Well, here we are folks, three days away from a new year and I did not reach my Goodreads goal of 30 books (I read 26). Oh well, it’s not the number of books read that matters. What truly matters is the substance and how it still lingers in my blood. Here are some of the words still warming my insides and expanding my heart and mind:

“‘You were her way here, and it’s a dangerous thing to be a door.’ She tapped my chest, above my heart, with her forefinger.”

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

“Only those who can enjoy using their imaginations when working with limited resources know true freedom.”

A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind by Shoukei Matsumoto

“Everyone builds wealth. The only question is: For whom?”

The Latte Factor by David Bach

“[…] anytime I sense perfectionistic tendencies perking up to stop me […] Write this one down: Starting small and sucky beats staying stucky.”

Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

“Maybe I could stop looking for someone to blame, let my flaws settle and meld with the rest of me, stop taking my name – and my self – so seriously.”

Advice Not Given: A Guide to Getting Over Yourself by Mark Epstein

“It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

“…and for a few moments, it was just the three of us […] – the three who knew what had happened and too many layers between all of us, too much keeping us from one another.”

Looking for Alaska by John Green

“I love my mother, so I say this with a double-size-serving of guilt: because her words came so easily and cost her nothing, they were never quite as precious as Dad’s.”

Like Water by Rebecca Podos

“‘I see someone who hasn’t decided on anything yet.’ What is the art I want to make? I only know I want to undo the dark, discover the secrets I’m keeping from myself.”

How to be Luminous by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

“To the calm mind, the universe kneels to play. From the agitated mind, the universe shies away.”

Livin’ The Moment by David Romanelli

I love books and the people who write them. I had a wonderful journey through 7,500+ pages. Each book I read inspired me in one way or another and I know I’ve grown from the nourishment of novels.

I look forward to the books I will discover in 2020. If you’d like to follow my reading journey, please visit: Ashley’s Goodreads Profile.

And please share some quotes or books you’ve read this year that inspired you in the comments below.

Until next time…




“Self-doubt is self-worth in another universe.” A wise man once said. That wise man is “Devon,” played by Jason Schwartzman in the movie Wine Country on Netflix.

This line made me smile, and not just because it came out of Jason’s mouth (he’s one of my favorite actors). It made me smile because, I struggle with self-doubt! Self-doubt is my kryptonite. It is a dream killer. It makes me question every decision I make, or worse, it withholds me from making decisions. It paralyses me. So to think that self-doubt might be self-worth in another universe gives me hope. Because, I don’t think it’s ever going away.

I need to learn how to conquer self-doubt and stop self-sabotaging once and for all! Could it happen? Is it possible? 

I’ve given up on writing, which has always been really important to me, countless times. I’ve had this WordPress blog for five years now and I’ve deleted numerous posts because I didn’t think they were good enough. Truth – I didn’t think I was good enough. And now I regret it. I’m mad at myself for being such a harsh critic and not giving myself room-to-grow, or permission to be an imperfect foolish human.  

I think the only way through self-doubt is to embrace the fool who says, I’m not sure about this or what I’m doing, but I’m going to do it anyway – leap! I’ve always felt like a fool, stumbling over my words like they’re two left feet that lost their direction. After years of reading self-help books and following spiritual programs, I’ve learned time and time again, the way through self-doubt is foolishly believing in yourself no matter what. Simply, and bravely, showing up for yourself and trying, and trying again. Everyday I feel like I’m failing at something, but every day there are small wins too.

This morning I had a small win when I made my family banana pancakes. After years of making pancakes for them, I can now make them confidently from scratch without a recipe to follow for measurements. They don’t always turn out great but this morning, those were the best banana pancakes I think I’ve ever made. Win!

While I stood there waiting for each pancake to puff up in the pan, I thought about blogging. What should I write about? My husband, who had been hovering around me all morning in need of attention, entered the kitchen for the third or fourth time in 20 minutes. I told him I wanted to write but didn’t know what to write about. “What am I going to blog about making pancakes?” I said sarcastically. 

“Sure.” He said. 

Well, okay then. 

Until next time…





Who am I?

I am a stay-at-home-mom who dislikes the term “stay-at-home-mom,” but I have yet to come up with a new one. My husband and I have been married for 12 years (almost 13). We have three children: two preteen daughters ages 10 and 12, and a baby boy age three. This year we adopted a black stray cat. Her name is April because the shelter found her in April. When we met with her at the animal shelter in the small visiting area, our son was instantly enamored with her, as we all were, and he kept repeating her name, “April. April.” And that name sunk into our hearts.

The six of us live in a small condo in Southern California where the wildfires roar as well as the roller coasters in our backyard (Six Flags Magic Mountain). I lived in this town most of my life. I used to visit my great great grandfather in a local convalescent home where I would tap dance for him to make him smile. My great grandmother and grandfather are buried in the cemetery here on top of the hill under a tree. Any time I find myself coming down the 14 freeway south headed home, I can see their tree. My grandmother and great aunt went to the same high school as I did. My family has been here for generations. Sometimes I feel stuck here. Stuck because I’m afraid to try something new, and I fear uprooting my babies and replanting them somewhere else. This is where our family tree began, and it will always be our home.

I write almost daily, currently in a Wizard of Oz themed journal given to me by one of my sweet neighbors. I also read almost daily. I love to read Children’s Lit, YA, Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Spirituality & Self-Help. When I’m not reading or writing, I am cleaning, organizing, decluttering and thinking of ways to simplify my life. I am also constantly thinking of ways to keep my three year old son, Abraham, entertained, engaged, and connecting with me. Last night we played restaurant. Abe stood on a stool at the bar behind the kitchen sink. I stood in the kitchen. Abe handed me a round silver lid to one of my candle holders and told me to make a pizza. I threw the lid up in the air like pizza dough and then I pretended to put it in the oven. I tried to do an funny Italian accent. My husband, Mark, walked by and asked, “Do they make pizza in Russia?” We both laughed because every time I try to do an accent, he says it sounds Russian. I did take that DNA test from Ancestry.com and a small percentage of Finland/Russia popped up which surprised me. So maybe that explains it.

Yesterday, not only did I make a delicious pizza out of a candle lid, I also went on my third run/jog/walk of the week. I am working on becoming a stronger runner because my family runs. Mark ran a half-marathon last year and runs regularly on his own or with our daughters. They run long distance and cross-country. I have felt so inspired by them. and I keep reminding myself to go the distance and have the heart of a distance runner. I am in awe of the mental and spiritual strength it takes to be a distance runner. I am so proud of our children and my husband and their ability to endure. I want to be more like them. I want to run with them and strengthen my mind and willpower, which I know will benefit me in all aspects of my life.

Anyway, this is just a snippet of who I am. If John Green has taught me anything this year (I’ve read three of his books this year: Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns & An Abundance of Katherines) it’s that you can never truly know the entirety of a person. There are so many layers between us:

“…and for a few moments, it was just the three of us […] – the three who knew what had happened and too many layers between all of us, too much keeping us from one another.”

p.152 Looking for Alaska.

But we can still try to strengthen our relationships and peel back some layers to feel closer and more connected. Which is another thing I’m working on: opening up, connecting more with others, and accepting the multitude of layers.

Until next time…