Monday, December 28, 2009

Jesus Mean and Wild

I was intrigued by the title of this book when I saw it at CBD a few months ago, so I brought it home. I've had that little niggling thought in the back of my mind for a long time that Jesus is more than just Mr. Nice Guy. He was tough and stern. He got angry and yelled. But we like to focus on Nice Jesus. The first line of this book is "Jesus loves you and has a difficult plan for your life". Not exactly the kind of the thing we're used to. We like the nice things, like "Jesus loves you!", "Come to Jesus and he will fix everything", "Jesus, meek and mild". That's too often the message we send. And yes, Jesus does love us and he is kind, but he's more than that. If we bother to read the New Testament at all we see him angry, rebuking, commanding.

We try to romanticize Jesus and the Christian walk making everything seem bright and rosy. We seem to think that once we decide to follow Jesus that everything becomes perfect and we never suffer again. Where in the world did we get that idea?!? Not once does the Bible ever say that! It says the complete opposite many times over! That in order to follow Jesus we will suffer and we will have to deny ourselves.

This book starts with two familiar stories about Jesus that we seldom put together. In the first chapter of Mark we read about Jesus being baptized. You know the scene, he goes in the water and comes up to the heavens opening, the Spirit settling on him like a dove and the words of God saying "This is my Son, whom I love, in whom I am well pleased". Then there is the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert for 40 days and nights. What we (or at least I) miss is the fact that it says "immediately" in between these two accounts. Jesus is baptized, hears the words from heaven, and is immediately driven to the desert to be tempted! This is Jesus. The Son of God. The one that God is well-pleased with. If he is sent through such suffering right after being baptized, why do we expect less?

And why do we only see God as a softy waiting for us to need coddling? "He is instead a God who is in control of history and is in control of our lives...he is gentle and merciful and kind. But he is also strong to save. And he loves us so much he refuses to pamper us" (p28). We can't pick and choose what features of God or Jesus we like and which we don't. "Once you domesticate Jesus, he isn't there anymore. The domestic Jesus may be an interesting fellow, a good friend, a loyal companion, a helpful business associate, a guarantor of the justice of your wars. But one thing he is not: the Jesus of the New Testament. Once Jesus comforts your agenda, he's not Jesus anymore" (p19).

I'm only in chapter four, but I have so many things I could write/talk about! This would be a great book to study with a group! Since I don't have one, maybe I'll write a blog for each chapter.....hmmmm......for now, let me leave you with a few quotes I really like.

"This is not a world for shallow people with soft character. It needs tested, toughened disciples who are prepared, like their Lord, to descend into hell to redeem the lost...God's got the whole world in his mind, and he's looking for people who are keeping that world foremost in their minds as well." (p31)

"Repentance is...deciding that you have been told a pack of lies about yourself and your neighbor and your world. And it is deciding that God in Jesus Christ is telling you the truth. Repentance is a realization that what God wants from you and what you want from God are not going to be achieved by doing the same old things, thinking the same old thoughts." (p38)

"We must stop thinking of God as infinitely indulgent. We must begin to grapple with the scary and exhilarating truth that he is infinitely holy, and that he wants the same for us." (p 39)

"This aspect of holiness has two dimensions: the shaping of our character to be set apart in godliness and the shaping of our calling so that our lives will be set apart for God;s purposes. In short, to be holy is to dedicate all that we are and all that we do to God." (p44)

"This is one reason a life of holiness frightens us, why an encounter with the real Jesus can be so unnerving. When he comes into our presence, we sense the chasm between his holiness and our uncleanness...the one who loves us is the Holy One who wishes to make all unclean things holy. That means the one whom we cannot stay away from is the same one who is out to destroy those very habits, sins, notions, addictions and self-justifications that we think we can't live without. And there are times when we feel as if Jesus is out to destroy us. It is a wonderful and fearful thing to fall into the hands of the real Jesus." (p46)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Code Blue

I came out of the cafeteria at work today to be told "Did you hear that page? Code Blue in the West dining room!" (I happened to be working on West today). I go taking off down the hall thinking "Crap. Am I ready for this?" and "Hey I get to learn what to do!". I get to the dining room and they tell me that the patient was brought back to her room, so I go taking off down the hall. I get to the room and find out that it was not, in fact, a code blue. The patient had a fainting spell, which happens occasionally. Someone decided to call a code blue for that and send 20 concerned nurses to our floor. Fun way to come back from lunch!
On a lighter, happier note, here's some pictures from my NYC trip! I'm too tired to edit or elaborate, so just enjoy.




























Tuesday, December 15, 2009

oops

I just realized that I missed the start of the 12 Days of Christmas I was going to do. Hmmm......welll.....Guess I'll either start late or forget it. I've been kinda busy lately. NYC pics will hopefully be up tonight. For right now, I'm subbing at the high school and sincerely wishing to take off and travel around the world.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Attention Please

I will be going to NYC tomorrow! I am quite excited and decided to share :) Stay tuned for pics and tales early next week!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stay Icy

Despite the first real snow of the season that falling outside right now (yay!), this post is not about the weather. Its a book review! Or, rather, a book series review. And this should be really interesting trying to explain/review without giving anything away or making it confusing, so lets jump right in!

I just finished the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld (comprised of Uglies, Pretties, Specials, Extras, and Bogus to Bubbly) and LOVED it! I am now a fan/expert on all things Bogus to Bubbly, Crim to Cutter.



In Uglies we first meet Tally Youngblood, a 15-year-old girl living in a futuristic society (roughly 300 years after our own). She is not-so-patiently waiting for her birthday so she can turn pretty. You see, everyone one is considered ugly until the surgery on their sixteenth birthday turns them pretty, bringing with it a whole new beautiful lifestyle. The New Pretties live in their own town where their only job is to have a really great time. This means non-stop parties, drinking and anything else that brings them pleasure. Just before the big day, Tally makes a new friend who turns her world upside down. Shay isn't sure she wants to have the surgery. She has heard of the fabled town of Smoke where everyone stays ugly forever. When Shay goes missing, the authorities (that no one believes exist) give Tally the worst choice she can imagine: Go find Shay and turn her in, or never turn pretty. The decision Tally makes forever changes her world in ways she never expected.

Now stops my summaries. If I continue to describe the rest of the series, you'll know too much and it will ruin the series for you. I will say, however, that Extras is not fully about Tally....she's not the main character. Also, Extras isn't as great as the rest of the series, but still a good book.

These books are soo good (or bubbly or icy, in Tally-speak, depending what book you're in), even though they sound really weird....and they sound weirder the more you try to explain it, which is why I gave up. Basically, its this futuristic society that sort of shows what humanity become if we continue as we are. We will fully become the Rusties (the "ancient" humanity that destroyed the world with battles over stuff, space and popularity). It sort of makes you think about the implications of a world where everyone is pretty.

The books are filled with really cool tech-toys like hover boards, bungee jackets, flash tattoos (which are actually real!), eyescreens, and costume-surge (plastic surgery that wears off in a day). There are all kinds of cliques (Crims, Tech-Heads, Manga-Heads, Kickers, Sly Girls, Special Circumstances, Cutters....this could go on a while). And you have guaranteed action in each book...usually involving the top-secret, highly-rumored government authorities, Special Circumstances. To top it all off, there's so much fun slang! Like "bubbly", "eye-kicking", "brain-missing", "icy", "SpagBol", "dizzy-making" and so many others. I've started using them in real life because they're so fun! And if thats not enough for you, there's even some romance throughout the series. (Are you a David fan, or Zane?? Frizz?)

So, if you like young adult fiction, action or sci-fi books, you'll like these. My brother thought I was ridiculous when I tried explaining them to him, but after the first few chapters, he was hooked. And once you've read them, tell me so I can have someone to talk about them with! Its been painful to not write everything that happens in these books! Oh! And last note. Bogus to Bubbly is the "insiders guide" to the series, not an actual story. It gives more background to the technology, how the author came up with some things and names, what certain things mean or look like. It also has a "history book" that explains all the history from the Rusties, to the Diego war, to after the Extra's...experiment (I can't say what it is!).
Don't be a bubblehead, read the books! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! **Ashley-wa**

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yumminess

Ashley's Guide to Yumminess in Six Easy Steps
Step one: Rediscover the Garlic & Herb Popcorn-on-the-cob you bought last year at the farm.
Step Two: Decide that tonight is the perfect night to finally make it.
Step Three: Melt butter, mix with the spice packet, pop the popcorn, cover in said butter mix

Step Four: Pour yummy Garlic & Herb Popcorn into fun popcorn holder
Step Five: Enjoy yummy Garlic & Herb Popcorn while watching Pixar's Shorts with your sister and reading Around the World in 80 Dates.
Step Six: Blog about the yummy Garlic & Herb Popcorn while including pictures.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The End

I have successfully made it to the end of NaBloWriMo! Wow, I can't believe this is the last day of November! What a bittersweet moment. I am happy that its over so I no longer have to post insignificant, time-wasting posts. I can just post when I have something to say! Today I learned that I cannot pick up any hours at work this week, unless someone calls out, because its the end of a cycle so all the spots are filled. I also bought the last two books to the series I'm reading. The Uglies Series. I like them. Its a YA series and so weird I can't fully explain it, so I won't waste your time. You can google it if you're interested. As a parting note, I have decided to do a "12 Days of Christmas Photo Challenge" leading up to Christmas! I'm looking forward to it. I just finished this art project and figured I'd share it....it'd look nicer with a colorful wall, but thats okay :) The middle picture says "Brighten every day with fun finds that make you happy" and thats what this piece is....things I've found that all have happy memories attached.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

#Numbers#

2:Hours I slept last night
Hours spent today playing "Extreme-Reality Life": 2.5
3: Hours spent today playing new Wii SuperMario
Number of 'continues' used in Wii SuperMario: 22
3: Hours reading today (so far)
Days left til NYC: 13!
76:Days left til Peru!!
Percent of money I've raised for Peru: >50%
13: How badly I want to take myself to Europe
(0=not at all, 10=can I leave tomorrow?)
Number of days to finish reading challenge: 32.1
28.3:Number of books to finish reading challenge
Number of girls it took to destroy a bag of Bliss chocolates: 3
2:Books left to read in the Uglies series
Estimated number of times I wanted to learn to salsa during Tough Love 2: 14

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Heart Lazy Days!

Today was a nice, lazy day. I slept for 14 hours straight....I don't even think I moved; I woke up in the same exact position I went to sleep in! Then I decided to stay in my footy jammies all day (they aren't technically footy jammies....its a one piece with separate slippers, but you can't really tell...)
Did some reading, watched Cellular with my brother and his friend. Now, reading some more while they're out buying the new Wii Mario game for us to play. This is a great relaxing day! I needed this :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

After working 11-7 last night, I headed straight to the mall to get a new camera and a....Christmas gift for my brother ;) I am in love with my new camera! Its bright pink and takes great, fast pictures! And I bought it at Ritz and got their 1 year protection plan which covers literally ANYTHING that could happen to it, no matter whose fault it is! So if it falls into the Amazon River and is trampled by a herd of monkeys, as long as I bring the pieces back, they'll replace it! Yay! After that, I went to the Festival of Trees with my parents, sister and some family friends. I love the Festival of Trees! Hundreds of pretty Christmas trees all decorated in different themes....and you have a chance to win one! I put a bunch of my tickets into this one tree that was plywood covered in bottlecaps and jewelry. I really wanna win it! It was sooo me! After a far-too-short nap, I went to youth group, only to leave early when I nodded off many times during worship. Now, after being awake for roughly 32 hours, I'm going to bed!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Good Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

Never let it be said that my family doesn't have a traditional Thanksgiving. We had plenty of friends and some family over. There was an over-abundance of turkey, stuffing and all the fixin's. There was music, you tube viewing and poker playing. Holiday poppers with paper crowns and corny little toys. And, of course, we lit some non-dairy creamer on fire in the backyard...

What? Like your family doesn't do that at Thanksgiving?

This year I am so thankful for a wonderful family, great friends, a crazy-loving Savior, a real-life grown-up job, and all the exciting events coming up in the next year. Be blessed and "elevate the silly" =D

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

I'm glad this NaBloWriMo is almost over. Then I won't have to make insignificant posts. Well, I'm almost finished with orientation (tomorrow nights my last shift as an orientee!). And since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I have tonight off (since tonight's 11-7 shift is technically the holiday). Now, I have to keep myself up all night, though. I guess I'll read...do some little organizing-type stuff...catch up on my book reviews...make plans for Peru...research a solo trip? We'll see. Typical Thanksgiving-type post to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Creepiest. Commercial. Ever.

Seriously. Its this guy (who I assume to be on a CBS show) against a plain gray background saying, "Want to get your lady something really special this year? Schedule her pap smear." No joke. That was the commercial. Well, it did go on. He also said "Pap smears save lives. So give her the gift that even Santa can't deliver". Ummm.....does anyone else think this is a gross commercial? Seriously! In my opinion, its right up there with the one where three friends are sitting around a living room talking about the NuvaRing. I don't wanna think about these things when I'm watching NCIS!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Challenging Challenge

Well, at the beginning of the year I challenged myself with a reading challenge for the year: 100 books in 2009. I took the idea from one of my favorite websites, LibraryThing, that I discovered the end of last year. Along with the challenge to read, I've been keeping track, and keeping a journal where I review the books. I've enjoyed it and I've read some great books this year! But, I realized today that I am falling short. I have 37 days left and have only read 69 books. If I want to reach my goal I have to read 31 books in just over a month's time....Sadly, I don't think this will happen as I do have a job and other commitments. Thus, I will see how close I can get, and take this same challenge next year! I love books :D
**Side note**
I am in love with 100 Layer Cake's blog and this tablescape! My fav shot here is that amazing one with the huge grey wall behind it. Gorgeous! Plus, that chandelier? sa-weet!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nothing to Say

I really don't have much to say today, but its still NaBloWriMo so I can't skip a day. The Blind Side was a great movie! Saw it last night. Then I stayed up all night, went to bed at 6 this morning. I'm working 11-7 this week, so I figured that would be the best way to adjust. I feel all discombobulated because I woke up as the sun started to set. Not fun. But, its only one week. I can do this.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gosh I Wanna Go!


I really really wanna go! Someplace! Today we raked all day to raise money for our Peru trip and I spent most of the time thinking about how badly I want to travel. I kept thinking about the stories in Rolf Potts' book Marco Polo Didn't Go There and on his website's blog. And I kept singing this song (of course, I'm always singing this song lately).

I love the line in there "Its crazy, I know, to count on this road to give me what I need. But with every state line somehow I find another part of me". Thats sorta what travel is to me. Even when all I do is a day trip somewhere, it relaxes me and revives me, and in some small way, I learn something about myself and God, even if I don't realize it right away. Each trip I take changes me in some way.

Here's what I have planned for the next year or so, minus random daytrips:
December 2009: NYC day trip with my cousin
February 2010: Peru!
June 2010: Hershey, PA as chaperone for a senior class trip
Fall/Winter 2010: solo trip to Europe?
Summer 2011: Greece with my girl Erin =D

I'm seriously thinking about this solo trip thing. For alot of reasons. I've heard alot about it lately. I want to go someplace and don't have many friends who can/will just pick up and go. Plus, I really don't mind being alone and I think a solo trip would be fun and a great learning experience. Learning about the world, learning to make new friends in strange places, learning to be really self-sufficient, learning to take "risks" and get outside of my self and my little bubble. And it would be a great time for me to be outside of myself and totally relying on God and experiencing Him in a totally new way. So I think I'm gonna do it....Thoughts?

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon Fever


Since I need to unwind before going to bed, I shall blog.

The movie was A-FREAKIN-MAZING!!! Soooo much better than the first (thank you, new director!) and completely lived up to the book! Plus all the gorgeous shirtless werewolves. What more can you ask for in a movie? It was great! I LOVE the midnight premeire experience. Its way better than just seeing it regularly. Everyone in the theater is super excited, and its perfectly okay to screech, yell and freak out when someone takes off their shirt or does something Twilight-mazing! And it totally stayed true to the book! Obviously, there are minor changes, but there was only one that I didn't like, and even that was minor and forgiveable. Some of them I really liked, for example, throughout the movie Bella writes e-mails to Alice (that all go undelivered). Its an awesome way of getting her thoughts throughout the book into the movie. Great work, director person! All the graphics were great; the wolves looked real and awesome. They even improved Edward's sparkling abilities (Now he looks sparkly, not sweaty! Thank you, thank you, thank you graphics people!). It was great and I can't wait to see it again!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twilight prep

Well, New Moon comes out tonight!! I spent the morning finishing my cake pops, which aren't as elaborate as they could've been, but I still like 'em
And don't worry, I made more than this, but a few for a pic is much prettier :D. So, I'm getting ready for work and I'll head over to the theater from there. I've got my ticket, meeting friends there, made some little Twilight-themed snack bags for us, and will be home late late late! I guess tomorrow's post will be all about the movie. Yay! New Moon!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire


I've become a pro at lying to old people. Its the nature of my job. So if one little old lady is telling me she's ready to go home and tells me to get her things, I tell her we're about to eat dinner and then the bus will come pick her up. If the old man is telling me there's a convention in the lobby he has to go to, I tell him its not til 3 and we'll bring him down then. I have to, otherwise they get agitated and combative. If someone honestly believes this is a hotel, you're gonna make them really angry by telling them they're wrong. So, I've become pretty good at lying.

P.S. Did you notice the crazy frost or the beautiful starts tonight? What a nice clear, almost-winter night!

P.P.S. New Moon is tomorrow! In exactly 24 hours I will be sitting in a theatre with one of my best friends (plus Twilight accoutrement's such as homemade Bella-bracelet, homemade. Twilight-inspired cakepops and Edward/Jacob chocolate) waiting for the 12:01am showing to start!! Yay!! So exciting :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Catch a Falling Star....

I'm sure NaBloWriMo posts aren't supposed to be just a few hours apart, but I wanna write this while its all fresh. If you weren't aware there was a meteor shower tonight (this morning, whatever). Since I haven't tried to see one in longer than I can remember, I headed outside a little after 1:30am. I spent the better part of an hour staring at the sky, scanning and seaching the stars for meteors. And I saw a few! Not a whole shower, thanks to the lights of the city and a weird skinny cloud, but a few, and each one made me smile :) I would've stayed outside longer if it hadn't been for my numb, frozen toes and utter exhaustion!
"Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, never let it fade away..."
I had a few songs and one central thought running through my head during this experience, such as the one above. I don't know any other part of this song, as all I've heard of it was in Princess Diaries, but it kept going through my head. I wanted to take a part of this experience and tuck it away so the beauty and awe and wonder wouldn't fade. Then I kept thinking of the song by Rebecca St. James that says
"You said the words, and made the heavens,You breathed the stars and put their place in the sky.You waved your hand, painted a sunset.You smiled and gave a heartbeat life,Craziest thing,That your holy hands made everything I see."
How amazing is God?!? He created it all! Everything we see and everything beyond that. This morning (well, I guess yesterday morning) I watched this video. (Go watch it. Its short. I'll wait.)Feel puny yet? But the amazing, mind-blowing, awe-inspiring, worship-invoking thing is that God loves us! He pays attention to us! Not only does He know whats going on with us, but he died for us! And just staring up at the sky, watching more and more stars pop out, its impossible to not see how HUGE God is! How much room there is in Him! How tiny our brains are and how impossible it is to fully understand Him and His motives.
"How deep the Father's love for us, How vast beyond all measure. That He should give His only Son, To make a wretch His treasure".
Take time this week to catch a falling star- a moment that makes you say "Wow. God is AMAZING" and put it in the pocket of your mind to remind you of the amazing crazy love of your God.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sudoku in the City

I like sudoku. I forgot how much. The other day at work it was pretty slow, so I did the one in the paper. It took me about 40 minutes. So today, I brought my own sudoku, just in case. And I did use it! I got through 1 and 1/2 puzzles in my downtime...the second one was a toughy so I'll finish it later tonight or tomorrow, we'll see what kinda mood I'm in.
I also realized I should start carrying my checkbook. I forgot it yesterday, so I couldn't pay my tithe. I didn't have it today so I couldn't pay for a trip. Along with this observation is the exciting announcement that I am almost-officially going to NYC next month with my cousin for a day of fun, sightseeing and photography! (I say "almost" only because I still have to give them the check). I'm sooo excited! Plus, I think it just happens to be the day they do the tree lighting! YAY!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Date Night

I love date nights! And no, not that kind of date. These are date nights with the girls. After the busy morning at church, I indulged in a bubble bath (something I do frequently) and started reading some of the books I bought at CBD (Crazy Love, Jesus Mean and Wild, and Miss Invisible). So far they're all good, so look for reviews soon. After Ashley-time, three of my friends came over for our standing date night. We ate yummy salad and shepherds pie, watched The Ugly Truth, and just hung out until it was time for the main attraction: Tough Love. I love this show! Combined with The Ugly Truth it seems our date night stood to show us why we're all single (or in M's case, the exception that proves the rule). We have decided- half jokingly- to buy Steve's book and study it together. Of course, we came up with several other crazy plans...some of the tamer ones being to take dance classes with random men and stand in elevators.....Gotta love date night with the girls!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November CBD

Today was the CBD Warehouse sale! The last one of 2009. So, after roughly 2.5 hours of sleep, I loaded into the car, in the rain, with three guys, and headed to Peabody! We had a very wet wait before the doors opened, but it was totally worth it! This sale was one of the best ever! I don't know if it was the selection, the small(er) crowd, or the fact that I actually had money, but I found soo many things I wanted on the bargain tables! And then one of the guys and I dug through the free books and traded awesome finds (we kinda sorta even got in trouble for this....). After the sale, we headed over to Sonic! Word of advice: Cranberry Limeade is yummy :) All in all, a great but tiring day. Too bad I have to wait til March for the next sale!

TWLOHA Day

Today was "Write Love On Your Arm" day, sponsored by TWLOHA. Its a day to raise awareness and show support for people who cut or self-injure. Since I have known several people who cut and work with teens, where self-injury is so prevalent, I did my part.This is an issue that is close to my heart, something I, for some reason, am really interested in and have read alot about. If you or someone you know cuts, don't suffer alone. Talk to someone. It does get better. Someone cares. You're not alone.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Birthday Plans

Well, I just decided what I'm going to do for my birthday! I know its not til January, but I just saw a trailer for the new Amy Adam's movie Leap Year and it looks like exactly my type of movie ("You are exactly my brand of heroin".....sorry.) So, since it comes out the day after my birthday, I shall be taking myself to see it! I did that recently for her other movie, Julie and Julia, which, conveniently enough, I also blogged about here! I'm sure I'll throw in some other plans, too, but thats definitely on the list :) Happy Thursday! And yay for a Friday off!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Uncreative Title

Well, not much going on today. I slept, read, worked. Some interesting tidbits from the day:

...I shocked myself so bad getting out of the car that I could see the bright blue flash....With the box truck gone from our driveway its hard to give directions to our house, although we can all park in the driveway now!....I think Lady Antebellum's song "I Need You Now" would be good for the soundtrack of New Moon....sorry for the abundance of Twilight-related comments lately, but I'm re-reading the books in preparation for next week's movie (OMG its next week!!!!)....I ate way too much today....but that chicken garlic pizza was just soo yummy!...A few of the residents had the CMA awards on in their rooms so I could hear some of the performances. I sang along while popping pills....I wanna do another picture week. I'll have to come up with something other than colors to do. Hmm.....


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Disappointments

  • Today at work I kept passing these beautiful yellow daffodil-like flowers that had orange stripes though it. When I finally stopped to look at the amazingness I found out they were fake.
  • Yesterday at work they paged the owner of a silver volvo parked out front. I had a fangirly moment where my heart stopped and I looked around for Edward, only to be reminded that I live in the real world, not in Stephenie Meyer's Forks.
  • It seems to be C. diff week at work. Ick.
  • Facebook won't let me upload my pictures from the weekend.

Thats all I got for today, blog world! I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with something more exciting and uplifting!

Monday, November 9, 2009

White Monday

Well, today was my first day of working 3-11 (which wasn't too bad, actually. It went by quickly and was more laid back than 7-3), so I didn't get out today. Here's my pic for Monday! The whiteness of my giant Bible. This color week was alot of fun! But now what am I going to do for the next three weeks of NaBloWriMo??

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Purple Sunday



Purple Sunday was a busy, fun day. It started with a semi-crazy KIDS Church. I felt pretty unprepared when we got there...especially when I saw that the room was completely un-preped and empty! But it all turned out ok. Then I rushed home to finish setting up for a surprise party I was throwing for one of my best friends. We pulled it off and had a good time. This straw was from the party. It was Disney princess theme :) From there, we all went to a hockey game. I know, me? At a hockey game? Yup. I was there. Not my favorite thing, but I had a good time before my camera died. And we won, so its all good. The day ended on a nice note: tv and coloring with my friends. All in all, a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Blue Saturday

Welcome to Blue Saturday! I can't believe color week is almost over! I'm having soo much fun color hunting! Well, there were many blue things in the world today, the sky was a beautiful blue, plenty of things at walmart were blue, my mom's new car door is blue...but this picture of my sister's shirt was my favorite. Now, back to lunch and party plans!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Green Thursday

I got an awesome pic for today! I loooove it!! I'm cutting it close with the time here, since its almost midnight, so hopefully picnik speeds up and I finish editing it in time....gaaaah!! This is taking a while!! btw, colors aren't edited at all! I love her bright colors :) and the surprise green on the bottom of her sneakers pretty much made my night!

So here I am editing this post on saturday because I re-edited this pic and I really like it and wanted to share!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yellow Thursday

Well, I'm watching Twilight with my brother, so I'll keep this short. Here's today's yellow picture, taken with my cell phone :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Orange Wednesday

I saw an orange traffic cone just inside the door at church, but forgot to take a picture before I left :( So, I settled for a picture of the pumpkins on my front step...and had a little fun with picnik.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Red Tuesday

Today is dragging on for FOREVER! The fact that I'm tired and came home with a headache didn't help matters. That being said, I didn't go out today, so I looked around for something red. This is the first thing I saw....I think they're only a year old.Well, there's my red day. Now....I think I'll eat cake. See ya tomorrow!

Monday, November 2, 2009

14 Random Ramblings

  • I was glad to see Mrs. R (not her real name) doing better today at work. When I left Friday, I didn't think she'd be alive today, never mind happy and drinking chocolate milk. God must still have work for her here.
  • My arm is itchy. I don't like the whole change of seasons thing. Only because it gives me eczema. Everything else about it I love, though.
  • I get to go to the other side of the world with the Lover of my Soul for Valentine's day :) Can't wait!
  • Hmmm.....I need to pay some bills.....
  • Can we please just ban the Gosslin's from the media?? Seriously. Let those kids get a chance at childhood!
  • I have 20 days to re-read a certain book....oops! Make that 18. Its already November 2nd!
  • My mom's birthday is coming up very soon. Now that I have money, I'm getting her something special that I think she'll love. I just need to buy it....
  • I can't believe how fast this year has flown by! Its almost over and it feels like it just started!
  • I don't think I'm going to make my goal of reading 100 books this year. I think I'll be about 20 short :(
  • I think for the next week I'll do something similar to what I saw on another blog. Each day will be assigned color. I'll find something that color, take its picture, and post it here.(Tuesday=red, Wednesday=orange, Thursday=yellow, Friday=green, Saturday=blue, Sunday=purple, Monday=white)
  • I wonder how I can make this blog prettier?
  • Elijah and Elisha were pretty cool dudes. It would've been fun to know them. To follow them. To have been there and witnessed first hand the things they did. And to be bold like Elisha and ask for a double portion of what Elijah had? That'd be pretty awesome.
  • I read this passage the other day and thought, how cool would it be if we all introduced ourselves like Paul did? If we just came right out with our life's philosophy, our beliefs, our mission. We'd be a lot more mindful of how we acted and spoke, that's for sure! There'd be no mistaking who's just talking the talk and who's truly walking the walk.
  • My big accomplishment for the day? I did the entire morning med pass! Granted, I had someone to do vitals for me, and she actually did one person's meds, but still!! I did it, and did it on time!! woo-hoo!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy NaBloWriMo!!!

NaBloWriMo - National Blog Writing Month
Well, here I go! Taking part in the National Blog Writing Month. Its a "spin-off", for lack of a better description, of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is also held in November. Last year was the first I heard of NaNoWriMo and toyed with the idea of participating this year, but just didn't feel like it. Too overwhelming. But when I heard of NaBloWriMo, it sounded just right, so here we are! For the month of November, I will make a post here every day *gulp*. Posting isn't the issue. Finding something post-worthy is. Can't wait to see what fun tangents take place this month :)
Today's interesting post: I got my hair cut! Short, layered, with long bangs, instead of the old long and straight hair that I woke up with. So, Happy November! I'll be back tomorrow with something interesting to entertain you!

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Shot a Gun Today

I shot a gun today.
A BB gun.
An air soft BB gun.
With little plastic bullets.
Orange plastic bullets.
While wearing my scrubs.
In the church gym.
Surrounded by teens.
I shot a gun today.
But I missed the target
:(
And I don't have a picture.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It IS real!!

I really am a nurse. A registered nurse.
I'm not a student anymore.
I'm a real-life nurse.
It hit me today for the first time
When the nurse orienting me asked me to cosign the narcotics book.
I can do that! I'm a nurse!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Year in a Weekend

In crisp New England autumn air
Warm sun takes the edge off the chill.
Tall corn stalks all around
Hear the wind whistle through the maize;
Smell the aromas of earth and fresh corn.
Wander happily through twists and turns.
Momentarily alone
Blissfully aware
Of being hopelessly lost

*****a few hours later*****

Load up the car, drive to the beach
Unload and sneak onto the sand behind homes
In the cold, dark night the men start a fire
That is blown in all directions by the wind
The venture is quickly ended.
A short drive to a small peninsula
Sneaking around, quietly discover
An abandoned fire pit.
The men again attempt a fire
This time it works and doesn't stray.
The fire burns bright and pops
And reaches in all directions
Finally, a warm restful fire with friends

Until the water starts to rise
And pushes us up further inland
Watching and laughing as water battles flames
Flames fight back and refuse to die out
Slowly smoldering, slowly leaving,
Slowly signaling the end of warm-weather fun.

The next day dawns
Dark and dreary, cold and rainy.
Children use song to honor the pastors,
Despite technical difficulties.
Lounging lazily on the couch with friends
We realize that summer and fall
Are drawing to an end
As we watch giant flakes fall from the sky
As I sit and recall the snowy beauty
I have but one regret:
I didn't take a picture.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Death of one, Life of another

Here in New England we seem to be having trouble with keeping our seasons straight. We had summer in April, fall in August, and now Winter is starting in October. This year is going by way too fast! Today I was coming home from a good day in a good mood (more on that in a minute). While I was walking up the walk I saw a beautiful, fiery leaf laying on the side. I picked it up, happy for the beauty God creates, and found the leaf had brown, dying edges and a small hole in it. It was just like the changing seasons and the changing course of my life.

Yesterday noon, I received a call and was finally offered a job! Hallelujah, Praise God Almighty, I have a job!! I even went this morning to file all the paper work and orientation starts Monday :) And God is so cool to organize everything, because last night I learned that the income I've been relying on for the past year and a half may be taking a cut. How great is our God???

Over the weekend, I read Romans chapter 8 and was struck again how awesome God is, how He gives us all the encouragement and tools we need. The first part is awesome, talking about how we are messed up and can't even do the good we want to do when we want to do it. How we are "covertly rebel[lious]" (v.23) and that rebellious part takes over when we least expect it. And while we can't do anything to fix it-can't be good enough, or pay enough to the church, or do anything- Jesus can and does. "He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different" (v.25). It goes on to talk about the law vs Jesus (good stuff, but I'm not gonna get into that here today).

So many people today are on this whole "I have to find myself" kick. Which is all well and good, except they are mostly looking in the wrong places. They take off from work and travel the world, or sit around the house, or simply don't do anything. But right here in verses 5-17 we find how its supposed to work. (And this is the part that really gets me excited). Its all outlined: focusing on ourselves gets us nowhere. That mentality is totally ignoring God. By focusing on ourselves and not Him, we are making ourselves more important than God and saying we can't trust Him with our lives. But if we welcome and trust Him, that's when the 'magic' happens. We become free. We find ourselves in wide open spaces. We experience life on God's terms. My favorite part? I don't think I can say this any better than Paul so..."God's spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go! The resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children" (v14-16).

I considered leaving it off here, but I think I'll finish the chapter. We're getting to the part that made me read this chapter, anyways. I was beginning to get overwhelmed by the lack of job and the abundance of bills and v.18-28 literally jumped out at me. Don't you love how God does that?? You can read it for yourself, so I'll just give my short commentary. And I don't know if I can make what God showed me in this passage clearly, but I'll try. Basically, everything in creation (meaning absolutely everything) is waiting for something. Everything is being held back from its most glorious until God reveals it. What we see is not what is going to be. This passage uses the analogy of pregnancy. Just as with a pregnant woman, we can't see what the baby looks like, we don't know its details or when its going to come or how its going to come. We just know that something is coming. The woman's body enlarges and as the time for the delivery gets closer, the woman gets more and more uncomfortable and tired of waiting. Then the moment comes. There is pain and all sorts of emotions and changes, but the woman knows that her support-doctor, midwife, husband, whoever- is there for the whole thing. The thing that jumped out in these verses and made me stop was the word waiting. I felt like I was waiting for my life to start, so this was a huge encouragement. What are you waiting for? Where are you having pain in your life? Look at it from this angle. God is preparing you for something. You may not even realize what it is yet, but He does. He is "[enlarging you] in the waiting" (v.25). The difficult times and the rough spots are simply the labor pains of what God is doing in your life. He is moving in you and through you, and in His time it will all be released for all the world to see. And Jesus is right there beside us through it all. And beyond just being there, He's pleading our case to God when we don't have the words or the strength. "God gave His Son for the world, but Jesus gave His life for the church" (-Pastor Raffoul Najem). Jesus came to earth for you. He died for you. He stands before the Father and pleads for you.

The other cool part I realized is hidden in one small sentence: "But it's not only around us; it's within us." (v.22). "It" is the expectant waiting, the holding back, the labor pains that we just talked about. Not only is it in the world, but its in us. Go back to the end of chapter 7, when Paul talks about doing the things he doesn't want to do, and not doing the things he wants to do. These two parts are put near each other for a reason. This vicious cycle that we all share with Paul causes us pain...or is that just me? It hurts to know that I've grieved God. But that pain is a good thing. "The Spirit of God is arousing us within" (v.22). It causes us pain because it causes God pain. That means we're not simply living for ourselves. We are striving to seek God and in seeking Him, trusting Him, He will reveal who we really are. But this process requires the death of one part of us so He can birth something new. That's the pain. Its not only around us, but within us. Yes, there will be pain in the enlarging period. There will be trials. But "none of this fazes us because Jesus loves us." (v.28)

Hope this blesses and challenges you today. I encourage you to read and chew on this passage, its a great one. **Ashley**

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Few Musings on This Grey, Dreary Day

Took myself to a movie today- Julie & Julia. I fully enjoyed it! Cute movie, some funny parts. Probably kinda slow or boring to alot of people, but I loved it. And I'm inspired....to do what, I'm not sure. For those of you who don't know, the basic premise of the movie (based on a true story) is that a modern day woman, Julie, sets out to keep a blog of her year-long journey through Julia Child's cookbook. It inspired me to spend a year-long journey doing and recording something....just not sure what yet.

I'm currently in a wanderlust funk. It happens a few times a year. I desperately want to travel somewhere. It doesn't even matter where, I just wanna go somewhere, see something new, learn something new, be a part of something different. But since I am unemployed and not independantly wealthy, all I can do is surf the web, check out travel books from the library and wander through the travel section of Target. It was here that I realized something. All luggage has a distinct smell. Seriously. Mine at home that I've used multiple times smell the same as the luggage aisle at the store. And that smell always brings me back to Taiwan, my first real trip.

You know the saying, "start off on the right foot"? Well I totally do. Not just know it, but I always start with my right foot. I had this epiphany when I was about to get off an escalator at the mall. I cannot start walking with my left foot. Or climb on or off something for that matter. Even if my left is the closer, more "logical" choice, it has to be my right. And this is contrary to how I put on pants or socks and shoes. Then I start with my left. Totally random and strange, but its true.

I tried something new today. I cheated on a classic.
I picked up special transformers edition Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms. And they are pretty yummy! I would like a big bag of these to keep in the fridge....they would be wonderful cold and slightly hard. They taste just how they sound, Peanut Butter M&Ms with a hint of Strawberry. Try 'em if you find 'em.
Thanks for stopping by and have an awesome day
**Ashley**

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

BitterSweet



Yesterday was a bittersweet day. First, I had a missions meeting at church. We've been planning a trip to Peru with the youth group since the spring and have run into a few roadblocks lately...mostly the cost of the plane tickets skyrocketing to $300 more than the original total cost of the trip! So at the meeting yesterday the decision was made to postpone the trip from December to a time undetermined as yet. We will be taking the next two weeks to step back and seek God's will for this trip. He is shutting the door for December and even if we don't know why, we know that we want His best. After two weeks, the leaders will meet and schedule the trip again. So the bitter is the postpone, but the sweet is that it gives us more time to plan, prepare and learn what God wants from us at this time. Its almost relaxing to know that we have a few extra months! Plus, there are some fun-sounding festivals around the time we're thinking....


Another bittersweet event yesterday was starting Course 4 of my Wilton Cake Decorating Classes. I am so happy to be taking another class, but its the last one! In three weeks I'll have taken every possible Wilton cake class, not including the Masters Course. Here are some of my favorites from the past 5 months.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My Fair Fall





Fall is here and so are the fairs! Last night I went to opening night of the Topsfield Fair with some of the youth group girls. We had a complete blast! And perfect fall weather! Despite this annoying cold that I'm battling, it was a great night of wandering the fairgrounds and taking fun pictures. As I was driving to meet the girls, I prayed that we would have a great time and that God would put some fun surprise in the night. That surprise came in the game area when I won a prize on the first try! I was going to put my quarter on pink (my favorite color), but had a feeling I should put it on rose. I did and won a pig! Other highlights of the night: a new chick with half its shell stuck on its butt, and listening to Friday Night Pranks in the car "He says he sees a light and a tunnel". All in all, a wonderful fall night! Enjoy these pictures, edited with picnik.com.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I'd Like to Return This Baby

I came across this video clip today and thought I'd just share my thoughts and see if anyone says anything :)

First off, these are just my thoughts. I don't know anything more about this family or situation than what the video tells us. It seems like this family adopted Baby D and after roughly 6 months with him, decided that they were not bonding and looked into finding a new family for him. Can I just say, a baby is not a puppy?? You're not supposed to bring it back if its not working out! When you adopt a baby, you become their family, their parents. Thats permanent. You are supposed to treat them the same as if you were their biological parent. You don't give birth to a child and then return them to the hospital after 6 months! Parenthood and Adoption are forever. Period. (Of course, this is not including those crazy situations where the parents are abusive. I'm talking about parents who are normal, loving people).

And thats probably what most people are thinking, but beyond just that. Sometimes it takes a while to bond with a child, even a biological child. It happens. But you don't just give up. You spend time and energy taking care of the child and doing everything in your power to build a relationship. And if you adopt a child, especially if the child is from a different country or a bad situation, its going to take a while to bond. In this video, Baby D was about a year old when he came to live with this family. In his young life he had been abused, neglected and left on the side of the road. He has spent his whole life maybe trying to bond with people who only hurt and abandoned him. It will take a while to adjust to a new, loving family who is not going to leave. A few months is really not a long time.

Again, I know nothing about this family. I know they mentioned counseling or therapy of some sort, and I applaud them for that. And I do think its great that they did their best to find a great family for Baby D. I just don't fully agree with the choice to "give him back". What does that say to the other kids in the family? That mommy and daddy might decide to give you away? I don't know....it just all seems weird to me. Any thoughts?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Aspiring Ashley

Why Aspiring (because I hope the Ashley part is self-explanatory)? Well, I am aspiring to be and do so much in my life. There are the things I can explain: like I am aspiring to be a nurse, to make beautiful cakes, to be a good example, to try new things. Then there are the things that I yearn for in my spirit but can't really put into words for other people. The best I can do is to say that I want to follow Christ with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, wherever He might lead, without fear or hesitation. But see, that doesn't really take whats inside and express it very well. Oh well. So this blog is simply a place to write and grow and record what I'm learning and doing. Like I said in yesterdays post, I might record a day's events, or what I'm reading...I'm actually really excited for that part. I have a site where I review books (click here to see it) but one of my favorite things in this past year was when I lead a book study with my girls. There are some books I've been meaning to read, so look for some book discussions here soon. So, I guess that will be it for today. Thanks for stopping by and reading :)

**Ashley**

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Giving it a go

Well, here I am blogging world! I'm going to attempt keeping a blog...we'll see how long this lasts. Since I really should be going to bed, not making a blog, I'll keep this post a little short and just tell you why I'm starting this endeavor. I have a secret...hope, for lack of a better word, to write. (Desire! Thats the word I was looking for!) Not like a series of novels or anything, but just to write. Even if its just for myself and a few people out in virtual-land. So this blog will be a mish-mash of writings....whatever I'm feeling at the time. Maybe about my day, or something on my mind, something I'm reading...whatever. Just to write. And that sort of gets into why this blog is called Aspiring Ashley, but I'll save that for tomorrow's entry! So thanks for stopping by, and check back later!

**Ashley**
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