Monday, August 31, 2015

Its Time to Go For Your Dream

Its another Motivational Monday! Put aside all complaining and start thinking about how you are gong to make today fabulous. Start dwelling on all the possibilities contained the next 24 hours. If you are not happy with who or where you are today, then pray, ask God for strength, and start making changes. Brighten other people's day, and be beautiful. Take the bull by the horns. 
Happen to life, don't let life happen to you. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

End of Summer

In case you haven't noticed, we only have a couple more days of summer... Then its back to school and work, big comfy (and maybe ugly) sweaters with a huge mug of tea. So soak up the last little bits of sun and throw on your favorite t-shirt and shorts outfit before we hunker down for winter!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Weigh In Wednesday #2

Alright, accountability time! Today I weigh... (runs to the bathroom to step on the scale) 131 lbs. Not what I was hoping for. I think that's honestly been my problem. I've been sort of mindless this week, just hoping that I would lose weight by Wednesday... not the way to achieve a goal. 

If I really want to lose this weight (and I do), I have to be purposeful. To be more focused, I am going to write and report my food allotment and workout success each day to a friend. If I cheat, even if its a tiny amount, I must confess... Nobody cheats like I do, ugh... 

I've been less faithful in my work outs too, so I am going to say I have to do a 30 min run each day (this was really helping), and 30 min of Tracy Anderson everyday. I will only take a break on Sunday. If I can do extra movement through dance/choreography, I will, but I am not going to commit to it because a 1 hour workout is an achievable goal, and I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. 

Honestly, I think I've let myself go a little this week. I've stayed up later than I committed to (my wind down time is from 7:45 to 8:30, and I want to be in bed reading by 8:30). I have also allowed myself to be OCD on the computer late at night, and have been compulsively thinking about things from this past year, especially the friends I left behind (one guy in particular). In order to be healthy, I can't allow myself to slip into obsessive/over-emotional thinking because it will only push me into a manic mode. I am going to commit, no matter how hard to not be obsessive in my thinking and to frisk all my thoughts at the door of my mind. Instead of getting obsessive over destructive issues, I am going to put my energy/thinking towards creative/constructive activities such as: 

- Developing current relationships with family  
- Preparing for school 
- Creating more income
- Writing
- Cooking
- Choreographing 

These goals are listed in order of importance so that I won't become distracted by easier or "more fun" tasks throughout the week. 

Thank you to Jesus Christ who is able to make me sane, give me self-control, help me to do the impossible, and give me a new heart every day! I cannot do it without Him. 

How are you doing on your goals? Have you taken time to think about them this week? We can get stuff done, we really can! 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Just How Much CAN You Juggle?

You've probably heard that its a good idea to write out goals because it helps you visualize them and begin to pursue them. This is absolutely true. However, when I write out my goals, I usually end up feeling even more overwhelmed at the amount of goals that I have. As I sat at my favorite coffee shoppe the other day, I scribbled down some goals in a bullet pointed list. I realized something magical. One goal wasn't enough; I can do more than that. Two, and I still wasn't satisfied. Three was fine. Four on the paper was just too much. Anxiety started to swell as I saw that fourth goal float onto the page. Then it dawned on me. My brain can manage three things at a time.

The picture I got was a juggler. One ball and your not juggling anything. Two, and your just passing back and forth. Three, and you're proficiently juggling. Four, and things are getting unnecessarily tough. I started consolidating my goals, journals, and emails using this magic rule of three, and I was amazed at what a rush of energy I got! I felt so confident, and sure of myself because I felt far more focused and less scattered.

Here are the practical ways I am now using my Rule of Three

1) I have a three fold focus - At the moment, I write. I dance. I cook. Each of the goals contain expanded goals that I don't need to dwell on, but will be accomplished if I use the three fold focus. I can be writing for my blog/book/school. If I am dancing, I can teach dance/be fit/workout/stay healthy. If I cook I am taking care of my body/being creative/staying healthy/taking care of my family. If I were to write out all those goals, I would be easily overwhelmed, but with a three fold focus, I feel like I can accomplish my goals. If something else comes up, and it doesn't fit into one of these categories, I must drop something so that I am

2) Keep only three journals - Surprise, surprise, I have tried to keep more than three journals at a time. Right now, I have one big planner for all important dates, one for daily notes, verses, ideas, and one small one for to-do's and shopping. However you keep track of yourself, phone, notes, etc. keep the trackers limited or else you become scattered!

3) Simplify and Consolidate Yourself- Learning how to brand yourself with authenticity and humility is huge if you are going to add to your community, regardless of what you do. Know who you are; simplify yourself. Get rid of extra emails/blogs/social media/usernames/pictures that you don't need anymore. Create and sell yourself! What do you stand for, what do you want out of life, and how are you going to chase after it? Oh, there's the three-fold focus again!

Whether you use this rule of three, or come up with your own brilliant system for managing yourself, I would encourage you to really focus your life. Get rid of all the excess, and starting honing in on the few things you really love so that you begin to accomplish those goals that seem just beyond your grasp. You can do it, you really can!

For more productivity tips read this article! -
11 Differences Between Busy & Productive People

*Late Weigh-In Wednesday - Week 1

I am marking myself tardy as a blogger... Hence the annoying little asterisk in the title. Not gonna lie, thought about cheating a bit and just making the time marker read "Wednesday, August 19th" so that we could all read things chronologically, and be happy. But, that's cheating, and if I allow myself to cheat now, I am actually cheating myself out of a consequence which will help me be more on time later.

So, how am I doing with the weight? Well, I'm down to 131! That's two more pounds since my last weigh in. Progress! I will have to be more motivated to reach my goal of 110 by October 15th, but I can get there. I just have to average a little over 2 1bs per week.

I must confess, I failed at my rawsome challenge (eating only raw foods for 30 days), so I have to climb back up on the horse. I am doing a juice fast for 3 days (finished my 1st day yesterday!) and then going to eat only raw fruits and veggies for the next 3 days. Once I check in again, I will see how well I have progressed, and may try it again.

To be honest, one of the reasons I am even trying to lose weight is that I REALLY STRUGGLE with follow through. I come up with great ideas, strategies, and game plans, but my perseverance level is at an all time low. In order to become a better human being, I am pushing myself to do something that I have always wanted to do, and now feel is imperative. Its important to show ourselves that we CAN in fact achieve goals, especially with God at our side. My goal is to be the healthiest, most productive, and kindest person I can be. I also don't want to tell other people to do what I myself have not been able to. I have to march around my own Jericho before I can celebrate someone else's walls tumbling down.

I haven't done my official post on this yet, but I will mention it briefly here. Over the course of this year, I discovered in some very difficult ways that I struggle with mental illness, including BPD, and Manic-Depressive disorder. My heart goes out to all those who are wrestling with these issues as Christians because honestly, it can be very confusing. I plan on writing about the issues I have faced, and how I am overcoming the challenges, but for now, I am just checking in with this post am here to report that I have done pretty well this week! Managing my emotions went pretty well, I was fairly good at keeping a healthy sleep schedule, and I took my medications every day! This is a bit of a bomb to drop at the end of a post, I know, but its important for me to mention it as I am trying to be as real as I can, and to fully reconcile my life.

Very excited to make more progress!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Guide to Becoming a Better Writer

Whether you aspire to be a professional writer, a better blogger, or a better student, becoming a better writer is key to continual growth and development. To be the best writer you can be, you must practice, practice, practice. You must set aside time and be self-discipline enough to make yourself actually write out your ideas.

If you're anything like me, you have a thousand ideas, but getting them on paper (or on your computer) can be a seemingly insurmountable task. More than anything, I tend to freeze up. Even if I've had a good idea, it seems to fly out the window the minute I sit down. If I type furiously without proper planning, the text can go off on some ADD rabbit trail. By the end of a piece of writing, I sometimes become so frustrated with whatever piece I was working on that I throw my hands up and walk away defeated.

How do we overcome these obstacles? First, take a deep breath. You are not going to become the world's greatest author overnight. As a kid, I used to completely OCD on projects late into the evening, hoping that in the morning this amazing project would be finished by morning. The problem was, I seldom planned for success, and usually jumped feet first into whatever I was doing without any research.I'll never forget the first time I tried to sew my own clothes. I was raised on the Anne of Green Gables movies, and always loved those elegant 1800's skirts the ladies wore. As a naive eight year old, I thought "That doesn't look too hard to make." Without looking up a pattern or bothering to ask for help, I bought fabric, cut it up, and started sewing. Around midnight, the skirt was "finished." I held it up in the dim lamp light of my bedroom, and gasped. It was nothing like the skirt I wanted; I couldn't even get it on! If you feel that way about your writing, don't worry! Keep going and remember revision is key; WE SELDOM HIT THE SWEET SPOT THE FIRST TIME AROUND.

Of course, if you take the time to plan, your first try at any project will have a greater chance of succeeding than if you go in flying blind... which is unfortunately how I do most things. Don't let my seemingly calm and calculated demeanor fool you! I am one of the worst when it comes to planning. I actually feel like I've gotten worse over the years! This slapdash attitude of mine has carried over into my adult life, especially into my writing. Most of the time, I just sit and write what comes to me instead of planning and cultivating direction in my pieces. I AM LEARNING TO STEP BACK, THINK ABOUT WHAT I WANT TO SAY, AND WHY I WANT TO SAY IT SO THAT MY WRITING HAS A CLEARER FOCUS.

In short:
Don't expect perfection right out of the chute, just keep writing.
Plan ahead! What do you want to write? Think about it. Map it out. Then take it to the drawing table.

- ashley

For more tips on how to cultivate good writing habits, read this article

A Guide to Becoming a Better Writer: 15 Practical Tips

Monday, August 17, 2015

Prepare Your Day

As I type this out, I am running behind. So take it from me, I am using this as a motivational note to myself!

People who are successful in business, writing, relationships, family, and life in general are always a few steps ahead of the game. I find that, typically, I am THREE STEPS BEHIND. Meaning, I have to do at least three things before I go somewhere just to be on time, prepared, and ready to go.

Instead of running around in the morning, preparing lunch, gathering my clothes, and writing up my list of to do's for the day, I want to try to be three steps ahead. This leaves time for more productivity and less stress. Its so much nicer to wake up and get a wave of relief because you treated yourself to a stress free morning by preparing the night before.

My game plan? Well, first, not to put off preparing (I am the queen of procrastinating). Second, to prepare meals, clothes, and to-do's the night before. Also, since I have just moved back in with my family, communicating goals and checking to see if they need to have things done the next day so that I can put our goals together instead of working against them.

Have an inspiring Monday!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Upcoming Fall 2015 Schedule

In light of some recent discoveries about blogging, I am going to try and step up things on this here blog for good. I've kept it struggling along for almost five years now, and I think that TABOT deserves a real makeover. So, for the upcoming Fall, my focus is going to be on "Better Thyself." We are going to tackle some deep, personal issues, cut the fat off, make this blog (and my brain) less spammy and more focused. Here is the upcoming schedule:

Motivational Monday - Just a little something to get the week started
Typist Tuesday - A writing focused article of mine or another writer
Weigh in Wednesday - Keeping track of calories and lifestyle habits
Thoughts for Thursday - Meaningful musings on life
Fashion Friday - A simple snapshot of some great fashion/decorating tip

Super excited! Here's to keeping TABOT going strong and better than ever before! 

- ashley 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Be a Safe Place

The light in your eyes was my refuge
Now its dark and I find
That no one's safe
The fire in your heart was my warmth
Now its cold and I find
There's a chill and rain

Oh what is love?
I think I've had enough
of what
the world calls romance
cause it don't give second chances
I just want to be kind
Find people who are nice
A place for when I'm tired out and worn
A place where we know we are not alone

The light in my eyes was your desire
Now I'm gone and you think
That no one's safe
The dance we danced, it kept your warm
Now I'm gone and you think
That I'm solely to blame.

Oh what is love?
I hope you've had enough
of what
the world calls romance
cause it don't give second chances
Just be the sweet and steady guy
And be with people who are kind
God hears you when you're tired out and worn
Build a home where no one is alone

Nobody's perfect
No one's good
No one lives it like they should
Nobody's good
Nobody's kind
But Jesus gives us strength to be alright

I've tripped upon my feet a hundred times
I'm fighting just to turn back on the lights
Sometimes I reach out in the dark
And pray to God to reach your silent heart

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015


This life will end
We will lose things
Even Ourselves
There is a time to laugh 
and a time to grieve
Because some things in life
we can't get back
Words once spoken
can never be retrieved
all lead to regret
and when they are gone
things are simply gone
No memory can be strong enough 
to pull them back 
So embrace every moment
Embrace every dawn
Embrace the people around you 
Before they are simply 

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