December 29, 2009

Santa Baby. . .

Apparently I was a lot better than I thought I was this year, 'cause Santa decided to deliver the mother load to our fortunate stockings. Photoshop Elements 8 and a Canon Rebel T1i with telephoto lens and 4 GB SD card. (Ok, the camera is technically mine AND Dallin's, but I have been having fun with it :)) I seriously got choked up when I opened my camera. I am so. stinkin. excited. You have no idea. I have been toying with photoshop and have been having soo much fun. And the pictures that my new camera takes are amazing! I will share a few on here with you, just cause I love em so much. :) Oh yes, and Dallin got a 1 TB external hard drive for our laptops (hallelujah!) which is MUCH needed now that I have lots of new pictures and ps elements to hog all my hard drive space. :) I just want to thank my Mom and Dad and Jeff and Valerie for their AMAZING generosity to us. We truly feel so blessed. We are the luckiest kids on this planet. For sure.

Jeff took this right after we opened our new camera. See those smiles? We were just a little excited. :)

I took this with our telephoto lens and every time I look at it, my stomach does flip flops. I've got the best looking husband. Ever.

December 15, 2009

What was that? A complaint?

Yup. A complaint. I'm not the happiest camper right now. Any guesses as to why? Oh, could it have to do with the fact that I am packing up and moving for the 5th time in 12 months? Perhaps.

Now, class, why would that make Ashley mad?

*raises hand*

"Yes, Ashley?"

"Is it because Ashley's questioning her sanity right now?"

"That is a great answer! Yes! Anyone else?"

*another raised hand* Oooh, ooh, pick me!

"Yes, Ashley?"

"Is it because it's a really big inconvenience??"

"Another great answer! Yes! Any last guesses as to why Ashley hates moving?"

*raises hand, jumps out of chair* PICK MEEEEE!!!

"Yes, Ashley?"

"I KNOW!! It's because she's a huge klutz and ends up tripping and bruising herself and cutting herself and breaking all her nails!"

"Very good! And why would this be a bad thing?"

"Because then she looks like an abuse vicitim?"


Yes. Losing my mind. Right now. And throwing myself an enormous pity party while I am at it. But you know what stinks? Every time I think "boo-hoo, poor me", then this thought simultaneously enters my head.

"At least you're not your amazing sister-in-law Staci who had to do this every summer when she and Nate were first married and they had at least one kid almost every time she did it. And they moved cross country. Every time. With kids. In a car. WITH KIDS."

And then another thought will pop into my head. "At least you're not your other amazing sister-in-law Hillary who moved cross country with a kid. Yes. Again, a KID."

And yet another thought pops into my head. "At least you're not your amazing sister, Tara, who had to move cross country with kids. In a van. With kids. And minimal stopping. With KIDS. Yes, there it is again, WITH KIDS!"

And then this last thought pops into my head. "You've got an amazingly wonderful fabulous husband who is stressing big time over final exams and final projects. The last thing he needs is his silly wife complaining about something else and making him stress out over yet ANOTHER thing."

Seriously? Perspective and maturity totally kill a pity party. Can't I just wallow in my self pity for like 5 minutes? Oh wait. I've already done that. And packed up 1/4 of the house because I was fueling myself with the anger. I guess that was productive in a sense. Oh well, I suppose I'll grow up and be a mature adult about this whole moving thing. It's an adventure, right? One that I will look back on with fondness and humor and think, "those were the good ol' days!" Yeah. . . not likely.

P.S. Writing all this significantly improved my mood. Thank you for letting me rant. *Sighs* Much better.

December 9, 2009


I tend to take stock of my life around this time of year. Everything about the Christmas season just seems to make me more reflective, and somewhat sober. (In a non-alcoholic kind of way :)) And lately, it seems I have had some seriously sobering things thrown into my path.

As I was getting ready for work yesterday, I had the news on and it showed the procession of those police officers in the Seattle area who were shot and killed about a week ago. My heart ached for those families. What a difficult thing to face, especially at this time of year.

Then, later that day, while at work, a family came in to find suits and dresses for everyone because their son had recently passed away. It wasn't until a little girl came in later and told me he had killed himself that I realized it was a suicide. Once again, my heart ached for that family. They came in again today to get their respective suits, ties, dresses, etc. The daughter, who couldn't have been more than 15, and is just younger than the son who passed away, was trying on a dress for the funeral. As she looked at her mom, her eyes welled up with tears and she asked, "mom, do you think he'd like it?" In reference to her deceased brother. I stumbled across this scene by accident, just wanting to make sure everything was working out alright for them. I quietly slipped away and tears sprang to my eyes. The pain and sadness in that young girls eyes just tore me apart. Then, as the mother went to pay for all of their purchases, her eyes turned red, filled with tears and she said, "thank you for all you did for us." I almost lost it. I wanted to just hug that woman and tell her it was going to be ok. I wanted to do something, anything, to take the hurt out of her eyes. But, I just stood there, nodded and said, "you're welcome".

As I reflected on the recent events that have afflicted our nation, and on a smaller scale, affected a community and family, I thought about the first two commandments we are given. The first is to love God and have none else before Him. The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. As those two commandments went through my head, I thought, "If everyone followed those two commandments, every problem that afflicts this world, would be solved." If we all were less selfish and more loving, if we cared more for others and thought less of ourselves, if we put our Heavenly Father's will before ours, wouldn't all the other problems just disappear? As I thought about this, I realized I have errors in my own life that need to be corrected, things that need to be changed. I want to be so much better than I am. And I want all the hurt and the pain to be vanished from this world. I know that won't happen, but I know that if I can be more selfless, and if I teach my future children to be selfless, won't that make a little difference? At least in a few lives?

As this beautiful season fast approaches, I pray that we can all feel our Saviors love for us and that we can strive to emulate His life. What greater gift could we give to our dear Savior than to love our brothers and sisters? May we all strive to be a little bit better in this coming year.