Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Test the Waters

So I had the most amazing thing happen to me recently, I just have to share. In previous posts I've mentioned my desire to dig deeper with God and how I've struggled with my faith in the past. In 2010 I poured my heart out to God and gave him a shot... My Aunt Prudie always says, "God does not disappoint".

I've learned that my time isn't his time and my view isn't his. Anyways, in late 2010 when Dajuan and I were in a car accident the bills pilled up $1,105 to be exact. It seemed like one thing after another. I worked double shifts at Zehnders on top of working full time to cover those extra payments. I made just over $1,000 coaching volleyball and all in one day that money was gone (to other bills too). At the time, I tried to convince myself that God had me prepared for this mess by giving me a coaching job and allowing me to waitress on the weekends. It was a rough and dark fall but we managed and my journey only strengthened. After reading a book about being a lukewarm Christian, I realized I wasn't doing enough and wasn't being the person I needed to be, so I decided to make some changes.

When I wasn't working Sundays and could make church I would put double in than I normally would. I've always wanted to be that person who put their 10% tithe in each week but never fully trusted God enough with my money. The more I learn and read the more I understand that this really isn't my money... it's His. I remember walking out of the grocery store and putting a handful of cash in the bell ringer's pot and thinking "Okay God, that was my money for the week but here You go." It was a good feeling though, I felt peaceful about it and happy.

As Christmas came and went so did my paycheck... I'm sure you can relate! Sunday, I picked up the mail that had piled up while my family was here and filed through the envelopes. I noticed one in particular, Med Billing was the return address. My heart sunk to my stomach because I was just SURE it was another bill. To my surprise.. it wasn't.

I had received a letter from Birch Run Township regarding our car accident and the $500 we owed for fire and rescue. The letter informed me that my account had been paid in full and my remaining balance of $300 was written off. They also included my check and returned it in full.

I started to sob. I felt God. I knew He was the only reason this happened. This doesn't just happen. There was NO reason for this to just happen. God is GOOD. I tested His waters and He answered. I didn't expect Him to repay me in any way but I knew that if I was faithful He would be too. I am so thankful and blessed. His Grace and Favor is bigger than anything I've ever experienced.

Test Him. Know Him. Love Him.

Abby Marie

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

I'm sorry it's been a couple weeks since I've blogged; my life has just been busy at home and at work. I will start the new year with an abundance of posts, I promise!
I just wanted to take a few minutes and say Merry Merry Merry CHRISTmas to you all! I'm so thankful for all of you! This has truly been a great year for my family and I. I feel that God is drawing us closer and closer to him. I am so moved by Him and how He has worked in our lives that past couple of years. It's obvious how challenging and tough they were, both physically and mentally. I've come to the realization it has molded each and every one of us, in our own ways.

I have to constantly remind myself (by the minute) that this is God's plan not mine, that I'm His and that my life belongs to Him and Him only. This is a process that I've only come to understand by taking this long journey that has had the lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs.

Thank-you to everyone who has stood by our family's side in these past few years. I am grateful for friends that have held my hand in those long dark days and continue to today. God is amazing... while I write this my eyes are full of tears because I am so at peace. I've never felt this before; I encourage you all. I push for you. I want for you. If you are in despair, if you feel neglected, if you are feeling beat down... pursue, He's right there.

During these past few weeks I've been reflecting on my life. I have moments where I cannot wrap my mind around all that has happened to our family and in that same moment I totally get it. Although it has been a long dark season, we have turned the page to a new chapter in our family's book! YES!

May you Christmas and New Year be blessed. Keep your faith, the storm will pass.


Abby Marie

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Forgiveness starts from Within

So, as I've touched on before my life now is nothing of what it was in college. I've struggled with my past and the decisions I made while at college and in general. Random thoughts pop into my head that take me back to a particular scenario or day that make my stomach knot up and my heart yearn for forgiveness.. from God and from myself. I hate to paint the picture over and over that Central was a mistake or that my being at college 'ruined' me. Mainly, my point is that while I was attending Central, my life was in shambles and at in given second I made one bad decision after another to momentarily erase the pain.

As time has moved on, so have I. My life that was once in a million pieces has steadily put itself back together. I could point my finger at several situations that propelled my actions but in all reality I was an adult and had a mind of my own. It makes me sad to think that my actions in college haunt me. People who knew me at Central, in reality didn't really know me at all... I didn't know me. When I look back at the person I portayed myself to be, my face immediately makes a look of disgust, eww.

For the past couple years or so, I've been digging deep. I've been beating myself up day in and day out. I've relentlessly made it impossible to forgive myself and because of that I'm not allowing God to forgive me either. The truth is, God's grace and mercy have covered me from day one. God erased my slate, he cleared my name, he doesn't even remember what I've done. Why do I constantly dwell on the past? I've shared tidbits with my sister, Emily, on how I am ashamed. On how I wish I could have been a better student. On how I wished I wouldn't of attended that party, drank that much alcohol and dated that guy. We all have regret, we all have a past. She reminds me over and over that God has already heard my cry and knows my heart... and most importantly he has already forgiven me, so why can't I?

I believe the main reason I can't let go is because I'm embarrassed and want people to know who I am. I don't want to be an imposter, I don't want to put up a front. Here I am raw, and open. I'm a human and I've made mistakes... some worse than others. My past is a past for a reason, whatever that might be. There is a complete laundry list of reasons why my life was a mess in college... my parents divorce, my dad's addiction, my low self esteem and my faith being challenged... to name a few.

I in no way blame one situation more than the other. When you add that combination together and mix in me being and living on my own with people my age the result is tragic. It's amazing how God has gone about his business though. He has done it in such a profound way that my life is forever changed.As I lay in bed and read Bittersweet By Shauna Niequist my heart feels whole again. In a season where her life was chaotic and unsettling she gained wisdom and speaks on the importance of growth in hard times.

"I used to think that the ability to turn back time would be the greatest possible gift, so that I could undo all the things I wish I hadn't done. But grace is an even better gift, because it allows me to do more than just erase; it allows me to become more than I was when I did those things. It's forgiveness without forgetting, which is much sweeter than amnesia."

With this one paragraph, my life changed. I'll let you read this and re-read this, soak it in, and apply it to your life. We all have regret!

What a statement, amen.

xO. Abby

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pure Michigan.

How ironic, the first snowfall was December 1st, perfect timing! Lately, I've realized how much I love the state of Michigan (and everything that goes with it, YES, I said everything)... Definitely not something I thought I'd ever hear myself mutter.

I've lived here all my life, but that doesn't mean much. Most everyone I know has lived here all their years.. what matters is how my attitude towards this beautiful state is transforming. Growing up in 'Mid Michigan' I didn't have easy access to the abundance of lakes scattered across the mitten, I didn't live in the city and I wasn't exposed to an excessive amount of diversity; however, Birch Run was my home, my world, my everything. My life over the past five years has shaped my old way of thinking (and living) into a fresher more explosive outlook on this great state.

After graduating high school, I headed to Mount Pleasant to attend Central Michigan University. From what I can remember, I was exposed to an abundance of EVERYTHING, too much if you ask me. I attended my first of many parties,the economy dropped, our country was (still is) at war, GM declared bankruptcy and I was on my own. This little bubble (Birch Run) of a world I had been living in for the past 18 years had suddenly burst and I was left gasping for air.

I thought to myself, this is a dream, the world really isn't this cruel and demanding... is it? I learned very quickly that life doesn't wait for anyone; I was scared and losing confidence in our country and especially Michigan. Our fragile state was losing steam and going under. Here I am, fresh out of college, ready and roaring to go. Bring it on life, bring it on world, I'm ready for you. The truth is, life really isn't fair. Small town America was getting hit and hit hard. General Motors workers were left with a penny in their pocket and a mortgage payment that they couldn't make. These were my friend's parents, people I knew and loved. I was angry and confused. I wanted out of Michigan more than ever.

My husband and I found out we were expecting in the fall of 2008. We were college graduates with no real path, and a baby on the way. We were stuck.. I was stuck. I couldn't believe I was going to be moving to Birch Run and not Chicago. My dreams, the city life, my expensive taste seemed to have taken the first flight out... next stop, mommy hood. I quickly realized we were going nowhere fast and I had to accept our situation and make the best of it. My husband, Dajuan, took a job at a hospital in Saginaw and before you knew it, baby Braylon was here.

So here we are, still! Nearly two years later and my love for this state is in full bloom. I've discovered a sense of pride throughout this long but rewarding journey and feel shameful for having such a pessimestic attitude. I wasn't happy where God had placed me; I kicked and screamed the whole time. My attitude didn't help the situation at all, in reality it distracted me from blooming where I was planted. Today, I'm happy. I love living in Michigan. I love the fact that the economy is on the upswing and our new governor elect has great ambition and plans for this state. I love that I can enjoy all four seasons without having to drive an enormous amount of hours. I love that I can witness God through the colors of the leaves in the fall and the depths of the breathtaking water on Lake Michigan in the summer. I love the friendly rivalry between UofM and MSU... I seriously love it all.

As Braylon has grown so has my love for Michigan. I want to raise my family here. I want to bloom where I am planted and enjoy every second of it. Yes, there have been hard times with more to come but what's a good story without a dark scene? I'm thankful to live here and blessed. Michigan has humbled me in more ways than one, again, I'm thankful.

Abby Marie

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God is Love

My sister, Emily, is book worm and so is her boyfriend, Josh. She constantly gushes to me about how I need to read this book and that book. I find myself reading blogs, short exerpts of books online and online articles but to actually sit down in peace and quiet and read a book was pushing it. She sent a book anyways and I have to say I'm glad she did. Against all odds, I began to read.

The book is 'Crazy Love' by Francis Chan. I've tweeted a tad about it, but as I read along it truly speaks to me and the way I'm living my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm actively seeking God each and everyday but that doesn't justify my decisions. Do you ever feel guilted and pressured into loving God and seeking a relationship with him? I know I fall to that each and everyday. I try to convince myself that by doing something then I am making God happier; what a drag. Chan explains this as work, hard work that isn't need. When someone is in love with God, it isn't work, it's manifestation. Doing those deeds that used to seem like work suddenly become a part of life.

While I read, I wept. I knew he was speaking to me. This is my life, I do what I think I need to do to get to Heaven. Let me ask you something, do you ever have questions rolling around in your head like... "Will I still go to heaven if I get a divorce?" or "Will I still go to heaven even though I have sex with my girlfriend and we aren't married?" or "Will I still go to heaven even if I'm not baptized?", I know that I am consumed with questions similar to these but why? Chan says, "These questions are tragic because they reveal much about the state of our hearts. They demonstrate that our concern is more about going to heaven than loving the King." Wow, how powerful right?

I read this and then re-read this statement several times; I had to try to put it in perspective. From what I understand, if we LOVE God and have an active relationship with him, these questions shouldn't be a concern. "If you love me, you will obey my command" (John 14:15). God doesn't want us to just believe there is a God, but he wants us to know him, love him and seek him; even sinners believe.

In today's world and our modern society, we try to make being a 'Christian' seem easy. Whatever works best for our schedule, for our lifestyle, our ego and our pocketbook. Don't you agree? It has taken me to break down to nothing to truly understand this. There is nothing I can say to to justify my actions to the Lord. He knows me, how can I hide from the one who created me? Chan breaks it down plain and simple; either you are a Christian or you aren't. You may bulk yourself up in public to look like one, but do your actions equal this? He says, "I gave God leftovers and felt no shame, I took my eyes off of Scripture and compared myself to others." It is easy to fill our lives up with junk and give God the rest. A prayer before bed, a couple bucks given each week at church isn't enough.. is it?

As I laid in bed and read I was overwhelmed on how 'wrong' I was on being a Christian and how sorry I felt for the way I had been living my life. God wants us to want him, to love him and is readily available for us. Because we are a nice person, friendly to others and a good citizen doesn't make us a Christian. In fact, I know several people who are great people, but not Christians. We are sinners, we are human and through it all God's grace covers us. Where do you fall on this scale, are you a lukewarm Christian?

If you have time or even if you don't, think about these words and how Chan truly delivers an amazing message. As I reflect deeper into his book, I will blog more.

Make today a new day, start living your life for God. I love you!


Abby Marie

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Enough is Enough

Happy Wednesday!

Yesterday was election day.. yay, fun for me; although, I'm sure most of you hate it! I don't know what it is but I engulf myself into politics.. lately more than ever. I find myself googling terms, searching for articles and watching endless videos.. I constantly want to know more more more! I am firery, I have an opinion, I want to be heard and yet, I still feel like I don't know enough.

It bothers me more than anything when someone catorgizes me as not caring for the poor because I vote republican (red).. really? I work two jobs, am a recent college graduate with student loans up to my nose and most importantly I am a young mother. If anyone needs help, it's me! You will never see me with my hand out begging- it is my responsibility to take care of myself and my family. I am working 2, not one but 2 jobs currently and picked up a coaching job on top of that for Christmas money. I worked full-time through college and still didn't make enough to not take out loans.

I am most definitely NOT upset that I have to pay for healthcare, that I have to buy baby food and that I have to work to get money, why should I be? These days it is too easy to get assistance. Let me let you in on an incident that recently happened to me. When Braylon, my son, was born I was offered WIC. A program (wonderful might I add) offered to young mothers and their children for assistance with formula, food and nutritional items. I am not the type to let go of my pride and take free help but at the time, I was fresh out of college in a dead market and desperate to give my child the best of the best. I decided I would give WIC a try; we mainly used it for formula since Braylon was required to use a special brand that cost $21.50 a can.

When Braylon was 10 months old, I weened him off of formula and began feeding him regular milk and baby food. I set up a consultation with WIC and informed them I would no longer be needing their services but was grateful for their help. The woman who was on the other side of the desk looked at me confused... "Excuse me Mrs. Jefferson, you mean you don't want to continue with our services? Ma'am this service is available until your child is 5, it's free Ma'am." I insisted that I was through with their service but thanked them for helping me when I had nowhere else to turn.

The moral of this story is, assistance is there if you need it but don't take advantage of it. In fact, that service isn't free... you, as tax payers paid for my formula for 10 months and I thank you for that. As a citizen and tax payer myself, I knew that I had the option to feed off of the Government for the next 5 years but how fair is that? How considerate am I to do that when I am able to work myself to feed my own child- because in fact, it is my child not yours.

I believe in old school ways. You get what you work for. You are who you work to be. Having morals and proclaiming yourself a Christian (or whatever religion you practice) is normal.

So, yes, I am a Republican! I vote straight Republican ticket every time and will continue to do so. I believe in working hard and getting what you worked for. I do understand that there are circumstances where one may not be able to provide for their family; hence the assistance available; however, feeding off of our country for years and years is a shame. I do agree there needs to be change with our system; trust me, I am not getting paid nearly enough, but I'm doing what I need to do so my child is fed and has clothes on his back. I continue the search to understand our policies; I believe we can pull out of this mess we have gotten ourselves into. Our culture is so self-indulgent; we believe that we are owed everything at the cost of everyone else. It saddens me.

America, this is your responsiblity. Get educated; know the facts. We as the middle class are not the only ones who need tax breaks; small businesses who provide the majority of jobs for us need them too. Small businesses are the men and women who have worked day in and day out to provide jobs to others; they are the American way of doing things.

Our country is so clouded right now; what a shame. My prayers are with our President every single day... the people have spoken, are you listening?

"On the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. On the average day, we don't consider God very much. On the average day, we forget that our life truly is a vapor." -Francis Chan

Use your short time on this earth to make a difference.

ONE love,

Abby Marie

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bullying... whose fault is it anyway??

My mom and I were talking about bullying, sex, teenagers etc.... Being a kid these days is difficult- I'm sure it was when I was young too, but I just had that "everyone is my friend" attitude. You know what I'm talking about.. the type of attitude where I'm here and available to be your friend but if not, that's okay too. I feel its the best way to be- putting yourself out there but not enough to get your feelings hurt.

Lately the media has bombarded our households with tear-jerking stories about suicide and attempts at suicide due to bullying. Many celebrities have started anti-bullying campaigns; in attempt to putting a stop to prejudices against gay and lesbian students and bullying in general. I couldn't agree more, but it stems deeper than that. These are severe cases we are witnessing, but don't you agree with me when I say bullying is everywhere, not just with openly gay students?

My mom constantly asks Grant (who is straight), "Are those guys mean to you on your team Grant, just tell me?".. Of course Grant always ignores the questions and assures us they aren't; but how are we supposed to know? Here he is, a sophomore, approximately 125 pounds and starting on Varsity football over many other OLDER players... Granted, they never throw him the ball, sometimes I wonder if they forget he is there. Regardless, he's there and maintains his calm demeaner day in and day out. He's the type of kid that if he were to be bullied, nobody would be aware of it. I will say with 100% confidence, I don't think he is bullied... but I'm sure many others like him are. Why do we bully? Who do we pin point? What is our motive? Whether it is because of sexuality, gender, race, or athletics.. it is happening at an enormous rate.

I believe in order to contribute to an initiative of anti- bullying-- Parents have to step in! This is YOUR responsibility, YOU are accountable for your children. How can we point the finger at others? Our children from a very young age adapt to their surrounding environment; what they are exposed to at home with their family, music lyrics played while they are present, language used in front of them and/or directed at them as well as religions beliefs or lack there of-- the future is in the hands of their parent.

What ethics are we instilling in our kids these days? Have we forgotten how to act? It is a disgrace to see various videos of parents cheering their teen on while fighting another teen on the playground. It sickens me to think we are so ignorant in this country. Why are we allowing our teenagers to host parties with alcohol present- have we not enough tragedies in this world already? We need to get back to the basics of raising our kids with proper morals, ethics and beliefs. In other words, we cannot stop bullying in this country until parents take some responsibility for their actions and make positive changes in their lives.

In the same respect, teenagers are old enough to know what is right and wrong. A 'slap on the wrist' won't phase most of them anyway- so what is the answer? I would love to know how you feel about this?

Maybe you are the underdog on the football team, the only openly gay student in your school, one of three black students in your class... how do you cope? What are your ideas? My prayers are with you-- you are NOT different, there is no normal these days. In a time where our country is SO fragile.. troops overseas, Chrisitianity is consider a joke and the hot topic on Good Morning America is Lindsay Lohan going to rehab again.. I apologize that such important issues such as bulling have been overlooked. You do not deserve this, nobody does!

This issue is something that is weighing heavy on my heart... I encourcage all of our parents to read this and use it in your everyday life. Be the bigger person! I challenge our media and celebrity figures to show control, act in a way that is positive for our teens who are idolizing you each and everyday. Sex tapes are NOT the answer, cussing on television shows NO class, acting like rich high class snobs DOES NOT help us, the middle class out. Bring yourself down and see the real issues-- your lives are blasted all over our television screens, think before you act. As a mother, sister and woman... I'm begging.

Until next time.. xO.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crazy, Chaos.. just how I like it!

Have you ever tried to get somewhere but just couldn't? Late for everything? Wanted to get to those dishes done before bed, but your eyes were burning? Planned on buying a card for the wedding but took too long to get ready and walked into the reception card-less... take a step into my office!

Lately, I feel like I can't keep up; like I'm swimming upstream rather. If it isn't one thing, I swear its another. A couple of weeks ago, Braylon experienced a severe allergic reaction.. but to what? This lasted for 4 days.. after 2 trips to our pathetic pediatrician's office, I finally drove Bray to the ER. His left eye looked like he just stepped out of a boxing ring and the rest of his body was consumed with huge red and white puffy circles and he was itchin' like the dickins! It was a sad scene; never had I felt so helpless.

He was miserable and 'baby' benedryl wasn't doing anything for him. Bray and I sat (not really) in the ER for the majority of the morning before severe doctors told us, "We just don't know what could be causing this reaction, we may never know"... Thank you! Needless to say, we have no idea how my poor lovey could have such a severe reaction, but he is looking like himself again. What a stressful week though- any working mom knows what I'm talking about. I felt so torn between my obligation to work and tending to Braylon. It all worked out but it was another obstacle of being a working mom.

Emily & Josh flew home for Grant's homecoming which just so happened to be at the tail-end of Braylon's break out. Overall, it was still a great weekend. They won the game and Emily & I were able to have some great QT together. We hung out, watched the MI game, played with Bray and had a bonfire. Weekends like that warm my heart; so bittersweet. Some days are worse than other though; having her all the way in Texas is so difficult but we make it work. Weekly skype dates (love technology) and daily g-chat convos fill the void of living on opposites sides (north & south) of this great country.

Isn't this a great picture of us during the Homecoming parade... <3>

Here are some more pictures from our weekend.. enjoy :)

After that weekend, another full force ahead work week came and went. I swear life during the week is a blur.. its another one of those trying to keep up stories. Between Braylon, working and volleyball I can hardly find time to shower.. jokes! This past weekend was CMU's homecoming. All of my college roommates and I made plans to head back to CMU to celebrate being alumni and reunite for a weekend together! Let me just say, coming back is not the same! I also don't really drink these days so that I'm sure had a lot to do with it. We had terrific weather to tailgate in, it was high 60s with lots of sunshine! I have to say, just being around friends like them makes me melt; I've missed them so much but my life back home has me moving in another direction. I will forever be thankful to have met such great people!

Now, I'm buried deep in this work week but will admit I have a hard time believing it is already Wednesday. My volleyball season is coming to an end.. YES! I actually need to cut this short and head to our game tonight... until next time, ONElove!


Thursday, September 30, 2010

October.. Sweet Sweet October

September has been a crummy month to say the least. It started off with a bang- Braylon and I's trip to Austin to see Emily; but that ended quick and life hit me square in the throat.

The weather changed from gorgeous to gloomy so that set the mood for the next few weeks. September 11, of course we remember that day for our fallen Americans in the worst attack on American soil in history; it was also the worst day I've had in a years. Dajuan, Braylon and I were headed to a UofM football game party and ended up in a horrific car accident. I'm glad to report we are all okay, we were definitely banged up and bruised but okay to say the least! It all happened so fast and put our lives into perspective in a matter of seconds. Dajuan and I have had a busy couple of weeks trying to get me a new car and get all the 'details' worked out to say the least. What a HEADACHE! Insurance battles, buying a new car, fines etc. This past month has felt like one big wrench in my side. I am thankful to be alive but so overwhelmed with the aftermath.

After the crash, I had to pick life up and move forward, I'm coaching volleyball still and working both jobs. Coaching is so much more difficult than I ever thought it'd be. Parents, kids, put that on repeat and you get my point! I love the game, or else I would have walked a while ago. I'm looking forward to the end of the season and not really looking back hehe.

I do love October though, don't you? The leaves are so gorgeous and serene. I love when you take a deep breath and the air is so crisp it makes you cough.. mmm! My brother, Grant Hilton as most of you know has been playing on Varsity Football this season and Friday nights have not let me down! There is something about Friday nights under the lights, fresh air and football that warm my little heart! Braylon is Uncle Grant's number ONE fan! He is 17 months old now; when he sees Uncle Grant he says, "fball, fball mammma"... SO CUTE! He relates Grant to football- smarty pants. My little hunny bear is going to be an athlete- he has to be, end of story :)

This month is also Dajuan and I's FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Can you believe it has already been a year, so great :) I'm so happy and blessed, we are so happy! It's such a toss up when you end up having a baby before the wedding- at least I think it is. We did everything out of order and let me just say, I wouldn't wish that for anyone. Every decision is more of a challenge, the level of commitment isn't there and the perception of others isn't always a supportive one. None the less, we've made it and I'm so proud. I thank God for showing me the path to take to get me to this point in my life- it took me making bad decisions in order to have life fall into place. I'm starting to learn God's plan is far bigger than I ever expected. His love for me is so deep; I constantly mess up and he wipes my slate clean. I yearn to be holy. Does that make sense to you? I want to live my life to his expectations; of course I'm human and a stubborn one at that! I mess up all the time, but I know my God is an awesome God!

My prayer for this month is to continually show me that I am not in control, that my plan isn't always right and that my timing isn't yours Lord. I thank-you for sparing our lives in on that rainy day and look forward to every morning you bless us with. Life may be crazy but it's blessed, we're blessed.


Abby Marie

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Here, There, and Everywhere

Hi All! It's Thursday, one day closer to the weekend. My plan was to blog earlier this week, but things have been all over the place so here I am! It has been an amazing couple of weeks. Two weekend ago, Dajuan and I traveled across state to Saugatuck, MI, where my Uncle Dony has his boat in the Yacht Club there. It was their annual Margarita Party; Dajuan and I have made it a point to attend each year. This year was no different, it was amazing! The weather couldn't have been better- low 90s and sun!

What a beautiful sight of Lake Michigan, I'm convinced there is no better!

Dajuan and I were able to spend endless hours on the boat, and in the water as well as get in some quality time with great people! Below is a picture of us on the dock at the Club, cute right?

Aunt Prudie kept Braylon over night so we were actually able to enjoy the water all day Sunday as well. After that weekend treat we headed back East home to Braylon and to prepare for the upcoming week; after all, Braylon and I were jet setting to Austin, TX on Thursday to see EMILY ELIZABETH! The week actually went by quite fast and before you knew it, Braylon and I were in the air headed south to Austin.

Can I just say, I have the most amazing sister in all of the world! She was so great to us while we were in TX. She spoiled Braylon beyond belief. It was adorable, when we first arrived at her house (which is absolutely gorgeous by the way), she had dresses laid out for me and an outfit laid out for Braylon that she had bought for us, as well as lots of diapers, swim suits and sunglasses! We arrived late Thursday night, so we headed to bed shortly after we landed to prepare for some eventful days ahead.
Friday morning was wonderful! We woke up and made 'pannicakies' as I like to call them to Braylon. Of course he devoured 4 medium sized cakes before I cut his cute little butt off. Then we all showered and headed out to lunch and shopping. Emily took us to the 'Domain Shopping Center' in North Austin. It was raining that morning and luckily Braylon was ready for a nap; it was amazing, Emily and I strolled for hours roaming exquiste shops and restaurants.

Here are a few pictures from our afternoon:

After a day filled with shopping bliss, we headed out to dinner at Mangia's... a couple blocks from where Emily lives, so we walked. It's a great Chicago style pizza place. It was so yummy!

After dinner, Emily's roommate Mary volunteered to watch Braylon for a couple hours so that we could go downtown to 6th Ave. and check out the night life. The city at night is so gorgeous, as most cities are. We walked for what seemed like forever, but hey, whose complaining! Josh took us to his favorite restaurant, Iron Cactus, where we sat rooftop sipping on some Cactus Juice Margaritas! YUMMY!

That is the end of day ONE! The next day we met up at Josh's apartment complex pool area with some of our cousins from Nothern Texas and spent the day grilling out and swimming. It was awesome to relax and just enjoy being on VACATION! My cousins are so cute and can I just say, that Braylon had the time of his life. By the end of the day, he was jumping off the edge into my arms!

Here are a few shots from the day:

After spending endless hours in the sun, we were all so burnt out and tired. The Spear cousins all headed back home and Emily, Josh, Braylon and I headed out to Plucker's for dinner! I'm so disappointed I didn't get a picture of my deep fried pickles, but boy were they delicious! It was a nice relaxing evening, we sat on the patio, ate good food and chatted over pickles and wings... mmm :)

I couldn't believe how fast our trip was going, before I knew it, it was Sunday, our last full day in TX... tear! We woke up and took a nice walk through Emily's gorgeous neighborhood. Emily lives right off of University of Texas' campus in a colorful neighborhood of houses occupied by mainly professors and administration of the University. I couldn't help but take a few shots of these beautiful homes, their architecture was so unique and pretty.

Emily's House:

Here are some of the beautiful houses in her neighborhood:

After our walk, we hurried to get ready for church and lunch. Church was held in an event center building right downtown. It was a gorgeous area, with beautiful highrise buildings around it. Take a look at the set up!

Considering this was a final day, we headed out to lunch for one last hoorah! Emily took us down to South Congress Ave.; it really reminded me of Ann Arbor or Nashville. So eclectic and artsy, I loved it. We ate at Guerro's Authentic Mexican Restaurant. Nothing like going out on a good note! The food was delicious and they even had table side entertainment. After we were done with lunch, we walked the strip checking out dozens of cute shops; it was so hot, we didn't last long.

I hope the pictures do our trip some justice, it was simply amazing. I'm so blessed. Thank You Emily for all that you did for Braylon and I, we had the best time and cannot wait to come visit again.

I hope all of you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend and are all back in the swing of things now that school is off and running! OH, and I almost forgot, my girl's had their first volleyball game last night, and we WON! Lots of work still to do, but hey, I'll take it. Just call me coach ;-)

Until next time.... Abby Marie

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dazed & Confused

Hi World! It's Wednesday, which means it's not Friday.. so technically, I'm not happy. Work is so slow and boring. I want more. I need more. I'm craving a challenge, more money, and feeling worthwhile. I'm sure many of you have taken jobs because they are avilable but realize you have settled. I know my hand is in the air, I'm one of you. At this time in my life, I know that working is a priority, so that justifies my reason for being unhappy with what I'm doing, right?

I've been wrestling with the idea of being a stay-at-home mom again until I find the right job for me? It's something I ponder into often. I hate the fact that Braylon is learning his colors from a daycare teacher, while I sit at this desk all day. Dajuan and I have discussed me staying at home again but just aren't comfortable with the idea. It is a secure paycheck and right now, we need stability; however, does money justify happiness? In today's world money is everything, right? I feel so torn and angered about it all. God will always provide; my happiness means more to me...I think. Why did I even go to college? Why put in the late nights and long hours if I can't relish in an end result?

Yes, I'm only 24, but I have responsibilities, dreams, goals and a son depending on me. I want more. God knows my desires and my needs. He knows my faults and what my weaknesses are. I keep telling myself that he has me here for a reason. It always comes back to the same verse: You may not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand. I want God to listen! Why won't he bless me with a clear answer? These struggles are constant battles that I have within... Aren't you constantly struggling with a battle that you feel you can't win?

In my case, there is one thing that is clear... I want to feel like I have a purpose, what that purpose is, I still don't know. Maybe it is to be a stay-at-home mom...pray for me would you? I've said it before, but I'll say it again... I have been digging deep with God in the past few months; I want to feel his presence. I want him to know I'm here on this stranded island ready to be rescued! Life is too short, to be anything but happy. I'm hoping to have a conclusion to my questions soon, I just don't want to make any rash decisions and hate myself for it in the end.

On a more upbeat note, I've taken the role of Birch Run's 8th Grade Girl's volleyball Coach for Fall 2010. Our practices started last week... wow am I in for a busy couple of months! So far so good; I have 27 girls, two teams and lots of attitude! I like it though; it's been good for me. I enjoy helping them, and giving them self-confidence. It's fun to watch them learn and try to understand the game. I'm hoping for an exciting season! I'll post lots of pictures as the season unfolds.

Here's to hoping that the last few weeks of summer are grand! Cheers!

Abby Marie

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

These are the days...

I hate that I haven't blogged in a while... I think about doing it all the time, my fingers just haven't had the ambition. I've been preoccupied with working two jobs, a baby name Braylon and twitter.. haha!

This past weekend Emily flew back into town for Becky's wedding. We were both bridesmaids and it was honestly one of the best weekends we have had in SO SO LONG! We had so much one on one time together and it was just so great to chat in person! Here are a couple photos of all of us from this weekend (More to come, just have to find the time to upload the camera)

I cannot believe I turn 24 this weekend, where does time go? This weekend we aren't doing anything too special, just hanging out. I'm hoping to go to the beach tomorrow and let Braylon do his thing in the water. Then on Sunday we are having some family over to our new place to BBQ and enjoy the last bits of summer.. sigh.

I hate that summer is coming to an end but the only good thing about fall is, FOOTBALL! My baby brother made Varsity this year, so proud :) I won't lie, I'm pretty excited about watching him play on Friday night under the lights.

Don't you think it'd be cute if I got a personalized outfit for Braylon to wear each Friday to Grant's games? I'm definitely going to check that out, soon!

Even though summer is coming to a close, I still have a count down of events coming up!!

August 28, Dajuan and I are headed to Saugatuck for the annual Margarita Party @ the Yacht Club... hard to believe this will be our 3rd year attending! I'm bartending again, it's always a good time and we get to spend the entire weekend on Lake MI, with family and friend, what's better than that?

The very next weekend, Braylon & I are hopping a jet plane down ATX to see my sissy in the deep south! She has our weekend all mapped out for us::: full of, pedicures, pools, site-seeing and margaritas... YES PLEASE!!

After we head back to MI from a weekend get-a-way, I have my brother's football games to look forward to as well CMU's Homecoming football game... all of my college roomies and I are going to pack up and spend the weekend together. Can you say, EXCITED!? I haven't been to CMU since I graduated in 2008, it is well overdue!!

Before I know it, it will be Christmas again... whew!

I hope everyone's summer has been blessed. I know mine has. God has been working in my life so much. I am continually praying for guidance on my career future, my marriage, my son and my family. I am so thankful to have a relationship with God that is understanding and truthful.

I still have many days that are available; if anyone wants to meet up, go to the beach, go to dinner or have a skype date... CALL ME! Life is too short to wait..

I'll leave you with a recent photo of my handsome man @ church camp with his Auntie.. xoxoxo


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Amazing Grace... How Sweet the Sound

This week has been so hard for me. My family is at Simpson Park and I'm stuck at home working; being a grown up is tough! I have been blessed with a few days down there and I have this upcoming weekend to look forward too-- but the whole week would have been great :)

Last night was so great. I headed down to Romeo after work, just in time for dinner and evening service. My entire family on my dad's side was all in attendance at the same time. My Grandma Thelma would have been so happy! I had been praying that service would speak to me-- that God would speak to me. I know so many people that say they hear from God, they talk to him, he is present in their life--- I feel like I haven't heard from God in so long. Maybe I have; the signs just aren't clear.

Last night changed everything.

It all started with the music-- just great, great music capped off by Amazing Grace.

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace

I was sitting between my dad and Uncle Dony. My heart started to melt-- so much has happened. This song is routine- it's a staple- but it couldn't have played at a better time. Our chains are gone-- we are set free-- his love is unending because of his AMAZING GRACE!

This song just set the tone for the sermon--- I was sure of it!

I told myself on my way down, regardless of the sermon, I wasn't going to get emotional. It's wearing and overwhelming- but it's also inevitable at a place like camp. The speaker at evening service was a new, fresh face. He was younger and excited. As he began to speak, I kept praying for God to talk to our family, as a whole. My dad was there, my Aunt Prudie, my Uncle Dony... Grant, Emily and I. (Not to mention 20+ cousins, Great Aunts and Uncles) If you know me personally, or my family, you know our story. We are finally at a point in our lives where we can face the past, and look forward and know there is a future for us. A fresh start.

He began by reading from the book of John.

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,d who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

You are probably thinking--- okay? He went to tell a parallel story from his own life experiences. "When I was growing up, my dad was my coach and active in our school... he was a good dad, and still is." I knew, right then, here it comes. He went on to explain that the past 8 or 9 years have been the most challenging and hardest years of his life. His father, a great man, was an alcoholic... a recovering alcoholic. He spent many nights picking his dad up off of the front lawn, bailing him out of jail, and dropping him off at numerous rehab facilities.

.....................Really God, you're gonna take it here?........................

He continued by explaining how his father's addiction had completely taken over his life, emotions, and decisions. Every single feeling he had, I had felt and experienced. I wanted to run up there and hug the man! I myself let my father's addiction control me for far too long-- I was happy when he was happy, I was sad when he was sad, I was sick when he was sick. My personal life became a train wreck and my sense of determination deminished. I wanted to fade away-- as did he.

I noticed my dad's knee start to tap at an increasingly fast pace, I can only imagine what this message was doing to him and for him-- a new saved and healthy man!

I truly feel God sent these words to our family- He sculpted it just for us. He knew we were all going to be there and that we needed to hear His Amazing Grace. My father as well as the speaker's father are both recovering addicts, Amen.

The story doesn't end here though. The book of John explains that God had known of the risks he was taking when he created heaven and earth. He took a risk-- on me. God knew that we would face trials and tribulations; he knew that we would have tough choices to make. He also knew that WE WERE WORTH THE RISK.

"You may not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

I still don't fully understand-- but this message has helped me remember, no matter how bad it was, God took the risk on my family and will continually show His unending love and Amazing Grace. For the first time in a very, very long time, I felt God's presence. I was surrounded by family, I felt at peace and loved.

God has a purpose for all of us- no matter the situation. He took a risk on YOU because YOU are worth it. I am so thankful for all I have endured, it has molded me in my walk with Faith. I will be forever grateful.

ONE love.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I've got Friends in Low Places

It's Friday again--- these weeks really do fly by. Friday is a toss up for me, I love being out of the office for a couple days but I get so bored when I'm not there. In college it was different, I had several roommates and easy access to great friends. I never thought moving back home would be so hard. I'm so antsy all the time-- with nothing to ever do.

For the past 5 years or so I was surrounded with people my age, with the same interests and responsibilities. This past year and a half or more has showed me that life doesn't slow down for anyone. I have friends all over the state--- some of which I rarely am even in contact with anymore. I hate to even look at old pictures-- it makes me emotional and sad.

I was just talking my friend Annette briefly this morning on how hard it is to have "long distance friendships". It's easy to keep in touch through facebook and texts but nothing is the same as being in person. Right now, I'm at a point in my life where I need my girlfriends (and Adam) again. It's hard being a young mommy, without other friends who are dealing with the same issues. I miss having ideas to bounce off of someone--- Don't get me wrong, having a husband is great but it's just different. You know what I'm saying, right?

Today, while I've been aimlessly sitting at my desk, I've realized that nothing can replace a true friendship. I'm yearning for those connections again. I am missing friends from school and home and family near and far.

Change is change-- its going to come and 'change' us all. I'm learning to deal with the fact that each of us have been dealt different cards, with different agendas, daycare schedules, and 3rd shifts--- but nothing replaces a friendship. New and old, I want you all to know how much I did and still do love you :) My goal is to become a better friend, keep in touch with current friends and reconnect with old. Life is too short, God has his plans... A weekend thought to ponder on.

ONE love. Abby

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life. Sigh. Life.

Today is just a sad, sad day... for so many reasons. My head is spinning out of control. I have so many questions--- then again, when don't I? I question God so much, but that's okay right? My Aunt Prudie always used to tell me, God would rather you scream at him than not say anything to him at all-- words to live by!

Today has really just been an odd day, to say the least. My heart is hearting- yearning- crying out- broken.

You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand (John 13:7)

This verse has been my life's staple for what seems like eternity. When my parents decided life together wasn't going to work anymore, I opened my daily devotion and that is what I read. I learned right then and there, God was listening. I knew that he knew my heart-- but I wasn't about to go down that easy. I wanted answers right then! I put up a fight; crossed my arms, laid on my back (kicking and screaming) for hours. I through a fit and I didn't care how ridiculous I looked.

I've noticed recently, we, meaning humans, throw fits all the time, over ANYTHING. Like I said, today isn't good. Today actually sucks. This morning I woke up early, turned on the news (nothing new there) and began to get ready for work. I heard our local station mention a shooting in Mount Pleasant last night, but, honestly I paid it no attention. I thought to myself, oh another petty crime. Couldn't have been more wrong.

Man shot at Cabin bar - The Morning Sun News: Serving Clare, Gratiot and Isabella counties

My beloved alma matter. I spent many nights, had many conversations, worked many fundraisers and ate lots of pizza at 'The Cabin' (where the shooting took place). The issue here isn't the location of where this awful event took place but why it took place. I'm not sure on all the reasons, I've heard many stories. I can say there is a lot of 'he say, she say'... All I really care about is an innocent life was taken as well as angry soul, over what? Someone throwing a fit over a situation that was highly tamable through conversation.

After the initial shock, I realized-- this happens all too often. People go to drastic measures over issues that are resolvable-- altering lives of others forever. God is constantly reminding me that he is available and ready to take the wheel. I'm trying to make sense of something that is nonsense. I read a post earlier this morning by a friend from CMU regarding the shooting... he said that Satan is at it again. How true? Satan is ready to steal, kill and destroy. We all fall victim to his inviting temptations somewhere along the line. I know that I do!

This afternoon I've had several people calling my office-- swearing, screaming, sounding so miserable-- it brought me back to the shooting last night. This world is full of such deceit. How terrible it must be for customers to call an office, threaten workers, scream until the phone shakes and still sleep soundly at night? It's your choice- your actions- your life... how do you handle your fits?

My challenge to you friends is to take this tragedy, these lies, satan's deceit and apply it to your walk with God. He is right there, ready for you to take his hand. For with him, nothing is impossible.

Today, when you think about it-- say a prayer, for the victim in this horrible shooting, for the family and friends and also for the shooter. May his family find peace during this disturbing time. My heart goes out to you all--

I pray that when we want to throw a fit, that we take a step back and analyze the situation. What is really going on? Are we being rational? Is there a way to handle this calmly? Life is too short. God is FAITHFUL.

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again. (Psalm 71:20).

AMEN. Abby.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I always get anxious to check the mail; don't ask me why because 9 times out of 10 its usually bills, but I always have hope for something exciting! On Saturday, I made Dajuan stop at the mailbox to let me see what kind of goodies we were blessed with for the weekend. Can you believe I was actually randomly chosen, for a tax audit. Well thank-you IRS, exactly what I was hoping for on my Saturday afternoon! ARGH!

How is it that, I am randomly 'chosen' to serve on jury duty and a tax audit within months of each other? The government must know I've got their number! Ugh... so needless to say, I'm done with the mailbox!

I wish my number was magically chosen for something outrageous like the lottery!! If I won the lottery, I would put the money to good use. I would take care of everyone close to me, first and foremost. I would completely pay off my student loans, my sister's and my husband's -- then give the loan collectors a big kiss and a pat on the tush and tell them to delete my number, because this well has RUN DRY! Then I would become a philanthropist.

I think that philanthropy is amazing. I would love to have the money to give to other people and organizations. What a good feeling that must be; creating jobs, saving lives, donating to non-profits. How rewarding, don't you agree? When I think of philanthropy, I think of DeVos. When I was living/working in Grand Rapids, for an economic development firm, I was overwhelmed with the amount of money in that city. It's mind blowing how much wealth is circulated through Grand Rapids and West Michigan from just one family.

Raise your hand if you wish Dick DeVos was our current governor. (Both of mine are raised extra high). I truly believe that if we had voted in DeVos rather than.. what's her name... our state would be running as smoothly as the city of Grand Rapids. Thankfully, we've passed a smoking ban in bars and a no texting while driving law... too bad her days are numbered, she may have been able to tackle some critical issues in upcoming years. How did she serve two terms? Again, what a joke.

I'm sorry for constantly discussing politics, but how can't you? I truly don't understand people who don't stay in tuned with our current status in America. I feel so silenced.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mixed Emotions.... LeBron

Okay, so I just had to write quick. I've been sitting here w/ my hubby watching "The Decision".... LeBron's decision on what team he is going to play with this fall. A special on it, really?

It's so weird because I'm torn. I LOVE watching sports, Dajuan is a freak when it comes to basketball.... but why do we surround sports with SO MUCH MONEY. Stewart Scott said to LeBron, "It's obvious you made your decision on championships and not money." HUH? He's making millions and millions.

He is doing this with a good heart, donating to The Boys and Girls Club, supporting Foundations etc... but how come he is worth that much money. We're a country who pushes education, yet he played pro straight out of high school. ummm... okay, that's fine yet he is pushing to be a "billionare". I LOVE LEBRON, lets get that straight. But I feel bad being such a supporter when it's hypocracy. How can we not afford to pay our bills, pay for our own flipping healthcare etc, yet we can pay for jerseys, tickets to a game, sponsorships with Nike, Vitamin Water and McDonalds.

I think that sports bring a lighter focus to life. They bring a sense of joy to those who are experiencing economic hardship and just need a place to escape too... I get all of that, and I fall victim to it myself. I guess, I just don't understand our culture, our world, our priorities.... I don't understand. How can one person be worth so much money, have so much influence and be considered so powerful.... and he's just an athlete.

I'm happy he's in Miami, I love sports... I guess I just don't understand how we can want to have Social Medicine in this country, and pay our doctors 50 K a year, when they are saving lives, and athletes are just athletes... You know what I mean right?

This is more of a journal entry than anything--- I just feel torn. I want to love how much hype one sole athlete can bring to a country, yet I don't understand why it is so important.

Food for thought, goodnight.

PS.. Go Heat!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Lately life has been full, really full. I've picked up a bunch of extra hours lately at Zehnders on top of working full time at Air Advantage. Dajuan and I are on a mission to pay all the "extras" off and start to build a bank account. Sounds like a plan right?

So on top of working, I had a great few days at home with my boys over the long weekend. Braylon absolutely loves his turtle pool that his Mimi got for him. He literally dove head first into the freezing cold water and loved every second of it.

Braylon also tried out golfing. Daddy was helping him 'tee up'. It's so cute to see the two of them together sometimes. Dajuan gets such pride when it comes to showing Braylon anything--- especially, when it comes to sports. It reminds me of the Disney movie, The Lion King, when Mufasa would puff his chest out and strut his stuff for baby cub, Simba!

They are two peas in a pod... it's great! Don't worry about me though, when it comes to loving, Braylon saves it all for me :) He is such a lover, always giving me kisses and hugs. No better feeling.

Can you believe this weather though? It's been so beautiful--- summers like this, make me never want to leave Michigan.

Right now life is peaceful- sorta. I finally feel, settled. Of course there will always be tasks to get done, but those can wait. It's so difficult to be a young mom and wife. Life keeps its pace and I'm in the back of the pack running out of gas, you know what I mean? I've been pushing for stability and normalcy in my daily routine... I'm starting to think I've found it.

My sister recently blogged that change is inevitable-- and it's true; but it's also what you make of it. I still have a hard time believing what my life has become. Not too long ago I took a peek at my tagged pictures on facebook from college and thought to myself-- that was my life, really? Life has changed SO much, it's hard to remember any other way. I never would have pictured myself as a mother and wife at the age of 23, but I have to say, I wear it pretty nice :)

Life is what you make of it-- each of us will walk it out differently. In my case, it just so happens that I was blessed with this...

Oh Happy Day... ONE love.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Simpson Park.

Well I've made it to Wednesday... now I'm just watching the clock, tick tock, tick tock... Ahh, so sleepy today. From the office window is looks nice and sunny, perfect conditions for an afternoon nap!

I cannot believe that it is almost July-- where does time go, honestly? July should be a good month though! As many of you know we head to Church Camp every July and get to spend some quality time with some quality people. "Church Camp" aka, Simpson Park aka Romeo is a place like no other! In all of my 23 years I have never missed a single year. When growing up and through high school I never missed even a day... as I've gotten older with much more responsibilities it's become more of a challenge.

It's amazing to have Braylon attend now. Last year my little three month old baby attended the entire week! Aunt Prudie's cabin is where he took up residence and where he will each year until he heads to the dorms as a 6th grader! Our entire family attends... Great Aunts, Great Uncles, cousins, cousins of cousins, grandbabies...etc. It's an entire week of love love love!

Holy Grounds. If I had to describe Camp in anyway, that's how I would describe it, Holy Grounds. It's a place like no other. It changes people's lives... it surely changed mine. I remember when I asked Jesus into my heart, sixth grade, Hastings House. Hastings House is for the "dormers"... a place we attend each night while the adults are at service in the wretchedly hot tabernackle. I wasn't quite sure what I was doing when I asked Jesus into my heart, I just knew, it was the right thing for me. Thankfully, I did! I look forward to sharing my camp experience with my kids and gradbabies someday. A few years back, my Aunt P bought a cabin at Camp. The Childs family now has place to pass through the generations. It's great!

This July, Braylon is having his dedication the first Sunday at Camp. My sister is flying in and the rest of our family will be there as well... what a great way to start off the week right? Last year, Dajuan wasn't able to go with Braylon and I, so I'm anticipating showing my Hubby how special Simpson Park truly is this time around!

Simpson Park is a campground full of people from all over the place. It's a community of Christians who have shared their walk in Christ together over the years... near and far. Each year as campers, we would make new friends and be reunited with old and spend our week growing together, sharing stories, building trust, and loving God.

I remember growing up, when I would be at home, my friends would ask me about camp. "What do you do there?" "How could 'Church Camp' be so much fun?"... I never had a real response and I never will. When you are in the presence of God and walking on Holy Grounds; you just have to be there, there are no words.. Camp is fun, trust me. It's fun to just be there. Sit around and chat. It's really laid back and offers a plethra of opportunity.

While in college, I didn't view camp the way I typically did before and do now again. I was so mad at God. I had a really hard time even thinking about Simpson Park. Tt was more of a chore to go than anything. I would purposely schedule myself at work, or plan something important that week in order for me to back out on going. I would still go, but only stay a day here and a day there. I didn't want to go, because I knew that if I went I would have to face my issues. Isn't that the truth though? So many times in life, we avoid places or people because of an underlying issue.

For me, I had issues then that I didn't even know at the time. I thought being in college, I could do anything. I let go of who I was. I became a person I wasn't proud of... makes me sick to even think about now. Wow, was I mad. I was so mad at God. I remember driving back and forth to school from home, screaming at God. Cussing his name, yelling at him and telling him he was worthless. I'll admit it. I couldn't understand why God was letting my parents get divorced and why he was taking everything away from me. I thought my world was over and was going to do anything I could to run from it. I was so ashamed and scared.

College is so bittersweet to me. Most of it I can't remember, for many reasons. I feel like my mind has blocked out a huge chunk of my life, due to stress and pain. Another part of my brain can't remember anything due to massive amounts of alcohol and bar nights. At the time, I thought I was going to escape my home life by acting out in my college life. Wrong.

Now, where I'm at today, I've made a mends with God. Not totally, but I'm definitely on my way there. Each day, I try to find the good in life and let go of what's holding me back. I'm not where I want to be yet, but that's okay. I have a lot of shame and guilt, that I have to still work on. My sister always reminds me that God has already wiped my slate clean--- he doesn't even remember what he has already forgiven me for. So why can't I just forget and move on?

For those of you going to Camp this year, let's make it a good one. I'm praying that this will be the year that I find complete healing and will break from these chains once and for all. If you have lasted this long to make it all the way down to the bottom of this post, YAY! Sorry it was more of a journal entry than anything.

Say a prayer, that this year, Simpson Park will continue to change lives, even mine!

ONE Love.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Red White & Blue

I've decided that if I can't afford to take a vacation, I'm going to go vacationing in my mind. Right now I'm floating in a nice raft in the middle of a crystal clean Michigan Lake listening to a little Kenny Chesney... I can almost feel the sun bronzing my face.

Have you ever just needed to take a break from your day and let your imagination run wild? Lately, my life has been so consumed with work, deadlines and appointments that I've found "me time" is "no time".

I've decided I HAVE to have "me time" regardless of how ridiculously busy I am. Hmmm maybe blogging is my "me time " hehe. I do enjoy it and find it uber relaxing.

So anyways, now that I've gotten some relaxation going, whose ready for the holiday weekend coming up? I know that I am! Forecast is calling for low 80s and sunny skies in Michigan... YES please! I'm hoping Braylon will love the fireworks this weekend as much as he loved the ones on Memorial Day weekend. I might even buy some sparklers and see what he does!

Red, white and blue... mmm love those colors, and love the fact that I see them everywhere in the weeks leading up to the 4th of July. I love what they represent and the pride they have.

Did you know that June was the deadliest month in the war thus far? Nearly 3 dozen soldiers were killed this month, sad but true.

The 4th of July represents so many powerful issues in this country. Regardless of your political stance, as Americans we unite for one day and show our pride for a country built on simple principals: Freedom, Bravery, Pride. I encourage you this weekend to really take in the meaning of the 4th of July. Show respect to our country, our leaders, our troops and our FREEDOM.

Happy 4th of July to you, my fellow Americans! I couldn't be more prideful in such a troubling time in our country. Prayers prayers prayers... keep them coming for the safety of our troops and the decisions made by our leaders.

ONE love.

Friday, June 25, 2010

1 Peter

So lately I've been really praying that God would make my desire to learn more about him grow. I want my walk with him to flourish and expand. I want to learn more. I want to know what I really believe in. I want to feel his love and show it too... when I say that, I really mean it.

I want to repent. I truly do. I pray each day that God forgives me for all my sins. I want him to wipe me free everyday. My sister mentioned a few nights ago that I start in 1 Peter, claiming that it was an easy read and somewhat relatable and interesting. Finally, I dusted off my personalized bright pink leather-back bible and began to read. I started slow, only reading a few chapters the first night, you know to kind of get my feet wet. Turns out, 1 Peter really spoke to me.

"The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

I feel that if I can learn to love and show love, my true character and personality will shine. I will let free of over hanging stress and allow God to have his way with me. I'm the type of person who dwells on the little stuff in life. I like to have my life on a strict schedule. I have our bills (checks included) wrote out weeks in advance with sticky notes marked with mail dates. I like to have Braylon's clothes picked out each night before bed and my mine as well. I don't like when things happen unexpectedly. What it comes down to is, I don't like it when I'm not in control.

The truth is, am I ever really in control? My goal is to learn how to love and let go. To be myself and ease up on stressing out on pointless issues. I'm praying that God will allow me to relax enough to see what he is doing in my life.

"God opposes the proud, but gives life to the humble."

My hope is that my walk in faith will only get stronger. I can feel each and everyday my desires becoming more clear. I am a child of God who is slowly but surely finding her way. I find it comforting to look back and see how far I've come and know how far I still have to go.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

Couldn't have said it better myself, thanks Peter! Literally just laughted outloud.

Hopefully everyone has a great weekend! I picked up a couple of shifts at Zehnder's this weekend hoping for some extra money... so much for my weekend! On the bright side my dad is flying in for a few days, can't wait to see him, it's been a while!

ONE love.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fly ((high)) ANGEL

Hope you all had a great weekend! This past weekend, Dajuan and I and a group of our friends headed up to Ludington for the Gus Macker on the beach. Couldn't have asked for better weather; needless to say I look like I've been cooked to medium well!

It's funny, I'm just not used to being around adults outside of work anymore... I'm not sure if you really understand what I'm trying to say. To put it in simplier terms, I just can't hang like I used too. You are probably thinking, Oh Abby, you're only 23 years young! Honestly, I'm tired by midnight and not into the party scene at all anymore.

I had the best time at the beach all day Saturday. We had our toes in the sand, soaking up the rays and sipping on some cocktails. I even braved the bitterly cold Lake Michigan to take a quick dip! By 10 pm, I was ready to call it a night. Meanwhile everyone else was just getting started...wha wha wha!! My mind was trying to coach me through it, "Abby you can do this, come on, you know you can." My body was screaming, "Abby you can't do this, come on, you need to go home to bed." HAHA. It was one of those situations where I knew I was overly tired but I wanted to prove to myself that I could still have fun and be a mom at the same time.

I apologize to those of you I was with that night for not feeling good and being a Debbie Downer!! Overall it was a great weekend with friends, can't wait to do it again next year :)

After heading home from Ludington, we were all exhausted except for Baby Braylon, he was ready to play! He missed us hehe :) Considering it was Father's Day, I made Dajuan his meal of choice. Shake and Bake Chicken, cheesy potatoes, veggies and rice. Two starches, just what my rear end was asking for! After dinner, Braylon kept daddy and I on our toes climbing and crawling all over the place... It's amazing to me how kids his age show no fear. Regardless, I love watching my baby boy be so active.

Today, I headed into work, looking somewhat like a lobster. Regardless, I was happy the weekend was over and I heading back to work. One of the ladies I've met since working at Air Advantage, Mary Jane Borchard, was in the office bright and early as she is every payroll Monday. She is usually as chipper as a bird, smiling from ear to ear. Today was different. Her demeaner was quiet and somewhat off. I wanted to approach her but waited for her to say something first.

Let me give you a little background about Mary Jane (MJ). Her husband is running for Saginaw County Circuit Judge right now, if you live here, VOTE for Jim Borchard!! He's a good guy and stands for what we need here! Aside from that she is huge into family. From the first day I started at Air Advantage she couldn't stop gushing about her family; I found it comforting. She slowly began to unravel about her young niece, Anaya Kathryn. Anaya just so happens to be the exact same age as Braylon. They were born two weeks apart, so of course I enjoyed hearing stories about her young niece because I could relate.

What MJ finally told me was that Anaya was diagnosed with a rare disease just after the first of the year. At first they weren't sure how severe it would be, the doctors ran a series of tests and couldn't really give them a straight answer. Her symptoms were heavy congestion, she couldn't sit up, or turn her neck on her own. In February she caught a cold from her 3 year old brother, Thys, which eventually landed her in the hospital. She was given hours, even days to live. Her parents were in shock, her family (MJ)was overwhelmed and saddened. I couldn't stop thinking about this little girl, who deserved none of this and how lucky I was to have such a healthy baby. I prayed for Anaya every night when I rocked Braylon to sleep. I would look at him and could only imagine the pain and fear Anaya's parents had to be feeling.

Hours turned to days and days turned to months... before you knew it little Anaya was released from the hospital and spent her days being a "Diva" according to MJ. I became fasinated with this little girl and her family whom I had never even met. I followed her carepages daily, reading her updates and filing through her gorgeous pictures. Anaya's mother did a fabulous job with her pages she posted. It was amazing the strength this woman developed through such a trying situation. She always was faithful to God and looked to him for peace and strenth.

Recently, I realized the carepage posts got fewer and far between and MJ stopped talking about Anaya as much. A week or two ago I approach MJ about Anaya. She was all smiles! She said, "Abby, I just don't know what to think, it boggles my mind how well she is doing, she's truly a miracle. She then said, "I'm scared though... I'm scared because the future is so unknown." What a powerful statement, right?

MJ is right the future is unknown, it is unknown for all of us though. In one split second our lives could change forever. Just like that, life did change for Anaya and her family. Early Sunday morning, Jesus took Anaya's suffering away and she went to be with him. I stood there in shock and tears when MJ told me the news. I thought to myself, that can't be, MJ had just told me how well she had been doing.

The truth is, it doesn't matter how well she had appeared to be doing, her time here on earth was over. God has a plan for her family and a reason for why they took their baby girl so soon. I again was taking back, thinking to myself, how blessed I am to have Braylon and how our lives are so unknown. I ask that you all pray for Anaya and her family right now during this very difficult time. May this be a reminder to you all that our life here on earth is really nothing to the life that God has planned for us in heaven. Fly high baby angel!

One Love.