Sunday, January 24, 2010

Meet Katie...

I share so many insignificant things here.  So many things that won't make a difference to anyone in the long run.  And I'll certainly continue to share those things because I'm me, and I'm an open book, and I like to let the world into my life.  (And by "world," I apparently mean the four people who read my blog. :) )

But sometimes I am just reminded of how the "issues" in my life would be welcome complications to others who are dealing with much bigger problems than I could ever dream of.

With that in mind, let me introduce you to Katie

I don't actually know her, but I definitely feel like I do, and I really think you'd like to know her story.   She's a missionary in Uganda, and she is honestly a woman (by woman I actually mean a  twenty-one year old girl) after God's own heart. Her story is LONG, and I'm sorry, but if I promise you that it will bless you, will you go ahead and read it?

Copied from Katie's blog:

It is my 16th Birthday and I am eating sushi at my favorite restaurant with my parents when I tell them that I would like to explore the possibility of taking a year in between high school and college to do mission work. This is unheard of in my family and they say they are not sure and will think about it. I am nervous, but somehow I know it is right. He changes their hearts.

I have just turned 18 and find an orphanage online. I beg my parents to let me visit over break, just three weeks. A month later I am on a plane. I am so excited. I am so scared of being, but I know He is going with me. I fall in love.

I graduate high school having made the commitment to teach Kindergarten for a year at a school in The Middle of Nowhere, Uganda. In August I get on the plane. I’m apprehensive and I cry most of the way because I miss my Mommy and my boyfriend. I am eager, but so uncertain. I trust Him. I teach 138 children how to speak English and to love Jesus.

It is October and I am just not sure I can do it anymore. I live in the smallest room I have ever seen in the back of a pastor’s house. I am more uncomfortable than I had bargained for. No one understands, not people here, not people at home. I am tired. But I am prideful and I am not going to quit. I don’t like this. But I know He has a plan. I learn, I grow, He is there.

It is December and God has spoken very clearly about opening a ministry that sponsors 40 of the orphaned children in the village where I am working. This involves moving into a different house, ALONE. It is big and I cannot imagine how God will fill it up. I am lonely and I am anxious. But I am still trusting. He fills the house, and we now have 400 children sponsored.

It is January and I am looking at a little girl, crushed under a brick wall with no one to care for her or her younger siblings. I offer to take the three home with me until we find them a better placement. I am not really sure what to do with them, but I know they are God’s children. They stay.

It is three days later and the littlest looks at me and calls me mommy. My heart might break in two. Something clicks. I am even more scared than I was the day I stepped on that plane, but I KNOW. Today I have 13.

I have to deliver a baby, give a boy stitches, pull a tooth, give and injection. I am petrified. But no one will do it if I do not. He is present, He holds my hand, they are all fine.

It is August and I must get on a plane back to America to go to college, as I have promised my father. I do not remember how to be a teenager or what it is to be normal Brentwood, Tennessee. I will have to leave my babies. I will have to make new friends. I am sad and I am terrified. He wraps His arms around me. He puts just the right people in just the right places, and they help me and they make me feel at home.

First semester is over and He speaks clearly to me that I cannot serve two masters. “Go HOME,” He says, “and stay.” I am uncertain, but I want to be obedient. He squeezes tighter. I am thankful.

I have to look at my loving parents who have given me everything and tell them that I will not go to college right now, because I feel God wants me to be in Uganda. I know how disappointed and how angry they will be. I am more scared than I was when I got on the plane and more scared than I was when I took my first children. But I know that this IS the Plan. They love me anyway.

It is February and my daughter’s biological father comes to take her away. My heart breaks in half, and I am not sure I will ever be able to get out of my bed again, let alone foster another child. I am more than devastated, but I want what is best for her, what He wants for her. She comes back and her biological father learns about Jesus.

It is March and a lame little girl is brought to my gate. She is undoubtedly mine, but I am still anxious. What if I can’t do it? I don’t know what to do with a special needs child, especially as my 13th child. I am criticized and ridiculed. I wonder. I trust and praise God for her sweet little life. She starts to walk.

I find myself in a village full of starving people that for some reason seem to want to kill me. God says to serve them anyway. I am not sure how it is going to work, or if it is safe. I can’t figure it out, but I know He can. 1,200 Karamajongs, the poorest of Uganda’s poor, are now served hot meals daily.

We keep taking in more children until there are 400 in our program. There is no way we will raise enough funds, but by now I have stopped worrying. He has always provided. Blessings rain from the sky, and all 400 children go to school.

I am 20 years old and have 13 children and 400 more who all depend on me for their care. Who are all learning to love Jesus and be responsible adults and looking up to me. The reality of it all can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, it is always pure joy. There is a common misconception that I am courageous. I will be the first to tell you that this is not actually true. Most of the time, I am not brave. I just believe in a God who will use me even though I am not. Most mornings, before I even get out of bed I am overwhelmed with His goodness, with His plan for my life; I stand in awe of the fact that He could entrust me with so much. Most days, I don’t have much of a plan. I don’t always know where this is going. I can’t see the end of the road, but here is the great part: Courage is not about knowing the path. It is about taking the first step. It is about Peter, getting out of the boat. I do not know my five year plan; even tomorrow will probably not go as I have planned. I am thrilled and I am terrified, in a good way. So some call it courage, some call it foolish, I call it Faith. I choose to get out of the boat. To take the next step. Sometimes I walk straight into His arms. More often, I get scared and look down and stumble. Sometimes I almost completely drown. And through it all, He never lets go of my hand.

I recently found Katie's blog through a friend of a friend's blog, and I've been going back and reading her story.  It's one of the most inspirational and uplifting things I've ever stumbled across, and I just had to share it with you.  Go here to read more about her beautiful story.

Because I can share a billion recipes or coupon deals or funny stories about how silly and clueless I am, but in the end, isn't it all about Jesus and His love, and the way we show that love to others?  Isn't all the rest just icing on the cake?

I promise I'll have something much more lighthearted next time, but until then, I hope you can be as blessed by Katie and I have been.

Recipe Time!

So Micah and I tried out a couple of new recipes last night, and I thought I would share them because they were SO yummy!

The first recipe is a Paula Deen recipe, so you should immediately know that the food will be (1) absolutely scrumptious and (2) absolutely unhealthy.  It's called "Three Cheese Hot Artichoke Dip," and it's definitely one of those recipes you'll want to make over and over.

Three Cheese Hot Artichoke Dip
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup grated Parmesean
1 cup shredded mozzerella
Dash hot pepper sauce
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand held mixer until smooth.  Then beat in the mayonnaise until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients and stir together until combined.  Transfer dip to a pie plate or shallow gratin dish.  Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and the dip is bubbling.  Serve hot with crackers, tortilla chips, crostini, or veggies.

The second recipe is by Bobby Flay, and it's a really fun new way to fix corn.  The flavors are so refreshing and yummy, and it'd be perfect to eat on a hot summer night! 

Grilled Corn Sheets with Scallion Dressing
8 ears corn, silks removed, husks left on (this was a little tricky, but just try and peel the husks down as far as you can), soaked in cold, salted water for 5 minutes
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey (I added a little extra honey)
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion, green and pale green part

Heat the grill to high.  Remove the corn from the water and shake off the excess water.

Put the corn on the grill, close the cover, and grill, turning every 5 minutes, until the kernels are tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 15-20 minutes.

While the corn is cooking, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, chives, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a medium bowl until combined.  Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified.  Stir in the scallions and set aside.

Stand the corn upright on its stalk and carefully cut down the sides of the cob with a sharp chef's knife, trying to keep the corn in sheets.  Carefully transfer the corn to a platter and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

If you try the recipes, let me know what you think! We definitely enjoyed them, and I hope you do too.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I love her...

I'm in love with this adorable song.  It's by Taylor Swift (surprise, surprise), and it's just perfect. :)

Click here to enjoy!

The beginning of the end...

I started my very last semester of law school yesterday.

What a bittersweet feeling.  I'm definitely ready to be done with school, but I have so loved my time in law school.  It has definitely been a challenge, but I know without a doubt it was the right decision. 

So in less than five months I will be a law school graduate, and I'll begin studying for the bar exam.  Ick.  But I refuse to worry about that right now.  One thing at a time. :)

I also started my internship at the Harris County District Attorney's office yesterday.  And I absolutely love it.  It's going to be a busy, exciting, crazy, scary experience, but I'm going to love every minute. 

Other wonderful news is that this will definitely be Micah's LAST week in Fort Hood.  I can't even tell you how happy this makes me.  So I won't try. :)

This is short, but my brain isn't working very well right now.  I think this new schedule is going to take some getting used to.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm crazy...

I am generally not a delusional person.  I'm positive, and I look at the bright side of things, but I don't usually try to convince myself of things that aren't really true.

But for some reason, when I'm driving down the road, I tell myself that no one can see me, and I really let loose.  I have no problem singing at the top of my lungs, snapping my fingers, raising the roof, and shaking my groove thang like there's no tomorrow.  Sometimes I even bust out with the Mariah Carey hand movements when I'm trying to hit the high notes. 

And honestly, I have ZERO rhythm and probably look like I'm flailing around because I'm in some sort of trouble or pain.  But I honestly don't care.  I pretend like my windows are completely opaque and that my secret's safe.  That no one knows that this well-educated, fairly normal, twenty-something girl is actually a complete spaz who likes to dance in her car. 

So if you're driving around town and see a girl with absolutely no rhythm breaking it down in a little yellow mustang, you'll know who it is. :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A grumpy wife...


This Fort Hood business is making me a crazy lady.

Micah's been working in Fort Hood on the weekdays for about the past month, and it's been tough.  Not only have I been just a tiny bit scared at night without him, I just MISS my husband when he's gone.  Especially since I've been on a break from school (and will be until next Tuesday) and have been bored out of my mind.

And Micah's not sure how much longer the job is going to take.  The week before last he told me that last week would be the end of it.  And then he said he'd have to be there one more week, but that should be all.  So when he called tonight to tell me they might be there a little longer, I kind of lost my cool.

Which is completely un-cool of me, because he was SO supportive and understanding when I spent eleven weeks in Dallas without him this summer.  How quickly I forgot how wonderful he was while I was gone.

So this is me acknowledging my grumpiness.  I'm going to do my VERY best to be a sweet and supportive wife about this whole thing.  No more complaining.  I'm flying above it all, remember? :)

Awful Dream...

I generally don't remember my dreams.  I usually wake up with absolutely no idea what I thought about during the night.  Which is just fine with me, because the dreams I DO remember are generally weird. 

But sometimes, I'll be be-bopping along through my day, and it'll just hit me.  A vivid image of my dream from the night before will just fill my mind.  That obviously happened to me today or else I probably wouldn't be telling you about this.

Apparently last night I dreamed that I had a baby, but I was a TERRIBLE mother.  I kept leaving my baby places.  Or I'd just leave the house, leaving the baby on the changing table.  Or I'd put the baby in the bed with me, and I'd roll over on top of it.  (I say "it" because I couldn't tell whether it was a boy or girl).  And I kept trying to tell everyone that they should take my baby away because I was such an awful mother, but no one would listen.

Definitely NOT a fun dream.  Especially because I really do worry that I won't have an ounce of motherly instinct when I finally do have kids.  I panic that I'll constantly be googling things like "What to do when you drop your baby" or "How to keep my children from hating me." 

Okay I won't actually google those things.  But I am pretty clueless.  Thank goodness I have an amazing family who'll make sure I don't screw my kids up too much. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

You Might Be An Abbott If...

I wrote this and framed it for my grandparents for Christmas, and I thought I'd post it here.  If you know my family at all, you'll appreciate it. :)

You Might Be an Abbott If...

You have ever called 612 East Street home.
You know what it means when people talk about "the farm."
You find yourself constantly craving soggy chocolate cake.
You have received a food dehydrator for Christmas.
You believe that high school sweethearts really can last.
You have sat in the very last pew in the First Baptist Church of Josephine.
You have been warned not to run around the fireplace.
You know where you can always find a cold Diet Coke.
You think that C.B.'s makes the best hamburgers in the world.
You think that duct tape can fix anything.
You have been abundantly blessed by Bobby and Barbara.
I'm so thankful for my wonderful family.  I love that we're all so close and that we genuinely enjoy getting together.  I hope that when Micah and I have been married for fifty years that we will be a blessing to our family the way my grandparents have been to us.

Friday, January 8, 2010

"Discover the Champion In You..."

Has anyone else seen this slogan in Joel Osteen's commercials or books?

It makes me want to scream with frustration.

I'm not Joel Osteen's bigggest fan anyway.  I've seen a few of his sermons on TV, and I felt that he was too "commercialized" to be very effective at bringing non-believers into a genuine relationship with the Lord.  There was very little actual breakdown of scripture, and it felt more like a motivational speech than a sermon.

But discover the champion in you??  That's almost more than I can bear.

Christianity is about dying to self and rising again in Christ.  It's about realizing that we aren't champions - we are sinners who are in desperate need of salvation.  And that Christ is our champion.  He died on the cross because we were inadequate to save ourselves.

I just feel like Joel Osteen's motto places the focus on us and our "goodness" instead of Christ and His goodness.  And unless we, as believers, rely solely upon the Lord to guide and provide, we will be sorely disappointed in our own shortcomings.

That's me on my soapbox.  I'll hop off now. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Flying above it all...

My friend Rebecca told me a little saying her uncle always abides by when life tries to get the best of him.  He says he just "flies above it all."

Maybe that's my New Years resolution.  When life gets crazy, and people are difficult to deal with, I'm just going to fly above it all. I'm not going to get caught up in life's tiny problems.  I'm going to focus on my Lord and Savior and just fly above it all.

What's your New Years resolution?
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