Friday, March 14, 2014





I walk the line through the auditorium. Dead center, I face the ledge. Cheerleaders, thespians, honor students, jocks, dance team. We are all present, standing together one last time. Here, I am my mother's daughter and you are your father's son. By last name we anxiously await to be called, knowing that everything is about to change. 

My mind spins and I can't stop to breathe. Eyes shift from left to right and we know we will never see these faces again. Not like this. I close my eyes and try to lock them in, my souvenirs. His face when he finally asked her out, their cheers as he sunk the winning basket, the sound of the final bell of our year when they took a victory lap around the lockers. Twelve years in this place and tomorrow we're free. Today, we jump. 

I hear my name called as our row stands. Maneuvering in those heels, I pray that I don't trip. Holding that diploma (or lack thereof, for all of you graduates) and shaking the hand of my principal I realize that this is my time. I leave this stage and I am no longer a Providence Stallion or my mother's daughter. I'm not the cheerleading captain and I'm not a senior. I am Ashley. 

So I jump. 

I do what I have been waiting twelve years to do. So scared, so unprepared, but I do it. Do you know what happened?

He caught me. 

So often I realize that I'm scared to jump into the unknown where God is calling me. I know where I come from so that has to be enough. But staying two steps outside of the Promised Land because I'm afraid of how far I might fall is a crime. That day though, I chose to jump because that's the only way the promises of God would come to fruition for me. I had to let go, that day and every day, so that God could be God in my life. 

Today, I sit in my condo and type as an almost college junior, two years out from that day. I am my own person outside of the shelter of my parents and my high school, but only because I decided that jumping into the unknown had to be better than the "what ifs" and "could have beens". Every day I take small hops and big leaps into life so that God has a chance to catch me. Like a toddler jumping to his/her parent for the first time in the pool, I want to close my eyes, squeeze my arms under some Holy Spirit floaties and leap into the unknown. 

Will you choose to jump to Him today? Those strong arms are reaching for you, waiting to grab hold of His child. 

“It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday. And then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And that someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” - Nathan Scott "One Tree Hill"

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Monday, March 10, 2014


I fell.

Like Alice down a hole but I didn't land in Wonderland. I landed in an attic. But it wasn't a dream. It was my reality. I had been pushed out of my world and landed in the "real world", covered in cobwebs and dust.

I look around and find memories I faintly recognize. The writer I was going to be in the third grade. The broadway dancer I wanted to be in the fifth grade. The boy I couldn't let go of in middle school. My cheerleading days in high school. I brush off some dust for a better look. Why is this stuff here?

"A Dream Deferred" indefinitely. The packaged boxes make me claustrophobic, each holding an idea that used to be. What I didn't realize is that I never could let them go and that's why they were there, collecting dust in my attic. I've spent so much of my life buying into thought after thought that I've never gotten to use any of what I'd purchased. So concerned with doing it all that I've don't nothing at all. My heart and mind somehow became that closet no one ever wants to acknowledge is there because its too full of "stuff" you don't need.

So I went through my boxes.





Honestly, some packages needed unpacking but some needed to be moved out. The unforgiveness I found after cleaning up the hurt dust on top was the first to go. With the help of a Jesus-sized dolly it has been permanently removed.

Then I unpacked a love for writing that I've had for as long as I can remember. Each day that I type a few more words onto a tiny, lit up screen I unpack a little bit more and my heart and mind get a little bit lighter and warmer.

I guess you could say I've been doing a lot of Spring cleaning lately. Every day I'm trying to unpack a little more so that I can settle into the new me. Besides, this "house" is way too expensive to hold all of that dust and clutter. I have been bought by the blood of Jesus and hope you see that value in you too. He loves and adores that little house of yours, so help Him make more room for you to be you.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What its about

My favorite thing in the world is laughing until my stomach muscles ache. Those surprise moments where catching your breath is just about all you can do. Those moments seem few and far in between now, but when they do come, oh, the feels. My head down to my orange painted toes light up with joy.

To the left is one of my most cherished moments to date. Pictured is my mother, our immediate family (my dad and brother), her two sisters, their families, her brother and his wife, and my grandparents going on 54 years of marriage. That silliness shows me real family but more importantly real love life. 

I truly believe that this kind of life and laughter comes straight from Jesus Himself. Its no secret that He is the Light of the world and John chapter 1 talks about the "Light" coming to the world to bring "life". When we experience this soul illumination to our deepest core I like to believe we're experiencing a little piece of Him.

With that, I'm issuing a challenge.

Lent starts this week and as much as I love this season of church tradition, I think there is way too much focus on what we're giving up. I'd like to challenge you to think about what you could move out of the way so that you can receive that life. Move away the distractions and calluses so that your heart can be more easily "tickled" by the goodness that's still here.

You know what I mean.

I want the smallest, most childlike funnies to produce gut-wrenching laughter that has you in tears. Why? Because that's what happens when a heart that's sensitive toward Jesus is awakened with the very essence of Him. Childlike faith takes over because the Light has brought life like no other. Lent is about preparing for Easter. Easter is about new life in Christ. New life in Christ is what we're here for and that is why I acknowledge Lent.







What are you going to exchange for newness of life in this season?

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

What I learned

Emily P. Freeman, author of my new book obsession, A Million Little Ways, issued a challenge to readers of her blog. What did you learn in February?

February seemed to leave as quickly as it came, but not without shining a light on some new lessons first. Here's what I learned in the last 28 days:

1. You are as weird as your closest friends. 
My roommate and I are the oddest pair. I'm quiet, sensitive, and a slave to routine. She's loud, fun-loving, and the most dramatic person I've ever met. I'm proud to say she's rubbed off on me. Thank you for being my best friend, Kels.

2. If Hollywood were to make a female version of the Rocky movies, Mandisa would write the soundtrack. 
Don't pretend like "Good Morning" or "Overcomer hasn't motivated you to get up move. She's blessed with the gift of forcing others into productivity.

3. Waterlogue is sweet. 
As if the App store didn't provide us with enough ways to be artsy.

4. The best place to start a church is in a movie theater. 
I've had the privilege of visiting a local church plant this month called Destiny Church Jax. Not only was worship passionate as ever on that movie theater floor and the pastor just as fired up about Jesus, but the people seemed simply delighted to be greeting each other on the side of that very public building. Who knew I would walk into RoboCop and come out loving Jesus better?

5. My favorite people to watch movies with are less than 4 feet tall. 
Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, The Lorax, Robots, The Swan Princess, and Finding Nemo. I've got a stash specifically for my favorite tinies. Secretly, I enjoy watching those movies more with them because they can't help but be overtaken by the magic of it all.

6. Sipper's Coffee.
Nestled within a tiny strip center, Sipper's Coffee is the Their hipster feel, friendly service, and food that will make your tastebuds sing the hallelujah chorus made my February Friday mornings that much better.

6.1. I should stop trying to make liking coffee happen. Its not going to happen. 
I just can't. I think I'm the only college student on the planet that doesn't like coffee but I physically cannot will myself to like it. I think it smells like Jesus is roasting a little "Good Morning" in a cup but for some reason I just can't ingest the stuff.

7. "You time" is good time. 
Today my roommate insisted on going to get pedicures, something I never do. After an exhausting week, I figured "Why not?" and left the excuses behind. I haven't been so relaxed in such a long time. Plus, my nails look good.

What did you learn this month? Tweet at me with your answers because I'd love to share in this with you.

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