Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Change is Inevitable.

The season has begun to slow down as the cool, crisp weather is setting in around us. Long periods of dark grey skies and chilly winds were finally followed by a quick passing of the rain. The sun is trying to peak through the clouds again, but I think the season of clouds have become too powerful. This is my happy place. The place where I am nestled inside, fireplace going, wrapped up in a blanket with some tea; praying we have a winter full of chilly weather & rain. 

...And this is when I do my best thinking... 
Some say they do their best thinking at night, or after 3am; but for me - it's on the dark, cold, and rainy days. The constant change in the weather makes me dig into the depths of my soul to think about change in my life. And how just like the weather is trying to figure out what season it wants to be, I'm a work in progress, forever changing in order to become my most authentic self. Remember, You are Allowed to Change, and you're allowed to live your best, most authentic life without any apologies or explanations.  

...And so, I think some more. I dig deeper in authenticity. I dig deeper into understanding this wave of change as each day passes and I learn more about myself and even those around me. I've come to this, Change is inevitable. We can do our best to fight it and alter the way it happens; but there is no denying that if change wants to happen, it will. It's unavoidable. You will Change. Your Relationships will change. Your Friendships will change. Your Job Will change...Life has you know it will change. So how are you going to ride the wave? Now, don't ask me why a surfing metaphor fits there, because I've never surfed. I'm just now getting acquainted with the ocean. But I'm learning to go with the currants and that's good enough for me. 

In my early twenties I would have said I hated change. I would have threw my hands up, stomped my feet, and threw a fit. 22 year old Ashlee would have played the "woe is me," card against every change that would happen. The changing of friendships was the worst of it - I refused to let it happen. I would throw my arms up and act like a little kid whose spot in the playground just got taken over. School wasn't going my way? I hated my job? Life wasn't going as planned. WOE. IS. ME. -- But the difference is, I hadn't remembered what it was like to be my authentic self because I had molded into what others thought I should be. And I didn't know that I was allowed to change with the changing times. Mostly, I just wasn't accepting change. So here I am, at 27, gulp, accepting that it's perfectly normal for your friendships, jobs, and life to change. It's how we grow. It's what brings us closer to an authentic life that was crafted just for us through God's Will. And instead of throwing my hands up and getting upset, I sit with the change. Sometimes alone and sometimes with company. But I sit with it and I wait for it to reveal it's full self. 

Life has a funny way of showing you things in it's own time. I've realized this in the last couple of months. I'm already diving into 2018's "Word of the Year," and focusing on making this next year great. And in doing so I've already learned more about myself that can fit in an urban dictionary. I've learned to look up at the sky again and just watch the weather change around me. The ever moving clouds, the thunder heads rollin in from a distant, the stand still of the sun over the ocean, the clarity a rainstorm brings, and the peace a clear blue sky shares. Change is Inevitable. But oh man, It's a Beautiful Adventure. 

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

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hello November

Happy November.
This month is starting off with cool, crisp air & a gray sky. I'm not complaining because this is my favorite kind of weather and we here in San Diego really need a break from the 365 day heat wave. I also love being able to use our fireplace, light some candles, and cozy up with a blanket - which feels the most comfortable when it's not 90+ degrees outside and inside our home. So I'm currently happy.

I left October with a sense of Focus and I've begun to change a few things in my life in hopes of preparing for 2018 to be a great year.  One of the many things I love about October is how easy it is for me to connect to. I'm not sure why, but I feel like October is the one month when everything slows down and allows us to have time to stop and think about the things going on around us. And that's what I do every time October comes around. I stop, I take a deep breath, and I take time to focus on what's important. 

Which brings me to loving November...
After taking some time to think about what I want to focus on and what's important in my life, I like to head into November feeling gratitude. November is the time of year when we get to be Thankful for all that we have, and although I think we should constantly be thankful for what we have in our lives, sometimes we just need a whole month dedicated to actually being Thankful. I get it, once life happens and we get busy it's hard to stop for a minute to say Thank You. And that's what I love November - it's a constant reminder.

So I'm starting - Today - to Focus more on the important things.
And on the things & people that I have in my life to be thankful for. I truly believe that November is going to be a great one.

What are 5 things you are Thankful that you get to Focus on?

My Health.
My Marriage.
My Family.
My Career.

Love without Fear, Love without Expecting..Love, Love, Love!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Me Too.

Head up, shoulders back, lips pressed together shielding my clinched teeth. I'm on the inhale. He finally passes me and I let out the exhale. Nothing was said this time. 

The light is red, windows rolled down, sipping on my iced chai, I'm singing to my new favorite song. He says "Hey Beautiful! What are you drinking?" - I continue to look ahead just praying that light turns green. 

I'm walking through the halls, making my way to class, I say hi to a friend in passing. He runs up behind me and grabs me, swinging me around to the opposite direction. He lets go and I run to catch up with my friend. I'm on the inhale.

I'm hanging out with friends, we are down town, we are at a race, we are at the mall, we are....He runs his hand on my back in passing. He comments on my outfit. He tries to grab at me. One time he makes contact. I'm on the inhale. teeth grind together. I take a sip of my drink and say its time to go. 

I'm walking my dog down the street. Cars are flying by. He stares. I turn to see if he is gone. He is. But I hear a car approching and hold my breath hoping its not his return. It's not him. Another block over he drives by, whistling as he drives past. Im on the inhale. Looking forward telling my dog "good boy," He is mad I didn't respond. He yells "Little White Bitch." - That's a first. 

He doesn't have just one name. He has many faces. He is always near. Sometimes I know him and sometimes I don't. 
I'm on the inhale. and on the exhale..I yell "Stop!" - I turn around to see my sister, my best friend, my mom, my loved ones - and they all tell me the same thing.... "Me Too."

The Quiet Relationship

I think we all know that person or have that person on our social media that shares literally every single thing about their life. And we have those ones who have no problem talking about how they've broken up with their significant other, again, for the 5th time. Or how they got in a horrible fight with a friend and are now passive aggressively posting their feelings for everyone to see like dirty laundry hanging on the line. And you're just wishing that they would keep their personal drama to themselves? You're laughing at how accurate that is, aren't you? 

I'll admit, I've been there a time or a dozen. But I was also 16. or 20.  and sometimes it's super tempting to post how irritated I am with Speedracer that he left his socks on the living room floor, again. But, I have to take a step back and really think how much I want people to know which causes me to really filter what I'm saying in person and online. People comment all the time how they love that my social media is full of Love and Positivity. and I think, it's not that hard. You have the choice to post what you post and you have the choice to say what you want to say. Remember what I was saying about Peace VS Chaos? Yup, Go back to that!!

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● 

So there I was, in deep thought about what Speedracer and I were going to have for dinner after the long day that I had just had at work. And then, suddenly, I was asked, "So are you religious? What do you believe in?" -- Wait, Where did that come from? I literally froze for a minute because I was so blindsided that I was asked that question. Maybe it was how I was raised or maybe it was because I have friends of all different religions that I just assumed nobody actually asks that question. 

But then, I thought back to about 7 years ago when I was literally introduced as "Ashlee, our friend that goes to Church." - Yup, I'm not even kidding you. That was my greeting card, but not one that I had written myself. I began to reflect on how loud and proud I was of the cross necklace I was wearing, that my bible was always close by, and I did my devotionals every single morning. People around me just knew. and I didn't care. 

But then, last week, I was asked if I was religious. And I wasn't offended but I was confused because I thought it was something that people, still, just knew. But that wasn't the case. and it really confirmed what I've been battling with for the last couple of years; that I, Ashlee, have changed. Luckily, I'm allowed to change and I've come to finally accept that change can be a good thing. But I began to reflect on my relationship with God and how it's changed over the last 7 years. and man oh man have we had a gnarly ride. 

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●  

Yesterday, God sent me to a verse that he knew I needed:

"See what great love the Father has lavished on Us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" - 1 John 3:1

I read this verse and those surrounding; it really put the whole question in perspective for me. So the truth is: Yes, my relationship has changed. My relationship with family, friends, my Husband, and Myself has changed immensely in the last 7 years. And that's because my relationship with God has changed immensely. I've learned to have a quiet relationship with him. You see, when I was a teenager I was surrounded by people who had a loud relationship with God, and that's completely fine. and beautiful. But I began to feel like an outcast when my relationship with him wasn't meeting the standards of those around me. Does that make sense? I was becoming the outcast for not having a relationship to other peoples standards. How the heck does that make sense...Answer: It doesn't. But people always feel the need to make comments about other peoples relationships. And with this, I felt like it got worse as I got older and experienced new things; and because of that, my relationship with God was constantly changing. So what did I do, I put myself in a shell, dropped those friendships, and focused on my relationship with God, quietly. Safe to say the people around me really didn't like it that much. They wanted me to be loud like they were, they wanted me to conform to their standards of not only how I should be living my life but how I should be praising Jesus. But, I've never been one to conform for someone else. If that makes me an outcast well: God help the Outcasts!

At 27, I've finally realized that it's okay to pray quietly, it's okay to pray in my own way, it's okay to have only 1 or 2 hours in the mornings dedicated to God, and it's okay if you can't make it to church on sundays. It doesn't make my relationship with God any less. And it doesn't make me any less religious, or spiritual, or immature in faith. At the end of the day, I am STILL a Child of God, a woman of the Lord, a servant, a believer, and fearfully & wonderfully made! 

This has become inspirational for me within all of my relationships: My Marriage, my family, my friends. All unique, all personal, and always fragile as we grow and change. There's a quiet nobility in that...Don't you think?

Love without Expecting, Love without Fear..Love, Love, Love!