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?
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