I took a few pictures of some new books that I added to my currently-reading bookshelf. At work we have an “employee library,” where we can “check out” books and take them home for up to two weeks and then we have to bring them back so that someone else can have a turn reading that book. I’m absolutely in love with the idea, and so excited to squeeze in some more reading during my free time. These books are all pretty quick reads which are the perfect kind of books for me! Though I’m still trying to brave reading through Harry Potter #4. I’ve never read past book three so wish me luck!
I’m excited for the coming year. I’ve got some ideas of things I’d like to start doing more, maybe some things I’d like to learn. One thing in particular that I’d like to start doing is reading more books. I don’t like to have regrets, but I wished I would’ve picked up a love for reading when I was younger. There’s so many books that I want to read and never enough time! With the new year and new schedule, I’m hoping to make more time to do so!
I’ve got over 500 books on my TBR list.. not sure that I’ll ever get through them all but I’d LOVE to start reading more of them. I’d love to start reading different genre’s. Many bloggers/book reviewers that I follow read so many different kinds of books and it inspires me to do the same! I’ve always stuck with my normal LDS, Young Adult clean romance novels but I’d love to branch out and learn so much more. I am LDS so it’s obvious that my go-to books are definitely LDS based and I’ve never been one to care for much more than YA romance, YA fiction, LDS fiction/non-fiction, murder-mystery/mystery, self-help, etc. We’ll see what I get to!
I also have some goals to get more familiar with my Silhouette CAMEO 3 machine. I can’t seem to figure out the darn thing. Haha! Anyone have some awesome resources or tutorials they loved? Send them my way. I don’t have anything particular that I want to create… actually, maybe I do. PLANNER STICKERS!! You know, those cute stickers people make for the Erin Condren planners and stuff? I have some personal planner sticker ideas that I want to try and make. Wish me luck!
I’d also love to start a garden. Probably just a flower garden because let’s be real…. I won’t eat anything you can grow (at least, that most people grow). Maybe grapes, or…. actually, idk. Haha!! I also can’t wait to get a dog or two again. B and I have decided to adopt this time, through the Humane Society (wherever our local one is). I’m excited! A lot of upkeep but we miss our first dog so much. SO much!
Man! Has life been crazy busy or what? I had so much going on in August and now I feel like things are about to slow down just a little bit. I’ve got a few new books to get reading and some that I’ve been wanting to read for a really long time, now. Let’s take a look!
Couldn’t Stop Reading
Love on Pointe by Tiffany Odekirk — I reaaaalllyyy super loved this book. It’s LDS Young Adult Fiction and I TOTALLY love that. It was perfect in every way. I loved every word. I ate it up in 2 days. I la la la la la love Emmy and Rhys. How they meet is kind of ironic. Not in a negative way. But it’s cute. I wish there were going to be sequels! Definitely can’t wait to read more by this author! *Clean/healthy romance, paperback/library checkout
Back to the Heart by Sky Corgan — I’m giving 4 stars because of the insane shocking twist to the story almost at the end and I just couldn’t handle it. You’ll have to read the entire thing to find our for yourself!! *Sexual scenes/content, eBook/Amazon purchase
Cultivate by Lara Casey — This book was a fine read. It wasn’t a terrible read, just not what I hoped it would be. Her first book was incredible! I had high hopes for this one, and while I did high light some things she said, I wasn’t completely impressed. I sort of felt like she repeated the same concept over and over, just in a different way. Don’t get me wrong, LOVE Lara, just not as impressed with this book. eBook in exchange for honest review
Did Not Finish/Still Reading
None currently on the list.
One by One by David A. Bednar — I’m excited to read this one. I had a bad attitude about it when I got to chapter 2 so I’m going to start over and try to keep my mind open while I read it. This is a new book by Elder David A. Bednar. I really like him as a speaker, he’s great! hardcover, free copy in exchange for review
Embracing the Broken by Tiffany Webster — If you haven’t watched Tiffany’s Hope Works speech, you need to do that now! It’s amazing and I’ve been following Tiffany ever since. I was super excited to join her community in preparation for the release of this new book she’s written! I’m super excited to read it! paperback, free copy in exchange for review
What are you reading this month?
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I had a conversation with someone recently, and it sort of lit a small fire inside my heart.
I am always trying to find validation somewhere. I’m always trying to find my worth in worldly things. I only say that because everything I’ve tried to tie my worth to, has failed. I talk a lot about failure, hard times and sadness here on this blog. It’s just been my life for a very long time.
My last therapy session was really hard. It’s kind of what I call the “graduation” session. When you don’t really have anything else to work through. You know that therapy is there, if you ever need to come back, but that you’re doing okay. Before the session was over, my therapist asked me, “Does it make you uncomfortable not being in crisis?” And I just started crying. It does. It totally does. It’s so uncomfortable for me. It’s so uncomfortable for me to just be happy, each and everyday and have “nothing” to work through. Nothing to think about or ponder about. It’s just gone.
I’m not saying that I’m 100% okay. Because we all have our fair-share of crappy days, but for the most part I’ve been doing really well. I was going to share this on my personal blog but I felt it more appropriate for here. Looking back on my blog(s), Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I notice a consistent share in what truly makes me happy. What truly matters most to me that I choose to share with the world.
My Mormon faith.
& the occasional hobby, interests, or quote goodness.
That’s what I want to continue doing. That’s really what I want to live my life doing. I did it before marriage, before college, before photography. I happily shared what I loved and I didn’t hold back. Sometimes I’m particular about what I share, because we only ever want to share what’s GOOD, #amiright? But I want to try to be more open to the goodness in my life and around me, and change that. I want to post crappy photos to my Instagram, or share about my most recent vending machine problem experience. I love it. I love love love love it.
Most importantly though, sharing my faith. I love being a Mormon. I love being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love going to Church. I love going to the temple!! I love reading my scriptures and my most favorite store in the whole wide world, is Deseret Book. It’s natural for me to feel this way. I feel most comfortable living this way because it’s me. It’s just me. It’s who I am.
I’m sorry if you dislike those who “overshare” their faith, but I’m not sorry that it’s who I am and it’s what makes me most happy in life. I do have an idea of a product I might sell if I get enough interest but that’s a secret in the works!
May we take seriously the Lord’s call to “be of good cheer, for I will lead you along.” He leads us by the Holy Ghost. May we live close to the Spirit, acting quickly upon our first promptings, knowing they come from God. I bear witness of the power of the Holy Ghost to guide us, guard us, and ever be with us, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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.