Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 12 in 2012

Happy New Year! It's hard to believe that another year has flown by...When I think about 2011, the word that comes to mind is change. I made a lot of my mind, body and outlook on life.

I cried many times, but I laughed many more times.

Some days I ran so slow that it made me want to give up. Other days I ran so hard that I wanted to throw up.

There were moments, many moments, when I had to pull myself off the couch, brave the cold weather and drive my moody self to the gym.

But on other days, I was so motivated I was bursting at the seams of my soul.

At least 40.3 times, I pulled in a fast food drive thru -only to pull out a few moments later, realizing I didn't need nor want those extra calories. But in even more instances, I fell off the wagon and stuffed my face with burgers and fries. And dipped both of them in ranch.

On the toughest of days, I would break down and scream at Justin; yelling that I never wanted to eat a piece of grilled chicken again. Other weeks, I could eat grilled chicken for every single meal.

In one week, I could lose 5 lbs and then the next week I could gain 7. It was a constant battle. My weight will always be a constant battle.

But through it all, I learned a lot. About weight loss. About running. About fitness. About healthy eating. About myself.

I've had a few special requests for a blog post about my weight loss (and gain) journey in 2011. If you are looking for a blog post that will help you accomplish your new years resolutions, this isn't the right post. Rather, this is a blog post about tips for living a healthy lifestyle- not for a few months or until you hit a certain weight, but for a lifetime! I'm not a pro at this...people are healthier than me...smarter than me...and in better shape than me. But these 12 tips reflect what worked for me over the past year.

Without further adieu, here are my Top 12 Tips for Living a Healthy Lifestyle in 2012

Believe in yourself. This is the most important step of all. Attitude is everything. If you have no faith in yourself and your abilities, you will not not succeed. You must believe you worth it. You must love your body now, and believe it can only get better. Stronger. Healthier. Because if I can go from being a workaholic couch bum with "no time to workout" to someone who dedicates time to fitness and runs three half marathons and three 5ks within 13 months, then I KNOW you can too.

Find inspiration. I am a firm believer in inspiration. It does amazing things. Seek out people, blogs, stories, and events that inspire you. There will be days when you will feel hopeless and lost, and you will want to give up. But if you surround yourself with positive, inspiring people-  you will pick yourself up very quickly when you fall down. People who inspire me include Meggie Dials (@meggiehd) and her husband / my co-worker Josh Dials (@jtdials) - both of them have amazing stories about their running journey. Josh is always asking me how my running is going, what races I have coming up and sending me positive bursts of inspiration - even if he doesn't know it. And he is the healthiest eater I have EVER met in my entire life. Seriously, just walking by his desk and seeing his giant, healthy salad makes me stay on track. And Meggie- holy cow- just met her once and you will FALL in love with her! She is positive, feisty and a ball of inspiration. But stay away from her cake balls, they are as addicting as her fun personality. You can read about her running journey and life here: Another blog that inspires me (and I find myself reading daily is): She is an incredible writer and exposes the ups and downs of weight loss and running. She is beautiful. Follow her journey and get inspired for life.

When you first start running, focus on distance or speed. This is the best advice I ever received from my inspiration queen, Meggie, which is another point...don't be afraid to ask for advice!! I always ask for advice and for people to tell me their stories!! When I first started running, Meggie told me to pick between distance or speed. I picked distance. I would rather go 5 miles at  14 minute pace than run a 7 minute mile. Why? Because at the end of the day I'm working out for a lot longer...pushing my body to new limits. One day I'll hit that 7 minute mile (okay, maybe 8:30 mile) but the meantime, I am getting stronger and faster....and going longer distances. BUT maybe you want to work on your speed, so focus on your time. But for me, 2011 was about not obsessing over a number. So, this was the best advice and best decision I made for becoming a better runner.

Buy new workout clothes and good running shoes. The better you look, the better you feel. The same is true with fitness and working out, the more comfortable you are, the better you perform. On Dec. 26, 2010, I spent all my money from Christmas at Dick's Sporting Goods. I got new running tights, pants and shirts. I looked at it like I was making an investment in my health and my goals.

Drink LOTS of water. I can't stress this enough...when you are working out and running, you are sweating. And if you sweat your ass off in a snow storm like I do, then you will sweat even more when you are working out. You need hydration (water) to stay healthy and last longer in your workouts. Also, you will be less sore and have fewer headaches if you pump your body with water. I drink at every meal, have a glass of water (or 5) by my night stand, and drink it all throughout the day. If only I could give up my diet coke addiction...hey, I am a work in progress. So how much water should you drink each day? The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day.

Try to go vegetarian for a few meals each week. There are some really amazing vegetarian meals out there...and I'll be posting a blog soon with a few of my favorite vegetarian recipes. But your body doesn't need all the processed foods and meats. So, try to eat earthy at least once a day (that is only 5 meals a week). A few ways to do this are: fruit for breakfast, veggie stir fry,  veggie sandwiches, (Jimmy Johns Veggie is the BEST!!!), spinach and mushroom etouffee is unbelievable, black bean nachos or tacos, vegetable soup, and nothing beats a good salad! :) If you need some more veggie recipe ideas, ask my great friend Brittany Gerig -she knows a lot of healthy and delicious recipes!

Start slow - you are only racing against yourself! Another friend who inspires me is Melanie Allen (@mel_allen). She gave me the best advice during my first race. "Don't look at other people around you; you are only racing against yourself." People will pass you - just like you will pass other people. Don't compare yourself to other people - you will be miserable. Someone will always be faster, stronger, more talented- but as Maya Angelou once told me and hundreds of other people, "No more is more human than you. You can do anything."  The run never gets easier, you just get better, faster and stronger. Don't be upset if you have slow days, you are still moving your body. I had some days when I would go to the gym and just walk. I wasn't feeling it, but I wanted to put in my time and miles. So I would walk and then run for a few minutes. Just keep moving. Don't give up. No matter how fast you go, you are still miles ahead of everyone on the couch.

Drink black coffee and green tea. I once read that drinking one cup of coffee with sugar and cream everyday will pack on 15 lbs a year. Maybe 10. But either way, that's a lot of weight to gain just from drinking one cup of coffee. And who really drinks ONE cup of coffee? It takes some getting used to, but I drink my coffee black most of the time. Or I'll add sugar free syrup. Americanos from Starbucks are heavenly. I also try to drink green tea in the afternoon or morning (if I don't drink coffee). Green tea has been proven to boast your metabolism! Drink up my friends!

Stop using condiments. When I first learned that I had a lactose sensitivity, I thought my world ended. Cheese makes EVERYTHING better. Burgers, pasta, pizza - it all needs cheese. But look at those items I just listed...most of them are unhealthy. If you are opting for healthier items in your diet, giving up fatty condiments like cheese and mayo won't be that hard. You don't need to pile on cheese and mayo with a veggie stir fry..they simply don't go together. If you want to add some flavor to your grilled chicken, try adding mustard -regular! Honey mustard is often made with take it easy on that...and ketchup is the evil step sister to mayo because it's PACKED with sugar. If you are a ranch addict like me, there is help. Check out yogurt ranch dressing from Bolthouse Farms! It's half of the calories of regular ranch and tastes pretty good! Yes, it's slightly more expensive..but isn't living longer and healthier worth a few extra dollars.

Make commitments. Sign for a race, a gym membership, or start writing about your journey.Your commitments will keep you on track, accountable and inspired. If you want to go a race and are afraid to do it alone, PLEASE email me!! I'll gladly do any race with me (given I'm available) - and it's not like I travel the world for my job. I'd LOVE to do a race with you!!

Start cooking at home and packing your lunch. My good friend Sarah Frey (@sarahfrey6) is great at this! She often cuts up her veggies and fruit for the week on Sunday evening. I'm so inspired by her commitment to eating healthy and cooking new dishes at home! Not only does packing your lunch and cooking at home save you calories, but it saves you money! The Internet is FULL of healthy and fun recipes to try out at home.

Watch your sodium! If you are retaining water, you are probably consuming too much sodium. According to the Mayo Clinic Website, The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day — or 1,500 mg if you're age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Consider that just one teaspoon of table salt has 2,325 milligrams (mg) of sodium. The vast majority of sodium in the typical American diet comes from foods that are processed and prepared. These foods are typically high in salt, which is a combination of sodium and chloride, and in additives that contain sodium. Processed foods include bread, prepared dinners like pasta, meat and egg dishes, pizza, cold cuts and bacon, cheese, soups, and fast foods." So, what should you do? Try to eat fresh as often as possible! Freeze your own veggies and meals

Good luck in 2012!

And remember, whatever your goals are for this year...."Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it." - Bill Cosby

Much love,

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Pics Don't Lie

I was getting depressed when I saw the number on the scale start to slowly climb back up. I had lost 20 lbs and before I knew it, I gained 5 lbs back and then 7 lbs and then 10 lbs. It was not inspiring.

I tried to remind myself that I shouldn't obsess over a number. And as a coworker and friend of mine reminded me last week during a meltdown, I am doing it the healthy way. So I should be proud of myself and accomplishments this year.  Searching for some inspiration, I looked at the pictures I've saved along my weight loss journey this year. I was pretty happy with what I found.

None of the pictures are in the same exact pose, but they definitely show the progress I've made this year.  I'll be posting the official before and after pictures on Jan. 1, 2012. This is just a teaser; I'm excited to see the final results. And while Shakira says her hips don't lie, well -my pics don't lie.

Starting Point = January 2011
This picture is unsettling. For many reason.
But mainly because I see a girl filled with sadness.
Desperate for a change.

February 2011

March 2011
March 2011

April 2011 - the first time I realized I had a belly button! :)

November 2011

November 2011
Tonight = December 21, 2011
While I don't have a six pack, I have a belly button.
And that is more than I can say a year ago.
And now, I'm happy.
I have more pounds to lose.
More miles to run.
But, I am comfortable in my own skin.

Thank you SO much to all of you! I couldn't have done this without the love and kind messages from my family, friends and even complete strangers. Nothing made me happier than receiving personal messages from people relating to my journey.

Or people who found motivation through my story and shared their own stories of personal achievements this year.

Or people who were reaching out to me for advice.

I never dreamed I could inspire so many people...and I an so proud of each and everyone one of you.
I look forward to growing stronger and faster with you all in 2012.

Much love,

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I am a Runner

My husband has slowly turned into my personal trainer. We got a gym membership together at the YMCA in October, but we never really worked out together. I always focused on cardio while he focused on strength training with some cardio.

But since I am not currently training for a race, I wanted to build strength training back into my workout routine. Often, people assume they should only focus on cardio. But strength training is SO important…sure I want to continue to lose weight. But I also want to say goodbye to my bat wings, saddle bags and love handles.  Hence, I need to start lifting again to tone up! And I also believe with a stronger core, back and leg muscles – I will improve my running posture. 

So last night, Justin and I were doing legs.  We were on the calf raise machine when I first said it. Previously, we were doing sets of 10 – but I was feeling good so I just did a set of 15.

“Did you just do 15?” Justin asked.

I looked over at him with a cocky smirk and said, “Yes, I am a runner.”

I’ve never said that before. Ever. I usually say, "I run." Or, "I try to run!"

To be honest, it’s hard for me to feel like a “runner” because I can’t run for miles and miles without stopping.

But then I found this picture and quote a few weeks ago. 

Yes, I take walking breaks. Yes, I do intervals of walking and running- because for now, that works. For now, that’s what helps me log more miles. So, I might stop for a walking break, but I keep running. I keep running until I finish. Whether I get a personal best or the worst time of my life, I still run

On the next set, I went to lift up and the weight felt increased. Dramatically. It was now at 150 lbs.

“You turd,” I said.  

Justin smirked and gave me this look of “try to do 15 reps now” – so I accepted the challenged. And then some.

I exhaled, and lifted up…doing the most weight I’ve ever done on a calf raise.  

And with confidence in myself and my mental strength on full blast, I did 20 reps.

“You’re a punk,” Justin said.

Well, that might be true.

"I'm a runner," I said back.  It felt amazing to say that twice. Outloud. And I meant it.

"Just wait until arm days," he said. "I'll get you then..."

And he will - the bat wings can't lift heavy duty. YET!

Later that night, I was watching The Biggest Loser. It was the marathon episode, which is MY favorite!

While the makeover episode is amazing to see their physical transformation, this episode makes the contestants shine more than EVER before. You can put make up on anyone, but no new dress or hair cut will ever make someone feel the high of finishing a full marathon. Especially someone, who just five months earlier, was considered morbidly obese… I cried so many happy tears last night!

Those contestants braved the heat of the desert and plowed through sand storms…for 26.2 miles…let’s just say I was beyond inspired! I wanted to be at the finish line hugging and crying with each contestant as they crossed the finish line.
I was also so inspired by Roman’s  confidence.

He went into this race saying, “I am going to win!” 

“Nothing can stop me from winning this race.” 

“I will pass Courtney.”

"I will be in the final 3!"

Those are just a few things Roman said during his interview about the full marathon.

With that attitude and confidence, he won the race. Sure, he was prepared and trained for the race…but that confidence. That attitude…that is what won him the race.

You could have trained your heart out…never missed a day…but if you do not believe in yourself and your abilities…others will quickly pass you by.

Go win your race.

Much love,

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 6, 2008

It was a Saturday. December 6, 2008. Three years ago.

I was sick. Really sick.

I had just chugged some cough medicine when Justin called me outside.

"WHATTT!?" I moaned. "It is SO cold out there!"

"Just come here," Justin said smiling.

He grabbed my hand and started walking me across the yard in the snow.

We were walking away from the car.

Away from his house.

"What are you doing?" I asked. "Where are we going?"

He just smiled. He said nothing, but that smile...I will never forget.

"What, are you going to write your name in the snow with your pee or something?" I asked.

Seriously, I am weird. I have no clue why I thought my boyfriend was going to pee in the snow for me. It's not like that wins me over or anything...I mean it's pretty cool. I certainly can't spell my name in the snow with the pee. Maybe it was the cold meds fueling my imagination.

We walked two houses down. Justin stopped for a minute and then guided me up to the front porch.

"Do you know where we are?" Justin asked.

I looked around. My first thought was "on a front porch of a complete stranger." But before I could even say that...I realized where we were....

"Yes..." I started and then smiled. "This is the house and the porch that we first met at!"

"You're right," Justin said and started to kneel down.

Now on one knee, Justin said, "And this is the house that I want to make sure we begin the rest of our lives at together. Ashley, will you marry me?"

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Is this real life?

"Are you for real right now?" I asked.

"OMG, OMG!" I said again without letting him answer.

I was so excited that I stuck out both hands. I didn't know right from I just stuck out both hands and PRAYED that the ring fit...we had never looked at rings together. I never knew what size of ring I wore...the only kind of "carrot" I knew of was an orange vegetable that I hated when it was cooked and only slightly enjoyed raw with LOTS of ranch dressing.

"YES!" I screamed back him.

He slide the ring on my finger and it fit PERFECTLY. And it was so beautiful. I couldn't have picked anything out better myself. 

So there we the snow and kissing on a complete strangers front porch. It's moments like that when the world stops...and the only thing that matters is that moment. That person. That kiss. That emotion. That question he asked. That promised I made. That commitment we made on May 15, 2010. Til' death do us part...

I sealed my promise with a kiss.

Much love,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My sister is engaged!!!

Finding Out

I was sitting at lunch with my best friend Toni when my phone went off with two text messages back-to-back.

The second text (which was displayed first) was this: " :) :) :) :) :) :)"

Without even reading the first text, I looked up and said to Toni, "OMG- my sister is engaged. That's way too many smiley faces to be anything else."

And with that, I read the first text, "Will just proposed!!!"

I'm so insanely happy for my sister. With two young children, finding a man to love not only her- but her boys was super important. The boys look up to Will so much...and he will be is an amazing father. And equally important, I know he will be my sister's best friend, husband and partner through all walks of life. He doesn't give up or walk away when times are hard. He puts my sister and boys first. Always. What else could a big sister ask for? Well, if his dad was the CEO of Starbucks - that would be cool...But, I digress!

The Proposal

Sarah had to run some errands on Saturday morning. While she was out, Will drove out to my dad's house and asked for his blessing. I don't know how that conversation went, but obviously my dad approved! :)

When Sarah returned home, Will called her into another room.

When she walked in, both Braxen (my oldest nephew -age 4) and Will were down on one knee.

Will was holding the ring and Braxen said, "Mommy, will you marry daddy?"

OMG- I was crying happy tears when she told me her story. How adorable? How special! How thoughtful!

And not only is Will a great guy, he has great taste! :)

Matron of Honor Duty

I got even more excited when Sarah asked me to be her matron of honor! Within 6 hours, I:

  • wrote my matron of honor speech in my head (I'm 75% done and it will make everyone cry. promises)
  • created a Pinterest board called "My Sister's Wedding"
  • found her a wedding invite designer (me), a DJ (Justin), probably a minister (Justin) and a photographer (the talented Ann Semon)
  • confirmed her wedding colors
  • confirmed that Bandit would IN FACT be the best ring bearer EVER! Yes, I found a pillow for him and everything...she hasn't approved this idea yet though...I'm not giving up!
  • found the number for the reception hall
  • suggested the perfect location for the wedding ceremony (our dad and Beth's house!!!!)
Planned for this week is:
  • going to David's Bridal to pick up a catalog of dresses
  • creating a wedding planning binder
  • stalking pinterest for more amazing ideas!
Oh, and a fun fact...Justin proposed to me the first Saturday of December three years ago.

Much love,

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My 146th Street Lover

My husband jokes that I have a secret lover on 146th street, which is the main road I take into work every morning. Before we bought our house, our apartment was only 3 minutes away from my work. Which was FABULOUS! I could roll out of bed at 7:15 a.m., sometimes even 7:30 a.m. and quickly get ready. Thankfully, I am not one of those girls who takes hours to pamper myself.

When we moved, my drive got become ten times longer…taking me at least 30-45 minutes to get to work – depending on the traffic, weather and construction. So my departure time of 7:50 a.m. – quickly turned into 7:15 a.m. Or earlier.

I would leave earlier, sometimes even as earlier as 7:05 a.m. to meet my lover. I actually have two of them. Ronald and Dunkin. I have a hard time resisting Ronald McDonald’s sausage burritos and the rush that Dunkin Donuts gives me is world-class. (Mr. Starbucks is not on an easy path to work).

Obviously, I am admitting that breakfast fast food and sugary coffee were slowing creeping back in my life. Not to mention, I 100% blame McDonald’s Monopoly for sucking me into the game and fast food addiction. You would think being in marketing I would know better. You would think being in marketing I would understand EVERYONE is only one piece away from a million dollars. But once I won a Redbook DVD rental, I was hooked. I thought this year would different. I think this year I would win it all.

But instead, the only thing I won was 10 extra pounds. No, I do not want fries with that….

So, within a month, my pants were tighter. My shirts were snuggier (yes, I think I made up that word). And my motivation was lower than it’s been in months.

I’ve joked about falling off the wagon before, but this time I fell off a jet plane. And it was long, hard fall to the ground.

So, I decided to take action this week. I’m proud to say I didn’t see my 146th lovers this week. I packed my lunch all week (except today I had a lettuce wrap from Jimmy Johns – only 191 calories!) But I did eat a bagel (and a half -- omg I know sooo bad) today from Panera. So I didn’t really save any carbs or calories with my lettuce wrap...Free bagels at work are the death of me. Anyway, I digress. The fact of the matter is I messed up. But that doesn’t make me a failure. It just means I need to try harder. Harder than ever before. Because now…I have 10 lbs to lose just to get back to my original weight loss for the year. And I’d like to say that in 2011 I lost 25 lbs.

So, today marks a new month. A new beginning. It will be SUPER hard with the holidays coming up. But I am determined to kick butt this month. And turn my lovers into long distance, faded friendships.

Much love,


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Have a Great-Bad Day

Life is simply how you interrupt it.

Everything happens for a reason. Or everything bad happens to me.

I’ll learn something from this event. Or everything bad happens to me.

My struggles will make me stronger. Or everything bad happens to me.

You get my drift?

Last week, I found out my credit card information got stolen.

Not sure where.

Not sure how.

Not sure when.

Not sure why, but it happened.

I don’t want to expose details about what they bought and where – in case legal action takes place…so until then, just know that this person stole my credit card information and bought something pretty expensive (and a few other things) under my name.

That wasn’t a day-maker, but thankfully my investigative husband took action. And the way I viewed the situation probably made a big difference in the type of day I would continue to pursue. I could have gotten mad, upset and felt sorry for myself. To be honest, I was a little mad. And I felt violated. I wondered what else this person taken from other people?

But I guess I really felt sorry for the person who stole my information. I found myself wondering, why did this person need money so bad? What would make someone steal from another person?

So if you want to have a Great-Bad day, look at the event from a different view point. Instead of letting that screaming voice inside your head say that “everything bad happens to me” – look for a bigger picture. Look for something you can learn.

For example, I used to ALWAYS lock in my keys in my car. Always. Side note: I’ll be super upset if I jinx myself and lock my keys in my car today. Anyway, I used to do this at least once a month. And this one time (at band camp –joking), I even locked my keys in my car when my car was RUNNING! Actually, I’ve done that twice.

I remember I would get SO mad at myself. Usually, I had somewhere to be and this incident made me late. Sometimes the cops came. Sometimes a locksmith would come. But all of the time, I was mad. So mad that I let it ruin my day.

But why? It shouldn’t. I should just learn how take control of my bad behaviors to make a difference. So I made some changes.

1- In the summer and winter both, I leave my windows rolled down if I am stepping out of my car for just a minute to drop something off or pick something up.

2- I always make sure I have my keys in my hand before I get out of the car.

3- I have key-less entry now, so if my keys are in my car…it will be hard to lock my car.

I haven’t locked my keys in my car for nearly a year. I know this is a silly example. And I know that much larger events take place…making it so much easier to say “everything bad happens to me.” But I urge you to take action instead of feeling sorry for yourself. Or at least have a close friend or family member who will make you do so.

Bad things happen every single day. To all sorts of people, the good and the bad sorts. It's not fair, but at the same time- it's not up to you to determine that. God- Mother Nature- the Universe works in powerful and mysterious ways.  So, it’s up to you to determine how you handle the events life throws at you. Only you determine how you can move on. How to keep pushing yourself. How to stop locking yourself out from your car….and maybe even the world.

Much love,


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Giving Like Grandma Kaye

Today, I was thinking about Christmas gifts for the children that I tutor with at Indy School on Wheels. I have to give something that I can give to all the children. No child will (nor should ever) be left out. I would like to give something creative. Something to pass the time. Something they can do together. Something to make them smile.

I thought of the gifts I received when I was their age…and then the perfect gift popped into my mind.

Coloring books and crayons.

Every year for as long as I can remember, my Grandma Kaye got us coloring books and crayons for Christmas.

“I don’t care how old you get,” Grandma Kaye would say. “I don’t care if you are married…both you and your husband will be getting color books and crayons at Christmas from Grandma Kaye.”

It made me smile. A perfect present from the one of the most giving woman I have ever met in my life. Seriously. She has LITERALLY tried to give me the shirt off her back before…

“Honey girl... I bought this shirt, but I don’t know if I like it,” she would say. “I definitely think it’s YOU!”

Oh me. Oh my. Have you ever tried to tell your grandma to keep her shirt on? Yes, I have. Grandma Kaye, God love ya!

Celebration drink with Grandma Kaye at my college graudation party.

Smiling with Grandma Kaye at Grandpa's 70th Birthday party.

Grandma Kaye dancing..and being the life of the party!!

Grandma giving me a hug after I became Mrs. Sieb.

So, for Christmas this year- I want to give the kiddos at Indy School on Wheels something special. I want to get each of them a coloring book, their own set of crayons and a candy cane or other Christmas inspired treat. Inside each coloring book, I will include an inspirational quote or message. Maybe I will write something different each time. Maybe it will be the same message. I haven’t decided what I will write yet.

I just want them to feel special. Because they are.

I just want them to smile. Because it melts my heart.

I just want them to understand that you can give someone something special without spending a lot money. Because the best things in life are free.

I just want them to believe that there are better days ahead. Because their future is bright.

I just want them to be a kid. Because too many of these children are stripped from their childhood and forced to grow up too soon.

Much love,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Go Change the World

If I could take my own advice, I'm convinced I would be the most bloody brilliant person in the world.

I wouldn't give a darn when someone blows me off. Their loss.

I wouldn't get upset when somone says something hurtful or decieving. They're wrong.

I wouldn't stress about the future as much and live in the future more...after all, doens't the present determine the future?

I wouldn't be scared of sky diving because fear is always wrong.

I wouldn't worry about what the scale says...because it's just a number...because living a healthy life style and eating a healthy diet is way more important that being a size 10 or weighing 170 lbs.

I would strive for peace like Gandhi.

I would love like Mother Theresa.

I would believe in the power of dreams like MLK Jr.

I would fight for something I believe in like Sean Carasso (Falling Whistles).

I would take more chances. Do something impossible.

I just typed "Who did something impossible?" into Google and came across this Website: Start Here: Live Your Legend

The header of the site also said: "CHANGE THE WORLD BY DOING WORK YOU LOVE!"

So with that, I've pieced it all together.

A huge part about taking my own advice, finding peace, becoming a better - stronger - wiser comes by doing work I love. It doens't matter if you are a mother, a politican, a journalist, a personal trainer, a writer, a teacher, a sky diving instructor, an accountant, a waitress, a contruction matter what you it with love. Do it with ambition. Do it with purpose. Do it with hopes of a better future, not just a better future for YOU, but for a more positive future for those who come after you...those who are looking up to you...those who are counting on you to make this world a better place.

Steve Jobs obviously said this before I did...what an amazing and inspiring person. I won't try to say it better than him...To the 2005 Stanford graduating class, Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” Watch his complete speech here.

Now, go live your legend.
Go change the world.

Much love,

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Birthday Morning

Email from my hubby reflecting on our morning.

Honestly, today has been amazing. One of my best birthdays ever and it is not even noon yet! I am so insanely happy to be where I am in life...with the people that I have in my life. 24 was a great year for me, but I know 25 will be even better.

Thank you to EVERYONE for your kind birthday wishes and sweet messages. I've never felt so loved in my life! :)

Much love,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 9

Today, I am thankful for my dear friend, Paula Truex - who is a true inspiration to me and countless others. I first met Paula when we worked together at Scotty's Brewhouse.

The inspiring Paula!

The moment you meet Paula, you instantly love her.

Her smile.

Her heart.

 Her laugh.

Her ambition.

Her compassion.

Her motivation.

Her love for Hanson.

Her love for God.

Her love for people in general.

I can't name a single person who doesn't love Paula.

She interned with an organization called Falling Whistles, a nonprofit organization dedicated to achieving peace in the Congo. She actually received college credit for her work with Falling Whistles. I enjoyed following her journey while she worked with them. And today, she will have the opportunity to spread their story and cause to the Ball State Community.        

From the Falling Whistles Website, "Falling Whistles gives a small window into our world’s largest war. Originally just a journal written about boys sent to the frontlines of war armed with only a whistle, readers forwarded it with the same kind of urgency in which it was written and demanded to know –

what can we do?

The Falling Whistles campaign launched with a simple response – make their weapon your voice and be a whistleblower for peace in Congo. Read the story and buy the whistle. Together we partner with local leaders to advocate and rehabilitate for those affected by war. Share their story and speak up for them.

Together, we’ll become the voice of a growing coalition for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo."

Paula organized an event called 1000 Whistles, in which she promised the founder (Sean Carasso) that she would get 1,000 people to come listen to him speak at Ball State University.

Tonight, I will sit at Emens Auditorium with 999+ people listening to this inspiring story- about following your heart to chase your dreams and make a huge difference in this world.

I'm so thankful to be your friend and I am honored to know you, Paula. I know tonight will be a great success.

Keep inspiring the world!

Much love,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Days 7-8

Day 7

I am thankful for my fur son, Bandit, who brings me so much joy and happiness in life. I truly do not know what I would do without his kisses, high fives, hugs and running dates.

Our happy family, Christmas 2010

Bandit's senior picture

The best running partner a girl could ever ask for!

Bandit's 2nd birthday!

Day 8

Today, I am thankful for the people I meet at Starbucks. I walked into Starbucks this morning at the same time as an older man. We did the awkward dance where you can't decide who will go first...but being the gentleman he is, he kindly told me to go first.

"Well, thank you!" I said.

"You're welcome! I have today off, so I am in no rush," he said back.

"Well that is sweet of you!" I said back. "I hope you enjoy your day off."

I stopped for a minute and thought of the Random Acts of Kindness blog I came across the other day.

"Actually -what do you want to drink? I want to buy your coffee this morning," I said.

"Oh, no! I don't drink this stuff!" He said back quickly. "I just try to get this stuff for my wife when I can. She loves it! And I try to come in at least once a week when I have a day off and take it to her at work."

That made me smile.

"That's very sweet of you! I am sure she appreciates it. You are a good husband!" I said.

"Well, she is a good wife!" he said back with certainty in his voice and a smile on his face.

With that, my drink was ready and I wished him a happy day.

It's very easy to get caught up in the rush of the morning. But if you stop to smile and talk to complete strangers in line at Starbucks, you will definitely meet some great people. And find inspiration in even the littlest acts of kindness, like bringing Starbucks to a loved one at work.

Much love,

Sunday, November 6, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 6

"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. That's what I hope to give you forever." - The Notebook

Today, I am thankful for my husband.

Who challenges me.

Who makes me a better person.

Who loves me at worst - and even more at my best.

Who cooks better than anyone I know.

Who smiles and melts my heart.

Who still gives me butterflies when he kisses me and says, "I missed you today."

Who was waiting for me at the finish line of my half marathon- even though he barely made it because traffic was so bad (he literally made it with 3 minutes to spare).

"ASHLEY!" I heard him yell from the crowd. I looked up and saw him right away.

I felt like I was going to puke because my body hurt so bad. Everywhere.

But I was so excited because I hit my goal.

He came running up to the fence and gave me the biggest kiss on the lips and wrapped his arms around me. Thank God because I wanted to collapse.

"YOU DID IT!" He said.

"I think I am going to puke," I said. "OMG, I did it..." Then I grabbed the pole for support.


I reached for my phone and posted to my Facebook,"I hit my goal!!!!"

"Okay, now where is Jimmy Johns?" I said ready to plow through some food.


Later that day, we were driving home to Decatur for my sister's birthday.

He leaned over, grabbed my hand and placed my hand on his lips.

"I really am so proud of you," he said with the biggest smile on his face and bright glow in his eyes.

"Aww thanks babe, I love you! I am so glad you were there!"

"You are truly the most amazing and inspiring person I've ever met..." he said.

Forever thankful.

Much love,

Friday, November 4, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Day 4-5

I am thankful for running, a true passion in my life.

It helps me relieve stress.

It helps me gain confidence.

It helps me gain strength.

It helps me focus.

It helps me reach my goals.

It helps me inspire new people.

And it helps my legs look better!

See you later cellulite, welcome back toned muscles! :)

I am so extremely thankful for my running partner, Sabrina. I truly couldn't have done this half marathon without her there with me...she pushed when I needed it and let me take breaks when I needed to slow down. She truly was amazing and I feel so lucky to have shared two of my half marathons with her by my side.

Sabrina & me at the finish line enjoying our Jimmy Johns! :)

Much love,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 Days of Thanks: Days 1 to 3

I wanted to jump on board with this writing project I saw start up on Facebook called, “30 Days of Thanks.” I’d love for you to join me. Even if you don’t have a blog, I encourage you to write these down in your own personal journal. Even better, call the person you are thankful for and let them know why you feel that way. Because I missed the first 2 days, I am going to combine 3 days into one post.

November 1

My sister found out a few weeks ago that her skin cancer biopsy came back abnormal. For a week straight, I tried to remain calm. I tried to remind her not to worry until she could visit the doctor for an explanation. And I prayed every single day.

We found out last week that she needs to surgery done to remove more of the abnormal cells. November 18th. That’s when she will have surgery. Please continue to pray until we can officially rule out cancer.

On that note, I’m thankful for everyone has prayed for my sister’s health. I truly do not know what I would do with my sister. We are completely opposite people. She is shy. I am loud. She is short. I am tall. She likes chicken strips. I like cheeseburgers. She hates seafood. I would eat sushi every single day of my life. But I believe our differences make us a perfect match. Her birthday is this Saturday, November 5- the same day I run my third half marathon within 13 months. The cool thing? On Saturday, we will both be 24 years old until I turn 25 just six days later on Nov. 11. We used to fight about having to celebrate our birthdays on the same day, but now – I am looking forward to it more than anything.

My sister and I eat dinner at Grandma's house.
She is using her hand as an appetizer and I have the most beautiful mullet in the world.

November 2

It was more than a year ago. I’m thinking September of 2010. I was at the doctor’s office. I stepped on the scale and I weighed 236 lbs. I wanted to make her weigh me again. Was that a joke? I hadn’t weighed myself in a long time, but I didn’t realize I had gained that much weight. It was a scary moment. A biggest loser moment …but at the start of the season when everyone cries and gets emotional and reflects on how they came to be that overweight.

How did I let myself go? What happened to the girl who worked out an hour a day no matter what? Where did the girl go who used to eat salads like they were going out of style and swore off sweets and fried foods?

She was gone.

That healthy girl was long gone.

The doctor told me that day I needed to lose weight. With diabetes and heart disease in my family, I absolutely needed to lose weight. I was on the fast track to heart failure and diabetes and if I didn’t change my eating habits and start working out immediately. Not Monday. Not tomorrow. Now. I needed to make changes now. At first I was in denial, but by the new year I was ready to make big changes.

2011 was an amazing year for me in terms of my health. It was NOT easy.

I did struggle.

I did want to give up at times.

I did get injured.

I did gain watch my weight change like the ocean tides. Big loss one day. Little loss the next day or even weeks.


I am stronger.

I am faster.

I am more confident.

I am making healthier decisions about food and drinks on a daily basis.

I am growing up and picking a morning run over a night of partying.

For the year, I am about 20 lbs down. I would LOVE to lose 10 more lbs this year. But I made a decision from the beginning not to let a number determine my happiness and dictate all of my goals. In fact, I focused on making huge fitness goals, ate more grilled chicken & veggies than you could ever imagine and reduced the amount of cheese that I consumed. The last one was the hardest because cheese has its own food group in my eyes. And soy cheese / rice cheese / veggie cheese just doesn’t compare. You can read about my cheese fights here.

I have a long ways to go, but I thankful for my doctor telling me that it was time to stop saying tomorrow and start making changes today. She wasn’t harsh or in my face about it, but she was very honest and open about the realities of my health.

I will look like this again, soon. I was 195 lbs here! Only 27 more lbs to go!

November 3

Me, Sarah Frey (then Sarah Sampson) and Toni Suarez - freshman year of college.
Lifelong friends, without a doubt.

I was half-awake when I let Bandit out this morning at 6:45 a.m. That’s when I noticed a handwritten envelope on the table. I came home late last night so I didn’t have chance to look through the mail. I looked at the return address on the card and it said, “The Frey’s.” I smiled.

Inside the card, which she sent for no reason at all, she wrote a beautiful message and included a recipe for something pumpkin (I was too tired to read the recipe card, but all I needed to know was PUMPKIN and I was sold!!). It was the sweetest random act of kindness and it meant so much to me, especially because just days before I wrote a post about the importance of letting family and friends know how much you care about them…

I’m thankful for my friend Sarah, who took the time out of her day and few cents out of her pocket, to mail me the most thoughtful card for absolutely no reason at all. I’m so honored to be your friend. You are doing amazing things in your life right now and this world is truly a better place because you are here. Never change.

Until tomorrow….

Much love,


Friday, October 28, 2011

A Lesson in Friendship

"The only way to have friends is to be one."

This is an important quote with a powerful message. This year has been hard on me, as I watched some of my friends grow up. And apart. But no matter the distances, remember that a text message only takes a few minutes. A phone call can make someone's day. Scheduling a weekly skype date only takes 10 minutes. A handwritten letter is a rare gift to receive these days that will certainly bring a smile to anyone's face. Include a few pictures from your childhood, middle school (so awkward and hilarious I am sure), high school or even college...and you will keep that person smiling for days.

Trust me, I know how busy life can get. But you are never too busy to send a message about how thankful you are for your friends and family. Never.

Much love,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Two Months in 20 Sentences

I’ve neglected my blog for the last month or two. Not on purpose. I’ve done a lot of writing in my head… a lot of thinking. I won’t share the details of the last two months, but here are a few thoughts and experiences that I have felt over the past few months…
  1. ALWAYS have “Thank You” at the tip of your tongue…you can never say it enough. I actually keep a stack of thank you cards at my desk.
  2. Take time out of your day to smell your coffee, notice a happy child, take a deep breath and exhale slowly and hug the ones you love an extra second longer.
  3. Don’t assume people can read your mind, speak up!
  4. Always stand up for something or someone you believe in. Always!
  5. Take control over your life. No one else can, except you.
  6. If you want something done right, sometimes you need to do it yourself.
  7. Stay at home on Friday night and keep your phone turned off.
  8. Cook something new. I’ve been obsessed with baking lately and I have a lot of fun making new things for people and parties.
  9. Put yourself out there and say how you feel – even if that means you are going against the norm.
  10. Journey sings it best… don’t stop believing (in yourself).
  11. People will blow you off. They will make you an option, even if you make them a priority. You need to learn how to move on. Don’t burn down bridges, but learn when to take a different path if the relationship is going down the path you would like….
  12. You can not appreciate the sunshine unless you experience the rain.
  13. You don’t always get an "A" on the first test; keep trying and you will get better each time.
  14. You will change and so will your friends. People grow up and that sometimes means they grow apart. Don’t fight this…just accept this change and value the time you used to share together in your past.
  15. Don’t forget that the best gift you can ever give someone is your time. 
  16. “It’s not about the fall. It’s about the rise.” Watch this as it applies to not only running, but life general.
  17. If you want to make a difference, do it. If you want to eat better, stop eating out and start cooking healthy meals at home. If you want to start working out, find a gym and a workout buddy. Stop saying tomorrow.
  18. Life can be taken away in a blink of an eye. Don’t forget how valuable every single moment of your life is…
  19. You can’t be everywhere …to everyone…all of the time. It’s sad some people can’t realize this and if people get upset because you start saying “NO”, they aren’t worth (your time). Stop spreading yourself so thin…some days you just need time for YOU!
  20. “Remember the rainbows in your clouds.” In other words, remember the people who helped you through dark times….call them today and thank them for their support and love when you needed it the most.
PS I promise,  I'm back to this blogging gig.

Much love,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Secret, Secret- I have a Secret!

No, I'm not preggers. But I am guessing that 50 percent of people thought that might be what this blog post is about... =) Don't worry, you'll absolutely know when  that happens.

Anyway, on to the good stuff...

I'm thrilled to say...that Justin and I are starting up a DJ business -- AJ / DJ Wedding Services. We couldn't be more excited. Our first wedding (the Chester Wedding) is on Oct. 15. If you are coming, you better bring your dancing shoes and special requests.

We've been downloading music, buying equipment and learning new dance moves left and right. I can't even tell you how impressed I am with some of Justin's new dance moves.
"I think I turned you into a dancer babe," I told him the other night while he was dancing around the living room.

"You know what, I think you did..." He said shaking his booty.

I couldn't be more proud of him. He even did an amazing job during our first dance at our wedding. I was tyring to do the "superman" dance - but instead I was doing the lawn mower. But, we rocked the stankey legg together. What a perfect first dance, if you haven't seen that...check it out on YouTube here. The dancing doesn't start until about a minute in..and don't mind the small words that pop up sometimes - my mom used free editing software so it had blurbs throughout the video. I think it gives it character.

So, I am thinking the Summer of 17 Weddings has inspired us. And I believe Justin and I will be great at this together. I am so excited to blog about our first adventure as wedding DJs.

More information (including our website and social media sites) is coming soon. For now, I just had to get the secret out! :)

Much love,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sick love

Justin woke up to the sound of me weeping. Actually, I probably woke up him up from doing back flips across the bed because I was so unconformable. I couldn't sleep at all. My ear was pounding. Throbbing. I truly believed it had a heart beat of its own. I tilted my head sideways and I could feel the liquid moving around, stuck inside my ear that was completely swollen shut.

"Baby girl..." Justin muttered in his sleep.

I started crying, "Babe - my ear is swollen shut; I'm in so much pain. I need to go somewhere. "

My jaw was hurting too - it seemed that the infection had traveled down into my jaw, making it hard to even talk or eat. 

He got up and looked at it and then Justin's mom came in to check out my ear. They both agreed that my ear canal was swollen shut and part of the infection was actually swelling out of the ear canal. I picutre my ear turning into a nipple. I cried again. I just want to be normal!

The pain was so bad I remember thinking that I would rather birth a an elevator... with no pain meds than be in this much pain. Yes, I was that dramatic. No, I hope I never birth a child in an elevator, let alone...alone. But at that moment, it was a comparable painful experience.

Justin went downstairs and started Googling my symptoms. I'm sure the first search was cancer - because anytime you Google your symptoms, you almost always walk away thinking you have cancer.

But Justin's verdict was swimmers ear, which can also happen from cleaning your ears with a Qtip. Who knew?

This is not a professional actor. Pain and emotions are real.
Hope this made you chuckle.

We went to a 24-7 urgent care center at 5:30 am. I'm not a morning person and neither is Justin. In fact, he is still in bed as I write this blog post right now. But he was up early and ready to take care of me that morning. He didn't complain. He didn't tell me to suck it up. He didn't question my pain. He just rubbed my back and gave me this look that melted my heart and said, "I hate seeing you so sick. I wish you didn't feel this way..."

And then I cried again because he is so loving and good to me. And then I cried a little more, thinking of the wonderful father he will be one day. And then I cried again because my head felt like it was going to explode off due to the pressure.

Overall, I was whinny, overly dramatic and looked awful. No shower. No make-up. Mismatched clothes. But that got me thinking (Sex and the City Carrie Bradshaw style), do we get sick to remind ourselves to take it easy every once in a while or do our illnesses remind us to be thankful for the people around us? Or is it both?  I think both. I laid around the couch and watched Sex and the City with my boys, Bandit never leaving my side. He followed me to the bathroom. He slept by my feet and he gave me kisses every single time I whimpered in pain. I knew I wouldn't have nightmares because I couldn't even sleep, so I watched Criminal Minds and other scary shows guilt free. I replaced my wine with orange Gatorade and ate pizza for breakfast. I was definitely taking it easy...

I learned that even when you are so sick and the only person you care about is yourself and getting better, you must take the time to thank your caregivers. The people who hug you, bring your dinner, rub your back and drive you around at 5:30 in the morning to an urgent care center across town...thank those people. That's sick love. 

Much love,

Friday, September 2, 2011

You Can't Feel the Finish Line If You Don't...

Bring on that finish line baby!

It's hot. Really hot. I wish that I could run in any kind of weather and kick ass. Unfortunately, I let the weather win sometimes.

Today, the weather won again. It was hot and humid. I was not impressed. But I tried to run anyway.

The first time I stopped was for Bandit to take a poo.

The second time I stopped because I told myself that I couldn't do was hot and gross.

But then I heard a loud noise and saw a kid take off running. Holy cow, did I just witness a B and E? (breaking and entering via Dane Cook's terminology). Without even thinking, I took of sprinting. Absolutely sprinting. I don't think I've ever ran that fast in my life. And I don't even know what I would have done if I caught the dude....

But I didn't have to worry about that because once I came flying around the corner I saw the kid walking back to his dad...who was holding a wiffle ball in his hand. Good thing I didn't yell anything obnoxious as I was sprinting toward what I thought was a robber. Even more of a good thing that it ended up being some quality father and son time and not a B and E.

The third time I stopped for a bathroom break at the house and I reminded myself of the quote I re-tweeted earlier today: "You can't feel the finish line if you don't start the run."

I applied it to myself in a different won't get better if you keep giving up. You won't get better if you keep telling yourself that you need a break at every corner, every other house, every stoplight. You have to keep going. Just go until you can't fight the pain any longer. But before you stop, make you sure you ask this a phyiscal or emotional weakness that is holding me back?

Today, it was emotional weaknesses holding me back. Today, I struggled. But today I was also one more run closer to crossing the finish line to my goals.

Much love,

Monday, August 29, 2011

Smile With Your Teeth

Three. That is the number of people that cut me off and nearly ran me off the road today. Just when I was about to get super snarky and stick my head out the window to yell Ace Ventura Pet Detective style, I saw a teenage boy on the side of the road. He was holding up a big yellow sign - dancing and smiling. I was instantly happy.

The sign said, "SMILE WITH YOUR TEETH!"

I noticed his friend across the street video recording him.

Screw it. This kid is right. Life is too short to be snarky.

SO I flashed him one of these...

Big ol' cheesy kindergarten smile!

"YEAHHHHH!!!!" He yelled back.

I pointed at him and yelled back, "YEAHHHH!"

"HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!" He yelled.

"YOU TOOOOOOOO!" I said still smiley like a kindergartner.

I couldn't stop smiling the entire way home. It made me travel back into my childhood - when I was the most awkward kid alive. At least in my neighborhood. Yes, definitely in my neighborhood. Seriously, I was tall, chubby, wore knee high socks every single day and I don't think I could have brushed my hair to save my life. During the prime of my awkwardness, I was fully convinced (and I have school pictures to prove it)...that if you smiled with your teeth, you would get a double chin and look fat. No matter how skinny you were. But if you were fat, then it doubled your odds.

I opted for the no teeth smile, which undoubtedly makes anyone look like they just dumped their pants. Or in the case of my recent drivers license picture, smiling without teeth makes you look like an endangered, cross-eyed bald eagle that got hit in the face with a frying pan. Take a look:

The "No Smile" Rule sucks.
And please...that zoom is awful.

When I was in fourth grade, I made up my mind that I would smile with my teeth again. Two years of horrible pictures was more than I handle. I was going to look like a fabulous. I just knew it.

So I didn't have a double chin. But I did have the worse haircut out of everyone in our class.
Well, there is always fifth grade.....

At least I had a cute smile as a baby.
What happens in elementary school stays in elementary school.
Except school pictures, those come back and haunt you....

I will teach my future children to smile with their teeth the moment they are born. And I will never let them have bangs up to the ceiling on school picture day.

Happy smiling!

Much love,

Friday, August 26, 2011

Under All That Crazy…

They say that “marriage isn’t easy” – but I would argue that “most relationships aren’t easy.” You typically don’t work hard at something that is easy. And a relationship of any kind requires you to work hard at making time and sticking to promises. You need to believe in that person, support them with all your heart. You need to have faith, trust, commitment and honest communication. Those are all hard things to master. Relationships aren’t easy.

My other better half.

If I told you I was crazy, most of you would laugh. You would picture the loud girl at the party – sharing stories, doing just about anything to make people laugh and dancing like a fool-even if Justin and I are the only ones on the dance floor. Man he makes life fun….

Best dance of our lives.
But like most people, I have a different side of crazy. I can be an emotional timebomb, waiting to blast off at any moment. When I took Stackers in high school (those dang diet pills ruled my life), everyone at work would joke how moody they made me. But in reality, I was the moody one. It was (and still is) VERY easy for me to hold onto things and over analyze every single word or movement anyone made.
Why did she look away when she said that?

What did Justin mean when he said that? He probably was implying this or that.

Crazy. I can be undoubtedly crazy.

Justin being a smartass. Me, probably, being crazy.

It’s pretty obvious who sees the craziest side of me. My (wonderful) husband. But even though I can be crazy and get mad over the littlest things he says (even when he is being a smartass), I at least have the ability to come to my senses and say sorry. I have no problem admitting when I am wrong. Unless I am certain I am right (obviously).

And this morning, I wrote an email with the subject line “I’m sorry :(” – some things I just don’t blog about out of my privacy for myself and Justin – so I won’t go into details. But I will say the past few months some “external factors” have been hard on me. Some days underneath my outer layer of confidence, there hides a little girl full of insecurities. On those days, Justin sees the moody, on-edge side of Ashley. Yes, as much as I want everyone to think I am happy and positive and loving every single day of my life, I have my vulnerable moments too.

So as I wrote my email with teary eyes, I reminded him that I know I’m a work in progress. He later replied and said, “Who isn’t?” That made me smile.

I ended the email by saying,” I'm not easy to love. I understand that, but I'm so thankful I have you by my side. I know that there isn't a single person in this world who could or ever will love me as much and truthfully as you do. I'm crying at work Justin thinking of life without you...and happy tears that I don't have to worry about that right now because you are right by my side. =)”

What he wrote back made me cry, “You are SO easy to love. Because under all that crazy, there is the most compassionate, loving, self-less person I know. It just takes someone as mature as me to understand you. Lol”

And then he included these quotes at the very end. I believe these quotes are the perfect way to end this blog post and leave you with something to think about….

So wait, does this mean it's official? Jokes.
We were looking Grandma Kaye in this picture. She went to the reception a little early.
Well someone had to get the party started, no one better than Gma Kaye.

“The success of marriage comes not in finding the “right” person, but in the ability of both partners to adjust to the real person they inevitably realize they married.” -John Fischer

“The ultimate test of a relationship is to disagree but to hold hands.” -Alexandra Penney

“For a marriage to have any chance, every day at least six things should go unsaid.”- Unknown

“Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate.” -Barnett Brickner

“Marriage, ultimately, is the practice of becoming passionate friends.” -Harville Hendrix

Much love,