Mexico Dreams

Today I'm posting at Crafty Girl Squared again. I'm sharing for Thankful Thursday and talking about my past trip to Mexico. Check it out and share what you're thankful for.



I'm sharing the wedding present I made for my friends' wedding this weekend over at Crafty Girl Squared for Made it Monday. Check it out! :)


Jeans Day Friday!

I'm blogging over at Crafty Girl Squared today for Foodie Friday. :) Go visit!


I can't get nooooo...sa-tis-faction...

Writing Challenge Day 8:

A time when I felt most satisfied with my life. Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’m generally satisfied with my life at all times. I have worked diligently to get where I am and I am overall satisfied with my position in life. I can’t devise a specific date and time when I felt ‘ahhhh this is the life!’ but I also don’t really have much in the way of ‘ahhhh I’m screwed!’ either. Well, except for the 6mo of unemployment, but I was waiting for the job I have now to become available.

When I was getting my education, I didn’t really see much into the future. I had all these dreams of what my life would be, but I didn’t apply it realistically. Now that I’m living it, I have discovered that it’s important to strip away the expectations and just simply live and live simply. I wish I had millions and millions of dollars at my disposal (come on, who doesn’t?), but I don’t. I make do with what I have. Do I have to call for help sometimes? Yep. But those are just the facts of life.

I have a B.A., M.A., pets who love me, a great family, wonderful friends, a good job, and so much going for me. Am I satisfied? Yeah. Could it be better? Always. But I’m just gonna keep on living every day to the fullest and cherishing the moments I have with the people and pets around me.


Fall-time = football time!

I'm blogging over at Crafty Girl Squared today and sharing ten of my favorite football players. :) Go visit!


Chillin' on a dirt road...

I love that song!!

All that aside, I'm blogging over at Crafty Girl Squared today for Thankful Thursday!! Check it out! :)


The 5th Dimension

Yep. I did that. You know you love me, don't try and deny it. Get your groove on!

If you haven't figured it out, I'm an aquarius. Not this kind of Aquarius, but that's my zodiac sign. I'm the water carrier. Which is pretty interesting because I'm always thirsty. Maybe I should quit carrying it and drink it!

You can read the entire description that I use as a basis for this post here, or you can just read what I have to say and be done with it. Either way, it's ok with me.

I would say that the description of an aquarian is pretty accurate in describing my character. I can be described as:
'strong willed and forceful in their different ways and have strong convictions, though as they seek truth above all things, they are usually honest enough to change their opinions, however firmly held, if evidence comes to light which persuades them that they have been mistaken. They have a breadth of vision that brings diverse factors into a whole, and can see both sides of an argument without shilly-shallying as to which side to take. Consequently they are unprejudiced and tolerant of other points of view. This is because they can see the validity of the argument, even if they do not accept it themselves.'
Alternatively, I'm very shy, sensitive, private, and don't like sharing people. I have a very dry sense of humor and not many people get it or find me funny. I, on the other hand, think I'm hysterical. I'm fairly intelligent and can be logical when I wish to be. However, I'm extremely sensitive and emotional at times. I often withdraw from the world in order to bring myself back to center and not many people can tolerate that need.
'Both types need to retire from the world at times and to become temporary loners. They appreciate opportunities for meditation or, if they are religious, of retreats. Even in company they are fiercely independent, refusing to follow the crowd. They dislike interference by others, however helpfully intended, and will accept it only on their own terms. Normally they have good taste in drama, music and art, and are also gifted in the arts, especially drama.'
I'm one of three children of two professional musicians and all three of us played instruments at some point in our lives. I still sing in my church choir and will likely be taking voice lessons again soon. I used to *love* to act and did so through school, but now I just partake in the everyday drama. :)

I love with all my heart and it often gets me in trouble. I am a decent judge of character, but I sometimes am blinded by my desire to help everyone that I forget I need to help myself too. Or that sometimes it's not necessary to help everyone. ;) I don't trust easily, but when you have my trust and my love, it takes a lot for me to rescind it. Worst of all: I am forever saying things wrong. I can never manage to say things the way I mean to say them. My close friends say they 'speak Meig' because it's like I have my own language where what is perceived as an insult to an outsider is really a high compliment, I just didn't say it right. I never intend to say things the way I do, and even when I think a long time before I speak, I still manage to muck it up. :-/
'In spite of the often intensely magnetic, forthcoming and open personality of the more extrovert kind of Aquarian, and of their desire to help humanity, neither type makes friends easily. They sometimes appear to condescend to others and take too little trouble to cultivate the acquaintance of people who do not particularly appeal to them. They do not give themselves easily - perhaps their judgment of human nature is too good for that - and are sometimes accounted cold.'
So, I think that my zodiac sign describes my personality pretty well. If you know me in real life, do you agree? If you don't know me in real life, do you think yours describes you pretty well?

(And this one is for Brandi... :))


Thirty Things

Here are 30 random things about me for today's post in the writing challenge. Some have explanation, some don't need it. If you really want to know, just ask. :)

1. My favorite animals are cows. I have no idea why, I just always loved them. To this day I love the combination of brown/white and black/white and their shape.

2. Despite my love of cows, I can't drink regular milk. I have to drink organic or soy milk. Regular milk makes me sicky.

3. I'm allergic to cats but cannot imagine my life without them.

4. I love nature, but I hate being in it for too long.

5. I once went camping in a blizzard. It's top 5 of my worst ideas ever.

6. I hate the sun but secretly (well, I guess it's not a secret anymore...) want to move to Puerto Rico.

7. I have friends in real life all over the globe. I wish I could just pack up and visit them one at a time. Starting in NZ and ending in AK. :)

8. I've lived in 3 countries and visited 8 (yes, Canada and Mexico count!).

9. I love my job, but I wish I could retire right now so I could read, sew, crochet, photograph, write, sing, and play all day long.

10. I underestimate my own abilities. I think it comes from a history of clumsiness and bloopers.

11. I have mystery bruises every day and I am not an alcoholic.

12. I'm a Browns, Bears, Indians, and Cubs fan. 

13. I hate not finishing books and often find myself reading 3-4 at a time.

14. I have ADHD. I do not take medication.

15. I have my father's memory. I can remember dates, events, historical facts, random facts, irrelevant facts, and numbers; but I cannot remember what I went downstairs for or what I went to get at the grocery store.

16. I have a serious obsession with books. I love to read. I love to own books. I like the idea of e-readers but I cannot get past the absence of the smell of the paper and ink, the methodical turning of pages, the feel of the paper, and the satisfaction I feel when I reach the back cover.

17. I live with pets. My pets are my best friends. They're always excited to see me and sad to see me go to work. They never let me down.

18. I have a blog and Etsy shop with one of my human best friends. It's called Crafty Girl Squared. You should visit. :)

19. I used to be the pickiest eater EVER. Now I will try (almost) anything once. Including radish leaf pesto (actually quite delicious - it tasted 'green' as my friend Stela said), tofu, and other various foods I'd never attempted before.

20. I miss my grandparents and aunt every day, but I know they're with me in my heart. 

21. I don't like 'contemporary worship' with drums and guitars and stuff. I'm such an old codger when it comes to worship. I'll participate, and it's nice every once in a while, but I much prefer the structure and an organ. :)

22. I hate folding laundry. I don't mind washing and drying it, but folding and putting away? Nah. There are always piles of laundry in my house because if I don't put it away, no one else does!

23. I love to cook but have not been able to figure out how to cook for one. 

24. I get startled easily. Very easily. Don't sneak up on me, ok?

25. I could buy a house with the amount of money I owe in student loan debt. Like a really nice house. Like 5br, 3 bath, extra large yard nice house.

26. I don't mind spiders, but I hate gnats.

27. I have pictures of the people and places I love all over my house. 

28. I have the best friends and family ever. I know everyone says that, but I really, actually do. They've got my back and I've got theirs.

29. My heart cries every time I see a new craft idea about using book pages for something. All those beautiful books in pieces makes me want to sob.

30. I don't like the color purple. (No, I don't mean the movie, I mean the actual color.)


Cross that off the list!!

I'm blogging over at Crafty Girl Squared today! Showing off some projects I completed this past week on Made it Monday! Check it out! :)


I am a C-h-r-i-s-t-i-a-n...

Day four in the writing challenge is: your views on religion.

I'm sure that some of you will recognize that title...it's a song from church school. Here's a video with the whole song. It's catchy!

That's all beside the point, though. The fact is: I am a Christian. Protestant. I believe in a triune God. I do my best to follow Christ's teachings and live my life in a loving and morally upright manner. Do I fail at times? Yes. Am I perfect? No. Is that ok? I think so.

Just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean I am anti-other religions. In fact, I think that other faith practices have an immense amount of validity and are wonderful parallels to my own faith practice. I enjoy learning about them and seeing what our beliefs have in common. I believe that Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are three branches on the same tree. I believe that our God is the same God with different names. But I also believe that other religions have the same God that I do, they just call it a different name, too. 

One of my favorite classes in college was World Religions. I had the opportunity to learn and grow in my own faith while learning about others. Another class I loved was Native American Literature. I was able to read literature from Native American cultures and derive an understanding of their faith and culture through their writings. It was very interesting to me to see that they have three types of creation myths in the Native American culture. First is the ascending where the inhabitants of the earth came up through the ground and multiplied. Second is the descending where the inhabitants of the earth came down from the skies and multiplied. Third is the appearing where the inhabitants of the earth appeared on the earth and multiplied. What a cool way to think of things! 

I don't think any religion is right or wrong. I also don't think it's my job to judge anyone based upon their religious (or lack thereof) beliefs. It's my job to love them as human beings. It's my job to be their friend. It's my job to show Christ through my actions. It's my job to preach the gospel at all times and when necessary, use words. 

I'm a faithful person. I don't mean in the manner that I don't cheat on people (which I don't, but that's beside  the point...), I mean I have faith in a higher power. Yes, you can debate the science and logic with me, but it's not a debate or a contest because my faith isn't about proof it's about believing. I believe therefore I see; I don't have to see to believe.

My faith is built on trust and love. I wasn't always this secure in my faith. My path wasn't always easy. But I've come to learn that God is the foundation my heart is built on. Christ is the model I wish to follow. I don't denounce other faiths because I'm a Christian, I support them because I'm a Christian. I believe that everyone has a path and just because it varies from mine doesn't mean it'swrong, it just means it's different.

So yes, I am a Christian, but I'm not going to turn you away because you're not. I'm not going to stop being friends with you because you're not. I'm going to love you as you are. I'm going to accept you as you are. All I ask is that you do the same for me. 

Potsy and Wodka

Day three in the challenge is: your views on drugs and alcohol.

I'm sure that title is rather intriguing for you all...I promise there is a reason for it! When I was in college at good old Mount Union College (now UMU, but I maintain that I didn't go to UMU, I went to MUC!), I spent a good deal of my time at one of the fraternity houses. I found that their library was one of the quietest places on campus to study and the guys in the house were some of the greatest friends I ever had. They were truly striving to be true gentlemen and I'm grateful for having them around. They kept me safe and made sure I was never walking home alone after dark.

One of the guys in the house was aptly nicknamed Potsy. He had a penchant for smoking marijuana and didn't care who knew it. Potsy was a pretty cool guy, actually. He was very kind, respectful, intelligent, and rather hippie-ish (as one would expect from a pot-head, I suppose). Nevertheless, Potsy and I had many conversations about drugs and why I refused to do them. I can't tell you how many times he tried to convince me that pot was nothing major and that I would be ok if I smoked with him. Every time he told me that, I replied to the effect of 'I appreciate the offer, you're very kind and I trust you, but I'm still not smoking weed.' So, that was that.

I've come across a number of friends in my life who smoked weed and/or did other drugs and while I love them and am still friends with (most of them) today, I just don't get the attraction. They seemed like completely different people when they were high and I didn't like that person; I liked the sober version better. I have never had the desire to do drugs. I don't even like to take narcotic painkillers. Vicodin makes me black out and do stupid things like throw shoes at my best friend and threaten to kill her if she brings me any kind of jell-o but red jell-o (be glad you didn't know me during The Great Wisdom Tooth Extraction of 2005). Demerol makes me feel like I'm extremely drunk and out of control, plus I am so slowed down by it that I see the same building repeatedly and think it's a new building (yes, I'm referring to The Great Puerto Rican Gwalgreens On Every Corner of 2005, for those of you who read this and were there). Darvocet was the only painkiller I would take and I only took it when I had a migraine so severe it wouldn't allow me to get through a day, AND I waited for a couple days of said migraine before I started taking it. But, Darvocet was really just a very high dose of acetaminophen with propoxyphene, so it's not really a narcotic. That's all beside the point though because they took it off the market.

So in short, I don't do 'drugs' because I don't really care to. If you do them, that's fine with me - just please don't do them around me. If you want to go away on an acid trip, that's your choice, but I choose not to, so please respect my decision.

As to alcohol: I like to drink. I like beer, wine, vodka, rum, hard cider, heck...I like pretty much all kinds of alcohol. I'm not really opposed to any of them. When I was in college I partied. Hard. A lot. Some of my grades suffered. I don't remember some of things that happened because of partying. I made some poor choices. Do I wish I could go back and make better choices? Yes. Do I regret the fact that I made the choices I did? No. I learned a lesson. The hard way. I learned that it's my responsibility to take care of myself. It's my job to ensure that I am in tip top shape and if I don't take care of my liver, no one else will.

I barely drink anymore and when I do it's because I enjoy the beverage I'm drinking. I don't drink to get drunk, I drink to enjoy the beverage in my hand. Do I still get drunk sometimes? Yes, but I am careful and never to the point of losing my consciousness. I grew up. But by making the choices I did, I am in a position to talk with the youth around me about those choices and share my experiences with them so that maybe I can prevent them from making those same choices. I don't want them downing a whole bottle of Boone's Farm just because someone dared them to do it. I want them to think about what'll happen if they do. But I also want them to know that they can always call me and I'll be there. I'll hold their hair and take them home. I'll be there if they need me and help them realize that's not the life they want to live.

So in short, I like to drink but not because I can, but because I choose to. I'm 26, it's about time I grew up, huh?


Making our way back from Mars

Today's topic for the writing challenge is: where you'd like to be in 10 years.

That's a pretty heavy topic. I'd like to be a lot of places in 10 years. Let's see...in 10 years I will be 36. I hope that by then I'm running my own business. Doing what I love. Spending time with the ones I love. Giving my heart and soul to the world. Yep. That's where I hope to be in 10 years.

Is that realistic? Maybe. Is it possible. Definitely. Do I know what will happen in 10 years? Nope. Maybe I'll have kids, maybe I won't. Maybe I'll be married, maybe I'll be single. Maybe I'll be rich, maybe I'll be comfortable.

I'd love to have my own coffee shop and bakery. In a house in a neighborhood. A place where friends can meet and kids can feel safe. A place where retired teachers and other professionals can make themselves available for kids to get help with homework. A place where yoga and music lessons can be taught and taken. A place where everything is delicious and calories don't count. A place where food allergies are recognized and understood and steps are taken to ensure people are protected from them. A place where creativity and love can grow.

That's where I want to be in 10 years.

Will that happen? I don't know. But it's nice to think about, huh?

Friday, Friday! WOO!

I'm posting over at Crafty Girl Squared today and sharing one of my favorite one pan meals! Check it out on Foodie Friday! :)


Single, never married.

As if I'm not doing enough already, I've decided to do a writing challenge, too. HA! Well, here goes.

Day one: your current relationship, if single discuss how single life is.

I got a phone call last night for a survey related to politics. Being Meighen Heyburn, B.A., M.A. International Relations, I find it difficult to turn down surveys because I know how difficult it is to get people to take them and how important the data is. (Even though I hate quantitative research for myself, I recognize and respect its value for the world.) First question aside from 'are you a registered voter over 18' was 'what is your marital status?' I replied: single, never married. 

Yep. Single. Never married. That's ok. Honestly, when I do get married, I want it to be once. To one person. Forever. No take-backs. So I tend to be pretty picky with whom I spend my time. My family is super important to me so I spend a lot of time with them and it leaves little room in my life for dating. That's ok, though. Because I'm of the belief that if I let it go and don't try to control it, good things will happen. If I stay single forever, that's ok. If I get married and have lots of babies, that's ok too. 

One of the most influential people in my life is my Aunt Penny. She was the most amazing human being. She was also single, never married, and she loved it. We nieces and nephews were her kids. She had a great job, a church home, loads of friends, and lots going on in her life. She was happy with her status. She was one of those people who lit up the room when she walked into it. She could brighten anyone's day, and she gave of herself so fully that it was hard to ignore the light she had inside her.

I want to be like her. I want to be the person who friends go to when they need a hand, a shoulder to cry on, a smile, a hug, a laugh, and anything else they might need. I want to be the person who brings joy to every day. I want to be a positive person (which is difficult for me as I tend to be pretty pessimistic). I want to be a role model for the youth in my life. I want to be like Aunt Penny. In some ways I'd like to think I am. My 5 nephews, 2 nieces, and 1 goddaughter are my world. They've all got me wrapped around their little fingers and I would turn over the world for them. I know that's how Aunt Penny felt about us. 

So, to answer the question: how is single life? It's pretty great. I've got room to breathe and time to spare. I'm only 26, there's more than enough of my life ahead for marriage and kids. But if no marriage happens, I'm ok with the way things are. Or I might just foster/adopt some kids when I get a bit more settled financially. I struggle with being one of the last singletons in my group of friends sometimes, but it's ok because we all struggle with things and I know that my friends and family love me just the way I am.

Thank God for Aunt Penny and the love she shared with me. I'm so blessed that I had her in my life for 17 years. 


Inspiration Station

I read this post over at The Shine Project this morning and was absolutely blown away by it. Not only is she doing amazing things by working to raise money for scholarships, she's also such a giving heart to be there for kids in need at all times. This is the kind of person I hope I am to the youth in my life.

I read some of the comments and was a little disheartened that they didn't say what I was thinking: how can I help? They praised her giving heart, her work, her vision, her soul, her drive, and her abilities. But no one before or after me asked if they can help buy a bus pass for this kid. It was the first thought in my mind: how much are these passes and how can I help pay for one? But am I the only one who thought that?

It got me thinking about Evgeny Morozov and his discussions about 'slactivism' (see here, here, here, here, and here). Have we become a society of slactivists? Are we only interested in telling the world that we care about an issue as opposed to taking action? I know we're not all flush with money (trust me...being unemployed for 6 months really shows you what you can and can't live without), but isn't helping others about sacrifice, too? Do you really need to eat steak for dinner this week or can you have pasta and take the $20 you'd have spent on steak and help someone else eat their first meal of the day/week?

I am a role model. We are all role models whether we want to be or not. I work with the youth in my church and pray that I am a good model for how they want to be when they grow up. Do I make mistakes? Yes, often. But do I let that stand in my way of trying to better myself? No. I keep plugging along and try to find ways to fix the mistakes I made and create a better life for myself and love those around me.

I challenge you today to make a sacrifice and donate the profits to The Shine Project. I will be sacrificing half my food budget for this week to donate $27.50 which is the amount of one month's bus pass for a child in her school system. I'm making the sacrifice because I can; because I think it's necessary. I hope you find it necessary too. (You can send paypal payments to: ashley.theshineproject@gmail.com.)



Books? What books?!

I'm blogging over at Crafty Girl Squared today. Check it out! I'm sharing ten of my favorite books and linking up to Miss Mommy!




Thankful Thursday

Today I'm posting over at Crafty Girl Squared and sharing things that I'm thankful for. Check out my post over there.

Pssst! I'm thankful for you. Don't spoil the surprise! ;)