Well I made a new years resolution to make time in my busy schedule to read more this year, with a goal of finding time to at least read one book a month. Well, it’s only April and i’ve already read a good number. Some books I’ve given them their own post recognition, however i did give them a star rating ūüôā I hope you are intrigued to read more into these books so as I’ve said before, I’ve got a library full of books that I’m going through. Plus, I’m now swapping books with my friend Jenny who just moved away so there will definitely be more to come ūüôā

1. Crazy Love by Francis Chan (5 stars)

2. The Genderme by Mark Mustian (5stars)

3. Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson (4 stars)

4. the five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom (5 stars)

5. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (5 stars)

6. Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage by Richard Stengel (4 stars)
Mandela's Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage

7. To Kill a Mockinbird by Harper Lee (4 stars)

8. Breaking the Silence: French Women’s Voices from the Ghetto by Fadela Amara (2.5 stars)
Breaking the Silence: French Women's Voices from the Ghetto

9. The Nightingale of Mosul: A Nurse’s Journey of Service, Struggle, and War by Susan Luz (4 stars)
[nightingale]

10. Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital by Dr. Heidi Squier Kraft (5 stars)
Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital

*** In no way am I forcing my opinions or political beliefs in my books selections. These are however just my personal reviews of the books. **

March 7, 2011

I have another set of Book Recommendations.  They are AMAZING books!
 

A Thousand Splendid Sons focuses on mothers and daughters and the friendships of women. While The Kite Runner focuses on father and sons, and friendships of men in Afghanistan.

At first, I thought I would give a review of each book for you, but honestly they are just too detailed to even attempt that.¬† However, I will say that I would given A Thousand Splendid Suns¬† and The Kite Runner . They are easy reads, honestly¬†I read A Thousand Splendid Suns in two days…. I could NOT put it down. So, hopefully you take my advice and learn something new from the many lessons that these books have to offer.¬† Enjoy ūüôā

Little pick me ups

March 1, 2011

So as you know I’ve been on this reading kick for awhile now. I have a library full of books and i tend to find myself rereading a bunch of classics from back in high school. Recently I’ve been wanting to finish the two books I was reading so I could read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Well today I started reading and about page ten I saw a bright pink post it note that read “smile ūüôā your gorgeous!”. I was thinking what the heck?! That’s my writing… I don’t remember writing that. That’s wierd that I would make a post it like that…

… Then I got to page 143 and there was another one! It read “your sexy, smart, funny, and deserve to be the center of a man’s world”.

I must say, at first it was definetly wierd. But my younger Ashley just made my day. Maybe I’ll start leaving little pick-me-ups around more often. Sounds good to me!

February 10, 2011

As I have said in earlier posts, I have let my love for reading slide a little… well this week I picked up Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea. Last year I read Three Cups of Tea and could not put it down.¬† So this week, I tried my luck with the new book.¬† I have always dreamed of using my¬†gifts¬†in one form or another to help others less fortunate than myself, whether its through nursing or something else.¬† Sitting down and reading this book got me inspired again to help get involved in organizations or programs that make a difference in the world. I joined the army hoping to make a difference in at least one persons’ life and I feel like some patients I touch in a way, and others not so much. But the Central Asia¬†Institute is moving mountains in places that American’s would not dare adventure into.¬†

Over the past 16 years, one American Greg Mortenson and many other people have found ways in which to help touch the lives of those living in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  For a land touched by generations of war and fighting, Central Asia Institute is trying to combat terrorism by educating impoverished and illiterate children in Pakistan and now Afghanistan. 131 schools have been established to help educate young girls as well as establish learning centers for the older generation in places where education was once off limits to women.  There is no way I would be able to describe the magnitude of what is being done by this one organization, you would just have to read it for yourself.  However, their story is one of awe and wonder, as well as inspiration and hope that one day I will be able to leave my mark in helping others outside of myself.   To learn more about Central Asia Institute and what they represent, visit http://www.ikat.org/

Crazy Love

February 8, 2011

Ok so when I was attending Azusa Pacific University (APU) in California, they always had Francis Chan for a chapel speaker.  Over the three and a half years I attended, I LOVED hearing his lectures.  Quick background on him, he is a former-pastor and founder of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, CA.  For more about what he has done click this link: http://element26youth.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/crazy-love-francis-chan/

In this phase of my life, my¬†parents would “force” me to go to church on Sunday whether I worked¬†saturday night having¬†gotten home at 3am or not. ¬†Well at least thats how i saw it anyways.¬† I’d drag my half asleep (and im sure looking horrible) body out of bed, got dressed and sat through the church services, really not hearing any of the sermon.¬† But on Monday, Wednesday or Friday,¬†if Francis was the speaker, you can bet I was all ears.¬† He not only had a great way of speaking¬†that made it applicable to life, but a beautiful love for God that made you excited and looking forward to what was next to come.¬† Not to forget,¬†he¬†always had embarrasingly funny stories that kept¬†your attention. Nevertheless, Francis had a way of speaking to me in a way¬†that no one else seemed to be able to get through.

I¬†was walking through Target one night and I happened to look through the book section as I always do and what do I¬†see…¬† Francis Chan’s bald head on the back of a book!¬† I picked it up right away,¬†noticed it was written by him,¬†and¬†headed to the checkout.¬† I didn’t even look to see what the book was about, but knew if he wrote it, it was going to be AWESOME! Now it’s been awhile since i’ve picked up a book and read. I used to be a huge reader and lately excuses have been given too often as to why i don’t have the time. For this book, I¬†made the time.¬† Every chance I had to read, I took it.

My favorite sermons of Francis’ were about lukewarm christians, about placing God in your life now and not waiting till when it best suited you later, and helping those poor and needy outside of you.¬† At this time, I had been going through some things personally: was Hawaii¬†the right thing for me at the time or no?,¬†how had¬†i gone from a person who loved life to a person¬†that¬†is just going through the motions?, and where was my life going, what direction¬†am i heading, and how do I get to where I want to be?–which is helping others.¬†¬†¬†Throughout the book, I saw page after page words that I needed to hear.¬† Stories that challenged me and really made me think about how I have failed to continue any relationship with God.¬† A qoute that stuck out to me was:

¬†“Most of our thoughts are centered on the money we want to make, the school we want to attend, the body we aspire to have, the spouse we want to marry, the kind of person we want to become… But the fact is that nothing should concern us more than our relationship with God; it’s about eternity, and nothing compares with that. God is not someone who can be tacked on to our lives” (pg. 96).

The first few chapters of the book touched on how “most people waste their lives” on minut and irrelevant things, and miss the whole purpose of their life.¬†¬†So here I am sitting at home reading this quote, and every word of it described me to a T. I’ve always prayed when I remembered to, or read my bible when I saw it sitting on my dresser and had enough energy to get out of bed to grab it, but i’ve not put forth the effort to make my relationship with God any stronger. I’ve¬†been a lukewarm christian–if that.¬† Francis tells of a story about a pastor who was speaking at a funeral, he concluded his sermon with “You never know when God is going to take your life.¬† At that moment, theres nothing you can do about it. Are you ready?” (pg. 46). After saying those last words, the pastor sat down, fell over and died. That story hit like a ton of bricks. I’ve lived my life with the attitude that I’m gonna be around forever, I have lots of time to get it all sorted out. But in reality, I don’t. It’s now or never.¬† With that, I made a lot of decisions that were best for me.¬† I was hesitant on Hawaii for alot of reasons, and right then and there decided right now it was not a good time and gave up my position for the OB/GYN course.¬† I can say for the past week since I finished the book, I’ve been a more positive person, I’ve tried to see the good in situations, and I’ve been grateful for the things I do have rather than be annoyed and frustrated with the things I don’t have. Also, I’ve put all my faith back in my relationship with God. Im not saying I am perfect or that I don’t struggle, because there are some days that I want to throw my hands in the air and call it quits.¬† But the essay from a 12 year old girl is inspiration enough for me to continue with my head up and towards whatever direction God leads my life in…

                           Since I Have My Life Before Me
By: Brooke Bronkowski

I’ll live my life to the fullest.¬† I’ll be happy.¬† I’ll brighten up.¬† I will be more joyful than I have ever been.¬† I will be kind to others. I will loosen up. I will tell others about Christ. I will go on adventures and change the world.¬† I will be bold and not change who I really am.¬† I will have no troubles but instead help others with their troubles.
You see, I’ll be one of those people who live to be history makers at a young age. Oh, I’ll have moments, good and bad, but I will wipe away the bad and only remember the good.¬† In fact that’s all I remember, just good moments, nothing in between, just living my life to the fullest.¬† I’ll be one of those people who go somewhere with a mission, an awesome plan, a world-changing plan, and nothing will hold me back.¬† I’ll set an example for others, I will pray for direction.
I have my life before me.  I will give others the joy I have and God will give me more joy. I will do everything God tells me to do. I will follow the footsteps of God.  I will do my best!!! (pg. 48)

So… are you ready?!

My mom recently posted this on her facebook page and I thought it was rather humorous… not having kids yet, but until then:

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.

2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.

3. Go home.

4. Pick up the paper.

5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their…

1. Methods of discipline.

2. Lack of patience.

3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.

4. Allowing their children to run wild.

5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.

Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel…

1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)

2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.

3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.

4. Set the alarm for 3AM.

5. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.

6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.

7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.

8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.

9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out…

1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.

2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.

3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.

4. Then rub them on the clean walls.

5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.

6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.

1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.

2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this – all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don’t think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that.

1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.

Leave it there.

2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.

3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.

4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.

2. Make a small hole in the side.

3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.

4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.

5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.

6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you’re thinking What’s ‘Noggin’?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying ‘mommy’ repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each ‘mommy’; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the ‘mommy’ tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say ‘it’s all worth it!’ Share it with your friends, both those who do and don’t have kids. I guarantee they’ll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you’ll need when you become a parent!

I fell upon the blog of a couple who are cycling from¬†Prudhoe Bay, Alaska¬†to Ushuaia, Argentina; yep that is 15,000 miles! It is amazing to see what they are going through, the daily challenges and the beautiful views along the way.¬† They started in August of 2010 and currently they are in Jala, Mexico–not even half way there. They are¬†only at mile 5491¬†of 15000.¬†If you care to¬†read their story, here is the link ūüôā

http://thescrimshawproject.com/home.html

here are two of the many of their photos, they are pretty cool to see ūüôā

Cycling through Baja Mexico

cycling through the redwoods

  • ‚ÄúLove is when he is mean to you and you still want him, it’s when he ignores you and you still love him, it’s when he loves another girl but you still smile and say I’m happy for you, when all you really want to do is cry.‚ÄĚ
  • ‚ÄúA wise girl asks but doesn’t believe; kisses but doesn’t fall in love ; & leaves before she gets left ‚ÄĚ – Marilyn Monroe
  • But then there‚Äôs that one person. You let them in & you trust them & you think maybe, just maybe, everything you‚Äôve ever gone through is worth it, cause you found someone on this messed up planet who knows you.
  • Do you want to know what my problem is?
    I will tell you what my problem is‚Ķi love you. I love your name, I love the way you look at me, I love your gorgeous smile, I love the way you walk, I love your beautiful eyes, I love the sound of your laugh, i love the way you get mad, i love the way i dont understand you at all. I love the way I can be having the worst day of my life and seeing you completely changes my mood. I love how when you touch me I get weak, thats my problem…¬†
  • Have you ever really thought about it ?
    You’ve got this girl, head over heels in love with you. She’d do anything for you. But for some reason, you don’t want to see that. You know it’s there, but you just wont accept it so you try to make her go away. — maybe this girl is perfect for you.
    ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† And that really scares the hell outta you, doesn’t it?
  • In your life, you meet people. Some you never think about. Some, you wonder what ¬†happened to them. There are some that you wonder if they ever think about you. And then there are the few you wish you never had to think about again. But you do.
  • knowing is better than wondering; waking is better than sleeping; & even the biggest failure beats the hell out of never trying.¬†
  • Love? We think about it, sing about it, dream about it, lose sleep worrying about it. When we don’t have it, we search for it; when we discover it, we don’t know what to do with it; when we have it, we fear losing it. It is the constant source of pleasure and pain. Be we can’t predict which it will be from one moment to the next. It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define, impossible to live without.
  • you dont just walk away from people… you dont just delete people out of your life.

June 12, 2010

Will you like to watch the sunrise
Will you have blue or brown eyes
What are the dreams you long to share

I hope you like Stevie Wonder
Are you afraid of thunder
I close my eyes and say a prayer you’re out there somewhere

Chorus:
I’ve been waiting all my life for you
I’ve been wishing on every shining star
I’ve been watching out of my window
Wondering where you are Wondering where you are

My heart’s my only treasure
I’ve been saving it for your pleasure
I can’t wait to give my heart to you

We’ll walk this road together
That leads us to forever
I close my eyes and say a prayer you’re out there somewhere

Chorus

Too many nights alone
And this house won’t be a home until I’m with you

I’ve been waiting all my life for you
I’ve been wishing on every shining star

Chorus

Wondering where you are Wondering where you are
Wondering where you are Wondering where you are

– wondering where you are, tyrone wells

May 25, 2010

#16: absence sharpens love.¬† presence strengthens it.–thomas fuller

#17: love is friendship set on fire.