Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan
Social icons by Tim van Damme

04

Sep

Can’t believe I was getting ready to leave for Cali 3 years ago today! I remember that day like it was yesterday. Bittersweet!

Can’t believe I was getting ready to leave for Cali 3 years ago today! I remember that day like it was yesterday. Bittersweet!

07

Jul

Just want to love my husband out loud for a minute. The past couple days have been what I call “getting to know you” days. In other words…they are ‘why the HECK do you do that?!’ moments. Our three years of constant communication seemed to still be making its way from Canada and hasn’t really caught up with the McGrails as they settle into their new life (to put it poetically). Our fights switched from who missed each other more to ‘Do you honesty just leave a trail of your crap wherever you go?’ It’s been a little tough readjusting to being married to your spouse of two years.  But at the end of it all (or at least chapter one) I am just in awe of the man I married. The little mistakes this week seem so small when I see how he bravely fights for us. The way he fights for me will echo in eternity. I could write you a list of things that frustrate me about him, but I could write you a novel about the man he is and the love we have. I’m just feeling blessed and undeservedly lucky.

Just want to love my husband out loud for a minute. The past couple days have been what I call “getting to know you” days. In other words…they are ‘why the HECK do you do that?!’ moments. Our three years of constant communication seemed to still be making its way from Canada and hasn’t really caught up with the McGrails as they settle into their new life (to put it poetically). Our fights switched from who missed each other more to ‘Do you honesty just leave a trail of your crap wherever you go?’ It’s been a little tough readjusting to being married to your spouse of two years. But at the end of it all (or at least chapter one) I am just in awe of the man I married. The little mistakes this week seem so small when I see how he bravely fights for us. The way he fights for me will echo in eternity. I could write you a list of things that frustrate me about him, but I could write you a novel about the man he is and the love we have. I’m just feeling blessed and undeservedly lucky.

18

Jun

So it’s 2:30 in the afternoon and I have only eaten a handful of chocolate covered goji berries (which are amazing by the way) because I have been so anxious about my daunting check list of immigration activities.

Two weeks ago the restaurant I work at had a fire, and is just reopening this evening. Not a big deal because I have a second job. Or, had a second job. I had cut back big time on my hours at my second job to make room for school and classes that I am enrolled in. And as you would guess, my last day at my other job was about 2 weeks ago- almost to the day of the fire. So for the past week and a half, I have been out of work. Perfect timing as always!

Now, if you read my previous blog, I talked about my current emotional status being that of a teenagers cleaning habits. I shove everything in the closet and slam the door…making sure not to ever open it so it doesn’t come spilling out and create a huge mess. With this time off I had, curiosity and boredom has led me to open that closet door, and as you would expect….it all came spilling out.

I have had some conversations, both with people and with the own battle of my mind, that has lead me to a lot of insecurity about the future, money, and why the HECK I had to fall in love with a Canadian (for Billy when you read this, it’s the country, not the man, I will never regret meeting you). When I was recovering from my 2-day sobfest, my brilliant friend gave me a piece of advice.

She said: “anything that causes stress, anxiety, or tension is not from God.” Insert massive *DUH* moment riiiight about here. That one elementary sentence served as a kill switch for all these insecurities I had festering in my mind. I’ve been thinking about it constantly since then. Anything that is causing stress, anxiety or tension in my mind is not from God. Therefore it does not need to be there. It is not true.

I have taken that moment and really tried to make it stick. And doing that is where the cool stuff started happening.

When I have to call the Visa Center or really do anything for our immigration stuff, I get incredibly anxious. I don’t want to screw anything up because so much rides on every single interaction. We have been waiting for the Visa Center to give us some information that is essentially a key to unlocking the door to getting this show on the road. We basically needed to call every single day and sincerely annoy the agents until we got the information. It means being on hold for at least 20 minutes and then getting really short-fused answers by poor agent operators that have been dealing with curious and desperate people pleading for any information they can get. It made me so anxious that we designated a rotating schedule for who would call so I didn’t have to freak out everyday. We have been calling for about a week and a half and getting the same answer: “we don’t have that information for you, please wait about 10-20 days.” HELLO we do NOT want to wait 20 days! So today, it was my turn to call. I avoided it for about an hour (by eating a handfull of goji berries and learning ways to collect bacon grease on Pinterest), then finally called and waited to be connected to an agent. When I was waiting, I knew I had a choice. I was not going to stress, I was not going to worry, I was not going to do anything but manage the peace of knowing that God is carrying this for me. My only job was to be the one to call, the rest was up to Him. Again, in my previous blog, God really showed up when I finally decided to trust Him. I actually felt the pain of having to make such a hard decision. It physically hurt to speak the words “I am choosing to trust you.” It was a CHOICE. It didn’t happen naturally or gracefully or really any way but sheer force by my mother telling me I had to let it go. Him showing up in that way was so amazing for me. It built such a faith in my life that I could trust Him. But I am the type of person who does not let someone in to the serious matters of my heart that easily. So knowing that about myself, while sitting on wait with the Visa Center, I said “I am going to trust you again. I am giving you another chance to show me I can trust you.”

Within that moment the agent answered the phone and gave me all the information I’ve been waiting for with no hesitation or delay. He is so good.
The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analysed, women … merely adored
Oscar Wilde

20

Dec

what’s next.

So, as many of you have heard, the first big step of our immigration process has been APPROVED! It’s a huge weight off our shoulders and a really exciting step for Billy and I.

Unfortunately, the weight that was lifted has just been replaced with the next few steps we have to take. There is still a bit more paperwork and of COURSE a lot more money that goes into the process. So it is not over yet, but it is surely getting there.

A lot of you have wondered what this means for us, so I’d love to take this time and explain the general idea of what we are going through.

The step we just completed was essentially a petition for Billy to come to the states. It was us submitting our information, kind of like putting our name on a waiting list. They checked us out, made sure our we are who we say we are and all that. The news we just received basically told us “we checked you out, you’re set to apply for the green card” I guess that news takes close to 8 months to decide…but who’s counting. *sigh*

Now what we need to do is send in all of our information. For Billy, that means police and medical checks. We both need to send in passport information and birth certificates. We need to send in our marriage certificate. I have to send in all of my tax information to show that I can support him moving to the states, even though he’s making more than me. But I am technically responsible for Billy so it’s a matter of making sure we are financially sound and won’t mooch of the government. (there’s a LOT I could say right here that I’m just going to leave alone). Between each step there is a few weeks of waiting. Right now our case is being transferred from USCIS to NVC, and even that takes a few weeks. We have been told it could take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months. Even 6 months but I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that one. 
That all gets submitted, and then they send us a date for our interview. The interview is the BIG MOMENT. In that very moment the decision is made if he gets approved or not.

it’ll look a lot like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWXst70GO5U

After that- we get to FINALLY BE DONE with all of this. It’ll be the most glorious day in HISTORY. Until then, please keep us in our prayers. This next part of immigration is frustrating because it’s a lot of money and a lot of paperwork that is just time consuming. And we have heard that the place we are sending our information is pretty backed up.

Some things you could keep us in your thoughts and prayers for:

*Clear direction in what we need to do. There’s a lot of information and we aren’t using a lawyer so just pray for protection that we do the right thing!

*Grace for this time apart. It’s not getting any easier :-/. We won’t be able to spend Christmas together on top of it. 

*Favor in the time process for these next steps. That all of this would happen supernaturally quick! 

_____________________________________________________________________

If I have your attention, I’d like to take this time and share a story that has been an amazing testimony that God has not forgotten Billy and I. He is aware and involved even though a lot of the time it hasn’t felt like it.  

I have gotten Tammy Baldwin’s office involved in keeping track of our case. I called her early December and she was able to tell me that our case was with an agent- but we would hear from them in 30-45 days. That was putting us into January. And seeing as we thought we were going to hear about our approval early November, this was not good news. It really took the wind out of my sails. I realized I was having a really hard time trusting God to show up and take care of us. I know that He does, and that He is faithful, because I have heard so many stories. But I was really lacking expectation of Him in MY life. With that being said, my mom called my family together, Billy being on Skype, for a family prayer the night of the 17th. She felt strongly convicted that we haven’t really gotten together like this as a family to pray, that we all have been praying separately  The prayer time was really uplifting and I was able to really express my lack of trust. I told God “I don’t know if I can trust you, I don’t want to ask you to intervene because I’m so scared of being let down. But I am choosing to trust you.” I was crying and literally so scared of praying that prayer. I asked Him to just give us a sign that we are not forgotten.

The next day, Billy and I were skyping. He said “you know Ash, I think it’s going to come tomorrow.” I just rolled my eyes and said “oooookay.” Even after the prayer I still had a lot of hesitancy in my heart toward anything too miraculous. The next day…I wake up and check my e-mail. There was an e-mail from USCIS saying that they had approved our 1-130 the day before. I literally have not gotten out of bed that fast since the day of our wedding. It was literally less than 12 hours after we had prayed. We had prayed late at night and I woke up pretty early, so I’m not even sure if anyone was working at the Immigration Office during the time they said it was approved. 

It’s almost storybook perfect how God works. I will definitely use this testimony for my days to come and I thank Him for giving me an encounter with how much I can trust in Him. Call it luck, call it coincidence, but I call it God!

thanks for reading xx

Ash

02

Dec

the invisible line.

I have never felt more caught in my entire life. This whole process of immigration is the most rawest thing I have ever experienced. He can’t live here until he gets his green card because it will ruin his chances of actually getting the card if he has no proof of current employment during his interview. I can’t live up there because I need to prove that I can financially support him to bring him over to the states. We literally cannot do anything else than what we are doing. And what that entails is living separately, working crazy amounts of hours in jobs we hate, going to bed alone, waking up and doing it all over again. I’m not sure I can quite explain to anyone how it feels. Knowing that you have no way to be together without taking a major legal risk is not as romantic as the movies portray. We are separated by an invisible line. I constantly live in the fear of what opening the door to all my emotions would do. It’s like when your mom asks you to clean your room, and it’s too much and you don’t to sort it, so you shove it away in the closet. Then when you need something from the closet, you go to slowly open the door, and it all threatens to fall all over you, to completely engulf you in the mess you are trying to forget about. That is exactly what my heart feels like. The moments I am alone and my mind subconsiously wanders to the realization of the situation I am in, I start to slowly open that door, and I can physically feel the weight of everything starting to topple out. I snap back to reality and slam the door and distract myself with Pinterest. I know it can’t be good for me, but can drowning to death in your own thoughts really help either? 

We had brief moments of good news that were quickly taken away from us and turned into awful news. By a miracle I got off a whole week of work from both my jobs for his birthday. I was about to buy my plane tickets up there but then I find out things got messed up with my passport. Strike one. 

Our original plan was for him to be home FOR GOOD come Christmas. He was going to put his two weeks in and we would have Christmas together and never have to be apart again. He would drive down which would be much cheaper than flying. Well, after researching, turns out that’s pretty much a green card death sentence for him to be living with me when his visa is being processed. So now his job will only give him 2 days off. And plane tickets are over $1,000. So Christmas is not happening for the McGrails this year. Strike 5,000,000. That feeling in my chest won’t go away for quite awhile.

 We just really need good news. The thing that drives me most nuts is we cannot do anything without messing up our immigration. 

i just. want. my. husband. 

25

Jun

Your opinion of me is none of my business.

03

Jun

priorities

"Your priority is not to keep everyone else in your life happy by doing all the things they expect; it is to live a life that is pleasing to God and one that you can enjoy.

Too many people are not living their dreams because they are living their fears. In other words, instead of doing things out of their heart, they do them because they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t.” 

02

Jun

Click here for one of my favorite beauty blogs!