Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vday Theme {Week One}

Last year I decided to add a little extra 'umph' to our fam's Valentine's Day celebration. I wanted the day to be about our love for one another and not just about candy, presents and flowers... even tho those things are pretty fun to get and give!!! So, I set out and 'puked' Valentine's decor all over the house and set up a themed table in our kitchen that would get us all thinking about what we truly meant by saying... I love you!! (See past post here). This year I wanted to keep the tradition going and add to it!! About 3 months ago I signed up for a monthly mailer from Jones Design Company that sends out printables, note cards, and scripture cards that are themed for each month!! I have loved the materials so far and they have really helped me to add that extra bit of meaning I was looking for to our family's holiday traditions. Here is what I am going with this year....
Team Lewis' theme for Vday 2013: Love is...
I want our boys and my hubs/I to really see what Love is in our lives. It's easy to think and rely on the fact that Love is a given, but sometimes Love can be taken for granted, not shown enough, or basically be put aside out of selfish tendencies! I am so excited to see how this theme will go over with our boys... I am sure we will learn a lot, laugh and realize some of our definitions of what 'Love is' are vastly different at Casa de Lewis!!!
This week our kitchen table scripture card reads this...
John 13:34
Love One Another...
Such a simple command... No? Ha.... You would think??? Sometimes when I read this verse I can picture God throwing his hands up saying... 'Come on people... It's not that HARD!!!' :))) For me, this verse hasn't always been prevalent in my actions nor in my heart. I would put myself first, think selfishly of my wants before anyone else's and I definitely didn't think it was necessary to Love at all times. It's simple though... Loving is easy when you chose to do just that, LOVE! Love through the ups, the downs, the times when all you want to do is walk away. Be Love, show Love, and give Love first before you give anything else... especially before you give your opinion!!! Ha... try that for a day or so, before you judge or speculate or throw your own opinion out there... simply just give love and acceptance!! I bet you will cut the negativity in half by mid day!!! I am not perfect at this, Lord knows I still struggle at loving, but isn't that what it's all about? Trying each day to love more, to give more of yourself so that the world that surrounds you is a better more loving place??? Give it a go.... We are!!! 
From our Team to Yours... Love One Another.

Always - Abbey

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Slow Build...

Moving forward into another year I am filled with hope and determination... a kind of hope that I don't remember having before? I can remember years past when I wasn't so positive and I had no motivation. I didn't look forward. I didn't anxiously await what was coming my way and I totally looked back with regret... in fact, all I did was look back! I'll admit it, I have a tendency to take on too much and in doing so, I set myself up for disappointment and ultimately failure a lot of the time. Believe me, when I take on too much, I have the best intentions!! I love new experiences, adore meeting new people, and I rarely shy away from challenges... all good things, right?!!? Well... In my case, not so much!!! Ha!! In wanting to do 'it all', I often times (to my demise) begin 'it all' at the same time! It's just how my mind works... I'm a big picture kinda girl, a cart before the horse person, and definitely a leap before I look human being! So, inevitably, I'm sure you have guessed... I also get frustrated when 'it all' doesn't come together like I had hoped or go smoothly like I had planned it to in my head.
<the passager seat to my car on any given day>

Thinking back, I can see so many times that, after taking on too much and setting myself up for disappointment, I pulled away from and denied myself something that I truly wanted. I did so because I just couldn't do it right or I thought I had given my all but in reality my 'all' was all wrong. Take teaching aerobics for instance... I waited and wished hundreds of times that I could be that girl up front leading a kick butt cardio class!! I thought why couldn't I do that?!? But when I finally gave it a go, I really wasn't all that kick butt... I was more like a scattered butt, and the only butt I kicked was my own!! I didn't plan out how I would teach my class. I didn't practice enough before getting up in front of all those (5) people!! So after I had my first try and came out of the gate with a pretty lame showing... I stopped! I didn't teach again for a long time. I doubted myself and my reasons for thinking I was good enough to instruct. I compared myself to more seasoned instructors. I totally avoided aerobics classes all together!
<look at what I'd be missing out on if I hadn't tried to teach again.. love these ladies>

The same can be said for my first attempt at being a runner... ha... don't ask me what defines 'a runner', but when I started I am sure it did not include me in that definition!!! I hated it at first!!1 I found absolutely no pleasure or pride when it came to running!! It frustrated me to no end and even the thought of attempting it made my dislike of it grow bigger, and I had only given it a go like 3-4 times!!! Keep in mind... I didn't plan how to go about 'becoming a runner', I consulted no training plans to build my endurance. I hadn't a clue that shoes mattered when it came to running. I just wanted to run!!! Period... I wanted to run and run far or I was a failure, a frustrated, flustered failure. I wanted to get out there on my first run and ROCK it... do you know anyone that can just step outside and run?!? I don't. But either way, I couldn't understand why I wasn't successful at running or why I didn't get those 'runner endorphins' everyone bragged on! All I felt was out of breath, short on patience, and defeated!
<I run so I can eat>

Long story short... running like anything else in life, done right, can't just be done without building up to it. You have to slowing allow yourself time to build to see progression and improvement. There are so many people who look at the new year with high hopes but seem to give up on themselves by week 4 of February because they didn't really give themselves a foundation to build from or a proper vision paired with a plan to succeed. Getting healthy is a big and long progress, one that easily discourages hundreds of people every day. But I have seen people have huge success if they take it one step, one goal at a time. Don't plan to start a brand new meal plan, a heavy new workout routine, and cut back on the things that bring you joy, in the name of getting healthy, all in one week!!!!! That's a recipe for disaster...
Think about what you want, what you are striving to achieve and break it down into little steps. Start small and build from there once you have seen success. If losing weight is your goal, pick one step at a time, don't begin a rigorous workout regime and a restricted diet at the same time. Attempting to control and limit too many things all at once will just lead to frustration and ultimately a short lived attempt at getting healthy. If running is a goal, don't expect to go out and run 3 miles the first time. Work in intervals of short running distances paired with walking or a slower paced run to start. Pacing yourself, at whatever you are trying, is the key to being successful and seeing improvements for lasting change. Life wasn't given for us to live at a rabbit's pace. We are supposed to savor each challenge, each change, each new journey.
When you think about it... God didn't decide to come down to save us without a plan. He didn't send his son in grown man form or as a full made being who knew it all and had all the answers to give right away. He sent a child, a tiny being who had to grow and develop into our savior. Jesus didn't start off being accepted and embraced. He had to work at convincing people that he was sent by God. He had to take small steps each day to improve his strength and stamina to become our savior. He wasn't perfect from the start. He doubted himself and other's doubted him time and time again. But by taking it one day at a time he gave us the grace to be who we are today!
In the end... we all want to do more and be the best we can be. But don't expect to be the best at everything all at once!! Set goals and work toward each step at a pace that is sustainable!!

Isaiah 41:10  
Fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Always - Abbey

For more help and tips on building a successful pace checkout my blog in
Also check in every Wednesday for the {Faith and Fitness} series on my friend Erin's blog
My blog will be featured every 3rd Wednesday of the month on the {Faith and Fitness} series.

Here are some fitness training plans that I have used and found success with...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Songs on Saturday

Around these parts (aka... our house, my car, the kitchen, on the computer and the TV, and on my phone) music is used as a huge outlet for me and I am noticing it is for our boys too!! My hubs and I love music, we may have varying tastes but we humor respect each other's musical choices. :)) He can jam to whatever he wants in the car on a long drive, cause he is my DD... not cause I am drinking, just cause I hate to drive! And I get to shake my thang to whatever I want while doing dishes or cleaning the house or basically any other time I so choose... LOL!!! Our boys are blessed with a sense of amazing rhythm (IMO), they adore dancing, singing and dressing like Justin Bieber... don't judge!!!
{I totally take all the credit for their rad dancing skills}

To honor the love of music we have and because a couple friends have asked to sneak a peak at my workout playlists, here are some of our all time fav songs to shake our groove things to:

Come on Ride the Train - Quad City DJ's
Sexy and I know it - LMAFO
Give it Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Written in the Stars - Tinie Tempah ft. Eric Turner
ANYTHING Justin Bieber
ALL THINGS Justin Timberlake
Use Somebody - Kings of Leon
Where is the Love - Blacked Eyed Peas
California Love - 2Pac
There is a Way - NewWorldSon
Let it Rock - Kevin Rudolf
Raise your Glass - Pink
Baby Got Back - Sir Mix A Lot
I know you Want Me - Pitbull
Low - Flo Rida
Wild Thing - Tone Loc
The Cave - Mumford and Sons
Pretty Girl Rock - Keri Hilson
Give me Everything - Pitbull ft. Ne-Yo
Welcome to the Jungle - Guns'n Roses
Crazy Girl - Eli Young Band
I Rep the West - Ice Cube
Telephone - Lady Gaga & Beyonce
Only Imagine - Chris Brown and David Argula
Wanted - Hunter Hayes
Girl on Fire - Alicia Keys

This is just a quick list... 
I have tons more, and compiling it would far exceed my attention span!!! When I hear a song I dig, I immediately put it on a list I keep in my phone's note app. There are some pretty cool apps out there that will, if put next the phone next to the tune on the radio or anywhere basically, it will pull up the name of the song and the album/singer!! I am not that high tech yet... ha!!! One day...
Until then.... 
Peace Out and Keep ROCKIN'

Always - Abbey

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Mother's Pace...

This week, and pretty much since 2013 hit, I have been really trying to be aware of my pace in life! I picked my 'word' of the year (purpose) and with that in mind I wanted to give more organized intent to my pace... not only my day to day pace but my life's pace overall! Everyone has a different motor inside of them that keeps them running. Some find their purpose in a pace that is constant and ever moving, some not so much. Some people work better at a slower pace, one that allows for breaks, time to evaluate and reevaluate their process. Aaaaand.... Some people go stir-crazy when there is too much time to think and mull over things in their head a hundred times!! 
Can you guess which type of person I am???
 (That's a rhetorical question...LOL)
Something that has hit me since I became a mother is the pace at which life moves once children come into the picture! People told me, a baby changes everything... And I nodded my head and went about my way getting preggers, paying no attention to what I was getting into or planning for how my life was about to change. Then BAM.... here's this bundle of crying joy that has now taken center stage in my life, and my life as I knew it was forever changed. Motherhood has been a wonderful, yet grueling, learning process for me. I have gained a whole new perspective about myself and the world that surrounds me. I have overcome some battles, learned some precious lessons, and whole heartedly loved every second. But something that hits me, still to this day, is the pace at which my life ebbs and flows. I don't' think anyone could have prepared me for the temperament of my days, or the constant change that comes with each passing month, now that I am a Mom. Don't get me wrong, things have their pattern.. school, sport seasons, holidays, etc... But the rhythm of my life is on a constant drum beat. And if I, as a Mom, miss a beat for whatever reason things just get off balance.... and forget about making pretty music, it just won't happen!!
Again... I am not trying to sound self-centered or boisterous... but it is a fact of life, that more times than not, the Mother sets the pace for her family. She is the organizer, the caterer, the housekeeper, the routine establisher, and drum major of the marching band of peeps that surround her and occupy her household!! I know that there are some amazing Dads out there that hold a title or two or three listed above too, but for the most part the Mom is the main glue that holds the pieces together in a family puzzle. Just with any puzzle though, when all the pieces are set together with precision and care (i.e. the mom, dad, and kids) the work of art created can be breathtaking.
Keeping an even pace as a Mother (or any parent) can be challenging, a constant juggling act! And this year I really wanted to take control of my own pace, and set a rhythm to my days that would lead to more organization, less hussled stress, and an increase in time spent with purpose.

Here's how I am going about it:

1. I doubled my calendar efforts. For the past couple of years I have relied solely on my phone calendar to guide my days. But I was finding that I would miss alerts and pass up important dates or appointments because I simply didn't see it on my phone.  So... I went to the mecca of all things great (Target) and bought a handy, write in planner.. a spiral sized one so I could have space to write detailed notes. 
<organizational stationary makes me giddy... is that weird?>
2. I got rid of all my 'to do' lists and combine them into one notebook. My sweet friend found the cutest, functionally awesome, and inexpensive set of calendaring/list making stationary/organizing products at  Staples (key word... Martha Stewart)... I LOVE it. It holds sections for whatever list I want to make! The dividers are removable, colorful, and there are tons of cute extras to put in it to make it function just like you want it too!
3. Lastly... I make sure these 2 things are out and visible every day and each night before I go to bed. An organized list or planner does me no good if I don't look at it. I am a forgetful, scattered person on a good day, so I have to have my stuff in my face at all times or it ain't happenin'!!!!

I am finding, mind you it's only been 2 weeks, that these new steps in my organization are really helping me keep a good pace with my weekly 'to do's'! I have a better view of what's happening each day, what's coming my way each week, and I have even begun penciling in things for this Spring and Summer! 
(Yes, I know... I am the non-stop person, who can't sit still and going slow drives me nuts!!!)

So... going forward into the year, whether you are the drum major Mom, the housekeeping Dad, or all of the above... Remember to set your own pace!!! Keep track of things in a way the suites your personality. Don't try to organize like your neighbor or grocery shop with coupons like your sister... You are your own pace maker (ha... not the kind that goes into heart patients), but you catch my drift!! Look at yourself, your family dynamic, and your life... And pace yourself so that you can see the beautiful work of art that is your family each and every day!!!!

Always - Abbey

Friday, January 11, 2013

With Purpose...

Lately as I stalk my favorite blogs and Instagram sites, I have seen a lot of ladies pick out words to 'title' their year ahead. I immediately loved this idea and of course began masterminding how I would snag this idea and make it my own! I am in a planning mood this year. I am channeling some weird sort of Mother Teresa/Ghandi/Interior Decorator/Life Coach/Guru person from the TLC channel these days!!! I may even name this alter ego person I turn into... just so when I get in that zone where I am cleaning out every nook in my closet (while singing along to praise music and reciting motivation tag phrases in my head) I know who's taken over my body!!!! Ha!!! Ok.. I digress...

After thinking of about 10 different words and writing them all down, here's what I decided upon:
And to take that one step further...

I want to live and act with purpose this year. Being fully aware of that which surrounds me. I really like the idea of consciously taking stock of all that I have in front of me on a daily basis, so that I can see with wide, bright eyes the gifts that are placed at my feet every second of every day!!! I think that when you act purposefully, you give a solid foundation to your daily life. From that, it can lead to a peace from within and a calm, secure mindfulness that can whisper words of reassurance when you start to doubt yourself! Don't get me wrong, I still want spontaneity!! I dig spur of the moment times that call for you to throw all purpose and planning to the side! With that said though, I think adding a purposeful mindset to my already full and grace filled life will only bring more joy to the spontaneous moments God throws at me. I just want my eyes to be open to the "why" of what my life holds this year. I want to give purpose and accept my His purpose more whole heartedly in the days ahead! With purpose I hope to give more meaning, awareness and attention to the love that surrounds me... even when times get hard or don't go according to my plan!!! Because even with all the planning and purpose I plan to give to my days, I still need to remember that my plan isn't ultimately mine to layout. 

'For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will and purpose... but to do the will and purpose of Him Who sent me' John 6:38
'To everything there is a season and a time for every matter or purpose under Heaven.' Ecclesiastes 3:1

Here's to finding my His purpose...

Always - Abbey

Monday, January 7, 2013

Good Bye 2012... Hello 2013

Well, I know I have said it before and I will say it again... Where does the time go? How do days pass so quickly? And wasn't it just Thanksgiving??? As much as I try to savor every moment, time just eludes me sometimes! I want to slow it down, and yet just when I think I have taken a snails pace, I look up and an entire holiday season is behind me!
This past year we embraced a lot of new and exciting, yet scary things as a team of 4....

Big boy got glasses.
He completely rocks them and totally own his 'Bieber' style... This kid can demand attention!

Little Man continued to keep us on our toes.
He started training with a 6-7 year old Academy soccer team... yea, he's 5!

My favorite guy took a huge risk and stepped into a big dream job this past year.
His love for me, his personal drive, and his amazing way with our boys never ceases to leave me breathless!

As a team of 4, we have learned and loved more this year than any year I can remember thus far! Isn't that the way it's supposed to be though? I can't see us just idly sitting by and not trying grow our love each year. That is what family is to us...that's how we define our life together. We live and love more each day. We may not always get it perfect but we can try each day to perfect our family's bond. I love the little moments that fill our 4 walls, even the little moments that aren't the happiest!!! Love can be shown in a lot of different ways, and not just when times are on a high! We have seen that this past year, our love endured and grew in spite of growing pains, changes, highs, lows, fun times and hard times. I see our boys learning to love at all times. I see them embracing more with an open heart and a hopeful spirit. It fills my soul to be blessed with this family...
This grace that is my team of 4!
Here's to another year filled with love!!!
Always - Abbey