Sunday, February 28, 2010

Click, Click, BOOM!

The majority of people who know me and my chihuahua personality would rather swim with sharks than be near me with a hand gun. Folks I have comforting news: I am a certified bad ass with a hand gun now.

Justin got a gun "for me" with his tax return, so "we" have a total of two now. He got a free pass to a shooting range when he purchased the gun and the poor guy could hardly wait to practice out "my new gun." We all really know who the gun was for, right? I love him.

One of his best friends came with us and I forced both of them to take me to Starbucks before the shooting range.

"Your total is $4.76," the lady said.

"ASHLEY- $4.76, my damn jug of Folgers coffee is less than that! I can't believe how much money you spend here!" Justin said.

What can I say? Starbucks is recovering from their profit downfall because of Tiffany Holbert and myself spending money of Iced Carmel drinks! :)

Jason was more in shock that I liked cold coffee. He told me that he would let his coffee sit out for awhile and get cold for me and it'd be a lot cheaper.

Thanks, but no thanks. I am a coffee (Starbucks) addict and I have standards.


We pulled up to the shooting range and there was a line outside the front door. The place opened up at 11 a.m., but an employee was late and they couldn't open until two employees were in the store. So they waited outside in line and I waited in the jeep to stay warm and text people. Typical.

Finally the doors opened when I stepped out of the jeep. Perfect timing. We walked in and it smelled like man. I don't know if you can say something smells like man, but I am sure the majority of you reading understand the smell I am referring to. The walls were covered with dead animals heads-- deer, buffalo, and other animals. The mannequin in the store looked so serious and so real that we all said "Hello!" when we passed by. I posted a picture of myself with him so you could see how legit the mannequin looks.

The range has six lanes and all them filled up before us, so we had to wait awhile.

Of course, my ADD kicked in and I was bored within five minutes.

"I should have brought my homework Justin," I said. "Especially if I just have to wait and stand around and look at dead animals on the wall for an hour."

The owner must have heard me because he threw in his two cents and said, "Well there is a flea market next door."

"Ohh no," I said. "That's okay. I am just a typical girl and I suffer from ADD. I am fine"

Why wouldn't he hear me? My voice only carries half way across the state when I talk.

"Do you think he hates me, Justin?" I asked. "I was just kidding."

Well, I was just trying to be funny. Just shoot me.


When it was our turn, I walked in first and inhaled the fresh air of gun powder and smoke. The initial first few shots made me jump and forced my eyes closed. A couple of the guys were die hard and one guy slightly scared me. He was pretty serious about life and I didn't even get any sort of facial expression out of him when I smiled and said hello.

We had goggles on and ear plugs like Lady GaGa style on. For the first fifteen minutes, my ears were itching. I kept thinking about how pissed off I would be if I got scabies again. Or even worse, lice. And the more you think about it, the more you itch. So I looked like I was the one who had lice and people were probably thinking, "Don't give me that girls ear plugs."

Finally, it was my turn to shoot the gun.

"Your turn, Ash," Justin said.

"Um, no- make Jason go," I said.

"No, you come up here and do this," Justin said. "I got this gun for you so you need to practice."

Oh, how silly of me to forget that you got this gun for me.

I stepped up and posed myself like Will Smith in Men in Black. I don't watch many action movies -- so that's all I got. And I know I wasn't as hardcore as the guys in Boondocks Saints. So Will Smith it is. Plus, I don't like aliens. Even more fitting.

I hit the target pretty well and got some good shots in the chest. At first I was a little shaky, but by the end I just knew it was my turn and stepped up with confidence.

After I was done and turned around, Jason looked at me and said, "Well, I am impressed! You are a bad ass!"


When we were walking out I said, "Guys, I did really good, huh?"

"Oh yeah you did," Jason said. "I'm scared of you now. Well, if you have a gun!"

"Yeah babe, I am proud of you," Justin said. "And I can never cheat on you now that I taught you how to shot a gun!"

Well, at least he knows.

Much love,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I've Been Itching To Blog About This

I have kept this a secret for a long time now. I can finally tell you about why I'll never use tanning beds again.

I used to tan all of the time. My grandma had a tanning bad so it was really easy for me to get my "fix." I thought tanning made me look good. I thought it made me look thin. And we all know my obsession about being thin. Just add tanning to the mix and you can tell that I was a hot mess back in the day.

But then a friend got skin cancer. I don't want to say her name to avoid invading her privacy, but it really opened my eyes. Cancer doesn't have an age. And even though I try to think I am a super hero, Cancer can kill me. Bring me down.

I stopped going to tanning beds all together and started carrying at least spf 15 with me every where I went. I was pretty proactive about protecting myself from the rays. I stopped using tanning oils too. I don't want to have wrinkly skin when I am old anyway.


Flash forward to a month ago. I posted a comment on my Facebook page that people who use a tanning bed before the age of 30 years old are 70 percent more likely to develop skin cancer than those who don't tan. Statistics are statistics though. And you can't always rely on them because so many varaibles matter when trying to generalize a study or gathered data to an entire population.

But my friend posted a comment that said people who tan are happier and that even doctors recommend patients who suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) to tan in the winter months.

So I caved. After three years of not sliding into a tanning bed, I jumped back in. Oh, it felt so good. I got dark and people complimented me on the how bright I looked. I had a glow about me -- yeah it was called ultraviolet rays.

All was well until I realized that I could have skin cancer and I made an appt. to see a dermatologist. A blog was posted about that previously and I got news I am SKIN CANCER FREE! Yay! :)

But little did I know skin cancer isn't the only thing you can get from a tanning bed.

I started to itch. Badly. To the point where every part of my body was itching...legs, arms, back, butt -- you name it, I itched it.

Oh, its just dry skin.

Nope, the itching kept going on and on and getting worse and worse.

Scabies. I got freaking scabies from the tanning bed.

Reason number two I'll never tan again in my life....scabies. Reason number one is skin cancer. But scabies is a close about unbearable. I had bruises all over my body from itching so hard and so often.

Moral of the story, be pale. Its better than itching your ass on every tree you walk by or even worse, being a chemo patient. We aren't super heroes. Cherish your body.

Much love,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And The Hard Part Is Over...

Sometimes when I write blogs about scuba, I wonder how many think, "Wow, how hard can this really be?"

Well the truth is --- what is hard is determinded by an individual; perception is reality. And fear is real.

But even more so, support and confidence is real. With that in mind, I share with you the most exciting news from my scuba adventures.

I always go into the pool a little earlier so I can watch what the first group is doing so I can prepare myself for the day. Emotionally, physically-- both.

They were doing struggling rescue skills when I walked in. My buddy walked in early too and we started talking about the class and scuba in the future.

The best part about taking this class is having Justin inform me about everything I'll need to do before hand-- its like doing my research for a successful paper.

I was leaning over and telling her about how the hardest thing we will have to do is a bailout skill when we have to put ALL of our gear on under water.

Five minutes later, Carol had everyone swim in the deep in and told them their next skill was called the "bailout" skill --- designed to get people comfortable with putting their gear on under water.

Well, that's crazy.


The bailout skill is done through a process that is supposed to make us comfortable doing this skill in baby steps.

First, we just went under water without our mask on, sank to the bottom, and then cleared it -- then come back up.

Second, we went under water without or mask or fins on, sank to the bottom, and then put the mask on first so we could see and then put our fins on. Then we swam back up to the surface.

Third, we took our BC (the vest that has the tank and regulators coming out of it) off one shoulder, took our mask off, and took our fins off --- sank to the bottom, put the mask on so you can see, put the fins on so you can swim, and then put the BC vest on to swim back up.

Fourth, was the big test. We got out of the pool with nothing on except for our swim suit. I don't think naked scuba diving is the cards for me just yet. Then we had to jump into the pool with nothing on or attached. Once you hit the water, you need to get your regulator in your mouth -- breathing is the most important thing under water. Next, you put on your mask so you can see. Then you put on the fins to swim and then you grab your BC vest and put it all together -- buckle all the straps and make sure everything is clear...then swim back up to the shallow end.

Ladies and Gents, I did this skill without failure. I didn't freak out. I didn't come to the surface and say I couldn't do it. I sank to the bottom on the first try. In fact, I was the third person done because I was one of the first brave few to jump right now.

I am going to be a great scuba sieb :)

As I started taking apart my equipment, Carol was talking to the others still trying to complete the task or finishing up.

"This is the hardest thing you will probably do in the class," she said. "So the hard part is over."

No Carol, the hardest part was sinking. I've got the rest in the bag! :)

Much love,

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Power of a Compliment

We live a fast world. A world where we sometimes don't take the time to stop and smile at complete strangers for no reason. We often fail to tell people we appreciate them. And I can't think of the last time I stilled myself in this crazy world just to to smell the fresh air.

But today, I did these things.

Justin left this morning for work again and while I am going to miss him, I won't let it ruin my week. I could be stressing out about my situational analysis due tomorrow and a presentation I have tonight, but I've chosen to let things fall into place --- and its remarkable how stress-free I feel! :)

Instead of waking up really early and working on homework, I had breakfast with Beth because she was in town for lab work. I miss seeing her and dad everyday like in high school. But when I was that age, I didn't take the time to consider hanging out with my family as "cool" --- what does cool even mean? Well, that's another blog.

We had a great time. We laughed so hard and took nearly twenty minutes to order because we couldn't stop talking. I am so glad we have such a good relationship now. She actually suggested what I should order because she knows me so well -- Sea Mist Omelet -- filled with seafood and veggies with cream cheese and chives. Go Beth -- it was an incredible. I had a great time and I told her that. I told her how much I love her and hope to see her soon. I hope she knows how much I appreciate her!

I walked down the street smelling the cold air and looking around the big city. While we live in Indy, we truly live in Castleton -- an area full of desperate housewives and Coach purses. Down town Indy is more than that-- more diverse and more poverty is evident with the homeless people walking around the streets, breaking my heart. But either way, I smelled the air and I was thankful for another day.

I picked up Cayla's dress from David's Bridal this morning. Sorry if you are reading this Cayla and realize I didn't pick it up on Thursday like I said I would. Bride fail.

When I walked into the store, I saw four consultants and a woman behind the desk. I had no idea who to ask for help so I just smiled and said hello to everyone in the store. Someone surely would respond, right?

Well I am thankful for who did respond.

"How can I help you!?" she asked me with smile glued to her face. But the good thing was -- it wasn't a fake smile. It was genuine.

"Well, I just need to pick up a bridesmaid dress for one of my girls," I said.

"Okay, whats the brides name?" she asked.

"Oh me?" I said. Duh, Ashley of course you are the bride. I laughed and said, "That's me - Ashley Bedwell. And the dress is for Cayla Carey."

"I will run back and get it, but I need your ID," she said.

"Mine?" I asked.

What was up with my mouth this morning? I kept asking dumb questions that were obvious. Its not like she wanted the old lady's drivers license from behind me.

"Yeah," she said and smiled. "Just have it ready when I get back."

I saw her walking with Cayla's dress and she put it on the rack and said, "Well I got into a fight with the plastic bag there and the bag took the beating."

I laughed and said, "No worries! It happens to the best of us!"

No sooner than I said, the plastic bags on the rack all started falling to the ground.

"Well, I am about to go back and hide in the back," she said.

I couldn't help but bust out the Ashley Bedwell machine gun laugh -- that is definitely something that would happen to me. I practically break or trip over everything and everyone I touch.

She told me that if I had a veil, I should take a picture of my baby wrapped in veil in the cradle.

"My mom did that and its my favorite picture," she said.

"That's a great idea!" I said. That dang veil cost $200 -- I am going to do everything but wipe my ass with that thing to get to my moneys worth!!!

"I'll definitely do that with Cooper when he is born in a few years and if you still work here, I will bring in pictures," I told.

She loved it and has a nephew named Cooper -- small world.

So we laughed and she shared a story with me out of no where. She told me about her life growing up. She said she grew up in "the hood" but still attended the Cathedral to play basketball. She told me the first party she ever went to and drank beer at was on the Giest Resovior.

"And that was before lifetime movies and Desperate Housewives, so I didn't even know houses that big ever existed," she said. "And my mom loved it that I was going with a white boy because she thought it was cool we were being inter-racial and stuff. And when I got in there, I looked over and saw this little silver thing in the corner. And guess what?!? IT WAS A KEG! No party was ever the same with my hood friends again with their 40 oz cans!"

I loved it. I love that she shared the story and I love that she looked at me and thought of her first kegger. I guess I just have that type of personality that brings the party animal out in everyone... :)

"Also," she started, "If you could, will you bring back a picture of you in your dress. I keep a scrapbook in the back and my father is a preacher so we keep one at church!"

"Absolutely! I sure will!" I said back.

"Great-- that's awesome," she said.

"Yeah, I live here so that won't be a problem at all," I said.

"Well thank you so much," she said. "Because you are just gorgeous!"

Gorgeous? Me? What?!

I was so flattered. I walked out to my car with a big smile on my face. That really made me feel good.

The power of a compliment is strong and really has the ability to make someones day.

Never forget that.

Much love,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

I have been dreaming about writing this blog, sharing my scuba excitement with you all! I couldn't imagine this day would come this soon....

Before class started, on my first attempt, I swam the 25 feet without my mask and snorkel, got to my buddy and cleared my mask and then the snorkel. Of course, I am up to the surface fist pumping Jersey Shore style!!!!

Even better news....I finally did it! I sank to the bottom of the pool (on the first try) with only one weight belt on.

On top of that, I didn't freak out once and I completed all of the skills today!

In fact, our one skill was to swim on the bottom of the pool in shallow end to the deep end without our goggles. We had to wait until we got to deepest part of the pool to sit down and put the mask on and then clear it. And guess what? I was the first one to finish!!!

The other skill we needed to do was to swim from the bottom of the deep end of the pool to the shallow end, but we had to pretend like our tank was out of air so we could only exhale and once we felt like we couldn't breathe any longer, we needed to come to the surface. I swam 45 feet!! :) I didn't go the longest because some kids actually touched the other end of the pool.

But Carol looked down at me said, "45 feet--- not bad!" She smiled and I said, "Really? Is that okay!"

"Oh yeah,"she said.


It felt great!!! I can't even tell you the feeling I had --- I truly believe with I put my mind to something, I can do it. Confidence is a MUST! But there ain't no mountain high enough and ain't no river wideee enough to keep me from reaching my goalllls baby! :)

I went up to Carol after class and said, "There is just one thing I want to do now!"

And then I gave her a huge high five. She was laughing and smiling.

"Justin will be really proud," she said.

"He probably won't believe me!" I said back kidding around. "He will probably e-mail you to make sure I am not making this up!"

I laughed and then said, "No really, he believes in me so much and he will be so happy!"


Thanks soooo very much to all of you who have supported me and encouraged me throughout this entire process. My journey through scuba definitely isn't over, but I am happy with the path I am heading. You are all incredible people and I am so lucky to know such compassionate and loving people. Believe it or not, I'm actually getting excited about being a SCUBA SIEB on our honeymoon.

And to Justin, my biggest fan, thanks for never ever ever giving up on me. For believing in me and supporting me in ways I couldn't even begin to thank you. I can't wait to be 80 years old and go scuba diving with you and go on shark feedings. Okay, the shark feeding thing--- that's a lie. But I really can't wait to grow old with you babe! :)

Much love,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Date

I didn't spend my Friday night as planned. While I was at work, I got a phone call from my dad. He doesn't usually call me during the day and I was planning on coming home in a few hours, so I had no clue why he was calling. But I had a feeling it would be a call similar to "that call" I once received.

On July 29, 2009, my dad donated his kidney to my step mom -- extending her life and their happy marriage. She also received a pancreas while she was in the hospital; however, the pancreas failed during the night. I heard dad's phone ring and his voice was frantic. I couldn't sleep well from that moment on and finally he woke us up at 6 a.m. telling his about the update, and we left early to go see her in the hospital.

The doctor came into the room as we starred at her with a breathing tube in her mouth. Her eyes were closed, but tears were pouring out of them.

"Heaven's gates just opened up for you because we have a match for a different pancreas in Miami," he said. "We are flying down there now to get it and to do the cross match testing. It doesn't ever happen like this..."

We were thrilled. Scared, but still thrilled about another opportunity to help Beth improve her life. She would no longer be a diabetic with a new pancreas.

Hours passed like days. Finally around 9 p.m. they took her to surgery and she came to the recovery room a little after midnight. The doctor seemed positive and hopeful about this surgery. The first one failed because one side got a blood clot and collapsed.

"But if this one doesn't work," the doctor said. "We won't try again."

Three major surgeries in almost four days. And she handled them like a pro.

Back to Friday:

"Hey Kiddo, we are taking Beth to Indy," Dad said. "They don't know whats going on, but her labs are good and they want to see her. She might get admitted into the hospital over night."

My heart skipped a beat and my body filled with heat.

"Okay," I said. "Well, whatever you need. I am here. I'll stay in Indy tonight and you can stay with me."

So that was the new plan. A different plan. An unexpected plan.

Dad and Beth waited and waited to get a room. Finally around 8 p.m. they decided to admit her until her levels went back to normal.

Dad called and we decided to go out to dinner. The night before Dad gave the most precious gift to his wife, we ate at Qudoba. He loved it. He thought it was the best burrito ever. Okay, maybe not ever, but he surely loved it.

But after the surgery, we went there and he hated it. A lot of kidney transplant patients complain about the way meat and certain foods taste. He had one bite and wanted to rush to the bathroom.

"How about we do to that Qudoba," Dad said. "I remember how good it tasted that one night, and I need to redeem it."

I laughed and knew just where to drive.

We got in line and I practically ordered for him because I remembered what he ordered last time. I have an amazing memory. I could tell you what my regular guests at Arnold's and Scotty's ordered even today and its been years since I have been there.

We laughed and I felt like a kid again. Looking over at my Daddy as he was told me to order whatever I wanted.

"Dinners on me tonight," he said with his big and beautiful smile.

I piled up the veggies on my veggie nachos and I reached the register just to time.

"Would you and your date like drinks this evening," the cashier said to my dad.

He looked at me with his bright blue eyes filled with water from emotions of the day and smiled.

"Yeah, that's my date," Dad said. "That's my baby girl."

"Dad, I'll be your date any day of the week!" I said back.

I love him so much. I am so proud to be his daughter. The cashier went on to say that he just had his first daughther on Tuesday morning and its the best feeling of his life.

"It gives you a special hop in your walk," he said.

No matter how far away I am from him, our relationship continues to grow. He is an amazing man who has taught me a lot in my short 23 years of life.

I'm glad I got to spend my Friday night on a date with my Dad. We shared laughs and stories and life lessons together.

We got Starbucks coffee together and ventured back to the hospital. The smell and hallways are so familiar. It seems like just yesterday I was watching my dad walk past me in his hospital gown, off to save his wife.

Beth ended up getting released Saturday and I'll continue to pray and stay positive about her recovery and life. She is an inspiration, and she is one of the strongest people I know.

My next date will be with my mother, whom I cherish so much. Our last date was a movie, "The Ugly Truth."

Going on dates with your parents is fun! I never thought I'd ever see the day when I would say that, but I just love every minute I get to spend with them. Even Justin's parents. They came down this Sunday and I wouldn't have wanted to spend my Valentine Day's any differently. Their love is the reason Justin is able to love me as much as he does; they are the definition of high school sweet hearts. Actually, middle school sweethearts.

Cheers to more dates with my parents! :) I hope you take time to do the same, if possible.

Much love,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crying Underwater

I thought I did everything right today. I made sure to drink a lot of water and I ate a chicken breast foot long sub for protein and energy.

I sat in my financial wellness class and focused on relaxing. I reminded myself that while I was nervous, I could definitely complete whatever tasks came my way today.

I am in the second group for my scuba class, so I came in early to practice some skills. Justin and I were at the pool this weekend practicing my mask clearing skill. I finally got it and was so proud. I told Carol that I did it and she was proud too. Now she wanted to see me do it.

I leaned back against the wall. I took three long deep breathes in and let them out slow and long.

Relax, Ashley, I told myself. Just relax.

I closed my eyes. Threw myself under water and visioned Justin on the other side. I told myself he was holding my mask and his hands would keep me calm.

But something went wrong. I got frantic and I thought I couldn't breathe any longer. I came up too soon and my snorkel wasn't cleared.

"Did you get it," Carol asked me. "Looks like you did!"

I could have lied. I could have said yes and never looked back. But I didn't get it. And lying won't get me anywhere.

"No, I didn't," I said back.

"Well, what happened!?!" she asked.

I choked, I wanted to say.

"The snorkel came up and I didn't grab it in time," I said.

"Oh, okay," she said. "Well if that happens again just flip it around."

I tried again and didn't get it.

"Well, I don't want to rush you," Carol said. "You just keep practicing."

My buddy helped me out a little bit more.

"I just need to relax," I told her. "I just need to do this for me. I mean, the reason I am here is because Justin wants to scuba dive on our honeymoon."

"I know," she said and laughed. "I told my boyfriend if he wants to marry me then he has to learn how to scuba dive. I told him about you and getting married and going scuba diving on your honeymoon."

Maybe, I thought.

We put the equipment together and jumped into the water. I, of course, couldn't sink.

"Something wrong, Ashley?" Carol asked me.

"I just can't sink again," I said slightly choking on water.

Why can't I sink!?! I am trying toooo hard!!!!

I attempted to go down again and nothing worked. I was crying. I started crying underwater. I just don't get it....I was ready to get out of the pool and thank Carol for her time. I looked at the door and thought I would do anything to leave. Just walk out.

But I didn't.

Carol gave me another weight and I sankright to the bottom. About time.

Since everyone had already learned the skill, I had to try to teach myself. I think I got it. But then came the scary party.

Buddy breathing.

You literally take yourself off the regulator and share your air with your buddy. It sounds easy, or maybe it doesn't. But I was anxious. She didn't show us how to do it-- she just explained it. And I did to watch it. I need to try it. I'm not an auditory learner.

My buddy and I went under water. Only after I asked a million times what I was supposed to do. She probably hates her life for saying yes to being my buddy. But we did it.

"Okay, now swim a lap around the pool and do this in the deep end," Carol said.

Get real, I thought.

My buddy looked at me and said, "Well are you ready?"

"No," I said.

"What is wrong!?" She asked.

"I just don't feel comfortable!" I explained.

"Everything okay ladies?" Carol asked.

"I just don't feel comfortable..." I said back.

It was the truth. I wasn't prepared yet.

So I practiced side by side with the student intstructor. And then we did a lap together in the shallow end.


By golly, I didn't go in the deep end and do it -- but I sure did it in shallow end.


At home, I was eating our MCL dinner alone. Waiting on Justin to get home, I just kept thinking about how bummed Iwas that I don't get things right away. And how I am always the last one to catch on. I was having a serious thought attack. With tears filling my eyes, I heard the door opening.

My love.

"Soo, tell me what happened at SCUBA today," Justin said laughing. I text him earlier and gave him a warning that I wasn't so sure about myself.

"I just-- I just don't get it," I said. "I'm trying sooo hard. I've never tried sooo hard at something and never gotten it."

I started crying.

"I was crying under water. I looked around and saw other people in class doing crazy things like flips and having a blast. And I was just trying to get down to the bottom. I was just crying.."

Justin looked at me and smiled.

"Stand up," he said. "And put that napkin out of your hand."

He grabbed my hand and lifted it in the air like we were about to dance.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"All my life, I prayed for someone like you," Justin started singing.

That's our song. Our first dance song at our wedding. He was singing it to me. And I was crying. But this time I wasn't crying because I couldn't do something that I thought was impossible. Rather, I was crying because I believe a love like this is possible...he means the world to me.

"I love you so much," I said with a salty tear falling into my mouth.

"I love you too baby," he said.

He kept singing and then I looked up at him with my blurry eyes and gave him a kiss.

"And I'm so proud of you Ashley," he said. "So proud. Think about how far you have come since day one. You swam the 300 meter on the first day. And you even did pretty good on the first day. You almost got the 50 feet under water swim and I barely got 25. I am so proud of you."

Maybe I should be proud of myself too.

Much love,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Well, I'm Alive and the Beef Jerky Was Good...

Today was the first time that we actually used scuba gear. Prior to that, we were using a snorkel with goggles and fins. After scuba diving class today, I only have two positive things to say.

One- I am alive.

Two- I did some emotional eating after my failure of a class and the beef jerky was fantastic!

So why was my scuba diving excursion so tragic, you may ask?

Before I get into the story, I want to tell you what Brad King told me today prior to my scuba diving class! P.S. Brad King you make my life more inspiring and entertaining and I'm so glad I got to be part of your time at Ball State University! :)

We were talking about my eager bride story and he described my personality to the core.

"Ashley, you are like a hyperactive chihuahua," he said throwing his hands and body in the air. "People tell you to do something and before they can even tell you to go -- you are already half way there without a clue what are really supposed to do!" LOL SOOOO true!!!

I get excited. I get eager. I get rushed.

And I take off balls to the wall.

So while you are reading this story. Just imagine me. The lost chihuahua at the bottom of the pool, covered in scuba equipment, hating life.

The class was divided into two groups. My group went second so I could watch everyone else learn the skills and how to use scuba before I jumped into the pool.

Then the moment of truth. I walked over to the scuba equipment floating in the water. Scared, I looked down and didn't know what to expect.

Just breathe -- breathe normally, I told myself.

So I put everything on and I was shaking. I didn't know if I was shaking from the cold water or nerves. Later, my nerves would ruin my day.

There are so many things that go into scuba diving --- its ridiculous. The amount of air in your lungs and air in your BC vest can make you float and floating means you aren't sinking -- which means you aren't scuba diving.

I was floating.


"Ashley, do you have all the air out in your BC?" Carol asked me.

"Yeah I think so," I said and then pushed the button and no air came out.

"Well then you need to wear a water weight," she said.

I swam over to get the belt and didn't remember how to put them have to hold it on one side of your body and lay back and roll over and tie it under water --- seems a little difficult for something that should be easy.

I tried five times and couldn't get it on. She was laughing and looked at me with a pathetic look on her face.

"Everyone else swim to the deep in and practice," Carol said. "Ashley, you stay up here and put the belt on and practice in shallow water first."

Yayyyy!!! I love being the only one in scuba class to not get something.

Being positive, this makes me one of a kid, but in reality I was pissed.

I hate not getting things. I hate being bad at something.

So I finally got the belt on and I took off. Breathing was really weird. At least I was breathing like a crazy person. I didn't have my breathing under control at all. Then I got it. I got in the rhythm and it rocked. So I swam down to the deep and had fun. For a short minute.

We cleared our masks (I got it this time) and then back to the deep in.

Slight problem. I wasn't sinking. So I started to get hyped up, like the little snarky dog that I truly represent.

So I started kicking and tried to swim my way down. I looked like a spaz.

Everyone else was peaceful just sitting on the bottom. Literally just sitting there. Probably watching me taking guesses on if I was on Ecstasy or Coke --- either one would fit my frantic personality.

"Ashley, calm down and let alllll the air out of your BC! You aren't sinking. Relax," Carol said.

Well of course I am not sinking. I am aware of this fact. I am the ONLY ONE not sinking.

"Maybe you need two weights Ashley," she said and walked over to get me another belt.

As I started to put the other belt on, I pulled my leg again and gave myself a very very very painful charlie horse.

"OUCH!" I screamed and my ventilator blew out of my mouth.

"Ashley -- put your ventilator on!" Carol said.

She was probably sick of telling me this because she told me this twice before when I was trying to put on my first weight and also another time.

Just as she said that, I started to stretch my leg to work out my charlie horse. Then weight started to drag me down. The ventilator wasn't fully in my mouth and I finally, FINALLY was sinking at the worst time possible.

My face is half-way out of the water. My leg is immobile and in a lot of pain and I am finally going down to the bottom. I ended up hitting the bottom of the pool like a rock. Everyone was probably thinking, "About time!!!"

I was thinking the same thing.

Holy mac and cheese, I've finally got it.

Carol only had to tell me to calm down 42 times.

I went up to her after class and said, "Carol, I'm sorry. And I also want to thank you for not giving up on me."

She smiled and said, "You will get the hang of it as soon as you calm down and relax. I bet you won't even need two weights when you finally relax."

At least she believes in me. Maybe I should start believing in me....

When I got home and told Justin the story he was dying laughing. He loved the way Brad King described my personality and he pissed himself picturing me in the pool trying to get to the bottom by swimming instead of sinking.

He reminded me again about a kid in his class tried to swim (instead of peacefully sinking) down on scuba the first time...the mentally challenged guy.


Well, I guess that's the attribution I deserve.

"I mean, I won't hold it against you if you don't get certified," Justin said. "But, just know that even the mentally challenged guy got certified."

All I can do is laugh. He means well and I know he is trying to push me.

Scuba isn't easy. But being stressed out and in hurry doesn't help. Its supposed to be a relaxing sport and hobby....I wonder if I can ever relax.

I'll try. But the in the mean time, I'll be practicing in the bath tub and the gym pool.

Watch out underwater world, here I come. Maybe.....

Much love,

Cancer Free (Hopefully!)

I didn't want to make a fuss over a small situation, so I didn't tell a lot of people that today I had an appointment with a dermatologist to examine (and biopsy) an abnormal bump on my arm.

I've had it for a few years, but it was progressively gotten bigger and changed in color. It looks like it has different elevations; it looks like a scab. So I was worried. Really worried. But since I'm the type of person who thinks I could get any disease, cancer, or sudden illness -- I tried to be logical and less emotional before hearing a diagnosis.

Jeff Foxworthy tells a joke that his wife is listening to symptoms on TV and lets out a big gasp and says, "OMG, I HAVE THAT!"

He looks at her and says, "Honey you do not have testicular cancer!!!" LOL And thats me ---- and thats the type of response Justin has to give me.

But after having a few doctors tell me I should get it removed "just to be safe" -- I knew it was time.

So I sat there in the examination room which made me conclude that I think if people signed consent forms afterward, medical facilities could make millions releasing footage of people waiting for the doctor to come into the room. When the nurse left, handed me a paper robe and told me to put it on so she could get a better look at my arm. She told me I could leave my bra on, though.

I've never seen such a robe before in my life!! I was like, how do I even put this thing on? It looked like a giant baby bib!

Do I have to take off my pants too? I had no idea. So I started pulling them down.

I FINALLY figured out the paper robe was designed like a t-shirt -- after I put it on it was only covering my upper chest and lower stomach, like a bully shirt straight out of the 80s.

Judging by the size of the robe, I put my pants back on. Surely I didn't need my pants off. Maybe if I had a mole on my butt, then I'd need to remove my pants.

Can you just see her walking in and me sitting in there in my bright pink undies with a t-shirt robe from the 80s?!?! Well that almost happened.....

So I sat there. Looked around the room. Read in my book. Let out loud sighs and muttered under my breath, "Come on...hurry up already!"

I listened the people in the other room, yelling it seemed. I couldn't figure out the context of the story, but I surely didn't want to get up and put my ear on the wall and have the doctor walk in during that creepy life moment.

So I just kept highlighting in my textbook.

Once she came in and looked at my arm, she gave me a few options. First, we could freeze it off and then wait to biopsy it later in 6-8 weeks depending on how it reacted to the freezing. Second, we could just do a sharp biopsy now. She didn't think it was anything serious, but agreed just to have to a scrap biopsy performed to be sure it wasn't anything serious.

So the nurse gave me a little shot with something in it. I looked down after the shot and saw the section of my skin where the bump was lifted up in the air.

Sick, I thought.

But then again I could stand to see the needle go in when I give blood, so I don't really have the stomach for abnormal body functions and procedures.

"I really think this is benign," she said. "But we will call you in about two weeks with the results."

So I'm cancer free! :) Hopefully!!!! She seemed confident- so that is a good sign! :)

I know that I need to protect myself because no one else will. I know that I have to make sure to practice preventative care medicine, even if my insurance won't cover it.

In the end, I'll probably end up paying the entire office visit and procedure ($225) -- but for a peace of mind, I think its worth it. Even more so, I can go on being thankful that I'm healthy!

So good or bad, now I can actually participate in SCUBA today. Its our first day using the actual SCUBA, which means I have to breathe normally under water or I could get know, the bends or bubbles in my brain...not a big deal, right?

I'm sure I'll be blogging about that later....

Much love,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

So, Why Do You Love Her?

As most of you know from reading my previous blog, Justin and I had our first session of premartial counseling on Sunday.

I didn't include a lot of details about the counseling because I didn't want to have two important stories in one blog. They both needed their own beginning and their own ending.

Justin and I walked out of church holding hands and laughing. We looked like high schoolers probably. We roamed around the church, secretly trying to keep me away from the other church members because we could only imagine what they would say about my loud mouth.

He showed me the youth room, which is where him and the groomsmen will stay until the ceremony begins on May 15, 2010. The date just seems so perfect. So right. It feels so natural falling off my tongue. I can't wait; 102 more days.

We finally met up with Pastor B and agreed that lunch at El Rodeo seemed like a perfect way to begin our counseling. Once we arrived, we talked small talk about football, school, work, and life in general.

He started by asking about my family life and how he grew up, which was vastly different from Justin.

I come from a large family and I am the oldest of six children (full, half, and step sisters/brothers). Divorce is a part of my life and since it happened at such a young age, I'm used to it.

Justin is the exact opposite. He is the only child and his parents have been together since middle school.

After taking up a page to write down my family information, he asked Justin a question that is hard to answer. Because love isn't always something you can explain, rather something you feel. But as part of the process, he asked the question anyway.

"So, Justin," Pastor B said. "Here comes the question: Why do you love her? Why is she the one?"

Justin looked at me smiled and then looked back at Pastor B, staring him straight into the eyes.

"Oh wow," Justin said. "Just one thing. There is a whole list of reasons. Well to start out with, she is my best friend. She knows how to hang with the guys and also how to act," he paused.

Like a lady? I thought. Not usually. So I laughed.

"I can sometimes act classy," I added for him.

We both laughed.

"I guess more than anything," Justin said. "I think about the night that we first met."

Oh crap, I thought. Don't tell Pastor B that we met playing beer bong and both of us were drinking. Well that is the truth, I reminded myself. So be it. Let him run with it.

"The night that we first met, it felt like we had already known each other," Justin said. "It was like we were just reconnecting and I'd known her my whole life."

My throat choked up and my eyes got heavy.

I looked over and his eyes were glowing in the sun. They were watery.

"You are going to make me cry," I said.

And so I did. They poured out. It was true, though. Justin and I dated for like a week before we made it official. We never went on a date before making our relationship official. I just always went over to his dorm room and we hung out before I went to work at Scottys. We took pictures being goofy and listened to music. Sometimes he was studying and I would just look at him with his glasses on thinking how handsome he looked.

One day, probably day three of knowing each other, we were watching TV and I fell asleep in his arms. I remember having a dream that I married him. I just remember seeing flashes of him dancing at a reception. He was smiling so big and carrying around a big beer mug. He was dancing and giving me kisses every chance he got.

I woke up and he was still sleeping. I couldn't be creepy and tell him that I loved him after four days, could I? Um no, so I held that one in.

But it was ironic to learn months later that when he called his dad to tell him about me, he said, "Dad, I found my future wife."

We just knew. After a few days. We just knew that we found the person we would spend the rest of our life with and I couldn't be happier.

"Your turn, Ashley," Pastor B said.

With tears in my eyes and a cracky voice, I said, "Wow, I can't even stop crying. I love you so much, Justin. For me, I wouldn't be who I am today without Justin in my life. He has provided me with the stability I've needed in my life all along. I probably wouldn't even be graduating now because before Justin I kept changing my major every other day. He always pushes me to be my best. I mean, he could have given up on me so many times because of the way I treated him sometimes. I have a rocky past with relationships and its hard for me to trust people and he never gave up on me. He was always there for me. I am so lucky that he never gave up on me..." I said.

Its true. Being cheated on does something to your mind that is uncontrollable. Justin couldn't even have a friend that was a girl without me thinking she was trying to get in his pants. We talked about it and we cried about. He didn't understand why I didn't trust him, but I couldn't explain to him that I did trust him, just not the other girls. Because if I did trust him, I wouldn't worry about the skanks coming onto him because he would just push them away. Through it all, he loved me enough to stand by my side even when he thought I would never change. Or maybe he knew I would change, but just didn't know when that day would come.

"So Ashley, do you trust Justin now?" Pastor B said.

I looked over at him and smiled. Tears filled both of our eyes.

As one small tear streamed down my face I said, "With all my heart. I trust him with all my heart."

He has waited our entire relationship to hear those words. I'm so happy I can finally say those words and mean them. And know that he trusts those words are genuine.

I can't wait to see him on our wedding day. Down at the other end of the isle. I'll have my daddy wrapped around one arm and my other hand will be free to hold his when I arrive by his side.

Much love,

Only One

Being "the only one" in your class, on your team, on the plane, or in your profession is either really good or really bad.

For example, being the only one in your class to get an "A" is a great honor. On the other hand, being the only one in your class to forget about the same assignment due today is really bad.

Being the only one on your team to hit a home run is an accomplishment, but being the only one on your team to strike out really sucks.

Being the only person the plane who survives makes you feel like you just landed on the cast of "Final Destination" or really lucky. Being the only person who dies on the plane crash, well thats not good.

Being the only person in your profession to win a particular award rocks your socks off and makes your parents/loved ones proud. But being the only person in your profession lack a certain skill makes you stand out as slower, weaker. Not a good situation.

So here we are. Why am I rambling about being "the only one" if I am not the only one of something!? Insert SCUBA diving class here:

Last Wednesday, we had to go a skills test where we saw 25 feet across the pool to our buddy who was holding our mask and snorkel. Once we got to our buddy we had to put our mask on, clear the mask, put the snorkel in our mouth, clear the snorkel, and come up to the surface while doing everything in one breathe. No big real, right? Well, maybe if you are Michael Phelps.

Apparently I am in a class full of Michael Phelps, which is something I knew coming into this class. A lot of the other students are aquatics majors. Or on the dive swim. Or they swim from the time they were a sperm to last night, aka their entire life.

I fit in none of those categories. I am in the category. I was the kid who couldn't jump off the diving board until I was nine because I thought I was never going to make it back up to the surface. I am the kid who kept a 20 minute hold up off the high dive at Pine Lake aka I had a standing ovation when I finally jumped and came up from the water. I am now the young woman who will only get in the ocean if I am completely wasted because I am afraid JAWS will come out of no where and bit my legs off, leaving me for death or in a wheel chair forever. Or a jelly fish will bite me, either way, either way is not fine.

So my buddy took like four attempts to pass the test. By the time I could go the test, I was the only one left. The only one. So everyone could watch me.

So I took my three long, deep breathes and swam to the student assistant as fast as I could (my buddy was already putting on gear for the next part of class). I swam so fast and got frantic, which hello my full name should be Ashley Frantic Bedwell. I didn't complete the task all the way because I came up choking on water.

"Ashley, you need to clam down. Your body gets so stressed when you swim that fast. You were rushed and out of control the entire time. Do you want to attempt again or wait?" my professor asked me.

"Well, I mean," I started. I really wanted to say no, but I agreed to try it again.

So I swam down there. Told myself to slow down and attempted again. I didn't get it.

"Well, you almost had it, but we have to move on. Just practice more and focus on remaining calm under the water," my professor said with a disappointed look on her face.

"Did you get everyone's names written down," she yelled to another student assistant.

"Yeah!," he screamed back across the pool. "All but one!"

I was the only one who didn't pass and everyone knew it. I saw the faces turn to me and I wanted to duck my head under the water.

My first scuba fail (although not as bad as my recent church fail).

To make matters worse, I put my swim suit in the rapid dryer and it started to shred the ass out of it and rip it up.

Really? After all this, I thought. Now I have to walk around with my ass-less swim suit because you know I'm not about to spend $40 on another one piece swim suit that I'll never wear again. Sigh.

Conclusion: I am one of a kind. People will always remember me. Being the only one maybe isn't the always bad, even if you are being known for being "bad" or "weak" at something -- at least you are known. I suppose thats better than being in the middle and never standing out. I just don't want to be the only one in SCUBA who gets the bends or crazy air bubbles in my body. No matter how many people know that story, it won't be good.

Oh, and I'd also like to stay away from being the title, "The Only Ball State University Graduate Bride Who Gets Attacked By A Shark and Jelly Fish On Her Honeymoon!"