Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Welcome, love...

Today, I lost my heart to a little 7 pound 2 ounce redhead named Stella Josephine!

Faith's water started breaking this morning a little before nine, and Stella arrived at 4:52. She didn't actually go into labor until early afternoon, though. Apparently Stella was just ready to make her debut, because Faith went from a 3 to a 10 in less than two hours!

Both baby and mom are doing great, and we're all just smitten with this little princess, no one more so than her daddy. It was so incredible to see my big, strong brother turn to mush at the sight of her. He engaged in more than a little baby talk but, true to form, made sure to get in an inappropriate comment or two.

And Faith. Man, I just love her so so much, and I honestly can't tell you how much I love that she is Bubba's wife and Stella's mom. I never imagined that the shy four-year-old who was too afraid to tell me that her name was Faith and not Face would eventually be my family and a WONDERFUL new mom! She just took everything in stride as she always does and is enamored with that little girl.

And can I just tell you how cool it feels to be Stella's aunt?!? Growing up, I absolutely LOVED my aunts. They have been such a blessing to me throughout my life, and I hope Stella loves me as much as I love them. :)

So, I promise to post more pictures as SOON as possible - my amazing BFF took pictures of the whole thing and got some incredible shots. :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding

After all the heavy earlier this week, I thought it'd be nice to link up to Show Us Your Life today to share one of my favorite desserts!

I'm fairly certain I've posted about this delectable dish before. Actually, I'm positive I have, but I figure it's never a crime to share something this good with others. You're welcome. :)

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding (<----- click here to be directed to the recipe!)

It's delicious. It's creamy. It's rich.
But best of all?
It's EASY!

The only difficulty is having the patience to wait several hours to eat it, but I recommend that you do. If you don't, the Nilla Wafers aren't soft yet, and the flavors haven't really melded together yet. But I promise that, if you'll wait a few hours (or overnight, even!), you won't be disappointed. :)

The other tip that I'll give you is to not be tempted to use the Chessman cookies. I had some earlier this week that had been made with them, and it wasn't NEARLY as good. Just too much going on - the Nilla Wafers keep it simple and perfect. :)

Hope you guys enjoy!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The BEST news!

This will require a much longer post later, but for now I just have to share . . .

Landon is cancer-free!!!

Great is His faithfulness.

My Music Wednesday

Beautiful lyrics, beautiful song. From the Inside Out by Hillsong.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I know I haven't shared many details here lately, and I love that you guys still showered the situation with prayers and kind thoughts anyway. And although it's not really my story to share, I just need to give God some praise, and you can't fully appreciate His goodness unless I tell you a bit more.

To keep a long story relatively short, my best friend's little boy, Landon, had been complaining of pain in his leg, and after a trip to the ER and an x-ray, the doctors found a lesion on his pelvic bone. A subsequent MRI led the doctors to believe that he either had osteomyelitis (a bone infection) or a tumor there. Bloodwork has essentially ruled out infection, so the doctors did a biopsy. Additionally, because the doctors believed that it was a malignant tumor based upon Landon's symptoms and the placement of the lesion, they went ahead and did a PET scan while they were waiting for the results of the biopsy.

To understand why those closest to the situation have been particularly devastated, you'd need to know that my best friend's precious mother passed away from cancer a little less than four years ago. As you can imagine, it was very, very hard news to swallow for a family that had already fought this battle once before... and lost. And as has probably been evident from my recent posts, I have had a really hard time giving my hope a chance to float up.

But God has continued to draw me close throughout the past week, reminding me that He hasn't walked away from this storm. In fact, He's been sitting in my boat with me, and I've just been waiting for the seas to calm. Rather than fear the worst, I finally allowed myself within the past few days to have faith in His power to work wonders.

And, although, the coast is still far from clear because we still don't have the biopsy results and know that there may still be difficult times ahead, the doctor delivered some wonderful news yesterday. The PET scan was clear, which means that if it is cancer, it's contained to Landon's pelvic bone and has not spread to any other part of his body. It may seem crazy that we can still rejoice in this even though the doctor has already suggested that it is likely cancer, but for a family who knows what metastasis can mean, this is huge.

So, although I don't know what the future holds, I do know that I'm not afraid to believe that God can work wonders. I'm not afraid to ask the Lord for a miraculous work in this sweet little boy and to trust in His goodness. Thanks again for all of your kind thoughts and prayers. I have been passing them along to Lauren, and I know that she and her family, as well as I, appreciate them more than you can know.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

He's in my boat...

Want to know the title of the sermon at church this morning?

Hoping for a Miracle?

Want to know what passage we studied?

Mark 6:45-52 - Jesus Walks on the Water

Want to know what Jesus said to his disciples just before He calmed the storms that threatened to capsize their boat?

"It is I." Which translates roughly to "I am."

I know I shouldn't be surprised. God has done this before, and I'm fairly certain he'll do it again the next time I find myself jealously guarding control of my hope.

But here's the thing I loved most about this passage. Jesus didn't leave His disciples to brave the storms alone. Nor did He miraculously calm the waves from afar. Instead, He got in their boat and silenced the stormy seas.

Even in the midst of the storms, God has promised to sit beside me in my boat. I can't imagine a safer place than that.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blessed be Your name...

Déjà vu. It hits me like a ton of bricks that we've been here before. The doctor is explaining the possibilities and the tests that they will run, but she's already intimately familiar with these buzzwords - tumor, chemo, PET scan, options. He asks her how she knows so much, and she bravely recounts her heartbreaking tale. I watch her break for a split second, but she quickly recovers, holding it together for the rest of us. Her composure is dizzying.

There isn't anything I can say. I've held her hand before and promised her that everything would be okay. And then it wasn't. So I just pray.

But anger lurks just below the surface. I try to hold it down, but I can't help wondering why God has led me through such a relatively unburdened life while sparing her so little. A person, even such a strong one, can only bear so much, and she has carried more than her fair share. To heap another unbearable load on her tiny back seems cruel.

And while I'm busy shaking my fist at the God of creation, He whispers.

At first just, "I Am." I concede that, yes, He Is. The whole world could crash around me, but He still Is.

Then He speaks: "I Am the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow." I remember how many times I've repeated those words to others, knowing the power in their truth. So I say the words to myself, clinging to them like a talisman. They begin to ring true.

And then I begin to hum a faithful tune. The words spring forth, and the faith creeps back in.

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

He is good, even in bad. I will praise Him, even when it hurts. When the darkness closes in Lord, still I will say...

Blessed be Your name.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Music Wednesday

So I've sucked the last few weeks, but I feel like I'm making it up this week because one of my FAVORITE bands, Parachute, released their new album, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it!

I consider this music my "happy" music, because the melodies are so pleasant and uplifting. But the songs are also very thought-provoking, so let's call it "happy but deep." Maybe I like Parachute so much because I, myself, am happy but deep. :)

Anyway... you can't help but love this music, and I think I only paid like $7.99 for the whole album, so it's a good deal, too!


I'm afraid I'm in big trouble. In addition to my current addiction to Facebook and Google Reader, I'm apparently now hooked on Pinterest (thanks to my BFF).

If you haven't heard about it, it's the newest trendy addiction for those who like to share their stylish/crafty/creative internet finds with others. It's basically an online corkboard where you can "pin" pictures (which are linked to a website) of your favorite books, music, home decorating ideas, recipes, quotes, fashion ideas, etc. on your "board." It's sort of like twitter in that you can "follow" other peoples' boards and "repin" their finds to your own boards. You can comment on other peoples' pins, as well.

For me, it serves two great purposes: (1) I can document the things I want to try, whether they be decorating ideas or recipes, in one location so I can remember to actually try them and (2) I can shamelessly pilfer the creativity of others. :)

For example, here's a cute thing that one of my Pinterest friends, Traci, pinned on her "Quotes" board that I just LOVED!

This is SOOO me and Micah. I'm an Abbott, and we like DONE. He's a Hargrave, and they like perfect. Put us together, and we're a pretty good team. :)

So anyway, if you're not on Pinterest yet, you should be! If you do join, find me so I can follow you! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Skimping v. Splurging - Part I

From the time I was little, I've been into all things girl. I was always playing around with my hair, makeup, and nails, and I'm pretty sure I begged for (and, of course, got) my first highlights when I was in the sixth grade. As a result, I've tried hundreds, probably even thousands, of beauty products over the years and have discovered that there are some things you can skimp on and some things that absolutely require a splurge.

So here are my thoughts on skimping v. splurging. Feel free to add in your own faves!

Mascara: SKIMP!

There is no question that Lancome's Definicils High Definition Mascara and Dior DiorShow Blackout Mascara are amazing (I've used them both). But at $25 a pop, I think I'll stick with my $6 Maybelline Volum Express Colossal Waterproof which I love almost as much as the pricier options.

Flat Iron/Blowdryer: SPLURGE!

I've said it before and I'll say it again - a girl needs good hairstyling tools. The CHI is pricey (and so was my T3 blowdryer), but I can't tell you how frustrated I've been when I've forgotten my stuff and had to borrow a cheap flat iron or (heaven forbid) a hotel blowdryer. If you have a lot of hair like I do, you know that the time you save, alone, by using decent tools justifies the splurge.

Lip Gloss: SKIMP!
My step-mom just happens to hook me up with my favorite Lancome lip glosses almost every Christmas, but if she didn't, I'd definitely be buying drugstore brands. There just isn't an appreciable difference between the two, and most of the time I forget to put it on, anyway.

Shampoo/Conditioner: TOSSUP!

I've admitted my problem with accumulating too many bottles of shampoo and conditioner, so you can feel confident that I'm an expert here. :) And, although I love Redken's All Soft line, in addition to all Kerastase products, I also really like John Frieda's Root Awakening Nourishing Moisture and Pantene Pro-V's Restore Beautiful Lengths line. Since I tend to rotate between different products each time I wash my hair, I just buy both salon brands and drugstore brands and switch them out so my hair doesn't get buildup from one kind of product.

Foundation/Powder: SPLURGE!
In my opinion, drugstore foundations and powders don't last as long as the more expensive brands, and the colors just tend to be either too orange-y or too pink-y. I'm a big fan of Bare Minerals and MAC foundations (which aren't all as heavy as the hype suggests). However, I will say that I tried a sample of CoverGirl's NatureLuxe foundation, and it felt and looked AMAZING. If I could find it in the right color, I really might consider switching over.

I'm realizing that I could go on and on about this, so how about I do a Part II post sometime in the next week or so? Feel free to shout out any requests! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Closing, Moving, Etc...

Yep, I'm behind on my blogging again. But I really do have a good excuse, I promise!

Micah and I spent every evening last week trying to pack up all of our stuff. We had thankfully left at least a few boxes unpacked, but we still managed to acquire a RIDICULOUS amount of stuff in the few months we've been home! We didn't pack as meticulously as we did when we moved from Houston because we weren't going that far (literally five minutes), but there was still a LOT of work to be done. But we managed to wrap most of it up before we closed on Friday.

Closing went so smoothly (apart from my sweet Aunt Brig getting lost MULTIPLE times trying to get to the title company - maybe we've located the source of my blonde moments!) and lasted a grand total of 45 minutes. Afterward, when they handed us the keys, it felt so surreal. I just had this moment where I thought about all the moments that meshed together to get us to this place. The move to Houston, the missing home, the job search struggle, the move back to Dallas, the house search struggle... it's just so incredibly wonderful to know that this house is where we'll be for a good, long while. :)

The move also went super smoothly. Thankfully, Micah's dad thought to bring a few of the guys that work with him to help us out, so they got it all done fairly quickly (although it did take three trips with a U-Haul and a truck/trailer to get it all moved over - did I mention that we have a lot of stuff??). For some reason, I had ZERO energy on Saturday, so I really didn't get very much of it put away that first day, and the things that did get put away can be attributed to my mom and Micah's mom. They both helped us out SO much.

Speaking of our sweet moms, we spent a great day yesterday celebrating them. I'm thankful every day for the wonderful women God has sprinkled throughout my life. How truly blessed I am!

So that's what has been going on with us - packing and moving. We're still nowhere near close to being done getting everything put away and decorated, but I will post "before" pictures soon so you can see where we're starting from, as far as decorations go. I have a feeling this journey is going to be a VERY long one which may or may not involve me hiring someone much more capable than I am to help us out. :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Now is not the time...

I don't often get political here. Heck, I don't often get political, period. But this is something I just have to say.

To those who think that the news of Bin Laden's death presents an opportunity to propagandize, please, please give it a second thought. I respect your right to express your thoughts about our government. I even respect your right to criticize it.

But remember those who fought tirelessly and died to defend that right you so flippantly exercise today. Good men and women died trying to find the man who inflicted unspeakable horror on our country ten years ago. And this moment is for them, as well as their families. This moment is tangible proof that their lives weren't lost in vain. Surely you can see that?

This isn't an invitation for a sparring match. I do that for a living, and I don't wish to make it a hobby. This is just me throwing out a very simple thought: please think before you speak.
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