garage band, Koine Greek, and the alphabet song


With my limited knowledge of tools, I know that there are a few you need to have at all times.  Hammer, align wrench, screwdriver, and – the most valuable of all – Google.  That last one came in handy when I was filling out an incredibly long and detailed form (so that I can play volleyball this year), and it asked for “next-of-kin”.

Do these questioners know that few people (aside from my relatives down south) use the word “kin” or even are able to guess what it refers to?  If I didn’t know and had to guess, I’d say some kind of food or a body part.

Either way, I figured it would be safe to put my mom down for that one, but – just to be sure it wasn’t asking for my children (non-existent thus far) or a deceased great-grandmother – I googled the term.

And now I’ve forgotten what Google said, but my point is that I am far more independent for having access to Google.  I had texted my dad asking what “next-of-kin” was, but I sent a quick follow-up “I FIGURED IT OUT!”

He was so proud of me.

Then I thought, does using google to make myself independent of other people really make me independent?  because I’m still not completely figuring this out on my own. 

On the one hand, I did come up with the idea to google on my own, but, on the other hand, somebody else had to post the definition.

Maybe this makes me interdependent.  (spellcheck didn’t go off, so I’m guessing I’m not the first one to come up with that word.) Either way, I was glad that I didn’t have to use my Macgenius boyfriend to figure out how to edit songs on garage band today.  With the assistance from a random lady on youtube and some trial-and-error, I successfully morphed 8 songs into one.

Then I grabbed some Greek yogurt and set out to learn the Greek alphabet, the parallel of Greekness being a total coincidence.

the grammar and workbook

that swirly one is called zeta… does that look like a letter to you??? I didn’t think so.

My book said that the only way to learn the Greek letters (thank goodness there’s only 24 of them) is to write them and say them out loud at the same time, over and over again.

So I sat here in my kitchen, enjoying the peace and quiet that being home along brings, and said “alpha, alpha, alpha, alpha, beta, beta, beta….. omicron, omicron, omicron…tau, tau, tau… chi, chi, chi…”

I think it helped.  I’m not sure.  All I know is that, dumb as it sounds when I sing it, the Greek letters fit perfectly into the alphabet song, even though their names have more syllables.

And now, since it’s 1:42, I’m going to go check the mail to see if my special new Superfeet insoles have come.

sugar, vitamin D, and volleyball


Vitamin D’s main function is to help your body absorb calcium and phosphorus.

This means you actually have to eat something healthy in order for the vitamin D you get from time spent in the sun to actually do anything.  I was going to blog about how my health is so greatly improved due to my recent influx of sun-time, but then I looked at the Mayo Clinic website and realized that I was far from healthy.

I would record on here the dozens of sugary foods I consumed while on my class trip, but I’d rather just say that I’m not proud of the dietary choices I made.  And I might not include the date of my last shower… because it’s not indicative of my hygiene habits.

The trip itself was full of laughter, jet-skiing, boating, night-game playing (is there a better way to say that?  I don’t think so!), eating (as I already mentioned), and talking, talking, talking.  And now, after spending a good four hours in the sun on the water, I still feel like the waves are rolling underneath me as I sit at my computer desk.  My eyes are completely glazed over from lack of sleep – and I was the first of the girls to conk out.

And now I’m sitting at the threshold of another volleyball season, completely disbelieving that I’m here.  How did summer go so quickly?  And why do people keep saying that senior year is going to fly by?

There’s a list of things that need to be done in the next week or so, and as much as I know that it’s possible to get all of them done, then I remember that there are things that I have yet to add to that list.  And at the same time, all the little things need to get done as well.  And I want to have a social life too.  And sleep – that’s a big one.

Priorities, Ashley, priorities.

What I need is the kind of perspective that David had in 2 Samuel 7, when he looks at everything he has, his “house of cedar” (I know, you’re jealous… house of cedar…) and wonders why the ark of the covenant is still living in a tent.  It’s a good question, especially since David is a secondary king, and he knows it.  Israel’s real king is living in a tent, and that bothers David.  Even though God eventually tells him that he’s not the one to build the ark a house, David has the right idea, the right priorities.

Something I was thinking about last night is how much being in the company of Godly people invigorates me.  I’m thinking specifically of spending time with a woman who has been in ministry for 34 years who I met on Friday.  I spent an hour talking to her about the possibility of going to India in January to work with the ministry that I’ve been supporting through my jewelry-making for the past year.  This woman could not stop talking about God’s goodness and the wonderful things He has done in India.  It was evident from talking to her that she is very personal in her relationship with God.

She told me of numerous times when, during her time in India, God did something to speak directly to her.  “Just like He will do for you when you go,” she added.

When I go.

After two months of being consumed by the idea that I might be able to go meet the people I’ve been supporting and praying for – asking God to please make India a place He wants me to go but only if it’s right – hearing that the actual plans are being made practically sent a shock of electricity in me.  All the way to my coffee with some friends my heart was in my throat.  I can’t fully describe the excitement in English.  Actually, I can’t describe it in any other language either.

It’s a heart excitement.

And suddenly the things that I have to do this week seem a lot more trivial. That, yes, they need to get done, but there is so much more to be thinking about and be grateful for.

God makes this life a wonderful life.

play counts, haircuts, and bug bites


An itch is a sensation that I cannot fully describe.  It has a sort of burning feeling to it, but it also sort of tickles. Basically… it itches.  My bug bite, that is. They always get me on my legs, which frustrates me.  Then I accidentally shave over them and make myself bleed.

It’s not a good situation, easily remedied if those darn mosquitoes would just find something they prefer to suck rather than my blood.  I honestly don’t see the appeal in relying on something that can (and will, if given the opportunity) kill you for your food.  But, hey, I guess that’s why God made me human.

I’m a human who is really hungry right now too.

lunch. all veggie... practically salad without the lettuce

I had that bowl of green stuff for lunch, and it didn’t last long, I guess.  My eating patterns are reminiscent of a vacuum cleaner, except I won’t eat whatever is put in front of me.  I’m picky.

Oh, and I got my textbooks for PSEO Greek today.  I know, you can’t hold back your enthusiasm, so just leave me a comment about it.

Have you ever had those conversations with people that you wish you could replay so that you could hear exactly what you said and see what kind of general theme your words seemed to have?  To know what kind of impression you were giving off?  I had one of those today, while I was getting my hair cut.  Katie, my stylist, and I were talking up a storm: about movies we’d seen recently, how she just broke up with her boyfriend (a guy who seemed to not really care about her much…  not worth her time in my opinion), school, and, of course, hair.  The swirling clouds of conversation parted when, after I told her about how I was taking a class in Biblical Greek this semester, she said, “I have one of those somewhere. [a Bible]  I’ve only read part of it.  The last book, I think.  Revelation?”

“The most confusing one?”

She laughed, ” Yeah.”

And, all of a sudden, my stomach burned, a sure sign that this was an opportunity for me to not mess up this opportunity to share about my faith with her.  But, then again, I remember that she is a human being, not a computer that just intakes data.  This may go against those people who think that you have to give the gospel in a nutshell to every person you meet, but I have reasoning for not wanting to shove theology down her throat, down the throat of this sweet girl who says she has questions about Christianity – like about the virgin birth and basically everything after the flood in the Bible – and says that she has accepted Jesus after her sister in law preached to her, who blows my hair dry painstakingly and is nothing but sweet to me… and also told me that I look like Taylor Swift.

Shouldn’t I show her that I love her?

(I mean, as much as you can love your hair stylist after only talking to her about twice.)

I don’t think that love jumps at the most convenient opportunity to wax eloquent about exactly what they believe and why they believe it.  For one thing, I’m not exactly positive that I could do that sort of speech justice.  And that wouldn’t give a clear picture of what a life lived with Jesus is like.  I don’t have everything figured out.  I come up with new questions everyday.  I’m still realizing that God isn’t something to be figured out – since He’s so beyond anything that I can understand or comprehend – but that what I do know of Him shows that He deserves my complete affection and devotion.

How exactly do you convey that without monopolizing the conversation and boring the person to death?  I think this is a practice that I have yet to master, but I sincerely hope that I didn’t botch this one.

But, in the end, it’s not about me, what I say and do.  God can not only use my mistakes;He can maximize them for His glory.  Maybe telling her that if she was looking to read a part of the Bible it would be better to start in John than in Revelation wasn’t what some people would have done, but it’s the Bible, right?  God can speak volumes through that living book. It’s not about what I do, but the fact that I am obedient and that I do not deny Him.

And I’ll see her again.  Her haircuts are not the cheapest, but I think that to have a chance to talk to her and show her love, that I care about her and that God does more, and that God is the One who drives my actions – it’s worth the extra cash.  I think I’ll be starting a new fund.

her haircuts are good too... probably worth the extra cash

“Dark Horses” play count is at 15 now, just in case that tidbit interests you.

endorphins, typos, and dark horses


I like endorphins.  For real, when I came home from my workout today, every little thing seemed to make me happy.  Even after having to do a 30-minute-long questionnaire about my health insurance and physical condition, I still laughed out loud upon discovering that my Snuggie has been in my laundry hamper since February. (I finally washed it today, in case you were wondering about my hygiene. and I took a bath.)

Then, after deciding that my finances are in a healthy enough state to justify a $14.99 purchase, I bought…

(drumroll please… you’d better be waiting on the edge of your seat)

VICE VERSES!!

pumped. stoked. ecstatic. fanatic. erratic. heart-attack excited.

If you are not the Switchfoot fanatic that I am, that statement probably only confused you.

Let me tell you my story:  once upon a time, I was in 4th grade, and I bought a Switchfoot CD.  Immediately afterwards, my mom made a stop at a bead store, so my sister and I stayed in the car and listened to the Beautiful Letdown for the first time.  Now, fast forward 7 and a half years (roughly), and here I am, the happy owner of every single Switchfoot CD or song that ever came to be written by that illustrious band, practically shaking with excitement – eyes wide, fingers moving erratically, toes tapping in anticipation – and about to press the “$14.99 pre-order” button on iTunes.

September 27th cannot come fast enough for me.

But, at the same time, a very wise woman (who happens to be the same woman who gave me life and who feeds me most days) once told me to not wish time away.  So, I’m living in the moment and listening to the one song from the album that you could download right away.

over and over and over again.  going on 8 plays on iTunes, and it’s only the beginning.  I already know a lot of the words.  So accomplished, I know.

I folded laundry while listening to that beautiful song today.  I just put it on repeat.

Now, those of you who couldn’t care less about Switchfoot (I will find you.), you can come out of your coma.

I’ve been thinking about something for a couple months now, ever since the possibility came up.  Every day, multiple times a day, it crosses my mind. I hold it there, turn it over, wonder if it will happen, imagine what it would be like, hope with all my might that it will happen, ask God to make that His plan for me, and then I move on.

It’s a good thing, this recurring possibility, a very good thing.  And I hope that’s what God wants for me.  More than hope, I long for it to be what is in store.

So much that I am tempted to tell God what to do with me.  Overstepping my boundaries there, I know that.  I have absolutely no right or business whatsoever in giving God directions about His plans.

And it would be royally stupid to do so, especially since I am not clairvoyant or psychic.  I’m just Ashley, whose inner control freak is asking to get the ball rolling.  Let’s get some plans laid out, let’s raise some cash, let’s do it.  And it’s taking all that I have to tell God that it’s up to Him, that I’m not going to pull a Jonah.

I feel like Jonah had to be a rookie at this whole prophet business if he thought that getting on a boat to Joppa would help him get away from what God wanted him to do.  Did he really think that the wind and the waves would obscure him from God’s view?  Hmmm, I wonder where Jonah is.  Well, he’s not in the whole rest of the world, but that sea is too windy for me to see if he’s on a boat heading the opposite direction of where I wanted him to go.  Shoot.  Now, what am I going to do?  Jonah must really have been desperate to get away from those Ninevites.

I’m not going to pull a Jonah, hard as it may be to wait and follow.

 

sneezing. hot irons, and french bread


Dear beloved readers,

Never touch hot irons. Never. Even if it’s an accident. Don’t do it. You’ll just end up with a puffy burn-thingy on your finger, and it will hurt so much that you just want to cut your finger off.

Don’t touch hot irons.

Love,

Ashley

Okay, now that I’ve given my safety tips for the day, I just have to say that when I bought fabric yesterday, I picked the most wrinkle-prone fabric in the world. I went over that thing like 20 times with the iron (I’m pretty sure that’s not an exaggeration either.), and it’s STILL wrinkly!

tools for the job... notice the menacing hot iron lurking in the background...

ironing...

more ironing....

and even more ironing...

Darn cupcake fabric.

You know those times when you wake up at the appointed time (9:15) for me today, and you think hmm, I could get up now. I think I’ll just lay here for a minute while I muster the will to get out of my nice bed that has freshly washed sheets on it. So you lay there for another minute, fully intending to rise in about a minute. But then your eyes close and you wake up fifteen minutes later, feeling perfectly well-rested.

HOW CAN 15 MINUTES MAKE THAT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE?

I honestly have no idea, but, this morning, it made the difference between sleepy/confused and clear-minded. so, when I popped out of bed, said good morning to Brooke, and took my morning pills Groggy would not have described me.

Even so, I never skip my coffee.

So, then comes the part where I burn my finger, completely by dumb accident. I swatted the side of the extremely hot vintage iron that my mom bought at a thrift store years ago, realized a slit second later – when the pain came – that I had burned myself, and instantly did a weird skippy/gallop thing to the bathroom where I rinsed my fingers off in cold water. All the while I was thinking, stupid, stupid, stupid.

In an instant, I caused myself at least a week of discomfort.

Then, after finally getting most of the wrinkles out of the fabric – being more wary of the iron this time – I looked up a recipe for french bread.

Then I went upstairs and discovered our desperate need for flour.

definitely not 3 1/2 cups of flour!

And I remembered that I need to go let the dog out (the one I’m dog-sitting… at someone else’s house since my mom doesn’t really do furry animals). So, I let Honey out on my way to Cub.

I have never made such a fast trip into the grocery store. Seriously, people, this was fast like the Flash. Partly because I had no makeup on and was wearing a blue and orange tie-dyed t-shirt, partly because I just wanted to get home and make bread.

Then I went to the gas pump and watched more of my hard-earned money get poured into my mom’s gas tank.

And here I am, listening to my blogging playlist again (it’s conducive to good, thoughtful writing, I’m telling you.)

Now playing: “Beautiful Things” by Gungor.

Have you ever sneezed while driving? It makes me nervous every time I feel a sneeze coming on. I always think I’m going to swerve into another lane of traffic or miss the fact that the light is red or hit my head on the steering wheel and pass out. None of these have ever happened, but nevertheless, I think about them.

I wish I could imitate my sneeze for you right now. (come on over, I’ll do it for you.) because it’s a pretty funny sound, nothing like my dad’s sneeze (we call it the “angry pirate” aaaaaaaaAAAAARESCH! maybe we should adapt that name to “angry, German pirate.”), but i kind of gasp before I sneeze, like I’m afraid of it or something.

I was just thinking about how to give some purpose to this blog post, since all I’ve talked about is basically the activities of my day. Then I remembered an activity I have neglected to go.

You probably guessed it.

My Bible is still sitting in the same place I left it yesterday morning, and I’m disappointed in myself for forgetting again. I’m not a fickle person, not prone to leaving projects unfinished or to be disloyal or to neglect promises.

Perhaps it’s just because I know that God is gracious that I am more likely to forget to spend time with Him. People? Their schedules are quite a bit less flexible. They don’t always pick up their phones, and it’s not always possible to can’t a lunch date. SO, I put God on my back burner at times, thinking that I’ll get to Him when I get to Him.

What kind of attitude is that towards the person who created the universe but still wants me to spend time with Him? a pretty ungrateful one, in my opinion.

So, without further ado…

I did it.

And now, it’s a couple hours later, and the fabric project is finished… and my bread is about to be put in the oven.

yeast, salt, and the juice of life, plus the recipe

dough getting made

look at me! I'm using a sewing machine for the first time!

the bread's hiding because it's rising.

inside the bread tunnel

And that has been my day. So far.

You know, (well you didn’t know til now, but I am about to fill you in.) I’ve been thinking about some things – surprise surprise, I think quite a bit. Funny thing though, even though I spend all this time thinking, most of the time I don’t think before I speak. Now, why would that be? I end up saying stupid things or using the wrong word or saying something that can be taken the complete opposite way of what I meant.

Which is why I wish I could always speak by writing. I have so much time here to plan out what I want to be broadcasted to the world, rather than the two seconds that is customary before you respond to someone’s remark.

what have you been doing this week?

(in my head, I’m wondering exactly how much they want to know, and, depending on my relationship to them, what is appropriate to divulge. Then I come up with a list of vague highlights that make me seem like I am just like every other teenager in America who is on summer vacation.)

oh, you know, just hanging out, spending time with friends, seeing movies, going to bed too late. hahaha, gotta kick that habit soon!

I could’ve told them about my time with my family, that I have been cooking a little bit more than normal, heck I made french bread today, that I recently replaced my camera and discovered that I have an affinity for taking pictures (note: I didn’t say I had talent… just a liking for it!), or I could have mentioned that I’ve been blogging like a maniac because I enjoy writing so much.

But, no, I don’t say that. Because I’m afraid that it’s too much to say, that normal people are vague and assume that others aren’t really interested.

So, I just tell you people all the interesting details. At least… I hope they’re interesting.

real life. right here.


Here’s what’s real right now:

  • Summer’s almost over.  I wish a had a euphemism for that, but unfortunately, there is no way to sugarcoat that horrible statement.
  • I love not having to use a demon-possessed computers… Chloe is up and running, perched on a pseudo-computer desk made out of the iMac and printer boxes.
  • I’m also still in my pajamas.  I know it’s almost noon, but I just haven’t felt the need to change yet.  To redeem myself, I did eat breakfast, read my Bible, and brush my teeth this morning.  And I transferred thousands of files from evil Larry to beautiful Chloe.  And I washed my sheets.  Productive morning, right?  I thought so, too.
  • As much as I hate the fact that summer’s almost over, I’m excited for school at the same time.  I’ll expound on that later.
  • My heel hurts.  No explanation there.  Possibly related to the stupid achilles injury.
  • My room has been crying to be cleaned for the past two days since I dumped my stuff from Brooke’s room (where I’d been camping out for the past week) on the floor after getting home from babysitting at 11:45.  I just haven’t had the energy to put away my clothes and bedding.  Today’s the day.  It’s go time.
  • I made a blogging playlist, which I am currently listening to.

Now playing: “Empty Me” by Jeremy Camp.  You know how some songs just connect with your life more pertinently than others do?

This is one of those songs.  Along with Josiah Smith Band’s “Speak to Me”, it has become a prayer that I have learned to pray in order to live a life that isn’t about me.

I’m a picture person, so I imagine my heart, my life, my brain as a container that came filled with a substance that resembles bacon grease.  (how I picture my innate desires, thoughts, actions, and life devoid of God)  Innate, indicating that it is natural to me.  So, consciously, every day I ask God to clean out the grime and fill me with His living water: life to the fullest, consisting of love for other people, spending my time well, and, most importantly, being connected to Him, not having the bacon grease in the way.

Back to my conflicted feelings about summer’s end.

This summer has been one of the best yet, beginning with the trip to Panama that I think about and long to return to every single day.  That venture was the catalyst to starting to change my perspectives and priorities.  Some things that seemed so important in the past take a backseat now to other things that have more eternal significance.

And I’ve gotten to blog a lot.

Being an external internal processor (meaning that I process on paper or keyboard, but not involving other people so much), typing out the things that I’ve been thinking about and being able to lay out every facet of the issue on paper eases my anxious mind.

Another plus to blogging is that it’s like an art form to me.  Phrasing a sentence with the exact word that will convey the message (without incorrect connotations or any ways that my meaning could be misconstrued) the way I mean it makes me feel understood.

If you ask any of my friends or family, they will tell you that I over-talk. And, by that I don’t mean that I talk a lot…  I over-talk.

I cannot for the life of my come up with an example of this which frustrates me because I do this everyday… unconsciously.  Then the person I’m over-describing and over-elaborating to gets that glazed over look that says, I understood what you said the first time, but now I’m getting confused.

I just really feel like when I talk I should make sure that people get my meaning right!  So, if I include examples that can relate to all learning types and go over every angle of the topic and include something funny and go over all my points at the end, just to give a recap, THEN I will be understood.

Apparently, people don’t always appreciate this.

I guess I just feel like I’m lying to you if I don’t cover all that stuff.

You’ve probably noticed that in my posts if you come here often.  (which I hope you do, and I hope you tell your friends and click that special subscription button on the side so I can talk at you every day… you could even comment and we could have a dialogue!)

How did I get to talking about my talking tangents?

Oh, right, external internal processor.

Bunny trail’s over, folks, let’s get back to the reasons that I want school to start, but at the same time I don’t.

  1. I like learning.  Maybe I don’t enjoy having six assignments hanging over my head, but I like knowing things and begin able to recall them, even if the occasion where I need to recall facts is on a test.
  2. My second family is my class at school – meaning that we love each other a lot, (all 29 of us) but we still get on each others’ nerves and bug each other and keep each other accountable like family does.  We spend a lot of time together.  And, I miss them.
  3. Sleep is one of my favorite things.  It’s so underrated, considering all the benefits that it has.  I won’t be getting as much of it or have such a flexible sleep schedule once school starts, which saddens me and exhausts me at the same time.
  4. I’m afraid of getting burned out.  Which is why I have to keep balance in my life once school starts.  Not too much of anything, and hopefully I will remain sane.
  5. It’s my last year at the school I’ve been at since 3rd grade.  The next phase in my life (college, job, family?) has excitement abounding, but the uncertainty makes staying in high school forever and being a super senior slightly attractive.  but not attractive enough to fail my classes.  Plus, I’m going to miss the place.  the people who have poured knowledge and insight and wisdom into my life.  the friends that I’ve become to close to in these 10 years.

I could go on.

It seems to me that nothing is ever just cut and dry with how I feel about something.  Except food –  either like it or I don’t.  There are no conflicting emotions.  Anything that involves people, on the other hand, seems to throw my emotions a curve ball, and spin it around in the washing machine for a cycle, then throw them onto a tilt-a-whirl.

You get the picture.

 

thesauri, remote controls, summer, jobs


I heard a commercial on the radio today while I drove to meet my friend for lunch in which the child receives a thesaurus for his birthday.

And he is disappointed for some reason.

The mother is ecstatic about the gift, and she tells him what it’s used for (looking up new words!).  He replies using “new words” to display his discontentment with the gift.

I do not understand this child!  I had a little daydream (while keeping my eyes glued on the road and my hands at 9 and 3) about opening a brand-new, hard cover thesaurus on my birthday.  (March 3 in case you were wondering when you buy the thesaurus.)  In this daydream, I am thrilled.  I flip through the pages and sigh, thinking about how many times I will get to use it and how much learning will ensue from this incredible gift.

Then I pictured myself opening a rhyming dictionary.  Similar response, but with more enthusiasm.

So, in case you were wanting to buy me a present, here’s an idea.

Or you could get me a remote control.

There’s a story behind that one as well.  I am watering one of my mom’s friends’ flowers for her this weekend while she is out of town, and this entails a quite complicated process.

1) unlock front door.

2) get garage door opener from inside

3) open garage door

4) unlock door to backyard

5) water flowers (that’s the easy part)

6) relock door to backyard

7) close garbage door (this is the part where I click the garage door opener over my shoulder and feel like I should be wearing a spy outfit and that instead of closing the garage it should blow it up)

8) unlock front door again

9) put garage door opener inside

Basically, using that remote control made me feel like I had all the power in the world.  And I’d like one to help me clean my room.

Ah, the simple things in life that send my imagination on a day trip.

I just saw a t-shirt online that I really must share with you because it made me laugh out loud.  Then I’ll tell you about my summer jobs.

I almost bought this.

This weekend is full of babysitting for me.  Full of watering plants.  Full of letting dogs out.

Three jobs, one weekend.  Hopefully this is lucrative.

 

sesame street, patience, and more adventures having to do with books and uptown minneapolis


I have two confessions to make, and I think I’ll begin with the light-hearted one.

I have some serious affection for Sesame Street.  While watching it I laugh out loud at Elmo and his gang, smile at everything, and think – every five seconds – my kids will never watch any tv show that is not Sesame Street. Never.  No Wonderpets, no Dora, no Barney (gosh no, he’s so annoying!).  No, they will watch Sesame Street or nothing.

One of my favorite two-year-olds and I watched Sesame Street today on youtube (I didn’t even know you could do that until today!) for about an hour.  If it weren’t for dinnertime rolling around, I would have sat there for longer, enjoying every second of it.

Plus, there was a sweet, smiley, toddler snuggled up on my lap, playing with my car keys.

such a sweetie. and adorable.

in case you can't see, she's got my cell phone, my car keys... and her sippy cup.

Second confession: Patience is not on my list of strong traits.  Especially not when I’m tired, crabby, having low blood sugar, in the company of people who are on the more difficult side of love, or when I haven’t taken time to just spend with God that day.

Why, oh, why do I ever let anything else take priority over that?

The things that I let get in the way of having time to start my day the way that makes it (and me) turn out best gets shunted to the side if I wake up too late, if I have somewhere to be within an hour of waking, or some other lame excuse.

Talk about not setting yourself up for success, Ashley.

Then, the whole day I lack the vision and perspective and direction that spending time with my Savior typically brings.  If I’ve had my coffee I usually find something in the verses I’m reading that makes me think critically – resulting either in me learning something or thinking about something from an angle I had not considered before.

Lesson learned, I’ll never neglect this again.

Oh, wait, I forgot that I am a faulty human who needs to have made the same mistake at least 649 times before any real change can happen.

The negative comment just kind of popped out; right now (I’ll be real here, folks) I’m feeling cynical.

This is a rare moment.

I’ll continue to be real.  My God is the God who has changed the hearts of Pharisees who persecuted Christians to serve Him without ceasing.  He has pursued the hearts of humankind for thousands of years, relentlessly calling them to ask Him to change their lives.  He has given me the hope for which I live.  He provides opportunities to learn lessons (ahem.), and He does not give up on me.

Jesus, teach me to be patient.  When I have the opportunities, show me the right way to learn the skill.

Patience.

Patience.

Patience.

In our household, adventures are a daily occurrence.  It may be just the fact that I see the every day occurrences as adventures, but, I have pictures and stories to share.

Our adventurous spirit took us to uptown Minneapolis yesterday.  Home of the artsy, the hippie, and the urban.  Not that you have to be all three to live there.

First stop: Penzey’s spices.  I could sniff those organic wonders all day long, but not everyone share my enthusiasm for truly good smells.

smelling, smelling, smelling... it's single strength vanilla extract! mmmmmmmm!

So, we diverted our shopping endeavors to Magers & Quinn, booksellers.  It’s not on a Barnes & Noble level of class, but, on the other hand, it’s not on the same price level either.

the sale carts outside Magers & Quinn provided an optimum place for picture taking

I wandered around the store looking for affordable books until I found... the SALE TABLES! Tolstoy, Austen, Voltaire, Dickens, Kafka, and more, all on the same table with cheap prices!

I walked into the store holding a book full of pictures and stories about Shirley Temple that had caught my attention as a classic movie lover, thinking I’d splurge from my no-buying policy and fork over the $4.

I came out, having spent $7.55 total, with a bag containing Voltaire’s Candide, a collection of short stories by Tolstoy, and Oliver Twist, arguably by favorite Dickens’ novel… it’s neck and neck with Great Expectations.

To half steal my sister’s comparison, going into a bookstore is like going into a room of people.  You see lots of old friends that you know, some ones you’ve recently met, some you love, some you don’t love so much, and some… some you have never seen before, and they entice you into talking to them because you have a mutual friend or because they have a great name.  And you end up inviting a few of them over to talk some more….

the only part about this is analogy that doesn’t work is the checkout part where you pay for them, because that, dear readers, would be slave trading.  Not legal.  Not ethical.  So, we;ll leave the simile there.

Ah, books.

Our next adventure took us to Stella’s Fish Café and Prestige Oyster Bar.  We skipped the Oyster Bar part of that and just ate on the rooftop of Stella’s.

on Stella's rooftop

Then, we went to Heartbreaker (not pictured.)

And the sculpture gardens.

at the sculpture garden

the famous cherry and spoon sculpture, with interactions not to climb on it... we didn't.

the famous cherry and spoon sculpture, with instructions not to climb on it... we didn't.

The conclusions I have made for today: Patience isn’t just a virtue; it’s a necessity.  And it’s one that I need to equip myself with.  and the way I equip myself begins with keeping my priorities straight.

Ah, priorities. Ah, the condition of the heart.  Ah, it’s bedtime.

additions to the family, encouragement by the bottle, and the power of a good chick flick


most recent addiction, from Trader Joe's

This evening, my dad, my cousin, Hannah, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time in Best Buy.  To avoid all the boring details, we’ll just say that I was an unsatisfied Nikon customer wishing to exchange for the camera that was most like the one that I initially brought in to the Geek Squad (I love them so much, even though they couldn’t fix my camera) to fix up.  Within about 20 minutes I had a lovely, red replacement camera and Hannah had found and purchased Pride & Prejudice (my aunt, Laura, had been wanting to watch it, much to Hannah’s chagrin.)

Jane Austen's beloved classic, brought beautifully to life

Then my dad asks if it’s okay if he looks at iMacs for a little bit.

Long story, long conversations about computers, and long time for Hannah and I to play on the iPad 2 short, we have a new member of our family.

Our last computer, the demon-possessed member of our technological family, was named Larry.  This time, however, I thought that we should christen the computer after a female – since she will be multi-tasking and capable.

dubbed "Chloe" after the techie whiz in '24'

Best Buy was closing its doors for the evening when we finally got out of there, just in time to go home and watch the beloved chick flick.

These absurdly unrealistic romantic movies have some amazing power over me.  I’ll admit it.  Honestly, from the moment that Elizabeth steps foot into Pemberley (you know, that time that she thinks Darcy’s not really there, but HE IS!), my heart leaps up into my throat and chokes me, and I smile and squeal and choke for the rest of the movie.

I wonder if anyone’s ever suffocated while watching a romantic movie?  death by chick flick.  now, that would be a happy way to go, while engaged in a blissful fairy-tale world.

I’d rather go while in the real world, accompanied by the people who make my life worthwhile.

God is good.  I think I may have mentioned that before, but it’s still true, in case you were wondering.  I went to be with some girls from my Bible study today, at our leader/teacher’s house, feeling slightly burdened before I went.

Being told the day-by-day plan for my life about 6 months in advance would give me so much peace.  I get anxious about not knowing the exact activities I will be participating, and in what capacity.

How easily I forget that having faith and surrendering my situation, my worries, and my desires into God’s hands brings the peace that I feel that I would get from simply knowing the plan from Day 1.  Because I put my faith in the Faithful.  My peace and strength comes from a tried and true source; this isn’t just some experiment that I’m trying.  God has always had my best interests in His plans, and He will never stop giving me His best, as long as I am surrendered to His will for me.

I was reminded of that today.  The time spent with those girls poured tranquility into my heart.  I know why they call it “the peace that transcends all understanding.”

In a situation where there is anything to worry about, the world expects and almost requires that we have no peace until we have dissolved the situation.  But our God gently extends His hands to take those issues, problems, situations, worries, cares, illnesses, injuries, plans, lack of plans, and all other uncertainties, leaving us with an unexplainable peace.

I’m pretty sure that the reason it is unexplainable is so that He gets the glory.  If it’s unexplainable by our human means, then it points directly to Him.

So I point to Him, with a grateful, peaceful heart.

and, now, I will be going to bed.

my next literary pursuit

hankerings and another gluten-free adventure


I’ve got a hankering to get Jonathan out and play to my heart’s content.  I want to go outside and sing at the top of my lungs, drinking in the summer night – which is quickly becoming an endangered event.  I don’t want  to play for an audience, just to strum without inhibition or a need to impress anyone… not that I could impress anyone with my limited, self-taught selection of chords.

I wish I could pick songs, note by note, because I just love the sound of that, but I can only do that with “Ironman” and “Smoke on the Water.”  Not exactly crowd-pleasers, plus I don’t know the words.

That’s one craving that’s in my heart right now, the other one I’m satisfying right now, with my fingers on Macky’s keyboard, pouring out some thoughts.

shopping queens :) bedecked in aviators and laden with fossil-esque purses

it was hard to get on the pan... sticky stuff, that rice flour

in the OVEN!

quality ingredients

proud of our crust, aka labor of love

isn't that just gorgeous?

 

I wasn’t craving gluten-free pizza tonight, but I’ve found that these gluten-free recipes surprise me every time by actually tasting good.  My aunt, who is gluten-intolerant and eats very health-consciously, says I need to get some more protein in my diet.

I hadn’t ever really thought of that before, that I might need to supplement my meatless diet (meatless because the whole idea of eating animals grosses me out and makes me want to gag… unless it’s chicken nuggets or the occasional hot dog) with some extra protein.  She asked me if I got tired easily, and that sounded like my tendencies… Add to that the fact that I can’t build muscle in my arms even if I pump serious iron, and there is a case for eating more protein.

SO, I will be making some dietary changes, which will likely give me more energy and make my life better.  Thanks, Aunt Laura.  :)

Funny, I never would have seen that my diet was lacking if she hadn’t said anything.  Which makes me think of a parallel in my spiritual life.  I’ve been thinking for a while about asking someone at my church to be a mentor to me because, even though my family life is great and I love talking to my mom about things, I feel that it could be beneficial to have a person outside of my life with whom to share my life and my walk with God.

You know how sometimes you walk around with a fragment of lettuce stuck right between your teeth for hours, flashing your (not-so) pearly whites at people all the time because no one has had the decency to reveal to you that there is something seriously wrong with your smile?  I feel like that relates to how I live life sometimes, not realizing that there is a better way I could be living until someone else enlightens me.

We’ve talked about this before, but I definitely want the best for my life.  Honestly, don’t we all?  Some of us just think that we know best rather than our Maker.

Right before summer began, my Bible teacher challenged our class to invest in someone younger than us and ask someone who is a more mature Christian to mentor us.  I had someone all picked out in my head that I thought would be perfect but never remembered to ask her when I saw her.

Okay, Jesus, do you have someone else in mind?

I’m going to go get Jonathan.