Sunday, December 16, 2012

If I could...

In times like these I get a constant rush of feelings and thoughts, some rational, some not so rational. When others experience tragedy and horrible events take place, I think, most people can't help but evaluate their own lives and the surrounding events and take stock of their own situations. My mind goes into overload, praying, wondering, asking questions, pondering, begging for answers, whispering little words of thanks for what I have and what I continue to be given.
If I could I would take all the pain away of those waking up in a nightmare today. If I could I would offer all that I have to those who no longer have their loved ones to hold. If I could I would pray more, not just when sadness hits. If I could I would hit a pause button and rewind the last 72 hours, in hopes that giving a 'redo' would lead to a different outcome. If I could I would keep my team of 4 huddled together, so close that we'd have no needs outside of our 4 walls.
But the reality is, I don't have those abilities.... the giving and the taking in life isn't up to me. Some things, most things aren't up to me to make heads or tails of. What I am here for is to follow, to hold fast to my faith and to live life one moment at a time. No one will ever be able to explain or make sense of what happens in this life, we weren't made for that. God's will isn't up to me or anyone to decipher, it's just there for us to live. No matter how hard it gets, or how many times we as a society see horrific actions take over and we are all left standing and shaking our heads in disbelief, what we are called to do is just be faithful. To lift our eyes to him and look through the tears and although we feel blinded by heartache, we are asked to remain steadfast in our God given grace. Share it with others even when it's gut wrenching. Show it to those around us even when they don't want to look. Give that grace back, ten fold, especially when no one seems to want to take or give themselves. Hold tight to what you have, squeeze and love with all your heart. Put aside personal judgment and pray with an open heart. Give and you shall receive, but also give when you don't receive... that's what is asked of us and it's what I can do and will do no matter what surrounds me.

In continued prayer...
Always - Abbey

Monday, November 26, 2012

{Thankful} Day 23, 24, 25 & 26

A little behind... Thankful nonetheless!
Traveling far enough to leave reality behind.
Making memories and carrying on traditions.
Trying new things and pushing yourself harder than before.
Living in doubt but still having faith.
Worrying without blame or personal heaviness...
Because I know we are where we are supposed to be.
Coming home.
Lazy days.
Finishing a book in 3 days.
Getting back to a routine, but looking forward to leaving that routine again soon.
Thankful beyond measure.

Always - Abbey

Thursday, November 22, 2012

{Thankful} Day 22

Today is 'the' Day.
A day of Thanks...
In my heart I yearn to be Thankful at all times, thru all things.
I know I fall short... 
But I also know sometimes, I rock out gratitude like no other!
To be thankful is to know you have enough. 
To give gratitude when you have nothing else left to give.
To put yourself aside, knowing that you will get more in return by being selfless.
So many people have given that to me throughout my life.
So many people have taught me thru good and bad times, to just be me.
I am Thankful.
Today I will sit contently, listen longer, hold dear, and soak up my family.
I hope everyone has a little bit of that today and always.

Always - Abbey

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{Thankful} Day 21

Hearts that feel full.
Cups that runneth over and bowls that are already filled to the brim.
Giddy boys that can't wait to see their GG.
Hubby's that come home early.
Laundry, folding, and packing.
Knowing that you are loved, without a doubt.
Anticipation and relaxation.
Feeling accomplished and strong, Thankful!
Visiting family, going home, looking forward to the next time.
Giving Thanks...

Always - Abbey

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

{Thankful} Day 19 & 20

Days when we don't have to set an alarm clock.
Waking up and breathing in the time, instead of rushing thru it.
Lazy brothers.
 Fighting brothers.
 Laughing brothers.
Bored brothers.
I am Thankful for days with our boys, and I am Thankful for days without them.
I love that they follow me around, but I also adore seeing them entertain themselves.
Lunch dates with friends.
Screaming friends.
Fighting friends.
Friends who play.
Friends who smile immediately when they see us.
Knowing that the only place we have to be tonight is Home.
Cooking and the way it fills our house with the scent of us.
Thankful in the chaos and Thankful in the rest...

Always - Abbey

Sunday, November 18, 2012

{Thankful} Day 18

The pace of life is a constant drum beat, never skipping.
We move, we shake, we desperately try to keep pace.
Under the big vibrations of our life's movement, I find thanks in the crazy dance it mirrors.
I wouldn't trade what I have or what I've been given.
I love the rhythm of my life.
It hasn't always been a fun, crazy dance.
At times it gets slow, a sad and off tempo step.
But for the most part I know my groove and love the sway my life gives me.
There are times I let the music take me over and times when I set the pace.
Either way, I know it's mine...
My Life.
My Dance.
I am Thankful for the Grace I have found.

Always - Abbey

Saturday, November 17, 2012

{Thankful} Day 17

Sharing it with others and being open to receive it.
Positivity even when it's uncomfortable.
Building something and working hard to achieve what you believe in.
Strength in situations that seem impossible.
Standing stedfast even when your legs want to buckle.
Pulling together those around you to stay strong.
Knowing that only you can do what's necessary to succeed.
Being calm within yourself to allow time to lead to growth.

I am Thankful even when times are hard!
Always - Abbey

Friday, November 16, 2012

{Thankful} Day 15 & 16

New beginnings and traditions coming to an end (sniff).
Growing up but staying little just a tiny bit longer.
Moving on, but cherishing where we came from.
 Knowing it all changes us for the better.
I am thankful that I get to revisit life's milestones through our boys.
I try to sit back and watch as they experience some of the same things I did...
Sometimes I try to steer them away from my mistakes, heartaches or fears.
Sometimes I just marvel at the fact that they can handle it all on their own.
I am Thankful.
I am in awe.
Time can either be a gift or a curse.
Perspective is what makes it one or the other.
Today I choose it as a gift.

Always - Abbey

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

{Thankful} Day 14

A new day.
A fresh sunrise to do better.
A chance to reset and try again.
Shake off the past's short falls, grab a cup of warmth and plan for what's next.
Forgetting about what went wrong yesterday because, well simply....
That was yesterday!
I fall, I get up.
I struggle but I move on.
I doubt but I never lose faith.
I forget who I am but always strive to allow myself that search for self.
I am me, and that's enough!
Thankful for a new day.

Always - Abbey

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

{Thankful} Day 13

Unexpected beauty.
Simple things that take you by surprise.
When you think your day is going in every wrong direction possible.
Even a little hidden bloom can bring joy.
Finding peace in the small things.
Forgetting about all the pieces that are missing. 
 Enjoying something you didn't expect.
Remembering that all you can do is roll from moment to moment.
Hoping to control more than that is just futile.
Relishing in the thought that there is goodness everywhere.
Sometimes you just have to slow down long enough for it to be seen.

Always - Abbey

Monday, November 12, 2012

{Thankful} Day 12

Clutter, laundry, dishes and a house that needs cleaning.
I am thankful for it all, even though it all drives me batty.
If I didn't have all these things, it'd mean I didn't have sweet little mouths to feed.
A hubby's shirts to fold.
Precious gifts to fill our home.
A home to call our own.
Without all of these 'things' to tidy and clean, my life would be empty.
I will take clutter, dust and dirty dishes any day over being without those that I love. 
I will clean every day if it means I have a place to call home.
I will go batty trying to keep it all in line...
but I will be Thankful!

Always - Abbey 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

{Thankful} Day 11

When I see this picture, I think of the contentment our boys have.
They don't fear for their safety or worry about their protection.
They are wrapped in warmth each night.
Comforted by their beds.
They can wander into our room and cuddle up any time they want.
For that I am Thankful.
I know our lives are free.
We are protected and given peace because of those that have gone before us.
People who don't even know us fight for us in countries our boys may never know.
The peace and safety we feel each night isn't free, there is a cost.
A cost countless others have given without a second thought.
When I see this picture, I am reminded that we are content, and safe...
We are Thankful!!

Happy Veteran's Day.

Always - Abbey

Saturday, November 10, 2012

{Thankful} Day 10

It has challenged me, rewarded me, defeated me, and most of all taught me about love.
I still get baffled at times.
Am I a Mom of 2 boys.
Am I fit?
Can I be all that they need me to be?
I try, I grow, I play, I cry, I cheer, I gently try to lead them.
There are so many things I want and wish for these 2 little men.
I am in awe of all that they are and look forward to watching them grow up.
I am Thankful that God trusted me enough to be their Mom.

Always - Abbey

Friday, November 9, 2012

{Thankful} Day 9

Down time.
Time for me to recharge, breath.
I don't do it all the time but I should.
Taking time for me is hard, but it is something I am Thankful for when I decide to do it.
A gift of a moment to exhale and tune into yourself is something that is invaluable.
Amidst the craziness, the time crunch and waves of questions...
 "I need this, make that, where is this, why do I have to do that, how I did miss that?'
I paused for me today.

Always - Abbey

Core Strength

The two words 'core strength' probably hit home with most people. They associate it with working out, staying fit or having a flat six packed stomach. When you hear those words, core strength, what comes to mind? A mental cringe, an immediate contracting of your belly, or do you just exhale out or give your tummy a little jab for good measure?? No matter what you do, you know it's there, your core... something that is at the base of your whole body, the center of you physically. If you didn't have it you wouldn't be able to do or go or move or stand or sit... basically you would be immobile.
As a fitness instructor, the first thing I do at the start of class is go over how important your core is to you during class. For power, for balance, for longevity and endurance. I am constantly queuing my class participants to engage their core... 'Keep it pulled in, contracted and be aware of it as you get to the point of fatigue in your exercise routine'... I say on repeat! I tell them when you draw strength from your core it can spur a burst in your movement to help you finish your exercise set stronger, it can help you balance longer or push thru a set harder than if you were letting your core hang there, non existent, basically working against you. No matter if I am teaching cycle or an interval class, core strength is key and either makes or breaks you when it comes to improving your over all exercise routine and ability to increase your physical endurance.
Aside from the physical nature of having core strength, for me, there is also an equally important component in having core strength mentally and spiritually. For so many years I lead a life that I thought was based in faith and encompassed a spiritually sound core. I was raised in church, I believed in God, I prayed... but past that, past what was always asked of me growing up, I didn't do much to give strength to my mental and spiritual core. I basically let it hang there... non existent, working against me and I didn't even know it. I didn't know how to draw it in when I needed it most. I had no clue how to contract that mental core, or spiritual muscle when I was feeling weak or tired. Basically my life went way out of balance. I finally had to step back and ask myself some hard questions. Questions that opened my eyes to all that I had been missing. I cringed, I inhaled, and contracted to the fact that I was allowing myself to be immobile in the biggest, most important part of why I was put on this earth. My faith was lacking, I had no core strength mentally or spiritually. I asked myself....
How can you rely on a faith that you don't exercise? 
How can you fall back on a spirituality that you don't strengthen on a daily basis? 
Just like exercising and working out keeps you healthy physically, praying and meditating keeps you healthy spiritually. You can't have a strong core faith with out doing the work that comes with it too... work within yourself, within others, and work with your God! You can't have strong core strength with out doing the work that comes with that either... work in the gym, within your diet, and work with your lifestyle! A lot of times, in the beginning, I would journal to help strengthen my core. Reflection is a big player in mental and spiritual growth for me. Then as time went on I joined bible studies, prayer groups, changed the types of music I listened to, and adjusted who I spent a good portion of my time with. Basically, just reassessed my lifestyle to give it more balance, in hopes that it would help me gain some endurance where I was sorely lacking! I refocused the center of me, my core, my spirit to make myself more holistically mobile.
Not that I am any expert on spirituality or all things 'fitness'.. I couldn't be farther from that! I just know what works for me! I can't have the balance I need in life without growing in my core realtionship with God. I can't have the stability I need to teach or take a Boot Camp class without developing my core strength physically. One doesn't come without the other, balance and stability in life comes with purpose, work and focus... and most of all practice!!! I quit giving up on myself if I didn't get it right the first time. I allowed myself room to grow and change and make mistakes... I accepted balance where I knew I needed it!!!
If you need some core strength, mentally or physically...
Here are some of my favorite core strength moves.. for physical and spiritual growth:

You can find strength and motivation in all forms, in many places... but if you don't find it within yourself first, your fighting a uphill battle that doesn't have an end. Draw your core in... Give yourself strength, mentally AND physically!

Always - Abbey

Images are found on Pinterest... follow me there for more Wellness, Fitness and Motivation!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

{Thankful} Day 8

It brightens my soul and lightens my mood within an instant.
True friends are a gift that you don't need money for.
 There isn't a price tag that could portray the value of a true friend.
I cherish friendship.
 I long for it.
 I try to be better at it.
I am beyond Thankful for the friend's God has brought in and out of my life.
The path's that they have taken me on have been interesting, ever learning journeys.
I grow by knowing my friends and I hope I give them as much as they give me.
A call, a text, a note, a smile or hug, talking every day or just once in a blue moon...
I am Thankful for my friends!

Always - Abbey

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

{Thankful} Day 6 & 7

Today (and yesterday) are simple... I am blessed.
I am too blessed to be stressed.
I am beyond blessed, so much so, that I don't need rants or raves to reaffirm my point.
I trust my path, tho doubt creeps in.
I lay calm in my direction, knowing that my journey isn't planned by me.
What one day gives another takes, and what one minute leaves another creates.
I may not know what the end result will be, but isn't that the point?
Isn't that what He stresses...?
It's not up to me to know the end.
 It's only up to me to know that in Him there is no end.

It's simple, my thanks for the day.
A warm breakfast and a warm robe.
A window with a view...
 Brothers who play, without a care in the world.

Always - Abbey

Monday, November 5, 2012

{Thankful} Day 5

Unconditional Love.
Through ups and downs, tears and laughter I know 'my love' is always there.
He makes me better, he makes me crazy, but most of all he makes me whole.
As kids we had this weird, unspoken bond that neither of knew what to do with.
We fought for it, we embraced it, we ignored it and finally we learned to praise it.
Even though we may have lost our way a time or two, we never lost each other. 
And for that I am not only thankful, I am humbled.

Always - Abbey

Sunday, November 4, 2012

{Thankful} Day 4

For the strength I feel in my stride.
For the surprising love I have for running and the endurance I never realized I could have.
When I run I give thanks with every step.
 Because I know all too many people that aren't able to get up and walk, let alone run.
I would not have taken the chances I have in learning to run without my running friend.
She is my daily motivation, pure and simple!
I am blessed with an able body, healthy bones and muscles...
And for that I am Thankful!

Always - Abbey

Saturday, November 3, 2012

{Thankful} Day 3

For 2 amazing Moms, Grandmothers, and friends.
They are examples of strength, consistency and grace. 
Our family has been blessed by both of these ladies more times than I can count. 
Our boys adore them. 
My hubby and I would be lost without them. 
I could not have asked for more amazing role models.
I learn from them as a women, wife, and mother every day!
Love you, GG and Nani.

Always - Abbey

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Finish

The week was long.
We had a lot on our plates.
 New things got started and old ones got revisited. 
Along the way, I was reminded that even heavy with stress, our lives are cherished. 
Our family is blessed. 
We enjoy our time together, even with the busy times when we are all 4 running in different directions.
With Halloween under our belts, belts that may grow an inch or 2 from all the candy... 
we welcome a new month!
 <our ninjas trying to wrangle our bumble bee>

November is one of my favorite months.
I love the full change in seasons, the weather cooling off and the anticipation of precious time with family gathered to give Thanks.
To start this season of Thanks off right, I am going to begin with my daily thankful posts.
I did it for the first time last year and loved it.
Here it goes... 
(2 days to catch up on)
Day 1
Our big boy... full of creativity and quiet spunk! 
Day 2
Our little man... buzzing with energy and strong, yet ever changing opinions!

I had an early thankful moment a week ago when I was picked as one of the new bloggers for Mansfield Magazine.
I am eager with excitement and nervous with anticipation.... 
If you can or will, please head over to their awesome site and like it.
And give my blogs some love too ;)))
With a Thankful Heart...
Always - Abbey

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fun Fall Food

Today I am sharing a quick and easy recipe to make for your family on those lazy weekends watching football or those crazy busy school nights.. or better yet, Halloween Night when you need a quick, yet fun food to feed those ghosts and goblins trying to sprint out the door to trick or treat!! I was asked to share this recipe by a friend who is doing a super cute series on her blog, Worthy of the Prize, called... 
My friend Erin is not only a fabulous mom, wife, sister, friend, daughter, and 'retired' volleyball player, she is also a huge inspiration to me!! Her faith, ministry, and blog has grown to help so many people in need that is truly an honor to guest post for her!!

Here is my version of "mummy dogs", a different and delish spin on the regular old, go-to hotdog!! A recipe that, for real, has all my boys (even my hubs) cheering when they see it on the weekly menu or cooking in the oven!!
Pack of Hotdogs or Turkey Franks
1 can of Pillsbury crescent rolls (I use the Aldi brand)

Grab your cookie sheet. Unroll all the crescents from the can and rip the triangles into long thin strips. Wrap around the uncooked hotdogs and place on cookie sheet. Cook as directed on the crescent roll instructions. Serve with ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, hot mustard... sky's the limit!!
I got the recipe off of Pinterest... the Mother of all places to find recipes!! Ha!!

Happy Cooking ;)
Always - Abbey

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ode to Halloween

I am a sucker for anything decorative. I will sit and stare at Pinterest for longer than I would like to admit. I secretly sneak into the bathroom to look at my BH&G Magazines over and over again. I rip out pages I like and keep them in a hidden binder that I plan to use when we win the lottery and I can remodel the house of our dreams!! Needless to say, I take full advantage of the change in seasons or the coming and going of monthly holidays to spruce up our digs... To quote my hubs this month 'I made it look like a pumpkin puked orange all over our house!!' Either way, it makes me happy and walking around your house should make you happy!!
Here's my Ode to Halloween or Pumpkin Puke Decor (depending who you ask)...
** A Little Mantle Redo**
  **Love me some same costume, 4 years apart, pics**
**Entry way redo, and more cute boy's showing off their costumes**
**Fun Halloween toy tray in the kitchen for the boys to get into**
 **More costume cuteness**
**Lastly, our front porch**

Here is my holiday, seasonal decorating advice:
Don't just take pictures and leave them on the computer, print them and frame them for each season!! The memories are amazing to see every day! Don't just oooo and awww over someone else's home decor, create your own! You'd be surprised how much more cozy it makes your house! And for Pete's sake.. don't just celebrate the holiday on the day of the holiday!! Take advantage of enjoying the season all month long... Your kids will love it, your hubby will 'learn' to love it, and most of all YOU will so love it!!!!

Always - Abbey

Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday Motivation... First 5 minutes

As I start out my runs, here is what the first 5 minutes sound like in my head...
Ughhhh... how long am I running again? This stinks. My breath is weird? Why do my legs feel so heavy and out of sorts? My shirt is bugging me and my earphones won't stay in my ears!! How long have I been running?? Only 3 minutes.... ohhh... dang it!! Ok, I can do this! Look up, not down! Stop looking down!! Ooo.. I like this song!  My shorts keep snagging on my thighs,, dang thighs! Why does my shirt ride up?? My breath seems to be easier... aw, this ain't so bad!?! How long have I been running now... 5 minutes! Oh, ok... now I've got this!!!

It never fails.. the first 5 minutes is always the hardest!! I go thru all sorts of emotions in my head. I doubt myself, make deals with myself.. I pretty much self talk myself to death in a short 5 minute span! It's nuts, I know! But it never fails, no matter how many times I go out... 
I hate the start but love the finish.
Isn't that the way it is with most things? Anything we try that is hard, or new, or is something that we anticipate is going to be a challenge? We dread it! We put it off because the start of something new is hard. It pushes us outside our comfort zone, and who likes to be uncomfortable?? Then, past our better judgement, we try it anyways!! Slowly we begin, but quickly realize we hate the beginning part, that part that encompasses all the uneasy, hard stuff... all the stuff we dreaded! We either stop, which makes starting again twice as hard... or we keep going! Life's biggest struggle... start, stop or begin again?? 
Oddly enough, giving ourselves the time, allowing ourselves to have enough patience and perseverance, we'd see it's that push to keep going that leads to the pay off!! The eventual groove you find in your pace. The settling of your breath. The peace within your body that comes with time and longevity!! It may take some people 5 minutes, and some way longer to find their pace! But trust me, the pace and power that comes with staying with something that is a challenging is one of the greatest gift you can give yourself.
Maybe your challenging task isn't running... maybe it's just walking long distances, or speaking in front of a group, or taking that first step to introduce yourself to someone you would like to know better, or just getting up in the morning? Whether it's physical or not, trying something new is hard no matter how you approach it. But if we don't ever push ourselves to change, grow or learn a new task, how will we ever get better? And isn't bettering our one life what we were put on this earth for?? Every day is a new day, a new set of chances for you to do better, try something new, push yourself to limits you didn't know you could reach! And, for me, if I can just get past the first 5 minutes... I know I'll find my stride!

This is my verse for today...
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, 
if we do not give up."
Galatians 6:9

These quotes pushed me today...

Push past your first 5 minutes, no matter how long they are!!
Always - Abbey