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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hot and Cold



I haven't blogged in a while and I fully intend to start writing again.  I think I have not taken the time to process things and really reflect on how I feel. I've been in a relationship since June and it feels like its been so much longer than just 4 months. So much has transpired but I have to share the current circumstances and the awareness of the growth I have experienced.

On June 1st I was anxious with a head full of doubt and a heart full of hope as I drove to meet this stranger I met online. Our conversations were great and we knew we needed to meet quickly because online dating can be so disappointing when you finally meet the person. There he was...the man who I would quickly fall in love with and I had no clue. I stepped out of my car and laid eyes on a man who would end up being so special to me. We clicked and we both felt it. For the first time in years my hope outweighed the doubts and I jumped head first.

Over the course of the last few months we have been great, We have gone on amazing road trips, romantic dates, shared evenings at home, and he has met my children and my family. We have had a couple minor tiffs but nothing major and it wouldn't even classify as a fight.  I honestly give this man 100% because he deserves it and I appreciate that he treats me so very well.

This weekend we went to Atlanta so that he could meet my sister and go to a Braves game. We have been so excited about it. We laughed and enjoyed the trip down and the game as well as the visit with my family Friday night. We woke up Saturday morning and I felt this intuition that something wasn't right. I couldn't place my finger on it. I asked him if everything was ok and he hesitated. There it was...the pause that made my heart stop. I asked him what was wrong and I could tell he was struggling with telling me that he really didn't know that anything was wrong he just gets hot and cold. I didn't know what to say for a moment. My heart was breaking into a million pieces as I asked this man if he wasn't really feeling "US" and he paused and said he didn't know. I have written about indifference many times and it is extremely painful.  I thought everything was perfect. I thought we were happy and this relationship was moving forward. He said it was hard to get a momentum going since I'm here with my boys and he is in Brandon. The thing is he has an open invitation to our lives and he is welcome here. I actually need for him to be more involved to make sure this is exactly what he wants in his life. I had no idea that he felt this way.  I had a decision to make because clearly he wasn't going to make it.

One of my boundaries is that I will not maintain an unequal relationship. I give 100% and I expect the same. If someone isn't sure about whether or not they want to be with me that I absolutely don't want to continue the relationship. It isn't my place to convince someone to stay with me or love me. It isn't my place to prove I'm worthy because if someone cant see that for themselves then I don't mean to them what I should. I explained that and we headed home early. There we were exactly 4 months later on October 1st driving...and again I had a head full of doubt and a heart full of hope.

During the drive I was devastated and he began to explain what he meant. He said that the hot and cold is referring to his moods and affection. Sometimes he just gets distant. I feel that he just isn't sure but he isn't ready to call it quits yet and so he rephrased things. Ultimately there is still doubt there and my guard has gone back up. I decided to try since he is willing to try but this is against everything I stand for. I love this man with all of my heart and I want this to work but I refuse to be the only one trying.

We got home and things have been fine but its there...this thing that happened is there. I know it and I feel it. I am really doing some hard thinking right now. I know what I want and what I deserve and people can say anything but its their actions that matter. Its like the blinders of love have been taken off and now I see things for how they really are. I think back on things and I see patterns. I know relationships wont be perfect because people aren't perfect. I am full of grace and I am willing to work on this but its there in my heart pulling me hard. That indifference is torturing me. I refuse to be in a relationship where a man is just settling with me because he likes the way I make him feel. I wonder if I am just better than being alone for him. I wonder if he's bored with me and that's just who he is. He admitted he was hot and cold comparing me and our relationship to his stock market hobby.

I am not dating to just pass the time. I am dating to find the one. It isn't just my heart on the line but the heart of my boys as well and I need a man who is willing to step up and be that constant. I need someone who is just as emotionally healthy as I am and who knows exactly what they want and don't want. I need a man who wants communication as much as I do and who wants to be the leader of our home. I have to analyze this relationship and this man I am crazy about and determine is this healthy and is the potential there or am I wasting my time.

This love began in the summer and it has hit a decline as the fall approaches and I cant help but notice his love has changed with the seasons. Hot to cold. As we were driving yesterday I noticed the signs on the interstate directing drivers to merge left if they were headed to this area and merge right if headed to another city and stay straight to head to another. I realized that we have to find people who are enroute to the same destination we are headed. I know what I want in life and I have it programmed into my GPS. If he isn't on that same route then we may cross paths like we have but ultimately we will part ways when we hit that fork in the road. I have to know where he is headed and what he wants.

Right now my mind is all over the place and I have a lot of praying and soul searching to do. He may be completely indifferent as to whether I stay or go but I pray that if he REALLY wants this to work that he takes a look at this hot and cold thing and makes an effort to prove to me that he really wants us in is life. I no longer care about words. I am looking at how things will change. I pray that this man is the one that God has for me but if he isn't then there will be an amazing man out there who will love me unconditionally without fail and there will never be a night where my head hits the pillow that I wonder if he loves me. Everyone deserves that. Everyone deserves to feel like they are enough.

So that is where I am right now. I am in love and I'm hopeful but I'm prepared as well. I am not sad but I'm not happy. I'm just in a state of reflection at the moment. Its awful how we can fall from cloud 9 to reality in a split second and it changes the way things are. I can't give 100% and be the woman I was to a man who I am not sure is 100% about me. That could become poisonous because both people will begin to change and then things just aren't what they once were.  I don't want that to happen to us. I cant stop thinking about the moments that brought us together and the sweet things that made my heart melt. He said we wouldn't ever stop being what we were in the beginning and I have tried to hold on to that. Sometimes I think my words have fallen on deaf ears. Now that my eyes have been opened only time will tell.



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Insecurities



Tonight I want to talk about insecurities, strong holds, mental stumbling blocks and their dominant sibling, "fear". We all have these things and they're different for everyone. Their roots stem from past relationships, life experiences and how we see ourselves or our self worth. Their nemesis is personal boundaries and growth. They seem to thrive when we feed them fear, doubt, worry, focusing on the what ifs or should've-could've-would've moments of our past and sometimes on fictitious possibilities that may or may not ever happen.

You know what these issues are in your life so all I can speak about are mine. The concept is still the same. Due to years in an abusive marriage I gained weight and I was verbally taunted about it. I was told that I was unattractive and no other man would ever want me. He would make these awful facial expressions when he would look at me and point out every flaw he found. He never showed me affection and would laugh if I tried. He didnt tell me he loved me and I had to depend on myself to God to block the mental abuse. With God's protection and prayer I managed to keep rebuild my self worth and I feel lovely and attractive. I am aware that I need to be physically fit and healthy and that is something I am working on for myself. For years I never felt unattractive and my spouse was the only man who said these things to me so I had no reason to have self esteem issues. I knew he was just trying to hurt me. Little did I know they were only seeds at this time. They were seeds that had been planted waiting to grow.  

As I got out of the marriage and later found myself in the dating scene I began to experience rejection both on the giving and receiving end. I never took it personally because I recognized the fact that I dont find every man I meet to be attractive therefore not every man will find me attractive. It was a matter of mutual attraction. Well the devil likes to take those seeds that are planted in us and cultivate them in times of weakness. Over the years of being single I would notice the things that happened more than once. Those things become profound. Single instances hold very little merit but when the same thing happens over and over you begin to try and reason or believe it. Men would try to sleep with me or treat me like Im not worth courting. They would tell me that men don't have to be attracted to a woman to sleep with her only to date her and I should just take what I can get. Well Im hard headed and stubborn. There are times when this would get me down but I knew my worth and my standards. I knew these were lies and I refused to give up on what I knew was out there and what I deserved. 

Over time it started to wear me down and it began to hurt inside. I began to wonder if any many would see my worth other than God. He planted a desire in my heart long ago and I held on to my faith that what I am looking for is out there. This was all just a test of my faith. Well men began to play on my faith and my belief in gender roles. They would try to manipulate me into believing they were everything I was looking for. I read people very well and I saw through this. I grew tired and weary of the same old ending everytime. I was tired of dating. 

It was that moment just as I was giving up that a man came along who renewed my faith. He was exactly what I was looking for in a man and praying for all these years. Instantly I started searching for deal breakers.  I wanted to know up front if there was any reason why I shouldn't drop my guard this time. He didnt have children and I did so instantly I assumed it would be an issue with my schedule or availability. Before we met I told myself he is going to see that Im a bigger girl and not be interested. It was in that moment I realized that those seeds were planted in me whether I liked it or not. I chose not to let them consume me but they were there and that bothers me. 

We have been dating for a couple months now and he has been amazing to both my boys and I. He has made me feel so beautiful and most importantly he makes me feel like I am enough. He pushes me to meet my body goals and he encourages me. He doesnt make me feel like his love is conditional. The devil tries really hard to make me believe otherwise. He has whispered "He pushes you to lose weight because he doesnt like you the way that you are".  He has whispered "He doesnt want to be in pictures on social media because he's hiding something". Late at night his phone has gone off and he's whispered "He's talking to other women". These are all lies that the devil will use to make you insecure, worry, doubt, fear and become paranoid. You see if I chose to focus on those lies then I would drive myself crazy and my boyfriend away.  

If you have read any of my other posts you will see that my go to advice is simple. You control how others treat you by what you allow and disallow. I have set clear boundaries in my life and if anyone crosses those boundaries I will walk away no matter how much I love them. The other is that your happiness depends on what you focus on. There are always amazing things and blessings to count and there are always negative things and worry to focus on. Your mental condition depends on which one you choose. I choose and will always choose positivity. It is up to you to identify your standards and self worth. Then you set clear boundaries and know that if anyone crosses those boundaries you'll walk away no matter what. With this strategy why would anyone have insecurity or fear? You cant stop someone from hurting you but you can make sure it never happens again. You can't worry about the possibility of someone breaking your heart or you'll never enjoy the moment you're in. You cant make others pay for the mistakes of people before them. It just isn't fair. 

My point is these are real issues we all face but you can't claim to be a victim of your past. Use those things as life lessons and boundaries to place so they never happen again. My boundaries are simple: I will not maintain an unequal relationship, If I feel like I want it more than the other person or Im the only one putting forth the effort then I will step away. Another boundary is honesty- If I even feel like I have to question your integrity then I will walk away. I will not play FBI or try to prove it. I will just know that theres a reason I dont feel secure and it isnt a healthy feeling. The next boundary is infidelity- If I am in a relationship then I am faithful and I dont hang out with anyone of the opposite sex or discuss my problems with them. I expect the same. Another boundary is communication- I will always communicate what I am feeling or doing so that my partner is secure. If I need alone time then I will tell them theres nothing wrong with us but I need some time to myself that way no one is overanalyzing or thinking something is wrong with the relationship. I ask the same of my partner. Last but not least is verbal abuse. I am a lady and I expect to be treated like one. If you are upset with me then speak to me calmly and lets talk about it. Dont yell or cuss at me or I will walk away.  With these boundaries in place I control how I am treated. 

Regardless of what you are dealing with right now just know that throwing yourself a pity party on the misery cruise will only amplify every negative thing in your life and push people away. Focusing on the positive and ignoring those seeds of fear and doubt will smother them and bring forth new growth. 

Dear Future Husband 8.11.16





Dear future husband,

I apologize that it has been a while since I've last written.  Any time that I have had to myself has been spent resting. These boys certainly keep a momma on her toes! Please know that I still pray for you and claim favor and blessing over you daily. Lately I have found myself day dreaming about our lives together and what that will be like.  I like to imagine waking up early to cook breakfast for you and the boys before you head off to work. I think about the mornings you seem to be in a rush and I hastily prepare your lunch and iron your clothes while you shower. I imagine you kissing me before you rush out of the door knowing you'll be greeted by the same lips when you get home. I think about the conversations we will have at night when we are relaxing on the couch or lying in bed. I ponder the plans we will make and the projects we will work on together.  I think about rubbing your back when you've had a bad day or simply just because. I think about sweet moments where you'll bring flowers home or surprise me with a lunch date at work.

There are so many things that I could dream about but none may go exactly as I have imagined. Our lives are full of possibility and memories just waiting to be made. I want to be the love you want to be in. I want to be the person you retreat to when the day is long and the world is cold. I want to be your sunny day and the one you lean on. I want to do everything in my power to be the woman you fell in love with from day one. I never want to be one of those mediocre couples living mundane lives wishing things were different. Things will always be what you make of them. The scary part is that is takes two people who both want the same thing and are willing to both put forth the effort to keep the marriage cultivated and alive. That is what I want from you someday. I want a husband who places our marriage as his top priority second only to his relationship with God.

I know what I am willing to give to you and I just pray that you are willing to give me the same. I have faith that you will be an amazing husband to me and a father to my boys. I have faith that you will be the one who protects us and leads us in love. I have faith that you will never stop courting me and making me feel special.  I have faith that you will give me the security of knowing that I am the only woman you will ever want or need. I have faith that I will be enough for you and you will be enough for me.

I pray that God will reveal you to me everyday but until that day comes I will keep praying blessings over you. I will continue to prepare my heart and my life to be the wife that you deserve and a mother to my boys. I will study God's word to be a Proverbs 31 woman and I will focus on the direction God is leading me in my life. I have faith that he is leading you and I closer to one another every day.

I love you and I hope you have sweet dreams.

Your future wife,
Ashley

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Magic Mountain



You know that passionate feeling of infatuation? The excitement and butterflies every time you're with someone? Those sweet little words of affirmation, texts, calls and pictures? When you're in the process of falling it just feels like you're on top of the world! It's easy to spot those new couples when you're out and about. They're holding hands and laughing. The way they look at one another has "smitten" written all over it. It's also easy to spot those seasoned couples who just seem to coexist. Sure they're out on a date but they're either glued to their phones or staring off in different directions. Their faces paint a different picture. The expression is that of misery or indifference. It's really sad sometimes. Every now and then you'll see an older couple or a married couple who just seem to be head over heels in love. Their body language says it and the way they speak and engage one another confirm it.

People have difference opinions about the "stages" or "life cycle" of a relationship and I want to discuss that. Some people are certain that the "new" wears off and the excitement calms down into something more subtle. Almost a comfort zone if you will. It's not that the couple is unhappy but they no longer feel the need to express their desire anymore because they're committed now and it should be understood. They enjoy the companionship and it just is what it is. Some people swear that you can keep that infatuation and passion alive forever. They believe that you both have to want that more than anything and you both have to work at it every day. I would fall into the second category of people.

Those older couples or happily married couples who are still crazy about one another claim to still get butterflies when they see their spouse across a crowded room. Their heart still races with a single touch and they make sure to never stop courting one another. A relationship is like anything. You get out of it what you put into it. If your home is new and immaculate you're excited about it. You have to keep it up with maintenance and housekeeping duties. You have to pay attention to detail and memorize everything to identify any changes so you can fix it before it gets any worse. If you have a nice figure and are in the best shape of your life then you feel amazing. You have to eat healthy and work out to keep it up. You have to think about what you are doing and what is going into your body in order to maintain or even improve. If you enjoyed your new home but decided the upkeep wasn't necessary then over time it would deteriorate and you wouldn't be so happy to be there. You may even feel overwhelmed like you can never get it back the way it used to be. You may even be right...you may have allowed irreversible damage to occur. If you sported around with your sexy body and decided you could eat anything you wanted and didn't have to work out then you would begin to see changes you don't like. If you continued then you would face obesity and health problems. It could even lead to disease and fatality. 

If you have met someone and you are enjoying the process of getting to know them and courting then hold on to that feeling. Never stop doing what it is you are doing to maintain that relationship and it will never become less than what it is. The more you invest into something the more you will get out of it. The important thing to understand is that a relationship takes two people. It isn't something you can maintain all on your own. It's important to discuss boundaries and needs. One of my boundaries is that I will not maintain an unequal relationship. If I ever feel that I want it more or I am expensing more effort then its time to talk and re-evaluate where things are going and if my significant other is even on the same page as I am. 

I spent a long time listening to people respond to my blog or even tell me in person that I live in a fairytale world. They would tell me what I am looking for doesn't exist. They would say the real world isn't like that. I would let them talk but all the while I knew who I was. I knew that I was a passionate person who gives 100% and expects nothing less than that in return. I knew it was all about compatibility and finding that other person with the same desire and willingness as I have. Do I believe in bad days? Yes. We all have bad days BUT I believe your partner should be your escape. I think you should be best friends and that is when the other is to be strong for the both of you. These roles are swapped back and forth from time to time. In the end schedules, life, stress, monotony are never an excuse to overlook the effort your relationship requires. You may not feel like going to work everyday but you know if you don't that you will get fired and cant pay your bills. You may not feel like exercising but you know what happens if you don't. You may not feel like cutting your grass but you will have a jungle to clear when and if you ever decide to do it.

There are so many things in life that are just mediocre but love should never be one of those things. I never want to just coexist. I've waited my entire life to find my person and by God when it's the one I will never stop putting forth effort to keep it how it is in the beginning so they never have to mention how it "used to be".  I believe if you keep that level of love blindness and never allow yourself to focus on a flaw in your spouse that you will keep them on that pedestal. I believe that if you make sure to tell them just how much they mean to you every day then insecurity can never creep in. I believe that these efforts speak loud and clear saying you matter to me and this matters to me...this is a priority in my life and we are worth it.

It's all about compatibility and having this discussion with your significant other early on. These topics are important. If you aren't on the same page then someone will not have their needs met in the long term. Not everyone cares to have the same things and that is ok. What is not ok is ignoring those facts and thinking you can change someone over time or settling for less when you know it matters to you. These things can be talked about, worked out and sometimes you can come to an understanding where everyone's needs are met. If you find yourself in this situation I encourage you to just express how you feel and put everything on the table!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mega Millions



After our return from New Orleans Kevin and I haven't spent very much time apart. We have gone on countless dates, celebrated a birthday, outings with my boys, evenings relaxing at one or the other's home, and a couple road trips.  It feels as though he and I have been dating for months but it has only been a little over one. We have shared intimate moments of clarity and emotions and we have laughed while teasing one another like school kids. We have experienced kisses that compete with movie scenes and felt passion that bring chill bumps to recollect. I have never felt a comparable connection in my life and I am extremely happy.

On the way back from New Orleans we stopped to get a lottery ticket and I had never purchased one before. Well he tells me to take the money to the counter and just tell the clerk I want a lottery ticket then he sort of walks away and browses. I was super nervous and I did as he instructed me to. The girl looked at me and sputtered something really fast so all I heard was " You want the mega million, lotto, powerball, blah blah blah?" Naturally my response was "Yeah" and she drops her eyes while rolling them as far back into her head as humanly possible then asked me "WELL WHICH ONE YOU WANT"?  Meanwhile Kevin is over in the corner just laughing hysterically. The girl then explains that they are all different and I pick the mega million and we exit the store. I felt super dumb but what more can you expect from a lottery virgin. He enjoys recanting my response of "Yeah" to any relative situation where I am prompted to make a decision. We laugh about it quite often.

A few weeks ago we ventured into Vicksburg for "Sunday funday" at the military park and enjoyed an amazing lunch at the 10 South Rooftop bar and grill. Before we headed home I wanted to drive across the bridge into Louisiana to try out my new "Lottery ticket purchasing" skills. I walked into the store and told the girl I wanted 2 of the mega million and handed her a $5 since they were $1 each. She said she didn't know if she had any $1s so I told her to just give me 3 more tickets then. Well she handed me 2 tickets which looked like the original one I had purchased back on 6.12.16 so I assumed she was waiting to give me the other 3. She glared at me and asked if I needed anything else and I told her my other 3 tickets. She explained they were printed on the 2nd ticket. Y'all I thought I was doing so good up until now. I had just mastered the concept of which ticket I wanted to purchase and no one informed me that they would list multiple lines on 1 ticket! Another lottery lesson learned for next time...

I boldly walked back to the car to boast about my successful purchase and certainty that we would be millionaires by Wednesday morning (Not JUST millionaires but MEGA millionaires) but I had to be honest. He got a nice chuckle and we were on our way home. Sundays are always very bittersweet for us because it means the wonderful weekend we shared is coming to an end. We always embrace with a long hug reluctantly saying goodbye as if it is the last time we will ever see one another again. The Sunday blues are quickly met with the responsibility of housework, kids and the approaching work week and we carry on as we do every other day.

I often think about the day Kevin messaged me online and how I was deleting my dating profile because I was ready to just give up and leave it to fate. I didn't want to exhaust any effort whatsoever into the dating world as it had turned out to be so disheartening. I received that message and we chatted briefly. I gave him my number explaining that I was deleting my profile and there we were. We both were very keen on the online dating game and decided to arrange a meet and greet just to make sure it was safe to actually like our conversations and possibly even allow a little hope to slip in there. Just a little over a month ago I met this perfect stranger and had no idea he would end up meaning so much to me. Thinking of those lottery tickets and odds...thinking of the gamble and risk we take when it comes to opening up to someone puts it all into perspective.

There are 7.4 billion people in the world. There are over 321 million people in the United States. There are almost 3 million people in Mississippi. There are 1.4 million males in Mississippi and of those there are $84K that are white males. You can further break them down by age, mental health and marital status to make the odds less likely that the man I have been praying for my entire life fits into that census. When you look at billions or even millions then its easy to fathom your "person" being out  there but to narrow it down really feels more like the odds of winning that mega million.

Sometimes we get on these dating sites and we take a chance and purchase a ticket and sometimes we purchase 5 to increase our odds of winning. We daydream about the possibilities until the moment comes and we are met with the disappointment that we didn't hold the winning ticket. Doesn't mean we give up hope but we may not play for a while. Just before Kevin messaged me I had been thinking of all the failed attempts and I was ready. I was living with expectancy that any moment God would bless me with a man who was the equivalent of winning the lottery.  The odds may seem like they are stacked against you when you look at the numbers but God is in control. If you listen he will speak and he will guide you. You may feel the fear and the risk but stepping out on faith will result in blessings you cant even imagine. 

You see I may not have ever purchased an actual lottery ticket before meeting Kevin but I gambled with my heart from time to time. Just as I was about to give up my winning numbers came up to play... 06....01....2016  and on that day God blessed me with a man who is more valuable than willing the lottery. He is my jackpot!



Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Our Story: New Orleans 6.11-6.12.16


So there we were on Jackson square in front of St. Louis cathedral walking hand in hand observing the landscaping. Just as we looked up in front of us a man got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend. He was emotional and we watched as they stared into each others eyes professing the desire to spend every day together for the rest of their lives. Tears flooded my eyes to have witnessed a life changing moment of total strangers. We stood there smiling in awe that we were blessed to have been a part of that special occasion even as passerby. We walked along the streets watching people and admiring architecture. Occasionally we would duck inside of a shop to escape the heat of the south but we were never more than a few inches apart for any longer than a few minutes. There we were visiting New Orleans and soaking in the mystery and romance that we felt with each step.

After spending the afternoon walking along the river front, shopping in the french market and exhausting ourselves we retreated to the hotel. At first it was a desperate attempt to hover over the AC as we were glistening with clammy skin and excitement of what we would discover that night. We laid back on the bed and talked for what seemed like hours. I have no recollection of the time we spent there. We covered important topics about dating and our lives. I felt this connection...we both felt this connection as if we had known one another our entire lives yet we wanted to know everything and more. Finally we decided to get dressed and head out for the evening.

Again we walked hand in hand down the streets of broken pavement. He watched out for every crack and dip to protect me from stumbling. As we walked he would compliment me and smile. I knew then that my heart was in a world of trouble. We exchanged moments of staring at the other when they weren't looking ...often catching one another and shying away with a smile. That evening after dinner we took a carriage ride to tour the French Quarter and it was almost magical. The city at night was much different than during the day. After the ambiance of such a wonderful evening we walked back to our hotel room.

That night we talked more and shared a bond that I have yet to share with anyone. I connected with him on a level I have never connected with anyone. As the sun crept the following morning we didn't want to say goodbye to the city. We didnt want this amazing weekend to end. We stayed in the room just as long as we possibly could. Room 231. That was where we became more than we were when we arrived.

As we walked down the street heading to the car we decided to stop off in a little diner that advertised WORLDS BEST HAMBURGERS. How could you pass up the world's best hamburger right? It was in that diner that I looked at this man and my soul sort of sighed. Everything inside of me said that is the one we have been searching for. It almost moved me to tears so I stared out of the window daydreaming. We ordered our burgers and shared stories. "Be my baby" came on the radio and I could do nothing but smile. It was a moment for us. It was a moment that I knew I would remember for the rest of my life. All of these moments may sound so simple to you or anyone else but you see there is a secret to it all. Ordinary things become extraordinary with the right person.

...And so our story continues

Monday, June 20, 2016

You had me at "Comfortable"



So here I am with a mind full of thoughts and emotions to express. I hardly know where to begin so I guess I will just start with June 1st. June 1st was just an ordinary Wednesday except it happened to be the day that I met a man from a dating site online. There I was feeling super skeptical and certain that this would be yet another first and last date or meet and greet. We had been chatting for a few days and shared a few laughs.  It seemed right to just meet before either one of us got our hopes up. I drive up and this man smiled at me. It was that moment that my heart sort of took a breath or sigh of relief. He felt safe.

I had become so doubtful of everyone I had planned to meet online. I almost loathed first dates to the point that I would find reasons to cancel. My comfort zone was at home in my yoga pants with sushi and netflix. Although binge watching entire seasons of Army wives wasn't exactly emotionally healthy either. Yes there I was having a meet and greet with a man who I expected to be all wrong for me. As I drove away I thought of every reason why it would probably not work out regardless of that first impression.

I started telling myself it was impossible because he didn't have children and I could no longer have anymore. I started thinking of my parental responsibilities and thought there is no way he would be patient with my schedule in the beginning so why even bother. As I was pondering reasons to go ahead and end it before I got my hopes up my heart sort of pulled the reigns. A bold resolve gripped me and I decided it was time to stop running. If all of these are reasons it wouldnt work out then ending it before it had a chance certainly wasn't much of an alternative. I took a chance. I stepped out on faith.

They say to take a step of faith and God will do the rest. I can assure you that is exactly what has happened since then. We went from a meet and greet to a breakfast date to seeing one another almost every day, We took a road trip to New Orleans and we continue to see where this thing is taking us.

Now that I have prefaced you with a shell of this story I want to visit the things I have picked up on one by one but not in just this one post. It is too much to write in one sitting. Im flooded with thoughts and things to say so I have to take time to sort them out and share them with you, Tonight I simply want to talk about comfort.

You can't prepare yourself for the magic that will unfold when you give someone enough comfort to be themselves. THIS is something I live for. Real connections with real people who are so unapologetically themselves. I am so passionate and I crave moments when I see people in raw form. I want to see the things that make them smile. I want to watch their faces light up when they talk about things that they're passionate about. I like to hear their stories of how life has molded them into the person they are today. If you can't feel this deeply and if you can't find beauty in the most ordinary things then what makes you feel alive?

He and I have had endless conversations about everything imaginable but one word is spoken more often than any others. That word is "comfortable".  Having that level of comfort to be vulnerable isn't easy for alot of people. Life has a way of jading us. People have made us feel that love is conditional. We begin to layer armor on us until we are only connecting with people on a surface level. We long to feel something that moves us inside. We want to fall in love. We want these feelings but we are scared to take the step of faith required to get there. We want to trust but that level of comfort is lacking.

The way we make people feel comfortable is by making ourselves just as vulnerable. Its by understanding that we have all felt pain. When this happens people begin to soften and allow you to peel back the layers one at a time. It is in this moment that you connect with one another. It is in this beautiful moment that they feel safe to feel things they've avoided feeling. They find words to describe fears and desires. They begin to purge months and years of emotions that they've bottled deep inside because there was no where to release them. These connections are rare but they are the moments that inspire novels and movies. They make us feel alive. It all starts with a little comfort. Comfort is a catalyst of stories that long to be told.

Follow as I share with you the things I have discovered recently ...you had me at "comfortable"

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dear Future Husband 6.13.16




Monday, June 13, 2016

Dear Future Husband,

Good afternoon sweet potato! I hope your Monday is wonderful and filled with favor. I hope it didn’t come too quickly after a well spent weekend. I hope you are sitting there pondering what our lives will be like when we are together and all of the memories we will make.  I’ve certainly been daydreaming about it lately. 

I had to really take a step back and realize how quickly I could find you. Every date we go on is a 50/50 chance that we could find one another. It’s a 50% chance that it will be our last first date and last first kiss. I don’t care about being your first because we are older and we have probably both seen our share of love and heartbreak but I care about being your last.  I care about being your happily ever after. I want you to be the end of my story and the beginning of OUR story. I care about the excitement of our ONCE UPON A TIME. I care about keeping the butterflies alive from the moment they bust out of those cocoons inside. 

I want to be your “whatever” and I want to laugh with you. I want to keep your gaze. I want to flirt with you at 6am. I want to throw your towel in the drier while you shower so you’re warm and toasty. I want to surprise you with a shirt I bought for you even if you hate the color. I want to anticipate how we would spend our money when we hit it big with the lottery. I want to make shadow box after shadow box after shadow box for every single road trip we ever take.

I want to reach over and hold your hand when we are driving. I want to iron your clothes just like you like them. I want to make you feel like the only man alive because in my eyes you’re the only man I see. I know you’re out there. I know my hand will fit perfectly inside of yours. I know there’s a spot on your chest where my head was just destined to nuzzle. I know there’s a place for us. I know there is a story to be told. I know that it will be the greatest love story I have ever read. Until then my love, to be continued

Please know in your heart as I have always done and will always continue to do …I pray for you. I pray that your days are full of blessing. I pray for your strength. I pray for your health. I pray for your joy. I pray for your success. I pray that you are surrounded by family and friends who love and support you. I pray that you moisturize your little elbows too! ;)

Your future Wife,
Ashley

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Dear Future Husband 5.15.16



Dear future husband,

Good evening sweet potato! I hope all is well in your little corner of the world...wherever that may be. I hope it's safe to assume your corner of the world isn't in Alabama. If you're in Alabama then darlin I pray that you're the exception because my travels have taken me through places that make me consider the idea of controlled procreation. Honey I am all about football and having team spirit but those Alabama people take it to a whole other level.  If you are from Alabama then please stop looking for me at your family reunion because you'll never get to me at that pace. Bless it.

I almost died this morning. YES. ALMOST DIED. I was driving down the Natchez Trace headed to a local brunch spot and there was an attractive jogger which may or may not have been you...well anywho...I was distracted by his manliness and the way the sunshine glistened off of his sweaty shoulders and out of nowhere BAM a deer ran out in front of me. I looked up just in time to slam on my brakes and was inches from Bambi III's significant other. I was like WHOA DOE! Actually it was more of a scream and then I cried thinking that could've been the moment I died. If that was you jogging then I hope you took a pic of my tag and plan on tracking me down this week.

Speaking of death...babe...I need to get into better shape. If I were murdered right now my chalk outline would be a circle. They would "throw dat ass in a circle"... ok I tickled myself on that one. For real though...I need to get with it. I was training for my first 5k and didn't go to it this weekend. Technically it was due to lack of funds but I definitely would've died had I gone. I always meet people when I go running...which is more like jogging..ok walking fast. The people I meet are usually paramedics or concerned neighbors asking why Im lying on the side of the road and warning me that  may be struck by a car. I do however think being struck by a car would be less painful than running and you can just take that to the bank and cash it!

Well I've tried to be proactive about finding you. I am happy and content with my life but I do put myself out there on a little dating site. Sweetheart I just don't know what to think about society anymore. There are those that are super pushy and overwhelming who make me run away because they chase me. There are those that seem to throw more shade than an oak tree. There are those who seem to just like the idea of dating but are too preoccupied with window shopping. THEN there are the ones you can't make up if you tried. For example there is the military vet who led me to believe he had been deployed and just getting home only to find out he was a rapist who had just gotten out of prison which ended his military career. That is always comforting to find out AFTER dinner. There is also the one who seems absolutely normal and perfect on paper until a day before the date and don't answer my phone for an hour because Im at lunch with a girlfriend and I get back to my car to find 5 texts and 4 missed calls. The last one was cancelling  date and using ugly words. Now what in the world am I supposed to do with options like that? Do you see what you've exposed me to?! Crazy does, cardio, sex offenders and psycho hot heads! Your punctuality problem is hardly a flaw after all of that!

As always I pray for your life and your heart daily. I pray that God blesses you and your family and that he guides you to be the man he wants you to be. I pray for your wisdom and discernment. I pray for your health and happiness. I pray for your walk with the Lord as he leads you so you may lead our family someday. I pray that you are surrounded with christian friends and family who uplift you and support you daily. Until I hold you in my arms I will continue to hold you in my heart.

Good night sweetheart!

Love,
Your future Wife
Ashley

#dearfuturehusband #loveletters #love #futurewife

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Be Careful

She enchants you with her enigmatic waves of emotion
intriguing you with her indifference
The way she smiles and seemingly stares into your soul
You want to be the one who figures out exactly who she is
Your words fall short to impress her
and she playfully dismisses your charm
You catch a glimpse here and there of pain in her eyes
but just like that she distracts you with a battle of wits
You feel a desire growing within you to know what shes thinking
it quickly grows into a wildfire consuming all logic
She reads to you incerpts until you beg to know every chapter
She is the type of girl who needs space to breathe
She needs room to fly
When she feels contained she gets frightened
She has felt pain no one should endure
She has heard words that have destroyed her faith in love
She has seen things that haunt her dreams at night
You find yourself loathing the day you ever met her
She's disappeared like a brief rain on a summer day
You think of her from time to time and search for her
In time she may land again and you'll have so much to say
She may explain who she is and why her walls are high
She may warn you that she's no good for you
You'll be helpless to listen and mistake it for fear
Your expectations and pursuit will drive you insane
You can't have a heart like hers. You may only hold it for a while.
You'll grow to hate her but for what? She told you who she was
Your conquest broke your heart not she.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Until Then

Write hard and clear about what hurts - Ernest Hemingway

I have been back and forth trying to decide what to say and how to make this post a positive life lesson but the truth is I'm just posting tonight to purge some things from my mind.  I was speaking with a friend the other night about writing and he said he didn't want to write because it would just seem so negative and that would make people feel worse. I actually think it helps people to simply know they aren't alone in how they feel whether we have some positive motivation that follows or not. When we talk about how we feel sometimes we just need someone to listen. We don't necessarily need advice or encouragement. We just need to purge it so it doesn't poison us. I think that conversation happened for 2 reasons. I think he may have taken something from it and somehow I was going to need to take my own advice. I have been sparing so much because I have come so far that I didn't want anyone thinking that I was not strong. The truth is I'm very strong. I'm very aware that storms come and they go but I am always ok. I am better than ok. I am stronger after every storm that I endure. You need rain to grow just as much as you need sunshine.

With that being said I just need to vent some feelings. Before I do please understand that I am aware of hormones and just day to day blues we sometimes get. I know who I am and what I stand for but I am simply spilling what I'm feeling these days.

We have discussed before how men compartmentalize sex and women struggle with that. I am lonely. I can admit that. I have prospects and I could be married if I wanted to but I wont settle until it feels right. So I'm lonely simply because the right one hasn't come along yet. There are times it hits me hard because I want to feel the butterflies and I want to be kissed. I want to spend an entire weekend in bed making passionate love. Well I've met men who don't even try to get to know me. They aren't looking for a connection they're looking for a hookup and that frustrates me. Then there are those who pretend to want a connection but they always find a way to redirect the conversation to their real agenda. Again I get frustrated. There are men who I connect with and they're looking for friends with benefits and I just can't risk that. I know I will catch feelings if I do so I avoid it. I have gotten to the point of disgust with it all. I'm not seeking these things out they're just there.

I realized where frustration and anger lies. Its my peeve of selfishness. My needs right now are for real connections and intimacy. I'm lonely and I want to connect with genuine people. Here these men are with their hands out wanting to take and take and take from me but they're unwilling to give me what I need in return. I have what they want and they have what I want but they're selfish with their heart or their feelings. They just want me to meet their needs and move along. Those feelings of not being worthy or enough surface. I know better but scars run deep. Words are never forgotten. The pain of feeling that love is not even offered and if so its absolutely conditional and I simply don't meet those conditions. Men are not even thinking this much into it. Its simple for them. They want it and they ask. They are not responsible for how it makes me feel inside. It isn't their fault that I am broken. I am not angry at them for that. I just don't give myself away. They don't understand this.

What I struggle with is the idea of "what if". What if I just throw caution to the wind and go with the flow and things develop out of a casual friends with benefits situation? Well that would be great but then What if I fall hard and I'm left to get over it or walk away because I was told what it was in the beginning? When you've been through the pain I've endured and you've pulled it together then the risk is higher. You aren't so willing to gamble. I may be lonely but I'm ok. I'm not heartbroken. I just can't bring myself to allow someone to use me and hope that my needs of intimacy are met in return. I just have so much more self worth than that.

I think another factor to consider is that I'm an INFJ personality type. I'm one of the rare people. I can read people and situations extremely accurately. I know when people have other agendas. I know how to read conversations and how people steer them to bring up certain topics. I know how people feel by how they reply or pay attention. I pick up on the things they notice and tune into. All of these context clues tell me who they are where their intentions lie. Those that intrigue me and want to figure me out are the ones that captivate me. I'm very passionate and I feel things deeply. I may be snarky and sarcastic. My humor is inappropriate at times. I may even appear to be shallow but I am not. All it takes to get to the center of my soul is to be genuine and have a desire to travel there. I will know if you are or aren't. I may not have any fact or proof to base my intuitions on but they're accurate and if something doesn't feel right I don't wait around to uncover it. I walk away.

When I do meet someone genuine and they're interested in me as well then I get my hopes up because it's so rare that it happens. When it doesn't pan out then I'm rightfully disappointed. What I have experienced in this department is that I'm not the chosen one. Adults date until they find someone who they can't get enough of. More often than not men chose someone else and months later they recycle back around and tell me they made a mistake. I will never allow myself to be an option. I couldn't fall for someone knowing I wasn't good enough the first time. I don't want you to just settle for 2nd best. I know when a man's response time slows down. I can sense the distance. I know when there is doubt. I feel the sting of short and simple texts just to keep me around until he figures this thing out. I just remove myself.

So there it is. Selfishness and Ingenuity are plaguing my life. They're the road block to every relationship in my life. Those 2 things and just the understanding that I'm not everyone's cup of tea or shot of whiskey. It's just a moment of feeling the distance between myself and the love of my life. It's knowing that he's out there somewhere and I'm here needing him in my life but frog after frog clutter my path. I'm not man hating. I know men go through this as well. I'm just frustrated because I have needs that I can't meet. I have a void that I can't fill on my own. I'm independent and I'm self sufficient but I need love and I'm not ashamed to say that. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cry myself to sleep some nights because I want someone next to me. I'm not afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve even if it looks like a coat of arms. I may be this spitfire brunette who has all the confidence in the world but I'm at a loss when it comes to this. Until then...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Dear Future Husband 2/23/16



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dear Future Husband,

Good evening dollface. I am currently on a flight from Dallas to Jackson and I thought I would write to you. I spent the last few days at a business conference in Scottsdale, AZ. I had a Villa Suite at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort and I enjoyed the most amazing weather. I enjoyed drinks in the courtyard and had an amazing night on a ranch in La Puesta Del Sol. The landscape and the sky were absolutely breathtaking. As I travel I see different couples going on vacations together or returning home with their families. I wonder about your travels. I wonder if we have passed one another in a busy airport. I think about the vacations we will share in the future. I found myself studying the faces of those who walked by me or spoke to me. I met and networked with many people this week and I enjoyed laughter and intelligent conversations. I sometimes feel guilty that I’m not actively seeking you out but I have to remind myself that it’s not necessary. You’ll pursue me once we meet. When the time is right God will reveal us to one another. One of us may know before the other one does or it may be instantaneous. I think it will feel as though I traveled around the world the second that I lay eyes on you. You will be my forever vacation. You will be my getaway. You will be my amazing weather and drinks by the courtyard. You will be my everything. So tonight wherever you may be whether it be at home asleep in your bed or on a flight from somewhere out West headed down South...just know you are always in my thoughts and I pray for you daily. I pray for your health, your walk with the Lord, your success and your happiness. I pray for your family who supports you and that you are surrounded by Christian friends who are preparing you to be the leader of our home and the husband who will melt my very heart. 

Until then...I love you

Your future wife,
Ashley 

#DEARFUTUREHUSBAND #LOVELETTERS