Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy 5 Month Anniversary

Today marks 5 months that my little sister (aka best friend) has been on her mission in Moscow, Russia! Only 13 more to go.

I miss her like nothing else. She is doing amazing things and I couldn't be more proud of her.


Kels and me on our cruise about a year ago.

Kels in the MTC.

Kels and her companion, Sis E, being themselves. 

Kels sharin the good word...


Lesson #3

I bore my testimony in church today... I talked about a lesson I have learned over and over, and yet, still have to keep learning.

It brings me back to this blog post. I have posted it a couple times - I think it is turning into a tradition for me. Every time I go through this "life lesson," I have to repost this blog post.

Hope someone new reads it and gets something from it.

The Parable of the Unjust Judge (The Importuning Woman)
This judge “feareth not man nor God,” yet a woman comes and begs him to avenge her of her adversary. He doesn’t oblige her at first, but then, over time, he “gives in” and gives her what she wants. I’ve always interpreted this parable to mean that the Lord wants us call on His name repeatedly because somehow it unlocks the powers of heaven and helps Him help us. Or, as Joseph Smith said, “Weary the Lord until He blesses you.” In other words, we weary Him with prayer for his benefit. But Elder Lund in his book “Hearing the Voice of the Lord” points out something different.

First, we know God doesn’t ask us to pray to Him in order for Him to know what we want. He already knows everything. So clearly our pleadings don’t benefit Him that way.

Second, we know God wouldn’t ask us to pray to Him in order to satisfy some petty whim of His. He doesn’t need or want to see us grovel. And He doesn’t want us to jump through theological hoops in order to prove our submissiveness. That is completely counter to His nature. So what, then, is the purpose of this parable?

Well, this parable has another name, which is the “Parable of the Importunate Woman.” (The Savior doesn’t use the word “importunate” here, but He uses it three times in D&C 101:81-89”.) Importunate is the opposite of faint. It means “to press or beset with solicitations; demand with urgency or persistence.” Jesus is telling us in this parable that we should importune Him the Lord when we need something. But if importuning isn’t for His benefit, then it must be for ours.

What is it about importuning that’s so significant? When we ask for something we don’t get right away, it causes us to either blame God or blame ourselves. Assuming we don’t blame God, we look within ourselves and start doing a spiritual inventory, right? We check to make sure we’re being righteous enough to deserve the blessing. We pray harder and longer. We serve more. We are kinder to those around us. We hit the temple more frequently. In a word, we further the process of sanctification. In other words, importuning initiates a tremendous process of spiritual growth. The very process of praying, exercising greater faith, humbling ourselves, and finally submitting our will to His becomes spiritually empowering.

We don’t persist in prayer in order to change God’s mind or convince Him of anything. We persist in prayer to change our hearts. We don’t “weary the Lord” with prayer in order to change God’s mind. We weary Him in prayer hard enough and long enough that our own hearts change. We may think we are unlocking the powers of heaven (and perhaps we are to some degree), but it may be that more significant in effectuating blessings is that we have unlocked our own hearts.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dating Panels

Want to know what we did for the first two hours at church today?

Had a dating panel.

Bad idea.

I guess they work though... cause my roommate and I are going on a double date with two of the guys from the dating panel.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

California Produce

One thing I love about California?

I purchased four containers of gorgeous, sweet, red raspberries...

for $1.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Do you follow?

Do you enjoy what you read on my blog?

If so, I invite you to "follow" me!

Happy reading!

iPods and Beds

Let's say you are getting in your car for an hour-long drive to work. You pull out your blue-tooth or your headset so you can call your good friend and catch up on the latest. You are also calling to get some advice on an important matter in your life.

You dial.

They pick up.

You talk for a while. (Please note that you are the only one doing the talking.)

You bring up the matter about which you are seeking advice, and your friend is just about to start giving you that advice when you reach for your iPod and turn on your favorite tune for the week, "Sweet Disposition," by The Temper Trap.

Wait, what happened? Weren't you about to listen to your friend's advice? Guess not.

I learned a lesson this week about prayer. Prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father. How many of us tend to "talk" in our prayers and ask for advice and direction, but when it comes time to "listen," we are closing our prayers and rolling into bed. (Rolling into bed = turning on our favorite song... if you didn't catch the analogy.)

Think about it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

First celeb sighting...

Today I was eating lunch at Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken in West Covina. It was a darling little strip of the city with lots of classy restaurants. The six of us interns were walking back to our car and we paused to figure out our plan for the rest of the day.

I looked in the direction where we had just been walking, and I see Will Ferrell. Our favorite elf.

I looked more closely then smoothly asked my friend/ told her that this guy walking toward us was Will Ferrell. He got closer and my friend started to laugh cause it really was Will Ferrell.

He walked past me... I pointed at him so the other interns would look. Some saw, others missed.

He drives an older Mazda SUV, with a bedazzled license plate cover.

It was really him. The parking attendant even said so... yes, we asked her.

I strongly dislike...


There was a little bug flying around in my bedroom last night. It was loud and very distracting. It kept running into the window and then it fell down under my bed. How am I supposed to sleep with it buzzing around under my bed? I turned on the light, found it, smashed it, threw it away and turned off the light again.

Sorry PETA.

(I guess I don't have anything to be sorry for, because a bug is not an animal.)


I've been doing some reading and studying, in my spare time, about graphic design. One of the books I'm reading talked about "letterpressing." I've heard the term before, but I Googled it just to make sure I knew what it is.

*Insert Aladdin and Jasmine singing "A Whole New World" here.*

I am loving letterpressing... a lot. There are so many things with graphic design that I would love to get into. If I were to go back and get a degree in something other than public relations, it would be graphic design.

Next item on "to-buy" list: letterpress. A few examples of how creatively classy letterpressing can be:

I found a cool Web site that can give you some more ideas on letterpressing: Elum

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Love is in the air...

It must be spring time. The following is a list of a few of my lovely, amazing friends who are getting married. CONGRATULATIONS! (If I missed you, I apologize. Send me a message and remind my sad, forgetful brain and I will add you to the list...)

1. Breanne Jensen (past roommate and best friend)

2. Jessica Stevenson (past mission companion and best friend)

3. Caitlin McCain (past co-worker and best friend)

4. Ashley Elizabeth Jones (Ha ha...JK... just checking to see if you're paying attention)

5. Ian Douglas Shepley (past ward/ study buddy)

6. Quinton Kimball (past zone leader and AP on the mission)

7. Daniel Mooney and Jennifer Bloomfield (past ward buddies... yep, they're marrying each other! Can I count that as two?)

8. Krisy Bennett (past classmate who rocked my PR world)

Sticky Notes

So, I definitely have a relationship with sticky notes. I keep them everywhere. Inside my planner, in my purse, in my wallet, in books, in my scriptures... you get it. One other place I keep a stack of sticky notes is next to my bed. I may be crazy, but when I get in bed and am trying to fall asleep, my mind is usually rushing with thoughts. Sometimes a thought will pop into my head or I will remember something I forgot to do earlier. I think to myself that I will remember to write it down or do it in the morning... but then I start to stress out wondering if I really will remember to do it in the morning.

So, I roll over, turn on my light, pull out my mechanical pencil and sticky note and jot down a few thoughts. Turn off the light. Repeat two or three times. Then I finally fall asleep... content.

Last night, I was thinking about how I was such a good blogger the last couple months, but now that I'm here in LA, my time is a little limited. I was thinking about different blog posts I wanted to write about and here are a few things that popped into my head at 2:30 am:

1. The upcoming Lakers and Suns game. I live in LA - shouldn't I be cheering for the Lakers? But, I have always been a Suns fan, and I have a lot of family in AZ.

2. I was thinking about how I need to catch up on my blog and my 2:30 am mind thought how funny it would be to write a post and say that it was time to "ketch-up" on my blog. *LAUGH...COUGH* I know. Sad. I was tired and in-between sleep and awake. I know you all know what I'm talking about. Things are a lot funnier at 2:30 in the morning.

3. A few other more important matters of business: e-mail my boss, record a few hours I need to bill, apply for job, conquer world...

Late nights...

Something I have discovered about myself:

Late night + catching up on Grey's Anatomy = EMOTIONAL ASHLEY

(I may or may not have shed a few tears while catching up on the last few episodes of GA. That is the one TV show I will occasionally watch. I don't always catch it on TV. In fact, this is the first TV I have watched since getting to LA... which was about a month ago.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

I can...

do hard things.

Thank you, Hannah. (...and four other amazing friends, to whom I am quickly becoming attached.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Blew my mind

I just finished an excellent book. It took me a while, but I finished it. If you haven't read it, I would highly recommend reading "Life of Pi."

It blew my mind.

Once I finished, I went back and read the first half of the book over again. It is necessary if you want to fully understand the book. This book really makes you think - I love that. It is a "mark worthy" book. I'm very much a book-marker. If I like a line or a word, I will highlight or underline it. My copy of this book is covered in markings.

I think my favorite chapter from the book is this:

"I can well imagine an atheist's last words: 'White, white! L-L-Love! My God!" -- and the deathbed leap of faith. Whereas the agnostic, if he stays true to his reasonable self, if he stays beholden to dry, yeastless factuality, might try to explain the warm light bathing him by saying, "Possibly, a f-f-failing oxygenation of the b-b-brain,' and, to the very end, lack imagination and miss the better story."

This chapter won't really mean anything to you unless you read the book.

Read it. "It will make you believe in God," said Pi Patel.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nothing stops a bullet like a job...

Nothing stops a bullet like a job is an interesting tagline for a business. But this isn't just another profit-producing business.

HOMEBOY Industries is a company that "assists at-risk and formerly gang-involved youth to become positive and contributing members of society through job placement, training and education."

I saw a lot of tattoos and piercings today. I clutched my wallet a little tighter, not knowing what to expect.

I was wrong.

I heard about HOMEBOY Industries through my boss - she recommended their cafe, "Homegirl Cafe," so my colleagues and I took a lunch break in downtown LA. We found the bright yellow building that houses more than just the delicious, alternative cafe. It houses a bakery; they produce their own silkscreen and embroidered merchandise; there is a charter high school on location to help youth gain their education; job development, case management, tattoo removal, mental health counseling, and curriculum and legal services are also offered.

Our waitress was absolutely beautiful. She had one half of her scalp almost shaved, with two interlocking hearts shaved on that side, and the other half was hanging long past her shoulders. I asked her what the story is behind HOMEBOY Industries. She explained that Father Greg Boyle started the whole program. "Homeboy Industries traces its roots to “Jobs For A Future” (JFF), a program created in 1988 by 'Fr. Greg' at Dolores Mission parish. In an effort to address the escalating problems and unmet needs of gang-involved youth, Fr. Greg and the community developed positive alternatives, including establishing an elementary school, a day care program and finding legitimate employment for young people. JFF’s success demonstrated the model followed today that many gang members are eager to leave the dangerous and destructive life on the “streets.”

In 1992, as a response to the civil unrest in Los Angeles, Fr. Greg launched the first business (under the organizational banner of JFF and Proyecto Pastoral, separated from Dolores Mission Church): Homeboy Bakery with a mission to create an environment that provided training, work experience, and above all, the opportunity for rival gang members to work side by side. The success of the Bakery created the groundwork for additional businesses, thus prompting JFF to become an independent non-profit organization, Homeboy Industries, in 2001."

I devoured my "YuYu" sandwich. Turkey with dulce de mango and chipotle, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and mayo, on a beautiful roll. The presentation was half the experience. The service couldn't have been better.

After a financial crisis, HOMEBOY Industries had to lay off 300 employees and close its doors, after 23 years. We saw cameras and reporters outside of the restaurant while we were eating. I wish HOMEBOY Industries all the luck in the world. They deserve it.

Follow them on Twitter
Become a fan on Facebook

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Garbage Girl

I tried getting a man's attention today.

He walked past me and waved his hand in my face.

He stopped, turned around, came back toward me. I got a little nervous.

He held out his hand and motioned for me to take whatever it was he was holding.

I took it.

It was a couple crumpled pieces of paper.

I looked at him with a confused look on my face, and then he pointed.

Where did he point?

The garbage can.

I am now the garbage girl.

Glamorous, huh?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Russian singing

I spoke with a Russian lady on the street yesterday. She didn't understand English very well, so I spoke slowly.

After I was done talking (and after she signed mi petition) I told her I know a little Russian song. Her eyes got a little wide and she smiled. I looked to my left and then to my right and thought, "What the heck, Ash. You don't know this lady; you'll never see her again, you might as well sing it to her."

So, I sang a song to a Russian lady on a street in California.

Poost vsegda budyet solnsya
Poost vsegda budyet nyeba
Poost vsegda budyet Mama
Poost vsegda budu yah!

Yes, I blushed a little bit; she clapped and spoke to me in Russian. I didn't understand what she was saying, but I smiled and she pinched my cheek.

Sus Bolsas

This was my job today:

[Disclaimer: I only memorized these lines out loud. I have no idea how to spell the words... be patient with me.]


"Hola! Puere firmar mi petition?"

"Por que?"

"El Gobierno quiere quitarce o gravar impuestos en bolsas plasticas y papeles. Puere firmar mi petition decir el gobierno que las personas en esta area no quiere pagar mas por sus bolsas?"

[Insert "firmar" here..."]

"Muchas gracias! Buenos días!"

*Grunt* and walk away.

Direct translation of the above conversation:
"Hi! Will you sign my petition?"

"For what?"

"The government wants to put a ban or tax on paper and plastic bags. Will you sign my petition to tell the government that the people in this area don't want to pay more for their bags?"

[Insert their signature here...]

"Thank you! Have a good day!"

*Grunt and walk away.* [Yes, it's the same in Spanish as it is in English.]

[Now that I type it out in English, it sounds kind of repetitive. Oh well. I think most of the signatures I get with my Spanish are just pity signatures. They're trying to shut me up by just signing the dang petition.]

One lady liked me and my Spanish so much, she yelled at me, "NO HABLO ENGLISH!" and waved her hand in my face to get me to go away. Oh well - it isn't every day she gets to hear such a lovely German-Spanish accent.

I am now trilingual.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I warned you

Darling roommate:

I warned you.

You vacuumed.

Then you vacuumed "it" up.

You screamed. We screamed...

And then laughed till we almost cried.

I love us.


San Jose/San Fran

What is this, you're asking? Jicama salad. I ate this interesting goodness on Tuesday night in San Jose at a fancy restaurant located in Santana Row. (A fancy outdoor mall in San Jose.)

Last night about midnight, I rolled back into Los Angeles. Hannah, Amanda and I were pooped after a super long week of working up in San Jose. (We also did a little bit of playing in San Francisco.) We worked very long days and drove a lot. It was totally worth it. We were successful in our purpose in going to San Jose, which was to fight a bill against a toy ban in restaurants. Duh. Who would ban toys? The county supervisors will vote on Tuesday to decide whether it will become an actual ban - our work was to try and stop it. We'll see if it happens.

We ate out a lot because we were staying in a hotel without a kitchen. I don't think I can eat out again for a while. I'm sick of eating out. I did, however, ate my first meal of fish and chips at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Thank you to all the friends who were there who supported me in that venture. I actually enjoyed it. I'm not usually a huge fish person, but the cod wasn't too fishy. (Ha ha ha, pun definitely intended.)

I sure loved the drive up there and back. California is so beautiful. We drove through the country and a few vineyards and a mountain pass. Woo! I love that I grew up in the northern California area - so gorgeous.

Here are a few pics of the week. I love the people with whom I work - we have a really awesome group.

Fisherman's Wharf! I LOVE this place.

A store just for me.

Lisa, Amanda, Abram and Eric... four out of the six interns. Hannah was lost at this point... we later grounded her from going off by herself. :) 

The walruses at Pier 39.  (They're calling you Amanda and Hannah...)

The six interns... we rock... [Special thanks to Mr. Woahn for his super photography skills.]


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Coconut Juice... chunky style

I worked on Saturday. I was in front of a Seafood Market trying to get Phillippino people to sign a petition. The manager of the market was extremely kind and supportive to our cause. Half way through our time, he came out with three cans of "coconut juice." He said we probably wanted something cool to drink since it was pretty warm outside.

I cracked the can open and took a little sip. The reaction I had was to bite. I don't think it is a usual reaction to bite when I'm drinking something, but this time I did, because there was something to bite. I bit. It was kind of chewy. My eyes got really big [out of fear] and the manager watched me started to laugh. I looked at him with kind of laughing eyes [I really didn't want to offend him if I threw up,] wondering what he was feeding me, and then swallowed. I looked in the can and saw small white chunks of coconut floating in my coconut juice.

I laughed. He laughed.

Coconut chunks in my coconut juice. Go figure.


Today at church, a girl got up and told a couple stories about horses. [I got the hint that she is super into horses.]

She then compared God to a horse trainer and said that, "He is the ultimate human trainer."


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Trash "Assessment"

I got to help clean up the LA river yesterday. For any of you who are from the LA area, you know that the LA river isn't really a "river." Ha ha. It isn't much of anything.

As part of my internship, we were "loaned out" to help do some trash assessment for a couple of the environmentalist groups that were there.

I'd like to make something clear: I had a blast. It was a really interesting process. However, when I say trash assessment, we weren't just looking over the trash that was being brought up and disposed. We took every 5th bag that was brought up from the river, ripped it open, dumped it on the ground and organized it into piles. [Some piles included: glass, plastic, metal, clothing, foam...] They were basically wanting to get an idea of the trash that is littering the LA river. So, I played with litter yesterday. Yay!

Interested to know what we found?

Litter was [but was not limited to] the following:
Boxers, plastic bags, blankets, cans, candy wrappers, shopping carts, foam cups, bone, and a few more random things.

Oh, and a cucumber. We put that in the "other" pile.