Thursday, April 28, 2011

Peace at Last!

I'm so exhausted that I am sleep-typing, but I wanted to give a brief overview of today. I will give more details later because I need sleep in a bad way. Somehow I will have to wake up tomorrow and teach some children, so I need to get my sleep. Huff was found guilty on all five counts: aggravated robbery (40 years), aggravated burglary (40 years), second degree battery (6 years), terroristic threatening in the first degree (6 years), and the big daddy--kidnapping with a life sentence. That totals 192 years in prison.

I can't tell you the overwhelming love and support we have gotten from friends and family but also from the Little Rock police department. I have grown to appreciate the hard work they have done and continue to do. Throughout this ordeal, we girls have gotten to know the detectives very well. They, of course, celebrated with us tonight at YaYa's. Detective Eason was a protector and walked us to our car in the parking garage after the trial. Detective Martin, who was in charge of the case, said as we were saying goodbye that he hopes this won't be the last time he sees us girls. Well guess what? It won't be. I told him he was stuck with us. Detective Hopper is just a big old bear. I actually got teary eyed hugging him. In fact, I wouldn't let go until he said he really did have to leave. They have just grown to be a part of us. I have such a faith in our system knowing these men are protecting this community. I love it.

We can all rest easier tonight knowing that one psycho is locked away and can't harm any more women. His face will not haunt us anymore. In fact, I hope to goodness that he sees sweet Haleigh's face, the faces of her family, and my evil snarl at him in his nightmares every night. Good always wins in the end.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm living vicariously

Through the CSI who testified today. She was so super cool AND she's German AND has a super cool French name AND is married to a French guy. I know. Cool. Now you ask, "Ashley, how could you possibly know this information?" Alas my fair friends, I shall tell you. I simply bombarded her with questions and started speaking to her in German. I only know the words goodnight and the word for iron. Then I found out she doesn't speak German, just has German ancestry. Yep. She was cool. So cool that I took a picture of her crime scene ensemble. No y'all...she wasn't aware of my obsession.

Admit it. You are jealous that I got to talk to a real CSI.

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Trial Day 1

Days like this make me wish I could've seen my Pawpaw in action. I got to the court house around 8:45. I went directly to the witness room, the room where the witnesses wait until they testify. The jurors were chosen and then those who weren't testifying went to watch the proceedings. It was a full courtroom! Haleigh was the first one on the stand, and let me tell you. She was AMAZING! A total rockstar. I knew she would be fine up there, but she exceeded my expectations. She was cool, calm and collected. I was so proud of her! I can't imagine how difficult it was so look that piece of doodoo in the face.

I can't tell details, but it was a good (but long) day. Haleigh is requesting my chocolate sauce tonight, so Caroline and I are going to head over there around 8:30 for a little dessert party. One funny thing about the trial...When the detectives and the CSI were on the stand describing the house as they found it, they described each room. They began with Haleigh's room and describe hers as orderly with a stack of laundry on the bed. The southeast room (mine) was very messy with clothes everywhere and possibly some laundry that was not folded. The southwest room (Caroline's) was very neat and tidy with only jewelry on the counter. Hhhhmmmm....does this surprise anyone?   :)

Trial Day 2 begins tomorrow at 9:30. Pray the jurors find him as guilty as a skunk. If they don't they are blind as bats.

Pre-Trial Jitters

It's time y'all. The two days we've been dreading has arrived. We will finally see the nasty man go to prison for life--the man that hurt my roommate and invaded the privacy of our home. Pray for Haleigh to have strength during her testimony.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sometimes I don't even know where to begin.

So I'll start with what's heavy on my heart right now, and that is Eden. My eyes are wet right now from the many tears that keep rolling down my cheeks. I'm not a mother, so I know the feeling for mothers is enhanced ten fold. I don't care who you are, but the death of a child is the saddest feeling. I have written before about my co-worker, Beth who has taken a leave of absence from teaching to care for her terminally ill daughter, Eden. In her latest blog post, she writes about things she will miss about Eden. I can't even speak right now. There are tornadoes going on all around me, but this has my heart right now.

             From Life With My Angel:

              It's so strange. She's still here, but she's not. I'm so thankful I can still hold her
              and rock her see her smile and hear her laugh. I'm thankful she still knows me
             and everyone else who loves her.

I know to never ask why. The Lord truly does work in ways none of us will ever understand. For someone to have such the huge heart that Beth has to choose a child, raise her for a short time, and have her taken away. I honestly cannot imagine nor do I ever want to be able to empathize with someone. Sadness just overwhelms me. Prayer is vital.

A praise is the good report my Aunt Tricia received. She went in for her scan for pancreatic cancer and got the "ALL CLEAR" from the doc. She's unstoppable! If you don't believe in the God and his power after seeing the living proof in Trixie, you are CRAZY. I just have to be blunt sometimes.

On to the weather, which is acting totally crazy. The weather is like a really bad student; however, I can't write a referral and send it to it's administrator. One of my good friends from high school lives in Vilonia with her husband and baby. Their home was destroyed in the tornadoes last night. I can't imagine coming home to devastation. I'm so thankful I've been out of danger. Hopefully tonight won't be any different.

I am finally done with grad school. I submitted my portfolio Sunday night, and oh baby! It felt so good! Graduation is May 7, but I'm not walking. I don't want to waste a Saturday to be sitting in an auditormium.  I think that's all I have to update. I'm pretty boring, but that is hopefully changing soon. I'll do an update on my big trip soon!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Major exhaustion

Ya'll. I am tired. But what a good tired. Ya know from doing fun things. So let's back track to the weekend before this one, April 2. Libby, Jill, Valerie, and I traveled to Searcy, AR to go to the Avett Brothers concert. Little did we know that there was going to be a Harding reunion. What joy filled my heart! I just couldn't help myself. I saw people that I hadn't seen since graduation (5 years in May) or before. It was an awesome time! The concert was incredible and ya'll I mean it. They are such a lively band, such great performers, that I can feel their music in my soul. That's how moved I am. Some songs I actually cried either because the words struck a feeling within me or the banjo picking was amazing.

Avett Brothers

While on the HU campus, we thought we'd take Libby for a tour of Bison country. We took her through the front lawn and made fun of all the "young love" couples. Then we went to the fountain and took pics. Of course we had to take pictures to document this momentous occasion. I don't know how ya'll feel when you walk back in time, but I felt a tinge of sadness. It was very nostalgic, very surreal. As I looked back on places where we gathered for Kojie pics on Patti Cobb or the sidewalk where we walked every single day, it made me realize that I am getting older. I know, 27 years is not that old, but it's still older than 18. I look at those places and see how each event has molded me, and it makes me think about my possible children and how easily a life can be influenced for good or bad. Who knows if I'll even have kids, but I hope they get the opportunity to go HU (and of course be a Kojie).
Valerie, Jill, Libby, and me

Catching up with old friends Laura and Kari.

Can't go anywhere without a classic drink spill.
This past weekend, six Harding girls including myself, had a Friday night getaway to Hot Springs Village. Carrie's inlaws have a house there, and it made the perfect spot for a retreat and sunbathing. It was good to catch up with all my friends and just relax. I also got some nice color. Yes I was wearing sunscreen.

 It was also Lana's birthday weekend so Carrie made a very yummy cake. I have such wonderful, generous friends!

On Saturday, we layed out on the deck. Lindsey's and Carrie's husbands decided to stop by and give us some company.

I drove to Searcy this morning for church then went to Caleb and Brooke's wedding shower. I feel like I've driven all over the state. Back to reality: grading tests and doing homework. Yay!

Peace and blessings,

P.S. So I had a Bernice moment...Dad drove me back to Harding to get my car. I cannot find my keys for anything. I empty out my purse, and still no sign of my keys. I then call my sister to see if I left them in her car. As she's searching her car, I lift up my purse, and Voila! There are my keys laying in my lap. Dad and I have a big ol' laugh about that. He called me Bernice because why? I am my mother :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

Do not be fooled. This is not the Will Smith one. Ya'll...this book was so good. It's by author Douglas Kennedy, and I now want to read more of his work. It really made me reflect on my life and the things I am doing. Is it right? Do I justify a lot of things? What would I do if I were in the situation Eric was in? I found my answers to be very interesting. Please read this book. I highly recommend. Read the synopsis here.

Also, it enlightened me on life in the 1940s and '50s. I find that time period very intriguing! Did you know you could get fired back then for "moral turptitude"? Back then, homosexuality, marital affairs, and having a child out of wedlock would get you fired fo sho. If that was the case today, many people would be out of jobs.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My latest read has poisoned me into wanting another master's degree

I said I would NEVER EVER IN A MILLION TRILLION YEARS go back to school, but I am having second thoughts. My new friend, Sarah, got her master's in public health and has traveled many places through her work with the Peace Corp. She recently got a job based out of Atlanta, GA where she will be focusing on the country of Kazakhstan. She will be educating the people there about health and wellness. She won't have to live there, but she will get to visit often. She will be doing research about things they are doing now (drinking water from the river where they also dump their feces, etc) so that she and the others on her team can better educate the people.

That is exactly what I did in Guatemala six years ago. I also got to play doctor :). Her stories have lit a fire inside of me. What if this is what I am supposed to do in life? I love teaching, and I would still be doing that. I would be teaching a different subject to a different age of people. I would get to travel and help people in a totally different way.

Another thing that spurred these feelings was my latest read, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This book has educated me on the Congo in Africa, a place which I have not been knowledgeable. It was so enlightening, and I didn't want it to end. My friend, Sarah, spent a lot of time in Africa during her time with the Peace Corp and said the book was very true. You can read the synopsis here.

So ya'll, I probably will not get another master's degree. I am content with what I am doing. Plus, I still want to open my bakery one day. I WILL do that too. Just wait and see.