I can't wait

You already know that Josh and I have been together for quite some time (well, nearly 5 years to be more clear), and I talk a lot about being engaged to him.  Okay, maybe not on here because I don't want to seem like a crazy, mad, obsessive woman, but ask the people I encounter on a regular basis.  ;-] 

Today, I told Josh, I really can't wait until we're engaged!  and he replied, "And then when we're engaged, you'll say 'I can't wait until we are married.'"  So I laughed and told him, Yeah, you're right.  Of course, since he knows me so well, he tells me, "Then, when we're married, you'll be saying, 'I can't wait to have babies!'" Haha, then I'll be saying that I can't wait until these babies are out of the house and we're on our own again.  Here's the scary part:  Josh finishes by telling me, "And then, when our babies are out of the house and we're old together, you'll tell me 'I can't wait until we're in heaven together.'" 

I guess, that last part is probably very true, but very scary at the same time.  I'm always looking forward to the next big thing, the next life-changing event to occur and I'm kind of overlooking what's in front of me now.  Josh and I are sooo happy together, and sure, being married will enable us to do a lot more, but what's wrong with living in the now, right now?  Times flies and I don't want to be one of those old people that look back on their lives and say "Where did it all go?"  I want to look back at my life and be completely satisfied with everything and know that God's timing in my life was nothing less than perfect.  You know what the cool thing about what Josh said is though?  That God will create a whole new earth, and that means that Josh and I will be able to live for eternity.  Together.  There will be no I can't wait for this.  I can't wait for that.  God will make us perfect beings and living solely by His will.  I told Josh that means that we can have lots and lots and lots of babies since there will be no pain in Heaven.  :-] 

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

verses like these

 When I hear verses like these:

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”  Psalms 56:8

"For you created my inmost being;  you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139: 13-16

I cannot help but be reminded of how much our God loves us and is really involved in our lives.  I don't always feel like God is there or that He is listening to my requests or praises . . . but this . . .this is our reminder.  :-]   

Posted byAshley C. at 8:26 AM 0 Love Notes  

Mac or PC?

Because of our loss, eventually, we will have to replace what was stolen.  The one thing that I am most wanting to replace as soon as possible is my laptop.  I am really, really, really hoping that me and my family's belongings will be recovered, but I won't bank on that.  I know that all my pictures cannot be replaced, but I will have to start again somewhere, right?  After I first spoke to Josh when all of this occured, he told me that he was thinking about purchasing me a Mac anyway . . . I do not think I can let that happen seeing as how the cheapest Mac they have is $999 and is only a 13" screen.  The (PC) laptop that I had stolen was only $875 and had everything I wanted on it (at the time).  So, I figured that it might be more wise for me to purchase another Dell with everything I want on it and still be able to keep the price comparatively low.  BUT, the only thing that I keep thinking about it how the Mac is pretty much invincible and won't crash, won't get viruses, and are a lot faster than PCs (for editing photos).  If I really want to stick with the whole photography thing, maybe it would be best to invest in a Mac.  But, if I get another PC, I can invest in the things that weren't on my previous laptop (that I now want), and still keep the price lower than a Mac.  The only downside to this whole problem is that we will be replacing two laptops, not only one. :-/ 

So, what would you suggest?  Mac or PC?  

Posted byAshley C. at 2:08 PM 0 Love Notes  

This may be an easy one.

It is no surprise why a home burglary would leave someone feeling scared and paranoid.  In their own home.  Which, in itself is a feeling that nobody should ever feel.  Your home should be your safe-haven; your refuge from everything going on outside in the world.  But, when a burglary occurs, all of those warm, comfy, home feelings are kind of thrown out the window.  I've been pretty afraid to be home by myself because I have this feeling that whoever did this will return because: 1) our house was an easy target for them; 2) they somehow managed to get past all 4 of our dogs and probably aren't even scared of them anymore; 3) they know what kinds of things we have in our home that might be worth monetary value to them. 
People keep telling me that I'm being paranoid . . . well, obvisouly they've never had their home broken into and their belongings stolen from a complete stranger.  Because of this so-called paranoia (which I am by no means denying. I am paranoid, but have a legitimate reason to be!), I have my own ways of feeling protected . . . now, a thing I have to discover how to do in my own home.
Yesterday, I saw a family down the street talking with the police so I pulled over and asked if their house was broken into, too and they said that their car was.  The cop said that they have their suspicions and gave me some details to look out for.  But I am convinced I was a born detective, so I decided to drive around today for about an hour and look for suspicious activity.  I didn't find anything too weird, but I was following this kid for a while (from a distance) and ended up losing him decided he wasn't weird (haha!).  I'll be doing the same tomorrow. ;-]  I'm determined to get my photos back!  Oh, hey burgular, you may want to be smart and keep a low profile and not be so obvious, stirring up so much activity!  That's how you get caught! This may be an easy one. ;-] 

Posted byAshley C. at 3:55 PM 0 Love Notes  

While you're away, the thieves will play

 . . . I came home and she was right, some of my belongings were dumped on my bed and floor while others remained untouched.  Me and Josh's laptops, the wii, the PS3, and some controllers were all gone.  I couldn't help but kneel on the side of my bed and cry out loud.  How could someone do this?  Mom was downstairs talking to the insurance company on the phone and Lowell was looking around for more things to add to that awfully long list . . . 

I had plans yesterday to babysit a couple towns over and mom and Lowell had off of work because mom had to get dental surgery.  I was reminding mom to watch out for the UPS guy to drop off my cell phone (different story, different day!) and waited around as long as I could for him.  I was eager to babysit because I could practice my so-called photography skills on the kids; I grabbed my camera bag and headed out the door before I was late.  I got to the house where I was babysitting at about 12:45.  Mom called that house at about 2:45, on the other end mom was speaking frantically,
 "Ashley?  Oh, my gosh, when are you going to be home?!  Someone broke into our house while we were gone!"   
Wait, are you serious?!  How the heck did they get in past the dogs?
"They sliced through the kitchen window.  There's things dumped all over your room.  I need to know what's missing."
Can you go in my room and tell me if some things are there?  Is my laptop, wii, or Josh's bags missing?
"None, of that is here.  How many bags did Josh have?  Please tell me you have your camera with you!"
Oh, my freaking goodness!  My laptop is gone?  Josh had 3 bags there, how many did they take?! 
"There's only one here."
Okay, let me call and see when they'll be home.

I could not contain myself; I just started bawling.  My laptop is gone?  Every picture of me and Josh from day one is on there.  Every picture I have ever taken of Andrew is on there.  All the pictures from the family reunion and last weekend are on there.  All of my music, schoolwork, resume, is on there.  What about Josh's computer?  Any picture that I've ever taken is copied on his computer.  All of his important documents and computer-programming work are on there.  Fortunately, the kids' parents would be home in 30 minutes.  Let me tell you, that was probably one of the longest 30 minutes of my life.  I could not wait to get home, survey my belongings and be able to talk to Josh.
I came home and she was right, some of my belongings were dumped on my bed and floor while others remained untouched.  Me and Josh's laptops, the wii, the PS3, and some controllers were all gone.  I couldn't help but kneel on the side of my bed and cry out loud.  How could someone do this?  Mom was downstairs talking to the insurance company on the phone and Lowell was looking around for more things to add to that awfully long list.  Mom was saddened by her jewelry being gone since it was left for her when her mom passed away.  Her credit cards and money, laptop, camera, wedding ring, and some other valuable things were gone.  Things that could not be recovered.  I just could not believe that all of my pictures had been stolen from me.  After I gathered myself, it was my turn to make several phone calls.  I had to call and suspend my cell phone line, call Dell and gather information and report 3 stolen laptops, call my cell phone insurance company and report a stolen replacement cell phone, and call UPS to see if my package was delivered.  I was able to take care of all of  that; my phone got suspended, the stolen phone fee was waived, I got the tag numbers for all laptops, and my package would be delivered tomorrow.
As I was cleaning up my room, my mom yelled to me and my step dad, "Guys!  Come look what's in my garbage!"  We both ran downstairs and in the garbage was one of Josh's laptop bags stuffed with the cheapest of all of the jewelry.  We called the cops and they came to the house, took the bag and did fingerprints again.  After that, I was finally able to get a hold of Josh and felt so comfortable just letting all of my fear, doubts, and anger out.  The moment he said, "Baby, what's done is done.  We still have each other and our families.  Any picture that was worth showing off is on Facebook anyway.  Plus, I planned on getting you a new Mac anyway."  Just hearing him speak so calmly with no ounce of worry in his voice dried my tears up quicker than anything else could have.  He was right.  What's done is done, crying is not going to get me anywhere.  I still had my Lover, my Jive, my best friend and any amount of my missing belongings could not come close to what he meant to me; that's all that mattered in that moment.

Today is a new day, but the fears of yesterday still reside in our home.  Although Josh stayed with me last night, I could not fall asleep because I just kept replaying the incident in my mind. I wonder what he looked like.  I wonder if the dogs went crazy.  I wonder how long he was in our house.  I wonder what else he took that I/we didn't notice.  I wonder who's room he went in first.  I wonder if we've seen him in passing before.  I wonder what else he saw that he wanted.  But most of all, I wonder when he'll decide to come back.  Our central air is getting fixed today (after 3 weeks of heck!), so once all of the windows are shut and locked, hopefully he will not try getting in.  It's very, very sad when you've got to walk around your own home with caution, wondering if someone is walking around it with you; when you have to think twice about leaving something out or hiding it before leaving; when you have to decide what lock to install on your bedroom door, not in fear of someone in the house getting in, but in fear of someone who doesn't even belong in the house getting in.  I feel so violated knowing that someone came into our home, went through our belongings, things we've all worked so hard to buy, and decided what they wanted to claim as their own.  It's a sick thing knowing that someone was in my room, going through my belongings, and taking things that have no intrinsic value to them.  Their hands touched my door knob, my bed, and their fingers filed through my dresser drawers and they decided what they wanted of mine.  Now, my job is to research home security options, call around to the local pawn shops, and I guess it wouldn't hurt to research a new Mac. ;-] 
I guess it's lessons like these that make us remember what matters most to us.  :-]     I'll keep you posted on any further information or findings we come across. 

Posted byAshley C. at 9:44 AM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

I'll remember that . . .

I read a blog post the other day that was about finding the best in your husband.  Sure, I'm not married yet, but I am madly in love with my little stinker of a boyfriend.  :-]  Over the past couple of days, I can tell that my attitude has changed towards things that I would have nagged or complained about.

Before I get annoyed by you hanging out with me immediately after work and falling asleep, I'll remember that because of you, we are financially stable and our bills are paid.
Before I get irritated with you not acknowledging that I look nice in a certain outfit or with a certain hair style, I'll remember that you will love me unconditionally, even after the hair and outfit change.
Before I nag to you about not going somewhere fun or different this weekend, I'll remember we had lots of spurts of fun and different throughout the week.
Before I am embarrassed about going out with you wearing wrinkly clothes, I'll remember that you rushed with all you had to hang out ASAP.
Before I start annoying you about proposing to me, I'll remember that you're one of very few men that will wait for God's will to unravel in your life and wait for Him to do the same in mine.
Before I become annoyed and upset that you push me to work out and watch what I eat, I'll remember that you're only going to be as happy with my body as I am . . . but that you'll love me regardless.

I love you (and all of  your quirks) so, so, so much, Lover.

Posted byAshley C. at 2:14 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Summer's a bad influence!

Don't worry!  I made it back from Michigan alive (well, it was a close one!).  Remember me telling you about the Summer being a thief and stealing time?  Yeah, well, I don't see an end in sight with its thiefing!  Speaking of Summer, I've been feeling a little bit of pressure to lose weight, look thinner, feel better.  So, in order to conquer those things, I don't know what I was thinking, but I thought it was a good idea to start the Atkins diet.  It sounded like a good idea since you can look 15-20 pounds in a month (and I only want to lose 20!).  On top of that, I just started a 4-week bootcamp at the gym I work at.  With doing both things to my body, I was guaranteed to end this month looking like a Victoria's Secret model.  Or something close.  Okay, maybe not.  But, I was willing to give it a shot.  I made it through the diet 1 day but continued hearing and reading stories about people that lost all of the weight but immediately gained it back plus some.  I do not want to run my body through the ringer doing something so extreme.  Plus, the Atkins isn't teaching me a "healthy lifestyle;" all that it is, is a crash-diet.  So, instead I figured that it would probably be a better idea to watch what I eat, drinks lots and lots of water, no fast-food, no eating past 7 p.m., and working out regularly.  Now, that is something that I can do forever.  I love me some fried chicken, bread, pasta, popcorn, etc. and I am not willing to give those things up for a lifetime.  I want to enjoy life and enjoy the unexpected events that occur and not be so hard on myself for eating a piece of fruit. 

Hmm . . . speaking of unexpected events happening, I can't believe that me and Josh will be celebrating our 5-year anniversary in a little less than 1 month!  He's planning this one since I planned the last one!  Man, it's really exciting and scary!  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 8:27 AM 0 Love Notes  

Tears and Tension

I was really looking forward to today because of my cousin's wedding; I knew that I would be seeing some family members on my dad's side that I haven't seen in forever.  My Aunt told me and Errika that we should be at the church at 10:30 so we figured the wedding began at 11:00.  Well, as we pulled in, we were joking about how it would be funny if we walked in right behind the Bride walking down the aisle . . . well, that's exactly what happened, except a little more graceful than how I just made that sound.  But, we'll forget about that and act like that never happened . . . haha!
For the reception, we were seated with my Aunt Tiffany and her family and my Grandparents.  It was really a "magical" moment, being able to see and talk to my Grandma and Grandpa frog (I call them that) who I haven't see in sooo long.  I was basking in the comfort that I was feeling from actually being there, in real life, face-to-face, with family members that I hunger to know more.  But, unexpectedly, things kind of took a turn. I asked Grandma When was the last time you talked to Dad? and she said that she hasn't really talked to him too recently but Grandpa has.  After about 3 minutes of complete silence passed, my Grandpa says "When was the last time you talked to your dad?"  and I had a thinking look on my face and said Oh, gosh, hmmm . . .  and he replies "Wow, that's sad you even have to think about it.  There's this problem of missed phone calls for Father's Day in this family and it makes me sick!"  Immediately, the blood drained from my face and I wanted to crawl under the table and bawl my eyes out.  Not from discomfort but because I felt bullied.  My Grandpa just made a comment to me about something he has no idea about.  Shortly after, Grandpa tells me "Before you leave, I want to talk to you."  If I were under the table, I would have dug a hole and crawled a million miles to avoid a conversation that he would know nothing about.  Errika asked me if I wanted to go to the bathroom with her and right when we got there, I just started crying.  I did not want to be bullied and feel that I had to defend myself from a situation that happened between my dad and me and my Grandpa is only hearing one side of the story. 
After I got back from the bathroom, Grandpa told me to sit by him and told me "There are always two sides to every story and I want to hear yours.  Why don't you talk to your dad?"  So I just gave a thirty second explanation while stumbling through my words, tears, and swelled throat.  He seemed to understand and even put his arm around me and said, "It hurts.  I know."  The conversation wasn't too long because people began leaving the reception and lots of commotion.  My Aunt Tiffany, Uncle Matt, and Grandparents invited me and Errika over to Tiffany's house to go swimming . . . so, we accepted.  After all, I never see this family.  
We enjoyed the time swimming, taking pictures, eating food off the grill, and just enjoying being family.  While eating dinner, I proposed to Grandma that a family reunion is in dire, dire need.  We tentatively have a reunion planned for Easter weekend 2011 at Grandma's house in Florida.  I got all of the Aunt's and Uncle's phone numbers and addresses so that I can send a letter reminding them what is going on.  We have almost a year to plan, so there should be no reason for everyone to not be there.  I don't know why this idea wasn't thought of sooner?  Am I the only one interested to see others in the family?
Now, for the past 4 hours, there has been a big "after party" for the wedding here at my Aunt's house and we've finally been able to slip away and relax without all of the people around.  I've got a killer headache and am just so tired from all of the events that happened today.  But, in an inexplainable kind of way, I really liked it.  :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 9:03 PM 0 Love Notes  

Feels good . . .

 . . . to be back in Michigan but this time with my best friend!  We made it here by only using 3/4 tank of gas . . . had to stop to use the bathroom a couple . . . well, kind of a lot of times and I wish I could blame it on the pregnant girl, but I definitely can't.  :-]  After we got in, we grabbed some lunch at Halo Burger (my favorite place in town) and then I showed Errika around my old stomping grounds.  I thought I would stop by my Aunt's house and give it another shot (after a failed attempt last trip); she was home and actually opened her door (imagine that!).  Errika and I stayed and hung out with her for about an hour and a half.  It was really nice to be able to catch up with her and see how she was doing.  I think that the older you get, you begin to treasure those kinds of relationships.  :-]  She's a nice person and I'm glad that I can call her my "Aunt."   After visiting with her for a while, we had to hurry home and get ready for my cousin's wedding rehearsal dinner.  There, Errika was able to meet my cousins Jeni and Andrew (who's getting married tomorrow) and Jeni's twin friends (who remind me a lot of Errika and her twin!).  We enjoyed the food and conversation.  The dinner kind of went by a little fast, which was kind of good because Errika and I are a bit tired from waking at 4:30 to head out. 

Now, Errika and I are just winding down this night and here is what I am looking at . . .

A pregnant chick sitting on an air-mattress, eating donuts, and reading a magazine.  Gotta love the comfortability of a good friend. :-]

Posted byAshley C. at 9:24 PM Post a comment (1) Love Notes  

Soaking in sweat

For the past week, our air conditioner has not been working.  That wouldn't be such a bad thing if the weather weren't in the mid-90s all week.  I've contemplated begging Josh to rent a hotel room for me.  Going a week without a shower (since I'll sweat right away anyway!).  Sleeping outside on the table.  But then I realized that after I make it through this, I'll finally be prepared for the real world (and probably a little stinky, too)!  My step dad has been calling this same company every day since last Sunday and they keep saying "Oh, there's a waiting list.  We'll call you back."  But, without fail, we keep going to bed sweaty and irritated.  Finally, yesterday Josh texted me and asked if mom would get mad if I had an AC hanging out of my window.  I told him no, but a portable one would be cooler!  But I followed that text by another saying that the guy will be here Friday, I'll be gone, and it will be a waste of money.  So, he just brought back a twin window fan.  Sweet!  It has temperature settings for automatic on and off.  I ran that thing for probably 2 hours before we noticed lots of gnats flying around my ceiling fan light.  Lots.  Yup.  The fan sucked all of the outside gants inside my room.  That means that we had to find a way to get them out of my room (No!  I did not turn my light off, leave my door open, and turn the hallway light on!  What kind of person do you think I am?!).  Not to mention, the fan got turned off and I cried myself to sleep, soaking in my sweat.

The busy, busy central air guy will be here tomorrow afternoon.  I will be gone tomorrow morning.  Hopefully to a place as cold as ice.

Posted byAshley C. at 3:52 PM 0 Love Notes  

I love that about us.

I love him more than I could have ever imagined possible.  We make the best team that ever was.  We are by no means perfect, but we love each other as though the other is.  When I look at or hear about other's relationships, I cannot help but compare what Josh and I have.  Sure, it sounds bad, but it's not me comparing what Josh and I do better, just what we do differently.  I never would have guessed that I would be able to hold a conversation without arguing, know what "compromise" means, know that it's not all about me, and really, really want to put someone else before me.  He has definitely brought out the better in me.  Sure, we have our days (and what couple doesn't?), but we can bounce back from any conflict because we know how to empathize and respect one another.  Again, this isn't me saying look what Josh and I have but just me reflecting and really seeing and understanding that our love is different than many others.  Sometimes when I look at other couples, I think to myself wow, I really liked the way that was done.  I can give kudos and I am always thinking of ways to fix "those things" that I don't feel are too functional for us.  Josh is an amazing man and literally the most patient person I've ever met.  Our personalities work perfectly for the other.  There is no one better for me than him and him for me.  We just work like that.  No one could ever fully understand us.  :-]  I love that about us. 

Posted byAshley C. at 3:46 PM 0 Love Notes  

Family time!

Well, after 5 years, I think I'm in . . . kinda, sorta, semi.  Maybe.  Josh's mom snapped at him when he went to the family reunion without me.  It was pretty awesome.  I was at work when Josh told me that after I get off, me and Errika need to hurry up and get there because the family wants to meet me; that caught me off guard because I was not expecting to go at all.  Josh has a rather large family (7 aunts and uncles, I think?) and I've never met any of them since they are all so scattered but it felt good meeting all of the people that he always talks about.  It was really cool to meet them and it was cool to have my best friend there with me to "break me in" since it was only going to be me and Josh the following day.  It was nice to have a day with Errika, but it felt more . . . I don't know . . . intimate with just Josh and me. 
Josh's family is a Christian family and I think that is a really beautiful thing.  From what I know of, there is not a single person in my family that is a Christian, so to see a family having the most important thing in common is awesome.  Josh and I were talking about how valuable it is to be sure that you instill your Christian values and morals into your kids strongly so that you aren't losing it from generation to generation.  You want the values to be just as strong as great, great grandma's and that doesn't "just happen."  I thought it was cool, too that Josh's family seems very family-oriented.  They said that twice a year, a family newsletter will come out and any big news and information will be in there.  Come on, what family has a newsletter?  On top of all that, there is a family reunion every 2 years.  I really hit the jackpot, eh?  :-]  Maybe at the next reunion . . . never mind. ;-]   

I really wish I had the time to edit some of the photos from the reunion, but honestly, I didn't have time.  Not long, some will be posted!  :-]

Next weekend will kind of be a tiny reunion for me and some of my dad's side of the family.  Me and Errika are taking a road trip to Michigan for my cousin's wedding.  Since Josh's union is currently on strike, there is a slight chance that he will be going with us!  Errika and I planned for just the two of us, but having Josh tag along will be cool, too since he has never met any of my family.  I can't wait to see what happens!  :-]  At this point, maybe I should be saying my sister, Errika, huh?   

Posted byAshley C. at 8:35 AM 0 Love Notes  

"I think you look just fine."

Today, my niece turns 6 years old and I have to admit that she's taught me a couple valuable things today.

1)  As I was blow-drying my hair, she was asking me, "Do you have to do this every day?"  I replied, Yup, can't leave the house with my hair is a big, frizzy mess.  And she said, "Well, life must get boring then."  I found this really cool because she's so right; as adults, we've made our lives too repetitive.  Day in and day out.  Everything is so routine . . . if I did leave the house with my hair in a big, frizzy mess my life probably would have been a little more interesting today.  Variety is the spice of life, right?  :-]

2)  Today I was trying on a new shirt that I just got and my niece was in my room hanging out with Josh and I kept asking Josh, Are you sure this doesn't look too tight?  It doesn't make my stomach look fatter?  And in her sweet voice, she said, "Auntie, I think you look just fine.  Don't change your shirt, it's pretty."  This touched me because she's so young that she doesn't see those kinds of things.  She sees something that looks nice within her own standards, and not according to those of society.  Oh, and just for the record, I didn't change my shirt . . . only because of her sweet compliment.  :-]   

Posted byAshley C. at 3:42 PM 0 Love Notes