Do Small Things with Great Love

I really don;t care if you call them resolutions or goals or what have you. And yes I am aware of the study that says 89% of resolutions or goals are broken by the end of Janurary. The act is I like setting goals, and in 2013 I was pretty good at setting and meeting some pretty awesome goals. Some of these things are super attainable, others are just wishes, but honestly unless you try you’ll never know. I have a motto for the year. It is “Do Small Things with Great Love.” I want to let those I care about know it. In the smallest ways. The little things are the best things for me. On Christmas my favorite part is the stocking, filled with little trinkets that took great planning. In life I am the same way. Little notes, little gifts, little texts are my favorite. It is timeI return the blessing.

14 5ks in 2014. 

I did my first 5k in December 2013 and I loved it. I didn’t run it that is for sure, but it was fun, and different, and the money went to a good cause. This could get expensive as each 5k is $25-60 but I may ask for entries for gifts or something. So far I have on my calendar:

Jan 18th Run for the Kids at Universal Studios

Jan 25th Seasons 52 Run in Winter Park

Feb 1st Lady Track Shack all ladies Run at Mead Gardens

Feb 15th Run through the Pines at Showalter Field

July 4th Watermelon Run

Document More

More pictures, more writing it all down, more Project Life, More photo albums and prints.

At least 1 One on One date with each of my small group girls.

Keep my nails painted or manicured (no chips)

Pay more attention to friends and families Birthdays

This plays into the “Do Small Things with Great Love” I just want the people I care about to know it.

Find a way to sell some of my vintage treasures.

I just have too many and am trying to really only keep things I absolutely LOVE in my life.

Finance my 5th Kenya trip.

Buy a house/condo

I am sure there are more things I’d like to do but maybe I will make those monthly goals. Who knows. I do know though that I plan on finding a ton of ways to show great love through small gestures. Wish me luck!

How to do what I’ve never been able to do…

2013 was a roller coaster of a year for me, with some of the highest highs and the lowest lows. Just like any good roller coaster though, as soon as it is over, I’d love to ride all over again. In order to shed light where it should be an not where it shouldn’t here are some of the “Highs.”

-Secured a full time job at my dream job, I love me job and every single day I am reminded why. I am more financially stable now than I have been in years, probably not where I need to be, but RIGHT where the Lord has me.

-Returned to Kenya for my 4th trip. It gets more and more like home every year.

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-Added another grade to my small group, I now have 17, yes 17 of the greatest girls 6th and 7th grade has to offer. I love them fiercely, and we have the best time together. This year we spent time at Disney, at UCF events and sports, Rollerskating, a week at camp in Alabama and far more importantly in God’s Word.

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-I took a Birthday trip to Washington DC. As a reformed poly-sci wanna be this was a dream. I geeked out in museums, saw all the places I have read about for so long, ate some of the best food of my life, and added another stadium to my life list of seeing a baseball game at every stadium in the nation. The highlight of the trip was the cherry blossom festival, something that only happens about a week a year and is highly unpredictable!

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-I also took a million pictures, a season worth of football pictures, 9 families’ Christmas photos, concerts, and recitals and what not.

-I walked over 50 miles in  November and completed my first 5k in December.

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There were plenty of other highlights, however they are not as easy to remember through all the ups and downs, which brings me to 2014. In 2014 I want to document more, call it a resolution, call it a goal, whatever I just want to do it. To document more of the exciting things, the blessings, the highlights, the answered prayers. I have tried many times over the years to keep this blog, and it never seems to stick. So how this year will I do something I have never been able to do?

I’m not sure yet. Sad.

I guess I’ll just have to try, when I set out to walk 50 miles in a month I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. Yet I did. So here we go again. Let’s document 2014. Keep a record. This is going to be a PHENOMENAL year and I already know I am going to want to remember it all.

 

I’m going to walk 50 miles in November (Pile on the Miles)

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I have a pretty loft goal I am working on here. I have broken it down into some manageable ones, but even those are going to require, and are requiring some serious effort. My first small goal was to lose 30lbs in 12 weeks, I did it in 10. My next small goal is to lose 50lbs overall by New Years. I am on track right now.  Back in September I allowed myself a weekend “off” and I seriously spent 2 weeks miserable that I did. Nothing I had enjoyed that weekend was worth the 2 weeks it took me to get out of the funk and lose again (well maybe Bev’s Cupcakes.) From that point on it became more of a commitment. I honestly don’t feel like I am deprived of anything. I eat Tijuana Flats like twice a week. THANK YOU FOR OUR SALAD TF!!! I even had a big ole juicy bacon burger a few weeks ago. However if I am going to hit my 2nd small goal I realize that the holidays CANNOT derail what I have going. SO I began looking for a plan.

In comes a blog called Run, Eat, Repeat. I am pretty obsessed with blogs and specifically this one. RER is written by Monica a self proclaimed “Red headed Mexican girl from Southern CA willing to embarrass herself on the internet daily right here for your viewing pleasure.” It follows her running, (she’s getting ready for her 7th Marathon), and eating habbits. She is hosting a challenge called “Pile on the Miles.” Essentially you set a goal to run (or for me walk) more than usual, thus piling on the miles, not the pounds in November. All you have to do it go to Run, Eat, Repeat and sign up on a simple form for whatever goal you’d like to keep. Then post a couple times about your progress. Easy Peasy! I signed up for 50 miles in November. I walked 10 miles last week so I figured 50 was doable, but a little out there. I guess we’ll see. If you want to join in, let me know. Or just sign up. 

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Building an Army

I let my self down constantly. Honestly I do it so often I don’t really even think about it any more. I think when you come from years, if not a lifetime of being let down by people who were supposed to protect or take care of you, it trains you to think you’re not worth taking care of. However anyone who knows me knows it pains me most to let someone I care about down. I am notoriously a “YES” person. I am not good at all at saying “no” and I almost always put others needs before my own. So when I realized this journey was going to be different, that this time I knew it HAD to work, I set out to make a much more solid plan. 

Step one of my plan has been to build an army. A group of people who I care about, and who have shown me they care about me, and I slowly let them in on what I was doing. I KNEW that if these people were counting on me, were putting in effort I just couldn’t let them down. My Army so far is small, that’s actually a lie. My army is kind of enormous seeing as though I have shared it on this blog and over 1000 people see it. I have received support from places I never anticipated. I guess I should say my “group of officers” is small, or my “swat team”, “my green berets”, whatever the upper of the upper is, someone I am sure can help me here. I have a handful of people who are my accountability right now, and honestly I like it that way. The fewer people I let in, the fewer chances I have of being let down. 

It is crazy to say that one of the core people in “Ashley’s Army” right now is a 17 year old. She is encouraging beyond belief and honestly kinda thinks I am superwoman, which is crazy but amazing. I also have someone who if I can be candid, I have struggled to keep in my life. We have gone from super close to not speaking. She is one of the most loyal people I know, and has the kindest heart, but I am not easy to take on, and quite frankly our needs and what we can offer to a friend have not always lined up. This experience though is helping. When I need her the most she is ALWAYS there, and I need her now. There have been other’s that have surprised me, people who are in a different league than me physically and spiritually, who have stepped up and offered encouragment. I just don’t have words. I feel so good in this place right now. In creating a family around me, who actually want good for me. That is a hard place for me to be. I don’t receive love easily, and this Army is a labor of love. 

I feel more confident i this than I have in a long time. I feel like I deserve this. I deserve to be healthy and happy. I deserve people who are selfless. I struggle all the time with feeling worthy. Right now I sort of feel it. 

10 miles.

This week I walked 10 miles. Over 4 days mind you. I don’t mean like I parked super far from the mall or I walked up and down the 100 yards of a football field taking pictures for 4 hours, though I did all these things too. I mean  put on sneakers, and went to the Y or a lake and purposefully, at a brisk pace walked 10 miles. I did 1.67 on a treadmill, another 2.5 around lake Baldwin and 2.6 and 3.1 around Lake Underhill. I am purposefully walking and I must admit I kinda love it.

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I want to be a runner. For someone who is as overweight as I am, that is a scary thing to put out there. The fact of the matter is I used to be really athletic. I played softball for years, and at one point I even liked running drills and such. I doubt I will ever be back to that place, but I’d really like to get back to a place where exercise is fun. Where is can be something  enjoy, and mostly where I can be competitive, where I can do things people think I can’t I truly do love it when people underestimate me.

So far ont his journey I have lost about 30lbs. I honestly don’t see a difference yet, though a few people have begun to notice. I found a picture from August, when I started this journey and then took one a couple of days ago and put them side by side. I don;t see the progress yet butI know it is there. I know because I have had to buy new jeans. I know because the scael says so and I know because I feel a ton better. I guess this is me putting it all out there.Image

Only time will tell but I really feel like this time is the time. I am building a small army of people around me who are terribly supportive, more on that later.

Love Always,

Ashley

Kenya, in pictures I LOVE

This summer marked my 4th trip to Kenya. It seems like I have always just been there or gone there. I am amazed by how different it feels now than that first summer, I was terrified to leave the country and go to this foreign place. Now it feels much like home. comfortable and warm, with family and friends. Here is my summer trip in pictures. They speaker better than I can.

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My favorite from the trip. 
Julius, the little boy I LOVE holding a POLAROID picture of us, 
and his family, while wearing a Gator hoodie I got him. 
Literal perfection. 

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Close up

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                             Mama and Baby, and the little girl's look.

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This most describes when I FEEL like I am in Kenya. Traffic, right side-driving, me in the VERY front seat…..almost to Hope Center.

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A couple more from Hope Academy.

I’ve obviously figured out that one post isn;t enough for the pictures I love. I don’t know what I was thinking narrowing thousands down to a post.

The “Only Things I Love” Life

I have too much stuff I don’t care about. My problem isn’t that I have too much stuff, it is that I have stuff that means nothing to me, that serves no purpose, or that takes space or time away from things I do care about. I have a plethora of reasons why I think I acquired said stuff.

1. When you have a life full of people leaving, you don’t like it when things do too.

2.When money is tight, you fear getting rid of things even if you don’t like them because you don;t know if you coudl afford to replace them.

or Maybe it’s that…

3. I’m such a people-pleaser that I don’t want to get rid of anything anyone ever gave me because I associate the gift or donation with their love.

 

All of these sound a little too deep and a LOT too much for me to really deal with now. Especially because they are no the point of this post.

The point is I also happen to have some things I really care about. Recently, probably fueled by my desire to move and/or buy a place. I have been evaluating things I have. I adopted this mantra of only having things I LOVE around me and it has made getting rid of things SO much easier. Clothes, movies, games, dishes, whatever. If I don;t love it I get rid of it. It has been TERRIBLY liberating. For example when I moved into my current apartment I had 9, YES NINE bookshelves filled with books. Many I had already read, some I just thought made me seem cooler than I was, others I planned to read (oh that road of good intentions.) So I started asking myself, Do I LOVE this book? And after a few short hours months I now have 4 bookshelves not even all full, and you know what??? I have read 3 books in the last 2 weeks. YES! This is the abundant life I have been missing. Abundance doesn’t mean MANY things anymore, it means things that mean MUCH! So I have started with all other things in my house. Got rid of records I didn’t LOVE, have listened to more music in the last 2 days than in forever. I feel better int he clothes I wear because I have a closet full of things I love. The examples are obviously abound the point is. I am far happier. It is a feeling I can’t really explain which is probably why this is the longest post ever about nothing.

The final thing I have realized, and the sheer motivation for this post: I truly believe God is bringing far more things I LOVE into my life, because I am choosing to have less. I don’t know if that makes sense but it is all to say. I am really LOVING life right now, and LOVING the path God has me on and the life He is providing for me.

A question, though I am not sure the point with pretty much 2 people reading this thing.

Q: Does anyone else find i weird that photography is one of my favorite things in the world yet there are no pictures on my blog in months? What if I just dumped a bunch of pictures I LOVE recently?? Yes/No?