Goodbye Washington

I just went back and re-read the post  that I wrote as our life in Washington began:

As we entered Washington, I was happy to see how green it was. That part, at least, felt a little more like home. I don’t think Jeremiah agreed with me, but the mountains looked even bigger here. In Wyoming and Montana they went on and on; in Idaho they were crowded and tall, but in Washington–they looked like big green giants. Wide, tall, some snow-capped, but all covered in lush evergreens. They seemed to echo the overall feeling inside our little car–intimidation. This is where we live now, I kept telling myself. It’s breathtakingly beautiful…and frightening.


Jeremiah asked if I wanted to pray, and we did. For a long time, really. It felt like something big was happening, beginning, but neither of us knew what it was. All of life is divided up into segments, but very few of those segments are a single, concentrated year. I believe God has brought us to Seattle for a reason. In Jeremiah’s understanding it was for the best spine training he could get. For me, it seemed like a chance to finally write. But, I’m not sure either of those obvious purposes is the true purpose. I know it sounds strange, but as we held hands and wove between those big green giants we prayed we wouldn’t miss whatever it was God was trying to do with our lives.


I remember those feelings so well, especially as we stand before another new beginning–that doesn’t seem quite so mysterious.  I remember wondering, then, what this post–after it was all said and done–would say?  What was it that Jeremiah and I both felt looming before us as we wove through the Cascade mountains?  There were the obvious things–spine training, time to write, growth as a little family on our own–but we both knew there was more, something else besides the obvious.DSC_0174


It was different for both of us.  I don’t want to share too much of Jeremiah’s heart, although I hope that one day I’ll get him back on here to do that himself, but I will say that God brought him through some tough things over the past year.  It was a threshing season for him–a time for sifting through the chaff–and a threshing is never fun while you’re experiencing it.  Today, however, even Jeremiah is beginning to see the beauty that’s been revealed through it all.


For me…how to be concise?  I think I can narrow it down to three primary things.  First, this year in Seattle gave me a confidence that I didn’t know I needed.  Jeremiah took a year off between college and medical school, to move to Montana and see if he could live life on his own–support himself and carve out a life without the influence of family or friends.  I was a Freshman in college during that time of his life, and I sort of shrugged it off as some type of “guy thing” that I didn’t understand.  Now, I’ve gotten to experience the same thing as a 29-year-old lady.  It was invigorating to learn to navigate a big city, far away from home, and to make friends all on my own.  I wasn’t anybody’s daughter, or daughter-in-law, or friend of anybody’s friend–I was just Abby, Jeremiah’s wife, Pace and Mary Aplin’s mom.  And, somehow or other, I still made some truly wonderful friends and lived a full life.  I didn’t know I needed that confidence…but I did.



Secondly, God confirmed a calling in my heart that was there before but not totally apparent.  I want to minister to women–other wives and mothers that struggle with the same everyday tribulations that I find in my own life.  I love to love them, to share their burdens and be honest about my own, to make them feel special…I still don’t know exactly how that calling is going to manifest itself in my life over the next few years, but I know He has given me a heart for it.  This realization came first through recognizing my own need for fellowship.  I am an introvert by nature–at least, I am strengthened by time alone.  However, moving to Seattle and feeling like I had no fellowship, suddenly opened my eyes to my hunger for it.  I’d never had to be alone before, and I used to think that was what I wanted.  It’s not.  Periods of time away, for reflection–absolutely, but I started planning a Bible study for other women, in our home, very quickly after I’d had a little time to myself.  I REALLY need other women.



Lastly, God confirmed another call on my life while I was in Seattle.  Yes, I want to minister to other women, but more importantly, He issued a priority list.  This may not sound life-altering to you, but for me it is just that.  He calls me first to be His, secondly to love, respect, and support my husband, and third to love and nurture my children.  I think that is the priority list for all Christian Moms, and while I don’t always (or even usually) live that way, I at least knew those three before.  The question for me lies in what is seated in priority seat number four?  There are lots of wonderful things crowding around, asking to be listed there: ministering to other women, being involved in our church, my own health/fitness, Bible studies, charities and volunteering galore, becoming a better cook…We all have a list, don’t we?  But we also have a finite amount of time and energy, and we can give so much to our lower priorities that our energy (and happiness) falls away, leaving our solid first three to feel the devastating effects of it.  Maybe we can do all things, but we cannot do all things well.DSC_1963
And so, I needed a number four.  What is His primary calling on my life outside of being His, a wife, and a mom?… … …He has called me to write.  To be a writer.DSC_1539

It is terrifying for me to write those two sentences.  In the same way, it was a beautiful validation from Him to me about the dearest, hidden longing in my soul.  It is empowering to feel His blessing to say “No” to some good things in order to say “Yes” to something that I’ve tucked away as a guilty pleasure.  Not anymore!  He has told me its importance, it’s my number four!  And while there are so many wonderful things I learned while we were in Seattle and so much growth that happened in my life, to have Him tell me He wants me to write is the most exciting and fulfilling.


I want to end our Washington posts with a little writing from the dearest person in my life.  Jeremiah says we wrote this song together, but really that is not true–and it sort of is.  It is one of the best nights we spent in Seattle: both of us sitting on the floor in front of a warm fire, sharing a tumbler of whiskey, a guitar in his lap, and a pile of notecards in mine.  The space needle and the Seattle skyline twinkled outside of our window as line after line fell from his lips.  I thrive on being allowed in to his creative side, to listening in amazement as it comes so naturally to him.  I would offer a clumsy phrase, he would tell me to write it down on a card.  I would write madly on his cards, to try and catch the thoughts before they dissipated.  Then we would sort through to find the treasures in the overflowing piles.  I am happy to tell you that not a single one of my cards made it to the keeping pile…but I must agree that it still felt a little like a song we had written together.  It certainly is a song that encompasses the time our family shared this past year.  {I have tried and tried to upload a rough recording that we made in the past, but I cannot get it to work.  Until I do, here are the words.}


Have you taken your head to the foot of a mountain?/ Have you taken your feet to the head of a stream?/ Have Columbian Valleys made room in your mind?/ Have you given your taste a drink of their wine?

In Washington, oh Washington, Washington…the Cascades will free you.

Can you walk the hill of Capitol without making a smile?/ Then turn your feet to Broadway and give them a mile./ Can your paintbrush still thread through the eye of the Needle,/ When the day leaves nothing but clouds on your easel?

In Washington, oh Washington, Washington…the streets they will change you.

Have your skis made tracks in the woods of Mazama?/ Has your mind made light on the Wall of the Goat?/ Have you picked up a stone to cast in the Methow?/ Did you ever stop to wonder if maybe it would float?

In Washington, oh Washington, Washington…her rivers, they’ll move you.

Have your daughters been west to heights of Olympic?/ Have their hands reached up towards the face of their God?/ Have you listened to their voices raised up in laughter?/ Did they blend with the echoes where Natives once trod?

In Washington, oh Washington, Washington…those daughters become you.

19 Responses to “Goodbye Washington”

  1. Emilie says:

    Hey Abby! This is such a cool post. I remember last year when we saw y’all at the beach and you were just about to move. You said that you were going to try not to make any friends during your year in Seattle. Aren’t you glad that wasn’t the kind of year you had? I have loved reading your blog. You are definitely a writer and I will buy your first book! (I felt like I was reading a book as you re-wrote the post from last year. I had the feeling that I get when I am just starting to get “into” a book!) Also, I am so excited for you and a sweet baby boy. That is awesome! And your new house is beautiful – a dream house with even dreamier land!!

    (sorry for the longest comment ever! -Emilie)

  2. Mitzi says:

    Would love to hear you two sing the song. Thrills me you want to minister to women. I hope Monday night was satisfying to you in being ministered to. Sorry I called you out, I think of us as equals and maybe that was not appropriate. I’ll do better.

  3. Lacey Howell says:

    awesome post and gorgeous pictures! you have such a cool family

  4. Christen says:

    Hey Abby,

    I loved that post and was able to relate so much to your heart and God’s calling on your life. Glad your family is able to take the lessons learned in Seattle back home to Dothan 🙂

    Thanks for sharing! Christen

  5. Laura says:

    Your writing is obviously a God given talent as your words are always so beautifully and eloquently written. Your words and your faith are such a blessing!

  6. Laura says:

    Hi Abby!
    I have commented only once before but am an avid follower of your blog (I do a little happy dance whenever there is a new post – nerd alert for sure). After reading your post today I just wanted to let your know that although you may not have realized it, your ministry has already begun and it has been through your words and works as an “author” as you most certainly are.

    As a stay at home mother of two young children, I daily face many of the same emotions and struggles that I’m sure all mothers do: thankful to be able to stay at home, at times dying to be able to work outside the home, wondering if it is enough to simply be a child of God, supportive spouse, and loving mother. Am I really measuring my success of these by whether of not I showered or made my family dinner instead of ordering pizza? Your posts always resonate with me and more often than you would guess are so perfectly timed, as the Lord’s timing has a way of being 🙂 I just wanted to let you know that I have appreciated your ministry and look forward to watching it grow.

    Thank you ~ Laura

  7. Ashley gaskin says:

    I love everything about this!!!

  8. Chessa says:


    Thanks for sharing your heart. I can’t even express how much I enjoy reading your blog and agreeing with you on God’s call on your life, our lives as Women and daughter’s of a great a mighty King.


  9. Katie says:

    you sure did minister to me the other day, it maybe number 5 but you did it well 🙂

    An administrator in the doctors office the other day, said “I remember you, I remember the first time y’all came in. I call Elizabeth the miracle child. I have never seen things work out so quickly (talking about appts/testing/results). I don’t know what y’all are doing in your life, but it’s working, you might want to take that luck to Florida and play the lottery.”

    I hope I have made it clear to them that it isn’t what WE are doing right, but she is a dearly loved child of The King. And there is nothing more satisfying then seeing and feeling His hand and hearing His voice with direction in your life. And so I rejoice with you that you see His hand and hear His voice and you say “yes, Lord”.

    Rock on Sister! Praise be to God! Now write us a novel! 🙂

  10. David says:

    Thanks for sharing some of your personal thoughts from this last year…I can relate. I find myself checking back on your blog way too often to see if the next post has been submitted. I really enjoy the honesty in your writing and all the great pictures to back up the text.

  11. Ashley says:

    LOVED this post as I love ALL of your posts! Cannot wait for the next one! You minister to me with every single post that you write!

  12. Emily says:

    Hi Abby,
    It was fun to see you on Wednesday, and I’ve enjoyed reading a little more about your life here, thanks to your MIL’s kind introduction. I am sorry that we didn’t have more time to talk — my head was still in the cardboard boxes when I arrived. I hope to see you around.

  13. Emily says:

    I keep coming back to read this eloquently written post. It’s wonderful that your year in Washington brought you so much clarity. You and your family are absolutely stunning!

  14. Nancy says:

    Keep writing! You are amazing!

  15. gail says:

    Hi Abby, Do you recall my e-mail I wrote before you left for WS? Write, write, write, Sweet, Girl…. It’s time!! Open your heart and write!!! I can’t wait to buy it!!!!

  16. Lindsey says:

    awesome post abby! like the others, i can’t wait to buy your first book. looking forward to hanging out this weekend.

  17. Lucy says:

    Dear Abby,
    The photographs included in this post are breath-taking, and the words that accompany them are equally beautiful.
    You are such a blessed writer. Your blog has been such an inspiration to me. Thank you kindly.

  18. LOVED this post. Loved hearing about what all HE taught you. And so thankful that HE spoke to me through this post on what HE wants from me!

  19. Gina says:

    I love to read your words. You are a writer. Love this: ‘It is empowering to feel His blessing to say “No” to some good things in order to say “Yes” to something that I’ve tucked away as a guilty pleasure.’ Keep writing, I will keep reading. 🙂

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