Monday, December 30, 2013

Week Four: Dressember 2013


I can’t believe we’re almost at the end of Dressember! Or at the end of the year, for that matter. This little update will just be short and sweet today (and late, but you know, whatever). I have bigger things cooking, along the lines of getting real with goal-setting and prepping for 2014. Be excited! I know I’m enjoying the process this year. More on that later.

Last I heard we hit around $115,000 in raised funds that go straight to the International Justice Mission. I still have $90 to go to reach my personal goal of $200.  If you operate last minute like me, now is your time! I’m almost one hundred percent positive that the campaign will stay open until January 3rd, which also happens to be this Friday.

You can donate to the campaign here.

Learn more about Dressember here.

Catch up on my Dressember story on this little blog here, here, here, and here

 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Week Three: Dressember 2013



Hooray! Week Three = a success! This week we reached over $100,000 in funds that go straight to the International Justice Mission. This is huge, y’all, and so exciting. I hear that we’re shooting for $125,000 by the end of the month. 

As always, if you want to know more about Dressember, you can visit here.

You can read about my Dressember story here, here, and here.

And if you find yourself with some extra money on your hands during this giving season, you can join this movement and give here.

This week was an adventure because I had a minor surgery scheduled for my foot. I’ve been dealing with an injury for about a year and a half, and finally got it taken care of this week. I was a little nervous about how Dressember + foot surgery would work together, but it turns out that it’s a great pairing! Putting on a dress every day makes me feel fresh, cute, and most importantly, ever so comfortable. It’s made recovery better than I had anticipated, and my hospital gown even made a cameo as a Dressember outfit. Also that boot is a cute accessory, right?

(Daily pictures found here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Four Pt. 2, Day Five, Day Six, and Day Seven.)


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Week Two: Dressember 2013




We’re two weeks in and I’m finding this way easier than I thought it would be. Sometimes I’m just so fidgety in pants and some days they are the most uncomfortable thing. So for me, wearing dresses is a fun celebration every day, because I love them! They’re comfortable, cute, and easy to wear and accessorize.  But I know so many women who just don’t do this whole dress deal. It’s not their thing. And that’s great! I think Blythe Hill said it well here: “Wearing a dress is one way of expressing/embracing femininity; it's definitely not the only way, nor is it the "right" way. Femininity is complex and beautiful in its diversity of expression. Dressember is less about defining femininity and more about solidarity in dressing for a cause.” 

That solidarity and sense of purpose has been one of my favorite things so far about Dressember. This idea just feels like an awesome movement that is enacting change. We can make a difference by choosing what to wear every day and by talking to people about things we’re excited and passionate about. Winner! 

Join us? 

You can read more of my Dressember thoughts here and here

And check out the official website here

Also, you don’t have to wear a dress every day to be part of this awesome community! If you want to, you can donate some monies here (my personal campaign.) And check out the hashtags #dressember2013 and #youcandoanythinginadress for some fun inspiration!   

(Again, sorry for the less than stellar graphic this week. Also, you're welcome for the extra photo of our very attractive tacky Christmas attire.You can find the daily pictures here:  Day OneDay Two. Day Three  Day Four. Day Five. Day SixDay Six: Part TwoDay Seven.
 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week One: Dressember 2013




Week One of Dressember was a success! Our collective goal in the Dressember community was to raise $25,000 for the International Justice Mission (IJM) and we blew that one right out of the water in the first few days. Our new goal for the month of December is $100,000 and we're just about halfway there in the first week. I reached half of my personal goal within the first day, and am hoping to keep the momentum going and surpass it by a lot. 

Sorry for the not so great graphic guys, I was seriously about to throw my laptop out the window trying to get the open source Photoshop equivalent to work, and not even about to brave the snow to get to campus to use their software. InstaCollage on my phone happened, no big deal. I've decided to post daily pictures on Instagram and Facebook and do a weekly update on my blog so y'all can stay caught up.

 You can find the daily pictures here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, Day SevenIf you find yourself with some extra time, check out the hashtag #dressember2013 for a little inspiration. #youcandoanythinginadress is a fun one, too.

Outfit-wise, I've been having fun. It's challenging to come up with something cute, warm, comfortable, and in some cases, able to hide charcoal dust (thanks, drawing studio). I thought I'd be so cold all the time, but I've managed to keep pretty cozy even though we've had crazy cold weather this week. I mean single digits cold here, y'all. The weather alerts in my app last night said it was the coldest since 1972, and I believe it. I have never before experienced this kind of cold, and I have so much respect for the ladies Dressembering in places where you wouldn't even blink an eye at single digit temperatures. You are brave, dear women. So brave. I applaud you. Snow makes wearing dresses hard.

I've been thinking this week about determination and how much it can change things. When I first found out about Dressember, I didn't know that they were partnering with IJM. I just thought it sounded fun. I thought that I could set my mind to it and maybe not complain about the cold or limited wardrobe. But the fun-sounding challenge of a dress a day became the cherry on top of the hearty goodness of IJM and using our influence for what matters. I am determined to do this, and do it without complaining, because I believe in the heart behind this movement. I feel a little giddy when I pick out my outfit because people matter. Freedom matters and influence matters. I feel a little giddy because now I'm part of this huge community, this movement of women who have determined to do Dressember with purpose, and I love it! This week has been full of intentionally choosing joy over complaining about inconvenience. It's been about cultivating gratitude. And cultivating community. Social media truly can be such a beautiful thing when its used well. 

If you're interested in joining the movement, you can find out more on Dressember's website here!

If you have some money to spare during this giving season and want to support IJM in the fight for freedom, you can give here!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dressember 2013




Yay! Hooray! Woohoo! It’s here! Happy December! Happy Christmas! 

And…HAPPY DRESSEMBER!

I am so excited to be joining the Dressember fun this year. So, so excited. Dressember is a movement. A movement of people all over the globe, celebrating beauty and feminity for a purpose. It’s simple; wear a dress a day for a month, repeats allowed. Take a picture of your outfit and share it somewhere like Facebook, Instagram, or your blog. Tell everyone you know.

Here’s a little background for you: Dressember started in 2009 when blogger Blythe Hill wondered if she could wear a dress every day for a month. The next year it got bigger, and then in 2011 it went International (and hit Instagram). 2012 was even grander. This year, Dressember is partnering with the International Justice Mission (IJM) to raise funds and awareness in the fight against human trafficking and sex slavery. Did you know that over 27 million men, women, and children are trapped in slavery today? That number is greater than during the entire Trans-Atlantic slave trade. That number is unacceptable. 

This project is close to my heart because I believe that we are all called to be advocates for those who cannot use their voice. We all have influence. I feel like the past year for me has been a lot of sitting around and thinking about how I have influence. Sometimes the heart work takes time. And sometimes our influence impacts people without our ever knowing it. It’s time for me to start purposefully doing instead of just thinking. This is a tangible way to start. I’m ready to go and do! I love the phrase “Do what you can with what you have” because it speaks to action, now. This month, I have a lot of dresses. I have fleece-lined leggings. I have sweaters. I can wear a dress every day for a month. And if wearing a dress every day for a month can make even a small impact on someone's life and help give them a voice, I'm in!

I’ll be blogging weekly about my Dressember progress – including photos of the outfits I come up with. There are sure to be some embarrassing ones in the mix, so stay tuned. Let me tell you, fashion bloggers make this whole ordeal look effortless. I’m still getting the hang of this thing – it’s harder than you would think to conceal the remote in a natural way or pose without looking like an idiot! Bear with me, I have a feeling this will be part of the fun. 

If you want more information about Dressember, check out www.dressember.net
If you’re interested in giving a little extra from your gift budget this season, you can donate here: https://www.ijmfreedommaker.org/campaign/2278/Dressember-for-IJM/
 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Birthdays matter




Happy Thanksgiving!

And happy birthday to me!

I’ve been thinking a lot of birthdays this month. Partly because a lot of people I love were born in the month of November, and partly because I decided to celebrate my birthday all month in an effort to keep learning how to love myself. Birthdays matter because people matter. Birthdays are a celebration of creation and identity. I’ve spent too many years believing lies and twisted truth about who I am and how God made me.

This year my birthday feels like change.

This year my birthday feels like the turning of a page, a marker of continuation in this journey of healing and freedom.

It feels like leaning into God’s presence and throwing down deep roots into the soil of His marvelous love.

It feels like practicing gratitude.
It feels like overflowing joy.

It feels like being bold, capable, and creative.

It feels like standing firm in truth that cannot be shaken and hope that anchors the soul.

I’m choosing to celebrate me this year like I would celebrate someone else.  Because after all, Jesus did say to love others as you love yourself. I would be horrified if I ever heard the words I sometimes speak to myself coming out of my mouth directed towards another person. It’s time to echo the words of truth and love I hear from God deep into my heart. It’s time to celebrate the beauty of His creation and stop ignoring that I AM His creation. I am fully, deeply, and purposefully created by the Creator of all things. And so are you. 

So this year on Thanksgiving I’m thankful for the gift of abundant life. I’m thankful for my sweet husband, and our wonderful families. I’m thankful for the dear women who have given me the gift of their time and wisdom as I do this thing called life.  I’m looking forward to a year of purposefully cultivating gratitude. And living like I mean it.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of birthdays…
Two years ago TODAY I got the very best gift since my mama labored to bring me into this world. Here’s a little video documenting one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.




Micah Proposes to Abi from Abi Losli on Vimeo.

From Vimeo:
A real life, straight-from-the-cell-phone video of when Micah proposed. He proposed on my 21st birthday, and I was so surprised by his timing that I didn't know what to do with myself - other than say yes! Best decision.

Because of the cell phone quality capture, its really hard to hear. This is essentially what went down.
My mom wanted us to take some family pictures on my birthday, and then asked to get some of Micah and I. while we were posing and goofing off, Micah whispered in my ear that he had another gift for me. And then he got down on one knee.

This is the transcript that he typed up later:
Micah: The box was too big to hide in my pocket. And now my fingers are nervous and I can't get it out. Come on!
Abi: Oh my gosh....
Micah: Abigail, The past seven months have had their ups and downs but it's been good, it's been really good. And I would like to make seven months seventy years with you. You're the one for me. I love you. You're beautiful, you love people, you love God, you have a pure heart, I love you. Will you stand by my side? Will you be my partner? Will you marry me?
Abi: Yes.
Micah: It's been really hard to keep the secret for the past week or so.
Abi: Oh my gosh!
Lisse: Oh my gosh, Abi, you have no idea!
Abi: When did you decide to do this?
Micah: About a week ago.
Abi: Uhhh...
Micah: I talked to your dad on Thanksgiving morning.I woke up early and caught him before work.
Abi: Wow.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Learning to be realistic (my ideal day six months later)




It’s been a little over six months since I sat in a ballroom in North Carolina, thinking about how my ideal day would look. We did a lot more than that at Making Things Happen, but I woke up this morning thinking particularly of my ideal day. What I thought I wanted back in March has been sharpened and clarified and changed. 

The thing I’m learning about my ideal day is that it needs to be realistic. I heard this at MTH, and now I’m living it and its sinking in. This is not a visualization of what life would be like in a perfect world. This is real life. This is what life could look like, right here, right now. Like all habits and patterns, it’s taking time to establish, but I’m moving forward even when it does feel like I’m just plodding along. 

The first three months after MTH, I was a full-time student. The past three months, I’ve been a full-time housewife processing tons of fresh food for the year. I’m heading into another three months of full-time studies on Monday, and adding some part-time food processing to the mix just for fun. No, not for fun. It needs to happen, but some days I’m a little freaked out about how that’s all going to work out. 

In my mind, my ideal day should be the same, every day. I like structure, but sometimes I get stuck thinking that structure has to fit just right in the box, and it has to look a certain way. It doesn’t. In this season of life, I am a student. Every day does not look the same. Sometimes I have morning classes, and most of the time I have evening classes (what’s up art department, why you gotta do that to me?). I’m tired all the time. There are always projects to finish, always books to read, and always something.else.to.do. There are people to love, meals to cook, a house to keep clean, and a marriage to focus on. 

Now more than ever, I am beginning to understand what it means for my ideal day to be realistic.  In the last six months I’ve been fighting deep fatigue. It turns that I have a lovely combination of low iron, vitamin D, and B12. This feels like it shouldn’t be a big deal, but do you know what it really means? Zero. Energy. For. Life. This summer I’ve been learning what it means to love myself, and part of loving myself means taking care of myself. Being patient and giving grace and talking nice.  

Realistic for me sometimes means going back to sleep after Micah leaves for work. My schedule has been flexibly busy this summer, which has given me the room to sleep for a couple more hours (most days) while we work on better bedtime habits. We didn’t live together when we were dating and engaged, so we got into a bad habit of staying up late to postpone our goodbyes. I thought our late nights would be over once we got married, but unfortunately that habit has persisted. M is one of those magical people who can fully function with less sleep, and I need it. I need sleep real bad. However, its hard for me to go to bed without Micah. I like that last little bit of time with him.  I also really hate being startled awake after only a short time of sleeping - it’s disorienting and makes me feel blah. Somehow I’ve convinced myself that this will definitely happen every night if I go to sleep before him. It’s probably time to just bite the bullet and get in bed, right? (If you have a similar story, I want to know. What are your victories? What are your struggles? Am I the only one who has this problem?). 

Realistic also means being flexible. Sometimes I’m barely awake even after operating a hot stove and moving around for forty-five minutes. On those days I crawl right back in bed. Most of the time I’m awake enough to light a candle, make myself some tea, play my Four Seasons Pandora station, and sit down to just be with God and spend time in the Word. Sometimes I have to lie down again after that, but ideally I head for the cardio room or the shower, depending on the day.   

This is where structure has to become flexible. The bulk of my day is taken up with classes, household projects, food prep, meetings, studying, or who knows what else. I’m working on setting myself up for greatness for this next quarter by giving myself loose guideline for how I could spend my time. I’m filling out my Powersheets (Get them. They are revolutionizing my life. For real).  I’m making lists of things I’m saying no to and things I’m saying yes to and putting those lists where I can see them. I’m also putting my list of things that fire me up in plain sight so I can actually do those things instead of just thinking about them. I’m writing down my Big List of to-dos, and then coming up with several action items I could do easily if I find myself with a few extra minutes. 

And I’m telling you all this so that I’ll actually follow through. I love the accountability of the internet. Call me on it, okay? Leave me a comment. Send me an email. Ask me how I’m doing. If you want to get in on this action too, do it! And let me know. We can chat. 

I’m linking back to all of Lara Casey’s goal setting posts below. You can just click and save all your energies for goal setting and making it happen. You’re welcome.