Friday, February 26, 2010

What We've Been Up To

Not too much, really. The Gent has been busy with school; I've had a couple of very stressful weeks at work. We have some fun things planned this weekend - dinner with a family from church tonight, and a party tomorrow night. I am looking forward to some time to relax, away from the office, and some time to spend with my hubby.

We are determined to enjoy our last six months here. Oh yeah, if you didn't know already, we're moving in six months! We are very excited about it. We've enjoyed being here during Gent's time in school, but it just isn't home. We are looking forward to the next stop in our marriage journey! And I am thrilled to be moving on from my current job. The salary and flexibility have been a blessing, but the frustrations are beginning to multiply. I know frustrations are a part of any job. But I am grateful to be moving on soon.

We've made some wonderful friends who we will miss. We'll also really miss our church. But overall, we think it is time for the next transition.

Until then, I'm really trying to keep a good attitude about work. I am meditating over Colossians 3:23-24: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Grannie Annie's Icebox Cookies

This is my great-grandmother's recipe. These cookies are so good they just melt in your mouth.

Cream together:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
Add 1 egg.
Add 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour.
Spray wax paper with non-stick spray.
Form dough into a roll, wrapped in the wax paper.
Refrigerate overnight or freeze 1 hour.
Slice. Bake on greased cookie sheet at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy the goodness! This recipe makes about two dozen cookies.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What's in the Bible, by R.C. Sproul and Robert Wolgemuth

I really enjoyed this book. It provided a great overview of the Bible, whether you've never read it before or have read cover to cover several times. I loved all the connections Sproul and Wolgemuth drew between the Old and New Testaments, and how they highlighted the theme of redemption throughout each book. I was also grateful for their explanations for some of the "weird" things in Scripture, like the Old Testament sacrifice system.

Here are a few quotes that really stuck with me:

"The history of man's relationship to his heavenly Father is not one of him chasing after God. No, the accounts in the Bible, the stories of history, and the reality of today are filled with the miracle of God pursuing His creatures. God stoops to clothe our nakedness. He soothes our embarrassments and pain. He covers our guilt and restores us to our position as His image-bearers and vice-regents. God takes the first step." (9)

"God will use whatever or whomever He wants to use in order to accomplish His purposes." (135)

Talking about the prophet Habakkuk: "Habakkuk had learned his lesson. He could wait on the blessings of the Lord as well as the justice of God, and be of good courage because God alone knew the right time to deliver them both." (172)

When writing about miracles and how we have such a hard time understanding them today, Sproul and Wolgemuth point out, "The all-powerful, self-existing God created the vast universe and chose to visit the earth. If we take this as our starting point, then we can embrace what the angel said to Mary: 'Nothing is impossible with God.'" (234)

"In the world's economy, suffering is something to be avoided, a meaningless interruption, and a waste of time and energy. But in God's economy, suffering is critical to our spiritual growth. Because 'perfection' and 'completion' are desirable characteristics for all believers, suffering is not to be sidestepped; it's to be welcomed." (373)

"Suffering is not God's great mistake; it is at the core of His plan for us." (378)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Right on Schedule

Yesterday was a good day. The sun shone and the temperature got above freezing. And it didn't snow.

And you know what else?

Okay, most of you don't want to know what I'm about to write - falls under the heading of TMI. You know who you are, so quit reading now.

The rest of you, scroll down . . .

My period showed up right on schedule! Four weeks to the day of our miscarriage. The doctor told me it would be 4-8 weeks before I got a period, and could be as long as 10 weeks without being abnormal. That would have been a long time for my body to be in limbo and my emotions all out of whack. For the past four weeks I've been wondering when my body would heal. Now I know that it has. Our hearts are still healing, and I know they will be for a while. But at least we are on the road to recovery. I've never been so excited to get my period in my life. :) Thanks to all our dear family and friends who have been praying for us!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We've Gone Anonymous!

Hi friends and family,

We've gone anonymous on here. I'm "AbbasGirl" and hubs is "the Gent." I'm probably over-cautious, but there are just enough crazy people out there to make it worth it! I did unfortunately have to delete a few of your comments, because they used names. :( I'm sorry about that, but I enjoyed reading them before they were deleted. Please don't use our names from now on, thanks!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Scrumptious Turkey Soup

Made this scrumptious soup last week. It was so creamy, yummy, and even healthy to boot!

Monday, February 15, 2010

February Date Night

The Gent and I went to the ballet this weekend. I'd love to write a review, but since I don't post information about where we live, I won't be doing that. You'll have to content yourself with the fact that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The ballet wasn't technically difficult, but the stories were compelling and the effect was beautiful. I miss dancing - it was a big part of my life for many years - I hope to get back to it someday! But in the meantime, the ballet made for a great February date night.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Getting Married Young

Here is a link to a great article I read in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Happy Reading!

Did I Get Married Too Young?

Friday, February 12, 2010


Fair warning that this will be a very personal post. I am far from a perfect person. The Lord is molding me into His vessel every day.

These past three weeks have been very difficult, to say the least. I swing back and forth between acceptance and anger. I question God one minute, but the next I know that He is sovereign in all circumstances. I am hopeful about the future, and then caught up in sadness, all within the same five minutes. I want to know why my baby died, and I realize no matter how much I ask, I'll never fully understand. There are a multitude of answers, but none of them are the one I want to hear. Because none of them will bring Noel back.

I have questioned God, been mad at Him, and grateful for His presence all at the same time. He's really God. My pain and anger aren't going to be more than He can take. One of the most freeing things I ever heard (several years ago), was just a reminder that "nothing's going to jump out and eat God." I laughed when I first heard that phrase, but I've returned to it over and over again. If God is really God, no question is to big for Him. No problem is too big or small for Him to handle. Our God is a really big God. He is outside of space and time, yet He longs to be accepted into our hearts, to come and dwell within us, if we only invite Him in.

I have been keeping up with my morning Bible study, but putting off really taking time to be alone in the Lord's presence. I didn't want to hear what He had to say to me. I wasn't ready.

But this morning as I drove into work, I set aside my morning commute to listen at His feet. I started with questioning why this had happened, but told Him I knew I would never really understand. And that I'm okay with that. I repented of my anger and pride, my self-reliance. I thanked the Lord for His comfort and His presence, for the sacrifice of His own Son, to save me from my sin. Jesus's death was the ultimate undeserving death. God knows what it is like to lose His child, too. And then I asked God to speak to me.

I wasn't expecting an audible voice, a whirlwind, or a column of fire. The Lord usually speaks through His Word. I thought maybe He would remind me of verses about how He heals the brokenhearted, or is faithful, or something like that. But that wasn't what God had to say to me.

The words He spoke to me were these, from Zephaniah 3:17:
The Lord Your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.

Did you hear that?! The Lord is with me. I am not alone. He has not abandoned me. Psalm 138:8 says the Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; He does not abandon the works of His hands.

The Lord is mighty to save. To saves us from sin and death. He rescues us from certain judgment and destruction. On my own I am nothing; with Him I am everything.

God delights in me. Even in my brokenness, He delights in me. He doesn't care if my eyes are red from crying, or if I am questioning His presence. He delights in me all the same.

He quiets me with His love. He knows my broken heart. He comforts me in my distress. He is near.

He rejoices over me with singing. I haven't done anything to earn God's love. In fact, there is nothing I can do on my own. But He doesn't care about that. He just wants to rejoice over me, as I am in His presence.

I'm not quite sure what all these grand revelations mean for living my day-to-day existence right now. But I look forward to finding out.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

You Never Let Go, Matt Redman

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We’ll live to know You here on the earth

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

Monday, February 8, 2010

Real Education, by Charles Murray

I picked up this book at the library last week. I have plenty of (strong) opinions about education, so I thought it looked interesting. Murray thinks we have forgotten four truths about education:

1. Ability varies
2. Half of the children are below average
3. Too many people are going to college
4. America's future depends on how we educate the academically gifted


I'll admit this book was pretty tough to read. We don't want to spend much time thinking about Murray's ideas, because they don't fit into our ideal world. But they are very practical. And as you dig below the surface of his statements, parts of them do make a lot of sense.

1. Murray talks about how ability varies, and we acknowledge this in every area of life except reading and mathematics. No one gets upset over the superior athlete, the gifted musician, etc, but when we start talking about some kids being academically gifted we freak out and talk about how every child needs to reach their "potential." But Murray reminds us that we should let children reach their own potential - push them as far as they are capable of going - but let them reach their own potential, not the potential the education bureaucracy has decided they should have.

2. When we use averages, half the kids are going to be below average. Even as the grades improve, half the kids will always score better than the other half of kids.

3. Picking up with Alan Bloom's ideas, Murray thinks too many kids go to college. We've cheapened a traditional liberal arts degree. Murray believes we need to let go of the idea that you have to have a B.A. to be successful, and accept that going to a technical school is not a failure, but can be the right choice for many, many students.

4. Murray says that like it or not, our society is ruled by an elite class of politicians, businessmen, educators, journalists, etc. Nothing is going to change that, so we might as well make sure the elite are well-educated people.

Overall, I agreed with a lot of his points and disagreed with others. But it definitely got me thinking!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

An Uncommon Surrender

Some of you know one of my volunteer passions is our local Golden Retriever rescue. I've been working with this wonderful group for about a year, and put in several hours a week coordinating adoptions, answering emails, doing home visits, and helping out wherever they can use me. I love it. Never thought I'd be so involved in dog rescue, but it is a perfect place for me. I get to use my organization skills and make great matches between families and dogs. Makes me happy!

However, some of the emails I have to respond to are from people who want to surrender their Golden to us. Sometimes there are really legitimate circumstances that leave families little choice. I'm recalling a family who surrendered their Golden because they had been in a terrible car accident and their daughter was now a quadriplegic and their son was still in a coma, and the woman who lost both her jobs and was losing her house, terrible situations where we were glad we could help in some way.

Unfortunately, most of the surrenders we receive are from people who just didn't take the time to realize what they were getting into when they got a dog. We get these ridiculous emails from them about how much the love their dog, but they just can't handle having it. And we must take the dog immediately or they will have no choice to take the dog to the pound. The absolute worst are the dogs we get when they are nine or ten. Poor dogs have been with their family their whole life and then they get dumped.

Someone sent us this hilarious "surrender" email last week. Yes, it is a joke! Childrens Services doesn't need to go looking for the sender of the email. I'm also not comparing children to dogs; you certainly shouldn't have a dangerous or untrustworthy dog around your children. But a well-trained dog can be a wonderful addition to your family. Without further disclaimer, here goes:

"After two long years of being on a waiting list, we have been notified that, at long last, our number has come up and ...WE ARE HAVING A PUPPY!!!

We must get rid of our children IMMEDIATELY because we just know how time consuming our new little puppy is going to be and it just wouldn't be fair to the children. Since our little puppy will be arriving on Monday we MUST place the children this weekend!
They are described as:

Tommy, Male, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), light blonde hair, blue eyes. Four years old. Excellent disposition. He doesn't bite. Temperament tested. Does have problems with peeing directly in the toilet. Has had Chicken Pox and is current on all shots. Tonsils have already been removed. Tommy eats everything, is very clean, house trained & gets along well with others. Does not run with scissors and with a little training he should be able to read soon.

Lexie, Female, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), strawberry blonde hair, green eyes quite freckled. Two years old. Can be surly at times. Non-biter, thumb sucker. Has been temperament tested but needs a little attitude adjusting occasionally. She is current on all shots, tonsils out, and is very healthy & can be affectionate. Gets along well with other little girls & little boys but does not like to share her toys and therefore would do best in a one child household. She is a very quick learner and is currently working on her house training - shouldn't take long at all.

Photos and records available on request.

We really do LOVE our children so much and want to do what's right for them; that is why we contacted a rescue group. But we simply can no longer keep them. Frankly, we are afraid that they may hurt our new puppy. Also, the children regularly make messes, and we can't have our puppy risk getting into these. It's important to us that you know how loyal we are, and we are fully committed to love and care for this puppy as a member of our family, for the rest of his life.

We have a real emergency here and they MUST be placed in rescue by this weekend at the latest or we will we have no choice but to drop them off at the orphanage or along some country road (as we are sure that country folks won't mind a couple more mouths to feed). Our priority now has to be our new puppy. While our choice is unfortunate for the children, we can see no other feasible alternative. I trust you can see how UNIQUE our situation is."

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Mom came up for a few days the beginning of this week. Gent has been so busy with school and I enjoyed having her around to keep me company! Plus Mom always spoils me . . . am I spoiled if I know it? We enjoyed some yummy dinners out and shopping. While I was at work Mom took care of some tasks I'd been meaning to complete, like washing and ironing our duvet cover and stocking the freezer with casseroles. Thanks, Mom!

Here are some pictures of the "happies" she brought with her, plus some adorable things we picked up at Target.

The two pair of flats are so comfortable they feel like house slippers. Mom brought me the red ones, and after I wore them to work Monday I decided I needed another pair and bought the blue. And aren't these pillows the cutest?! They sell all different patterns of slipcovers at Target for $4.99. I plan to change them out with the seasons. They add lots of flair to our family room for just $10.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

January Date Night

So, I tried posting about our monthly date nights in 2009 and that idea just drifted away mid-year. (The blogs, that is, not the dates.) I'm going to try to do better this year. Unfortunately, January was a yucky month. Losing our baby was of course the hardest. Then on top of that, it was January. Holidays over, back to work, back to school, rain, cold, snow. Just yuck. I try to find beauty in every day, but let's be honest - it is hard to do in January. Hurray February is here. I digress.

January date night fit in with the theme of the month. We decided on a date night at home on a Saturday night, ordered pizza from our favorite pizza place, and watched a couple of episodes from Band of Brothers. Unfortunately the pizza was--you guessed it--yucky. We've gotten so spoiled with homemade pizza that we were disappointed in the too-greasy, sauce-lacking pizza we paid good money for. We are enjoying Band of Brothers, though. Gent has watched it a few times, but I've never joined in. The best part about the night was the bottle of wine. One good thing about not being pregnant, alcohol is okay again. So all in all, the night was fine, but definitely wouldn't make the date night highlight list.

Now for the uplifting part of my blog entry!

February, March, April, and May date nights are going to be awesome! We have tickets to the ballet, symphony, opera, and symphony again and we are going out on the town! Even better was scoring all eight tickets for only $135. I had a collection of buy one get one free coupons, and we used our Christmas money to fund the rest (thanks Nana and Papaw and the Dicksons!). And we get double date nights in February, March, and April, thanks to Valentine's Day, my birthday, and our anniversary. Woohoo! It will be a great spring.