Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Transparent Tomatoes

I was eating my salad about a week ago, and looked down at my plate and I could see straight through my tomatoes to the lettuce they were sitting on. Why not just leave them off? The tomatoes had no flavor and they had a horrible texture! So maybe you’re wondering why I’m ranting about my tomatoes, it really has nothing to do with you, does it?

Well in the course of this lovely lunch I started to think about how most of the time I find it difficult to be transparent. Let me interject the definition of transparent: 1) Allowing light to pass through with little or no interruption or distortion so that objects on the other side can be clearly seen. 2) Clearly recognizable as what he, she, or it really is. Okay so I fall way short on being recognizable for who I really am, even with the people I love and trust!

Why is this so hard? Could I (we) be scared of the judgments of others on me. Or maybe I’m scared that if people really know what I think about on a daily basis they won’t love me anymore. I can conjure up some pretty crazy thoughts and ideas in my brain. This is all wrong though, I should be able to have the confidence in people that are in my life to voice what is on my heart, to bear my soul. I really think my (the) world would be a greater place if I was able to really share what was keeping me down.

Twenty-Ten has arrived; matter-of-fact we are 13 days in! So I have a personal goal this year, tell the people that I love and trust what is really on my heart. I understand this will be a process, but I think I’m ready! So maybe the next time you’re eating a salad and happen to look at your tomatoes, just think about what is inside of you that you would really like to share with the people in your life!

Much Love, Ashley :) <--- Happy Face!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Really Hate This Question...

I hate the question, “ What would you do if you knew you only had one day, one week, or one year to live?” It seems everyone is asking this question in the New Year. So when I’m asked this question, in a very sarcastic tone I always sing the lyrics to the Tim McGraw song “Live Like You Were Dying.” Will you take just a brief moment and read these lyrics?

He said: "I was in my early forties,"With a lot of life before me,"An' a moment came that stopped me on a dime."I spent most of the next days,"Looking at the x-rays,"An' talking 'bout the options an' talkin’ ‘bout sweet time."I asked him when it sank in,That this might really be the real end?How’s it hit you when you get that kind of news?Man whatcha do?

An' he said: "I went sky diving, I went rocky mountain climbing,"I went two point seven seconds on a bull named Fu Man Chu."And I loved deeper and I spoke sweeter,"And I gave forgiveness I'd been denying."An' he said: "Some day, I hope you get the chance,"To live like you were dyin'."

He said "I was finally the husband,"That most the time I wasn’t."An' I became a friend a friend would like to have."And all of a sudden goin' fishin’,"Wasn’t such an imposition,"And I went three times that year I lost my Dad."Well, I finally read the Good Book,"And I took a good long hard look,"At what I'd do if I could do it all again,"And then:

Insert Chorus

Like tomorrow was a gift,And you got eternity,To think about what you’d do with it.An' what did you do with it?An' what can I do with it?An' what would I do with it?
Insert Chorus

This song really is the anthem of some people’s lives. The general population of the world sings this song with a lighter over their heads waving it back and forth with their eyes closed thinking “what If I was dying.” Oh this irritates me to no end…we are all going to check out one day! So why wait till some doctor tells you that you have an incurable disease to start living?

Why wait…
To Love Deeply
To Forgive
To be the Husband or the Wife you should have been all along
To be the child you should have been all along
To be a true friend
To think of others needs
To live like you were dying

My challenge to all who read this blog and to myself is SIMPLY TO LIVE. Live every moment of everyday like it was your last. Scripture says in John 10:10 that the thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose (Jesus’ purpose) is to give them a rich and satisfying life. How great is that, we can have a RICH AND SATISFYING LIFE RIGHT NOW!
(:-) <---Smiling because I’m happy to be alive!

Much Love, Ashley

Monday, January 4, 2010

What Are You Calling This Year?

I’ve been surveying friends, family, and total strangers asking this very simple question, “What are you calling the current year?” Now I have come up with a couple options, so you choose what goes best with your personality. First option Twenty-Ten, Second Option Two-Thousand and Ten. So what will it be?

I think simple things like what you’re calling the current year reflect on your personality. Does it make you lame if your answer to the question was Two-Thousand and Ten? No, but I do think it says a little bit about who you are! Like for instance Two-Thousand and Ten, sounds formal, so I guess this makes you formal. All the people I surveyed who said Two-Thousand and Ten were over the age of 45. So, I’ve concluded the way this question is answered has something to do with our age.

So what if your answer was Twenty-Ten, does this make you informal? Yeah, to a certain degree I think it does. If you’re rocking Twenty-Ten in your vocabulary I don’t think it means you lack class, or the ability to function in society. But I do think it means your okay with being you. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying that our friends from the Two-Thousand and Ten crew are not okay with being themselves. All I’m saying is... there is a difference.

So because we are all so different can I encourage you to listen to the people around you this year, I mean really listen to what they are saying. Take it past just hearing, and let their words resonate in your heart. Find out what their really saying, and what they really want from you. Don’t take the people God puts in your path for granted this year. Don’t dismiss them because they speak different, they look different, they smell different, they have a different color skin, they come from a different economic back ground, they believe different, or simply because they say Twenty-Ten.

Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. (Romans 12:9-10 Message Bible)
Scripture Commands us to Love…So in Twenty-Ten LOVE LIKE CRAZY!!!

P.S. Tell me what your calling this year, I really want to know : D <---- Stoked Smiley Face.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2 thousand and Nine Year in Review

I'm stoked to start this blog off with my 2009 Year in Review. I'll have much deeper, heart felt blogs to come.
2009 was an exciting year for me in all kinds of ways. I grew, I cried (a lot), I laughed (even more than I cried), and I was stretched to new limits. You better believe 2009, will be remembered as a landmark year!

January - That was an entire year ago! From the looks of my calendar the most exciting thing I did was run sound for a Spelling Bee. That is pretty sad : ( <--- Me being sad about January 2009!

February - (This is the hardest month to spell, do you agree)? This is the month I decided I hate crowds! I took the youth group to "Winter Jam", turned out to be horrible! This night will forever be etched in my mind as a catastrophe. We arrived two hours early because the event was general admission, I thought this was a good idea, I was so wrong. The doors opened, and I became aware of how much I hated being herded through hallways with large groups of people! We still got the worlds worst seats, in front of the worlds rudest people. Bad Night for me.

March- I became a Ferry Godmother, to Will! (You can see Will's Picture to the right) I also went on two- back -to-back Mission Trips to Brunswick, Georgia good Memories on both of these trips!

April - The only thing I can come up with for the month of April, is the "Women Of Joy Conference." Might I add, there was not many joyful women at this conference. This is just an observation, it might not be reality!

May- My journal says May was a hard month for me emotionally, looking back I agree, it was a hard month! The Senior Class of 2009 graduated, VBS meetings, and Children's' Camp took place.

June - The month I almost died from exhaustion! First week of June was the judgment House at Night, and during the day was decorating For VBS. Second week of June was VBS, two times a day! Third and Fourth weeks of June was Word Of Life Camp, in Tampa Florida. Suicide Mission.

July- I had some fun outings with the youth, but overall a very depressing month for me. I TURNED 29. Yes I said 29, I hate this number!

August -It appears in August from journal entries that I learned who my friends were. But no amazing events happened in this month.

September - See You at the Pole Rally at Moody High School was a success! I love seeing students on their knees praying!

October - I met back up with two amazing friends from the past, face to face! Yea Becky and Julie, so glad we met back up!October was all about answering TWO QUESTIONS...Who Am I, and Am I okay with who I Am. This was a hard month, and I would love to say I'm wrapped up on both of those questions, but that would be a lie.

November - I made my family mad this month, I opted out of the traditional family Thanksgiving to hang out with a friend in Texas. They soon forgave me, and all was well in the land of Ashley.

December - This was the hardest month I've ever had in ministry! I saw things that will never be erased from my memory! I was challenged to put myself aside, and think of the immediate needs of my friends! I lost people I loved and cared about. I learned important life lessons, one being you should always live life to the fullest (thanks mom). I found myself losing passion for the ministry! I retreated with the greatest group of students in the world, and found my heart beating in a way that it had been longing for!

So that wraps it all up! Tears, laughter, heartache, loss, passion, desire, and clarity, that was what 2009 was all about!