2009 in Retrospect

January: My Lover turned 22!  It's so strange that we've been together since he was 18.  :-]

February: My handsome nephew turned 1.  I am already feeling like I shouldn't be keeping track because he is getting big so fast.  I want my little baby to stay my little baby!

March:  Josh and I took our first trip together: Florida!  He treated me to the trip for my 21st birthday and because it was time for him to meet Dad.  We spent 10 days in the warmest weather and enjoyed the time together.

April:  I blame it on the plane trip back home while Josh thought they were just a really bad case of acne, but Josh got a case of the Chicken Pox and man, were they horrible!  I felt so bad for him because he said he was in sooo much pain.  But, I was afraid of catching them for the third time, so we kept our distance for a few days.

May:  This is when I was introduced to the blogging world.  I must admit, it is actually very fun and interesting looking back at all of this!  :-] 

June:  Josh and I bought our first pair of rollerblades together and were never home.  We were literally rollerblading night and day, rain or shine.  This was one of our best investments.  We found that rollerblading acted as an activity and something that brought us closer. 

July:  Our first Yankees baseball game!  This was very interesting because in Chicago, our lives were being threatened by wearing Yankees gear!

August:  We celebrated our 4th anniversary!  This is really fun because we recreated our first date: ate at the same restaurant, same table, and wore close to the same thing.  Four years down and we're still in love as ever.

September:  Last semester of school was ready to be tackled.  Not only that, but I tackled 1 and a half months worth of P90X . . . before I got busy with school.

October:  A friend from work married the man of her dreams.  This year was pretty full of weddings.  When will it be my turn?  Hmm . . .

November:  After months of stress, money-saving, and anxiety, Josh's car finally started to run again!  After all of the money and time Josh spent on his car, he's officially a professional car-fixer!  :-]

December:  After a long awaited 3 and a half years, I became a college graduate with 2 degrees under my belt!  Now, onto spitting out for 4 classes and I'll be a Social Worker. 

Posted byAshley C. at 3:31 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Party of one

Here I sit with a bowl of popcorn, a 7-up, and a couple cookies.  By myself.  And I must admit it is very refreshing and relaxing.  I am just excited about being able to stay up late tonight (by myself) and catch up on all of my Internet "stuff."  Feels good. 
Can you all believe it is almost 2010?!  It really feels as though 2009 just began.  I remember when the New Year first began and I was looking forward to all that I thought was going to happen.  The only thing that happened that I was looking forward to was an early graduation.  No engagement, no new car, no new body, no finished scrapbooks.  It's can seem a bit depressing to look back and see everything that did not happen.  But come to think of it, there are plenty of things that happened that I did not intend on happening.  For example, I have made a couple close girlfriends this semester at school, I have learned what it means to begin loving my body for what it is, I have been introduced to the blogging world.  I am more grateful for those things that did happen than I am upset about the things that didn't happen.  I think this whole year has been about learning about me.  It has been a very exciting year and I do not think I would change anything about it.
What are my New Year's resolutions, goals, etc.?  Well, I'm not quite sure because last year I made all of these resolutions and did not meet any of them.  I kind of think that setting a "goal" for the heck of it (or because everyone else is doing the same thing) makes it that much easier to abandon.  But, I must admit, there is something about a whole new calendar year that makes you feel that you can conquer the world and achieve any goal you set before yourself.  If you think about it though, God gave us night and day and the chance for a renewal each day.  If you look at it that way, you have 365 chances of starting over.  If you look at each week as a chance to start over, well you have 52 chances.  If you look at months, you have 12 chances.  But, if you look at years, you only have one chance; I think that's one of the main reasons people fail at their resolutions so easily.  Once they slip-up, they (we) think "Too bad, now I have to start over next year."  And if you slipped up January 1st . . . that's not good!  One thing that I have to learn to remember is that God is there every day, every minute, every hour; He is there, waiting to forgive you and encourage you to move forward.  If you ask God to give you the energy and focus, you can do all things!  But, if you go on and try to achieve your goals without consulting Him or asking His Spirit to strengthen you, odds are you're going to fail.  The Spirit is our strength . . . and that's not just for no reason.  God knows we are vulnerable and easy to manipulate so that's why there is a Trinity and not only God and Jesus.  Ask Him!

So . . . if you all didn't notice, this is my 100th post!  That's really exciting!  I have not written as much as I'd wish I did, but hey, it's a start!  I came across a website that allows you to turn your blog into a book . . . as I was telling another person, I think it would be cool to print my blogs at the end of every year in order to preserve them and use them as a portal for my children to get to know me in ways they weren't able to after I'm old and gone.  :-]  So, that's just what I'm going to do.  I think it will even be fun for me to look back at my daily adventures, thoughts, and struggles. 
Well, off I go to finish my popcorn and cookies.  So, to close up, I'm wondering . . . What are your New Year's resolutions and what gives you strength in your attempts?

Posted byAshley C. at 10:13 PM 0 Love Notes  

Poor, Poor Photos

For Christmas, my Lover bought me Photoshop, which I have been asking for for a long while now.  I also got a new point-and-shoot camera that I wanted (in the Nikon family, but not the DSLR that I was asking for).  I love this new camera and the quality of the pictures that it takes.  Well, I have really been thinking seriously about photos, editing, etc.  One day, I really hope to take good quality photos for family and friends (and get paid for it!).  So, I have wanted Photoshop so that I can start to get a feel of it before I purchase a DSLR and start editing those photos. 
Anyway, I have a dilemma here: I have found it very necessary to start tossing out some pictures.  I need to wean away from collecting all of the photos that I take.  I have literally hundreds and hundreds of pictures on my computer (half of which are not edit-able, very poor quality, etc.) that I do not need.  This makes me really sad.  Remember me talking about throwing away cards from people?  This is like 1 billion times worse.  I really hate to throw away pictures, but if I really think about it, I only treasure those really good, clear, fun pictures.  What use do the blurry photos have?  So . . . over the next few days, I am cleaning up files. Eeek!  After cleaning up pictures, I am going to go through and edit all of my photos.  Whew.  That'll be pretty crazy.  But it will teach my Photoshop and help me learn different techniques and styles.  I guess it's pretty exciting, but sad at the same time. 

Posted byAshley C. at 1:54 PM 0 Love Notes  

Wardrobe redo

I guess now that I am a college graduate, that makes me a "grown woman."  Josh's sister, Tiffany told me the other day that I need to start adding things to my "professional wardrobe."  She didn't mean it in a mean way, just telling me that I should dress professional now (or something like that haha!).  So, for Christmas, Tiffany and their brother, Micah bought me a bunch of gift cards to nice clothing stores. 
I guess when it comes to clothes, I am a very simple chick; I like jeans and a plain shirt.  I like to be comfortable and plain shirts make me feel most comfortable.  I don't like those shirts with the writing all over them, frilly, too-girly stuff.  Just plain stuff.  And the cool thing about plain shirts is that you can layer and wear any fashion scarves, etc. with them.  Okay . . . as you can see, I do like plain shirts.  BUT, I think I am going to attempt to change that.  I want people to take me more seriously and I need to dress my role (whatever that means).  Over the next few months, I am going to change my wardrobe.  More nice clothes . . . no more holey jeans and plain Jane here.  I am going to try my hardest to stray away from the same ol' stores and try something new.  Hopefully this works!

Posted byAshley C. at 6:50 PM 0 Love Notes  

Selling my soul

Today Josh and I were talking about rappers and the conversation kind of took a turn to people selling their souls to the Devil.  Now, I've heard of that term before, but I asked Josh Selling your soul to the Devil?  So, how would that happen? and he just told me that they worship and give praise to the Devil.  This was interesting because Josh told me that an example of this would be someone doing this to become more successful in their careers (and in this case, some particular rapper/s).  Josh reminded me that the Enemy has "free-range" of the world; in essence, he can do whatever he wants, and I guess that those that "sell their souls to the Devil," are pretty much going to be "successful;" BUT has really come to steal, kill, and destroy.  However, Christians are protected by God.  They cannot be touched.  For everyone else, the Enemy has control over their lives and can make any move he wants (including making them "successful").  It might seem sensible to some people, but this success, wealth, or whatever else might be given is only tempoary.  It was very reassuring to hear this because it reminds me that God has promised us eternal life.  He has promised to give us a life that, although it might not be full of riches or success now, will be blessed and will live with those things for eternity.
I don't know about you, but boy am I glad to have "sold my soul to God . . . " the One and Only God!

Posted byAshley C. at 5:51 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Merry Christmas!

Graduation, Christmas, time off work, and celebrating the fact that school is over has been overwhelmingly . . . un-relaxing.  I have been so busy and feel guilty that I have not been able to visit my blog, Facebook . . . Josh.  No, I'm kidding, but really I apologize for not meeting with you all for so long.  I have literally been laying up at night, not being able to sleep thinking about all the things that I have gotten behind on.  BUT, have no fear, I'm a woman that has (almost) no chains holding her back anymore! 
By, the way, Merry Christmas to you all!  I pray that everyone sees the true meaning of Christmas and remembers the Savior that has been born to us all.  God gave His only Son to bring us life; let us celebrate Jesus' birthday today!

"The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master."

Posted byAshley C. at 12:46 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Ricobene hunt

Back in August, Josh and I went to the Taste of Chicago.  This was my first time going and it was not anything like I thought it would be; I'm not going to complain about all that we saw or that happened, because this post is supposed to be a happy, exciting one.  I kept seeing everyone walking around with these saucy, saucy, saucy hot chicken strips.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am a sucker for chicken, especially hot wings.  Anyway, we bought some chicken strips and they were one of the best tasting hot wing/chicken strips I've ever had. 
Well, ever since that day, I have been trying to recall the Chicago restaurant that was serving those because I wanted to go them some ASAP.  For some reason, I was craving them (very badly) and could not remember the name of the restaurant for the life of me.  Two days ago when I was getting ready for school . . . Ricobene's! popped in my head!  It was really weird, but I had this image of the napkin from the Taste of Chicago.  So . . . as sweet as he is, Josh agreed that he would take me this weekend.
After all of our shopping in Schaumburg, we were going to go find this Ricobene's place and eat dinner there (Shelly, our GPS, said there were about 5 locations, so it would be easy to find one with her assistance).  Well, Shelly led us to a place that no longer existed.  And again.  So, I called the number that I found for another Ricobene's . . . disconnected.  Called another location (frantic, fearful that this place was finito and as soon as they picked up the phone, Josh yells "Ricobene's!!"  We finally found it!  But, it was located in a South Chicago ghetto neighborhood.  The parking for the restuarant was located under a dark bridge so before we got out of the car, Josh literally prayed that God would keep a hedge of protection around us and bless the food we were about to eat (we pray over our food every meal, but twice for this particular one).  The inside of the restuarant was not dirty . . . the place is actually famous for their pizza, so imagine your typical pizza joint with an old, mafia feel to it (like Portillos).  The menu said nothing about chicken strips.  Yes, of course I asked about their strips and he said they weren't on the menu but they had them.  They were nothing like what I had in August.  They were not saucy, saucy, saucy.  So, before we left, I ordered more to take home, "Can I have them like extra, extra saucy? Please?"
My criminal boyfriend is my ultimate, girlfriend spoiling-best friend-sweetest criminal ever.  I do not think any other person would have been able to be that patient and persistent in trying to find this place that we weren't even sure even existed.  Another reason I love him! ;-]

So . . . graduation tomorrow, I guess.  Something like that.  Maybe I should accidentally sleep in . . .

Posted byAshley C. at 10:48 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

It was my addiction

That's it?  I've taken my last final, all homework, papers, binders are put together and I am not excited.  Not even a little.  People keep asking, "Are you excited it's over??" and of course I say yes because that's what I'm supposed to say, right? 
On the way home from school today, it hit me.  It's over.  I have mixed feelings and here's why:
Josh and I have always said that I am going to work up until we have kids; then I can stay home and raise and teach our little babies.  I'm totally all for that.  I have thought about going to Grad school and getting my Master's Degree, but why would I spend $50,000+ if I don't plan on working and actually using the Degree?  It makes more sense to get my Social Work license (which I am still doing January-May), because it enables me to actually work and make money up until having kids without spending thousands of dollars on a pretty piece of paper.  I don't mean to sound so "snoody," but I plan on being a mom for a living, so why would I continue in school?
I think that secretly, deep down inside, school is my addiction.  I feel like What's left?  I mean, I've been in school since pre-school and I've loved it.  I've been stressed at times, but I loved it.  I love feeling rushed and down to the last minute crunches, I love procrastination.  I think it was like my high.  It made me happy in some odd, strange way.  I guess the bright side is that I will have more time to work out and sleep. 
Shhh, don't tell anyone but I'm already looking at "just-for-fun" classes.

Posted byAshley C. at 2:48 PM 0 Love Notes  

My boyfriend is a criminal

Because of some amazing friends that I have made this semester, I have learned something.  My boyfriend is a criminal. 

After I got off work last night, I had to run to Barnes & Noble to get a gift for one of my friends, Ashley (an amazing friend of mine!).  I got off at 9:00 and B & N closed at 10:00.  It's a 30-minute drive and I had to run to the bank before I went.  Well, I kept telling Josh to hurry because this gift was important.  Like, very important.  He wouldn't drive faster.  The next thing I know, Josh is blabbering about some guy "waving" him on to "race."  Of course, that'll make him race., right?!  He hit the gas and took off right before our turn into the bank.  Right when we turned onto the banks street, the police chased us!  "Sir, do you know the speed limit?"  "35?"  "No, it was 40 and I clocked you going 62."  Great.  $95 ticket and a slap on the wrist . . . but not before getting another citation for having an expired insurance card.  Aye-yay-yay!  While the cop was sitting in his car writing tickets, it was 9:50 and we were still about 2 minutes away.  I was still hopeful.  We were going to get this gift card even if it costed us 2 tickets.  Well, we got to B & N at 9:58 and the doors were still unlocked!  Woo!  Talk about a nail-biting situation!  :-]  
I told Ashley that gift card actually costed us more than face-value! 

Posted byAshley C. at 6:53 PM 0 Love Notes  

No, not that ring!

Ever since Josh and I started dating, he made it clear to me that he did not want me wearing any rings.  He did not want me looking at rings.  It was not a controlling factor, just something that he expected and always seen in his future wife.  So, out of respect for him, I never did.  I didn't wear any rings, I never walked past a jewelry store turning my head, I never looked up beautiful rings online.  I wanted to be honest with him and for him to know that he can trust me with that.  Well . . . now that I have talked to the appropriate people, I can tell you this story . . .

Mom never knew this about me and Josh.  A couple weeks back when I got my graduation announcements, she was so excited about me graduating that he just had to show me my graduation gift.  I insisted, I told her that I wanted it when I graduated, that way I would have something to look forward to and be excited about.  She could not wait.  She went into her room and came back into mine with a small, beautifully wrapped gift.  Yup.  I unwrapped it and opened the box.  It was a gorgeous diamond and pink sapphire white gold ring.  I absolutely adored it!  She said that I could not have it until graduation so I thought to myself, "hmm, perfect amount of time to crack the bad news to Josh." So she wrapped it back up and hid it in her room so that no one else will know I saw it.
He wasn't happy.  At all.  He was hurt and confused as to why mom would get me a ring for graduation.  Why not the camera I've been wanting or cash?  "Did it not cross her mind that maybe that's what I wanted to get you for graduation?"  I guess it was a lose-lose situation.  If he proposed before graduation, my interest in the engagement ring would be lost with my new ring (he thinks) and if he proposed after graduation, he did not want mom to think he was trying to out-do her.  I guess I can see his frustration considering I am turning a new leaf in life and Josh wanted to celebrate that way?  Well, after a couple "arguments" about me having to wear the ring and not mentioning it to my mom, I decided I needed to talk to her about me and Josh's pact.
She took it very well.  I told her that after Josh proposes, I will only wear her ring on special occasions because I want to respect Josh by not wearing any other rings.  She said that was perfectly fine as long as she knows I like the ring . . . which I love!  She agreed that she would not be offended.

Yesterday, I got a ring!  No, not that ring, my pretty pink ring. My stepdad came into my room (while I was doing homework!) and gave me the ring (he didn't know I already knew about).  I did a good job at acting surprised! ;-]  Now, I get to wear the beautiful ring every day until I have a replacement!  I think it will be any day now . . . Hmm . . . hopefully! 

Posted byAshley C. at 5:54 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Christmas parties and homework

Am I the only one wondering where all the snow is?  Attending Christmas parties while the green grass is showing just is not the same thing as lots of snow.  This weekend, I had two Christmas parties to attend, so I've been pretty busy.  On Friday, me and Josh made some Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies and homemade hot chocolate mix for my family Christmas party.  I'm not one that likes hot chocolate, but the stuff we made was delicious!  We needed to make 10 gift things (2 for each adult couple in the family), and it was pretty funny . . . we ran out when we only had 8 made.  You know how there is always that one person in your family that . . . well, nevermind.  Theirs isn't quite "homemade." Shh.  But, I wish I had taken pictures of everything because it looked so pretty!  I was very proud of the work we did. 
Now that it's Sunday afternoon, the pain and teeth-pulling begins.  Homework.  And lots of it.  10-page paper and 14-page paper.  But hey, guess what?!  This is my last week of school!  I'm really excited because of graduation and because I will have a whole week off of work.  I thought that after 17 years of school, I deserved a little pat on the back, eh? 

Well, here's to getting all of my homework done today so that I can focus on studying for exams! 

Posted byAshley C. at 11:00 AM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Wisconson vs. Illinois

I'm not saying that I'm the best driver, but man, Wisconsin drivers, well . . . suck.  We are expecting a huge snow storm today through tomorrow that will result in 10-12 inches of snow.  I'll admit, that's a lot of snow, but what we had on the grounds as of 2 hours ago is not.  I drive about 25-30 minutes to school from Illinois to Wisconsin every day.  Lately, I have been saying how bad Wisconsin drivers are and today definitely confirmed it.
When it is snowing and the roads are salted (or slushy), what is so hard about driving in the existing tire tracks, getting off the gas when you start to slide, and keeping a decent distance between you and the car in front of you?  Nothing at all.  I do not understand why Wisconsin drivers think it's necessary to drive 15 under the speed limit when you are easily capable of going 5 over like Illinois drivers do/would.  People say that Illinois drivers are bad and that we drive dangerously and don't use our turning signals, blah, blah, blah, but hey, at least we drive!  Although, I do disagree about the dangerous driving.  I feel like I'm part of an elite club when I ride into Wisconsin with my Illinois license plates.  When someone is driving pretty well, I can spot it out and think to myself, "Hmm, I bet they're an Illinois driver."  They always are. 

I must admit, if I ever have to move to Wisconsin, I am afraid.  Very afraid.  It seems that once you have that ugly Wisconsin plate on your car, you're under some kind of curse.  I vow to never become like "them."

Posted byAshley C. at 10:43 AM 0 Love Notes  

Busy school week and a beatiful diamond ring

5 days ago.  That's when I wrote my latest blog . . . what a long time!  I haven't really had a chance to blog because it's my last week of school!  I say that with all of the excitement that my voice will allow.  I cannot believe that I am almost done.  This week is my last week, but I still have finals, so I am not totally done yet.  I have been busy writing papers, doing projects, and studying for exams. 
I don't know if I mentioned it to you all yet, but I finally got my graduation announcements in the mail!  It really made it real to me.  So, I have been thinking, I think I am going to dish out the money and get some graduation pictures done.  I am going to get a traditional cap and gown photo and one that is just fun.  The only thing about it though is that I cannot get them done until after graduation because I will not have my degree "folders" to use as props for the photos.  I really wanted to get the photos done sooner so that I can send them out with announcements the week of graduation, but it probably will not be until the first week of January.  Bummer. 

Last night, I went to my old roommate's bridal shower.  She is so stinkin' cute and full of personality.  I love that girl so much!  For a game that we played throughout the night, we all had to wear this fake (but cute) solitaire diamond ring.  All I have to say is that I kept it on my finger to show Josh, "This . . . This is it!"  Hopefully he got the message.  Speaking of which, something tells me that I won't be waiting much longer. ;-]

Posted byAshley C. at 1:48 PM 0 Love Notes  

Blogger Amnesia

Okay, is this just me, or did all of the blogs I was following disappear?  This is a catastrophe!  The blogs I loved most are going to be added problem-free, but what about the other blogs that interested me?  If you know I was following your blog (whoever might be reading this), please leave me a comment because I might forget a person or two.  :-[

Posted byAshley C. at 1:06 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Classes I hate, stuff I like

It's only 11:00 a.m. and I'm already having a crazy day . . .

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, me and Josh have to share a car because we both have class those days.  The thing that stinks about it is that we start at two different times: 9:30 and 11:00, so I have to wake up earlier to show up to school early.  Well, half way to school today, "Shoot, I forgot my laptop!"  We were already about 20 minute from home and did not have enough time to run back home and Josh still make it on time for class.  I really needed my laptop because I had a group project due today and since I was showing up to school early, I was going to work on more homework.  So, when we got to the school, I had to hurry back home by myself.  My class starts at 11:00, so I wasn't in a huge rush.  I got home, grabbed my laptop and headed back to school with 30 minutes to spare.  As I was sitting waiting for class to start, I was just checking out things on the Internet, along with my student e-mail.  "Professor Colston's Research Methods class is cancelled for today."  Great. I woke up early to get to school early, forgot my laptop, wasted my study time, wasted gas to go home and grab it, and now my 11:00 class was cancelled.  Sweet.  Now, I get to sit around until 2.  I could have been at home sleeping, doing homework, eating.  Something

It should have been a warning when Josh asked me on the way to school, "Have you ever had one of those days when things just keep getting worse and you just want it to end?"  "No" I said, "I think I have only had maybe one of those days and I don't even remember it.  I think I just get upset and move on."  Hmm . . . maybe Josh is a prophet?  (p.s.: I'm still not wishing my day will end).

But, after my studying is done, I have something that I found during those amazing 30 minutes this morning: Stuff Christians Like.  If you haven't heard of something like it, there is also a book called "Stuff White People Like."  This is similar, different authors, but very similar.  It's fun and A LOT of us Christians can relate!  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 9:11 AM 2 Love Notes  

It's over already?

Really?  My 5 day weekend is over?  It did not even feel like 5 days.  Now, it's time for me to play catch-up on all of my homework, go to school for 5 days straight (because I promised myself that I would not skip any more this semester), and face reality.  But, there is one good thing: only 2 more weeks of school . . . then graduation!!!  You all really do not understand how excited I am.  You know how you get so excited to do something that you jam pack your schedule so that you stay occupied?  That's where I'm at now.

 . . . but, I cannot complain because my break was so enjoyable and relaxing.  I am sooo looking forward to a three-week break coming up!  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 5:54 PM 0 Love Notes  

Yummy dinner

This . . . this was dinner.  White Chicken Enchiladas.  I needed to make something yummy and new, so I searched PW's blog and this is what I found.  It was fairly simple to make but looks hard enough to make people think you cooked for 2.5 hours (no, *cough cough* it didn't take me that long . . ). AND, I cut up a whole raw fryer chicken myself!  I only have one complaint: after peeling hot chicken off the bone, cutting green chiles, cilantro, onions, and jalapenos, my fingertips (under my nails) are flaming.  I stuck my finger in my mouth to make it feel better and it caused my tongue to flame.  It wasn't like the enchiladas were that spicy . . . just the ingredients, if that makes sense.  Take a deep breath, smell those authentic Mexican enchiladas . . . Yum!  Psst, I linked the recipe!  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 7:15 PM 2 Love Notes  

Floodings and shootings and God's promise

I hate those dreams and I do mean hate.  Do you ever have dreams with reoccuring themes that just make you uncomfortable?  My dreams always have one of two themes: being shot in the head or the world being flooded.  Okay, and when I was reading the Twilight books, I had dreams about Edward, but shhh . . .

Being shot in the head is the way I always die in my dreams.  I never fall, suffocate, or anything else.  I have no idea what this means and honestly, I'm not into dream-reading, so I couldn't care less.  The thing that bothers me most about this is that when you have so many detailed dreams about being shot, it kind of brings itself into real life.  When I walk outside at night (to get in my car, etc.), I always hurry because I'm afraid of getting shot.  Weird.

Now, last night I had another dream about the world flooding.  It was really strange.   Everyone was watching the news and making a huge deal about the world flooding.  They were saying good-bye to their families, building boats, and killing themselves.  There were no fears coming from me for one reason: I knew the Bible said that God promised to never flood the world again and that we have regular reminders of that promise . . . rainbows.  I was afraid because I could not remember the verse and more and more people were putting their trust in the weather man (and killing themselves) each second.  I needed to tell people what God promised us and they were making a fuss for no reason.  I was flipping through the Bible and getting frustrated and could not find the verse until God spoke to me.  He said "You are getting frustrated looking through my Word.  Keep looking and if you do not find it in 2 minutes, you can turn your back on me forever."  So, I flipped for about 5 seconds and right away, I found the verse, the clouds cleared up, and a rainbow showed in the sky.  It was so reassuring.  And strange.  Now, if I knew there wasn't a verse in the Bible that declared God's promise, I would probably worry about this regularly, too.

Genesis 9:11-13: " . . .'Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.'  And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set a rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.'"

There ya have it!  As far as I know, God's been pretty faithful on his promises.  Now, if I could only find a verse promising that I'll never get shot . . .  

Posted byAshley C. at 10:04 AM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Oh, Christmas tree . . .

My family always puts the Christmas tree up either the night of Thanksgiving or the day after Thanksgiving.  My sister and I were talking about the tree and how we needed to get new ornaments and decorations because we've been using the same color theme and decorations for the past 4 years.  We had a sneaky trick: we would wake my mom up (she works third shift) and ask her for money to get new things.  Of course she said "yes, just go."  So, we just went.  We took a handful of money and headed to the store.  Ann-Marie thought it would be cute if we decorated the tree in light blue and pink.  "Oh man, mom is going to kill us," was the only thing I kept telling myself.  Sure, I agreed, it would look nice, after all, my favorite color is pink.  So, we filled that cart up with sparkly pink and blue ornaments, ribbon, ornament picks, outdoor lights, and sticky door decals. 
"You spent how much?!"  "Shh . . . Ann-Marie, don't tell mom the colors.  She'll get mad if she sees them before they're on the tree."  Turned out she wasn't mad; she actually adored the tree, it was very festive and sparkly.  AND, with the lighting, the ornaments look red, not pink.  Bad for us, good for the family, I suppose.  So, here is a tiny glimpse of the tree.  I'll have a better picture of it when I actually put makeup on and stand by it with my Lover.  :-]

Christmas music, Yankee Candle's "Mistletoe" candle lit, popcorn, and cuddling with my best friend.  Not much is better than this. 

Posted byAshley C. at 7:46 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Yummy Thanksgiving

For the past 3 years, I have gone to Josh's family's house for Thanksgiving.  My mom works third shift, so she goes to work, step-dad goes to his family's and I am left home. By myself.  But I cannot complain, I am welcome over Josh's with open arms and his mom is the best cook I have met (psst, I only want to marry Josh to inherit his mom's recipes!).  Food, family, "The Christmas Story," and sleep . . . perfect Thanksgiving. 
How many of you are going shopping on Black Friday?  Josh and I decided that we are going but only to get a couple things . . . and I do mean a couple.  We thought it would be fun to hang out all night and just head to the mall really early in the morning, crash from exhaustion and eat leftovers. 

Oh and side note, Josh and I went out to take our fall picture that I was telling you about.  You won't be seeing it.  We went through a tornado, hurricane, and a snow blizzard to get it and we failed.  Okay, not really, but we faced some extreme circumstances for a bad picture. :-[ 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and shopping trip!

Posted byAshley C. at 4:25 PM 0 Love Notes  

My friends are silver and gold

" . . . make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold."  Yeah, I was a Girlscout and that was a song we sang on a regular basis, but that's besides my point . . . !

I am the kind of person that likes to keep to myself; I don't like making new friends, I'd rather keep the friendships I have continuing and be happy as a clam. But, this week, I have been reconnecting with old friends (and some not-so-friends).  After the conversations that I've been having with these people, I cannot help but remember the good times that those friendships held.  I remember when I first met these people, the good times, the bad, the fun, the not-so-fun-but-strengthening times.  I miss them.  I miss the innocence of friendships based on nothing but your love and care for the other person.  Now, there are countless distractions that seem to get in the way of those friendships.
This semester has really been nothing but making new friends; I love it.  I have even grown close to a girl or two that I really hope to continue keeping in contact with after graduation, girls that have taught me to come out of my shell and get to know other people, there are friendly girls out there after all!

I love all of my girlfriends (and I do mean all) and the lessons and memories that we have shared.  I would not trade a single thing for what we've shared.  Here's to the girls that wrote me encouraging poems (and letters while at work) all the time, gave me a nickname that reflected the way I made them feel, humbly apologized when getting out of line or disrespecting me, carried me (and my bike) across a deep ravine in order to keep me dry, gave me $1 to walk to the gas station with me and buy 25 cent bags of chips, cry baby gum balls, and chicko-sticks, told me that I was beautiful even when I didn't feel like it, shared private things with me and allowed me to pray for them, told me they looked up to me as a godly woman, initiated the beginning of our friendship (again and again . . . :-]), told me I needed a haircut because I had split-ends, allowed me to have time off work when they knew I needed it, shared godly and encouraging words, helped me pass a quiz (or test) by whispering an answer or two my direction, simply telling me to have a good night or weekend and really mean it . . . I love all of you girls.  You mean the world to me and I apologize if I ever hurt any of you or made you feel unappreciated. 

I love you.

Posted byAshley C. at 9:18 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

We're finally reunited . . .

What is better than reuniting with two family members (via good ol' Facebook) after more than 10 years?!  Nothing. 

Out of the blue, I got a friend request from my Aunt Tiffany.  I haven't spoken to, seen, or heard from or about her in so long, I thought it was someone that happened to have the same last name and share a first name with my long-lost Aunt.  Nope.  It was her. 
Then, today, my Grandma Frog* sent me a friend request!  Same as Aunt Tiffany, I haven't spoken to, seen, or heard from her in so long!  A couple of years ago, I saw my Grandpa Frog when I was visiting my dad in Florida, but Grandma was back in Michigan.  Let me just say, I've got a good-lookin' family!  ;-]

I'm feeling that maybe I should arrange some kind of family reunion . . .

*To all my cousins, I was the first to give our/your grandparents the title "Grandma and Grandpa Frog."  Don't think for a second you were first. ;-P

Posted byAshley C. at 6:16 PM 0 Love Notes  

Banner update

I told you all that I'd have pictures for you of the Michigan Ave.  Yeah, I gots none.  Not a single one.  Evidently, every other person in Illinois decided to blog about the hype and go out and capture it on camera.  There was way more traffic than normal.  Normally, I don't mind sitting in traffic, but I was gettig frustrated and getting a headache from all that was going on.  We didn't see the tree.  No, we didn't see the lights, either.  We have decided that maybe we'll give it another shot in a couple of weeks.

Tomorrow morning before school, me and Josh are going to work out, go for a walk at a park, and then grab some breakfast.  We have never gone for a walk in the morning and I'm really hoping that it actually happens.  This week, I had an idea.  A brilliant idea.  You know that photo banner of mine at the top of this page?  I have been wanting to change it for a while now because it just needs to be updated.  Well, I love that picture too much to just add it to a file folder and never see it again . . . so, I think we are going to take that same picture with the same background but for each season.  It will be fun!  We are going to that park tomorrow and hopefully we are able to recreate it. :-]  Obviously, I am going to change it again once there is snow on the ground, but we just need to add a fall photo, too.  We'll see what tomorrow brings!  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 9:23 PM 0 Love Notes  

What's the hype?

First, I just need to say that anyone reading this blog needs to follow thepioneerwoman.com.  Her blog is simply amazing . . . blogger, cook, photographer, princess-y country woman, etc.  :-]  Krissy showed me her blog and I fell in love with it.  By the way, she has a cook book, too.  Mine is signed (psst, thanks Krissy!!!). 

Kitten heels. Josh. Friends. New Moon. Chicago Festival of Lights.  That pretty much sums up the day ahead of me.  So what's the hype about kitten heels, Josh, and friends?  That's doesn't need to be explained.  But, what about New Moon?  I'll let you know soon, although I'm sure all of you have seen it or plan on seeing it.  I have read all of the books and I know the movie won't be as good, but I still cannot wait to see it!  I am going with some friends and my Joshy Poo.  Yes, he is excited, too. Shh! 
After the movie, me and Josh are going to go to Chicago for the festival of lights.  Okay, I know I'm not the only woman like this, but once I get my heels on, you cannot keep me in the house.  I cannot go out for a small event wearing my heels and just come home satisfied.  I need the most out of those heels.  So, this is what we've come up with!  We go to Chicago almost every weekend, but I do not remember us ever going and actually seeing the tree that Chicago has every year.  We are going to find it.  On top of it all, Josh finally has his car fixed (that's a whole 'nother story).  I will share the hype (and some pictures) about the tree some time soon. 

Here's to a fun time with great friends and hot kitten heels.  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 9:48 AM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

I miss the way it used to be

I miss the way it used to be.  A few years ago, I made my sister a huge photo album for her birthday.  It contains pictures from when she was born up to when I gave it to her.  For some odd reason, she had it in the kitchen, so when I saw it, I flipped through a few pages.  I miss the way it used to be.

Lately, me and my sister have not been getting along.  I cannot blame her; I wear my feelings on my sleeve and I am a bit too bold and honest.  We argue a lot, we can never see eye-to-eye, I have a lot of resentment built up towards her for several different things (for those of you that don't know, her and I are literally polar opposites.  Many people do not even know we're sisters).  As I was flipping through the album, all I saw were pictures of us hugging each other's waists, laughing, sitting on each other's laps, smiling . . . always together doing things that happy sisters do.  I miss the way it used to be.

Now, me and my sister never make time for each other.  I honestly don't know her favorite color, her favorite things to do, her best friend, her pet peeves.  We have grown so far apart that you would not find a single recent picture of us together, let alone her and I hugging, smiling, or even laughing with each other.  We walk past each other in the house without acknowledging the other.  She doesn't feel that I am trustworthy enough to come to me and share her feelings.  I miss the way it used to be.

I've always wanted that perfect cookie-cutter family.  The one where the whole family goes to church together, the sisters are actually best friends, always keep in touch, and grow old together.  The one where no one becomes too busy for the rest, no one argues or fights.  The one where each and every part is completely trusting and there at the drop of a hat to support one that needed it.  The one where each person realizes that, if all else fails, so be it, they only needed each other anyway.

My family is not even close to that.  Everyone runs around doing their own things.  The last time we all sat down for dinner together was probably around 7 years ago.  We all have problems, secrets, and issues that we would never trust with the others.  It becomes a big problem when we have to go somewhere together.  The simple fact is that we are all growing (or not) and becoming our own person, leaving every other behind.  We have all become independent in our own ways, no longer needing, caring, or thinking about the others.  I miss the way it used to be.

I promise myself and my future kids that we will never miss "the way it used to be."

Posted byAshley C. at 4:16 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

My little bugger

Here I am at work.  Patiently waiting for Josh to pick me up (he's borrowing my car).  I love my Jive so much . . . but sometimes he can be a little bugger.  I love waiting on him (not!), I love when he's late (not!), I love when his time and my time are approximately 45 minutes off (not!).  I still don't think I'd trade him for the world.  Actually, I know I would never trade him for the world (or the whole universe, for that matter!).

I love you, Jive!

Posted byAshley C. at 6:58 PM 0 Love Notes  

Precious life

Today, Josh and I went to our first matinee movie.  On Friday we weren't able to make it to the movie we wanted to see because I was at the women's conference.  What did we see?  Precious.  Let me just say, this was the most sickening, sad movies I have seen in a looong time.  If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it.
It's about a 16 year-old black girl that is in junior high school, pregnant with her second child.  She lives at home with her mom and her boyfriend, Precious' dad.  Spoiler alert . . . at the end of the movie, we find out that her dad has been raping her since she was 3 years old.  Not to mention, her dad is the father of both of her children.  The girl, Clarise, has dreams about who she wants to be: tall, thin, with long hair, a light-skinned husband, and be a star in a music video.  She is a very overweight girl that obviously struggles with these desires.
The girl has to support herself, her mom beats her, watches as her dad rapes her, treats her as a slave, tells her shes a no-good fat girl that will never be anything, etc.  I can go on and on, but you need to see the movie.  What really bothered me about the movie was that there are girls going through this every day.  Girls that are not bold enough to come out and stand up for herself and say something.  Girls that do not know more than the sheltered world she lives in.  It really hurts me to see a story like this because we never hear about that kind of stuff.  Out of sight, out of mind, right?  Whether we thing so or not, this stuff happens.

As you all know, I plan on becoming a Social Worker.  I want to be that person that hopeless people find hope and peace in.  I want to be that person that young girls aren't afraid to share their worries and concerns with.  I want to be that person that reaches out and is caring.  I want to be that person that makes a world of difference

Posted byAshley C. at 9:29 PM 0 Love Notes  

It hit me

Okay, so I don't have much time because I have to run to that silent auction I was talking about last night, but I just wanted to stop by and let you all know how that women's conference went.

So, it was about teaching women to become desperate for God, not for things of this world.  We (and yes, I do mean "we.") so easily become wrapped up in becoming desperate for people to like us, to be better than "that next girl," to have the nicest clothes, etc.  But as we all learn, those things fail us and off we are to the next thing to chase.  If only we learned to chase God that way!  God is waiting with open arms, waiting for us to come to Him with open hands, sacrificing our whole lives to Him.  The humiliating thing about me writing this post is that I am nowhere near what I should be.  I confess, I don't pray every day, I don't read His Word every day . . . I am not the best daughter He's asked me to be.  I have a difficult time giving Him my whole life, let alone just 5 minutes a day.  I think that if I lean back and look at what I'm chasing and becoming desperate for, I will very quickly realize that God really has no place in it.  I felt convicted last night, praying that I had the life that I wish I could have.  God is waiting.  I need to make the first move.

Okay . . . smooth, innocent transition . . .

On another note, today me and Josh ran to Old Navy to exchange some things and it hit me.  It's almost Christmas time.  The store was packed, the sales were a steal, and the Christmas music was playing loudly over the intercom.  When we got in the car, I popped in our Christmas jazz music . . . it hit me.  I already have some Christmas gifts planned out and I'm ready for shopping.  Now, all we need is the snow!

Posted byAshley C. at 2:06 PM 0 Love Notes  

Work, Work, Work

Thanks to Ms. Krissy, me and a friend are going to a small women's conference tonight! I'm pretty excited because I haven't been to any type of Christian conference since about 5 years ago. The only thing is that it is a 2-day conference, but I think we are only going tonight. It's titled, "Teaching Women not to be Desperate." . . . or something along those lines. I know, not very informative, but I will let you all know what it was all about. :-]

I don't know if I've mentioned before, but I am working in partnership with an organization close by that provides services for grieving children (i.e., loss of a sibling, parent, etc.). I am collaborating with a group to rewrite their needs statement, develop an entrance/exit survey for their clients, and create a PowerPoint show for donors. In other words, help them get more funds. Tomorrow, I am volunteering to help out at a silent auction that they are having. Not looking forward to that. I've never been to one of those, so it should be pretty interesting. But hey, they best part of all of this is that when I graduate, helping this organization will look very attractive to my future employers. And I guess I am getting some experience, too. :-]
School is coming to an close, so I apologize if I'm not posting nearly as much as I used to; it's really crunch time right now, so I've got to buckle down and get things done.

Posted byAshley C. at 3:01 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

60s in November

It's been a while!  I kind of feel guilty that I am blogging instead of doing homework, but I feel like I've neglected you all for too long now.  :-]

So much has been happening the past 5 days, I don't even know where to start.  Well, 5 days ago would be a good place, eh?

- My mom bought me, Josh, herself, and my stepdad tickets to see Jeff Dunham in February.  My favorite comedian ever!
- Me and Josh were finally able to enjoy some nice weather so we went rollerblading.  We thought taking Andrew would be a good idea, but his kind of stroller was not made for rollerblading with, I guess.
- We took a trip to a big jumping gym for Andrew.  He had a blast.  I am still trying to figure out whether the gym was for Andrew or for me and Josh?
- We went rollerblading (by ourselves) one final time before kissing the nice weather good-bye until next May.  My rollerblade wheel fell off, but we got back on the road in no time!

Today, I had my graduation picture taken!  I really hope they turn out good!  Speaking of pictures, today I brought it up to my mom that she hasn't asked what we wanted for Christmas yet.  My Christmas wish list . . . this baby, here!  If I get this, it will be one of those gifts that keep on giving.  I really hope that one day I can train myself and do photography on the side! 

Posted byAshley C. at 3:59 PM 2 Love Notes  

Capitalist Christmas

I cannot believe that it is already November. I don't know if I'm the only one that is noticing, but Christmas stuff is up already! I love Christmas; it is my favorite holiday and that season is just wonderful. I love the feeling, the warmth, the time off of school, everything! But . . . why is Christmas stuff up already? Halloween was just last week.  Macy's already has their big Christmas hoopla going on, Target has Christmas music playing and the trees up already, Black Friday sales ads are out.  What in the world, Halloween was only last week! I have only one answer for that: Capitalism! Because all of the big companies are suffering from people holding back on their spending, I'm guessing that they are just getting everything started sooner. More time, more money. I love walking into a store, smelling the pine, hearing Christmas music, but when I know that the world around me doesn't see Christmas for what I see it as, it kind of lessens that "Christmas feeling."

Speaking of Christmas, does anyone else read the Farmer's Almanac? They give 3-month weather predictions and if they're right, Northeastern Illinois will be having a white Thanksgiving! That means snow will be on the ground in 3 weeks! Oh. I see, no one else is excited about this. But I love, love, love the snow! It's beautiful and calming. If it's going to be freezing weather, it might as well snow!

Posted byAshley C. at 5:43 PM 0 Love Notes  

Time for change

I can get used to this Daylight Savings Time adjustment! I know a lot of people hate when it gets dark early, but I love it! It just feels more cuddly and comfy.

Starting tomorrow, some things are going to be changing. First, me and Josh are starting our workout. Second, my mom was nice enough to buy me the colon cleanser I was talking about, so I will be starting that the day after it comes in the mail. If you can see a trend, my goal is to make my body better . . . to become more healthy. The other thing that I am changing is my spiritual health. As ashamed I am to admit this, I have not prayed in the longest time nor have I read my Bible. I feel like my spiritual being needs some changing, training, rebuilding. I have felt very polluted in the physical and spiritual sense, so I feel like it's time for some cleansing. I am cleaning off my iPod of all secular music and only adding Christian music and devotional Podcasts. I feel so much closer to God and my thoughts are more pure and godly when I hear music that He would actually approve of.

I guess you can call this a fast. A fast from secular music, fast food, laziness. Junk. This workout, cleanse, and Christian music should kick out the cravings, eh? No more sitting around being gross. It's time for change!

Posted byAshley C. at 4:49 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

We are still not millionnaires

Because I had a moment, I thought I would finally let you all know what me and Josh did two weekends ago; I'm sure it's probably (not) eating you up inside to know.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check it out here. 

So, two Saturdays ago, me and Josh decided we wanted to become millionnaires.  What easier way to do that than play McDonald's Monopoly game?!  Yes, we tried.  We started our Saturday off by going to the McDonalds by our home.  We both ordered our food and filled our tummies for the long day ahead!  The funny thing about this is that the game pieces are only on selected items (as I'm sure you know).  We only got pieces on large drinks (that are still only $1), mcnuggets, and large fries; so that's what we ordered!  We drove to about 12 McDonalds in a 30 miles radius.  We were already full from our first stop, so we only ordered 2 large drinks at each stop.  The final stop, we ordered a full meal for each of us.

About $40
20 large drinks
4 large fries
3 gallons of Powerade
2 cartons of chicken nuggets
and 80 monopoly pieces . . .

 . . . we are still not millionnaires.  Go figure.  If you know how Monopoly works, we have all but one piece out of each section; we definitely thought we were so close!  It's rigged!  It was definitely a lot of fun, though!  We planned on doing it again but in the Wisconsin area, but we concluded that it was a total waste of money, so obviously we didn't.  But, we did get some fun pictures out of it though. 

This isn't all of the drinks!

Posted byAshley C. at 1:00 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Oh, the controversy!

One of the most controversial issues between Josh and me is whether or not our kids will be allowed to dress up for Halloween.

His opinion:  Our kids are not going to be allowed.  He did not grow up "celebrating" Halloween, going trick-or-treating, or even slightly acknowledging the day.  If we let our kids dress up for Halloween, we are showing them that under certain circumstances, it is okay to conform to those around you.  They do not need to do what everyone else is doing (dressing up or trick-or-treating).  So what if they feel left out?  They will learn that not everything everyone else does is okay. 

My opinion:  Our kids are going to be allowed.  I grew up dressing up for Halloween, going trick-or-treating until my bag was too heavy to carry (and then weighing it when I got home!), and waking up in the morning excited for what the day was going to consist of.  I feel that if our kids are raised in a godly home (which they will be), they will understand that it is never okay to conform to those around you and that Halloween is just another day on the calendar, with some added jazz!  However, I will not allow our kids to dress up as anything "scarey."  They will not be allowed to dress up in a mockery costume (i.e., Adam & Eve, Jesus, Angels, etc.). 

We never see eye-to-eye on this issue.  I just think that our kids need to be kids.  There is no harm in letting our kids dress up as long as they understand that it shouldn't be taken too far.  I've offered the option of starting our own traditions for Halloween instead of everyone else's tradition and he was all for it; but I'm not going to let him win this that easily!  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 1:36 PM 0 Love Notes  

New body coming up!

About a week ago, I mentioned me and Josh going on a little adventure and that I'd share it with you all.  It doesn't seem to be hurting anyone by not knowing, so I will share that tomorrow. 

For the past few days, I have been doing research about several things.  First, I have been searching for a good, affordable colon cleanser/detox program.  I finally found one.  It seems to be the #1 detoxifier on several all-natural sites, so I think I am going to fork over the money and try it out.  I feel so bloated and tired all of the time and I think this is just what I need to kick start my new lifestyle.  Yeah, yeah, I have had several posts about healthy goals but I am totally doing it this time.  I want and need to treat my body better.  I need more healthy stuff.  No more junk.
Second, I am going to be starting P90X again on Monday.  This time, I have support and a workout buddy, so I feel like I will be 110% more successful.  I originally stopped because I absolutely could not find the time for the long workouts.  I know it works, so it helps keep me motivated.  I am determined this time! 
Finally, I am on the hunt for a book.  Not just any book, but an all-natural, go-to, healthy food and nutrition bible kind-of-book.  After this detox helps me kick my cravings and bad eating habits, and cleans out this junk that's in me, I am going to start eating differently.  I need a book that will help guide me to what's good and bad for my body.  If any of my readers know of an all-natural book, please share.  I will keep looking, but your help will be greatly appreciated.  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 4:38 PM 0 Love Notes  

Unforgettable Experiences

Two and a half years ago, I went on a missions trip with 7 others to Indonesia.  It was my first trip outside of the country.  I was honored that God chose me to go and be a part of His work on the other side of the world.  In my opinion, I do not feel that I was as effective as I should have been.  But, who am I to say that God hadn't used me?  I might not know how He has used me until I am in His Kingdom.  I made friends, lasting memories, unforgettable experiences, and so much more. 

To this day, I have dreams about Indonesia and their people at least 5 times a week.  Those are the dreams where I wish I never have to wake up.  Do you ever have those dreams where, when you accidentally wake up, you try oh so hard to fall back asleep and grab the dream back, but can't?  These are those dreams.  I wish I could just soak up the people, the memories, the experiences.  All of it.  The first week I was there, I cried, was homesick, jetlagged, culture shocked.  I feel like I should have breathed in every day I was there, not taking a minute for granted.  Three and a half weeks came and went too fast.  I sometimes wonder, "What if God has chosen the missions field as my line of duty?"  Am I ready to sacrifice that "American dream?"  Am I ready to give up what I hoped and dreamed for, for my future family?  I can honestly say that my heart is not in the right place and that I am not standing in front of God with open hands.  I hope and pray that God will reveal His will and show me what's in store for my future.  I want to be obedient. 

Until then, I suppose I will lay my head down at night thanking God for the experiences that He's blessed me with and pray that many more will come.

Posted byAshley C. at 5:08 PM 0 Love Notes  

Life's a Moose

As I was talking with someone today about everyday financial and emotional struggles, I realized something:  Life's a Moose.  We have all read the book, "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" when we were growing up, so you all know what I'm talking about.  Life is full of unexpectancies and consequences (both, good and bad) but it's life! 

It's funny how often we don't have money, but we still spend it.  Sometimes it's so difficult to find the "silver lining," but it's still found.  We often complain about life's bad circumstances, but it's always outweighed with good reasons.  We can never have enough, yet we still find ways to appreciate what we do have. 
All of that reminded me of that childhood book because it seems just like giving a moose a muffin; he will ask for jelly to go with it.  Then he'll ask to make more muffins.  Then he will make a big mess.  It's all a snowball effect.  With each "problem" comes another, but it's all about your perspective.  If we complain and bicker about our situation, then the outcome is going to be even worse.  We will hardly ever find joy and happiness in life's lessons. 
We can look at that moose and complain about his mess.  We can run from potential requests the moose may have.  OR  We can have fun with the moose and enjoy the mess he has made.  We can give the moose what he's asked for. 

I think it's silly when people take life so seriously.  We just need to enjoy what's at hand and learn the lessons that are to be learned.  I'm not going to lie, I have not learned how to save money.  I always spend money I don't have.  I haven't learned exactly where the silver lining is all the time.  I worry.  I complain.  I often feel like a lot isn't enough.  But the key is that I'm having fun with life.  I am learning the outcomes of my decisions.  I am learning that life is meant to enjoy.

When a moose asks for a muffin, don't hesitate.  You'll have a blast and learn a lot when you do!

Posted byAshley C. at 2:59 PM 2 Love Notes  

"That Christian"

I was absolutely blown away by what I witnessed today after class.

My school is very liberal, so it's very rare that you'll hear of or know a Christian on-campus.  There are a few Christian Student Organizations, but I cannot say whether or not they are successful because I don't go to either of them.  Now, when I was leaving school today, there were students standing outside with huge posters with very large red writing on them that said things like, "Masturbation is immoral," "Flee for sexual immorality," "Sex before marriage is sinful."  Now, am I the only one that sees something wrong with this?  In addition to that, the students holding these signs were ARGUING with a group of students about their signs.  They were literally yelling, not speaking gently.

Okay, first of all, I do not agree with the fact that these students are on-campus holding these signs up, pointing the finger at "those sinners."  As Christians, we are called to love our neighbors, not point the finger.  And the fact that the signs are only tackling sexual impurities is wrong, too.  College students are not all about sex (although some are).  Just like the general population, many college students are also financially irresponsible, slaves to alcohol, liars, cheaters, etc.  Just like everyone else!  It bothers me that people portray college students so negatively.  What makes us/them different from everyone else?  Why are those signs only targeted towards sexual impurities?
Second, those students were immaturely arguing with bystanders.  You would think a cult had taken over the campus!  People have their own opinions and others need to respect that.  Because those students were already putting themselves "out there," they seemed to feel that they were carrying a stigma, so they carried themselves that way.  They seemed like they were standing out there with their guards up and acting very defensive.  Obviously people standing around were curious, they should have been able to spiritually prepare themselves to witness lovingly and strategically spread God's Word.  Not throw it out there disrespectfully.

Don't get me wrong, I sincerely admire the boldness of those students, but I'd wish it had been handled differently.  Something tells me that what they were doing was not Spirit-led.  I really wish I had the "guts" to go out like that, wear my faith on my sleeve, and share God with others . . . but I'm not.  I'm too quiet and reserved when I'm uncomfortable.  I would never want to be "that Christian."  I want to be a Christian that people don't run and hide from.  A Christian that people respect and admire.  A Christian that is Spirit-led.  Never "that Christian."

*Please note:  This blog is very opinionated.  Please respect my views and know that I am not attacking any person or group in particular.  Only the situation that occurred today.  Feel free to leave comments below, sharing your thoughts and opinions.

Posted byAshley C. at 5:19 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Runway hair

Most of you already know that I work at a salon as a receptionist.  I love this place because our stylists have a little bit of everything.  But, there is one stylist that I absolutely love and always go to; she is "hip," daring, and never holds back from what she can do.  As I was getting my hair done today, the stylist said that our boss, Krissy found this competition that would be a perfect match for her.  I guess the competition is to send in a picture of a runway updo (usually nappy, big, crazy-looking) and you have a chance to win a trip to New York and do a big time runway show.  Anyway, the stylist asked me if I'd be willing to be her model!  Haha  Of course I said yes, it would be so much fun!  The thing about this stylist is that she loves hair but make-up is her thing.  She is big into the newest trends and fashion so she is always doing something new and different.
So . . . I found this fun picture that looks like something that others might do.  Just a little too cute.  She said that basically I'm going to look like death!  Nappy hair, dark messy make-up.  LOL Okay, fun!  The girl below is too cute . . . not runway material!  :-]
I guess the photo has to be entered before November 4, so I will be posting a picture as soon as we finish!

Posted byAshley C. at 4:53 PM 2 Love Notes  

Scary Things and Surprises!

Oh no, I have not blogged in a while!  I hope you all didn't miss me too much! 

If you haven't seen the movie Coraline, you must!  It's a cartoon kind of movie, but it's pretty weird.  I am the kind of person that cannot handle scary movies because my imagination runs wild.  I will see something in a movie and be paranoid about it happening to me for months on end.  I'm not talking about, "Ooh, I'm so scared," but I really lose sleep, sleep with my light on, "see" things.  Just very bothered by scary things. It sounds weird, but I honestly believe this is one of my biggest weak spots and the Enemy knows about it.  I would just rather not entertain those kinds of thoughts.  For those reasons, I can't go through haunted houses, watch scary movies, or any other thing along those lines.  But!  Anyway, Coraline is a very weird movie.  We watched it last night and my heart was racing through it!  haha!  I am surprised I didn't have Coraline dreams!  We are actually watching it again as I'm blogging! 

Today, me and Josh spent almost the whole day doing something that I will blog about next weekend!  It was a lot of fun, but it's not finished yet, so I will have to wait to share until it's over.  :-]  Wanna take any wild guesses?  One hint: we ended up with 3 gallons of something by the end of the day!

Posted byAshley C. at 6:36 PM 4 Love Notes  

Letting Go

Yesterday I was telling Josh about this picture I painted in fourth grade and won first place at this art olympics thing (I don't remember the exact name).  He has never seen it, so I wanted to show him and I knew exactly where it was.  I have this medium-sized box on the side of my bed that is full of pictures (No, Dusty, I haven't gotten around to stuffing that album you gave me!), cards, medals that I've won, high school rewards, church notes, old diaries . . . everything! 
I have to admit, I am a huge pack rat when it comes to sentimental things.  I feel very bad for throwing away cards that people have given me, so I keep them all.  In that box was every single card I have gotten since I was 14.  I went through and looked at all of the cards.  Many brought back memories.  Some made my eyes water.  Many made me smile.  And some, I don't even know who gave them to me (even though their name was on the card!).  I decided that it was time to let go.  Time for me to let go of memories that no longer matter or that no longer have a place in my mind.  Time for me to move forward with where I am now.  Time for me to let go.  It was so hard, but I threw away every card (except for two), every old diary, and every letter.  I never plan on going back and looking at those things; I don't see a need for them to pile up and take up the limited space I have.  After I threw it all into the garbage bag, I didn't feel good.  I felt guilty, selfish, mean.  I keep telling myself that it's okay.  I don't need to be reminded of every single event that has taken place.  If it weren't for those items, I wouldn't remember certain things.  I think God has given us the gift of forgetting . . . so I need to take advantage of that. 
I didn't only do this for me to forget things, but just because!  I threw away funny birthday cards, congratulations cards . . . fun stuff, too.  I just don't need it anymore.  I appreciate cards, but I just don't need them piling up year-after-year.  This blog entry is probably portraying that I have a million regrets that I'm trying to forget about, but I don't!  I still love and want cards, so don't be offended!  I simply don't like being a pack rat.  No more! :-]

Come to think of it . . . I haven't exactly thrown that garbage bag out yet . . .

Posted byAshley C. at 5:55 PM 2 Love Notes  

Bear your crosses

Today, in church, our pastor told this story that made me feel comfortable . . . loved.  It's not verbatim, but it's close haha!

There was a believer that had full faith in God, but began to think twice about God's plans and doubt Him.  He told God that he didn't want to bear his cross anymore and just wanted some relief . . . something different.  So, Jesus came to the man and the he further explained that he no longer wanted to bear what he was bearing.  Jesus brought this man into a large room full of thousands of crosses.  Jesus told the man to pick any cross he'd like.  The man walked around the room, in awe of the different sizes, weights, colors, and designs.  The man walked up to one cross he liked, tried it on, but it was too heavy and didn't feel right upon his shoulders, so he put the cross back into it's place.  He walked to another small cross, tried it on, but felt that it was too light . . . he could handle something a little bigger, a little heavier.  So, he looked at a cross in the corner of the room, amidst the shadows that caught his attention.  The man walked up to the cross, picked it up and it felt just right.  It wasn't too heavy, wasn't too light.  It was perfect.  The man then turned to Jesus and said, "This is the cross I'd like to bear."  Jesus told him in response, "Sir, that's the cross you walked in with."

I absolutely love this story because it says so much.  It is so easy for us all to look at other's lives and their problems and think that we could handle it better.  We tend to covet other's problems and wish that we could trade with them.  But, the beautiful thing is that God has given us the perfect size cross to bear.  He knows that we can't handle something too heavy, but He also wants to challenge us and not give us something too light.  The cross that God has asked us to carry and bear is perfect for us . . . and when we feel like it's not, we must pray and get our perspectives right because God is never wrong. 

Posted byAshley C. at 2:47 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

My future husband?!

The other night, I was on Facebook chatting with one of my favorite bloggers.  She is an amazing photographer, mom, Christian, writer, etc.  Well, she just started her new website and to kick it off, she is giving away a free photography session!  I told her that I would totally drive the 11-12 hours to get photos done with her.  I wasn't lying.  Anyway, I asked her that if I were to win it, could I hold off on the deal until I get a chance to drive down to South Carolina.  It just so happens that me and Josh have a good friend that just moved to North Carolina, so I figured that when we go visit him next Spring-ish, we could go to get pictures done with Drea, too!  How cool would that be?!  And even if I don't win, I still plan on getting photos done with her (maybe engagement ;-])  It would be so awesome to meet her! :-]
Anyway, my reason in telling you that story was that she mentioned me in her blog!  How awesome!  I am a star struck person and to me, she's famous and she mentioned me. LOL  And she mentioned Josh as my "future husband."  It's so strange to hear that.  We aren't even engaged.  People always say things like, "Oh, you're already married," and refer to Josh's family as my family, and mine as his.  It's really cool.  It's real!  Me and him are going to be married some day and I'm going to be his wife!  I cannot wait!  We make a really good team and I cannot wait to see what's in store for us.  I love that kid. :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 6:05 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Clean Teeth, Intricate Body

I had to go get my teeth cleaned today.  I really dread getting my teeth cleaned for several reasons.  I would rather get a filling than a cleaning.  I'm not going to lie, I don't floss.  I hate flossing.  I mean, I will floss if something gets stuck (like chicken or corn! LOL), but not for any other reason.  So, as you could imagine, when I go get my teeth cleaned, they scrape, and poke, and torture me.  Very painful.  But . . . I love getting my teeth cleaned for two reasons: 1) I spoil myself with a nice, brand new toothbrush until the next time I go in and 2) my teeth squeak!

As most of you know, one of my majors is Psychology.  This semester I am taking a Sensation and Perception class.  It is pretty much a physiology class focusing on our senses.  We just finished learning about the eye and just moved onto the brain.  My school is a very liberal school, so it's hard to be a Christian standing up and sharing your oh-so-conservative thoughts.  I cannot understand at all how after studying the intricacies of the eye, someone can still be convinced that it all came from evolution.  How can someone not be moved by the make-up of the eye? 
Not only that, but the brain!  The brain is so interesting!  God has created His beings so interestingly and I do not think we will ever be able to fully understand everything that's in there.  But, did you know that it is possible to "plant" memories about yourself that never happened?  With careful deception, someone could plant things (very detailed "things") in your brain and make you think they happened when they never really did.  Psychologists are now working on ways to suppress memories as well.  Also, did you know that you can temporarily disable parts of your brain leading to temporary disabilities?  With a high-tech magnet, you could temporarily disable your ability to read, speak, talk, and even give yourself temporary dementia.  I don't know about you, but this stuff absolutely amazes me.  I think that our bodies are very sensitive, complicated things that can be easily messed up if we aren't careful with them.  So many different studies can be done (and are being done!) and I can guarantee you that if someone donated their live body to science, psychologists alone could mess them up, majorly!  It is some pretty scary stuff, but God created our bodies to impress us . . . to be images of Himself.  If you really knew the intricacies that our bodies held, you could not help but look for an answer (or supreme being) further than what science can explain!

Evolution?  Amoebas?  Please!!

Posted byAshley C. at 5:31 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes