No band-aids.

I’ve been trying to clean out a wound for a while now, but – like many of  my cleaning projects – it often sits untouched in between efforts to clean it.  It’s a deep wound, inflicted by ones who don’t see their actions as weapons and haven’t changed their behavior much.  But when I see what oozes out of that nasty thing, I can’t take it.

It’s ugly.  I think it bled at one point, but now it’s just infected.  Bitterness and anger is what usually comes out.  It needs holy hydrogen peroxide, and Jesus is faithful to provide that, even when I don’t ask.  He was the catalyst, the one who pointed out the wound and started the healing.

How do you heal something like that?  It’s not a quick fix.  And you really can’t bandage it, either.  That inhibits healing, though it hides the wound.  Band-aids have covered it up for long enough.  No, now it needs cleaning, consistent maintenance. I have a daily choice to forgive and let go.

Who was it who said that nothing worth doing is easy?  Probably someone I’d like to meet.  The only easy things that are worth doing that I can think of are recipes and smiles.

It’s worthwhile, even though I’m not the most adept at cleaning (particularly at cleaning wounds or anything involving blood or pus).  I have to remind myself of that sometimes, but it’s worth it.  Restoration always is.


Faithful iron.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

I did some sharpening with a friend of mine last night.  Mind you, it wasn’t all iron – there was a lot of laughter involved, along with french fries and guacamole (yes, together.  it’s a magical combination!), and Lake Minnetonka.  We were talking about how she’s heard so many incredible stories about God working through people on CRU summer projects.  Some of the stories are truly amazing, pointing to a God who changes hearts and lives.  They leave you speechless sometimes.

Or they might make you a little jealous that you aren’t getting to experience it.  It might stir up in you memories of short-term ministry, periods of time where that was your sole focus.

I mean, Jesus is always meant to be my focus, the center of my life, the gas in my tank, but there are phases of life where we’re called to part-time jobs and seemingly ordinary tasks.  I couldn’t put my finger on it while we were talking, but now I remember the word for this:

We’re called to be faithful.  We’re called to do our work with all of our hearts, working for the Lord and showing men who He is.  We’re called to live out a consistent witness that points our co-workers and customers and all the random people we encounter to Jesus.  We’re called to love our families well while we’re home with them on break.  We’re called to listen to God in everyday life and move when He prompts us.  It’s a lifestyle that’s less saturated in organized ministry but should be no less saturated with the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit.

It’s a challenge that is easy to forget when you start thinking that life is easy.  If you ever think that your walk with God is easy, I bet you’ve forgotten some aspect of faithfulness, because it’s hard.  It requires intentional time spent in God’s presence and constant surrender to His promptings… and other things that I haven’t figured out yet.

Potato love.

Oh boy, folks.  It’s going to be an exciting, domestic day.  I was going to blog about how I think we’ve all been throwing stones a little too readily at Paula Deen, a response that doesn’t seem very Christlike or consistent with a forgiving mentality, but I think I’m a little behind the news with that one.  So there’s the short version of that.  Let’s put our stones down, okay?  Show the woman a little love.

Today, we are going to make something very exciting. In the kitchen. WITH POTATOES.


You probably know how much I love garlic.  I think I may have mentioned that once or twice or ten times.  Or you might smell if on my breath on a consistent basis.  My love for potatoes is almost in line with that.  Truly, nearly anything made with spuds is high on my list.  Add cheese, add salt, add butter.  MMM.

I’ve had this idea brewing in my mind for a while – could I make my own shredded potatoes?  And the answer I kept giving myself was: DUH, Ashley.  It’s just shredding.  You can totally do it.  

(Can you tell how exciting I am?  The recurring ALL CAPS words are a good indicator.)

With the help of a couple bloggers, Heavenly Homemakers and Simply Creating Home (who didn’t know they were going to be a part of this, but there’s a little free publicity for you in return for the free tips on how to shred your potatoes), I decided to embark on this potato-shredding journey.

Of course, I decided to do it right when I was ready to eat lunch, which wasn’t the smartest planning, but oh well.

The plan is to let the potatoes cool, then shred them with a cheese grater.

Updates to follow.

haircuts and purposeful living.

In my dream last night, I met Richard Dawkins and his wife.  I’m not sure if he even has a wife, but I met them both.  They were very nice, and I realized afterwards that I should have told him that I liked his speech about genes and memes, the one that got all psychedelic at the end.  But I was too confused about someone who was so antagonistic towards Christianity being so nice to a Christian to really have an intelligent conversation.  People surprise you.  Especially in dreams.

Then, I was on a bus with my mom’s side of the family, crammed four to a seat because that’s the kind of thing that happens in dreams.    Then I was in my room, waking up, hearing my mom and grandma try to guilt me into waking up because I was sleeping too late.

This is what happens when I eat cake before bed, I suppose.

Today is my first day off from work since the fourth of July.  *cheers*  It’s an exciting day, since I will finally get my long-overdue haircut and watch the livestream of the Switchfoot Bro-Am, which I attended last year (throwback to my account of the day here).  I know I’ve said it before, but those guys of Switchfoot are such inspiring people.

It got me thinking, how do I make my day off purposeful?  It’s kind of a rare happenstance now, so I should use it for good.  Thus far, I have caught up on sleep a bit and made pancakes for my family.  Haircuts are just a necessary thing when you’ve got hair that doesn’t just grow down but also expands.  What then?

I forget to be intentional about how I spend my time sometimes.  I forget that there are limited hours in my life, and I want to look back and be certain that I spent my hours doing something that matters, living Kingdom-style.

With that in mind, off to a haircut and purposeful living I go.

The way I see it.

This is the way I see it: if summer would be like today everyday, it might just be the perfect season. Light breeze, sunshine all day, low humidity. Yep, it’s a good day to T off work early and sit outside for a bit.
It’s also a good day to be nice. It’s a good day to see people instead of looking at them. Today is a great day for blessing people in as many ways as I know how.
Commuting by bus gives you a lot of opportunities to be judgmental and antisocial.
1. You can choose your spot on the bus without smiling at anyone, therefore taking no chances that it might brighten their day a bit.
2. You can completely ignore your seat mate until they ask you to move are it’s their stop.
3. You can assume that the lady who set her purse on the seat next to her just hates all of her fellow bus riders and wants to be sure that none of them enter her personal bubble.
4. You can only speak to the driver when you have a complaint about how they don’t avoid potholes very well and never think that maybe they could benefit from good treatment as well
5. You can complain that you have to use public transportation since your sister got a job right put of college and needs to use the car you share to commute.
Or you could do the complete opposite of those things. You might end up being a much happier person in the same circumstances. It might just be the best part of your day, that conversation with the person you get off at the same stop with every day and haven’t spoke to yet. It might just improve your life.
And, really, don’t we all want that?


In case any of you have forgotten that the symbol before that number isn’t only known as a hashtag, let me remind you: it’s a number sign.  Which makes the title of this post not “hashtag five hundred” but “number five hundred.”  Just wanted to clarify.


*throws confetti in air and dances around in it*

We made it to 500!  And that’s not just a fancy way of saying that I made it to 500 posts (it wouldn’t be very fancy if it was).  You read this and like the posts and comment, which encourages me to keep writing.  We did it.  We made it this far.

How far we’ve come!  My first post, just over two years ago, began this journey, this process of becoming, this 500-car-long train of thought.

I thought about starting a campaign to celebrate, like “500 Cookies” where I bake 500 cookies and share them with people or “500 Book Reviews,” but that made me exhausted just thinking about it.  I can’t plan 500 posts in advance – or even 500 days.  Who knows where I’ll be then?

Who knows who I’ll be then?


I thought about speculating about what I’ll be like/what I’ll be doing/etc 500 posts from now, but I think I’d rather make goals.  How about 500 goals?  (would you stick around to read them all?) Or maybe, how about 5 goals?

Let’s do that:

Goal #1 – To be a person who sees instead of looking.  To not size a person up by a first impression but to take time to figure out what makes them interesting, because everyone has something interesting about them.

Goal #2 – To have lots of stamps in my passport.  If I’m to fill up the entire thing by the time it expires (which will be ten years from now since I’m renewing the one I got as a minor), I’ll need to stamp it.  This will have the dual purpose of expanding my horizons and achieving my goal of stamping up the whole thing.

Goal #3 – To have my degree and an idea of where I’m headed next

Goal #4 – To be fully present where I am in life, no matter where that may be

Goal #5 – To have blessed many people with cake.

Hold me to those, people.

Also, post coming sometime soon about getting in touch with Ms. Swift. I’m brainstorming about how best to do it and will act when I figure that out.

Peeve and pondering.

Two things:

1) Can we all stop saying” cray”? It’s just ONE syllable away from it’s much-less-annoying counterpart.  And if you say, “cray cray,” then you’re still saying as many syllables as “cray-zee,” so just say “crazy.”   Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your cooperation with this one.

2) I haven’t yet settled on what I want to do for tomorrow’s big celebratory post (big is relative, remember that… big to me, maybe not big to most), but I think it will include launching some kind of goal for myself that will be chronicled here as well as a celebratory post of sorts.  And I think I will get in touch with T-Sweezy.  It’s high time I did something.  There will be pictures.  I think I’ll save songwriting for a more emotional occasion.

I’m going to ponder number two a bit more while I go for a run.  I’m going to learn to enjoy running, and maybe – someday far in the future – I’ll be able to go farther than two miles.  It could happen, with lots of stretching and a little less heat.

That’s it for today, folks.

Help wanted.

This is my 498th post.  That means that we’re nearing 500, which is typically thought to be a milestone number.  So, here’s my question for you: what should I do to celebrate 500 blog posts?

I mean, it’s not like a birthday or anniversary, but it’s an exciting milestone that I think deserves some recognition.  Though you are all loyal, dedicated readers, I doubt that you’d stick it out for a “Top 500” list, so that’s out of the question.

Should I:

a) give my blog a makeover

b) start a campaign for the next 500 posts (like a challenge for myself, doing something 500 times, coming up with 500 ways to be kind or make pancakes, say thank you to 500 people who’ve influenced me, read 500 books, etc)

c) write a celebratory post and go on as before

d) start an etsy shop (just kidding, no time for that one)

e) Figure out how to get in touch with Taylor Swift, finally, and give her all the letters I’ve written her.

f) make a music video

g) write a song/poem/rap about it

h) *insert your brilliant idea here*

This one actually needs audience participation.  Weigh in, whether it’s in a Facebook comment, a comment here on WordPress, or a text (if you’re among the lucky ones who have my number). Let’s dialogue about this.

Inadequate and claiming it.

You ever get those little messages from Satan, saying that you’re inadequate?  Yeah, me too.  I get them pretty often.  I get them when I stumble over things, when I process an exchange as though it’s a return (what was I THINKING?), when I’m trying to organize something.

I got it again today, while I was pulling the tags out of all the knits in the back room so that it’d be easier for the people taking inventory tomorrow.  I got that little message in my head saying, You know why you’re back here pulling tags?  Yeah, it’s because you’re not very good at your job.  They just keep you on because you’re nice and they’d feel bad for firing you.  You do things too slowly and don’t open enough credit cards.

Since I hadn’t eaten in a couple hours, I almost believed him.  Almost.  But not quite.

Now I say this:

Hang on there, Satan. [this is weird, talking to Satan]  Just hold on for one dang second.  I’m pretty sure you’re wrong, but you know what?  It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter if I’m not the best at my job.  I mean, sure, I’d like to be the employee of the month and never trip over anything again and always know what to do, but no one meets those standards.  No one.

What does matter is if I do my work to the best of my ability with the right state of heart.  And that goes for anything.  It doesn’t matter if I have given myself three mystery bruises due to clumsiness.  It doesn’t matter that I can’t keep my room clean for more than a couple days.  What matters is that my heart is all for Jesus.  What matters is that I’m dedicated to pursuing Him with my life.

And you know what?  You don’t get to tell me I’m inadequate.  I’ll say it: I’m completely inadequate.  I need God to work through me on the daily, and that’s the way it should be.

So, shut up.


FYI: It’s satisfying to tell Satan to shut up.

Not Stephen King.

Today’s one of those days where I start a blog post about six times, each time with a different leading sentence.  And then I delete it and go do something else, come back later, and try again.  Delete, repeat.  It just takes one sentence to get going, but sometimes it’s just the wrong sentence.  I end up going down a path that either isn’t long enough, doesn’t have a definite shape, or doesn’t really look like a place that I want to be.

Usually, these are the days where I don’t write.  These are those days that you don’t hear from me via Facebook, Twitter, and your email inbox (if you subscribe… which I hope you do) with a new post.  Because I try, and it just doesn’t feel right.

Today, however, I’m persevering.  It’s past 10pm, so it won’t be brilliant, but I remember something that Stephen King said about being inspired.  This is a paraphrase, but he said something to the effect of : Inspiration doesn’t just come to you when you want it, but since you’re a disciplined writer, when it does come, it will find you sitting at your desk, writing.

Wow, I am so not Stephen King.  He said it much better, but I’d rather not flip through On Writing to find his exact words( be my guest).  Today is discipline day.  I’m writing and publishing (semi-publishing, let’s be real) even though it’s not going to be fabulous, and it isn’t really inspired.  It’s another glimpse into my life, not that you were asking, but this is what happens sometimes.  Most days, there are a couple ideas bouncing around together in my mind, and they collide at some point, and if I’m near my computer, they go into a blog post.  

Today, I guess not much was bouncing around in there.  Or maybe they’re just the thoughts that need to stay in my head.  I don’t tell you everything, you know.  We’ve all got to have some privacy.