Sunday, November 28, 2010

a little sad

I mentioned in a recent post that I've been really missing my childhood. Well, I've still been feeling that way a lot. Missing my sister, especially -- her living at home, our childhood together and all our memories. Seriously, we spent 19 years being together almost every single day. And now it seems like, how can it be over? It flew by!
Now she's engaged. Really?! How is that possible? She's my little sister!!
And I just miss the way things used to be. I'm happy for her. But it's sad, too. I guess it's just now hitting me that things are never ever going to be the same. She'll still be my best friend, yes... but it will be different.
In the Bible, God says that we shouldn't keep looking back at the past, but look forward to the new things He's going to do. So I know that's what I need to do, but it's hard. I don't want to forget the past. I want to hold onto those sweet memories. Yet at the same time... I don't want to waste this season of my life. Because it's going to fly by just as faster (or faster) than my childhood did. And, as John Piper says, "I don't want to come to the end of my life and say, 'I've wasted it!'" God is doing some great things right now and has promised to do some great things in the future. "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor can any mind understand the things God has prepared for those who love Him."
Or in the words of Rafiki, "it does not matter, it is in the past!" haha.
So yeah. I don't want to waste this time, longing for the past. And I don't want to miss what God does today or tomorrow because I'm thinking about yesterday.
I'm so thankful for the good memories of my childhood, and the priceless friendship Briana and I have developed. God has amazing plans for her life and Troy's, as well as for my life. I guess we just hold on tight, trust Him, and keep going!

Friday, November 26, 2010

song lyrics

I cherish these moments with You my Lord
When my spirit is willing to rest in Your presence
True contentment begins here with You my Lord
As I cherish these moments with You

Pour out Your love to me
Let it fill my heart to the deepest part
Pour out Your love so that You might see
A reflection of Yourself in me

-- Pour Out Your Love
by Cheri Keaggy

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good!"

Happy Thanksgiving!
I am thankful for.... Jesus. salvation. a loving and supportive family. wonderful friends. a great job that gives me a lot of experience and opportunities. a great boss who treats me like a daughter. my home. my sweet puppy. sisters. chocolate. hot showers. a cell phone that lets me keep in touch with people. the Bible. how God speaks in unique ways. amazingly encouraging words from both friends and strangers. music. my guitar. pictures. memories. journals. 70 degree weather. mission trips that have changed my life. opportunities to serve God and people. prayer. my car, Charlie. the ability to love and be loved. God's faithfulness. mountains and lakes and rivers. a future and a hope.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Random Monday Posting

..I'm listening to Francesca Battistelli.
..There is an apple pie in the oven and it smells delicious... but I can't eat any ;-) It's to deliver to some friends tomorrow.
..I'm sleepy.
Today, Daddy and I went to look at my new "house" I'm moving into. It needs a little work done on it, so he was looking to see what all needs to be done, how long it will take, etc. Good news - none of it seems to be a big deal! I'm happy about that. Can't wait to get it done, buy furniture and things, and get moved in!! Very excited :-)
It was also fun to spend the afternoon with Daddy. After looking at the house, we went to walmart to do the Thanksgiving grocery shopping.
This evening, I signed up with a site where you can get paid for doing surveys. Daddy has been using it, and got a $14 check in the mail today! So it's actually legit :-) And I kind of enjoy doing surveys, so it's perfect.
Yum... orange creme flavored Yoplait yogurt. A favorite.
Good night!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 30

Day Thirty (LAST DAY).... A Picture.

(Photo credit goes to - just a random website I found this picture on)
This is a picture of how I want to live my life.... in God's creation, in worship and surrender to Him. To me, this picture is beauty and freedom and love. Being loved.

"May I be an offering
In all I am and all I do
Make me pleasing to You
May I be satisfying
In all my ways and all my days
I wanna be an offering."
(Offering by Danielle Chambers)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 29

Day Twenty Nine.... Three Wishes.

"Three wishes, to be exact. And ixnay on the wishing for more wishes. That's all. Three. Uno dos tres. No substitutions, exchanges, or refunds." --Genie of the Lamp :-)
Wow, three wishes. What would I wish for?
1) I'd wish for land. Like, at least a hundred acres. With beautiful mountain views.
2) I'd wish to be really good at playing guitar. (been practicing, but it's def not there yet!!)
3) I'd wish this is hard....oh here's a good one! That it would be possible to travel to other countries without having to spend miserable hours in an airplane! haha

Friday, November 19, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 28

Day Twenty Eight... Something That Stresses You Out.

I don't get stressed out too often, but I guess one main "stressor" for me would be being late, or not being able to get things done on time. I have dreams about that, so I guess it does stress me out, haha! I'll dream that I'm getting ready to go somewhere, but it's already time to be there, and for whatever reason, I can't get ready -- can't find my stuff, or someone is keeping me from getting ready. Lol anyway... also with my job, if there's a lot to be done, I get worried that I won't get it all done properly and on time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 27

Day Twenty Seven... Pets.

My family has had a lot of pets over the course of our lives -- the typical cats and dogs, as well as the random fish, frogs, and snails that last anywhere from a few days to a few years :-) Our current Pet Roll Call:
- Kacie, who is my dog, a.k.a. my baby girl. She's about 7 or 8 years old, and is a beautiful blonde mutt.
- Holly, our funny pound puppy. She's 11 years old and a beagle-terrier mix.
- Bitsy, our oversized Yorkie. He's 9 years old and dumb.
- Shadow, the my sister Marissa's cat. He's crippled, and thinks he's part-dog.. but sweet.
- Baby, my sister Daniella's cat. He is very aloof.
- Lucy, our African Grey parrot.
- a few fish, whose names I am not aware of.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 26

Day Twenty Six -- A Picture of Your Family.

This is our most recent family picture, taken this past September :-)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 25

Day Twenty Five.... Put Your Ipod on Shuffle, List the First Ten Songs

1. One by Rebecca St. James
2. How Can I Keep From Singing by Gary Rhodes
3. Offering by Third Day
4. Praise You in the Storm by Casting Crowns
5. Rise and Sing by Gary Rhodes
6. Harder Than the First Time by BarlowGirl
7. Wait For Me by Rebecca St. James
8. You by Rebecca St. James
9. Fifteen by Taylor Swift
10. Quiet You With My Love by Rebecca St. James

Wow.. lots of Rebecca, haha! I don't really even listen to her that much, but her songs happened to come up a lot in my shuffle just now :-)

Monday, November 15, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 24

Day Twenty Four.... Something You've Learned.

Warning: I'm in a strange emotional state tonight, so this could be weird, deep, shallow, cynical, or random. Just a heads up.
I have learned:
- that God really likes to mess up my plans when I think I've got it all figured out.
- that 90% of guys are jerks (or at least, that's the way it seems!)
- that I really enjoy trying new things and being adventurous.
- that when God says "all things," He means "all things."
- that I'm capable of a lot more than I think I am.
- that being in an airplane for 7 hours is not at all enjoyable.
- that not everyone is going to like me, and I have to get over it.
- that sunshine is good for the soul.
- that growing up is tough.
- that I am loved. Always.

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 23

Day Twenty Three.... Favorite Vacation.

Family vacations have always been a big deal in my family. For most of my life, we went to the beach every year, but there have been a few years that we've done something different. Some of my favorites have been:
- Niagara Falls.
- Disney World.
- North Captiva Island (an island in south Florida where we rented a beach house with a private beach, and the only transportation was golf carts - so cool!)
Another favorite, that wasn't actually a family vacation -- it was kind of a mini vacation within a mission trip -- was when I went on a safari in Kenya. Talk about amazing. LOVED it! I'd love to do that again.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"You light up the sky to show me You are with me"

I thought I'd write something besides the 30 day challenge... just felt the urge to write something from the heart :-) So we'll see where it goes.
I'm listening to "Light up the Sky" by The Afters right now. For a while I got really hooked on Taylor Swift and other similar country/pop singers, and was listening to that a lot. And don't get me wrong, I still really like them. Alisha and I were jamming to Taylor Swift in the car last night, and I had a Rascal Flatts song stuck in my head for most of today. But I feel like when I replaced Christian music with country for a couple of weeks, that really contributed to my focus getting kind of wonky, if you know what I mean. It definitely affected me. I found out that I need my Christian music to help keep me focused on God and on what's important. When I'm listening to love songs all the time, that contributes to me getting a lot more focused on guys than I should be. I do enjoy a sweet "love" song, be it Taylor, Rascal, Colbie, or whoever. But listening to Christian music daily definitely helps keep my focus where it needs to be.

I spent the night with my friend Alisha last night -- fun stuff! Today we had a fabulously fun photo shoot :-) We used her guitar and mandolin as props and inspiration. It was a blast and we ended up with some great shots! And now I am inspired to learn how to play my guitar. I took about a year of lessons when I was 12 or 13, but I only remember 4 chords. I absolutely love acoustic guitar though and would love to know how to play.
And just for the record... when a guy can play guitar... oh my goodness. Let's just say that definitely adds to his attractiveness :-)

Types are funny. You know how we say about a certain guy (or girl, if you're a guy), "He/she is/isn't my type." It's interesting how we all prefer different "types." Awhile back, I was interested in a guy, but told my sister that he was really not my type at all. She, being madly in love with her boyfriend-at-the-time-but-now-fiance, gave me her little piece of advice: "Throw your type out the window." hahaha. Apparently, Troy isn't the type she would have seen herself with, but there they are :-) So that was her advice to me. But anyway, nothing ended up happening with that guy - though it came pretty close.
But yeah - I think my type is the "manly" type, haha. Strong, hard-working, pickup truck type. And like I said, playing guitar is always a plus ;-) But who knows. I might end up "throwing that out the window," in Briana's words.

So today was To Write Love On Her Arms Day. I've never participated before, but decided to this year. It was pretty fun. If you're unfamiliar with it -- it's exactly what it sounds like, you write "love" on your arms :-) But the purpose of it is awareness for people suffering with depression and self-injury. Everyone needs to know that they are LOVED... no matter where they are in life. Pretty neat little gesture to remember those around us who are suffering in that way, and a reminder to reach out and show LOVE.

Andddd... now I am going to say goodnight, and maybe go look up a few guitar chords to practice :-)

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 22

Day Twenty-Two -- Favorite City.

Hmm. I don't think I really have a favorite city. I don't really like cities very much - definitely prefer the country :-) Sometimes visiting cities can be fun. Like the other day, I went to Nashville with my mom, sisters, and future bro-in-law. We drove through downtown and saw all the big buildings, and that was cool. And I'd love to see NYC someday. It's interesting to see that side of life :-) I find it crazy how everyone rushes around and there's so much traffic and activity. But I'd never want to live in a big city. Give me a small-town any day :-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 20

Day Twenty (is this a milestone?)... Nicknames.

In case you didn't know, my name is Ashley. Therefore, I have had the nickname "Ash" all of my life, from both my immediate and extended family. My friend Lindsey calls me Ash exclusively, and I have a handful of other friends now who will occasionally call me Ash.
Every once in a while I am called by my last name, or by first and last together, just for fun.
My friend Zach calls me "Ash Cakes."
An older pastor I know calls me "Bobbi Jo" because he can't remember my name.
And my dad has a unique nickname for me that I don't often share :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 19

Day Nineteen... Something You Miss.

Okay, writing this post could make me cry. I've been feeling very sentimental for the past few days about my childhood, my family, growing up, etc. Maybe it's because my sister is getting married soon. Maybe it's because I'm getting ready to move out on my own soon. Maybe a combination. But lately I've just been missing the childhood days -- the days when Briana and I spent hours and hours playing with our Barbies or American Girl dolls, or playing outside imagining up elaborate stories that we would act out. In our teen years, those games turned into creating movies with the family video camera. I miss those times. I miss my best friend being with me every day. It's just crazy to think that all of that is over now, and not coming back. Seems now like it was too short.
But life keeps moving on. (isn't that a line from a song or something?) We're all growing up, and moving on, too. Following God, following our dreams. I'm about to move out and be working in a full-time ministry position... Briana is planning a wedding... Marissa is now a teenager with dreams of her own... Daniella will be a double-digit before we know it. I'm excited to see where the Lord leads each of us! And just pray that we will always stay close as sisters and friends, even if we're living far apart.

Right now I'm wanting to hold on to my childhood and wanting to be an adult at the same time. I guess I *am* an adult... but it sure is weird sometimes! :-)

PS: I didn't cry :-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 18

Day Eighteen -- Something You Regret

I don't have a lot of regrets, because in Christ I know I am forgiven and free.

I think one big thing I often regret, though, is wasted time. When you think about it, every day, every hour, every minute, every breath we have on this earth is a precious and fragile gift. Some people didn't get to wake up this morning. None of us have the promise that we'll live through tomorrow. I want every day I live on this earth to be for the glory of God -- loving Him, rejoicing in Him, pointing others to Him, making a difference for His Kingdom. Of course we all need rest times. But I certainly don't want to waste time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 17

Day Seventeen - Something You're Looking Forward To

I'm looking forward to several upcoming events! In chronological order...
1) Tuesday when I hopefully get to talk with my boss about my job situation
2) Next month when I attend the Christian Camping Association National Conference
3) Christmas
4) Staff Retreat in March

These are a few things I'm really anticipating right now! :-) I really can't believe it's only a month and a half till Christmas! I'm *starting* to get into the mood for it...

Friday, November 5, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 16

Day Sixteen.. Your Dream House

Hmmm. As a girl, of course I've given this thought :-) I have to say that currently, my "dream house" is just an apartment or some place I can decorate and call my own! I'm at that point in life that I want "my own place," and hopefully, if all goes according to plan, I may be getting one soon.

But in the future, my real dream house is a white farmhouse on lots of acreage. Maybe something like this:
or this:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 15

Day Fifteen -- A Bible Verse

Obviously, there are thousands to choose from, and they're all good :-) But the one I'm choosing to share today is Ephesians 5:15-18,

"Be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit."

I came across this verse on Facebook this morning, as I was reading through my friends' status updates, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. To me, it says, be wise... don't waste your life... don't fall under the influence of the ways of the world... seek God, find His will, and follow it.
It was a good reminder to me this morning.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 14

Day Fourteen... A Picture You Love.

There are soooo many pictures I love, it's hard to choose just one. But since I'm not at home and only have access to a few pictures right now, it was a little easier to choose one tonight :-)
I took this one at the end of the summer -- August 2010. I like this picture because #1, it was taken at camp, one of my favorite places in the world. #2, it's at the lake, one of my favorite places in camp -- I love sitting on the dock with my feet in the water. #3, my toenails are painted blue. #4, I have pretty amazing tan lines from wearing Tevas all summer. They have almost completely faded now, but during the summer, sandal tan lines become almost a competition :-) I guess this picture just makes me happy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Day Blog Challenge... Day 13

Day Thirteen -- Goals.

This is a very broad topic. I'm not sure where to begin :-)
I guess I have several pretty big goals for my life. One would be to get married and have a family. Another big one is to purchase some acreage, build a house, and have a farm/ranch/camp. I want to be in ministry.
My biggest goal, though, is to be more like Jesus and to glorify Him in everything. This life is not about me and I want His will to be done, not mine.

"Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the GOAL for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (philippians 3:13-14) I realized recently that the GOAL he's talking about is "that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" (verse 12). Jesus took hold of us for the purpose of salvation, for becoming holy and Christlike... right? That's His goal and it should be ours.