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  

School Blues

Having to chose between studying and blogging is a very hard decision.  I love one but have to do the other.  Why can't school just be easy and we be able to attain all the knowledge necessary for our field of study? *sigh*

Posted byAshley C. at 5:21 PM 0 Love Notes  

Big dinners, long jackets, and new employees

I kind of had to pause my night for just a second because I felt the need to blog.  Not about anything particular, but just because it has been an interesting night. 
Me and Josh planned on going out to dinner at Olive Garden tonight since our How Sweet The Sound "date" kind of fell through (because of too much traffic) the other night.  Anywho, today Josh got a card from a friend that just moved pretty far away.  In the card, there was a gift card to Olive Garden (just a "thank-you-for-being-such-a-good-friend" card).  It worked out perfect because guess how much we had to spend . . . only $16 (not including tip)!  That's a good deal because Olive Garden is pretty expensive, especially for people that eat like me and Josh do! 
As all of us have noticed, the weather is beginning to be more Autumn-like.  Very cold, rainy, and windy.  I have a North Face fleece jacket, but I felt like I needed something a little more sophisticated and warm, so Josh said we could go and get me a nice jacket!  We went to the mall and I got a really nice long, wool Calvin Klein jacket marked at $375 for only $100.  Yeah, I'm not going to lie, money is tight, but you need a winter jacket, right?  And not to mention, that's a really good deal (and it'll last me a while since it's higher end).  Bargain hunter, yes!

One quick funny story . . . Me and Josh have a new addiction.  Oberweis ice cream.  I love, love, love their coffee toffee waffle bowl and Josh gets their hot fudge brownie sundae.  After dinner, we went and got ice cream.  Their new employees wear this "I'm new" badge (kind of embarrassing!).  Well, when we pulled up to the window, the "new" kid gave us our ice cream.  I asked Josh if he can ask the kid to put some toffee bits on there because there weren't any.  So he nervously said, "Oh yeah, I knew I was forgetting something."  So, he puts some toffee on the ice cream.  When he came back, he brought our drinks to the window, his arm knocked my glass bottle over, spilled half of it all over the counter, it's fizzing all over the place, and then said, "Do you really want a new one?" Umm, yes, I want a new one . . . did he plan on giving me a half-empty, flat Diet Coke?  When he ran back to get a new one, I couldn't help but laugh and ask Josh to tip the kid.  He completely embarrassed himself and was new.  So, Josh tipped him $5 and the kid's face lit up!  I was really happy we did that.  Poor kid.

It's raining outside and nothing could be more perfect than cuddling and a movie! 

Posted byAshley C. at 8:36 PM 0 Love Notes  

How Sweet The Sound

Me and Josh went to How Sweet The Sound last night at the United Center!  Think American Idol but for church choirs.  It was so much fun.  The set up was 4 small choirs and 4 large choirs.  The people (us) got to choose the best small, best large, and overall best.  The best from each category won $5,000 and the overall best won $10,000. 
There was one choir that was absolutely amazing; the judges were literally left speechless (even the "Simon" of them all), they blew the crowd away (by far!) . . . guess who won?!  That large group!  They won best large choir and overall best.  What was so great about it was that the choir was so diverse.  Every single person had a powerful voice and knew how to show it.  I am going to link a video I just found on YouTube.  You must watch this whole video . . . this choir is very moving.  I know, whoever recorded this must have been by a person that kept screeching high-pitched because that wasn't part of the choir, I know that!  Watch them here!  I will also link the HSTS website; they will upload their professional video soon. 

During the intermission, Donald Lawrence spoke a little about what the choir sang, "God is the source of my life."  How true is that?!  These past few weeks, I have been worrying about finances and he said one thing that immediately made me feel better, "Don't forget, God is our source, not our job.  Our job is only our assignment."  Immediately, I felt pressure lifted off and realized that no matter what my circumstance is, God is going to provide . . . not my job. 
I would recommend that everyone go to the HSTS tour next year.  Tickets are VERY cheap ($5) and you'll have a great time.  God was definitely in that place.  And hey, check out those videos! :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 5:39 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes