Thursday, December 22, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

No, I will not be coming to your holiday party...


When you have plans every single night of December and all you are is stressed, tired, and worn out.... Is the holiday season even FUN???? 

A few years ago, I asked myself this very question.... I used to LOVE a calendar full of squares filled up with fun plans but in the past few years (probably since having kids) these types of months/ weeks completely wear me out and I almost need a "vacation" to recover from my weekends.  (I love those of you who do Advent calendars but the thought of them gives me major anxiety for this very reason!) 

Although I have an extroverted personality, I definitely recharge my batteries by being home and not having plans.  If I spend too much time "busy" I don't have much left in my tank to pour into my people.  I find myself irritable, grumpy, and dragging instead of excited, joyful and energetic! 

So especially around the holidays when there is SO much going on (all really fun things) I really pick and choose what we commit to.  We make plans to have NO PLANS on many of our nights so that we can spend spontaneous time driving around looking at lights or having a family movie night complete with hot chocolate and popcorn.  We may not get to do everything on the "Dallas Christmas To Do" list but I am okay with that because I have more energy to enjoy the things we DO commit to and we can always catch the rest another year! 


So if you are wired anything like me, I would challenge you to make an effort to de-clutter your schedule over the holidays.  You don't have to say YES to everything.  I can assure you that you will enjoy your holiday season much more! You will be rested up and excited for the nights that you do have plans and enjoy your quiet evenings at home enjoying the warm fire and twinkle of lights on your tree.  




Thursday, December 8, 2016

My Holiday Gift Guides: For HER. For HIM. For THEM.

I LOVE gift giving. I know it sounds cheesy but at Christmas I really do get more joy out of watching people OPEN their gifts, than receiving them.  This year I thought I would put together some of my favorite gifts for HER, HIM and THEM.  I hope you get some good ideas!

1. Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker // Guys I bought this for myself this year and my husband has basically stolen it. He takes it in with him while he showers,  does the dishes and bathes the girls...to name a few.  It is compact and comes in a variety of colors! (I chose the Mint because... duh! But the black may be a bit more manly.) 
2.  Yeti Stainless Steel Tumbler// This is my husband's newest obsession.  It will keep your coffee hot and ice in tact for HOURS.  Example: Go to church, return to your car, and your coffee is STILL hot! We've done it. 
3. Ugg Men's Slippers// This year Ugg released these cute slippers for MEN! If your man is anything like mine, he walks in the door and immediately go put on sweats and comfy clothes. These are perfect for lounging around the house and taking the trash out early in the morning. 
4.  New Balance Men's Sneakers // I have always loved New Balance shoes and I have to admit, these look really cute under guys jeans. Logan wears his all the time but I love all the new color schemes they come out with each season. 
5. Roku Express // You need this guys.  It is the same concept as Apple TV but a heck of a lot cheaper! If you have multiple TVs in your house, this is a great way to stream all your shows in every room of the house! 




1. Instant Pot // THE GIFT of the year! This is a pressure cooker that basically does an 8 hour crockpot job in under 20 minutes! INSANE and awesome! Definitely on my list. :) 
2. Lash Boost // Guys. TRUST ME.  This is a must-have product for your wife that will have her eyelashes looking fuller, darker, AND longer. Say no to fake lashes! These are ALL natural. 
3. Kendra Scott Gold Earrings // I bought these earlier this year and they go with EVERYTHING. They retail at a very reasonable price and have the BRAND Name that will make your wife smile. 
4.  The Magnolia Story // If you are anything like us, you love the show Fixer Upper. I also happen to love to read, so I have added this book to my wish list! 
5. Volcano Holiday Candle // These big candles are always a splurge but they smell amazing (like an Anthropologie store) and will last months. I love that they have them in holiday red and green this year!

1. Noodle & Boo Lotion // I bought this at Neimans back in the day and I still lather my baby in it.  It is by far the BEST SMELLING lotion for your kids on the market. Great baby shower gift as well. 
2. Kidkraft Kitchen // We got this for our girls last year and although it took forever to put it together, it was a HIT! My girls play with it all the time and it comes in a ton of different colors.  I went back and forth between the pink and the turquoise! 
3. Fire Kids Edition Tablet // We are getting this for Stella this year... shhh! It is cheaper than an iPad and comes with a 2 year warranty in the "off" chance your kiddo breaks it ;) No more shows on my phone taking up a ton of memory. 
4. Floral Headphones // You will need headphones to go along with your tablets and these are just precious and so adorable.  The ear buds don't stay in Stella's ears, so I think these will work much better and she will look super cute. 
5. Kidkraft Teepee //  This was our Christmas gift 2 years ago and it is still standing! We LOVE our teepee and we have been able to wash it several times so it still looks like new. I love all the color combos that KidKraft has for these. 

I hope this was helpful in giving you some ideas for your Christmas shopping! I am partial to Amazon because... #FREESHIPPING and #NOMALLSWITHCHILDREN 

Ha! Hope you are having a wonderful December so far! 


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. 



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