Category Archives: Friends

She Actually…


I adore this article and had to share. Credit to The Messy Life.

“She actually turned out to be pretty…”

A few years after coming out of the awkward i’m-far-too-lazy-to-wake-up-early-and-dress-like-i’m-going-to-Paris-when-i’m-actually-going-to-gym-class stage, these words were said about me.

Casually, someone told me about that conversation when we were in the car leaving Walmart and something about it dug deep into my skin. It had been a conversation between boys who apparently wrote the definition for pretty.

I had always known that braces, curly hair and untamed eyebrows were not a winning combo, but it did something to my core to hear those words actually said out loud (even years later).

“She actually…” 

As if there had been some town council meeting that had convened during the years when flannel wasn’t cool and nobody liked the messy/bed-head hair look. It was as if everyone had gathered to secretly whisper their doubt about me and my future cool status.

“Yeah, that girl? She’ll probably always be awkward, gangly and discombobulated.”

There was a fire that sat in my bones for years. “She actually…” Over and over again those words would follow me around. It took everything in me to keep blow drying my hair, or using any makeup. There was something in me that so desperately wanted to just go back to how I looked at twelve years old. I wanted to prove to them that twelve year old Ashlin? She actually had always been pretty.

Oh, and that she actually knew that people were pretty in their own way. No one person, or group of people, is superior enough to decide a universal definition.

I’ve seen so many gorgeous girls stand in front of a mirror with a look of disgust. Even if I thought them to be absolutely breathtaking, it never mattered, because they couldn’t see it in themselves.

I should have said something like this to them:

Oh, you were always beautiful, babygirl. It was never about your hair. It was never about the tag sewn into your jeans or how much mascara you could coat onto your eyelashes.

Pretty was that fierce way you stood up for truth in the lunchroom. It’s the way you love to make others laugh. It’s the way you choose to stay and hold others when they cry. 


Pretty is when you still cry at movies because you’ve got a heart beating inside of you that knows love is still worth waiting for and not so impossible to find.

You know, the world will say these words are stupid, they will roll their eyes and call this another inspirational speech or ridiculous piece of encouragement for people that I’ve never even seen.

But I hope you don’t really believe that we have to see someone to know if they’re pretty or beautiful. Those words are not lost on blind eyes, but rather on blind hearts. 

Whether we never sit across from one another, I will always believe there’s something breathtakingly beautiful about you.

Because to me, you will never be a number on a scale. You will never be just another face. You are entirely your own kind of wonderful, though some may never see what I do. How sad for them, that they’ve defined their own worth by what they see in a piece of reflective glass in the bathroom.

You were always enough. You actually were always pretty. Even in your awkward middle school years and even when you take your make-up off. You are beautiful because you are intricate and deep, and thousands and thousands of details make up the heart of who you are.

And you are worth untangling. You are pages upon pages of your own kind of story and it’s worth reading. You have value and I hope that’s what you see when you look at yourself. I hope you know that at the end of the day, it will never matter how tan you are or whether or not you ate that second serving.

You deserve to hear that you are incredible. I really know that, I really believe that. There is somebody in your corner who thinks you are worth loving.

But I hope you really believe that about yourself, too. Because no matter how many times I write it for you, it only matters what you see.

As for me, when I stumble into the bathroom to get ready, I see a collage of all the stages of the person I’ve been and the person I am. I laugh at her frumpy ponytail and oversized pajama shirt and I shove the lies from the back of my mind and think about those words said to me on that car ride and I reply,

She actually was born beautiful and lives beautifully and she actually didn’t ever really need anyone else to believe that but herself.

She actually wants the world to see the person behind the hazel eyes and tiny hands. She actually knows that there’s something put inside her that the world can be changed by.

And she actually wants to say thank you. To the girl who told me about that conversation and the two guys who never intended for me to hear that and most likely meant no harm. Because in their twisted compliment, they made me love that girl in a whole new way, the one I am and the one I’ve always been.





Okay, I have not posted in a LONG LONG LOOOOOOOOOOONG time!!! Life has been… Crazy… My homeschool groups just ‘got out’ last week. So no school til January. Which is sad. 😦 but it’s also a nice break. I have read (well, reread) a bunch of books. Which is good! 😀 I don’t know if I have talked about my school groups… Well, if I have, sorry! And if I haven’t… Well, then here ya go!

Vanguard: Okay. Vanguard is amazing!!!!!!!!! Ahh! I can’t even express how much I love it! Last school year, in February, I started a vanguard in Layton (about an hour and a half from my house). And I just L.O.V.E.D. It! And then it ended in May and there was summer! Which is usually a good thing. But, well, I guess it was good. I just didn’t get to see my friends, because they live so far away. And when this school year started, I didn’t get to go back. Because my mom decided that she was going to make a vanguard up here where we live. And that’s a good thing.

But… Yeah… So, I decided that I was going to do the work for BOTH vanguards. Mine and… Well, mine. 😀 And there are three levels in each vanguard. Apprentice, journeyman and masters. Each level (for each vanguard) is supposed to be like 4-6 hours. But I guess I read really fast, and a lot of it was reading. So it doesn’t really take me that long.

But anyways! 😀 I went to my vanguard up here every Monday, and I got to visit my other vanguard three times. But my mom says that I can go for real for the rest of the school year! I thought I was gonna die when she told me that! So yeah. 😀

And there are four classes total. Basically one for each week in the month. There is Leadership Academy, History and Geography, Imaginative Arts and Eureka. And literally, no matter how hard I try, I honestly cannot pick a  favorite!

Shakespeare: Shakespeare is cool too. We did Julius Cesar this semester. I don’t remember what we are doing next semester though… This time we didn’t actually put on a play. Which sucked! :/ But we are doing a REAL play next semester!! Which is good!!! 🙂 We meet on Fridays for Shakespeare, either at my friends house, or a gymnastics studio in Thatcher. It’s fun!


Those are pretty much the school groups… But here are some of the other thingsI we’ve been doing.

Piano Lessons: I recently started piano lessons for the first time ever! 😀 I really like it! I have had six lessons now, and I believe that I have perfected Fur Elise. I’m playing it at a recital on December 28th.

I really like the song Fur Elise. It was composed by Ludwig Van Beethoven after the girl he loved, Elise, turned down his marriage proposal. I don’t remember if the other two girls he proposed to were before or after Elise. But he was really depressed when he composed it. You can definitely hear all of the emotions he was feeling in the music as its played, that’s what I really love about it! I get pretty caught up in the music as I play. But I just love it SOO much!!! 😀

I’m also working on a really pretty arrangement of The First Noel. It’s totally fine on the top hand, but I’m still working out the bottom hand. I like it though! 😀

Church Stuff: Well, there is obviously church on Sundays (which I’m trying to go to :/) And then young woman’s on Wednesday’s. And our ward goes and does baptisms SO OFTEN!!! And Aubree always manages to drag me along. 🙂 I wouldn’t mind it so much, but all the teenage drama drives me insane! Haha! Oh well…


And I would also like to take a space and say something about my friends. My friends are SO FREAKING AWESOME!!! I seriously cannot even BEGIN to express how much I love all of my friends. And how amazing they are. I don’t know what I would be without them. When I’m having a tough time it seems like there is always someone there to help. And that’s been a lifesaver multiple times, literally.




I am just going to post a whole bunch of team building (kinda) games for teens!! (came be used with younger children too.) These are for my benefit as well as yours! 🙂 Games are important, especially for our youth today (this coming from one.)

#1) Ninja!

Step 1) Everyone who is going to be playing stands in a circle.

Step 2) Everyone strikes a pose and yells something… Karateish. 🙂

Step 3) You have to hold very still (if you move your out) and the person who is going to start makes a move towards someone with a Karateish yell.

Step 4) The whole point of the game is to hit the other people from the wrist and down. (that’s what you do when you make your move and yell.)

Ninja is sort of an exercise game! But It is SOOOO fun!! It’s a really fun game!! And if you still don’t get it, ask any teenager. They’ll help you figure it out!! 🙂



#2) Bippity Boppity Boo!

Step 1) Everyone stands in a circle and puts their arms on their shoulders.

Step 2) Everyone puts their head down and says “Bippity-boppity-boo!!”

Step 3) As soon as those magic words are said, everyone quickly lifts their head up. But when you lift your head, you have to be staring into someones eyes.

Step 4) If someone is looking back at you, and you are looking back at them. You are both out! This continues until everyone is out.


#3 Questions

Step 1) Everyone sits in a circle on the ground.

Step 2) One person starts off and asks a person sitting on either side of them a random question. i.e. “What is your favorite color?” Or, “If apples plus pines cones equals bananas, what is the square root of shoes?” Just random questions, They can make sense, but they don’t have to! 🙂

Step 3) If they answer the question, or if they hesitate, they are out!

Step 4) You go around the circle asking random questions like that, people are getting out left and right. It’s really funny to hear the sort of questions that people come up with!! 🙂




#4 The Human Knot

Step 1) Everyone stands in a circle. Then closing their eyes they all reach they hands into the middle and randomly (i like that word) grab hands.



Step 2) Thennnnnn! You have to get untangled!! 🙂 However you can do that…

knott   knotty


Step 3) You keep trying to untangle until there are no tangles!! 🙂 If that makes any sense whatsoever. 🙂 This would be WAY fun with a HUGE group of people!!! Or small.

knottt     knotyy

And yeah! If anyone can think of anymore games that would be fun (and clean) let me know!! 🙂





Fun things for teens to do in the winter!


Go ice skating.
Go sledding.
Have a movie marathon.
Ski on your Wii.
Go skiing.
Build a snowman.
Make a snow angel.
Build a snow fort.
Have a snowball fight.
See this year’s cool Christmas/Winter movie.
Watch last year’s cool Christmas/Winter flick on DVD.
List your ten favorite Christmas carols in your journal.
Shovel off the porch or driveway for your family.
Write a poem about ice or snow in your journal.
Make a winter journal.
Go on a winter hike with friends.
Go ice fishing.
List your ten favorite Christmas television specials in your journal.
Eat an icicle.
Drink hot chocolate.
Knit a scarf.
Babysit for someone for free.
Donate blood.
Sketch a winter scene.
Decorate your bedroom door for the Holidays.
Make a snowflake card for a friend who lives far away.
Start a new jigsaw puzzle – then finish it.
Make a cinnamon ornament.
Try and make a fun family or winter recipe.
Start a snow shoveling business.
Snow shovel for those in need for free.
Play a game of basketball.
Go watch your high school basketball team.
Go watch your high school ski team.
Go watch your high school wrestling team.
Drink some hot cider.
Make origami ornaments.
Make and use an advent calendar.
Go snow tubing.
Learn to use a snow board or learn a new trick.
Make a snowflake.
Take a walk while it’s snowing and catch snowflakes on your tongue.
Friend someone famous on your social networking page.
Decorate your social networking page with a holiday or winter theme.
Sit or look outside and write a song.
Sit or look outside and write a play.
Start your winter fantasy novel.
Take your dog/pet for a mile-long walk.
Clean out and organize your junk drawer so you have room for this school year’s junk.
Read something that warms your heart.
Read something that makes you laugh out loud.
Go to a museum.
Start a new healthy habit.
Add or add to a folder for homework help sites to your favorite links.
Add or add to a folder for sites on a new interest to your favorite links.
Create a family newsletter to send to your whole family.
List ten thing you like about winter in your journal.
Hug your parent, a friend and yourself.
Learn a card trick.
Make place cards for your family’s holiday meal.
Create an About Me scrapbook album or add a page to the one you have.
Send holiday cards to your friends.
Join a book club.
Play with Magnetic Poetry.
Take a bath in Glistening Winter Nights Bath Salts.
Make Vanilla Lip Gloss.
Make a Winter Beaded Safety Pin.
Make a Decoupage Snowman Bookmark Craft.
Make an Ice Candle.
Go Christmas caroling.
Volunteer to read to children at the library.
Create an imaginary teen from the future.
Go on a winter photo scavenger hunt.
Plan a board game or video game tournament.
Make friendship bracelets in winter blue colors.
Learn a yoga position.
Play ice hockey.
Rearrange your bedroom.
Organize your closet: Bring out your cold weather clothes and store your warm weather clothes.
Go through your socks and underwear. Pitch the old and ask for new.
Go snowshoeing.
Go cross-country skiing.
Bake your favorite cookie.
Make a snow mural with squirt bottles, water, food coloring and a yard full of snow.
Post winter greetings on your friend’s social networking pages.
Make a New Year’s resolution, and a plan that will help you stick to it.
Make a gel candle mug.
Make a heats and pearl choker.
Start or update your checking or savings account.
Plan a Holiday Party.
Plan a Valentine Party.
Go snowmobiling.
Learn a new make-up trick.
Get a new haircut or style.
Volunteer at your community food pantry, soup kitchen or church.
Go winter camping – learn survival skills.
Make a snowflake mobile – use glitter.
Make a crazy music video to your favorite song.
Write five facts about your favorite animal/rock star/person in your journal.
Grunge up a pair of jeans.
Play outside with flashlights after dinner.