How many times can you fall in love, really?

I’ve been incredibly stubborn with love my entire life. It’s hard for even me to fathom, coming from a childhood FULL of the best kind of love you could wish for.

Im one of those: has a HUGE wall built & it normally takes a soul shattering earthquakes to rip into my heart… this much is true.. for me at least.

I have been falling in love so fast this past year, let me clarify. I have fallen in love romantically, emotionally,  intellectually, & unconditionally both all together & seperate. You’re thinking…how does any of that make sense, I know.

My journey of self – discovery is one that has been furthest from a selfish thought or act. I have had no intention of trying to ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality or just suffering in many horrible relationships until God decides to ‘grant’ me happiness. I mean, there is always sunshine after a storm? Maybe.. but I wouldn’t count on it.

I recently met this guy & his name is Adam, but I didnt know that then.  He dresses very sharp & is was quiet.  First time I saw him was in a coffee shop I work at, he came in ordered a coffee & pastrie… sitting down at the nearest table. He sat for a couple hours, sometimes glancing at the tv in the background, other times looking out the window.

I started noticing a pattern, this is something he has done everyday for years. It had become part of ‘his time’ & routine at that. He comes in almost 6 days a week around the same time.

I didnt know if I should speak to him, he always looked somewhat sad or closed off–maybe that was my perception of him….

I began to make small talk & memorize his order so he felt someone cared….as I thought he may be lonely…& slowly day after day the conversations began to grow in length.

I started to joke around with him & felt as though he became more comfortable in his surroundings, like someone see’s him & for who he is. & it did. So now when he comes in we dont just talk about the weather… but silly things.

I look forward to Adam coming into my job everyday & when he doesn’t my day just isn’t as bright. Its moments of his ear to ear innocent smile that help me remember why its all worth it…. or how hes genuine ‘thank you’s’ warm my soul…

Maybe thats why he became a character in my story, to help me  remember to be kind. To reach out & love strangers because you never know if they need hope, or a good laugh or simply someone to listen.

I dont love Adam romantically, nor will I ever…. since he’s 89 years old. But he brings out a new side in me I needed to be reminded of. He is my friend & the cutest one at that. He’s from Poland. His siblings live in Moscow, his wife passed away roughly 15 years ago. He remembers the day gas was. $.25 a gallon. He comes to get coffee & a pastry to relax before he goes to the city- Chicago to mingle with friends. I could keep going, trust me thers more… but I wont. He is the liveliest young soul I have met.

I do love Adam. He brings me joy & reminds me to live each day with care. That each moment is precious. To do what I want & to not let anyone define me… define myself. To hold true to faith.  Ahhh he is the absolute best.

I might adopt him as my grandpa…
But before then inviting him to Thanksgiving, step one. 🙂

Be kind to strangers. Be kind to your family. Love is louder & wins everytime. We are meant to love everyone & lift them to the level of greatness they believe they can reach.  Enocouage. Forgive. Let your guard down…

& see what happens & where it takes you.

I promise it will be kind when you do.

Trust yourself.


Abigail Smith.

Abigail Smith is a photographer.  She is also a daughter. A sister. Someone’s mentor. Somebody’s friend. I dont know Abigail Smith personally & I’m afraid I never will. Did you ever wonder what it would be like if you werent you anymore? If you were suddenly gone, how would your world react? Whatever you imagined is wrong. There is nothing romantic about death. Grief is like the ocean: its deep & dark & bigger then us. And pain is like a theif in the night. Quiet. Persistant. Unfair. Diminished by time & faith & love.

Its a chilly fall night in Chicago. I sit imbedded in blankets as the wind gusts & the quiet raindrops fall to the ground outside my window. The clock shows a bit past midnight, sipping on my now lukewarm coffee (decaf of course)…

Abigail & her family come to mind.

Sweet Abigail…. I dont know you, however I feel connected to you in many ways, so much that I feel as though I’ve known you all my life. I heard of you a while back through Sarah Barlow’s facebook. I then quickly grew to know of you & your journey. I am completely overwhelmed by your story & have been brought to tears on several occasions for you, both happy & sad.

Happy tears, because I am so proud of you. You are incredible. So full of strength, dignity & grace. Our Lord is beaming with Love & admiration for you, what a wonderful daughter you’ve been & continue to be towards him. I am in awe at the grace you carry through your circumstances. You push me to be more dedicated & fearless in showing his love to the World. Of course I’ve had doubts in myself, but you- you’ve changed that for me.

Sad, because of many reasons. I wish I was able to know you. I hope thats not selfish, but your heart for the Lord is kindred to mine- that im sure. I see you in the rough of your journey & glowing as if you were on cloud 9. Your joy & faith, is something of a miracle to me.

See- I have battled depression & anxiety for many years (I’m only 25, but anxiety started ten years ago for me) & for no apparent reason. I have had a lot of doubts in the Lord & have had many arguments with him for no reason other then anger & silly dissapointments. But witnessing your journey has been incredibly challenging, as well as encouraging to me.

You have been such a beautiful story & miracle to so many Abigail….& its just starting… I will continue to share your story. How your love for the Lord moved me even deeper into my walk with him. Such an impact you have made in my life & we haven’t even met- thats tremendous. So many I’m sure hold you near & dear to their heart both now & forever. You have made an everlasting impact on the world. They’re talking about you everyday in Heaven while you’re still here, dont you know that? They have the most extravagant ball planned & the Heavens are waiting on their most esteemed guest– in due time of course.  🙂

Know you are ALL in my heart, my daily thoughts & prayers. I pray for strength in times of weakness, grace in times of need & joy in times of sadness. God will cover you with his unconditional love during all of this.

Your sister in christ,
Michelle Widner

Age 25

You’re not alone, Miley. Im here for you.

I hope you read this, if not I hope society does….so they learn how to be gentle with any soul.

Its hard to express how much my heart aches for you, considering I dont know you personally. All I know about you is what I read about you, probably 90% of it is manipulated or exaggerated by the media.

Ah, miley. I ache for you, I do. But you should just know you have such a heart of gold. Ive seen it, I’ve felt it, I’ve heard it in the passion of your music. You are such a wonderful gift to the world, you’re just a little lost. Or maybe you’re not, maybe you like where you are. I guess I wont ever know.

Just a tough cookie & in my eyes, a rockstar in more ways then one.. Miley, you have expressed yourself in your truest form time & time again… & arent afraid to show it. That is not an easy journey. You’re connected to your feelings. Most of society picks at you for it, because they arent. Now, im not condoning all of your latest performances or lyrics to your music, but who am I to judge?

I think you’re wonderful.  I rock out to your music regardless. I have shameless dance parties in my car to you. You’re just a girl, a young one– like me… trying to find your way & place in world, like the rest of us. The facade you maintain to be this superhero? I see through it. You don’t need to put on a show anymore, I see you.. So does God. You’re gonna get through this. Dont give up.

Miley, I hope you know you are so loved & cherished. Dont feel pressured by anyone to change. But keep searching & evolve into the greatness that God has you destined for. You can come as you are with me & with him.

I hope you have the chance to read this letter Miley & when you do, I hope it lifts your spirits. I hope it guides you back to his (Gods) arms. I’m praying for you.

If you need someone, when the world wants to shut you out…. I’ll be your friend. Im here to listen & hopefully help you.

From one lost soul to another,
I’m rooting for you…


Age 25

The F word.


All consuming.

It’s deep & dark & bigger than all of us.

& pain is like a thief in the night.

Quiet. Persistent. Diminished by time & faith & Love.

I have lived the last several years in fear.

Fear that I’m not smart enough. Fear of not being pretty enough. Or not qualified enough.

Endless amounts of fears, if you can think of it? I’ve experience it, or at least thought it.

Fears that if I get in an elevator, it will get stuck & stop working….then my heart will give out in panic.

Oh & the thought of getting in an airplane? Forget it. Who wants to put their life in the hands of a pilot, 35,000 feet above ground level…. I never did.

My fears were irrational & completely ridiculous if you don’t mind me saying. We all have them.

But it came from not trusting myself & mostly not trusting in God.

Have you ever known that nauseous feeling you get when you’re about to go over the first drop of a roller coaster?

Or the lump you get in your throat when you’re about to stand up & give a speech in front of hundreds of people?

It’s kind of like that.

Your hands get all sweaty, your heart starts to race & vertigo ensues. Out of body experience? Check.

But this past year, I’ve had the joy of battling every fear that comes my way & succeeding

& that gives me warmth. Warmth, like when you’re a young child running into your parents arms as they spin you around.

Isn’t that what we want? To feel safe?

You are safe. You just have to believe it.

You’re incredibly intelligent, don’t compare yourself to others?

Not a fan of the mirror? Well, to be honest you may be the fairest of them all….but in a world full of fake–you’re not the most beautiful.

To me you are, to your parents, to your friends, to God–you’re the most precious, valuable gift there is. Despite what your inner demons are trying to tell you….

You’re capable.

You will make mistakes.

You will allow fear to take over.

But remember–

Love never fails.

It wins every time.

So surrender,

remember you’re brave.

You are inspiring to