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  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