I’ve Moved!

Lots of changes are happening! I’ve had to make the decision to change websites and website names and it has officially happened.

You can now find me at at Writing Boldly.

AND if you sign up for my newsletter on the new website, you will get a free workbook! Newsletters will be how I communicate with my followers from now on as I cannot transfer my wordpress followers to the new site.

I hope you guys stick with me, I appreciate you reading my words.

Keep writing!

Ashleigh

#ShareAStory- Bees

by Ashleigh Underwood

I’m afraid of bees. It’s not the type of fear where I get a racing heart and panic when I see them. No, that type of fear is reserved for spiders. Bees are different. I’m afraid of them because they have lethal stingers. (Potentially) Spiders give me nightmares. When I see a bee, I just change my path. When I see a spider I find someone to take the spider out, like a mob boss ordering a hit on someone who did him wrong.  

My mom was severely allergic to bee stings and wasp stings. She would remind me every summer that if she got stung I needed to call 911 as fast as I could. Another fun fact about my mom is that she was a really good sharer. She shared her asthma with me and her entire catalog of allergies. My mom always had a cough and a runny nose. When I would ask her what was wrong, she would tell me “just allergies.” I would get stuffy noses and asthma attacks but my allergies and asthma were never officially diagnosed. I fixed all that by seeing an allergist three years ago where I got the asthma diagnosis along with a mile long list of things I am allergic to. I’m allergic to everything in Vegas. The grass, the tress, the tumbleweeds, all of it. 

I asked the allergist to test me for bee stings and wasp stings. My mom probably shared that with me too. 

“It’s not a pleasant test and it would really only work if you had been stung.” My doctor told me.

Well, I’m not walking up to a bee to ask it to sting me. I’ll just keep going on with my path aversion strategy. It’s been working my entire life.

Growing up, my family used to take trips to Utah. Duck Creek, Utah to be exact. We had an acre of land that my parents had big dreams for. We were going to build a cabin on that land and have a nice little escape from the Vegas heat in the summer. We even had neighbors already. We would hitch our trailer to the van and drive out as often as we could, making plans for the land and camping in the trailer. We got to know the people who lived in the house across the street from our land. It was an older couple who used that house as their summer house. They had a big grassy field that led up to their house. The grass was tall, taller than me when I was ten years old. It was beautiful. From the dirt street that ran up the hill where we were, you could see the lake below. I would learn to fish at that lake. I would catch my first fish at that lake. 

Those trips are some of my favorite memories. I’m not a fan of camping but with the trailer, it wasn’t bad. There was a real toilet and we had toilet paper and a door to have some privacy. We had a couch with a TV and a DVD player (or maybe it was a VHS player attached to the TV). We had the world’s smallest kitchen wall but we had some cabinet space for snacks and food. There was even a shower in the toilet closet. We would park the trailer on our land and spend weekends out there. Sometimes our trips were longer. Sometimes I even got to go up there with my dad, just us. A daddy-daughter trip.

One time during our many adventure to Utah, my dad was talking with our neighbor about something on our land. We were further up the hill on our acre. The land my family bought was on a hill. At the top of the hill would be where the cabin would be built. We camped out in the trailer at the bottom of the hill. It was like this whole side of Duck Creek was on a hill. We drove up a hill just to get to our part of Duck Creek and then our whole acre was a hill. 

I think my dad was showing him something. I remember racing up the hill to get to them. I probably had something very important to ask them or tell them, as is the nature of kids. As I ran, I ran through some grass, some tall grass. Not quite as tall as the grass in front of my neighbor’s house but taller than my grass back home in Vegas. I ran through it without thinking, eager to get to my dad. 

Then I heard buzzing in my ear. It got louder and louder until it was all I could hear. My heart started racing and I felt little legs on my arms, the buzzing in my ear. I was terrified now. I could see there were bees crawling on my arm. I reached into my hair and could feel bees, multiple bees, flying, crawling, and existing in my hair. 

I screamed and kept running, shaking my arms and my head like a mad woman. Trying to shake the bees off of me, I reached my dad and our neighbor who were bent over laughing. They were laughing so hard. They were laughing at me and I could still hear my heartbeat in my ears. I was still pulling bees out of my hair. 

“There were bees!” I exclaimed, trying to explain that this was serious. 

My neighbor stopped laughing and started giving me facts about bees. Facts that were very interesting at the time but facts that I no longer remember. His random facts helped calm me down.

Now, when I see a bee I think about the feeling of their bodies as I pulled them out of my hair when I was ten. I think about camping trips and how Duck Creek Utah, and Cedar City have a special place in my heart. I think about taking my son up there and telling him these stories. 

I also think about how to check for creatures in tall grass. 

Pause

Sometimes, we need to take a step back.

This year, I have big goals. I had goals to grow Writing Out Loud. I had plans and a lot of things coming up on the horizon. All of it was good. I was so excited. Very quickly, I found myself in a spiral I have caught myself in many, many times. The spiral of time and feeling pulled in different directions and falling behind because life is happening all around me. While I’ve been able to keep on top of my schedule and I have been working on the stuff I wanted to work on, I felt overwhelmed. I felt like something was being neglected. I have been constantly caught up in my thoughts and it was all just too much. Too much planning and too much chasing. 

While I was so proud of myself for setting a few big goals and laying out the micro goals that it would require to accomplish the big goal, I still set out to do too much. The book I’m writing is the most important goal on my goal sheet. This book has been in the works for years, even though it was mostly mental planning. God has really put on my heart to write it. And that is what I want to really focus on this year. I want to write this book and hopefully publish it. 

God and I had a nice moment during a journaling session this week where he told to me pause the blog and podcast while I work on this book. I’m not 100% sure how long this pause will be. I’m just taking it one day at a time and trying to focus on this book. I want the first draft done in March so here’s to getting laser focused!

I hope you stick around for when this little break is over. You can always follow me on Instagram, but I also plan on taking a social media break. I might pop up over there from time to time though. 

Catch you guys later!

& Then Comes Marriage

Last week, my husband and I celebrated 8 years of being married. The past 8 years have been full of growth, change, trials, and lots of yelling. Marriage is hands down the hardest thing I have ever committed to. Every day I wake up and choose my husband and choose to love him. I choose to believe the best in him and give him the benefit of the doubt. I choose to believe that he loves me and has good intentions. I have no doubt in my mind that my husband loves me. People have even commented to me how much my husband loves me, as if they don’t want me to forget. Truth be told, I used to. I used to have a very dark and twisted view of love. I didn’t believe it existed. I thought love was for weak people and I was not weak. On our first date, I told him that I don’t believe in marriage. I wasn’t going to get married. Oh, and kids? That was off the table. If he chose to still date me, he was going in with that knowledge. 

Now, obviously that all changed. But, it wasn’t like I woke up one morning and was suddenly gunning to get to an altar. I also didn’t wake up and suddenly want to have kids. My marriage and being a mother are results of a lot of growth in me. Every day when I wake up and choose my husband, he wakes up and chooses me.

Being married is awesome. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it is also the most awesome thing. In high school, I used to give my friends weird looks when they would tell me that their boyfriend was their best friend. Uhm, excuse me? I’m right here. I would think when my childhood best friend would tell me that her boyfriend was her best friend and how she couldn’t wait to marry her best friend. Okay, that’s cool. I would think at those statements. Not that I was trying to marry my best friend. I wasn’t getting married, but I didn’t understand the boyfriend being the best friend deal. This guy had been a part of her life for months. Many months, sure, but I was running the yearlong game. At that time, we were at 14 years of being best friends. In a matter of months, some dude had just replaced me. At least, it sounded that way. To me, those things were separate. I had my best friends, the people I grew up with, my family. A boyfriend wasn’t coming anywhere near that level of love from me or that level of trust. They each had their own containers in my mind and there was no mixing.

I thought I knew everything. I thought I saw all the failed relationships and was doing the smart thing by not getting invested. I saw the horrific divorce my parents went through and decided that if I could avoid that, I would have everything I needed in life. Watching two people who claimed to love each other try and ruin each other really kills any hope you had in love. Instead, I would just enjoy happy endings in books and movies all the while knowing that they weren’t real. 

Then I met my husband and now I’m living in my happily ever after. It is one we both fought for though. He had to fight for me first though. Like I said, it wasn’t an easy transition to come around to the idea of getting married. I finally understand the best friend deal. My husband is my best friend. I still have my girl besties. But there is a different best friend level with husbands. He is my best friend and we are building a life together. My friends and I are living life together. I understand it guys! Growth.

Now though, I love being married. I love watching how we serve each other in our love and support each other. My husband helps with everything that is Writing Out Loud. He helps me edit; he listens to my podcasts beforehand. He encourages me. Whenever I’m feeling anxious, he holds me. He prays for me. I love planning out futures together. Potential business ideas we could implement if we ever got an enormous sum of money. I love hearing his dreams and working together to figure out how to make them a reality. I love how the things we both love brings us closer. I also enjoy the times when we’re in the same room, doing our own thing, but we’re still together and that is all we care about. 

For our anniversary last week, we had a movie night. We put Little Man to bed, made some popcorn and cuddled up on the couch. We watched A Simple Favor (this movie was all sorts of awesome) and talked about all the things we loved about it. I love our date nights and how simple they get to be because all we care about is being together. We have writing dates where we hang out at a coffee shop or a library and work on our writing pieces. We have dates where we just walk through stores and their furniture department and design rooms mentally. We have dates where we go and make booklists at the bookstore, telling each other what books sound good. 

I love when something awesome happens, when I accomplish something that I set out to do, he gets just as excited as I do if not more. He is walking along side me and cheering me on along the way. He puts me first and that is the most amazing feeling in the world. 

Now, I’m just a sap over here because 8 years is a long time. I know people who have been married multiple times in that time frame. I know people who have been married, divorced and married again in the past 8 years. Please don’t take that as judging, I’m just pointing out how we live in a culture where divorce is very common. I think it’s nice to see a story where the marriage wins. 

This is what I love about being married. Marriage is awesome guys. It is always worth fighting for. 

COVER REVEAL

My favorite thing about being a writer is meeting other writers. I also love when I connect with fellow classmates who also write and I get an opportunity to support their work.

That is what is happening today. I know an amazing woman who is an editor, writer, and just all around awesome. She just graduated from the college we both attend and it has just been awesome to watch her pursue her love for writing.

Continue reading “COVER REVEAL”