December 30, 2014


The Christmas decorations inside the house are all put away and our house is back to a state of mostly organized. Ransom doesn't go back to school for another week and Brett is working tons over the next two weeks. And I'm, well, I'm seeking a recharge. Or a reStart. 

Friends, I didn't nail Christmas this year. Sure, I picked out some good gifts for people. I threw 2 Christmas parties. I made batch after batch of cookies for neighbors and friends. I sent Christmas cards in the timeliest fashion ever.  The hubs and I logged over 40 hours (!!!!) of driving over a one week period. But, now as I sit in the aftermath I do not see what I want to see: A focus on Christ and His incredible gift. 

It's humbling to see how easily I let this happen. I mock Elf on a Shelf ( sorry) every year but this year I basically did my own Abigail Version every day: "look and see what crazy mess Elf Abigail has gotten herself into today! she's forgotten Ransom's holiday program is today! Haha! She'll have to quickly rearrange the day to make sure they make it on time! How cute! She's lost her keys! What a rascal!" 

I scrambled to meet all sorts of Holiday Goals. And honestly there are a lot of those goals I would want to keep. Making those in our lives feel loved and special. Yea. I want to do that. I want Christmas to be magical and special for my kids. Yes. But there HAS to be a less over the top way of doing that! 

I'm writing this as a reminder. The year we spent cuddled down in the Ronald McDonald House was the simplest ( granted hardest in a lot of ways) Christmas we've ever spent. But Christ remained the center. Last year we were able to "add a little celebration" onto that previous year, which was sweet and just made it more special.  But this year we just added on and on and on. It became less sweet and more sickly. 

And so, I've confessed. I've admitted my fault and I'm moving forward. To help me get back on track, I've deleted all the social media off my phone, I'm journaling more. I'm working on my "prayer matters" card for 2015. And I'm pleading with the Lord to help me quiet my mind and soul. Something that comes soooo easily with two littles in the house! Haha! 

December 12, 2014

Exercising/ Abigail becomes obsessed

Guys. I'm competitive. Like horribly so. I can sometimes convince myself that "winning isn't important" and then I can somehow keep my craziness in check- but MOST of the time I know that "winning isn't important" is SO NOT TRUE and then I get all crazy and MUST WIN THE THINGS.

This has been to my advantage a few times: In school with grades. Competitive Swimming for 10 years. Winning "Lord of Cataan" at Fort Benning. 

Most of the time it is NOT to my advantage. ( Like wanting to WIN AT CHRISTMAS). But whatever....I recently found something that was absolutely PERFECT for channeling my crazy ways into something much more productive. 

The "activity tracker". There are tons of them on the market right now, but after doing a bit of research I decided on the Fitbit Zip . It's small and simple ( just like what I want to be! ha!) 

 I also decided, on a friends advice, to hit up the Ebay world to see if I could get one on the cheap. And ended up with 2 for $35 each, brand new! That's well under the current price ( around $45 or $50) !
( and if you're lucky the seller might send you candy!) 

So I would definitely take my advice and try Ebay before buying one anywhere else. What I don't advise you to do, however, is to be like Abigail and get impatient about being outbid every time and then bidding on FOUR at once and then having to PRAY you don't win ALL THE BIDS. And then thankfully only winning two and just giving the other one to your sister*.  Don't do that. 

OK, so now let me explain what happens. You stick this little tracker in your pocket or if you're like me and you ONLY WEAR YOGA PANTS with no pockets...then just clip it on your pants and BOOM you're in business! It starts counting your steps. 
Just tap the Fitbit and it'll tell you the time, how many calories you've burned, how far you've walked and how many steps you've taken. 
Then, you can get online or download the app to your smart phone and it'll keep you updated on extras like tracking exercise times, count calories and water intake...stuff like that. But all of that is not important. All that is truly important is making that ultimately daily steps goal. I set mine at 10k and while most days that isn't hard, sometimes I become TRULY obsessive about reaching my mark. 
here is a screen shot from my phone on a day when reaching 10k was NOT hard! 

We're talking walks around the block in the pitch black. Or going for runs on days you aren't scheduled to go for runs. We're also talking taking EACH article of clothing from the laundry basket to the closet ONE at a TIME from the living room so that it takes more steps. 

Basically its the best thing ever for crazy obsessive people. And, if competing against a little machine isn't enough for you. *Then get one for your sister who's also uber competitive and then start "challenges" ( a push of a button on the App) and start tracking her steps is the last day of our five day challenge and, win or lose, I can't WAIT for it to be over! I'm so sore! I've been so active haha! 

As you can see I have become waaaay more active.  And therefore one more tick in the positive competitive category. 

Also, if you get a fitbit for Christmas or just for yourself off of Ebay, then become friends with me and I'll have yet another reason to walk around the house in circles every time I'm talking to someone on the phone. 

December 08, 2014

What is for Christmas....Tabitha

As with my last post, I will now regale you with the Christmas presents Tabitha is getting this year. She'll be 2 in January so bless her heart, gifts for her come around basically once a year.  Its rough having a birthday so close to Christmas, but we'll try to make it up to her! And bonus! All the fun things that I couldn't get her for Christmas because of my self-inflicted "Wear, Need, Read, Want" rules, I can just get her a few weeks later at her birthday ;-)
( way to ruin the point of the game there, Abigail!)

So, here's what our little almost-two-year-old is getting for Christmas this year! 

Wear: Unlike with her brother, Tabitha does not need anything in this department! In fact, thanks to the generosity of my sister and friends, I have only bought a few odds and ends for Tabitha in these two years of her life, and none of those odds and ends were because she really needed them! Girlfriend has clothes and shoes coming out of her ears! SO that said I decided to go with an "accessory" this year and I found the most fun thing a two year old girl could have: 

It's called a Poochie & Co Purse and in searching the internets to find a picture of the one I got for Tabitha I found that a real live celebrity is also a huge fan ( remember the adorable little girl from Beasts of the Southern Wilds? Or maybe you'll remember that she's the little girl from the upcoming remake of Annie coming out this Christmas? Yeah, Quvenzhan√© Wallis. ) Annnnyway, it makes me happy that my daughter is already going to have a celebrity purse! hahaha! 

In the Need category this year, I went around and around. There are a lot of great toys that can be helpful in teaching your kids all sorts of important things that you feel like they "Need". But I finally decided on this game Barnyard Bingo Game. Because she's played with it at Speech Therapy and she's totally into it.  The best part is that the game can be used "as is" ( according to the rules) but I think it also has a lot of potential for other forms of play which is important when we purchase just about anything around here. But just to prove to you Tabitha's enjoyment. I took a video of her at Speech Therapy today: 

When it came to Tabitha's Read book this year, I went with something I knew we'd both love but that would also continue to help Tabitha with her talking. For whatever reason nothing promotes Tabitha speaking quite like Leslie Patricelli books. She LOVES them! And honestly, I do too! They are funny and fast and just enough quirky!  Tabitha is getting this one for Christmas: 

And now for Want: 

Eeeeek! Once again I went and bought something on sale waaaaay ages ago and I've been DYING for Christmas to come so I can give it to Tabitha! I purchased this on Zulily  for next to nothing way back this summer! (!!)  and now I'll finally get to give it to her! 

Having to watch her put her stuffed animals and dolls at their tiny doll table and feed them with random cups has been KILLING ME ;-) 

So there you have it! That's what Tabitha is getting for Christmas! So, I'm curious, what are your little girls getting this year? Anything you're super excited about like I am? 

What's for Christmas.....Ransom

Hey friends! It's that time of year! Where I tell you what my kids are getting for Christmas this year! I know you've just been dying to know!

Like I've said before I've implemented the important " Need, Read, Wear, Want" rule with our kids to keep the buying under control. However, for the first time this year I had a little bit of a hard time sticking to my "categories" but I did it! So here goes!

This year Ransom is a 4.  A very rascally 4 who has grown and grown and is sitting tall in the 90th percentile in height and its been hard to keep him in clothes. He's also been dominating his Balance Bike for a few years now and has been asking for a big boy bike for a while now. As for his wants, well, they are ever changing and EVER GROWING. Maybe its just my 4 year old but the kid tells me what he wants for his "birthday" almost every day. *sigh*

So let's start with wear:
I started by getting him these pretty sweet PJs when they were on sale a few months ago.  :

Because it is EMBARRASSING what Ransom wears to bed these days....usually either too tight/too small PJs or giant old T-shirts. The sad thing is, he LOVES PJs and its been hard on him to not have cooler ones, or at least having his cooler PJs be super de duper tight. 

Unfortunately Ransom's Need is also in the "Wear" category. I don't know how to get around this and I feel semi bad about it. I usually try to make the "Need" also something that he'd want  but this kid needs new clothes BADLY. So hopefully long-sleeved t-shirts and sweatshirts covered in monster trucks and spots logos will make him happy enough.  ( I hit up the $3.88 section in Walmart, especially since he'll probably just out grow them all in 2 minutes anyway). 

Want: So HOPEFULLY we will make up for the "Need" present not being the coolest with this present: 

Being as cheap as ever, we got it for a sweet deal at Wal-Mart because it was missing a handlebar grip that we could easily replace. However, if you're looking for a Hot Wheels 16" for a little dude, you can also get it here. 

And then on to the Read: This year I went with something a bit different. Ransom has started going to "big church" with us and has a little backpack full of "quiet entertainment" and I wanted something that he could look at for a long time but would not need it read to him necessarily. So I found this book that I think will fit the bill.  I haven't gotten it yet so I'll let you know if I like the pictures or not!

Merry Christmas to Ransom!You may notice I'm just not that into his presents this year, and that makes me sad, but I do hope he loves his Bike ( we're going to try to skip right over training wheels so wish us luck!) So tell me, what are your little boys getting this year? Anything you're super excited about?

December 05, 2014

Preschool Party Prep

Well friends, we're well in to December and basically that means that I've got about FIVE blog posts I've been writing in my head and quite literally ZERO time to write them. Every time I get on the computer I end up scouring the internets for the perfect Christmas presents for various nieces and nephews. I really love giving presents. Mostly because I like to WIN at Christmas.

I want the present recipient to say, "Wow, Abigail just WON CHRISTMAS this year!"
Which. Well. Is the most selfish reason for giving presents ever.  So you know, I've basically lost the reason for the season. ;-) Interventions can be scheduled for Jan. 6th and onward. Inquires below.

Anyway, today I made the time to post-mostly because I've hit a little bump in the present buying road.-I only have 3 presents to go. The hardest people to buy presents for.  ( I'm looking at you MOM) So I'm taking a break to cleanse my present pallet and hopefully return with renewed vigor.

ALSO I'm posting today because I really really need your help! I'm in charge of Ransom's class Christmas preschool class party which I thought other parents would be helping with, but his class' parents have zero interest in helping out this year and there is only one volunteering parent per party and I guess all the other parents are just riding the wave of the rest of us this year. Meaning, I'm ON MY OWN. Which, you know, is kinda cool because I like to be in charge, but its kinda not cool because, you know, MONEY.  So I've already got my menu set. ( which side note, I'll have you know that I thought up these ideas ALL ON MY OWN while sitting in the pick up line at school but then OF COURSE as soon as I googled them PINTEREST insisted that other people had ALREADY come up with these great ideas and gone so far as to take pictures and post them. BUT I'd still like for you to all give me creative credit, ok?!)

But now that I've got the lunch taken care of, and I figure I'll have cookie decorating as the craft. BOOM. DONE.  But there's ONE MORE THING I'd like to do. And it's mostly all for myself. ( *Insert living my dreams here*) I'd like to read them a Christmas Story.

And here's where YOU come in!! What are your favorite children's books to read out loud to kiddos?! I am kinda a snob! I insist on good content plus good pictures. So, you know, I'm picky!.

Also, just to make you think harder please just leave out the books that include Santa. I don't have an agenda here, just that I feel like we're already over-Santa-ed. So lets just stick to other Christmas Tropes, ok? So now that've made all my demands! I hope I haven't scared you from sharing your own favorite Christmas books with me! I've got a little list going but I am curious to see what you guys will come up with and then maybe I'll share what I have so far! But so that I don't make you do ALL the work:  My own personal favorite is a little old for preschoolers but when I saw it on a pile of books at the library I snapped it up like a long lost friend! Love, love, LOVE this book!  Go check it out Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble it is beautiful in every way. :

November 16, 2014

The library plot

Raise your hand if you find it hard to find friends these days. Is it just me? Where was I when they were handing out the friendship bracelets?
 Oh, that's right, I was moving every other year as an Army wife....I was so blessed during all those years that I can now count a best friend in almost every my besties are now spread across the country. Which is great and all...but some times you want someone to look you in the eye across the table and be all, "you have baby snot on your with that situation."

But now that I find myself in a less and less military environment, i.e. everyone else isn't in the same boat, I'm starting to realize that its a stone-cold world out there where apparently everyone else has already made out their BFF list and there are no blank spaces ( Oh, wait, is that why I don't have friends? That I just put in a Taylor Swift reference and no one notice?!?)

Annnnywho, something funny happened this year that I just HAVE TO TELL YOU.. I was visiting my home town and enjoying some Mommy time with my sister and our kids. We'd just attended a super disappointing story time at the local library and were now letting our kids run havoc at a nearby gym when another mom approached us. We made conversation and within minutes she was getting my sisters details.  And I was super impressed/jealous. I'd been trying to break into the Mommy scene at my own local libraries, parks, mall play areas and chickfilas and I'd gotten NADA. And here my sister was scoring a new friend in MINUTES. Whaaaaaa?!?!
But, within hours my sister texted me to say that the "new friend" had added her on Facebook and low and beyond she was one of those "sellers" know, one of those chicks that "works from her home" by throwing parties, doing before and afters on her fb page and making her instagram a variable who's who of know the girl.*
And in that moment we both knew it was a sham. It turned out it WASN'T any easier in my sister's town than in mine, she'd just come in contact with a chick who needed a few more buyers for her monthly balance.

We laughed, we made some jokes to make us feel better and we returned to our lives of wiping snot and packing cheerios to go.

AND THEN....I was at my own local library ( why is it always the library?!?! Is it in a handbook or something!??) and I started to make conversation with a girl who was also in the kids section with her own littles. And I was super excited and surprised at how receptive she was! She didn't respond in one word responses and she didn't exit for "nap time" at the first opportunity, in fact, SHE quickly asked for MY number! "Wow!" I thought, I've finally done it! I've finally made another mommy friend "Out in the wild."

And then. AND THEN. She actually CALLED ME. Like within the first 24 hours! CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS!?!? I was shocked  and not a little bit flattered. I had clearly rocked the library banter and she was wanting more! Sadly I was at one of those inflatable lands where kids jump around on giant balloons and us parents stand around and pray that it gets all the energy out so that we all get to sleep in the next day.... SO I couldn't hear her call and so I called her back as soon as I could....annnnnnd I got her voice mail....annnnnd it went something like this:

"You've reached SO and So, your friendly neighborhood Blah-blah consultant! I can't come to the phone right now but leave a message, I'll get back to you!!! BEEEEEEEEP"

And so I knew it had happened.

I had been duped. I had fallen for the ol' library friend scam.
 So when, a few weeks later and I'd actually ignored the earlier warning signs and actually met for a play date and then a few days later I was politely propositioned to "throw a fun party for all my friends where we could sell a little blah blah!" I knew I only had myself to blame.

Of course, the joke was firmly on the fake friend....I didn't have any friends to invite to such a party, so HA HA! JOKES ON YOU GIRL!

So there it is. There's my warning/plea. I am going to continue to try to make Friends out there in the world ( outside of  the comfy Military bubble) and hopefully one day I'll actually meet someone who thinks me and my ( ADORABLE AND ENTERTAINING and MOSTLY WELL BEHAVED) littles are worth hanging out with, and that I won't have to buy a product for them to think so.

* P.S. I actually have friends who sell all kinds of great products from their home. Beachbody, DoTerra, Mary name it! And many of you have asked me to buy your products and/or throw a party...and I've LOVED supporting you...this is no way a judgment on you or your businesses. I respect your willingness to get out there and make some monies...I also doubt you do anything like this story to make said money so don't worry, this isn't about you! :-) xox

October 30, 2014

"Essentially" what I've learned

Tabitha LOVES putting oil on her feet every day. She even puts in on her stuffed animals too. 

So, here's a little update on my essential oils usage. Some of you have been asking, which I appreciate your interest in my little "experiment" and for those of you who didn't ask. Sorry. Just ignore this. But, really, can I just say? You SHOULDN'T ignore this because I think I'm the greatest essential oils user ever.
And here's why.

I can honestly  honestly say that I'm terrible at this experiment because I refuse to change my current ways. For instance, if I have a headache I take Ibuprofen ( which I've always done) and then I also put a little peppermint oil on my temples ( what my essential oils manual says to do). Then the headache goes away and I'm really happy about it. DONE.

But then, lets say, YOU come and tell me you have a headache. Well, sorry, I'm probably gonna have to offer you both, because I'm too impatient to figure out if JUST the essential oils would have worked for my headache. I hate headaches. I'm gonna try and kill them will ALL my guns. I am basically NOT the girl in the horror movie that shoots the bad guy and then TURNS AROUND AND WALKS AWAY. Girlfriend, you KNOW he's not dead and he's gonna come up behind you and get you! NO! You EMPTY ALL YOUR BULLETS INTO THAT DUDE.
So. That's what I do with headaches and allergies and eczema. I use up all my bullets.

The good news is that all my bullets seem to be working.

The other good news is that there were a couple of things in my life that I didn't have ANY other bullets for: my psorisis and our immunity and my children's restless sleeping.

So, I can definitely WITHOUT a doubt say that I am ONE HUNDRED PERCENT SOLD on "on guard" essential oils blend that works for immunity. I rub a diluted bit of that oil on my kids every morning before I put on their shoes for the day and, recently, when we were out of town I rubbed it on their feet at night too. And, friends, we have not gotten sick AT ALL. Ok, strike that, I got a really bad case of allergies that threatened to turn into a cold for two days. And I pouted and threw a fit that my essential oils weren't working, while I did shots of oregano oil ( not for the faint of heart) and diffused on guard in my room at night and BOOM a day later my cold was GONE.
And? AND? We went out of town and my kids kissed and hugged and ate after and breathed on and snuggled a countless number of cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and NO ONE GOT SICK.


This is big news.

Because that NEVER EVER happens..
In fact, I now love this oil so much that I bought another two bottles of it  ( then put those bottles itnto little sample bottles and handed it out to my friends like it was candy. Because  WE SHOULD ALL BE HEALTHY TOGETHER.

And then we went BACK to visit family AGAIN and I was not diligent at all about putting the oil on my kids and Tabitha GOT SICK. So boo on me.

I have also been putting a mixture of oils on my legs where my psoriasis rash is the worst and it has, in fact, faded significantly. It is not completely gone, but then again they told me I might have it forever, so faded is a major step up from FOREVER. I'm still not sold on this being the miracle solution to my legs, but if I'm really honest, I'm not that diligent in putting the oils on every day. Which I clearly should be.

And now to the one that most of you Mommies have been asking me about Serenity. It is a mixture of a couple different oils to promote, well, serenity.  This is the one all my mommy friends have been clammering for me to test... Seriously? You care about calm children more than healthy children? Hahaha! No worries, I am not judging you, because i am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. So here's what happened:  While I have tried using the oils to combat specify instances of  "preschool/toddler drama" say in the late evening when everyone starts inexplicably wrestling,  I didn't feel like it made a  marked difference. But, when I just diffused it a few times in our home during times I knew we'd be couped up inside for a while, I myself felt remarkably calmer and I  think overall our home was more peaceful. It wasn't magical or anything ( darn it) but I've also used a drop or two on a pillow or a favorite stuffed animal when the kiddos have woken up in the middle of the night and it did seem to affect how quickly and easily they went back to sleep. Unlike the  On Guard which I actually think I could stand behind and say YOU ALL NEED TO USE THIS, the Serenity oil is just another thing that I'd offer up as an option when  dealing with  sleeplessness, rowdiness etc etc.

I will say that since Tabitha has gotten a virus ( mentioned above) that has caused a fever for the last few days one night I forgot to put the diffuser of Serenity and On Guard mixed in her room and she was up CONSTANTLY and needed to be held and rocked.  The next night I remembered the diffuser and she was only up a few times in need of her paci. It could be a coincidence...or it may have really helped, especially since her fever was pretty much exactly the same. Who's to say?

And so, in summery. I think I now actually kinda sorta believe in essential oils. There. I said it.. But, other than the immunity  oils, I see most of them as just added tools that maaaay be helping and not hurting our family. I like the fact that now when I struggle with something in our home like sleeplessness or allergies I can turn to oils as a viable option.

Ok. I think that's enough  "screen time" for this topic! If you have any questions about my specific experiences do let me know! I'm actually putting in an order for myself tonight ( my cut off time is tomorrow night-October 31) so if anyone would like to use my discount send me a message ;-)-hehe. Cuz I'm a rebel like that.

October 06, 2014

My secret hobby

So, I think I've mentioned this before, but in my 7 years of marriage I've lived in 7 different places. Pretty crazy, right? And for the most part that has not always been the coolest. BUT there is one thing that I do  enjoy about moving and that is the decorating and the organizing! We have now lived in our current house for over a year and a half and I was starting to get antsy. Which is probably why I went through a weird furniture painting phase a month or so ago...

That said, this last weekend afforded me a little house-decor challenge when I inherited not one but two new pieces of furniture. Now, its not like our house is huge and just FULL of empty spaces waiting to be filled. In fact, quite the opposite. But, when the time came to take Brett's Grandmother's piano so that it could stay in the family and I could happily tell me children about the hundreds of sweet hours their Great-grandmother had spent at this very piano-teaching lessons and composing music and playing and singing hymns...well, there was clearly NO CHOICE but to take it.
And then when I was faced with either taking my Great-GREAT Grandmother's china cabinet or "I'm just going to take it to the dump right now",  Brett and I rented a Uhaul and on our last trip to visit family, came come with some "home decor puzzles".

And I won't lie. I absolutely DELIGHTED in my little furniture problem. Where could I put it all? What would I need to re-arrange?! How could I keep the house from looking stuffed with furniture?
Oh, it was all too much fun for me to handle!

In the end, my bookcase in the dining room, moved to the living room and became a part of the "play area". In fact, bonus points, when you re-arrange toys locations in your house, your children will magically think they have new toys and play happily for a solid hour and a half. BOOM!

The piano then took the bookcases spot in the dining room, and other than the fact that Ransom wants to play the piano before and after every. single. meal. I absolutely love having it in the dining room, especially a part of my family photo wall. Treasures should be with other treasures.

And the china cabinet? Well, it actually was quite helpful! I was able to put it into a corner of our bedroom and move all the books from the bookshelf in the dining room into the china cabinet/bookshelves! I ended up "gift wrapping" the doors because one side was missing its glass ( and since my bank account just took a hit, I'm not in the glass buying mood) and I actually kinda love how it turned out.

I may, at some point get some fabric because I feel like the paper probably won't stand up well with my little rascals running around, but for now this looks pretty cute! 

( wrapping paper is from Ikea many many moons ago)

And so, after this day of moving and organizing and running around after my children all in the midst of it, I'd go ahead and say that I'm happy NOT moving for another year and a half ;-) I've had my little decorating fix.

October 03, 2014

How I "lost" my phone and what I gained

So, last Saturday my phone was tragically and unfairly stolen at the library. I say tragically, because if you've ever purchased a phone "out right" without any kind of phone contract to buffer the costs then let's just say, that's a tragedy to ANY bank account.

And I say unfairly because I think all stealing is just so UNfair! I think once the feelings of optimism that maaaaaybe the person would decide to turn from their evil ways and return my phone to me ( it had already been wiped by the time I tried to access it on my find my phone app), had passed the major feeling I had was just the desire for JUSTICE! I just hated the idea that someone could be so jerky as to take advantage of a bedraggled Mom with her two little kids and then GET AWAY WITH IT. UGG!!!

Anyway, the tragic/unfair event happened right on the eve of us heading out of town to visit family and Brett was still in the midst of working very long long shifts at work. I had a ton to do before we left town and so, in the end, we headed off to visit family without dealing with the phone situation. It was going to work well because I'd be with Brett and people could reach me via his phone, or send me messages the "old fashioned way" using Facebook or email ( haha!) when I checked it once or twice a day.

And so almost immediately on our drive I realized that: when we drive somewhere and I'm NOT driving I check instagram continually. I also listen to Pandora and I also check my emails and I text my friends a lot. I also realized that my children do a million cute and documentable things in a given 10 minute span and without a phone to document those moment I have to just soak it in. No pictures for later instagram posting! Just plan old-fashion memory.

When we arrived at Brett's mom's house we were greeted by a glorious host of family and for the next two days my kids ran absolutely wild with about 8 or so cousins. Mud pies, hammocks, bicycles, cupcakes, s'mores and a very necessary bath at the end of each day. At the same time, I got to chill and chat with the adults and watch the glorious scene of cousins unfold....without taking a single picture. And without checking instagram to see what comparable fun other people were up to. I also didn't share the glorious fun we were having with anyone that wasn't siting next to me on the couch and it was STILL FUN! I got pretty much zero likes. And no comments. But it was still very much a glorious two days.

I then headed to my parents house for another day and  half where I hung out with my sister, commiserated on how 4 year-olds truly affect ones mental status, and discussed important things like  the unmentionable Kimye wedding episode ( if you don't know what this is, please don't ask...clearly you're already a better person than me and we should just keep it that way) and watched our children run around us screaming. Once again I did not share what I was doing with any one! In fact, I was now 4 days into not having a phone and I wondered if anyone wondered where I was. And if they did, was that really that important?

We finally headed back home yesterday, and because Brett was driving a big Uhaul back ( post about this coming soon!) I drove myself and the kids 5 hours home WITHOUT A PHONE. That's right. No GPS. No phone in case I got a flat tire ( though, granted Brett was about 30 minutes behind me on the road), no apps to tell me where the nearest Starbucks was, no pandora to listen to music, nothing. And somehow, we made it home Instead of a phone to keep me company, I just thought lots and lots of thoughts on those highways headed home and I've decided that my addiction to my smartphone really was at an all time high. I am hoping that now that I will once again have a phone ( tomorrow I'm headed to the Verizon store), that I will not return to the intense connectedness that was filling my days. I say this here because I know it will be easy to return. That the addiction sneaks in all sneaky-sneaky like and before you know it you're checking your Facebook feeds in the bathroom. ( ew!)
However, if you check your phone when you're sitting at a red-light in your car. Then, you my friend, might need to have your phone stolen at the library because wake-up-calls can be greatly refreshing.
( Though, I'm sorry, I still feel sad that I have no pictures from all those awesome cousin-fun-times.) iPhones are good for some things.

September 10, 2014

To be totally frank(incense) with you....

In the past two weeks we've had a visitor for a week, Ransom started school and Tabitha has been teething some major canine teeth action.

And we've been perfectly healthy. Not only that but I've actually started running again! At the end of August I was barely able to get out of bed and I was basically catching every cold known to man...and now.. Running.

SO. What happened?

Maybe it's a coincidence that even though we've brought in the germs of an entire school and even though I was still struggling after my tonsillectomy, we've been healthy?

OooOOOooor maybe its because I decided to take the major plunge and start using essential oils? Who's to say, really? And while I'm not totally convinced that it was all the oils, I'm convinced enough to give it a serious shot for the extended future!

One step at a time I'm becoming super crunchy and granola. But, seriously, I was at the end of my rope! And I guess that's a good place to be when you decide to start experimenting!

So, I talked to a friend of a friend who's an expert on essential oils and after hearing my laundry list of ailments she suggested I go all in and purchase the "Family Physicians pack" from DoTerra Oils.  After doing a bit of my own research and learning that Doterra is one of the very few companies that you can TRUST with the quality of the oils ( sadly no cheap oils from central market for me!), I went for it. And here is what I've done and learned in the last few weeks!
I store my little oil bottles here, with my prettiest dishes...aren't they cute? ( the dishes and the little bottles)

The kit comes with these oils:

Lavender: I've been mostly using as a "calming" agent in my diffuser mixed with Oregano ( more on that later), I've also put a little on Ransom's pillow a few nights when he's woken up with bad dreams.   Every time he's immediately gone back to sleep and then  SLEPT IN ( those of you with crack-of-dawn babies know what a miracle that is!)

Lemon: I've used this in my diffuser as well because it also has airborne disinfectant abilities, but I've also used it in a spoon full of honey when one morning I woke up with a sore throat. ( Sore throat gone right away) *Important note: a teeny tiny drop of these essential oils goes a REALLY long way! My awesome consultant gave me several great guides on just how LITTLE I have to use!

Peppermint: One of my laundry list ailments was thrush in my mouth from all the antibiotics I've taken over the last few months. After 5 days of a little peppermint ( it has natural anti fungal abilities) in coconut oil swished around in my mouth and spit out- I was totally better! And this was after trying anti fungal meds to no avail!

Melaleuca: For another of my list of ailments: the guttate psoriasis that I developed from my ongoing strep throat ( seriously? I have no luck.) I've been putting a mixture of Jojoba oil ( just a carrier oil really, but I love it for not leaving grease stains!) Melaleuca and Frankincense on my arms and legs after I shower every day! The change has been amazing! I asked my doctor about it when I visited today and he couldn't deny that it was getting better.  I'm also going to try the Melaleuca on Tabitha and Ransom's eczema, though we've been enjoying a little moment of "clear skin" at the moment...maybe due to: using a combination of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint rolled on the skin you can combat  allergies! WHAAAA?!? )

Oregano: I've used oregano diluted with oil on my own skin to help my immunity, but oregano can be kind of potent on sensitive skin so I've been using it in my diffuser with other oils ( usually lavender, because who doesn't like a calm kid?) for the kiddos ( and their sensitive skin)
I bought this little diffuser on Amazon and I love it! It was FAR cheaper than any other diffuser I've seen, and it works great!
( It should be noted that this extreme closeness to the diffuser is not necessary or recommended, Ransom just REALLY wanted to be in the shot ;-) !) 

Frankincense: This stuff is the best! I basically want to mix it with all my other oils because it seems to do EVERYTHING ( but its also the most expensive ( and one of the reasons its such a great deal in the physicians kit) and now I'm understanding why Jesus got it as a birthday gift. ;-)

Deep Blue®: I mentioned earlier that I've been feeling so much more energetic and so I've started running again! However, I still have some foot issues to contend with ( Plantar's Facisitis) and I've been using a little Deep blue mixed with oil to rub into my sore muscles. So far my foot hasn't been causing me much trouble at all! Brett also had some shoulder problems that after a deep tissue massage with Deep Blue he felt way better!

Breathe: I haven't had to use this one yet!  But since I hear a serious respiratory virus is making its rounds this year I'm glad I have it handy for my defuser and for little stuffed up chests in the future!

DigestZen: Brett is constantly having tummy troubles ( oops. Sorry for sharing husband) and so I've rubbed one or two drops on his stomach the last few weeks, he says he can't say "for sure" if its helped or not, but I've used it when I ate my sandwich too fast and had a tummy ache yesterday and I liked the smell at least ;-)

On Guard: My faaaaaavorite and the oil I've used the most obsessively ( for obvious reasons) its the immunity cocktail and I've been putting it in a carrier oil in a little roller bottle and rolling a little on the bottom of my kids feet in the morning and at night ( they both love it!)

So there you go! I'm super excited about this development in our family health, I am sure I will continue to dole out Ibprofene for teething and use our tried and true eczema prescription oil and any other medicines that we deep necessary, but I REALLY enjoy having these oils around as a preventive measure and as an added boosts to our medicine cabinet. And now what about you? Are you a fan of oils? Any amazing "recipes" I should start using? Also, are you an oil "hater"? I'd love those inputs as well! Seriously, as you can tell I'm still at the very beginning phases of learning here and would love all thoughts I can get!

*Other note: Because I bought the "kit" I'm now automatically a Doterra partner or something. I know very little about this, except that I'm sure if you used my site ( linked above as well) than I'd get some sort of good deals ....but honestly, I'm just happy that as a partner I get major discounts on future purchases and it doesn't cost me a thing! Score!

September 05, 2014

We did it.

This post is brought you by my parents who sent a package that included the movie "Planes" for Ransom. My mom apologized that there really wasn't anything in the package for me, but I beg to differ. We're watching a movie at 3:30 in the afternoon on a Friday and I call that a Mommy Present. 

So, Brett has been working nights for the past 4 weeks. I'm not complaining about this. I did my complaining last night on my ongoing chat conversation with two of my Mommy Besties. I have to delete our conversations every few months-not because of all the incriminating pictures of our kids doing dangerous/hilarious things like standing up in the bathtub-but because we often text SO much that it actually takes up my precious iPhone space. If you don't have a "safe" place to vent your parenting emotions at 4:56pm when dinner is only half done and there is a 20 month old attached to your leg and a four year old lecturing you on car types relentlessly-than shoot me a message and I'll send you my number. Every mom deserves this important lifeline. P.S. We use a lot of emojis. Particularly the "little wine glass" and the "hands in the air" girl.

Anyway, yesterday we were in the midst of Daddy Working Nights, and Mommy had only had 45 minutes of alone time in...two days....because someone is cutting 4 teeth and decided that sleeping was for the weak. And It turns out I don't do well with only 45 minutes of alone time. And we had just gone to the grocery store at a quarter to 5 because I was missing a key, important ingredient to dinner ( fine, it was ALL of dinner, ok! Geez.) and somehow we got out of there in one piece even though I'd forgotten a certain someone's pacifier ( which she usually only gets at bedtime but...four teeth.) And we'd had to sing Wheels on the Bus nonstop the whole way to the grocery store....And so in a moment of joy and triumph having left the store alive and semi-sane I let out a big "We did it! We did it! We did it!" And a few fist pumps from the drivers seat and then my four year old mustered what I'm sure was meant as a legit compliment: "You're just like Dora, Mom!"

And as much as I hate to admit it, I really AM like Dora! I totally navigated through this week as "easily" as if I had a map in my backpack and BOOM! FOUND THE TREASURE on Pirate Island!  We made it through this week! Here's  a "little glass of wine" emoji for us all...

August 16, 2014

One of my favorite things: Mrs. Meyers.

When I was in the seventh grade one of my teachers gave me a little tea candle. I'd never had a candle of my own before so I was pretty excited to burn it in my room and feel super grown up. The smell was divine. But soon the little tea candle was gone and so was the smell, and since it was an unlabeled little tea candle I had NO IDEA what the smell was....But I spent the next 17 years hunting for it. Sometimes I would find something that was similar but nothing exactly until one day I happened upon Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and they were having a sale on candles. As soon as the geranium scent hit my nose I was transported back to my seventh grade, thats not necessarily a place I want to be, however the smell was still fresh and clean and not over powering. I bought three and headed home a happy camper.

And so my love for Mrs. Meyer's products began. It started with candles but it quickly spread to their counter cleaner. Also an amazing scent but no artificial ingredients that could harm my kids and an ability to make even the crustiest crustys come off of my counters and I had bought into the hype. During the holiday season they had this cranberry scent that I loooooved and I actually bought a bottle EVERY TIME I went to Target that holiday season ( apparently I went to Target a LOT because I'm only now on my last bottle and it's AUGUST). I'm hoping they'll bring the scent back next year ( fingers crossed) but even if they don't I'm in love with plenty of their other scents and products that I probably won't mind too much.
Ew, don't look at my nasty nail polish, but LOOK AT MY GORGEOUS STOVE TOP!

With a husband and two kids with incredibly sensitive skin the type of hand soap I use is very important. And let's be honest, I'm not the ONLY ONE who does dishes so my dish soap also needs to be gentle and all natural. Mrs. Meyers again, done and done.

Right now I've got the Lemon Verbena candle burning in my kitchen ( because friends, cauliflower may be good for you, but its NASTY smelling!) and I just finished up cleaning some pots and pans in a flash with the geranium  dish soap.  Basically in the half hour that it took me to complete my after dinner ritual I had used 4 Mrs. Meyers products. SO if you're already a fan of Mrs. Meyers tell me what your favorite scents are! I have basically stuck with the Honeysuckle, Geranium and Lemon Verbena but I'm curious if anyone loves the Basil and Radish scents, I've been tempted but they seem earthier than maybe I am? Has anyone tried their all purpose cleaners or toilet cleaners?
Also, if you HAVEN'T jumped on the Mrs. Meyers train you totally need to! The products are natural, good for the environment and the humans that live in said environment, and when it comes to "natural products" they are very reasonably priced! You can pick up most of these products at Target, HEB, Whole Foods, World Market and tons of other locations! And if you live in a small town without many options you can always hit up the Mrs. Meyers website to order ( sometimes they have no shipping fee days which is awesome!) and also to find out where products are sold near you!

As always, I'm a terrible "blogger" and therefore I am absolutely NOT getting anything from the Mrs. Meyers  company for writing this review! In fact, I have no idea how people go about getting those kinda freebies-but to be honest, this way you, my dear readers can always count on me to tell you the absolute true "Abigail Opinion" without any agenda or outside guidance, so win...I guess. haha!

August 06, 2014

What I know now- Two years ago this month

Can it really have been that long ago? It's so strange that we have put so many days between us and that day because I remember it so very well. It was 2 years ago this month that we said goodbye to our little girl, Priscilla, who at only 20 weeks gestation had already claimed my heart and my hopes. I think this time last year I was still incredibly raw and sad. Watching as my other daughter Tabitha grew and developed  as a little baby, it made me think of her identical sister a lot. I would wonder about their personalities and how they might have differed. All the what ifs- those where the things that got me that first year. Not the what ifs of her passing or our situation with twin to twin transfusion, but the what ifs of what her life would have been like if we'd gotten to keep her. 

This year has been different. Time has helped. Life has helped. And above all I know the Lord has helped me continue to heal. However there is one thing that remains with me as strong as it was 2 years ago, something I don't think will ever change or fade even the slightest. On that day in August I  learned about the frailty of this thing called having children. Right there in that hospital room with the ultra-sound machine beside my bed, I learned about the true nature of having babies. 
I know I am not alone here, those of you reading this who've lost babies before you even knew if they were a boy or a girl, or those who've lost them at birth or many years later, you know the reality too. You know the painful truth about the frailty of Life, the threadlike balance of being a parent. Honestly those of you who've looked at stick after pregnancy stick without seeing two lines, in a lot of ways you too understand this truth too. And wow, is it a doozy! Having children, having healthy children, boy is it a mysterious gift! 

I think I've done everything my little type A brain can think of, in fact, in the last few months I've put of the whole "lets put away the birth control and see what happens" off even more so with excuses about my health. How could I possibly get pregnant when I'm still overweight and sickly?!?  Let's be honest, as I type this I still can't eat solid foods after my awesome bout with throat problems this summer that delightfully ended with a tonsillectomy which still has me laid up! BUT you know what? Even if I was the very picture of health I'd find some other excuse to put off making our family bigger.  Because I now know, more than ever that you can do everything right and it can still end in heartbreak. And since there is no way of me to know for sure whether all will turn out perfectly, maybe I should just spar myself and just not have anymore children. Because, gosh darn it, now that I know this awful truth about how Life is so fragile, how could I possibly put myself out there again?!?! 

Now, don't stop reading yet! Because so far I've been very dire and not very helpful. But, something has become strikingly clear to me lately and that is something about God's character. Is there anything in the Bible that talks about maybe you should not have dreams because if they don't come true God will be less awesome and wonderful? Is there ANYTHING in the Bible that says that? 
Also, just because I now know just how much heartbreak hurts, doesn't mean that I can now avoid heartbreak forever and ever and that be ok. Because, I know now that to avoid heartbreak is also to avoid Life, oh and P.S. It's also avoiding God. 

I do not know when there will ( of if there ever will) be more pregnancy news on this blog, but what I do know is that if there ever is, I will most definitely be scared. I will most definitely have uncontrollable fears about it turning out like "the last time" and I will probably hold my breath for every ultrasound and heart beat. I will never be fully recovered from loosing my daughter because she was a Hope and Dream that will always be lost to me. But an even greater tragedy would be if I let fear of more heartbreak keep me from the rest of Life- That the fear of difficulty and loss would keep me from knowing more of what God can do. 

This post does not just pertain to babies, no it reaches much further, to the foundation of who I am. How much am I willing to trust the Lord? Am I willing to go ahead and dream big? Am I willing to tell the Lord my hearts desire and let Him hold on to that for me and see where that journey will take us? Am I willing to let Jesus be the Lord not just the Savior of my life?  Because knowing what I know now, that will be the most painful, heartbreaking, beautiful, wonderful, miraculous journey ever. 
And I'd do it again in a heartbeat. A tiny baby heartbeat. 

July 02, 2014

Great Big Answers

Friends, for the sake of this post being as cool as I'd like it to be, I'd like you to do a little back reading....or at least remembering. Bear with me, it'll be worth it!

If you recall, back in January I told you about my "prayersolutions" which was my version of new years resolutions: The things that I was going to pray for in the coming year written on a little blue and brown card. My card is pretty well covered with names and situations and while it covers a pretty vast pool of Life, my card's subjects have one thing in common-all of them were BIG prayers. You know, the kind that cannot be fixed with a little elbow-grease and chocolate chip cookies....They are all much bigger than that.

And a few days later I shared with you one of the prayer requests on my card: A Friend For Ransom. 

Well, in the last month or so, God has really answered that prayer with a little boy named Jacob who moved here with his parents from Fort Bliss and who got connected to us through mutual friends. And, PS, I'm not even kidding when I say, I had FORGOTTEN that I had blogged about Ransom wanting someone to play baseball with, until we were literally sitting at a baseball game with Ransom's new little friend this past Saturday.

So, yeah, we've got a God of details answering our prayer, people!! 

Ok, so I tell you that to say, the other day I was praying over my prayer card and I was thanking God for answering that specific prayer when I felt the Lord telling me that He was going to answer MORE of my prayers! "Whoa, I thought, that's pretty huge!" basically the Ransom getting a friend was one of the "smaller" prayer requests on my card! haha! 

But, sure enough on Wednesday of last week, God rocked my socks off and answered yet another long standing prayer of my heart that I did not see coming! You see, right underneath where I had written, " a friend for Ransom" I had written " Get to Baptize Someone"  ( it was circled in an artsy cloud for emphasis) -this prayer came specifically from reading the Great Commission that the Lord gave to ALL His people before He left Earth the first time:

 "Go, make disciples of all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them all that I have commanded you and behold, I am with you always even to the end of the age. " 

So, I figured, even though I doubt Jesus would hold it against me if I didn't baptize someone, I felt like it was something worth praying for! However, in my mind it was very churchy in nature: I'd meet some young girl, and share the gospel with her, she'd start meeting with me regularly and would start following Jesus and then when she decided to get baptized after a few months I would get to do it....yup. That's my embarrassing little story of what I thought would happen! 

Instead, I got sick. So sick that every time I had an opportunity to go and be a part of the little Bible group that we had started with some ladies nearby, I seemed to never be able to go ( you can read the details here.) In fact, I only got to go once. And then the second time I got to go ( I was thankfully on antibiotics again) we were scheduled to talk about God's command to get baptized! BUT before we even got started the older lady we were meeting with said, "So, I have a question: I was raised Catholic, so I was baptized as a baby, but I read in the Bible that Jesus was an adult and he was also dunked when he was baptized. Why can't I be dunked?! I want to be baptized like Jesus!" 

We were dumbfounded! And we laughed! And we told her that we just so happened  to  have planned to talk about Baptism that night! And so, by the end of the evening Debbie had decided she wanted to be "Dunked" and she wanted me to do it! 
After having met me twice. 

And we were going to do it in three days. Boom. 

I went home on cloud nine, and as Brett and I talked about it, it just became even cooler.  Because, you know that story that I had invented in my head about how God would answer my "baptize someone" prayer? Well, that story had a lot to do with me. I didn't see it at the time, but at the end of the day I could have given myself a serious pat on the back. "Go me! I totally changed someone's life and now they are getting baptized!" But instead, it wasn't that way at all! There was no way that I could take credit for the Holy Spirit's moving! In fact, we didn't even get to take credit for doing an awesome job of sharing a bible study about baptism! Because the Holy Spirit had already put it on Debbie's heart before we even got there! 

In fact, the only thing that I had even the slightest regret regarding how God had so miraculously answered my prayer was that, my mentor and friend Deb actually had the same prayer request on her prayer card ( actually, I'm not sure if it was on her prayer card, but I do know we'd talked about how much she'd like to get to baptize someone!) and on the night that Debbie ( I know, two Deb-names, keep up!) had asked me to baptize her, my friend Deb was at my house taking care of my children. I felt guilty. I felt like I had somehow cheated, but little did I know, but God had THAT worked out too! 

On the day of the baptism, it ended up that Brett was also going to be baptizing his long time friend Ash, who also had never been baptized and who, on Thursday, mentioned to Brett that he felt like it was something he needed to do. Of course, this time we weren't even surprised! Of course, the timing was perfect! And so we all met with friends at a neighbor's pool and waited for a last few people to arrive.  And then I found out that another couple had asked to be baptized as well! And sure enough, when they arrived, the wife asked for my friend Deb to baptize her! 

And so, I shouldn't have worried, God once again took care of every detail. In fact, from the Holy Spirit moving Debbie to say that she wanted "to be dunked" on Wednesday night, we had four people get baptized on Sunday. The Lord continues to remind me that He is truly a Big God who can do Mighty and Great things. 

And so as we all take a look at our prayer cards ( even if yours is figurative) I hope that this story encourages you to pray for Great Things. We have a very great God! 

Now, I'm super excited to see what other cool things get answered from my prayer card soon! ;-) 

June 22, 2014

For my friend.

Hey! so, I bet you're wondering what's going on with my Tabitha/Priscilla Story? Well, truth be told it's slowed to a snail's pace; and in thinking about it, I think one of the major factors is I'm getting to a part of our story that includes some characters that I feel like my writing skills have trouble describing. I just do NOT think I can do them justice!

However, this month marks the birthday of my friend KJ.  This is kind of a special birthday for KJ; for one, he's going to be a teenager and two, it's his first birthday in heaven. I really want to do something special to celebrate such a big birthday event, and I want you all to join me, so I put aside my inability to express myself fully to tell you this:

I met KJ a few days after I went to live in the Ronald McDonald House in Houston, TX. My husband Brett and I had both been praying that my time at the House would be well spent and that I would be able to make some friends while I was there (I was pregnant with twin girls-one who’d already gone on to be with Jesus and the other who was still fighting for Life), and KJ and his mom Jane quickly became part of the answer to that prayer. It's strange to meet a person when they're in the middle of something as life-altering as cancer treatment. I realized quickly as I met people and started to live life with the other families at the RM house that we were all living in a very strange little bubble. A bubble of diagnosis, prognosis, treatments, pain, sickness, good news/bad news, choices and decisions and all that was messily piled on top of the day to day realities of being parents and kids. I could say much about the effects that bubble had on us all but I mention it here only because KJ was unique. Unlike many of the rest of us, the bubble did not seem to affect or define KJ. 
An 11 year old little boy from rural Kentucky, and yet he was really so much more. When I met KJ, he had experienced more difficulty in treatment and prognosis than many of the others at the house at the time. He wore the battle scars of brain cancer and he could have had every reason and excuse to live those scars out. But he didn't. He was so incredibly patient. Cancer treatment is unique in that it has the rare ability to be almost equally as ravaging and brutal to the body as the disease it is made to fight.  I would have dinner with KJ and Jane almost every day, and there were days when his treatment left him exhausted and in even more pain but I never ONCE saw him complain. Not once. He would take phone calls from family members and talk to adults that volunteered at the RM house with a maturity and consideration beyond his years. He made people feel special. He was able to see past his own suffering-and that was a gift.

KJ also had an awesome sense of humor. His wit was quick, so quick that you almost knew that his mind was always looking for ways to make light of situations, he did not let the difficulties of his current state bog him down, and it was almost like he was working hard to make sure it didn't bog down the people around him either.

KJ also had a Hope about him that was Other Worldly. I cannot imagine going through the things he was having to go through with the dogged faith that he did, but I can only say that it HAD to be the supernatural. That kid had such a calm peace about him! In fact, I can honestly say that he was the calmest, most at peace person in that place, and he'd be the first to say it was because of Jesus. He and his mom were continually sharing that they fully believed that Jesus could do All Things and KJ lived that faith out. It is True that Jesus can do All Things, because I saw Him do it in KJ.  

When I met him,  KJ was 11. I say that because he was so very much an 11 year old little boy. You know, the type of 11 year old boy who was super excited about the news that they were going to make more Star Wars movies and who liked to go to Comic book stores to buy just a few more Storm Troopers for his collection. He was an 11 year old boy who would tell me how he'd get up and try to get to the TV rooms before anyone else on Saturday mornings so he could watch the cartoons he wanted to see. He was still the 11 year old boy who loved Olive Garden, especially their pasta and bread sticks. Sickness had not touched these things about him, and it made me love him all the more! 

KJ and Jane and I were buddies, getting through our days in the “Bubble" for a little over 2 months. I was so grateful for Jane's friendship during that time and those 2 months together often feel much longer to me, especially the impact that KJ had on my own life as a mom and just as a person. I was in the very throws of mourning the loss of our yet-to-be-born daughter Priscilla, and watching KJ and Jane’s daily walk through life was balm to my sensitive heart. It was yet another reminder of the fragility of life. The remarkable Gift we are all given each day when we wake up. We all have a choice of how we live that oh-so-special day, and I wanted very much to live it a little bit more like KJ. 

After our daughter Tabitha was born ( healthy as can be, I might add!) I was excited to get back to the Ronald McDonald House for a day or two because I knew KJ was itching to meet her. He'd been eagerly waiting for her birth for days (as we all had!) and having him hold her and tell his mom, later, that maybe one day he'd like to be a Dad was maybe one of the greatest privileges of my life and( to me) made it totally worth it to be away from my own son and hubby for so long. As I headed back to my "regular life”, I'd get phone calls from KJ (he'd gotten his very own cell phone!) and we'd chat about the goings on at the Ronald McDonald House and he'd ask how Baby Tabitha was doing. 

A few months later when KJ had some major setbacks in his sickness and our conversations stopped,  my prayers for him didn't. I would often look at my healthy little baby girl and marvel and then I fall to my knees pleading for a miracle for my friend. And when KJ passed away in  September 2013, I was heartbroken. The letter I wrote for our daughter Priscilla (which you can read here) carried many of the same sentiments I felt about KJ, the loss of someone that I knew the world would miss! I knew that an awesome son and friend and future dad were lost to us all and it hurt.  And my hurt for his parents who lost their only son- was an indescribable ache. What to do with such hurt and pain?  
And after much prayer and asking of the Lord,  I've decided the only way to deal with them is to try and acknowledge them-not to push them away-understanding and experiencing the Pain of life is to hopefully point us to Heaven. They point us to Christ. He is the only One able to Hold our suffering when we can't. I also want to use that pain to motivate me to make this life, this world, a little bit more liveable because honestly, KJ taught me that life is a beautiful and a delicate gift and that gift is meant to be share with others. He taught me that while he was alive, and I hope that I can carry that with me and honor him in my actions now that he can't do it himself. 

As I celebrate his birthday on the 24th of June, I’d like to honor his life with a little "acts of kindness" movement.  Big or small, I hope that you will join me in honoring my dear friend's life by showing love to those that cross your path on his birthday. I also hope that we can use his birthday to remind his wonderful parents what a fantastic son they raised.  Remind them that his impact lives on and his many fantastic qualities were passed on and shared. If you decide to join me in doing an act of kindness for KJ, will you document it on your social media of choice? I know we usually try to stay anonymous when it comes to doing nice things, but this time its not for us, its for KJ and his parents. His parents have Facebook and I will do my best to transfer any instagram and twitter submissions to Facebook so they can see them. But, wherever you choose to share your act, would you mind using the hashtag:  #kindnessesforKJ  

(If you aren't familiar with hashtags all you have to do is type it out JUST LIKE THAT -no spaces please- on your Facebook status or on your tweet or instagram comment and it will automatically be "categorized" so that when you click on it, it will take us to ALL the acts of kindness that have been done. )

And feel free to use the picture above if you'd like, if you want to share this story on your own blog or social media! Thanks dear friends! xoxox

June 21, 2014

Heart in my throat

So, things have been a bit tenuous lately. And after the most recent developments I'm going to share about it here. Mostly because I'm selfish and I covet some extra prayers. And I definitely say selfishly because I know there are much greater needs to be prayed for-because the bottom-line I know that we are covered by a lot of Grace around here and that He will not desert us.

Ok, so now to my crazy tale:

At the end of May I developed a case of Strep throat. It was uncomfortable to say the least but I was able carry on daily activities of caring for kids and going to a play dates at Chick-fil-A and having house guests etc. However, very suddenly, I couldn't do any of these things any more. Within an hour ( as in in the middle of our oven blowing up-quite literally- and dinner needing to be on the table I told my poor husband-bless him.... I had to go to bed). While I lay there in bed wondering why I couldn't even swallow without excruciating pain, I got a text from a friend in our ministry here saying "Great news! We met a few ladies while out giving out cookies and praying for people, who REALLY want to learn about Jesus, can you come with me tomorrow night to share some Stories of Hope!?!" -
I was so bummed, this was a long long long awaited answer to prayer, but by the next day I found myself at the ER. Where I was diagnosed with a Peritonsillar Abscess. In a way I felt justified for feeling so bad and a little mad that the ER had so clearly laughed at me and left me without even a triage for over 4 hours. But I was given a steroid shot, some much needed pain relief, and some strong antibiotics to hopefully get rid of the Abscess. I felt better within 12 hours. But I'd missed my chance to go share with those ladies, something I'd been praying I'd get to do for....well...basically a year.

But there'd be another chase the next week! The ladies were hungry for Truth and I was excited about their next meeting. It turned out they meet again within the next two weeks. The day we were planning to meet, I had finished my round of antibiotics and my throat returned to fire. The abscess was back. I was back on antibiotics and I was once again missing a chance to meet with the ladies.

However the doctors were positive. They figured it would just take a "bit longer" for the antibiotics to work on the abscess. So I took the medicine, felt better pretty quickly and didn't think much more about it. I was even able to finally  meet with the ladies! It was great!  I even packed up those antibiotics and headed off on a lovely vacation with my parents and sister's family. And finished up all my meds a few days before heading home. And then....

The night I returned I got a sore throat. I knew it was coming back. It was a classic repeat of the time before, and the time before that! But this time I figured I had one difference!! I wasn't schedule to meet with the ladies again for 3 days! I had time to get this taken care of!! I headed to the ER* again the next morning. It was 7am, the ER was empty. I was in and out again in an hour. With nothing. I was told it was "probably a virus" and that I just needed to suck it up. They did give me a steroid pill, so I figured they were right and started the "sucking up process". I made it another day and a half. But by day 3 ( you guessed it, right on time to meet with the ladies) I was literally in tears from the pain.

Which brings me to my latest and hopefully last ER visit. I INSISTED on seeing the ENT, and was finally given a CT scan of my throat. Sure enough I've got myself a rocking abscess that just doesn't want to go away. My options were all pretty gruesome and all included antibiotics so we've decided on a "compromise" of sorts. I will be taking ANOTHER round of a DIFFERENT antibiotic in the hopes that this one will actually work without invasive actions. And if it doesn't, I'll be finding out ( as in finishing the meds) right before we leave on our long LONG awaited vacation to see Brett's Dad's side of the family up in  Maryland.  The plan is that if it doesn't work this time, I'll see the Ear Nose and Throat Doctors before we leave, get more antibiotics and schedule a tonsillectomy for when I get back. Which sounds all well and good except that I know how tired my body already is. I know that antibiotics are great, but they seem to be doing more and more harm to my body in side affects than good, even now two days into this round, my throat is still struggling-which is not a good sign. The thought of dealing with that struggle while also dealing with the added stressors of travel is a disappointment. And I also know that Brett is leaving for a 3 week training exercise in Indiana when we return from Maryland, and therefore it will require other family to step in and help me out in my recovery from surgery.

So, friends, to sum up, its been crazy around here. And I have been left feeling weak. Weak emotionally, spiritually and definitely physically.  But, I've also been here before. In fact, we've been in FAR greater straits then these! And we've always had a Heavenly Father to pull us through! I look forward to seeing His Mighty Hands at work. I'll keep you updated....

*You may wonder why I go to the ER and not my "regular doctor"? Because its nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get appointments with my regular doctor. I've called in extreme pain and told the next available appoint was 3 weeks away. Such is military medicine. If you live with it, you know what I'm talking about. The rest of you refrain from talking about ER abuse around me.

June 16, 2014

Reach out and touch somebody....

As part of my bible study a week or so ago I came across something that I don't think I'd noticed before. And being a verbal learner it took two discussions with two different groups of people for it to even start to set, I figured, why not seal the deal and "work it out real good" here on my blog....

So I was reading in Mark 5: 21-43. Which in my Bible is captioned "Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus' Daughter" but what I wish the people who translate Bibles had titled something along the lines of, "Jesus is all about the Journey" or something equally cheesy. Maybe we can count on that for the next version of The Message, but I digress...what I mean, to say, is that here's Jesus and this super important man ( Jairus) comes along and says "My daughter's super sick, please come quickly and heal her!" and so Jesus slowly makes his way with a GIANT crowd of people following him.
Fellow disciples ( not just the 12! He's got a LOT of disciples!), curious bystanders, and sick people clambering to be healed....that makes for a pretty large group! I can only imagine that walking with that kinda crowd would be hard and so, it only makes sense that Jesus would be touched by a woman who wanted so desperately to be healed by him. He then STOPS and asks "Who touched me?!" ( you can read all the details in Mark-and you should! Its so fabulous!) and spends time talking to this woman-and enough time passes that Jairus' servants come to tell him that his daughter has passed away.
Of course, the disciples and the rest of crowd are like, "Fail Jesus!" you totally missed out on healing a major spiritual leaders daughter and thus gaining the correct notoriety that we all hope to receive. ( you know, more legit than just the Crowd). BUT as you will know if you continue reading in the chapter that Jesus actually proves them all wrong by telling everyone to stay put and he and only three of his disciples go to Jairus' house where he proceeds to raise the little girl from the dead!

Now, up until recently I'd looked at these two events as connected only in the sense that the healing of the Woman was cause and effect for raising the little girl from the dead! But I now think it might be so much more!

As someone who's trying really hard to reach people for Jesus, I can go hurdling through my week until I reach the next "Christian milestone", either our planned family outings to go take cookies to neighbors and offering to pray with them, or bible studies, or church, or accountability groups....these are all things I can put on my calendar and I put my head down and "do business" till I get to the next one.

When I look at this story about Jesus, I can see how Jairus' daughter is kinda of like one of those Big Deal events of my week. ( "Heal major Jewish Leader's daughter" ( check!) ), but unlike me-who would have probably IMMEDIATELY sent away the crowd and only had my 3 best buds come along for the journey to make it all go smoother and so I'd get there in a timely fashion to do my healing-Jesus didn't. He walked along, with all those people clambering around him. Kinda like an almost 4 year old, and maybe an almost 18 month old, perhaps? Or maybe a lot like the annoyingly slow guy in the check out in front of me at the grocery store today? Or maybe the overly chatty lady at the library when I'm trying to get us home for lunch, maybe?
Basically, I was convicted that, to Jesus, ALL of the people were important, not just the "important" ones-or the ones who he'd made a commitment to....How many "hemorrhaging" people do we pass up on a daily basis because we're all too busy rushing on to our next part of our day, and then we only spend time loving on people for Jesus at certain set aside times?! This is craziness! And maybe I'm the only one, but I am so glad I noticed this little truth in my readings. As wonderful and important as the set aside times are ( because lets be honest, if Abigail doesn't plan, than she starts to go a little crazy), but I want to have an ATTITUDE of Love and Kindness for all those who cross my path each and every day!