Monday, March 20, 2017

17 things to let go of in 2017

I know it's March.
Don't remind me.
I've been in Nashville for over a year already!
Time has flown by, but man does it feel like home.
I'm comfortable and happy here.
And I've been able to explore the city more in the last few months, which has made me very happy!

So I'm late on this, yes, but it's never too late to start fresh and let go of those things holding you back. Choose happy. Be supportive. Give 100% of yourself. No regrets.

Here is to a fabulous 2017!
I for one and one happy camper for a new year!
Last year was full of figuring it all out and settling in.
This year is for fun and next steps.

1. Let go of the belief you have to have it all figured out.  Start accepting and embracing the fact that you cannot plan every detail of your future. It's not always going to go according to plan. And that's a tough one for me. I know where I want to be and well, I'm no where near where I thought at this point and I've really had to trust God that a different path is exactly what I need. There is a bit of excitement in the unknown and seeing how things unfold.

2.  Let go of thinking that people are relationships are black and white. There is so much gray in there. Focusing on learning more about people, void of judgement, and remembering that everyone has a story. Everyone has a battle they are fighting or have fought to make them who they are. I love learning the deepness of people and once someone let's you in that far, it's such a beautiful, raw connection. Surface conversations and guarded feelings won't get you anywhere.

3. Letting go of the hatred and insecurities of your body. This one is a daily battle for me. It's one I try to remind myself of all the time. Every person, every body, every mind is so incredibly different and why we seem to think that being the same (skinny, big boobed, tall, blonde, blue eyed) person would be crazy boring! Love yourself and each curve and 'flaw' for exactly what it is. God made you this way and you're beautiful in his eyes.

4. Let go of anger or resentment towards friends. We all make mistakes. We all screw up or say things we don't really mean. Be accountable for what you say and do and bring those people back into your life. You get one chance to be happy. Do you really want to spend it in anger or frustration? If you can't bring them back, than at least let go and forgive. You'll be better for it.

5. Let go of the belief that it's too late to start the career you actually want. This one hits home. I left a job where I really loved what I did and I can honestly say I like what I do now, but I know it's not my passion. It's a stepping stone. A means to survive. A challenge to push me forward. But it's not my dream and lately I've had a hard time accepting that I'm the only one who isn't in a solid 'career'. It's difficult to watch everyone around me so passionate and happy in what they are doing and not be in the same place, but I know it'll happen. I just have to be a little patient.

6. Let the idea go that anxiety is something to be ashamed of. Be kind to yourself and  give yourself a break. Get the help you need. Understand what's going on and trust that those who love you will love you because of it not in spite of it.

7. Let go of the pressure you put on yourself. Stop beating yourself up for things that happen or things you can't control. You're not perfect. Embrace those imperfections and figure out those way that make you unique and strong.

8. Let go of wasting money. This is a big one for me. Spending money is my therapy and over the last couple years, I needed a lot of therapy. And I keep reminding myself that I want so much more out of life and that if I want children and a family of my own, financially I have to be ready to do that alone. Saving for a beautiful baby one day should be more important that a new pair of jeans. #realitycheck

9. Let the noise and chaos of the world go. Take the time to put your phone down. Leave the likes and scrolls for later. Enjoy some peace. Take the time to be inside your own mind for a minute without distraction.

10. Let go of toxic thoughts and people. Choose happy. Be kind and put goodness back into the world.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ramblings of the Insecure

Let me just start by saying that I do love my life.
And I should have nothing to complain about.

I have...
Amazing people in my life.
Parents who I adore and are more supportive than I could ever ask for.
A sister who's become one of my best friends.
Two nephews who I get to watch growing up.
A home that I feel safe in.
A job that keeps food in my belly.
A dog that I love like a child.
An income that should be more than I need to survive.
I have flexibility to do what I want.
The energy to work out and challenge myself.
A car that gets me from point A to B.
I've been given the opportunity to experience things some never will.
I have enough clothes in my closet that could clothe a small country.
I buy enough groceries to feed a family of 6.
I have no reason at all not to wake up smiling and be the best I can be.

And yet.
Some days...
I feel like I will always be second best.
I will never be someone's priority.
I have so much anxiety for the unknown, I don't want to get out of bed.
I feel like my world is crashing down and I have no explanation why.
I feel like I'm never going to be as fast. 
I fear what might happen next that's going to effect my future.
I fear that I will be alone the rest of my life.
I fear that I will never live up to my potential personally or professionally.
I feel that getting married dramatically changed where I am and who I am.
I'm not sure who I am.
I'm not sure what God's plan is for me.
I'm scarred I'll never find a career that I'm passionate about, challenged enough, and appreciated.
I'm always going to wish I could do better.
It's never going to be enough.
My fear of constantly failing is going to keep me from being the best I can be.
I will always compare myself to others and where they are in their lives and where I think I should be.

And then...
I let this sizzle in my mind for minutes, hours, sometimes days, as I take in everything around me.
I hate myself for feeling anything but blessed for what I have, who I am, and where I am in life.
I get excited for the future and what's to come.
I tell myself to live in the moment and be damn grateful for what I do have.
Stop thinking about what I don't or what could be.
I want to embrace the changes and challenges with a heart full of hope.
I feel stupid for letting anxiety take over my mind for as long as it does.
I remind myself that I'm me and I can't compare myself to others.
That I have so much to offer and those who want to be in my life, will be.
I can't survive this life if I'm always thinking or wanting something else.
I get frustrated that I look down on myself, criticize myself, and judge myself.
I remind myself that life is just too damn short to choose anything but happy.
I think of how much worse my life could be.
I'm stronger than I will ever give myself credit for.
I remind myself that I am blessed beyond what I could ever have imagined and I am not entitled to expect more than what I've been given.

Sometimes life just gets you down!
I'm not the most outgoing.
I have insecurities that run pretty deep.
I have anxieties about, well, everything.
I don't always return the phone call in the right amount of time.
I don't always say the right thing.
I can be guarded and push people away.
I can be negative and get caught up in petty drama.
I should tell people that I love that I love them more often.
I should show more confidence in who I am.
I hold back for fear of rejection.
I bite my tongue because I'm scared to speak my mind.

And then I remember that it doesn't matter what everyone else thinks of me.
What matters is what He thinks of me and that I'm living a life worthy of His love.
That I'm showing His love to others in my life on a daily basis.
That I'm giving 100% of me and expecting 0% from others.
That I'm choosing to live a life where others can see His love through me.
That it is not all about me.
But man that's tough!
It's a daily battle, daily sin, daily let down.
You have moments of excitement and you want to go out and change the world!
You just gotta do it one day and one person and one positive thought at a time.
One smile to a stranger.
One hug to someone who needs it.
One ear to listen and support.
One compliment.
One joke to make someone laugh.
One text or phone call to make sure they know they are loved.
And I think at the end of it all, touching even just one life will be well worth it.

So I know I'm not alone in these struggles.
Not even a little bit and, not gonna lie, sometimes that helps!
I'm not crazy.
I love that I'm emotional. It's such a huge part of me. I feel things deeply.
My heart overflows with love for the people in my life.
And then I'm always wishing life to go faster.
To be at that 'settled' state of mind. Whatever that means!
To feel whole and complete and comfortably happy.
To continue following the path that's laid out for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

All about me

I was trying to search for an old post about body image, given the events of Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl and I stumbled upon this post!
Written almost 5 years ago. As I was skimming through it, I sure have not changed much and you know what? I ain't even mad about it.
It's raw, it's me and I don't even remember writing it.
This...this is why I have this blog.
So one day I can go back and remember those moments.
So I have stories to tell my children and amazing memories to look back on.

Highlights of where I haven't changed at all.
- that I wear my heart on my sleeve
- that I have intense anxiety
- that I eat ketchup on mac n' cheese
- that my puppy is my pride and joy
- that I'm a major homebody
- that the beach is my happy place
- I can cry at the drop of a hat when something tugs at my heart
- I am extremely insecure
- My faith is important to me
- I can be selfish
- Still don't like red meat
- I'm a hopeless romantic
- I want to be a storm chaser
- It takes a lot for me to open up and actually tell you what's on my mind. When I do, that's huge.
- Still have a physical planner I write everything down in
- I'm scared of the dark (don't judge me)
- technology fascinates me (kind of funny given I still have a planner - insert eye roll)
- showers still make me happy, but I hate having to dry/fix my hair

Things that have changed!
- I'm not as obsessed with red wine. I've really opened up my alcohol preferences (not sure if this is good or bad...)
- I don't watch nearly as much reality TV anymore, if any. Teen Mom is about the only thing I still watch
- I don't think I talk in my sleep as much, if at all. But Gizmo can't tell me if I do, so who knows! I just don't wake up from it now.
- I never make my bed anymore! It is always ready for me.
- Since my divorce, I don't think I'm as trusting. Seem to always wait for the shoe to drop. Always keeping a distance
- I have now lived in 6 states :)
- I have tattoos
- I no longer want to be a country singer... sad day, I know.

Things I could add:
- I more guarded than I used to be (I would say cold hearted, but that just sounds like I'm a bitch)
- My priorities in life have shifted a bit (work/life balance. I never want to miss something because I put work before my family)
- I've learned to accept I may not be a mom in the way I have always wished
- I have started embracing my insecurities instead of letting them control me
- I hope to make rehabbing furniture a fun side business

I'll think of more the second I hit publish, but I'm excited to see what the next 5 years brings!

Friday, January 27, 2017

As Your Auntie,

I got to spend some good quality time with my nephews a couple weekends ago, while mom and dad went out gallivanting around town for a work conference.
But then, they left for an entire week for Disney World!
And you'd think, a week isn't that long...but you'd be so wrong. I sure did miss them!!

I came across this article, not too long ago and while I've written them each posts before and it'll continue till this blog is old and grey, I felt like I needed to write them a letter now.

Maybe someday they'll read it and really understand this aunts love.

Lucas and Jackson, 

The day you each came into this world, everything changed.
You are more loved than words could ever describe and that's just by your parents!
Throw myself, your other aunties, both sets of grandparents and extended family for days and the expression 'love you to the moon and back' is pretty accurate.

I love how you've each touched my heart in different ways.
You both hold such a special place and it will only grow as you do.
You are each unique and I wish I could forward time, but also freeze it at the same time.
I can't wait to see what amazing boys and men you will be someday!

We keep telling you to stop growing, but man how I love seeing the changes in you!
Recently, you got a lose tooth and I had to take a minute to believe you were old enough to be losing teeth!
I love how you ask me to stay over all the time and to play with you. I hope that never stops.
You have the sweetest heart and know I'll be here when Jack's jokes and picking on you get to be too much.
You are strong willed kid and I know that as you grow, that's going to get you far.
Your imagination is larger than life and you just seem to love exploring new realms of ideas.

You amaze me all the time. You have grown so much in the last year and watching you work through thoughts and sentences and just expressing yourself in different ways is incredible.
You are the clown of the family and as you get older you are just going to become funnier.
I can't wait! You come from a line of sarcastic people, so we'll welcome you with open arms buddy!
Your smile can light up a room and your sweet disposition is felt to the core. I know you adore having a bit brother to play with and it's incredible to listen to you both together.

Never forget your auntie is always here for you.
Whether I'm down the street, like I am now, or miles away, like I used to be.
I promise I'll always be here and will do anything to help make your life better.

I will always be in your corner cheering you on every step of the way.

Never forget you can always come to me when you feel like you can't go to mom or dad.
I'll be there to drive you home if you choose to drink at a party, ease your heartache when that girl lets you down, build you up when you fall, smile with you through your successes, or just be an ear when you think mom and dad will be upset. I promise we will figure it all out.

Remember how much your parents love you. Nothing you do will ever change that!
So continue to let them be a part of your life. They did create you and all. :) And you'll be a better person for it. Trust me on this one.

I promise that if you ever feel the world is crashing down around you that this family will stand strong to protect you in every way they can.

You both have so many people who love you and that is such a blessing.

I can't wait to see what's next for you both!

I love you,

Auntie Ashley