About Abby Jones

While I have always loved to read, and always loved a good story, I haven't always enjoy writing. For years I searched for a form of self-expression which would communicate what was in my heart and head that didn't involve the English language. I tried painting, drawing, music, and crafts, but to no avail. Only when I crept past my long standing hatred of all things grammar and spelling related, only when I put pen to paper with little care for rules and regulations, did my imagination take flight. I've had to learn the rules of my craft, though I still find them very confusing and often daunting, to flesh out my abilities. I've practiced the art of writing for well over ten years now and I hope to share with you some of that journey. My biggest influences are the Bible and Lord of the Rings coupled with cheesy action flicks and an interest in criminology. I do not have anything in print as of yet - due to the changing of my writing plans and goals one too many times - but I do hope to someday see my work in print being read by others. At this point, I’m content with my blog, my stories, and my little corner of the world. I have done a wide variety of things with my life, everything from picking blueberries, working in a sheet metal factory, milking goats, and owning a designer consignment boutique with my husband. I’m now a homemaker and housewife who uses her God-given talents to serve our church, manage our home, and tend to the needs of our very large extended family.

Thanksgiving 15, 16, 17, 18, 19

20181031_160648-01.jpegWhen I look back on this November, I’ll see that I was thankful more by the week, than by the day. 🙂

Day 15

One of the reasons my thanksgivings are spread out over weeks is because I’m not writing every day right now. My home is my main focus, so I’m mostly writing on Mondays. So, today I’m thankful for my home. I’m thankful for the brick and mortar structure that keeps us warm, dry, and comfy. But more than that, I’m thankful for the opportunity to create a home in this building. I’m thankful I get to work on making it warm, comfy, safe, beautiful and welcoming. I’m thankful to be a homemaker.

Day 16

I’m thankful for the creation God filled this world with. I’m thankful for Horses, Owls, Crows, Foxes, Hedgehogs, Deer and all the other wonderful creatures in this world. I’m thankful for trees. I love big trees and little trees, mighty oaks and smaller cedars. I’m thankful for rain, fog, and sunshine. I’m thankful for a world with beaches and water. Good has given us a beautiful post-apocalypse world. I’m thankful for it.

Day 17

I’m thankful for Stories. I’m thankful for cheesy stories, deep stories, sad stories, hard stories. I’m thankful for the stories God has given me to write, edit, and grow. I’m thankful for the stories He’s given others. I’m thankful for movies, tv shows, songs, and books. I am a lover of stories and I’m thankful for them. As someone who struggles with their health, stories let me escape and go on adventures I’m unable to experience within my own limitations.

Day 18

I’m thankful for my church. Oh Heritage, I could never say enough how thankful I am for you. I love you so much. Each week, I come to be refreshed and to stand with my fellow sibling-saints. I’m thankful for a church that longs to be fed with the rich food of the word, that stands for truth even when it hurts, that loves each other. I’m thankful that even on days I don’t feel good, people stop to talk to me. I’m thankful for days together, prayer together, fellowship, laughter, tears, and years and years of laboring together. I’m thankful for members I’ve known since I was a teen, and new members who I’m just starting to get to know. I’m thankful for Heritage Baptist Church.

Day 19

I’m thankful for Emily and Sarah and our across state lines watching of Band of Brothers. It’s been so much fun to do this with you and I’m thankful for you both.

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Thanksgiving 14

 

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Day 14:

Today, I’m thankful for IRBS. This is a new seminary, and a project our church has been heavily involved with since day 1. My husband is currently finishing up his first full semester there.

I’m thankful to see him embrace his classes and learn and grow. I’m thankful for new friendships we’re both establishing.

I’m thankful to see this work of history get started and to be on the front lines.

I’m thankful for IRBS!

Thanksgiving 13

 

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Day 13:

Sometimes life can kick you in the guts, things you thought you’d put in the correct place leap out and haunt you, old dreams you thought you’d laid to rest call to you again, and you feel lost and alone. I’m thankful for the loyal and faithful friends who stand beside me in such times. I’m thankful for truth that reminds me I have a great High Priest who knows what I am going through. I’m thankful I have a loving heavenly Father!, a Father who loves me perfectly and knows what I need even when it’s hard. I’m thankful for the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit. Life can really be hard, but God is truly good.

Thanksgiving 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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I just can’t seem to stop playing catch up!

Day 8:

I’m thankful for my Moms. The Lord blessed me with two wonderful mothers who I love so much.

My Mom: Mom, you are the calmest, warmest, and most welcoming person I know. We’ve shared giggles, tears, long days, long talks, good movies, good books. I could spend every moment of my life with you and still feel like I miss you. Thank you for diligently working to transition from my parent to my friend. Thank you for being here through all the good parts of my life and so many of the bad. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being you and sharing that with me. I love you!

My extra Mom: Wanda, you are fun, wise, and your home is a second home to me. Thank you for always being game for whatever life brings you. Thank you for moving forward in life even after Vidal has passed. Thank you for hours and hours of discussion, laughter, figuring things out, gripping at long holds on the phone, plant advice, and always being a good sport about your lack of technical knowledge. Thank you for welcoming me into your heart and home so many years ago, and for letting me stay. I love you!

Day 9:

Today, I’m thankful for Extra-Sisters. I have three who I love. Ruth, Joy, and April. One of the awesome delights of having a big family is all the extra siblings, especially sisters, you add in.

April, you were my first big sister. I’ve loved having a big sister, someone to giggle with, look up to, ask about things, and just in general enjoy. I’ve loved our many family adventures, family holidays, and good memories! I love you.

Ruth, you have been a close and beloved friend for many years. I miss you all the time. I love our shared geekiness, our love of stories, characters, settings. I love talking with you, being with you, seeing what you will create. I love you!

Joy, you have welcomed me so many times into your home, shared your girls, and your life. You are creative, marshalling so many things to make life fun for the children around you. You have so many cool pets, and are a great cook. I love being with you and yours. Thank you for being game to include me in so much of your life. I love you!

Day 10:

Today, I’m thankful for the women of my church, especially as we got to gather round Leslie and express our delight in God’s goodness. I’m would address you all very specifically, but I’m terrified I’ll forget someone important to me, so just know, Ladies of Heritage Baptist Church, you are the salt of the earth, the people I treasure most, the ones I always love to be with. Please know that I sincerely love you all.

Day 11:

It’s the 100th Anniversary of the end of WW1, and so I am thankful for the silence of the guns. I’m thankful for peace. I’m thankful for men and women willing to go to war, to give their lives for others, to do the dirty work of fighting. I’m thankful for my soldiers: my grandfathers, my Vidal, my big brother, and my brother-in law. I’m thankful for my cousins and uncles who have served. I’m thankful for my fellow church members who served, and I’m thankful for the young men who are currently serving.

Thank you.

Day 12:

Today, I’m thankful for a day off, a day to curl up with my stories, candles, music, and my man. I’m thankful for a warm home, warm blankets, food, and clothing. I’m thankful for this rest time, because I am very tired this week. But, I am thankful to be provided for. God is good.

 

Thanksgiving 7

 

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Day 7: I’m thankful for my two sisters: Emily and Liz. You two have been by my side through thick and thin. Y’all have included me in your families and let me love on your children as much as I can. From shopping, to adventures, to holiday fun, to family picture chaos, and discussion about what to wear, y’all are my go to, and my favorite people. I love you both so much and I’m thankful God gave you to me, and me to you.

Thanksgiving 6

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Day 6: I’m thankful for Emily Shiflet! We’ve been friends now for several years, had many fun and silly adventures, are working on our second round of Band of Brothers together, and in general probably shouldn’t be trusted together. I love our rambling talks about everything, our enjoyment of whiskey, tea, and coffee, our share love of stories and writing, but most of all our shared love of our churches and associations. You are truly and for real a sister in Christ. I love you more than I can ever say.

Thanksgiving 3,4, & 5

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Seeing as I’m having the most ridiculous time keeping up with my Thanksgivings this year, I think it’s safe to say, life is busy.

Day 3: I’m thankful to have my first paid writing gig! Eeeek. This year I was able to quit the world of retail and move into the writing world. I work for a small neighborhood magazine as the Content Coordinator. I get to see my name in print every month. I get to interview down to earth, unique, and interesting families. I get ride herd on photographers, design teams, businesses, and my publisher. It is perfect for me. 🙂

Day 4: I’m thankful for Deanna, Elayne, and Liz. While I never get to hang out with you three women as much as I want, and sometimes we talk in groups, and sometimes separately, I can’t tell you how much you mean to me. You three keep me sane, laughing when I want to give up, centered when I’m frazzled. Thank you for loving me for so many years.

Day 5: I’m thankful for Rachel Cole. Rachel, without you I wouldn’t have gone on so many adventures, wouldn’t love my house, and might be slightly off my rocker. Thank you for saying what needs to be said when I’m anxious or overwhelmed. Thank you for being someone I can safely talk to who always points me back to truth. Thank you for including me in your life. Thanks for home and afar adventures. I love you!

Thanksgiving 1 & 2

I’m already a day behind, but for the first day of Thanksgivings I’m thankful for new floors. My house feels like my house for the first time in years. It looks like my home. While it has created several weeks of chaos, it’s well worth it.

For the second day of Thanksgivings, I’m thankful for my dear friends, The Stices!, who are taking home their first adopted child. We have prayed for this child, they have waited, and now Logan is theirs. My heart 8s filled with joy that my dear friend Leslie is no longer in the ‘not a mom’ club. Congrats Leslie on becoming a Mom!!!!!

Sunday Thoughts: Comfort

 

Sunday Thoughts

“Unbelievers always think that the best thing in life is that you are autonomous; that you are yourself and that nobody bosses you around; that you are yourself, and that you make the law in your life. You set the law yourself – autonomous. that is the ideal of humanism. But the catechism precisely says, “My only comfort is that I am not autonomous, that I am not my own boss. I have someone else who is my boss. I belong with body and soul, both  in life and death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. I am a Christian in the deep original sense of the word. I am a Christian – that means I belong to Jesus Christ.” – Dr. Jelle Faber

Once a quarter we have a Congregational Meeting during our afternoon Sunday School hour. On these quarters, we have a special Sunday Morning service and an extra Lord’s Supper. We have extra readings of the scripture and extra hymn singing. I treasure these special Lord’s Day services.

This last one, Pastor Jarret preached on Question 1 in the Heidelberg Catechism:

Q: What is thy only comfort in life and death?

A: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with his precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto Him. 

I’ve treasured this question in my heart for years, but most often looked at the “comfort in death” side of the answer. Christ is my comfort in death, and the death of other believers.

fc0b3b3fe05487fec4de14a0c51ec085I love the show Firefly, but there is a line that has always haunted me: “Everyone dies alone.” Mal says this to Inara when their ship is failing and Mal refuses to leave. He makes sure his whole crew gets off, but he won’t leave Serenity. Inara tries to get him to come with her, telling him he’ll die alone if he doesn’t. His response, “Everyone dies alone.”

When I first heard that line, I thought it true. Cynical, cold, but true. In fact, there is some comfort found in hard truth: Everyone dies alone, no exceptions. Deal with it. Facing truth, the hardness of life can make it easier to deal with. It sets the proper expectation so you aren’t surprised when life hurts.

But, I still found the line haunting. It rolled around and around in my head. I found it disturbing. It’s disturbing. The quote I started with answered some of that for me. ‘Everyone dies alone’ is the end of autonomy. If you wish to have no authority in your life, if you truly want to be god to yourself, then you must face death alone. You can ignore that fact, or you can face it, but either way, you will die alone. And, that my dear readers, is a scary thought. At the end, no matter how you live, you will die alone. The good, the bad, and the ugly will all face darkness alone. For Mal, that is what he wants. He wants to be left alone, even if that means facing death alone. He’s comfortable in those woods cause he’s trusting in himself.

But, what about those of us who have seen ourselves for the dark monsters we really are? Death will bring all that I am out into the light? Do I want a bright light shown on every thought, every lust, every lie, every manipulation, every second of selfishness, every drop of pride, every disloyal second I’ve lived. Do I want my life laid bare for all to see? How terrible and terrifying, how shameful that thought. Hide me, may the rocks fall down and hide me, for I am filthy. I have not a speck of goodness in me. I’m driven by fear, pride, selfishness, and distrust. I am not good.

What is my only comfort?

Christ.

Christ died and took my sin, my guilt, my shame. He took all that ugliness and gave me his goodness. He gave me purity. He washed me. He gave me righteousness. Then the Father adopted me. The Father poured out the love he has for the Son on me, accepting the monster as cleansed. Then, the Holy Spirit, oh faithful Spirit, dwells and works in me. Justification and sanctification. Not a drop of which I earned, but all of God.

And now… I won’t die alone. I will not face that darkness alone, for Christ is beside me. Christ holds me. I am loved. Not because of anything in me worthy of love, for I am fully unworthy of love. Oh reader, if you saw what God can see, you would disown me today. Your forgiveness I could never earn, your love I could never keep. But God. God knowns me better than I will ever be able to admit to knowing myself, and still holds me tightly within his grasp.

I will not die alone.

I will die a sinner, but now alone.

I will die a monster, but not uncovered.

On that judgement day, I will have something standing between me and God: Christ who died for me. And, oh doubt speaking within my heart, you lies of unbelief, guilt saying not me, Christ did the work. Christ is faithful. Christ is trustworthy.

All this is my comfort.

But, like I said, I’ve always thought about this great truth in light of death. But it says ‘life’ too. Life? Yes, what is my comfort in life? It is the same as in death! My comfort is Christ and his work, the love and adoption of the Father, the faithful work of the Holy Spirit. Oh, how this humbled me. I woke up in the middle of the night right after we got our new flooring filled with anxiety. There was so much to do. The house was a mess. Things were unhome like. How could I keep my husband de-stressed and me un-overwhelmed when things were so crazy? So much to do, how will I get it all done? I tossed and turned and thought silly thoughts.

I forgot my comfort. I forgot that God, who adopted me, died for me, forgave me, justified me, sanctifies me, and loves me is sovereignly working all these things out for my good. He is a Father taking care of his child, me. All these things that need to get done, that he has brought into my life are here because he loves me and wants me to grow.

I don’t know about you, but I can make a mountain out of a mole hill. I distrust myself if I’m not stressed out. I feel like the only way I can get stuff done is if I’m stressed about it.

And yet, God has said that I’m not to be anxious.

He has my hairs numbered, and I’m a shedder. But, not a single hair falls that he doesn’t know about and plan.

Reader, this means that money issues, health issues, marriage issues, past and future issues, blessings and struggles are all orchestrated by him for me well-being, and he loves me. Why, oh why am I not sleeping peacefully? I have a Father who can’t be stopped, tricked, or distracted from his care for me. I have a Father who won’t make a mistake, who never stops loving me, who will tend to me. I have a Father who is never abusive or negligent.

Oh reader, what is our only comfort in life and death? That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

I don’t want to be autonomous. I won’t to belong to Christ. I don’t want to be anxious about taxes, meal prep, cleaning, organizing, managing money, or time. The best way for me to not be anxious isn’t for me to become a billionaire. It’s to trust Christ who died to save me, the Father who adopted me, and the Spirit who indwells me.

Truth is the best help against the madness that is midnight anxiety. Truth is the best help against the darkness of death.

This is truth: Christ, our faithful Savior.

“…the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him.” – 2LBCF 2.3

 

 

Soapbox: Platonic Friendship

Soapbox Platonic Friendship

I’m a Geek, not a Nerd. I’m not into science, or math, or anything like that. I do have a deep, deep love of history (though in a geekier, less nerdy way). The real difference is nerds are into science and geeks are into stories. I love stories and all the things that are wrapped around them. I’m loyal to my stories and can be a bit ‘fan-ish’ about them. For instance: Lord of the Rings. I’ve read the books numerous times, seen the movies (extended edition) more times than I can count, and have random facts about both stored away in my head. I’m tempted to buy any and all paraphernalia that even hints at Lord of the Rings. Multiple different print editions of the books line my shelves, along with books about the books, and about Tolkien. To this collection has been added, by me and loved ones, lots of Tolkien’s random writing. It’s a story obsessiveness. I want to know all about what I love.

I love stories and a handful of particular stories especially.

This is how this plays out: I miss a story and its characters, but can’t watch/read it at that moment. So, I look up stuff about it. I get on Pinterest and look up Firefly. I chuckle to myself and pin away. Yes. Yes. I’m so familiar with the show I can quote most of the scenes I’m pinning. It’s strange, I know. But, it’s me enjoying the known, revisiting old friends. (See? I’m a Geek.)

Recently, I’ve returned to Sherlock. I haven’t watched it since season 4 came out, and not as a complete unit. A few weeks ago on a Wednesday night, Price mentioned something that made me think of Sherlock. Obviously, I had to start re-watching the show. The show, the story, the characters pulled me back in in an instant. I remembered and re-enjoyed all the things I love about Sherlock. It’s clever, unique, artistic, funny, relatively clean, with most excellent character building, and (most of all!) most of all the friendship between John Watson and Sherlock Holms. It’s beautiful. (A running theme in all my fandoms is friendship.) I love how they’re best friends, but also annoy one another. I love how John gets Sherlock, and how much Sherlock thrives having John as a friend. I love their loyalty, friends no matter what. I love their comradery and teamwork. It’s just wonderful. It makes my heart happy.

MaleFriendshipRuined

The other night, after all the day’s work was done, unable to find a book that gripped me, I went on Pinterest to look at Sherlock stuff. I smiled over clever memes, teared up at favorite lines, then . . . wait . . . what is this? Scroll. Scroll. Scroll. No. Stop. Quit. Please. All this stuff about John and Sherlock being gay, homosexual, having sexual a relationship. Really? Face Palm.

Every time.

In just about every fandom the world has seen fit to ostentatiously turn male friendships into something sexual.

Sherlock: John and Sherlock.

Band of Brothers: Winters and Nixon. (I kid you not.)

MCU: Bucky and Steve/Thor and Loki.

LOTR: Sam and Frodo.

Supernatural: Dean and Castiel.

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Winters and Nixon. Courtesy of Pinterest.

It happens again and again and again. All male friendships are twisted and turned into something they’re not. Our culture is so homosexual-centric and so sex oriented we can’t have friendships any more. Male friendship is being ruined. Currently, it’s almost impossible for two men in a story to be close buddies without someone turning it into a gay thing.

It makes me sad.

Can two people of the same gender with the same shared experiences not love each other platonically? Do we even know how to do that anymore? We lose one of the great joys and blessings of this life when we destroy platonic friendships and relationships.

Funny enough, you don’t see this as often with female characters. It’s there, but not as prevalent. Fans seem fine with girls being friends, platonic friends. The gay side is still there, but less extreme and extroverted. You have to dig deeper into the darkness of fan-fiction to find it. But male friendship? It’s just about gone. Is this because women form bonds more quickly amongst themselves?

Our inability to honor male friendships makes me concerned for my own stories. What if I found a Soul/Haze homosexual fan-fiction? No! No! They’re friends, buddies, brothers! Brothers! Why can’t men just be friends? Why do we always have to sully them with unintended sexuality?

Even Supernatural has an episode where Sam and Dean meet a fan and find out, to their horror, that there’s an undercurrent of them having a sexual relationship. They’re brothers! Brothers! Where do we draw the line? Why can’t we see this is ruining male relationships? Why can’t we see that we’ve let sex into every facet of our beings? It makes us jaded. It clouds everything. It taints what once was pure. You watch. Soon, it will be parent and child. We will take all forms of love and make them sexual.

Sex is great. It’s a gift of God. We’re all sexual beings. It’s part of being human and creaturely. Unfortunately, we’ve made the helpful servant the master, and it’s a horrible master! Instead of keeping sex in a good, right, and pure place, using it as God intended, we’ve poured it into every segment of our lives. The outcome: girls and women writing male homosexual fan fiction about two real men who bravely fought in WWII—who still have living children and grandchildren, people who know them—having sexual relationships. It’s disgusting. They can’t just be friends. Oh no, of course not. We can’t let friendship be enough. Beautiful, strong, faithful, loyal, good friendship, one of the strongest bonds in humanity isn’t enough.

What really gets in my craw, is that the whole LBGT etc., gay community, who screams bloody-murder about not forcing people into a sexual box and safe spaces, doesn’t defend the straight the way they demand the straight defend them. Imagine the hue and cry if a fan made a gay couple only platonic friends. Image the witch hunt, the tar and feathering! But, if you take two historic or obviously platonic males and make them straight, it’s like the sweetest, best, cutest, coolest thing. Please kill me now. What hypocrisy.

Okay. I’m getting off my soap box, but fans, come on, let friends be friends. Embrace the beauty of the non-sexual friendships as much as you do the romantic ones.