Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Handful of Thanks

Hi friends! Happy Thanksgiving!!! I hope all of you find time today to be with your families and significant others, and really truly appreciate the things you have. Thanksgiving is more than just a turkey and a bunch of bomb sides. We live in such a nasty, hateful world, and life is so incredibly short. Love so hard on the ones that you have, and never let them go. If I could tell you all the things I'm thankful for I'd be talking for hours because we are all so blessed. Today I had dinner with just me and my ma (my bestie) and in a bit were headed to see my grandma and then off to see more family! A few things that I'm most thankful for are my parents, my protective daddy where there is no ocean too deep for him to swim through if he had to save me. My mombestie, who truly is my best friend and a living example of God's love for me. My friends( #girlsqad), we don't see each other much, but when we do it's nothing but fun. My big brother who is the chillest person on earth, and I strive to be as cool as he is everyday :). My little brothers who came all the way from Texas this holiday to spend some time with me. Anyone that takes the time to actually read my blog, and listen to my thoughts or comment. My humongous family that never stops growing, my family that never stops laughing, and most of all my family that never stops loving.

Happy Thanksgiving
-Ashley






Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9, 2012

This blog post will be really different than the ones I usually do. There will be no cute pictures, no links to shop, and no stories about what I did this weekend. I'm going to keep this short, only because I went back and forth about sharing with you what I'm about to share.

November 9th, 2012 I was robbed at gunpoint by 5 boys. It was three years ago today. I couldn't forget it if I tried. A family member asked me to get in the car with them to go to the store. The store ended up being the darkest alley, in the worst neighborhood to be in after dark. 5 boys with hoodies got in the car, 3 in the back 1 on each side of the driver's door, and passenger's door, and took everything I had. I was pushed, I was shoved, I tried to run but was forced to stay in the car. I screamed only to have someone put their hands over my mouth. I knew nothing good was about to happen, and I knew in that moment, in that dark alley, we were going to die. 

For the sake of me not having to relive those moments, I'm going to stop there with the details because you get the point. Getting robbed at gunpoint may seem small to you compared to some of the horrific things that have been happening to others lately. But to me it was everything. Those boys didn't just take my purse, my phone, and my personal items I valued out of my bag. They took my sense of security. They took my dignity, and they took my faith. 

After that it was a very dark time for me. I was afraid to do anything, afraid to get in the car with anybody. When I was at home alone I would grab items to defend myself in case "they came back for me". When I slept I would push the TV in front of the front and back door in case someone tried to get in. Ridiculous right? Yeah it may seem that way, but that's where I was at. I was so afraid to live my life, and I wanted it to go back to the way it was before it happened but it never did. You know what else? I was angry. This happened a few months post graduating from college, I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to school, I was the first in my family to graduate, I wasn't out here having sex with everybody, drinking, I wasn't doing drugs or any of those things. I didn't have a dime to my name but I readily gave what I had to anybody who needed it, fasted, prayed, and went to church every Sunday. I did what I was supposed to do! But man was I angry. There was family that turned their backs on me. There was also family who I thought should have stepped up more and looked out for me. All I could think was how could God put me in this situation? How could He do that to me? How could He leave me hanging like this? I did everything He asked me to do, but this is what I get in return? I was faithful to you all this time and you just left me out here like this?

I remember a little while later my mom took me to church. I had stopped going because I didn't see the point in it anymore. I remember sitting in church feeling like I was going to vomit because everything in me wanted to run out of there and be alone. But she made me get on my knees and pray. And I prayed, and I cried. And when I left I prayed, and cried some more. And for weeks, I prayed, and cried, and prayed, and cried...and there were so many times that I just knew God wasn't listening to me, but I kept praying, and I kept crying. And eventually I didn't cry as much, but I prayed a little more. And after that, I cried even less, and I prayed a lot more. Then eventually, I stopped crying, and I just prayed. 

You see, the boys that took those things from me were wanted for murder. And it took me a long time to realize that if I wasn't in that car that night, they probably would have taken my family member's life. Not probably, they would have. None of this was about me this entire time. I was placed there to save someone else. Even though I suffered, and I was hurt, and angry and I had hate in my heart, if I didn't go through any of that they wouldn't be here today. It took me a long time to come around to them again, because I felt so betrayed. But how could I harbor so much hate and pain towards someone who turned their back on me, when I turned my back on God and he still loved me? He still saw me through. Three years later I can look in the mirror and be exceptionally proud of the woman I've become, and continuing to grow into. Since then I've traveled so many places that I never thought I'd see, ate at some of the finest restaurants and didn't pay a dime, I shop whenever I want, can go and come as I please, there's so much more but believe me when I say I am truly living my best life right now. And I'm just getting started.

If it wasn't for my mother who pushed me, and prayed with me, and made me sit on that church pew and get myself together, I don't know where I would be. If it wasn't for that night on November 9th, I wouldn't be the different person that I am today. If I didn't go through that pain of feeling like God had left me, and didn't love me, I wouldn't have the relationship that I have with him today. I fail him everyday, but he has never failed me. He may have put me in a season where I was confused, and I didn't understand at the time what was happening, but he for sure brought me out of that season, and into a new season where I did understand. 

I didn't want to post this, in fear of what people would think, that they would think I was stupid, or this story was stupid and not worth reading. Or they would be turned off because I spoke so much on God's faithfulness even throughout my hard times. But you know, I don't really care. This is the first time I've shared my testimony, and maybe it was just time for me to share it, regardless of who likes it or not. I don't need 1000 men hitting me up, or to be married, or have 17463628498 kids running around to feel loved. God's love is so incredibly real. And you, reader, family member, mommy, daddy, or friend that cares enough about me, and supports me, and loves me, you that's reading right now are living proof of the love God has or me.

So much for keeping it short :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hello November


 Fall is probably my most favorite time of year hands down. First, I love the Fall months because the weather starts to change, and I get to wear all of my cool tights, flop hats, and the Salted Caramel Mocha comes back to Starbucks!!! ( Sorry to all the PSL fans, I cant get with that) But also every year in October and November since I was about 6, I go apple picking! Apple picking has been a tradition in my family that once started with my dad. The entire family will usually drive about 2.5 hours to Jolly Orchards in Coloma, Michigan and spend the entire day picking apples, carving pumpkins, riding the hay rides, and then the best part...the haunted house. The orchard lays upon acres and acres of land, with a farmhouse that sells any time of apple or pumpkin flavored item you can think of. Since my dad lives in TX now, we haven't had the opportunity to go to Michigan in a while. However there is an awesome substitute in Indiana, that gives me that same sense of "Fall-ness" that Michigan did. It's called County Line Orchard, and is jam packed with all those Fall favorite activities that we love! My best friend and I went to County Line last week and got in a few pics on the iPhone. :)








Never stand between a girl and her Salted Caramel Mocha!
So when we discovered County Line people were coming out with DOZENS of donuts, and I didn't understand all the hype, until I actually ATE one! When I say these are THEE best donuts I have ever had?!! I exercised a lot of self control and only brought one dozen, but even if there were no apples or pumpkins, or Salted Caramel Mocha stops to Starbucks on the way ( pictured above) I'd still go all the way to County Line for the donuts. Its that serious.

Apple picking is definitely a tradition I will carry on once I have my own family because it creates so many good memories! I hope you are enjoying this Fall season, the crisp weather changes, and eating all the donuts your heart desires :)

Have a sweet week!


 

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