Quarterlife+


My last post

Posted in Aging,Life,Life changes by Ashley Franklin on July 4, 2016
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Okay, well this is my last post. This is my last post here anyway (kinda). I started this blog when I was at the peak of not having a clue as to what I was doing with my life. I didn’t know what I wanted and I didn’t know myself. Talk about a being a warm body of confusion, huh?

At the ripe old age of 31 now, I am happy to say that I do have a few more things figured out. I am most proud to say that I have grown a great deal. One of my cousins once told me that being in my 30s would be so much better than my 20s. I think I’m starting to see what she means. In my 20s, I was trying to see how and where I fit in. Now, I’m more focused on trying to see what makes me happy and how I can make that a constant.

With that shift in mindset, I feel like this blog doesn’t quite fit where I’m at anymore. For this reason, I’m starting a new one that more closely reflects where I’m at right now and where I see myself going. The timing just seems right. Everything was turned upside down in my life thanks to that March flood where my family pretty much lost everything. (And yes, we do have flood insurance at our new place.) I’m also into a few new things (that I will discuss as soon as I can, I promise).

So, for those of you who have been following my journey, thank you. I ask that you please stay with me as I enter this next phase of my life. My new blog will be as follows:

ashleyfranklinwrites.wordpress.com

When everything is up and running, I will post there (and cross-post here for a bit).

 

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Making a GoFundMe Account was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Posted in Family,Life,Life changes,Random Experiences by Ashley Franklin on March 14, 2016
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Let me say this: I don’t come from a lot. In regards to a conversation I had with my grandma one day about our family not having much, her response was this: “Much? All most of us have is our blackness!”

Obviously, my grandma is a tiny comedian. This basically means that working hard and doing what we need to do to get things done is a lesson that we learn early. It’s not a lesson that was lost on me. I’m someone that stretches every penny to make it go further. I stalk sales and coupon codes. I don’t believe in paying full price for anything.

Last week, my home was flooded and we had to evacuate. The flood water wasn’t just around our home. It was coming in, so we had to get out. We got out with a plastic bin, a suitcase, and a couple of trashbags of assorted things.

When you live from “check to check and a half,” as I say, missing days of work are few and far between. When the breadwinner of your household can’t get to work for a spell, that puts a major wrench in things.

I don’t like asking for help. I’m one of those “If I’m supposed to have it, I’ll work for it until I can eventually get it” types of people. You’d be surprised how quickly you go through money after staying at a hotel, buying essentials, and buying food to support a family of four (w/ 2 kids under the age of 5) without depleting all of your host’s resources. My mother-in-law has been wonderful, but this is all still unexpected.

I’d had several people suggest that I make a GoFundMe, and I didn’t like the idea of seeming like a beggar. Is that pride? I’m not sure. I don’t consider myself to be a proud person. I am blessed that I am still able to do a little online work, but reality set in that this is bigger than me. There’s that old saying that “Into every life a little rain must fall.” I just got a lot of rain at once.

 

 

The year I got off my butt

Posted in Life,Writing by Ashley Franklin on December 29, 2015
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You know what’s funny about wanting to be a writer, you have to actually write to do it. Mind blown, huh?

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer, but this was the first year I actually put forth the effort to reach that goal. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know that the journey would be this intensely hard, but it is.

I don’t do well with no, and I don’t do well with things that take forever. (I’m pretty sure I was pregnant for like 3 years!) Still, I am sticking to it. That’s a major accomplishment for me, and I hope expect to do even better in the new year–especially when it comes to actively writing and being a part of writing communities.

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. She believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution! Here is my list of 2015 successes:

  1. I completed PiBoIdMo with more than 30 ideas.
  2. I received a mention in Susanna Leonard Hill’s Holiday contest. ( I won a book!)
  3. I put myself out there and joined a critique group.
  4. I applied for things! (mentorships, scholarships, etc.)
  5. I made some new writer friends who are super encouraging.

I don’t think that’s too shabby for my first year. Besides, the year isn’t over yet. The next couple of days could still be filled with goodies.

PiBoIdMo, NaNoWriMo, and WNFIN

Posted in Life,Writing by Ashley Franklin on November 5, 2015
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Can I just tell you that I nearly drowned in all the acronyms I discovered, and I’m pretty sure there are more out there for this month. Here’s my first question: Why is everything in the same friggin month? Foolishly, I almost let all of this overwhelm me; I remember the most important idea: Just keep writing.

You all know that I’m trying to craft a breakout picture book. I’ve also started a memoir. It’s also the week that I”m supposed to be doing like 25 performance evaluations for my job.

So…how much do you think that I’m actually getting done? PiBoIdMo is going pretty well. I have plenty of opportunities to crank out at least one picture book idea a day. That’s as easy as taking a shower or fighting to get one of the kids to take a nap. ‘m going to have to play catch up the second these evaluations are over, but that’s something I’d already expected. No biggie. I’ve come up with 17 ideas so far. I honestly can’t wait to start on them, but I’m pacing myself.

The memoir, on the other hand, is a different story. There hasn’t been a great deal of actual writing going on.  I promised myself that come hell or high water, I’d have a book by December. I’m not backing down from that. Wish me luck!

What about you? Are you doing one of the challenges? How is your writing coming along?

What if we handled racism like a bad breakup?

Posted in Life by Ashley Franklin on September 17, 2015
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Racism is a mother——–! We just can’t seem to shake it. While the brain eating amoeba in my water has caused my showers to shorten (I’m skeptical of its safety overall.), I’ve been having some deep thoughts.

So I got to thinking about what the world maybe like when my boys are older,  and my initial thought was hoping they’re allowed to even get older to have a place in the world. That’s a thought pattern for a whole different post.

My second thought: What if we broke up with racism? What would that feel like? I bet it would be like one of those epically bad breakups. Thank goodness I’m married because my post breakup behavior was sometimes questionable at best. That being said, if what I say is a reflection of just my personal brand of post breakup ridiculousness, don’t judge me too harshly.

At any rate, I think it would pretty much go like this:

Emotional roller coaster-We’d hate racism. We’d go into fits of rage, and then have spurts of sadness. We might toy around with depression, but in the end, we’d get that numb feeling about it.

Immersion-We’d find a distraction. What can make us forget the pain of racism so that we wouldn’t really have to deal with it? Social media-famous folk, world events covering anything other than our own problems, kittens-is a likely choice.

Reflection- Could things have been different? Where did things start to go wrong? When were they going well? Were things always bad?

Self-assessment- We’d wonder what our role was in all that occurred. Did we help to create this monster? What could we have done differently? Could we have stopped it sooner? If we had been more/less passive/aggressive, would it have made a difference?

Moving on- We’d accept what happened for what it was and for what it taught us. We’d move on, slightly bruised but slightly better. We’d say that there’s better out there, and we’d mean it. We would know that we’d moved on when we’d see a similar situation and react to it differently. We would mature.

If only it were that easy! (I”m using “easy” very loosely.)

Something is stunting our growth as a nation. We can’t seem to mature and move past racism. Why is that? What is it about extra melanin that drives some folk crazy? What gives this vice such brute strength?

Why it was easy for me to stop going to church (Part 2)

Posted in Life,Life changes by Ashley Franklin on August 4, 2015
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Reason #3: I knew too much!

It is incredibly difficult to take your fellow church goers seriously if you know too much of their business. I’m not at all saying that this is only true of church folk, so don’t take it that way. Here’s the thing: if you are around church folk in their chill mode, and church is their major thing, they’re going to talk about church (and by extension other church folk) regularly.

Yes, I would love to embrace you during fellowship time, but if I recently overheard that you’re Mr. PervyCan’tKeepItInHisPantsToSaveHisLife, not a hug, high-five, or glance is coming your way. I may even give you the side-eye if you’re traipsing about from female worshiper to female worshiper rubbing their arms, backs, (shoulders?), etc. I may find it increasingly difficult if you’re sashaying about leading praise and worship.

No thanks. Hard pass.

Reason #4: I needed separation of church and home.

There’s a reason there’s a separation of church and state. Quite simply, you’ve gotta stay in your lane. When you’re growing up, you and your parents are going to inevitably clash. That’s part of growing up. We all go through it. Now, image how much fun it is when your parents are your least favorite people on the planet, yet you’re supposed to open your heart and mind to whatever they’re spewing from the pulpit. Nope; not happening! Here is where a consistent youth leader would have been instrumental in my life. We had a few who came and went and who promised to stay in touch. Lies! I’m not bitter though. We all have our lives to live. I”m just saying that if you hold a position where you are somewhat responsible for the guidance of souls, you suck if you drop off the face of the earth after throwing up deuces.

When a Swiffer just ain’t a Swiffer

Posted in Life,Writing by Ashley Franklin on April 8, 2015
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I love my Swiffer. Ever since I worked at a daycare and found myself using one daily, it’s like my bestie. (Looking back at that sentence makes me a little sad.) I love the scent of Gain, which makes Swiffering (Is that a word?) that much more fun for me. The only cleaning supply I love more are my Lysol disinfectant wipes. I will wipe down something in a  nano something. I literally freak out if I run out. To me, the ideal marriage would be to have the little Swiffer refill pad things with Lysol. I think it’s a no-brainer.

Sorry! That’s enough about my unnatural love for a mopping instrument. Well, kind of. Let’s talk about the fact that I”m the only one that uses it as a mop. I regularly have to save the Swiffer from my kids. No matter where I put it, they find it. It’s like they have a tracking device on the thing. In what situations would I need to save the Swiffer from a 3-year-old? Here go a few:

(charging towards the chandelier with the Swiffer high in the air) “That’s not a piñata; Swiffer down!”

“Get it off the edge of the sofa! It’s not a slide!”

“Don’t charge at closed doors with it!”

I’ll spare you any more. Now, the baby is much kinder to it. He takes the handle and just shakes it up and down at different speeds. I don’t know what it is to him, but he gets a kick out of it every single time.

So why am I the only one not having that kind of fun with the thing? Did my kids steal my imagination? I promise you that i have not looked at it once with a “What if?” I know for a fact that I used to ooze imaginative chaos. I mean, I’m the same person that once drew up the 10 Commandments on a whim out of stick figures. Now my ideas come out like brain vomit. I’ll have nothing for the longest, and then all of a sudden it’s flowing out of me for like a solid twenty minutes. And…then we’re back to nothing.

Maybe I”m thinking too hard. Maybe I’m not thinking hard enough. Maybe it’s time for pie and ice cream. Yeah, I’ll contemplate over the first two while I get a bowl for that last one. Now there was an idea that I was quick to put into motion.

The Big Day for Sexy

Posted in Life,Life changes by Ashley Franklin on February 14, 2012
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As V-Day approached, I found the commercials increasingly annoying. Now it’s here. At 30 some weeks pregnant, how much sexy can I possibly pull off? I haven’t seen any Motherhood commercials sporting a giant bellied Momma all dolled up for this national day of love. Why is that? Well, obviously, the sexy has already happened! You try striking a few sexy poses with someone jabbing and kicking at you from the inside. Let’s see just how long that sexy pose lasts.

With random headaches, unpredictable sleepiness, and swelling that springs up at its leisure, the sexiest thing I might pull off today is doing the dishes and cooking dinner. How’s that for titillating?

Pregnancy glow or fire hazard?

Posted in children,Family,Life,Life changes by Ashley Franklin on January 27, 2012
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I’ve heard about this elusive pregnancy glow for years. What a load of crap! I don’t know if I”m glowing wrong, but something is terribly amiss. The other day I was attacked by a sneaky afternoon nap (I swear I thought I was blinking) and when I woke up, my glasses were literally sliding off my face! I went to slide them back up, only for them to slide back down.

Seriously?! My skin has always been on the oily side, but never has it displayed the superpower of turning into an oil slick. Every few hours I can literally wipe my face and see oil. Isn’t that outrageously sexy? Speaking of sexy, I guess I better stay away from open flames. No mood candles over here. Surely, “Honey, your face is on fire” can’t be considered a sweet nothing no matter how you spin it.

Honey, your face is ablaze?

My darling, your fiery complexion? 

Yeah….there goes that!

Ways to Disappoint your Parents #4–Not adhering to family nomenclature

Posted in Family,Life by Ashley Franklin on November 14, 2011
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As children, many of us yearn for our parents’ attention and approval. As adults, many of us keep with this mentality. Then comes the day when you realize that in one or more area, you’ve probably failed miserably. Nevertheless, you should take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Over the years, I’m sure there have been many ways I have disappointed my parents. For now, here’s one you may relate to.

Ways to Disappoint your Parents: #4 Not Adhering to Family Nomenclature

I’m not gonna lie. I’ve seen Star Wars maybe a half a time. But, that does not keep me from knowing Darth Vader’s overused line: “Luke, I am your father.” (Aside from the baffling point that I never actually hard Darth Vader say that exact line, let’s use the willing suspension of disbelief. Let’s pretend like he said it for real.) Now, what if Luke’s response was, “Father? Well, I guess technically that works if you had something to do with conception; now if we’re talking nurturing and actually raising me, I think not.”

That’s not all that exciting, huh? Well, that’s because you don’t know MY folks. If you aren’t familiar with my family structure from some of my other posts, technically speaking, I have a step father and siblings from that union with my other (and he also had his own kids). I love all my siblings dearly, and this post isn’t about them. We’re an odd bunch, but we bring the funny. 

Anyway, how big of a deal is naming? Oh, it’s almost reason enough to break out a Bible and some holy oil! My mom gets super bent out of shape if I refer to my step dad as anything other than dad or father. If you squint, I think you can actually see her body temperature quickly rise, fire spark in her eyes, and smoke come from her ears. Is my biological father dead? No. I talk to him pretty regularly-now. So what name does that leave for him? None. This leaves him with no name, like he’s a figment of my imagination. Last time I checked, Mary wasn’t the prototype of more immaculate conceptions to come. So, my dad isn’t imaginary. 

For identification purposes, I will toss around dad, biological dad, father, real dad, step dad, etc. depending on if I’m talking to someone who knows my family history/ structure or not. This, to me, is no big deal. It isn’t an attempt to undermine who may have taken care of me or who didn’t.  It’s like a name tag. If I was making a family tree, I wouldn’t change it so that it looked more nuclear. Is it a case of wanting to be more like the Huxtables instead of the Bradys? I’m not sure which family I liked more, actually. At any rate, good luck with that. Why? Because trying to make your family something it isn’t undervalues what your family really is. 

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