We have names!

"Ti-ti" and Uncle "Dosh" finally have names!  I thought I would just give it a whirl and see if Andrew would copy me and say our names and he did.  The amazing thing about this is that he doesn't only know our names, but he knows us.  My sister handed Andrew a picture of us four (Me, Josh, Ann-Marie, and Andrew), and he pointed to everyone of us saying our names.  I know, he is 19 months, so he should be able to do this stuff at this point, but now that he is actually doing it, it's impressive.  I can remember his actual birth day like it was yesterday, now to look at who he has become warms my heart.  It's amazing to see the way God has given this child habits, a personality, and an attitude . . . he's uniquely Andrew and I love it.  It's really cool to see the changes that occur and how easy it is to teach him new things.

I really wish I could see "my baby" every day . . .  kiss him every day and whisper, "I love you," hear his sweet voice, tickle his tiny feet . . . but he's not my baby so I can't control that!  :-[  I love this kid more than life and cannot wait to see who he becomes.  I hope and pray that he becomes a godly young man that loves God with his whole heart . . . but again, he's not my baby, so I can't control (or consistently teaching him) that; all I can do is pray.  This kid has seriously stolen my heart and has taught me how much I can love such a little person.  I can't wait to start my own family and have all of this a part of my family. 

Posted byAshley C. at 6:24 PM 0 Love Notes  

Yes, it's true. I have . . .

Okay, I'm not going to lie, I have "cankles."  Go ahead, laugh.  :-]  I hate my ankles, or lack thereof.  When I logged onto the computer today, MSN had an article about cankles and ways to get rid of them (yeah, right!).  It had a bunch of links and pictures.  Talk about an ego booster!  I don't have cankles as bad as most of these people do, but I must admit, I do have them.  It's something that I've struggled with accepting and I hate wearing shorts because of them.  But hey, I'm working on the calves, so maybe they'll begin to "disappear."  Haha!  I feel so weird for talking about this, but it's me . . . I don't want to portray something I'm not, so you're going to get the Ashley that I am, cankles and all!

I have noticed that my last like 40 blogs I have not posted any pictures.  I am sorry about that.  Most of the time, I am writing blogs from work or trying to write them quickly from home, so I have not had the chance to post pictures.  I promise I will have pictures up soon, though.   

Posted byAshley C. at 1:37 PM 0 Love Notes  

The scale broke

So, as you all know, I have been doing P90X . . . very faithfully.  I don't know if I mentioned it previously, but I am no longer doing the meal plan.  It is too inconvenient with me being at work and school and having no time to actually cook something or pack a lunch or dinner for every place I go.  For those that aren't familiar with P90X, it is a 90 day (very intense) workout plan.  I am now on day 31!  You are supposed to weigh yourself and take pictures every 30 days and it guarantees results.  It's no lie.  But . . .
I made the mistake with starting the plan during my heaviest time of the month, if you know what I mean.  So, when I weighed myself yesterday, day 30, I actually weighed more.  How does that happen?!  I understand that muscle weighs more than fat, but sheesh!  I am definitely bloated and heavier right now, but I look and feel better.  But, my body fat percentage is up, too.  Maybe from water weight?  Who knows.  My argument is that the scale is broken.  What I do know though is that my stomach, legs, arms, everything is tightening up (and shrinking); there is a big difference and it's only day 30!  I love this workout!
I have done very well.  I would say that the hardest part for me is actually waking up extra early for school and getting the workout in.  I want to just lay in bed and get that extra hour and a half of sleep.  Sometimes I do and I'm forced to do the workout at night after work (which stinks!). 
I would definitely recommend this workout to anyone that is looking for some high-intensity work out plan that promises results. 

Wish me luck on Phase 2/3!

Posted byAshley C. at 5:07 PM 0 Love Notes  

Any Car I Want!

My car is officially paid off!  After a long 5 years, I no longer have a car payment.  I am so grateful for that.  But, the only problem is that my car is a '99 . . . completely depreciated in value.

One of my New Year's resolutions was to get a new car.  My goal was to bust my butt, work hard, and be able to get my new car by September.  Definitely not happening.  I saved up enough money for a decent down payment, plus had an amount that I was going to sell my car for; of course, things come up.  Me and Josh pretty much share all of our money at this point.  It actually works very well because when I don't have money, he does, and vice-versa.  We are always there to catch each other, so to speak.  Well, Josh's car has decided it was going to start finding every little thing that can go wrong and act upon it.  I'm not going to be some inconsiderate girlfriend that buys a new car while her boyfriend is driving a clunker . . . so I won't.

I know that Josh appreciates it and sees that he has a smart, considerate girlfriend and that makes me feel good.  I told Josh that I will not get a new car until we are financially ready for something like that.  Neither of us have run out of options . . . we both have a running vehicle that God has blessed us with and we need to acknowledge that.  I'm not going to lie, I have felt impatient and spontaneous at times, but he's there to tell me the reality of our situation! :-]  He told me that if I patiently wait, after we get married and are ready for big purchases, he will buy me any car off the lot that I want.  He doesn't lie!  You better believe I am going to patiently wait!  Josh knows best when it comes to this kind of stuff and I feel security in knowing that.

So, until my car breaks down and decides to never start again (or until after we're married) I will be driving around what God has blessed me with.  For the time being, I have one less bill after all.  Can't argue with that!

Posted byAshley C. at 5:23 PM 0 Love Notes  

Gospel, dates, and THAT day

I am so excited!  A couple of days ago, I bought me and Josh tickets to "How Sweet The Sound."  It is a gospel choir competition in Chicago.  I remember seeing the commercials last year and wanted to go, but it just never happened, so we are going for sure in two weeks!  I am a fan of the majority of gospel music, but not all of it . . . hopefully this will be as enjoyable as we are anticipating.  Plus, the tickets were only $5 each . . . the most expensive part was parking . . . $31; does that make any sense to you?  Yeah, us neither.  But hey, new experiences, right?

We have a mini date tonight . . . dinner and a movie.  Okay, maybe that's something we do all of the time, but when you label it "date," the atmosphere is a little different.  So, dinner and a chick flick (which he actually wants to see!). 
I love hanging out with my Lover . . . he's the only one that opens me up and completely understands me.  The funny thing about that is that I wouldn't even call that aspect "love;" there is so much more of that word that we have . . . but when you have several aspects of love and the complicated aspects of friendship . . . that's something unique and special. 

P.S. I told Josh today that I needed my (promise) ring cleaned and threw in, " . . . but maybe I don't even need it cleaned because I'll have a replacement soon . . . " and he agreed.  Maybe he was just throwing me a bone, but I just have to keep reminding myself that everyday is closer to THAT day.  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 1:31 PM 0 Love Notes  

Fall is my absolute favorite!

It's almost Fall!  I have to admit, I love Fall way more than any other season.  Summer's too hot.  Spring's too unpredictable.  Winter is too cold.  Fall is just perfect.  There is something comforting about Fall more than anything else.  I cannot point out only one thing I love about fall, so I'm going to blabber on about what I love about it!

-Coming home from church, throwing on sweatpants and cuddling on the couch to watch football.
-Time for hoodies.
-The beautiful colors of leaves.
-Raking the leaves that never stop falling.
-Lighting Yankee Candle's pumpkin spice or macintosh.
-Baking pumpkin pies and pumpkin rolls . . . or any Fall dessert for that matter.
-Staying in on weekends, renting movies, and ordering pizza.
-Believe it or not, the heavy course load (for school).
-Going for walks until our cheeks get too cold.
-Carving pumpkins and baking the seeds.
-Making warm, comforting soups.
-Putting cute little pumpkins on the front porch and hanging our scarecrow on the front door.
-The way it starts getting dark so early.
-Thanksgiving dinners . . .
- . . . and the Day-After-Thanksgiving sales!
-Going through huge corn mazes with friends.
-Eating "Affy Tapples."
-Sleeping with my window open and space heater on (shh!).
-Bonfires and s'mores.
-Costume parties

I could keep going!  Is anyone else with me on this, or am I the only "crazy" one that isn't absolutely in love with Summer?  Fall officially begins on September 22nd . . . bring it!  I promised myself that I will not light any Fall candles, put my (pumpkin) Yankee Candle car freshener in my car, or order any pumpkin desserts until then; everyone else's eagerness is making it hard haha!
Josh and I decided that as soon as the leaves in Northern Wisconsin begin to change, we will take the 5-hour drive up and enjoy the scenery for the weekend.  I keep asking him every day, "How will we know?" but he said not to worry, so I wont! ;-]

Posted byAshley C. at 3:33 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Hello, Monday!

I don't think I could have asked for a better Monday.  I should have known it was going to be a great day . . .
Yesterday, me and Josh were taking a cat nap and I woke up to him holding me, whispering.  I jumped up and said, "huh?" and he gently grabbed my head and laid it back down.  The closer I listened, I realized he was praying.  It really was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard or seen.  He was praying for us, praying for me . . . praying.  It was so amazing because he was praying aloud, while I was sleeping.  I could not ask for a more devoted, loving boyfriend.

I was able to sleep in this morning because with my P90X, it is either a stretch or relax day . . . I took advantage of the extra sleep.  As I was getting ready, I decided to check my Facebook.  I got a message from Melissa who was thanking me for a package I sent to her and her group in Africa.  I have a friend that I used to work with a couple years ago; he is on a long/short-term missions trip in Kenya with 7 others.  Last month, me and Josh thought it would be a blessing if we sent them a big box and just spoiled them a little.  A few dollars later, we realized that we would not be able to afford sending the package express . . . so, it could take up to 8 months to get there.  Well, Melissa sent me a message this morning thanking us for the gifts we sent!  It only took a month to get there!
On top of that, right when I pulled in the school parking lot, there was a close spot open!  I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but I leave for school an hour and a half early because 45 minutes of it is spent driving around in circles, looking for a spot.  I just pulled right in!  The school day went by so smoothly and during my break, I went down to Student Records.  It is official.  Etched in stone.  I am graduating December 20th!  All of my classes are cleared, all of the paperwork and academic appeals are taken care of! 

To make my Monday even better, I had coffee with a friend that I haven't talked to in a while.  What I love about Nina is that she is open-minded.  She is open and willing to listen to what a Christian has to say and is not talking badly about it 10 minutes later.  Last week, me and Josh ordered her a really cute pink Bible that she loves and appreciates . . . and actually understands (thank goodness for The Message!).  We talked about God, praying, and boys of course!  It was refreshing to be able to sit down and talk with someone that you feel is a good investment of time and energy and is listening and interested in what you have to say.

After I get off work, I don't mind what me and Josh do . . . he is the ultimate "Best-Monday-Topper-Offer!"

Posted byAshley C. at 4:52 PM 0 Love Notes  

Where were you?

This might be a little cliche' to write a blog about 9/11 . . . and that's not good.  I think that as Americans, it is important to remember those that were lost on 9/11.  It is so easy for us to just live life and act as though nothing happened because we aren't living in the shoes of those that have lost a loved one in this attack.  Many people were killed (2,993 to be exact) and although we cannot personally recall every name, maybe not even one, but we need to remember the effect that this had on our country and even now, our troops. 

Where were you?

I was in eigth grade, first period, art class.  Our teacher just took attendance and I offered to take it down to the attendance office.  When I walked in, the women behind the counter were talking to each other about a plane that just crashed into the Pentagon and were expecting more activity elsewhere.  When I got back to class, I told my teacher and she turned the news on in class.  For the rest of the day, we continued to watch the updates, clips from around the world of people celebrating, people running for their lives down New York streets, people mourning for loved ones, flags being burned . . . the list goes on and on.  I remember sitting there at my desk, all teacher's lessons halted.  I just kept my eyes glued to the TV in disbelief at what I was witnessing.  While sitting in my History class, I remember our teacher telling us to "remember this day because it is going to be a big part of history."  Although I do not know anyone that knew someone that was lost that day, I feel that I can empathize with part of what was experienced. 

I heard a few times today, "Oh, but nobody cares to remember Pearl Harbor anymore," or "What about the casualities of World War II?"  I think that as time passes, different priorities are placed and sad to say, but we tend to forget about big events such as these.  It's nice to see that a lot people are still remembering what took place eight years ago.

Posted byAshley C. at 2:14 PM 0 Love Notes  

A jumbled mess and confusion

I cannot count how many times things have happened and cannot be given an explanation.  What's great about knowing God is that you do not always need to know why . . . He has His hand in it all and will eventually provide answers.  What's even harder is that when these things happen, they often leave you scatterbrained, unorganized, and feeling helpless.  What could God have planned in this?  What could have happened if God's will was followed all of the way?  Knowing God will open your eyes and when you are really seeking Him, you will see a million and a half reasons to stay faithful.  For those that have no concept of who God is or what He can do for us . . . it is our duty, as soldiers for Christ, to pray and be a model to them. 
As soldiers for Christ, it is also our duty to let God have His way wholeheartedly.  Too often, we pray for others and don't see that we are really praying for ourselves; and what's ironic about that is that after we see that we were really praying for ourselves, we are in denial about our need.  When God moves your heart to pray, pray.
 I pray that God would help me to organize my thoughts and feelings about this . . . especially wash away the judgmental tendencies and hateful feelings.  I suppose sometimes it helps to be a stranger to what we don't know . . . it's God's way of helping us to move past things.  

Writing this blog feels completely useless because I have no way to organize the feelings or thoughts that I am experiencing.  I thought that writing this would give me some organization or an outlet, but it has not helped at all (just mixed me up even more!). 

The lesson that I have learned more than anything in this is that I need to be steadfast in prayer and ask God to use me beyond comprehension in my family.  I cannot sit back and expect change, I need to pray and get God's help!

6 weeks too long . . . You're in His hands now . . . much more love and better care.

Posted byAshley C. at 5:35 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

simplistic entertainment

Half a week of school can be exhausting! This is my seventh semester of college and I have never had to go every single day . . . until now. It really stinks. I have always had the convenience of going to class every other day. Because I am packing my schedule full, I will never have to drive to Parkside again after December. Woo Hoo!!

Because it has been such a hectic, stressful week, I think I just want to relax today. Unfortunately I had to work this morning, but when I get home, I am going to go rent some movies, clean, work out, shower, cook dinner, and just relax . . . all day. I feel like busy-ness was my life story all summer, but when you can't slow down and relax whenever you want, you tend to appreciate it more when you finally get the chance.

. . . random . . . but as I'm writing this, I watched a kid across the street run his car into his fence, crack his side-view mirror, pull forward, reverse, and then take the whole thing off; maybe he should be relearning some basic driving concepts. He doesn't think anyone saw him, but I did . . .

Anyway, me and my lover haven't gotten a chance to simply hang out. During the summer, we are always going here, stopping there, walking to this place, rollerblading to that place; we never just sit around and be bored anymore. I think that renting movies, eating a home-cooked meal, and baking cupcakes together would be fun and relaxing for us both. I miss him. I mean, we are always together but not always together if you know what I mean. People can be in each other's presence, but not enjoying each other's presence for the simplicity that it holds. I want to be able to do that more often . . . just enjoy simple company and not have to be doing entertaining things all the time.

Enjoy your Saturday whether action-packed or slow!

Posted byAshley C. at 10:14 AM 0 Love Notes  

The boldness is something to admire

Yesterday at school, there was a group table out in one of the hallways with a big banner, "InterVarsity." During the first week or so of school, every organization and group at the school is trying to get people involved in what they're promoting.
Over the summer, I really thought about joining a Christian organization through the school so that I can get myself involved, make some Christian friends, and fill in the gap during my days. Well, I was walking to the bookstore and was walking past the InterVarsity table and the one guy there stopped me and asked how I was doing. We introduced ourselves, talked about church, Urbana09, and of course, how to get involved. I gave him my e-mail and he told me he will be contacting me soon.

After I walked away, I thought about something that God has blessed him with. Boldness. I know that as Christians, we are called to evangelize and witness to the people around us. I was sitting in a lounging area in the hallway and was impressed with what I saw. So many people walking by with InterVarsity's paper. It wasn't like the guy was just throwing them at people, he was actually introducing himself, explaining what his organization was, and then giving them a paper. I deeply admired that. I don't think that I could ever be as bold as him. Not only was he witnessing, but was witnessing to a multitude of people: the "preps," jocks, rockers, and emos. When God called us to serve and evangelize, He didn't say to only witness to the people we found easy or convenient to witness to , but to be bold and simply do what He has called us to.

Unfortunately, InterVarsity meets on Thursday nights and I have work, so I won't be able to connect and fellowship during that time. However, on Mondays at 12, they have a big prayer meeting for the school and that's when I have my break! I figure that this is something that God has placed in my life for a reason, so I better heed to it . . . but, I get anxious when meeting new people . . . it's silly, but it really does cause an anxiety that I have been trying to fight. So, I am debating if I want to do this. I know, "just do it," but it's a big deal!

I'll let you all know if I end up just plunging into this or not!

Posted byAshley C. at 1:06 PM 2 Love Notes  

A very big struggle

I have thought long and hard about actually posting this blog . . . and, well, I've obviously decided to.

Over the past year, I have really gotten to get to know a certain someone very well. I seen this person change from a cold-hearted individual to a person that loves the Lord and seeks His will for every aspect of their life. We were able to share things with each other, laugh, invest time in each other, and help motivate each other to move forward in life regardless of negative circumstances . . .

. . . I didn't know this person at all. From what it seems, they have strayed from the Lord and made choices for their life and are obviously not wise decisions. They have altered the direction of their life and are making not-so-smart decisions that I see no potential positive outcome. We are no longer friends . . . a mutual decision I suppose. I think there is a lesson to be learned in this. For some reason, I have the coldest, most judgmental feelings towards this person and hope they get what's coming for them. But . . . this isn't my problem. I have to keep reminding myself that people are going to make their own decisions and regardless of what people tell them or how much people spend time helping to guide them, they are their own person. I have to remember that if this person really knew the Lord, He has his ways of convicting, forgiving, and loving. I am really going to be praying for these cold feelings to disappear . . . we know that something like that takes Him and we cannot do it in our own power.

Posted byAshley C. at 4:15 PM 0 Love Notes  

Five stitches, oh boy!

He's such a workhorse, but man does Josh get his work done! Today he called me when he got off work to tell me that he got 5 stitches put on his hand today. I guess he was throwing some bricks into the dumpster (he works construction) and wasn't able to get his hand out of the way fast enough . . . and now he's got an injured right hand. The sad thing about it is that he starts class tomorrow and he's right-handed. Poor guy. I love when I get chances to baby him, though. Hopefully he heals fast and that the pain goes away even faster.

Posted byAshley C. at 3:19 PM 0 Love Notes  

Too good to be true

Remember that oh-so-good tanning lotion I mentioned in a previous blog? Well, that lotion worked so well, went on smoothly, no streaks, no orange color . . . just tan! The only problem now is that it is making my skin break out in hives. I'm not talking a lot of little ones, just a few bigger ones. None of them are on my arms or face (thank goodness), just on my legs and chest . . . it's really weird. As much as I am in denial about blaming the lotion, I think I have to own up and admit that it's definitely that "perfect" lotion. I have always had sensitive skin. I cannot even use Tide laundry detergent (not even the hypoallergenic kind); it's my favorite detergent and I can't use it. This is my favorite tanning alternative and now I can't use it. Bummer!

Now . . . I can either walk around as white as snow or risk another hive break out in an attempt to find new lotion . . .

Posted byAshley C. at 4:31 PM 2 Love Notes