Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Beat to your own drum...

My cousin AB and I are soul sisters with out a doubt.  She's my "Twin."

Im not sure if its a blessing or a curse at times that our lives have aligned so much.  
Dont get me wrong i love that we always have each other, and that we've been through so many of the same life experiences, so that we always know that the other one gets it. But at the same time, it sucks knowing that some of, ok, a lot of the crappy experiences have been shared as well. And i wouldnt wish some of those days and moments on my worst enemy (although i dont have any enemies... sorry for the tangents, this is what happens when i blog without ADD meds lol)

But recently we had discussion on the fact that our lives are so parallel, but from opposite perspectives, and we got to talking about "beating to your own drum."

I think thats my life right now.
I have this huge family, who i love to death, but at this moment in life i've been keeping to myself and beating to my own drum.  Making my own experiences and being decidedly selfish.

AB and i discussed how this can make people feel like i don't care, which i totally get.
However at this point and stage of my life, i've really had to become selfish and focus on myself and Lani. 
Now there are people like AB and my mom  who really don't let me go full recluse.  They just call and text me anyway, and when i don't respond they show up.  But there are others like my Bestie MJ, who give me the business and a reality check, when i start to fall off, and remind me that others need me to be present as well, and i'm working on that.

But what i've come to realize with this whole cycle and journey, is that there is a phase of rediscovery and stepping out on your own.  I think my my other "life-twin-cousin" Autumn is  going through a similar stage in her grief process as well.  You want to branch out...  You want to move...  You want to change your clothes and hair... You want to try new things... 

You are trying to discover who "you" are all over again, something that most of us figured out around 22-23.  

With discovering the new you it forces you to reevaluate things, and for me, it's really made me want to develop my own relationships and experiences.  
Finding and meeting new people, who don't know me as "Sean's wife Ashley."

Legitimately, for the first year after Sean's passing, I swore that was my official name and that was how people would introduce/reference me.  

~ Hi this is Ashley, my friend Sean's wife
~ Hi you remember Ashley, Sean's wife

Which was always followed by pity and i'm so sorry about your loss convo... awkward to say the least in the middle of weddings, baby showers, parties, bars... its a buzz kill...

It just became so depressing, and often ended with me in tears.

So i just separated myself from it.  

I just wanted it to be 

~Hi this is my friend Ashley...
Thats it!

So thats kind of where i'm at right now.  
Making new friends.
Rekindling some old friendships.
And mostly stepping out on my own.

So I apologize if it seems that i've ignored you lately. 
Thats not my goal.

My Goals Are:

1. Take care of Lani, and let her see a mom that she will look back and be proud of one day
2. strengthen my relationship with myself and God
3. Focus on all things that make me happy 
4. Let go of anything that does not serve me for the better good
5. Avoid all triggers of stress and drama
6. Dont take anything in life to serious, there is happiness in everything, if you take the time to find it
7. dont waste a day of life
8. recognize, accept, and appreciate people for who they are
9. step out of my comfort zone regularly 
10. be healthier mentally, physically, and spiritually

Thursday, June 16, 2016

What makes a father...

Certain days will always be difficult for us, but more so for L.  Father's day is by far one of the most difficult.  She has asked me for the last few weeks when it was coming. The first two father's day holidays after Sean's passing were super difficult. Lots of tears, emotions and heartache.

Lani asked me recently why she didn't get to have a Dad anymore, and I explained to her that although Daddy is in Heaven she has been blessed with many men in her life who care about her and love her.  She has lots of fathers in her life.  I know for some people that seems insensitive and insane to say, but she really does.

I've really taken the time to look at all the awesome "Fathers" that have stepped up since Sean's passing, and I think that if you all could see how men LOVE this girl you would agree also.

  So when i decided to  write this blog, i decided to google "what makes a father?" 

I found many quotes that personified these men, but these are the ones that resonated with me most.

And while we will undoubtably miss Sean especially on Sunday, we are truly blessed to have these men as well. By no means will they ever take Sean's place, however they definitely have left a Huge standard to compare all men to

I saw a great quote as well...

"A father isn't always defined as the man who makes the child, but also the man who extends his hands and time to help with the child's raising and his heart to love the child through anything!!!"

 They play dress up, sit through recitals, may or may not have had their make up done, pick up from school, build forts, set boobie-traps, attend "spa parties", have tea parties, help with homework, watch cartoons, have "dates", drive hours just to go to the fair, carry her when she sleep, FaceTime and Phone Calls, take care of her whens she's sick, and constantly go out of their way to make sure this little girl always has a "Father" present for every important occasion.

I can't tell you enough how much it means to me to know that she has such great men in her life. So happy Father's Day to Daddy in Heaven and all of her great Fathers here on earth!  We love you

L and Papi

uncle Amirror

Uncle Shawn

Tio Carlos


Every "Drama Queen" needs a "Drama King" (David)

they always keep her lifted

Uncle Stranger

Uncle Baker

Uncle "Dusty Musty Crusty" (you know thats love when you allow this to be your name)

Uncle Jay

not sure if you can read the post, but Jay sat making paper candy all day (after their move date) for L to sell, because  he was "her employee"

when your niece asks you to wear a pink mask and cape you do!!! lol...

(For  the life of me i can't figure out how to rotate those last two)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

a lot of rain lately...

With all that has happened in the world recently I would think many people are starting to question things...

Question God...
Question Humanity...
Question is this the "End of Days"...

It's scary...

I'm going to steal a little from my Facebook, but then i'll bring it back ...

"I think one of the things that hit home the most about the Orlando shootings, is the irony that Orlando is supposed to be the happiest place on earth! Yet there have been two mass shootings this past weekend. Suddenly America's eyes are pried opened again... 
The place we dreamed of going as kids, and put on our children's summer vacation bucket lists as adults isn't even safe anymore. "The happiest place on earth!" This is supposed to be our safe place. AMERICA IS SUPPOSED TO BE A SAFE HAVEN. America is the country that million flock to for religious and social freedom. That my Grandparents move to, to provide better opportunities for themselves, my father, and their future grandchildren and descendants. Where people flock daily to escape the persecutions that are so widely publicized elsewhere. To have their inalienable rights observed and protected. 
But when there were 372 mass shooting in the US alone in 2015, and now and between 133-176 mass shootings (depending on which news site you view) on day 165 of the year, the ideas of America being a safe place to raise our kids seems to have become more wishful thinking than the foundation of who we are."

Then this morning we woke up to yet another tragedy in Orlando and this time its a 2 year old child.

I just cried watching the news this am.

Then I thought about how our 3 tragedies, which seem to be the end of days to us in America, is an everyday reality in some countries.

So while we are sitting here in the midst of a storm, we must remember that God could calm the storm, but sometimes, he puts them in our lives to remind us of things...

So while we must remember to thank God for our blessings and even more so during our struggles.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cutting the Rope... love tank part 2

Heres a post that has been sitting in my draft box for a while (actually since june 9, 2011).  I received it during a very difficult time in my life, and wasn't sure of where the next steps in life should take me.  This very email helped to make some very crucial life decisions and i will be forever thankful for one of my many Mothers sending it to me....

I'm sharing it now because there are people in my life who need it as well...

This one is sort of a guest post. So some of you may remember my love tank post from  a few years back.... i received this email from tyler perry via a friend and thought it was thought provoking....

Hey there guys, you good? :-)

So, I just finished filming a really good movie called GOOD
DEEDS. It’s me like you’ve never seen me before. It
comes out in February, brace yourself. :-)  There were a
lot of long days on this shoot, so I wanted to take a break.
 I decided to do some traveling and since I still have 20
more pounds to lose before I start my next movie, ALEX
CROSS, I thought I would go to the Grand Canyon and do
some hiking, climbing and so on.  At one point in the
climbing, I was over a steep drop and was tied to a safety
rope, while a buddy’s safety rope was tied to me. It was my
responsibility to help him up, since I was bigger and weighed
more.  I told him, “I’ll hold on to you to help you up but if you
start to pull me over with you, I’m going to untie this rope.”
We had a good laugh about it, but I was serious… :-)

I started thinking about that moment a few days ago. How
many times are we tied to a person, people or things that
are pulling us down and we won’t untie the rope?  For
whatever reason, be it family, friends, society, or just the feeling
of being obligated, trapped or that if you don’t, no one else will.
 I have watched so many people go over a cliff with a person
that they are trying to help up, it’s sad.

This is your life and you are wasting it being tied to someone who is
destroying his or her opportunities and yours. If the person that you
are trying to help does not know that they are worth being saved,
how do you expect them to put any value on you saving them?
You’re not worth it to them.  They can’t get it! SO YOU NEED TO!
Listen to me, untie the rope and don’t lose yourself trying to hold on
to someone who can’t survive on your level. You hear me? Maybe
they have gone as high as they can go.  Just because you can
survive on that level doesn’t mean that everyone else can. Stop
trying to help them, UNTIE THE ROPE! I know you may feel this
is cruel, but what is more cruel is dying a death that’s not your own.
Letting your destiny go to hell because someone else pulled you
there. Are you kidding me? That isn’t God!

Here is what I have learned over the almost 20 years that I have been
in this business. Let me tell you, I have seen and worked with some
of the most talented people you can imagine and I used to wonder
why they never got any higher than they are. You know, the kind of
people who always seem to be at the door, but never can go in.  It used
to blow my mind until I got a revelation from God.

For many years I was the same way, I would get close and things would
fall apart. I couldn’t get any traction, not in my career, not in my personal
life and not in the pursuit of happiness. I just couldn’t move forward
. Through much prayer and self-discovery, I found out that I used to be,
notice I said “USED TO BE,” a self-saboteur. I would find a way to
subconsciously destroy every good thing that was in my life and I didn’t
even know I was doing it. Most self-sabotaging people don’t know that
they are doing it.  I don’t think there is anyone sadder than a person who
blames everyone else, but themselves for their situation.   The very
revelation that I was causing my own problems was one of the greatest
blessings God could have allowed me to see. Once I realized the
behavior, I was able to change it. That is why my life is in such a great
place right now.  I realized that my very thoughts were keeping me from
being successful at everything.  “So, as a man thinketh, so is he.”

Many times a lot of us sabotage subconsciously because of what mamma
or daddy said, traumatic childhoods or any number of things that happened
growing up that made us feel that we shouldn’t have or that we didn’t
deserve it.  I’m here to tell you all, that misinformation was wrong. You do
deserve it! You are worthy of it! For me, knowing that Jesus died and rose
again makes me know we are all worthy.

Why am I saying this? I’m just tired of people being upset with people who
have realized their dreams.  The only difference in someone who is living
their dream and someone who can’t get it to come to pass is they don’t
feel they deserve it. They don’t feel they are worthy of it.  So many of us
have dreams, dreams that the world is waiting for, talents that will help heal
and change nations, but we keep destroying our own successes. I know
for a fact that if I had not figured this out, you wouldn’t be reading this
email right now. Nor would I be a happy soul.

The world is waiting for your gift. Give it to yourself and you will give it to them,
but first you have to UNTIE THE ROPE.


my semicolon...

My friend Libby sent me a list of get to know you questions to ask any one you are dating or wanting to get to know...

The thought is that after you finish these questions, you'll either really like the person, possibly fall in love, or be totally disgusted that there will be no need to go on another date....

I thought it would be fun to ask these to my family.  So at dinner we went through each question.  Some were funny!
Some were serious!
Some made us tear up!
Some made us debate!

But one question resonated with me...

"What is your greatest accomplishment in your life?"

The first time i played this game with someone, my answer was Lani! 100% with out a doubt!  Who wouldn't be proud of that smart, sassy, hot mess, argumentative, beautiful child?

But when i really sat and thought about it,  she wasn't what i was most proud of.

I was most proud of surviving my life.

I think Ms Erykah said it best

"I was standing downtown, downtown
Staring at the pebbles on the ground
Tryin to figure out a way up out of this town
And I know yeah, I'm not the only one
So many people out there chase the sun....
My Life
Sho ain't been too easy
My life 
The life I wanna live
My life 
You're gonna go through changes
My life
No turnin back' 

My life has not been easy.... Lets not forget The Series Of Unfortunate Events ... lol
But i can look back at these things and laugh now.
Some laughter is not to cry...
Some laughter is because some of it is genuinely funny as h@!!...
Some laughter is because I've learn to find the humor in things

It's easy to say that the last few years could have been enough to make anyone want to give up, much less the last decade, but i kept remembering the quote my friend Jill sent me 

and time after time I've had to remind myself that 

then one day i stumbled across a website called The Semicolon Project

The first thing you read on their page is 

A semicolon is used when an author could’ve ended a sentence but chose not to.
You are the author and the sentence is your life. 

I thought that was the most amazing quote, and found it so empowering.
And then i realizes that the struggles I experienced in the past, weren't my story.
They were just the first part of my sentence...
and this is life after my semicolon :)

btw.... it has definitely inspired my next tattoo ; )

Where Oh Where Did The Last 5 Months Go....

Some how I let 5 months pass without posting...
Don't get me wrong, I've written posts, I just haven't posted.
Some aren't finished...
Some I'm on the fence about...
Others serve as personal journaling...

Either way there has been a lot of changes in the last 5 months...

My sweet baby graduated from Kindergarten

I changed jobs and said bye bye to the classroom....

Most of I spent more time getting to know myself,


strengthening my relationship with God and learning to trust in his timing, 

 and most of all letting go of things that do not serve me well.

For a very long time I've been trying to please people and hold on to people and thing that have not necessarily benefited me in life.  I've spent a lot of time cleaning house and purging recently. I've found it cathartic and can actually see how removing unnecessary things from my life has brought me more peace and happiness. So i've chosen to embrace this mindset across all panels and avoid all unnecessary drama.

I've also embraced a forgiveness mindset.

I think forgiveness is crucial to having a growth mindset as well. And while many of those I've forgiven never apologized, it was necessary for me to forgive them so that I can let go of the hurt that has been caused and move forward in my own journey. 

Most importantly I believe I've began to see my rainbow

I have weathered what I hope has been the biggest storm of my life, but I'm so proud of what I've become after this storm. 

So as with many of my posts there is a song that expresses my current phase in life, here's my current anthem

wedding video