Monday, September 17, 2012

a dose of perspective

today was kind of a lousy day. not the kind of bad day I know a lot of people have -- ones with sick family members or accidents or not having enough to eat -- but rather a 1st world, petty-ish kind of bad day.

an overwhelming sense of inadequacy at my job, coupled with a horrible day in the academic world, led to feeling like a pretty crappy person.

I often judge myself based on my performance at things, and sometimes based on others' reactions to me and the work I do, and I'm realizing this is not a good pattern. and not how God judges me (thankfully!)

as I was driving away from a super frustrating moment and feeling pretty downright disappointed in myself, I'm pretty sure God gave me a dose of perspective.

what meaning does all this have, Ashley? um...a lot. duh, God. this is my life. hellllooo!
really? the meaning of your life revolves around your job and school? will you remember this in a month? maybe!! especially if I fail a class! please. (sometimes my God voice is a little sarcastic/sassy).

when this life is over, will today matter? it won't. not the things that bothered me about it, anyway.

a man I work with had an accident this weekend. he is OK, but injured himself and is recovering at home. he sent an e-mail out telling what happened, and I'm pretty sure it was more cheery than 90% of the e-mails I send. he told us what happened, but then proceeded to tell us how it could have been worse. how grateful he was that it wasn't worse. what he learned from the experience.

this is a man who is always shining the light of Christ. so, of course, he would turn this seemingly cruddy situation into a glory for Him. what an example.

tonight at a Bible study I'm doing, this line hit me: God lets us see sparks of divine love in people.

I know this to be true by the kind of love I've been shown by friends and family. and I think seeing His love in other people's attitudes and actions (like said co-worker) is also a gift from Him.

today was not my favorite, but today isn't my life. today isn't my life's meaning. and God-willing, I have tomorrow to help be a spark of divine love.

Friday, September 14, 2012

a strong dose of nostalgia

lately I've been nostalgic. it happens quite a lot, actually, but even more so today...

this I almost got choked up thinking about video rental stores. do you remember these? of course you do, but in ten years I wonder if many people will. or maybe they will scratch their heads and give a delayed "yeahhhh!".

or maybe it will be the new way to determine how old someone is -- did you walk the halls of movie gallery and blockbuster? yes? woohoo! you win the over-30 prize. now please move on to discussing shows from your youth, including saved by the bell, full house, clarissa explains it all, fraggle rock, etc. etc.

earlier in the day I went to lunch and got into a conversation about 9/11. our first reactions, where we were, what that time in our lives was like and how we probably didn't get what all it meant in those moments. more memories came flooding back. more nostalgia.

and I felt myself drift back into my high school life. walking the halls of BHS....walking around all the aisles of movie gallery. watching the previews for new movies on the TVs as we tried to find the last copy of that new release. or trying to decide which scary movie looked the scariest. and then if we wanted skittles or mike & ikes at the counter when we checked out. and no, we didn't want insurance on our rental. and yes, we WILL rewind. promise.

these memories make me a little teary-eyed if I think on them long. because the little things end up being the things that memories really are made of -  the things that our lives are comprised of. and I am so very lucky enough to have a wonderful family and wonderful friends and such happy, happy memories.

and on top of all this nostalgia and almost an ache for the past, a conversation at dinner tonight put it all into perspective for me.

a friend of mine started talking about a child who a family at her church has kind of taken in. she was saying how the boy lately has just wanted to give up. he doesn't want to try at school or attempt to reach goals, he just wants to quit. because that is the example he's been given. that is what the men in his life do.

and it made me sad for him. and all the other children like him. and all the other people who might not find nostalgia wonderful. who might not like to look back on their childhood memories, because they're less than pleasant. because they don't involve trips to movie gallery or blockbuster.

yes, sometimes nostalgia makes my heart ache. today I wanted to be in bryan, ohio, going on a walk with my mom, eating a homemade dinner with my family, topped off by a special recipe pumpkin cookie from chief supermarket. I wanted to rent a movie with my friends and drink pop with a twizzler straw in megan's basement. I wanted to play cards and watch a disney movie so we could walk to our cars in the dark after foolishly watching "I still know what you did last summer". I wanted to go to a high school football game, go to pizza hut afterwards, and laugh until my belly hurt. and while all these things seem simple and childish, they are so absolutely amazing it's hard to put into words how much they mean to me.

and I wish everyone could have it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I work for an ag company, and thus, I have been acutely aware that most places are experiencing dry, drought-like conditions. and in case you were wondering, that's not good for our corn. or any crop, really.

people just keep talking about it. I keep hearing how badly we need rain. that this is not good.  plants look scorched and unnatural. it's pretty obvious -- we need rain.

and so, if you live in northern alabama, like me, you've noticed we've gotten some rain.but today as I ran to my car and my baby shower gift wrap got all wet, I wasn't a huge fan. I wasn't a huge fan when I sloshed through a giant puddle and got my socks drenched ( there much worse than wet socks?). I wasn't a huge fan when I couldn't run outside and enjoy the evening. I was feeling downright grumpy about the darn rain.

and then I remembered how we needed the rain.

the rain makes things grow.

but that doesn't mean I always like it.

as I drew this comparison in my head I felt I'd learned yet another lesson in year 25 (has anyone else experienced crazy lessons/thoughts/almost maturity at this age?).

in life, I am content to have it be sunny every day. actually, I prefer it that way. I want it to be nice and pretty and God-forbid if something inconveniences me. I don't want to have to deal with the rain. I don't want to have to avoid puddles and dry things off and deal with wet socks. (do I sound like I'm 5 yet? maybe I take back that maturity comment earlier...)

but yet, without the rain, we shrivel. we die. we don't yield as well as we would have with rain. we don't bear good, quality fruit. we need the rain to grow. as much as I hate it.

without the rain -- the hard times of life...the tears, heartbreak, loss, etc. -- we get used to the sun. we take it for granted and forget what it's like to deal with wet socks. to deal with difficulty and pain and suffering. forget what it's like to have to deal with the bottom of your pants being wet for what seems like forever (I can't stress how much I dislike that!).

maybe rain and shine show us the meaning of grace. maybe if we didn't know rain, we couldn't fully appreciate the son.

cause I guarantee you the next sunny day we have, I'm going outside.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

whilst drying my hair this morning, the thought crossed my mind that I haven't read the good women project in a good long while. I'm fairly certain that thought was divinely inspired. the current topic they are tackling is close to my heart right now, and I quickly stumbled upon two articles I needed to read...
I'm done running and 10 things I learned about burnout and missing out.

I love it when God uses his followers -- even ones I have never met -- to encourage and teach me.

happy thursday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ruth, boaz and a sprig of adventure

so...I'm doing this beyond awesome study of the book of ruth by miss kelly minter. if you haven't ever  done a study by her (like me before this one!), I highly recommend it. I'd try to explain why it's so awesome, but I'm not sure I can capture it, so just trust me. kelly. pretty fab.

know what else is pretty fab? the book of ruth. in studying the past week, I came across a few points that were quite convicting, exciting and scary at all the same time. kelly is discussing two characters in ruth who do not steal the show. if this were a television episode, they'd be "also featured" in the subtitles or maybe even unnamed as "boy 1" or "waitress 3". actually, one of these characters really isn't given a name! kelly is talking about orpah and the other possible kinsman redeemer for ruth.

these two characters do absolutely nothing wrong in this story. in fact, their actions are very similar to what I probably would have done in the situations they were in. one (orpah) was trying to be dedicated to her stepmother (naomi), but after much persuasion on naomi's part, orpah decided to stay in Moab (her home, by the way). the other (bachelor number 2, or other possible kinsman redeemer if you will), made the decision not to take on another wife and all the implications that would come with that for his family. he wasn't obligated to marry ruth, and another man was offering to do it if he did not, so he did not.

these both seem like logical, normal decisions to me. decisions I could easily make. decisions I could easily be talked into by friends or family if the scenarios were true for my own life (and if polygamy and all that jazz was really still around...don't even bring up sister wives...).

but yet, as kelly points out, these two are not the ones that the story is about. these are not the ones who are famous in the Bible, or used as examples of God's love and devotion to us. instead, ruth and boaz are the ones who did the unlikely and the unnatural or illogical. and the story is all about them.

to steal kelly's line -- they chose sacrifice and love, while the others chose safety.

yow. that stings a bit. and sounds a bit too familiar.

kelly goes on to discuss the three qualifications for a kinsman redeemer: they had to be near kin, able to redeem, and willing to redeem. (if you're not familiar with what a kinsman redeemer is, don't worry, I wasn't either. once again, I highly recommend kelly's study. or you could find it in the Bible. or google).

 the point is...the other possible redeemer had the first two qualities, but was not willing. and I wonder if that's a large problem in my own life. am I near people I could be helping? am I able to help them? to give them what they need? the answer to both of these is most likely yes. the third? well...that one is a little more tricky. kelly discusses this issue:

And isn't it this third element that often ends up being our downfall? We're able, but so often we're just not willing. This may be one of the most tragic ways for a Christian to spend her life: in the right place with all the right resources but without a willing heart.

she goes on later in the study (on the same day, was a rough, convicting day) to say this...

I used to be afraid of dedicating my life to the Lord, certain that He would seize this small window of opportunity to make my life extraordinarily hard...But I am more convinced than ever that it is not yielding my life to the Lord that is the truly awful and frightful place. I long to live the full, adventurous, and impacting life that God desires for me to live.

I, too, long for this. reading this reminded me of old desires and a passion was stirred. I pray that God would make me willing. I pray He'd show me how he can use me. how He wants to use me. if I would only be willing.

I pray for the courage to not choose the logical or normal. to not fear man. but to fear God. and to be willing.

Monday, June 11, 2012

sometimes I wonder how other adults seemingly have their lives figured out and how they function so maturely. sometimes I wonder how people who are my age can be married, in stable careers, and have children. sometimes I feel I can barely handle the responsibility to keep myself and a cat alive, let alone being responsible for other people. and sometimes I just really feel like I'm still in junior high, feeling uncool and the last kid chosen for dodgeball.

do you ever have times where you are so aware of your humanity? all your insecurities and past struggles surface, or you feel like everything you touch goes to ruin?

I was recently with some of my favorite friends, and whilst sitting and chatting, one girl paid me a compliment. it was something simple -- she stated she liked my hair color (it's a smidge darker than it used to be). I, in turn, rambled on about how I had dyed it, so it wouldn't last this way for long, and that of course it would wash out because I am afraid of commitment after all. upon finishing this little rant, my friend stared at me and said "I forgot ashley can't take compliments". boom.

we laughed about this comment and I have since come to realize it's true. and also, that when someone pays me a compliment, I tend to doubt its truthfulness or sincerity.

I'm not sure where this insecurity comes from, but I've recently realized it's still there -- just as real as junior high. I thought it was one of those things that would dissipate with age, a college degree, a good job. and I wonder how many other "adults" still struggle. how many other adults feel left out or undesirable or uncool, even when they're 40 or 50 or 60.

and this makes me all the more sure that security and value can never come from anything we obtain in this world. it can only come from our Creator. only comes from the love of our Savior. and it's a lesson that just might take a lifetime to learn, but it is truth.

things I'm thankful for: loving parents, the fact that I don't wonder where my next meal is coming from, sweat pants.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

do nothing...

do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. - philippians 2: 3

I have a tendency to strive for things. things that fuel my pride. I want to perform well so people will notice and say, hey, ashley is pretty darn good at xyz. I want a good job/career so people will know I am smart. established. respected. I want people to like me.

it's all a cycle that boils down to pride. and fearing man.

and it keeps coming up lately -- the idea of loving others. the idea that I must put others before myself. and what that really means. because what it really means isn't just church. isn't just helping with a few community service projects. I think what it really means is stepping outside my comfort zone. in daily life, doing things that aren't what I necessarily feel like doing. changing my comfortable, normal routine and lowering myself. I am nothing. not in a "I have low self-esteem way", but in a "compared to the entire world and my significance" way. if any spotlight is on me in my life, then it is not on Christ - for others to see, but even for me to see and realize.

the above verse is a hard verse for me to swallow. really? do NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit? nothinggg? sheesh. you drive a hard bargain, Lord.

ps - I am thankful for: the fact that Jesus never stops pursuing us, even when we have failed numerous times. that I have friends who fist pump for Jesus. that the King of the universe wants a relationship with me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

dear younger sister

it's been coming up in conversation a lot lately. or maybe not explicitly in all conversations, but it arises in my mind. seeps in through my subconscious as we chatter about days at work, upcoming plans and new happenings in our lives. comparison.

if it is possible to struggle with this idea from the womb, I think I have. if not, I sadly do not remember the first time I thought to myself "her hair is pretty...I wish MY hair looked like that". my  1 year-old self was probably comparing my onesies to all the other onesies from my stroller.

but it's a toxic game to play, the game of comparing. it's a game where you always lose, which is certainly disheartening. as the cliche' goes, there is always someone who is better, faster, stronger...or in my case - prettier, smarter, funnier. but's all apples to oranges, right? because who says long blonde straight hair is better than short, curly brown hair? and who says a size 0 is better than a size 14?

I'll tell you who doesn't....our creator. as a friend of mine once said in so many do you think it makes God feel to hear you say His creation (YOU) is crap? not good enough? doesn't measure up? sorry Lord, but I really think you could've done better. sorry CREATOR OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, those mountains and stars and rainbows and heavens you created are stellar, but you screwed up on the thing I see in the mirror.

silly convo, huh?

a wonderful friend was requesting notes on our value for a camp she is a counselor at for 3rd and 4th grade girls. after having this on my heart and receiving her message, this is my letter to those girls. (to myself, too)

Dear sister,

Do you know how valuable you are? How precious? God created YOU in His image. He knows the amount of hairs on YOUR head. There is no one like YOU in the entire world. In the entire history of existence. Nor will there be in all the years to come.

Which reminds me, in math, they teach you not to compare apples to oranges. This is a valuable life lesson, sister. It is an easy pit to fall into – comparing yourself to your other sisters. I have fallen into this same trap and will tell you where it leads: nowhere. Actually, quite worse. It leads to heartache. To disappointment and discontentment. To a horrible sense of self-deprecation, self-doubt, even self-loathing.

The creator of the universe, the Lord of all, the God who is bigger than we can even comprehend has created YOU just the way YOU are. No one else can take that role. So just remember when you wish you looked more like Miley Cyrus or your hair resembled Jennifer Anniston’s  or you could dance like Beyonce’ –remember sweet sister, that this God created you to be exactly YOU. That you – the only you –can play a part in this world only YOU can play. Only you can tell the jokes you tell, have the same interests and talents as you, have your hair, your freckles, your eyes.

There’s no use comparing apples to oranges. It is a math equation that doesn’t add up to anything or make any sense. Oranges are completely different than apples, but yet both are unique and wonderful in their own ways. Don’t forget that your value doesn’t hinge on anyone else’s accomplishments or words or opinions. God created you. He loves you. And THAT gives you incomprehensible value.

Your still-learning sister

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

memory verse

last year, I joined beth moore in a challenge of memorizing a piece of scripture every 15 days. it was truly an awesome time of spiritual growth and discipline. discipline faded, and I did not keep up with it, but I'd like to do it again...

because when I first heard of the memory verse idea, I thought of sunday school classes and reciting john 3:16 to get a gold star sticker.

but actually doing it was quite different. as an adult, it was truly like armor. when the world fed me lies, I could combat with the Bible's truths. God's truths.

and lately, as I have been struggling with those lies from the world, I find myself being self-absorbed and so focused on my own little world. I have not been loving well. or really, loving at all. I am going to meditate on this verse, turn it over in my mind, and hopefully allow it to penetrate my soul. become part of who I am. more like Christ.

"above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." - 1 peter 4:3

Monday, April 9, 2012

to those who wait...

lyrics courtesy of bethany dillon...

I am waiting on You,
I am waiting on You.
You say You’re good to those who wait.

My heart’s discouraged,
So I come to You expectant.
You say You’re good to those who wait.

Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won’t run anymore.
I’m waiting on You.

Oh, wretched man that I am!
Free me from my distractions.
You say You’re good to those who wait.

Then confession and repentance
Find me in the quiet.
You say You’re good to those who wait.
Now I know You’re good to those who wait.

Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won’t run anymore.
I’m waiting on You.

Oh, my soul,
Wait upon the Lord.
Keep your lamp filled with oil.
Oh, my soul,
Be not deceived!
Wait for Him.
Don’t be quick to leave.

Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won’t run anymore.
I’m waiting on You.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

letters from the Lord and thin spreads

Jesus called me this morning and He had some good things to say (weird, huh?).

Be still in my presence, even though countless tasks clamor for your attention. Nothing is as important as spending time with me. While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you: transforming you by the renewing of your mind.

-Jesus Calling (Sarah Young)

this truly was perfect for today. last night I restlessly tried to sleep, tasks and worries of the world swimming in my head. I felt suffocated and trapped. and then I got up and read this. wowza.

there are many things I think God is teaching me in this season of my life right now. this crazy, run from one thing to the next, take a deep breath at the end of the day and gear up for the next day kind of season. right now if I had to write myself a note to remember in a year or two, or even in a month or two, it would say: don't spread yourself so thin. just because you physically CAN do something (i.e. you physically can attend 5 classes and take on a new job) doesn't mean you should. doesn't mean it's in your best interest. doesn't mean it won't significantly decrease your quality of life.

because when you are spread too thin, you are no good. to anyone. think about the visual image of it...who wants a piece of toast with just a smidge of peanut butter on it (yes, I like peanut butter on my toast. om nom nom)? no one (unless they're watching their weight...and once again...where's the joy in that?). every bite of that toast would be sub-par. the same is true of what you're involved in when you're spread too thin.

last night as I felt myself getting tense and overwhelmed, I realized I was also frustrated because I am not excelling in any area right now. work, school, relationships...all are being compromised. all are getting by, but barely. not well. and well...that's just not how I like it. and not how we were created. I think God created us with specific gifts. maybe one reason we don't individually have ALL the gifts is because He didn't want us trying to do EVERYTHING. maybe He was protecting us in this, among other things.

as I re-read Jesus Calling, I realized the use of the word wait. While you wait in My Presence, I do My best work within you.

seems almost like a weird word for this topic. talking about taking the time to spend time with God every day. carving out that time. in my mind, it seems like a "do" item, rather than a "wait" item. maybe that's what makes it hard. in all this "do"ing, and task-accomplishing, the hardest thing to do is "wait". the hardest thing to "do" is seemingly nothing. isn't it?

I've been struggling with patience, but I guess as we wait, He refines us. He molds us in the waiting. even if we don't see it. even if it's painful. even if it doesn't seem like we're growing, changing.

as evidenced by my last post, I really can't wait for may. I can't wait for this semester to be over. I can't wait to make the decision to not spread myself too thin. but I guess I really can. and I guess I will. and what better place to wait than in His presence?

Monday, March 26, 2012

dear may 3rd...

dear may 3rd...

please come hastily. bring passed classes, more free time, and less stress. hurry, sweet day, for I am impatient. I promise to celebrate your coming with fro yo, car dancing, and the windows down.



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

in making changes in my life lately, I've had a few moments of fear. and in those moments, I found myself asking a lot of "what if's".

it's almost a smidge ironic that these changes have occurred so close to me turning 25.

what does this year of my life hold? what if I've made the wrong choice? what if I can't handle the choices I've made? what if I can't do my job? what if I let everyone down? what if everything changes? what if nothing changes?

...and then a wonderful and inspiring e-mail showed up in my inbox...coincidence? well...we know how I feel about that.

this is a part of a story from this site (which will send you e-mails if you want, clearly).

holley talks about her attempt to face a fear: cleaning the dryer vent.

she confesses how she got so flustered when imagining the monster dust bunny that might come out of that vent, she fell right over. here are the wise thoughts that followed:

Because my life is one big analogy, I found myself pondering the dust bunny as I laid in bed that night. While my skinny jeans got covered in fluff, no real harm was done. I just felt like I'd been attacked by a killer rabbit. My reaction didn't match the reality.

It's often the same way with fear. What we imagine is often far worse than what comes to be. And even if it does happen, we discover we're more resilient than we ever knew (and God is more faithful too). But the only way to find that out is to stare fear in the face and let it explode all over of us is needed. Not what we fear but the fear itself--which many times turns out to be worse.

What are you really afraid of?
And if that happened, then what?
And what about after that?

Keep going until you've gone all the way down the pipe of your fear and pulled every little bit back out. Then hold it in your hands and see if you've got a killer rabbit or a dust bunny. You might even find yourself laughing a bit about what you thought was in there.

The secret is not letting all of that fear grow in the dark.

Then stand up, wipe off your skinny jeans, hand it all to God and go out there and change the world...

thanks holley. I needed to hear that.

I'm a worrier and my dad would always try to reason with me growing up. what's the worst that could happen? he'd ask. and honestly, even though sometimes the worst that could happen seemed crummy, it never seemed life-altering. or at least life-ending. at the end of the day, truth was still truth, and all was still well. forever.

health factoid: don't eat polar bear liver, in case you were wanting to try it. apparently it has toxic doses of vitamin a. no good.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. I don't know what my life might look like in a week or  month. I guess, technically, nobody does.

normally this would freak me out. and I won't lie, it has a bit recently. it comes in waves...but oddly at the moment I have a strange peace. and I know that's actually not odd. or coincidental.

a peace that passes understanding is one of His gifts to us. another gift He has blessed me with are truths from His faithful servants.

here are a few words/prayers that have spoken to my heart this week from wise, Spirit-led people...
  • my job does not have to necessarily utilize my spiritual gifts.
  • God has taught me the difference between ministering to people and ministry.
  • may the Lord of all wisdom who knows the path of your life give you peace, discernment, and confidence.
  • He is guiding you. even when you don't have clarity. He is there.
  • the decision you make will be the one you need to make because you have the spirit within you that is directing your way.
I'm also learning that no one can make a decision for you. everyone probably has different opinions on what you should do, but you can't listen to them all. you have to live with the decisions you make, not anyone else.

health tip...I started watching "food matters" yesterday in a class and found it incredibly interesting (not sure I agree 100% with all that was said, but interesting). in this documentary, an old adage was reiterated with are what you eat.

sometimes I don't think about this. I think that food is just what I feel like eating at the time. but really, this food powers our bodies and sustains life. what kind of fuel are you giving it?

I went home and ate some veggies. dern health classes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

love and flowers

every year since I can remember, my parents have doted on me on valentine's day. when I was younger, I'd come down for breakfast to find a card and chocolates, or a cd, or a cheesy stuffed animal at my chair. in college, I'd get a care package that contained a great deal of chocolate (my mother knows me all too well...and my study habits) and a note about what a fabulous daughter I am. they know how to make a girl feel loved.

even in my adult life, the past two years have been accompanied by flowers and chocolates sent to my place of work.

this year, though, the postal worker brought flowers and I looked in shock when I saw they were, indeed, NOT for me.

mom, dad? don't you love me anymore?

well, obviously I know that "no flowers" does not equate with "no love". but I got to thinking about the concept of this...about how much I love to get flowers at work...and I realized something.

I want to prove to others that I am loved.

not having a boyfriend or fiance' or husband this year really hadn't bothered me (if you've ever been single for an extended period of time, you know that you go through times of caring a whole lot and times of not caring a whole lot).

until those flowers came and they weren't for me.

because when you work in a place where EVERYONE has a significant other/fiance'/spouse, you start to realize that some of them think you're lame. that you don't have a life, or that something is wrong with you.

or maybe I just project these ideas onto those people. either way, to me, flowers tell others that I am not unloved.

pretty silly, I know.

then I got to thinking about love. how lucky I have been. ohhh I know, everyone says they have the best people in their life. but I know the truth. I have the best.

I have been loved well by some pretty stellar people. I'm talking about love as a choice. love that isn't exactly easy.

the kind of love that gets me choked up. the kind that makes me sit and stare in disbelief. the kind of love that knows me. that knows all my garbage. all the things about me that make me shudder. the things I really dislike about myself. the ugly parts.

I have been beyond blessed by people who know all of this, and yet, stay by my side.

no judgment or grudges or weird looks. just love.

that kind of love is a taste of Jesus' love on earth.

and so, on this cheesy holiday dedicated to love, I'd just like to remember this love. and challenge myself to love more like this.

and also, to share love with a heart-shaped pizza from papa john's. because everyone knows that nothing says love like that.

Restaurant LocatorSpecial OffersOrder NowShare the Love! Get a Heart-shaped thin crust pizza with one topping and a Cinnapie for $15! Use promo code TVAL12. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW.

no, I am not getting commission from papa john's for this. just cracked me up.

happy cheesy hallmark holiday - I hope this day finds you feeling loved!

Friday, February 10, 2012

pointing to the answer

wednesday I rushed off to class from work, my mind whirling with thoughts of the future, different paths, and decisions. I prayed He'd help me make the right choice. He'd give me a sign in those classes for sure, I thought.

I sat through food prep waiting for that passion to stir. and even though I enjoyed class, I don't get super fired up about food safety.

no closer to feeling as though I knew what to do, I trudged on to religion.

it's funny how God works.

that professor could start a revival at an atheist convention, pretty sure. that man gets me fired up. in the way that makes me want to rush home and read scripture. apply that scripture to my life. treat everyone like Jesus would. change the world.

he spent the class talking about the Bible. talking about how Jesus changes lives. how people are converted - not typically from preaching or teaching, but from life experiences where God's work is evident. and then they read about Jesus. and their lives are transformed.

he talked about a lot of other stuff that convicted me. inspired me. gutted me. gave me a lot to think about, and a lot to take action on. but none of that action involved the specific life choice that I was thinking about.

it just all pointed back to HIM.

funny how when I was begging Him for a sign, for an answer, for help, He pointed me to Himself. He is the answer.

spend time with me. let your life be transformed by me. right now, that's what you need to focus on.


sometimes God's answers are not what I expect to hear. or are not what I want to hear. but certainly they are what I need to hear.

last night I read this in romans 4...

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

against all hope...and yet...being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

I think I could learn a thing or ten from father abraham.

health tip: provided by my wise sister. rest is important. get some. take time to "sharpen the saw". hard advice to take, but she's right.

happy friday!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What’s hard is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.

this is haunting me today. bouncing around in my brain and making me want to crawl under my desk in the fetal position.

when faced with tough life choices, do you ever want to revert back to being a 6 year-old? makes me think of that john mayer song...oh make me a red cape...I wanna be superman (or woman, rather).

whatever happened to my, whatever happened to my lunch box?
when came the day that it got thrown away and don't you think I should've had some say in that decision?

preach, john, preach!

big life decision advice....go!

health factoid: don't buy bulging cans/containers at the grocery store. chances are, they are contaminated with clostridium botulinum. you probably knew, that, though. also, don't feed infants under the age of 1 honey. it contains spores that these young'ens don't have immunity to yet.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

do everything better and other revelations

I have a fan-freaking-tabulous friend who sends me chapters from a book I really cannot wait to read. and re-read. and write quotes on my mirrors. and my forehead. hails, you are correct. shauna niequist and I...we're kindred spirits. thanks for sending me words of wisdom at precisely the moment I need them. here are a few tidbits from this chapter called things I don't do...

And this is what Denise told me: she said it’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.

I don't have much to say about this except it gave me food for thought. rejuvenated me a smidge. made me want to give up a little less.

then shauna starts talking about how she's a list maker. how she makes to-do lists every day. and boy, can I relate...

At one point, I kept adding to the list, more and more items, more and more sweeping in their scope, until I added this line: DO EVERYTHING BETTER. It was, at the time, a pretty appropriate way to capture how I felt about my life and myself fairly often.

I read this and thought...yes! I feel this way ALL the time. I'm totally adding this to my list. thanks shauna!

it sounds like it should be the new nike slogan. I can just see a picture of a girl running in her sports bra and toned abs, looking all concentrated and determined with DO.EVERYTHING.BETTER. underneath it. can't you?

BUT, then I kept reading.

It also explains why I tended to get so tired I’d cry without knowing why, why my life sometimes felt like I was running on a hamster wheel, and why I searched the faces of calmer, more grounded women for a secret they all knew that I didn’t. This is how I got to that fragmented, brittle, lonely place: DO EVERYTHING BETTER.

The three together, DO EVERYTHING BETTER, are a super-charged triple threat, capturing in three words the mania of modern life, the anti-spirit, anti-spiritual, soul-shriveling garbage that infects and compromises our lives.

She was right. Deciding what I wanted wasn’t that hard. But deciding what I’m willing to give up for those things is like yoga for your superego, stretching and pushing and ultimately healing that nasty little person inside of you who exists only for what people think.

and shauna proceeded to make a list of things she does do and then a list that most of us never make. a list that is by no means popular, and may seem counter-productive to many. a list of things she doesn't do.

I'm thinking that's a hard list to make. and she admitted it certainly was for her. because, as she mentions, not being able to do everything, and having things that you don't do, can make us believe that we are weak. that we are less than so-and-so. but she is right - doing everything better is really just exhausting. draining. pointless. and mythical.  

I'm going to make a things I don't do list. it's going to be hard, but I've already thought of a few. things I don't like to admit, or things I put on my do better list. no more. here are some things I don't do:

I don't decorate or find cute items to put in my apartment. it's just not me. nor is it a talent of mine.

I don't do crafts/make cute items that could be used to decorate (see above).

I don't cook (for now. I think this is a season thing, because I want t, but I just don't have the time to do it now).

I don't accesorize well or keep up with fashion. if I could wear a t-shirt and jeans and flip flops every day, I'd be just fine with that. for now, I'll just let my friends help with this one when I want to look nice.

I don't get manicures and pedicures. if I paint my toes regularly, we're lucky. if I paint my finger nails, expect me to be trying to pick the remainder of the patches off a few weeks later.

I'm sure there are more, but I'm new at this. I want to be good at everything, and for a long time, I thought that the above made me a pretty cruddy female. but I feel a little freer now.

are there things you don't do?

It’s brutal, making the list of Things I Don’t Do, especially for someone like me, who refuses most of the time to acknowledge that there is, in fact, a limit to her personal ability to get things done. But I’ve discovered that the list sets me free. I have it written in black and white, sitting on my desk, and when I’m tempted to go rogue and bake muffins because all the other moms do, I come back to both lists, and I remind myself about the important things: that time is finite, as is energy. And that one day I’ll stand before God and account for what I did with my life. There is work that is only mine to do: a child that is ours to raise, stories that are mine to tell, friends that are mine to walk with. The grandest seduction of all is the myth that DOING EVERYTHING BETTER gets us where we want to be. It gets us somewhere, certainly, but not anywhere worth being.

-shauna niequist

Monday, February 6, 2012


today I was feeling pretty perky. and then out of nowhere, a big ol' fat change slapped me in the face.

I'll start with a confession: I became emotionally attached to a co-worker.

no, no, no, not like that. a friend. but a fabulous friend.

warning: if you don't want me to become emotionally unstable when you tell me you're leaving (not just our lovely little office, but the city and state, as well), try not to be so awesome. k?

the thing about change is, I've been trying to accept it and even, maybe, befriend it. but I realized today that I like change on my terms. I'll work on accepting you, change, if I get to choose you.

it doesn't seem fair that other people should get to make their own choices that don't revolve around me. sheesh. what are they thinking? helloooo?

ya know what's tough? when something really stellar happens for another person and it takes that person away from you. because then it means your tears are selfish.

the preacher who spoke at my amazing grandmother's funeral said it. she said it so well and so clear. so honest. so true.

our tears are for us, aren't they?

well, yes. yes they were. because my grandmother wasn't happy here anymore. she was so ill and confused and ready to go home. and that's where she was when I was here on earth crying. saying she was happier would be an understatement. so yes, those tears...they were for me.

and the same is true for these tears. this change is good for my dear friend. she'll be in the same city as the one she loves. she won't have to spend hours in the car every weekend. won't have to spend tons of money on gas. won't have to spend time apart from her future hubby.

but she won't be here. and thus, I am sad. because she isn't here to laugh with me when the work day seems to be going longer than necessary. when I'm having a frustrated moment, she won't be here to make me smile. when the final twilight movie comes out, she won't be here to wear the awesome edward shirt I got her and see the midnight showing.

but I swear I'm happy for her.

situations like these are why they have the word bittersweet.

but I'm starting to learn to be grateful for the memories and lessons learned from people, rather than mourn that things have changed.

so I will remember funny IMs, deep life discussions, mixed CDs, auburn football games, wine and nachos with a smile. and I will be thankful for who she is. a truly fabulous person.

how do you guys handle good-byes? mine typically involve a lot of tears, but I'm a sap like that.

health tip: did you know that hamburger color does not necessarily indicate that it is has been cooked properly? I sure didn't. but I just learned that 1 in 4 hamburgers that are NOT pink in the middle have NOT been cooked to the correct temperature (155 F).

and because this e-mail made me giggle, I thought I'd share...

because the building that houses the office of spiritual life has been "visited" by a skunk, the office will be closed until wednesday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

saying "no"

any oklahoma fans out there? in the musical, there's a song sung by my favorite character, ado annie, called "I'm just a girl who cain't say no". while her context of the song is a smidge different than what I'm talking about, sometimes I think this song could be my mantra.

however, lately I have been saying no quite a lot. and I hate it.

because I really really want to say yes.

I want to say yes to bridal showers. I want to say yes to dinners with friends. I want to say yes to going to the Y. I want to say yes to catching up with friends and calling people when I know they are having a rough time.

but I've been saying no. and it's kind of miserable. and I don't have any words of wisdom about this. no solutions or grand things I feel like have been revealed to me. just a lack of energy, lots of studying/school work and a desire to sleep.

so...I pose these questions:

do you think saying no ever gets easier?

does anyone have wise words for saying no when you want to say yes?

what about saying no when you actually do want to say no, but don't want to let someone down?

for reals. insight=appreciated.

andddd because o chem has to have some kind of humor, or it would have no redeeming qualities...

a text from one of my favorites:

U will NOT fail. you are going to make alkenes your biotch (I felt so bad typing that word, but it seemed appropriate).

and leaving class yesterday...

professor: your test is thursday. study hard. I'll be here at 3 for those who want to start early. and I'll stay until...well...until it's time for margaritas!

maybe he's not so bad after all.

Monday, January 30, 2012


this morning at spin class I saw a little cartoon on the door. it was the definition of perseverance.

I can't remember exactly how it was worded (I was spinning...there was limited oxygen), but I do remember the little cartoon character and his thoughts...

perseverance is when I work hard and don't quit until the task is finished.

perseverence is when I keep going and don't give up.

since then I've found a few more.


...continued steady belief or efforts, withstanding discouragement or difficulty; persistence

...the courage to ignore the "obvious wisdom" of turning back

... implies the resolute and unyielding holding on in following a course of action

...a dogged and determined holding on

...the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did

(love this cartoon)

I think this is what I needed to hear/read today. and just in case you did, too, there ya go.

anddd...this is not a health tip, but a humorous health class discussion:

professor: I think we should tax people for every pound overweight they are.

*students eyes wide*

student 1: what if they have a problem with their pituitary gland or something??

professor: do you know how many people actually have a problem like that? like...1 percent! want proof? look at the concentration camps. did you see any overweight people in there??

student 2 (under her breath): is she suggesting we send obese people to concentration camp?

Friday, January 27, 2012

taken for granted

I was reading through old blog posts of my friend jenna, whom I love and am soo very thankful for, and it took me back to when I first moved to alabama...

I was reminded of how lonely I had been....and then how God provided me with some pretty fabulous people in my life.

reminded of how I thought I would never have "plans" again.

reminded of how I prayed, continuously, for a friend. any friend. preferably a girl friend. a girl friend who loved Jesus and who I could giggle and chat with. eat with. watch movies with.

I was reminded how that prayer was answered, first in the form of my now-roommate michelle. what a blessing she has been since that night we chatted for a few hours at panera! I can't tell you how thankful I am for her.

then He just continued to bless me with a wonderful community of friends. jenna and marci also became the friends that I had longed so desperately for. and since then, my cup has overflowed with amazing people He brought into my life.

I remember how new and fresh everything felt. scary, yes, but a time of growing. a time of learning. a time of trusting. and a time of God answering the prayers of His often weepy and whiny child.

when things/people/friendships become routine or comfortable or less-new, I tend to take them for granted. I tend to forget the way God has answered my prayers. and overlook the way He answers my prayers now.

I'm glad He decided to remind me today about the uhhhh-mazing people He's placed in my life since moving here (and of course the ones who were my life before that!).

a certain special one turns the big 2-5 this weekend!!  happy birthday, marci! you are pretty stellar, and I have no doubt that you will continue being stellar as quarter-century-old individual. fact.

anddd it's friday...I am also pretty thankful for that.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

fear and failure

yesterday I had a few minutes between classes, so I hopped on the computer and saw that my dear friend had posted an article from relevant magazine on facebook (clearly my facebook fast is pretty much over).

the article talks about how we, in our 20s and 30s, love to dream. we have big ideas about what we want to do, but do we ever do them? it was kind of a tough read, but tough in a "I needed that" way.

anyway, the article pointed out that the reason we don't take action on our dreams is out of fear. it didn't say laziness, or lack of ambition, but fear. I thought this was interesting, since it seems our generation has been deemed "lazy" by media/society in general. I got to thinking about this and realized the feeling I've been having for about 2 weeks now is just that - darn, annoying, wish-it-would-go-away fear.

I'm in a class right now that is currently making me very fearful. I'm not sure I ever would've classified the feeling as that, but now it makes sense. I leave every class with a strong desire to cry and throw up at the same time. I feel as though I've just sat through a lecture in greek or french or pig-latin (although at least if it was pig-latin, I'd be able to translate).

and I realized the awful feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I have no idea what is going on is rooted in fear.

fear that I am not smart enough.

fear that I will never understand.

fear that I will fail the class.

fear that I am on the wrong track. made the wrong decisions.

fear that I have wasted thousands of dollars and countless of hours.

fear that I've wasted brain power and studying time - energy that I can never get back.

fear that I will have to admit I can't do it.

fear of failure.

I don't know about you, but I really loathe failing. if I'm bad at something, you won't find me taking part in that activity too much. it's as though the failure somehow acts as a large stamp deeming me unworthy. having no value. have you ever read max lucado's you are special? I highly recommend it. it is probably the most profound and touching children's story I have ever read. it talks about this very thing by creating a society of people who award each other stickers that supposedly determine their worth. how silly! we think. but really, how true?

I've heard this whisper in my head this don't understand o chem? what kind of human being are you? you are a failure.

and then today I thought of how God tells us in His word 365 times: do not fear. I've never thought of it in this context. I always thought of it in a "do not fear...when you are driving on snowy roads" or "do not fear... when you are home alone at night and hear a creepy noise" or "do not fear... when you are being chased by lions" (totally a practical example, right?).

I've never thought that maybe I should not fear failure. that maybe I should not fear the uncertainty of chasing a dream. that I should not fear taking action.

He better help me with this, because I think fear just comes naturally to me.

finally, I wanted to share a direct quote from a religion lecture this week:

"anyone who does not believe in Christ is being bamboozled by an unemployed cherubim"  

thank you, fundamentals of seventh day adventists class, for being a class that always gets me thinking and grinning.

health tip: did you know that leaving food out (that should be refrigerated) for more than 4 hours in the danger zone temperatures (41 - 135 F) puts you at a large risk of food poisoning? this includes preparation time, too. prevent bacteria from overtaking your leftovers and refrigerate soon after eating.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

tears and miracles

do you ever read something you've read multiple times and realize you've missed a whole heck of a lot? something new jumps out at you or touches you deeply for the first time?

that's been happening a lot lately, as I've been challenged to slow down and really absorb what I'm reading. a few nights ago I was reading the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead - a story I've heard since I was just a wee little girl in sunday school.

it's a sunday school teacher's favorite question: "what's the shortest verse in the bible?"

oooo pick me! pick me! Jesus wept! Jesus wept!

and I knew that Jesus wept because his good friend, Lazarus, had died. DUH. ask me that, teach, ask me that!

(yeah, I was kind of an annoying child.)

anyway, I was reading through the story again the other night and was completely "wow"ed by something.

before the whole miracle of raising Lazarus (and before he has even passed away), Jesus prophesizes exactly what will happen and why:

...Jesus said, 'This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.' 
- John 11:4-5

so, we've established that:

a) Jesus knows what is about to happen. He knows Lazarus is going to die, and knows that His role is not to go heal him, but rather wait until he dies so He can raise his dear friend from the grave.

b) Jesus loves Mary, Martha and Lazarus. and since it's Jesus, we know this means like...a mad, crazy, awesome kind of love.

moving on for now...Lazarus dies and Jesus arrives at their home four days after his death. Martha runs out to meet him:

 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” - John 11:21-22

THEN, Mary comes out to greet Jesus, too:

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
"Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jesus wept. 

- John 11:32-35

here's what I've been thinking about..

1) Jesus loves Lazarus and his sisters, but yet allows Lazarus to die and Mary and Martha to experience this pain. He does this for a greater purpose. it doesn't mean that He is not sovereign. it doesn't mean He doesn't care. it means there was a much larger plan that they didn't know about. one that glorified Him. which is the overall purpose of everything, right?

2) check out the faith of Mary and Martha! ok, so I'm thinking they probably knew that Jesus knew Lazarus was sick. and yet, He didn't come. and they knew He could do something about it. so to them, it might have just looked like He didn't care. I would have been tempted to think this. I probably would have been angry. yet they still call Him "Lord", and Mary even states her belief that hope is not lost. that He has the power to raise her brother. shazaaam. I think this was a huge display of faith, considering she didn't have the Bible to tell her the whole story, like we do.

3) this is the part that really gets me. Jesus knew the whole plan. Jesus knew He was about to bring Lazarus back from the dead. so really, I don't think He wept because Lazarus was dead. I think He wept because His heart hurt for his friends who were in pain.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

I believe Jesus loved Mary and Martha and the others there so much that seeing them weep and mourn made Him terribly sad, too.

He knew He was about to fix it. He knew what was coming and that they'd get their brother back from the grave, but it still hurt Him to see His children suffer.

this struck me because sometimes I see the Jesus in my mind rolling His eyes when I'm in pain. I imagine Him wondering why I'm so upset about things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things. He has won the victory and I know that, so I have envisioned Him shaking His head when that is not at the forefront of my mind. when earthly things bring me down. when I lose a loved one or my feelings are hurt by rejection or anothers' words.

but maybe Jesus is really just crying with us. maybe He is holding us in His arms, His heart hurting as we cry and quiver and face the storms of this life. maybe, even though He knows the ending is a good one, He hates the pain we have to through in the now.

just a thought. or a few thoughts, rather.

health tip: beware of sharp glass edges. they have the ability to make you bleed. not that I know from personal experience or anything.

Monday, January 16, 2012

oh hey, monday

this morning I awoke to find this text from my mother:

"in chicago. about to board the plane for puerto rico."

thanks, momma. then...

"just arrived. it's 83 degrees here. dad says it's too hot and he wants to go home. yeah right!"

and then, to add insult to injury...

"here's our view from our room:"

anyone else think they might have just googled a gorgeous tropical location and sent it to me??

I love my parents.

health tip: if you eat tomatoes that have been heated up (i.e. tomato sauce on pizza, spaghetti, etc.), that lycopene I was talking about is better absorbed by your body. crazy, huh?

Friday, January 13, 2012

fixing my eyes...

while I am pretty much blind in the physical sense, I'd rather not be blind in the spiritual sense, too.

do you ever feel like a message keeps coming up in your life over and over? I'm pretty sure I've been trying to learn the same lesson over the course of the last year. and yet, here I am, reading two books that seem to be reiterating this lesson yet again. I'm thinking that probably means I haven't "gotten it" yet. I wonder if I ever will.

1 Corinthians tells us to fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, as what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. k, got that, self???

heart check: what gives me the most joy? what makes me grin from ear to ear? what can I hardly contain myself to talk about? what gets me fired up?

as mentioned previously, elisabeth elliot is kind of my hero. I wish she could mentor me. but since she can't, I'll settle for reading all of her books. here are a few tidbits of wisdom from one I'm currently consuming:

If we have put all our eggs in the basket of earthly life and earthly affections, we haven't much left when the basket falls. Christians, being citizens of Another Country, subject of a Heavenly King, are supposed to set their affections there rather than here - a lesson few learn without mortal anguish. 

How shall we fix our eyes on things unseen? There is no answer but faith, faith in the character of God Himself. That and no other is the anchor for our souls.

elliot's words are always challenging what I really believe, deep down, and where my heart is. she makes me think of that verse that talks about God prefering us to be on fire or ice cold, as he will "spit us out" for being lukewarm. this verse, to be honest, always kind of scares the bajeebies out of me. being lukewarm seems cozy. not too crazy and "out there", but definitely christian.

but Jesus was considered "crazy and out there"...and it got him hung on a tree. hung on a tree to save the world. hung on a tree to save me.

pretty sure His eyes were fixed on things unseen. yep.

health tip: eat some tomatoes. they contain lycopene, which is an excellent cancer-fighting agent.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

my plate and encouragement

did you know we don't have a food pyramid anymore? yeah, as of this fall, we have my plate. just an fyi. we can now add "food pyramid" to the list of things our children won't know about (along with cd players, movie rental stores, and gas prices under $3/gallon).

anyway, one of my assignments for a class this week is to use this handy dandy food tracker to evaluate my diet/physical activity for a 24-hour period. let me just say, you think a lot more about what you're putting in your mouth when you know you're going to have to record it all! I think this is a great resource, as is the entire my plate website. I highly recommend checking it out.

on a kind of completely separate note, I think it is amazing the effect one person's comment can have on me. a guy I work with and have the utmost respect for came by my desk today and was telling me about how he went to visit another co-worker at a healthcare facility. he glanced at the carrots on my desk and then proceeded to tell me how, while he was visiting this man, the dietitian came in to visit. he said he turned to another man he was with and said "oh yeah. I can totally see Ashley doing that!"

how encouraging! sometimes it's just good to have a little affirmation that what you're doing isn't crazy. that what you think you'd love doing, other people can see you doing, too. and it made me ponder the power of my own words...I hope I can use them to encourage and brighten others' days, too.

health tip? visit my plate. do it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

rainy day

today was not the best day. no, I'd say it was kind of a bad day. nothing earth-shattering, really, just one of those days where everything seems to go wrong. you know, one of those days where everything you try fails, you feel like you've let people down, and you just want to go to bed and wake up on a different day.

today was one of those days.

and to top it off, it was super rainy. as they'd say down here, "it's a coming a flood out there!"

and it really was. we had a flood warning.

after yet another frustration and losing hope for that situation, I went to class. my professor started by asking a fellow student to open our class with a prayer. I closed my eyes and heard her lift these words up to our Father...

Lord, we thank you for today. even though it is a  rainy, gloomy day, we are so thankful that you gave us another day.

she might have said a few things after that, but that's all I heard. pretty sure God just reached down and slapped me. sometimes I need a good slap.

maybe this girl had had a rotten day so far, too, but you would never know it. she was choosing to thank Him under any circumstances - storm or calm, rain or shine.

which made me I?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

back to school.

after almost a month hiatus from classes, school starts again today. o chem, I'm coming, ready or not.

while I know I need to look like this...

(maybe minus the colored pencils...)

I feel like this:

yes, I have reverted back to my 5-year old self. I don't waaaaanna go to school, mom.

anyone have tips on motivation??

Monday, January 9, 2012

I believe...(take one)

I believe electric blankets might be one of the best inventions ever.

I believe bugles are the best fake nails and taste delicious because they are secretly dipped in a vat of butter.

I believe community might be one of the most important aspects of our spiritual health.

I believe rainy days are God's way of saying we need a nap.

I believe, based on personal experience, that diet coke, gum, and frozen yogurt might all be addictive substances.

I believe one of the biggest mistakes I could make in my life, and yet one of my greatest temptations, is to become too comfortable in a routine.

I believe Elisabeth Elliot is incredibly wise, and one of the best role models for young women ever.

I believe that the Bible is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I believe God loves us too much not to challenge us, mold us, refine us - no matter how painful the process.

I believe blog posts written as lists are pretty awesome. and that humility is one of the best traits a person could have.

happy monday!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

resolutions, emptying and filling

while I am not a crazy health nut, I am health conscious, and thus am subscribed to several e-mails that send me health and fitness tips on a daily basis. this morning one came across that was titled "10 inspirational weight loss stories". now, before studying dietetics, I would've jumped all over this - read every word and been intrigued at their various methods of shedding pounds.

however, this morning I found myself rolling my eyes. why are all these resolutions solely about losing weight? because we want to look better, not necessarily be healthier.

I recently sat in on a weight loss class taught by a registered dietitian and she told the class about a man who had lost a bunch of weight on a "twinkie diet" (disclaimer - she did NOT condone or recommend this!).

it didn't surprise me - sure, if you only eat two twinkies a day, you will lose weight. that's not a huge amount of calories for an entire day. will it be good for you? (do I really need to answer that?)

it seems everyone wants to lose weight. but does everyone want to start living healthier? we may look great on the outside, but what about the inside?

last night I listened to a lesson on self-denial in a spiritual sense. the man was discussing his own issues with self-denial and asked about what other issues we have trouble with. what things are holding us back from Christ? what things, that might even be good things in moderation, have become an idol for us and draw us away from our purpose here?

the discussion was convicting and challenged me to think more radically about my faith, my life, my routine.

and then a woman raised her hand and made a point that I think parallels so nicely with this time of new year's resolutions:

self-denial for the sake of self-denial is pointless. if we empty ourselves, we need to be refilled with something else. otherwise, we are just empty.

whew. hello conviction! if I rid my life of an idol or bad habit or lie, I must replace it with Christ. otherwise, I will refill it again down the road with another vice. replacing idol for idol.

if my diet consists of grease and chocolate (and not gonna lie, sometimes it does!), I can't just stop eating. I must replace that with something good, healthy, wholesome.

that is my goal for 2012. to empty myself of that which needs to be emptied, and to fill with the most good, the most healthy, the most wholesome - my Savior.

as John says, "He must become greater, I must become less."

health tip: don't follow the twinkie diet. it's a poor life choice.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I hope y'all had a most fabulous holiday (don't I sound so very european??). I surely did. while it was different from every other holiday/christmas break in the past, I think I might growing up a tad and dealing with change just a smidgen better than I used to. maybe. don't quote me on that.

here's a few photos from the past week and a half

the fam outside taking our christmas walk around the square. it was a tad chilly -  
thus, the walk did not last too long.

the rents came back with me to bama. we went to space camp. not really...just toured the space and rocket center. woohoo!

what can make this 6 foot tall gal and her 6 foot tall momma look small? yep. a giant rocket.

 yeah we're tough. we go hiking on december 30th. bam.

anddd we saw lots of movies. in case you were wondering, the muppets really is a fantastic film (especially if you have a celebrity crush on jason segel like this girl).

did y'all do anything spectacular? spend time with fam? friends? travel? have an adventure?

ps - health tip o' the day:

this is not scientific or anything, but something I try to do that helps me, and in the spirit of resolutions, I thought I'd share.

I've noticed that if I don't buy lots o' junk food, I don't eat lots o' junk food, and thus, hopefully, don't gain lots o' pounds. I have a sweet tooth and not a ton of willpower. I can't sit down with a large bag of peanut butter m&ms and tell myself I'll only eat the serving size of 10 candies. half the bag later, I will be sad (and possibly slightly larger).

thus, I try to purchase healthy foods so that when I want a snack, I don't have any other options. if I want to eat something at 11:30 p.m., it's gonna be broccoli and carrots. and maybe a dove chocolate. hey, totally depriving yourself isn't good, either.