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.