Genesis // 2015

I deeply appreciate the beginning of most things.  The beginning of a good book, an excellent smoothie, and the first look of my beautiful baby girl.  Beginnings are wonderful exhilarating moments filled with awe and hope. It is the moment you can make something happen, a change and difference.  Beginnings are launching points into expected lifestyle changes and windows into a better something.

Beginnings can also be extremely frightening and sometimes a bit daunting.  The beginning to something means there will be an end, and it also means there is a chance that that beginning will fade away into nothing.  (sorry for the morbidity.)

Yes January 1st, 2015 is the beginning of the new year.  It is the beginning of a new month, but nothing else changes. You are still you, just with a little more hope, expectation and passion.  So how do we keep those characteristics alive?  How do we stay on track with our new goals?

3 Things:


I recently purchased Lara Casey's Powersheets and have been working through the 'prep' part for the start of the month.  These powersheets are goal planning materials for a six month period of time that are completely packed with wisdom, grace and intentionality.   I highly recommend them to any person wanting to understand their goals and how to be more efficient at making goals.

Meaning- I found that some of my goals did not have meaning.  I hadn't answered the 'why' question to some of my goals and therefore did not have a good reason to spend a whole bunch of time on them.  These sheets helped me work through what goals I needed to spend time on, and those that didn't carry alot of weight when aligned with my core. Yes I said 'core.'  I am telling you get these sheets!  They were so intense and thoughtful and intentional that I had such a great time setting out to find my goals that aligned with who Ashley is at the core.

Accountability-Without other people knowing my goals and being able to ask me about them I might as well not even have any.  Some people are really just natural go-getters and once they set out they succeed, but I need a little help.  I love when people know my goals and can randomly ask me about them.

Grace-This is a biggie for sure.  I know that everyone strives to be perfect, and especially for the first week of January, but remember goals are dynamic.  It is extremely difficult to change a habit, but not impossible.  Just know that starting small is key, as well as the first two points.  The point here is that if you fail, it is about forgiving yourself, dusting it all off, and getting up again.  That is character building, and that is how goals are formed.
The husband and I on Christmas Day.

Welcome 2015, I am so excited!

I would love to hear your goals?  How do you keep them?


This Time of Year // Switching it Up

Oh the holidays :)  :(  Christmas time can be such a wonderful time for so many of us, but for most, if not all, it can also be equally stressful and maybe even a little sad.  Being surrounded by so many family members all in one day, or being away from loved ones and having to work.  All of these things can add to an array of emotions during the holidays making it difficult to 'get into the spirit."  (whatever that means.)

Maybe as you sit and get your last gifts packaged and cards sent out you have a heaviness on your heart.  Maybe you are excited about all the family time, and getting to see the surprised looks on faces with presents you have purchased, the food and warmth, but maybe there is a looming within.

As we all gather this season with expectant hearts for having the best Christmas day ever, lets not forget that it is just another day.  It is another day to celebrate what God has done, it is another opportunity to grow deeper with a sister or brother, it is another day to give in an unexpected way to a stranger or a friend.  Wherever you may find yourself this Christmas remember to bloom where you are planted.

Here is my Christmas Challenge 2014:

Pick out a few different people from your family, church, or workplace and then read up on Love languages and try to pin what love language best fits those people.  It will be challenging as well as eye opening and hopefully fun.  I think going into Christmas with new challenges and perspectives is a great way to be intentional about our time.

Here are a few ways to 'switch it up.'

  • clean up the mess-wash those dirty dishes so the regular person gets a break- give the gift of a clean kitchen. (acts of service)
  • Give a few people a hand-crafted encouraging note. (words of affirmation)
  • Pull someone aside and ask them how they are really doing (quality time)
  • Give someone a present (gifts)
  • Surprise someone with a warm long hug. (physical touch)

Good luck!


New Traditions to Start

  • Christmas light looking
  • Christmas Eve brunch with in-laws, sibling or friend
  • Mini Christmas Tree //Living Christmas Tree purchase
  • Have a wrapping Party-invite all your friends and family and wrap presents together
  • Have a Pinterest craft party where you make a bunch of crafts
  • Hot Cocoa, husband, hot tub, heavy vocal affirming-(What? I love alliteration) 
  • Give the gift of time // volunteer
  • Sing in your church Christmas choir
  • Host a Christmas Tea 
  • Purchase these and do them before the new year
  • Read the birth of Jesus Christmas morning
  • Have a cookie exchange
  • Have a Christmas song karaoke night
  • Gingerbread house competition
  • Sit on Santa's lap
  • Host an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
  • Record a Christmas morning video
  • Write out goals with husband // personal, spiritual, intellectual etc.
  • Send out Christmas Cards
  • Go see a Christmas show
  • Bake Cookies and give them to the homeless


All Who Are Restless

I have been restless you guys.  Seriously restless.  I have been waiting and waiting and anxious and worried about so many things.  But, oh to be lead into worship by a group of wonderful women who love the Lord.  Oh how my soul feels refreshed.  In the midst of all I have going on, all you have going on, to know there is a God who is here.  He longs for us to stay, to drink, to be at peace, and to learn from Him.

I was able to connect online tonight with She Reads Truth for their Live Christmas Party and wow was it wonderful! I am feeling so refreshed with the great truth that I heard.

I had so many blog post topics tonight that I could have started writing, so many thoughts and emotions from the day, and yet absolutely no desire to write whatsoever. I decided to tune in to the She Reads Truth Christmas party, and gees am I excited that I did.

Oh for sweet inspiration.

I greatly encourage you to check out the beautiful, cozy, rich living room inspired evening the ladies over at She Reads Truth put together.  It really blessed me and gave a great new perspective.

Go there now-seriously!

I was considering going into all the details as to why I was in a slump, didn't want to write, feeling uneasy and anxious but I am not going to do that.  I just want to end this evening with a large cup of piping hot tea, my bible, turning off the electronics and just meet with the Lord.  I can spend so much time searching for inspiration, and reading blogs, getting encouraged, getting discouraged, excited about advent, overwhelmed with tasks- that, dare I say it-I have been missing it!  I have been missing just sitting with Jesus and taking it all in!

I encourage you to go and read your word.  Dig in and see why we celebrate this season.  Why is it a big deal, and find something new that you haven't seen.

I am eager to invite the Holy Spirit to lead me tonight, to be known by the one and only creator of my soul and to REST in Him.


2015 PowerSheets // Lara Casey Shop

I am so excited to continue on in my journey of becoming organized and planning ahead!  I have used various planners in the past from Target or Office Depot and they got the job done, but nothing really stuck. So needless to say I have been on the hunt for a really good planner. Through a blog: This One to be exact-I found the  Lara Casey Shop!  This lady is so awesome and is all about being intentional with goals.  Setting big and small goals and understanding the 'whys' and 'drives' behind them.

Lara Casey's theme is: "Make it Happen: Surrender your fear, take the leap, live on purpose."  Such sweet words.

Trust me I am all about being in the moment and definitely recognizing the here and now, however I do want to make things happen.  I want to plan and organize and try my best to utilize the talents that God has given me.  Doing my part in all that for me means getting organized, seeking vision, and the steps it will take to get there.

I want to grab hold of life for the new year and not let life grab hold of me!  I am so excited for this Christmas season, but I can't help but already look forward to the new year because every year it comes so fast!  I am trying my best to be in the moment and still plan and dream for next year.  I think with the help of these powersheets and continuing on I will be able to achieve more than I can imagine.



5 Ways to shake those Nerves for that New Job

I have heard it said a lot-I've even said it a lot. "So...pretty nervous for your first day? This phrase is said countless times, for jobs, school, internships, and every time it does nothing for the person receiving it.  I recognize that in our culture there are several upon several phrases that are passed around because they are deemed as polite.  I recognize that and am appreciative for these phrases in that cultural context.  However-being an already nervous-anxious person that I am-that phrase bothers me.  I really do not need another nervous question being asked to an already nervous anxious person. You feel me?

 So I am sitting here writing out my thoughts regarding how I, as well as others, can shake off the anxieties, disregard or answer well the nervous questions, and find peace and rest within for the new job that awaits.

                                          *5 Things*

1. Prepare to YOUR best knowledge and then STOP

You can only know so much before your first day at a new job.  Handbooks and documents will tell you clean cut ways and procedures in which to do something-but its not the real life situation.  When it comes to your first day-being there is your best preparation.  All the worrying before hand and stressing over possible scenarios is not helpful-so stop! I am literally the queen of hypothetical scenarios!

2. You are a Learner

As much as you are there to know-you are there to learn.  Being able to recognize that you will make a mistake or two or three is a good thing.  You are a human, so you are not perfect. Sometimes that is a good reminder.  For some silly reason we think we are perfect :/ I'm sure you've never dealt with that! Ha! Learning and being new is expected-give yourself grace and allow that to sink in.

3. Be Present

Nervousness and anxiety take away from the present moment.  It is the worry of future scenarios that we anxious folk deal with.  Being in the moment, breathing in the world around you with all senses is so helpful. Doing this will free up your thinking, get you out of your mind for a minute and allow for some refreshment.  Listen to what the book of Jeremiah says in 31:25 "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Be in the moment, be present.

4. You are Adequate 

Often times starting a new job can bring about feelings of uncertainty and inadequacy.  Because new jobs, bring new situations, new people, and new circumstances-it is very easy to feel inadequate and out of place.  Well beloved, you are enough.  Do you believe that?  You got this job for a reason, and being adequate is definitely one of them. 2 Cor. 3:5 "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God..." We are always a work in progress-everyone is. When are confidence and hope is built on the firm foundation of God, we will always be equipped.  God will always meet us where we feel we have fallen short.

5.  Remember Your Eternal Value

Carrying around something as big as the gift that I do should change my day to day.  Living for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31) says that I hold value.  My eternal value enlarges my interactions, my language, and outlook on life. The now is happening, the future is not.  God is the one whom I work for ultimately, and He is the one I want to please.  You are valuable.

What did you do to prepare for a new job?  How did you conquer the anxious monster?


Goals: *December*

Recap on November Goals : Was a bit overzealous last month-but it feels like I did so much more! Oh but there is grace. Sweet sweet  grace.

  1. Do a giveaway on my blog.
  2. Purchase a yoga pass 
  3. Girls Night with my Mom Group
  4. Be diligent pray and research adoption
  5. Majority of Christmas presents purchased
  6. Blog 2x/week--build up repertoire
  7. Substitute teach twice
  8. Get January and February goals made
  9. Plan road trip to cousins
  10. Increase ebay store sales
  11. Complete 2 books (this one and and this one )
  12. Sign up and start training for 10K
  13. Serve at my church in some capacity
  14. Button Swap/purchase ad space on favorite blogs
  15. Start saving for Influence Conference
  16. Be consistent with my women's bible study-

Well on to the December Goals:

  1. Purchase a yoga Pass
  2. Pray about Adoption
  3. Christmas shopping done by mid Dec.
  4. Build up blog post repertoire
  5. Jan-Dec Goals made
  6. Finish 2 books
  7. Turn in volunteer application to my church
  8. Savings for Influence Conference
  9. Send out Christmas Cards
  10. Substitute teach once
  11. Find a Marriage book to do together
  12. Be consistent with Riley feeding herself with spoon
  13. Look up mini triathlons in area
  14. Print more wedding photos to put up
  15. Be present / be still / be Jesus to the best of my ability.
I would love to hear more about your goals-Did you manage to cross some things off last month?


*Advent* Vlog Series One. -The Peony Project

When one does not want to write on a computer screen, you look at a tiny hole on a computer screen and talk to it.  Welcome to my FIRST vlog.  I thought I would share a little bit about what the advent season means to me through a little video.  This prompt from the The Peony Project is for anyone and everyone.  The Peony Project is an online community of bloggers who loves Jesus, sharing a passion to grow in community and cultivate real honest friendships.


Monday Mama Montage Vol. 10

Seeing a child grow in their first year of life is quite impressive. The first few months are pretty straight forward with the 'keep child alive" mantra.  Months 0-3= Survival.  Feeding, sleeping, and crying are the primary happening things in this stage.  Easy to some extent, and also the most challenging. (insert-sleeplessness)  Not all babies are the same though and some have it easier than others.  This stage is just survival.  Keep the kid alive, don't go insane, talk to people, stay in community, and see past the here and now-because it will get better.

The 3-6 month zone is more or less Sleeping/Awareness.  Oh the dreaded "cry it out method"/"no cry method"-who knows? The good thing is these stages do not last forever and one more thing-babies are pretty darn resilient. I did the cry it out method with Riley and we all sleep now and it is lovely.  The little ones are becoming ever so aware of their surroundings, tracking your face as you move, grabbing some toys, toes, and whatever else may be hanging from the carseat handle.  This stage is nice again hopefully because their sleeping and a little more movement is happening.

The 6-9 month zone for us was the Movement stage-Riley rolled over at 5, rolled the other direction at 7, crawled/cruising at 8 months.  This stage was really great because she was more active, slept less during the day, ate less milk, more solid food and was all around fun!

The 9-12-Walking/Talking-Riley definitely started saying a lot more during this stage and really started pointing  at things to know the word. This stage, they are so aware, of their surroundings, becoming more and more independent and hopefully trying to walk!

Riley is now a few days shy of being 15 months old and I really am still in shock!  Having this little tiny human walking around in my house is so weird!   I have found that since she has started walking- this stage is my favorite. She is walking, almost running, fearless at the playground, mimics sounds and faces, and is such a joy!

Here are a few of her tricks:

Points to her nose, ears, mouth, head and eyes.
Can bark, crow, oink
Says Mom, Dad, Hi, bye
Blow a candle
Walk up and down a small step
Fake cry
Smell a flower
Downward dog
Walk backwards
Defiantly throws food on ground
Sleeps 12 hours at night
Takes 1 nap
Drinks cows milk
Love avocados
Hates diaper changes with a passion
Love Sunday school
LOVES her blanket (baba)
Throws really well
Super independent
Gives loves (hugs)