8/03/2013

Announcement: Ticket to Freedom Summit!






I told you all I've been rearranging and reconstructing myself and my life lately. One of the best tools for me has been personal development books, webinars, podcasts, etc. This one's free so I thought I'd share it all with you. Get the help you need to help grow your blog or whatever else makes you happy in life. Now, go sign up!!


7/28/2013

Look Up and See the Fireworks

Tonight I went for a run to clear my head of some pretty dark things. For some reason the past crept in and was haunting me like Casper. I went for a run (which I hate doing) and I pushed through the suck. I mean, it really sucked. Really.

And then as I was running, head toward the ground, deep in thought.. someone yelled from their front porch, "Look up and see the fireworks!" Who me? Is that you vodka? .. I looked up and sure enough there on the horizon were fireworks cracking and lighting up the midnight sky. How had I missed the booms? I let out a short laugh and turned back to yell "Thank you!" The voice surprised me again with, "It'll give you something nice to look up at!"



Okay, for real God? I swear he does these things to get a little chuckle to himself. But how true that voice was. What a simple and literal statement yet with such a profound meaning for me. For in that moment of deep thought as I ran, I questioned "why?" Why me? Why do I have to do these things? Why is this happening? Why now? And whatever "this" is isn't really the point. The point is that I questioned and I questioned how I could find the strength to follow through. 

The answer was pretty simple and thankfully someone was nice enough to shout it out for me. Look up and see the fireworks. The fireworks ended a minute or two later and I did another lap around the neighborhood as I let that sink in. As I came back around to the house where the woman yelled to me, I thought I might really thank her for the pick me up, but she had already gone in for the night. A few more houses down and I felt a tug in my hip.. great a pulled muscle is not what I needed. It hurt a little and I slowed to a walk with my hands on my hips. Naturally I lifted my head to the sky and then I saw it. The sky filled with countless stars. An endless amount of twinkling fireworks. 

Ohhh, that's what God meant.
In Genesis 26:4, God told Abraham, "I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars..." 

We are the stars. We are the fireworks, my friends.
Whatever has you down today, forget it. 
Look up and see who we are. 
Look up and see the fireworks!






7/27/2013

Life: Under Construction

If you have followed this little bog at all, you know that I've been MIA for the last few months. What? That's not the first time that's happened? Yea, I know. The last year of my life has been utterly transformational and if you can believe it, it's only just begun.



This is my life and right now it is smack dab in the middle of a construction zone. It's being torn down and rebuilt in more areas than I can keep up with. That's a good thing.

I hope to continue writing and that you'll all still be here when I do!


5/28/2013

The Giving Bowl

A few years ago I packed my entire life into my tiny little two door Chevy Cobalt and drove cross country to a little mountain town east of San Diego. I consider that Summer in Julian, CA to be one of the best summers of my life and if circumstances allowed, I'd go back in a heartbeat. A lot changed for me that summer. I moved so very far away, to be closer to the Marine that I had fallen in love with. And then I got engaged AND married. All in one summer. But those are just the big things. The most noted. 



I've always been a giving person, whether it a hug, a laugh, or a gift. I like to give. I like to see others happy. I give and give and give. And eventually the bowl that I've been giving from runs out. Empty. 

It was during my counsel for Brown Rag (Read more on the YMCA Ragger Program here) that my mentor used this analogy. In all of the two weeks that I had been at camp, he already saw this in me. I knew it was true but I was a bit creeped that he knew. And do you know what I did.. I avoided him every chance I got after that. I told other what a creep he was and chimed in if he was the topic of conversation. What an awful person I was, seriously. 



The funny thing is, those words never left me. That metaphor has stuck in my mind like glue. I've used it several times in arguments with my husband. When I've felt neglected in our marriage I've said that my bowl is empty and it isn't fair that I fill his and everyone else's while mine is left gathering dust. It's not fair. 

At least that's how I thought it worked.

Turns out I missed the important part of my mentor's message and over the last few months I've really been thinking about this metaphor and what he was really trying to say. I am a giver, and unless someone refills my giving bowl, eventually I will run out, burn out, become frustrated, empty, depressed, yada yada yada. I could go on and on about what my empty bowl could feel like and what it has felt like. But I was under the impression that someone else needed to fill my bowl, kinda like a you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours kind of thing. Yea, it doesn't work that way. 

I have found someone to fill my bowl though. And his love fills it endlessly. In fact most of the time now, it's overflowing. I've found that coming to know Christ, and I mean really knowing him, not just his name and birthday. Really knowing him deeply, knowing his love has given me what I needed all along. His love fills my heart and my "bowl". He gives to me so that I can give to others. When I need strength I can look to Him. When I feel lost or lonely, I know that I am not alone. When I worried that I may not have enough love for two children, he supplied. He does that for you and me. For everyone and anyone who has accepted him as their savior. That is amazing and I'm so thankful that I was able to plug him into the metaphor that was shared with me years ago. Though there is no doubt in my mind that that was not a chance meeting. Summer Camp, My mentor, those words... they were no accident or coincidence. That my friends, was an act of God. A real life intervention. I just had to wait a little while for the revelation. 

That being said, I think it's important to know that when you share the word of God, someone may not seem like they are listening. They may not seem to have heard your message. And maybe, just like me, they will just blow you off time and time again. Be patient. You don't need to know where they go, or when God find's them. just know that your words are part of the journey. 

My Baptism 2013

God always finds his people.

Thanks Rich.


3/14/2013

New life; New Beginnings

It's been a few weeks since I've last posted. I didn't plan on taking that break, though I realize how much I needed it. 

When we were last here, I told you about my doctor's appointment and the diagnosis that did not surprise me, but I didn't want to hear. The outpouring of support following that post was beyond my expectations. So, thank you all for your supportive and encouraging words.



Like these chicks that have hatched outside my front door, I feel like I have been given new life. For the first time I feel like I can see clearly, and breathe freely. I don't feel blanketed by my own lies or desire to hide. And this is just the beginning. 




Chickies need their food and my new life, still in it's infancy, is no different. 

Enter God. 

I think we've discussed before that I have always believe, but my walk with Jesus has been staggering. Shortly after leaving my doctor's appointment, I prayed to God. A real rarity in my life, because .. well, I just never knew how. But I did, alone, in my car. Just me asking for a little bit of help. 

And being that Prayer is such a rarity in my life, I wasn't all too certain that it would be heard. But I had no where else to go and it was worth a shot. 

There was no rolling thunder. No instant flashing of lighting or horrendous rains falling from the heavens. No rainbows or butterflies subtly landing on my hand. There was no immediate sign. Nothing.   

And then that week a friend of mine from Church asked us to join her community group. We recently became members of our church and since this whole church thing was fairly new to us, we had yet to be plugged into a community group - something I had been wanting to do. Perfect. 
I had no idea how truly perfect it was. 

My friend dropped of the workbook for the bible study they were doing and when I opened it later that night I was almost in shock. I flipped through the pages and was near tears.

God really heard me. 
And he really answered.

The bible study our community group was starting was "The Power of the Praying Woman" - all about overcoming past obstacles, traumatic events, anxiety, depression, learning to forgive, and trust in God.

Hello? The pages we're practically screaming at me! 

I'm only two weeks into the study and I feel a change happening in my life already.
 I know have a long long road ahead of me but finally there is light at the end of the tunnel. 



Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature;
 the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 
2 Corinthians 5:17





2/20/2013

Overcoming Mental Illness, Step One: Admission.


Depression...







...That's what it looks like.

What? Not what you pictured? 

Are you surprised?

That's me. 
This is me. 
I have suffered from depression for over a decade and I have worked my little butt off to cover it up every single day of my life! 

Today, has been a very emotional day for me. Today I have admitted to one of my toughest life battles yet and I did it on accident. I went to the clinic today for chest pain I was having this morning. It has happened about 10 times in the last 6 months and though I've discussed it with my docs before, nothing has ever come of it. Today it was worse than ever before, really.. I thought I was dying - think heart attack dying- , and I went straight to see the nurse. Calm as can be, she told me she was pretty certain I was having anxiety attacks. I immediately started crying because I knew. 

I knew. 

I was in denial and the jig was up!

We did an EKG (just to be sure I really wasn't having a heart attack) and then the doc and I discussed anxiety, depression, and various other mental illnesses. Though this was not the first time a doctor has told me I suffer from depression, it was the first time I've ever admitted such things to anyone other than my husband. It was scary and yet so liberating. I cried the entire time.

See, I've always known that I've suffered from some form of depression, anxiety, and probably a few other things but I've been in denial. Because I don't want to be crazy! And I've spent a ridiculous amount of time hiding from all of my thoughts and fears, exhausting myself to cover them up. I've been lying to everyone and most importantly myself. 

Not only have I been denying a serious illness, I've been depriving myself of help that I seriously need.
All because I don't want to be crazy.  

See what labels do. 

I debated on whether or not to write this post, because.. well, I was ashamed. 
Ashamed for being depressed in the first place. Ashamed that I've been lying about it. 
Ashamed that I am not the person I want be. Ashamed that I am not the person others want me to be.

But, I've realized that this IS me. And all I can do is make improvements. So, here I am.. Improving.

The road to peace starts today. 

We discussed many possible treatments and for now I've opted out of medications. 
Soon I will see a psych and for now I've got these pretty little things.


Leave in acupuncture. 
I know.. I feel like a total badass with these babies.

For those of you who have never suffered from a mental illness, I don't expect you to understand. The concept that one would have to battle their own mind is a hard one to grasp. I do however, want you to know that mental illnesses of all forms are very real. And sometimes, such as with my anxiety, they can cause physical pain. Depression is more than just sadness.  It's not something that can be changed with the snap of your fingers. Though I want to be truly happy and work hard to be there, it isn't as simple as mind over matter. There are many walls that I need to tear down before I can get there. 

I plan to continue posting on this topic as I journey on the road to peace and self acceptance. 

I would like to delve into all the things that my mental illness has lead me to such as bouts of anorexia and binge eating, drug use and times of alcohol abuse. Yes.. I know you're surprised. You should be, I've worked so hard to hide all of these shameful things in my life. 

I also want to tackle the traumatic events that have helped fuel the fire of depression and anxiety. 

And someday, I will be able to really breathe again. 

I'm not proud, but the journey starts here. 
Today is a new beginning.


2/18/2013

Marriage and my Husband

Sometimes, I get in this weird mood where I feel the need to write something but I just don't know what  something is. And then I pretend I'm doing something on the internet for an excuse to touch the keyboard as if my fingers will get some sort of magical inspiration from. 

They don't. 
...Ever. 

But sometimes while I sit here pretending, my mind wanders to just the right place. And tonight, it keeps taking me back to my husband. Or to him, rather. 

Not to be all mush-mush but I love him so stinkin' much. 
There are people that are probably under the impression that my marriage is a fairy tale. It's been stated. And while I am super happy and love is overwhelming and very much mutual in our home, my marriage is no fairytale. 



I'm here to tell you that marriage is HARD work!
 It means biting my tongue way more than I want because I've learned to choose my battles wisely. 
It means sacrificing many things near and dear to me because we operate as a team now. 
It means loving NO MATTER WHAT. 

Sometimes my husband makes me incredibly mad! (like claiming that he doesn't believe in celebrating Valentine's Day - and apparently anniversaries - only after we got married).



 There are days that I get so worked up just thinking about how mad he makes me. Seriously, I get furious sometimes - but I've realized that I almost always get furious when he's not around. He could be at work, outside, in another room or most likely, sleeping. And I just get so mad thinking about whatever the latest and greatest is that he's done or said.. or the lack of either.
 But I love him. And no matter how mad I get, whenever he comes back or wakes up the anger usually fades. If it doesn't, please believe that I just go ahead and speak my mind. Though I'm not really as intimidating as my overly-confident statements make me sound. But guess what?! My husband loves me too, and so when I speak my mind.. he listens. He doesn't always agree and the problem is never fixed over night, but we don't stay angry. We work on things.. Together. We talk.. A lot. and if things aren't right.. we keep trying. Because we made a promise.. until death do us part. And that's one promise I intend to keep.



P.S. I confessed my anger about him not believing in celebration on V-day, because well I believe in small gestures - I got "I'm sorry" flowers the next day. Though that was NOT the point I was making... A simple "good morning, I love you" text or hand made card would have sufficed, but I do love my flowers =)



And for those of you who cry (like my husband) that Valentine's Day is a hallmark holiday and love should be shown every day, you don't need an excuse to do so yada yada yada... You're right, it probably is. But ask yourself this, when is the last time you brought your significant other flowers for no reason. Or made him/her a card just to say I love you.  Or did any number of the things you did while you were dating. You get married, you have kids,  you become more parent than you are a couple. Don't think of it as an excuse, think of it as a reminder. That you need that time too.  And if you really do do those things on the daily and aren't just using that as an excuse to get out of celebrating, then I bet you already had a bangin' dinner planned anyway =) 




2/15/2013

Dear Ash: February 15, 2013


Welcome to Dear Ash, a Friday night advice column inspired by the late Dear Abby.
Have a question? Need advice?
Shoot me an email at laugh_with_ash@yahoo.com and maybe you'll be featured next week.

If you haven't heard, this post will now be live every other Friday.


Dear Ash:  My boyfriend and I have been together for a few years. He's leaving in a few weeks for boot camp and has been talking a lot about marriage and starting a family. How do I tell him I'm not ready for that? -Sara

Dear Sara: You're either all in or you're not at all. You've been together a few years, if you don't see it now, when will you? If it's right you'll take the leap and if it's not, just let it go. Seriously... I was never ready. Not for my marriage, not for my kids- either of them, but I did it and those are the three best things that ever happened to me. 




Dear Abby: I've been going steady with this man for six years. We see each other every night. He says he loves me,  and I know I love him, but he never mentions marriage. Do you think he's going out with me just for what he can get? - Gertie

Dear Gertie: I don't know. What's he getting?




Have a great weekend everyone!! 
Be safe! 




2/12/2013

Bloglovin' & Agena Castle Ruins

Guess what?! I've joined the club...



But here's one of our latest adventures,
Agena Castle Ruins





Everything is written in Kanji.. so I have no idea what these say!





 Cherry Blossoms starting to bloom =)

Love this picture of my handsome little man! 


We went here because it is close to our house, like walking distance close. The ruin grounds are small and not really worth the trip if you're not nearby or a serious history buff, but my kiddo definitely ran around a bunch and burned some serious energy so it was a successful day for us! 








2/09/2013

Vagina... yep, I just said that.

Vagina.

Vagina.

Vagina.

Feeling uncomfortable yet? Seriously though, why is that word so taboo? It's not like I used the "p" word or the awful "c" word. I said vagina. That's politically correct, I think. 

Maybe you're not used to talking about your vagina, and if that's you, just x out now. 
Because we're about to talk about vaginas. I have one. Cool, right? I've had it my whole life and yet I feel like there is so much I don't know about it. Why does it have to so mysterious?! I'm guessing because in America it is just so inappopriate to discuss anything related to intercourse.. i.e. the penis and vagina, since they go hand in hand in the act. Though various other provocative things are not inappropriate? Yes, I think it's backwards. 

Seriously though, I had a procedure done today to take biopsies of my vagina and cervix and there was a young corpsman present along with the doctor. This corpsman was so awkward the entire time. He couldn't look at me, probably for fear of seeing a vagina.. but his tone of voice when he had to actually use the word and talk about it was slightly uncomfortable... and that's his profession!!

Maybe I'm just overly under-modest  but I do not get it.

and that's my rant.