Wednesday, November 30, 2011


yeah. I put a period at the end of that because that seemed more final. that is what I'm titling this post. decisiveness. ha! I made a DECISION. gasp. crazy, I know.

does anyone else struggle with decisiveness? I do. really horribly. the more I get to know myself, I think this is partly due to insecurity and caring too much about what other people think. what will people think of my decisions? ...why in the world did she choose that??... think about it. whether choosing a restaurant, what to wear or where you live, all of these decisions could induce such responses.

lately a decision I've made has been really put in the spotlight. second guessed. critiqued even. by others and by myself.

people are asking me to rethink my decision. not asking, even, but telling, rather. and with good reason - they are not doing so without good reason. they are not doing so without an alternative plan. and the alternative plan is looking good. more obstacles are being presented down one path, while it seems more and more doors are opening down another.

not to be all dramatic, but this a decision that really does affect the course of my life. one road is filled with hopes and dreams I think I have, but am unsure about. it is also filled with many obstacles to overcome and uncertainty. I don't know how things will work out down that road. that I won't hate my choice. that I won't become broke and have to move back in with my parents for at least a year. this scares the bajeebies out of me.

the other road is more certain, more stable. the other road has opportunities that I can fathom and even some excitement and travel. the other promises financial stability and working for a company I have utmost respect for. a generous company with wonderful people.

...but would I always be asking myself "what if..." if I don't take path number one? path two may offer something concrete, and good somethings, but would those somethings be my passion? would those somethings help me fill the desires I have in life? would I get fat and lazy (figuratively...but also possibly literally in this scenario too)? am I being naive by thinking path number one is what I was created for? am I being dumb to pass up wonderful opportunities others would give their left arm for?

I know this for certain: indecisiveness is not for those in their 20s.

advice from anyone who knows without a doubt what they want to do in life and/or have made tough decisions about such things? puhlease?

anddd you thought I forgot. mom, sis and I on christmas circa 2006.

love momma's christmas sweater in this pic and that I still have a bow on my shirt from opening gifts. lovely.

nutrition tip: all I feel like I've been learning lately is how stellar omega-3 fatty acids are. eat some. per the last tip. and while you're at it, supplement with vitamin e.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

20-something days of christmas

I'm taking a break from studying for my tests tomorrow by thinking of christmas traditions and memories. I wonder if I can find a fun christmas photo every day from now until december 25...dare me to try? well here is one...

or maybe two...

everyone needs some christmas mice, right??

the first photo is emily (my seester) and I my freshman year/her senior year of college. I'm not sure how long the christmas mice tradition has been occuring, but you know you want to implement it. it's not really hard, and if you have an assembly line, it goes quite fast! to make the above adorable critters you simply:

make a batch of peanut butter cookie dough. shape into oval-like head shapes (yes, this is a technical term).

add two mini chocolate chips for the eyes, two peanut halves for the ears, a miniature green or red m&m for the nose, a small piece of edible holly (probably in your local grocer's sprinkle section) and place in the oven for instructed amount of time for said peanut butter cookies.

while mice are baking, cut and separate some twizzler pull-n-peel pieces into 1.5 inch (ish) pieces, and be ready to insert them into the mice as soon as they are removed from the oven. (em so creatively calls this part "inserting the 'anal probe'"). do this, and voila! you have christmas mice.

be warned, though - I didn't eat any the first two years we made them. it just seems wrong. you may feel the same way. or maybe not.

making various christmas treats is a bonding experience at the wolf household that always involves sneaking the dough and lots of giggles. are there special treats you make that a tradition in your family?

Monday, November 28, 2011

it's starting

it's christmastime y'all. officially. because it becomes official when the courthouse square in my little hometown in ohio looks like this:

james taylor christmas is playing on my itunes on repeat, I'm sipping peppermint coffee (aka christmas in a cup) and to top it off, the forecast is calling for snow. in ALABAMA.

sigh. this gives me the warm and fuzzies.

makes me want to curl up in a ball under a blanket with nothing but my christmas tree lit, a hot drink in my hand and a good book.

what are your favorite things about the christmas season?

ps - best surprise ever: coming home to find my wonderful roomie has put up our christmas tree. what is it about a christmas tree that can fill my heart with peace and joy all at once?

oh pps - I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving! I surely did. thank you, delicious food, family, friends, laughing until my face hurts, harry potter marathons and black friday shopping sprees with momma for making my time in ohio fan-freaking-tastic.

ppps - nutrition tidbit for today (in the spirit of the presentation on coronary heart disease I'm making today) - omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart. they are commonly found in fish - so go eat some christmas salmon or trout.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


here's a real "little something" from yesterday, actually, that made my mouth drop open at my computer. sometimes profound wisdom smacks me like a mack truck - particularly when I need to hear it.

This world will offer you something good in order to rob you of something great.

whoa. that's all I got.

nutrition tidbit for the day: eat your carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other orange-y veggies this thanksgiving - they contain vitamin A, which helps with your eye health and sight. (insert not as much guilt over eating pumpkin pie here?)

in the spirit of thanksgiving...I am thankful for people I often take for granted in my life: my parents. a man I work with came over to my desk yesterday to tell me he had spoken with my papa a few times this week (over business matters), and in their last conversation my daddy said "I get to see my daughter this week!!" dear father, you know how to make your daughter feel loved. my momma also e-mailed me this morning to tell me she was preparing for arrival by donning my bed with an electric blanket for my "thin southern blood". dear mother, thank you for showing your love in actions. this gives me warm and fuzzies that can't come from blankets and bedding.

happy thanksgiving!!!

note: I'm playing around with layout. don't mind me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

fasting and education

so...I'm fasting. kind of. not from food, as those of you who know me well know that this might be detrimental to any of my relationships (not been fed recently? insert grumptasticness here.). 

no, I'm fasting from something very different. something that is definitely not inherently bad, but it can be when not used in moderation (similar to food). and maybe it's not even overuse, but the fact that it has the ability to negatively impact my mood and create inner turmoil even when it does not directly affect my life. any guesses yet?

I'm fasting from facebook. kind of.

having moved away from family and friends I've known all my life, I've used facebook a lot. I check up on friends, look at their pictures, see what's going on, and use it as a means to keep in touch.

but sometimes I think this gives me a false sense of connected-ness. or a shallow connected-ness.

have you talked to so-and-so about her new relationship? no...but I saw his post on her wall. he seems funny.

have you heard about so-and-so's trip to insert-cool-location-here? no...but I saw their pics on facebook. looked incredible.

now, I will be the first to defend facebook. it DOES help people stay in touch. and no, we cannot always skype or talk on the phone or meet up for coffee.

but facebook does not a relationship make.

and with that, and a collection of many other reasons, I am fasting. I do think I will allow myself one day a week to check messages, etc. so as to not appear rude, but my goal is to live a more full life in the now rather than online. it has also given me more time to read, journal, pray and think before bed.

I'm hoping this is a learning experience. I think it will be, since anytime we change the way we spend our time, things happen. don't you think? I hope so. I'll let you know how it goes.

and now...for a new segment in an attempt to retain some of the information I'm learning and spread healthful news...

Interesting nutrition/health tidbit for the day:

Four common factors for weight loss maintenance were reported by the National Weight Control Registry.

These include:
eating a relatively low fat diet (24% of energy)
eating breakfast daily
weighing themselves regularly (from once a day to once a week)
high levels of physical activity (60-90 minutes/day)

interesting, huh? you're welcome.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

weakness and infomercials

on wednesday morning I felt an overwhelming sense of weakness. I felt tired and drained as if all the strength I had - physical & mental & emotional the like - had been sucked out of me. I literally trudged into my 5:30 a.m. body pump class and groaned to my dear friend who cheerily greeted me. seriously - who is cheery at 5:30 a.m.? morning people. sheesh.

ironic that I was at a class that is all about using your strength when I felt so weak? yeah, I thought so too.

the whole time I was trying to lift the heavy burden of my bar and weight, I just kept thinking, "I have no strength. I am so weak. I just can't do this right now."

as the day progressed post-YMCA, however, the word strong kept recurring. I can't recall all the times it was used, but I do know that it was used by others around me frequently, because each time I heard it I almost flinched. strong? as if it was being hammered into me. you see, all these times, it was being used to define me.

hailski wrote an e-mail that helped me remember who I am, and in her loving and kind words of encouragement, the first word in the list of adjectives was strong.

later in the evening when speaking with marci, she rallied my spirit and also started a slew of adjectives about our general awesomeness with strong.

maybe these words that were highlighted in my mind don't mean anything, but I don't really believe in coincidences. I think God is calling me to "woman-up".  you are my child. you may be weak, but my strength is made perfect in weakness. I make you strong. be the strong woman I know you are. the strong woman you are through Me.

some more poignant words were written by hailski that resounded with me a lot as I mulled them over again today...

...but tomorrow, pick yourself up and start fresh. Do not let this situation poison your spirit.

I can't even say anything to that except...bam. she's right.

in other random news...this morning at the Y I saw an infomercial that made me laugh out loud whilst on the elliptical. certainly my fellow exercisers thought I was a crazy person. but really...I want one of these...

you know you want one. a forever lazy. yep. that's what they're called, in case you haven't heard of them, which I'm sure you have, since "they're the latest trend at tailgating this season". if someone sees one of these being worn in public, please let me know. PUHLEASE. that needs to be documented. because if they're all the rage, I'm all for wearing a suit of fleece.

Monday, November 14, 2011

sermon notes and tissues

when we suffer, we are most like Christ.

these words were delivered sunday morning. I didn't realize then that I would be repeating them in my head later that night over a tear-stained pillow. crazy how He knows just what we need when we need it. almost like He is preparing us for difficulties. for heartache. for nights of tear-stained pillows and cuddling tissue boxes.

I hope this is true and that situations as of late really do help mold me and shape me. maybe if you pray to become more like Him, He gives you situations to do just that. maybe I should stop that...juuuust kidding.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

laughing at life

sometimes it is just impossible not to laugh at yourself and life. you want examples, you say?

*you awaken to find your cat has positioned herself so that her bum is directly in your face. not a sitting down bum, but a standing bum. like bam! here's my bum-hole. thanks soph. love you too.

*you mislabel the penis on your reproductive system lab test. so sue me if I thought she was looking for something more specific. laugh it up, prof. heard, laugh it up.

*you knock your sheet of bobby pins into the toilet. seriously...what can you do when this happens but stare for a few seconds (did I really just do that? are my bobby pins really floating in my toilet?), muster up the strength to fish 'em out, throw 'em way, wash your hands, and then have a good giggle.

*you ask for someone's address (who you do not know well at all) so you can send them a thank you. a thank you for carrying all your crap from your old place to your new place. and when they ask you why you need this vital piece of info (I guess it's a legit question...I GUESS), your response is....drumroll's a good one....

clearly so I can stalk you better.

dear sarcasm and gut reactions, tone it down a bit please. k thanks. my goodness. I can't take myself anywhere.

off to etiquette school. catch ya later.

have y'all done anything embarrassing lately? funny? silly? clumsy?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

zombieland and direction

I was just telling a friend tonight that I have felt like a zombie. I realized this last week when I went to panera to bum their free internet and indulge in a delicious carb fest. on my 97th refill of diet coke I zoned out a bit and foam overflowed onto the counter. rather than becoming red, embarrassed, and quickly cleaning it up, I stared blankly at the mess and slowly reached for some napkins. documentaries on amazon animals - namely the sloth - play in my mind as I rewind this scenario. the same happened tonight during my sunday-evening grocery shop at target. I sauntered through the aisles and everything but me and the special k with strawberries seemed to be a bit hazy.

a lot of things have been crazy the past month of life and I might be a bit in shock. a bit in "put one foot in front of the other" mode. I have lots on my "to-do" list. it doesn't go away when you're taking classes and working, but it will all get done eventually. I must keep chugging along. I just hope that soon I start enjoying my chugging a bit more. being a zombie is kind of unlike me and it feels strange. I want my emotions back, even if they're painful or sad or angry.

and I don't want to complain, because when crappy things happen in your life, you realize you have really great people in your life, too. you have people who will give up their friday evening to help you move heavy boxes to your new place. people who will move your ridiculously heavy furniture into your new apt. and even set it up/put it together for you. people who will let you use their lap tops when they realize you don't have a way of getting your schoolwork done. people who will send you cards and flowers and texts of encouragement when a family member dies. people who call and check on you because they realize your life might be a bit shambly...that you might be a zombie. I love these people, and I am so thankful for them.

on another, more positive note...

this weekend I went on a silent retreat. most people upon hearing this look at me like I'm some kind of mental person. or a nun-in-training. I get the "ahh so that's why you're do things like go on 'silent retreats'" look. yep. I'll take that. I spent the weekend chatting with Jesus, so humph. I may not be going on lots of dates, but Jesus and I have some good talks. harumph. I win.

and while I could probably fill up 10 pages of lessons and experiences from this one day of silence (and trust me, I did fill up a good portion of my journal), I will just write one for now...

we retreated to a center in tennessee, and let me tell you, it was a beautiful fall day in tennessee. now, I have a love-hate relationship with nature. I love its beauty. I love beautiful days and being outside and feeling the sun on my face. I love changing tree colors and I love seeing cute furry animals scurry and scatter. however, I also have a large fear of snakes (this has only been magnified upon moving south, where snakes seem to abound much more than my old ohio climate). I don't like spiders too much either. and, while this doesn't have too much to do with nature, I have the worst sense of direction ever. seriously - I once tried to trick-or-treat at the same house twice because of this trait. so going on a hike in the woods by myself was kind of out of my comfort zone. but I was going with God, so I figured I was ok. and I was.  at first I was cautious and kept looking for trees with blue dots (the telltale sign you were still on the right track), but as I continued along I got caught up in prayer and God's breathtaking creation. and when I looked up after finishing a prayer about a particular situation, I realized I didn't see any blue dots. nor did I see a defined trail. ummm what? am the middle of the woods...on a silent retreat...with no cell phone...and no one to hear me screaming for help? gut reaction: PANIC. SCREAM. RUN. ARE THERE SNAKES IN THIS WOODS???! WHYYYY DID I GO ON A WALK ALONE??! DUMB.ASHLEY. and then I remembered...I hadn't gone alone. I had been talking the whole time. to my companion. why would I stop now?

and so I prayed. I prayed He'd lead me. show me the way. calm my spirit. get me back so I could eat some lunch (I was hungry!). I prayed out loud, using my voice for the first time that day. and then I heard something. rustling in the leaves. lots of rustling. was that...a twig breaking? God? um...I didn't say "please send a bear to put me out of my misery"...I don't think .oh dear...has being silent made me crazy? should I even look? I turned. and I saw...a girl. on a path. a path quite a ways from me, but on a path that appeared to be leading her...out of the woods.

and so I followed her lead. I found that path and it did, indeed, lead me out of the woods. my directional abilities: 0. directional abilities of the 15-year old on our retreat: 10.

here's the thing...I knew God was with me all the while on my walk. I chatted up a storm. but troubles came and I panicked. I had to figure this out. how had I gotten myself into this mess? why had I entered into a danger zone alone? (ok that's a little melodramatic, but you get the picture) oh me of little faith - why do I always rely on myself to solve things? why place the whole burden on my shoulders? why do I always think I'm in it alone? I'm not. and when I realize this and rely on Him, He is faithful. He is faithful to guide me. to show me the way.

when I rely on Him, He never lets me down.

He is faithful. and maybe I'm already starting to become less of a zombie. here's hoping.