Dear The Man I Marry

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Not for the chocolate, big teddy bears or flowers (all that I happily receive from my dad these days), but for the purest of reasons, LOVE. I am in love with the love I get to see from so many people on this special day. The couples walking around holding hands, kissing each other thank you after dinner, and just the vulnerability of feeling the spark again.

For all of these reasons are the exact reason Valentine’s Day is one of the worst holidays. Yes, I could be on the bandwagon that this is just another money sucking holiday created by Hallmark. I choose to love it anyway, but I will always question why it has to be this way. Why, oh why can’t we show this love and over use ‘i love you’ on any other day?

I never want to lose the spark. I want to wake up each and every morning (sometimes afternoon let’s be honest) knowing that my husband loves me just as much today as he will when the calendar reads February 14th. Everyday is our Valentine’s Day. They say you fall out of love for the same reasons you fell in it in the first place. I am not always going to be my best self or at my prettiest. Sometime’s I am too sassy or stubborn when I don’t get my way. Sometime’s I will talk too loud or kiss to hard or dream too big, but I refuse to talk quieter or kiss less or dream smaller because I am “TOO much”.

You won’t be perfect either. You will bite your nails or do a nervous tap that is sure to get on my nerves, but love is kinda a funny thing. I believe that we don’t just feel it, but it is a choice. Loving someone is a continual choice we make because it is who we devote ourselves to day in and day out, completely + unconditionally. Please, please, please know when a little thing is just that, a little thing. Accept me for it and help me grow it into my strength as I will try to do for you. At the end of the day my weakness can either bring me up or tear me down, empowerment and courage to make that decision is what I need you for.

So to the man I marry, Valentine’s Day is not going to be marked in our calendars, but marked in our hearts everyday. I look forward to loving you, growing with you and being with you for the rest of eternity (someday, fingers crossed). Until then I pray for the right man to cross my path and trust in knowing God has a good, no, GREAT one picked out for me with a pretty little bow.

I am praying for you and I am excited to pray with you for the rest of our future.

xoxox

Ashley

Thank You to my High School Best Friends

4 years of seeing each other each and everyday, spending every waking minute together and getting into an unbelievable amount of trouble was what we were known for. Thank you for all the Friday nights of sport events ending with a weekend filled with parties, shopping, movie nights and food runs. Thank you for giving me a group of people who for some reason stuck around no matter the arguments, back stabbing and rumors. Thank you for teaching me that even though we grew so close for so long, some friendships weren’t really friendships. Thank you for being my best friends when you want me to be, even if it wasn’t all the time. Thank you for letting me feeling like I had it all, until I didn’t.

Coming from a long list of past friendships that ended in arguments, discouragement and just an overall end (because some friendships just have to die), college was the bright light at the end of the tunnel. In the past 3 months my life has taken a complete 360 all because I realized one little, but major thing.

You cannot allow yourself to be surrounded by others who don’t encourage you to grow, love and lead in your spiritual, educational and social environments. The really funny part about people is that no matter how much we want to read into things, they just don’t make sense. Sometimes we get this little guy in the back of our brain saying “they are so great, they love you, they are awesome keep them around”, but they’re so so so wrong. The way someone treats you is exactly how they feel no matter how much we want to deny it day in and day out.

I truly believe God has led me to Purdue and into the arms of such amazing, beautiful people for a reason. They have shown me what it means to care about others before myself, give my education all I’ve got and push through the tough times no matter how much they really suck. The friends I have gained have made me question (on a daily basis) how I never found people like them sooner which made me realize they deserve a big thank you too.

To my friend who started it all: Thank you for being my first best friend on this crazy huge campus. For leading me in the right direction on the path to educational success and for always motivating me to work harder day in and day out. You make me smarter.

To my friend who grows me in my God: Thank you for loving to belt your heart out to every song at church with me. Having someone to open my heart up to about my deepest beliefs came so easy from the first day we met. I am eternally grateful to know you have my back in every sticky situation and are willing to lift me up when I’m down with just the right things to say. You make me powerful.

To my friend who I look up to: Thank you for showing me the meaning of success. You are the definition of a self-taught genius. The hard work you put it school, friends and yourself inspires me to push myself to my limits. You drive yourself to be the best you can be and when you reach the top I know you’ll turn around and give others a hand. You make me motivated.

To my friend who makes me seem less crazy: Thank you for being your all over the place, overwhelmed self. You are open to everything new and good, even if you have to have a freak out to get there. You stress and worry, but at the end of the day you can let loose with all the girls for a little bit. I can’t always get myself to care about everything the way I should and you teach me that a little freaking out is just fine when I space on something important. You make me the calm before the storm.

To my friend who reminds me to live a little: Thank you for making the little things matter and the horrible situations seem not so bad. The positive attitude you bring to life even when the going gets tough astonishes me. We have known each other for no time at all, but still we fight like sisters and make up in no time. You drive me nuts, but who doesn’t like nuts. Life is exciting with you. You make me fun.

Getting walked on, blown off and talked down to is not normal, no matter how often it happened in high school. Best friends should fill you will all of the positive love your heart can consume. So thank you high school best friends, you have made my new start to life so unexpected, but so full of love and happiness. It was a long time coming.

xoxoxo

Ashley

Best Friend

What is a best friend by definition? “A persons closest friend.” How many can say that have a “best friend” by definition? I know I can. Just having that one person you know you have no matter what. The closest to you in all matters. The one you tell every little detail about your life to. They probably know you like the back of their hand. 

So many times I feel like we get comfortable. We just expect that person to be there at every waking minute no matter the situation. Yes that’s what we think, but how many times do we take this for granted. Lately I have been realizing my thank you’s have run short. I have been thinking about all the things people constantly do for me, with or without me asking. The amount of times these acts have occurred are much higher than the amount of praise I’ve given to the people who deserve it the most. 

My biggest flaw I think is that I never really get through to people just how much I appreciate what they do. Constantly I can take and I can give in return, but it will never show someone how thankful I am to have them. Letting someone know that you are grateful for them is one of the best feelings another person can feel. I know when someone tells me “hey thank you for doing that for me, it really help out” after a long day I feel a lot better about what I’ve done. I have been taking and taking without giving as much in return. Telling someone simply thank you can go so far, but it isn’t always enough. By definition I need to be the best friend too. I have to listen, solve problems and help the other in return. 

I have been lacking when it comes to being a best friend to my best friend. Letting someone know you are there through it all is what matters the most. Nobody likes someone who isn’t here to stay in this world full of temporary people. It’s times to open up my ears and listen. I need to take my turn to fix my mistakes and others, but also apologize for the ones that can’t be reversed. What can we do to make others more aware of our gratitude? This has had me stumped for awhile. I don’t want to just tell someone thank you. Thank you means something, but it’s not always meaningful. What about switching it up with an “I really appreciate you” or “your the best”? I am still stuck on trying to become better, everyday I am learning.

Tell your person you care about their feelings too. Tell them you are so thankful they exist. Let them know they are loved and they are cared for. Now starting being a best friend back to your best friend. Whatever you need to say, say it. We can never overuse thank you, so make sure you use it often. Let others know you appreciate them and just how much you love having them in your life. I am so thankful for you. I am so happy you are in my here & now. 

It’s Kinda Like a Love Story

What’s the first thing to come to your head when you think of the word love? Maybe it’s a special someone you’ve been with for a while, a family member or a materialistic item. Now in your head make a list of the 5 things you love the most, okay go. 
**NO PEEKING TILL THE LIST IS DONE**
On your list I’m sure there are friends, family, maybe even a pet. It’s a list of things we all can’t live without. Now if I asked you to make as long of a list as you wanted, what is the likelihood that you would put yourself in the top 5 or even the top 10? So often with are stuck putting everything and everyone before us. Don’t get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting others before you (this is actually highly suggested), but do not forget about yourself. We all have a lot of love to give and we hand it out like candy on Halloween. Since we are constantly handing it out, sometimes we forget to leave a little for ourselves. 
Self-love is the true love that belongs at the top of the list. Constantly we are searching for something or someone to love without loving ourselves first. I know how cliche it sounds, but you have to have to have to love yourself so much before you can expect anything from anyone else. Yes your family will love you and the right friends will too. The time you need to love yourself the most is when you are realizing the wrong friends and the negativity surrounding you. Yes I know it’s not always rainbows and sunshine, but negativity should NOT outweigh the positives in your life.


Loving yourself will make you realize who doesn’t love you. For a while you will deny it, even try to make them love you, but eventually all that will come out of it is constant hurt. You will notice others putting you down when you only put them up or maybe they only call you when they need something, not just to check in on your busy life. Loving who you are and trying to become who you want to be will lead you in direction of your true values. Gaining a new view on life will start to make you question the people you surround yourself with. Letting yourself take care of you and forget about the needy friends who only take and take with no giving will refresh your mind to find something new. Sometimes it takes a major event to make us really question the love we have for ourselves. Sometimes it’s just that one person. Maybe your one is a break up or the loss of a loved one, whatever it is will make you feel like there is a space open that needs filled in your life. 
When you take a step back and evaluate the situation, maybe you feel that space so greatly because they gave you all the love you forgot to give yourself. Take this space and fill it with all the laughs, the late night food runs, the endless movie marathons and all the other things(even more) that made you love your life a little more when this person was around. Do this because you owe it to not only them, but yourself. You deserves to continue on without them and be the loving, open minded person you could be with them. The funny thing about love is that it does not have to be said or heard to be felt. Doing little things everyday to boost your likelihood of having a day you love. Maybe the little things are working out, giving yourself those motivational talks when you need empowered or just finally doing something on your own that you always did with the help of someone else. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you are independent, it means that you can love who you are and what you do with or without the love other people have to give. 
The best part of falling in love with yourself is knowing someone will never leave. You have you and that is the strongest bond you can make. Start relying on your own decision making instead of always asking others what they think you should do (trust me, this has benefited me A LOT). Each and every morning wake up and tell yourself that today will be a good day, then try your hardest to make it that way. We choose our attitudes, so make yours a good one and good things will happen. Remember to love the little things about yourself like the weird laugh you have, the freckles you swear you hate, the cute little fingers that look like they belong on a baby, or just the curves that roll through your body. They are the beauty that not only others see, but you see. Make them beautiful through your eyes and they will strengthen you in endless ways. Who knows, you could make someone start to love their own. 
No matter how much love we have for ourselves, we can always have more. Be comfortable in your own skin, it is your home. Wear the clothes you’ve always wanted to wear, it decorates your body. Remember you are a temple and there is only one You. Keep it happy, keep it healthy, keep it loving.