Browsing Category | health

His Happiness is My Happiness

Photography by Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com
Photography by Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com
Photography by Abbey Kyhl, www.akstudiodesign.com

 

When Brady and I were engaged to be married, 4 years ago, we met with our Stake President to interview for our living ordinance & sealing recommends. We talked about each other, and being husband and wife. He gave us great counsel, but one thing he said is something I have struggled with but finally feel like I’m starting to get the hang of.

“Ashley, if you put your husbands happiness before yours, you will be happy.”

That was it. That was the big winner. It has been on my mind ever since. It sounds like one of those sayings that you hear from everybody.


Somewhere down the road I developed a very selfish attitude. I was sick of people being rude. I was sick of letting others be mean to me specifically. I developed this attitude that if someone expects something of me, they are expected of the same also. I noticed a very angry and selfish person shine through each day. Oh, you want trash talk Mormons? Well no wonder they all trash talk non-mormons. Or something like that. Oh, you want me to accept the LGBTQ community and support gay marriage in Utah? Well you better love your neighbor, the Mormon, who doesn’t support gay marriage, and THAT’S OKAY. It’s just irritating. Even writing this still brings up some of those feelings.

I hate it. I hate this person I’ve become. I hate the way I’ve changed. I’ve somehow become this very closed off, anger bottled up inside, complaining woman and I hate her. I’m tired of being her. I’m tired of feeling hurt, singled out, lonely, selfish…. I’m tired of anxiety and depression. I’m tired of the way it controls my life. I’m tired of letting my friends down by not showing up. I’m eternally sorry and I regret not being a better friend. I’m just tired of all the negativity in my life. The “nothing ever works out for me,” or how about the “well, with depression and anxiety, everything is 10x harder,” and while that may be true (that last one) it doesn’t give me the right to see myself as more-deserving than others BECAUSE of this difficulty I face each day.

What does this have anything to do with the title of my blog post?

I promise, I will get there.

With this new attitude or “way of life,” it started to destroy everything in my life. My friendships, my relationships with family members, my marriage relationship/friendship, my work-life, my church-life, my health & fitness, my finances…. everything. I felt like everything was falling at the drop of a hat, and it definitely was. It was around the end of April when I met with my new friend Karli. She and my sister had planned to meet up one Saturday to do weight/measurements & meal planning. My sister said that she was a previous trainer at the gym she attends, but now she does more personal training/meal planning for others. I was interested because again, I was miserable with this way of life I was living. After the meeting was over, I thought about it for like 30 mins – 1 hour before texting Karli myself. We picked a date & time to meetup. I was serious about this life change, and I knew my health was the first place any of this wanted “change” was going to happen.

On our first meeting, we recorded my weight and measurements so we knew where we were starting. We created goals together and talked about foods that I liked (or should I say, foods I DO NOT like). A couple of hours after our meeting, she emailed me with my meal plan attached. I was so freaken scared but knew deep down, I wanted this for myself. I wanted this for myself. Fast forward to today. The day I made the decision to want to make the health change that I needed, I changed. I noticed a physical change as well as a change in my every day thoughts. I honestly wanted to spend more time with my husband. I wanted to see my family and friends more. I started making an effort to go to social events (aka hanging out with friends) even though I thought I would die from anxiety. My effort at changing my attitude about and at work started working. I started CHOOSING to feel happy, to be nice to others, to do something for my husband, to just clean the freaken bathroom. I can’t tell you exactly what it is or why things in my life started changing but they just did.

You cannot make someone change or become better, or do something different. They have to want it for themselves. And until that happens, all you can do is love them.


My life is different now. I feel different now. I’m choosing reading over social media. I’m choosing private blogging over trying to be a business blogger. I’m choosing personal photography over business photography. I’m choosing my health over temporal “wants.” I’m choosing discipline/debt snowballing over obsessive compulsive/anxiety-driven shopping. I’m choosing honesty over hiding. I’m choosing God over doubts. I’m choosing the Gospel of Jesus Christ over finding joy and peace in temporal things or people. I’m choosing to smile when I wake up because I prefer to have a better day than yesterday. I choose my husband over anyone else. I am choosing to give the benefit of the doubt. I am choose to say sorry and to admit to my mistakes.

I love my husband. He is my best friend. I love spending time with him, cuddling, watching a movie, or driving in the car together. I love that he teases me and I love that he accepts my apologies. I love that, even though times have been hard, he’s choosing to be with me forever. I love that we’re growing stronger together as a team, rather than two individuals legally married. I love him. I love him so much. He is the calm to my storm and I’d be lost in life without him. Putting his happiness before mine has truly changed the happiness I experience each day. He means so much to me and it’s important to me to make sure he is happy. His happiness IS my happiness.

I cannot end this blog post without first sharing my gratitude towards my Heavenly Father. He is always there when I need someone the most. He is always there when I’m upset about how lonely I feel each day. He comforts me in ways that I never look for comfort in. He answers my prayers when I kneel humbly each day. He has blessed with me with a beautiful life, an amazing husband, a loving family and endless opportunities. Heavenly Father comes first in my life. Without Him, everything else isn’t possible.

I’m doing my best each day and as I make these new decisions to cultivate what matters most to me and the Lord, I find myself feeling happier and more at peace.

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What I Can Do with My Anxiety

I’ve been having a no-good, horrible, very-bad day. It started with going to work. A huge panic attack arose. I couldn’t fight it, I kept it in as long as I could. Then I broke down. Cried really hard. Confessed honest feelings about myself to my husband. And here I am, watching Netflix already feeling panic about going to work tomorrow. 

After talking to my husband & my mom about the things I can’t do in regards to my life and mental health, I started to feel tired. I usually do. Crying brings a migraine and that brings exhaustion. But I felt strongly about making a list a things I CAN do when I’m experiencing anxiety.

It’s so hard to coninually feel like all you do is negative. All you talk is negative. Your thinking–negative. Because that’s anxiety. But I want people to know that I can function when I’m experiencing anxiety. Even if I can’t hold a job, I can still be productive and take care of myself too.

  • Read a book
  • Go to the temple and serve
  • Craft/create
  • Therapy
  • Clean
  • Small business from home
  • Meet with Karli–meal planning
  • Exercise ☝︎
  • Learn a new skill
  • Spend time with family/nephews
  • Go to the library
  • Blog
  • Maybe start growing a garden?
  • Go to church
  • Take notes on something
  • Hiking

These are just a few things I know that I can handle when I’m feeling anxious. I’m not some lazy human who sits at home and sulks in sadness. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with staying home. But I also enjoy having many interests, it’s part of being an ESFJ.

I’m going to try to make a self-care kit and probably include some of these!

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.

Up in the gym just workin’ on my fitness

I’ve put off blogging about this for a little over two weeks now but decided that since I’m now committed than I ever thought I’d be, why not share?

So a couple of weeks ago I kind of had a “lightbulb” turn on, or whatever. There comes a point in your life where people can say all of these things to encourage you to do something or make a change. They can tell you all of the good things that come from it, and how they know by experience that all of these things are good. People can tell you time and time again until you’re blue in the face.

For me, that was exercise and nutrition.

But nothing will happen until YOU come to grips with yourself and make that decision YOURSELF and for YOU. Nobody can make you lose weight. Nobody can make you choose to eat carrots instead of cheetos. Until you come to the realization that you want this for yourself, it’ll never happen from someone else.

I’m finally in that place. So I got myself together and made the brave decision to start seeing the same gal that my sister sees, who helps her with her diet. It’s amazing! She’s been so wonderful to work with, even though I’m only on week two. HAHA

Anyway, the first week was really hard. Like REALLY hard. My first day (why I chose this day, I know not), I photographed a wedding so I couldn’t make my dinner because I wouldn’t be home. I lived off of water that day. I was starving. The next day or two, food was all I could think about. Literally. Then it got a bit better after having the same snacks every other day and meals. I really tried hard to make myself try something new: like string cheese.

I’m not doing any 30-day diet, or some exercise program. In fact, during my first week of eating differently, I didn’t exercise ONCE… not ONCE. And I’m happy to report that I lost 4 POUNDS and 3.5 inches total!!! :) I can’t believe it. I was so shocked. And the best part, I actually enjoy eating all of the food that I have been (minus a few items). This next week is simple and should be pretty easy which is nice since we’re packing up and moving Saturday.

All I can say is, you have to do something like this for yourself because you want to. Don’t do it for anyone else but yourself. You can do this, do it with me! :) I’ll cheer you on. Follow me here on insta: @ashcanfitness

SW: 233.8
CW: 229.2
GW: 155

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Easter Sunday

I’m a week late getting this post up but better late than never!

I have the cutest husband in the world. :)

Brady and I are moving this weekend so we’re kind of in-between wards right now. We went to my mom’s ward (the ward I grew up in) on Easter Sunday. I was so anxious and so nervous. I don’t know why I get that way about her ward, because I know everyone there, but I just do. Luckily, we got there with minutes to spare so nobody really talked to us (relief). When it was over, we rushed home to grab our stuff for a family Easter feast! :)

We had amazing dinner with our family and my sister-in-laws family. Say whaa?? Yup! Our families are really good friends and we do things together every now and then. I’ve been on a meal plan (last week was week 1, more to comeo n that later) so I wasn’t able to eat the delicious lasagna and breadsticks that everybody else did. But, my meal was yummy and I couldn’t wait to eat it all!

I’m very thankful for the Easter holiday and another reminder to focus on Christ a little bit more. I’m grateful for Him and the Atoning sacrifice he made so that I can see my dad and other loved ones again. I hope y’all had a wonderful Easter!

xoxo