Monday, July 27, 2009


I love that we finally have rain in TX. I'm a little bummed that it will be here all week, but I'll take it. However, I do not like that I have a cold in the summer. Why am I getting sick all of the sudden? I truly believe being away from the disgusting germs at my school is why. I built up such a great immune system working with germy kids and now I'm in such a clean environment constantly and my body has no resistance. Not to say my house is pristine and clean all the time, but it is most of the time. Ugh. I hate it. I slept away the afternoon. It was nice sleeping with my dogs, but I woke up still having that drunk groggy feeling and one massive headache.

Okay, so things I am thankful for today...
my check engine light---it's no longer on. Not sure if that's good, but I'll take it as a good sign
my family---having Abby here makes me realize how lucky I am to have the parents I do. I know it wasn't easy for my parents to raise biracial children, but they always made sure we knew our roots. My heart aches for Abby because she has such a skewed view of black people. There are like 3 black people in her hometown (including her) and they're all under the age of 20. I'm so glad my parents exposed me to my culture and to other cultures. I still had to deal with ignorance from family members and community members, but I was raised with the knowledge on how to recognize and handle it. I'm so blessed to have grown up with both of my parents to help me appreciate being black & white.
good friends near & far---I love catching up with friends via email, blog or even on the phone (so old fashioned lol) I emailed my friend Lara from college with questions I have on pregnancy and stuff (I know we're not ready now, but I like to start my research early). She gave me the most honest, non-judgmental responses. Her answers really displayed the confusion, love, and joy associated with motherhood. She brought so much peace to my heart. I knew Lara when were crazy college students preparing to become teachers. We finished our master's degree together and as I moved to Texas, she married and prepared to welcome her first daughter. She stepped into both roles in true Lara-fashion. She dove in and is probably one of the best mothers I know. She strives to create safe and healthy environment for her girls, but she is still real. I hope I can be half the mother she is!
My friend Tish out in Cali is doing some writing. She asked me to take a look at it. She probably doesn't realize that she feuled my desire to write. I've been writing daily and loving it. Working on a semi-biographical piece of fiction as we speak.
Sam---his cyst is gone. Little pissed that we spent so much damn money to get him tested, but glad it's gone and not bothering him. Glad the excessive diarrhea is gone. still waiting for the bad gas to go away. I better not hold my breath
A new church home---My friend Rachel suggested I attend church two weeks ago to see Bishop Jerry. I really enjoyed the service and when we went back again I felt so at home. I've struggled with finding a church home since I moved here. I think it's a church that Murad would like to attend with me as well (don't worry no conversion for him, but he appreciates hearing the Good Word and we want our children to raise our children as Lutherans)
Jessi---I'm so proud of my cousin Jessi. She sent me pictures of cakes she is decorating. She is really talented. She is doing the cakes for my cousin (and her brother) Willie's vow renewal. I'm trying to convince her to start her own business.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Come Undone

Who do you need?
Who do you love?
When you come undone...

Remember that Duran Duran song from the 90's? I used to love that song.

I have been feeling a little undone lately, but in a good way...I guess. This month has been tough financially. We had to dip into savings when Murad's uncle died and twice for Sam's vet bills. My check engine light also came on. Ughhh. I feel like will we ever get ahead? Will my plans for saving for a family actually go through?

Murad reminded me that during this recession and other hard times, we need to focus on the now. "Ash, we have everything we need today. We aren't going hungry. Abby is taken care of. We have our two beautiful dogs with us." Why can't I be that optimistic? Why can't I live for the moment. (not to say Murad doesn't plan ahead..he does, but he adapts to change better than I do) Reading through my blogs one would think I'm not happy with my current situation. I complain about not having a house, I worry about accidentally getting pregnant before "we're ready," I'm eager for Murad to get in and out of grad school, etc, etc. It's like I have this ideal timeline. When in reality, my life right now is great. I feel like I don't embrace the "right now." I sometimes think my timeline makes me hypocritical and that I push my expectations onto others. I'm always looking ahead. While that serves me well in a lot of areas, I feel like I don't fully get to experience the joys of this time in our lives. All the good things in my life are the unexpected joys I've found. None of them were planned. I never imagined I'd marry a man I met at an airport who has a child and who is a different faith, but I did.... what a blessing it has been to marry him.

So, I'm going to become more process oriented instead of product oriented. I strive for perfection, but I also need to embrace who I am right now and the process I'm taking not to become pefect and not become whole, but just the future me! One thing my friend Katie does in her blog is list things that are important to her and for which she is grateful. I think I need to do that, not as a reminder and not as an affirmation, but maybe as a chronicle? I can look back and say, "ah! Remember that time? It was so great!"

things I am grateful for right now:
-time to read...I'm almost done with The Shack (excellent book! Highly recommend) and I'm simultaneously reading a book my friend is writing. I love getting lost in books and so thankful for the summer days by the pool to do so
-Jesus...ummm....reading The Shack made me appreciative for the relationship I have with Him. His love is Awesome and I strive to understand it.
-my husband....WOW! I dated some duds before him and he has been such a breath of fresh air. He pushes me outside my comfort zone, but he's always there for me no matter what problem I'm having. I sometimes have to remind myself that I'm not going through this alone anymore and that he's always there for me.
-health....I was sick a few weeks ago and it sucked. Sam was sick this week and it really sucked. I'm glad we're healthy. enuf said
-The first family. even though we're all in different places I'm reminded daily how intertwined we are.
-uncertainty....I'm thankful for this feeling right now and also it's counterpart that I hope will follow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

research interests

so, i'm helping murad work on his personal statement for grad school. he has to explain his research interests (he's applying to funded programs, so you have to get professors to want to work with you). So anyways, I thought it be fun to post our research interests here. so these are our interests if we were in school getting our Ph.D and our "we're rich so we can sit around and do nothing, but research."

Mr. Soup
PhD program: Counseling Psychology
Research Interests: marriage/family therapy, families with individuals with disabilities, personality, sports psychology

PhD program: Videogaming with a minor in useless facts
Research Interests: Madden, Gears of War, chatting with friends online, persuading your wife to look up stupid facts about pop-culture and then say how much you hate pop-culture and the media

Mrs. Soup
PhD program: Sociology with a specialization in the sociology of education minor: curriculum studies
Research interests: multicultural families, child abuse/neglect, learning, writing instruction, literacy, writing across the curriculum, student motivation, educational policy, interfaith families

PhD Program: Event & Life planning with a specialization in weddings, home-buying, traveling and blogging. minor in wikipedia
Research interests: recipes, foreclosures, Punta Cana, shopping at Ross, drinking wine, using wikipedia to prove people wrong, finding one-hit wonders of the 80's & 90's

Abby Soup
Undergraduate program: double major: biology & graphic design
Job prospects: future graduate student in paleontology, graphic designer, future med student, illustrator

PhD Program: rapping with a specialization in dodgeball, running, push-ups and sit-ups
research interests: rapping with parents, rapping about day-camps, how to successfully win people over with the Soulja Boy dance at weddings, dodgeball champions and their impact on day camp students.

Mom too soon...

so, I've been recieving a lot of signs about motherhood. I've only been married for four months (four months yesterday exactly), but the urge to be a full-time, human mama has kicked in. Some events that have taken place this week have solidified my desire to procreate or adopt with the man I love. Don't worry, I'll spare you the details of procreation (I'm not sure if blogger allows pornography=) I will admit I still have some hang-ups associated with motherhood:

1. my body-not really excited about giving up my body. and I hate to make it sound like that, but that's what it is in my mind. until I'm mature enough to think of it as giving a gift, then I will really know I'm ready. but for now I will say I'm not ready for the pain (in more than one way) associated with being a mom.

2. my time- not ready to give up my free-time yet either.

So, the urge to be a full-time, human mother is there. I never said it was strong. I never said I was mature either (I teach 7th grade, duh!)

but I have come a long way. i don't want to wait as long as I wanted to previously. and I am maturing slowly.
1. money-I used to never worry about money. I would overpay and indulge with no real worries. now I save and bargain-shop. That being said, I had some reservations about having a baby while Murad is in grad school. however, once I set my mind to something I pursue it wholeheartedly. Kinda like my wedding. I was determined to have an inexpensive, yet elegant wedding for significantly less than the national average and I did. so, after Murad and I agreed to buy a foreclosure, I knew we could start a family and still live comfortably while he's in grad school. I know some people are leary of it, but I'm doing my homework. I ordered some literature on the topic and we'll definitely work with a knowledgable realtor.
2. illness- my whole life people have always questioned why I never entered the medical field like my mom (she's a nurse). I loved science class. I loved dissecting creatures in Zoology class. I loved memorizing body parts. However, I have a very weak stomach when it comes to BLOOD and massive loads of shit. Well, I confronted that phobia this week when Sam had massive diarrhea and projectile vomitting. Gross. But it wasn't that gross. Sam is my baby and I took care of him like he was one. Murad and I took shifts caring for him. I trained myself to wake-up every hour to care for him and I was easily awakened by the slightest stir in his movements. I loved knowing he needed me and that I was able to be there for him. At that point my desire to become a mother intensified. I felt like I knew that Murad and I could do it and do it well.
3. Abby-having Abby here has made me want to be a good stepmother. I've done my best to create a safe, loving, enriching and spiritual environment for her. The other day I go "Abby, aren't we pretty mean. I mean, you get spankings here." and she goes, "No, you are not mean. You guys are strict, but it's helping me become a better person!" So cute and last night she told me I am going to make a great mother some day. So sweet! I know I shouldn't get my confidence from a 7 year-old, but Abby is pretty smart and knows her stuff. Plus, I love watching her face light up when she discovers something new, hearing her laugh at her daddy's attempt to rap, helping her sound out a word when she reads, and many other things. I cherish our time with her this summer and look forward to many more summers. Hopefully, she'll spend many summers with her younger brothers and sisters too.
Anyways, I don't know when I'll actually start trying for a baby. I could guess two years from now, but you never know. However, I am no longer scared of the idea of being a mother.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


No, we're not facing foreclosure. We don't even own property, so no worries there. I've decided to foreclose on my worrying about the future. I feel like I always worry and then it halts my life drastically. I can't help it. It runs in my family. My mom. My maternal grandmother (she's still pissed that we're going to Punta Cana instead of Hawaii. She thinks islands outside the US are dangerous). Anyways, I'm trying to use foreclosure as a metaphor here, and it's not really working, so on to the meat of my post.

Murad had a good coversation with one of his old professors who told him that he should still apply to grad school this year. He thinks Murad has a really good chance of getting in this year. Even if he doesn't, he advised not getting an MSW, but instead taking some psych classes to keep up to date and reapply next year. So, he is going to apply this year and if he doesn't get in, he'll try next year.

So our plan of saving a whole bunch of $$ is kind of shot. If he gets in to grad school right away, we won't be able to save as much. My dream of owning a home and starting a family while he's in grad school was shot as well. That was until....foreclosure. I know it's kind of risky, but I've been reading up on it lately, and it's really a good option for those who want to live in a home. My cousin returned back to school along with her boyfriend. She was able to buy a nice house near UMKC for the price of a car! So, of course I'm picking her brain to find out more details. We might as well take advantage of this economic crisis and buy sooner rather than later. I know we may not get a home for as cheap as she got hers, but we could hopefully get a decent home that we could pay off fast and then sell once he's out of grad school. I would love it if our only debt was our student loans and his car payment (mine will be paid off June 2010!!! woo-woo!) Murad really liked my idea, because he never wanted a traditional mortgage, so this plan was right up his alley.

Anyways, as our plans change I realize I can't worry all the time. There is always a way to achieve our dreams. We just have to be creative, determined and non-worrying! confident would've been a better word...huh?

Let's see, let's talk about life right now....the road to our destination. Things are good. really good. Abby is still here and enjoying her time here. I'm so glad she gets to enjoy being a kid while she's here. Last week she had her first Dallas sleepover and had a blast. She loves camp and art class. I just love seeing her so happy and carefree. She has so many friends at camp. I think she is the most popular girl (no, seriously, she is!!!) We're still having her run each night. When we first started she only did 4 laps each night and now she does 20 laps each night. She also used to only do 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups each night and now she does 100 of each. We're really trying to get her in shape and build good eating and exercising habits. I know it will be hard when she returns back home, but I hope she'll still want to run and play outside.

Last night I went dancing...salsa dancing with my friend Heather from work and some of her friends. Salsa dancing is such a work-out! I didn't get out of bed until 10:30am! Murad is at work today, so I kind of freaked when I woke up so late, but Abby didn't get up until 11:30am. We're kind of having a lazy, lazy day. I think we'll eat lunch, go to the library and then go grocery shopping. tonight is family movie night: Twilight! It's Abby's favorite movie and Murad has wanted to see it. Luckily Nana Babs and Papa Ken (my parents) own it and kindly burned a copy for us.

Okay, off to shower and get dressed!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Since I posted such a depressing post about marriage and divorce, I thought I'd post a happier post. Yesterday, I attended Christ Lutheran Church with my friend Rachel and my Abby. I went because my old (and favorite) pastor was there! Pastor Jerry...well now Bishop Jerry! It was so good to see him. Christ Lutheran had an intern ordained yesterday. Since she will serve at a church in Kansas, Bishop Jerry came to ordain her. He really was an influential man in my life while I was growing up. He led our church in such a positive direction. All the changes led to his position as bishop of the Central States Synod. I read at his installation service in Overland Park eight years ago (hard to believe I was in college that long ago!). Anyways, it was so good to see him and catch up. Rachel and I were totally excited (she attended my church in Wichita and now lives here in Dallas, too).

Rachel and I also remininsced about good times at Reformation. We really did attend Reformation during it's hey day. When we were in middle school we built a new church and as a result I was the first class to be confirmed in the new church. In addition, we were part of the groups that went to Sky Ranch Lutheran camp in Colorado, we went to the ELCA Youth Gathering in St. Louis, went on camping trips and a trip to Minnesota. While we were members there, John Leavitt was the choir director. Not only was he an awesome choir director, but he composed music that is now used in all the Lutheran Books of Worship. I could go on and on about how great my church was for me growing up. I'm still saddened that all the good things are overshadowed by the fact that our beloved member Dr. Tiller was murdered there. Even a month later it is still hard to grasp. But I digress.....Sunday was such an awesome experience. I felt so close to the Lord that day.


No, I'm not getting divorced, but I feel like everyone else is. Through the magic (not sure if you want to call it magic) of facebook, you can sort of spy on people and their everchanging status and relationship status. It just kind of brings you down. I think it brings me down because A.) I've only been married for four months and I have a long way to go in this marriage. I don't like hearing stories of failure when I'm all happy and optimistic and IN LOVE! B.) I don't know what brings people to that point. I mean there are some divorces that you see coming from the second the couple walks down the aisle. Some people get married for the wrong reasons (young and horny seem to be the common reasons in the U.S.) and divorce just seems inevitable. However, some people seem happy and seem perfect for each other, and then it all just falls apart.

I was talking to Murad about it last night.
Me: How can someone just throw it all away?
Murad: Sometimes, Ash it doesn't seem like they're throwing it away. To them, it seems like they're gaining more.
Me: But why???
No answer. Well, actually he said he thinks some guys just want to try something new (and by something new he means CHEAT with a hot young thing). He said he just can't figure out why guys would throw it all away to chase tail.

Ironically today when I turned on the television show, the Tyra Banks show was on and the subject was internet dating websites for married people. These websites promise anonymity for men and women who want to meet married people and date them. Uggh! Tyra had the president of, a married dating site, on television. They also had some men and women who had been affected by the website. One women loved cheating on her husband and didn't want to work on her marriage even though her husband was begging her to do so. One woman had sex with over 150 men in a six month period. Another woman decided to take her husband back after he cheated on her using the website to meet people. It was a sad and disgusting episode.

I know there is no magic trick to having a successful marriage free of infidelity and/or divorce. However, I hope Murad and I can work on whatever issues that arise so that neither of us feels as though cheating or divorce is a better option than fidelity, love and marriage. I just hope we never fall out of love with each other and lose sight of what is important. I know that sounds idealistic and maybe unrealistic, but it is my goal....our goal!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Change of Plans

It seems like every time I write a blog entry, something changes. I'm always planning and then things change. However, this time the change is big and a good one. Murad has decided to postpone applying to grad school until next year. That means we are waiting to make a big move until 2011. There were a lot of things building up to this. First, Murad has had a stressful summer with classes and working full-time. He hasn't really been able to study for the GRE like he wants to. While his GPA is good, he wants to be higher. So, after he graduates he is going to enroll in an MSW program, most likely at Texas A&M Commerce. He can get an awesome grad GPA, gain some research experience and a counseling practicum. Doctorate progams in psychology look very highly on research experience and since he's applying to mostly counseling psych programs, it will look good to have a counseling practicum. He can study for the GRE, take a prep course if necessary and take it more than once so he can get the score he wants.These are all things I've learned as the wife of a professional student (more on that later...)
At first it seemed like a big blow, but after we started talking about it, we realized this will open up a lot of doors for us. We're hoping that Murad's internship at Baylor turns into a full-time gig once he graduates. Hopefully, we can maintain our current poverty line existence and build a nest-egg with one of our salaries. That way when we move we can A.) buy a house in his grad school location. B.) put some money away so that we can start our family while he is in grad school. Luckily, Murad is applying to funded doctoral programs so his tuition & fees would be covered and he would receive a modest living stipend. Even with that I worried if having a baby while he is in grad school was smart to do. I kind of made myself believe that I would have to wait to be a mother. However, I'm not getting any younger. Having a baby while I'm in my forties is not for me (I don't knock those who's just not me!). While I'm not ready for motherhood, I know that in a few years I will be and at that time I don't want anything to stand in the way of that! So, I feel a little more peace in my heart about that. I truly believe God brought this confusion into our lives for us to make sense of it and come up with a plan to works for us as a family.
In addition, I think this will enable him to get into one of his top choices. We're really hoping for KU or UMKC, so we'll see!
There are a few things I want to do before we move. Since we do want to have children in a few years, I really need to reconsider my career choice. I'm seriously looking into teaching at a community college. I love being a teacher of junior high students, but it would be too stressful while being a mommy. I'm hoping the time here will allow me to grow a pair and apply to teach (part-time...maybe one night a week or in the summer) at one of the local community colleges. Just to give it a try and see if I like it and gain some experience. I'm just a little nervous because a.) I am young and look really, really young (I get mistaken for joke) b.) I still doubt my skills...I know, it's dumb, but I do. I need to get over that....and I will.
Another thing I want to do is learn more about what it's like to be the wife of a grad school student. I've been researching it a lot and there really isn't much out there. I'm thinking of starting a blog or a website that provides an outlet for us strong women. We face so many challenges (finances, stress, dissertation, etc.) and joys (graduation, paid internship!). So that is one of my summer projects: researching and writing about being a professional-student spouse.
I feel like I just wrote a book. It was good and cathartic though. everything is just real good right now...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I'm a Hustler, baby!

So yesterday I go to pick up Abby from camp. On Wednesdays they always take field trips, so I was eager to hear how her trip to the bowling alley was. The usual 7-year old retellling of a field trip ensued.
"It was fun. Our team won!" Cool. Awesome. Way to go Abby.
"I didn't get any tickets, so Zoey gave me 30 of hers." Wow. Zoey is nice. "I bought some harmonicas with them." Oh. I thought to myself. I wonder what these five cent harmonicas look like. Let me see them, Abby.
"Oh, I sold them for $10." In my head I'm thinking, she got some street game! what?
"Yeah, I sold them and got $10. I went and bought some snacks out of the vending machine." oh what'd you get?
"Two Honey Buns, Sour Skittles and a whole bunch of drinks." Oh, well give them to me and I'll put them in the fridge.
"I ate them all before you picked me up!" What! I had to remain calm. I wanted to bust out laughing! At this point I texted Murad. He called me back immediately. I could tell he was shocked. We both didn't know whether to high five Abby or punish her. I mean, seriously, she hustled a girl out of her tickets, bought cheap, worthless harmonicas and made $10! Either she's a genius or these kids are just idiots. It makes me question the quality of the Richardson Independent School District math program.
Despite finding this all amusing, I remained firm and in stepmother-mode. Murad increased her laps, push-ups, and sit-ups. I had her write an apology note and copy down lines. We also took away TV for the next two days. Abby was invited over for a sleepover on Friday, so we're still deciding whether to allow her to go. I think we'll let her go though.
When Murad got home from work, it was hard for him to keep a straight face. There were times that he couldn't help but laugh, especially when Abby defended the quality of the harmonicas.
Murad: You sold five cent harmonicas and made $10?
Abby: They had gold on them, daddy. Real gold!
We didn't have the heart to tell her that it was gold spray paint.
If any lesson can be learned from this it is the importance of parent involvement. Help your child with their homework, especially math homework. If you can't do math, hire a tutor. You never know when your child will be hustled by a seven year old entrepeneur.
(ignore the messy living area in the pic behind Abby. I've been sick with a stomach virus and was literally camped out on the couch for two days. it's clean now. i promise. no seriously, it is)

Monday, July 6, 2009

what's for lunch?

oh wait I can't eat it. ***DISCLAIMER***NASTINESS TO ENSUE*** After spending most of the night in the bathroom, I'm starting to feel a little bit better. Ughh. I don't know if it's the stomach flu or food poisoning, but it's not fun. It all started on Friday night. I ate a corndog at Kaboom Town and the rode a ride with the moniker "Whiplash." Abby throroughly enjoyed the ride; I was less than thrilled. I felt as though I could've vomited my 12 inch corndog right back up in perfect form. On, Saturday I felt really queasy, but no action. On Sunday, we went to dinner with Murad's friend from NJ and that's when the madness began. About an hour after we arrived home, I became intimate with the master bathroom toilet seat. It pretty much continued until 6am and then started up again around 8am. No sleep. Tonight I have to get sleep because I have so much to do before watching the Michael Jackson memorial. I hate being sick. I sat on the couch and watched Young & the Restless (a fave) Glitter (okay only two minutes before I turned the station...that is a horrible movie!) and one of my old school faves Pretty in Pink. I never realized that the guy who plays Ducky is the same guy from Two and a Half Men. How could I be so blind. I guess I didn't have my time & sickness goggles on when watching Two and a Half Men before.
So, I really need to get Murad on the ball with studying for the GRE. He's been using the flash cards I made him, but we need to go over everything and take the practice tests and possibly look into tutoring. Sometimes, I feel like I'm applying. I'm trying to remain optimistic and realistic. I know Murad can get in somewhere, we're just hoping it's somewhere ideal to us! I do realize location is a sacrifice one has to make when applying to grad school. If for some reason, he doesn't get in this year (2010-2011), we know what we're up against, he can improve his weaknesses and reapply for (2011-2012). I think we've narrowed down the list:
University of Kansas --Counseling Psychology--obvious reasons: it's in KS and close to KC, they have research areas in his interests
Wichita State University--Clinical Psychology--obvious reasons: it's in KS and in my hometown, they have a couple professors with research interests similar to his
Washington State University--Counseling Psychology--our dream has always been to live in the Pacific Northwest, so we thought we'd give it a chance. I know one day we'll end up there, but we thought why not end up there sooner rather than later. Research interests are similar to his too
University of Missouri-Kansas City--Counseling Psychology-- they have research interests similar to his, we'd be in KC and we both have friends living in that area
University of Oklahoma--Counseling Psychology--research interests similar to his
Oklahoma State University--Counseling Psychology--research interests similar to his
Texas A&M Commerce (Mesquite)--Social Work (MSW)--close proximity to where we are now

We're hoping for the top 4, but the bottom 3 are okay and will keep us in the midwest area. As you can see we're hoping for a cooler climate. I think our dogs would greatly appreciate the climate change!

I know whatever happens we'll be okay. We've been so blessed during our three years together with good fortune, good friends and good family.

Anyways, enough about that and more about ME! J/K Besides being sick, I have had a great time being DONE with summer school! Yeah! I also passed my principal practice exam and will officially have a (2nd) master's degree in August. I've lost a few pounds from running with Abby each night. Abby has lost a lot of weight too, so we've been pretty successful in that department. I know Murad is still struggling with his weight, but honestly I love the extra pounds on him. He's got broader shoulders, which I love. lovin' it!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Stolen Quote

I stole this quote from my dear friend Katie's blog. I love this because I feel like while we should hold tight to dreams, we should also embrace new dreams. It's all part of God's ultimate plan for us. The unknown is so scary and exciting!

Sometimes on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one...

My goal is to get lost! I'm such a planner, but I need to embrace the unknown. I know Murad would appreciate it!

Okay, I need to head out to Kaboomtown with my favorite girl Abby and my friend Christina!