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.