Second Grade, Thirteen Years Later

My first day of second grade was one of the most scary days of my life. It wasn't like I was starting a new school; this was my second year at the same school. My mom came with to drop me off (like every other student's mom) and she had her video recorder to make sure she captured every moment. I had some friends that I knew from first grade and from over the summer, but for some reason, I was deathly afraid of starting class again. I know, it sounds silly, but I absolutely did not want to go back. When the bell rang and all of the students started flooding the school and finding their classes, I was clenched to my mom's leg, crying, begging her not to leave. When we finally found my class, I went in, and my mom saw this girl that had the same shoes as I did. In order for my mom to help me "make a friend," she pointed it out. My mom captured the whole thing on video. I guess my mom hurried her way out . . . I didn't notice.

Thirteen years later and for some odd reason, I am feeling the same thing. The only difference now is that I am 21 years old, my mom doesn't drop me off to school, I am an (almost) independent woman, and most importantly, I am beginning my last semester of college. I am dreading going back to school; not because I don't want the workload, in fact, I love homework. I love going to class . . . it makes me feel sophisticated. I have that very familiar feeling: fear. I cannot point my finger on what exactly is triggering these feelings. Is it because Josh won't be there, keeping me company? Is it because I am testing myself by taking a heavy course load? Is it because this is my last official semester of college and off into the real world I go? I have no idea why I'm being a "scaredy cat," but hopefully all goes well this semester.

Posted byAshley C. at 4:23 PM 0 Love Notes  

Oh, that love!

I feel like I need to make one thing clear. This week, you would not believe how many people have referred to their new boyfriends/crushes as their "Josh." For those of you that don't know, Josh is my boo, my best friend, my everything. I love my Josh, but there's something that I need to make sure is clear.

Me and Josh are as happy as two peas in a pod and I could not ask for me. He is the most chivalrous guy (opens all my doors, tells me I'm beautiful every day, gives me his jacket, carries me if my feet hurt, etc.). A lot of times, I do not feel like I even deserve him. We are the happiest couple that I know of and we have a love that I cannot describe. But . . .
The last thing I ever want to portray is that we are perfect; we are not. We have our pity little arguments, we have our childish fights, we pick on each other and have our "days." I am just really afraid that a lot of people think that we aren't "normal." I never, ever want people to think that's what I am displaying because that's the last thing I want it to look like. The major (the absolute biggest) difference between Josh and other guys is that he tries to have the love and attitude like that of Jesus. When people look at Josh and the way he treats me, more than anything, I want them to ask, "Where did he get that? Where did he learn that? How is he so patient and kind?" I want Josh's love to be a witness of his relationship with Christ . . . not that he is immortal and the "perfect guy."

So, girls, you will never find the perfect guy . . . he doesn't exist. You might find a guy that has a relationship with God and shows his love to you the way God taught him to, but he's got his flaws and he will always try his best to love you the way he knows how. The one thing I have learned is that the more you love God, the more love you have to share with others. If you are distant from God, you will be distant from others . . . your relationship with others is going to mimic your relationship with God.

Posted byAshley C. at 5:26 PM 0 Love Notes  

Chewed up and Spit out

Okay, so for those of you that aren't "friends" of mine on Facebook, you aren't seeing the repeated P90X status updates that I've been giving. Yesterday was day 1; the workout consisted of mainly pushups and pullups and abs. You know how usually after a hard workout, you are sore the following night or the second day after the workout? Well, not with P90X . . . I was sore only a few hours later. And it's not like I never work out because I do, but it was definitely very intense and I reached muscular failure quick.
Today was day two and it was all plyometrics . . . jumping, squats, lunges, etc. It was the absolute hardest workout that I have ever done in my life. I thought that a few times I was going to have a heart attack! For real! But when the workout was over, I literally smiled and laughed because I was so exicted I conquered that! I finished that workout about 3 hours ago and my legs and butt are already sore.
For those of you that are curious, yes, I am following their meal plan, too. I want to make sure that I see the best results possible and that I am giving it my all.

What I am saying is that if you have the extra money and have tried every workout, diet, and meal plan that exists, this is the best thing you'll ever use. I will keep you guys up-to-date on what is going on with me and my body . . . and my struggles! I will have to figure out a way to show you all some quality before and after pictures that are not of me in my bikini because that's not happening! :-]

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

JobThirtyThree

"God is far greater than any human. So how dare you haul him into court and then complain that he won't answer your charges? God always answers, one way or another, even when people don't recognize his presence . . . in a dream, for instance . . . God opens their ears and impresses them with warnings . . .Or God might get their attention through pain . . . But even then an angel could come, a champion . . . to take up your cause . . . or you may fall to your knees and pray - to God's delight! . . . this is the way God works. Over and over again He pulls our souls back from certain destruction so we'll see the light -- and live in the light."
-- Job 33: 12-30 The Message

Posted byAshley C. at 4:34 AM 0 Love Notes  

I can only imagine

For the people that know me well, you know my biggest fear is losing Josh; not being afraid of death, but afraid of being without him, I suppose. It is one of my biggest struggles and definitely my biggest fear. Me and Josh are convinced that we will never die, we will never have to live without each other for one reason: Jesus will return before that!

I was sharing this with someone today and it lead us to talk about Christ's return. This person told me something that was like a shot to the heart and I didn't know how to respond. They said that when they die, whether they meet God or Jesus first, they already know the first things they're going to ask: 1) what color does a smurf turn when you choke them?, 2) who is 'Joe' (when referring to coffee)? but I forgot the other two.
As you can see, these are silly (an understatement, perhaps) questions that do not matter when you're meeting with our Creator face-t0-face. Why in the world would those things even matter? I do not think I would even have the breath to speak, let alone ask questions about smurfs and coffee. When this person said that, I did not know how to react, I didn't know what to say or what not to say. I just sat there and said nothing.

This conversation led me to think: What would I do when finally meeting my Creator? It reminds me of MercyMe's song, "I can only imagine." This is such a heart-wrenching thing to think about because you wouldn't want to make a fool of yourself by doing or saying something foolish nor do you want to make a fool of yourself by being too humble. I do not think I would want to use a single breath speaking, but use that energy to return glory and praise to my Father!
I do not know what I will say, do, or how I'll act, but I do know one thing: I cannot wait to meet the One and Only God, the Creator of this earth, the Alpha and Omega, the truest, most pure Sacrifice, the One "I Am!"

How do you think you will act when finally meeting Him?

Posted byAshley C. at 3:31 PM 2 Love Notes  

What a great actor

Yesterday, I was at work, sitting at the front desk, talking to some of the other girls when this guy came in. I've never seen the guy before and he looked very intent. He asked, "Is your owner in right now?" and I told him, "no, she won't be in until next Tuesday. Can I leave a message for her?" He pretty much said that his wife had just been in a serious car accident in the Waukesha/Milwaukee area and that his car was on 'e' and he doesn't get paid until Friday and that he needed to get there now; the last he heard was that she was getting a CAT scan. So, he started getting choked up and watery-eyed and offered to leave his license there . . . but he needed money.
Okay, so I looked at the other girls and just apologized to the guy (after going through my several options) and told him I couldn't do anything for him. One of the girls gave him $5, and the guy just said, "Thank you, I'll return it on Friday. Thank you so much." After he left, I felt so heavy-hearted and wished I could have done something for him, wished I had cash in my purse, wished Krissy was in, etc. Another one of the girls I was working with kept asking me, "You feel bad, huh?" Of course I did! I couldn't get him and his unfortunate situation off my heart. I said a silent prayer for he and his wife.

The day of me and Josh's anniversary, he was at Jewel (picking up a last minute card, I must add!) and a guy had his hood up on his car. He came up to Josh and told him, "Man, do you have like $20 to spare, this wire on my car is split and I need to get somewhere and my car won't start without this wire fixed." Well, Josh being the car-genious he is knew that the wire was designed with this "split" look and it was supposed to be that way. So, Josh knew that he was lying and was trying to rip him off. The guy claimed, "Man, I'm a reverend, I'm not into 'hustlin'' and I just need to get to my destination." So, Josh shook the guy's hand in a one-armed hug and told him, "Look, man, I don't know who you are out here hustlin' everybody, but I know your game and it's weak. I am giving you this money and trusting God with whatever you're doing with it. I pray that it blesses you in some way, but that's between you and God. And by the way, that wire is supposed to be split." Josh gave him the $20 and the two went on their way.

So, last night, when I told Josh the story, he asked the guy's description (light-skinned black guy, about 5'10-5'11, pretty solid weight but not overweight, deep voice, clean) and it was the same exact guy! Can you believe that?! Someone is willing to bless you with their money in a time when everyone's money situation is tight, and you're out asking for money, making up stories, guiltlessly? I cannot see how people do that! I am so happy that I don't carry cash and I'm happy that the girl I work with only gave him $5. That's a bunch of baloney and hurts. Makes me not want to help anyone financially . . .

So, if you live in my area, look out for this guy and do not give him money, regardless of his sob sob story. Ugh.

Posted byAshley C. at 11:13 AM 2 Love Notes  

Great workout

Whew! I did an awesome workout today, which I am very proud of!

You know how Josh got me that iPod? Well, there is a Nike application on there that tracks your time, distance, calories burned, etc. I was finally able to get the other little (required) piece that goes in your shoe and I love it! Normally, I only run a mile and do strength training, but today, I ran two miles! Yeah, some of you are probably thinking that's nothing, but I don't run two miles every day, so it's a lot for me.
Anyway, the Nike application was so cool because the lady talked to me through the time I was running ("goal" was 20 minutes). She told me every 5 minutes where I was at and how much longer I had to run. I really like this thing; I suppose it's for running outside, but I HATE running outside . . . will not do it . . . ever. So, I will just use it on the treadmill. :-]

Guess what I am waiting for to arrive in the mail? P90X! I am totally going to rock that DVD and have a banging body when I am done! Watch out! If you go on youtube and look at transformations, you will be impressed. So, I will take a before and after picture just for you guys. The only thing I am not looking forward to is the nutrition plan. I'm sorry, but I love food. I like to eat whatever I want, whenever I want . . . I don't like eating set foods (which are usually boring and bland). But, what's 90 days? I will most likely form a healthy eating habit, save money from not eating fast food, and have a hot body . . . I think it's worth it! My main goal is to make sure I have a nice body for my marriage (whenever that happens) and so that I am that much ahead when I eventually have babies!


Cheers to the beginning of a new body, yeah?
Oh yeah, Josh finally fixed my blog, can you tell? Gotta love it!

Posted byAshley C. at 12:53 PM 0 Love Notes  

Who are you?

So, evidently, people actually read my blogs! That makes me so happy because at least I know that I am not the only one reading my own stuff! What really stinks though, is that when I look at my profile, I only have 4 followers and those are the people I know read my blog. A few times, people have told me that they like my blogs or that they have taken time and looked at them a time or two, but if they didn't tell me, I wouldn't know.

It would be awesome if my followers shared my blog with others and if my annonymous followers become known because then it makes my time feel worthwhile! I love blogging and I will blog regardless, but because now that I know I have interested people, I am curious to know exactly who reads these things!

FYI: You don't have to be registered with Blogger to become a follower nor do you have to be registered to comment. ;-]

Posted byAshley C. at 1:34 PM 0 Love Notes  

Our fourth anniversary!



I feel pretty bad that I haven't gotten a chance to write about our anniversary yet! It was definitely a good one and I do not regret recreating our first date.

Now that I can say something, let me tell you what I made Josh. I thought it would be a good idea to express just how much he means to me and the affect he has had on my life in a different kind of way. I made him this tabbed scrapbook binded with 3 rings. On the front cover, I just stitched the word "Inspiration" and had some other designs, too. On the inside, I explained what the book was about and just shared some sentimental moments and followed that by different lessons that he has taught me; each lesson had its own layout, designs, pictures, and a page of journaling. I did four lessons and then I ended the book with more journaling about "What's to come." He really loved it. I put so much work into it and was afraid that it wasn't going to get done.
I also made him a CD with a bunch of songs that reminded me of our relationship: Christian songs, ghetto songs (haha!), love songs, etc. And in between each song, I voice recorded myself saying what that songs meant to me and why I put it on that CD . . . but when I went to actually make the CD, the songs transferred, but the voice recordings didn't. Bummer.
Josh bought me a new iPod! I have been needing a new one for some time now because mine was lost at Parkside, then found again, then it broke . . . it's been through a lot and I think it just decided to give up! So, I have a brand new iPod touch that I love! He loaded it with "our songs" and that was our date music. :-]

Josh picked me up and had a big ol' bear and a dozen roses for me. It was so sweet! He was wearing a polo and I was wearing a summery black shirt (like our first date!). We had plans to go to the mall and go shopping (like he did the weekend before he left for his first year of college). We went into a few stores, but Josh was getting really hungry and my feet were hurting, so we left the mall a little early. Now, the day before our anniversary, I stopped into Uno's Bar and Grill and talked to the manager; I introduced myself, told him that me and my boyfriend were celebrating our fourth anniversary and we wanted to recreate our first date, so I wanted to same table. He was all for it, I made reservations for 9:15. Josh didn't know any of this.
When we left the mall to go to Uno's, it was only 8:30. So, before we went in, I told him that the reason I was stalling and taking my time was because we had reservations for 9:15 at "our table." He was really surprised! Well, we went in early and the table was open and available. The next thing we know, the manager brings us out a rose in a vase and a Hallmark card (I'm a sucker for Hallmark)! How sweet was that?! They were all so nice and polite to us and at the end of the night, they offered us dessert on the house . . . but we were too stuffed!

It was such a sweet date and I am glad that we went the simple route. He's the sweetest guy that I have ever met and I could never imagine someone replacing him. I cannot believe that we are now on our fifth year . . . crazy how time flies when you're having fun!

Posted byAshley C. at 8:22 AM 0 Love Notes  

Call it faith!

I don't know if you all have heard this yet, but there is a 17-year old girl that has run away from home and her former Muslim faith and has converted to Christianity. She ran away from home because she fears that her parents are going to kill her for practicing her new found faith.

I call this girl faithful! I don't know this young girl's heart, nor do I know her motives, but I think that only a believer has that kind of courage and boldness. Of course, I don't really support her running away, but I am moved by her choice to choose God over family. I really do hope that this young girl would find rest and comfort in knowing Christ and that she would be a light to her family . . . when God is on our side, we cannot be outnumbered!

Posted byAshley C. at 1:32 PM 0 Love Notes  

It's our anniversary!

Today is me and my lover's fourth anniversary! Let me tell you, this man deserves a lot of recognition for putting up with me for this long. When we first started dating, I was so argumentative, sassy, and, well . . . not the nicest girl he's ever known, I'm sure. But, as you can see, we are still together. I am so grateful for the love that he has taught me and the way he has helped "straighten" me up. I really wish I could do so much more for him, but I suppose love is the greatest gift, yeah?


He is the best guy I have ever known and he has taught me so much. I really do not know where I would be without his help and encouragement these past four years. It really hasn't been so hard loving him. I mean, he's only the sweetest, most handsome, chivalrous, forgiving, prayer warrior I have ever know . . . not so hard to get used to!

I cannot believe where the last four years have gone. We have been through so much and seen so much together that our love is on a whole 'nother level that no one else could possibly understand. I cannot wait to see where the coming years take us, but as long as he's by my side, I'm willing to go anywhere.


I love you, Joshua Aaron Staples. You're the man! :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 2:36 PM 0 Love Notes  

uber-excited!

I must say that I am so excited about tomorrow! It will be me and Josh's four-year anniversary. We have finally come to the conclusion that we are going to recreate our first date! It is just going to be a simple night, but we are recreating this to the 'T,' so it is going to be a lot of fun!

I am beginning to get a little worried, though because I haven't finished his gift. Hmm . . . we will see how this all unravels. I wonder what he's getting me?

Tonight I am going to be brave and try a self-tanner; it's called 'Fake Bake' and I haven't heard a single negative thing about it. So, either I am going to look hot and tan tomorrow or like a dirty loser. Either way it turns out, I promise I will post a picture . . . you have my word!

I will let you all know how our date went tomorrow . . .

Posted byAshley C. at 1:49 PM 0 Love Notes  

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Do you ever get that feeling that you're completely helpless in the equation at hand?

I can't stand when things happen and you feel like you could have or should have done something, regardless of the circumstance. When all is said and done, (even if the situation wasn't in your hands,) all you can do is tell yourself, "I wish I would have . . . "

This isn't my problem to begin with, but I will definitely be praying for both parties.

P.S. - Krissy's grandma made it successfully through surgery!

Posted byAshley C. at 10:23 AM 0 Love Notes  

God is Huge

This might be a longer blog, so if you're in a rush, turn back now!

As my readers know, I work at a family-owned business. I think that this business is one that God has planted here and has huge plans for it's employees and clients. One thing that really attracts me about working there is that things come up and we all come together like a family would. We have all had our days and it doesn't cause a single inconvenience to any other because we have relationships like that.
I really don't know if I am supposed to be sharing this, but I feel like God works in big ways and we are so small that a lot of times, we look over it. My boss, Krissy called me to come into work early today because her grandma is going through an all-of-a-sudden surgery that gives her a very small chance of making it through because she is so frail. When she called me to come into work for her, all I could do was pray (while getting ready really fast!) for God's comfort and hand to be in her family. Right then, I felt God prompting me to personalize Jeremiah 29:11-12 for her. So, before heading to work, on a small piece of paper I wrote:

"'For I know the plans I have for [grandma],' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper [her] and not to harm [her], plans to give [her] hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."

I think that one of the most important things for a Believer to know is that God's Word was meant to be personalized! So, what's the harm in reading His Word, and "(insert name here)?" His Word is a love letter to His followers and we should look at it that way. When we feel so distant from God, I think it's our choosing. We have a hard time looking at God as a friend or confidant, we look at Him as this Supreme Being that is out of reach. He isn't!

This brings me to my second thought. After I slipped Krissy the piece of paper, she called me a little later (while rushing to the hospital) and one thing she wanted me to know was that I am "a vessel of God." Why is this so hard for me to accept? For the longest time now, the Enemy has had a hand on my faith and has made me feel worthless and defeated. Since I have become a Believer, I have spent more time doubting my faith than I have spent believing that I am actually saved. I go through spurts of really living for God and handing my life over to Him and then I go back to never reading or praying. This is my fault and I do not have a single "it's His fault" bone in my body. When I share these struggles with people, all they do is try to assure me that I am saved, I am a godly woman, etc. But really, it doesn't mean a single thing to me. Why? Because people don't know my heart, they don't know the "blah" of me and God's relationship. I think that even when I try to assure myself of my salvation, I can't even believe myself . . . except for when I remind myself that that is the Enemy's job! He doesn't want me having any comfort or rest in knowing God; he doesn't want me to do work in God's name; he doesn't want me doing anything that furthers God's kingdom . . . he would rather have me spend my walk in doubt, struggle, and hesitation. When I think about all of that, then I have confirmation that I am written in God's book and that I will be able to spend eternity praising God for his greatness.

So, I guess that even if the Enemy is deceiving me and trying to control my growth, others can see that there is something Bigger working in my life. This brings me to remember 1 John 4:4:

" . . . the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."

By the way, if you are reading this, please stop by Krissy's blog. She is a godly woman that writes nothing that doesn't glorify God. The only problem is that I am her only reader and she needs more! Also, please keep her and her family in your prayers.

Posted byAshley C. at 9:36 AM 0 Love Notes  

God, what are You waiting for?

Okay, let me be honest here. I am pretty frustrated with fixing that annoying marginal problem on this blog! Josh is too busy, so he won't be able to get around to fixing it until who knows when. I have tried a million different HTML adjustments and nothing works. After that is fixed, it's just adding some cool things . . . but I refuse to do that until the biggest problem is fixed.

Besides the blog, I had another thing on my mind. For one, I would really like a new camera; I'm thinking maybe a Nikon D40 to start off with. I just don't have the money for it. Do you know how great it would be to become a pro before I have kids or before the most beautiful seasons get here (okay, maybe not that fast!)? At this point, I am thinking about taking my car savings money and using it towards a new camera, but I know I would have buyer's remorse after doing something silly like that. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for the camera Josh bought me two anniversaries ago, but I want a professional camera. I'll still use the cute pink one when I just can't fit that Nikon in my back pocket!

I'm just going to come out and say this . . . I am getting so impatient waiting for Josh to propose. Yes, we are waiting on God and we have been praying hard about this, but I think we are beyond that now. I'm positive that God approves of us, so when is Josh going to ask? I don't like talking about it much because I don't want him to feel pressured and make the wrong move at the wrong time. So, I guess until then, I will just keep on being patient and enjoying the journey set before us. The hardest part is just putting my trust in God and knowing that He has everything planned and that as long as I follow His lead, I will be blessed beyond measure.

Patience is a virtue, right?

Posted byAshley C. at 4:18 PM 0 Love Notes  

Sometimes girlhood sucks

I don't think guys can really relate to this, but man, sometimes it really sucks being a girl! Today was the worst day of this "stuff" I have ever experienced. At least it made me go out and buy a heating pad and now I have one forever!

Aside from that, I am one large step closer to finishing Josh's amazing anniversary gift; I really hope he likes it (well, I know he will, but whatever). I can't believe it has almost been 4 years! Maybe next year we will be close to celebrating a one year anniversary (wink, wink!). He is an amazing man and I couldn't imagine life without him.

Now, my goal is to bug Josh and try getting him to fix this blog!

Posted byAshley C. at 5:24 PM 0 Love Notes  

I'm getting there . . .

Alright, so evidently, I am still working on my blog. I have been able to upload my new banner (isn't it pretty?!), I just can't get everything centered and lined up right. I'll get there eventually. After I do that, you'll be seeing a few changes here and there, but I promise it will be nice when it's all done!

. . . but, this might be taking a while because I guess my step-dad thinks that he has a niche for fixing things but it's plain and obvious that everything he touches, he ends up ruining. My Internet isn' working. When I do log on, I'm either at work or stealing my neighbor's non-secured Internet connection. I think it happened when I gave my family my desktop computer and he switched the "main computer," so after mixing up wires and disconnecting a bunch of things, it is now irreversible and we need to call our Internet provider, so Josh will do that some time this week.

Speaking of Josh, our 4-year anniversary is coming up a about a week and his homemade gift is officially underway! I can't tell you what it is because he reads my blogs, but after he gets it, I will have to post some pictures!

I don't know what our plans are yet. I think he has made himself in charge of our plans again. I think I should call shots for next year although his plans are always romantic (and free for me!).

As you know from my last blog, I went to my first New York Yankees game! It was so nice besides the fact that we had two obnoxious, drunk Sox fans behind us saying (not so) mean things to us, spilling beer all over my brand new purse, begging to go to our non-existant wedding (and bring a girl they didn't know, across the aisle from us, as a date), and yelling immature things to Johnny Damon ("Hey Johnny, your shoes are cute!" "Johnny, remember when girls used to think you were cute? Then you got old!"). It was definitely an adventure worth remembering!

You have to check out the Staples' new family dog! Her name is Shelby and she will eventually "hook-up" with Toby!
Isn't he (well, the puppy, too, I guess) adorable?

That cutie-patutie!

Posted byAshley C. at 3:54 AM 0 Love Notes