Author Archives: Ashley

The Unknown. Exciting or Scary?

I used to be one of those people who really disliked the unknown.  Not knowing what was going to happen next was frustrating and scary.  I used to do everything in my power to plan, plan, plan.

These days there are a few unknowns in my life and I’m okay with it.  I’m going to roll with the uncertainty and have faith that I’m on the right path even though I have no idea where this path is leading me or my family.  It’s sorta exciting – a feeling I find liberating.  The future is in the palm of my hands. Can I actually direct it by thinking positive thoughts and visualizing?

What do I want?

To simply be happy so I’m a great parent, wife, mentor, friend, sister, daughter, person.

What do you think of the unknown?  Exciting or scary?


My Friend, My Inspiration

Remember when I mentioned that I wanted to take my kids traveling the world? Well, my girlfriend Claudia is doing exactly that.  This past holiday season, her family visited Cape Town, South Africa (where they briefly lived a couple of years ago).  During their stay they partook in South African BBQs, otherwise known as a Braai, took in the sun (it’s summertime there), went on a few safaris and visited the local orphanage on Christmas day.   I wanted to highlight her family’s visit to the orphanage because I was so touched that they chose to spend this day helping others.  Here are some pics she shared with us…

Claudia getting to know some of the kids

Her seven year old son Josh spending time with the children

Her four-year old daughter Samantha sharing gifts they brought from America

At his young age, Josh recognized that the children at the orphanage were touched, not by the gifts, but by the attention they received from Claudia's family

Claudia has the hugest heart in the world, not only towards me, but to people she knows and to people around the world.  She was a Peace Corps Volunteer back in the day and is an avid traveler.  She is now taking her two young children on worldly excursions (lucky kids!) and teaching them how to make a difference globally.

Claudia, thank you for sharing your experience with us.  You truly are an inspiration to all!

To learn more about this particular orphanage, please email me at

Gettin’ Better

I feel better after writing yesterday’s post. I think releasing all of that pent-up emotion helped me feel better about the things going on in my life. Btw, the hubby read the post and mentioned that it sounds like I am really down, and that people might feel worried for me. What I’m going through isn’t that bad -I’m thinking that it’s far worse than it actually is, but I know these are serious emotions that people feel.  What I’m trying to say is that I can relate and that it’s okay to go through the natural cycle of moods.  When it gets rough then lift yourself up.  If you start to feel helpless, bitter, and angry more than you feel enjoyment, then figure out ways to bring that joy back into your life.

As for me, focusing on being grateful, exercising, and talking to loved ones have really helped me so far.  Thankfully, I’m on the right path to gettin’ better.

Image via

Is Your Mind Like A Blizzard?

Have you ever felt like other people are controlling your thoughts, your emotions, your inner dialogue, the way you feel about yourself?  The next question is – without them knowing it? You just do it to yourself?  Whether you are in a situation and you take something a person says, and in your mind,  you twist and turn it into a negative experience without that even being their intention?

Do you ever compare yourself to others?  Do you ever feel like you’re not good enough?  Well these negative thoughts have crept into my mind as of late and it’s starting to drive me crazy.  How can I be strong enough to combat these negative emotions? I consider myself an open-minded, free-spirited kinda gal, so I am able to realize that I’m on the path that I’m supposed to be on (even though it wasn’t planned by me and it’s, quite frankly, sometimes not that fun (but it is)). Why do those stinkin’ negative emotions come into my mind and weaken me?  I find myself feeling depressed in a literal sense.

Is it the cold-ass weather (there is a serious blizzard going on in the midwest as I type).  Is it this depressed economy?  Is it that I haven’t seen the sun in over a week?  Is it because I think I’m not challenging myself in ways that I used to when I was younger? (but I am) Regardless, I want to stop being so freaking hard on myself.

So how do I do this? I giggle and sigh because I have no clue.  I guess all I can do is educate myself on ways to make myself happier by reading books, websites, talking to those who seem to be happy and asking them what their secret is, keeping my mind still so the answer can come to me, and to do things that make me happy.

In the meantime, I will be shoveling my way out of this funk with a smile on my face.

Things Are Good These Days

Wanted to update you all on what’s going on in my life these days…I have to admit, things are pretty darn good. I went to the doctor and finally got some medicine to clear up my sinus issues.  As much as I hate to admit this, the natural way just wasn’t cutting it. My clear head is helping me keep up with my mission to “add life to my days, not days to my life“.  I’m trying to stay present and not stress too much about things I cannot control.  I am also doing my best to keep up with my artistic side by painting, designing and creating. Fueling that aspect of my life makes me feel the happiest.  I also started to work out a little more regularly.  My kids are finally starting to dig the “kid area” at my gym.  Yyyyesss!  In terms of being a parent, I am being positive but tough with my kids.  I can’t let these little ones walk all over me, which believe me, they are very capable of doing so. And finally, I am getting more organized! How you ask?  I started blocking out 20 minute chunks of my days to clean and organize without phone, email, or facebook interruptions.  I even set my timer on my phone to know when time’s up.

The next thing I want to get back into is Juicing!!!!  I want to juice everyday to get my family’s bodies strong for the winter months.  Eating better will also be a priority of mine.  I better get my copy of Clean out again!

Thanks again for all of your support and kind words!

May you all have peaceful and positive thoughts the next couple of days!

I Wanna Love Who I Wanna Love

Lately there have been a lot of disturbing reports about homosexual teens committing suicide because of being bullied and not being accepted by their peers.  My goodness, this truly breaks my heart. I can’t even imagine feeling so down about life to actually take it.  I know I’ve had my trials and tribulations growing up, but it definitely doesn’t compare to what these teens are going through.  This intense teasing, fighting, picking on, ignorance, etc. HAS GOT TO STOP.

According to The Trevor Project, “Nine out of 10 LGBT students (86.2%) experienced harassment at school; three-fifths (60.8%) felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation; and about one-third (32.7%) skipped a day of school in the past month because of feeling unsafe (GLSEN National School Climate Survey 2009).”

Why is there so much hatred out there?  Why are people taking such strong stances against those who simply want to love and be themselves?

I hope that with all the attention brought to this matter people will realize a few things:

1. People just want to love and to be loved.  It shouldn’t matter if they choose to be with the same sex.  We shouldn’t be going against LOVE.  Let’s embrace it and allow others to do it the way they want to – as long as it doesn’t cause any harm.

2. If you notice someone who may feel isolated, reach out to them.  Ask them how they are doing.  Have you ever felt down in the dumps? Nowhere to turn but someone, whether it was a stranger on the bus, a teacher, a friend’s parent or an acquaintance asked you how you were doing, lent an ear and was supportive?  Be that person.

3.  Let’s DEMAND that all schools take notice to bullying and do their best to stop it.  I know teachers and administrators are busy educating and have enough on their plates, but  if schools promote an ANTI-BULLYING policy then students will know that any behavior of the sort is absolutely unacceptable and intolerable.

Being a teenager is hard enough.  One of my closest friends Jill, who’s a lesbian, provided some thoughtful insight about this topic.  She says, “The headlines lately have really focused on this issue as it revolves around teenagers.  Part of the reason being that many of these teenagers are still in a process of self-identification and learning who they are. They are at a more vulnerable time in their lives.”

We are all made up of the same matter…skin, blood, organs, a brain.  The only thing that separates us is our DNA.  If we are all the same then why can’t we love one another?  I know, this is way too idealistic and simple, but please take a moment and think about it.

As they say, sometimes things need to get worse before they get better.  I truly hope this is one of those cases.  For those of you who are feeling lonely, don’t worry, IT GETS BETTER.  This will pass.  Surround yourself with positive people, try to have positive thoughts and envision a positive future.  From the bottom of my heart, I truly hope things get better for Lesbian,Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.

Here are some websites that may help those who either need help or for those who want to help others:

The Trevor Project – A national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth.

It Gets Better Project – A site that promotes a positive future for LGBT youth. – Suicide awareness, prevention and support.

Stop Bullying Now – A resource for  adults to teach kids about awareness, prevention and intervention.  This site has cartoon webisodes for children who are bullied.

Image via via Richard Heller Gallery

Welcome Matilda and Madeline!

So remember when I mentioned Megan was working on an exciting new project?  Well, here it is!  She just launched a new Chicago-based business called Matilda and Madeline, Mother’s Helpers.

What mom doesn’t wish for an assistant to help plan meals, stock the nursery,  help figure out what to wear for that cocktail party or baby shower, run errands, plan an exquisite birthday party or to help efficiently reorganize your home to fit yours and your child’s needs?  Matilda and Madeline is your one-stop shop for it all!  The services she offers are above and beyond expectations.   Check out her site and put your feet up and relax for a bit while Matilda and Madeline do the work for you!

Congrats, Meg!  I’m so proud that you are following your dreams and doing something you love.  I have no doubt this will be a huge success!


Dog Days Are Over

I’m totally digging this tune these days.  Love every bit of this song – the tempo, the chorus, the artistic vision, and the way it makes me feel.


Add Life To Your Days, Not Days To Your Life

Loved this pic and message I stumbled on  I thought I would share this sweet little message with y’all.

So my family is very direct and straightforward with one another.  We don’t fluff anything up when giving advice or tiptoe around one another’s feelings which can sometimes be tough to swallow. Tough love isn’t always the easiest to deal with but sometimes it’s just necessary. The other day my mom and I were talking and she mentioned to me that lately it seemed like “life” has been sucked right out of me.  She felt that my spirit was not at its fullest potential.  Although I had a million and one excuses ( I have two kids who are a bit high maintenance in the emotional and physical department, my husband works super long hours, there’s so much turmoil in the world that literally has an effect on me, my sinuses are at its worst this time of year….blah, blah, blah) I knew she was right.  Sometimes I go through my days just waiting for the evening to roll around so I can veg on the couch with a book or the remote in my hand.  I don’t want to be a zombie just going through the motions.  I want to be energetic, creative and fun!  I owe it to my family and to those around me.

So that’s what I’m working on these days.  I want to add life to my days, not days to my life!  Thanks Mom for the tough love.  It was just what I needed to open my eyes to a brighter horizon.

What do you think of tough love?  Are you easily offended or do you view it as constructive criticism?

I’m Baaack!

I apologize I have neglected this part of my life – the innerpeace seeking blog.  To be honest I haven’t felt super peaceful these days. think a large part has to do with allergies and my sinus issues.  Chicago is such a lovely place this time of year.  It’s still sunny and green, the flowers are still in bloom, and there’s a nice breeze in the air. But something about barometric pressure that wreaks havoc on my ability to be my best.  There are days when I just can’t step outside for the life of me.  My body is tired, my face feels so heavy, I feel spacey (not in the good way), I’m irritable and I can’t seem to focus.  It sucks and I am always trying to figure out a way to combat this feeling (Clean, Juicing).

I am doing a few things to help me get stronger, mentally and physically, to recapture that spark that started to fizz out a bit.

This is what I did:

  • began meditating.  Megan sent me this link one day and I began meditating.  it’s bringing me so much clarity, a feeling of euphoria and relaxation, and it began to stir up some excitement within myself.  Thank you for thinking of me, Meg!
  • Started telling myself to be happy.  That worked. I also forced myself to smile more.
  • I am reading a ton more again!!  I am reading books about organic gardening in small spaces, how to decorate your home using recycled materials, fashion/decorating/beauty magazines (a pastime of mine), researching business plans (thinking about going into business with my mom), a thriller, etc.
  • Crafts.  I found a project that gets me excited and pumped to do.  Can’t tell you what this is yet because I’m going to give it to my good girlfriends and family as birthday and holiday gifts.  SO excited about that.
  • Exercising.  Got back into Pilates and my body is thanking me by getting stronger every time I work it out.

I think I’m back.  No, i know I’m back. I feel ready to go, pumped to embrace what the world has in store for me head-on.  I am at home everyday with my 2 and 3-year-old (yes, lucky me).  I have to be a strong mom for them.  I want those kids to feel so loved they don’t know what do with themselves, I want to nourish their brains with what their hearts yearn for, expose them to as many positive situations and learning experiences as possible in hopes that they will grow up to be happy and well-balanced people.  Is this too much to ask?  Apologies for the diversion.

My point is let’s get this party started! I’m back and ready to share and I hope you are too. It’s going to be a fun and healthy fall 2010!

Btw, how does the change in weather make you feel?  Am I the only one who needs a little time to adjust?