Wednesday, August 9, 2017

New Chapter...One Month Later

Some things are the same...some things are drastically different.


Some days I roll with the punches and embrace the new....some days I feel like a fish out of water.


Some times I am confident...some times I am unsure if I have what it takes.


Some moments are all talk and no action...some moments are all action and not talk.


I try to think things through without getting overwhelmed.  I work to remember that God has this and that He has big plans for me that involve this path.  That He will equip the called and that I don't have to know everything to step ahead to the next stone in the path of life. 


I get attacked by the enemy... a lot!!  I see victory in this because it means that when I am doing things they are things that God has planned.  But it hurts...it is hard...some days I just fall short and succumb to the unfortunate nagging of the devil himself.  I rebuke him...cry out to God to put up a shield...


I must remain strong even when I don't feel like it.  I must move ahead even though I feel like I fall way short.  I must not listen to the enemy who may have power but no authority in my life.  It is my choice to respond to the sneaky ways of the enemy.  I must choose only God.


I make mistakes...I ask for forgiveness...I work to forgive myself. 


I listen to praise and worship songs.  I read the Word. 


I try to focus on that one tiny next step that God has placed before me.  I try not to look up and to the sides and all around and realize that I am walking on water.  I don't want to sink.  Just one step ahead...only one...the only one I need.


He is the only One I  need.


Jesus....just Jesus.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

My Life and Top Gun

A month ago I lost my father.  He battled a long time with a terrible disease called Multiple System Atrophy (MSA).  The loss has been hard even though I know that he is in Heaven and is no longer in pain.  Somehow, even knowing that he is no longer in pain and is with our Jesus in heaven, there is nothing that can prepare anyone for the individual experience of being left behind.

The other day I was having one of the down moments of the ups and downs I experience daily now as I work through the grieving process.  All I could think of was the part in Top Gun where Maverick is distraught after Goose dies.  All I can remember thinking is that I am desperate to get to the point in the movie where "Maverick is re-engaging...".

I am praying to re-engage....I have had some moments where I am firing on all cylinders, and then I hit a backfire.  I run out of energy.  I lose focus.  Nothing is important.

I guess even at the point where Maverick re-engaged, he still had to take a minute afterward to silently say goodbye to Goose when he threw his dog tags in the sea.  Maverick's re-engagement wasn't permanent...but it was a big step.

I think I need to find a way to re-engage intentionally knowing that at some point the habit of engagement will be established and I'll find that lovin' feeling again....

It's the little things...

Friday, May 27, 2016

100 Dreams

I recently read a blog post.  I think it was by Laura Vanderkam but I am not sure.  In it she was suggesting a book called Playing Big (I am reading now and am fascinated by it).  In addition to the book she talked about an exercise of doing a list of 100 Dreams.  I took her up on the challenge.

I was hard.

Harder than I thought.

I mean really, 100 things doesn't seem that much, but when you are trying to think of things you haven't done that you want to do, it can get a bit tougher.  I got through about 30 before I really had to think, but I re-read this list today.  A month later, a crazy month at that, and I just marveled about the things that I put in there.  Things that are fun and totally achievable.  Things that make me smile.

I suggest to anyone to make a list of 100 Dreams.  Write it out, refer to it when you need a smile or motivation and work to cross those babies off!

(I am working on one just now...Write at least one blog post per week!)

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Controlling the Uncontrollable

How do you control that feeling when you feel like you want to control something that is not in your control?

Wow.  That is a loaded question when I read it written out like that.  I think that the key differentiation lies in the action around the word "control".

I know I can't control everything.  Primarily because that is not my God given purpose, but also because I shouldn't.  I have lived 38 years of experiences that are my own only.  I have expertise in some areas, I know enough to be dangerous in others and I am flat our ignorant on all the rest.  Me controlling everything would create too many problems and I would probably explode with anxiety resulting over what actions I did or did not take attempting to control things.

Controlling everything is not an option.

What can I control?  Well, really the only thing I can control when it comes down to it is myself.  My actions and emotions are mine alone.  My actions and emotions are impacted by others and experiences.  I seek to be guided by God.  He gave me free will to own my actions and emotions.  His teachings guide my decisions and create a foundation of morals and beliefs that make me who I am.

I am enough for me to control.

There are 168 hours in a week and every one of those (with the exception of when I am sleeping) gives me an opportunity to decide my action and emotions.  Wasting time in the wilderness of worry was a big time suck in my past and I have since improved greatly; however, sometimes the question that I first posed above taunts me and I find it hard to return to center.

Eventually to answer that question takes defining what it is that is causing me to be in the wilderness of worry and to lay out some choices.  How do I weed out the choices?  I first ask which ones require work by others to play out and throw those out or add actions that I can take to help (talking to someone, asking them to help, etc.).  Ultimately the choices have to consist of my next action, not someone else's.  Secondly, I think through the results of taking that action or proceeding with that emotional decision and determine that some are not workable or desirable to solving the problem (not just a band-aid) and throw them out.  Third, I take the top choices and ask what is the worst that could happen and ultimately make a choice from there.

Sometimes the best choice is to take a minute, take a deep breath (the action), smile (another action), write down my feelings on scrap paper and rip them up to say goodbye to them (the action mixes with emotion) and decide right then and there that I am going to be thankful and grateful (two awesome emotions) for the ability to even have a decision and make the choice to move forward in service to the world eager to help and use the gifts and talents that I have been given to make a difference for someone else.

It is not really about me anyway.  It really isn't even about the other person in the end either.  At the end of the day it is about serving others through the love and grace of Jesus Christ and that makes me smile.

Ashli

Monday, May 19, 2014

Creative Outlet

We all need a creative outlet.  Something, or in some cases a few things, that allow us to separate from the day to day of our job and even parenting or connect with our own creative nature.  Even if you are tasked to be creative for work or if you are creative as a homeschooling parent, there is still a need for a creative outlet.

Creative outlets can come in many forms.  They may be quickly accessed and only take a few minutes to tap into, or they may be planned longer term and take time away to fully experience.  I think that there is a need for both.  Some examples of my creative outlets are:


  1. When I have 5 minutes - I keep a coloring book and colored pencils at my desk at work and take it out sometimes when I have hit a block and need a quick escape into something totally unrelated to anything.
  2. When I need an hour - Every 2 weeks, a group of co-workers and I meet in a conference room to knit or crochet for charity or personal projects.  Sometimes work is a topic so it truly isn't a complete separation; however, it does allow my hands and eyes to escape from the computer and keyboard for an hour and to connect with some co-workers I don't see too often.
  3. As a daily reprieve - I crochet/knit at home on a nightly basis.  Each night I try to do a few rows and relax as I move from day to evening.  I like to crochet/knit for charity and being able to think of the opportunity to give something to someone I don't know puts a smile on my face as I hope it will do to theirs.  
  4. When I want to retreat - I have been known to lock myself up in my room with a day of Netflix and some yarn to just knit/crochet the day away.  I have a friend who recently visited Brown County, Indiana and rented a cabin there for a weekend.  I am  hopeful that I will find the time to perhaps explore this as a creative retreat overnight someday soon.  
A couple of "rules".  Although there are really no rules to creativity, there are a couple of helpful things that I have found to keep the "habit" of creativity active in my life.

  1. Portability - it is important that at least some the tools of creativity are portable to meet the needs of  life.  I am not always in the same place at the same time every day so having a portable option ensures that when I need a creative break, I have something that I can take along wherever I may be going.
  2. Accessibility - "Out of sight, Out of mind" definitely applies with creativity.  I need to be able to see and quickly get to my creative tools or I risk getting out of the habit.
  3. Form a Habit - at the risk of making it sound like a "job" or a "task", work at the beginning to form a habit of creativity so that you will be able to look forward to the moment and get in and out of it quickly.  This way, when you are in creative mode, you can truly enjoy the moment or moments that you get.

Writing this blog entry today was a creative outlet to me.  I now feel happy to return to work a more focused and productive person.

Enjoy your day!

Ashli

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Review: Bittersweet Surrender


I have read a lot of great books recently.  Bittersweet Surrender by Diann Hunt was good, but not great.  I was looking for a light plot and that is just what I got.  The story is of a woman who owns a Chocolate Spa and her struggle to get healthy and find love after a previous failed romance and a battle with breast cancer.

It was a quick read with a basic romance plot line.  I enjoy books that look into the lives of multiple characters.  I enjoyed this book, but I felt that I read through it just to read through it, not so much like I couldn't put it down.  I found myself from the beginning predicting what would happen next and not being very surprised when that very thing happened.

There were also a few references to a few different places that seemed inconsistent so perhaps there was some additional edits that needed to be done.  I was not unhappy with this book, it was the perfect medicine to feed my need for a light, quick read.  If you are looking for a book like that, you will be happy with this book; however, if you want something with a bit more emotional connection and deeper thinking, I would put this on the back-burner for now.

I love reading and am excited for my next review opportunity.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Update - 60 Days Later

Update time!

60 Days ago I posted that I hadn't had coffee in 3 days.  I was excited to be alive.  Fast forward, still no coffee and I feel wonderful. 

I completed the 24 day challenge feeling awesome.  I have so much more energy, my emotions are more under control and I am focused.  For the past 2 weeks I have been using an energy focused vitamin pack instead of just the general wellness pack and that has improved things even more.  I am down 2% body fat and the weight is ticking off.   I am fitting in clothes I haven't fit into (comfortably) for ages and I just feel more confident. 

I smile more and believe I am generally a happier person to be around.  I have noticed that my family and my co-workers are appreciating these changes in focus.  At home, our house is becoming more orderly, we are having fun family game nights and I don't feel so guilty when I take a minute to relax.  At work I have been selected to apply for a leadership program for credit union leaders across the State of Indiana and am finding myself more involved in the strategic and visionary conversations I have been working to be involved in for a while.

I believe that I am noticing these changes because of 3 primary changes that have taken place in my life over the last 90 days:
1. Nuvita - This is my workplace wellness program.  Seeing others that I work with strive for a healthy lifestyle was just the jump start I needed to get back on track.  We have a wellness website with awesome articles and a way to track cardio for the next 9 months to keep us focused on this journey.  I am thankful for these basic tools.
2. Advocare - Truly an amazing product.  Both Jeremy and I are seeing amazing results, not just in our waistline, but in our relationship.  We workout together (and are seeing the kids want to work out with us more - they both added workout stuff to their Christmas lists this year :)) and food choices are much better when we are both working to eat healthier.  We like the products so much that we have become distributors in order to be able to share these awesome benefits with our friends and family so if anyone is interested in trying these amazing products, let me know.
3. Daily Devotional - This is not intentionally last, it is actually the first thing I do every morning.  I didn't realize how much this daily habit had become a part of my life until I missed a few days over Thanksgiving.  I was praying and talking to God, but I missed out on the "educational" experience God provides through daily study.  Jeremy gave the sermon at church yesterday and one of the take aways was connecting daily with God.  When I was thinking about daily study this morning, I realized that in the Lord's Prayer we ask for our daily bread.  God gave manna to His people daily...only what they needed.  We must seeking the living water and bread of life daily in order to sustain and fill our spirit.  It is only when we are filled that Christ may use us to fill others.

Anyway...good stuff going on...praise be to God.