Saturday, September 23, 2017

Immensely Grateful.

How can you be angry & have gratitude at the same time?

This question arose in a conversation I was having with a friend about 2 weeks ago. And ever since I've been thinking about it nonstop. And incase you are a "spark notes" type reader, I'll just skip to the answer now. The Answer: You Can't. It's absolutely impossible to be angry and have gratitude at the same time - we weren't created to feel angry & gracious at the same time. How can we? I've been trying to figure out a come back for the last 2 weeks. "Well you could be angry grateful" 

I was stuck and I kept hearing a distant chuckle from God who kept saying "Nope. Stop trying to figure it out. My design was made for you to be immensely grateful, and that alone." I was designed to be what? The words stuck out to me like a knife: "Immensely Grateful," how powerful is that? Immensely. Grateful. 

Immensely: (adverb) to great extent; extremely.
Grateful: (adj) feeling/showing appreciation of kindness; thankful

ONE:  Whether you believe it or not, the opportunity to be grateful is presented to us every single morning. The second you wake up in the morning is the start of a long list of things you can be grateful for. IE. You woke up to live another day. and if you're like me, the best part of your morning and something I'm constantly yelling "Thank You Jesus," out to is my Keurig. I'm immensely grateful for my morning coffee. Amen? Amen! -- But even the small things, like my morning coffee, was presented to me the moment I woke up. I show complete gratitude when taking that first sip. After all, that's what I was designed for: To be grateful, even for the small things. God will always hand you little things before he hands you the big stuff. It's not that he is testing you to see what you'll do with it. But why should we be blessed with abundance if we aren't showing gratitude towards the smaller things we have already received? 

Two. During the last 2 weeks of trying to prove I can find something to be angry about all while feeling grateful, I found the quote above. I laughed, looked up and said "Ok God, I know. It's impossible." And yet I was also created to be super stubborn so I kept pushing along to be angry. Spark Notes: I didn't work. But along the way, something happened. I was faced with a difficult person and situation. And the situation was to get me to compromise my inner peace for someone else's bitterness. This sudden slap of the unexpected brought me to a stand still as I scratched my head thinking "where the heck did this come from?" I literally had no idea and was dumbfounded. A few years ago I would have reacted by lashing out and getting super defensive. But not now and not this time. That's the cool thing about Change - is growing and learning what NOT to do when the enemy is throwing stones at you. 

I'll admit, I got angry and to be honest a little bit cocky for a minute. I laughed and said "SEE GOD! I'm pissed off, but I'm also grateful about everything." and then I remembered that God is sassy and his reply? "HaHa. No You aren't." -- He Got me again. I took a step back and thought about it for a minute. So here's the breakdown:

I wasn't angry because of the situation or person involved. I wasn't angry that I had a peaceful life and somebody was trying to disturb it. I wasn't angry. I just forgot how much gratitude I had. I forgot about the abundance of things God had presented to me. But why?

...Because when you are angry, that is the enemy winning. That is the enemy getting into your head and making you go into defense mode so that all you can think about is the fight. The Enemy wants you to fight back, He wants to pull you away from a gratitude filled heart. and when he pulls you away from a gratitude filled heart, he has pulled you away from yourself and your relationship with God. IE: He Wins.

And it's at this moment you need to take refuge in the shelter of God. Show complete gratitude towards the IMMENSE LOVE that God Provides for you on a daily without hesitation. God will always remind you that it's impossible to be Angry and have Gratitude at the same time. It's impossible to be hateful and loving at the same time. Take it from me, stop trying to find a reason to be angry or pissed off about a storm in your life. Walk towards what is appealing to you: Love, Gratitude, Peace, Mindfulness, & a Abundant  Life. If you do that, you will not be shaken. How could you be?

 "Love without Expecting, Love without Fear...Love, Love, Love"

Friday, September 22, 2017

You are Allowed to Change.

Sometimes I forget the immense magic that is held within the night sky. Honestly, I haven't remembered this in quite sometime - a few years actually. I couldn't tell you the last time I sat outside and just looked up. This is something I used to do all the time. I've always been so mesmerized by the stars; and by the moon. We get along well, like two old friends enjoying a night cap. 

I've been absent. From my conversations with the moon, a pen to paper, fingers to keyboard. Everything. Just complete absence. I blame this on my fight to be authentic this year. And now, I've realized something about being Authentic and allowing yourself to be just that. It's going to be different - Every. Single. Day. Because some days being authentic is just natural and it flows so effortlessly that you don't even know it's happening. And sometimes it's messy and complicated. Some times it's an uphill battle, a slow climb. no i'm not quoting miley cyrus. ok maybe i am. And sometimes when you feel like you've made it to solid ground, you fall flat on your face and roll all the way back to the bottom of that hill. But guess what? It's OKAY! It's going to happen, even to the best of us. 

Being Authentic is like the night sky. It changes. If you go outside and look up, one night the sky could be clear, full of bright stars, and a full moon. The next night could be cloudy with little to no stars. The night sky is forever evolving, just as we do. And the best way into being authentic is allowing these changes to happen in our every day life without trying to slow them down or make them come to a screeching halt just because it scares us or because someone else has a problem with it. 

You. Are. Allowed. To. Change. 
What a beautiful concept, right? I think so. I find power knowing that I'm allowed to be in a constant cycle of never-ending change. Because with change, comes evolving, and with evolving comes learning, and with learning comes growth. What a gift that is. 

You. Are. Allowed. To. Change. 
I think the most important part about this is the word - YOU. 
You, Yes You, are allowed to have the power in change. Somewhere along the way we've learned that nothing good can ever come from change. On the other hand we've also learned that change can be a good thing - but at what cost? We fear change because we don't know what lies head for us and I think that we believe that because of what people have put into our heads: When You Change, You will lose yourself along the way. But I don't believe that. I think we find ourselves. And nobody else can change for you and nobody can tell you how to change or that you even have to change at all. Even though so many people try to tell you on a daily that you have to or that you have & they aren't okay with it. It's not their choice to make. And guess what, It's Okay because YOU are allowed! You are allowed to live in the most authentic way you know how, even if that means changing. 

As 2017 is winding down to it's final few months, I'm looking back to my year of Authentic. And boy can I say that I learned so much. I've allowed this change into my life, unapologetic to those around me and I've learned some really big lessons along the way. So much so, that I decided to go outside a few nights ago and just sit on our porch and look up. The clouds fill our mornings now but at night there are stars. Not as many now that we are going into the fall equinox, but just enough. Just enough to be reminded that change is still happening in our night sky, and within me. A sweet little reminder that I am allowed to change, every day. 

... because just like the Moon, I go through phases...

Monday, September 4, 2017

Stop & Smell the Roses

"By all these lovely tokens September days are here, with summer's best of weathers and autumns best of cheer." - Helen Hunt Jackson.

My Favorite time of year has arrived - and here I find myself still waiting for the chilly fall weather to remind San Diego of what time of year it actually is. Luckily, I am currently cuddled under a blanket with hot coffee in hand because it's a cold, windy morning brought on by a night full of rain. No Complaints, This is the Life. 

The last few months of each year I find myself slowing down. For most people, it's the busiest time for them as they find themselves trying to complete everything they've wanted to do during the year. They try to pay off debts, take that last bit of vacation time, get a few projects done, Go! Go! Go! - But not me. I'm the exact opposite come September - December. I throw the E-Brake on and glide slowly into the New Year. Gracefully, of course. Which means, in Ashlee fashion, probably tripping and super dramatically But definitely graceful. The fall is my favorite time to slow down, get in touch with the last 9 months, and start thinking about what changes I want to make in the coming months and year. 

This is the time where I feel the most at home with myself. There is something about this time of year that makes me enjoy life and live in the best way I know how. I remind myself to really enjoy that morning coffee, puppy cuddles, moments of laughter with that speedracing husband, be grateful for time spent with my family and friends. Or even that time I spend alone each morning writing in my journal and reading my bible. That's what fall is for me. Simple moments of nothingness. 

I really wanted to write a list of things to get done this September. I had a few goals I had in mind for the next 30 days. But then, I reminded myself that I don't need to constantly be busy doing something. I don't need to rush in attempt to get things done before the new year. There is no need to rush through life. And so, while I'm ready for 2018, I'm in no rush to get there and I think I'll stop and smell the 2017 roses for a little while longer. 

Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful! 
Love without Expecting, Love without Fear, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Humble Pie & Being Grateful.

As children we are constantly told by our parents to "Be Grateful" for having fill in the blank! Very rare did we ever listen to this statement and continued on our way of complaining about how we didn't have the same barbie car that Jessica down the street had, Mandy got a new pair of jelly shoes, Amanda got the new backstreet boy cd, and Nate got the newest addition of mario carts. *shout out to my actual childhood complaints*

And because we practiced this so much as children, we grew into pain -in-the ass teenagers who complained they didn't have a cellphone or a car. And then again as adults because whoever has a bigger house, better job, nicer car. etc. It's a never ending cycle of that bitter taste in our mouths instead of listening to our parents simple request of "Be Grateful."

I recently got into a conversation with a friend about practicing counting our blessings and being grateful for what we have in our current chapter of life. This is a hard pill for me to swallow because I have always been that bitter little girl who just wanted a big barbie mansion like Jessica. But, it never came. And then when we moved into our home I would constantly complain to that husband of mine that it was too small. i mean, I'm not lying, it's like a cottage. But that's besides the point. I always have something negative to say about our house. 1 bathroom sucks. We don't have room to have a table to eat at. Our bedroom is hardly a "master." There is no storage space. blah, blah, etc. etc.

and then, a week ago I got served a big ass piece of Humble Pie. Thanks Universe. 

Here I am complaining about wanting a bigger house and being jealous that my sister & brother-in-law just moved to Idaho and are in the process of building their dream house. Here I am complaining that sometimes we forget to wash our dishes, my car needs to be detailed,  and I still didn't lose that extra 5 lbs so I could buy a new pair of jeans. Enter Hurricane Harvey aka Humble Pie.

For the last week I've been watching the news, seeing posts from my friends in texas, and reading articles about the devastating weather that has literally washed away every single thing that people own. Their homes, place of work, cars, clothes, food, everything. And I'm complaining, which makes me if I may, a ungrateful asshole. HUMBLE_FREAKING_PIE!!

So I'm doing a 28 Day Challenge, I'll explain more in another post about how I decided to start it. But for the next 28 days I'm going to write down 10 things, each day, that I am grateful for, even the small things like my toothbrush. we should all be thankful for a toothbrush. And remind myself that my parents were right (they are gunna love that one) and that I need to be grateful for the people and things in my life, because there are people who currently have nothing; and by me being ungrateful, I am being selfish.

Here are 10 Things I am Grateful For:
  1. My Husband
  2. My Family
  3. Having a Home to Live in
  4. Clothes on My Back
  5. My Car, a source of Transportation
  6. Career of My Dreams
  7. Food in my Kitchen
  8. Running Water
  9. Electricity
  10. Air in my Lungs & Working Organs.

In addition to my 28 Day Challenge, I have also made a donation to the American Red Cross to help in anyway I can for the families who are affected by the Hurricane in Texas. It's all I can do from here in California. And I am GRATEFUL that I have even a little bit of money in my pocket that I can do something, even if it's small. 

I encourage you to write down 10 things you are Grateful for RIGHT NOW in your life. You don't have to do it for 28 days with me, but if you do - AWESOME - if not, just do 10 and become aware of the little things you have in your life. Do Not take them for Granted. and well, if you do, come sit next to me because I have a big pie that I can't finish myself. So, What are YOU Grateful for?

DONATE TODAY: American Red Cross 

Love without Expecting, Love without Fear, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!