November 29, 2010


Photo courtesy of Tiptoe Butterfly

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom
to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love.
The entire law is summed up in a single command:
"Love your neighbor as yourself."
Galatians 5:13-14

p.s. If seconds are our measuring point, a million seconds ago was 12 days ago.
p.p.s. A billion seconds ago? That was in about 1975. There are 6.5 billion people on this planet. Just sayin'.

November 27, 2010

Drop everything now, meet me in the pouring rain.

Katie, Me, Zea, and Zoe in Gas Works Park

I'm backtrackin'. I realized I promised everyone Seattle updates and never did that. I posted a bit earlier, but here's a tad more. So I'll do this, then we'll zoom to the cornfields of Nebraska, home for an Auburn game, up to New England for a week, then back down to Dixieland. Told ya: best job ever.

University of Washington
Seattle, WA

I have several observations to make about living for a week and a half with the Alpha Dee's of the Puget Sound area:

1. When they suggest it rains in this part of the country, this is NOT a myth. I saw Mr. Sun DOS times that visit. For serious. 2. The cool things are a) it's not rain, per se, more like a consistant mist, and b) it's surprisingly non-depressing. Kinda peaceful, in fact.

Suzzallo Library. Rain + this architecture = It's basically Hogwarts.

2. Seattle style, aka How to Dress Like a Collegiate Seattleite
Lululemon: They endorse the brand like it's going out of style. So of course, it was a matter of days before I made them direct me to University Village, trotted down, and blew more than half my pay check on the workout clothes (anyone who knows me isn't shocked, I look for reasons to buy new tennis dresses/Nike shorts/yoga clothes). Pricy, but probably some of the best stuff I've bought. Ever. It'll last 'til my tennis mom days, right? KIDDING, kidding...

And then you get sucked into the abyss. Photo courtesy of Photo Apoptosis.

Emi-Jay Hair Ties: On wrists, in hair, doubled, trippled--Seattle girls rock 'em. And now I do too, considering ponytails are the best invention next to jeggings. And if jeggings are wrong, I don't want to be right. Plus, the company supports a variety of philanthropies. Doneanddone.

Photo courtesy of Emi-Jay.

They make rain look cute. Lots of black, lots of boots, lots of black-leggings-with-my-oversize-plaid-shirt looks. And after I saw an adorable girl across campus with Minnetonka fringe boots, I decided these were extremely practical for my lifestyle. And bought some. And have endured relentless Native American/Pocahontas/"Ash, you go make fire for us?" jokes. And I. Do. Not. Care. I love them. At least I can wear them to Bonnaroo, right?
Madewell: It recently opened near UW, and as J.Crew's little sister, it's more Alexa Chung-downtown-hipster than preptastic. Again, I got sucked in.

3. That whole coffee-obsession thing out here. Kinda true.

4. I was in recycle/compost heaven. There is a little hippie in me, the side that declares I save 12 animals a year by being a vegetarian and fussed at my best friend in 10th grade at the lunch table because she got bigger tires on her Pathfinder, thus they're less fuel-efficient, thus the environment is more polluted... Love you, Brooke. I still take hits for that tirade. It's okay, my good 'ole boy Southern guy friends joke that I'll never get married until I start eating meat. But at least they accepted me in Seattle.

2. The sights. All my friends want me to shut up already about Seattle, but I can't help it: I fell in love. My Alpha Theta sisters were legit and constantly entertained me. Direct quote from a friend: "Ash, I knew you loved that chapter visit when you put up Facebook pictures. You NEVER put up Facebook albums."

I don't really feel like posting all those pictures up here, so
if we're not Facebook friends, here's a link to the album that has Seattle pics:
The picture above is explained.
So yeah. That was Seattle. To everyone that loves me, I'll TRY to shut my mouth about it now.

Blog title: Oh yeah, Tay Sway. She's my girl. Taylor Swift - "Sparks Fly"

November 25, 2010

If you're ready, like I'm ready...

Aaaandd... readysetleap. Photo courtesy of Peonies and Polaroids.

So my friends and I saw a movie today. It's called Love and Other Drugs. They should have maybe named it Love, Loads of Sex, and Other Drugs Plus Jake Gyllenhaal is Dang Fine as there was waaaaay a ton of too much skin/gettin' it on. But it's a grungy, film-ish-y movie with a point to prove.

Because she has Parkinson's disease. He doesn't. He's perfectly healthy.

But this guy falls in love with her anyway. Despite the warning signs to turn and run, that she's gonna eventually not be the walking/talking/laughing young woman she is. And this girl cannot figure out for the life of her why he loves her past what she is.

But finally, at the end, boy catches girl. Because they have now.

Anyway, it deserves more credit than just the chick-flick label it could nab. Because it was just a reminder that life happens so fast. We get uno. And yes, there is something to be said for patience and waiting (that virtue that shall be the death of me). But there's more--in my opinion--to be said for loving something or some people (again, when I say love people, I do not necessarily mean the relationshipy kind) now. Now, now, now.

Because a friend reminded me of the greatness of Louie Giglio podcasts the other day. And then Louie reminded me that days don't get dress rehearsals.

Lotta difference between well and good. Photo courtesy of Dear Inspiration.

For a girl that's lived more than half her life around cues, dress rehearsals, and curtain call, that made perfect sense.

Go. Love. NOW.
"Go into the world and speak
the Gospel to all creation..."
As in, today.

Yes, I just went from Jake Gyllenhal to the Gospel. But I've never been one to think in a straight line. #rightbrain. And now that everyone's convinced that I read entirely too far into things (hey, I still argue it's debateable), Imma hit the hay.

November 24, 2010

Photo courtesy of The Ballerina Project

"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not
have a single bit of talent left, and could say,
 "I used everything you gave me".
- Erma Bombeck

I'm so sorry for the lack of updates. Lemme revel being a Montgomerian for a few more hours and I'll deliver. Promisecrossmyheart. :)

November 17, 2010


I'm stealing this idea from Em.

So. As our lives revolve around Greek Life this year, I speak on behalf of the fab 7 Alpha Delt Leadership Consultants and say we get a kick out of Total Frat Move. Inappropriate? Absofreakinglutely. But every now and then a TFM post is so utterly fratastic/our life that we bust out laughing. It didn't take us long this year to start posting TLCM's (Total LC Move) back and forth on our Blackberry Messenger group. We, of course, think we are hysterical.

I decided to let you in on some of our better TLCM's.
I'm not gonna tell you who said what, but anyone who knows us
could guess some of them...

Ran laps in a parking lot around an apartment complex for a week because I couldn't figure out how I would get back in the gates if I left for a run. TLCM.

I'm sitting at a bar by myself on Gameday and just sweet-talked the Yankee bartender into turning on the Auburn game. Have made 8 new friends. TLCM.

"Well, that's a great idea, but I don't know if it will work at our school. We're unique." TLCM.

Signed up as a student to get a bunch of junk e-mails just so I could get a free pair of neon sunglasses. TLCM.

The jukebox started playing "Sweet Home Alabama." By the end, half the restaurant was very aware of my homestate. TLCM.

Wore a sundress in the middle of November at a campus where everyone wears sweats to class. Was spotted by a fellow Vandy friend across the quad because, oh wait--I always stick out like a sore thumb. TLCM. (I'm calling her out. Definitely submitted by Em.)

Oh, fitting in.

Faked a conference call. Because I needed to be by myself for once.  Alone. For 5 minutes.  TLCM.

Turning on ESPN because their voices are low and they have testosterone. TLCM.

"Wait--you're from Alabama but you want Alabama to LOSE?" TLCM.

"You're so cute! We were totally were expecting you to be super old or something." TLCM.

Ate a bowl of cereal off a paper plate. With milk. More than once. TLCM.

Had a not-so-optimal chapter visit. So I bought myself a pair of boots online. Had them shippped. TLCM.
AU game this weekend. Feelings can be bought sometimes. Cute, huh?
They made total for the very first time. I may be crying more than they are. TLCM.

I just spent 4 hours driving around to find champagne flutes for yet another pref. My wedding's gonna be a cinch. TLCM.

Maybekindasorta stuck my foot to lift up the scale at the airport because my bag is just over 50 lbs. The agent didn't notice because I batted my eyelashes. I should probably ship things home now. TLCM.

Here's what I like to do: Make the collegians pose with me in touristy pictures so I look less lame. TLCM.

Me and the Alpha Thetas at The Troll, Seattle, WA.

We're staying in a university guest room. Three times at 2 a.m., couples have tried to break in because apparantly this room serves has another life as a make-out spot. Funny. But not at 2 a.m. TLCM. 
Dug a newspaper out of a recycle bin, because I hadn't read a newspaper since I started traveling. TLCM.

They made a huge "Welcome ___" poster for my room this week. I cried. TLCM. (I just gave myself away.)

Used the chapter composite as a giant flashcard. TLCM.

I pass out on every airplane before takeoasdf;lzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... TLCM.

Ate two lunches back-to-back because there was a mixup as to who had a lunch meeting and who had a regular meeting with me. I didn't tell them because they're so sweet. This is why I gain weight. TLCM.

Pretended I was hungry. TLCM.

This is one of those visits where they sometimes forget to feed me. It's ok: there's a vending machine one floor down. TLCM.

I slay ritual imperfections. Do not cross me. TLCM.

Bought Southern Living in the airport because I'm homesick. Cut out the recipes and mailed them home for my recipe box. TLCM. (This is me. I'll admit it.)

Made ____ meet me at the airport during my 4 hour layover because I haven't been around a boy in weeks. Or been kissed in months. TLCM.

Skype 2 hours a night with my boyfriend to make up for long distance. TLCM.

My work phone gets waaay more action than my social life phone. TLCM.

I don't think it's weird to name my child after a founder. TLCM.

Did yoga in the shower instead because I don't want my roommates to think I'm weird. TLCM.

Love my job :)
Aight--for all the consultants past and present
whom I've discovered read this blog,
(your emails/Facebook messages make my life)
what are your TLCM's?

November 11, 2010

A spirit that is not afraid.

Photo courtesy of the Tennessee Journalist

I used to kinda want to work for ESPN. But now, I'm not so sure.

Lately, as someone who nerdily paid rapt attention in four years of journalism training and takes very seriously the earned right to weild the pen, I'm sickened by ESPN and the media. I'm sickened that those who make their living off reporting with truth, accuracy, precision, discouraged use of "unnamed sources," and fair and balanced journalism have far missed the mark. You should be innately and desperately sure of your story. You should stand behind it no matter what because you nailed it. ESPN, do you feel like that?

"Fabricate, exaggerate and wait for the hits and 'buzz.'
That’s their kind of journalism."
- The Auburn Plainsman

But really. Even if this story wasn't about my pride and joy football team I know I'd be appalled.

Just sayin'.

I stand with Cam.

November 10, 2010

West Virginia, Why I Do This Job, etc.

Skirt. Coffee. Candy. Doneanddone.

As the above is preettttyyy much what my life looks like everyday, I would like to share something that reached out an grabbed me lately.

This is a tale of sisterhood.
Of the girls in blue and white.

West Virginia Wesleyan College
Gamma Kappa Chapter
Buckhannon, WV

Tuesday was not a good day. I've NEVER been so mentally, physically, and emotionally below empty from sleeping about 4-5 hours a night, hop-skotching over time zones, and endorsing the workaholic syndrome I've always nursed. It was like the formal recruitment exhaustion-hangover that sorority girls get times, like, oh I dunno... FOUR MONTHS.

My mind was on Friday, 'cause for the first time since August, I get to see my Mama, Daddy, sister, dogs, and sweet city (Auburn included in that region, duhhh wareaglebeatGeorgia.) And standing alone in Washington Dulles Airport on Tuesday, it all started coming down: I really. wanna. go home. now.

But the plane I hopped on was northern-bound to West Virginia. So I landed. And in the airport waiting on my sisters, the phone rang. "Ash, where are you?" "I just landed in uh, um... (looking around for a non-existant sign) yeah, I have no clue. I forgot. Some town in West Virginia." Yup. I was that airport snob. If it wasn't Montgomery, I did not particularly care in that moment.

But then it started. "Ashlyn? Hey, I'm Chera..." The sweetest little voice, and looked up to find an adorable grinning stranger. Who took me "home" to 56 more grinning strangers. Who loved me simply because I wear the same diamond-shaped badge they do. That's it. That was the only requirement.

They took me straight to the doctor to get drops for  the random pink-eye I woke up with Monday.
And hung out with me in the waiting room.
And then took me to WalMart to pay $60 for 1/16 tsp of drops.
They bought me dinner, saying "I know you're a vegetarian, what do you want?"
They actually asked if I had any laundry they could do for me.
They took a white, cinder-block dorm room and decorated it.
There is a stack of 15 shiny, glossy magazines.
There are posters all over the walls.
Stuffed animal lions and lettered pillows on furniture.
"We just thought it must be hard traveling and wanted to make it homey!"
There are Teddy Grahams, Reeses, and a zillion other snacks spread out.
The folded towels and put a bow around them. A bow.
Someone. put. FLOWERS. in here.
Lillies, in fact.
For a 3 1/2 day visit.
They went through all that.
For a girl they'd never laid eyes on.
"We Live For Each Other," we say.
And they did.

The West Virginia Wesleyan College girls have no idea, but on that Tuesday night, more than anything this year--I needed a home. So, so badly. And this house, this amazing sorority, is weirdly somehow my "home" no matter what campus I'm on.

And this is why I do this job. Why I pull 15-hour shifts. Why I lug 126 lbs. of stuff around America by myself. Why I hardly ever talk to my friends back home on a normal schedule.

Because I meet women like this every day.

All day.

And for every woman I've met this year, you're helping shape who I am as a person more than I ever imagined you'd do. I thought that was my job, ha. But you've shown me up. And I will never be the same.

"More than a ritual or a symbol, that it is a way of life..."

November 3, 2010


Here's what God and I go through every day:

Photo courtesy of Bippity Boppity Boo.

Oh, patience. Imma figure you out one of these days.

That's all.

November 1, 2010

You are the only exception.

A view from the top of Husky Stadium.

So I get in my head to go on these exploratory runs every city I grace. Early mornings or weekend afternoons, I pull on running clothes (no shortage, as workout clothes are my JAM. Hope you're having fun with more than half my last paycheck, Seattle Lululemon.), pop in earbuds, and start jogging.

Do I know where I'm going? Heckno techno. I just start runnin'.
If things get sketch, I turn. There's an app for that: it's called GoogleMaps. Justincase.

Today was Seattle's turn. And since I make sure I see the football stadium on every visit, I set off towards Husky Stadium. The field trip took me past Husky Ballpark, so DUH I detoured to see where Tim Lincecum pitched before trotting over to the stadium, where just my luck: the gate was wiiiiiide open.

As I have normal curiousity level x100, I walked right in and straight out over the west endzone, about halfway up. And it. Was. Unreal. And see that top deck? Yeah. So of course, my head goes straight to "Pssh. I so bet I can get up to the top of this thing."

Curiosity killed the cat. But when you have a Southern accent and smile a lot, it can get you places. I whirl around a corner and run straight into a guy shutting the gates. In my face.

Guy: Uh, hi?
Me: Ohmyheavens. I am so, SO sorry--are y'all closing up?
Guy: I mean, sorta. In a bit...
Me: Well, may I ask you a question? Can you point me the best way to get to the top of this thing? I am from outta town and wanna see this view...
Guy: Uh, well, it's kinda closed off now... Wait, where's that accent from?
Me: Alabama.
Guy: "Alaaabaaaama?" (yes, he mocked me.) Ha. I almost signed to play at UAB And that Braves hat, you a fan?
Me: Absolutely. But I just took a picture of your baseball stadium 'cause I like Lincecum.
Guy: Ha, no way? I've grown up with Timmy, we're really good friends...

Next thing I know, my new friend has whisked me up on an elevator to the top of Husky Stadium and I'm gazing at the most gorgeous vantage point I've ever seen. Gawking at it, actually.

Cue 45 minutes later, I'm still adventuring because everything was far too glorious to stop.

Back on campus (which is essentially Hogwarts), I just couldn't get over God's trees. They've held some magnetic spell over me since I arrived; I guess I've just never seen His creation so HUGE before.

And then the Lord used his trees to speak to me.

My run slowed and, jaw dropped, I walked towards these three. Entranced, pulled, whatever--It felt like walking into a giant's kingdom. Like I was a tiny, tiny little girl and these five story monsters scaled up so high... I mean, look at that. Imagine how big a human is: I could barely reach the lowest branches. Pit in my stomach growing, I walked right under and looked up... up... up.

I can imagine God was chuckling at this point. Ha, I may or may not have teared up. I've never felt like that. It was just so breathtaking. "Yes, my child. This kind of stuff has been around for a while. I just haven't showed it to you yet! But I'm orchestrating this. Dontcha think I've got you in my hand, baby girl?"

I couldn't move a muscle. I was frozen.

Because way more quietly--way more hushed--He was saying this:
Don't you see why I'm jealous for my magnificent glory?
Do. You. Get. That. Now?
More Seattle stuff to come. Much more. Because I left half of my heart up there.

p.s. Blog title: "The Only Exception" by Paramore. It has nothing to do with absolutely anything except it's been stuck in my head since the cast of Glee covered it.
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