Whew chile! What a year!

Whew chile, what a year!

So 2018 was magical and phenomenal and everything I could’ve imagined. 

It was also difficult, terrible and at times seemed unbearable.

At the end of last year I decided to relinquish all rights of my life over to God because I can mess up my own life, but allowing God to lead me allows me to get through the tough times because He’s by my side.  Having Him guide me has really put difficult times in perspective for me.  It’s also brought me much closer to God and in that I’ve learned several truths about Him (5 of which I live by and constantly remind myself of).  I’ll save the five truths for another time ūüėČ 

The Good

So this year I was accepted as a board member of the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence board, along with CEOs, lawyers and other big whigs ūüė¨.  I also had so many doors open for me at church, which has been such an amazing journey.  The highlight of my year had to be starting A Look in the Mirror.  I got a chance to use my pain and help young girls learn a little more about self-confidence and how to love themselves.  You can find out more below:

A Look in the Mirror

The Bad

So, while my year was awesome it didn’t always have awesome moments. 

My husband lost one of his father figures, his Uncle Charles.  Uncle Charles gave me such a warm welcome into his family and he was such an amazing man to both his family and his community.  My husband took it rough and being his rock wasn’t always easy, but it surely brought us much closer together.

The very same weekend of his funeral, our house had terrible damage from one of them daggone hurricanes ūüôĄ

It was stressful, but one of the truths I learned is that God never gives us anything more than we can bear.  *Amen* 

The Ugly

Okay…so here we go. 

With all of the amazing things that have happened for me this year, my work life became increasingly stressful.  I prayed about my next steps and a year ago God told me that I wasn’t meant to get promoted at my job.  I didn’t understand or accept this and was allll fast and applied for a promotion.  I got the job and thought it was enough to make me happy enough to stay, but it wasn’t. 

Since I was a young girl, I struggled with understanding why people would not enjoy my presence.  Honestly, I’m bomb. But anyways, I didn’t understand why people would talk negatively about me when I’ve done nothing that would warrant that type of behavior.  Needless to say during my time in my new position my anxiety got to a level that it hasn’t been in several years. 

I had my first panic attack in the 8th grade.  I didn’t understand what was happening, or how to control my breathing or how to stop my thoughts from racing.  Eighth grade was my first experience with backlash at a large degree.  I had several people who didn’t like me and talked badly about me.  I constantly felt like I was being talked about by the people around me and working at my job brought all of the 8th grade Ashley feelings back.  It was terrible.  I came home from work and had a panic attack, feeling the exact same way as I did in 8th grade, and in high school, and during all of the high anxiety years I experienced in college.  I didn’t want to go back to that time ever in life and here I was, post-therapy, body confident, self-loving Ashley having a panic attack because of her work.  Something had to change.

What’s Next?

Thankfully, God gave me a new job that I start at the top of the year.  It gives me the freedom to use my gifts, to be creative and to have a manageable amount of stress.  I’m thankful to God for this new position, but I’ve got to learn to re-manage my anxiety. 

I’ve also been striving to learn how to balance faith with anxiety.  See, my faith tells me that God will never leave me or forsake me and that in my weakness He strengthens me.  My anxiety knows ALL of these things and trust that God knows what’s best, but at the same time prepares for if things doesn’t go the way Ashley wants them to.  It may seem harmless to some, but it has kept me from celebrating all of the amazingness of 2018.  I’ve only been preparing myself for when things fall apart.  My goal for 2019 is to celebrate ALL things, not just the bad.  

I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for me.  I’m trusting God ALWAYS and giving everything to Him FOREVER *Cardi B voice*. It’s only going to get better as my faith gets stronger.



Let’s Do It All Again…and Again…Forever.

Well, hello there!

After a much needed break and rest, I’m finally ready to talk about how amazing¬†A Look in the Mirror¬†turned out to be.¬† I’m still very much in awe of God’s faithfulness to me and how He has pushed me forward this year.¬† If you’re not aware, I relinquished all rights to my life this year and gave it over to God…and it’s been one of the best decisions ever.

For our last meeting, the girls were asked to say speech, written by them, describing how the program has helped and the difference it made in their lives.¬† Waterworks.¬† I cried like a baby because these girls have made such an impact on my life and all had such beautiful words to say.¬† I’m so proud of them because they faced their fears and did a little public speaking in front of their family and friends.

After we spilled out hearts (and eyes) we enjoyed each other for the last time and had some food and fellowship.  My wonderful friend, Mario Turner, captured both video and photos from the event!

IMG_3400IMG_3402IMG_3415IMG_3426IMG_3450IMG_3367IMG_3354IMG_3390

 

If you’re interested in bringing this program to your place of business you can do so using the link below:

A Look in the Mirror Contact Form

Tell Me Where Your Worth Lies: Weeks 3-4

So, hey y’all!

I know I was gone last week, but I’m feeling much better and ready to give you another recap of¬†A Look in the Mirror, weeks 3 and 4.

Week Three

During Week 3, we talked about our emotions and reactions to the things that happen around us.  We played a little game of charades, where we examined what our emotions look like in action.  We talked about times that made us feel that way and discussed how to work through our emotions.

We also talked about perception vs. reality.¬† People will tell you that you are something that you’re not.¬† Ugly.¬† Fat.¬† Stupid.¬† But the beautiful thing about living life is that we make our own realities.¬† Who cares what people say about us?!¬† As long as we know who we are…we’ll be just fine.¬† The girls made affirmations that remind them of exactly who they are.

Week Four

This is most likely my favorite week so far.¬† We talked about self confidence and our worth.¬† I asked each girl to discuss their worth and how that relates to the people we choose to surround ourselves with.¬† ¬†All class we sat in a circle of positivity, so that we have can an honest discussion and so that we can see each other when we’re talking.

We talked about some tough stuff: school, bullying, confidence.¬† We also did the work.¬† We discussed what confidence means to us.¬† Each girl talked about what negative and positive impacts their friends have on them.¬† This allows us to really analyze who we’re surrounded by and how they affect our lives.

We ended class by sharing positive thoughts about each other.  Each girl stood in the middle of the circle and was given positive thoughts by the others who remained outside of the circle.  Admittedly, I had no plans on participating myself.  I felt like this was an activity for my girls, but they encouraged me to participate.  After a terrible work week and stressful home week (our home needs MAJOR repair after the hurricane) it was nice to hear such positive things from them.

This program has rejuvenated something in me that my regular work doesn’t allow: freedom to feel.¬† As adults we’re told to swallow our feelings, to keep it moving, to keep pushing and to keep making money, but following my dreams and having something to¬†give to these girls¬†has given me a joy that I cannot describe.

If you’re interested in bringing this program to your place of business you can do so using the link below:

A Look in the Mirror Contact

Tell Me Something Good: Week 2

Hey y’all!

I’m back again with¬†A Look in the Mirror!¬†¬†This week we focused on controlling the things that we can and accepting the things that we cannot.¬† The girls did some activity sheets that asked some of the harder questions: what makes you feel bad?¬† What makes you feel good?¬† What is something that you don’t enjoy about yourself?

The point of this exercise was to learn what things we can control about what effects us every day.¬† Can you control if someone is mean to you?¬† Of course not, but our response can be controlled.¬† We can accept that mean people exist, but we don’t have to go to their level and be mean back to them.¬† Kill ’em with kindness!

44183301_415994492267133_2445211957779759104_n

If the girls can identify their triggers early in life, it’ll make their interactions with others a little easier.¬† They will be able to identify someone negatively affecting them and be able to remove them from their lives.¬† Next week we discuss more triggers to our emotions and our responses to them.

43952021_415994408933808_2160397566687051776_n

If you’re interested in bringing this program to your place of business you can do so using the link below:

A Look in the Mirror Contact Form

Protect your peace, honey!

Listen…life is nuts maintenant, but guess who is thankful to be working towards something!

So, I am really good at extending myself to things that do not serve me and I’m good at holding on to relationships for longer than I need to.¬† These are my confessions.

I am also a magnet for people who need a hug and a friend, but sometimes maintaining relationships with people who are in repair can be draining, and I don’t think that it’s selfish to put yourself first sometimes.¬† So, I’ve lived by the following rules for the past few months:

  1. Will the world end if I don’t attend?

  2. Is it going to cause me stress and a very large mess?

  3. Am I going to have to talk through my feelings afterwards?

Is it worth it to get the short end of the stick all the time or should you care for yourself?

Image result for put yourself first meme

GIRL, IF YOU DON’T PUT YOURSELF FIRST!

Of course it’s easier said than done, but it’s so much easier done once said.¬† You’re more inclined to do the things you speak about.¬† No more putting everyone else’s feelings before yours.¬† Who’s going to take care of you?¬† Your needs come first because you wake up and lay down with yourself every day.¬† Put yourself first and protect your peace, honey!

He makes ALL things new…okurrr!

Hey darlings!

So, I’ve been super busy with things that I love to do and this post serves as an update to life!¬† I’ve discussed on here before the distress with my job and how I have been waiting for something greater.¬† After the last unpleasant incident I decided to focus solely on my God given gifts.¬† I have a knack for planning and organizing events and things and I also always have a new idea.¬† I also like to use my experiences to help others going through the similar things.¬† So…

drumroll

I’ve decided to buy my blog domain name!

I know it doesn’t sound major, but it means that I’m willing to invest money into myself…which in turn means that I believe the things I do are of value to this space.¬† That’s big FOR ME.¬† Who knew that I’d ever be confident enough in myself to take steps like this?¬† If you would have told me this 10 years ago I would not have believed you.

download

I’m also in the process of creating the curriculum for a self-esteem program for children and teens.¬† Once I focused more on God and the gifts that he has placed in me, my whole outlook changed.¬† I’m grateful for my gifts and I’ve been enjoying this newness.¬† I’m also trying to blog more and post more videos and things, so be sure to follow this blog and also my YouTube.¬† I’ve made updates to this wordpress site so take a gander.¬† As usual, thanks so much!¬† Even if no one ever reads my blog…at least I tried.

Let’s Chat!

This week I got a chance to relax and reflect on life and all the joy and pain it brings.¬† I thought about all that led up to my life today, and I felt compelled to share.¬† I’m not too shy about sharing my journey to a better Ashley, but I often hear a lot of the same things when I share.¬† So, I decided to make a video and talk about my journey and to shed some light on self-esteem, self-worth and self-love.

 

My Life is Rose Gold.

I’m backkkkkkk!

im back meme

 Temporarily or forever.  Time is a social construct.

Any who, I’ve noticed that the last time I blogged a lot was going on, especially in my state. ¬†Things have changed…we have a whole new president and a new administration and a new set of things to be concerned about. ¬†Nevertheless, I’m alive and in my right mind, as my Grandma says, so things are okay.

Lately I’ve tried to live each day with more intention. ¬†I’ve tried to find the joy in the little things so that I can keep chugging along on my journey. ¬†Some days have been tougher than others, and some have been easy.

TRANSPARENCY AHEAD 

I’ve been really hard on myself lately because I’m not where I want to be in certain areas of my life. ¬†I’ve found peace with a number of areas in my life that I’ve had difficulty in, but I’ve been struggling with feelings of incompleteness. ¬†Now, I’m complete in many areas of my life: I’ve finally in a place where I truly love myself, I’m in a loving marriage, I know I’m valuable and I know that I’m great. ¬†Lately I’ve been feeling like money could solve all my problems (which is funny because this is the most obedient I’ve been with my finances in a really long time). ¬†I’ve only been extending completeness to loving feelings, but I’ve learned that it extends far beyond that.

I was napping after church, like I usually do, with a lot on my mind. ¬†I woke up with a something I felt I should share. ¬†Almost everything I’m ever given from God is always for me, but what’s the point in not sharing. ¬†Sharing is caring, right? Right. ¬†When Jesus died for us we were instantly granted the freedom to go to God for ourselves. ¬†We were made complete before we were even born. ¬†The cross goes beyond what I had ever imagined and I’m so glad to know that I’m complete, with or without money or any other material thing I needed.

This by no means is a spiritual blog or a blog on religion. ¬†It’s a blog for and about me and the things I go through. ¬†I’m thankful for all the life lessons I’m able to go through. ¬†The key for me is to remember that I don’t go through things I GROW through things.

Sometimes I write…

So, sometimes I write short stories and poems. ¬†I’ve decided to post some of my hobby on my blog as a way for me to come out of my shell. ¬†Maybe this will encourage me to write more…who knows. ¬†I took Creative Writing in college as a hobby class and did a lot of my writing during this time. ¬†I reread a lot of the stuff I’ve written back then and realized that writing was a form of therapy for me. ¬†I wrote a lot of this during my therapy and my sad time. ¬†Anyways, I’m rambling. ¬†The piece has no title:

Trace the outline of my tattoo with your finger as I caress your head.

Let your hands trail the length of my arm,

Gently grab my hands as I plant a peck on yours.

We don’t have to touch because you know it’s real.

Fill the silence of our empty words with jovial humming

That makes me remember why I’m here.

And if you ever forget…just look at how my eyes glow when we’re together.

And when I forget, I‚Äôll just go back to the time you whispered ‚ÄúYou‚Äôre perfect.‚ÄĚ

Exist in a single monetary space…with me.

Here.

There.

It’s really doesn’t matter where.

It’s been a year…already.

I often describe love as a beautiful nightmare. ¬†I know that sounds super morbid, but hear¬†me out. ¬†Love is so wonderful and so beautiful. ¬†When you find someone who loves you so deeply it’s amazing, but it’s scary. ¬†This one person holds your heart in their hand, leaving you vulnerable to anything. ¬†They can both make your entire day and destroy your entire life.

image2

My husband and I have been on our journey together for almost 4 years. ¬†We’ve had such wonderful moments together and we’ve had some terrible times together. ¬†I’ve learned so much about love and life during the time that we’ve been together and I¬†couldn’t imagine sharing my¬†life¬†journey with anyone else…he felt the same way…that’s why we got married.

image1

Marques and I got married one¬†whole¬†year ago today! ¬†They always say the first year is the roughest and they’re probably right. ¬†We’ve grown so much in this year together. ¬†Marriage is as hard as people say, but being with him makes it all worth it. ¬†He makes me smile on the inside. ¬†He makes me heart happy. ¬†He pushes me to follow my dreams and he works so hard so that we both can achieve our goals. ¬†He makes me want to be a better person. ¬†I couldn’t imagine being married to anyone else.

image3

Marques, if you’re reading this, thank you for being you. ¬†Thank you for listening to my stupid stories and for putting up with my¬†Friends¬†obsession every night. ¬†Thank you for pushing me to follow my dreams and to be the best I can be. ¬†Thank you for all that you’ve taught me about politics and taxes.Thank you for spoiling me in your own special way. ¬†Thank you for not stifling my independence. ¬†You’re a wonderful husband and I love you more than the amount of words I could ever type.

 Happy Anniversary, babe.

IMG_1276