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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Give Thanks

"We often take for granted the very things
 that most deserve our gratitude."
-Cynthia Ozick 

I love reading the blog posts of the things you wonderful people are grateful for, so of course I thought it would be fitting to write my own. I planned on writing this earlier, but my month has been crazy and the day even crazier. Normally we go to my grandparent's house in Montana for Thanksgiving, but since my parents just redid their kitchen my mom really wanted to have dinner here so she could use all of her fancy new appliances. Then my mom broke her ankle and her daughters got to use her fancy new stuff instead since she can't really be running around the kitchen making all the food. So I started cooking at 8 this morning and with some help from my dad, I call him Emeril in the kitchen, I made the turkey, stuffing, and a pecan pie. Needless to say it turned out wonderful and I may or may not have patted myself on the back! Who knew cooking a turkey was so fun?! Seriously I can't wait until I have my own house and can cook for all of my family. 

I love Thanksgiving and the fun traditions my family has. Over the break we always go to a movie as a family. Last night we saw Catching Fire and it was awesome. I loved it! Everyone, GO SEE IT! After dinner we always shoot guns and it makes me want to buy one sooo badly. Then we go through the ads and get a gameplan for Black Friday shopping. Black Friday is a holiday all of its own. If you haven't experienced a black friday, I highly suggest you do. Such a rush haha! 

This year I have a lot to be grateful for. 
I have been so blessed and I know I often take 
for granted the things I am most grateful 
for. I have compiled a list of some of the 
things I am most grateful for. 
And they are....

My Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement
Jesus Christ “came into the world … to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness; that through him all might be saved” (D&C 76:41–42). The great sacrifice He made to pay for our sins and overcome death is called the Atonement. It is the most important event that has ever occurred in the history of mankind: “For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; … yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement” (Alma 34:9).


My Family
They are my greatest treasure. If I could put into words the love I have for my family I would. Instead I will give you a peek at 
some of our family photos we had taken recently. 
A picture is worth 1000 words right?

 My Dad
He does so much for my family and is the perfect example of the kind of husband and father I want for my future family. He is so kind and patient, and loves my mom so much. I learn something from him everyday and I couldn't ask for a better father. 

 My Mom
She is my biggest fan and does more for me than anyone else. She is the busiest person I know but I can always count on her when I need a listening ear or help with a problem. She jumps at the opportunity to serve others, especially her family. 

 My Sisters
A sister is your best friend, and I have 4 of them. We are all so close and I am so lucky to have the relationships with them that I do. We all argue and annoy each other like all siblings do, but at the end of the day we love each other and would do anything for each other. 

The Brother-in-Laws
Christopher is the big brother that I have always wanted. He is more than a brother-in-law, and I am so grateful for his example. He is the brother that calls just to check up on you, comes to Logan and takes you to lunch, teases and tackles you and throws you in the pool at the hotel before you have even checked in... and I love him so much. Joe has brought a new dynamic to our family and I love his energy. He will do anything for anyone. He is such a hard worker and is always willing to help me out. I know I give him a hard time, but I am so happy he is in my family now!

My Niece and Nephews
Children bring a joy to a home unlike any other. I would do anything for these kids. They have opened my heart in a way I didn't know was possible. 

Riggin
I don't talk about my nephew Riggin very much, but what an amazing blessing he has been to my family. He was born in the arms of God and I know that Ty, Chrissa, and Wayce will always have a special guardian angel watching over them. I cannot wait until the day I get to see this baby boy again.

Temples
"The temple is concerned with things of immortality. It is a bridge between this life and the next. All of the ordinances that take place in the house of the Lord are expressions of our belief in the immortality of the human soul."
-Gordon B. Hinckley

What an amazing place. I love going to the temple. It brings peace to my soul. I cannot wait until the day I can go inside and be sealed to my best friend for all eternity.

Kylee
This picture is so embarrassing but it honestly sums up our relationship perfectly. Our Heavenly Father truly knows what we need. I needed Kylee in my life and he put her in my life at the most perfect time. This girl has been the best friend that I have needed this semester. We have so much fun together. We are always laughing and she seriously brings out my weird side like no one else. I know that she is a friend I will have the rest of my life.
Thank you Kylee for being my friend.

My Friends














My friends are family to me. I love them like family. I'm sorry you all don't have an individual post, or individual pictures, and if you aren't in one of these pictures its not because I don't love you. I probably just didn't have a picture of us. But I truly love my friends sooo much. Even if we aren't super close, you mean the world to me. Friends help shape who you are, especially when you don't live at home and see your family every day. I am truly so sad to be leaving my friends in Logan next month. It breaks my heart when I think that some of my friends I may never see again. Thank you to all of my friends. You make my life better and happier.

My Freedom

My Health
I have always had good health and have always tried to take good care of my body. I know I take it for granted all the time, but I am so blessed to not have any health issues and to have a body that does exactly what it is supposed to.

now for a list without pictures...

My Patriarchal Blessing
I read it at least once a week and I have seen it help guide my life even in the short time I have had it. 

Razors
I dislike hair. Random I know. But I am sooo happy that I don't have to be a cave woman. gross...

Holidays
Oh man, I love any reason to celebrate and gather with family and friends.

Music
Music touches my soul in ways that words can't. It can lift my mood in an instant, remind me of happy moments, and help me release built up emotion. 

My job, and Future Job
I love teaching. My little students try my patience and bring a smile to my face every day. I will miss them so much. I am also grateful for my new job I will start in a month. I honestly didn't think I would be offered a job, but as scared as I am, it will be challenging and exciting and push me to new limits. 

Blankets and Fireplaces and Good Books
I love these individually and as a combination. Find me with these 3 things on a stormy day and I guarantee I will be happier than a clam.

There are many other things I am thankful for... but this post is pushing my length limits for a holiday haha!

I hope everyone has had as great of a Thanksgiving as I have had. I also hope we can all take a minute and reflect on our blessings, because we truly are blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving!

love, ash






Sunday, November 24, 2013

love yourself

“Confidence is the only key. I know a lot of people who aren’t traditionally ‘beautiful’ — not symmetrical or perfect-bodied or perfect-skinned. But none of that matters because all that shines through is their confidence, humor and comfort with themselves. I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself." ~Emma Stone


This post is sort of a spin off from my last one. In my last post I talked at the end about showing yourself respect, and I though it would be good to remind all the women out there that they are beautiful.


So I have this love/hate relationship with pinterest. I love it because it gives me beautiful words to use on my blog, and I hate it because it gives girls an unreal expectation of life. All of these quotes have come from my "Beautiful Words" board... click on the link to read more good stuff.


We have many reasons to love ourselves: We are children of God, we have many talents to offer others, we have the ability to overcome our weaknesses and become strong, and we have the potential to someday become like God. 

We are children of God, and when we do not love ourselves, we are not respecting the things God has created. 
When we dislike ourselves we are often depressed and frustrated. We are less able to serve the Lord.
A person who does not love herself is usually less able to love other people fully or understand how others can love her.
When a person dislikes herself, she sometimes tries to make herself feel accepted and loved by lowering her standards to please other people. 



"What makes a woman beautiful? The world tries to convince us that cosmetics, perfumes, jewelry, fashionable clothing, diets, and even surgery are necessary for beauty. While some of these fashion aids are desirable and lovely, they can change only surface appearances.
The gospel teaches us that true beauty is more than skin-deep. A young woman whose countenance is aglow with both happiness and virtue radiates inner beauty."



The beholder is the one who gazes, perceives, sees and understands. The beholder is the one who determines what beautiful is—to him or her.
Are you the beholder of your own beauty?
Who determines how you see yourself and how you feel about who you are?
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Overweight, underweight, crazy hair, puffy eyes, dry skin, oily skin, fashionable, frumpy? All shapes and imperfections are part of what makes you … you, beautiful beyond our grasp.
Can you see how beautiful you are?
When you think of your amazing life, what do you remember?
Triumphs and achievements, loss and defeat, success and failure, rejection and acceptance? All are a reflection in the mirror of your mind—of your inner strength and enduring splendor.
Do you remember how beautiful you are?
When you sail through your days, do you feel how beautiful you are?
Angry, sad, happy, elated, tired, joyful, energized, depressed, scared, courageous? All are felt through you and by you. Each emotion is nothing but a drop in the limitless ocean that is you—the experiencer, the feeler.
Can you feel how beautiful you are?
When you listen to the sound of your soul, what do you hear?
You are the space in which stillness breathes and silence talks. You are the gap between thoughts and the thoughts between words. You are the exceptional and the mundane. You are all and you are none.
You are the vastness of awareness through which life expresses itself.
Do you hear how beautiful you are?
To be one with life, you need to be one with you—to accept how beautiful you are, to transcend opinions, definitions, standards and otherness.
For you are the love of life.
And when you know how beautiful you are, you behold the truth of all there is—our oneness. You become one with now, and one with all of creation.


We are all uniquely beautiful. 
We are all daughters of our Heavenly Father. 
Our body and personality are gifts from him.
 Love yourself. 
If you dont, who will? 


love, ash
Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The List

The main topic of conversation in my apartment, especially lately, is for sure Men.
My roommates and I talk about guys we are dating, guys we wish we were dating, guys we shouldn't be dating. We talk about what we want, what most women want, what we don't want, what we think men want, what we wish men wanted. We have talked about the difference between men and boys and how we wish there were more men in the world and how we are grateful for the few real men out there who actually treat you the way you want to be treated. Sometimes we share stories about the "boys" we have dated and the stupidness that was. Those are fun stories...

We talk about how dumb girls are and how all girls just want a 'bad boy' ...which is totally not true!! We talk about how mad it makes us when stupid girls date amazing guys and how we wish we were dating those amazing guys. We talk about awesome girls who are dating jerks and how she can do so much better. Girls seriously can be sooo dumb sometimes. 


I decided that I needed to publicly share with all men, women, boys, and girls, The List that I have came up to determine if you should date or keep dating someone. Both of my lists can and should go both ways. Change she to he and it becomes the husband list. Easy. Some of these are my own ideas and others are things I have happened upon that I really liked. Now, I'm no relationship expert obviously, but I have had successful relationships. (Yes you can have successful relationships even if they don't lead to marriage.) 

Don't worry this is nothing like the list I made up when I was in Beehives.


For men:


The Wife List


She shares your beliefs
When it comes to finding your wife you should be “equally yoked.”  Your potential wife should have the same beliefs you have. 
She makes you a better man
If everyday is hell with her, that should be a red flag. Your potential wife should elevate you to Yourself 2.0. You can get a good idea from your friends and family. Do they say you act differently in a bad way when you are around her? Not a good sign.  She should bring out the best in you, not bring out heartache and frayed nerves.
She’s trustworthy
In fact, she should inspire trustworthiness within you. If there’s good reason not to trust her, don’t even go there. 
She has ambition
She should have strength in character and carry herself with confidence. As a man, you should be the leader in the relationship. You probably don’t want the consummate follower either. She should have plans too. In fact, she should be a hard worker just like you. That doesn’t mean having a job is a requirement. Being a stay at home mom is in my opinion the best thing a woman can do.
She’s selfless
She should care about others. Look at the way she treats her family and her friends. If she’s not close with her family, and doesn’t have any good friends, that’s not a good sign. If you start dating her, much less marry her, you will discover why soon enough. 
She’s attractive
In your eyes, she should be a “10.” I’ve dated “hot” guys who ended up being downright ugly by the time we ended things. Personality plays into attractiveness big-time. Just remember, “charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting.” She should be beautiful down to her soul because that kind of beauty lasts forever.
She’s smart
Believe me - I know how important physical attraction is to a relationship. But, believe me when I say that it’s not the most important thing, when you’re talking long term. A woman who truly keeps your attention, makes you excited to see her, or just talk to her – every day – is one worth holding onto. An intelligent, well-spoken, witty, funny woman with killer looks, granted is hard to come by – but, who are you to settle for less than you deserve? Nobody, that’s who. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with her, so she should be able to hold a good conversation. She should be wise, smart, and give you good advice. Her women’s intuition should be strong. 
She loves you unconditionally
If she’s trying to change you to be another person, it’s time to move on. Your future wife should love you just as you are, regardless of anything you’ve done in your past. There will be minor adjustments along the way, but if she nags you about your core characteristics, it won’t get any better in marriage.
She’s responsible
Does she remember appointments and meetings? Does she flake all of the time? She should already do a good job of managing her own life. If she’s got loads of debt and doesn’t work, you’re going to be taking all of that on. Ultimately, she will have some part in your financial well-being, and guess what? Finances remain one of the leading causes of divorce.
She gets along with your family and friends
If she doesn’t even try to connect with your family and/or friends, let her go. She shouldn’t be critical of the people who you love and have been loyal to you throughout your life. There might be cases where your mom doesn’t like your future wife, and that may require your intervention; but in general, she should be a good fit with the people in your life. Marriage is a joining of two lives that existed prior to meeting the other person.
She doesn’t look for attention
The women who don’t look for attention, are precisely the women you should be giving your attention to. Girls who are always looking for compliments or to be noticed, are often insecure and looking to overcompensate. What’s more – is that they’re likely more concerned about their own happiness, than they would be about yours.
Women who are content with their own self confidence and don’t look elsewhere for validation, shine from within and will add to your life. The last thing you need is to be a placeholder for a girl who is just seeking something anyone else can give her. This doesn't provide any sort of foundation for a solid relationship.
She is comfortable in any situation
Let’s face it, when you’re dating somebody, you’re not alone with them all the time. It’s important to be able to live a full life with them by your side. This means family events, outings with friends, double dates, movie nights on the couch… Not to mention, the activities brought forth by similar interests – which you both should have!
If you truly like a girl and feel comfortable bringing her to any social event and leaving her alone if you need to go talk to someone or grab a drink – then she should get major bonus points.
She doesn't start petty arguments
In a healthy relationship, two people should be able to work out their differences via mature conversation and discussion. This does not mean bringing up nonsensical past issues or dwelling on small events that they’ve been emotionally harboring, waiting for the right time to unleash.
A mature woman won’t throw the past in your face or use it as ammunition against you, especially if she has already forgiven you for your mistakes.
She encourages you
Even the best accomplishments in life seem to lose their luster when there is nobody to share them with. Your significant other should be one of, if not THE first, person you want to tell exciting news to.
Does she get excited about things in your life, even if she doesn't have personal interest in them? Does she stand behind you, and encourage you to chase your goals and dreams? If so, you have found a teammate worth holding onto.
She puts in effort for you.
Her putting in effort doesn’t have to be much. It can be something as simple as keeping her hair done to look good for you. It’s no secret that sometimes the romance wears off of longer term relationships, but you shouldn’t let it – and neither should she.
If a woman continues to do what she knows attracted you in the first place, even after she got you a long time ago, it shows she cares about keeping you around.
You can laugh together.
Seriously, how big is this one? Simple, but so important. Laughing is my favorite thing in the whole world. I want to spend the rest of my life laughing. But life can get you down. Work, bills, obligations – your relationship shouldn't be something on that list. Your girlfriend should also be your best friend who you can do anything with, and have fun doing it.
If they drag you down, it’s time for a change.
You can cry together.
Not everything is sunshine and rainbows. Times get tough, things get hard, and we all need a support system.
Is she there for you when you need her? Are you there for her? If your support is not reciprocated by her, then you need to find someone who understands the importance of your feelings, too.
You have similar views for the future.
I know, the future is way off. It’s a scary place, but it’s still there. If you’re in a solid, committed relationship, it’s important to understand where both of you see yourselves, and the relationship – going.

For women:
The Real Men List

A real man values more than just your looks
Is every compliment from him about a different body part? It doesn’t matter how creative he can be, if a guy’s sole focus is on how you look, or ‘talking dirty,’ see it as a red flag. A real man will value your personality, your kindness, your intelligence, and who you are as a person, in general. The things he makes you feel good about will be things that you control, not just results of getting lucky in the gene pool.
A real man will never be intimidated by your motivation
A man who has goals for himself, will want to be with a woman who has goals for her own life, too. He will never feel intimidated or threatened by a woman who goes after what she wants. He will want to be part of a power couple, rather than a dictatorship. Be mindful of anyone who tries to keep you from pursuing your dreams.
A real man will have more interests than just you
I don’t mean this in a negative way. You should, of course, be a priority in his life – but he needs to have a life as well. Interests, friends, hobbies, aspirations. If a man works his entire life around you, it’s another red flag – relationships should be a great part of your life, but not encompass your whole life.
A real man will give you answers
No matter how awkward or uncomfortable a situation is, a real man will approach it, and you, with respect. I have always felt that a mark of a man is how he handles conflict, criticism, and less-than-ideal situations. A man will not dance around answers or make excuses. If there is something you two need to talk about, he will talk about it.
A real man is direct
In addition to the last point – there will be no mind games or manipulation in your relationship. A man will be direct, to the point, and honest with you…but with kindness.
A real man will trust you
As long as you haven’t betrayed his trust, a man will NOT be paranoid, or snoop around invading your privacy to make sure you’re not doing anything bad. He will have confidence in your relationship. A boy will project his own insecurities onto you, and like termites in a house, will eat away at the foundation of what you’ve built.
A real man is cool, calm, and collected
It should be understood that part of what comes with the territory of having a girlfriend, is dealing with her getting hit on. If you’re out together, or if she’s out with her friends, it goes without saying that your girlfriend will get hit on every once in awhile.
Instead of letting his primate instincts prevail and beating his chest like an angry gorilla to scare off competition, a confident man will calmly make his position known, and understand that you’re still going home with him at the end of the night.
A real man will show you respect
Nothing signifies an empty shell of a man more than someone who disrespects women, elderly, or children. A real man will treat you with the respect that you deserve, never force you to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, and never mistreat you. Be honest enough with yourself to walk away from any situation that is dangerous to you, physically or emotionally.
If a man whistles at you, do not respond. You are a lady, not a dog.
A real man will put effort into your relationship
Boys are generally apathetic and just look for one thing from a woman. A man, will do what it takes to make you happy. Your happiness, is his reward.
A real man will make you want to be the best version of yourself, without changing who you really are
A man will empower those around him. He will strive for greatness and therefore inspire others to strive for it as well. This not only includes friends and co-workers, but also significant others.
If you do have one of these men in your life, make sure he knows he is appreciated.

I get extremely frustrated with girls/guys who date stupid girls/guys. There are amazing people out there. PLEASE show yourself some respect and date those who respect you.


Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.



love, ash