Sunday, September 28, 2014


I was raised to give more that I get. I was taught to put others first. I think or rather I pray at some point we were all led in the direction of putting others before ourselves. I know that isn't always the case in this day in age. Somehow, somewhere selfishness creeps into all of us. The want to put ourself first and to take before releasing or reaching toward others has become the norm in our lifestyle. Look out for number one... Take care of your own or no one else will. I think we all have that in us, selfishness to the point of disregard of others. What I've come to embrace, and even more so now after the week I had last week, was that even though we all have that tendency, it shouldn't define us.  It shouldn't be allowed to glorify us as a society or as a person. We can hold tight to what we are taught and be example of our upbringing any time we want, and it feels so amazing to do so. We can rise above any hurt or 'lack of' to give back and show grace and mercy more that we show pride and self-centered actions. In doing that, in giving first I have learned the heartfelt lesson that it provides so much more, more than any prideful boast or lofty accolade could do.
It fills your heart with a fullness that could never be found by solely caring for yourself only.
I had the honor of taking a Vision/Mission trip with my company to the Dominican Republic this past week. The vision was for us to see first hand the Child Survival Programs through Compassion International that we {Mary&Martha Consultants} sponsor. The mission was to open our hearts and eyes to the children and mothers at risk within some of the most rural and dangerous towns in the DR. Not only were are hearts opened, they were broken by what we saw. We wept for those who could not care for themselves, and reached out to the littlest of the little to share some form of compassion for what they've endured. But along the way we all realized it wasn't our sorrow they wanted or asked for, it was our smiles and love. Compassion in this amazing culture isn't pity, it's celebration. It's joyful pride in their community, their family. It is found in what they have and how far they have come, together... Not alone. They rejoice with one another and for one another, lifting each person up so that the community as a whole moves forward. We shared who we were together and found we weren't all that different from one another. We love our families. We adore a God who blesses us beyond measure. Ultimately I realized that we all want to connect, to share ourselves so that we are forever bonded in the compassion of God's love.
They taught me that...
Give and you will receive. Bless and you will be blessed. Show compassion and a deeper compassion  will grown within yourself that you never knew existed. Share and you will be shown love ten times over. I may be home now, but a part of my heart remains there amongst the mothers and babies because it belongs there. Just as a part of them now resides here with me, we have a bond.
True compassion doesn't stop. It does not need to be seen or even heard to have it grow. All that is needed is the love shared through our God to remain together, to keep compassion going.
{If anyone would like more information on how to partner with my Mary&Martha sisters to help fund a Child Survival Program, I'd be beyond happy to connect with you. Comment below.
I will get in touch.}

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Time Together

I have always been of the mentality that memories need to be of grand stature to be actually memorable. Maybe it comes from my large Italian family mentality? Let's face it even if only half of us get together it's a big 'to do'. Seriously though, I think that subtlety lost it's way with me early on and I didn't find it again until I had a family of my own. It's funny to me how God leads us to and from our own making to gain and grow, yet change and shift into a whole person along the way. For me that path really formed when I met my husband. Completely the yin to my yang, he slows me down when I speed up and gives the quiet to my chattering noise. Then when we had our boys that lesson came full circle as we continually watch each of them take on snippets of each of our own personas... One quiet and reserve, one endless moving and knowing no strangers.
The lessons we have learned from each other has not only challenged us but also brought us closer as a family, or a team as I like to call us. Because let's be honest, if we all had our way the 4 of us would go in opposite directions each day, we are vastly different that way. If we didn't work together to make our family life meaningful it just wouldn't magically happen. From quiet dinners to fun nights out... it all leaves an imprint on our family's heart. It's that give and take that allows that difference to mesh us tighter together as a team and a family.
We didn't go on any big vacas this summer or even make a bucket list like summers past.... We barely even left the metroplex!! But, looking back I know we made memories that will further our family bond, a bond that strengthens our team! And that's what matters. Life together needs to be celebrated in both big and small ways. Times that are full of movement and times where you just take a step back and chill, all of those moments can bring forth savored memories. 
I know God placed us 4 together for a reason. This summer has really brought that home for me. Each of us is a reminder to one another. We are that gentle nudge to go out and do more and the subtle pull back when we've over extended ourselves. That is our team all wrapped into one. Meaningful times don't have to be grandiose to be remembered. Little moments won't be forgotten as long as in those moments you are truly present with those God gave you. I need those reminders more than anything.... It's those reminders that fill my soul. And I thank the Lord I have 3 reminders that live this crazy, yet sometimes boring life with me!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Five Truths on a Friday

Truth #1
Sometimes I save empty gift cards when they are cute, especially when they have birds on them. Will I refill it or even remember I have it? Probably not. But in the moment it makes me happy.

 Truth #2
If you plate fruit and veggies in a fancy way they will get eaten faster and at higher quantities by boys who don't normally fight for the first grape or last carrot. Plus they make a not so fancy BLT dinner uber fun!

 Truth #3
Sometimes kids teach you more than you could ever dream of teaching them. This big boy holds my heart and forces me to learn and grow every day.

 Truth #4
The love/hate relationship between these two should be documents on a wall calendar and hung somewhere for all to see and smile and shake their heads at.

Truth #5
My dearest friend and I have an on going war of the rooster competition going on via text. We may go to the grave with a house full of endless knick knacks in the form of roosters but we will die happy... 
{And I will die the Rooster Champ}!!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Sometimes I look at you, Jacob Robert, and forget that you are mine. Not in a bad way, just in a way that baffles me to know that this amazing being standing in front of me came from me. Sometimes I know exactly how you feel because I can remember feeling that same way at your age, and I smile knowing that we are connected through more than DNA, hair color, and visual impairedness {not sure if that is a word, but it is now}. Sometimes I stand in awe of the soulful thoughts that so easily come from your lips and thank God that you are mine and that I get the privilege of hearing your wise beyond your years thoughts. Sometimes I feel like we've grown up together because you have taught me so much about realizing and embracing your feelings so that ultimately you can better embrace the you that God created. I can't fathom not having you around. From the moment you were born you made your presence known, sometimes with force and stubborn struggles, yet more times than not with quiet reserve. Sometimes I wonder if you'll ever truly know how blessed you are my son...
This year, your eleventh year, it's like I am getting to witness and whole new boy. Sometimes it scares me, other times I can't stop smiling and I'll admit it there are times I shed tears for you and with you when you're not looking. Sometimes I pause while walking beside you as a way to savor the new you a bit longer and to recall my baby {yes, I will always call you that}. You are confident and ready, no longer scared to walk into new situations. You are poised and anxious to be you, not hesitant and doubtful to start out... You are gaining self-stregnth! Yes, sometimes those nervous threads of you still surface because they are part of what God uses to lead and teach you, but they are becoming less prominent in the fabric of who you are Jacob Robert. Sometimes I get choked up thinking back to the little boy who wouldn't let me leave him in Kindergarden without a crying fight compared to the big 5th grader who I was honored to walk side by side with into a brand new school and see you take it all in without a second glance back to me. I literally stopped in my tracks seeing you the other day coming out of intermediate school orientation. I was stunned to see your determination and demeanor that spoke volumes to your new found self-awareness. 
I was so proud of you and for you my Love. 
It's amazing the person you are becoming.
You are touched by God my big boy. 
Even if you forget that sometimes, never forget that I will ALWAYS be here to remind you of who you are, where you came from and help you to continue going where you are destined to go!
Happy 11th big boy!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Five Truths on a Friday

 Truth #1
If there were a 'locks of love' for dogs in need of hair, our dog could donate daily.
For real... the shedding is stupid fast.
 Truth #2
Sweet spoon messages totally encourage me to literally and figuratively refill my cup. 
 Truth #3
If you give me a fun shirt, you will get a stank-face selfie texted to you in return.
It's just how I roll, can't help it!
 Truth #4
When your soon to be 11 year old decids he wants to wear contacts and gets a new haircut, he will look like a teenager whether you approve it or not. And you will be sad and proud and sad again within 2.5 minutes of taking his picture.
 Truth #5
When boredom sets in and you are trying to get chores done, if your kid wants to spray paint... 
Let him. 
This pic right here was an hour's worth of him not asking me to throw a ball to him, watch him ride his scooter for the 100th time, or hear him say 'I'm bored'.

What are your Five Truths for this Friday?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Girls of Grace

There are so many things and words to describe a girl. Some more flattering than others. I won't go into listing them but let me tell you, for myself there is one and one word only that I want used to describe me. Grace.
For so long I yearned to be thought of as so many things, popular, athletic, pretty, worthy, funny... the list could go on, but I didn't latch onto the word Grace until I was about 30. Women can be so fickle and I was no different. Girls are very impressionable and I followed suit. Ladies judge whats on the outside more than what is truly on the inside and I judged hard. I always joke that God blessed me with boys for a reason, and that reason being I was not an 'easy' girl to raise. My family adoringly jokingly nicknamed me 'crabby Abbey' for a reason! I cried continually as a baby. I talked incessantly as a toddler. I rolled more than my fair share of eyes as a teenager... and don't even get me started on early adulthood! I know that God really bestowed Mercy and a dab of Grace on me by not making me a Mom to girls. And for that I am thankful.... Not that I wouldn't have loved a girl if one had been blessed to us, but I know that I would have struggled all over again with my own girlish troubles having to raise one myself.
I listen too easily to the whispers around me and carry those words heavy on my shoulders, especially when they are words whispered in judgment. Girls are whispering queens! How is it that we know from a young age to exclude, size up, and push each other's buttons? Instinct? Following examples? Survival techniques? Mimicking socially accepted behaviors? Probably a combination of all of the above...
Growing up I wished at times to have the super powers of that girl in the TV show 'Out of This World." She could stop time with the touch of her two fingers. When she did it, it would freeze everyone around her and she could get herself out of sticky situations! She used her fingers to freeze time and had endless chances to undo hurts or misunderstandings amongst friends before things got crazy! Man, what I would have done with that power!! I would have burned my pointer fingers out trying to stop all the whispers floating around me growing up! Now, just to clarify {cause I can hear my mother in my head whispering 'don't make it worse than it is Abbey'} not all of the girls I have met in my life have been 'pause time with my fingers' whisper worthy. There have been many that have bestowed Grace on me. Who taught me that some whispers are just words said while laughing so much you are out of breathe. Those girls are who opened my eyes to the importance of giving Grace and accepting it. They were leaders, girls ahead of their time that showed me how to not get lost in the shuffle. Because just as I go on about how difficult it can be to grow up a girl, it can also be a wonderful and empowering gift. I know whole-heartedly that if I hadn't gone thru the difficult times sifting through the harsh whispering with some girls, I'd have never learned to open up to the fun, laugh until you can't talk whispering times!!!
When we as girls open up to the description and use of the word Grace for ourselves, and more importantly for others, we have the chance to change the horizon that dawns each day for all the little girls out there. We can be leaders of a new type of girlhood, one that doesn't rest in hateful whispers but lifts us up through stregnth and compassion ! With time we could amplify the inner confidence in us all as women if we'd just allow acceptance to be our balance and scale. I have seen it happen in just a short time recently. Women supporting one another. Not competing. Not working against each other, working alongside each other. It brings tears to my eyes how easily it can happen if we just give Grace.
I am sure I will have more to write on this later, but for now I just had to open up and get rid of the whispers in my head. Because once you release the bad, it's all good from there!!!

May Grace be given and Grace received. And my you all be Girls of Grace....

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back Then

Back then I never thought I'd be where I am today. 
I thought 38 was an age of old people, people I'd never turn into. 
Time was an elusive thing that didn't matter or apply to me. Making the most of my time wasn't high on my list of priorities...
Heck... I didn't even know what were priorities back then?? 
Flash forward 20 years from back then and I am faced with seeing people I haven't seen other than on a screen... Which secretly is fine by me! What should I expect? From the comfort of my computer screen, we all seem to have way more in common than I thought we ever could. 
I find myself reaching out to people I'd never in a million years think to reach out to back then. 
By God... they even reach out to me!!! 
Who would have thought?? Sadly, not 'that girl' I was back then.
The disappointing reality to going through life like that is that it burns a lot of time away and disconnects you from people God really wants you connected with. It's wasted opportunities for living in a realm of acceptance for both yourself and for others. A place where you are comfortable and loved and give love back without a second thought. I know now there is and was a reason for the misconnections and inability to reach out back then. It's all part of a greater plan, a plan that I didn't know to trust or follow back then.
I can't help but want to rewind time a bit and force myself outside my comfort zone, push the envelope with the people I deemed 'not for me' back then.
It's a short lived wish though, to rewind time, because I know it wouldn't do a bit of good.
It's not my plan to alter or change...
 Moving backwards is no way to live forward. 
I adore the place I am now and the people I connect with daily. People who reach out to connect with me even before I notice to reach out first. Time isn't elusive and making the most of it is totally a high priority! I am thankful for the connections of the past but relish the ones that have brought me full circle in the present. 
Learning to lean into God's work has opened up a trust in knowing it's never too late to reach outside your comfort zone or put yourself out there. 
What's the worst that can happen? 
You try and you learn. You move and you change. 
20 years can pass in a blink of an eye.
 I am happy to say that I was surprised by the face to face meetings I had when we all gathered together...
20 years older, not old people like I thought we'd be... just older than back then. 
I smiled at the hugs and 'how are you's' that were so easily said. 
I listened contently as I was reminded of who we were back then but more importantly I heard more accounts of who we are proud to say we are now.
 I couldn't get past the fun and the laughter...
It was way better to me now than it was back then.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Class of 1994. 
But most of all thanks for embracing who we all are now in 2014...
Hope to see you again soon... 
And not just on a computer screen and hopefully sooner than in another 20 years!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Embracing You

Growing up. Getting older. Maturing. 
None of it is easy. Rarely do we get to fully huddle around the knowledge and wisdom that age brings. By the time we need that knowledge, at whatever age we needed it, we either don''t quite grasp it or haven't a clue what to do with it. And once we do, that time has passed. All we can do is embrace the you that is of now, in the current time and space. 
As I watch our boys growing up and learning to find themselves I can't help but feel a squeeze in my heart. Not just because they aren't babies anymore but really because I hate the fact that they can't see what amazing beings they are right here and now. They, just like us all, are worried about where they fit it, what can they do next and how will they get to go conquer the currently deemed 'big thing!' I ache for them to know that who they are is so very precious, no 'big thing' necessary. I wish and hope that they have an easier time loving themselves thru the stages and ages in life than I did. I want them to embrace who they are and not feel as tho they have to shape and mold to fit into this world. The world will shape and mold to them if they just hold tight to the grace that was given to them when they were formed!
Loving yourself is one of the biggest gifts of mercy our God gives us, but it's also one of His biggest lessons in faith, trust, and obedience to His word. I didn't know that until just recently. I pray our boys will learn it sooner than I did. 
Until then I will keep whispering and repeating my mantra of "Remember Who You Are Boys..." and circle them {and myself} in prayers of embrace!

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing...
Ecclesiastes 3:5

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Do you ever over think things... like to the point that you forget what the original thought or question was, over think things? That's me on the daily. I can be such a black and white, yet so very grey type of person. I jump with out looking but the entire time I am in the air, mid-jump my mind reels with questions and worry and doubt and excitement and eagerness. I have found that this has both intensified and changed as I have gotten older and become a wife and mother. I still leap but I leap toward more faith focused goals and personal awareness rather than jumping into what other's deem as 'a good thing.' I find that although I am still a people pleaser to my core, the circle of people I yearn to please is way smaller than it used to be.
As I go about my over thinking and rethinking I know in my heart that my mind is filled with Grace and that will lead my thoughts where they need to be. It's much easier to care deeply for those you love when you realize who and what you are, and love that first. It's way more humbling to show grace to others when you show it to yourself first. And it's way more fulfilling to give to those you love when you have given to yourself too. Acceptance. Embracing. Knowing and giving into the 'where, when and how' of who you are is the best way of allowing those weird and demanding idiosyncrasies that are your inner being to shine in the best way possible. Do the small things with great love, and do the greater things with the same tenacity as if you were the smallest of the small up against the biggest of the big. Over think it if you must. Don't think at all. Love big and accept who you are and the rest falls into place...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Manic Monday

I was reminded by a sweet friend that all too often we only post/share/see 'the good' in pictures on social media. 
I agree. 
Yet... I don't want to. 
With every good comes a bad, either way before the good occurs or shortly there after. 
And bad doesn't have to mean disaster or despair... it can or it could just simply mean, not good.
Without the overflowing of dishes and stinky smell of garbage needing to be taken out, there wouldn't have been the fun night before with neighbors gathered around my kitchen table laughing and joking with one another. And without the giant mound of dishes still sitting there the next day I wouldn't have enjoyed the clean counter that next morning after the boys and I cleaned, loaded dishes, and straightened up the kitchen together.
With bad comes the good.
With the good there may be some bad....
But if you don't take them both in, you can't feel the joy that comes after the pain or grow from the struggle that leads to ultimate happiness.

Deep thoughts... brought on by dishes and a sweet friend's words.
That's me in a nutshell on a Manic Monday Morning!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Long Time... No Post ;(

So, it's been so long since I typed on this page that it literally took me 10 minutes to find my blog online. I am shaking my own head in disappointment and yet laughing at my absenteeism! Where did I go? What in the hell's bells have I been doing...?
It's better to just ask, what HAVEN'T I been doing??
Teaching group fitness, raising boys, loving my hubs, teaching littles to stretch-stretch-and-grooooooow, health coaching, hanging with my fam, soccer team shuffling, drinking beer with neighbors, decorating and redecorating our house, texting my bestie in the StL, reading, journaling, diving into daily devotionals, making new friends yet cherishing the old true-blue ones, running, watching SYTYCD and the Voice, shopping at Aldi, trying to eat right and cook more at home, starting up my own direct sales faith based home decor and bakeware company thru Mary&Martha...
Does that sound like enough? I could go on for about 3 more paragraphs, ha!

Needless to say, I am living true to my self appointed 'That Girl' title. I love it and loathe it all in the same breathe... It's funny to me that as I pulled up my blog {after reading 5 others that I found before my own} these were the 2 posts that popped up:
My Lately and 37 years of Being 'That Girl'.
Funny the tiny reminders God smacks you with you when you go snooping...

I miss blogging and really want to get back at it. Will it happen? Who knows! But I am slowly carving more time out for my writing and posting. I have missed it dearly!
Until next time... here's glimpse of me and us since my last post...
Love this crazy life that I'm blessed with.