Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thank you Love89...and goodbye.

My favorite radio station is "Love89," a local Christian music station that has been playing in our area for 18 years. As of tomorrow, Love89 will be going off the air, and nation-wide Christian radio will take over. I'm so disappointed about this, as are many others. And so, this blog post is in honor... or in memory... of Love89.
I started listening to this station in my car probably about 3 or 4 years ago. At first I didn't know most of the songs that were played, but as I kept listening, I started learning a lot of the songs, as well as "getting to know" the DJ's. It's really impossible to say what a BIG and what a GREAT part of my life Love89 has been since then. I listen in the car almost everywhere I go, and often stream it from their website while at work. I have been encouraged when I was discouraged, sang and laughed joyfully when I was happy, laughed when I felt like crying, and been challenged and uplifted so many times.
I'm VERY thankful that Christian music will still be played. But I will definitely miss the local, personal touch and the fabulous DJ's -- dear friends I look forward to "hearing" each day.
"Marshall and Marisa in the Morning"..... have kept my drive to work fun and interesting. More than once I've laughed my head off while alone in my car. Other drivers probably thought I was nuts :-) Definitely my favorite portion of Love89's programming.
"Marisa in the Midday"..... has blessed me so much. She's so sweet and so real. I got the privilege of meeting her in person once, several years ago, but her love, honesty, and sense of humor over the radio has been a great blessing and encouragement.
"Kris on the Afternoon Drive"..... is always a lot of fun, too, as I listen to him on my way home from work. Always hoped he would call my town in his "community call-out" but he never did, on the days I was listening, anyway :-)

So, THANK YOU to all the staff and DJ's of Love89. Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on events in the area and for sharing opportunities to serve our community. Thanks for encouraging us and keeping us focused on God and on the good in life. Thanks for playing fantastic songs. Thanks for being you and for letting God use you in ginormous ways. I will miss you so much!!!
Love, Ashley

Sunday, December 26, 2010

after-Christmas musings

This Christmas was one of the best I've had in a few years.
It was a white Christmas!! A couple inches of snow yesterday and five today :-)
I'm treasuring the holiday time with my sister, as her wedding draws closer and closer. Things will change soon, so I'm extremely thankful for the time we get to spend together now.
One of the things I love about Christmas is that it's not just one day -- in fact, the 25th is sometimes kind of anti-climactic. But it's a season, the only holiday that gets its own season :-) The whole month is full of anticipation and "Christmas spirit." I love it.
And man, I love Jesus. How totally cool to think that even though Christmas isn't always CLEARLY about Him, really, under it all, it is all because of Him. Without God Himself choosing to leave heaven and come walk on a sinful earth..... there would be no Christmas... there would be no cross and Easter.... there would be no today. But He cared enough to come. And that's awesome.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

one of THOSE days..

"Behold, I have placed within you a spring of living water. For My Spirit shall be a continual flowing forth of life from your innermost being. This I have promised to all My children, and this you may experience as you claim it by faith... It is My life I am giving to you. It is not an emotion; it is not a virtue...it is Myself. Divine grace, heavenly love, infinite mercy, fathomless peace -- all these will spring forth unbeckoned and irrepressible out of the depths within you because My Spirit has taken residence there. If there is dryness within your soul and you do not have this life flowing forth, you need not grieve or chide yourself for being empty. Fill up the empty place with praise...The King will enter and bring His glory. The Rose of Sharon shall bloom in your heart, and His fragrance will be shed abroad."

This was the devotion I read early this morning, before heading to work. Turned out to be a timely one, because today was...um... definitely not the best day I've ever had. I definitely needed some of that divine grace and heavenly love today!! to deal with the disappointment, hurt, frustration, and even anger that came at me.
But God is good. God is faithful. And it's all gonna be okay cuz He's got it all under control. I'm secure in His hand no matter where I am!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

all things Christmas

Currently: at my sister's house, making M&M cookies, and listening to Christmas music on the radio. Briana is directing her first play - the Christmas play at her church, and they are performing tonight. We are here to give her support by watching the play :-) Tomorrow, going to the bridal shop to get measured for bridesmaid dresses!
Briana is coming home with us to spend Christmas at home. Troy (her fiance) and his sister and my grandparents will also be at our house at various points during this coming week. Add last-minute shopping, baking goodies, and possibly a bit of snow, and it will definitely be a busy Christmas week! What are you guys doing for Christmas?
Thought from church this morning: Christmas is a milestone in the bigger story -- GOD'S story, the one that began before the foundation of the world and is still being written today. And we are a part of it!! It's not just the Christmas story, it's HIS story that He has made us participants in. How awesome of a thought is that?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

...to become His prisoner...

Today I read something beautiful on my friend Rebekah's blog. She talked about being "handcuffed to Jesus", and shared a quote from Dave Wilkerson:
"The true test of love for Christ is seeing the emptiness of your own greatest opportunity and dropping every selfish dream to become His prisoner.”
Rebekah added her thoughts:
"I’ve had too many greatest opportunities show up at the doorstep of my heart lately. There have been too many selfish dreams that vied for first place in my affections. And to be perfectly honest, it hurts to be handcuffed right now. I don’t mean hurt as in a tiny little sad place in the midst of my heart; I mean hurt as in big salty tears and snot... Jesus can be a hard Master and sometimes I’d like nothing better than to simply indulge myself in the things I want to do. But He says no."
I share that because, honestly, I could have written it myself. There are many times I can totally relate to what she's describing. But I love how that Wilkerson quote describes what we're called to do... "seeing the emptiness of your own greatest opportunity and dropping every selfish dream to become His prisoner." It's not always pretty or pleasant... but I choose to believe that it will be worth it.

Last Sunday at church, the message was about Mary, and how she chose to sacrifice so much in order to say yes to God. She gave up her reputation, and her own plans and dreams for her future, and surrendered to what God wanted. She became a "living sacrifice" (Romans 12:1).
What will it require for me -- and for you -- to say to God, "I am the bondservant of the Lord, may it be unto me as you say"?

"Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God; this is your spiritual service of worship." Romans 12:1

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow, lovely snow

We have snow... for the 3rd time this winter!! That is really unusual for us. We usually don't get our good snows until after Christmas. This 3rd one is the best so far, though. We have about an inch or two, and it's coming down again as I write this. My sister has 7 inches where she lives, a couple hours away!!
I may or may not be able to get to work tomorrow... the snow and ice is usually worse out there than it is here at home.
Here's a video of us sledding in our front yard this afternoon:

video

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Restless till I rest in You

I spent Sunday through Thursday of this week in Asheville, NC at the - careful, this is a mouthful - Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA)'s 2010 national conference. It was, in a word, wonderful. Inspiring. Overwhelming. Well worth going. Okay, that was 6 words. Guess that just proves I can't sum it up in a word.
For someone like me, who is passionate about camp ministry and wants to work in it long-term, this week was priceless: Attending seminars to learn about different areas of camp ministry (marketing, staff training, programming, etc). Meeting other people who share the same passion for camp work, and sharing stories and ideas with them. Gleaning wisdom and inspiration from those who have more experience. Learning new things.
And worshiping God... the worship services of the week were a-maz-ing. Brian Wurzell and Audrey Assad were our worship leaders and they were such a blessing to me. There is something awesome about being part of 600+ people from different denominations all worshiping the Lord together. I love it. All over the auditorium, we sang.... some stood, some sat, some lifted their hands. A man was on his knees with his arms raised high. A woman was dancing in the aisle. I cried. It was all beautiful.
How I wish we could see that kind of free worship in my home church.
So yeah, I was definitely on a mountain for those few days -- both literally as well as emotionally and spiritually. The truth about mountains is we can't live on them. We have to come back down into life, the valley of life. But aren't you so thankful for those mountaintop days... they make everything worth it.

You know how we talk about open doors and closed doors? About "when God closes one door He always opens another one"? I was thinking about that yesterday. I read a quote on someone else's blog about facing a lot of closed doors and she said that sometimes she felt like she could literally hear the door slamming shut. I kind of feel that way right now. There's a certain area of life in which I feel like God has closed door after door after door... He shut one just since I've been home this week. It's one of those I can almost hear slamming, and I cringe, because it hurts. And I want to bang on it, kick it, try to push it open. But it's no use. "Not my will but Yours be done."

My room is such a disaster right now. I've let it get messy, and on top of that I'm sorting through stuff, getting ready to move, so that makes it even messier.

This is the song of my heart this week. "Restless" by Audrey Assad.
"You dwell in songs that we are singing
Rising to the heavens, rising to Your heart
Our praises filling up the spaces
In between our frailty and everything You are
You are the Keeper of my heart.
And I'm restless, I'm restless
Till I rest in You, till I rest in You
I am restless, I'm restless
Till I rest in You, till I rest in You, O God.
Oh speak now, for my soul is listening
Say that You have saved me, whisper in the dark
I know You're more than my salvation
Without You I am hopeless, tell me who You are
You are the Keeper of my heart
You are the Keeper of my heart
And I'm restless, I'm restless
Till I rest in You, till I rest in You
I am restless, I'm restless
Till I rest in You, till I rest in You, O God.
Still my heart, hold me close
Let me hear a still small voice
Let it grow, let it rise
Into a shout, into a cry
I'm restless, I'm restless
Till I rest in You, let me rest in You
I am restless, so restless
Till I rest in You, till I rest in You, O God.

Love, Ashley
PS: if you have a moment, check out my friend's blog airplanesinthesky99.blogspot.com

Saturday, December 4, 2010

TANGLED

Tonight, I took my 2 youngest sisters to see the newest Disney movie "Tangled" at the movie theater. We had fun and the movie was really cute!

I was happy with this Disney movie for a couple of reasons. One, it didn't have those supposed-to-be-funny-but-really-just-super-annoying animal characters in it. There were a couple of comic animal characters, but they were actually cute and made me laugh. Two, though the storyline included magic like most Disney films do, there was no overpowering magical evil being. The "bad guy" was a normal human being. And finally, the movie was just cute. I enjoyed the storyline and the characters. Sure, I'd see it again :-)

And.... it was fun to treat my sisters to a movie and spend an evening with them. Gotta love those girls.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I decided I should probably update again so y'all won't think I'm sitting around depressed, after my last entry. haha.
It's definitely starting to look a LOT like Christmas around here! We actually had our first snow of the season yesterday!! It accumulated a little on the roofs and porch rails, but melted away pretty quickly. Boy, has it been cold, though! We went and got our tree tonight, and Daddy is putting the lights on it as we speak :-) The rest of the decorations got put out a few days ago. Christmas music is playing on all the radio stations, and there's egg nog in the refrigerator. Yayyy!! :-)
Yesterday, we went shopping for bridesmaid dresses -- Briana, Mama, and Holly (another bridesmaid), and myself. It was a really fun girls day! Holly and I tried on sooo many dresses, but Briana still hasn't found "the one" yet. But it was a fun day with lots of giggles and jokes and one-liners. haha.
Today at work, I prepared the camp Christmas cards that we will send out to all our staff and supporters/donors. Six hundred and thirty nine Christmas cards. It took me all day to get that mail-out ready!!! And that's the third big mail-out I've done this month. The other two were the end-of-the-year-asking-for-donations letter and the Staff Midwinter Retreat invitation. I'm super excited about the retreat!! It's always such a great weekend :-)

Question for anyone reading this: How do you say the word caramel? Is the first syllable "care" or "car"?