Tag Archives: life

Lows & Highs: 2/4-2/12/13

1. Tuesday night at class, I spent the first hour doing the administrative work of testing instead of the teaching work I love. I was grateful to have my assisting teacher there and she cheerfully went through the planned activity with the class until I could get there. I did enjoy getting to teach and interact with students during the second half of the class, though.

2. I keep growing frustrated – mostly at myself – for being unable to do everything on my to-do list. Between my own expectations and those of others, my to-do list grows long in a hurry and I am still unskilled at delegating and telling people “no.” I keep forgetting that God gives me enough time to accomplish everything He wants me to do but not necessarily to do everything I think I must do.

1. Friday night at class, I taught a lesson based on drawing your own family tree and got all but one of my fifteen students chattering enthusiastically and practicing their English!

2. On a shopping trip in a nearby city with my parents, we accomplished all our errands and went to Panda Express and Starbucks! Oh, and my dad decided to join Twitter while we were on that shopping trip. So far he doesn’t tweet but treats it more like a personalized news feed.

What were your lows and highs from the past week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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2013 Theme Word – Enjoy

My theme word for 2013 is enjoy. It means to take joy, “to experience with joy; take pleasure in… to find or experience pleasure for (oneself).”
Enjoy Button
Philippians 4:4 and 1 Peter 1:6 both encourage and command joy. Since joy is commanded, it must be a choice and not a feeling or a mere product of circumstance.
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! – Philippians 4:4 (NLT)
So be truly glad.There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. – 1 Peter 1:6 (NLT)

I am sure 2013, like years before it, holds times of all sorts: celebration, sadness, hilarity, stress, change, adventure. There will be mundane days and milestones. There will be events I have planned for and ones that may catch me off-guard. In all these circumstances and any others that come along, I will practice purposely experiencing them with joy and enjoying who God is and what He does.


Filed under celebrations, life, milestones, reading, something to try

2012 Theme Word: Undaunted

My theme word for 2012 leapt out at me from John 16:33 (Amplified), “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”

My thought process went something like this: ‘Undaunted,’ that’s a good word. Whoa, wait a minute, God. You don’t mean that’s my word for the year do You? I don’t think I like it anymore. Let’s do another one like ‘liberty’ from last year. That was nice. ‘Undaunted’ is a tough word and I get nervous just thinking about what kind of year You may be preparing me for if that is my theme word… which is pretty much the opposite of ‘undaunted,’ huh? Okay, I guess I will be learning what it means to be undaunted this year.

I researched the etymology of undaunted and its root word daunt:
un|daunt|ed (adj)
1. undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort.
2. undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear; intrepid.

daunt (v)
1. to overcome with fear; intimidate.
2. to lessen the courage of; dishearten.
From the Latin domitare, ‘to tame.’

Undaunted means choosing to be untamed by fear or intimidation. It means not retreating when scared, not letting fear or discouragement rule me.

Many times this year, I returned to Philippians 4:13 (Amplified), “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.]” and 1 John 4:18 (TLB) “We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; His perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what He might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what He might do to us, and shows that we are not fully convinced that He really loves us.”

I learned that living an undaunted life is more about God’s faithfulness than it is about me. I need to know Him more deeply because He is the reason I can and should be undaunted.

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Insta-Friday: Bokeh, Blankets, & Baby

Dec12 Photo Collage
1. Look at the smile and dimples on that baby! I have a feeling those will get him out of trouble quite a few times when he gets older. (Credit: Photo actually taken by my dad, a.k.a. Eli’s Gramps.)

2. Brian wanted to be sure we took this photo the night he proposed.

3. Intentionally blurry view of my Christmas tree. It is called bokeh, which I take to mean “artistically out of focus.”

4. Rag quilt for picnics, football games, and movie nights. Made for Brian with lots of guidance from my mom because I had never made one before.

5. Christmas Eve photo with my future in-laws. They have a terrific Christmas village but this does not do it justice.

6. Eli with his Great-Grandma at our postponed Christmas celebration.

What do you think of bokeh, blankets, or babies?

What creative ideas have you tried lately?

life rearranged

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Lows & Highs: 12/19/12-1/1/13

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the stairs!

Brian & I celebrated Christmas four times and drove quite a bit between each one. We also tried to spend lots of quality time together and with our families, so I skipped Lows & Highs last week and this post covers the past two weeks.

Low: My grandparents on my dad’s side both had a virus during the week before Christmas. To give them more time to recover & to keep Eli from catching the bug, we postponed our Christmas celebration with them.

High: 1) We celebrated Christmas with Brian’s relatives (most of whom I met before) and I was warmly included with the rest of the grandchildren, complete with my own Christmas stockings. 2) We enjoyed Christmas with my family too, twice! It was fun to see how our Christmas dinner photos changed since last year; we have added three new people (fiancé, Brian; nephew, Eli; cousin-in-law, Catherine). 3) Brian was surprised and pleased by the rag quilt I made him for Christmas.

What were your lows and highs from the holidays?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.

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Ping-Pong Proposal

If you noticed that my last two Lows & Highs posts left out a day, you may have wondered about my counting skills. The omission was intentional because, as someone wise told me, “That day deserves its own post.”

Brian proposed on December 11.

The Disclaimer
If you don’t like proposal stories, it’s cool if you want to stop reading now and join in on the next post. If you have not already read Ping-Pong Ball Sweetness, please do because it gives some context.

The Set-up

On Tuesday, December 11, I was on my way to work when I received a text message from Brian that he sent me an email and the link inside would explain. When I got to work and read the text, I opened the email to read, “Abby, Here’s the start of a little something to celebrate your graduation. Love, Brian.” When I followed the link inside, it took me to a YouTube video that was set as private and I could not view it. I sent off a text of my own and Brian had the video fixed a short time later.

The Videos
The video was of Brian explaining that he wanted to do something special for my upcoming graduation, so he made me several videos. Every couple hours, he emailed the link to another video. The six videos featured him in different locations that are meaningful to me around my hometown: The campus building where we have weekly college student Bible study, the adult ed center where I volunteer, my parents’ house, and so on. In each place, he told me something he notices and admires about me.

Mid-afternoon, Brian sent the fifth video and texted me, “I just hit send on the next one. Hopefully these have made u smile all day.”

I replied, “Oh, they have definitely made me smile! If I didn’t already want to spend forever with u, the videos would have convinced me.”

“That reaction makes me smile. I’m glad I’m sending them all in one day instead of piecemeal.”

Around 3:30 p.m., he sent the last video where he sat in his office over four hours away and said even though I said I did not want graduation gifts, he had some help and a present was waiting for me at home.

I worked the next hour in suspense until I could leave for the day. Since I was sure Brian was waiting by his phone to hear my reaction to his gift, I sent him a text that I was on my way home but had to stop at the store for a few things first and would let him know when I got home.

The Question
At home, I entered through the back door and saw a path lined with ping-pong balls, leading through the kitchen to the living room. I shed my bags and coat and followed the path to where Brian stood waiting in a ping-pong-ball heart.
Surprised, I asked, “What are you doing here?” as I walked over to greet him. Yes, it was a silly question. As Brian pointed out later, I should have known as soon as I saw the ping-pong-ball path but I was surprised to the point of being flabbergasted because I came home expecting a nice bouquet of flowers or something similar. My memories are blissful and a bit hazy after this point. He got down on one knee to propose, and then pulled out a ring box and opened it but I could not take my eyes off his face. After I said, “Yes, of course” and we were hugging, he said something about putting on the ring. “Oh, yeah, I didn’t actually see it before.”

He showed it to me again and helped me put it on. Then he told me my plans for the evening had changed and our parents were meeting us for dinner at six. What he did not tell me was that his sister and my sister, brother-in-law, and baby nephew were also meeting us! It was a sweet surprise and we had a terrific time celebrating with our families.

After Brian and I recounted the story of how he proposed, my mom looked over and told Brian he did a good job, “You gave her a story.”

Brian made this video to announce our engagement.


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Lows & Highs: 11/28-12/4/12

Tuesday was our last campus Bible study for the semester. I know it makes me sound old, but where has the time gone?!

Low: Monday was a stressful and exhausting at work and then I left work and grew frustrated trying to finish my Teacher Work Sample (TWS) as my final project.

High: Tuesday I did the last proofread of my TWS and submitted it to my professor… My very last project of my very last class of the masters degree I have been working on for over three years.

I cannot put into words how excited and relieved I am!


What were your lows and highs from this week?

Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.


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Lows & Highs: 11/21-11/27/12

Why, yes, I did semi-unintentionally take Thanksgiving week off from blogging. It turned out to be a hectic week and posting was a low priority, but I’m back now!

Lows: 1) I traveled at least 1,958 miles by car last week. 2) My grandparents have a cat and, after two days of visiting them, I am still very congested.

Highs: 1) My car got repaired just in time for us to take it to Colorado. 2) I got to spend got to spend Thanksgiving visiting my mom’s side of the family with my parents, all my siblings, and their families. We had lots of fun and the allergies mentioned in my lows were worth the visit.

What were your lows and highs from Thanksgiving week?


Lows & Highs is a Stories from the Stairs weekly feature. Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs in the comments or by posting a link to your lows and highs blog post.


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Insta-Friday: Lots of Family & Projects

Last Saturday, we celebrated early Thanksgiving and fall birthdays with relatives. We met at my grandparents’ farm early to help with the food preparations and “a few” outside projects. Brian was in town for the weekend, so he and I rode up with my parents and were greeted by my grandparents and aunt, Jan.

Project 1: Garage Window
We did not plan to replace any windows but, when we arrived, Grandpa told us he put Blondie (their very intelligent, rebellious, and undisciplined retriever mix who is very noisy at night) in the garage the night before because she was barking so much and keeping them awake. She was so upset and determined to get out that she jumped up onto the work bench and through the garage window, breaking the glass. Dad quickly measured the glass and called the nearest lumber yard to order it, only to find out that they closed in 20 minutes and were a 15-minute drive away! Dad handed Brian his car keys and the two of us took off, finding the store and making our purchases with 2 minutes to spare.

Project 2: Back Door
Due to the shifting ground and foundation, the door between the kitchen and back porch/mudroom would not close completely, letting a cold draft into the house. While Brian and I were on our errand, Dad lifted the door off the hinges, planed it, and re-hung it.

Project 3: Bushes
While we arrived back at the farm, Luke and Christine had arrived and the growing work crew began taking out all the bushes next to the house, which died during the drought last summer. Ben (the youngest) came during lunch and helped clean out the last of the bushes.

Sara, Josh, and Eli showed up and we all stopped to greet them and then we ladies went inside with Sara and Eli. Jan and Grandma both got to meet and hold Eli for the first time.

Project 4: Gutters
Mid-afternoon, I walked outside to see if the men needed any drinks or snacks. I chuckled to see Ben up on a ladder, cleaning leaves and dirt out of the gutters while the other men stood around and talked. When my uncle, Brent, came later, he brought the rest of the replacement bushes (we brought the others) and they planted yews and roses in place of the dead bushes.

Todd and Catherine, my cousin and his new wife, arrived in time for our celebratory supper. We had a terrific time, with all 15 of us crowded around the table, laughing and eating and talking. Most of us were more than ready for bed that night, though!

“Hi, Eli! Remember me? You do?!”

“What are you doing all the way over there?”

“Um, you got a little something right… there.”

I’m a tad late in the day on my InstaFriday post, but I made it!

I’m linking up with Jeanett at LifeRearranged.

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31 Days of Random Questions – Day 27

Do you have any random, weird, or obscure talents?

I have very dexterous toes. I have friends who call them “finger toes.” Others call them “weird” or “freaky.” Among other things, I use them to…

  • open and close cabinets and drawers
  • pick up laundry, papers, pens, leaves, or anything else I want to pick up when my hands are full
  • give foot massages
  • pet dogs, scratch behind their ears, rub their tummies, and play tug-of-war
  • toss or move things


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