Monday, January 31, 2011

Romans 13:14

"Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature." Romans 13:14, NIV
"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." Romans 13:14 NASB.
A friend posted this verse on Facebook a few days ago, and it pretty much rocked my world. It speaks to me about my thoughts. You know, Jesus said that our sin begins in our thoughts. Hating someone = murder. Lustful thoughts = adultery. Etc.
Repenting and changing outward behavior is one thing, but changing our thought habits is something totally different. So the message God is repeating to me this week is "Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

one of my favorite quotes.

If you love something, let it go free.
If it returns to you, it's yours.
If not, it never was.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Random Ramblings.

Here I sit, eating Fritos with French Onion dip -- this is the salty to counteract the sweet brownie I have every intention of eating before going to bed tonight. Hey, I had vegetable soup for dinner, so it's okay... right?
I have some rather big news. Yesterday my approval letter came in from the North American Mission Board, which means I'm now officially a missionary, assigned to Camp... where, yes, I have already been working, but I will now, as a NAMB missionary, be transitioning from part-time to full-time, and will also be living at Camp, and raising support for myself. I'm excited! But more like kind of going back and forth between excited and nervous. This has been "in the works" for a couple months, but today it's HERE and NOW. I've been keeping this whole thing relatively quiet until the approval came in, so now that it's in and I've announced it to the world (aka Facebook), it's like, wow. It's for real, actually happening now.
I'll be moving within the next couple of weeks... and I've never lived alone before. I'm excited to "strike out on my own", but nervous about how quiet and lonely it will be at times. About how much I'll miss hugging and giggling with my little sisters, and talking with my parents every night while we watch crime shows together. I'll miss the familiarity of "home" and my own room that I've lived in for 21 years.
But I know we'll all adjust. And I'm excited to have my own little place to decorate and to make it "home".... for a while, at least :-) Speaking of which, I'm documenting the moving-in process in photographs, so I'll try to post a few here later. Except I forgot to take a picture of the guys moving my couch in today. Stink.
Okay, moving on to another subject. Umm.. I got mail today! You know, in this age of electronic everything, it's still so much fun to get real mail. When it's not a bill or a bank statement, of course. Today, I got a card from my sweet friend Amanda. It made me happy. When I opened the mailbox and saw that envelope sitting there, I actually announced aloud to whoever was listening (which was no one), "I got a letter from Amanda!" haha. So here's a challenge for you: why not write a real, legit, snail-mail letter to someone this week? It's fun, and definitely a day-brightener for the recipient.
Just so you know, it took me about 5 tries to spell recipient. I'm normally a very good speller, but that one threw me off a little.
Speaking of which, I find that good spelling and good grammar is very attractive in a man.
I think I shall go for now. I shall put away the Fritos and dip, and try to avoid the brownie for just a little while longer... but rest assured, it will be eaten before my head hits the pillow tonight.
Good night and God bless.
~your random, tired friend Ashley

Saturday, January 22, 2011

DIY: Record Bowls

For our recent 50's theme staff retreat, I made bowls out of old records. They were fun to make, turned out pretty cool, and got a lot of good comments, so I thought I'd share here how I made them! It's quite easy :-)
First, I went thrift-store-shopping! Old records were 29 cents each at our local Goodwill.
For the actual bowl melting process, you will need:
- a record
- an oven
- a small metal (NOT plastic) bowl
- two oven mitts
Start by heating the oven to 200 degrees. Place the small metal bowl upside down on the oven rack, and place the record, centered, on top of the bowl. Close the oven door, but keep a close eye on your record. It will only take about a minute to begin to melt. When you see the record begin to melt around the bowl, put on your oven mitts, open the door, and remove the record. It will stay soft for just a few seconds, and you can use your hands (with oven mitts, of course) to gently and quickly mold it into the shape you want. If the record hardens before you are happy with the shape of it, just place it back in the oven for a few seconds.
That's all there is to it! Your finished product should look something like this:
Note: I should let you know that the safety notes I read online said to do this in a well-ventilated area and avoid inhaling the fumes. Also, don't serve food in these bowls -- packaged candy, etc would be fine :-)
Have fun!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

it is enough.

"O My child, it is not appointed to you to know the future, nor to be able to discern beforehand My exact plans. It is enough that we should walk together in love and trust. No doubts need mar your peace, nor anxieties cloud your brow. Rest in the knowledge that My ways are perfect and My grace is all-sufficient. You will find My help adequate, no matter what may befall you.
To be unduly concerned with matters of the future is to your own disadvantage. So much is waiting to be done now."
(from Come Away My Beloved, by Frances Roberts)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fond (and not so fond) Memories of Miss Anneliese

Today I remembered someone from my childhood who I hadn't thought about in a while -- Miss Anneliese Von Oettingen. I had to smile when I thought of her. Let me tell you the story.
I took ballet classes all of my growing-up years. My ballet teacher's name was "Ms. Elizabeth." Between the ages of about 9 and 13, I was active in the dance competition group, and in classes two or three times a week.
It was somewhere early in this time period that I was introduced to Miss Anneliese. She had been Ms. Elizabeth's childhood ballet instructor, and she came to visit and teach our ballet class more than once. Miss Anneliese was born and raised in Germany, received dance training in Berlin and in London, and opened the first successful ballet school in Cincinnati. When it came to ballet, Miss Anneliese knew her stuff!
By the time I met her, she was much older and no longer in dancer-shape physically. She was still an expert ballet teacher who challenged our class.... but she was also very blunt. Oh, she was blunt.
She hurt girls' feelings. She made girls cry.
Around age 10, I was chosen along with one other girl to perform a duet in our Christmas show. We worked very hard on our duet and were proud of it. When we performed it for Miss Anneliese, her only response was that the shoelaces on our ballet shoes were undone and it looked unprofessional. I was so mad!!
There was always mixed response when she was coming to visit. Some looked forward to her teaching, others dreaded it. For a while, I was one of the ones who didn't like her, but that eventually changed.
Miss Anneliese passed away in 2002. I appreciate her influence in my life as a person, a ballet expert, and a challenge! :-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

do you fit?

The other day, I started thinking about how I don't really seem to "fit in" with any particular group. Not that I'm an outcast... I have a lot of friendly acquaintances and a few good friends. But what I'm saying is, if I look across a room-full of people I know, there are definite "groups." These 4 are a group with certain characteristics. Those 2 or 3 are a group who always hang out together. Some people are members of more than one group. But think about it... the groups are there.
What I realized is that while I can spend some time in many of these groups, and I love a lot of the people in them, I don't really quite exactly fit in any of them. Do you ever feel that way?
So I asked God, why don't I ever feel like I fit in?
The answer? Well, for one, if I fit perfectly with a group of friends, I'd be less likely to reach out to other people who "don't quite fit." This is how I met my friend Alisha. We were at an event where neither of our "groups" were there -- I was trying desperately to fit in & ready to give up, when I saw her sitting alone. We started talking, and the rest is history. If I'd been involved and comfortable with my group, we might not have become friends.
Second, being comfortable and secure in a group of people I "fit in with" keeps me from stretching/challenging myself. Floating between groups and getting to know various people takes effort and getting out of one's comfort zone.
And finally, if I'm secure in a group of people, then I don't get to practice being secure in God. My position with Him always stays the same -- chosen, holy, and beloved (Colossians 3:12 -- that's your position, too, you know!) Other people might not always treat us that way, but that's our opportunity to rise above and remember who we are. This is something that has taken years for me to grasp, because I want so badly to be liked by other people. I'm learning that being loved by Jesus is enough :-)
Reaching out, being stretched, and remembering our position in Christ... maybe being a "misfit" occasionally isn't so bad?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Fabulous Fifties - Midwinter Retreat

This past weekend was our annual Midwinter Staff & Counselor Retreat at camp! We were afraid we might have to cancel because of snow, but "the show went on"! Several people who had planned to come couldn't because of the weather (which was sad) but those of us who got to be there had a great time. The theme of the weekend was the "Fabulous Fifties", and our spiritual theme was "Happy Days." Since some of the outdoor activities had to be canceled, we spent a lot of time playing board games and card games, and playing in the snow. Here are a few pictures from the weekend:
Midwinter Retreat is always a fun weekend for the summer staff to get together again, catch up on each other's lives and on what's going on at camp, and to reconnect with God. And now that Midwinter is over, it's about time to dive into recruiting and hiring, so we can have another great summer!! :-)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saddle up your horses...

On New Years Eve, as 2010 ended, Briana went home, AND my favorite radio station went off the air, I was feeling pretty down and sad. I kept reminding myself that with every ending is a new beginning. There is always hope.
As Love89 went off the air, their final closing song was "The Great Adventure" by Stephen Curtis Chapman. An oldie but a goody! :-)
Saddle up your horses, we've got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace
We'll follow our Leader into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other...this is the great adventure!
We'll travel over, over mountains so high
We'll go through valleys below
Still through it all we'll find that
This is the greatest journey the human heart will ever see
The love of God will take us far beyond our wildest dreams!
I'm ready for the great adventure God is going to take me on in 2011. Are you?
Happy New Year!