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,