Tuesday, October 30, 2012

K-LOVE & Air1

I don't think I've listened to any other radio station in the last 10 months.

K-LOVE and Air1 are all I listen to anymore. Before, I would listen to "today's hits" radio stations. I had no idea what garbage they were filling my brain with until I listened to K-LOVE and Air1.

A few months ago, I was wondering what was popular in the music industry. I flipped it back to my original "today's hits" station, and it was so awful! I can't believe I listened to that garbage all day long...

I'm so grateful I found K-LOVE and Air1. My mood has definitely been better. Both stations give me positive vibes every morning on the way to work. Some mornings, it's really hard for me to get out of bed; I don't even want to face the day. These radio stations help me put on a positive attitude.

K-LOVE is more contemporary Christian music. This station is my favorite when I'm looking for calming/relaxing music. It's my favorite station to listen to on  the way to work every morning. Find a station near you or listen to them on iHeart Radio.

Air1 plays a little harder music. They play a lot of Skillet, and I love that (by the way, Skillet is currently working on a new album - woo!). I like to listen to Air1 while I'm on my way home from work (or during my lunch break). Find a station near you or listen to them on iHeart Radio.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mia Update (and overall life update)

We went to see Mia on Saturday. This was our last time seeing her until we go to pick her up on November 10! She's such a sweetheart and we can't wait to bring her home.

She was so terrified of us at first, but then she warmed up to us and gave us a ton of pug kisses! (She also fell asleep on Jon's chest).


Life has been pretty crazy lately. I'm finally starting to get caught up in my college courses, so that has taken a huge chunk of my free time. Brought one grade up from failing (C+) now to an A-.

I'll try to write more posts. If I don't, you have permission to bug me and ask for some (ashleighfinley8[at]gmail.com).

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Finding A Church

I grew up in a Lutheran church. I learned (very quickly) that I was supposed to go to church every Sunday at 8am. It didn't matter how tired I was, how sick I was feeling . . I had to go.

Once I went to college, I stopped going to church. I moved away from home. I didn't know anyone at school and honestly, I had no desire to go back to church. Church was never enjoyable for me. It was always something I had to do every Sunday, no matter what.

Sophomore year, I decided it was time for a change. I started going to Westlake Church of God. I drove by this church numerous times while traveling to the Avon Walmart to get groceries. I almost chickened out the first Sunday I went. I was so anxious. What if it was a crazy church that did a bunch of hooting and hollering? What if it was a bunch of old people? What if they called me out during the service? I was so nervous, but I went anyway. I sat towards the back. No one talked to me until after the service. A nice gentleman came up and introduced himself to me. He was so nice and said he was happy I was there.

I started coming week after week. The second week I went back, the guy who talked to me from the first Sunday remembered me and said he was glad I was there.

I loved Westlake. It was a contemporary service with some traditional twists. I was no longer afraid to worship as loud as I wanted. We sang current day songs (as well as some oldies) that everyone loved. The band was fantastic, and so was the pastor!

During my last semester in downtown Indianapolis, I realized I had to say goodbye to Westlake soon. I didn't want to. It was a breakup I wasn't ready for. I ended up commuting an hour to church every Sunday just so I could go to Westlake. In August, I knew I would be getting married soon and it would be even harder to go so far away for church (and would use a lot of gas).

A pastor at Westlake introduced me to Genesis Church. Jon (my husband) and I decided to give it a try. Holy cow, we were blown away. We both loved that place a lot. The pastor from Westlake recommended we go to a church three weeks in a row before we make a decision. We went there three weeks and were sold.

We tried out a few other churches the last few Sundays, and they weren't exactly our thing. I was ready to walk out of the church we went to this past Sunday. I would describe it as a "white chocolate" church. There was a huge choir singing and dancing around on stage. We also took communion, which you were forced to take it then and there and give your cup back right away (so weird to us). The pastor was full of energy (almost too much energy). When we left, I looked at Jon and said "can we go back to Genesis next week?" He agreed.

What is the reason for this post? It's important to keep looking around. Churches are so different. Keep trying until you find one you like. You never know whats out there.

I used to feel forced to go to church. I can't believe it took me until my adult life to figure out I didn't like traditional services; I like more contemporary. Now, I love going to church. I look forward to every Sunday morning.

Friday, October 12, 2012

At War With Satan

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
- James 4:7 (NIV)

This week has been awful. On Monday, I realized I completely forgot about a class' homework that was due Sunday night. I had the day off of work, so I finally took my car to the mechanic to get checked out. Turns out they couldn't duplicate the problem and sent me home (figures). Tuesday was alright. Wednesday I woke up and could not stop crying. It was my worst attack in a while. I worked myself up so much I almost passed out. I missed work and class that day.

Tilt table test.
Yesterday, I went to the neurologist to try to get some answers about my random passing out. He prescribed a tilt table test. Fun . . right? They couldn't get me in for another month, so here's to another month with no answers.

While yesterday was pretty good mood-wise, I woke up this morning feeling as crappy as I did on Wednesday. Seriously? Satan, leave me alone.

I've been taking my antidepressants like I should. I was just married to my best friend, and I'm super happy . . but somehow Satan keeps bringing me down. I feel like he has noticed me getting closer to God and isn't a fan. He's pulling me away. I'm getting really depressed all of the time now.

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. 
- Ephesians 6: 10-20

All I'm asking is for some prayers. I feel like Satan's been trying to pull me away from God and it's taking a toll on me. I've been reading snippets of the Bible every day and listening to Air1 all day at work (like I usually do). Trying to fill my life with as much God as possible to keep Satan out.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

More Pictures of Mia!

This week has been kind of on the crappy side. Sorry in advance for the lack of posts. Adding some puppy pictures to help brighten my mood.

Mia is a month old now (born on 9/11). 3 more weeks until we can bring her home! She's getting so big! :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Touchscreen Soda Fountains

As some of you know, I'm a web designer & developer in real life. Hence, don't be surprised if you see any techy geeking out posts on here from time to time.

Have you seen these new touchscreen soda fountains? I've seen them popping up at Burger King and just recently at a Noodles & Co.

Last week, I went to get my lunch and they had one of these at the restaurant. I immediately went up and got my drink with no issue. After I got my drink, I stood there and watched a few other people use it. There were two older ladies behind me, one in her 50s and another in her 60s or 70s. They hesitated for a second, but immediately knew what to do.

My guess is, they have had experience with a touch screen before. They didn't stand there for too long to figure it out. They realized the ice came by pushing it on the lever. Next, you had to decide your drink, then push the button to get it.

My complaint? I wish they had more than one at the restaurants. With traditional fountains, you can have two or three people getting their beverages at once.

I was so excited to see these. This is the kind of thing you always see in Japan. They are always so cutting edge. It always seems like Asia is always the first to try out the newest technology. Don't even get me started on the subway grocery stores in South Korea...

Monday, October 8, 2012

My Ongoing Battle With Depression & Anxiety

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
- Philippians 4:13

Back in 2004, I started cutting my wrists. I was diagnosed with bipolar depression a few months prior, and this is the way I liked to make myself "feel better." In April of that year, I was sent to the local hospital and put on suicide watch for two days. Those were the most awful two days of my life. That was enough to convince me not to threaten suicide again.

As part of my outpatient therapy, I had to go to group therapy every day after school for a few weeks (along with individual therapy). The kids that were in therapy with me all had different stories. There were kids that were abused physically and sexually, kids with drug addict parents, kids who had gotten into drugs themselves, and the list goes on and on.

The last eight years, I've been on and off several depression medicines as well as mood stabilizers. It seems that when I find a drug that works for me, I get some nasty side effect and need to find another one. Luckily, I've been on the same medicine for over a year now with no issues. Hoping it stays that way.

After going to college in 2008, I started to develop anxiety. At first, I would get physically sick when I had to drive to downtown Indianapolis for school. I came home every weekend, so these drives happened frequently. Throughout the last few years, my anxiety has grown into numerous panic attacks a week.

In February, I got my first tattoo. I was so tired to seeing my scars on my arm every day. I decided to get my favorite verse (Philippians 4:13) over them. I wanted it to be as personal as possible, so I wrote it in my own handwriting.

Last month, I got my second tattoo. When I have panic attacks, it's often hard for me to remember to breathe. I know, I know. It's a natural response, how do you not breathe?!? If you knew how panic attacks were, you'd understand. I got breathe on my other forearm. I left it black, but I'm thinking I'll have them fill it in with red when I go for my next (breast cancer) tattoo.

My depression and anxiety still affect me on a daily basis. Some mornings it's hard to get out of bed. Sometimes I get panic attacks. I'm happy I get to see my husband every day now. He helps comfort me during those tough times. When he's not there? I glance at my tattoos and turn to God.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Putting Graduate School on Hold (For Now)

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you."
- Psalm 32:8 (NIV)

This Summer/Fall has been the most stressful (and exciting) time of my life.

I graduated with my Bachelor's degree. Moved into my own apartment. I got married to my best friend after 4 years of long distance. We started living together. Went on our honeymoon. I started graduate school. I also got an amazing full time job offer (with benefits and all that jazz).

I thought I could handle it, but honestly, I'm at my breaking point.

My new job isn't stressful yet, but it's still a huge change. I've never had a full time job, so it's definitely taking a toll on me physically. After 5, I'm exhausted and ready to come home in sleep. Twice a week, I have classes from 6-8:40 after work (plus an hour drive home). The other three nights I'm home, I don't want to do anything. Just sleep. I'm so behind on my classes. I'm already failing one (with a C+)...

I haven't really spent any time with my husband. When I get home from work, I'm exhausted. The stress of school has also made me distant.

I backed out of student teaching a few weeks ago in hopes that it would help. It's helped a little, but not enough. So, I've made the decision to take the Spring semester off.

I'll start back up in the Summer of 2013. I just need some time to focus on my family and getting my life organized again. It's been chaos since this Summer started..

Friday, October 5, 2012

Living Together Before Marriage

"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."
- Hebrews 13:4

It seems that living together before getting married is really popular now.

Honestly, I'm happy my husband and I waited. If we would have lived together prior to walking down the aisle, it wouldn't have felt as special. Cool. I get to see you every day still. The only thing that changed was my last name.

A lot of people say it lets them know if they want to marry the person or not. Living with them, you think it may help you discover their bad/annoying habits. According to a survey by the New York Times, several 20-somethings said they thought living together before marriage meant you were less likely to get a divorce. False. In the same article, The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage, it was stated that "couples who cohabit before marriage (and especially before an engagement or an otherwise clear commitment) tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not."

I've always thought cohabiting while dating was dangerous. What if you broke up? How would you split the furniture...the pets? Who would pay the apartment until the lease is up?

I also love this article, Five Myths About Living Together Before Marriage. The myths Dan Delzell listed are below. I encourage you to read the article. It is definitely very informative.

              Myth #1: Living together first will tell us if we are right for one another.
              Myth #2: Living together will show us if we are sexually compatible.
              Myth #3: We are just as committed to each other as a married couple.
              Myth #4: Our friendship won't suffer by moving in together.
              Myth #5: We can love one another just as much without marriage.

You are all welcome to your own opinions of this topic. As for me, I think you should wait. I'm happy we waited. It made our honeymoon and wedding that much more special!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Stranger's Kindness

"Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you."
- Deuteronomy 16:17 (NIV)

The week after our wedding, my in-laws called me and said someone brought a gift to the church for us. I asked who it was from, and they said they didn't know. "What do you mean you don't know?!?" I asked them. They said a lady drives by the church every day on her way to Lafayette and saw "Congratulations Ashleigh & Jonathan" and God put it on her heart to get us a gift.

We couldn't get it until this past weekend, because it's a bit of a drive to get there. The gift was wrapped in gorgeous gold wrapping paper. We opened it and found 2 books (The First 90 Days of Marriage and Blessed to be a Blessing), along with a blank journal. In the card that came with it, she wrote a letter to us (front and back). Jon and I both looked at each other and thought it was nice for a total stranger to get us 2 books we could use. Once we opened the Blessed to be a Blessing book, $100 fell out.

What in the world? Why would a random stranger give us so much money?!?

I frantically went through the letter looking for a name, address, phone number. . .something. We found her name and phone number at the bottom of one of the letters (she wrote a few). I called her up and thanked her so much for her generous gift. I asked for her address and she said several times that she did not want to be thanked for this gift, rather, to thank God. God told her to do it, and she obeyed.

We're sending her a thank you card anyway. We also shot a thank you up to God that night.

All of these random acts of kindness lately...I'm thinking God is trying to tell me something. I'm not 100% sure what it is yet, but I hope I understand it soon. I have the feeling that I need to start with reading one of the books she gave us (Blessed to be a Blessing). Until I figure out what He's trying to say, I'll keep praying.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Our Newest Bundle of Joy - Mia

Meet our newest family member, Mia!

She will not be ready for another four weeks or so, but we are extremely excited nonetheless! She was born on September 11, so she needs a little more time with her mommy before coming home to us.

Jon and I have thought about getting a puppy for the last few months. A few weeks ago, he said . . "If you find a puppy, let's go get her!" That was my official okay that I could start looking. I was looking on pet websites for months...years...but just looking. I found this little cutie on PuppyFind.com.

I know, I know. Lecture me all you want about not getting a shelter dog, yadda yadda yadda. I've actually wanted a pug my entire life. I remember back in middle school and high school, I would do presentations and papers on pugs. I have numerous stuffed animal pugs. Pug calendars. Pug books. You name it, I've probably got it.

When we got Ying in January, he was 2 years old. We never got to experience kittenhood. I decided when we were ready for a dog, we were getting a puppy.

She is seriously so perfect and sweet! I can't believe I found her for such a reasonable price too. Most pug puppies (purebred) were around $800 or $1000. I love pugs, but not that much.

When we bring her home, you guys had better be ready for a TON of pictures!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lady Gaga & Justin Bieber

Never thought you would see those two in the same title on a blog post, did you?

Let's start with Ms. Gaga -

Jamey Rodemeyer
Lady Gaga has been known for her outgoing personality and crazy fashion along with her musical talents. Jamey Rodemeyer was a 14 year old who committed suicide due to gay bullying. After hearing about Jamey's death, Lady Gaga decided to take a stand to fight against bullying. She has met with President Obama on multiple occasions. She has stated she will not give up fighting.

Most celebrities would have just brushed this off. I hate to say this, but it seems some celebrities really don't have that personal touch with their fans. Lady Gaga is an extremely busy woman, yet still takes time to reach out to those who need it.

October is also National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. Bullying doesn't just happen in middle school and high school. I've seen it among adults. It's just awful. Stop the hate.

Now for Mr. Bieber -

Avalanna Routh (Mrs. Bieber)
Justin Bieber has also reached out to others. Avalanna Routh was a 6 year old who had a rare form of brain cancer. She was a huge Justin Bieber fan and was nicknamed "Mrs. Bieber". Justin came and hung out with her on several occasions. Seeing the videos of them together, it just makes you feel good. You can see he's truly enjoying himself and not just seeing her to make her feel better.

Sadly, Avalanna passed away last week. She had such a positive outlook on life. Bieber expressed his sympathy towards the family. She truly held a special place in his heart.

Celebrities that care. That's what I like to see. You honestly don't see much of that anymore. Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber are only a few of many. Doing something small can change someone (or millions of people's) lives.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dating Your Husband (or Wife) - Date Night Jar

Here is the date night jar I made for my husband and I. We always have a hard time deciding on a date, so this was the perfect solution!


If you don't live in central Indiana, then some of these may not make sense. Some are region specific. Need some date ideas? I have 75 listed below. I'm sure you can find something. ;)

$ : green
(free or minimal cost)

1. Take out and board games 
2. 1,000 piece puzzle and pizza 
3. Popcorn and chick flick 
4. Make a dessert together 
5. Homemade pizzas & a romantic movie 
6. Read the Bible & discuss 
7. Bake cookies together
8. Go for a long walk 
9. Build a fort & have a picnic 
10. Lay in bed & put on music 
11. Breakfast in bed (for dinner) 
12. Twister (clothes are optional) 
13. Play Just Dance 
14. Drive to nowhere 
15. Go to Goodwill. Find gifts for each other under $5. Wrap & exchange. 
16. Pirates of the Caribbean movie marathon 
17. Borrow a movie from the library. 
18. Make homemade ice cream 
19. Start a game tournament 
20. Swing at the park 
21. Go to the Dollar Store. Pick out a gift for each other. Wrap & exchange. 
22. Play Little Big Planet 
23. Play Super Mario
24. At home massages 
25. Watch our wedding video & look through pictures 

$$ : blue
(little to moderate cost)

1. Dinner and a movie (his choice) 
2. Dinner and a movie (her choice) 
3. Dessert only date 
4. Bowling 
5. Go to an arcade 
6. Go-carting 
7. Visit a winery 
8. See a local band 
9. Go to a new restaurant 
10. Go to Walmart. Pick out most romantic gift for each other under $20. Wrap & exchange. Must be used that night.
11. Putt-putt. 
12. Order a massive sized ice cream and split it 
13. Happy hour at a local bar 
14. Get ingredients for a new recipe and make at home 
15. Go to Starbucks. Relax and talk about the day. 
16. Enjoy a milkshake with two straws
17. Play with Legos
18. Go to the drive in 
19. Go to a shooting range 
20. Buy a new DVD and light some candles 
21. Holy Cow Cupcakes trip! 
22. Pinterest craft night 
23. Start a scrapbook (or finish up the current one) 
24. Clean out & organize room of choice 
25. Get a book on origami. Fold away! 

$$$ + planning : purple
(pricey and require some planning)

1. A night at Sybaris 
2. Dinner at a fancy restaurant 
3. Hotel stay for the night 
4. Weekend getaway (his choice) 
5. Concert and dinner (his choice) 
6. Concert and dinner (her choice) 
7. Go to the zoo 
8. Dress up and have dinner in Indy 
9. Go see a play or performance 
10. Visit a museum 
11. Go to a local sporting event 
12. Restaurant hop. Different places for appetizer, main course, and dinner. 
13. Couples massages 
14. Take a class together 
15. Go camping 
16. Go to a race track (horse, drag, etc) 
17. Go to a symphony 
18. Ride in a hot air balloon 
19. Dinner theater 
20. Weekend getaway (her choice) 
21. Head to the casino 
22. Go to the mall. Pick out an outfit for each other. Wear it to the next dinner date. 
23. Dinner at St. Elmo's 
24. Jump out of a plane together (skydiving) 
25. Cabin for the weekend in southern Indiana.