Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Best Christmas

Gosh, life is so great! And dreams just keep coming true!
Last week, Dave sent a dozen roses to my work, which surprised me so much! Also, we spent our first Christmas together which was amazing!
Part of my family met him on Thanksgiving and the other half met him on Christmas ... and they all love him!
I've just really been thinking lately about how everything I've ever dreamed of is coming true. I've always dreamed of having a boyfriend that my family and dad would be proud to know... and that's Dave.
My blogs are usually about how I pursued something and a dream came true, but all of this is just happening on its own.
Even petty dreams come true like Dave playing my grandpa in checkers and my grandpa giving Dave a big hug... it just makes me tear up remembering those moments.
I just can't get over how much God has blessed me.. I'm so grateful!
Some people have told me that it's not fair how I get everything I want... well, it hasn't been by people handing things to me, I've worked hard for everything I've accomplished in my life..... but in this relationship, I can't take any of the credit, it's just all worked out by the Grace of God.
Part of me believes that things work out in my life because I have always believed that anything is possible... and with faith, it is possible.
I've always felt that God has my back and will grant me what I want.... I don't plan on ever losing faith in my Savior because he is doing a great job. :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fairytales do exist

Well, well, well... I am a happy girl! Dave and I are officially dating as of today!!
I never thought I'd find someone that just understands me and cares about me as much as he does... it's so amazing.
I prayed for a long time that I'd find a good guy that would treat me right and I stayed frustrated for a long time because I hadn't found that guy..... well, I see now that God still does answer prayers. :)
All of this has given me a new hope on life... my faith is stronger, I feel closer to my friends and my family... I just feel like I now have everything that I've ever wanted.
Now I know not to get too caught up because wonderful things don't always last, but I'm also not the type of person who doesn't embrace a great moment. This is a great moment in my life and I want to really enjoy it.
He is a breath of fresh air for me and I'm so blessed to have him.
The title of my blog is "Chase Your Dreams" and I have always chased my dreams and pursued anything I've ever wanted.... but with relationships, you can't really chase that, it just happens by the grace of God I believe.
Well, God has shown his grace on me with Dave and I will thank God for that every day. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Almost was the one that got away

Well, I usually post about my ambitions and my dreams, but occasionally I do post about my love life... well, here's the update!
.... I think I may have finally got it right this time!!
 I have been through a lot dealing with guys who didn't have my best interests at heart, but now things are different... this guy cares about what I have to say and appreciates my talents and my character.... goshhh, what a concept?!
 We are not officially dating, but things are looking pretty hopeful... but I say that a lot and then it blows up in my face so I don't want to JINX it!
We have hung out several times already and we have been on two pretty official dates.. one date was dinner and a movie and the other was to a swanky restaurant/winery in the mountains!
He has been interested in me and has tried talking to me since January, but I never gave him a chance because I was hung up on losers. I can't believe I almost let him get away,  but like he has told me... everything has happened for a reason and the timing was just not right then. :)
I haven't been this happy in a very long time and I haven't felt this comfortable around a guy in a very long time! AND the main thing is that I finally feel like I'm being my true self around him! It's so great!
Hopefully this one turns out better than my past "endeavors"! :)
God has blessed me in sooo many ways... with musical talent, with the ability and opportunity to write for the newspaper, and now with a great guy!
I'm learning more and more about this thing called life... and so far, I don't think it's such a bad thing. :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I keep pushing, I keep trying

Well, a lot has happened since my last blog post as far as my dreams are concerned!
I recently got a break on my music "career" and some of my original songs may soon be getting published!
I mailed 11 of my songs to Nashville last week in order for them to run through the court system and be copyrighted... once copyrighted, they will be able to then be sent to record labels who will then decide if they want any of their artists to record them!
I have one record label who may be interested in recording at least one of my songs, which is soooo exciting!
When all of this started coming about a few weeks ago, I couldn't have been happier! I actually have taken a break from performing right now due to other obligations during the week, but music is still my ultimate passion.
I am still working at the newspaper, which I do enjoy, and I'm working on advancing my music career at the same time. It has always been a dream of mine to be a songwriter. I love singing and performing, but the money is in songwriting and I love putting words to paper.
If I could still write for the newspaper and get paid to write songs on the side, that would be awesome!! With all of the compliments I get on my newspaper writing and the response that I get on the lyrical content of my songs, it makes me really realize that God has blessed me with the ability to write and also put emotion into words.
My original songs mean the world to me because I wrote them all at turning points or low points in my life.... when people that know me read my songs, they always remember the situation that I am speaking of in the song which is great because then I know that my message was correctly expressed....
I love writing and I also want to have an impact on people's lives and I feel that some of my songs could very well do that.... so I'm hoping and praying that my songs some day make it to the radio!!
God has blessed me and I am starting to see my direction...  :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

God-given talents

Yesterday, as I was driving down the road, I was reflecting on how far I've come with my music.
Several years ago, I wouldn't sing in front of anybody, then in high school, I finally got to where I would sing in front of my friends in private.
Then two years ago, during my first year at Averett, the Christian Students Union (CSU) was hosting a talent show and everyone kept telling me that I should sign up. I hesitated at first, then I finally signed up.
It was going to be my first public debut so I was a little nervous! I had some of my closest friends come to support me which meant a lot!
Not many people were there in attendance but I still considered it my debut. I sang "American Honey" by Lady Antebellum. I was going to sing the song with my guitar but I wasn't comfortable with my guitar skills at that moment.
I sang the song and I received a good response and won the talent show (granted only 3 people performed.. but I still won lol).
I was so excited that I finally had bit the bullet and performed "live."
Another aspect of this story is my guitar playing. Like I mentioned, I was scared to play my guitar in public because I felt that I wasn't good enough at it because I had only been playing since March 2009.
The night that brought both my singing and guitar playing out of the box was when I first participated in an open mic at Buffalo Wild Wings in Danville in February or March 2011 (I can't remember).
That open mic was a success and my guitar playing was decent and my singing was on point I thought.
Since I gained that confidence that night, I have been playing at open mics ever since!
Lastnight's open mic at Kick Back Jacks in Danville (yes! new venue!), I had one of my best crowd reactions ever!
I sang "Anyway" by Martina McBride acapella and I dedicated it to the victims of Hurricane Irene.
I surprised myself when I hit every note perfectly and the crowd gave me a huge applause afterward.
People were coming up to me afterward and telling me how great I did on that song. It felt great!
I realize from all of this that God truly has blessed me with a musical talent and I want to continue spreading it! Especially when I dedicated that song, I felt that God was working through me to deliver the powerful message of that song. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Always Welcome

I went to visit my professors and friends on Monday at Averett and I felt so welcomed!
I miss being at Averett so much but it was great to know that they are supporting me in my new job and are cheering me along.
It showed me that no matter where you go in life, those who care, will always be there for you and will support you!
It also showed me that I truly made life-long friendships and connections during my time at Averett.
The whole day reminded me what my purpose is in life... making others smile. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

One thing that is hard to obtain

In my life, I have went for everything I have ever wanted and for the most part, I have succeeded.
However, there is one aspect in my life that I have yet to succeed in and that is.... my love life.
Strike after strike, I can't figure out the game... am I trying too hard? are all of the good guys taken?.... who knows?!?!
I try not to be bitter because I know that at this point in my life, I shouldn't be tied down with a relationship because I am looking to further my career to new milestones and new places. But it still would be nice to share my success with someone....
It's not that I can't get a guy to hit on me, but to get a guy to commit is like trying to find a needle in a haystack!
I have great friends and I have a great family, but where is my Prince Charming? where is my David Beckham or my Tim Tebow?
I'm sure he's out there..... but I'm tired of looking.
Life is a huge mystery and puzzle. Each day, I lose another piece and don't know how the puzzle will ever fit together.... I can do almost anything I set my mind to, but finding Mr. Right is something I just can't do. (sorry, Thomas the Tank Engine)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Once again, I went for it....

    On July 22, I auditioned for American Idol because it has always been a dream of mine to be on that show.
    The audition day was a grueling process with 13 hours of waiting until my turn! When it was my turn, I chose to sing Sara Evan's "A Little Bit Stronger." I felt like I nailed it! I didn't choke!
    Buttt, it was not what the judges were looking for and they told my group that we all had good voices, but just not what they wanted for the new season.
    I wasn't bummed at the time because I was just ready to go home, but now I am somewhat bummed because the Idol experience would have been cool, but oh well....
    I tried out not wanting to be the next "American Idol", I just wanted to give it a shot and know that I tried.
    Everything in my life that I've ever wanted, I've always went for... it may not have always turned out the way I wanted, but I look back at it and think "you never let anything stop you." :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Update on life...

    Since beginning work, it has been a wake-up call for me... things don't come easy. The first few weeks were hard because I realized that the real world was all I had to look forward to... no more homework assignments due, no more hanging out in the dorms.. college was over!
  I have since realized that work can be a great thing and that I actually do provide a service to the community as a reporter. I enjoy my job (most days) and try to greet all the new people I meet with a friendly face.
   I do miss my college days though, but I also feel reconnected to my friends, family and my community.
   I do not let my job consume my entire life, which I always vowed never to do. I am still constantly working on my music, I have taken up dance lessons and I have taken on new roles at my church.
   I hope that these steps that I'm taking are setting myself up for much success in this thing we call life. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

I got a job!!

My last blog talked about how my future was hanging in the balance and I didn't know what direction my life was headed in, but recently, all those doubts came to an end. I applied for a reporter position at my hometown newspaper where I interned in high school. The whole process worked like clock work. I applied one day, they called me to set up an interview the next day, I had the interview the following week, and they hired me five days later! I couldn't have been happier.
My dream has always been to be a reporter and that dream has come true! I will be working with the police beat, which is exciting. I think it'd be thrilling to cover a murder actually!
Since it is in my hometown, I will be moving back in with my parents until I get on my feet. I plan to live there for about a year to save up money for my own place.
My future for the next few years is planned, which is a huge relief!! :)
God has blessed me so much.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Realizing that REAL LIFE is fast-approaching

I am currently applying for jobs, which is a stressful process. There are the thoughts of where do I want to live, what do I want to do, where is life going to take me? It is a rollercoaster ride! I've applied for jobs all around North Carolina and Virginia. It is nerve racking waiting for responses, but it will all be worth it in the end.
I thought I'd like the mystery of where I'll end up, but I don't. The not-knowing of where I'll be at this time next year is making me a little anxious. There have been tears involved when trying to explain to my parents that I have not applied for any jobs locally because there aren't any, which wasn't taken well by them because I am the baby.
I am having to grow up and move out into the real world faster than most. I am starting to really feel my age when I face these issues with fear.
I honestly feel like I am mature for my age, but will I be as mature when the rent payment is due, the light bill is due, my car won't start, or I mess up on the job? I have been skipping through life for 19 years without a care in the world, but now, I have cares in the world.
For 19 years, every decision has been mine and I have gotten myself to this point because of those decisions, but now, it is all left up to the employer and not me. The fact that I no longer control my own destiny is the part I hate the most.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Open Mic Night/Debut

This Wednesday, I made my public debut as an artist. It was at an open mic night at Buffalo Wild Wings. I had sang before at events on campus, but with my largest crowd being only about 8. Therefore, with about 40 people in the bar, I was nervous. I began second-guessing my ability as an artist. I am comfortable with my singing, but it was the first time ever playing guitar in front of anyone other than my closest friends. I was also going to debut two original songs, so there was a lot for me to prove that night.
My name got called and I walked up, the nerves slightly went away. Once I started singing the first song, "Sparks Fly" by Taylor Swift, I felt in my element and I was loving it! I received great applause after each song. While singing my original songs, I could see people's feet tapping along to the beat, which made me feel awesome!
I have had so many people tell me that I should try out for American Idol or go to Nashville to pitch my songs, but that's just not in my priority list right now. I want to become a journalist first and just do small local gigs with my music on the side in the process. I would like to pursue my music someday though because it did feel good playing my music in front of an audience. By making my first debut, I had began chasing the dream of becoming a musician. :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dreaming of the Independent Lifestyle

Last year, I commuted to Averett every day, which became a hassle. I didn't like commuting because I felt left out of all of the fun things that all of the campus residents got to do. Also, I was tired of having a curfew at home. I felt that I should get on campus to experience the college lifestyle and to finally be an independent person.
My parents had already told me that they weren't going to pay for me to live on campus when I was living at home essentially free. After that, I heard of the RA position and that it paid for the room expense. Therefore, I applied for the position. I had my heart set on moving on campus and by not getting the job, I would have been upset, but I kept a positive attitude. The day came when the letters went out that said if you got the job or not. I opened my letter and I immediately saw a "Congratulations." I couldn't believe it! I got the job! I was going to get on campus!
My parents were not so thrilled. They had then realized that their baby girl was moving out of the house. The day I left, it was sad and I cried that morning when I woke up, but I knew it was part of growing up. Most college students move to go to college and it was time for me to do so as well.
I do not regret moving out. I love the independent lifestyle of washing my own clothes and making my own decisions. I felt like it was the best thing for me at this point in my life because I am about to graduate and move out into the work force and get my own place, and this experience has prepapred me for that. I honestly feel like it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was something I had to do.
If I wouldn't have gotten the RA position, I wouldn't have been able to move, but everything worked out. Once again, I saw an opportunity, I went for it, and I achieved it. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I chased a dream, didn't succeed, but I tried

My life revolves around chasing my dreams, and today, I chased another one. There was a casting call for a new segment on WXII12 news called "Girl Talk." That would have been my dream job to have my own segment! The judges were looking for someone with a great personality, which I figured I had. I waited in line for over two hours and finally got my chance in front of the judges.
I was bubbly and energetic, I thought it went well, but they sent me on my way.... I didn't make the cut. While it did hurt to get rejected, I know that I at least tried, and I also knew that over 500 people were auditioning. Therefore, I kept my head up and knew that it just wasn't meant to be. I'm sure it didn't work out because God has bigger plans for me. If I wouldn't have tried, I would have regretted it. I'm glad that I tried because I proved to myself that I go after what I want, and I was still able to be myself in an intimidating situation.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters so I eat lunch every Tuesday with my "little sister" at Forest Hills Elementary. Today, when I went to visit her, I watched the children in the cafeteria, especially the kindergartners. They all were smiling and laughing without a care in the world. It made me think about the position I am in my life today. I have overloaded myself with classes; I am about to graduate from college; I am trying to get a job, and I attempting to keep my sanity. Where have those 14 years gone? While I do miss the simplicity of those really young years, but I'm not sure I would trade it. I am more stressed now, but there are a lot more things in my life now that give me happiness. I have found myself, I have almost found a place in this world, and I have some great memories since my kindergarten year. The expression "the good ol' days" is overused, and while those may have been the good ol' days, I'm hoping that my "best ol' days" are still to come. :)

Princess Ashley

In high school, I wasn't popular at all. I was the shy, smart, quiet girl that people liked, but didn't invite to parties. I was never popular enough to be voted as Homecoming Princess back then. Therefore, this year at Averett, I wanted to try to live out what I couldn't before.
Since here you don't have to be nominated, it helped my chances. I filled out the paperwork, turned it in, and waited to see how the voting went.
There was a slight mix-up at first because I thought since I am a senior that I would be running for Homecoming Queen, but I didn't have enough credits so I had to run for Homecoming Princess. I was a little bummed, but I got over it. There were more girls running for princess so the odds were not looking good. I wanted to win so bad because in my mind, I wanted to make up for the missed chance in high school.
Well, the big day came. I had to work in the press box that day so I had access to the list of winners. Someone told me not to peek, but the suspense was killing me. I picked the sheet up and beside homecoming princess said my name. I started jumping up and down and teared up once again. I couldn't believe that my moment had finally came!
Once we went down on the football field, I already knew, which took some of the shock out of the announcement, but the moment was still amazing. I really didn't think I was going to win, but I still held on to that hope that anything is possible, and my DREAM CAME TRUE.

Not just academic dreams

I have loved to sing since I was little, but only recently have I gained the courage to sing in front of other people. That courage came in handy last May when I entered a singing contest in Rocky Mount. It was a contest called "Dashboard Idol," and the winner would receive $2,127.
I had been stressing out about how I was going to pay for my meal plan this year because I didn't have a job and my parents were going to make me pay for it. One night, I was watching television and saw the ad for this contest. I looked at my mom and I said, "I have to do this."
I first had to register and my name had to be drawn out of the box to even get to come. Well, my name was drawn and they told me to be there. I was so stoked!
That morning I went to Rocky Mount and I found out that there was a list of songs that they would be choosing from. I looked at the list and I knew the lyrics to about half of them so I was really nervous as to when they would draw my name and what song I would end up getting. Another thing I found out was that there were only 10 people in the contest, it was supposed to be 45. That added pressure because the odds were in my favor.
Every contestant's name was drawn to choose the order. Each contestant went behind the wheel of a car and had to sing the song that came on with enthusiasm, knowledge of the lyrics, and a good singing voice. Most of the contestants were forgetting the lyrics, so I became even more nervous not to forget my lyrics.
I was the next to the last name to be drawn and I walked up, got in the car, and the song "Redneck Woman" by Gretchen Wilson came on. I was like "uh oh, I haven't sung this song in years!" However, once it started, all the words came back to me. I didn't forget a single lyric!
After all the contestants had their turn, the judges went to deliberate. They came back and said, "Our winner had a perfect score, and now she has money for college.... the winner is Ashley Jackson." When I walked up to receive my trophy, I teared up once again thinking how ANOTHER dream came true. I didn't listen to everybody when they said that my chances of winning were slim to none, I knew that I could do it. It was up to me, not anyone else.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest Blogger- Sierra Young

     As i look back on my life i realize that more and more my dreams have been pushed to the side. I had dreams of becoming a lawyer, a baker and even a theater teacher all of them fell by the wayside. It wasn't until 10th grade English when my favorite teacher introduced me to poetry and i discovered a world of writing that would allow me to express my feelings through words. That was it, i had finally found a dream that was my own that i honestly felt passionate enough about to follow. Ever since then things have been clear, I have been writing and pushing and letting no obstacle stand in my way of becoming a writer. No dream in the world right now is as important as this dream, so i encourage thought and observation to find that dream that makes you, you.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Scholarships, what a blessing

In 11th grade, things got real, it was time to start organizing plans for college. For the longest time, I wanted to be a meteorologist and was going to go to NC State, but in 11th grade, something told me that I should pursue journalism. I immediately looked at Averett's catalog online, saw they had a journalism program and the decision was over. I didn't want to move away from home so my decision to go to Averett was final.
The process began my senior year to start applying to Averett and applying for scholarships. The application for Averett took like 10 minutes, but the scholarship process was a headache. My mom and I went to several seminars coaching us on how to fill out FAFSA and other scholarship techniques. It was overwhelming, but I told my parents then, I said, "Since I make good grades, I know I can get scholarships. I don't want you two to have to pay hardly anything on my education, leave it to me." I took that mindset and ran with it.
I applied for scholarship after scholarship, some I received, some I didn't. However, after all the decisions were made and I had received some of them, I ended up with a $3,000 credit after my freshman year at Averett. I couldn't believe that all that hard work had paid off. I looked at my parents and said "I told you, I got this, don't you worry about a thing."
This year during first semester, my credit paid for the balance after the presidential scholarship. Second semester, the credit was gone, but all that was owed was about $4,000. My mom wrote the check and said "I am so proud of you. I never imagined we would get you through college and only have paid this much. You got out there and worked hard for what you received." I said, "I know, I can't believe it either."

From the beginning, I wanted to be somebody

I developed a competitive nature from an early age and the older I got, the worse it became. In high school, I began dreaming of college and scholarships. I told myself in 9th grade that I wanted to graduate in the top of my class. My high school didn't have valavictorian or salutatorian, it was broken down into percentiles. I didn't care about being valavictorian, I just wanted to be in the top.
This mindset stressed me out a lot in high school because I was always comparing my grades with the other smart students in order to scope out the "competition." My main focus was getting the A, I wasn't into going to parties or having a steady boyfriend. I look back now and wish I would have loosened up a little, but then again, I also look at how much I've accomplished and know that it's because I didn't slack off.
The day came in May 2009 that made all the stress worth it. I received a letter from WDBJ7 inviting me to a Best of the Class Honors luncheon in Roanoke. That meant that I was in the top two of my class. My dream had come true. I grew up watching the commercials showing the top students every summer and always wished that could be me someday. I almost cried when I read the letter and I was so excited to tell my parents the good news.
All the tears I cried in the Biology book studying for a hard test and wanting to give up at times, did not matter anymore. I had accomplished what I set out to do.

Mission Statement

The purpose of this blog is to inspire people to chase their dreams. I have had personal experience that if you dream something and work hard, it will happen. I will be sharing those experiences on this blog. The key is to always believe in yourself. :)