Browsing Category | family

When Elder Holland Comes to Town…

Just kidding. He doesn’t always come to town. But a couple of weeks ago, he did.

We had our Stake Conference on June 11th. We found out in May that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland would be visiting us and I literally couldn’t even contain my excitement!!!! Not only was an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ coming to visit, but ELDER HOLLAND was coming. 

I have this weird thing that I bring upon myself, it’s called social anxiety. I literally get so anxious that I end up having a panic attack and start crying pretty hard. It often keeps me from going to social events like meeting up with friends, going to stake conference, etc. It’s really hard on me and I absolutely hate it but it’s just something I have to work through. :/

ANYWAY.

We arrived at 8:30 AM (more like 8:15) to get good seats. We were on the 5th row from the front where Elder Holland would speak to us. It was incredible. The meeting didn’t even start until 10:00 AM! Haha, but it was so worth it. I got to sit by my babe and my bff Abby. ANNNND my mom and Jess :) It was just a wonderful experience. Absolutely incredible. Abby and I always find ourselves doing everything together and this was one of them!

I wish I could remember everything he said, I really do. It was so good. We were getting a new stake presidency that day so, he spoke a lot on supporting and accepting those who are called to certain positions in the Church that we, as members, feel like it could have been filled by someone else. It’s kind of silly but people do! I always wondered why my dad was never in the bishopric like my friends’ dad. Or why my mom wasn’t in a super cool stake calling. You just do, it’s just apart of being within the Church. But the way he spoke about sustaining them anyway, and supporting them and promising with the Lord that you will serve alongside them. It was very powerful and probably something we needed to hear.

He then started talking about a few other things and incorporated the Book of Mormon. I say “things” because I literally just can’t really say all that he said. You just had to be there. Also, he speaks exactly the same in person/in the chapel as he does in General Conference. HAHA like woah… we can hear you loud and clear through the microphone ;) ;) ;) I kid I kid. But it was powerful and amazing and a complete testimony builder. God loves his Apostles. They are the same person both on TV and in your church building. They love us. They want to serve and help us. Some things I do remember him saying are:

  • “You can stay in the church. You can leave the church. But you cannot deny the evidence!”
  • “I read this book every year. I am not me without this book.”
  • “YOU CANNOT DENY THE EVIDENCE!”

A little bit of emphasis on that last one because we all know Elder Holland. Haha, anyway, the “evidence” that he speaks of is the proof that God lives, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on the earth today. The evidence that Angels are real, Heaven exists and this is the true-living Church of God, the ONLY true church on the earth today. I cried. I cried through his entire talk. surprise surprise. It was exactly what I needed, what my friends needed, my family… our stake. It was everything and more. I need to read the Book of Mormon. Every year, every day.


I know, without a doubt, that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that the Prophet and President of the Church today, is Thomas S. Monson. I know that Apostles are real, and that they are just like us. I know, that after hearing him speak to us, God is ever-mindful of us individuals and what we need to hear and when we need to hear it. This church is true. It is the truest of the truest. It is life-saving, life-changing, and eternal. I would not be who I am today without it. I would not be able to live, breathe, love, or enjoy life without the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful for the many Pioneers and ancestors who trekked across the country to bring this light. My family is eternal. My marriage is eternal. I don’t understand, and I might not ever, some of the doctrine, the policies or any other decisions the Church makes. AND THAT’S OKAY. It’s okay that I have questions, and it’s most definitely okay that I wrestle while working through that. Nothing in this world, no alcohol, drugs, partying, stealing, etc. would EVER be more worth it. NOTHING. I know what I know because of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I have had way too many sacred experiences, and too many witnesses to deny it.

Memorial Day!

Memorial Day came and went so fast for me! The sight and feeling of love I felt when I visited my dad was a humbling experience of gratitude. I remember getting out of the car and as I walked up it was like the wind got knocked out of me. My dads grave was beautiful. He is SO loved. So loved. I am SO thankful for those who visited my dad, or thought about him… it means the world to me. I wanted to tear up, because naturally that’s what I would have done but I didn’t. I couldn’t stop smiling at how many flowers there were, how the sun was still shining and it was warm. It was a happy day and I’m so proud of my dad and his service. I’m also grateful to everyone who visited a Veteran, wrote a letter to someone currently serving and to those who are taking the step to serve our country. Being a Marine was huge for my dad and something I’m really proud of him doing!! Love you dad, miss you so much!!! 

Indecisive

Indecisive.

It should be my middle name or something.

I have this conversation with a lot of people, all the time. In fact, the reason I’m writing this post is because I had this very conversation with my mom (and sister I think) like two days ago. I also talk about it a lot on my blog, so if you’re reading this and you’re sick of reading it, just stop now.

I announced very publicly on February 22, 2017, that I would be stepping down as a wedding photographer. There were so many aspects of my life at that time that needed my time and attention. I was so heartbroken. I knew this was probably a good choice but I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was is. I wasn’t going to be photographing weddings anymore, booking new clients. I was done. That was it. No more photos. But I just couldn’t live with that, and almost a month later I wanted it back. But this is what’s best… or so I thought. There’s no way anyone will book you with how unstable you are as a business owner. <<<<< Literally my thoughts every day.

I missed meeting with brides in person to go over their big day. I missed showing up for engagements and getting the giggles out with great photos to show. I missed the bridals, the first look… that moment of “this is what wedding day will probably feel like.” But I most miss the actual wedding day. The cheers of congratulations from the guests. The cute stories I get to hear from the grandpas. I miss my gear. I miss learning and being confident in my work and my ability to produce the photos I wanted and did. I miss second-shooting for crying out loud. I miss having this as an outlet that I never knew how much I loved until I was in “photographer-mode.”

My heart aches for this photography life that I’ve been living the past 3 years. It aches for the excitement of learning, growing and being successful with something. College didn’t work out for me. Holding a job hasn’t worked out for me. But photography has. Photography was not only my creative outlet, but it was a way of serving someone and putting them first. It was a way that I felt made my dad proud of me. It’s one way I still feel connected to my dad. Photography is life. Whenever someone says, “we should let Ashley take the picture, she’s the photographer,” my love for this part of my life grows and I pray in gratitude every night that I have found photography. This is a self-taught skill. I have worked hard and I have worked my tail off to get where I am.

But I’m stuck. I’m stuck and I can’t get out.

I sold my gear. Yep, you read that right. I sold my gear. All of it: my camera body, two lens’, four batteries, and a few other things. All in one weekend. My baby. My life and my love. I sold it. Gone. Now, I have a Sony mirror-less camera. The new and cool. I don’t know how to use it at all. The lens’ are $$$$$$$$$$$$$ and the ones I have aren’t all that amazing. I don’t know what all the buttons mean or how to adjust with a snap of my finger like I did my Nikon. It’s frustrating. It’s discouraging but a good kind of different at the same time. What kind of client is going to book me with a small, point-and-shoot-looking camera? No one will take me seriously. If it’s not big, black and chunky, I’m not professional… right? That’s hard!

Why I switched, I’m not really looking to get in to that right now. Things are changing. Am I coming back? Probably… when? I don’t know. Someone once said, “we never know if you are or aren’t doing photography. You change your mind a lot.” I do. I apologize. I am so sorry for causing so much confusion and being so indecisive. I’m all over the place all of the time. My life is. I never know what I’m doing each and every day. I feel so unstable. A lot like my depression and anxiety. I never finish anything, yet I want to try everything. Maybe I don’t let things workout. Maybe I’m scared that something, specifically photography, will workout and I’ll be successful. Can I handle that? Is it what I really want? Will everyone support me?

 I want to make this work. I want to make photography be my thing. I want to be successful and love what I do in life. I’m hurt that a lot of other things aren’t working/happening right now and maybe this is it. Maybe this is what’s working/happening. Whether it always will or not, I really want to make it work. I want to book clients, be happy and photograph memories. I feel like specializing in weddings will ALWAYS be my thing, but maybe it’s time I become a hybrid photographer. Maybe I need to start photographing families (small families), seniors, missionaries, couples, anniversaries, portraits, head-shots, studio photography, lifestyle, in-home sessions… maybe I’m feeling this way because I’m sticking strictly to weddings? I’m not sure. Either way, I think it’s time I open my doors to some more work that I haven’t been doing for a long time.

There’s so much change happening in my life right now. The biggest hurtle I’ve had to overcome since February 22, was my dads 1 year passing anniversary. I miss him so much, right now especially. I’m just having a sad day (it’s 12:03 AM right now) and I just miss him. I’m tired, exhausted and I need to find balance in my life. Something, I need to calm down, eliminate/simplify and do what makes me most happy… and that’s probably photography, reading, blogging, being with family and … napping. HAHA but seriously. If you made it this far, I’m really proud of you because this was A LOT of word vomit. My heart just needed to say what was on my mind.

So the future of Ashley Ziegler Photography holds……. not really sure but I’m hoping something.

Quiet Car Rides

Something that I really enjoy doing is driving. I love driving far places, and just spending time with myself in the car. Maybe that’s why I love photography and the wonderful opportunities I have to travel to shoot weddings. There’s something so freeing about just relaxing, seeing the beauty of the earth and traveling.

Occasionally I’ll play softer music instead of my usual Jam Out! playlist or my Country music playlist. My softer music includes piano, violin, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and many other artists from CD’s like Especially For Youth program, etc. One particular song always brings comfort to my heart, “Our Savior’s Love.” The rendition I listen to is Hillary Weeks; she’s an amazing artist!

 Sometimes being in my car, spending time listening to the beautiful music of the Gospel, really calms my troubled heart.

I have been feeling extreme burn out lately. The thought of reading scriptures, scriptures I’ve already read before, just feels like a chore. I’m not reading because I want to. Sometimes I’d just rather stay at home on Sunday’s instead of going to church. Exercising and eating better fell off the wagon when I went on a recent vacation. Blogging, photography, and anything creative just aren’t satisfying right now. It’s so hard to feel burn out in a lot of aspects in life that use to consume you.

I’ve changed. I’ve become a quiet person. I don’t socialize or talk to people. I’m not loud and obnoxious or outgoing like I used to be. I’m just quiet, and definitely a homebody now. I’m hoping this summer will be a fun, relaxing summer of just simply having no responsibilities (except work). I want to enjoy being outside, reading books, spending time with my family, going on dates with my husband and swimming. Doing nothing. It’s all I ever want to do.

But, sometimes all you need is a sweet, humbling, simple reminder that peace exists. You can be and feel at peace. You don’t have to be perfect today or tomorrow or even next week. You don’t have to do or be every idea that comes into your mind. You don’t have to impress anyone and everyone. If school isn’t right for you right now, that’s okay. If loving your job or corporate position is fulfilling to you, that’s okay! If spending time at the library brings you happiness, you should go more often. Life is hard, but it doesn’t have to be hard every single day.

Be you, be happy, love God, serve others and live your life to its fullest.

xoxo

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Celebrating Dad

I’m super late with this but better late than never.

I remember waking up with each event… every second and every minute of what today was like exactly 1 year ago. I remember having last hugged my dad and heard him speak the night before so I spent some time this day, 1 year ago, talking to my dad about different things and just holding his hand.

I wore a great shirt today. Grabbed some Diet Coke and Peanut M&M’s in his honor :) I miss my dad so much. We met at Texas Roadhouse together as a family, that was one of my dads favorite restaurant. The sun was shining after it had been raining all day and the day before. The time we planned to meet at his grave with more family, it was supposed to rain really hard. It rained the week after his passing, so it was almost expected. God must’ve been listening that day because it didn’t start to pour really hard until we all left his grave. We are so thankful for that and we know that dad was with us. We shared some thoughts, shared a lot of hugs, let balloons go, bubbles were happening and boys running around! They know that this is where Grandpa is and that this is his grave. They’re the most tender boys. They all love Grandpa so much!

I love my mom, she is so unbelievably strong. I love my brother, for helping my mom find the words that she just can’t seem to find. I love my grandma and grandpa, my uncles who are spitten images of my dad. I love my cousins, both on my moms and dads side of the family. I love my friends who reached out this day to remind me that they were thinking of me. I love my husband, who took the day off of work to be with me during this day and for being by my side through the last year.

It has NOT been easy. The year of firsts definitely made itself known, but we’re past that. We’re over the anticipated “1 year” since dad left us. My gosh I miss him so much. I’ve changed so much since that day, a year ago. Just doing my best, and our best, to make him happy because we absolutely know that’s what he wanted. He didn’t want his death to be sad forever. We love you dad and miss you so much.

xoxo