Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Don't Miss Your Train.

I have exactly 11 minutes to get from my office to the train station. If I make the 4:11 train my commute time is significantly less, and at the end of a work day that makes all the difference for one's sanity. 
When The Gold Bullet (my previous vehicle) was at the mechanic I was doing this 11 minute dash on foot. Let me put this in perspective, the train station is a little over a mile from my office and lets just say running that in skinny jeans and Sperry's will leave you with shin splints that will make you sob like a small child. Long story short, I missed that train ONE to many times. 
As luck would have it The Gold Bullet officially died, and I got to take a ride on the go green trend...aka I bought a road bike. This is how it's gone so far with my road bike:
Day #1 - Checked weather, wasn't supposed to rain. 7:02am bus doesn't come. 7:12am take the train. 7:15am down poor starts while waiting for said train. 7:20am get reprimanded by train conductor (TC) for being in the wrong car. Conversation with TC went like this:
TC : Here's the thing, you can't be in here.
Me: Ooh, ummm yeah this is my first time on the train with my bike.
TC: Wow, you're brave! I wouldn't have done that in the rain.
Me: (thinking thanks for adding insult to injury) It wasn't supposed to rain.
TC: You are going to need to get off at the next stop and walk your bike down to the bike car.
Me: Well I'm actually getting off in two stops...
TC: Yeah (pause), you need to get off and walk down to the bike car at the next stop.
So naturally you can already see I was off to a REALLY successful start on my new journey of the being a public transit/bike commuter. 
Day #2 - No Rain. Winning. Fast forward, 4:03pm...exactly 8 minutes to get to the train, no problem right? Mean I have bike now, this girl right here can totally make it. So there I am, speeding along, when I realize if I don't get on the side walk I will either be hit by a car or run into a parked car. Not great options. I chose sidewalk. Being the newbie that I am to road biking, I didn't realize the angle at which I needed to turn my wheel so it would not get caught on that little 1'' lip where the sidewalk and the road meet. MAN DOWN. My face hit that concrete with so much force, it would have made a beat down from Chuck Norris look like a walk in the park.
I was in so much pain that I couldn't move, all I could make was whimpering sounds. Another biker heard me fall and came back to check on me, he asked if I was okay and suddenly I realized, I only had 5 minutes to make that train. I jumped up grabbed my bike and went to leave when the other biker grabbed me and made me sit. I know he was being kind, but honestly all I was thinking was this "DAMN IT, I am in so much pain, hold it together, you will NOT BE THWARTED AGAIN by that train, don't cry, DON'T CRY, you have 4 minutes to make that train." I fiiiinnnaaaalllllly (30 seconds later) convinced the biker I was fine, he rode away and I was absolutely bound and determined to make that train. I rode off, and a quarter of a mile later I had to stop at the light, I wiped my cheek with the back of my hand. You guessed it. Blood.  I almost passed out, at this point I was feeling so dizzy from the sheer force at which I hit my face, and now BLOOD, my worst enemy. The light turned green and a rush of fresh air coursed through my body, I was only a quarter of a mile from the train and I could hear the bells ringing, I peddled harder, my face throbbing. I pulled up to the station right as the train pulled in, no time to purchase a ticket, but seriously at this point paying a fine was the least of my worries. 
I carried my bike onto the train, getting a series of looks like "what the hell happened to her?" I tied up my bike, walked up to a fellow biker and said, "I need you to be straight with me, how bad does my face look?" He hesitated but assured me it wasn't that bad. I found a seat, took all the Ibuprofen I had in my bag, poured my drinking water into an extra shirt I had  and tried to clean my face up. Feeling immense satisfaction that I had indeed made it to the 4:11 train, I sat there as we zipped along knowing that I had 33 minutes to get my body to stop shaking before I had to catch the next form of public transit. 
Take aways for day #2 :
A. Pretty certain EVERY person lied to me about how bad my face was
B. The transition into the biking world was going to be MUCH harder than anticipated
C. This was going to be the first of MANY biking scars
Most importantly is that I gained a very, very helpful Life Lesson.  # 144 Buy a helmet when you buy a road bike. You never can be to certain that you won't fall. 
After a rough weekend that involved mass amounts of icing, and pain meds, I have recovered quite nicely. As of now there is only a silver dollar sized mark on my cheek, a slight amount of pain and the black eye as dissipated.  
I have now been in the biking world for exactly a month. I have cuts and bruises on my legs from the peddles, I have had several more wet days where I was soaked to the bone (don't worry the rain jacket I ordered finally came - take that rain), and I am saving tons of money by not paying for gas. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Little Bit Abrasive.

It's true people. Life IS abrasive. You know that joke that seemed to be everyone's favorite when we were younger, it went something like this, (smack on the head) followed by some obnoxious person saying, "life's tough, get a helmet." Why did we think that was so funny? Just for the record, I never thought that was funny as a kid. I always thought it was quite an abrasive way to make a point. On the contrary I think I didn't entirely understand what people were trying to warn me of, mean by the time I was seven I had already experienced enough of life's tough side that to me life didn't look anything BUT tough, it always just elicited a response from me of "DUH (eye-roll) of course life is tough." This isn't my point though, my point finds itself in life lesson #17. But first I ask this very important question,  how do you currently choose to respond to the abrasive tendencies of our everyday lives?

#17 : Always respond to abrasive situations with, grace, compassion and righteous fierceness. 

I sincerely believe that the way in which we choose to respond in any given situation and ESPECIALLY the difficult ones is what either sets us up for success of failure emotionally, mentally and physically. 

Let me break down specifically what I am getting at when I say respond in grace, compassion and righteous fierceness to to life's abrasive and at times devastating experiences. 

Respond in grace: simple elegance or refinement of movement, courteous good will, the period after an important deadline where there is no consequence. So basically it's that moment when where glass shatters literally EVERYwhere and our first instinct is to start picking up all the broken pieces immediately. Yeah you know the moment. What I am saying is don't do that. Refinement of movement, the waiting period. Grace. Far to often we respond to a situation without giving grace. Grace for the people involved, grace for poor choices, grace for thoughtless actions, AND most of the time we are so incredibly graceless for ourselves. So this is my charge to you, practice grace, its a mentality, nothing happens by accident, only ever by purpose. 

Respond in compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering or misfortunes of others. This one is tricky. There I said. I struggle with this. But if there is one thing I have learning in responding to situations with anything less than compassion is it has only left me feeling judgmental and bitter. Not only does it not solve any problems, one of the greatest skills we can master in this world is the ability to put ourselves in the mindset and situations of others. Practicing compassion allows us to respond to situations with a clearer view, to see an experience through a broader lens. But what must go hand in hand is you responding equally with self-compassion. When we don't allow ourselves the grace to experience self-compassion in our lives we end up constantly trying to live up to unrealistic expectations of how we must live our lives everyday. 

Respond with righteous fierceness: morally right or justifiable, having or displaying an intense ferocious aggressiveness. Where we go wrong is that we respond out of anger, this just lands us in trouble, worsens the situation and more often than not makes us feel empty handed and powerless. Let us respond with ferocious aggressiveness out of right or justifiable beliefs and convictions. Instead of feeling personally wronged and lashing out. Fight for what is right in confidence. Do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of in life's situations because of a false humility, or false grace to where we are laying down and saying, "sure world have what you will with me." Fierceness only ever comes accross as aggressive if it is not coupled with righteousness. 

Everywhere we turn there is brokenness in this world. How will you choose to respond? Lesson #17.

I hope this was not to abrasive. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pop Music... and all it's glory.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Hello, my name is Ashley, and yes I am a pop music junkie - this is where you chime in a say hello back :)

Rule #23, be honest about your likes and dislikes.

I think in the past I haven't always been honest about the things I like or dislike because I was afraid of seeming lame, uneducated, unaware or even just plain boring. But as time quickly races past, as it always seems to do, I realize how important it is to be honest about the things that make you happy, or not so happy. Tonight as I put in my headphones, super excited to listen to the three new songs I recently downloaded while I did the dishes, it dawned on me how much I enjoy music. My plan, well it was to dance the night away while I did those dishes. And I did.

Since dishes are one of my favorite things to do, yes you may be wondering why ashley? why? It is simple, it is the BEST stress reliever ever, you are accomplishing something and at the VERY same time being so peaceful, not talking, and not being available to anyone. But more often than not, when I am doing my dishes is when I become the most aware of my thoughts, emotions, and actions. It is usually there at the sink that I evaluate my behavior and ruthlessly dissect it.

As I stood there grooving, and yes I just wrote grooving, I thought how great it was that I live alone so that I could do things like this. Wait. I am happy I live alone so that I can be myself??? Something is wrong with that thinking. Yes on one hand, living alone is nice because who knows, I might not get this precious me and the dishes time if I didn't live alone, but on the other hand it revealed something much deeper. The truth of the matter, it showed me that somewhere deep in my heart of hearts, I, am not completely okay with who I am. I need to render that.

So here is to rule #23, Pop music makes me happy. I love to dance around in my kitchen while doing my dishes, enjoying the latest pop song.

Oh and as a complete side note, I met a new friend, he's great, and incase he finds my blog, like he said he would :/ (yikes), I can't wait for our picnic. Thats also going to be great.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Rule #365...don't wait that (365) many days to make a post on your blog.

That is why I am posting before it is midnight, because my last blog people...yes was May 1, 2010. The best part is I remember starting that post last year at around this time on April 30th.

The funny thing is, as I was sitting on my bed thinking how I need to change the excessively large white board calendar that hangs in my hallway to remind me of all the things that I don't want to do (usually my homework, Don't worry all those whose birthday was in the last month...I DID want to attend your party).  What struck me was TIME. How much of our lives are run by time. Time to get up. Time to eat breakfast. Time to go to work or class. OH the worst...Time to pay your bills. time. time. time. It seems to my that time usually controls our lives. If we live by time, with everything scheduled we are OCD, and if we don't then we are freespirited. Why are we so concerned with time anyways? As I type, I am laughing because I can hear the clock clicking in the background. I am completely lost without a watch. I am obsessed with time. I often let time rule my life. Everything is scheduled, well everything WAS scheduled until I quit my job. If my life wasn't run like a military base, basically nothing was going to get done.

I thought I would experience this release from not having everything scheduled down to the minute. All I feel is lost. Nothing like a clue that I need to maybe, perhaps, loosen up. Realizing that I can't be in control of everything even if I have my life scheduled down till moment I die. HA. So simple. I know I will get there, because time is just time. Yes our world functions around it, but it doesn't have to rule me. There are no rules. I will finish college when I finish college. I will go to law school when I go to law school. I will get married when I get married, I will have children when I have children. And I will enjoy the time I have now, today. And tomorrow I will enjoy tomorrow for whatever tomorrow will bring.

Rule #2 Don't let time dictate your life!

One more life lesson learned,

Matthew 6:34

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rule #5 Never Leave a Fellow Wedding Crasher Behind.

I was trying SO hard to make another post in April, (slight laughter) I missed it by 53 measly minutes. So what life lessons have I learned in the past month? well it's kind of hard to count but I guess I will start somewhere #100, if you have a car you are not excited about, make up something about it to be excited about. That way you enjoy your journey where ever you go- Like recently I got a new car - right you were think SWEET! well new to me. not new at all really. In frank actuality, its kinda gross inside, it blinds people when in the sun from its amazing gold color and it well in all of that, its just not a me car. SO, I named it- The Gold Bullet, has a nice ring to it huh? well just as the name is very fitting, also is the nicely placed (already there) bumper sticker on the back that says in very large print WATCH OUT, so here I am driving around in a gold bullet telling people to watch out. Best thing about it, thats pretty much the opposite of me. So needless to say, I now at least can laugh on each excursion!

Rule # 500 - Don't stay up all night, and try to work then next day- I wasn't doing anything wrong, or bad or even irresponsible, but guess what? today was incredibly hard to function. I found myself crying in a coffee shop, for a couple of different reasons (those are beside the point) but an old man wouldn't stop watching me- YIKES! I couldn't order my dinner, and I even almost fell asleep during a sharks play off game!

Rule #3 - Always deal with your issues in life sooner than later- learned that one early on, and can I just say I am still trying to work that one out!

Rule #38 - Don't leave your laundry in the dryer, its inconsiderate to others- of course if you live alone, enjoy all that extra laundry time and leave it in for days- just because you can.

Rule #56- Don't stalk people on Facebook, it never leads to anything good. If anything it usually leads to something bad.

Rule #71- When a friend calls crying, just listen, I know out of your deep love for your friends you want to "fix" things (which you will NEVR be able to do, so stop trying), they don't need a game plan, sometime they don't even need reality or reason, or truth...honestly they just want you to listen. I can't say I didn't blow this one this week. But hey thats why its #71, I haven't quite gotten there.

well thats all the lessons for tonight/this very early morning!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What would it be like!

I should be doing my homework right now, but I couldn't help myself when this song came on, I felt like I must share this. Below are the lyrics to a song talking about life, and waiting for heaven. Every time I hear it, tears come to my eyes because the thought of a life without weeping, or suffering or pain doesn't seem possible. AND every time I get to hear this song it is a sweet reminder of what I get to live in by having the Lord in my life. It doesn't ignore the fact that there will indeed be these things in our life, throughout our life even, but it does speak of a hope that we can place in what the Lord offers and has waiting. I am convinced this will speak to you! Enjoy.

On the day when I see all that you have for me
When I see you face to face their surrounded by you're grace
All my fears swept away in the light of you're embrace
When you're love is all i need and forever i am free
Where the streets are made of gold in you're presence healed and whole
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone......

No weeping,No hurt or pain,No suffering,You hold me now,You hold me now
No darkness,No sick or lame,No hiding,You hold me now,You hold me now

In this love I will stand through my joy and my pain
Knowing there's a greater day there's a hope that never fades
When you're name is lifted high and forever praises rise
For the glory of the king I'm believing for the take
Where the walls of violencies all creations rest in peace
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone.....

No weeping,No hurt or pain,No suffering,You hold me now,You hold me now
No darkness,No sick or lame,No hiding,You hold me now,You hold me now

For eternity all my heart will give is the glory to you're name
For eternity all my heart will give is the glory to you're name
For eternity all my heart will give is the glory to you're name
For eternity all my heart will give is the glory to you're name

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Familiar Thing...

Today I settled down into my comfortable spot at my usual coffee shop, often used for study purposes. Since I have been on a school break for seven weeks, this spot has grown a bit cold, I expected it to feel funny, odd and a bit out of place. Much to my surprise though it felt oddly right. Like my usual spot had been sad I hadn't been to visit in seven weeks, mean sure a coffee here and a tea there, but not to be settled for hours pouring over books gaining considerable amounts of information. Something in my heart felt settled. I was back. I was home. It started my thinking about the familiar things and why they bring us comfort. Is it because we have already worked through the awkward hard new beginning phase? or because this familiar thing feels as though we can control it, and when we can control things/circumstances we feel at ease? In part I feel that familiar things bring structure and stability. These things might vary from one person to the next but we all have our familiar things that we can count on being there for us.

But what I have gathered is that we mustn't only have familiar, or we never grow. But we also, mustn't only have newness or we are never grounded. It must be a balanced blend of both to help us continually move forward we welcome the new challenges of our ever changing world, and to stay who we are we can willingly engage in the familiar.