The Struggle is Real (For this Introvert)

As most of you know, I am an introvert. I prefer one-on-one conversations to large groups, and tend to get drained if I have to socialize for too long.

I had posted a while ago about a meeting we had at our church, and how I thought the meeting was about one thing, and it ended being about something totally different. I was bored and didn’t say a whole lot, and someone pointed it out in front of everyone, which embarrassed me. I had unfortunately driven with Dad, and I should have driven separately.

Well, said person is in my Sunday School class at church, and I admit that going to Sunday School theSunday after my embarrassing moment was like going to the lion’s den. I hoped and prayed that she wouldn’t make another big deal about me being quiet. Thankfully, the “lion” kept its mouth shut, and all was well. :)

But I’m still slightly nervous around her. She sat beside me last week, and my heart pounded. Now, in our church, we have co-ed Sunday School classes, meaning that our classes consist of men and women, married couples and singles. We used to have women’s classes and men’s classes, and sometime last year….wait, was it two years ago? I don’t remember, but we decided to try something different. I was a little apprehensive, but decided to try it. There have been times in the past where I’ve been unsure of something, only to try it and really enjoy it!

So, I tried it. And it was good. I enjoyed it, and liked hearing others talk. I talked a few times, too. Usually it was when someone talked to me. Although there was one time when one of my co-workers, Gary, was having eye surgery, and I felt God prodding me to ask for prayer for him. So when the teacher asked if we had any prayer requests, I told them Gary needed prayer. The teacher was really nice and was very patient. I felt at ease simply talking to him.

But lately I’ve been more anxious/nervous going to Sunday School. Maybe because the person who embarrassed me is in my class? I don’t know. But, I do have some options if I want to get out:

Youth/Post High Class

-This obviously is our youth group and post-high class. I don’t go with our youth anymore, and I’m not sure about post-high. I’ve always felt more comfortable around people older than me.

Genesis Class

-The Genesis class is for the young adults, married, single, etc. I was in youth group with a lot of them, and I’m known as the “Quiet Girl” among them. Plus, they have a LARGE class! You know by now I like smaller groups. :)

Acts Class

-This is the class I’m currently in. It stands for Active Christians Terrorizing Satan, and it’s for people in-between. Not really young married, but not too old, either. Although Jimmy (who first got these classes started) said that there was no right or wrong class for anyone; he said to go wherever we feel comfortable.

Proverbs Class

-This is the class for the older folks. My parents go to this class.

Children’s Sunday School

-I could teach the Children’s class. But I teach Awana during the fall and winter months, and I could try both. But I don’t want to get burned out, either. I could try teaching Children’s Sunday School, and not Awana. Or you could just stop running away from your problems, Ashley. So true. Sigh. :-/

And last but not least, we do have a women’s only class, but all the women are SO much older than me! They’re in their 70’s, 80’s and up. The teacher in that class is a woman named Mary Ann, whom I’ve grown close to. Mary Ann told me that that without me there, SHE’S the youngest in that class. And she’s 51!

Back when we still had women’s only and men’s only classes, I taught one of the women’s classes, and several women told me afterward that they thought I had a gift for teaching women. That made me feel good. :D Hopefully someday I can teach another all-women class.

Anyway, if you read this, please pray that I’d know what to do. Either keep going to my current class and not worry what people think about me, or have the courage to find a new class if I’m still unsure.

In spite of all this, I DO have a safe haven. My work place, to be honest. The bus garage, where the bookmobiles are kept and my second family (the bookmobilers) work and hang out. I love all of them dearly, but I’m closest to Linda and Gary. I confide in them the most. I told Linda that I consider that to be my “church”, in a way. We turn on worship music sometimes while we work, and I’ve had good talks with all of them, nourishing my soul. Plus they all have spoken my love languages at one point or another, so my love tank was full.

I feel like I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but I needed to get this off my chest at the same time.

~Ashley

Musings

This is something I’ve been struggling with for a long time.

Living with my parents vs. moving out.

Most of you know that I still live at home. And though I don’t pay rent, I run errands for Mom, cook supper one night a week, do my laundry, and obviously I work and pay for my own gas and groceries.

I’ve been getting some pressure from people that I need to move out, and I admit it is somewhat embarrassing to be 28 and still living at home with my parents. But to be honest, although we do have our moments when we clash and butt heads, I do enjoy it. I have a friend named Jessica who is also 28 and single, and she still lives at home with her parents.

Before my cousin Kristin got married, I had talked about this with her once, and she told me that she would never move out just for the sake of moving out. She told me that if she would move out, it would be like for missions or something.

I also have 3 girl cousins on Dad’s side who are married, and all 3 of them lived at home until they got married. Of course, they got married in their early 20’s, so they didn’t have this struggle. Not fair. :( Yes, I’m slightly jealous. Oh well.

At this point, I don’t have enough money saved up to live on my own, but let’s I did, hypothetically. On the one hand, it would be nice to have the freedom to come and go as I please. At the same time, what’s the point? To prove to everyone pressuring me that I am an adult? I mean, no, I don’t live on my own. But I am independent.

-I work 2 part-time jobs.

-I cook supper once a week.

-I help around the house (cleaning, raking leaves and shoveling snow, etc).

-I pay for my own gas, groceries, and personal items.

-I do my own laundry.

Sometimes I’m okay with being single. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, and the freedom is nice. But let’s say I don’t get married (I hope this doesn’t happen, but who knows?). Do I really want to be in my 30’s and 40’s still living at home? I admit I’d feel pretty dumb.

Then I thought, okay, what if I was married, and I had grown children living at home? How would I feel about that? And honestly, as long as they were working, helping around the house, paying for their own things and generally contributing to the household, I would have no problem with it. One of my dear friends, Miriam, once told me, “God bless you and don’t worry about what other people say. Really. You were born to be you!

I rather like that. I was born to be me.  :)  My old co-worker, Sherri, also told me, “My recommendation for you sweetie is not to worry about what others say about whether you should move out or never move out…what was right for them isn’t necessarily what might be right for you!”

What was right for them isn’t necessarily what might be right for me. I love that. :D

I have a dear friend who is married and has 2 grown daughters. Her oldest daughter just moved into her own place last weekend, and her youngest daughter is a Junior in high school, if I’m not mistaken. Anyway, my friend once told me that she had mixed feelings about adult children still living at home, and she didn’t want it to be a big benefit for hers to stay at home. She wanted them to find their own place in life and make their own way. I can understand parts of that, but not wanting it to be a benefit for your kids to stay at home?

I’ve considered getting a weekend job (because I don’t want to leave my library job, even though it’s not quite full-time) so I can save up enough money to rent an apartment, but I like having my weekends off. I normally work half days on Mondays and full days Tuesday-Fridays. Once in a while I’ll have to work Saturdays, or work full days on Mondays. So yes, I enjoy having weekends off when I can.

You have no idea how much I prayed.

I’m not lucky for having my library job. You have NO idea how much I prayed, cried, and pleaded for a job that I’m good at, and enjoy. And I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for providing me with this job. And now I’m praying, crying, and pleading for a good, godly husband and family of my own. Hopefully someday. <3

But again, what’s the point of me moving out? To prove to society and everyone pressuring me that I AM an adult, just because I’m living on my own? And where exactly did that idea start, anyway? I’m honestly curious- where did we get the idea that when a person becomes a certain age (18, 21, 25, whatever), that they HAVE to move out and live on their own?

I found this quote on Facebook, and I really like it.

Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty (or pressure you) for living life your way. And I was trying to think of Scripture that talked about this topic, and the only ones I could come up with are:

~”Honor your father and your mother.” -Exodus 20:12

~”For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat.” -2 Thessalonians 3:10

I do work, and yes, my parents and I have our moments where we don’t always agree on everything, but I think every family does. :-/

I’d love to know your thoughts and reasoning on this. If you’re married and have adult children, are you okay with them still living at home, or no? If you’re a grown adult who still lives at home with your folks, what would you do if you were married with adult children? Would you be okay with them still living at home?

Until next time,

Ashley <3

Ponderings

1. There is a sweet young girl from my church named Miriam, and she started a Bible study for some of us young adult girls from church. I’ve only been there twice, but both times I was so blessed! The Bible study consists of me, Miriam, Cathy, Audrey, Sharla, and an Amish lady named Marilyn. Everyone except me and Miriam are married, and Audrey just got married recently, so she doesn’t have kids. Everyone else does.

Sharla and I actually went to high school together, but we were in different grades. Sharla graduated in 2003 and I graduated in 2005. And years ago, Sharla’s father was the pastor of the church that my maternal grandparents attended!

Anyway, the study that we’re doing is “12 Women of the Bible”, and I was there for the sessions on Eve and Leah. We’re going to learn about Hannah this Thursday. Sadly, I missed the “Rebekah” session because I had to work on the bookmobile.

Luckily, I told Sharla and Cathy that I have to work on the bookmobile again this Thursday, and we won’t get back to the library until 7 (which is when the study starts). Bless their dear hearts, they said they’d wait for me. :) So I’ll be about 10-15 minutes late, which sucks, but oh well.

Last week some of us shared struggles, and I felt compelled to share them with Cathy, but one-on-one. (You know me, a total introvert. However, I have been speaking up during the study in order to get out of my comfort zone. Although I’m still hurt and embarrassed by Bustin’ Becky making a big deal about how quiet I am, I do need to speak up more. Although, why can’t she be like me, and be quiet? Then you won’t hurt people’s feelings).

So Cathy and I met at a local coffee shop yesterday afternoon, and honestly, it was SUCH a load off my shoulders! Cathy was very kind and patient, and didn’t judge or condemn me at all. I even got to hold her 9 month old son, Liam. I loved feeling his fuzzy baby hair, and putting my nose close to his soft, squishy baby cheeks. :D

At first I wasn’t sure if I should do this. Sure, I HAD felt compelled to share with Cathy, but what if it turned out to be a mistake?

Well, in the coffee shop, 2 Christian songs played while we talked and shared. One of the songs was “Healing Begins” by Tenth Avenue North, and the chorus goes like this:

“This is where the healing begins, oh
This is where the healing starts
When you come to where you’re broken within
The light meets the dark
The light meets the dark.”

The second song that played was “Greater” by MercyMe, and the chorus goes like this:

“Cause I hear a voice and he calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world.
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world.”

What a God thing! What a confirmation! I felt like God was speaking to me through those songs as Cathy and I shared. I felt like it was confirmation that He wanted me to meet with Cathy and share with her. As we left, she told me she’d be up for doing it again sometime. You know what? I might just take her up on that. <3

2. In other news, Awana is over for another year, and I am so glad. I love teaching the 2 and 3 year olds, but I’m also ready for a break. Last Wednesday was the last day for Awana, and we had a pizza party! I gave my kids gifts. They all got a package of M ‘n’ M’s, plus stickers. The boys got Hot Wheels stickers, and the girls got Barbie stickers. I even gave them each a little card saying I enjoyed having them in my class, and I hoped they’d have a good summer. The card had a little cartoon dog riding a bicycle, and one of my kids, Mason, thought that picture was so funny! :) I also gave my helper, Becca, a package of Ghiradelli chocolates, to thank her for helping out.

3. Lastly, I’ve been getting depressed whenever I read the news anymore. ISIS, Boko Haram, etc. I’m a Mennonite, and typically Mennonites are non-violent. However, if I knew how to use a gun, I honestly don’t think I’d hesitate to use it on one of those wicked terrorists.

However, I felt God speaking to me (I personally feel like He puts thoughts in my head), and I thought, “Do I really want to send someone to hell, for eternity?”

I went back and forth on this for a while. First of all, God doesn’t send people to hell, people send themselves for rejecting Christ. So if I killed a terrorist, I wouldn’t be sending them to hell. They’d be sending themselves because they rejected Christ and served Allah.

Still, part of me would  feel guilty. I admit it. I kept worrying so much, and I felt like God told me, “Pray for them.” Well, why not? Prayer is the greatest weapon we as Christians have.

And yet another time, when reading about them, I felt so much hate and anger towards them. And yet again, I felt God prodding me, saying, “Love them. Satan has enough hate for everyone. You need to love them.”

Wow. I never thought of it like that before. Instead of looking at them as mean people who hate everyone and bully everyone, look at them as slaves, bound to chains. Slaves to the devil. Chained to anger, hate, greed, murder, wickedness, evil, etc. Pray for them. It made a difference for this one:

http://www.charismanews.com/world/48656-terrorist-hears-gospel-radio-rejects-jihad-for-jesus-christ

I’ve just been feeling so sorry for the 21 Christians who were beheaded by ISIS, and I have to remind myself of these Scriptures.

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. -Psalms 116:15

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.” -Luke 12:4

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” -2 Corinthians 4:17

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”-Romans 8:18

And, in a way, I should be rejoicing! They’re with Jesus now! They will never be hurt, maimed, or killed. I wonder if they’re looking down, feeling sorry for us, who still have to live in this sinful, fallen world.

I read that there was another man, along with the 21 Christians (or maybe there were 20 Christians and he was along, I’m not sure), and he told the beheaders, “Their God is my God”. Apparently he was so moved by their willingness to die for their faith, and he wanted that faith too. Although he probably didn’t pray the sinner’s prayer, I am sure God wrote his name in the Book of Life. :)  Reminds me of when the thief on the cross beside Jesus asked Jesus to remember him, and Jesus told him, “You will be with me in paradise.” I like to think that when that guy said, “Their God is my God”, he is now with them in heavenly paradise.

Until next time,

Ashley

100 Questions & Answers

My friend Seanna, over at https://seannaacey.wordpress.com/, did this quiz, and I enjoyed it so much I decided to do it too!

1} What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received? I emailed someone one of my stories I’d written, and he said it was the funniest thing he’d ever read, and that I should consider making more. :)  (And no, not everyone is going to be lucky enough to read it. So please don’t ask).

2} What’s one thing you’re deeply proud of — but would never put on your résumé? My stories that I write.

3} What’s the most out-of-character choice you’ve ever made? Probably trying to be outgoing in high school. I tried to be witty and clever, and often ended up saying dumb things, and I found it was easier just to be quiet. Of course, then people made fun of me for being quiet….I can’t win.

4} If a mysterious benefactor wrote you a check for $5,000 and said, “Help me solve a problem — any problem!”, what would you do with him or her? Before I say yes I’ll need to know a few things: what is the problem at hand? Will it be a moral gray area? Why do you think I can solve the issue?

5} What’s going to be carved on your (hypothetical) tombstone?  Hmm….hopefully that I liked to laugh, and that I was a faithful Bookmobiler. <3

6} What are you FREAKISHLY good at? I can crack a lot of my joints. Knuckles, wrists, ankles, toes, back, knees, legs, upper legs, hips, and sometimes my chest and arms.

7} What’s one dream that you’ve tucked away, for the moment? How come? I would love to be a foster and adoptive parent someday, because there are so many hurting kids out there that need good homes. I’ve tucked it away simply because I haven’t found my Prince Charming yet.

8}What are you STARVING for? Affection, understanding, companionship.

9} If you could have tea with one fictional character, who would it be?  You can laugh….but I would love to have tea with the Three Stooges (their characters in the shorts, not the people who played them). And yes, I know the question said ONE fictional character….oh well. I’m a rebel.

10} Do you have a morning ritual? Get up, put my contacts lenses in, take a shower, get dressed, wash my face, brush my teeth, blow dry and straighten my hair, grab my purse and lunchbox, and out the door.

11} Do you believe in magic? When have you felt it? Literally speaking, no, I do not believe magic exits. I do believe that there are moments in life that are enchanting that the only way to equate them with would be magical.

12} Is there something that people consistently ask for your advice on? What is it? Not particularly. People ask me a variety of things, but never usually the same thing again and again.

13} Have you ever fantasized about changing your first name? To what? I’ve daydreamed about it, but I like my name, and I feel it would be hard to get used to a name change.

14} When was the last time you astonished yourself? Any time I finish a story, I astonish myself.

15} What’s your personal anthem or theme song? “Who Says” by Selena Gomez. That’s such an upbeat, catchy song with a positive message.

16} Do you ever yearn for your life before Facebook? Yes and no. I like Facebook as a way of keeping in touch with people, but sometimes I think life before Facebook was so much simpler.

17} What’s your definition of an ideal house guest? Someone who has good manners, helps around the house, and doesn’t overstay their welcome.

18} If you had an extra $100 to spend on yourself every week, what would you do?   I’d probably put it in savings.

19} If you could sit down with your 15-year old self, what would you tell him or her? Ashley, I know things seem set in stone right now, but things WILL change. They WILL get better. You WILL get your dream job, with co-workers you love. You WILL be able to get your license, and some of your shyness will go away. Also, push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s okay to be an introvert, but speak up more and get out of your shell.

21} What are you BORED of? Being single.

21} What’s the best birthday cake you’ve ever ate? When I was 7, we got a Christmas cake for me from the grocery store, and it had a candy Santa, sleigh, and reindeer. THAT was probably the best cake I ever had!

22} How do you engage with panhandlers on the street?  Ignore them and hope they go away.

23} Do you think LOVE is chemical, intellectual, spiritual — or completely undefinable? I think it can be each of these. People fall in love for so many reasons and easily fall out of love as well.

24} Have you ever dreamed about starting a business? (Or if you’ve already got one — a new business?) Before I got my library job, yes, I had dreamed about it. I thought about starting a small bakery and baking goodies (nothing major- just cookies, cakes, brownies, bars, and pies), or perhaps running a daycare center. At the same time, I know it’s a lot of work to run your own business, and the thought of doing my own taxes, as well as a customer possibly being displeased with me, scared me. So I decided not to pursue it.

25} Are you afraid of flying in airplanes? (How come?) I’m not really afraid of flying in planes. I’ve flown before. However, ever since 9/11 and the Malaysian airplane going down, I have been more nervous than usual to fly.

26} What’s your most urgent priority for the rest of the year? Hopefully to get a boyfriend, and possibly get published.

27} If you could master any instrument on earth, what would it be? I’d have to say either the clarinet, or piano. I played clarinet and bass clarinet in high school, and we have an organ at home that I rarely play.

28} Have you ever been genuinely afraid for your physical safety? Yes. When our youth group went to Costa Rica in 2010, some of us girls went to this couple’s house (they were house parents for Al & Naomi, a couple from our church), and the Costa Rican couple had a son who was not a Christian. (I think that’s right; it’s been so long). At one point he was on the front porch with me and 3 or 4 other girls, just smiling at us while we talked. He may have been a nice guy, I don’t know,  but I remember one of the girls telling someone, “Go get Al”, because we all felt nervous around him. He may not have been a nice guy. Who knows?

29} What are you an expert on? Is it because of training, lived experience, or both? I am a expert on klutziness. I have slipped going down steps, tripped over a crack in the sidewalk, and been hit in the head by flying objects. (I SWEAR my head is this magnet for any flying object…one time at church we had a carry-in, and one guy at our table wadded up a candy wrapper, and tossed it to the table across from us. They started to get into it, and of COURSE a wadded up wrapper hits me in the head! >:(  And I wasn’t even joining in!)

30} Has a teacher ever changed your life? How so?  When I was in eighth grade, my Reading and English teacher Mrs. Alexander once told me, “Just work hard, and you’ll do fine”. I always remembered that. I also liked my high school Band teacher, Mr. Thomas. He was the happiest, jolliest man ever! He NEVER yelled. If he was annoyed and had to be stern, he would just say something very firmly. But I don’t ever recall him raising his voice. He often said, “Silence is golden”. (Kind of ironic for a band teacher to say that!) I try to remember that for those awkward silences. Silence is golden.

31} Are there any household chores you secretly enjoy? Which ones — and why? I actually don’t mind laundry. I like folding it while I watch TV.

32} How do you reign in self-critical voices? Tell myself positive quotes and Bible verses. Also kind things that people have said to me.

33} If you could custom blend a perfume or cologne, what would it include? I would include lavender, vanilla, and maybe some roses.

34} What does FEAR feel like, in your body? My heart pounds and my stomach twists itself in knots.

35} Do you think you’re currently operating at 100% capacity? I like to think so.

36} What do you value most: free time, recognition, or money? All of the above. 1} I love the free time to be able to spend it with my family.  2} I also like being recognized because it makes me feel like people see me for me, not the quiet, shy girl so many people see on the outside. 3}. Money would be nice, because I admit sometimes it’s hard being tight on money.

37} If you could save one endangered species from extinction, which would you choose? Well, I know this is relating to animals, but I’m going to go against the flow and say babies. (I’m a rebel, remember?) So many babies are aborted every day, and if I could save all those babies, I would.

38} Are there any laws or social rules that completely baffle you? I don’t understand how a drunk driver can get a slap on the wrist, and a sex offender just has to register as a sex offender the rest of his/her life. Why can’t the drunk driver and sex offender be put away for life so they don’t harm anyone else? Also, I never understood the rule about not wearing white after Labor Day. Why? I’m sure I’ve done it. And if it’s still in effect, when can you start wearing white again? Can you only wear white between May and September?

39} Would you like to write a book? (About what?) Yes, I would. About what? Possibly my life. My autobiography. Or maybe just some fan-fiction and hope it’s popular enough to publish.

40} If you could choose your own life obstacles, would you keep the ones you have? Good, bad, ugly, I wouldn’t change the path God set for me. Of course there were times I where I experienced tragedy, depression, and heartache. I would have preferred not to, but that isn’t how life works. I feel blessed that my life has been easy compared to others.

41} Have you ever SCREAMED at someone? (What did they do?) I have shouted/yelled at someone, but I don’t think I’ve ever screamed at a person. And I would rather not say what they did on here.

42} Do you think there’s going to be an anti-technology whiplash, in our lifetime? I don’t think so. I think this technology makes life easier for us, and yet it complicates things at the same time. There can be a lack of privacy at times.

43} Where + when do you get your BEST IDEAS? Usually at night when I’m trying to sleep. Or when I’m just listening to music. Although I want to give God credit for my ideas. He plants the ideas and details in my mind, and gives me the ability and talent to write.

44} Have you ever met one of your HEROES? That’s a tough one. I like to think that people who overcome adversity are my heroes, and I have some close friends who have done that, so I’d say they’re my heroes. So yes, I have met my heroes. :)

45} What’s in your fridge, right this moment? Food. And drinks.

46} Can you tell when someone is lying? Sometimes. Sometimes it’s obvious, and other times, not so much.

47} Can you tell when someone is telling the TRUTH? Usually.

48} Have you ever pushed your body further than you dreamed possible? Yes, when I was going for a walk. Sometimes I’d make myself run until I was sure I was going to collapse. My lungs hurt, my legs hurt, and I was panting like crazy.

49} Are you living your LIFE PURPOSE — or still searching? Both. I still desire to marry a good, godly man and be a foster and adoptive parent someday, but I honestly am content with my library job, and minister to my fellow bookmobile co-workers.

50} Have you ever had to make a public apology? (How come?) I’ve had to apologize, but I don’t consider it a public apology. Although I once apologized to Mom and Eric was in the next room, so maybe that counts.

51} What’s the WORST piece of advice you’ve ever been given? That I need to change my personality.

52} Do you think we’re designed for monogamy? (Why or why not?) This is a complicated question. First of all, we’re human, and we tend to do things that go against the Bible. Like lie, cheat, steal, divorce, commit adultery, etc. Obeying the Bible goes against our human nature, and most times our human nature does not like/can’t commit to monogamy. We’re with someone for a while, and then we either get bored, or just can’t get along with them, so we quit and go on to someone else. Or have an affair or have multiple spouses (like the people on “Sister Wives”). Some people divorce more than once, and I think no, we’re not designed for monogamy. If you want it, you have to be willing to work hard at it.

53} How do you CELEBRATE your victories? Tell a friend, and listen to some happy, upbeat music.

54} Would you consider yourself an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert? Introvert. Although I’m not nearly as shy as I was in school, I still am very much introverted.

55} Do you ever hunt for answers or omens in dreams? I do believe that God still speaks to people through dreams today. But not every dream is necessarily one from God speaking to you. Some are just crazy, weird dreams.

56} Do you think everyone has the capacity to be a LEADER? I think if you’re in an extreme situation where you HAD to rely on yourself, then yes, you could be a leader. I think everyone has that capacity. Some more so than others, maybe.

57} Is WAR a necessary EVIL? War is hell, period. I am not for war, but I support our military in war. If there weren’t such evils throughout time, there would be no need for war. So yes, war is a necessary evil.

58} Are YOU a starter, a finisher, or an implementer? I am both a starter and a finisher. It may take me a while to finish, but I do try to get it done!

59} Have you ever unplugged from the Internet for more than a week? No, I have not.

60} Do you think we should live like we’re dying? Absolutely. Because we are never promised tomorrow.

61} Do you have any habits or quirks you wish you could ERASE? Talking to myself, and being so OCD about stuff.

62} What was the most AGONIZING hour of your life? When I was betrayed by someone.

63} Have you ever dramatically changed a habit, or gotten yourself out of a rut? How’d you do it? Sadly, I don’t think I have. :(

64} Would you rather be a lonely genius, or a sociable idiot? A lonely genius.

65} How would YOU fix the economy? Pure and simple: STOP SPENDING MONEY YOU DON’T HAVE! How can we expect out nation to get out of debt if we are spending money we don’t have like crazy?

66} What was your very first job? Baby-sitting for my second cousins, Tiana and Natasha. They were in elementary school when I started baby-sitting them, and now Tiana is in college and Tasha is in high school! (I think she’s a sophomore). Boy, do I feel old.

67} What brings you SHEER DELIGHT? Reading a new book. Buying something I’ve wanted for a long time. Getting a compliment or hug from one of my bookmobile co-workers. Watching my favorite movies and TV shows. Holding babies.

68} Are you highly useful in a CRISIS? I do tend to panic, and have to tell myself to calm down. I’d like to think I’d be useful, but I guess only time will tell.

69} Do you like to be SAVED — or do the saving? Both. There was been a couple instances when I had car trouble, and my Dad had to come and “save” me. But there have been times when we’ve been short-staffed on the bookmobile department, and I got to go on the bus at the last minute! :D

70} What’s one mistake you keep repeating (and repeating)? Being too quiet. Listening and observing too much, and not speaking up enough.

71} If you were heading out on a ROAD TRIP right this minute, what would you pack? Depending how long the trip was: All the necessary toiletries, clothes, laptop, DVDs, extra money, map, CD players, CDs, and books.

72} Do you have any irrational fears? I hate spiders, centipedes, mice, cockroaches, bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and snakes.

73} When you see peers + competitors getting things you want, how do you react? I’m usually 50/50. When all my cousins were getting engaged and planning their weddings, I was happy for them, but also somewhat envious. Why isn’t it happening for me? And now that all my cousins are popping out kids, that same bittersweet feeling entangles me. Happy for them, yet it’s like a knife in my heart, wondering why my Heavenly Father doesn’t seem to hear my heart’s cry.

74} If you were to die three hours from now, what would you regret most? I would probably regret not trying hard enough in certain areas of my life. Not pushing myself hard enough.

75} What’s something you’ve tried, that you’ll never, ever try again? Driving through a drive-thru. Tried it once and ended up with a fender-bender. Now I just go inside.

76} If you could enroll in a PhD program, with your tuition paid in full by a mysterious benefactor, what would you study — and why? Since I was only a teen, I was pressured and pressured to attend college and I honestly have no desire to attend a university and gain a degree in any field. I always just wanted to work and earn my own money. This May will be 10 years since I’ve graduated, and I still have no such desire to attend college.

77} Have you ever had a complete + total nervous breakdown? (How did you recuperate?) I’ve never had a complete nervous breakdown, but I remember being so depressed at one point and wishing I were numb so I couldn’t feel anything. Thankfully, I saw the error of that and although I had a lot of hurts, I was thankful that I could feel them and not be numb.

78} Have you ever set two friends up on a date? (How did it go?) I have not set any friends up on a date, though I have been set up on a blind date before.

79} Have you ever questioned your FAITH — or lack thereof? At times, yes. Sometimes I wonder why God allows so much evil and pain in the world. All I can do is trust that He is God, He’s perfect and can do no wrong, and He knows what He’s doing.

80} What’s your recipe for recuperating from extreme heartbreak? Take time for yourself. Do what makes YOU happy. And take as long as you need to grieve. Some people may tell you, “It’s been a year already, get over it!” Don’t listen to them. There is NO limit to grieving. Grieve and mourn as long as you need to. A broken heart can be healed, but there will always be a scar.

81} Have you ever had a psychic reading? Did you believe it? Was it accurate? I don’t buy into that nonsense.

82} Have you ever (actually) kept a New Year’s Resolution? Yes, for 2014 I resolved to give up pop for the year (except if I sick and vomiting; then I’d allow myself Sprite or 7-Up or something). Thankfully I never threw up, and I made it without tasting pop once!

83} Have you ever met someone who was genuinely EVIL? There were mean guys and girls in high school, but I don’t know if I’d say they were genuinely evil. People like Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Jihadi John; they’re genuinely evil, in my opinion.

84} Do you believe that everyone deserves redemption + forgiveness? This is a hard question actually. I want everyone to experience redemption and the forgiveness I have received in my faith. But then there’s the three men I named above. 2 of them are dead. One of them I wish was dead. If he ever is captured, I would want the death penalty on him, asap.

85} What was the BEST KISS of your entire life? I was kissed once by a guy in high school, but he kissed me on the cheek. (I want to save my first lip kiss for marriage). That was pretty much the only kiss of my life (unless you count my parents kissing my boo-boos away when I was a kid).

86} Do you secretly miss Polaroid cameras? No. I actually like digital cameras. They make life so much easier.

87} Do you have any physical features that you try to cloak or hide? How come? My stomach, because it looks like I’m pregnant (I once had a 4 year old boy from our church ask me if I was having a baby). And also my teeth, because I have an overbite, and my bottom ones are crooked.

88} What makes YOU so special, anyway? (No, really.) I’m the only one of me the world has ever or will ever see.

89} What’s in your pocket (or purse, or man-purse) right now? Hand sanitizer, floss, Vaseline, nail clipper, eye drops, Tylenol, gloves, sunglasses, tissues, lotion, billfold, Chapstick, pens, feminine products, gum, orange Tic-Tacs, library lanyard, checkbook, and savings book.

90} Ever fantasize about being in a rock band? What would your group be called? I’ve daydreamed about it, but I wouldn’t pursue it. Hmmm…..maybe Rose Garden.

91} What’s your guiltiest of guilty pleasures? My love of the old slapstick comedy group The Three Stooges.

92} Who’s on your panel of imaginary mentors? First are these people real or fictitious? And how many am I allowed? This could take a while. ;)

91} Are these people I make up or people in the past who I would love to have as mentors? If it’s the first, you don’t want to know. If it is the second:I have a lot of dear friends I consider my mentors. Linda (my bookmobile co-worker), Vicki (I used to baby-sit her daughters, Tiana and Natasha), and some dear Facebook friends.

93} Have you ever stolen anything? (Money, candy, hearts, time?) Yes, when I was about 6 or 7. My brother and I were with Mom at the grocery store, and they have a make-your-own-salad-bar. My brother and I each decided to get a pack of crackers from the salad bar, and put it in the cart. Now, I can’t speak for my brother, but I was afraid Mom was going to tell me “no”, so I kept it inside my pocket. Tyler did too. Mom found out when we got home, and she was not very happy. We didn’t have to go back to the store and apologize or anything, but we learned not to do that ever again.

94} When was the last time you saw an animal in the wild? When our youth group went to Costa Rica in 2010, we went zip-lining, and we divided up into groups. At one point my group was in a tree house, and we saw a lizard! It kinda freaked us out, though! :P  I’ve also seen deer, squirrels, and stray cats around here, though that probably isn’t considered “the wild”.

95} What’s the hardest thing you ever had to write — and why? I often dream of writing my autobiography, but I haven’t written it yet because I’m too self-conscious, and because I’m afraid of hurting peoples’ feelings.

96} Who’s the last person that deeply disappointed you? (What happened?) An old classmate/former friend who betrayed me. I’d rather not say what happened. My new, close friends know about it, and that’s all that matters.

97} Have you ever won an award? What was it for? I have various awards from high school that I displayed at my high school graduation party. I’ve got awards from Band, Choir, all A’s in one class, etc.

98} How long can you (comfortably) go without checking your emails or texts? How do you feel about that? I can go without checking Facebook and Pinterest for a day or so, but I need to check my emails and texts every day!

99} What do you deserve + get to receive, no matter what? Respect. Respect as a woman and a fellow human being. I actually love it when men hold doors open for me, pull out a chair, etc.  :D

100} What are you ready to set into motion, today? Most of the day is already over, but I plan to do some writing, and fold and put my laundry away.

More of Life

Have you ever had trouble letting go of something? An embarrassing moment, a grudge, etc.?

I have. I’m still struggling with it right now. :(

Back in September, I had started doing our church bulletins, and at one point Dad and I thought we were going to have a meeting about it. (I thought we were gonna talk about redoing the layout of the bulletin, getting a new cover, etc. Instead we talked about something else entirely), and me, being an introvert as well as being bored, was pretty quiet most of the meeting and Becky, one of the people who was at the meeting, made a big exclamation about it, saying if she was the quiet, she’d be busting at the seams.

Well, Bustin’ Becky, that’s the difference between me and you. You’re just full of ideas and chatter. I’m content to sit back, listen, and observe. Anyway, even though this happened almost 5 months ago, it still bothers me. But, I fake a smile and try not to act nervous around her at church. (As luck would have it, we’re in the same Sunday School class, and I really wanted to avoid her). I don’t particularly care for groups; I like one-on-ones, and I’m usually pretty quiet in Sunday School. I was so afraid she’d make another exclamation about me being quiet in front of the Sunday School group. Thankfully she didn’t.

 

So many people don't understand this. I actually LIKE and ENJOY just sitting back, listening, and observing.

 

There's a difference between loud people, and outgoing people. I have some wonderful friends who are outgoing who are not loud and obnoxious. Loud and obnoxious people are just rude and annoying.

 

I actually like being introverted and quiet.

 

Proverbs 17:28."Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. "

 

 

 

Anyway, speaking of Sunday School, we’re studying the book Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman (I highly recommend it, by the way) and we’re planning to finish the book by the end of March. Our current Sunday School teacher will get a break, and someone else will get to teach.

Now, I have considered teaching, simply because I need to get out of my comfort zone, and also because I used to teach the women’s Sunday School class (this was back when we had men’s and women’s classes; we now have co-ed classes) and more than once, a woman told me I had a gift for teaching women. :D  That surprised me, as well as made me feel good. Not to sound cocky or anything, but I knew I had a gift with kids, because I like teaching kids, and it seems to come naturally for me.

But teaching women? Well…..I was nervous doing it, and it it didn’t feel like it came naturally. But like I said, different women came up and said I had a gift for it. So maybe I’ll take the plunge and teach for our co-ed men and women’s class.

Please pray that I’d know what to do, and that if I do it, that God would give me the courage to do it. *gulp*  And also pray that I could forgive Becky and not worry about what she thinks. I read a quote somewhere (I thought I had it on Pinterest, but I can’t find it), but it says something about how if we worry what people think of us, we’re their prisoner. I like that thought. :) I don’t want to be anyone’s prisoner, so I need to quit worrying in general what people think of me.

On another note, most of you know that I desire marriage to a good, godly man someday and have kids of my own. Well, in a way, God answered my prayers.

The Bible says that the Lord is my husband. “For your Maker is your husband– the LORD Almighty is his name– the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. -Isaiah 54:5
I always wanted to have 4 kids- 2 boys and 2 girls. And as silly as this sounds, I consider my bookmobile co-workers to be my “kids”. There are 2 guys and 2 gals. Gary, Phil, Linda, and Marty. I’ve prayed for them when they were sick or going through a hard time and I’ve baked goodies for them. I’ve even had to drive to stops to deliver holds that they forgot! (It reminds me of when I’d get to school and realized I forgot a textbook, so I’d quickly call home and my faithful father would bring it to school).

There’s a small, windowless room in the bus garage that we call the Cave. I like to think of the Cave as my second home. I try to keep it clean and organized, but when the “kids” come back, they come with books that need to be checked in, shelved, etc. And although I do like being back there and organizing everything, I also love going out on the bus too.

It makes me think of what a stay-at-home mom might feel like. I’m sure she enjoys staying at home with her kids, cleaning the house and teaching her young. But I’m sure she’s also glad for the chance to get out and about and enjoy herself. :)

Well, I guess that’s all for now. I really do need to update this thing more often.

~Ashley <3

First Post of 2015

So often I title my posts “Life”, but I really don’t know what else to call them. Because these are updates about my life, after all.

Question for my readers: Do you like puns, or not? One of my bookmobile co-workers, named Linda, absolutely LOVES puns, and I like them to an extent; then I’m tired of them.

Anyway, last Wednesday we were on the bookmobile and I was talking to Linda about parking in the parking lot. At one point I used the term “back-up plan”, and she started laughing like crazy, and said “BACK-UP plan”, because we back the bus up…? Make sense?

Another time we were talking about purses, and I used the word “personality”. Linda started laughing and said “PURSE-onality…”. And yet another time we were discussing devotions, and I used the term “vice-versa”, and she said “vice-VERSE-a….” because we were talking about the Bible, and verses. I do love her, but some of those puns are just bad and not even that funny. Now, I like puns if they’re good. If they’re lame, I tend to roll my eyes and groan. Or if they’re overdone, then I get sick of them.

Anyway, I had come up with a nickname that I thought was clever for her. Pun-elope (instead of Penelope). However, she told me she didn’t like it, and didn’t want to be called that. I was rather taken aback. Linda is like the queen of puns. She loves any kind of pun, whether it’s good, or horribly lame. She will laugh her head off at it. And here I was so proud of myself for coming up with a good pun, as well as a nickname, and she actually doesn’t like it! I even told her, “You not liking a pun is so not you.”

She did say that I could call Pun-elope if she pointed out a pun. But she didn’t want to be called that on a regular basis.  She said she told her daughter, Emilie, about my nickname for her, and she asked Emilie if she could call her Pun-elope. Emilie was very defiant and said “NO! I am not a Penelope!” Linda said that Emilie absolutely hates the name Penelope, and Linda said she used to call Emilie “Emilie Penelope” when she was little. So I think that’s why she hates the name so much. Oh well, I tried. :-/ (And no, “Penelope” is not Emilie’s middle name. Emilie actually doesn’t have one).

On another note, about a month ago one of my old classmates from high school, Corey Meinke (you pronounce his last name like Mikey; you don’t say the “n” at all. Corey Mikey) added me as a friend on Facebook, but I declined, because I just didn’t want him in my life anymore. I don’t know if I’d say Corey was a bully, per se, but he did make fun of me, as well as other classmates. However, I have been a snoop/stalker, and have looked at his profile a few times. I’ve seen that he posts Scripture on his wall, and from I’ve seen, it looks like he wants someone to settle down with too. I admit I thought about giving him a chance, to see if he’s changed.

He and I were classmates in high school. I admit I was the nerd in high school. I wasn’t athletic or the cheerleader type. I was in plays/musicals, and loved to read. (Still do). He was in sports (soccer, basketball, track, and I think he did baseball one year). Anyway, I saw on his Facebook wall that he had been in a relationship with a girl, and they have a little boy together, but the girl left him and he was pretty devastated. One status on his wall said, “Her family is coming over today to take her furniture and things. This is already the worst day of my life, and it’s only going to get worse. PLEASE PRAY.”  (This is awful of me, but I was glad he was going through a hard time, and that someone else was being mean to him. He was a jerk to everyone in high school; now he’s getting his karma. Although there were a few rare times when he could be genuinely nice, too).I wasn’t sure if he was married, and his wife wanted out of the relationship, or if they were just living together. I later found out that they had been living together. I guess I still shouldn’t date Corey because he was living with her outside of marriage, and I want a godly, Christian man with morals and values.

It really hurts being single, especially nowadays with social media, when I see pictures and status updates of friends’ weddings, baby announcements, baby pictures, etc. Please pray that God would send my future husband soon. It just seems like the closer I get to 30, the more impatient and angry with God I get. Why did He allow all my friends and cousins to get married in their early 20s while I must wait and wait? I do hope my Prince Charming is worth it. I admit that sometimes I am tempted to just settle for a guy because I’m not getting any younger. And I know that just because Corey uses words like “blessed” and says “Thank you, Lord” and posts Scripture on his wall, doesn’t necessarily make him a Christian. For Pete’s sake, he was living together with a girl and got her pregnant out of wedlock. :(

Changing the topic, but I bought myself a new purse today, and I love it!! <3 I had a small pink one, but it was getting slightly worn out, plus it was hard to stay organized. So I got a gray one at Wal-Mart. I liked it for a while, but that one too, was almost too much of a mess. I tended to just throw everything in, and then I had trouble fishing around for things I needed. So I went to Wal-Mart again, and got myself a brown and white purse. Now, like I said, I liked the gray one I had, but as usual, everything was clumped together on the bottom of the purse, and it was so hard to find anything. I had gone to the store “bfearless” in Walnut Creek, and I found a couple purses there I liked, but still wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy one. I had also gone to Moxie and Village Gift Barn in Berlin, and I actually did find a purse at Village Gift Barn that I liked, but it was way too expensive. It was $250.00!! I am NOT spending that much on a purse!! (On a wedding dress, maybe. But not a purse). The most I would ever spend on a purse is between $20-40. If it’s $50 or over, then I try not to.

The brown and white purse has a lot of little compartments, which I really like. I think it was originally $15, and it was marked down to $7.00. :) There are 3 sections, and all 3 of them can be zipped up. In the first section, I have “health” things (floss, hand sanitizer, eye drops, nail clippers, petroleum jelly, Tylenol, allergy tablets, etc.)

In the second section (the middle), I have “essentials”. (Checkbook, savings book, billfold, notepad, work lanyard with key, and there are 2 pockets within that section. In those pockets I have pens, chapstick, gum, orange Tic-Tacs I got for Christmas, and my cell phone). There’s also an opening in that section where I keep my feminine products (pads, tampons, etc).

Then in the third section, I have “seasonal” things (sunglasses, gloves, tissues, and lotion). I LOVE it!! It’s so much more organized this way. The straps are also long enough that I can sling over my shoulder, too. (I don’t really like purses that have short handles. I like long ones I can sling over my shoulder). I’m quite picky about purses. I don’t like them too big, because I’m tempted to put more stuff inside, plus they’re just bulky to carry around. But I don’t like them too little either where I don’t have enough room to put everything in. They have to be medium-sized.

Well, I think I am heading off now. Before I go, I have a valuable tip for all you ladies out there (well, it’s valuable to me, anyway). When shaving your legs, instead of using shaving cream, or waxing your legs, use conditioner. And a man’s razor. I kept looking up ways to get smoother legs (besides waxing. Waxing was so expensive, and it made my legs feel sticky). I kept hearing how conditioner was good, so I thought I’d give it a try, although I was rather skeptical.

Oh. My. Word. I love it!!! :D  Seriously, my legs had never been this smooth! Ever!! I use Suave conditioner, and I put a LOT on. Then I use a men’s razor, and it works great! And I can honestly say, that my leg hairs have been growing back more slowly, so I don’t need to shave as often. And when the hairs do grow back, there’s not even that many of them! Seriously, my legs are so smooth for so long!! (I just thought I’d mention this so you gals can be ready when springtime comes). ;)

Until next time,

~Ashley

My Birthday Post

First of all, a big, hearty thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday yesterday! I had a very good day. :D  I faced one of my fears, which was a big deal for me. In our church, if someone has a birthday on a Sunday, the worship team usually makes said person come up front so they can sing to them. I was really nervous, and prayed about it a lot, because most of you know that I am shy and introverted. :-/

I asked a lot of my friends to pray as well, and one night while I was lying in bed, God brought Psalm 23 in my mind. He also gave me a picture; it was of Jesus as a shepherd, leading me through a path. There were lots of rocks but He was holding my hand, helping me not to fall. I like to think that when I went up front, He was holding me, helping me not to trip and fall on the way. There was another guy named Delon who shared my birthday, so we both went up front, and Jimmy, the worship leader, said that one side of the church would sing for Delon, and the other side would sing for me, and whichever side was the loudest, won. Everyone started singing, and when they got to the part, “Happy Birthday, Dear…” Jimmy grabbed the mic and said, “Ashley!”  That was nice. :)   I walked back to my seat afterwards and one lady, MaryAnn, smiled and gave me a thumbs up! That meant a lot because I’d told her how nervous I was. I am glad I faced my fear. And when I started walking towards the stage, I felt a peace and calm come over me. I believe that was a birthday gift from God. :D

Also, there was a guy named Murray in our church who had been in the hospital for the past several weeks. Long story short, his wife went to run some errands one night while he was home alone. He hadn’t been feeling well, so he took the day off work. Anyway, his wife came home that night and found him passed out/unconscious. Anyway, yesterday was the first Sunday he’d been at church since that whole incident! I was so happy that it was on my birthday, no less! (I used to baby-sit his kids when they were younger).  He also came to our church’s Christmas program that night, and got to see his oldest daughter play a song on the piano. Awww. <3

After church, Eric and I got pizza for lunch, and I accidentally hit and killed a squirrel on the way home. Oops. :( It ran right out in front of me, and I braked, but apparently it wasn’t enough, because Eric and I heard a loud thunk. We looked in the mirror and saw the squirrel lying motionless on the road, and we laughed. :D  I told my Dad about it after lunch, and he laughed too.

I made the mistake of telling that to Linda, one of my bookmobile co-workers. (She absolutely loves animals), and she made a sad face and said, “poor little squirrel.”  Um, what was I supposed to do? There were cars driving on the other side of the road, so it’s not like I could pass to avoid the squirrel. And I did brake. She jokingly called me a “squirrel killer”, and I’m probably being too sensitive, but it did hurt a little. However, she gave me a birthday gift today. It’s a black and yellow necklace with a clear ball at the end (it sort of looks like a fake jewel/diamond), and the necklace is twisty; you can twist and bend it to how you want it to look. I thanked her, and went to give her a hug, and said, “Are you sure you want to hug a squirrel killer?” and she said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

Don’t get me wrong. I believe that God is angry when we purposely mistreat animals. God gave man dominion over the animals, and when we purposely mistreat them just for the fun it, we’re abusing that privilege. However, some people take it too far and cry out at animal abuse, but are silent on abortion. (Linda’s not like that, though. Linda is very much against abortion). And I would never harm an animal just for pleasure. But honestly, I’m just not a big animal lover. For as long as I can remember. Even as a little girl, I’d be scared of dogs, and had a hard time coming up with a favorite animal. I eventually settled on kittens, because they’re so cute!

Thanks again for all the birthday wishes, everyone! :)  Can’t wait to see what this next year holds for me!

Thoughts Again

In my previous post, I posted about how I was still hurting about my last “bored” meeting, and one of my old classmates from high school, Charles, said that I was one of the nicest people to him in high school, and he never forgot that. That meant a lot to me. :)  He too, was one of the nicest people to me.  I am so glad I got to know him.

In other news, I will be turning 28 on Sunday (happy birthday to me!), and although I am grateful for each year that God gives me, with each passing year it gets harder and harder to be single. Wondering if I will ever win a man’s heart, and bear children of my own.

I am teaching the Puggles class for Awana again this year. (The 2-3 year olds). I normally have 5 kids: Michael, Claire, Ethan, Mason, and Maci. I’m supposed to have 3 other kids; AJ, Maddie, and Grady, but AJ never comes, Grady wanted to be in the next class, the Cubbies (3-4 year olds), and Maddie comes sometimes. Not always. And also this year I have a helper; Ethan’s mom, Rebecca. I appreciate her so much! Becca helps out a lot, and I don’t know what I’d do without her there. Probably pulling my hair out, lol. ;)

Most of my kids are pretty good, though some do get scared and cry when their mom leaves. And like usual, there’s always at least one kid that tests my patience. This year, it’s Michael. His family doesn’t attend our church (they go to another local church), but Michael and his siblings come to our church’s Awana Wednesday night programs. Anyway, Michael is my little patience-tester. When the bell rings, we go into the sanctuary to pray, and sing. After the song we are dismissed to our class. Well, Michael NEVER wants to sit with his class in the sanctuary. He ALWAYS wants to sit by himself.

Fine. I’m picking my battles, and this is not worth fighting over. He can sit by himself. However, last night he was being noisy and running around, and I went to go talk to him. He loudly yelled, “No!” and held out his hand, afraid I was going to make him sit us. I firmly grabbed his arm and sternly told him, “You can sit by yourself, but you have to sit and be quiet.” I let him go, and he laid on the floor, upset. I was secretly afraid he was going to have a meltdown right there. Thankfully, he didn’t. (Although I did feel guilty later because he looked sorta scared when I grabbed his arm and was firm with him). And he came to class, too!

During class, we had coloring, craft, and snack. We have these little red and blue chairs in our classroom, as well as one small yellow one and a big yellow one. Michael sat in the big yellow chair, which was fine. However, after snack, all the kids were playing with toys, and Maci wanted to sit in the big yellow chair. Michael noticed and declared it was his chair, and said he was sitting there first.

Now here’s where I struggled. Technically, yes, Michael was sitting there first. But he was playing with toys and not sitting in his chair at that time. Once again, I took hold of his arm and told him that Maci can sit there, and that we need to share and take turns. He was angry for a bit, but cooled off after awhile.

I will say, though, for as much frustration that I get from him, he is my biggest helper. When I tell the kids to put the toys away, Michael is always the first one to put the toys back in the box. It’s kinda funny because he’s helpful almost to a fault. He wants so much to help that sometimes he takes toys away from other kids so he can put them away! I have to tell him to let the other kids help, too.  :D

Then there’s Claire. She is so adorable. She looks similar to the Olsen twins when they were toddlers on Full House. She has big blue eyes, blond hair (might not be the strawberry blond that the twins had), and she has the same type of bangs. Anyway, last night Claire was playing with a toy cell phone, then she set it down and began playing with some dolls, forgetting about the phone. Maci came over and reached for the phone, but Claire noticed and snatched it away. Becca and I told Claire that she wasn’t using it, and to please let Maci have it. We need to share and take turns. Then we told her that she either had to give Maci the phone, or let her play with one of the dolls. Claire eventually let Maci have the cell phone.

I’m considering buying some more toys for our toy box. The toys that are currently in there were donated by people from our church, but I feel like the kids get tired of them, so I may buy a few extras. And of course, we have Play-Doh, which all the kids love. :)  Last year I had told them they could only play with one color at a time because I didn’t want them mixing two colors together. As hard as they tried, some colors did intermix. :(  Oh well. As long as the kids are having fun and playing nicely, that’s all that matters. <3

I know this sounds odd, but if you read this, could you please say a prayer for one of our bookmobile buses, the Bluebird? It’s so old and has a lot of issues. In the past it would just quit, and today the generator stopped and smoke was coming out from the microwave because some of the wires got hot. It costs about $40,000 to buy a bus, and although we’d love a new one, the finances at the library are rather tight. I’m hoping and praying that God will either send the money we need to buy or fix the bus, or just help the bus be more cooperative.

Until next time,

~Ashley

Introversion

Okay, I need to move on from this. I’ve talked about it before. I need to let it go, as the song says. But it still bothers me.

My introversion.

I shouldn’t let it bother me. My introversion is part of my personality. What makes me, me. But it does.

I’ve always been somewhat shy, even as a little girl, and that just sort of stayed with me. I also think part of it was due to being home-schooled up until 8th grade; then I was suddenly thrust into public school. As I look back in hindsight, I wish I would have pushed myself more and gotten out of my comfort zone and spoken up more.

However, I’m not always shy; sometimes I would rather just sit back, listen, and observe.

For example: One night Dad and I had a meeting at church (I really didn’t need to be there but didn’t realize it until it was too late). We thought it was going to be a meeting about our church bulletins, since I was going to start doing them. It actually turned out to be a meeting about a sign we wanted to have in our sanctuary with our mission statement on it. We talked about bulletins for maybe a minute, if that.

I was bored most of the meeting and didn’t say a whole lot. (We were there for 3 and a half hours- 6:30 to a little after 10). I was drained by 8:30 and wanted to go home already. (The meeting consisted of me, Dad, and 5 other people, one of which was our pastor). There were a couple times when some of the others went into the next room to discuss something and so it was just me and one other girl, Lia, together, and I started talking to her then.

Anyway, this one lady, Becky, (although I’m sure she didn’t mean to), embarrassed me. Our pastor Phil asked me my opinion on something, and Becky pointed at me and said, “She hasn’t said one word all night!” The others laughed, and I just smiled in embarrassment. Phil told me, “Sometimes you just have to barge in!” Lia (the girl that I had talked to earlier), stood up for me, saying that I had made a few comments when it was just me and her, but I still felt so dumb. And Dad stood up for me too, saying, “I’m sure Ashley’s wondering why she’s even here tonight,”, and he told both Phil and Becky that we both thought it was going to be a meeting about bulletins. I faked my way the rest of the night, then cried when I got home. :'(

Now Becky, I love her. She is a very sweet lady and I don’t think she meant to hurt or embarrass me. She is the opposite of me, however. She is a chatty Cathy and I am a silent Sally. But, it was a lesson learned. I do need to learn to talk more and not be so shy. Sigh. And I also should have driven separately instead of going with Dad (but hey, I wanted to save on gas. It wasn’t worth it this time, though).

But, I wish I could have asked Becky, “What is it about me not speaking that bothers you so much?” I also wish I could have said to Phil, “What if I don’t want to barge in?”  Apparently it never occurred to them that some of us actually like sitting back, watching, listening, and observing. Worst bored meeting I’ve ever been to. And yes, I know I spelled “bored” the wrong way. I intended it to be like that, since I was bored the whole time at the meeting; hence the “bored” meeting. :-)  What a complete waste of three and a half hours. Oh well. Lesson learned. And to top things off, we never even had a meeting about the bulletins then! Sigh.

Honestly, I was so embarrassed and wanted the earth to just swallow me up. Or better yet, swallow her up. I’d miss my bookmobile co-workers dearly if I was swallowed up. I love them so much. I confided in one of them about what happened, and she greatly comforted and encouraged me. Is it bad if I feel more comfortable going to work to see them, than to church to see the people who embarrassed me? Oh well. At least I have a safe haven where I can confide in someone.

I’ve been putting on a front, acting like my usual self at church, but secretly nervous and timid on the inside. I was seriously so terrified of going to Sunday School that following Sunday, for fear that she would point out my quietness during Sunday School (she’s in my class). Thankfully she didn’t. However, I felt like God wanted me to face my fears, and just go to Sunday School, so I did.

If you read this, pray that I would be able to forgive them, and that I wouldn’t let my insecurities rule over me. Pray also that I would have the courage to step out of my comfort zone and speak up, even though I’m nervous. Lastly, pray that I would be able to let this go and put it behind me. I know that even though I’m an introvert who is quiet, I am still worth something in God’s eyes. <3