Thursday, March 29, 2012

"What's Up, Baby?"

Erica, my heavenly Dumey angel, and Leah, my earthly Dumey angel.

Who do I go to for advice on how to groom my eyebrows without spending loads of money? It makes me smile to imagine your answer...they're out of control, let me tell ya', and you'd laugh.

It's hard to believe a year has passed already. But not a day has gone by that you are not on my heart and on my mind. That will never change. You touched my life inexplicably, sweet friend, and everyday of my life from now until I hear your "What's up, baby?" again, I will carry your legacy with me. It is written on my very soul.

A legacy of passion, creativity, laughter, and love. And the critical importance of taking the time to come alongside and bear one another's burdens. I'm doing my darnedest to own that and carry it out.

Dance and be free, baby.

PS - At our wedding, Mr. Ford and I asked our guests to choose from four different organizations to which we would donate on behalf of each table present. One of those was NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in loving memory of Erica. All but four tables chose NAMI. Today, we are planning to make that donation. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Follow the Bouncing Thought Bubble...

In no particular order:

- This site has my little soul all twitterpated. I have ideas for a future nursery forming...particularly because of this poster...

- No, once again, NOT a veiled hint.

- We are loving the Carla Bruni station on Pandora.

- I was a highly efficient and productive shopper this weekend. A little retail therapy did me good.

- This book is kind of rocking my world right now.

- Also rocking my world right now is, the concept of grace, in all of it's multiple layers. Seriously.

- Mr. Ford is the hardest working fellow I know and I am so proud of him and humbled by it. Every day.

- My dog is awesome and a total weirdy.

That is all. For now. :) Happy Monday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Week in Review

I can't believe another week has gone by already. It caught me completely by surprise. This week we:

-Both got our reading mojo back! I finished my reread of The Hunger Games and am totally jazzed to see the movie now. Mr. Ford started rereading The Great Gatsby and is finding a whole new appreciation for it this time around. He is now totally jazzed for the Baz Luhrmann 3D film version...but bummed we have to wait till Christmas for it. Mr. Ford is thoroughly convinced Mr. Luhrmann is the perfect filmmaker to bring Gatsby to life. He now has me ready to reread it too. We're trading books when he's done. :) I love having my reading mojo working again.

-Spent a really wonderful evening with my parents. Dinner, an insanely good bottle of wine, and lots of laughter and life talk. It was one of the best evenings we've spent with them since everything with my grandmother hit the family so hard. We were so grateful for that time with them this week.

-Had some terribly revolutionary conversations about ourselves and our marriage that have us really excited about the future and left us with a better understanding of each other and ourselves and our purpose as a couple. God is good.

-Ate a LOT of ice cream. I, in particular, consumed a lot of various combinations of peanut butter, chocolate, and ice cream. And apparently that wasn't enough chocolate and peanut butter for me because I stopped at the CVS on my way home last night just to pick up a bag of Reese's to satisfy my cravings. And no, this is NOT a vague and veiled hint that I'm pregnant. There will be nothing vague about that announcement when it happens, I promise.

-I decided to take control of my awful cuticle-destroying habits that have gotten completely ridiculous. I bought myself a good nail file and some Burt's Bees cuticle cream that I have been rubbing on about every 5 seconds. This is probably not really worth mentioning, but it's a big deal for me. I shall conquer this, I shall! (10 points if you can name that movie...)

There was a lot of introspection happening this week, for me, and I am learning a great deal about myself. It's totally rocking my world. I am so grateful for the people and resources that God has used in this season of learning in my life. And I am awed by the timing of it all, coming together at just the right moments. He knows what He's doing. I continue to trust in that.

I hope you all had a great week and are looking forward to an even better weekend.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Week in Review

We had a great week. After being sick last week with a gnarly cold, I was ready to enjoy my sweet little life again.


- Had a double feature date night at the $5 Tuesday movies. We saw The Lorax and The Artist and then we spent the next hour or so discussing each film's narrative and then the narrative that the two in combination formed. My husband loves narrative. Of all forms. He sees the world through a framework of narratives. I love this about him. He looks for the narrative in everything and then he eagerly shares his thoughts with me. This happens all the time, but especially after we see a movie. I love going to movies with him. A week from Tuesday, we'll see Hunger Games at $5 movies. I'm so excited!

- And in preparation for the movie, I began rereading the book. Yay!

-We had the opportunity to see the pastor that officiated our wedding for the first time since the wedding. It was probably the highlight of our week. I have never met anyone in whom the gift of discernment is so strong. Time spent with him is always, always affirming, uplifting, and liberating. If you spent anytime at all with him at the wedding, I'm sure you experienced this in some capacity. Mr. Ford and I are incredibly blessed by the relationship we have with him.

-I listened to close to an hour of a 3-year-old singing Old MacDonald while he tried to quiet himself down for a nap. I also got to hear The Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Wheels on the Bus. I love my job.

-I made the most incredible pizza for dinner last night, complete with homemade dough. Caramelized onions, mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese, parmesan, a little honey and olive oil whisked together and drizzled on top. Sprinkled a little salt and pepper to finish. Oh, baby. Add a glass of Chardonnay...happy Thursday to us! Yum.

-It has been raining all week and I have been loving it. That's what winter usually is here in Northern California, but like most of the country, we've had a very mild winter (by our standards). So I'm just loving actually getting to wear my galoshes. Tootles and I are taking full advantage of it this morning. We are in full hibernation mode. Coffee, books, and blogs in bed. That's a good Friday morning.

And finally...I can't believe tomorrow marks six months of marriage. We have learned so much about ourselves and each other and our marriage already. This marriage thing is so much better than I ever thought it could be...and I thought it could be pretty darn spectacular. I love being a student of my husband and using that knowledge to build him up, inspire him, and allow him to flourish into the incredible, world-changing man that he is. I have been humbled by his consistent and tender love and the way in which he is allowing me and helping me to be and to find who I am meant to be in the Holy Spirit. Marriage is the ultimate adventure and I have the very best adventuring partner, without a doubt.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Who Am I?

2012 so far has been an annoying series of extremes. Highs and lows. I'm ready for it to even out a little bit. I feel like the last two and half months have completely slipped by me.

Brenda and Michael at a Cal game with my parents.
One of the highs however was finally being able to spend some time with our dear friends Michael and Brenda Miller (no relation, though a good story for another time). Michael has been a long time family friend to my family and it feels as though his wonderful wife, Brenda, has been around just as long as he has. Michael watched my sister and I grow up and is my dad's best friend. He's been there to offer wisdom, advice and love to my sister and I, and throughout mine and Mr. Ford's relationship, he and Brenda were trusted mentors and friends. We have learned a lot from our honest and raw conversations with them and they are extremely valuable to us. Brenda was hugely key in pulling off our wedding as well. She served us lovingly and sacrificially as our coordinator extraordinaire! A lot of life happened for Mr. Ford and I in the six months after our wedding, and the Millers were also terribly busy so we had not really had any time to catch up with them since then, but we finally were able to make it happen. We had them into our home for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed learning from one another until late into the night. We completely lost track of time. It was great!

Michael said something to me that evening that really struck a chord and I have been turning it over in my mind and heart for the last week, trying to get a hold of it. I was explaining all that we had been dealing with over the last six months...illness, job transitions, death, and a whole host of other emotionally taxing things...and that I had been feeling like I had lost myself in the midst of it. That I didn't really know who I was in all of that, but that I was starting to feel like I was coming back to it. And Michael offered another layer to it, that was simultaneously liberating and exposing. It gave me some clarity about how to process the last six months. He reminded me that not only was all of that life happening but that I really was adding a new identity to my person. I'm no longer a single woman. I'm a wife now. I'm no longer "Miller". I'm "Ford" now. Sure, I will never lose my very, very engrained Miller-ness, but I am now Ashley Ford. And that's more than just a name change.

Michael reminded me that is a huge transition for a woman and does require time to adjust and find out who Ashley Ford is. Who is she as an individual? As a wife? As a daughter-in--law? As a sister-in-law? As an aunt? Brenda offered her experience and told me that she was worried that people would have no idea who Brenda Miller is and that it scared her for awhile.

I can totally relate. In the middle of all of the other emotional whirly-twirly in my life, I also am trying to find myself as Mrs. Ashley Ford. It's weird. When I'm with my parents, I still totally identify as Miller. My mom and I went antiquing the other day and when the lady asked if I wanted her to hold the pitcher I had found and what name to keep it under, I told her "Miller" before correcting myself. But when I'm with Mr. Ford and with his family, I have zero problem identifying as Ford. I love being a Ford. I like to think I fit as a Ford. It's just a very strange transition...with it's whole own set of emotions that I don't know that I was prepared for.

Our first family outing to Apple Hill last fall.
I like it though. My husband makes it all worth it. He continuously reminds me day after day why I wanted to take on his name and add being his wife to my identity. I am so proud of him and all that he does for our little family. His strength and constant and true love has buoyed me these last six months and I love him more now than I did the day I married him. :)

Can any other wives out there relate? I'd love to know Brenda and I aren't the only ones for whom this transition took a little time... :)