Friday, April 23, 2010

She Will Be Your Best Friend One Day





"Ashley, she will be your best friend one day," my Grandma always told me growing up. "I know you can't stand each other now, but I promise you she will."
"Yeah right," I would say back. "She is mean and we don't have anything in common."
It was an easy reply when you were mad. Growing up, it was easy to butt heads with my sister, Sarah. We were so close in age, so we had to share EVERYTHING. Looking back, we were lucky. But we were kids who hated sharing a room, birthday parties, and friends. But looking back again, I had some of the best times of my life with my sister.

Sarah and I are opposite people. She is shy and quiet. She soaks in more than she lets out. But I am outgoing and shy, refusing to know a stranger. I let everything out and soak in some.

Sarah was actually MY body guard growing up. Mom always tells us a story about how a girl pushed me down the stairs when we lived in South Carolina, so Sarah chased the girl all the way back to her house yelling, "GO HOME BRITTNEY!"

Another time we were at the beach and a seagull stole my Cheetos, so Sarah took off running down the beach after the seagull.

She was my little fighter. And still is...

I am getting married in 22 days, and my maid of honor is my sister. I can't imagine having anyone else stand RIGHT next to me when I marry Justin, my other best friend. In fact, I am very excited to have ALL my sisters stand up there with me, both Cierra and Brittany.

Sarah is the person who fought me for all these years. The girl I climbed into bed with when I was scared or losing hope. The girl I made silly homemade movies with growing up. Of course, I was the lead actress and she was director, but that fit our personalities perfectly. She was the girl I would ride bikes with all around town, exploring trails and hidden treasures of Decatur. She is the girl who I went to the pool with every single summer growing up, forgetting to wear sunscreen or take a break to eat! She is the one who always sneaked to look at the Christmas presents so she could tell me what we, she, or I got. She is the girl who brought the two most beautiful boys in this world that I know, Braxen and Landen. Most importantly, she is my sister. A friend to the end.

So my Grandma Kaye was right. She is my best friend. She always was my best friend....

Much love,

Ashley

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I'm Still Cinderalla, But The Wrong Dress Fits

I've lost weight. Actually 6 lbs. I've stopped eating fried foods, Starbucks sweet drinks, and barely drink alcohol. I work out about 2-3 times a week, depending on how much time I have left in the day. My bridesmaid dress for Cayla's wedding fit like a glove and it was two sizes smaller than my wedding dress. And when I tried on pants, I was a size 14! My goal for May was a 12. So I'm happy with that.

So I knew walking into Lisa's (Justin's mom) room that my dress was absolutely going to fit. In March, it zipped all the way up, but it was a little tight around my rib cage making it hard to breathe. I didn't want to pass out at the alter because my dress was too tight. So I've worked hard. Definitely harder than before. And when I saw her pull out the dress, I just knew it would fit. I just had this magical feeling.....

But the moment she started to put on the bra and I realized it was tight, feelings of March came rushing into my mind. Oh please fit...please, please fit, I begged.

The bra fit. Okay, next please!

My dress. The dress I bought a year ago. The dress that I've been making payments on ALL year! My dress.

Up it went. First over my curvy hips and then across my broad shoulders.

I felt her start zipping it up and then she stopped. She let out a sigh.

Its not going to fit. Why won't it fit? Why doesn't it zip?

"Honey," she said.

But I finished her sentence, "It won't zip will it."

Tears started to fill in my eyes. What am I doing to do?

I can't even write this without tears splashing on my key pad like rain on the windshield of your car on a stormy, dark night. But I'll keep going...

"Well, let me call up grandma," she said.

So Grandma Lahman came upstairs too.

Trying to help myself from bawling, I said, "Man, I feel like I need a squat force to get me into this thing."

But it wasn't funny. The fact of the matter was I can't fit into now.

And I didn't. We tried it with the padded bra. With a regular bra. Without a bra. It still won't zip...

His mom and grandma reminded me that I am beautiful. Everything will be fine. I'll call my mom's friend who does alterations. We will fix it.

But I was the broken one. I was the one who needed fixed.

I kept myself together for the most part and called my mom.

As soon as she said hello, I burst into tears.

"Mom....It just doesn't fit.. I don't know what to do. I doesn't fit," I said with my voice cracking and tears steaming down my face.

"Ashley, I don't understand, how does it not fit?" she said.

******

I jumped into the shower. Justin's family was here and I was in no state to smile. Once I got into the shower, I lost it. Completely. Uncontrollably starting crying.

How? Why? What can I do? I can't afford a different dress. I can't afford $300 in alterations.

I won't be a beautiful bride. I won't be a beautiful bride. I won't be a beautiful...

Then I sank to the bottom of the shower. I just squatted there letting the hot water splash onto my head.

Just then I heard a knock on the door. It was Justin's mom. God love her. She is a true angel.

"Ashley, are you okay?"

I thought about lying. I thought about saying yes. I didn't want to look weak, but the truth is she probably hear my sobs a mile away.

"No," I said. And then I let my emotions take over me. I told her I don't know how I'll be beautiful and its so depressing.

She reminded me that I'll be a beautiful bride no matter what my dress looks like and told me that we have options. Alterations. A new dress. But I can't afford either...and she told me not to worry. Maybe we can sell my dress on eBay.

I got out of the shower and ran into the room. I didn't want anyone else to see me like this ,but sure enough Justin saw me.

"Heyyy baby girl," he said from downstairs.

I said nothing.

He walked into the room, "Baby girl?"

But my back was away from him. I didn't want him to know I was so hurt. I didn't want him to know my dress didn't fit after I've worked so hard and spent so much money.

But I turned toward him and he saw my blood shot eyes and tears pouring down my face.

With a single breathe that I managed to gather, I said, "It doesn't fit. It won't even zip."

"What?! I don't understand! How does it not fit now?" He said.

No one knows. I don't even know. But after him reminding me that I'm beautiful and telling him how much he loves me, we concluded my shape has changed. I've been doing arm and back exercises at the gym. Not to mention the heavy scuba gear I've lugged around on my back all semester.

But my dress still doesn't fit.

But we have options. And as Justin and his family reminds me that I'm still beautiful, I can't help but feel hopeless. I can't help but have all of my emotions come rushing back to me when I had eating disorders. I saw myself as a fragile teenager again wishing so hard to be something I'm not. And not capable of ever being...You see, its not just the fact that the dress doesn't fit. Its my history that is haunting me....

So I might be Cinderella, but the wrong dress fits. The dress for my best friend's wedding fits, but the dress for my own wedding doesn't fit.

But I am reminded of a recent blog post, "Like is 90% what happens to you and 10% how you react to what happens to you."

So this is my reacting.....I have tears, but I am confident. I am broken, but I am piecing myself back together.

So for now, everything is out of my control. A new dress or alterations are my only options. But if I believe I am beautiful, I will shine with beauty. And if I believe that everything will be fine. Then it will. It must.

Just as I was about to publish the post, Justin walked into the room. He was smiling in his boxers after he rolled out of bed and looked like Brad Pitt. My Brad Pitt.

He came up and gave me a kiss. I'm dressed up for church so I do look rather nice.

"You look very sexy baby," he said. He is my prince and I'm his Cinderalla. For real. So let the wrong dress fit. Maybe this was supposed to happen....

Much love,
Ashley

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Dream


"Go confidently in the direction of dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - Henry David Thoreau

My dream is to become an author. I just thought I'd let you know. =) What is your dream????




Friday, April 16, 2010

The Best Night To People Watch Is Friday

The sun was shining bright on my dirty car as I drove through rush hour in Indianapolis. I could have easily been upset that:

a- I couldn't see out of my windshield because it had 20.5 million dead bugs on it
b- rush hour traffic = enough said
c- I couldn't see out of my windshield during rush hour traffic

But instead, I looked around me soaking in all the love and joy in life.

Up at the bright sun in the sky.

Down to my gas gauge. Better look away...

To my left where I saw an old man jamming out to some serious tunes. I couldn't help but smile and starting tapping my fingers to the beat of my music! :)

To my right, a couple in their early 20s walking out of a Mexican restaurant. She was shorter than him and her blond hair was blowing in her face, but that didn't stop her from trying to look up and smile at her lover. She wrapped her arms around him and he pulled her close. He gave her a kiss on the forehead and said her eyes lite up.

It was beautiful.

Love is beautiful.

I went to Wal-mart and there is an entire Web site devoted to people watching at Wal-mart...so I don't need to go into much detail there.

But then I went to the mall.

My first plan of action was to hit up the food court area. Of course, if you plan to walk to the bathroom you can at LEAST get three samples from the Chinese places! =) Don't mind if I do....

Tragically, they are smart. They understand people will be in the food court on a Friday night. Thus, a lack of samples made me almost embarrass myself beyond words.

I didn't see a lot of people holding samples, but the hallway was crowded. So I kept searching and then I found a red tray. I started walking toward it and then a head popped up! It was a mom holding a tray of food for her children. Can you even imagine when would happen if I just stole a piece of chicken off her tray? LOL Ohhh my, this is why I need Justin around -- he keeps me in check and wouldn't let me take a chicken nugget off a strangers tray EVEN if I thought it was a free sample.

So that was the highlight of my day. People watching at the mall.

Seeing an old man jamming to some tunes. And I'd do anything to know what music he was listening to, but since I can imagine I'm going to think he was listening to "Get Low" by Lil Jon. Just because I think its funny that way! =)

Seeing a young couple so in love...made me miss Justin for the night!

And seeing a tray full of food and almost stealing a chicken nugget because I thought it was a sample lady.

Oh life, I love you.

Much love,
Ashley

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tonight

Tonight, I received an excellent compliment. One of my co-workers was asking about my life and asked how I was keeping up with everything. School, work, wedding plans, job hunting, and house hunting. Oh just another day in the life....

I gave her this look that practically said, "I'd rather play in traffic than talk about life."

Either way, I smiled and told her that I am trying so hard. I am doing my best. And that's all I can do.

She looked at me and smiled. She said, "I have never met anyone in my entire life with the drive that you have. You work so hard and once you set your mind to something, you are so determined. In a way, you are kind of a perfectionist, buts its only because you care so much about what you invest yourself in."

She spoke from the heart and it makes me get goosebumps thinking about it now. I can't tell you how much that meant to me. I'm really glad she told me that tonight. Of all nights. I needed it the most. My day was an emotional roller coaster and I bawled my eyes out twice while taking Bandit for a poop walk in our "hood."

But its fine. Sometimes people break down. We are human. We have feelings. We cry. We feel hopeless. But the most powerful moments are when we are tested. When we bounce back. When we learn to fight for what we believe in. When we strive for the top and never look back down.

I'm glad she said that tonight. I really needed it.

Much love,
Ashley

Friday, April 9, 2010

I'll Never Go To Speedway Again..Ever!

I once told myself that I'd never go to Speedway gas station again. Ever. I had horrible service there a few months ago, which I could honestly write a blog about on its own.

But tonight, I saw that gas was only $2.66, so I thought, hey- I'll give them another try. I'll take one for the team. Maybe it will change my perception about the gas station.

So I pull up into my spot and read the sign, "Prepay only! Pay outside with debit or credit card."
No problem. I'd rather do that anyway.

I stuck in my card into the machine and then pulled it out "RAPIDLY" ---- because the screen demands you do so.
Then the screen said, "Go see cashier."
Ummmm NO! That is exactly why I do the pre-pay pumps. I don't want to walk inside. I don't want to wait in line. I don't want to be tempted by beef jerky and Red Bull.

Alright, I'm done. My point is proven -- Speedway still sucks!

So I hit the "cancel" button and threw myself back into my car like I was Lindsay Lohan after a wild night of partying. Then I drove take off like Britney Spears trying to ditch the paparazzi.

Then I look in my rear view mirror.















"HOLY MAC AND CHEESE!" I screamed.

Just before my eyes, I saw my gas cap flying through the air like a UFO -- sailing through the air without a cause.
You have GOT to be kidding me.

I pulled into the next driveway and parked. Then ran down the highway. Yes, this was on a highway. On busy Scatterfield Road in Anderson, Ind. You need to picture me doing this in scrubs. Justin tells me I run like a fourth grader the way it is, so that alone should make you laugh.

I run over to my poor little gas cap and see it laying on the ground lifeless. Shattered. Broken.


So I'll never go to Speedway again. I mean it this time.
Just like I'll never go tanning again. Scabies.....
Much love,
Ashley

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The World Is How You View It

A lot of people decide the world is either one of two things, good or bad. Black or white. No middle ground or happy medium. And then people, who believe its either good or bad, spray that infectious positivity or negativity on everyone they meet. Friends, family members, and even complete strangers. Trust me, you spray it and sprays strong and hard.

Lets put this into perspective:

I'm sure you can think of someone walking to campus complaining about their day and how awful their life is. They got a flat tire, then a bird stole their cheez-its, and then someone drove by a puddle splashed all over their new Coach shoes. Blah, Blah, Blah --- that's what I'm talking about. (Thanks Kesha for that song, which is slightly annoying, but makes me think of these people).

But then you see a different situation.

I was walking to class the other day. And I saw a couple walking behind each other. They weren't holding hands, but you could tell by the way the guy was looking at the girl that he cared about her. He stopped, looked at the bed of flowers, and watched the girl keep walking. She had no idea that he wasn't behind her anymore -- she was probably in her own little world. He searched around to see if anyone was watching and then bent over and grabbed a beautiful, yellow flower. He came running up behind her and handed her the flower. Probably made her day and he probably thought he was a total stud/romantic for thinking of ripping a flower out of Ball State's campus flowers. But still, very cute.

So here is the break down:

Good world viewers tell "good" stories -- hopeful, inspiring, motivating. I can make it. I'll bounce back. I'll learn from this....What now?

Bad world viewers tell "bad" stories -- dull, boring, apathetic. Feel bad for me. Why me? Its never good enough. I'm never good enough. Why me? Did I ask why me?

But the thing is - you can't be on one extreme all of time. You have to strive for balance. You have to remind yourself that you are not the only single person walking on this green earth who has had a bad day. And you won't be the last.

But think about when you had a good day and someone came running up to ready to complain about their life. And when the sun is shining and boys are picking flowers for girls -- the last thing you want to do is to listen someone rain on you. Don't be that person. All the time anyway. Because I do believe firmly that we all need at least ONE person to vent to, but not the entire world.

One of the most important things I've learned is that the world is how YOU view it. YOU can make up your decision to be in a good mood or bad mood.

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to what happens to you."

So think about that next time. You can view it good or bad. Positive or negative. Hopeful or passive. Annoying like Kesha's song or Inspiring like a beautiful love song, Two is Better Than One by Taylor Swift and Boys Like Girls.

A final tip of advice. When something happens and you get REALLY- I mean, really insanely worked up, ask yourself this, "Will this matter a year from now?"

And the answer is usually "NO!" It won't matter that you split ketchup on your jeans. It won't matter that your group meeting lasted longer than you expected. It won't matter that you forgot your cell phone at home one day.

Time is what matters, for that is all you truly have.

Much love,
Ashley

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Call Me Cinderella, Because It Fits :)

I had an extreme fear that my bridesmaid dress for Cayla's wedding wouldn't fit. After barely breathing when I tried my wedding dress on a few weeks ago, this fear comes to me with no surprise.

I picked up the dress at David's Bridal with Justin. He kept looking around the store trying to pick out my dress. He would be like, "Oh this is the one. I know it."

And then I'd turn around the price tag and it would be $1,050 dollars.

Nope. Not mine. Maybe if money didn't rule the world....

So we laughed and had fun running around the store like little kids. I think that's what I love most about our relationship. He still makes me bubble after almost four years. He still makes me feel like a kid again. And after he saw me in the bridesmaid dress...I can safely say he makes me feel like the most beautiful woman alive.

I know, you are probably dying to see the dress.

But before I do that, I must be honest. I reached behind my back and said, "Oh please let this fit. Please, please fit!"

I zipped it up. Stood in the mirror. And was completely happen with the reflection staring back at me. Yes my hips are wider. Yes I have a little more cushion on my back end. And yes I am slightly pale to be wearing a tangerine dress. But above all, Yes, I loved it.






I walked down the stairs and it reminded me of the prom date I never had. For this time, when I was walking down the stairs- I truly was meeting the man of my dreams down below.

My prince.

I didn't have a flower on my wrist. I didn't have any make-up on. My hair was a mess. But I had a smile glued to my face.

"I really think it looks good babe," I said walking down the stairs.

I got to the bottom of the stairs and Justin was speechless. He looked at me with wide eyes and said, "Oh my gosh - you are so beautiful!"

He stood up. Stared me some more without saying a word.

"Come here," he finally said.

"Wow, I can't wait to dance with you in this dress. I'm almost tearing up looking at how beautiful you are. Can you imagine what I'll do when I see you on our wedding day? You will look so amazing then too!"

He grabbed my arms and started to dance with me.

He spun me forward and then back into his arms. Then he placed his lips upon mine.

We shared a beautiful kiss. And for a moment, my mind traveled to our wedding day. I know he will be handsome. I know he will take my breathe away. I know it will be the best day of my life.

Much love,
Ashley

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter With A Dinosaur

I love children. While I am not ready to have them, my nephews fill that place in my heart for children in my life.

Today, I got to see them both. Landen smiled at me all afternoon while Braxen played with me. I'm pretty sure we crawled everywhere on our knees acting like dinosaurs. We walked around the pond looking for fish and head butted na-na and then knocked her over -- because that's what dinosaurs do.

You see, Brax thinks that he is "Sarah" from the Land Before Time. And the funny thing is his mother (my sister) is named Sarah.


video

I had a blast. I'll be a dino with Brax man any day of the week. He makes my heart happy. Especially when he gave me a hug and said, "Love you Aunt Hasey!"

On the way home, Justin put his hand on my thigh. He gave it a little squeeze and flashed me his beautiful smile, "You are going to be a great mom one day, Baby!"

I can't tell you how happy that made me feel.

"You are going to be a great dad too!"

We will be a pretty rockin' family.

I hope you all had a happy Easter Sunday. Smiled. Laughed. Loved. Shared. Talked. Lived. Embraced. Hugged. Kissed. Enjoyed. Remembered.

Much love,

Ashley

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Perfect Combination


Navy and Silver. Justin and his groomsmen are getting their tuxes fitted tomorrow. They will look so handsome in their navy and silver tuxes. I am thrilled to see him at the end of the isle. Tony Romo would be cool to see standing next to him. Or Jason Witten. Yeah, Jason would be better. But my husband will be the best. :)

Pursuit of Happiness


Scuba diving = A -- got a perfect score on my last quiz AND homework. Unbelievable. Never give up!