Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Snapshot of 2010

I was only 13 years old. I, like the rest of the world, watched the final hours of the year 1999 come to an end. Would the world end in 2000? Would aliens come abduct me from my bed? Would a nuclear warfare take place? Would the world disappear into a black hole?

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but this is the first time I truly celebrated a new year. The first time I realized that New Years Eve is about celebrating a new beginning.

When the clock struck midnight, I popped open my sparkling apple cider and took a giant swig from the bottle. Like an Irish man drinking out a whiskey bottle after giving a speech at a wedding. Then, I slammed the bottle down and ran outside. I leaped off my steps and dove into the street. I threw my arms in the air and started running. I was alive. I was living. I remember thinking and believing that new opportunities and exciting adventures lay ahead of me.

 I was only 13 years old.

Now, 2011 is creeping up on me. I’m ready to run down the road again and watch own my breath float through the air. Soak in every single moment of joy and happiness in my life. Drench myself in my own tears, knowing I’m a stronger and better person for my struggles.

I'm still trying to think of all the things I want to accomplish in this new year, but before I do that- I would like to take a look at what some of my highlighted moments in 2010.

We brought in 2010 with our fur son, Bandit, at Ann's Lakehouse.

On New Year's Day, we bought Bandit a snuggie. We returned it the following day.

I signed up for a scuba diving class, which ended up being one of the most challenging classes and life experiences, both emotionally and physically.

I went to visit one of my best friends, Nicole, in Florida. I spent my final spring break of my college with her and we ordered a pizza in the bar. Yes, they delivered the pizza into the bar and we ate it in a mater of seconds.

During that same trip, I watched Hudson all by myself. I even changed his diaper on my own. Successfully. Bring it on, motherhood.

I fit into a size 12! I decided not to let my life be controlled by a number in 2010- but that was a goal size for me. And I was thrilled. Best of all, I got this $120 skirt for $24- thank you, Florida!

I did a lot of reading with my partner in crime, Ashley G. Can't you tell?

I spent many nights cuddling with my fur son and teaching him new tricks! Like looking like Al Pachino while giving a handshake.

I learned how staying in on Friday or Saturday night can be more fun than going out to a smokey bar and spending all your money.

I had my first drink at a bar with my sister and maid of honor, Sarah!

I celebrated with some of my best friends on their wedding days, such as Mrs. Sarah Miller (MISS YOU- I am coming to see you and David in Germany soon!)

I had the very best Strawberry Martini in the world at The Cheesecake Factory.

I celebrated with my group of PR friends before graduation. I will never forget the amazing and talented friends I made at Ball State.

I got to sit next to one of my favorite bloggers, PR classmates, and friends during graduation, Miss Tiffany Holbert.

Later that night, I dressed up as Khloe Kardashion at my celebrity themed bach. party- seen here with Mary Kaye & Ashley Olsen.

Seriously, what an amazing night. Thank you girls so much for all that you did to celebrate my end of singlehood! I love you!

I married my best friend.

My first dance as a married woman was with my father, the first man to steal my heart. We danced to "Hero" by Mariah Carey and I can't think a better song to represent the way I feel about my dad; he truly is my hero.

Then, my second dance was with my fabulous husband as we surprised everyone with a choreographed dance number. Right before the song broke out into the rock music, I whispered in his ear, "Do you know what you are doing?" He looked at me and smiled, "Nope!" The music changed and before we knew it- the crowd was screaming and clapping. We even got a standing ovation.

I went scuba diving with my husband on our honeymoon. Twice!

I went to the Indy 500 on the hottest day ever.

I stood beside one of my best friend's, Cayla, when she got married. What a beautiful bride!

I watched my little brother grow up before my very eyes...

I ALMOST saw Dave Matthew's Band at Verzion, but instead nearly got sucked up in a tornado and washed away tsunami with my best friends.

I went camping and survived. You should be very, very proud. I probably won't go camping for another five years...

I went on many breakfast dates with my baby nephews, who make me the happiest aunt in the world.

Braxen even taught me how to be a dinosaur.

I finally got engagement pictures (4 mouths after we got married).

I got to see OAR play live again; made me re-live my high school days at the pool house.

I completed my first half marathon with my running partners Sabrina & Brittany.

I celebrated the beautiful marriage of Dusty & Sarah Frey with two of my very best friends, Toni and Drew!

I got to see the Dallas Cowboys beat the Colts with my hubby and family!

I connected with old friends and made new memories. This picture with Leah Frey absolutely cracks me up- it was our first time meeting after being pen pals in elementary school.

And just I ran my best mile pace since my half marathon in October. I have cut off 1 minute and 42 seconds off my mile.

I wanted to go on and on with pictures and stories from 2010. I'm so very blessed to have each and every one of you in my life. Thank you for reading, laughing, sharing and caring so much about me- you will never know how much it truly means to me. I can't wait to see the new memories I make and pictures I take in 2011.

Much love,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Family Sieb Moment

Have you ever seen the movie, "The Family Stone?" I absolutely love that movie- it's one of my holiday favorites. One of my favorite scenes is when Meredith (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) hands out a picture of her fiance's mother, who at the time is dying cancer. Your eyes swell up as you watch their emotions and reactions to seeing their beautiful mother, so young and healthy. In the picture, she is pregnant with her youngest child. You can't help but cry knowing that she has just a few short months left to live. This Christmas, I got live a moment similar to this scene in the movie, My Family Sieb moment.

I knew I could frame a wedding picture of Justin and myself for Christmas presents this year. But I wanted to do something different. When I first was going through our wedding pictures, I came across this picture of Justin's Great Grandpa Bowen. It was simply a magical picture, taken in a reflective moment of Roy Bowen's life.

I'm not sure what he was looking at or what he was thinking. But tears fill my eyes now as I imagine him sitting there in the pew, full of joy and love. Excited to see his young great-grandson get married to this wild firecracker of a young lady (yes, that's me). Yet, he was dying of cancer. Just as my life was just beginning, his life was ending. We were peacefully living the same moment, but he was sitting there with just a few short months to live.
So I did some Photoshop work and added a quote to the picture- one that fits Great Grandpa Bowen and the picture perfectly......

 I saved the picture of Great Grandpa Bowen for last. I watched as his daughter opened the gift, probably expecting to see a picture of Justin and myself. Instead, her face curled and tears streamed down her face.

"Oh my gosh," was all she got out at first.

Tears filled my eyes and I looked around the room. I had made everyone cry, but the tears represented the love and memory we all shared for this one man.

Today, I recieved a card in the mail Grandma Sieb. It made me cry again.

She thanked us for the Christmas presents and added, "And the picture- well words can't explain how my heart feels everytime I look at it. He was truly loved and is truly missed. Thank you so much for the thoughtfulness straight from your heart."
As the year is coming to an end, we are closing another chapter in our life. We are given more opportunity to make new memories. To have share many more tears and give straight from our heart- in all we say and do.

Much love,

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Year of Reflection

Two weeks ago, I remembered a blog post I wrote about my "mini dream index" for 2010. I thought to myself, I should write a blog and title it "Two Weeks Notice" - giving myself two weeks to accomplish my mini dreams that I didn't yet complete in 2010. But the rush of the holidays and life distracted me from writing. So now I have four days to finish unfinished business, but I've made a list to serve as my reflection of 2010.

My mini dream list for 2010:

1- I weigh 215 lbs. today. From reading my previous blogs, I'm sure you realize that I have issues with eating/my body. When I was at the deepest point of my eating disorder, I weighed 159 lbs -- hip bones sticking out in all. My new years dream with my body is to NOT give myself a number. Just give myself a break. I just want my jeans to fit a little better. I want my mind to drift away from negative thoughts about my body to positive thoughts. I'm healthy. I'm cancer free. I'm disease free (for the most part). I just want to develop habits to help me stay this way.

Reflection: I've remained relatively healthy in 2010; however, my weight has jumped up nearly 15 lbs since I wrote this blog post. I've since developed a passion for running. And just today I went out and spent nearly $100 on new running clothes. But, I have not let myself be controlled by a number. Therefore, I consider this goal accomplished.

2- I want to buy a meal for a complete stranger. A few weeks ago, Justin told me read an article about a couple who randomly paid for another couple's bill in a restaurant. The rest of the day, people paid it forward and bought someone else's lunch. Pretty awesome. I want to be a part of that experience.

Reflection: On Dec. 23, I had my family Christmas with my mom's side of the family. I packed up my little brother and sister and we headed to the store. Along the way, I saw a homeless man standing on the side of the road. He looked frozen solid. His eyes were weak. He wasn't holding up a sign, simply standing there. I couldn't drive past him again without making a difference. We drove to Burger King and I got him a double cheeseburger, large fry and a large coffee. I then got him a gift card for dinner. My little brother looked and me said, "Ashley - you are the nicest person I know." I smiled, but I know a lot nicer people. "You know Devin, I'm not too worried about what people will think of me for doing this, though. I just want to make a difference in his day. Give him food. Get him through another day. That's what this life is really all about." Accomplished, but I have marked this one down to continue throughout my lifetime.

3- I want to write a to-do list and really do everything on the list. I am fabulous at making to-do lists, but my problem is completing everything on my list. Never once have I done every single thing on my list. Maybe I didn't work out. Maybe I didn't pay off more money to my student loan. Maybe I didn't write that thank you card. But I am going to do everything, at least once. Perhaps that will create the confidence I need to continue completing all my daily tasks. Or it will remind me that not everything needs to be done in one day. Time management is key.

Reflection: Accomplished! Getting a big girl job has also really helped me make a list and keep it!

4- I want to smile at complete strangers. For no reason at all. A smile is more contagious than the flu.

Reflection: Accomplished! I always do this now. I get such joy out of the simple things in life and it totally makes my day when a complete stranger smiles at me- so I always return the favor.

5- I want to thank everyone, yes everyone, who has made a difference in my life. This will be a task, but I can tell you right now that I will complete this mini dream. I need to get one "thank you" completed now-- hopefully you read this: Thank you Brad King for inspiring me in so many ways outside of my understanding. "Just know that today is not the end of all knowing." I can't even thank this man enough for what he has done for me and the way I approach the world. And he also inspired me to write a blog. And Tiffany Holbert- keep writing in your blog. You too helped me get started.

Reflection: I believe I have learned the importance of always saying, "Thank you!" - but I definitely need to work harder on sending personalized thank you messages to those who have made a difference in my life and inspired me to be the best person possible! Overall, this goal will carry over through the next year; in fact, I see myself working on this for the rest of my life.

6- I want to scuba dive in the ocean. We all know that one of my biggest fears is sharks. But fear can't control my life. And if I am going to afraid of something, I mise well make it more practical. I have never seen a shark in my entire life, not in a lake, not in the ocean, and not driving down the street. I should be more afraid of drivers on the road than creatures in the ocean. So I need to get real and get over it. And dive in.

Reflection: I DID IT! Accomplished; although we did not go on a deep ocean boat dive, I did scuba dive in the ocean. I thought of doing it again absolutely terrifies me. I really should stop watching the news and Shark Week, though. Until then, my husband might need to find a scuba diving girlfriend. Kidding. This is one is labeled as "a work in progress" - and "maybe one more time before I die- like when I am 89 and don't have a care in the world."

7- I want to get on dean's list my final semester of college. I've accomplished this task for the last four semester, but I can't let my final semester slow me down. I need to remind myself of the importance of being involved and engaged in my education.

Reflection: Accomplished! Although I did not get a perfect 4.0 during my final semester at Ball State, I learned the importance of not letting a grade control the perception of what I have learned. Brad King thought me this- it doesn't always matter the grade you get if you have learned something new. And applied it in future work and life.

8 - I want to read more. My mind already feels better after reading just one book. Can you imagine what reading just three more will do? Watch out world.

Reflection: Accomplished. I'm addicted to reading now. I even got 5 new books for Christmas. I can hardly wait to dive in and read them all. I just started reading "Eat. Pray. Love" last night. Also, I might start a blog about book reviews. I'll keep you posted on that one, don't you worry! :)

9- I want to finish the introduction to one of my book ideas. I have four ideas going right now. Baby steps. I will write at least the introduction to my book, even though David Foster Wallace points out most people skip the introduction in books. I, however, will at least be motivated and focused on finishing it with having competed that.

Reflection: Still need to complete this task! I always have the stories and ideas flowing in my head, but I have yet to sit down and actually write my introduction. I'm giving myself four days to complete this task! I have my title and outline in my head, now I just need to apply the introduction into a written format. I can't wait to publish my book!

10- I am leaving this one blank. I want to find something new to add to my list within the new year.

Reflection: I ran my first half marathon! What an accomplishment. That was seriously one of the most rewarding and exciting memories of 2010 and I got to share with two of my very best friends, Brittany Gerig and Sabrina Schnurr, the best running partners a girl could ever ask for!

I'll be posting a new blog with new goals for 2011 soon.

Much love,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Save The Date: June 18, 2011

I just want to thank everyone for the overwhelming about support and interest in celebrating the life of Brittany Arnold (Raymond). Kristin Matthews, the Raymond family, and myself have worked together to organize an event that will celebrate the life she lived through something she was very passionate about, softball. In fact, Kristin and Brittany’s family have done most of the organizing. I simply thought of the idea while driving to her funeral and now it’s really happening. It’s a beautiful blessing what people can accomplish when they come together and start making plans.

We've had some unexpected set backs; however, we have worked them out and are pleased to announce the softball tournament to honor the life of Brittany will be on June 18, 2010 at Hanna Nuttman park in Decatur, IN.  We will continue to provide you with more information as the event progresses throughout the year, but please know a few things have changed since my previous posts. You can also find this information available on the Facebook event page, Brittany Raymond Arnold Grand Slam Benefit.

 You are invited to attend a family-friendly benefit in remembrance of Brittany Raymond Arnold!  Brittany left us in tragedy on September 12, 2010. She was attending IPFW in Fort Wayne with aspirations of someday becoming a teacher. She loved to learn and loved children, especially her own. What can you do to help them remember her and celebrate her life? Come to Hanna Nuttman Park in Decatur, Indiana on June 18, 2011 for a day full of fun, food, and some friendly competition!

Sign up to play in a softball tournament!
*Slow Pitch
*Double Elimination Blind Draw
*Ages 15+
*$10/person now until May 7, 2011
*$15/person from May 8 to May 14, 2011
*T-Shirt Included
*Provide your own team name
*A team captain will be our main contact and responsible for
contacting their teammates with important information
*See website below for registration information

Not interested in softball? Bring the entire family for a day full of fun!
*Raffles With Great Prizes
*50/50 Raffles
*A Cookout
*T-shirts For Sale
*Bake Sale
*Kids Arts and Crafts Table

Visit the website for information about business sponsors, raffle prizes, registered teams, and to download and print the tournament registration form. Check back often for updates!

Want to volunteer? Let us know what you can do!
*Be a grill master
*You tell us what you want to do!
*A list of volunteers will be compiled and we will contact you when the date nears!

Questions? Concerns? Ideas? Want to make a donation now?
Please contact and mail donations to:

Kristin Matthews
415-F Canal Court North Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46202
cell: 260-223-1550

Please make all checks payable to Kristin Matthews.
Receipts available upon request.
Would you like to make a donation on behalf of your business and be a sponsor? If so, please specify the business name when sending the donation.
*Less than $150 displays your business on a banner the day of the benefit.
*$150 or more displays your business on the back of all t-shirts.

Even when making silly faces, she sure was beautiful. Again, this event is focused on celebrating the life of Brittany. She was such a beautiful and inspiring young woman, who had a lot to offer. Please come out and play - let us celebrate everything she lived for; together, we can honor her life, together. The money raised by this benefit will add to a higher education trust fund, set up by Brittany's family, for her two children to receive as adults.

Much love,

Monday, December 13, 2010

2,011 Miles

Growing up, I was constantly teased about being a "big girl" - even though my family always reassured me that I was just "big boned." Let me tell you, if I had a quarter for every single time I was called "big boned girl" - I wouldn't have to work right now. And I probably could have paid my way through school without taking out student loans.

But today, I've finally become a BIG girl. I've topped the scales. Reached an all time high. Never before seen this number on the scale. 229. Yes, 229 lbs is how much I weighed yesterday. I almost didn't want to tell anyone. Not even Justin. At first, I tried to say I was bloated because I'm supposed to have a visit from mother nature this week. But I realized that number does not define me. My name is Ashley- not 229. And I shouldn't live my life by the scale- that obsession will just lead to old, unhealthy habits.

I also realized that I was always try to workout "to be skinny." I wanted to "look good" -- but working out is more than just looking cute in a short skirt. It's about being healthy. FEELING good.

I've decided to set an extreme goal for me. And since this goal is so extreme, I will feel like I will concentrate on the goal - rather than a pant size or a number on the scale. I will focus on completing my daily run rather than obsessing over my butt looks in a pair of jeans. Although, that will be nice too.

I will run and walk 2,011 miles in 2011. Yes, that's an average of 5.5 miles every single day. 365 days a year. But I can spread it out. So maybe one day I run 4 miles and the next day I run 6. Or one day I run 2 and I'll make up for it the rest of the week. Plus, I plan on running two half marathons in 2011. There is another 13.1 miles in one day.

I can do this.

I will do this.

I won't be like Forest Gump and run across the nation. I won't get picked up by any news station. But I know I have an amazing support team. And you are a part of it - yes YOU - reading my blog right now. You are a part of my drive- you give me a reason to accomplish this goal.

And maybe I'll weigh 228 lbs by the time I'm finished or maybe I'll weigh my goal weight of 185 lbs. Who knows! But the only number that will matter for me within the coming year is 2,011.

But I will tell you one thing- if the world ends in 2012 like Justin Semon constantly tells me - I will be extremely mad if I get skinny and then die. Just kidding, but really is the world going to end in 2012?

Much love,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Like a Starfish

I was flipping through the pages of a Premiere Jewelry catalog when I spotted the ring that summed up my outlook on life. One of my best friends, Kelly Gebhard, recently started selling Premiere Jewelry. I didn't ever consider myself a jewelry person, until I opened that catalog. I fell in LOVE with everything. Literally, I found 2-3 pieces on every single page that I wanted. If you are interested in booking a party, please let me know and I'll give you Kelly's contact information. Plus, if you book a party, you get free jewelry. I got nearly $300 in free jewelry and I'm ready to host my next party after the first of the year. Anyway, back to my regularly scheduled story...

What really caught my eye when I was looking through the catalog was a the Starfish ring. I've have always loved Starfish. They are simple creatures; they don't even have a face. But I love what they represent.

"I want this ring," I said to Justin. "I'm absolutely in love!"

"It's a Starfish," he said confused.

"I know, but don't you know what a Starfish represents?" I asked. "All of its little arms are reaching for the sky. It's the dreamer of the ocean!"

Sure enough, I got my Starfish ring and I wear it when I need that extra boast of inspiration. A reminder to dream and always reach for the stars.

"Dreams are like stars, you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny."

Much love,

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Little Miss Sunshine? Not Every Single Day

I haven't wrote a blog for a while because I have been doing a lot of writing in my personal journal. The place where only my brown eyes and tears fill the pages. You see, I felt like I had reputation of writing uplifting, inspiring and moving blog posts. How could I let people know I have a different side? Let them know, I'm human?

I haven't felt anything inspiring or moving lately. I stopped running after work and starting drinking. I went right to tequila bottle and margarita mix. I was depressed. I felt overwhelmed with life. Student loans are up to almost $500 a month. My car is on it's last leg. My weight has sky rocketed, reaching an ALL TIME high. I wasn't sure how I was doing at work and I had a huge presentation that was consuming my every thought. I could cry.

I did cry.

I cried a lot.....


And I broke down today. I literally sat on the edge of the bed and just cried. And started praying for patience and courage and strength.

My presentation was today. It brought back horrible flashbacks of the last research presentation I did in college where an un-named client treated us with complete disrespect during our presentation. He even answered his cell phone during the middle of me talking and once he hung up, he interrupted and demanded I go back since he missed the previous three slides. Yes, that really happened. Yes, I tried to remain calm. And yes, it left a presentation scar in my mind.

This morning before Justin left for work, he told me that I would ROCK my presentation.

"Uh huh," I said back with little confidence.

Who is this person? I thought staring at myself in the mirror.

Where did you go? You used to be so happy and courageous and inspiring? Where are youuu!?

Tears filled my eyes.

"Babe, you just have to believe in yourself," Justin said. "And by the way, you are the one who makes all the plans. You are the dreamer here, Ashley. Why don't you start planning life if you aren't happy? Start doing something about it. Making plans for YOUR life!"

He was right. I wasn't doing a good job at planning life and taking control of my emotions.

I e-mailed him when I got to work and told me I drove to work repeating what he said in my head. I will rock it. I will rock it. I will rock it.

" Good, because I just want my dreamer wife back. The one who believes in unicorns and rainbows and loves small animals and dreams big!" Justin replied.

He is simply amazing. The last few days he was randomly sent me inspiring quotes. He knows how much I love quotes, inspiring ones at that- and he took the time to find perfect ones to fit my mood and situation.

I was really nervous, but my boss calmed me down. She gave me some professional tips and told me she believed in me. I will be fine. And my co-workers were there to smile and support me.

Before the presentation I listened to Glee Christmas music (Thanks Sam). I ate a peppermint candy cane so my breath smelled good. I made my butterflies fly away, Miley Cyrus style (Thanks for that one, Gina).

And I pictured this as my presentation to re-deem myself from the snarky un-named client from my past.

So, the Cinderella story goes on...the presentation went very well! I couldn't explain the feeling I felt while presenting. I loved it. This is what I went to school for - why was I so nervous? Why didn't I believe in myself?

You see, confidence is golden. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

Life happens. You can't prepare for it, but you have to anticipate the rush of bad events. It's just part of life and feeling sorry for yourself or drinking your sorrows away does nothing.

Justin actually inspired me to write this post. I was really afraid to let you all know how depressed I was, but Justin encouraged me to tell my true story. Let you know that I am human. I break down. I cry. I loss faith. I struggle.

So here you have it, the truth. I'm not little miss sunshine everyday. And as much as I want to be, I will still get rained on and feel discouraged. I will still fall down. But that doesn't make me a weak person. It just means that I'll be stronger for it later on.

Much love,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's A Sippy Cup Thing

"I'm really sorry that you have to wait on me to get change," the young cashier said. "Here, have a free drink."

I wasn't even mad about waiting. There was nothing I could do about his change drawer being short. I always try not to worry about these sort of events. The uncontrollable - only sometimes predictable- events that shape the hours of your day.

"Oh that's okay," I said.

And then I changed my mind, "Okay thanks!"


I decided on Raspberry Tea. I reached up for the lids.

Hmm, only one size.

Perhaps "one size fits all." Just like the free underwear I got from Victoria Secrets this weekend - which nice try- I saw those models last night and I'll be the first to object that "one size (of underwear) does not fit all."
I couldn't get the lid on me for the life of me.

I was pushing down hard.

I literally tried five different lids.

The lady next to be was smiling and I realized I looked like a fool.

"So do you think I have too much ice in here or something?" I asked.

She smiled.

"No, mine went on just fine," she said.

Of course, I thought.

"Here, let me try," she said.

She grabbed one of the five lids I had tried and put the lid went right on.

Slid her fingers around the rim and said, "Yup- it's a sippy cup thing!"

"You must be a mother," I said.

She smiled proudly and said, "Yes- yes I am. Mother of two."

She was probably 10 seconds away from showing me pictures of her children when my name was called for my order.

"Well, nice to meet you. And thanks for the sippy cup tip!"


Mother's have remarkable talents and instincts. I'm sure her children were only toddlers, but she saw the struggle in my eyes. The hostility in my movements. And she helped me. Mother's nature, help a child in need.

I am not sure that I thank my mother enough for all she has done for me. My mom has taught me the importance of helping others and sharing your love. She taught me to always share my heart with others, which is probably why I love writing and sharing my stories. She always encrouaged me to believe in others, especially when no one else did. It only takes one person to change a life.

You smile at people, hold the door open for them and always open up your arms for those in need of a hug or shoulder to cry on.

Her love and instincts are also part of the reason why I can't walk downtown Indy without wanting to give away all my change or leftovers to the homeless people. Absolutely heart-breaking. Makes me wonder if they had a mom to teach them these wonderful life lessons.

And when I look back into my life, I see many mothers who have shaped my life and taught me valuable life lessons. Like these beautiful ladies below....

Grandma's and aunts and cousins within my family and my new Sieb and Lahman family, my friend's families, my sister....and all of the coaches, counselors, teachers, bosses and complete strangers- who help you put on sippy lids or share a loving smile as they walk past...

I hope my children think about me like this one day. Little Copper and Avery, should you ever have a blog, I hope you can write about me in such a loving way -- that's a true dream of mine. And maybe I'll get cool points for playing video games to determine who will do the nightly chores. Just a thought. I think Justin will approve.

Thank you to my Mom & all the other mom's in the world who make such a difference - by doing the simplest things and teaching the sweetest lessons - your love and support does not go unnoticed.

Picture: My Mother Theresa and me, being silly- my favorite.

Much love,

Friday, November 26, 2010

How To Save A Life

"Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life"

The lyrics above are from the song "How to Save a Life" by The Fray. I always think of my dear friends Corey Shaffer and Rick Girod when I hear this song. It reminds me of the importance of doing all I can to help save a life.

I've written about both Corey & Rick before. Quite a few times actually. Their deaths changed my outlook on life. The way I view daily interactions with people. The way that I believe in second chances. The way that I value the simple things in life. I'll never forget both of their smiles and love for life.

They were both in car accidents, which ended up taking their lives. But before they passed on, they recieved blood units in effort to save their life.

Did you know that one pint of blood can save up to three lives?

Less than an hour of your day, and you can save three lives.

Three mothers have their child back. Three brothers have their sister back. Three friends have their best friend back. Three dads have their little girl back. Three wives get their husband to wrap in their arms around again. Three children will get their parent back.

You can do it. With just an hour of your time.

If I still haven't convinced you to donate blood yet, then consider this:
  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every single day.
  • More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
And lastly, the final statistic is why we do a blood drive every year in honor of Corey & Rick.

A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

For the last five years, Abbey Foster & Ashley Brune have graciously organized a blood drive in memory of their former boyfriends and best friends. With the help of family members, friends, and even complete strangers, they have helped the American Red Cross collect:
2006--92 units

2007--88 units

2008--87 units

2009--97 units

Doing the math, that is 364 units. We have potentially saved 1,092 lives. Unbelievable. One small event can have such a lasting impact.

Our hope to recieve more than 100 units this year. A lot more. We can do it. Let's break 100 this year!!


The blood drive is Saturday, December 18 · 9:00am - 3:00pm. The blood drive will take place in Zion Lutheran's Gym 1010 W. Monroe St. Decatur, IN 46733.

If you have questions about donating, please visit Or please feel free to contact me, Abbey Foster, or Ashley Brune directly. We will be happy to answer any of your questions.

You can also sign up for an appointment by sending a message to Ashley or Abbey through the Facebook event, 5th Annual Blood Drive in Memory of Rick Girod and Corey Shaffer.

I hope you will save the date to make a difference. To save a life.

Much love,

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays. You get to eat amazing food, watch football, visit with family and don't have to worry about a gift exchange. But mainly, I love the holiday because it makes you realize the importance of traditions. Family traditions.

Growing up with divorced parents, I never really felt like I had a "tradition" - as one holiday was with my mom and the next was with dad. I never went to the same place. I didn't sit in the same chair and play with the same kids. I didn't eat the same food and I didn't hug the same people. It was different. Every year.

Now that I am grown up, I realize that the rotation was my tradition. The change of scenery, food, and people was my tradition as a child. Which probably explains my ability to adapt to change well. I don't hate change. I embrace it. I love doing new things, meeting new people, and eating different foods. It also taught me to be thankful for people you see once a year. Because odds are you won't see them the next year. So hug them hard and long. More importantly, laugh every second you get.

I learned all of this through my tradition.

When I met Justin, his family was full of traditions. One in particular was eating oysters at Thanksgiving. Um, oysters? Last time I checked they looked like giant snot bubbles. No thank you.

"You aren't going to get welcomed into the family unless you eat a raw oyster, Ashley," I remember Justin saying. "We do it every year, and you don't want to be the only one who doesn't eat one."

Oh no. I am toast. I've only been dating this boy for three months and he wants me to eat an oyster? And a raw one at that? I'm definitely out of the family. And I am hardly in yet.

"And really, you just open up your throat and let it slide back," he said. "You don't have to chew it."

"Well, I won't be chewing it or swallowing it," I said. "Because I am not eating one of those giant boogers!"

Four years later, I am addicted to oysters. Eat them every single year at Thanksgiving. In fact, we even just bought some for my family's Thanksgiving meal.

The best part about traditions is sharing them. So whether your tradition is eating raw oysters or changing places each year, I hope you embrace your traditions, even if you don't realize they exist yet. You will one day.

Travel safely and love graciously.

Oh and, GO COWBOYS! =)

Much love,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

100th Post = Sneak Peak: Cierra's Senior Pictures

My baby sister is almost 18. It's hard to imagine that she will be going to college next year. She is growing up before my very eyes. Justin & I took her senior pictures on Saturday. Justin was the photographer pictures and I was the scene director & fashion director. Cierra was a fabulous model, completely beautiful. We made a great team.

So my darling, my 100th blog post is dedicated to you. I am so proud to be your sister.

Can someone say model?

Proud Wes Del Warrior! =)


Of course, Ashley had to jump in on a few.

She is obsessed with Monster!

I made her laugh. So cute.

Monster, do you need another model?

"The best part about having a sister is you always have a friend."

You are beautiful. I love you very much Cierra. I wish you all the success and happiness in life.

Much love,