Friday, December 2, 2016

Thank(full)


In the wake of Thanksgiving and approaching Christmas, I am just thankful.

Thankful for my marriage, my girls, my improving health, my community, my church, my friends and my home.  Hardest year to date but in that refining fire, we have come through stronger, bolder, and tougher.  Praise Him.



I have learned that when we adopt an attitude of gratitude it helps us when we struggle with comparison, envy, or jealousy.

I listened to a sermon recently that talked about the "spiral" we can sometimes find ourselves in.  The one where our mind just goes down a rabbit hole of insecurity, fear, or negativity.  Sometimes you have to TAKE A MINUTE and snap yourself out of it.  How? By saying out loud every single thing you are thankful for.  I have tried this the past few days as my mind has been flirting with my anxiety and insomnia again and I just have to stop. Center. Refocus. And give thanks! My God reigns. He is victorious over every battle.




So now, I remain FULL of thanks.  Thank(FULL) for all He has entrusted with me. I desperately want to lead well. Love BIG. And be a good steward of all the gifts He has lavished on me. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

How it Felt to be a Trump Voter This Week


I have been a closet Trump voter this week.  Why? As a person who doesn't like confrontation and fears rejection, I wanted to hide and not put myself out there or take a stance either way.  Don't rock the boat, Abby.  You will lose friends and people's respect over this. But why are so many allowed to voice how they feel, yet somehow I feel like I can't?  So before you read on please treat me and my {probably different} opinion with respect.  Because we are all allowed to have our own opinions and this is mine. 

I am for freedom of speech and I am GLAD that we don't live in a cookie cutter America.  How boring would that be? But the very people who claim to be "open minded" seem to be very close minded this week.  I have felt family members, friends and strangers label me as a LBGT-hater, a bigot, racist, sexist, etc. and for the past few days I have zipped it. My parents always told me if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all.  But I want to take a moment and respectfully tell you how I landed on this {not easy} decision. 

To start off, I contemplated NOT voting but NOT voting is an easy cop-out.  So I wrestled with the decision and frankly went back and forth.  Truthfully, I wanted NEITHER candidate.  I am FULLY aware of Trump's past and horrifying commentary {which he has apologized for} and that is the very reason I did NOT vote for him in the Primaries.  I also RESPECT Hillary voters because to be honest... I almost voted for HER.  There are SEVERAL issues that I agree with HER on. I find her poised, seasoned, determined, and honestly inspirational. I would also LOVE a female President someday and I loved her empowering speech to young girls and how they can do and be anything they want to be. I AGREE!!! I have 2 little girls of my own and I am already instilling that very thing in them.  I also want to point out that some of my very favorite people in the WORLD are from the LBGT community and I am fiercely PRO-REFUGEES.  My Mom's school is FULL of them and I adore each one of them. I fully intend on continuing to serve and minister to them despite the election results.  But for me, when push came to shove I voted on the platform.  I voted on the Supreme Court. I voted with a 30-40 year perspective vs. a 4 year stint in office. 

But to clarify to so many that do not understand HOW or WHY.  Here is what I voted FOR. 

A government who is: 
Pro America
Pro-Life
Pro Military
Pro Constitution
Pro Veterans
Pro Law enforcement
Pro 2nd amendment
Pro Israel
Pro Legal Immigration
Pro Limited government
Pro Constitutional Supreme Court
Pro Religious liberty
-Anti Obamacare
-Anti Common Core
-Anti Political corruption in DC




I am more conservative when it comes to social issues.  But isn't that okay? Can't we all hold true to our own convictions?  

Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I have to disrespect you as a person.  

And you know who has handled this transition with SUCH grace? That would be the two people who stood to lose the MOST in all of this.  Hillary Clinton AND President Obama.  Their speeches made me proud. WELL DONE to both of them.  President Obama said the Presidency is like a relay race.  You get passed the baton, run as best as you can, and then gracefully pass it off to the next person.  He said ANY amount of progress you made in your short term is a WIN! So now it's time to pass the baton temporarily to Donald Trump.  

If you didn't watch Trump's Victory Speech after he won, I would highly encourage you to, as painful as it may be.  As a closet / skeptical Trump voter it actually affirmed my decision and got me excited! I look forward to seeing what an incredibly successful and smart businessman can do for our country in regards to infrastructure, bringing jobs back to America, and our national debt. I think it will be exciting to watch. Lets PRAY FOR HIM.  That he puts wise and strong leaders and influencers around him in DC.  (He is going to need it!) And pray that he is able to accomplish all the GOOD THINGS he says he wants to accomplish for the greater good of our country. 


As college student Cassie Hewlett expressed:

"Silencing those who simply exercised their right to vote in our free nation violates the core principles for which our country stands. I am by no means saying that those who were not happy with the results of the election do not have the right to mourn. They absolutely do. However, I am saying that those who are content with the results should feel safe in expressing their joy and optimism for the future of this country without the fear of being ostracized."
Full post here. 
And as a Democrat Riaz Patel put :
The worst outcome of the election is that we have each been reduced to a series of broad labels that no longer reflect who we are. Mexican. White. Republican. Immigrant. Muslim. We may try to look at people as “labels” but we’ll never truly see them because THEY do not look at their own lives & families as labels. If, in the misery of this morning’s election hangover, we choose to continue to refer to Trump supporters as one collective “Them” I think that is as offensive as anything else I’ve heard in this election cycle and as ungracious as anything we feared from Trump supporters in the defeat we assumed would be theirs. I think a key part of beginning to heal is realizing Trump is not his supporters. Who he is and how he campaigned are truly distasteful to me. But his supporters are not him. They voted for a variety of reasons that are important and personal to them. And when I was with them this past weekend, everyone I came across showed me kindness & humanity. I hope, for their sake, the quality of their life improves. And that they are able to continue to work and provide their families with a safe and loving home.
Full article here
I think the way we treat, love, and serve one another is separate from who is in the Oval Office. We need to start BEING THE HANDS AND FEET of Christ. Not all churches are the same. Not all Trump voters are the same. Not all Democrats are the same. We each have our own convictions and reasons why we voted the way we did and truly, I respect all of my friends and family who voted for the other candidate. It was a hard decision for me.
All I am asking is for that respect to be mutual. 
CHRIST = LOVE
Lets be like HIM. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

GO VOTE.



Perspective. Took this nugget with me to vote this morning. Although I might not particularly care for either candidate, I thought about this little one and the kind of America I want her to grow up in. With the Supreme Court, the next 4 years could potentially affect the next 30-40 years. By NOT voting, you are in essence casting a vote... If that makes sense. So press in to the discomfort and pray for direction and clarity. This election is terribly confusing and yet so very important. 


GO VOTE.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Our October.


October.  Why are you SO MAGICAL every single year? 
Painting Pumpkins. 
Dressing up for Open Gym.
Taking WAY too many pictures in WAY too many pumpkin patches. 
The Famous Arboretum Pumpkin Patch. 
Picking out "Family Member" pumpkins at the nursery. 
Pumpkin-spiced Lattes. 
Decorating for the season. 
Pumpkin Pie scented candles. 
Cooler temperatures. 
Park weather. 
Wagon & walk weather. 

I am so thankful.  What a beautiful season this is.... Literally. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually. 



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

CABO IN PICTURES







secrets los cabos
amazing upgrade overlooking the beach
meeting a hilarious and fun couple doug and kathy
hibachi
flora farms
pork chop the size of a small pig
banana-coloadas all day... virgin beverage?!?!? (it all makes sense now! haha)
chopping off our own aloe vera plant
2 books read
the beach to ourselves
reconnecting
laughing
sleeping in
so much joy
so much to celebrate
immensely grateful to God for my husband a new season

Friday, September 16, 2016

Full Circle

365 Days.

It has been exactly ONE full year since my insomnia reared its ugly head.  The search began medically for a diagnoses... lifelong anxiety is what they said. I am still convinced it was somehow related to postpartum and the fact Chloé wasn't sleeping through the night.

The search also began spiritually. Where was the root of this anxiety? How could I identify it, heal from it, and move forward.

Counseling. Prayer. Deepening dependance and reliance on the Lord brought FREEDOM and transformation.

God's timing is always perfect. You may think it coincidence but I think its a sweet gift.  We are one year from when it began and THIS YEAR Logan and I are headed to Cabo for some much needed rest and relaxation after this hard year.  It is also the same weekend that I am officially off all medications.  I haven't had to take sleeping medication since March of this year and I am almost entirely weaned off my anxiety medication.

My marriage is Stronger. Tougher. Deeper.

My priorities are in check.

My faith is tried, tested, and TRUE.

God NEVER wastes your pain.  He uses it as a bridge to others.

I wouldn't wish this past year on anyone but it has not been a waste and I am grateful for the journey it took me on.  LOTS to celebrate this weekend!




Wednesday, August 3, 2016

It is Well with My Soul: 2 Months Later

The last time I remember feeling 100% was Memorial Day Weekend.  I got sick shortly thereafter with a virus that would take my ability to speak and swallow.

Here we are 2 months later and I am different.

How could you not be after going through something like this?

What just happened? Will I ever recover? What does this mean? Will I be around to watch my kids grow up? Will I be in chemotherapy during Katy's wedding? Will I be in speech therapy for months? What will my new "normal" look like? Will I have to get a feeding tube? 

All the questions. And now we are here.

Thankful is an understatement.  What on EARTH?!?!? What an insanely uncertain and scary summer.

I would say I am at 85% (Logan says 93%) of my full speaking/ swallowing function by doing nothing by resting and letting my nerve regenerate and recover.  (AKA God healing me)

I can now communicate at the drive through and for the most part spell my name out over the phone and people actually understand me. (I have been "Chloé" all summer at restaurants because it didn't contain any letters I couldn't pronounce haha!)

I can eat and swallow pretty normally.  Liquids very rarely come out my nose.  The fact that I can swallow ANYTHING without immediately having to drink water is miraculous improvement.

How quickly do we take our health for granted. Eating. Sleeping. Swallowing. Communicating. Singing.

And how quickly do we turn back into our old busy patterns once we finally receive the diagnosis. The answer. The game plan.

This summer was awful but such a sweet time with the Lord.  He was the ONLY one who knew what was going on. I felt immense comfort in that.  I relied on Him every single day.  Praying. Worshiping. Talking to Him. All day. Every day. (I am not exaggerating here.... I was clinging onto Him for dear life.)

I miss it already... I am trying to discipline myself to get back to that place, but honestly I think scripture rings true when it says... "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted." He is dear and NEAR.  Not to say you can't be close with Him when you aren't in a valley...but I think most who have been in a dark place can relate... It is just not the same after you come out. 

The week of Katy's wedding, I woke up on Wednesday and HEARD improvement.  Most people have told me they hear improvement but its been so minimal each day that I was never able to notice it.  This was the first time that I felt overnight I had jumped from like 50% to 75% of my voice function.  I called Logan right away and sure enough was able to get through the toast at my sisters rehearsal dinner which was my main goal! PRAISE HIM!!!! This was not a guarantee and He was so sweet to answer my specific prayer for that moment.  One that I could never get back!

I go back to the neurologist in September to evaluate my progress.

I also went to my psychiatrist this month to check in on my anxiety. She was blown away that I didn't have any sort of relapse with my panic attacks and insomnia when facing such a potentially traumatic health issue.  Because of this, she told me I was ready to wean off the Zoloft. So we start that process this month.

I am looking forward to the future.  The closing of a very difficult year... but one that people can attest... changed me. I am not the same girl I was a year ago. Not even close.

I feel more. I empathize more. I care more. I have more to give. I value things more.... the RIGHT things. I am fully surrendered to Him and His calling on my life. 

Pruning seasons are never fun.  But they are SO necessary in growing, maturing, and preparing us for our destiny and for that I am thankful...AND glad this season is behind us!

Logan and I are headed to Cabo next month for a much needed (and well deserved) vacation... just the 2 of us! To celebrate and RELAX and to welcome a new year and a new season for our family. One that is full of Rest. Health. Peace. Purpose. In Jesus Name.








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