Thursday, December 4, 2014

Working Hard




I've been working a lot lately.  More than usual - well scratch that not more than usual.  It's been overwhelming.  I moved in May (if you didn't know that) to Birmingham Alabama and am currently working in the Athletic Department at Samford University.  It has been a neat experience seeing the changes in the department over the last 6 months, but I won't lie to you it has been difficult.  In the last several weeks it's been harder than I have ever imagined it being.  Maybe it's because I'm dating, maybe it's because the holidays, maybe it's because I despise and loathe basketball season... but it has been hard. 

I have been questioning if this is even what I want to do with my life.  Anyone shocked reading this? I love my job.  This is what I thought I was supposed to be doing - why am I hating it all of the sudden?  

[insert Jesus.]

1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."

Can you say Thank you Jesus.  Sometimes when I am falling apart, which lets face it - happens more often to me then most people, I reword Bible verses and substitute my words to speak to my current situation.  

DISCLAIMER: I am not GOD, nor do I believe my words are better than GOD'S... however, I do believe the Holy Spirit is in me and thus helping me apply His Word to my life. 

1 Corinthians 15:58 (AP Version [Abby's Paraphrased Version] hehe)

"Hold up, Abby, be strong, have patience, sit with the Lord, and always be enthusiastic in your work no matter your circumstances or your situations, but know that when you work with enthusiasm and an opposite Spirit - you are showing MY [Christ's] love to those around you.  That work is not in vain and that work is what I have sent you to do, because when you are happy and when you LOVE others in your work - you are glorifying Me."

So not exactly paraphrased... Abby's Extended Paraphrased Version :) 

Maybe you aren't going through this at work, but chances are there will be something in your life that comes up and will challenge you and you will want to quit.  Remember - do it with joy!  Show people how to work for the Lord in any profession!  

Abby

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Paint Your Pet

I've been wanting to do a painting class for a while now, and instead of waiting for a group of "friends" to go with me, I decided to be independent, because let's be honest when am I not?, and go by myself.  I was hoping there would be a room full of people and I would just blend in, instead there was one other couple and then me… I stood out like a sore thumb.  The best part, I talked to Baylor the entire time - they probably thought was a loon. 

I heard about this place in town and they were doing a Paint your Pet day and you could bring your pet and you would paint a picture of them.  Of course I couldn't get it off my mind and then I just HAD to do it.  So last week I sent them one of my favorite pictures of Baylor and decided that no matter what I would go.  When I got to Studio Cellar (the place here in town) there were 2 other people and they did not bring their pet.  I walked in and seemed very awkward I am sure and asked if pets were allowed.  How can anyone say no to Baylor, he is just so captivating upon first interaction.  

They said "of course he can stay", I don't know if they were allowed or not - but Baylor stayed.  They even gave him a dog treat and got him a water bowl :)

Below are the pictures of my progress.  It was a mixture of emotions, painting this picture.  Overwhelming, patience (technically not an emotion, but I don't care), frustration, excitement, happiness, and I had an absolute blast.  Not going to say it wasn't challenging, but if you haven't done this - you need to do it!  

The place has over 30 different paintings you can choose from and they range from realistic to abstract and there is always someone in there that can help you, so you don't have to be apart of a party or go at a specific time - which makes it a very fun, spontaneous activity! Definitely want to go back.


Baylor did so good, not on his leash!  He just sat at my feet while I painted.  The blank canvas had the sketch on it when I got there.  It was really nice to have to outline done. All I had to do was basically paint by numbers.  And the girl was really nice and helped me do a lot of shading (that is her favorite part of painting - I don't get it).


These are my progressions of painting. I think for the first time painting I did a pretty good job.  Notice all of the pictures behind me in the last picture… those are the different paintings you can do. 


The Original and the Painting… can you tell which one is which? 
Abby

Friday, March 21, 2014

The normal stuff.

Finally, it's Friday.  The thing is - my week is JUST BEGINNING. You see in the world of sports - the weekend is the most hectic, busy, and overwhelming, which means, unlike 99% of the world, I look forward to Mondays.  Quiet and evaluating.  It's simple and I love it. 

This week, however, has not been quiet and evaluating.  It has been long and taxing. Everyday was filled with something after work and man, by the end of the week I am exhausted. Who cares right? I work in sports - and I have a "dream job".  Fact. [sometimes]

Today it is imperative that I live out Nehemiah 8:10 [the verse my blog is named after], and not just figuratively, I must believe it with every muscle fiber in my body and literally live this out.  I have no strength today to do anything and I am going to need all the energy I can get at 4:00 pm today when Tennis hosts Kids Day for dozens of kids, and I'm in charge. Oh. Boy. 

So today - the JOY of the LORD is my STRENGTH! And I will live this out.  

Last night I shared my "Story" with my lifegroup - it was so intimidating, at one point I was shaking. Anyways, I remembered most of the most important parts of my story - however I thought you would find it interesting that I left out these parts:

- Moving to Columbia
- 2 ex-boyfriends
- The job dilemma of the Spring of 2013
- My baptism. WOW - can't believe I forgot that one
- The beginning of my mascot career at OBU
and the last thing I can remember about forgetting:
-mission trips, bible camps, etc.. that I attended that shaped me today. 

Isn't it funny the things we forget in our story.  My story is full of great things and I think last night I used my story to hit on my sin struggles and where I had repented in my life and how I had overcome those things, as encouragement to my fellow travelers.  However, the best parts of my story are my birth into eternal life and full redemption throughout my life.  Isn't it funny that even though joy and eternal life is a bi-product of the repentance process, I left those parts out, and only focused on the negative.  Strange to think about.  

Have a great day!
Abby

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Top 10 Reasons I Work in Sports

Top 10 Reasons I Work In Sports:
10. Keeps you on your toes - you never know what you will be doing!  And I love it.  Everyday I come to work with the expectation that I could be doing everything from scheduling tweets to running around town doing grassroots - and I love the unknown, however, some days it would be nice to just sit in the office. 

9.  The Atmosphere.  I love being on the edge of games and actually feeling like you are a part of the game.  We work so hard in marketing to create such a great environment to cheer on the team - that when we see a great crowd and an intense game, it's great to feel like you had a hand in that.  


8.  The Clothes.  Not going to lie.  We get hooked up!  I love wearing my Gamecock stuff, and when I was a Baylor Bear I loved wearing my Baylor stuff.  It is all about where your loyalty is at that moment - and currently mine is with South Carolina.   So needless to say, when it is raining - I wear my jacket, when it is warm, I wear my vest, and when I am traveling I have 4 different travel bags to choose from. And its awesome. 


7. Relocation.  Now most of the time I say this is the worst part of sports, but let's consider the positive.  How cool is it that by the age of 25, I have successfully lived in the great state of Texas AND on the east coast and traveled all over Texas and the Carolinas.  Not many people can say that! [DISCLAIMER: Could not have done it without the love and support and $$$ help from my family]


6.  It's just plain FUN.  Yes, it's hard work and long hours [I don't think you understand long hours]. But it is so fun.  The events are fun, working with coaches and sports are fun, and yah - the office might be super tense most of the time, I'm doing what I love. 


5. Constantly Learning. If you know anything about me, I love sports.  I also love learning - so much so that I gladly went to Grad School and would gladly go again!  It's the mindset of increasing your knowledge in a topic and hopefully, becoming an expert on it.  I am certainly not an expert on marketing or sports for that matter - but I am constantly learning, and that's what I love about it.  


4. Its go Go GO. I am a fast paced person and that is something that I admire about myself. Apathy is not in my vocabulary.  I do like my occasional lazy days and nights off watching Law and Order or NCIS, but I am most of the time running like a lady with her hair on fire.  Everything ALWAYS works out, but needless to say its fast paced and a multi-tasking 


3. Season Turnover.  Everyone likes the seasons.  It's change, it's new beginnings, it's refreshing.  And its one of my favorite things about sports.  I know that during Football, I have 8 home games [MAYBE] and then its over.  Basketball gets a little longer, and then its my favorite time of year - Baseball!  There is nothing better then after a LONG year of sports to know that you will end it on top, with Baseball.  


2. Creativity/Grassroots - I know what you are probably thinking, what the heck is grassroots?  It is a term coined for marketing to people in their everyday lives - door to door. It's taking posters and schedule cards to people at their work or standing in the middle of campus telling people about the upcoming games.  It's interactive and I love it.  The other part of this is you always have to have energy and creative new slogans/mini-campaigns.  Which means, everyday you are trying to come up with the next best-most interactive thing!  And I love that.  


1. Sports Family.  I love my coaches, coworkers, and interns.  They make my days!  Every sport dynamic is different, but everywhere I have worked there are people that surround you that are in the same busy hectic lifestyle you are... and that is where we find solace.  And I love it! 
Abby

Monday, March 10, 2014

Statistically - people that have birthdays, live longer.



There goes another year.  But I'm alive and healthy so that is a lot more than a lot of people at my age (especially if you've watched Dallas Buyers Club - I haven't seen it, but that's what I hear).  Every year the day comes and the day passes.  Already it's mid-afternoon and I'm wondering where my day has gone.  My BIRTH DAY! I was born at 2:03 pm so I have a couple more hours until I am officially 25 years old, but the day is literally flying by.   

Quarter of a century.  WOW! And what do I have to show for it?  I've completed a lot. High School, College, Grad School, My First Job, My first cross-country move, my first and second and third half-marathon, Lots of books, killed multiple iPhones, lots of boys.  I haven't killed lots of boys... there have just been lots of boys.  Just a lot has happened.  So I want to make this year count.  I didn't put a ton of thought into it - just made a list of things I can accomplish and some things that would be challenging and then others, I'll be lucky if I complete. 

So many of the challenges in my 25th year are things I want to do in my life.  So why not mark them off the list and replace them with better more challenging things.  I have decided that #24 Journal Everyday - I will journal everyday about my life as a 25 year old.  It might be cool.  And it might be trash. We will see.  

That is what this process is about - seeing how far I can push myself to do things out of the norm.  Change it up a bit.  25 years is too long to live life the same.  This next Quarter of a Century will definitely be interesting.  Can you imagine what will happen....Okay, sidetracked!  That is a whole other post.  Follow me on Instagram here at Abby_Turner or on Twitter here at Abby_Turner or #25while25

It's going to be fun

So here we go.  To a new year. To a new list. And to 25 challenging, fun, easy, and unpredictable moments to come!
Abby

Monday, March 3, 2014

10 things you need to know about the SEC Network

10.  It's a GREAT thing for everyone… even if it is uncomfortable right now!
9. The SEC Network will not have High School Games, no plans to show bowl games, and will not host the coach's shows of any SEC member institution.  
8.  There will be SEC Sports and sports-related programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, just like SEC Nation, and come August, SEC TV will no longer exist. 
7.  This is a conference-wide network.  The goal is to provide equitable exposure for each of the SEC member institutions.  The SEC Network will achieve this goal without each school having its own block of time to program.
6. The digital network (the 1,000 games from 4.) will be just like WatchEPSN.  You must have the cable provider login in order to watch the programs (meaning you must have AT&T U-Verse or DISH). 
5. The first game on the SECNETWORK is Texas A&M at South Carolina on August 28th, 2014.  
4. Over 1,000 games will be produced for the network and digital site.  450 of those 1,000 will be live on television.  There will be about 45 football games, over 100 MBB games, 60 WBB games, 75 Baseball, 50 softball, and 120 Olympic sport events will be live on the network. 
3. If a game is on the SEC Network - the ONLY way to watch that game is to have a cable provider that has the SEC-Network.  As of today AT&T U-VERSE and DISH are the only 2 providers that have bought the SEC Network for their subscribers. Click here for the story.
2. YOU CAN NOT BUY SEC-NETWORK GAMES ANYWHERE.  It's AT&T U-Verse, DISH, or LIVE in stadium.
1. Want the SEC Network on your Cable Provider.  You can pressure your cable provider at GETSECNETWORK.com.  Click now and tell them you want it!  
Have any more questions?  Leave a comment and I will answer them!  Oh and the best part about the SEC Network… guess who will be a host?
This guy… Tim Tebow!  
Abby

Sunday, March 2, 2014

the importance of color

Since I have decided to pause my blog life and blog about things to effect me, here it goes, these first ones might be a little rough. 

Color is everywhere around us and is one of the most important things to consider when branding your product.  Take for instance Big Blue and, depending on where you are from, you immediately think of schools like Duke or Kentucky.  Maybe you see Green and Yellow and immediately think of the Green Bay Packers or Oregon (probably not going to think Baylor - but maybe…).  It's important when branding that you consider a specific color - a specific shade.  North Carolina isn't just blue - they are Tar Heel Blue (or a sky blue to general public).  

One of the most used sports colors is RED.  Think about some poplar teams - Cardinals, Braves, Redsocks, Redskins, and Bucs - just to name a few… But then think about the SEC alone and all of the shades of red. Alabama is Crimson, but is it that much different then the Razorback, Ole Miss, or Georgia Red and even the South Carolina "Garnet"?  Then you have the maroon shades in Texas A&M and Mississippi State.  Just take a look at all of the colors:


Brands communicate meanings with the language of color.  It is comparable to say "A color is worth a thousand words."  A single color can convey a lot of information in just a first glance.  Depending on what state you are from Red could be Texas A&M (or Texas Tech - but lets stay with the SEC thing), Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, Mississippi State… 
But why have so many schools chosen red?  Think about it what is the SEC known for?  WINNING. a POWER house, IMPORTANCE, RELEVANCE… and what does the RED color convey in general? All of those things.  It is a natural way to associate with the SEC Culture.  

In the News: Arkansas has announced they are changing their color from PMS 200 to PMS 202.  Look above in the chart… Texas A&M uses PMS 281 which is a much more purple red than its counterparts.  Much to my surprise Mississippi State (which looks Maroon everywhere but the branding guide) uses PMS 202 - which is the same as the South Carolina Garnet and the new Arkansas Red.  Interesting Right?  Because they call it Maroon (Commonly thought as PMS 281).  
I mean these colors are basically the same right?  Needless to say it is important to think about your color when creating a brand because the color will supersede anything you can do as a sports biz professional.  Half of why you change your color (over time) is that your uniforms might not specifically match you "official" color.  Just think about about it.  There are no longer 7 different types of red in the SEC.  There are basically 3 - the Maroon, the Garnet (Arkansas, South Carolina, and Miss St), and then the Red (Georgia, Alabama, and Ole Miss).  Interesting thought that schools are changing colors to match uniforms.  What does that tell you about the power of the apparel companies and the power of the schools?  Under Armour, Adidas, and Nike have decided to cut costs and create only a few uniform colors, and it is the schools that are now adapting to what the companies give them to work with.  This fascinates me! I love color because it is so essential to everything marketing is.  I hope you found this just half as interesting.  

It's not just about ordering a uniform in a specific color or saying it is Razorback Red.  There is a lot more that goes into it - and it must look the same on every publication that is produced, because in marketing your brand. is. everything. 

How this effects you:
You are your brand.  Which means just like the color must stay the same and be consistent to convey the brand, we must strive for the same consistency in our life to convey the correct brand.  It doesn't help if at work sometimes I use Razorback Red and sometimes I use Carolina Garnet.  People will become confused and look at our publications as unreliable and unprofessional.  We must remain consistent.  Sometimes life is hard and sometimes we don't always put our best foot forward, but we need to STRIVE to always remember that people are watching us and that we are our own brand every second of every day - whether we are at the Oscars or in the grocery store.  Think about it. 

Abby
Hope you enjoyed my NEW post - let me know what you think!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Wanna know what I think...

I guess I already know the answer to my own question.  If you are reading this, you do want to know what I think - and I think that is a pretty cool thought.  I read a lot of blogs and a lot of blogs lately have been advertising things and girls have been writing about products or companies they use and they flat out say I'm getting paid for this post - and most of the time we don't even need you to tell us - we know.   Then there are those bloggers who link up every which way to big name bloggers just to get people to read their blog and to "feel popular" (I feel sorry for those girls).  I could are less - 18 or 118 people reading my blog, I think it's pretty interesting.  But that isn't what this post is about. 

This post is about what I like.  And yes, I like boys and weight loss, pageants, and cupcakes - which is kind of a contradiction.  But one of my first loves is….SPORTS. And I want to start writing more of that.  I know a lot of you are probably friends and family and might be confused about my job, or why I am in sports - or that there is even a sports industry just as big as an accounting industry or a law industry… it's huge! And I want to start commenting on them.  Who knows… you might learn something :)

Before I start posting about sports, I will let you know how I am doing on my challenges.  The challenge I am probably the most proud about is my challenge to learn the guitar - I have learned.  I am as good as probably I want to be, but I am still going to lessons because you can't ever learn too much.  

The challenge I am doing the worst on is probably everything else.  I am failing miserably.  But that is why they are challenges and not resolutions.  Because I can always continue to challenge myself!  And that is what I am doing.  So let me flat out say it: I am failing to lose weight (which I cannot afford to fail at any longer because I MUST fit into the size dress that I have ordered on a specific date).  I am failing at abstaining from everything love related (Valentine's Day was HARD - or coming off of Valentine's Day). I am failing at not eating sweets (again Valentine's Day was hard and one of my very best friend's the other day reminded me that Starburst Jelly Beans are now IN SEASON).  

Let me just pause.  I could write an entire blog post on Starburst Jelly Beans. 

I am failing at… wait - did I cover everything?  Yes.  ha. I am just failing. 

But I am going to challenge myself ONE DAY AT A TIME to do better. 

Enough of that.  

I would love to hear from the few of you that read my blog about different sports topics you might be interested in.  In the super near future, I am going to blog on topics such as sports teams asking people to turn off cell phones in arenas, the importance of a human factor in sports, my love for the olympics and AMERICA, and is there a need to better technology in sports.  Do you have any topics?  Are you interested?  Maybe you aren't.  I don't care. I want to write about this and it's my blog. Get over it :)

Enjoy your week! Be back soon

Abby

Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 14th

This dreaded day, also happens to be my favorite holiday.  I know exactly what you are thinking… WHY! is this most overrated, dramatic, and stupidly expensive holiday your favorite?  Because those three words describe me to a tee.  I mean a tee. 

But you really want to know why… because I LOVE LOVE.  Dugh.  But as a single girl it can be hard, but my day wasn't really that bad.  Most of the day, I spent day-dreaming and living vicariously through my married, engaged, and in-love counterparts on various social media outlets (social media is the perfect way to live vicariously through someone.  

Before you send me a message saying "you fell off the wagon!!!"… (in regards to my 6 months of romantic abstinence) I thought it would only be fair that I not exclude myself from the holiday altogether - but moreover I immerse myself in the holiday and practice self-control and MIND-control.  

One thing I really struggle with is being a FRIEND to guys.  I am constantly asking myself "is he the one" "could I see myself with him… what about him" "is he cute?" "Oh, I could work with that" DUMB DUMB DUMB!

Recently, I have been noticing that those questions are not what pops to my head.  Recently, I haven't cared.  Recently, I have just been able to be friends with guys.  It's amazing! How after only 50 days (almost) on this "cleanse" I am noticing a change.  

So yesterday was a test.  I was testing myself to see if I could watch a romantic comedy and not immediately go to my cell and text my sister and bash love or romance or wonder, why isn't that me.  

And guess what… I didn't!  In fact, I text one of my good friends and discussed the reality of a fairytale love.  Most of the Hallmark movies are based around women who are 28 or older.  None are 24 and trying to find a career.  Most are older, already several years in their career and living alone.  

Guess what… that is me in a couple of years.  Living alone and working hard in my career.  

It WILL happen to me. One day. And I can't wait. 

So Valentine's Day was great!  I still love love, but am working on waiting. :)

Abby

Oh, and no I will not be watching anymore rom coms!  I am going back to my Law and Order:SVU and NCIS reruns… but for the time being - I'm watching the OLYMPICS!!!! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Writing my story.

Before I go any further… if you have not heard, downloaded, loved, or appreciated Francesca Battistelli's new song "Write Your Story" I have included a link here so that you can listen to it! It is so great!  Most importantly, in my case, is that this exactly what I have been praying.  

I have gotten some flack in the past week about my "romantic abstinence".  I have heard things like:

"You won't be able to do that"
"Why, would you give up love, doesn't that defeat the purpose of being a Christian."
"Since you can't find a boy, you are going to just give up?"
"This is absolutely ridiculous and way too dramatic."

I have heard this from a handful of people, like 7 to be exact.  The perfect number right?  That is what I thought :)  My point is getting across, maybe not my reasoning, but my point is definitely getting across.  If you don't want to listen to that song, shame on you - but I'll put the lyrics below (and the youtube clip of the song):
I'm an empty page
I'm an open book
Write Your story on my heart
Come on and make Your mark

Author of my hope
Maker of the stars
Let me be Your work of art
Won't You write Your story on my heart 

Aren't these lyrics powerful.  You see, I am not trying to give up on love, or give up loving people - but I became consumed with making sure I was doing the right things in order to get the end result I wanted, when this whole time God has been tugging at my heart saying let ME write your story… Let ME do it, Abby!  And guess what, I have finally done that.  

My Jesus wants to write my story - so I will let Him, why?  Because I know that my Jesus will write the perfect story because He is just like Francesca said, the Author of my Hope and the Maker of the Stars.  

Powerful.


Sorry I haven't written all week, I am alive - just super busy!  Tennis is this weekend and students are back in session… I got spoiled over the break with days off, half days, and no students and now I am like what is this madness… how did I live in this all last fall???  Blessings!

Abby

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Baby Sister!!

it feels like one of those nights….
I must start out by giving my baby sister a shout out on her birthday!! She is 22 and is growing up so fast.  MollyAnne is my best friend, my confident, and so sweet that she could probably never hurt a fly.  Her advice is always un-dramatic and her sense of humor is dry and natural.  Being with her is a breath of fresh air from the highly over dramatized life that I live.  

Molly Anne is so creative and I would like to give her credit for the creativity that I incorporate in my work/life.  I am constantly asking Molly Anne how to do creative things - she has the right answer for everything.  Where I always have an answer... Molly Anne always has the RIGHT answer! Love it! 

During my guitar lessons the other night I learned 5 chords: C, G, D, A, and Em.  I have since taught myself Bm (which I'm soooo bad at) and G7.  I learned Bm for a song I would to play (lead me to the cross) and G7 so I could learn Happy birthday.  Well, I learned it and was able to play Happy birthday for her last night!!!! Yay!! I hate being so far away, but at least FaceTime allows us to be "closer" and not feel as far away.

I tried to post my guitar video so you could see me play... Anybody have any suggestions on how to do that?? If so, let me know in a comment!! Thanks!

Wanted to share a passage with you that I read the other day..... 


Abbie poses the question: if loneliness and aloneness are true emotions - don't the represent even more of a whole person then when a person is lacking those

"If we desire comfort and ease and the romantic high of an illusion, we should avoid being truly alone at all costs.  But if we desire the truth of our selves and the honest state of our soul, we must wholly embrace who we are and we we are not, we must seek solitude and wait for holy union."

I love that!!! So much truth in what she writes.  I must begin to EMBRACE exactly where I am and WAIT for the Holy union. Not any union, holy union - God-ordained, not Abby-endorsed! I love words and the meaning of words so I did some research on EMBRACE - what does that mean and HOW do I embrace something, especially wholly embrace.  This is what I found: 

embrace[ em-breys ]
verb (used with object) [em·braced, em·brac·ing.]
1. to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.
2. to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea.
3. to avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity.

It's that second definition that stands out to me.  To receive gladly or eagerly.  I cannot tell you the last time, if ever I thought I would receive eagerly my singleness, my distance from home, or my work schedule.  However, if I want to truly be okay with myself and my life and to live that life to the fullest - I must completely receive my circumstances gladly.  


My life with Baylor:

It's been cold lately so instead of sleeping under the covers, Baylor sleeps on top of my back in front of my space heater that blows hot air (which is positioned right next to my bed above) he is literally 6 inches from it the entire night!! Such a mess! 

In other news, Happy Epiphany (12 days after Christmas when the wise men found baby Jesus)!! My decorations are officially down! Woo hoo! Parents out there, I don't know how you do it with kids!! 


I tried to post my guitar video so you could see me play... Anybody have any suggestions on how to do that?? If so, let me know in a comment!! Thanks guys!! 


Abby

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Giving up on LOVE

At first glance, reading the title of my post today might seem depressing, dramatic, and even down right dumb.  Everyone needs love in their life right?  Absolutely!  That is the point.  Some days I am so consumed with it that I forget to love on those around me.  Okay, maybe that was a little dramatic.  But I do find myself obsessing over the boy I just passed or the fairy tale wedding that just never seems to come, especially with the laundry list of weddings I am involved in over the course of the next 6 months.  Daily, I battle the thoughts of patience, persistence, contentment, loneliness, happiness... etc  I have been raised with an incredible support system of family and friends that remind me consistently that God is just waiting to give me something great.  Yes, I understand that and to a degree I believe it.  To a degree.  There is the problem.  I believe it with my heart, but when I begin to think about it, I decide that God is just waiting on me to make the move - to open up opportunities.  

Like the God of the Universe NEEDS ME to do something.  

As I write that sentence it is like daggers in my heart.  Since when has Sunday School and church taught me that God needs me?  Since when do I doubt God and not have complete faith in His timing and His will?  I mean a girl's favorite verse is Psalm 37:4 right?  Delight yourself in the Will of the Lord and He will give you the Desires of your heart.  Pretty sure my desires are straight forward... Love, Husband, Baby (in that order).  However, God seems to be taking His sweet precious time - and I am "fed" up with it.  

After having this way of thinking for a little bit (it's been like years - don't judge), I began to really believe that I had a part to play in orchestrating my love story.  I'll give you 3 guesses on what comes next.  If you guessed eHarmony, Match.com, and of course gotta throw God in there - ChristianMingle.  You guessed correctly.  I did them.  Because in some facet of the imagination I thought I could control my love story.  

Flash forward to present day.  

I've said it before, but moving to South Carolina has both challenged and strengthened my walk with Jesus.  I mean the whole dependence thing and happiness thing, not to mention the big L (loneliness) have been affected in such a positive way.  I think the best thing for me is the little Jesus Calling desk calendar that my mom sent me back in August.  It is a constant reminder that God is bigger then any issue I have.  At the beginning of November I started going to a LifeGroup and inadvertently these girls began to challenge me and so I wanted to do something to challenge myself spiritually, kind of like lent, but during the winter - oh of course advent... what was I thinking - God already created it.  So during the time of Thanksgiving and Christmas I wanted to give something up.  However, my selfishness got in the way and so those 30 days instead of giving up something, I wrestled with the idea of giving something up - until it was too late.  

The thought I wanted to give up was LOVE.  Who gives up love during one of the loveliest seasons of the year?  Yah, this girl.  There was no way I could do this - in fact, I had no idea what this would even look like.  I said yes one moment and said heck no! the next.  The girls in my lifegroup were all for it and very encouraging and then I would go home and say there is no way that I can give this up.  Really?  I can't give something worldly up?  What does that sound like?  The definition of an IDOL.  Then it hit me, I had made marriage, love, boys - an idol.  So what is the easiest way to change?  Stop thinking about it - stop associating yourself with it - it is a complete and total retraining of the mind.  

I came across several books (mainly because my life group leader Ty gave them to me), but I read a little of them and decided that they would help me in my challenge.  They are Abbie Smith's Celibate Sex, Packer's Knowing God, and Piper's Desiring God.  I am really enjoying my first two - Celibate Sex and Desiring God.  

I know exactly what you are thinking:  a book called Celibate Sex?  Isn't that an oxymoron?  You can't be celibate and have sex.... The book (the first several chapters anyway) are about loneliness, singleness, contentment.  All of those words I described above are discussed in this book and so far it is a really encouraging and eye-opening book.  Several books I have read in the past include Dating While Waiting, I kissed Dating Goodbye, Captivated, When God Writes Your Love Story.  And if you asked me what those books taught me they are all the same: "Don't be lonely or sad while you are single - be in love with God, He is your real prince charming.  God has a man for you - just wait." While that mantra is correct and I wholeheartedly believe that.  I don't need someone to tell me that, I want someone raw, someone telling me that singleness sucks and that God understands singleness and wants to hear about it.  Abbie does that in this book.  She allows me to journal about my feelings - however selfish they might be, because that's apart of the process - understanding that the place I am at right now in life is the place God wants me to be.  

I have told several of you about the first chapter, which was encouraging even today, a week later.  The chapter was entitled Fig Leaves.  Abbie asks you to journal about the "fig leaves" in your life. What are the masks that you put on or that you tell yourself why you aren't dating or married.  They can be a number of things - I had 11.  She goes on to write that these fig leaves are inhibiting your ability to see that God is in control of those things and He wouldn't have made you that way if He didn't want you to be that way.  What a thought.  I am outgoing, loud, vivacious, curvy, happy, and sometimes inapproachable because GOD MADE ME THAT WAY and GOD WANTS ME THAT WAY.  I hadn't thought about it that way.  

I have begun approaching life in a totally different way.  The first week has been hard.  But it has been worth it.  I am not necessarily giving up on love, but maybe more in my dependence on love.  Love is a great thing, but with anything too much of a great thing can be dangerously idyllic - that is the part that I am changing. My hopes in journaling with you, is not only to maintain accountability, but that you would be encouraged by the stuff I am going through and maybe even use my story to help someone else.  My story doesn't do anything if it just sits here floating in the web space, but if you share it, you are allowing God to work through it and with it in someone else's life.  

Here are some BASIC guidelines for my challenge:
-No chick flicks
-No romantic comedies
-No TV Shows that include love (only shoot-em-ups :))
-No Match.com/ChristianMingle (not like I would - but occasionally I get on there)
-No Boyfriends/Dates

An update on the rest of my challenges:
 1. I am still losing weight and on track to that wedding (however, I broke down and bought the next size up as well - so I have a little bit of lee way). 
2. It has been a solid week since I have had sweets of any kind.  If it weren't for coffee and my Nature Valley Granola Bars I would be toast right now.  
3. This whole 6 months without boys is hard... I am constantly relying on the Lord to take thoughts out of my mind - however, I have not watched a chick-flick, not checked match or ChristianMingle
4. My first guitar lesson was last night, I can officially play Happy Birthday!  (Check in tomorrow for a video)
5. I haven't traveled any place cool yet :(


Abby

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Resolution…. Scratch that!


It is a new year so that means we are all trying to do something better, change something about ourselves, and of course everyone wants to lose weight…. As I began to think about things in my life and the things I wanted to change - it was hard.  This year I have been blessed with so many things - I great job in South Carolina, a wonderful apartment, another fun year with Baylor, a prayerful family who is always there for me, great coworkers, a graduate degree, and so many exciting memories.  I figured - nobody ever keeps their new years resolutions anyways why waste my time and I put down the idea.  

I came back to it several times thinking I've got to at least participate in the whole New Years Resolution thing… So I tried to think harder - and the more I thought - the more I figured I was blessed enough and I didn't want to change anything about myself.  What a thought! Hah!  I am so "perfect" nothing needs to be changed.  Well, I knew that wasn't true so I went to God - if there was nothing worldy I wanted to change - maybe the Man upstairs wanted to change something about me.  

That is the way to go about things right - first consult the world and then consult the Lord… lol - there is item numero uno on my list - focus on God. (not kidding)

As I began to think about it over the course of the last month, I came up with several very interesting and challenging resolutions - except I'm not calling them resolutions, I'm calling them challenges.  

I've always been stubborn that way, ask my mom and my sisters, you tell me not to and I most likely will.  I don't know why I do, I just do.  That is why I am calling them challenges - because I'm not resolving to do anything, I am challenging myself to make a lifestyle change.  Here are my challenges:

1. Many of you know my cousin(s) are getting married this summer - 3 of them.  Meg is first in April and I am a bridesmaid.  Trey is next in June and Jill is last in July.  GUess what that means - too many family pictures and I refuse to feel self conscious in them, I want to be proud and happy of the way that I look.  So yes, maybe one of my "new years resolutions" is to lose weight - but the real challenge is that I have already bought the bridesmaid dress for my friend's wedding in which I am a bridesmaid in (May 17).  Needless-to-say, I have to stay on track until May 17 or else I WILL NOT fit into the dress and the size that I bought.  I have to consistently lose about 10-12 pounds a month for the next 4 months to get there.  And even then I'm praying it fits - so I have to remain good.  More of an ultimatum right?

2.  Now I know that a lot of you read my blog and know that I can not wait to get married… I LOVE LOVE.  But it has recently become more of an idol in my life.  So for the next 6 months (Yes, I said 6 months) I am going to be romantically abstinent.  (there will be a blog later this week on what that means).  I am very hopeful that this retraining of my brain and my emotions will evolve into a very healthy lifelong mentality. 

3. I am going to challenge myself to learn the guitar.  There are several nights a week I need something new in my life besides work - so I have enrolled in the Columbia Arts Academy and will be taking a 30 minute lesson every week! :) I'm probably most excited about this one.  

4. I am also going to challenge myself to visit Charleston, Charlotte, Augusta, and Savannah while I am living here in Columbia and stay in a bed and breakfast.  I have always wanted to do that too! 

5. Lastly, and MOST CERTAINLY the bottom of my list - I am going to challenge myself to give up sweets for an entire year.  Yes, we have ALL tried it… But I am going to do it!  I am challenging myself to give up all sweets.  I am not counting peppermints and sweet drinks like sweet tea and my beloved Diet Cranberry Sprite (or jolly ranchers).  

I will keep you updated, but as of 10pm on my 2nd day - I have been very strong with all 5 of my challenges.  We will see how far I get. 

Blessings!


Abby