Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Content Joy

Dreams. Wishes. Goals. Wants. Aspirations. 
All those things are good to have. They keep a person focused and motivated, moving forward instead of falling back. I am a girl who wishes. I am an 'oooo... wouldn't that be awesome' dreaming kinda person. I want more every day and I aspire to be better all the time. All that is fine and dandy unless you turn all that wishing into an ungrateful heart. And that is what I had become early into my adult life. Someone who was thankful but only so much.
I was happy but knew I could be happier if....
I liked me but knew I could like me more if...
I knew I was blessed but I chose to see other's blessings as greater gifts from above.
I was always passing over me to envy someone who I deemed more deserving.
It wasn't a good place, trust me. 
I wasn't taking what I had and seeing it for the personally bestowed blessing that it was. I didn't see that the life, or the path before me was paved for me and only me. I looked past it and tried every which way I could think to jump off my path and land on someone else's that I knew had to be better than mine. I glanced ungratefully through most of my life early on, always yearning for what I didn't have and forcing myself to believe that there was better ahead if I could only get there.
Wherever 'there' was?!?!
 I didn't look for the good or seek joy, I just zoned in on what could be or what should have been, and sadly I missed a lot. I removed myself and pulled away from those that loved me. I sabotaged experience after experience in hopes of hurrying along to get to the good stuff, when in actuality the good stuff was staring me right in the face!! Hindsight is most assuredly 20/20 for 'this girl'. But what I learned (the hard way) was going through my trials and choosing to own them for what they were as blessings is what ultimately taught me how to embrace my life, myself and my God given Grace.
What I realized is here of late, is that I have been contently giddy. I have been peacefully grounded to a happy mindset and feeling like I am in a good place. A place I wouldn't trade anyone or anything for. I know joy and seek it out at every turn. I trust that my path is perfectly paved, awaiting me and only me to travel it. Hardship and sad times may come but they don't find me as easily weakened anymore. 'This girl' isn't the one always looking over, under and around to see the good in everyone else but herself. I look straight ahead, eyes set on me... and I don't feel one bit of remorse for it. 
I know Grace is given to all, even when we least deserve it. 
I feel that peace is granted even in difficult situations. 
I honor the life that I lead and strive to leave a wake of happiness anywhere I go.

Recently, I was honored to be asked to read an amazing Ebook, 'Find the Joy in the Journey' by a sweet friend, fellow boy momma and blogger, a retired volleyball player like myself, and an all in all gifted girl FULL of Grace that I adore!! Erin's blog Worthy of the Prize has been featured on my blog, bragged upon on my Facebook page and has basically inspired me every day over the last 2+ years!!! I couldn't type fast enough to accept the offer and I know I hit send before I even thought twice about reading her book!!! 
It was a no brainer for me.
Every page is like a glimpse into honest and open goodness. The ladies who shared their stories could have been me... it was like reading my heart at times. It was like seeing my fears in print at moments. But more importantly, it was like a quiet affirmation whispering letter after letter that I am not alone in my fears, or my hopes, or my failures, or my successes and definitely not in my joy! 
We all have a journey to take... 
It isn't about where we end up or how we get there, its about what we learn along the way! 
'Find the Joy in the Journey' is a that book repeats, preaches, teaches, and sets a tone of joy for you to see on every page!!! 
Because of this amazing compilation, that I plan to read and reread again... 
I want to give the gift of 'Joy' to one lucky friend!!! Leave a comment here, on Facebook, and on Instagram that depicts your joy.  Tag it with the hashtag #findjoyinthejourney. The first follower to do all three comments (blog, insta, and fb) with the hashtag will win a free Ebook copy of this amazing book!!!
Not my friend on Insta or FB?? 
Friend me... Follow me....
Click on the little pic links in the upper right corner of my page!! 
Let's be friends and share our joyful journeys together, after all the more joy the better, right???!!!! 

Monday, July 29, 2013


There are only a handful of days that remain permanently engrained in our brains and on our hearts. 
July 29, 2000 is one of those days for me...
It was the day I said 'I do' to the rest of my life.
At that moment I hadn't a clue what was in store for either of us, together or separately...
But I knew in my core that I had forever linked myself to someone who was my other half. 
Lyrics played 'At Last' and we danced. 
People clapped and we kissed. 
Lights flashed and we smiled.
And looking back now, 13 years later, I can see it all just as clear.
He is my balance.
He is my shelter.
He is my look from across the room and instantly have a conversation without saying a word person.
He calms me down and fires me up.
I know it may sound silly but he is the one person that when I hear a love song (old or new) I can always find a way to make it about him. 
He is my Mirror... I truly do reflect in his eyes (JT).
I know we are not perfect but we are perfect for each other.
He finishes where I end.
 I pick up where he leaves off...
He and I.
Me and Him.
Everything is better when we are together (Jack Johnson).
13 years strong.
Love you, My Love (JT again).

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

I have so many things to share here of late and not enough minutes in the day. Even with both boys in camp all day and being able to get a lot accomplished, I am still left looking at the clock wondering how it is 10:07pm and I still have 10 things I want to get done (blogging being at the top of the list)!! I want to upload all of our beach pics and vaca snapshots my skin is itching. I need to brag on my hubs and give a huge shout out to him that I am giddy with words pinging inside my brain. And I totally need to clean my office and do a before and after of it all... because it is hoarder city in there, let me tell ya you'd be amazed!!! Oh, and my laundry room redo that I am pretty sure I never posted about to begin with?!?! It's more than 80% done and no pics or posts!!!! 
I am a slacker but busier than ever, all at the same time (is that even possible)??!!!!
That being said...
This is what I choose to share tonight... 
Perspective. Being grace filled. Totally getting surprised by people, situations, and things I thought I had defined, detached from, and labeled. Funny how when you put things into your own little mentally wrapped box of judgement and definition, they jump out of it when your not looking and completely prove you wrong!!! 
Life and God is funny that way I have found. 
People will let you down, but as soon as you turn around another person lifts you up higher than you knew you could go.
Circumstances beyond your control seem to steer you in so many different directions you are dizzy, but as soon as you pause and focus your eyes for a second the real picture is painted so beautifully before you it takes your breath away.
Someone or something that you pegged to be one way allows you to see it's true self, and no matter the good or bad that has been shown to you, you know you are blessed because of it.
I have had a lot of mental roadblocks and detours in my life.
Whether is was about me or about someone around me, I let thoughts and preconceived notions do cartwheels in my head to the point it was hard to trust the good that was out there waiting to be seen. When I looked in the mirror I doubted. I tried to bend and twist myself until I saw something (someone) different. What I saw at the time wasn't good enough. You know how the side mirror on your car says, objects in mirror are closer than they appear... for me it was the opposite!! I was nowhere near close to who I wanted to be. Crazy to me the contortions I would go through to see myself a certain way, a way I thought I wanted to be. To look back at all the times I had walked away from or given up on a chance that I didn't think I deserved to be a part of, it is just maddening. And better yet, to think of all the situations I stayed rooted in because I thought that was as good as it got... beyond maddening!!!
What I see now is that no matter where I am looking, it's my perspective that matters. It's up to me to be open to the goodness, not the other way around! You aren't supposed to pray and twist and bend yourself hoping that in doing so goodness will be magically granted. 
It's there already, the goodness. 
The goodness in people, in life, in love, in family, in friendship. 
It's closer than it appears... no bending or twisting necessary!!!

We are all given Grace from above. Whether we ask for it, beg, plead or yearn for it... it's there. Whether we think we have it all mapped out and labeled up, what you see isn't always what you get, and that's the beauty of it. It wasn't until I let go and just opened myself to what was there all along that I realized how far off the mark I was!!! It's not up to me to label and to map. It's not meant for me to know all and feel as though I do or don't deserve something or someone. 
The Grace I am given covers all of that, not me!! 
Now when I look in the mirror I truly see what is in front of me and I am beyond thankful for the sight I see!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

By Way of the Beach

2 more sleeps!
About 10 more bags to pack.
Maybe 3 more errands to run?
Then we are blowing this pop stand and hitting the BEACH!!!!!!!!!!
As I said last year, we had a uber fun time in Port Aransas. I pretty much mentally planned right then and there that we would be returning this year! To me its funny, even though time marches on and you feel like sometimes it marches a cadence you can't keep pace with, when you are looking forward to something so fiercely, even a double step in time is easy to march with!! That's exactly how I feel... I am owning this week's march by way of the getting to go to the beach!! Only 2 days and counting till we pull out of town and start looking for seagulls!!
If you don't already know me, let me shed some light on how I prep for a trip:
I begin by setting the mood around the house and within my mind... how do I do that, you say? Well by changing decor and moving stuff around and pumping up my Ipod tunes while I am at it!! I also come up with craft ideas while trying to fall asleep and then begin to knock them out like 2 weeks prior to our trips (case in point)!! My husband usually doesn't realize I have hit this stage in my vaca prep until he bumps into a newly placed chair or table (because it wasn't there when he went to bed) or when he looks up to see yet another newly placed candle where the clock used to be (he likes it... I know he does)!!! I also ramp up my reading and sock pile books/magazines for said trip... so far since June I have read 5 books and have 2 1/2 waiting in the wings!!! And lastly the obsessive list making begins, like multiple lists with multiple columns...
Yeah, I know it's a bit much... but hey, it's me and I love it!! The boys and I talk about our past trip and plan to recreate the fun we had and then some. There will be castles built and cannonballs announced while bottles are lifted in a silent node to the precious moments being shared. We will laugh, get sunburnt, laugh some more and then wake up each morning ready to do it all again!! Vacation can either be a bear or a bear hug... you get to choose. At one point in my life, as I am sure a lot of others can agree, trips with our kids in tow were a beating! That's just a given.... But if you can get past the packing, tired head, whinning, and excessive planning and prep that goes into it, you'll see that with the right amount of attention, packing readiness and mindset vacations can be an epic sliver of time that is a gift  given to everyone involved!!! Now... remind me to read that when we hit about hour 3-5 in the car ride this week!!  That being said, here is the rearranging and readiness I dove into this past week to ramp up the excitement for our soon to be beach getaway:
 {newly thrifted find, my new bluefriend}
{Last year's last minute diy beach sign reappeared and my mantle was sprinkled with past beach finds}

Here are some beach tips I learned from last year: 
{PSA... my tips are for Texas beaches, cause they are not like most beaches}
**bring a rake and/or shovel with you... seaweed is just part of the beach life around the Gulf.
**Canopy's are worth the money!! The Texas heat is unforgiving... coverage is a refuge and is a must.
**Pack extra sunscreen, aloe, lotion, and talcum powder. Extra sunscreen for reapplication throughout the day, aloe and lotion for after the shower, and the powder too for after the shower (for those places you never knew sand could find)! Trust me... A chaffed kid makes for a grumpy kid (and parent)!!!
**Don't pack a heavy lunch for the beach, but pack tons of water, gatorade or flavored water! Kids/adults will be hot and wet and distracted... a full meal really doesn't bowed well in that environment, and believe me kids won't want to leave the beach to go eat! Rather than fight and argue over eating, pack hardy snacks that are quick and easy... cheese sticks, crackers, lunch meat, fruit, and drinks to stay hydrated! 
**Use cheap plastic plates and utensils instead of paper. It's windy and liter on a beach is good for no one!! Plastic dinnerware can be used and then packed away, rinsed/washed and reused. Plus they are sturdier to eat off of! I find mine on sale at Target or the Dollar store.
**Take tons of pics and put them in a photo book ASAP... you will thank me later, year after year after year!!!!

Vacations are yours for the making! You can be happy or stressed. Soak up every minute or begrudgingly get thru every minute... its up to you!! We choose happy! We decide to lavish in the time we get together! That's us.... I can't wait!!! 
Here's to memories on the horizon!!!! 
#PortA2013 #teamlewis

Follow all our adventures on Instagram... abbeylewis :)))

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

And the List goes on...

Yes... We made one!
The summer list to end all summer lists.... Ha!!!
Really tho, I wanted to add a little fun into the mix this summer and who am I kidding... 
I am a list making girl!!
So I was all in for a giant list to show our adventures!!
So far it's proved to be a great blue print for boredom busting and giving us something to get excited about each morning!!
Plus these two crazies love anything to be competitive about...
So you can imagine the leverage I get when I throw down the 'who gets to make the check mark on the list' ultimatum!!!
Hey... don't judge!! It works!!
So far we have made great headway in the check marking department!!
We have gone on a trash walk around our hood and soon to be school for BOTH boys {sniff, sniff}.
We filled 2 grocery sacks full of yuck and got a little playground time out of it too!!
My favorite part... 
Hearing big boy tell little bro all the ins and outs of the playground, as to prep him to be king of the slide on that first day of kinder!!!
Any moment of brother love makes this Momma's heart overflow!!

We had an epic craft day with friends... 
Including pj's, breakfast baking and happy kids (and Mommas) galore!!
{Big boy's got some red bird drawing skills... just sayin'}

The 'List' goes on... Memories will be made.
 Hopefully fights and boredom will be avoided! 
But if we do get bored or if fights happen to pop up(who am I kidding, they WILL HAPPEN), the most important thing I am trying to remember is to savor the moments. 
Good, bad, fun, or bored...
This is our summer to remember!!