You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get.

Life is full of surprises. I’m sure everyone has heard that, or something like it, before. Have you ever really thought about how much truth there is in that statement though? You can sit down and plan out every detail of your day, schedule each minute, and you’re still going to experience those unexpected, unplanned for moments that are just a part of everything existing, working, interacting, and colliding with each other. Surprises. From setting your alarm for eight and having the power go out, to getting stuck in traffic because someone else got in an accident, to getting in an accident yourself. Simple surprises like discovering that the milk you were going to drink has gone bad, or that your favorite kind of crackers are on sale this week, happen all the time. Then there are the bigger, less common surprises, like finding out there’s a baby coming into your life, or that the baseball card hiding in the shoebox under your bed since you were a kid is worth a small fortune. Winning the lottery, having a tree fall on your house, putting on your favorite shirt and it still smells like fresh laundry, any kind of weather. The unexpected occurrences that frequent our everyday lives are unavoidable, whether we like it or not. This used to bug me. A lot. I would try so hard to make my plans completely fool proof, and when something happened that wasn’t part pf the itinerary I flipped out. I stressed over EVERY detail. EVERY. LITTLE. DETAIL. My plans would fall apart, and I would give up. I was miserable during every event that I hosted because something would or wouldn’t happen unexpectedly, and I wouldn’t know how to handle it.

Then one day, I realized that while I was a mess over the things that I couldn’t control or plan for, the people around me were still having a good time. It made me pause and think for a moment. What was I actually upset about? Why? Was it really something that justified my sulking around at my own party feeling so bummed out? If everyone else was enjoying themselves, couldn’t I? I told myself to just take a deep breath and to let it go. Then I did just that. And I had fun. For the first time in way to long, I had fun at my own party.

After that I started trying to remember to take a deep breath and a long pause whenever I encountered something unexpected that would throw me off. I remind myself that it’s out of my control anyway. I will be okay. I can adapt. Just breathe, it’s all okay. It’s getting easier for me to handle the surprises that life throws at me, and while I won’t say that I don’t ever get upset or that I don’t stress at all about an unpleasant wrench in the works (I’m only human after all), I do find that I’m generally a much happier, less stressed me when I’m rolling with the punches.

The moral of this little bit of thought is that life is going to surprise you. Sometimes it will be awesome. Sometimes, it will be awful. Sometimes it will be small and somewhere in between. But in any case, it’s going to happen, and you’re going to have to face it. It’s going to be up to you whether you let it get to you and drive you to an unhappy state of mind, or whether you roll with it, adjust, adapt, and move on.


Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Sometimes, as hard as you might try to avoid it, life just gets stressful. Sometimes it’s the kind of stress that can be relieved just by coming home after a long day, taking off our shoes, and kicking back for a little R&R. Sometimes it’s the kind of stress that takes something a little more, like maybe a long soak in the bathtub or a little ice cream. Perhaps you find yourself needing someone to vent to, or a shoulder to just simply cry on. Sometimes it’s the kind of stress that builds up, becoming more and more apparent in our words and our actions. We get grumpy, start snapping at others, even occasionally building to the point where there are full blown fits and breakdowns. Parts of our physical selves become affected. Headaches, backaches, our shoulders hurt. Besides pain, stress causes a number of other physical and mental issues. It can cause our immune systems to weaken, our focus to dull, and a loss of sleep that only adds to the destruction. Although it is, unfortunately, a constant factor in our lives, stress is not healthy. That is why it is so important to find healthy ways to manage this beastly piece of our existence that work for you as an individual. Manage it, not just cope with it. I see so many people making choices that are influenced by the amount of stress they’re under. Choices to skip meals, or to overeat. Decisions to push their negative feelings out on to those around them. Sometimes they turn to harmful substances, like drugs and alcohol, to make them feel better. But that kind of relief is so very temporary, and brings its own wave of problems along with it that they now have to face as well. I’m not about to say that I have never done any of these things, or that you’re some kind of monster if you have. You are certainly not. We’re only human, and humans mess up. We have emotions, beliefs, priorities, peer pressure, rational and irrational thought, cravings, etc. that all play huge roles, both for good and for not so good, in thinking clearly and making the choices we make. We’re not perfect. And when you throw stress at us, it makes it even harder to avoid doing what we think will make us feel good, even if we know that what we want may not be best for us. So today I want you to think of ways that you can help yourself to relax. Ways to relive the stress of living. Try different things. Go for walks, exercise, dance, take deep breaths, drink hot tea, sing your lungs out, do something you love. Take time to talk to your friends and family, even if it’s about nothing. Laugh with them. Ask them for help if you need to. Maybe they’re needing you too. Try to let go of things that you can’t control, mistakes you’ve made, don’t beat yourself up. In fact, go one step further and forgive yourself. Take pride in achievements, and give yourself that pat on the back that you deserve. I guess what I’m trying to get across here is that yes, you’re going to get stressed, and yes, it is going to be unpleasant. But you don’t have to let it get the best of you. You can get through it, and you will. Find healthy ways to make yourself feel happy, even if it’s just doing something that seems tiny. Get yourself outside to soak up some sunshine, listen to your favorite song, put on your favorite outfit and go walk someplace where you can show it off. Thank yourself, give yourself a hug. Smile. And don’t sweat the small stuff 😉

Healthy and Happy!

Who else is enjoying some beautiful weather today? It’s sunny, it’s warm, and there is a pleasant wind blowing. So we decided to make today the day for our second bike ride of the year. Four miles!! I admit, my legs already hurt. But I’m hoping that soon four miles will seem like nothing. Eating healthy has been pretty easy, I already loved veggies and have been finding more and more tasty ways to eat them. I’ve always loved fruit as well, so when I crave something sweet it’s just as satisfying to grab some natural goodness like pineapple, berries, or a banana as it would be to grab that snickers bar. Probably even more so actually because it’s a choice that I can feel good about. Adding in the exercise though has not been quite as easy. I get to move a lot at the greenhouse where I work, but actual workouts haven’t been happening nearly enough. So this bike ride today was a pretty big deal for me, and I’m feeling pretty positive about it!

It’s going on three weeks now since I’ve decided to start living healthier, and I feel better than I have in a very long time. The support, encouragement, and advice I’ve gotten has been amazing. It’s good to know I have people that care and want to see me succeed and be the best me that I can be. I’ve also been making sure to help myself. I have set alarms to go off on my phone for times I should be getting a snack and checking my blood. Each alarm is labeled with a simple little note to remind me to keep going, smile, that I’m amazing, and other things like that. I also write myself the same kind of notes and leave them places I know I will see them. I got myself some nifty measuring spoons to help with meal prepping and portion control. Those are also getting happy messages and fun decorations scribbled all over their handles. And what I’m probably most excited about is the book I’ve made to keep track of what I’ve eaten and those nutrients, my workouts, whether I’ve met my daily goals, and my water intake. I designed the pages myself, cut every one of them out, punched all the wholes, and made the cover and back. I have diligently filled it out every day since its completion. It’s kind of silly how much pride I have in it, but that pride definitely inspires the motivation to use it. (book featured in all its glory in the picture :))

I know this post is pretty short, and is for the most part me rambling, but stay tuned! I’ve got some ideas rattling around in my head that are sure to excite and amaze! Coming to you soon from the mind of a newly healthy, happy, and positive Ashley: Apple cider vinegar, it’s benefits and the best ways to drink it (as well as the not so great ways to drink it), some fun craft ideas and how to do them, some healthy foods and why they should be household staples, and some yummy recipes! If you have any other ideas that you would like to see here feel free to shout them out in the comments!!

Hope everyone is has a great week!!

So I Started a Blog.

What makes you happy? I mean completely, genuinely happy. What makes you go to bed at night feeling content, and like you’re already excited to wake up and start tomorrow? What makes you feel like you’re proud of yourself? What gives you that awesome feeling of confidence? What makes you feel accomplished, intelligent, talented, courageous, motivated, grateful, healthy, positive, yadda yadda yadda?

Hi, I’m Ashley, and I’ve been asking myself these kinds of questions a lot lately, and along with these kinds of questions come others, like what makes me unhappy? Disappointed? Afraid? Now I’ve started thinking, how can I change those things? What can I do so I can be the happiest, healthiest, most positive person that I am capable of being?

The answers that I’ve come up with so far have been leading to some pretty big changes in my life. I’ve started eating healthier this past week, which is a huge deal for me because I’m a diabetic, and food affects me in so many ways. “Eating healthier” means not only making better choices when choosing what I eat, but also counting and keeping track of the calories, carbs, fiber, and protein in the foods that I choose.  I keep a food journal now to document everything. I’m doing the meal planning and prepping every week. I am pretty sure I’ve eaten more vegetables this week then I have in the last couple months, (not that I mind that part, I love veggies!).

I have also started trying to get into an exercise routine. For five days a week I make sure to move something for at least a half hour. I usually hurt after that thirty minutes, but it’s that good kind of hurt that means progress.

Another important element I’m beginning to tackle is my state of mind. I’m making strong efforts throughout the day to remember things like: think before speaking, complain less, compliment people, smile, express gratitude, stop and breathe, appreciate what I have, think positive. I remind myself that I can learn from my mistakes and move on, rather than beat myself up over them. I tell people I love that I love them, and why. I try to always be honest. I fill my head with positivity and joy and let it radiate into my words and actions.

Basically, I want to improve my life. Myself. Where I’m at now isn’t necessarily bad, but I have made a lot of choices that I do regret. Choices that have cost me a lot in the area of my physical and mental health. I know that I can be better. I know I can be more than what I am now. I know I can be above average, above content. I can be happy, healthy, and positive. I can be euphoric.

This blog is something that I’ve been interested in trying to do for a long time, and with all of these new happenings in my life I thought “why not do this now too?” I want to be able to share with others what inspires me to improve myself, and hopefully help other people move in a happy direction. I’ll be sharing all sorts of things that make me feel good, like recipes, craft ideas, (and the results for both of these) quotes, motivation, work outs, as well as things like my progress, personal stories, and thoughts that dance around in my head. So here we go!

Let me introduce myself here…

Hello, my name is Ashley, and if you’re curious about getting to know me a little, read on folks!

I suppose I’ll start by telling you that I’m a diabetic and a vegetarian. I think these are probably two of the most interesting things about me. I am often asked “what do you eat?” Food. I eat food. Just not meat. And I count the carbs in my food so that I can inject the insulin I take to enjoy it. Simple 🙂 How many of you know that Mr. Rodgers (remember him?) was also a vegetarian?  His reason? “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother.” I love this statement so much, it’s just so sweet. Like him, I gave up meat for ethical reasons, It’s been nearly nine years now, and the only things I sometimes miss are real pepperoni and ham sandwiches.

When I’m not at work, eating, or hanging out with my family and friends, I spend most of my free time doing things like reading, writing, cooking, various crafts, attempting to grow beautiful flowers and things I can dine on, going on long walks, and making lists.I know that last one is weird, but what can I say? It relaxes me. Occasionally I paint, and when weather permits, you can find me camping, playing around on some beach or other, or laying in the sunshine. I love vibrant colors, animals (any and all of them), both warm sunshine and warm rain, as well as thunderstorms, and good food.