, I guess it finally went away because he hasn't mentioned it in a while. Or maybe he passed it on to me... an epidemic!

You see, I woke up with a crick in my neck the other day.  It wasn't terrible, but it got worse throughout the day. By the evening, I had to sit with my body facing right so I could turn my head to the left, aka the only way it didn't hurt.  The next morning I was feeling more myself, but still in some pain. Quick movements still made me want to gasp... GASP (disclaimer- I live with dramatic people, y'all). The crick hasn't let up, but I learned to cope by looking over my left shoulder instead of my right and things like that. I'm making it.

I realized that this is like the sin in my life.  Jake does it first...  No, no, I kid.  It usually shows up unexpectedly. I am confronted with it.  For a while it's like a kick in the face. I rearrange my life because of it's inconvenience.  It's not my ideal and I want it to go away.  And then, gradually, I learn to live with it.  It becomes a little more convenient to just go about my life normally.  To live inhibited. I can pretend like it's not there for a very long time.
But I'm reminded that Someone once said that I was meant for more.

"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

Yes.  To live in fullness. Not to cope with my sin and the destruction that it brings. To be able to turn my head to the right and to the left.  To live a new life.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

I am new!  I do not have to cope with the old me.  I am dead to sin and alive in Christ. I can lay my sin on the altar of His sacrifice. Walk in that newness for which He died. Jesus wants us to be free. He is just that good.

Now if only I could figure out my neck...

Abigail

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tiny, little packages.

I find it very fitting that we had a baby just weeks before we moved to "birth" a church. I'm sure that when we look back later, we will see so many other parallels.  But presently, a thought has come to my mind.  Actually, it's pretty much in front of my face daily:

there is POWER in small beginnings.

Our journey of starting a family did not begin the way we anticipated. Waiting, excitement, a miscarriage, disappointments, and questions filled the third year of our marriage. God was good to us, so trustworthy and faithful, but this was a small place. Then, as I braced for another month of disappointment, He surprised me.  It wasn't my timing or my plan.

It was bigger.

I had been stripped of reasoning and practicality and realized that I had been in "pleasant places" all along. And this place included anticipation, lack of sleep, tiny clothes and very swollen ankles, all leading up to an especially great Sunday. In the midst, we were preparing to plant this church.  Similarly, we had to wait and we had disappointments and we were in a pleasant place.  And I think Jake's ankles were even a little swollen...

Sometimes it felt like we were going to be preparing to go forever! BUT, now we have birthed a little church.  We have a small gathering of people.  And just like Harper surprises us everyday with something new, this church is constantly growing.  Friendships are forming, intercession is changing this city, and God is showing up in power.  Almost everyday we say how much we love how little our girl is.  She can't do very much or return the love we give yet, but our affection for her grows.  Our church is simple and we don't always know what we're doing, but we wouldn't trade it for the world! We cherish this season of small but powerful.  Because, as we've already seen, God's small is so much bigger than we could imagine!

  

Friday, August 31, 2012

Chemical Spills, Mosquitoes, and Talking Babies

This post is dedicated to our new life in Baton Rouge. And Harper. Duh.

But, first, a tribute to the place I grew up.  I lived in Texas my whole life.  It was mostly hot, sometimes humid, and full of pride, but lovely and so very unique. My only complaint for the longest time was that I would never see a white Christmas and then the miracle happened in 2009.  It was magical. It was as if Bing Crosby was in my living room, singing to me as the snow fell. I never once believed that living somewhere else could be better. I loved traveling, but I could always come home to the Lone Star State. To the Rangers, Mavericks, Cowboys, Stars, biggest contiguous state, Six Flags, cool cities, lots of country, BBQ, and (alright, alright) cowboy boots.
     
Two things you need to know about Baton Rouge.  #1 is that God is moving here.  It is humbling and way too fun to be part of this people and this movement. There is a hunger and vulnerability in people that can only be explained by a God in love with them!  #2 is that there is traffic.  Always.  Miles mean nothing in this city.  Time of day and the state of the interstate determine your travel time.  Like the other day when there was a chemical spill on I-10.  The entire interstate was shut down for about 24 hours.  It ended with the city burning off the chemicals and the fire department putting out the fire.  Sounds more simple than it was, I'm sure.  All of this commotion caused the city to be one giant traffic jam. One of my friends was on the road for 8 hours just to RUN ERRANDS. Reporters were interviewing people in their cars because they were at a standstill.  It was c-r-a-z-y. Being my father's child, I have tried to find back ways, the fastest ways, and really just any way to get places.  It's like my own little game... in the car while I'm sitting in hours of traffic. It's not always terrible. If you go somewhere at 6am, there's not any traffic.  Yea-uhh.  I guess a third thing you should know is that the mosquitoes are crafty.  You'd think that because the doors and windows are closed... and sealed... that they can't get in your house, but you'd be wrong.  The number of times I've woken up with mosquito bites that I didn't have the night before is getting longer by the day.  They're, like, mutant.  I'm pretty sure they can swim backwards.

And now the reason you're all reading this, I'm sure.  Harper is indeed talking now.  Though we are unsure what she is saying, she is saying it. Want some proof?
*disclaimer: please ignore the high-pitched baby talk/noises that are not from the baby... Have you ever tried to talk to a baby without doing that?

video
         
Can't wait to know what is going on in that little head of hers.
Until next time,
Abigail


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

1000+ Needed.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.  Sometimes those words aren't enough and those pictures could use a little help.  Like when you see a newborn baby and you think, "wow, that's a pointy head."  What the mother would tell you is that after hours and hours of labor and waiting and pushing, she got to hold her perfect little one for the first time.  She would also probably say that she's very glad that God designed that babe's head to fit through a small opening...
Another example would be the house we just moved into.  We moved to Baton Rouge just a few weeks ago and we were relying on family and friends to find a house for us.  But not just any house; a perfect house.  After months of looking through Craig's List ads and MLS listings and just driving around, we got the call.  They might have found the perfect house and they were sending us pictures.  We anxiously awaited the text messages.  What we saw was... well, it was pretty much a trashed house.  Every wall was white and there was trash on the terribly-carpeted floor.  Immediately after the pictures, we spoke to our friends. They assured us this was the best house they had seen and that when it was cleaned up it would be perfect.  Now you might be like me and think this sounds a little crazy.  You would be right (at least I think so).
We couldn't trust those picture texts (which is probably a sermon illustration in the making, right?), but we could trust our friends.  God has blessed us with some of the best, like-hearted, and fun people to start a church with.  They are all fully and joyfully submitted to the plans of God.  They live Philippians 2:3-4 by constantly seeking other's higher good.  Friends like these don't come around everyday.  And that is why we trusted them to find a house for us.  And let me tell you that where we live is even better than we could've imagined. And here are those lovely people that we are privileged to call friends and team mates.  
Blake and Lena Satterlee- these two are constantly seeking to serve and have the most fun no matter what the situation!

Preston and Carolynn Seibert- two of the most creative and excellent people I've ever met!

Matthew and Jillian Armstrong- this couple is smart, gracious, and so welcoming to everyone they meet!

Katie McCollister- she is a pioneer and so given to the things of God.  Every one of her conversations includes Jesus and something to make you laugh.  

Now, I'm sure, you can see how easy it would be to trust them to find a house for you.  We don't deserve such good friends, but we sure are thankful for them!

And here's a picture of our house, in case you are curious.  It was cleaned and new floors were laid before we moved in!
    

Saturday, June 30, 2012

She Let Go, Jack.

I am not sappy. I hardly ever cry. I hate cheesy lines. You know like, "I'll never let go, Jack," or "you are the wind beneath my wings." I've been known to laugh out loud at serious movies (see quote above) or my husband being romantic (but not since we've been married. I learned a thing or two in pre-marital counseling). A lot of first dance songs at weddings jump start my gag reflex. But not any of the ones I've been to recently, in case you're reading, newlyweds.
Don't get me wrong. I am sentimental. (See my post about traditions) I didn't cry at my own wedding, but the vows Jake made are the most special words someone has ever said to me. And I just love reading over old journals and remembering different seasons of my life.
So, imagine my surprise when a song came on the radio the other day and I almost started weeping while driving up I-35. What song you ask? Not a Dashboard Confessional song or the song we danced to at our wedding. It was none other than I Hope You Dance by LeeAnn Womack. I know, I know, so two thousand and late. I used to give this song the stank face back then. Fast forward a decade and some and I have a daughter. Say what you want about pregnancy hormones and what not, but I really do hope that she never fears those mountains in the distance or settles for the path of least resistance. I'm being pretty vulnerable here, so try not to ridicule.
This incident made me realize that nothing is sappy when it comes to your babes. Though Harper may one day roll her eyes and beg me to stop singing lame songs to her in public (which I undoubtedly will not), she will know that I love her.
And maybe she will dance...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

One month, wedding season, and Father's day.

This post will be full of updates. Babies, marriages, holidays, and pictures.  Just imagine yourself as a child carrying a glass of milk that is filled to the very top.  Don't spill any, ok?

First things first, (because, oops, it's three weeks late...) Harper turned one month old on May 29th.  Four weeks of diapers, middle-of-the-night feedings, preemie clothes, and lots of learning. We loved the first month of getting to know our little fighter.  She knows what she wants, even if she's only been in the world for a month. She took her first car trip to Houston. It was peaceful and she loved being with Grammy and Pop! Here she is at 4 weeks!


Around our house, this summer has been dubbed "the summer of the wedding." Today we finished our marathon of 7 weddings in 5 weeks.  Harper has been to four weddings, a rehearsal dinner and a bachelorette party and she's not even 2 months old.  Let's just say, she's going to be a wedding pro.  We had the privilege of being in the weddings of some our best friends. I wish I had more pictures.... but, here are a few to show you all the fun we had...

 our first family photo! at the Nottoli wedding
me and Kate Wasion
me and Leah Lara

Today is Jake's first father's day.  Sadly, he is in Houston and Harper is in Ft. Worth, but she's been sending him texts all day to tell him how great of a dad he is.  I can attest to the fact that he is a wonderful father.  He loves Harper so much and loves taking care of her. She will definitely know how important and special she is in this world.  She is a blessed daughter. 


Another blessed daughter is me. I had the honor of growing up with the Allan McBrayer.  He is funny, incredibly smart, and a great teacher.  He taught me many things; the least of which are driving and golf.  Selflessness and dedication, though, are among the top. He constantly gives his time and expertise to others.  In the gospels, we see that Jesus welcomes the interruption of people because he has compassion on them. I saw this in my own life everyday that I lived with my dad.  I hope that I can master these things the way he has and teach my daughter as well as he taught me.  Because Lord knows, I didn't master golf...


There's your glimpse into our summer.  Did you spill any of that milk?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hear me roar!

Due date, hear me roar!

Thursday was the day Harper was expected. But, as you may or may not know, she is a tiny little bundle of the unexpected. This last (almost) month has been full. We love being her parents and have learned so much already. So, I thought I would pass on a few of those things even though it may or may not be meaningless to you. I'll just give you a list.

1. I am still not a morning person.
I know you're probably shocked to find that I wasn't one to begin with, but if you've ever had to wake me up or share a room with me...it isn't pretty. And it's not getting any better just because I have this sweet, incredibly cute baby to get up for. Mornings are still lame in my world.

2. Napping all the time sounds better than it feels.
I like naps. In college, my friends and I heard about this man whose sleep cycle consisted of sleeping 30 minutes every 4 hours. I thought that sounded like a good idea. It's like napping 6 times a day and you don't miss out on very much. Well, I have now experienced a sleep pattern similar and, let me tell you, that man was tired. A day full of naps is ungreat...

3. Entertainment is not necessary.
You'd think that after staring at someone who only eats and sleeps for a few weeks, one would be bored. But let me tell you, I could stare at this kid all day, every day. She never gets old. And I can't imagine what it's going to be like when she actually does something else... like talks! Or even maintains eye contact. Hours and hours of fun!

4. Purpose is captivating.
Having something (in this case someone) that gives you motivation is divine. Parenthood is not just "be fruitful and multiply." It is purpose. We have the authority and privilege of raising this world changer. We've been commissioned to care for, love, and disciple one of His children. That makes the lack of sleep and obsession with bodily functions all worthwhile.

These lessons might not change THE world, but they've sure changed MY world. And in the words of the Notorious B.I.G: if you don't know, now you know.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The mother load

Today is Mother's day. My first one. I kinda feel like I cheated though, since Harper is technically not supposed to be out here yet. But this post is not about me. It's about the other mothers in my life.
You see, I come from a long line of mothers. We all do really... But my line is exceptional. I have been blessed with not only a wonderful mom, but with incredible women who have mothered me in many ways. Let me introduce you to some of them.
First and most importantly, there is my mother, Sarah. The woman who gave me life and taught me how to live. As long as I can remember, she has made sure I know how much I was wanted and ordained by God in our family. She is the biggest servant I know, teaching me to value and honor others above myself. And thankfully for my future church, she taught me how to be a pastor's wife full of grace and humility. There are not enough ways to say thank you for all that and that is only the beginning of her impact in my life. I love you, mom!
Going backwards in line, you have my grandmother (Grandma) and great grandmother (Mamaw) on my mom's side. I spent a lot of time at their house growing up. They taught me what love and resilience can do in a person. They were strong women, but so tender and gracious. They raised my mom to be the woman she is and for that I eternally grateful.
Moving to the other side of my family, my dad's mom, Grandma. My earliest memory in life is of her putting me to bed. I spent countless hours playing board games, making crafts, and reading books with her. She taught me that when you love someone, you spend time with them and you're not afraid to be silly with them. Though she has seen many hard years, she is so sensitive to God and aware of others. I love that about her.
Next up is the newest mother. My mother-in-law, Marcia. She raised three crazy and passionate boys and did it with a smile on her face. I have the pleasure of being married to her middle son and I can attest that she did an amazing job raising him. He can laugh at anything, including himself because she taught him to never take things too seriously. And she is one of the most generous people I know. Not everyone has a great MIL, so I am beyond blessed to have her in my life.
Lastly there are women who have discipled me, knowingly or unknowingly, teaching me the values of intentional living, discipling your kids, and laying your life down for the church. They are my sister, Allison, Tracie Phillips, Blair Gulley, Elizabeth Griffin, and Carrie Bach. I cannot adequately thank these women for their investment in my life.
As you can see, today is a day of rich reminders of God's faithfulness to me. It is also a challenge to me to love and lay down my life for not only Harper, but everyone that God has placed around me. I want my legacy to outlast my life, just as these women have done.
Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

2am


I have always been a night owl. Call it genetics (like mother, like daughter), youngest child syndrome, FOMO (fear of missing out), or whatever you want, but I like to stay up late. College was great for me because that's pretty much what everyone does. Things that happen after 10pm in college: go to Common Grounds; start studying; drive to West for kolaches; start a movie; IHOP; and many others. That was the life. Fast forward to me working 12-hour shifts at the hospital and my love of late nights is replaced with a love for *hopefully* reading in bed for a few minutes before I fall asleep. At 9pm. Not so exciting anymore.
But lately I've had a revival of 2am fun. And it all started last Saturday night around midnight.
I went to bed early because I was tired from my shift and my legs were swollen (see instagram for proof) and because Jake was out celebrating a friend's birthday. When he got home at midnight, I got up to use the bathroom. And there it happened. Pop and gush. My water broke. Being an uncertain first-timer, I just went back to bed. After an hour of semi-regular contractions I thought I better time them. They were about 7-8 minutes apart. I woke Jake up at 2am and he sprung into action, calling the doc and packing a bag. I was a little more reluctant, not wanting to be that girl. You know, the one who goes to the hospital a million times because she thinks she's in labor... Turns out I was in labor. I was admitted to the hospital at about 3:15. I was only 1cm dilated, but 90% effaced. All I had to do was get to 10cm and I'd be set. We made some calls and our parents started the trek to Waco. At 4:30, I was still at 1cm, so they started me on pitocin and I said no to an epidural, in hopes of an all natural birth.
Over the next two and a half hours, my contractions got more regular (read painful), so I changed positions a couple of times and had a Popsicle. My parents got to Waco around 7. At about 7:15, I was having a mental debate about whether or not I would make it another couple of hours in this amount of pain. I decided (still in my head) that I needed an epidural. I felt delirious when, all of the sudden, I had a major urge to push. My nurse was in the room (thank God!), so I informed her I needed to push and then proceeded to do so. She told me to stop because I wasn't fully dilated, but that she'd check me. To everyone's surprise, especially my doc who wasn't at the hospital yet, I was fully dilated. Suddenly my room was a beehive of activity, everyone frantically trying to get ready for the delivery. Meanwhile, my rock, Jake, was at my head calmly helping me breathe through each contraction and holding my hand. I wouldn't have made it without him. There was no time for an epidural, but by then I didn't care. I just wanted to push! My doc arrived and after 10 minutes of pushing, Harper Ella Griffin made her debut! Though she came a little early, she is perfectly healthy (5lbs 14oz and 18 1/2 inches long) and obviously ready to take on the world.
So, now my 2am consists of quality time with my new favorite person in the world. And I wouldn't trade it for all the kolaches in West.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Greetings from sunny Dallas, TX!

Ever heard of a babymoon? It's a magical vacation. A wonderland of fun. You can sleep in, eat really good food, play mini-golf, and imagine how your life will change in just a short time. The only thing that differs about this trip is that one person must be pregnant. I want to tell you all minute by minute how awesome this vacay has been, but I think pictures will do it more justice. You're welcome :)


This is how our vacation started. Sitting in the hallway and listening to hail pound my parent's house. No damage and no tornadoes, so it wasn't too bad.

Paciugo: gelato or heaven, whatever you want to call it

33 weeks

picnic at the park

batting cages

Lifesize Jenga! It was so fun... even though I lost both games.

mini golfing. We both made holes-in-one. Thanks for all those golf lessons, dad!

No trip to Dallas would be complete without Sprinkles!

In-n-Out. Enough said.

Oddfellows for brunch. This is Jake's meal, Duck Hash. So yummy. Not pictured is my incredible red velvet pancake. We will be returning as soon as possible. If you live in Dallas, check it out. It's in the Bishop Arts District.
Planetarium. We ate freeze-dried ice cream and watched a movie about the cosmic colors. And became astronauts, of course.

So there you have it. A physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually refreshing week. We would really recommend this to anyone about to have a baby. I mean, we can't wait to have another baby just for the trip.

Just kidding. Sort of.

Abigail


Friday, March 23, 2012

Control Freak

I have some callouses on my hands. Not the callouses of hard and long-term training, like a gymnast or a guitarist. I wish these callouses said something about my work ethic. No, these are new. These callouses are that of a control freak.

See, here's the deal. I'm having a baby in a couple of months and when I walk my dog, Ruby, she really walks me. I decided that this would not do when I'm trying to push a stroller and "walk" my dog. My plan: retrain my dog to act properly on a leash. The only problem is that Ruby is a bit stronger than I am. But I have a will. On our walks, I would hold the leash so tightly that my hands were rubbed raw. Thus the callouses. If you can't see where this is going, I'll spell it out for you. My dog was winning. My attempt at retraining my dog was failing miserably. I can only hold the leash so tightly. I'm weak(er than my dog).

No, really, I am just weak. And this led me to a conclusion. This situation happens probably daily in my life. I decide that something is not the way it should be and then I try to man-handle it until I'm satisfied with the results. And I usually end up failing miserably. I'll try again and again to make it work, but my heart just gets calloused. Why? Because I am weak.

Sounds like a vicious cycle. Thankfully, I've discovered an exit ramp. Are you ready for this?

Let go.

But it's not really that easy is it? I couldn't just let go of Ruby's leash. She would run away, especially if she saw a cat. So, we got a training collar and then I let go. It's amazing the difference the proper equipment can make. I mean, Ruby is practically training herself and my hands are becoming soft again! In my case, the proper equipment can be something as simple as a mindset to getting outside perspective and help. When a situation arises that I think won't do and my insides scream, "control, don't let go," I turn to a thankfulness mindset. I thank God that he has prepared me for such a time as this. Or I thank Him that He will provide what I lack. He will give strength where I'm weak. And He will give counsel where my wisdom falls short. This is what makes it possible for me to let go. Because, really, my hands are just trying to wrestle control from His. When I let go, I get to see God move.

So, I'm still a recovering control freak, but one day at a time I'm seeing that letting go is far superior to getting callouses.

Abigail

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Days like Today

Cloudy, gray, misty, and hopeful.

Or maybe your day is defeating and boring.

Or monotonous, lonely and uninspired.

Days like today look a certain way. Dreary. Mundane. Foggy.

But what if our eyes are lying to us? The saying goes that what we see is what we get, but what if that's really just having tunnel vision? The saying should go that what we choose to see is what we get. This is perspective, not just what is in front of our face. It's overcast today, but does that mean the sun isn't shining? You're feeling defeated today, but does that mean you aren't victorious?

Hope. This should be our perspective. Hope is an anchor. It's our North Star in a storm. Hope helps us see our reality through God's lens. It is a greater truth. Your days may be mundane, but the greater truth is that you are created for abundance. Today is cloudy, but above those clouds is the sun.

And that's why I love days like today. It reminds me that there is something greater that maybe I just can't see. It reminds me to check my perspective at hope. It challenges me to believe in the unseen. What will you choose to see today?

And now a short life update for those wondering...

Third trimester life has begun. We have registered. I'm beginning to think about the birthing plan (I'll just inform Jake, mostly, because he gets a little woozy at the thought...) and baby girl is most definitely a mover and a shaker. Speaking of "baby girl," she actually does have a name and it is....

This is a picture from 23 weeks, so I look (and feel!) a bit bigger now.

Jake and I are continuing the process of building a team of people to support us financially and prayerfully as we prepare to move to Baton Rouge this summer. If you want to be part of our update list, please send me your email and physical mailing address! We would love to hear from you. My email address is at the top of this page.

One last thing, as I was writing this post, the sun came out. The greater truth prevailed again!

Abigail