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15 Things You May Not Know About Me

December 1, 2010

These are fun and I don’t care if people think they’re lame because I LOVE filling them out!

1. I really really like Mark Zuckerberg. (your comments, opinions or “facts” won’t sway me.)

2. I cannot stand wearing shoes, if I could go barefoot every day I totally would do it. In fact, I am currently sporting flip flops and its 38 degrees outside. No shame here.

3. I cannot stand it when people feed their Facebook updates to Twitter. Irritates the fire out of me.

4. I believe everyone needs a little Stevie Wonder in their life.

5. My mom and dad used to call me “Stands With Fists” from the movie Dances With Wolves. The nickname still sits comfortably on my shoulders.

6. Squash is so gross.

7. I love recipes but I rarely follow them – I use them to find new flavors to mix together.

8.  I spend a lot of time analyzing people – their reactions, speech, and interactions with others.

9. I worry about raising my future kids in America.

10. I believe the best friendships are ones that are effortless – meaning neither person has to prove themselves or their love to the other. I have about 4 of these friends and feel super blessed.

11.  It hurts me when people who have never taken time to get to know me say things about my life that they couldn’t possibly know or understand – but I think everyone knows this feeling.

12. I love me some almonds!!

13. Land of Lakes Cocoa Classics – Mint flavored Hot Chocolate is like drinking heavenly infused awesomeness.

14. Winter is my favorite season because it brings out the reflective nature in people and while its the hardest time of the year for many, it seems that you see the most honest aspects of human beings.

15. Miley Cyrus has moved from my “I cannot stand to even hear her name” list to the “Completely tolerable at moments” list as of 3 months ago. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Humbled.

October 7, 2010
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I have been having a really awful day. Twitter API has been acting funky, Facebook has been glitching up and nothing went the way I planned this morning. I forgot about a client meeting this afternoon, and I spent money that I really didn’t need to, just to prove my support for something that I shouldn’t have to prove. All I wanted to do was go to the park this afternoon with my husband and the dog and just lay in the grass barefoot and breathe fresh air, but even Jordan was too busy with school work. So I have been sitting at my desk all afternoon feeling sorry for myself and getting really frustrated with everything. And then…

My phone buzzes…a text message 4 parts long from a friend. Chris, a friend and former employee of mine when I worked as a manager at a restaurant, usually sends me these hilarious text forwards or jokes, so I assumed due to the size it was one of those funny things. So I ignored it.  Continued to tweet about how disconnected I feel and how nothing is going right. Finally, I look at my phone only to find a real text that was truly 4 parts long telling me a story…here’s what it said.

“I love you sooo much!!! Because of you, my best friend, A—-, and her kids are able to get away from an abusive situation. When u were working at ——, you gave me a prize for a host contest for a one night stay at the ——–. I called the manager, and she is allowing me to use the certificate for them for nights until Sunday morning to keep them away. Me and some friends are going to pack her place up while they are away…so thank you for the certificate that could be saving their lives. I just wanted you to know how the certificate was used and how all things happen…I found the certificate when I was cleaning my room Monday…all things happen for a reason.”

I sit here completely blown away. This was a certificate I gave to a host who got the most Give Me More Stripes sign-ups in a weekend, or something like that. I regularly gave my staff stuff for their efforts…not ever thinking it meant anything more than rewarding my hard workers. I haven’t worked for that restaurant for almost a year now…and the certificate was awarded well over a year ago. Some simple mundane action I took forever ago…actually changed someone’s life…I don’t know what to do with that. I am completely broken, speechless and humbled that God could use someone as funky as me to accomplish something good. Not that I’m knocking myself or anything, it’s just that He’s so big, and I’m so …. not.

You never know when God’s using you, sometimes its in the everyday tasks that you find normal or routine. So don’t get too mad when things don’t go right or as planned, because sometimes that’s just part of His plan.

Living Life Like A Beauty Queen

October 3, 2010

If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Jessica Sawyer she will gladly you tell you that she is indeed THE Beauty Queen.  She will also flip her hair in confidence and tell you everything you would ever want to know about the Young & The Restless, Sugarland, Selah and of course her beloved Donald Wax. I am proud to call this beautiful girl my sister.

Jessica (I am one of few allowed to call her Jessi) would argue that she is the BIG sister as she is about a half a foot taller than I am and that trumps age in her book. I would even argue that she is the BIG sister because I have learned more from her than I have any woman in my entire life. Jessi is mentally handicapped, since she was born the doctors, educators, specialists have never been able to diagnose Jessi accurately. She has dominant qualities of several known handicaps, but she is truly one of a kind. Over the years I have lived & grown up with this extraordinary person and I would be completely lying if I were to say life has been easy.

It hasn’t.

But Jessica Sawyer, THE Beauty Queen has taught me some very valuable lessons over the years, and continues to open my eyes to how beautiful life really is.

1. ‘I’m Sorry’ & A Hug Fixes EVERYTHING!

After a series of events that transformed our lives, Jessi’s ability to forgive became a beacon of hope in my life. No matter who was angry, tense or upset, Jessi would wrap her arms around them and apologize.  Many times she was not to blame for these feelings or problems but her ability to respond t0 people when they were hurting has always been something that has always mystified me.  Her solution for any argument at home, even when she was the one arguing was to hug it out, and move on.  At times this could be frustrating, but in the end Jessi’s ability to resort to love and humility despite high strung emotions has taught me that no matter what the fight, argument or frustration, saying I’m sorry can heal even the deepest of wounds. As a newlywed learning how to be a good wife and a good teammate in this thing called life, I always think about Jessi’s simple approach to conflict. I am naturally stubborn and tend to have the last word, but I am learning now that being sorry is more than just a phrase, its like saying hey– this is me, putting my sword down…I don’t want to fight, I just want to love you, I want to understand you, I want to work this out. Jessi’s compassion can diffuse any situation, and compassion is hard to come by these days!

2. Life Might Be Tough But At Least You’re Not Victor Newman!

If you don’t watch soap operas, let me just tell you a little about The Young & The Restless. Victor Newman has died at least 10 times and somehow comes back to life, he’s been married over 30 times and always goes back to Nikki. He has a daughter named Victoria and a son named Nick and even more children who keep popping up that he never knew about. He’s lost and regained his own company more than any CEO known to man. Someone is always trying to kill him, his wife, or one of his children, and the man will always look best in black leather jackets. Did I mention he never dies? Jessi can tell you more about Victor and even more on the latest drama of all the characters of Y&R. She will politely inform you know that Colleen is a witch, and that Sharon is weird. Listening to Jessi tell you about the latest news on this soap opera is a never ending drama fest that always leaves you with the refreshing reminder that while life may be really tough, at least you aren’t Victor Newman.

3. Never Let Go.

Not only is this phrase from on of Jessi’s most favorite movies, Titanic, it is also a true statement of how she values the people and things she loves.  For almost ten years we owned a wonderful cat named Samantha, this cat was Jessi’s BEST friend. Because of Jessi’s unique behaviors she would hold animals differently than the average person.  Samantha was given to us as a gift from our oldest sister Kristen (she’s technically our half sister, but we don’t believe in halves, she gives us her whole heart, so she’s our sister 100%.).  Samantha was a barn cat, had a mind of her own, and she ruled the house.  We were really concerned about Jessi being scratched by Samantha so we had her claws removed, but that didn’t stop this cat from chasing every form of wildlife up a tree. Jessi carried Samantha around by the neck. That sounds cruel, but it really wasn’t — Jessi loved Samantha.  She carried Samantha everywhere, she played with her, she hugged on her, & even slept with her like a teddy bear. Every where Jessi went — Samantha was dangling from her arms.  For many who visited our house over the years it was awkward at first to see Jessi & Samantha’s friendship…but Samantha adored Jessi. We called her the DINO KITTY because she was truly the coolest cat ever. For anyone who has ever owned a cat, you know how moody, & well catty they can be. Not Samantha, she had a sass to her, but she loved like no other animal on the planet. Even when Jessi would finally fall asleep, you could still find Samantha curled up in Jessi’s arms purring.

They told us she would never read, write or speak. She DID!

And that’s whats so special about Jessi, she never lets go of the people and things she loves…she cherishes them, and in return, those people never let go of her, we cherish her. If only we all valued those people and things in our life the way Jessi values them.

4. SING!

Jessi Sings 'Why Don't You Stay' by Sugarland

Don’t ever be afraid to be heard. No matter if you are driving down the road with the windows down stopping at every stoplight, sing with everything you have. Sing at church like there isn’t another soul in the room, raise your hands and SING! When you are grocery shopping sing with the music– and even when you don’t know how to say a word, sing with every ounce of breath you have.

These are Jessi’s rules of life. When Jessi was a little girl she could not talk, she spoke mostly in gutturals & gibberish, but when Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ came on the radio, she could sing every word and hit every note. She has never been ashamed to share her voice with the world, and what a beautiful voice it is. If you attend the same church with Jessi, I am sure you know who she is & not just because she walks up to every stranger and greets them with a big smile and hello like she’s known you for years. Jessi is undoubtedly the loudest voice during the worship service. I remember standing next to Jessi on Sunday mornings grinning ear to ear listening to Jessi sing, I remember the uncalled for stares from both kids and adults in the congregation begging me to elbow her, but I never did. I remember singing on the praise team looking out to the sleepy, bored, and mostly mute faces in the crowd looking for Jessi with her arms raised high singing with all the joy of the world and feeling like I had won the sibling lottery because my sister was the coolest person in the room.  To be honest its actually really hard for me as an adult to go to church without Jessi…God gave her to me as an example of pure, authentic worship…and I find myself angry and frustrated that there aren’t more people like Jessi…including me. This Jessi lesson is the hardest for me share because it hits home for me the most right now.

I’m a singer, and I’m not singing…I haven’t been singing for almost 3 years now. I couldn’t tell you what caused me to stop, I couldn’t tell you why its so hard for me to talk about it, I just know that God gave me a voice to use and for whatever reason, I’m not using it. I feel ashamed and really I feel unworthy of singing. I continue to be asked to come back to church, and I am constantly invited to attend chorales and to participate in events where my voice may be heard, but I can’t go. Reading my Bible, and praying aren’t issues for me, I try to better myself every day in my walk with the Lord but I wake up every Sunday morning with the best of intentions and plenty of time to go to any church I want, but instead I pull out my Bible and I cry. I have been to church about 4 times in the last 3 months, and every time I become so uncomfortable in the worship service that I can’t even hum my favorite hymns. For those who don’t know me well, worship is/was truly my time with God…the one time where I feel completely connected and loved by my Savior. I understand that worship isn’t just  music, I took the classes I know the terminology, but for me and God, we had this connection, and its not where it used to be…which bothers me to my core. I am sure its God’s way of teaching me or reaching me in a new way, blah blah blah, but it bothers me that something that has always been an intrinsic  part of my relationship with God is now the very thing that’s pushing me away from Him… but then I think of Jessi— she SINGS…she SINGS…she SINGS.  So while I am trying to find my voice again, I look to this amazing young woman of God who continues to SING with every ounce of her being, and I am filled with hope that one day I will be able to sing again.

5. Life Is Better On Broadway!

Along with Jessi’s beautiful voice is a deep passion for the performing arts.  I have had the pleasure of seeing concerts, movies, and even Broadway musicals like The Lion King with my sister. Jessi is all chatter and excitement before any major music event, but once the show begins she will shush anyone who’s being too loud.  Every now and then you will hear a big hearty laugh when something amuses her, but when it comes to her Broadway musicals– she means business. Jessi LOVES searching online for the latest shows coming to town, who the stars are (no matter if they are a no namer or new to the industry) she can quote movies, sing lyrics, and tell you who composed what on the soundtrack.

Jessi is tenacious about getting the movies, tickets or cds she wants and she will gladly tell you what is on her gift list, even if its YOUR birthday! Her favorite Broadway musical is The Phantom Of The Opera. If you’ve met Jessi and conversed with her for more than 5 minutes she has probably invited you to come see The Phantom Of The Opera for her birthday, for Christmas, for Abbi’s Birthday, for Mom’s birthday, and any other holiday she can get a present.  Unfortunately, The Phantom Of The Opera has yet to come anywhere near our area…we’ve been checking for several years now. St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Little Rock…no sign of a show, but Jessi isn’t giving up.  Her guest list has grown quite large and if the show ever does make it to the area, we will surely have to rent the whole theater just for Jessi and her guests, and that expense will be worth every penny.

Jessi being 'The Happiest Girl' with Dad!

You see Jessi exudes joy and watching a musical with Jessi is a special treat because she has no qualms about being herself. She doesn’t have a pretentious bone in her body; she shares her joys, frustrations, laughter and tears with anyone who cares to listen. Her life is simple, her love is strong, and her heart is big enough for everyone.

For Jessi life is a Broadway musical and everyone should enjoy the show.

Abbi’s Mocha Espresso Brownies

September 11, 2010

I haven’t updated in some time, so bear with the several posts I will be writing today in hopes of sharing a few recipes with my small section of the interwebs! At a recent cookout in Jonesboro, Arkansas hosted by my friend Steven Trotter, I brought my newest brownie creation — it was a hit! So for all those who attended and those who didn’t here’s the recipe for homemade mocha espresso brownies! Plus you can make them for super cheap!

Make your party guests ‘ooh and ahhh’ over your delicious addition to the desserts table!

Mocha Espresso Brownies

Ingredients:

  • One box of Betty Crocker Traditional Fudge Brownie Mix
  • Vegetable Oil & 2 Eggs
  • Cinnamon
  • Hot Cocoa Packet (Gourmet or Dark Chocolate)
  • One Shot of Espresso***
  • Coffee-mate Hazelnut Creamer
  • ***Half of a Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino (replaces shot of espresso)

Take Betty Crocker Traditional Fudge Brownie mix, 2 dashes of cinnamon, & hot cocoa packet and mix in bowl until evenly mixed. Add eggs & oil as directed on Brownie Mix directions.  Stir until smooth.  Add one shot of espresso & one splash of Coffeemate Hazelnut Creamer into mixture. ( If you do not have an espresso maker, you can add half of a Starbuck’s Mocha Frapuccino). Stir until smooth & follow baking instructions as described by Betty Crocker Traditional Brownie Mix box!

If you loved this recipe check out — Abbi’s Cilantro Lime Chicken! Perfect for a light lunch or dinner for two!

Hope you enjoy another Abbi creation!

Social Media-Tip For The Day

April 7, 2010

If you are looking for a more simple way to manage several social media outlets—Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, WordPress, Facebook Pages, and so forth, try HootSuite!

HooteSuite is a Twitter platform creating a place where you can send your status updates to one, or all of your accounts via the web! This is a great tool for professional social media marketing when you are trying to reach several different social media outlets.

HootSuite also allows you the ability to see what people are talking about, by creating columns along your deck, you can track keyword searches, people, and even lists of people who are interacting in the social media world.

For instance, say you are a Candle Company in Nebraska about to go to Candle Makers of America Trade Show, you can not only track what people are saying about your brand–how great your candle’s smell, quality control, etc—but can also track who is attending the trade show, simple by searching for Candle Makers of America Trade Show. Along with this key word you may want to know what your competition is doing, or if there are any creative ideas out there that you haven’t thought of yet. For this your key words column could consist of “favorite fragrances,” “Candle Making,” or “Creative Candles.”**

This is obviously just an example, but there are great tracking features to keep you in the loop with your company’s product trends.

THAT’S NOT ALLHootSuite provides you with great up to the minute stats with information about who clicked your ‘tweets’ where they clicked it–via Facebook, Twitter, etc…

For more info watch this really good walk through of HootSuite, and start using HootSuite today!

Still confused, I can help you out too!  Just shoot me an e-mail at abbi.siler@gmail.com

One Day—Go Barefoot!

April 6, 2010

There is a movement happening this week– April 8th,2010 — One Day Without Shoes

Go Barefoot! For one day go barefoot to generate awareness that most children in developing countries are barefoot everyday–poverty is real. And we can make a difference.

If you haven’t heard about TOMS Shoes….well you need to find out more! This amazing organization sells shoes to give shoes!  They are sponsoring this One Day Without Shoes campaign across America! For more information on how to buy shoes and also to get involved be sure to go the TOMS website!

For more information, and to find a LOCAL One Day Without Shoes Event–Go to the One Day Without Shoes Website!

And don’t forget—APRIL 8TH, 2010—Go Barefoot!

Social Media Specialist Day is April 21s

March 31, 2010

Social Media Specialist Day is April 21st! Don’t forget to appreciate your SEO’s and Social Media Specialists!